Thursday, October 8, 2015

10 Things I Love About Not Watching Football

 Kathy over at Mama's Losin' It has a set of suggested writing prompts for today.  I picked "10 Things I love about football." 

There's just one catch.  I don't watch football.  Haven't seen a game in years.  That doesn't stop me from loving it though.  Here are my 10 reasons why:
  1. It's a great excuse to sit down and watch television on Sunday afternoons.  While I can hear the neighbors cheering on the home team, I am having an equally enjoyable time catching up on Downton Abbey episodes.  I don't feel guilty for being unproductive in the middle of a weekend day - everybody is!
  2. Even though I graduated from college many years ago, I maintain bragging rights to my alma mater's football team.  When they're winners, obviously I'm a winner.  When they lose I just don't bring it up.
  3. Having gone to plenty of games in the past, I now know exactly how long 100 yards is.  This is actually pretty useful.  Whenever some measurement is mentioned in a large number of yards, I compare it mentally to a football field.
  4. There are a lot of great tailgate and football party food recipes on Pinterest.  There's no law that says a particular dip can only be used for a football party.  When cooks get creative, everybody wins!
  5. Football pants.  I might have to endure replays on the nightly news, but I don't always mind so much. 
  6. We Americans stubbornly insist on calling our game football, when the rest of the world has a game they all call football and we call soccer.  I love that we're just contrary like that. 
  7.  Fewer crowds at the mall on game days.  The big crowds are all down the street at the stadium.
  8. Special game-day sales.  These run the gamut from shish kabobs to electronics.  Nobody requires you to show proof you actually watch the games in order to get the discount.
  9. "Football widow" events.  My local yarn shop hosts a big knit-in on Super Bowl Sunday every year, with refreshments and sales.  Count me in!
  10. Last but not least, I can go through the checkout line at the supermarket with a huge bunch of chips and snacks and drinks and guacamole and nobody bats an eye.  Because of course, I'm just getting ready for the game.
 Are you a football fan?  Or more like me - someone who just takes advantage of the wonderful parts of football season.

Day 8 today for the Harry Potter quilt show and tell.
Just another set of books.  Wizards clearly love to bind books with all kinds of fantastical images.  They're wizards, they can do anything they want.  I'd like to think the book with the flames on it is actually hot to the touch in the wizard world.  The one with skulls is probably a book on poisons.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Chillingsworth

Here is a sneak peek at my latest quilt.  It uses the "Chillingsworth" panel from Andover fabrics.  I was hoping to get to this last year but I ran out of time.  Good thing we have Halloween every year!

I got the idea for the quilting from a video by Leah Day.  The spiderwebs are all pretty free-form and messy.  I chose a peach color of Aurifil thread.

I added a little spider near the bottom and only noticed later that somehow I only gave him 7 legs.  I can go back and fix him but I sort of like him this way.

Day 8 of October means day 8 for my Project of Doom show-and-tell.  I need to hurry up and start putting these blocks together.

Here is Harry's wand, leaning up against a book with some weird hands on it.  I love all the strange fabrics I found in my stash to use on this quilt.

Linking up today with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Needlework Tuesday: Monster Movie blanket

This is one of my current works in progress.  I made a small version of this for a friend's baby that's on the way and as soon as I finished I started this one.  It's a great mindless project to work on while I watch something on television after dinner.  It's also helping me reduce my big box of scraps yarn.

October is the month I like to watch old monster movies.  And just lighter movies with a Halloweenish theme.  One of my favorites is Blithe Spirit from 1945.

Rex Harrison is charming in this Noel Coward ghost story.

Of course, The Fly from 1958 features an undeniably sexy Vincent Price.  Few men can pull off a dressing gown in this wild color, but he does.

Day 6 of my Harry Potter Project of Doom quilt.  This is one of my favorite blocks - a venomous tentacula.

I like the way this one turned out. 

Linking up today with Heather at Books and Quilts.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Halloween Bowl Fillers

 Here is the bowl in my front entry.  I really enjoy working on small projects throughout the year and switching out different themes for different seasons.  It's easy to find links to lots of free small patterns online.  I have a whole Pinterest board full of Halloween cross stitch patterns.

Day five of my Harry Potter "Project of Doom" quilt is another block of books.  I like the way some are designed to lean. 

