Saturday, March 29, 2008

I can finally share this quilt....

Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful comments on the squirrel story! I've "met" a lot of new people through the comments on this blog and through emails about the squirrel story. It means a lot to me that so many of you commented. Thanks again!


A few months ago I was chatting (online) with the editor of Cotton Spice Magazine, Karen, and I ended up quilting a small quilt for her. I'm so thrilled with how it looks in the magazine, and she includes the pattern to make it. Go sign up and look! [I should've posted about this MUCH earlier in the month, but time gets away from me!]

Here are some of my pictures of it:

Isn't that just a wonderful little quilt? Did I mention she's got the pattern in the magazine? She's also used some of my fonts and it's a bit trippy to see my handwriting in the magazine. :-)

The quilt is even neater with the binding on it.

Go check it out!


I finally finished the Floral Fantasy stack and whack quilt, so here are some pictures:

I'm quite happy to be finished with it! I think I'll enter it in the upcoming guild show if I can get my act together to get the entry forms in by April 1st.

I took this quilt with me to guild last week to work on the binding and I had it folded so that only the backing was showing. It cracked my up that almost everyone walking by stopped and commented on it, and they were only looking at the back. I'll bring it to show off next month for show and tell.


The local quilt and fabric shop, Cyrilla's Artful Needle, has had a change in ownership and is looking for a new name. They're having a contest for naming the shop and I decided to enter. I was given two strips of fabric that had to be used in the block, and the block had to have a name suggestion on it. I'm not totally in love with the name but I only had a week to work on it. Coming up with store names is hard, especially when they also carry (higher-end) apparel fabric and trims, not just quilt fabric.

I don't expect to win but it sure has been fun fantasizing about the $200 grand prize. I could do a lot of damage in that store with $200....


I still have a bunch of things to post about but my hands are really cold so I'm going to quit for now--this morning we spent an hour in the kind-of-rainy cold, watching Gillian's first soccer game. So far I'm liking soccer better than basketball, despite it being really cold today (the high is supposed to be in the upper 50s). Unfortunately I haven't managed to warm up yet, but I might go turn on the heater in the bathroom and clean the counters or something. ;-)


More knitting content next time. Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 21, 2008

No More Squirrels, Please

It's been an interesting day.

I have lots of other things to talk about but I just have to share this one thing.

As I was happily taking my morning shower, DD came in and announced "Mom, there's a squirrel in the fireplace!"

Hmm, I thought to myself. Yes, a squirrel really is stupid enough to fall down the chimney and not be able to get itself back out again. Having seen some attempt to jump from tree to tree—and miss—I'm not putting much past squirrels.

So I went and had a look. At first I thought that the kids were talking about some insulation that had been pulled away from the side of the fireplace screen, but then I realized there were two beady little eyes staring at me.

(The flash from my camera illuminated things quite nicely.)

We've lived in this house for three years and we haven't yet dared to use the chimney since we haven't had it inspected.

So after confirming that yes, there really was a squirrel in the fireplace, the next step was to put the wooden box back in front of the fireplace doors (my quick-thinking kids had put it there), then to tell DH, then try to come up with a solution. DH's reaction was that maybe the kids and I would have to go out for a treat (after he got home from work) and when we came back the problem would be taken care of. I wasn't really crazy about that since 1.) I don't think it should automatically be Greg's job to take care of vermin (not that I'm thrilled about it either), and 2.) squirrels are wild animals and carry diseases.

Since the kids and I were heading down to Kate's in Kellyville to wash a fleece, we figured we'd just hope the darn squirrel found its way back up the chimney while we were gone.


Greg came home early from work and attempted some squirrel extraction. I've heard some funny stories about Lenny and Squiggy being enlisted to chase out the squirrel and being VERY upset about being in the house. My sister called in the middle of the attempt and said that she could hear Lenny protesting quite loudly, wanting to go back out. Greg apparently also attempted to grab the squirrel (while wearing thick gloves) but said "the little bast*** was just too fast!"

So after placing some D-Con in the fireplace, Greg closed the doors again and decided to just wait it out, but it didn't occur to either one of us to put the box back in front of the doors.

That was the status quo when the kids and I got home,and lasted until after dinner. Greg and DD had gone to her soccer practice and I was sitting on the front porch watching DS while he played in the front yard. [I hadn't cleaned up the dinner dishes yet since Ryan had snuck outside while I was trying to finish eating.]

Suddenly I heard a strange crash that sounded like it was coming from inside the house.

