Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Labor Day Adventures In Quilting, Dorm Stink, and Pet Reunions

Good morning, and Happy Wednesday!  I hope all of you in the States enjoyed a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  Mine was weird, but wonderful -- I'll get to that in a minute.  First, I have to show you the giant block I finished last night for Anders' Beware the Ishmaelites quilt (my modified version of the 2014 Moda Modern Building Blocks sampler, pattern available here).  

25 x 25, Block Three for Beware the Ishmaelites Sampler Quilt
This 25" block that I completed last night is not found in the original pattern; I am swapping it out for the large green and orange star block with white background that you see in the upper right corner of the original Moda quilt:

Original Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt, 84 x 96
Here's what my version of this quilt will look like:

Beware the Ishmaelites, 94 x 104
Just to recap, these are the changes I've made to the original pattern:

  1. Resized all of the blocks to increments of 5" instead of the original 6" grid, so a 36" block is now a 30" block, a 30" block is now a 25" block, etc.  This allowed me to get the exact size I wanted for my bed, but at the cost of ruler-friendly numbers for rotary cutting.  So the majority of these blocks will be either foundation paper pieced or cut out with old school cardstock templates.
  2. I added the borders, for two reasons.  First, this quilt is going to go on my younger son's bed, and I am envisioning (and liking) how these boldly striped borders are going to look hanging down on the sides of his black platform bed.  Second, this is going on a bed, and the bottom of the quilt is going to be tucked in where no one can see it...  And did you notice that row of tiny blocks on the bottom of the Moda version?  By shrinking all of my blocks and adding borders, I've moved those little blocks up onto the top of the mattress so we can SEE them once this quilt is on the bed.
  3. I've swapped out some of the original blocks in the quilt for others, such as the block I finished last night, the block in the lower left corner of the quilt, and a few of the smaller ones as well.  I replaced blocks if I thought the original was too similar to another block in the quilt, or if I thought it was boring, or if I found a more interesting block in the EQ8 Block Library or in Blockbase before I located the block that Moda used in their original quilt...
  4. Finally, I recolored the entire quilt to suit my own tastes and to coordinate with my son's bedroom, using all Kona Solids rather than Moda fabrics.  That's because I have a Kona Solids color chart that I was able to use to match the exact shades that I needed and I have all of the Kona Solids colors available to use in my EQ8 software.  So when I'm designing a quilt in EQ8 using Kona Solids and then I piece the actual quilt using Kona Solids, what I see on my computer screen looks exactly like what I see in real life in my finished quilt.  

My Design Wall, Late Last Night
So, there you see the three completed blocks up on my design wall.  Also featured are the languishing Modern Baby Clam Shells on the left (need to cut out the background clam shells and circles and start piecing it), intended as a baby gift for a child who is now nearly 9 months old, my machine appliqué sampler from Karen Kay Buckley's workshop (needs some kind of borders attached before it goes into the Waiting To Be Quilted Que (also known as Quilt Purgatory)...  The appliqué block at the top right corner of the design wall is from a machine applique class that I took with Harriet Hargrave about 7 years ago(?!).  I'm thinking of adding corner triangles and borders to that one to bring it up to 16" square, the size that I need for a Blocks On the Move mini quilt (a fabulous idea that I borrowed for our guild from the wonderful Country Crossroads Quilters of Modesto, California).  The barely-begin block just below that one is my class sample from the hand appliqué workshop I took with Karen Kay Buckley in July. I don't think I'm going to finish that one by hand, because I'm not interested in recreating the entire Fiesta Mexico quilt that it came from and I can practice the workshop techniques that Karen taught us on other hand applique projects that are already in progress.  But I threw the block up on the wall anyway because I might decide to finish that one by machine, add some hand stitched embellishments with some of the cool threads I picked up from the Wonderfil booth at Spring Quilt Week in Paducah, and turn THAT block into a 16" finished piece for Blocks On the Move.  

However, all of this has to come DOWN now, because I've taken on an exploratory quilt commission for a client.  I have to take everything off the design wall, brush away any stray dark threads or dog fur, vacuum the carpet and clean the iron, so I can get started on a vintage UFO Double Wedding Ring with a white background.  I need to be able to lay those blocks out on the wall.  We're thinking of finishing this as either one or two Queen size bed runners so that I can pick and choose the best-pieced, flattest blocks, and turn this into a finished quilt that the client can use in her home at a more affordable price point than an entire bed quilt.  

