Friday, May 31, 2013

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {week 22}

De-cluttering my sewing room is not one of my goals. Moving things around so that I can get at them? Sure.  Getting rid of the fabric that's just never going to make it into any type of quilt? I'll do that -- but for me, most fabric isn't that hopeless. Unless we're talking about metallic spandex.

I'm not aiming for a Spartan, picture perfect sewing room. I'm aiming for a room I can work in and maybe take an occasional picture in.

But even if I'm not trying to de-clutter, I can't avoid the de-cluttering tips. They're everywhere. And one does fit my situation --  Give back everything that isn't yours. The author was talking about borrowed items and library books, but I see another possibility here.

If I gathered up all of the finished baby quilts, gave them a trip through the washer and took them down to the pregnancy center, I'd free up a lot of space. I won't take all of them, because every time I've done that I suddenly needed a quilt in a hurry, but I could take at least  three quarters of them.( It's an errand that I tend to avoid because I feel weird going to the pregnancy center with four kids in tow.)

If you donate your baby quilts, who do you give them to? Do you donate locally, or ship them off?

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:

Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned, but it's got to be about baby quilts. While we're still gathering steam, you're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pooling Sock Yarn Challenge -- my final report

I've had so much fun with Judy's Pooling Sock Yarn Challenge! I enjoy knitting socks and have tons of sock yarn in my stash, but it'd been forever since I cast on a pair. And there were some yarns I'd avoided using because, based on my previous experience with those yarn lines, I was afraid that they'd pool.

I'm not a fan of pooling yarn, but Judy issued the challenge and I had yarn that I was sure would pool, so it seemed like a great excuse to cast one some socks and see what  I could come up with.

The first pair, after a false start with the first foot, did exactly what I thought it would do.  The colors pooled and spiraled and did all of the interesting things Dancing did the first time I knitted socks with it. Here are the details for this pair, including my picture of the yarn on the March 2013 calendar page.



But I've got three brand new pairs of socks, and a fourth pair half done.  I've sorted through all of my sock yarn stash and pulled out my sock knitting books and made lots of plans for upcoming pairs. Like I said, this was FUN!

thinking about heels

I finished a pair of socks on our  road trip -- and started another.  When we got in the car, I  was just past the toe increases on the second sock. A day and a half later, I was binding off the sock. That's got to be a new record for me.

The yarn is Knitpicks Landscape in the New England Foliage colorway.... 64 stitches on size 2 (I think) dpns...k3p1 ribbing on the top of the foot, short row heels, k2p2 ribbing on the legs.

I'm starting to wonder if there might be a better heel for knitting in the car. I can do just about everything on these basic socks except for turning the heels and starting the toes without staring at my knitting. Maybe heels with flaps would free up my eyes for watching the scenery.... any suggestions for me to research?

This post is linked to to Finish it Up Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, and Freedom Fridays,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{yarn along} a different way to knit socks...

I'm becoming more and more convinced that Knitpicks Dancing and Patons Stretch Socks are the same exact yarn, except for the colors. The fiber content is the same, and it definitely feels the same. I wonder if the Patons yarn pools....but it's too late to start wishing for pooling now!

I've been reading about socks, too, and found a neat book to share with you.

When I first stared knitting, I made myself a pair of socks on straight needles. They were a disaster. In her introduction to Knit Your Socks on Straight: A New and Inventive Technique with Just Two Needles, Alice Curtis says that she tried several patterns for easy to knit socks on two needles and "The results were nothing I would ever want to wear! They neither looked nor felt good." It makes me wonder if we tried the same pattern.

When I got the chance to review her new book, I was intrigued. I love sock knitting books and have a huge collection of them. But socks on two needles? Nice socks on two needles? I was skeptical.

Alice set out to create two needle socks for her students who were determined not to use dpns -- and boy, did she succeed! The one thing I don't like about writing reviews from digital copies is the inability to share pictures -- check out the book's Ravelry page to see what she accomplished. It's way more than I ever would have thought you could do with straight needles (at least as far as socks are concerned.)  There are socks in a variety of sizes and styles, and using different weights of yarn. 

I'd be tempted to try a pair myself, but I can't quite convince myself to do that much purling. Not when my own fear of dpns is so long gone. For knitters who still don't want to use them, and don't mind seaming, I think this book would be a goldmine. And also for more experienced knitters who want an interesting challenge.