A second crash came and I rushed into the house just in time to see a brown streak go from the living room into the kitchen, and noticed that the glass fireplace screen doors were ajar.

Oh, crap.

So I threw open the back door, but quickly realized that I was standing too close to the door and that darn squirrel was NOT going to go through it while I was there.

I backed away from the door and the squirrel made a break for it...

One foot too far to the right and smashed into the non-open side of the door.


It then proceeded to jump on the kitchen table, leap from the table to the garden window, land on the plastic greenhouse and pop the lid off which launched the squirrel into the air and it bounced down onto the floor. Then the squirrel jumped up onto the mirror in the kitchen, scrabbled a bit in an attempt to get out through the mirror, fell back down onto the floor, made a run at ME (I wasn't going to move because the last thing I wanted was the squirrel going into any of the bedrooms!!!!), then it realized that yes, that door WAS open and ran out!!!

I slammed that door pretty darn hard, I'll tell you.

Then I called my hubby to tell him that the squirrel had been vanquished! Yay, us! Then I called my parents and told them the story.

Greg's boss even called to find out what had happened, which just cracked me up.

This all reminds me of that ancient curse, may you live in interesting times.


Hopefully the next post will feature some washed Wensleydale fleece!

Right now I have to go wipe down every surface in the kitchen and living room with some strong cleaners.

Happy Easter and have a great weekend!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Go Bid!

One of my good internet friends, Sivia Harding, is having a stash auction and will be donating all of the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders in honor of her father who passed away recently.

She's got yarn and roving, and I can tell you that she has excellent taste (partly because I love her lace designs, and partly because I'd love to be able to buy everything she's got).

Go check it out and bid!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Norwegian Woods Shawl photo-session

The Norwegian Woods Shawl and I had a photo-session today.

Warning: lots of photos ahead.

This pattern is now available through Sivia Harding.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Yet another catch-up post

I keep thinking of things I want to post about, but when I sit down at the computer my head is empty. Luckily I've started making lists of the things I want to post about. Well, I don't know if that's lucky for you, my dear readers, but at least *I* feel more organized.


Item #1:
I finally clicked on the number of posts under my Ravatar (Ravelry avatar) in Ravelry, and it listed all of my posts in reverse-chronological order. Up above my avatar it says: "quilterkat is a chatterbox" which totally cracks me up! I've posted 343 times as of today.


Item #2:
A while back I got tagged by N. Maria for a book tag.
The rules are very simple:
I am to open a book I am currently reading to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence on the page. So here it is, from Stephen Hawking's "A Briefer History of Time:"

Cooling of, 75-76.

Wait, that's in the index. It really is a briefer history of time! I'm also re-reading Barbara G Walker's "Knitting from the Top" but it doesn't go that far, either.

Hmm, I guess I'll have to go for the book that's taking me a while to read because I keep forgetting that Stephen Colbert is a really funny guy and isn't being serious at all; "I Am America (And So Can You!)"

"In the winter months, he'd chop down a neighbor's woodshed so we would have fuel to burn."

So there you go, although I haven't actually read the chapter yet. While watching The Colbert Report, it's pretty obvious that Stephen is using satire, but when I'm reading and he says some totally inflammatory statement that I completely disagree with (again, satire), I find myself getting mad. Then I have to remind myself that it's Stephen Colbert, and it's actually really funny as long as I remember he really doesn't believe all that rot.

All that said, I'm really enjoying the book. Thanks, Mom, for giving it to me for Christmas.


Item #3:
My husband actually reads my blog! I knew he read it occasionally and that many of my family members read it, but sometimes it just surprises me. The whole reason I started this blog in the first place was to share things with my family without having to constantly email everyone, and it makes it a voluntary thing for them to come look. It just makes me happy that my hubby checks my blog.


Item #4:
I also got tagged by Andrea of BadCatDesigns with the "Power of 7" list.

The instructions are:
Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. (done, above.)
Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

So here we go...
  1. I have a Bachelor of Science in Communications. I'm sure that doesn't surprise any of you.
  2. I played Sally in the very original stage adaptation of Tommy The Musical. It was a collaboration between the music department and the theater department at Mira Costa College in southern California, and after we did it (and got some publicity after having some contact with Pete Townsend) it got "officially" adapted to the stage at the La Jolla Playhouse and went on to be a Broadway production. In our version, Sally had no speaking lines and only appeared on stage for about 20 seconds. :-)
  3. My fingernails don't grow straight out the ends of my fingers—I keep them short not only because I tend to be hard on them, but also because they look really funny if they grow past the ends of my fingertips.
  4. Moving into our current house was my 18th move. Growing up we moved, on average, every three years. Since I've been married we've moved eight times. We've been in our current house for 3 ½ years.
  5. I'm sporadically dyslexic, mostly caught by spell check (thank goodness for spell check!).
  6. I only own five pairs of shoes, and two pairs of those are slippers. I have very wide, large feet (size 10.5 wide) and it's not easy to find comfortable shoes.
  7. I love doing technical editing and designing. Hmm, maybe that's why I have a line of quilting patterns!

