Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Persnickety: /pərˈsnikətē/
1. Placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy.
2. Requiring a particularly precise or careful approach.

The other week, I left a comment for P. on a quilt top she'd finished, using thrifted men's shirts. I admired how all her corners matched, how nice and flat it laid and how all the prints went in the same direction. She did a really beautiful job on it. She replied back and said that she'd been rather persnickety about how it went together, and I thought that I really liked that adjective.

I don't know about you, but there are certain things I'm very particular about when I quilt. Well, I'm particular about everything, really. I like things a certain way, but I won't go into all of that. For sewing or quilting, I wash all fabrics before using. I piece with Gütterman 50-weight cotton thread and I quilt with AURIfil Makò 50-weight thread. When I lay out a quilt, I put a pin in the top left corner block so I know which way is top and which way is bottom, and I'm very careful to sew the pieces together in the right order. I make sure all the stripes go in the same direction {usually vertically} and that any directional fabrics go the same direction.

Lately, I've taken to making sure that the lengthwise grain and the crosswise grain of each block all go in the same direction throughout the quilt. The cross grain has slightly more give than the length of grain and it seems like everything lines up so much nicer if the grains are all going the same way.

Case in point: I'm working on a fun zig-zag quilt for my niece, Miss Butterfly.

I cut the fabric for it sometime late last spring or early last summer, about the time I decided that the grain should all go the same way. I just started assembling it last week. As I've made the half-square triangles, I put the squares together with the cross grain going one direction on one square and the lengthwise grain going the other direction, so that once they were sewn on the diagonal and opened up, the entire block has the same grain. What I didn't plan for when I penciled in the diagonal line on the white fabric, was that the triangles would have to go in alternating directions in the quilt. Even though all the blocks have the grain going in the same direction in both halves of the half-square triangles, all of the half-square triangles on the left side of the chevrons have the lengthwise grain going up and down and the half-square triangles on the right side have the crosswise grain going up and down. It bothers the persnickety quilter in me just a little. I considered re-marking half the blocks, but decided that I didn't want a pencil line dissecting half of my white triangles. I'll pay closer attention next time.

All of this makes me curious, and I wonder what you all are persnickety about, quilting or otherwise.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mormon Messages: Your Potential, Your Privilege

We can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal blessings. –Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Your Potential, Your Privilege, April 2011

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Twilight Saga Charity Quilt

When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end. –Bella Swan, Twilight, page 1

I know. My geek is showing. But we're all friends here, right? And it's no secret that I Twilight. Since January of 2009, I've been working on a Twilight-themed quilt {which I really want to finish this year} and also collaborating with an on-line group of friends to create more Twilight-themed quilts, which have been auctioned or "raffled" off and all the proceeds given to charity. We call ourselves the Twi-Quilters. And we all love Twilight. But more than that, we've become friends.

All told, we've made seven eight quilts together and we are proud to show our ninth quilt and to give you an opportunity to win it—all for charity, of course.

My part in this quilt was the center block; representations of the four book covers. The patterns were designed by Cat, and I'd done three of the four covers several times each. The Eclipse cover was the only one I hadn't done and I was excited to try it. I enlarged the patterns to 12" and used my favorite Fairy Frost fabrics to put them together.

Our group members have donated all the fabrics and supplies as well as our time, to create this beautiful quilt, which includes our favorite scenes from all four of the Twilight Saga books. Angie, our quilter extraordinaire, has expertly and artfully finished the quilt and we're going to give it away to one lucky fan! For every $5 donation from you, which will go directly to George Mark Children's House, you’ll get one chance to win the quilt. We hope you'll give generously to this worthy cause. Donations will be accepted through March 9, 2013 and the winner will be announced by March 15, 2013.

Visit the Twilight Saga Quilt Page for more information and links to posts about the individual blocks..

Make your donation

Friday, February 22, 2013

Favourite Things Friday: River Song

The only water in the forest is the river. Doctor Who, season 6 episode 4, The Doctor's Wife, Neil Gaiman

I Dr. Who. I may have mentioned it once or twice. Twelve or thirteen episodes a year is, frankly, not enough. So when season seven started in September of last year, preceded by a showing of all the Doctor Who episodes from the beginning of time {or since the series' reboot in 2005, and by the way, that's funny because it is a show about time travel}, I DVRed them all and started watching again from season one. And I fell in love all over again. The Doctor is brilliant. His companions are amazing, every single one of them. But my favorite of them all is River Song.

