Sunday, February 28, 2010

a UFO becomes an FO!

I finally had a grading-free weekend, and promptly celebrated by finishing something! My lovely quilt top has been sitting on the dining room table for longer than I'd like to admit. Only a few weeks, but longer than necessary. I found a lovely 1-yard cut of a purple and gold fabric (from the Fabric Shack) that was just big enough to be used as the backing.
I cut a piece of batting from a queen sized batting I got on sale for $10, and after a bit of wrangling got the sandwich all assembled on the living room floor. (It's MUCH easier when the backing is bigger, but I liked it so much I was determined to make it work.)

Brad wanted me to try a more geometrical quilting pattern, since my two previous quilts have just been stippled. So I tried a straight-line pattern along the edges of the squares. I really like how it looked, on both sides:
Then I mulled for a while as to whether or not the quilting was too far apart. In the end, I decided it was, and added some more:
I had five candidates for the binding and couldn't decide between them, so I went with Brad's choice:

I got it all done, from lonely quilt top to quilted, bound and washed quilt, in one day! It felt great. Now I just need to take pictures of the finished product! I'm just waiting for some decent daylight. Finishing something felt so good I may even get back to those potholders sometime soon!

an experiment

I was so pleased and excited after finishing my cool colored lap quilt that I decided to try something new and different. I've been seeing a lot of string quilts on quilting blogs lately, and I've been wanting to try one. The real experiment, though, has to do with fabric collections: many quilters these days appear use collections of fabric designed to go together, and this is something I haven't yet tried. Connecting Threads had a fabric collection called Riviera that contained several fabrics that I really liked, as well as some that I don't think I ever would have picked out individually, but that were designed to compliment the ones I do really like. So, when a fat eights pack of this fabric collection went on sale, I bought it, intending to experiment and see what it was like to use a whole collection of fabrics together.

Since I only had fat eights (11" x 18" pieces) of each, I made 7.5" squares. I wanted to use the solid brown in the middle of the squares, and that was the largest square I could make using 11" cuts of the brown. I got 12 1.5" strips of brown, then cut 1.5" and 2" strips of the colors. I added them randomly, following the directions in "p.s. I quilt's" block o'strings tutorial.

Overall, I'm not crazy about the results: I really like the look of the string blocks, but I'm still not entirely sold on this fabric collection as a whole, at least as I've used it here. It's growing on me, but I think this will mostly be an interesting learning experience. We'll see what happens with it.

Wishing you all low-stakes opportunities to experiment,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

a homely birthday celebration

Brad's birthday was earlier this week, but as he was out of town for a job interview, we decided to celebrate this weekend. He wanted a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, not a combination I would have thought up on my own. To me, it looks very homely, but in a warm, comforting sort of way. It was nice to get back into the kitchen and bake something, and even nicer to do it for someone I love.

Monday, February 15, 2010

why I love grad school

Pranks that would never fly in the "real world" are just considered amusing here in the ivory tower. I came in this morning to find a change in decor at my friend's lab bench:
Someone had a little lab accident. (Not in our lab, thank goodness!) Look at the damage:
I'm just glad it wasn't me. Or sitting at my lab bench!

Monday, February 1, 2010

a little inspiration on the bus

This morning a very interesting quilting pattern sat in front of me on the bus.
I confess that this is not, in fact, the first time I have taken pictures of strangers on the bus out of interest in their clothing or general color schemes. Let's get a closeup of the great pattern on that coat:
Yep. Perhaps one of these days I'll get around to posting some of the other "strangers on a bus" inspiration I have collected.