Saturday, April 19, 2014

How a Sewing Machine Works

The means by which a sewing machine stitch works has always mystified me. How the bottom thread and the top thread wrap around each other to make a line of stitching.

In the course of doing some image research for a logo project, I came across this simple yet hypnotizing animation.

How did someone conceive of this?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Big Heart

Some time ago, I took this block, enlarged it to 20" x 20", printed it out and taped the pieces together. This weekend, I finally sewed together strips from my scrap bag to make the center block for a quilt.

If I do another one (and I probably will), instead of paper-piecing, I think I will try using freezer paper. Wrangling a 20-inch-square paper foundation took some doing.

Not only is the heart pieced, but the background sections are as well.

I had a bunch of equilateral triangles and half-triangles left over from another project a few years ago. With so many fabrics in the heart, it seemed like it would be "too much" to have the background be scrappy also. But piecing the background from leftover bits seemed appropriate.

I used up most of the triangles, but I was able to find more of the same print online, even though I bought in some three years ago. I remembered it was from a fabric line designed by Minick and Simpson, was able to determine that they design for Moda, tracked down the name of the line, and ordered some here.

Next, I'll be making smaller heart blocks, also strip-pieced, to go around the large heart.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Arboreal Heirlooms

Every spring, I keep an eye out for the first new green on my potted ginkgo that lives by the front door.

Today, I saw this year's new growth.

This little fellow (and I do literally mean fellow) was one of my Dad's collection of what were termed his bonsai trees, even though they were not bonsai in the technical sense. They were miniature, potted versions of their larger brethren, but not pruned, shaped, or sculpted in the usual sense.

In 2005, for my birthday, instead of the usual cartoony birthday card, my dad sent me a card with a photo of the ginkgo tree and a somewhat melancholy note.

After he passed away in January 2006, I brought the ginkgo up to Seattle. I repotted it into a larger pot, where it resides now. One summer, I failed to water it well enough during a hot spell, and most of its leaves turned brown and dropped off. But it pulled through.

I tend to it better now.

Another shrub that I associate with my dad is wild azalea. Some 20 years ago, he gave me a small bush that we planted in the corner of the back yard of my previous house.

When I moved in 2009, I had to leave it behind. But I still have some photographs that I took of its pretty flowers. It also had a pleasant scent, that you had to get pretty close to smell.

I wonder it it is still there. Since I sold that house, it went into foreclosure and, according to Zillow, was sold again last August.

Friday, April 4, 2014

They're Alive!

Without fail, every time I plant the seeds for my summer garden, I always get a kick out of seeing the first sprouts.

I blogged about it last year, and I will undoubtedly blog about it in 2015, and thereafter.

Less than a week ago — 5 days ago to be exact — we planted the seeds for red and green lettuce. zucchini, pumpkin and poppies. Yesterday, I went to give them a little water and saw that the two lettuces were sprouting.

The above photo was taken at 7:30 yesterday morning.

This evening, just about 18 hours later, they looked like this.

I always get such a charge about how fast they grow!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend Miscellany

A little about a lot of different things.


Today, I finished the "first" sock of the pair I was knitting for Tim. Now there are two.

I finished the knitting part last night. That just left stitching up the toes and weaving in the ends.

He reports that they are very warm. Well, they should be. Have you ever seen a cold alpaca? (I stole that. He said it first.)

I'd like to start another pair, because I really like knitting socks. But I should get back to my sweater instead.


Today, we planted the seeds for what we hope will be our summer garden. Two kinds of lettuce (red and green), zucchini, pumpkin, and leftover California poppy seeds.

I could have posted a photo, but there's nothing to see yet. Just potting soil in little planter cups.

I also have a bunch of sunflower seeds that I harvested last year, that I will just plant in the ground. And the raspberry canes are leafing out nicely. I hope their output is better than it was last year.


After a week of mostly rain, it cleared up this afternoon. That prompted me to suggest that we head down to Green Lake for a walk.

The turtles have been out of hibernation for a few weeks now. I thought there would be more of them out sunning themselves, but only a few made an appearance.

However, on the other side of the lake, we did see something a little out of the ordinary.


I managed to get out to the studio for an hour or two. The project I am currently planning involves using leftover strips of fabric that I have collected over the past several months. I am sewing them into longer strips and trimming them to various widths.

I have drafted a larger version of this block, as well as a diagonal version, and will sew the strips together to make a quilt of a size yet to be determined. It will be unplanned, spontaneous and random. Very different from what I usually do.


This has been a good spring for flowers. It seems like there have been more crocuses and daffodils in our front yard than in years past.

The dark purple crocuses showed up first, followed by lighter purple and white crocuses.

Then came the daffodils.


Soon, there will be tulips.

Last weekend, we enjoyed the warmest day so far this year. It was a beautiful spring day — the warmest day so far this year with a high of about 65 degrees. We were out and about around Capitol Hill and took a stroll through Volunteer Park. Many flowers there to see.

Lastly, inspired by our visit to Vashon Island a couple weeks ago and the Seattle Distillery where we purchased a bottle of their coffee liqueur (scroll down), I found a recipe for homemade coffee liqueur which I will try out, with some adjustments.

Today, I prepared the cold brew coffee and purchased two vanilla beans and a bottle of vodka. Stay tuned . . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Little Something

When I had finished the cutting for my next Craftsy project, I had a fair number of small triangles left over from the strip-pieced sets.

It seemed likely that they could be turned into something useful, and indeed this turned out to be true.

I suppose if I did some research, I might discover that there is a name for this block. However, I just noticed that it looks like a variation on the Spools block. How appropos!

Since I took this photo, I have sewed the blocks together. The assembled piece now measures about 13-3/4" square. Eventually, it will become a pillow. I think I will be able to fit a 14" square pillow form — I think the form will be just squishy enough!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back to Vashon

Today, Tim and I took the ferry to Vashon.

We first visited the island last summer. Today was a good day to go back. It was one of my days off, and work has been light for Tim, so he had some free time as well. Plus, the weather forecast was promising — partly sunny with high temperature in the 50s.

And, I admit I had an agenda. Primarily, I wanted to go back to Island Quilter to see if they had one particular fabric that was in the fat quarter 10-pack I purchased last July that I recently turned into a quilt top.

I wanted to get it for the binding, and also see if they had a good fabric in keeping with the coffee theme of the quilt for the backing.

And indeed they did!

The diamond print is what I plan to use for the binding, and the word-y fabric is for the backing.