Best. Story Arc. Ever.

River drops into The Doctor's life mid-way through season four in a two-part episode that ranks in my top five favorites. She's called him for help using psychic paper and greets him with a very familiar, "hello sweetie." She knows absolutely everything about him, only he doesn't know who she is. Not a clue. But with one whispered word he trusts her completely. And it's absolutely maddening because we may never see her again. His first meeting with her is her last encounter with him.

The beauty of a show about time travel is that anything is possible. As River puts it, her timeline and The Doctor's timeline are back to front. River turns up again in season five, with her signature, "hello, sweetie," and an air of confidence that rivals The Doctor's. The more we see River, the more questions there are about her. She knows things The Doctor doesn't even know. And when she shows up with a six shooter on her hip in episode one of season six and blows the Stetson right off The Doctor's head, we know we're in for a great season. {Sidebar: how did I not know they were filming in Utah? I totally would have gone to see them!}

I searched high and low for a video that would give you the flavor of River Song without any spoilers and this is one of the rare times that the Media Pirates at YouTube have not come through with something brilliant. I wanted to show you her amazing bravado, her cool-headed brilliance, her knowing demeanor and especially the clever things she says. Most of the videos were set to music, and didn't allow much of the dialogue that makes River River. This is the closest I could come to what I wanted, which means, of course, that you'll just have to watch the series and find out for yourself. Netflix has got you covered. And may I recommend you start from season one? Even though Mr. Bug insists that each episode is entertaining on its own, there are things in there that you really can't miss {see also, The Face of Boe}.

Today's post brought to you by:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Echoes of Eternity {Mission Accomplished}

And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed! –Dr. Seuss

It was a little iffy there for a few minutes. That one and a quarter percent almost got me, but I finished and delivered the framed double wedding ring, which I have decided to call Echoes of Eternity, to the bride-to-be. She was feeling pretty miserable when I stopped by earlier. She has strep, a double ear infection, and her eardrum burst last night. The wedding is tomorrow, so I'm sure she could use all the prayers and good thoughts she can get.

Is it OK to say that I love how it turned out? It didn't even require an all-nighter. Almost. But not quite. I finished gluing the little crystals on at 2:00 this morning.

I wasn't sure if it was going to come together but I love how the frame turned out. I got cold feet about painting it after I brought home some white paint {read more here} , but with a little encouragement {thank you, Shay}, I decided to make another trip to the hardware store to find an eggshell white, which was how I originally pictured it in my head. Usually I shop for my crafty things alone, but Mr. Bug came with me to the hardware store the first time {who could resist, right?} and that, combined with the lack of selection in flat {versus glossy} paint threw me off my game. I'm so glad I went with my gut. The frame as I originally bought it would have overshadowed the quilt. Painting it white white would have been too much white. This eggshell white is just right, I think.

To mark my quilting design, I used blue painter's tape, the kind that isn't supposed to leave a residue. I made a paper template for the pattern in the center, cut it out, traced it onto the tape and then cut it out with an Xact-O knife. I thought of my dad a lot while I was doing that. He used to paint big diesel trucks for Volvo. If the customer wanted a special design, my dad would do it. He used tape to mask stripes and other designs {see also, 1968 VW Bug}. I also used the painter's tape and a couple of circle punches to mark the line of circles in the arcs.

This was such a fun project to do. It was fun the first time, and it was even more fun the second time. You might even say it is my favourite thing this week :wink:. Can I get a whoop, whoop? Some day {soon, I hope} I'm going to do a double wedding ring quilt for my bed. Here's one last photo, because I just can't resist showing this off a bit.

Today's post brought to you by:
Richard & Tanya's Link A Finish Friday My 2013 Finishes

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Little {Piano Guys} Love

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

My favorite way to spend Valentine's Day is doing something special for the people I love. Flowers and chocolate and paper hearts never live up to their expectations and waiting an hour for a table at a restaurant is not my idea of relaxing. I find that I enjoy the day much more when I find a way to do something nice for the people I care about. Today I'm doing individual heart-shaped pizzas topped with whatever the Not-So-Little Bugs and Mr. Bug want. They like it and it makes me happy to do it for them.