Oh, I almost forgot -- I promised to tell you about my Labor Day Weekend at the beginning of this post!  Well, the weird part of it was that my house was so quiet, with Lars away at college and Anders away on a high school youth church retreat.  But on Saturday, we headed up to Boone, North Carolina for a quick, spur-of-the-moment visit to see Lars-of-Ours and bring him some more items for his dorm.  And, when I asked Lars what else he needed besides air freshener for the stinky dorm, a bigger fish tank for his Betta fish, and trash bags, without hesitation he answered "BRING OTTO!"  So we went on a 4-hour round trip in the car to make Bring Your Doggy to College Day happen for Lars -- and it was totally worth it:
Lars-of-Ours, Reunited with Otto After a Three Week Separation
I love how the dog's head is bigger than Lars's.  

Otto the Snuggle-Pup, Hanging Out in Boone, NC
Otto is the sweetest, gentlest soul of a dog you could ever imagine -- but only to me, my husband, my mother, and my sons.  His view of the world is that everyone is probably an enemy unless proven otherwise, which is unfortunate because he is so darned CUTE that everyone wants to come and visit him and pet him, but as soon as a stranger approaches him he starts barking so viciously that you think he's going to eat you.  :-(. My female Rottweiler is the exact opposite -- she is super friendly to everyone, and assumes all strangers exist to rub her belly and scratch her ears.  But Lulu is not Lars's dog; she's Bernie's dog.  Lulu stayed home.  Taking Otto out into the world to continue to socialize him is important, and he does just fine as long as he's on his leash attached to my husband, who runs interference with strangers who are drawn to Otto like a magnet.  "Chick bait" is what Bernie calls this dog!

Otto and Bernie Hanging Out in the Parking Lot of Zaxby's

It was tricky enough working out the logistics with just the one dog, as it turned out, because we did not realize that Saturday was Appalachian State's first home football game of the season and everything was mobbed.  We couldn't even park in the parking lot outside Lars's dorm because it's right across the street from the stadium and it was reserved for tailgating. And, although there are several dog-friendly restaurants near Lars's school, we circled around the block for a good half hour and there were zero parking spots to be found.  We ended up driving a little further out to a Zaxby's restaurant and ordering food to go that we ate picnic-style in the grass next to the parking lot.

Lars's other pet, who is living with him at college full-time, is a Betta fish named Winston that one of his high school friends bought for him about a year ago.  This fish has been in a tiny little tank all this time, with no gravel, no rock or plant or anything to hide in, for a YEAR.  Lars has done a fantastic job of keeping the fish alive, remembering to feed it, change the water regularly, etc.  So I sent him a care package with some fake plants, a hiding rock, and gravel after we moved him in.  Lars's brother Anders picked out the little Hula dancer.  But I wasn't remembering exactly how tiny Lars's tank was when we picked out all of these accessories -- nothing fit except the Hula dancer, with her head sticking out of the water!

Lars's Betta Fish Winston, Original Tank, Next to Grande Starbucks Cup
After we left to drive home, Lars went to the football game with some other students.  He sent me this picture of the new 3.5 gallon tank all set up for Winston:

Same Fish, Same Hula Dancer, MUCH Bigger Tank

SO much better, don't you think?!  And off to the right of the tank in this picture, you can see the Nest Diffuser that I set up for him to combat the stink that happens when two teenaged boys are crammed into a small dorm room in a building that does not have air conditioning.  They are not allowed to have any kind of candles in the dorm, not allowed to burn incense, and not allowed to use any of the plug-in room fresheners.  The Damp Rid and other air fresheners the boys had been using at first were not doing the trick, so I decided to try an oil diffuser with a strong, masculine scent that isn't overpowering or nauseating (NOT like those little Christmas tree air fresheners that people used to hang from their rear view mirrors!).  I wanted to select the scent in person so I bought this for Lars from a local Blue Mercury shop, but you can get the same one (Nest Morroccan Amber) on Amazon here.  Depending on how often the boys flip the reeds, this should last them anywhere from 3 months to the entire school year, and there are oil refills (only available on the Nest website here) that are nearly half the cost of the initial kit that comes with the vase.

And last, but not least -- I discovered a fabulous quilt shop and Bernina dealer in Boone, right down the street from the hotel where we stayed when we moved Lars into his dorm!

Sew Original in Boone, NC, My New LQS-Away-From-Home
My husband the comedian, who remained outside in the car with Otto, said "don't stay in there all day and don't spend any money."  AS IF!

I met the loveliest salesperson Susan, who recognized me from my blog and from the Bernina 7 Series Yahoo group(!!) and came out with a package of pretty jacquard ribbons and an Accuquilt GO! cutter starter package, since it was the last day of the manufacturer's holiday rebate and I'd had my eye on the larger size cutter for awhile.