For more fun knitting projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times and Work in Progress Wednesdays at Tami's Amis.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

{Whatcha Reading?} Island of Lost Girls

I think the online card catalog suggested Island of Lost Girls when I was placing my reserve for Still Missing.

Here's the publisher's description:

While parked at a gas station, Rhonda sees something so incongruously surreal that at first she hardly recognizes it as a crime in progress. She watches, unmoving, as someone dressed in a rabbit costume kidnaps a young girl. Devastated over having done nothing, Rhonda joins the investigation. But the closer she comes to identifying the abductor, the nearer she gets to the troubling truth about another missing child: her best friend, Lizzy, who vanished years before.

The book opens with a little girl playing submarine in an abandoned car, her game interrupted when a body is discovered in the woods nearby. Then it jumps back a couple of weeks and  after that it continues to alternate between the character's lives in 1993 and 2006... it took me a while to figure out who was doing what when. In hindsight, that was partially because that little girl in the submarine car immediately faded into the background.  And there are quite a few little girls in this book -- the one who was kidnapped by the giant rabbit, another one who was kidnapped and made national news, one who died years before the story started...  Compared to some of the other books I've read lately, this one felt like a bit of a dud.

Monday, May 27, 2013

sweetened condensed milk again

I made Honey Walnut Shrimp for lunch, this time cutting the mayonnaise by half and doubling the honey and sweetened condensed milk. It made a HUGE different -- no odd mayo taste to this batch!

The only other problem with this recipe is that it uses a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk, leaving me with the rest of the can. It's too expensive to throw away and I really didn't want to make another bath of those peanut butter and biscuit mix cookies...

Luckily Jo's daughter Kelli has a recipe for Yummy-Yummy Monster Bars that uses a can  of the stuff!  I gambled that it would work with the missing tablespoon and they came out just fine.

I think I've got a new favorite lunch and dessert combination!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

sheets and knees and sock knitting

Something has changed...something good. Or my knee is just playing with me and I'm going to wind up in trouble after letting my guard down. Last week, I was at Carlsbad Caverns with my husband and kiddos. Before they let you go down through the natural entrance, they go through the list of rules and warn you to use the elevator if you've got a heart conditions or knee injury...

We've gone through the caverns at least once since the first knee injury, maybe once since the second.  I knew I could do it, but figured I'd be pretty sore by the end, so I figured I'd go slowly and take a bunch of Advil once we were done with the three mile hike. By the end, I was tired, but me knee didn't hurt.

Yesterday, I was helping a friend pack to move. She lives in the most gorgeous 1930s house, complete with a flight of steep stairs that twists halfway up. I was up and down and up and down (get to the top and the cell phone, which I'd just thought about stuffing into the pocket of my jeans rings at the bottom) and thought about telling her halfway through the day that I was going to have to limit my trips. But  I didn't. And I can still walk this morning... I'm daring to hope that this means my knee has finally decided to settle down and stop making decisions for me. Or I'm jinxing myself by even typing about it.

Weekly Stash Report

We spent the past week on the road. Hubby set a new record for miles driven in one day, and I set a new record for biggest chunk of sock knitted in one day...both on the same day, of course! 

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 39 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 87 1/4 yards
Net Added for 2013: 48 1/4 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 400 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 1550 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 7100 yards
Net Added for 2013: 5550 yards

I'm not counting sheets as yardage this year. The plan is to keep track (I've added three)  and add them at the end of the year in their own category, instead of converting them into yards the way I have in previous years. It makes sense to me.

Before we left on the trip, Grandma gave me this sheet for a project (not a quilt) I'd told her I needed to start. It's one of my favorite vintage sheet prints, and I didn't realize that it came in brown. Except for the fact that it's a fitted sheet and not quite big enough, I think it's the perfect backing for my drab postage stamps. I'll just have to piece it with something else and explain the change in plans to Grandma, who I'm sure will understand once I show her the front of the quilt.

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times. I'm also linking up with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

my fabric choices from 20some years ago

I got a surprise a few weeks back when I walked into  Grandma's pantry and saw her new apron hanging from one of the hooks. I'd managed to completely block this fabric from my memory. It's yellow. Really, really, yellow. And it's bright.