In the vein of love and sharing, something that I love and always want to share is the The Piano Guys. Their newest video is so much fun! As a side note, we have tickets to go see them in May! I'm so excited!

Available for purchase from The Piano Guys, at Amazon or on iTunes.
Tour Information

I also really loved the vocal version.

However you celebrate today, may you find love in one of its many forms.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Something New: Upping the Impossible Ante

Plan specifically so you can implement flexibly. –Dallin H. Oaks

I've been working as fast as I can {which is why you haven't heard from me in 10 days}, but we all knew this project was doomed, right?

Talk about a mission impossible. I gave myself 9 days to cut, piece and quilt it and I gave the framers a week. Today is day 15. The quilting is not even done yet.

Two consecutive 40-hour work weeks {general ledgers and gross income, I hate working that much} and the fact that every framer I talked to takes two weeks for a custom job, have conspired against me. It would seem that the best option would be to call it a day and move on to something else.

Hardly. Every good spy quilter always has a back-up plan. And a back-up plan for the back-up plan. And if they don't have back-ups, then they come up with new plans on the fly.

One of the framers that I talked to said they had ready-made shadow box frames that were 20". Using a ready-made frame would give me more time for quilting even though a ready-made is a little bit plain. Full of hope that I could salvage the plan, I headed to the shop after work and dinner and regular stuff last Friday and discovered that they close at 8:00 pm. Every day. What kind of craft store closes at 8:00 pm!?! Undaunted, I tried again on Saturday and they did indeed have 20" shadow box frames. They just aren't 20" square.

Not willing to give up, I looked at every single frame in the shop, tape measure in hand, trying to find one with a 20" square opening. I finally found one. Well, OK. The opening is only 19½". And the frame was occupied.

Still not willing to give up, I bought the artwork, intending to strip it for parts. What I'm going to do with the print, I have no idea. I don't think I'll be able to just throw it away, though. I may try to cut that outside border down and put it in another frame. {Yes, I see the irony.}

I also bought some spray paint. My first thought was to paint the frame flat white and then strategically sand it down to give it a shabby, worn look. I'm undecided about that now, and wonder if it will be too white, even with bits of the dark showing through.

This project hasn't gone to plan. But I kind of like the changes. I think that framing it without glass makes it a little more . . . I don't know . . . real. The first DWR is kind of look-but-don't-touch. This one will be up front and center; accessible, like a quilt should be. {Sidebar: I know. It will get dusty. I thought of that. I'm giving the bride & groom a lint roller to go with it.}

I'm still crunched for time. I took the picture above a few days ago, so I've got more than just the ditch quilting done now and I think I can make it. Even if I have to pull an all-nighter.

As Lane put it, I do like a challenge.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Stitch In Time: January Finishes Giveaway Winner

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men. –Herman Melville

Thank you to everyone who linked a finish up in January! There were so many amazing projects to see and be inspired by. LadyBug drew our winner for this month and she picked #27.

Comma by Zen Chic

Congratulations to
:partytime: Karen :partytime:

Karen will receive a charm pack of Comma by Zen Chic from The Fat Quarter Shop. Make sure to hop on over and see Karen's super cute red and white challenge quilt, and if you haven't already, check out a few of the other fun things that were finished in January.

The February Finishes Linky Party is open, so you can link up as you go throughout the month. Remember to include the February Finishes button {code found in the February post} somewhere in any post you link up. Code for a button for your sidebar can also be found in the February post. The giveaway, sponsored by The Fat Quarter Shop, is a charm pack of Spring House by Stephanie Ryan for Moda!

Spring House

Today's post brought to you by:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Favourite Things Friday: Blue Skies

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on
Blue skies smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies do I see
Never saw the sun shining so bright
Never saw things going so right
–Bing Crosby

This has been the coldest winter we've had in decades. For the past five weeks, the mercury hasn't risen above about 27˚ F and mostly we've been sitting in the low teens. Today, we hit a very lovely 30˚ F complete with sunshine and blue skies. It was a very nice day. How could it not be, with a beautiful start like this?

