Thursday, August 21, 2008

Doris's Simple Trooper Badge Dillemma

Hah! Almost a correct sentence there:)

I am back after having got hit with a bad cold on Saturday, just in time to meet up with my... do we still call them boyfriends at our age.... on Sunday. Oh well. Marvelous medication they have now aday. However, result has been me being sick for three full days, just in time for the start of my vacation, which starts tomorrow, and mom's birthday party, which is in two days.

I am feeling better, though. I felt so good yesterday I could crawl up to the sewing table and start working on DJ again. I have been spending most of my time preparing a load of applique blocks to take with me to my trip to Colorado next week. Three weeks in Colorado!!!! Yahoo!

Four new ones managed to be completed before signing off, though.

K 12, Doris's Dilemma.

M 12 - Simpe Simon

C 1 - Trooper Green's Badge

B 10 - Jud's Trophy. This one was mighty picky in the middle. When I see the blocks in big pictures like this, I obsess about the imperfections. I have to remind myself that these are only about 5" big, and each one is just one out of 252...  And repeat the mantra: better finished than perfect!

Friday, August 15, 2008

No blocks today

There is this commercial going on TV in Norway at the moment about the importance of milk. And the song keeps repeating: No milk today... It is one of those songs that keeps going and going and going...

Anyway, there are no blocks because I spent last evening with my nearest family: my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. We are a small family, but still managed to not be close as we grew up - for different reasons. Now when the kiddies are both over 20, and me and my brother are getting grey haired and can't see well up close, I have found an unexpected treasure. We all spent two weeks together a few years ago on a safari in Kenya, giving me an unique opportunity to get to know my brother after all these years, and my niece and nephew as grown ups. It was a revelation. There is no guarantee that you like your family (and there are frankly some family members I have problems with....) but I found them all to be fun and interesting to be with. How great is that?!

So whenever I have the opportunity to spend some time with them, this joy hits me afresh every time. I enjoy our long conversations, the insight they bring and the joy it is to see that they are all, at the moment, doing well and enjoying their lives. 

My niece is finally starting her education after years of problems and wrongful diagnosis. For a girl from the farm to start school in a 'big' city like Oslo, that is a challenge. But she is excited, and I am happy to be here and help her if she needs it.

My nephew wants to try a new career, which we are all excited about.

And my brother and my sister-in-law just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary.

All are sorted and exciting and scary at the moment - new starts and old beginnings. Let us keep our fingers crossed that our lives have hit a smoother wave for now.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hopping along

Did three new DJ blocks yesterday!

I truly, truly appreciate the one who came up with the idea to do paperpiecing with freezer paper. How incredibly much more easier it is with that. However, I do find that the sewing machine foot sometimes get stuck on the shiny side, giving me a row of very, very small stitches. Maybe I need to wait until the paper cool down some. And - the paper is HOT after being ironed! Note to myself: be careful!

B4, Chris's Soccer Field was the first one I made. Came out pretty well. It is made as one full block with the freezer paper.

Next came B 13, Four Corner Press, strip pieced.... as you can see. Makes you want to make every block with freezer paper.

The third was the most difficult one. And it came out kind of crocked. I might redo the final seams on this one, or the whole thing. A1, Pinwheel Gone Awry. However, freezerpaper is a gift here, too, with so many small corners!

Starting this quilt makes me appreciate the work Jane Stickle did all those years ago. By hand, from scratch, making all the blocks herself. Truly a piece of art. Mine will be just a mere pale copy. But I will have my very own Baby Jane:)

Monday, August 11, 2008

My own journey!

I started my Baby Jane yesterday! I finished mom's quilt, cleaned out all the dust and lint from working on that for a few weeks.... hem.... and sat down and made my first three blocks.

I have thought and researched and gathered and printed out (I have never done a quilt that required this much paper work before!) listed and scetched... and yesterday I took the plunge.

I bought most of the fabric last summer when visiting my friends in Colorado. Cottonwood Quilts in Niwot have these amazing batiks, and I just fell for them. Never done one with these bright colours before, but I think I like it. It feels like happy colours. I am restocking from the same store in two weeks:)

I started with a simple one, D 13, Field of Dreams. And it went swimmingly:)

Then the next one was A6, Uncle Homer. I got a little cocky here, and had to redo it.

Then the third one was C3, Rayelle's Fence. This was my first try on paperpiecing with freezer paper. Such a good idea. Much better than ordinary paper. However, I need to work harder at straighter folding and better ironing. It is not quite square, but it fits the measurement.

I am very glad I invested in the Dear Jane rulers, because every time I use it, it reminds me: Better finished than perfect. Which my inner control freak needs to be reminded of, constantly:)

I found this great site where people have signed up to do Dear Jane together. She does a very good job. I started so late, so I am just hovering around her site, and hope she doesn't mind:)  She is having a blog break at the moment, but will be back at the end of this week.

On my Dear Jane CD they suggest you keep a journal of your work. They have made a page that you can use for each block. I thought that was kind of excessive, but as I started this yesterday, I thought it could be a great idea. This quilt might take me some time, and I would like to see where this journey brings me. I start this quilt with a big cloud hanging over my head regarding work. I have no idea if I still have a job in a few months. I think it would be interesting to see where I am in life when this quilt is done. It will be my own journey. So I have decided to wait with regards to naming the quilt, see where it leads.

Exciting... and scary.

Finally surrounded!

I finished the quilt for my mom's 75th birthday, my stepdad's 76 birthday and their 20th wedding anniversary! And 13 days before the party. I am so proud of myself. And overjoyed. I started it in late May. With a fulltime job and no vacation this summer, it is amazing how fast it actually went.