I bought the fabric when I was a teenager and sewed a matching top and pair of shorts -- and yes, to answer Teenage Daughter's question, I did do it on purpose. In my defense, it was the mid-80s and I'm not sure I wore it more than once or twice.  
Now I'm wondering how many yards I bought, if I made a top and shorts and there was still enough of it left for it to resurface and for Grandma to make her apron. It's got sailboats. And squiggles that I think are supposed to look like words.  


I'm sure it was cheap. That must be the explanation, right?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {week 21}

I decided to pull out the yellow scraps again and make a checkerboard baby quilt. They're cute and go together quickly, especially if you use strip piecing for that first yellow and white section.

Of course, as soon as I got that part done, I came up with an idea I like better. One that uses yellow squares by themselves. Back to the ruler and rotary cutter....

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:

Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned, but it's got to be about baby quilts. While we're still gathering steam, you're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

those itty bitty scraps that might or might not be worth saving...

Quilters are always talking about whether or not it's worth saving scraps and what size scraps are too small to save. After cutting the pieces for my latest Bake Shop quilt, I was left with the middles of the Jelly Roll strips. (Not ends, because I fold them in half before cutting them.)
The bits measure anywhere from 1 - 2" wide, are all exactly 2 1/2" high, and have straight edges already. And they're all from the same fabric collection. It would be a shame not to do something with them, right?

I sewed them along the 2 1/2" edge, then sewed three rows together to make the front of my mug rug. Then I used the extra row I'd made for the back, framed with pieces I cut from an unused Jelly Roll strip.

The rest of the Jelly Roll strip went for the binding. I thin that might be my least favorite part of the piece. I don't like the way it looks where it folds around the back. I think I need to look at some different methods for finishing mug rugs.

This post is linked to to Finish it Up Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, and Freedom Fridays,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sinister Entity Virtual Book Tour

Today I'm participating in the Bewitching Book Tours tour for Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea.

I love haunted house books, so as soon as I saw the description for this one I applied to be part of the tour.

The Leigh family is terrified. They’ve been haunted by the ghostly image of their young daughter, Selena. But how can that be, when Selena is alive and well, and as frightened as her parents? With nowhere else to turn, the Leighs place their hopes in Jessica Backman, who has dedicated her life to investigating paranormal activity. Accompanied by a new partner who claims to able to speak to the dead, Jessica will soon encounter an entity that scares even her. And a terror far worse than she imagined.

The horror builds gradually  as members of the Leigh family first see Selena in places where she isn't and their confusion gives way to the realization that something truly dangerous has invaded their home. At the same time as we're learning about the problems in the Leigh household, we're being introduced to ghost hunter Jessica Backman and psychic Eddie Home, who has turned up on her doorstep with  a message from her dead father.

 One of my pet peeves is parents who don't keep track of their children while they're doing potentially dangerous tasks. So I found the scenes where Selena's image appeared when her parents absolutely knew their daughter was elsewhere especially creepy.

Sinister Entity is a sequel to Forest of Shadows, which I haven't read, but it stands on its own. There's just enough back story for me to understand the characters and decide to add Forest of Shadows to my Amazon wish list.

About the Author

Hunter Shea is the author of the novels Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre and Evil Eternal. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales and the Cemetery Dance anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He lives in New York with his family and vindictive cat. He waits with Biblical patience for the Mets to win a World Series.

{Whatcha Reading?} A White Room by Stephanie Carroll

I'm a sucker for haunted house books, so this book's description of twisting furniture and a house that conspires against the heroine immediately drew me in. The spectres are all in Emeline's own mind, but her story is every bit as haunting as any ghost story I've ever read. I would've devoured it in one sitting if  my Kindle hadn't shut itself off at one of the most crucial points. (I really should start to pay attention to those warning beeps and plug it into the charger when I hit a halfway decent stopping point!)

From the publisher's description --

At the close of the Victorian Era, society still expected middle-class women to be “the angels of the house,” even as a select few strived to become something more. In this time of change, Emeline Evans dreamed of becoming a nurse. But when her father dies unexpectedly, Emeline sacrifices her ambitions and rescues her family from destitution by marrying John Dorr, a reserved lawyer who can provide for her family.

