17 November 2017

Friday Fortius

16 November 2017

Black in Scraps

Have you seen the black and white photo challenge? No people, no pets, no explanation. Today's quilt finish fits in quite nicely!

I didn't particularly like the "no explanation" portion of the challenge, but I've been seeing some pretty cool black and white photos. All my journalism years were spent during the era of black and white newspapers, so black and white isn't really a challenge for me. I enjoy seeing how others who haven't worked exclusively in black and white interpret the challenge.

However, I want explanations!!!

When I finally got tagged in the challenge, I posted a mythical and curiosity-provoking creation in a deliberate effort to stimulate conversation.

I asked whose idea the "no explanation" portion of the challenge was - someone who doesn't want to take the time to read but just look at the pretty pictures? I noted that I like reading what people write about their photos.

Conversation ensued. Yay!

Lizard said I should weave a fantasy about my outlandish oryx, mirrored in Instagram so I could fit the entire antlers into the post. So I commented the creature is real, thriving in the highlands of the San Juans, inspiring retired journalists to compose whimsical tales and offbeat novels. Now I suppose I need to come up with a two-headed hero in a half NaNoWriMo, right?

How about a fanciful fairy tale about colorful autumn leaves still dangling from trees in mid-November?

Or perhaps the stone cold bighorn guarding the courthouse steps could come to life in search of quilted heat?

Maybe super heroes will swoop down into the city to rescue a scrappy quilt from mischievous squirrels unhappy with the end of baseball season because that means no more nuts until April?

Now that I have your attention, you'll probably think the wacky details of this quilt are fictitious, too!

I had nearly finished pin-basting this baby when I noticed a pin prick blood spot on one of the white blocks. I quickly tried removing the fresh blood with cold water and a towel. No telling how many blood spots might be hidden on the black squares!!!

After I finished cleaning up the damage, I returned to pin-basting, and the backing was two inches too short on the final side. I'd added a couple of inches to the perpendicular side when cutting the zebra stripe backing to make sure it was big enough. When I taped the layers to the floor (one by one), I thought everything fit. When I smoothed everything out before pinning, I apparently didn't notice the top layer overlapped one side of the backing.

I had just finished taking everything apart, trying to make sure there were no more blood stains because I still hadn't figured out from whence the blood came. I had been dreading quilting this monster for months because it's so large, and the throat of my little Brother sewing machine is so narrow. This quilt definitely wasn't being user friendly!

I decided a strip from the camo might look good down one side of the back. It was the only black and/or white scrap with enough left for a long strip. After pin basting one more time, I had to take a four-day break from quilting altogether, not only because I didn't have time, but because I had officially hit burnout.

It was a big black bear to quilt. I wanted to throw in the towel several times. It took four nights after work and two weekend days to finish all the quilting, then another night to cut and finish the binding, which also incorporated scraps. Piecing the binding was a baby grizzly bear because I had to keep adding more. The quilt was too big!

But now the whole project is done. Now I have only three more quilts to finish for my quilts for Christmas project. The next three aren't this big. And they all have color! I get to break free from black and white, even in photography!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

14 November 2017


I'm nearly halfway through my November Reign III project... capturing sunrise (or the moment of hidden sunrise) every day this month. I've been so excited about some of the results!

In preparation for Veteran's Day, I wanted to include my patriotic Honor Starflake in some sunrise photos. I decided to string a few more recent favorite flakes to get sunrise shots of them, too, while I was at it.

Because I was on my way to work while snapping the photos, I didn't take my good camera. Thanks to elbow and neck pain earlier this year, I've been trying to minimize my commute load so as to give my body time to heal.

The little Nikon and the iPhone aren't always so good at capturing snowflakes during a sunrise...

the iPhone

the little Nikon

Last weekend, I'd planned to do a re-shoot not only to mark the actual Veterans Day, but also because I wanted better photos than what I'd snapped the week before. Some distressing family news took me out of inspirational photography mode for a good 24 hours, so I shot only the Honor Starflake the second time around. I now regret not taking more photos that morning because the sunrise did sport some amazing color, but at the time, my motivation just wasn't percolating.