  Keep checking back while I finish putting this quilt together this month.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Slow Sunday Stitching: Acorn Hollow

Today I'm working on this wool piece called "Acorn Hollow" and I'll hopefully finish it up.  As you can see, I still have the border to stitch and then there will be a bit of embroidery to add.  This is one I'll almost be sorry to finish, it's been so lovely to work on.  I think that's part of why I drag my feet on some projects - I don't want to see them end!

I'm not sure where I'll put this when it's finished.  Maybe I should have thought of that before.  These soft woolly things are always cat magnets.  The cats must think I just make pretty beds for them all the time.

It has a bit of weight to it, with all the wool, so I don't think I want to hang it on a wall.  I need to put it somewhere that invites people to touch it.

It will be about 15" x 18".  Where would you put it?

Linking up today with Kathy for Slow Stitching Sunday.

Slow Sunday Stitching

In keeping with my slow reveal of my Harry Potter bookcase quilt this month, here is block 4, which includes Harry's glasses.  The bee fabric is a nod to Dumbledore.  Dumbledore is actually the Old English word for bumble bee.  J.K. Rowling knew that and mentions bees subtly in several of the books.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Easy Halloween Bunting Tutorial

Isn't this cute?  It's a great Halloween project to enjoy for years to come.  Here are my instructions for working with this great preprinted panel called "Sew Scary" from Quilting Treasures.  I knew as soon as I saw it in a shop that I had to have it.

  • Make a decision:  You can use all of the fabric and create nine flags that have preprinted fronts and backs OR use your own fabric for the backs and make a longer bunting or even two separate strands of nine flags each.
Bear in mind, that you can see one fabric through the other, so if you make it two sided, it will look cute hanging in the middle of a room, but you may want to add a layer of muslin in between the layers to cut down the see-through effect.  I know mine will probably always be against a wall so this didn't bother me too much.

Cut apart all of the pieces leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.  This includes the long skinny printed strips in the center of the panel.

  • Make a decision: Pick which pieces will be fronts and backs and pair them up.  I started with all of the more plain patterns for backs and then (reluctantly) added a few cute ones from the fronts pile to make them even.  If you're using a different fabric for the backs, this isn't an issue.

With your front piece on top, pin a pair together on one side matching points and sides.
Sew along one side, using the printed line as a guide, then pin the other side the same way.  Handle these bias edges carefully.
Now trim the points and turn it inside out.  I used a chopstick to help make the point.  Run the chopstick inside along the side seams to help them flatten.
Trim the little "ears" at the top. Make all of the flags this way and press them. (I hadn't trimmed them yet in the following picture.)

Join the two long skinny strips end to end, matching the printed line, and trim the seam to 1/4".  Press the seam open.
Press the white seam allowance to the wrong side of the strip on both sides.  Then press the whole strip in half the long way with wrong sides together.

Finally, I've done the math for you.  Leave 8" on each end of the strip, and one inch between each flag.  Arrange them and pin them inside the fold of the strip you have just pressed.  I pinned each in the center as well, just to keep it from shifting around.

Fold in the end to close it up as you sew very close to the edge down the length of the strip.  Fold in the last end as well and enjoy!
For now, I've secured the ends of mine with painter's tape to the back of a vintage painting I have in the living room.  It hangs above the spooky town the kids and I made a few years ago.

I hope this was helpful.  We were all novice sewers once and I know I appreciate the tutorials I've used over the years.

And finally, to continue with my month-long reveal of my Harry Potter "Project of Doom" quilt, here is block 3:
The purple fabric is from Africa, and I thought it could pass for some international Wizards stirring a cauldron.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finished for Friday: When Witches Go Riding

I am really happy to present today's finish.  It's called "When Witches Go Riding" from a very old pattern by Prairie Schooler.

When Witches go riding
and black cats are seen
the moon laughs and whispers
'tis near Halloween

I spent years trying to find this pattern and finally got lucky.  I have already passed along my copy.  I have seen a copy sell recently on eBay for $82.  I got mine for much less than that.

I tracked the hours I spent on this one and the total was 40 hours over about two months.  It was a pure joy to stitch.  I was happy to find a ready-made frame that fit perfectly.  It was designed for panoramic snapshots.  This isn't the first time I've been able to use this size for needlework.  Worth looking for if you want to save money on framing.

There's no question that black cats are seen pretty regularly around here.

And to continue with my month-long Harry Potter "Project of Doom" show and tell, here is block 2:

I decided early on that I would rather have fancy books.  I could keep the spines simple and embroider the book titles, but I like the look of various different bindings.  So if anybody asks, you can't read the titles if you're a muggle.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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