John moves Emeline to the remote Missouri town of Labellum and into an unusual house where her sorrow and uneasiness edge toward madness. Furniture twists and turns before her eyes, people stare out at her from empty rooms, and the house itself conspires against her. The doctor diagnoses hysteria, but the treatment merely reinforces the house’s grip on her mind.
Emeline only finds solace after pursuing an opportunity to serve the poor as an unlicensed nurse. Yet in order to bring comfort to the needy she must secretly defy her husband, whose employer viciously hunts down and prosecutes unlicensed practitioners. Although women are no longer burned at the stake in 1900, disobedience is a symptom of psychological defect, and hysterical women must be controlled.

A novel of madness and secrets, A White Room presents a fantastical glimpse into the forgotten cult of domesticity, where one’s own home could become a prison and a woman has to be willing to sacrifice everything to be free.
The book isn't available yet, but you can sign up at Stephanie Carroll's website to be notified when it does come out this summer.

Monday, May 20, 2013

UFO Update -- Sandstone Stack the Deck

This is one of my really old UFOs, started right after I really began quilting. I'd found the book Stack the Deck! by Karla Alexander at the library and thought the technique looked do-able.

And for some reason, decided to make a sandstone colored quilt with appliqued petroglyphs. It's not the last time I've deliberately matched my quilt colors to rocks, but it's the attempt that makes the least sense.

The colors look a little better in real life. If I'd used a different technique, I think I'd take the blocks apart and remove the dark brown -- but that's not going to work here. I'm stuck with what I've got, wonky blocks that need trimming and miles of loose thread removed.
When I started this project, I thought I'd have to get my petroglyphs from a book.  Then last year we camped at Dinosaur National Monument and saw these guys. See the two big lizards? Directly above the one on the right is a little man.  The boys and I think it looks like the lizards are after him.
Now that I've found the perfect subject for my applique, I'm a little more motivated to finish the quilt top. To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

a bit of a winning streak

Renee at Sparrow Lane gave away a package of fabric and makeup and an adorable little zippered bag to celebrate her 100th post, and I was lucky enough to win it.
The zipper on that bag is just perfect, with little sewn tabs and a pull loop made from the same fabric. Bias edges may not scare me, but I don't do zippers unless I have to, and then I don't do them well.  I'm thinking this is a skill I need to improve.

And Barb from Bejeweled Quilts by Barb gave away a copy of her new quilt design, Tulips and Tumblers. As soon as I saw the pattern, I was tempted to order it. The rings and flowers are  cut with AccuQuilt dies and it's just so pretty! It was a happy surprise when I won the giveaway. I think this pattern would justify some fabric shopping, don't you?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 39 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 87 1/4 yards
Net Added for 2013: 48 1/4 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 1150 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 7100 yards
Net Added for 2013: 5950 yards

To see more weekly stash reports, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

{Guest Post} Jo's New Kindle

When my buddy Jo, from Jo's Country Junction, was telling me about her new Kindle Fire HD, I had all sorts of questions for her. I've got one of the original Fires and absolutely love it, but I was wondering about getting a new one for myself and letting the boys use this one. Jo was kind enough to answer all of my questions  in a guest post --

In December of 2011 Hubby bought me a Kindle Fire 7", LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB - Includes Special Offers for Christmas....well actually, he had my son pick it up for him. My son and his fiancé bought me a cover and a three year guarantee to go with it. Well in December of 2012, my Kindle Fire quit charging. I took it to Best Buy and they replaced it. Then two months later that one quit charging. UGH.

It's important to note that when they replace them, they are replaced with a refurbished product. Each time I had trouble, we had to drive an hour away to have it replaced. I was also without a Kindle for about FOUR days while the replacement was delivered. For me, that was not good. I've become really attached to the thing. Checking it is the first thing I do each morning and last thing each night.

In the morning I check my email while I eat breakfast, read a couple "pages" of my book, check blogs or play a game. At night I check facebook, read my blog comments and read some more of my book. I can blog from my Kindle too.

I debated about the wireless version but found out that I am not eligible to purchase that as At&t service isn't available in my area.

Finally I asked Hubby what he thought about him having the Kindle Fire and me getting the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers with the bigger screen. He said yes...and I ran to the computer to order it. This time I was ordering from Amazon directly. That way if something did go wrong with it, I would send it directly to Amazon.

So what do I think of the new Kindle Fire HD with the bigger screen....I LOVE it!! It is a little heavier but I don't mind. Most of my reading is done in bed so I don't really "hold" it anyway. I really like the bigger screen. On the old one, the screen was smaller and didn't seem "book size". I felt like I read two screens to be equivalent to one book page. This seems more realistic to a book.

