Thursday, March 29, 2012

what I'm working on

Here's Matilda inspecting my progress on the ocean-themed baby quilt. She's sitting on the whale. I'm enjoying this return to needle-turn applique.

I finished my granddaughter's raincoat and sent it off. Not my best work, but it looks okay so long as you don't scrutinize it too closely.

I made a hat, too!

Last but not least, I captured Matilda and Ginger hanging out together! No cuddling yet, but I'd say these two are buddies of a sort. Hurray! Ginger will have been here a year in May.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

ocean quilt

I've been working on a baby quilt for my niece, Amity, who is expecting her second son in April. I won't have it finished by then, but I'm making pretty good progress so far. She requested an Ocean theme.

This octopus will have a happy face eventually. He sits in the lower right corner.

Other parts waiting to be added. I don't know how much to reveal. What do you say, Amity? Do you want to be surprised, or would you like to see how it progresses?

I'm having fun with this!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

rain coat in progress

I've had waterproof fabric for a while, thinking I wanted to make a raincoat for my granddaughter. But I was scared to cut into it. So first I made a little doggie rain coverup for Ginger. Here it is in progress, but I did finish it. She finally got to wear it this weekend when we had some rain.

So now I've been working on Samantha's raincoat. The fabric is tricky. You have to stick masking tape on the underside of the presser foot to keep it from sticking to the fabric. Plus you have to keep having to replace the tape because it wears out. Also, you can't use pins, but you can use paper clips or some other kind of clips.

It's starting to look more like a raincoat here. I just need to add buttonholes and buttons and finish the pleat in the back.

I used this pattern, from Stitch (Interweave) Summer 2011. It was okay, but the instructions didn't include a lining. Now I am fretting about my coat not having a lining, but it's too late to do anything about it now. I hope it will be okay, that she can wear it for a while and get some use out of it.

In the future I will cheerfully buy ready-made raincoats.

Sewing and Knitting Frenzy

Here are some things I have been working on lately. Most of them are for my granddaughter. She is 22 months, adorable, I am smitten, what can I say?

This sweater was quick and easy. Who knew that they made purple Peeps in the exact same hue?

Back of the bunny dress I sent off recently. I have had the Asian bunny fabric for a while, love it.

Front. It was almost a disaster, because I started with a pattern I found on someone's blog. It was seriously flawed. Luckily I had enough fabric to cut new sleeves and recut the bodice. The skirt part is a bit skimpy, but I think it'll be okay.

The lace is vintage, hand-dyed by me. I bought several yards of old lace, yellowed with age, for only $2. It dyes beautifully.

I took a purchased plain white tshirt (Zoey's boutique in Santa Ana) and made these circles by wrapping pennies in fabric and securing with small rubber bands. Easy shibori! Rit dye. This is to go with the lavender sweater and purple pants I made a while ago.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Photo Booth Hijinks

Here is my recently completed quilt, about the ritual of stepping into a photo booth and mugging for the camera.

Detailed shots.

Backyard marmalade!

The kumquat jam turned out okay, but it seemed kind of skimpy of fruity pieces. Plus I still had lots of kumquats, and more fruit from my garden. Yes, it's been harvest time in my back yard. So I got this bright idea to make Back Yard Marmalade.

I picked 30 more kumquats, which I washed, sliced, got rid of seeds, and set aside. Then I took a lemon and a grapefruit from my back yard and peeled off all the rind with a vegetable peeler. I chopped the rind up and cooked it in a pot with a cup of water and a pinch of baking soda, for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, I peeled off the white pith off the grapefruit and lemon, and quartered them, getting rid of all the seeds. I threw the quarters in a blender and whirred them around for a few seconds. Then I threw them in with the cooked rind and remaining water, plus the sliced kumquats. I also added about a cup of pomegranate seeds, which I had frozen from our November harvest. At this point I added 5 1/2 cups of sugar and one package of pectin, brought the mixture to a boil and cooked for ten minutes. The photo above shows what it looked like at this point.

Then it was time to ladle the mixture into sterile jars, seal, and load in my big pot full of boiling water. Ten more minutes of cooking.

It turned out very colorful with lots of fruity bits. And, unlike the kumquat jam, it gelled right away. Success! If you want to try this, follow the detailed canning instructions on the pectin package. I just gave you the gist of it.

I tried it on a piece of toast this morning, and it's quite good, I think. The only weird thing is the crunch from the pomegranate seeds. Despite the crunchiness of the seeds, they added a pretty color and yummy taste, so they're a good thing in my book.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kumquat Madness

I've been on a jam-making kick this week. Sunday I made Kumquat Jam.
First I picked 50 kumquats from our trees.

You need a bunch of things to make jam: jars, lids, rings, pectin, sugar, just for starters.

I had to wash and slice them all, removing all seeds.

I put them in a large pot with a cup of water and 6 1/2 cups of sugar, stirring it up. Then I added a package of pectin. I brought it to a robust boil and let it cook for 10 minutes.

Then I ladled the jam into jars and added lids and rings. I then placed them all in the largest pot I had, full of hot water and cooked for 10 more minutes. Afterwards I removed them, let them cool, making sure they were sealed. They say it could take two weeks to fully set (so far it's kind of syrupy).

If you want to try this, get the recipe from and read the directions on the pectin box.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hidden Investments

From time to time, I hear from people who have made quilts out of my patterns. I LOVE it when they send me photos, and so here is a photo of Darlene Gover's quilt from my Hidden Investment pattern. This was my very first pattern, from the early 90's, through Jukebox. The pattern is still available. The website for ordering is

She put charms in the pockets, which was part of the pattern. It's fun to look inside each vest.
It's not the kind of quilt I make these days, but I still have a fondness for my old designs. Thanks, Darlene, for the photos of your cheerful quilt!

Friday, March 2, 2012

photo journal

I didn't bring my camera last week while our son was in the hospital in Encinitas. I just didn't think I'd want to use it. You probably don't want to see a photo of his 1 1/2" scar on the side of his head! But as it turned out, some things were worth photographing, and so these were taken after we returned.

During a break, I went to the Visions Quilt Museum in San Diego. They had a few great exhibits there: Art Meets Science was wonderful. I also loved a wall of 12" x 12" saqa auction quilts from Del Thomas's collection. Also there was a nice group of mini quilts inspired by Beatles songs.

They had marvelous gallon-sized bags of kimono scraps in the Visions gift shop, for only ten bucks. I chose this one - yummy!

During another break, I took a wonderful walk along the beach in Carlsbad. I gathered some of these stones - not sure what I will do with them yet.

One small stone had a hole in it that went all the way through. It goes really well with this necklace I had, with a photo of my son surfing. (can't see it here)

My two kumquat trees are groaning with ripe fruit. I intend to make kumquat marmalade, I just need a block of time to pick, slice, cook, and can. Soon.

You will probably think I'm nuts, but I found the distorted image of the hexagon floor on the waste basket interesting.