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of winter, especially these bitter cold winters. I looked up record low temperatures and in the US, only one other state beat our low of -69˚ F {-56˚ C} in 1985, and that was Alaska with a mind boggling -81˚ F {-62˚ C}. We've had relatively mild winters since about 1995, but this year we've had a real cold snap. It is more like the winters I remember as a kid, where once it snowed, you didn't see the landscape again until the spring thaw.

We lived across the street from a park, so we'd cut across it on our way to and from school. It would get so cold that you could walk across the snow without your boots sinking in. I loved that. I remember one winter with so much snow that it was up to my 9-or-10-year-old chest and all the dads had to go out and shovel snow off the roofs to keep them from caving in.

Despite the cold {said with a shiver; I haven't been warm since September}, it has been fun to see all the snow art that has popped up around town. I already showed you the Igloo that I pass on the way to work every day {which is still standing, by the way}. And this Snow Titan is in our little neighborhood.

I won't even guess at his height, but I'm certain that ladders were involved in the construction of this behemoth. His hat is a broken tree branch, for snow's sake. Just to give you a little perspective, here's a wider shot. He's as tall as the roof line of the house he's guarding.

The days are getting longer and spring is around the corner. The beautiful sky and the warm sun today give hope of more to come. I'm so looking forward to seeing the grass again.

Today's post brought to you by:

A Stitch In Time: February Finishes Linky Party

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. –Walt Disney Company

Welcome to the February Finishes Linky Party! I can't believe we're already a month in 2013. You've all been productive, though! There are lots of new faces around here, so welcome to anyone who is new! And thank you to everyone who continues to participate! I really enjoy seeing the fun and creative things you all make! I wish you lots of luck in getting a project or two finished in February!

To participate in this month's linky party:
• Finish a project {finished as in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away} with some sort of stitching in it and blog about it or post a photo of it on Flickr.
• Scroll down to see what other bloggers are up to and link to your own finishes.
• Please include the February button in your blog post. Copy the code in the text box below and paste it somewhere in the post you link for this month's finishes. The button is a link to this specific post, so that other bloggers can find their way over and link up too. If you'd like a button for your sidebar, the code is at the bottom of this post.

• Each time you link up a finished project, you're entered to win the February giveaway, a charm pack of Spring House by Stephanie Ryan for Moda!

Spring House

• Thank you to The Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring our giveaway!

The Fine Print {which might be boring but you really should read}:
• Projects must include stitching of some sort. For example: appliqué, crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting, practical sewing {garment construction, bags, curtains, etc.}, quilting.
• Projects must be completely finished. As in done, finito, nothing more to add, ready to use/display/give away.
• You can pick something new to do, but projects do not have to be started during the month. If you pick up a UFO, Ph.D, WIP and finish it during the month, it counts.
• Finishes must be completed during this month, but you have until noon MST on the 1st of the next month to link your post.
• Post about your finish and then link your specific post {instructions here} above. Links to your blog and not the individual post about your finished project will be deleted.
• Have more than one finish this month? Great! Post about each finish individually and then link the specific posts up separately. Each finish, and therefore each link you add, counts as one entry for this month's giveaway.
• If you've already posted about a finish for this month, there's no need to do a separate post. Just add the button to that post and link up.
• Please copy and paste the code below to include this month's button somewhere in the post {not your sidebar} you link up for this month .

February Finishes

• Don't have a blog? You can link from your flickr account. Just post a picture, include a little note about your finish and a link back here {code included below} in the description. Then join the linky party.

• Want a button for your sidebar? Copy and paste the code below into an HTML gadget for your sidebar. This button is a link to the main A Stitch In Time Linky Party page, which always has the current month's finishes and links to all previous linky parties.

A Stitch In Time Linky Party

• Make sure to visit a few of the other links and leave them some love {ie, a comment}. A good rule of thumb is to visit two links for every one you include.
• Winner of the sponsored giveaway will be drawn randomly from among the links and announced by 8:00 pm MST on the 3rd of the following month.
• Instructions for making an index page to your finishes can be found here.
• Kindly consider changing your comment settings to the pop-up window option for faster and easier commenting for visitors to your blog. Instructions can be found here.