I have read some quilting related books on the smaller version and it was okay, but having the bigger screen is even nicer. That way I can still see the picture of the quilt and read the caption below. Before I would have to scroll between the two. The larger seems more comparable to reading an actual book.

I watch Netflix movies and Instant Movies from Amazon and love the bigger screen. I typically watch while sew and the bigger screen is so much better. Next on my list to purchase is Downton Abbey Season 3 Preview [HD]. I just love instant movies. I don't have return anything, pay a late fee or find some place to store it. That's a win all the way around. Plus it's typically cheaper too!!

If you have an older Kindle Fire, stick with that until it dies but if you don't have a Kindle and are thinking about purchasing one, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9", Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB - is the one I would go with. I don't regret my purchase a bit....oh and I love having the two Kindles in the I don't have to wait if he is using it. I would have never guessed that we would be a two device family...and none of the devices belonged to our kids!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {week 20}

I find that it helps to keep some fabric set aside for the baby quilts. The plan is that, when I have the time for one of my piecing and quilting binges, I'll have something right there to work on.... I'll let you know if it works when I finally do find the time to do another little baby quilt binge.

These beachy prints came in a scrap bag from my mom, and I added some blues from my own stash.  I'm also planning to mix in some sandy colors and see what I can come up with.

I'm loving this lion print that Jo sent me.  There's enough to back a NICU quilt and it's so bright and cheerful that instead of cutting it up into little squares, I think I'm going to make a yellow and blue top to go with it. Either that, or try to blow up and applique one of the lions the way I did the mouse applique on this quilt.

And these are pieced panels of strips from one of the thrift store bags. They're shirts, or fabric left over from sewing shirts. I plan to add sashing and do some kind of a Chinese Coins quilt. There's probably enough for a large lap quilt, so I'll have to decide if I want to use it for a big people quilt or a baby quilt.

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules:

Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned, but it's got to be about baby quilts. While we're still gathering steam, you're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

that piano at the thrift shop works just fine

Ever since I saw the pink astrological couch, I've tried extra hard to remember my camera when we go thrift store shopping. I know there's neat stuff out there, because all of the other thrift store shopping bloggers are finding it, but I sure haven't been seeing any of it myself lately.

This week I heard something neat...

At one of our regular haunts, they've got a baby grand piano. The first time we saw it, it was priced at $6,500.  I seriously hope that they're advertising it somewhere and not just counting on someone to walk in with that kind of budget and the need for a piano...

Over the past year, the piano has been marked down to $3,500 and moved from the entrance of the store to a less prominent spot. (I'm really not obsessed with this thing, I'm just trying to keep my youngest two children from poking at the keys, which is easier now that it's not the first thing they see when we step into the store.)

It's also been joined by two upright pianos and I've had to convince my children that even if they paid for it with their own money, I can't let them buy a piano for their room because there's no way their dad is going to haul it home.

While we were looking for t-shirts and shorts for the boys this week, the store suddenly filled with music. Intricate, amazing classical music that an old guy in sweatpants and a baseball cap was playing on that baby grand. I don't think I've ever shopped for used clothes to live music before.

I was looking for a little backpack to use on short hikes. The plan was to find one that  I could transfer the contents of my purse into, because I hate carrying my purse with us, and I never feel safe leaving it in the car. Walmart had a new one that would've done the job, but I've been reading the Non-Consumer Advocate a lot lately and convinced myself that I could find something at Goodwill or St. Vincents.

No such luck.

But I did spot this little girl. She's the twin of one that was on Katie Wolk-Stanley's blog a couple of weeks back. Katie thought she looked like she was about to record a power ballad -- I think she looks like she's afraid of something. (Might be all of those haunted house books I'm reading lately...)

It turns out she is trying to block out some scary sounds...

{Blogger's Quilt Festival} Sadie

Whenever I see that another Blogger's Quilt Festival is coming up, I start to rack my brain, trying to think of what I've done since the last festival that I really want to show off. This time, it was easy.

I'm sharing Sadie with you because I am absolutely head over heels in love with this little quilt!

My original plan was to make a scrappy pink version of  this baby quilt, but then I decided that I wanted a pieced border. To keep it a good size for a baby quilt, I made smaller churn dash blocks. You can find all of the details in the tutorial.

