My computer was down for a few days. The hard drive has been acting up for a few months and we decided to replace it last week. Raymond found a very nice 1.5 terabyte drive at best buy for a reasonable price and spent most of an evening taking out the old one and putting in the new one.
The next step was to use the restore disks that we got with the computer, and they seemed to work, but after all was said and done, we had no operating system. Just a blank screen with a flat flashing cursor up in the corner. Raymond got on the phone and negotiated with HP for quite some time and finally they promised to send us a new set of restore disks with Vista. That was on Saturday and they “overnighted” the disks. We got them on Tuesday.
The new set of disks worked as well as the old ones, and I was left again with a blank screen with a tiny blinking cursor up in the corner.
Raymond took the new hard drive out and put the old one back in. It works as well as it did before. Now and then, it balks in the middle of an operation, but eventually it performs its assigned task. I am hoping to get some wonderful technical advice from my favorite daughter that will resolve the situation. In the meantime, the old hard drive is working ok, and the new hard drive is back at Best Buy.
I guess I was computerless for about four days. I didn’t miss it nearly as much as I had expected I would. I didn’t even miss my farms in Farmville and Farm Town on Facebook. I actually felt a bit liberated. Unencumbered. No mail to check, no farming to do, no little games to play. I did miss Scrabble a bit, but the games I was in the middle of waited for me to get back. And when I got back online, I hadn’t missed anything critical.
I got a little housework done, read a couple of books and spent a lot of time in the sewing room. I started piecing a new project: a free block of the month that I have been collecting from the internet called Pushing Up Spring by Apple Blossom Quilts. It is a charming quilt and has been in the back of my mind for over a year. The picture below shows the blocks issued so far. I love the bright colors and cheerfulness of it. I am not sure about the border though. I may do something else.
So while I had extra time on my hands, I cut out all the pieces for the background blocks. I decided to use my gradations collection by Caryl Bryer Fallert and unbleached muslin instead of white. Each block is about 15″ square and all together, I think they will make a queen sized quilt.
I stuck the pieces on the design wall to play with them and took a picture.
It’s not big enough for all of them. The extra block parts are along the bottom. I am still moving them all around to get that perfect ‘random’ arrangement. I have a couple of the blocks sewn already too.
My gradation fabrics are very special to me. I saw them for the first time in Melbourne at the Boutique for Quilters quilt shop and fell in love. The colors are so rich and vibrant and the way the blend from one into the next is just beautiful. There were about 30 different color combinations, but I only got a few half yard pieces right then, and hoped they would be around the next month when my personal discretionary fund was replenished. My friend Irene Watson was there with me and noticed my fondness. Secretly, over the next few months, she and the other gals that I got together with for stitching every week, got half yards and quarter yards of the gradations and gave them to me on my birthday! It was such a surprise. Irene even had the gals in the store keeping track of which ones I didn’t have yet. I ended up with a piece of almost all of the ones they had at the store. It was overwhelming. Then a few months later, another quilt shop, The Red Rooster, went out of business and had a big inventory clearing sale. I got pretty full bolts of a couple of the gradations. One of them was the red-orange-yellow fabric that I used for my kitchen place mats, napkins, pot holders and window valance. That is the only time I have used them until now. And this feels like the perfect project for them. I should have plenty for the applique on the blocks too.
I have a few pictures of other things to share too.
These are my latest pair of socks in progress. My friend Sharon gave me the two balls of sock yarn. I figured I would try to make both socks at the same time. This picture was taken last week. You can see the sock on the top and right has the heel flap done. Since then, I have done the other heel flap, turned the heel and made the gussets on the sides of the foot. All that is left now is to knit them long enough and decrease for the toes. Then, I will have three hand made pairs of socks. This yarn has some elastic in it along with wool and nylon. The socks don’t feel quite as soft as the other two pairs, but I found this yarn to split much less than on the others, and I think they will be just as warm.
This picture is of a quilt I made for the Choo Choo Guild’s snuggle quilt challenge. This month’s challenge was this block, I think it is called Greek Cross, made with black and white fabrics with a focus fabric in the center. I thought these pandas were perfect. The blocks went together quickly and I had time to actually sandwich and quilt it. The binding is made from the rest of the panda fabric. It is mostly green with a few red flowers. I thought the little bit of color would be a nice accent. The picture is duller than in real life.
Finally, I have a couple sample blocks to show. I made them maybe a month ago. The pattern has two names that I know of. One is chicklets, which is a free pattern I downloaded from somewhere on the internet. The other is Carolina Crossroads. I saw a quilt made from this type of block a few months ago when I visited the Moon Over The Mountain guild in Ringold, GA. It is a great way to use up fabrics. Then one time when I was over at Sharon’s house for a stitch in, she was cutting 2.5″ squares to swap with Moon Over the Mountain guild members (Sharon is a member too) to make a quit from this block.
Then, I was looking through my computer collection of quilt patterns and found the chicklet quilt instructions and realized they were the same block. And they are much simpler to make than they look. I decided to cut up my smaller bits of purple fabrics into squares for this quilt. I have a lot of purples. I think this will be another queen sized quilt once it gets done.I also figured out a little trick to make the points that is much faster and looks a lot neater than in the instructions. I won’t tell about it here yet, because I have been waiting to show Sharon first.
I am still auditioning background fabrics. Raymond suggested the dark blue background, and I have been looking for just the right one. Then there will be the decision of having actual white for the little corners, or something else. Maybe a pale yellow or ecru. Anyway, I have enough sets of 16 little blocks sewn together already for the quilt, so once we find the background and point fabric, it will go together quickly.
That’s all for now. Happy Day!