29 March 2013

Science is Hexie

So instead of working on finishing the quilting for the blue quilt or editing my manuscript draft or doing an experiment, I made a pillow today!

Ta-da! A crappy phone pic!

I used a 16" pillow form and made one of those pocket style covers for it. The fabric is various science-themed fabrics: resistors and gears in a stripe pattern, chemistry style molecules, math formulas and diagrams, and, best of all, animals in lab coats doing science stuff (Lab Animals by Michael Miller). The background is Kona ash and the back is a gray polka dot.

For the quilting I just did a basic stipple. One corner has tighter/smaller stippling than the rest because I originally wanted to do tiny stippling but then spaced out and lapsed into my standard stipple size. I never realized how much eyelashing I get when I stipple (probably because I didn't know it was bad, I actually think it looks kind of cool...) but I figure it doesn't matter since they live inside the pillow. I also used a decorative stitch for the binding because I didn't want to sew it on by hand but I'm pretty bad at making binding look nice/hiding the stitches.

New Techniques: hexagons and dun-dun-dun the y-seam, fussy cutting (so I could get that cat with the microscope), and making a pillow cover

Pi's Waistline: A Work in Progress

Recently, I have been struggling with maintaining Pi at a healthy weight. She is kind of yo-yo-ing in a 5 pound range, which is a lot for an ideally 33 lb dog.

This is the only pic I have of her where you can see that she, normally, has
a clearly defined waist from the top. Also, I just love this picture ^_^

Almost a year ago now, two weeks after earning her CGC certificate, Pi was attacked by my parent's neighbor's dog. This dog broke a chain link fence and came into my parent's yard specifically to bite Pi. Understandably, she was not quite herself after the whole ordeal and she actually lost weight because she didn't want to eat.

Ouch! Luckily it was only her front leg

We started doing more fun dog things as summer progressed and Pi got out of her funk. She was running around, she was eating, everything seemed okay.

Look at that fit doggy! Good job Pi!

In fact, I didn't notice she was getting a little thick around the middle until we went to the vet in December (that whole see her every day thing...). Pi had gained about 5 lbs in 6 months! I think part of the problem was that she still had a well defined waist from the side and was still just as energetic as always. What I can really notice, and my personal weight test, is the rib feel. Pi's ribs have never been visible but they are normally easily felt. I don't know why I didn't notice her ribs slowly being covered by a layer of pudge over the summer, but since the vet visit I have been paying a lot more attention!

This is December. After the vet visit we spent more time going to the field where Pi can run off leash.  

Around this same time, I learned that one of my roommates had spent the whole summer feeding Pi from the table whenever (and whatever!) he was eating. Not okay. Pi does get a fair bit of human food, like bones, bits of meat, rice based left overs, and stuff that we spill on the floor. However, normally when someone gives her something significant during the day they tell me and I adjust her dinner serving accordingly. 

Anyway, I've been trying harder to get her enough exercise for the last few months but her waistline is not slimming up as much as I might have hoped. At least her ribs are definitely carrying less fat. One problem is that I have been adding oil to her food to help with dry winter skin issues and I am not a good judge of exactly how much less kibbles to give her to account for it. Hopefully, now that spring is coming and there's more daylight, Pi and I will be able to get out some more.

And so here she is today. More or less no definition from the top but still with a decent tuck from the side.

Poor dog didn't understand why I wanted her to stand there and not sit!

28 March 2013

Texas Teardrops QAL!

For some unknown reason I woke up this morning and decided that I really want to do a quilt along, like right from the beginning. So now I'm going to join the Texas Teardrops Quilt Along that starts April 1. Nothing like waiting til the last minute...

It looks pretty awesome though, right?

27 March 2013

I think I can, I think I can

This is the story of the little free motion quilter that could. Well, at least half way.

Concentric diamonds are waaaay easier than concentric circles

The throat on my sewing machine is what some might call tiny, perhaps even itty-bitty. This quilt is not small (about 65"x90") and so my grand vision of large, monodisperse, free motion Archimedes spirals has morphed into "consistently inconsistent" spirals. Although this photo only shows half the quilt, I've finished both spiral panels and am making headway on the last straight-line panel. All the sashing and the border is yet to be attempted but both are more or less planned. I also have an idea for those big empty diamonds (hint: it's seahorses!).

Half-inch spacing seemed like a better idea before I started.

With any luck I will be binding this weekend, especially if I can commandeer the kitchen table again. I think I can, I think I can...

I'm linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

22 March 2013

Two Small, But Satisfying, Finishes

For Christmas this year I gave my baby sister a Star Wars piggy bank that I made at one of those 'paint the pre-made pottery' places.