I'm hereby tagging the following seven people: Lisa, Opal, Sivia, Penny, Kathy, Robin, and Rebecca. Sorry, ladies!


I've got one hat almost completed and another about 2/3 of the way finished. They'll both go to Caps for A Cure, a Yahoo group that makes and gives caps to various cancer treatment centers. I'll take a pic when the light is good and they're finished.


That's all for now! I hope everyone has had a great week.

Spinning and Ruminations About Quilt Guild

I've been thinking about the local quilt guild (the Green Country Quilters Guild) quite a lot, trying to figure out why I haven't really clicked with that group. I joined about four years ago and at one of the first meetings I attended I had a horrible experience.

There were probably 60 ladies at the meeting, one of the first of the year (I think). As a "appreciation" for the people who had volunteered with the group, they had everyone get out of their chairs and stand around the edges of the room. People were to come to the center of the room as they called out certain volunteer positions. They started with "if you've ever been president of this group" and went on down through a whole bunch of positions. At the end, I was one of about six people NOT in the center of the group. You wouldn't believe some of the looks from the people standing in the center, not to mention the looks on the faces of those of us standing on the outside. I don't think I've seen any of those ladies at guild again.

I felt about as low as a worm and very much on the outside of the group. I'd just come from being extremely involved in three quilting groups in southern Utah, including being president and vice-president of two groups, one of which had more than 100 members.

By the time the meeting was over I was about ready to cry. So I went home and thought about it, and I decided that I'd go ahead and volunteer with the group and see if I could get involved. So at the next meeting they asked for someone to help with the roster, and I immediately stepped forward. Someone took my name down and I eagerly awaited an opportunity to get more involved.

No phone call. No email. No acknowledgment that I'd ever volunteered. I ended up volunteering for two other things and got similar results. At that point I was getting pissed--if they WANT volunteers but they won't accept an offer, what was I supposed to do? It finally occurred to me that they didn't know me and probably didn't want to get to know me. I stayed away for a few months, then I decided to go back to a meeting since I love show and tell.

At that meeting they were starting to organize for the semi-annual quilt guild show and I decided to try—one more time—to volunteer. Melody Lahan, a wonderful woman, was the quilt show chairwoman, and welcomed me with open arms. I had a great time being involved with that, although by the time the show came around my husband had put his foot down about me getting involved with another quilt show since it was taking an incredible amount of my time. I suspect that if the kids had been older it wouldn't have been an issue, but he did end up spending a LOT of evenings at home with the kids while I was at quilt guild show meetings. At last I felt like I was kind of a part of the group.

After the quilt show, I ended up getting sick and didn't got to a few of the meetings, then I let my membership lapse. I didn't have a way to finish my quilt tops and I just couldn't bear having someone else quilt them—I got spoiled having my own machine and then being able to rent time on one. So I stopped piecing and went almost three years without finishing a quilt.

Then in October I got my longarm machine and my love of quilting has been rekindled. I've finished four quilts so far, and I've got a fifth on the machine now (the Floral Fantasy in my previous post). I've rejoined the guild and attended the January meeting, but I have that same feeling I did when I first joined—an outsider looking in. People seem to be very happy in their little cliques.

I really don't think it's just me—my experiences not only in the quilt guilds in southern Utah, but in the knitting guild and longarm guild here in Oklahoma tell me that I CAN be very involved in groups and contribute quite a lot.

I'm just feeling frustrated that I don't seem to have progressed with the quilt guild here, and if you've made it this far, thanks for reading my rant.

I'd love to start a smaller quilt guild here in Broken Arrow, or even join one if there already is one. I'd heard something about it a few years ago, but wasn't able to attend any meetings at that point and I lost the contact info I had. Sigh.


I've been working on spinning up some of the roving I bought last year at the Snake River Fiber Fair, and I started on some Targhee roving that I dyed last week. Unfortunately it has a fair number of noils, which I've learned are caused by stretching the fibers while they're being carded, then they bounce back and create little balls of fiber.