I've started giving my baby quilts people names. It makes them so much easier to keep track of than "Blue Sheet Quilt #1" and "the one with the pink hearts." And it makes me stop and think about them and take pictures and write a blog post. There are baby quilts from past years that I can't find any record of except for the pictures in my album.

Usually, I don't decide on a name until the quilt is nearly done.

Sadie started with her name. It was on the list when I was brainstorming names for Sara, but sometimes I save names I really like for special quilts. Sadie is a cowgirl -- a girly cowgirl who needed a pink and brown churn dash quilt. And I'm sure that my imaginary little cowgirl has a well-worn stuffed horsey that accompanies her everywhere.
By  the time I had the top assembled, I was pretty sure that this quilt was going to live in my sewing room. So I decided to try some custom quilting. I outlined around all of the squares in the churn dashes and then stippled around them -almost- as tightly as I could. Not quite as tightly as I quilted Lobster Sue, but it's close.

I'll hang onto her until I either find the right baby to send her off to, or make a bigger version for myself and don't need this one anymore. That's how it tends to work around here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

{yarn along} Dark Places

I'm still working on my 3rd pair of socks for the pooling sock yarn challenge and the yarn's still not pooling... I've given up on that part, but I do still like colors. And I love the book I just finished, Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Twenty-five years after Libby Day fled into the snow as her mother and two sisters were brutally murdered,  the trust fund that she's been living off of is almost completely drained and Libby is facing the unpleasant truth that the people who were so anxious to help the only survivor of The Satan Sacrifices of Kinnakee, Kansas have lost all interest in her. When a representative of  the Kill Club, a group obsessed with famous murders, offers her cash to speak at their next meeting, Libby reluctantly agrees.  Her need for money is enough to force her to finally dig through the sealed boxes of her family's possessions looking for things she can sell to the members of the club. For more money, she agrees to visit her brother in prison, then to look up her estranged father. The more people from her past she makes contact with, the more Libby begins to question what actually happened in the farmhouse that night.

Dark Places absolutely blew me away. The chapters alternate between Libby in the present day and her brother and mother in 1985, on the day of the murders. The way that the events and evidence all tie together is so intricate -- what makes perfect sense one way when a character sees it is obviously something else entirely when you're reading from another character's point of view.  

Silly disclosure -- the books came from the library.  For more pretty knitting projects to drool over, check out On the Needles at Patchwork Times and Work in Progress Wednesdays at Tami's Amis.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Quilt for Mrs. Bates's Parlor

It's my turn to show of my It's for the birds! project, and the waiting has been driving me just a little bit crazy...
As soon as I saw that we were making quilts with birds on them, I knew I wanted to use a black silhouette of a raven. Or a crow. Who can tell the species when it's an outline on a quilt? I've got a whole bunch of irons in the fire right now, so when I was up in the sewing room and came across a bunch of scrappy black and neutral hourglass units from an abandoned project I decided they'd make the perfect jump start for this project.

They were going to be sashing, at least until I started playing with them and decided that they reminded me of an ornate frame. If I was making this quilt again (and I think I do want another one with bats to hang in October) I'd add prairie points or a scalloped black outer border.

Why the name?

Madame Samm started my mind in that direction when she showed off her Tippy Hedrin Barbie. Then I was watching Hitchcock, a movie about the making of Psycho, while I pieced the quilt -- and wouldn't Mrs. Bates have totally had this quilt in her parlor, if she'd had quilts? I think she'd have had this little settee, too. It was passed down from my Great Aunt Molly to my Grandma Marr, and then to me. How I manage to get away with this piece of furniture in a tiny house full of kids, I don't know.

If  this is your first visit to my blog, welcome!  I'm Michelle and I'm trying to make fifty scrappy baby quilts this year, but sometimes I get in the mood to make a quilt for me. And this one is definitely MINE.

Be sure to visit today's other bloggers -- it's amazing the variety of projects everyone is coming up with! You can find the full schedule here.

This post is linked to to Finish it Up Friday, Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, and Freedom Fridays,

Spring House by Stephanie Ryan

Today I'm playing with Spring House, Stephanie Ryan's new line for Moda. These prints are giving me such an incredible sense of dejavu.  I think it's the shape of the flowers that reminds me of things from my childhood -- I've got an image of insulated plastic mugs flitting at the edges of my memory.

To see more design walls, head over to Patchwork Times.


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