I call him 'Darth Piggy'

Then, one day not too long ago, I saw a whole shelf of Star Wars fabrics at my LQS and knew that the Munchkin needed something, anything, made with them. And so I made her this pillow case. It was fast and easy and she absolutely loved it! What more could a big sister ask for?

I also made an iPod armband last Saturday following this tutorial. The directions worked perfectly, no unsewing required.

I didn't make mine scrappy really because I wanted it to match my headphones (and shoes) which are that same blue color. I quilted it with a loose stipple in the grey and a geometric stipple-ish thing in the blue using a variegated blue thread. I also lined mine with flannel because I am paranoid about scratching my phone. I also put two pieces of elastic for added gripping power. If I did it again, I would be more careful about the rubberband placement; mine is a little short and off center but at least it functions.

I tested the case out in lab this week and was pleased to find it very effectively keeps my headphone cables out of the way of all the things in lab that want to snag them. I even wore it "running" with the dog with great success. (I say "running" because I walk faster than I run, I'm not kidding).

Go check out Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts!

19 March 2013

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

My big brother finally proposed to his girlfriend. Sometime in the foreseeable future they will get married and my mom is making them a double wedding ring quilt.

He gave her a pretty shiny ring

Because I foresaw my brother's engagement and also my mom's quilting for it, I have decided to make a quilt for my adoptive family's upcoming wedding instead. My landlady's oldest daughter will be getting married next summer in Germany and I am making a Trinity Celtic Knot quilt in red, blue, and gold on a cream background for her. I haven't bought the fabric yet but I'm almost decided on what I want. The whole thing is 2" squares (over 2000 of them...) so I'm leaning towards mottled fabrics to give it some variation without actually being scrappy.

13 March 2013

Now What?

Someone, who shall remain nameless, recently sent me this:

At first I was excited. It's cute. It's small. It's pretty. It's free. What's not to love? But then the realization that I have absolutely no idea what to do with these things set in. And so, I ask, now what?

I'm thinking baby blanket and scrappy. I have a feeling these will be on the wall for a looooong time.

Some ideas percolating...

But wait! "what ever happened to the nautical themed disappearing nine patch anyway?" you may be wondering. "Shouldn't you be finishing it up before starting something new?" Well, the DNP sampler and I have a had a bit of a disagreement on quilting - I want it to be quilted and it wants to turn into a giant lumpy mess. And so the DNP sampler has been in time out in my closet for the last few weeks. Hopefully our differences will soon be sorted or it may become my first UFO...

This is what a quilt looks like when it is in time out.

06 March 2013

Classy as F***

Someday, when I'm a rich doctor, I will probably have to go to functions where they serve wine or some such thing. Even if I go the professor route I will still have to go to scientific conferences which I know involve cocktail hours of the wine/beer/no actual cocktails variety. This is a problem for me because I only like mixed drinks and hard cider. I could abstain, but that's kind of awkward, especially when people keep asking you if you need a drink...

And so, in anticipation of one day belonging to a fancy pants social class, I have been training myself to be more cultured by learning to drink wine and going to classy things, like the theater. I am also working on changing my attitude on art from "art is just an excuse for ugly and weird" to something more along the lines of appreciation, it's an uphill battle. Last year I went to the symphony and two ballets and have discovered that moscato is kind of okay. I also did this over the summer and it was awesome!

This past weekend, however, I really dove headlong into the classy thing. Friday night I went to the Theatre (yes, re not er. It's fancy, remember?) and saw a Pulitzer Prize winning play called "You Can't Take It With You" and I liked it. Afterwards, meimei and I hosted a wine and cheese party. We had 4 wines, 5 cheeses (with note cards to tell us which ones went together *cough*engineer*cough*), strawberries, and crackers. Also, we had a fire and classical music on the radio.

Cheese: gouda, fontina, gruyere, extra sharp cheddar, and herb marinated mozzarella
Wine: Chianti, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Shiraz

And then, as luck would have it, I got a free pair of tickets to a student production of "My Fair Lady" from one of my fellow anatomy TAs when I went in to dissect on Saturday. So Sunday afternoon I took my landlady to the theater (the show was really great and waaay funnier than the movie) and then I had a glass of the leftover wine with dinner to keep the classy going.

Yay free tickets!

At this rate, I should manage to weasel my way onto a yacht by the 4th of July. And yes, I did just decide that yachts are the epitome of classy. Although, it may be ruined a bit if I bust out singing "I'm on a Boat" in my T-Pain voice.

Worth it. Definitely worth it.