As you can see, it has kind of a 'wavery' binding.... I could tell you that it was done by purpose:) However, I redid the border twice, and even then it got too big. I think it is a result of the massive machine quilting. It shrinks the quilt. But mom will love it, I am sure.

Happy birthday, mom.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My first bag!

I have observed over the last few years that making bags of all sorts has become quite a craze over here. Since I am the kind of person who look for a loooong time before I find one I like and then proceede to use it until it falls apart - and grieve! - I have not given in to the pressure yet.

But this spring I got crazy and took a class. Here is the result!

I like the way the grey and pink goes together, though I am not partial to pink AT ALL!

I also like the way the lining goes up and 'closes' the bag. Open bags doesn't work in a country where it rains, often!

With all the japanese fabric left from the quilt I made for my sister-in-law, I could have made a dozen... I might make another one, if I ever get the time and there isn't anything else I want to do, or should do, or have to do.

My mom certainly liked it! She is the one in the family who has most bags... Always easy to know what to get her on my travel. I think she has one from every country I have been to. And she actually uses them, too! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Crackling fire, hot chocolate and knitting

I am sure I have one of the world's greatest view from my office. Considering the whole wall is just panorama windows, I can see all of Frognerkilen and Bygd√ły. Even when it rains, it looks good!

Oscarshall all wrapped in makes me feel transported to Japan, to some sort of tempel garden up in the mountains!

Can't wait to see it finished. Oscarshall, for those not in the know, is a pleasure palace (seriously!) built by Oscar I in 1847-1852. It is all pink, dainty and lovely. It is being renovated, and will be open for public in 2009, they think. I love the way it is situated. I can sit and look at it all day. Instead of working....

Having such a view is sometimes detrimental to work. It is raining today, all day, and it is impossible to NOT see it - since three of four walls here are windows. So all I can think of on a day like this, it being August and rainy, is fall. And fall for me is knitting, fireplace and a cold Coke. Sorry - I prefer cold Cola and my chocolate in chunks.

As I don't have any specific knitting ideas at the moment, I do what I always do in frustrated times like this: I go through every single pattern and book I have on knitting, and try to imagine myself liking all the patterns I have refused earlier, numerous times. I haven't bought yarn yet, so I am better off this year than last. I honestly do not have any quilt UFO's, but please do NOT ask me about knitting UFO's!

I know what is going to happen. I go to Boulder, again,  buy myself several knitting books, again, plan all the sweaters and jackets I will be knitting, again,  - and end up with knitting socks instead... again. Though... my socks aren't necessarily the dainty ankle ones. Kathy - you need to send me pictures of those sexy socks I knitted you. I forgot to take pictures before I shipped them:-) I wonder who else I can knit socks to.....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

On the other side of the world

On a business trip to Singapore in December, we got stuck in the rain back from lunch one day. The streets of that city is so clean, we ended up going barefoot back to the office. No way I was ruining my shoes!

When you go barefoot, you look down to make sure you aren't stepping into something, and you start paying attention to the ground. Walking over a wonderfully smooth and clean tile floor in one of the very nice cool walk ways outside an older building, I started to look at the pattern. It was so familiar. I stopped, grabbed my camera and started taking pictures. My colleagues thought I was crazy:)

These where the tiles:

And this was what it reminded me of!

Walter's Place from Dear Jane, the one I used in Elisabeth's Quilt!

I wonder what the ties are between an old tile floor in Singapore and a woman who sat in US during the civil war making the greatest quilt of all time (my opinion!). I could spin stories about that - exciting travels and daring adventures!

I love that things connects. 

Monday, August 4, 2008

On the fairway!

I got absolutely no quilting done this weekend! Instead I spent six hours on Saturday stuck inside (thankfully it rained... all of Saturday!) trying to cram too many rules about etiquette on the golf course into my head, and Sunday trying to hit a small white ball with different clubs. And strangely enough - I found it fun!

Yep, I am trying to learn how to golf. I have a goal to find so many different forms of exercises that I always have some kind that isn't boring. Belly dancing has been a favourite so far, even if I don't have a dance gene at all!

I have a right arm, and a shoulder, and a back and two knees.... that behaves perfectly nice and friendly - as long as I exercise routinely. When I was younger I did not really care about it, just went through the pain and hassle when it happened, and lived normally for the rest of the time. Until I tried to learn to drive a big motorcycle, a dream of a lifetime, and was told I could make a choice  - be able to drive a big motorcycle for a few years and then have a halfusable right arm for the rest of my life, or give it up and have the use of it a little big longer. So I realised that I have to make a foundation that can last me a long time. I intend to be able to quilt and craft as long as is humanly possible, and if the price to pay is exercising for the rest of my life - I can deal with that!

Doesn't sound like that big a deal, does it? Well, I am a HUGE fan of comfortable living. My favourite kind of exercise is to lounge on my very, very comfortable couch with knitting/sewing/quilting etc while watching one of my favourite sci-fi series (Farscape, Stargate, Atlantis, Star Trek, STNG, Enterprise, Babylon 5, Buffy, Angel, Heroes, Dr. Who, Torchwood, Agatha Christie... wait, that was crime. Oh well, you get the picture:)). To actually have to get up a heart rate and use my muscles till they cry is not a favourite past time. (well.... depends on the company, I guess;)) It still feels like lost time I will never regain - time that could be better used quilting, for one.

But then again - I want to quilt when I get 80:)