Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Selvedges

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rainbow

selvedges

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curtain

selvedge blocks

For the past two months, I've been diligently working to cross items off my to-do list. These are mainly small goals that will keep me on track for finishing up holiday gifts. I'm trying to not wait until the last minute this year.

By this weekend, I'd finished most of this month's to-do list items and thought that making a few flag quilt blocks wouldn't throw me too off track. And then as I was sewing those, I cut the selvedges off my newest fabrics and added them to my two bins of selvedges. And that made me annoyed that I'm low on storage space in my sewing room and totally out of bins and yet I'm using two of them to store selvedges. And then I thought that if I'd just make a few selvedge blocks for my someday selvedge quilt, I'd be able to free up one of the bins. And that lead to an hour of looking at selvedge quilts on flickr to help me decide on a design.

And an entire day later, I finally finished a couple of selvedge blocks. I will say that making these blocks is super fun! I can't believe I waited so long to give it a try. As I sew each strip to the next, it's so fun to look at the selvedges and remember all the fabrics I've purchased over the years. It also made me feel a little sick about all the fabrics I've purchased over the years. I need to get sewing again and use some of it up.

The good and bad news is: after an entire day of sewing, I have not even put a dent in the pile of selvedges. I'm really curious to see how many 6.5" blocks I can make from my enormous stash. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, June 23, 2014

World Cup Weekend

soccer

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popcorn

riverview

It was a three day weekend for me and Ian and I spent pretty much all of it watching soccer. We saw the Italy v. Costa Rica game at Merlin's Rest, a pub a little ways from our house. They have a nice screen they pull down for games. We drank cider and ate things with curry on them!

In between games I sewed some flags for my someday flag quilt. So far, so good. My favorite is probably Côte d'Ivoire (bottom left) because of that great green on white print I found at the fabric store this weekend. I put in another order to Hawthorne Threads, this time for white on white fabrics. I don't really want to have any solid white in the blocks since I'm planning white sashing.

Last night Ian and I went to the Riverview Theater to watch the USA v. Portugal game. What a heartbreaker! It was so exciting to be in a packed theater eating popcorn and watching the game. And it was a good game and we tied and we're not out yet...but still. If only the game had ended one minute earlier! The best part of the whole game (aside from our two goals) was when Cristiano Ronaldo
was pouting. Which was pretty much the entire game. ...sigh...so adorable...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Lazy June

black beans

Extra Cat

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fabric

It has been a lazy June so far. I walk home from work, some days are sunny, some cloudy, most are hot. When I get home, Ian is usually already cooking fabulous dinners and we eat out on the balcony.

Extra Cat loves to come outside with us and is trying so very hard to be good. But she can't be good for long because she likes to squeeze underneath the railing to sit on the very edge of the balcony. Or jump up on the railing. Both are terrifying to watch and so we pluck her fluffy squirmy body from certain doom and put her back in the house. And then she looks at us through the window and it is so sad.

Mostly, though, Ian and I have been watching World Cup soccer! If you recall from four years ago, I am completely in LOVE with World Cup soccer. My favorite teams this year are the powerful and gloriously ponytailed Italians, the golden and beautiful baby lions of Germany, and the chiseled and triangle-torsoed team from the Côte d'Ivoire.

If it sounds like I'm mostly into soccer for the hot guys, you'd mostly be right. But I do enjoy the games and the suspense and the watching guys running and the skintight shirts and...wait...what?

Watching the games has put me in the mood to make more flag quilts...only instead of mini quilts, I want to make one huge quilt with all the flags. I had zero cobalt blue fabrics in my stash so I used the Hawthorne Threads color grid to help me pick. I'm very much looking forward to watching the games and making some flags this weekend.

Are you at all into the World Cup? Which is your favorite team? Did you see the one where it was raining and it was like a two hour wet t-shirt contest? That was a good game...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Speckled Gradients

Just taking a quilting break to talk about some really cool yarn I just bought.

These skeins were dyed by my friend Sara. She knits so many beautiful things and spins yarn and writes patterns...and now she's dyeing yarn too!

knottygnome yarn

One of the reasons I just HAD to try this yarn is because Sara uses natural dyes. These are dyed with Indigo, Brazilwood and osage orange.

She also uses a special dyeing process that produces a speckled gradient fabric. It's like ombre but better! I'm trying to be very good and not start another pair of socks until I finish one pair (I have two going right now). But as soon as my panther socks are finished, I'm casting on a pair of speckled gradient socks. It's going to be amazing!

If you want to make your own speckled gradient socks or other things, speckled or not, there are plenty of skeins left in Sara's yarn store. No, I did not buy ALL the yarn...but I see she has some new colors in...hmmmm...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Grand Old Time

Living in the city is great fun. This weekend it was Grand Old Day...a once a year shutting down of Grand Ave. in St. Paul to allow for a parade and general shopping/eating/enjoying of concerts and the like.

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Those who know me know I don't particularly like that sort of thing. So, instead of venturing out into the crowds, I invited some friends over to have lunch on our balcony. We could sort of hear the concerts and watch people walking past our house on their way to Grand Ave.

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(chickpea salad based on recipe here)

We ate Ian's most delicious cold salads and drank the most delicious wine and talked for hours.

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To go with our new Ikea ÄPPLARÖ couch and table, I made a throw pillow and tablecloth using a cheery yellow gingham from Kokka Fabrics (purchased from Purl Soho).

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(carrot salad recipe here)

I'm pretty much obsessed with all things gingham...and surprisingly all things yellow! I've never been a yellow person but I feel that maybe, now I am. I bought a little extra because I just have to make some yellow gingham pillowcases.

So, anyway, back to living in the city. While I don't always want to participate in the exciting things the city has to offer, I do really love being near them. It is my way.

Stay tuned for more summer projects and meals out on the balcony. Actually, this just may turn into an all balcony blog for a while. I hope you don't mind...I promise there will be sewing and embroidering and knitting in addition to all the eating and wine drinking. Before the wine drinking, of course. Obviously...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Crabapple Week!

Last week was crabapple week in my neighborhood. Every tree was overflowing with delicious petals of every shade of pink.

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When we moved to the city last summer, I was devastated to leave behind our crabapple trees, our lilacs and our lily of the valley grove. Our new place would not have such beauties. I would no longer be able to press my face to their delicate blooms and take in the sweet scent of spring and childhood memories.

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Little did I know that, come spring, my new neighborhood would be filled with all of the precious plants I left behind. And not just those...each day brings new blooms, some I've always admired and some that have become new favorites.

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Each morning as I walk, I smell scents both familiar and new. Today there was a miniature lilac tree in bloom. It smelled like regular lilacs but with a hint of a dusty attic filled with sunshine. I don't know quite how else to describe it.

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I realize now that I didn't just lose a few trees...I gained an entire garden. And even though it is not technically mine, it is no less mine to enjoy.

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And enjoy I will...and I hope you do too.