Here's the roving after I dyed it, and I'm quite pleased with it:

I've spun quite a bit more since I took this picture, but you can see how uneven it is if you look at the hook on the lower left.

I've decided to go ahead and finish spinning it up, and then I might use the yarn for something felted. I'm thinking about trying Navajo plying again since I wasn't terribly pleased with my last attempt, and if it isn't terribly successful with this singles then I won't be too upset.

Who knows, this could end up being my favorite yarn so far. :-)


Kate, the owner of Lowder Colors Farm (and a great pusher of fleece LOL) has offered to help me clean the half-fleece I'm buying from her. It'll be quite a learning experience and I'm thrilled that she's going to walk me through it. This Saturday is a spin in and I'm looking forward to that, too. I'll probably take some Ashland Bay stuff I'd started a while back with the intension of making a three-ply yarn. That stuff is so wonderful to spin!

I'm trying to get more things finished rather than starting so many different projects but it's SO hard. :-)


I have to admit that I just *love* all the reactions to my last post about getting a fleece. I'll be sure to take some pictures when we start processing it.


We're supposed to have more snow today, so I'm going to point you all over to Lisa's blog, where she's got some incredible pictures of life in Hawaii--I've really enjoyed having a little virtual vacation on her blog.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

My next post should include two "tags" I got recently, a "Seven Things" one and one on books.

Monday, March 03, 2008

I've Lost my Mind

I've sworn for a long time now that I won't buy a fleece and process it myself.

I'm now going to be eating my words, and I hope they're tasty!

Yesterday we went to a sheep shearing at Lowder Colors Farm in Kellyville, Oklahoma, and I fell in love with the fleece on this sheep:

That's Eva, and she's a Wensleydale ewe.

Here's a really bad picture of her fleece, but you can kind of see the crimp and sheen of her wool:

I'm getting a half fleece and I'm sure it'll keep me busy for a while. That's going to be more than 3.5 pounds, although I know I'll lose some of that weight in cleaning and processesing. I'm rather intimidated by the whole process but Kate has offered to show me the ropes.

Isn't this baby goat adorable?

And there were lots of puppies running around (and then sleeping!), and my daughter just couldn't resist petting some of them.

I still have "oh my goodness, what have I gotten myself into?!?" running through my head.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Quilting and miscellany

I've been remiss about posting, but I'm going to try to get caught up in a series of posts rather than one HUGE one.

Thank you Taueret, Penny, Lisa, Kathy, and Romi for your very nice comments on my shawl! Yes, it will be available as a pattern at some point from Sivia Harding.

First, my current quilt. I'm trying to finish up some UFOs (unfinished objects) and my current one I've decided to name Floral Fantasy:

It's a quilt in Stack-N-Whack style that I started sometime in 2002. I couldn't decide what to put in the "empty" blocks where I didn't quite have enough stack-n-whack blocks for the layout, but I finally decided to just go with it and leave them un-appliquéd. I'm pretty happy with it so far!

Here are some detail pictures of the quilting I'm putting in the background:

And a little farther away:

I haven't started on quilting the stack-n-whacked blocks yet, but that's next.

This is the quilt that I've decided to do after my Floral Fantasy:

I think I started this one in late 2002, although I can't totally remember. (This is another one of those times I remember thinking "Oh, I'm sure I'll remember when I started this quilt! I don't need to write it down." HAHAHAHAHAHA) It's from the book Cutting Curves from Straight Pieces by Debbie Bowles, and I'm calling it Pagodahs (I think that's the name from the book, too). I do remember that I started and finished this while we were visiting my parents in north San Diego with two of my girlfriends, but I don't remember exactly when that was. I have it hanging up so that I can stare at it and try to figure out how I'm going to quilt it.


On the knitting/spinning front, here's my first wearable item from my handspun:

It's a beret and despite some teasing from my hubby (who really IS the most wonderful man in the world!!) I really like it. It's from some of my first handspun. The brown is Navajo plied (I can't remember the type of wool), and the cream is, I think, from some Finn roving that my sister gave me. Of course now I can't remember where I got the pattern, but it starts from the top, increasing roughly every other round until it's around 9" wide, then you knit until it's about 3.5" from the last increase round. I decreased to 20" and then did ribbing for about 1.5" and called it good.

This week I also made these two scarves for charity:

They did a good job of satisfying my urge to FINISH a project quickly.


My next post will be about the sheep shearing I dragged my family to today. :-)