The night I learned my parents' home had been broken into, I wrote a blog post, mostly to allow all the pent-up emotions to escape, but also to share what my family has learned and to hopefully help others avoid what my parents are now being forced to endure. Ultimately, I decided not to post it right now, in part because the investigation is ongoing, but also because this trauma occurred so close to the holidays. The experience has already made it difficult enough for my parents to regain their confidence and happiness without me bringing it all up again. So my angry blog post is on hold for a while. I'd rather spread sunshine than sadness.

So here are a few sunrises so far this month, as well as a couple of delightful sunsets, too. Spread sunshine. Make the world a better place.

13 November 2017

Snowflake Monday

Alex Kljatov, one of my favorite snowflake photographers, featured this gorgeous snowflake last month, and I knew I had to crochet it the instant I first saw it. Don't you just love the colors inside the snowflake?

I had fun trying to recreate this snowflake, matching Alex's photo, with my hand-dyed threads. I think this one would be pretty with beads, too!

Even though I called Estes Park home for eight years, I've never been to or photographed Isolation Peak, a 13,118-foot mountain in the Wild Basin of Rocky Mountain National Park. I've actually been in Wild Basin only a couple of times, so I guess I should set a goal to make a more thorough exploration of the area.

Trail highlights include places that would make not only great snowflake names but perhaps wonderful photos, too: Calypso Cascades, Ouzel Falls and Bluebird Lake.

Most definitely going to have to visit Bluebird Lake and then make a Bluebird Snowflake on a bluebird day!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Isolation Peak Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: *1 sc in ring, ch 6; repeat from * 4 times; 1 sc in ring, ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th petal of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 3, 3 dc in next petal; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 3, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Sl st into next dc, ch 3 (not a typo, counts as 1 dc), * ch 1, 3 dc in middle dc of next 3/dc group, ch 3, 3 dc in same dc; repeat from * around 4 times, ch 1, 3 dc in same dc as starting dc, ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 3 tip.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * 1 dc in each of next 7 st, 3 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 5: Ch 12 (counts as 1 dc and ch 10), * 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 10; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 12.

Round 6: Sk next dc, 1 sc in each of next 10 ch, sl st into next ch 5 tip, ch 5, 1 tr in same sp, ch 5, 1 dtr in same sp, ch 5, 1 tr in same sp, ch 5, sl st in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

09 November 2017

Autumn and Critters

Two of my favorite things!

I promised I wouldn't buy any more fabric until I finished at least 10 more quilts. The original intent was to get my WIP list down under 20 before adding to my stash. I'm currently at 25, but I've finished...

22 QUILTS SO FAR THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I deserve fabric, right!?!

One of my WIP projects has an autumn theme. Fat Quarter Shop's basic of the month sale on Moda Grunge in October featured a few curated collections. I'd fallen head over heels for the Harvest Grunge bundle when it was first made available, but I had to wait until the next pay day to take advantage of the sale. Of course, it was sold out by then. Darn!

I'd set aside the money to buy the fat quarter bundle, so I easily justified checking Thousands of Bolts to find out if I could make my own collection of autumn Grunge fat quarters...

I'll probably add a couple of browns and purples later on, and perhaps even a beige, when I actually get around to working on my autumn WIP, but for now, don't you think this is an accurate color representation of autumn in my neck of the plains-meet-foothills?!?

Finish Number 21 is another of the boy quilts, this one Five of Nine (or 11 of 15), Critters, composed of animal leftovers from other little boy quilts I've made for young members of the family. It also incorporates a few of the rainbow leftovers from quilts I've made for girls in and out my family.

I opted for a panda print for the backing for simplicity and speed, but also hoping the quilt will last the currently three-year-old recipient into his older years just a bit by providing a flip side a little more mature than the front.

I whipped up the straight-line quilting in just one night, so this was a super easy finish.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
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