Okay, that's it for now because I have to scoot out the door to get my mom to a medical appointment on time.  Have a wonderful day, everyone!

I'm linking up with:


·      Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
·      “WOW” WIPs on Wednesday at Esther's Blog


·      Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


·      Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
·      Beauty Pageant at From Bolt to Beauty
·      Finished Or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts
·      TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here:  


Soma @ said...

Have fun with the quilts. What an adventure! Glad Lars got to Otto and Winston has a lot more room now. Otto looks so comfy beside your husband :)


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

yes right - drop you off at a quilt shop and don't spend money LOL - really what are these guys thinking :)
great you got to see your boy and nice dog you have there!!

Yvonne said...

Patterns are great for inspiration! I love that you made the quilt your own. And by the way I love your block!

SJSM said...

What a wonderful surprise for Sunday. Those spur of the moment plans are so mentally refreshing. I’m glad you could change up the weekend. I’m surprised you did not have choir. Is it a break or did you play hooky?

Rebecca Grace said...

We didn’t spend the night in Boone, just drove up for lunch, dropping off dorm supplies and a few hours of dog+boy bonding before heading back to Charlotte (after the brief quilt shop detour). I was there with the Labor Day Remnant team to sing in church on Sunday morning !

LA Paylor said...

Poor Otto, adored by the public, and him an introvert. He is adorable. I was singing the tv show theme, movin' on up! while looking at the beta. I love a hula dancer! The air freshener probably shouldn't be near the tank though. When we travel with Milo, it's almost always take out... would Otto like Milo? (other dogs?) Cesar Milan says to stand with your back to a nervous dog, (not in biting distance) and they can relax that you're not out to get them that way. Milo is more kid and dog interested than in adults usually, so now I give the adult who wants to pet him a treat to entice Milo to interact. It's working so far.
My husband does the same thing at quilt stops... glad you found some purchases!

Preeti said...

1. Lars is much more of a chick magnet than Otto. Just my opinion.
2. The Hula dancer tried to keep her head above water but alas she gave up her land life to become a mermaid.
3. Bernie!!! You'd think he woudl have learned by now.
4. That you were recognized at the Sewing Shop by your blog is the most amazing (and validating) thing.
I have to go read the details about your modified quilt blocks again to figure out what you are doing and why. Well, because you can - that's why. It seems like a huge undertaking for a bed quilt. Yes but that is Rebecca. C'mon Preeti - you should know by now.

chrisknits said...

Love that block!!! And how sweet to be recognized. And what a sweet pup!

Lakegaldonna said...

I love what you have done in EQ for Anders quilt. The borders just make it all pop.
Fun to see your boy at college.
Winston is in swimming heaven with the new digs.

Susan said...

That is such a pretty block, and I love that it's big!

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

Beautiful quilt blocks! We used to live a few blocks from a college, so I walked my dog through the campus almost daily because the students missed their pets at home and wanted to pet a dog. We also brought our dog to visit our kids at college (only an hour away). When our daughter spent a summer in grad school six hours away, she asked me to visit with the dog. Unbeknownst to me, he chewed the seatbelts during the long drive. And I had to stay at a very sketchy motel because it was the only place that allowed pets. Never again! Of course nicer hotels now accommodate pets more readily. Anywho, I also found a fantastic LQS near the university and was able to visit it several times. BTW, we visited Boone nine years ago — what a beautiful place!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Your block is amazing! and your Labor day.... what fun - but it would be hard to keep people away from your pup - he is quite adorable!!! I would want to snuggle too! I have a tiny ( 12#) dog and he looks so cute, until someone comes my way - then he barks too... So I understand!

The Joyful Quilter said...

That was QUITE the rundown! The blocks for "Son the Younger" are looking good. LOVE the photo of your boy and his dog, but I'm guessing that Winston is loving his new digs even more! That's a lovely quilt shop. Your husband is very funny if he seriously thought you could come out of there without spending any money! Enjoy your purchases.

Julie said...

I feel like I just caught up with you! Wasn't Labor Day supposed to be a day of rest? You've given me a great idea on how to save a not so lovely quilt top by turning it into one or two bed runners. Thank you! I'm glad to see/hear Lars and fish are thriving at university. It's a huge step for anyone, and including their family. It can be such a weird year when the first leaves the nest, but even harder when they come home the first summer! Enjoy your fall, Rebecca, and keep popping out those great ideas while incorporating your design background. (Those tigers were to die for!!) I'm sure I'll be pea green with envy when your challenge is done.

Leanne Parsons said...

Your design wall is looking lovely with those blocks on it :) The poor fish in his tiny tank made me laugh. I'd say he's much happier in the larger tank :)