December 12, 2009
It has been a fascinating journey, from an envelope full of quilt blocks made by many different people to a pair of finished, queen sized quilts with coordinating pillows but I can't say I'm sad to have it done. It was quite chaotic at times, organizing what needed to be done, by what date and by whom. A lifesaver was a friend who makes quilts and just happens to be the person that got me hooked on Rat Terriers. She assembled the top of the quilt and put bindings on them after the quilting was done.
I made the pillows, using the blocks that wouldn't fit in the quilts. Having done very little sewing since high school, I was surprised at how much fun I was having working on the quilts and pillows. Of course, being a little OCD, I ended up buying a new sewing machine after starting the project. My new machine has over 70 special stitches plus it will do letters, although they are rather small. I used several of the stitches on the pillows, including the blanket stitch on the cranberry stripes and a leafy vine design on the back of one pillow.
I've even gotten excited about working with fabric and have collected several pieces of fabric to make into appliqued projects. I mentioned the OCD, didn't I? A habit I have to work harder on controlling is getting so involved in a new project or hobby that I feel a need to buy everything I can related to that craft. I do love making things and my obsessions are mostly related to tools and materials to create things. I have a room devoted entirely to all my art and craft stuff and it is overflowing. I'm glad that occasionally I can use my crafting skills to raise some money for my real obsession, Rat Terrier rescue.
November 05, 2009
Well, still sewing. This year Ratbone Rescues will have 2 quilts on it's fundraiser. The second one is really turning out to be very nice looking. All the blocks in this one were made by a Ratbone member named Kelly. She made quite a few blocks for the quilt and when everything was put together there were enough blocks for 2 quilts so we decided to hold all but one of Kelly's blocks back for the second quilt. Since she used only 2 fabrics for background and these had similar colors in them, this made for a well matched top. We chose a couple of rich colors to go with it and the mix looks excellent.
The edge was redesigned slightly for this quilt and of course will be in dark, rich colors. The last of the 3 appliqued sides is assembled and with the quilt maker who will stitch around all the pieces to hold them permanently in place.
The top of the Kelly quilt went together well and the sides will be on by next week when it is due to be handed over to our quilter. We will be picking up the Tiny Paws quilt at the same time so before long there will be pictures of the quilted project.
Personally, I love the Kelly quilt. It would look SO good in my room. Of course it would be too big for my bed so it is just as well that I'm not eligible to win it. Members of the Board of Directors are not eligible to receive the items awarded in our fundraisers. "sniff, sniff"
An aside to the quilt making saga is that I have kind of gotten into it and now I am planning to make a quilted wall hanging when both quilts are done. I have been designing an applique for the center and already have the fabric for it. If it goes well as a learning project, maybe next year I will make a Rat Terrier wall hanging on my own for the fundraiser.
October 17, 2009
This project is looking great. The quilt maker finished assembling everything and turned it over to me today. I will take it to the quilter tomorrow. She will put the batting and backing on and quilt the whole thing. Then it goes back to Anita, who will put a binding on the edge. I am very happy about how nice this quilt is coming out.
I don't know that I want to become a quilt maker. It could be like the afghan making spell I went through. Once you have made a half dozen or so, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THEM? I have a box full of afghans that I don't have any place to display. Maybe rescue would want to have a monthly raffle for a quilt. LOL!
I was a little worried when I sort of stumbled into being in charge of the quilt this year. I knew I could find someone local to do the quilting as there are several very good quilters in this area. Putting the quilt top together was a bit concerning however. Piecing quilts is not one of the skills I learned growing up, even though I watched my grandmother sew together numerous beautiful fabric creations.
Fortunately, my friend, Anita offered to help put together the parts. Having made a number of quilts, she knew what it would take to go from the box of blocks I received to a finished quilt. She knows about the squaring up of the blocks, cutting them all to precisely the same size, matching corners of blocks so everything comes together perfectly. Being a long time artist, I thought I could probably manage this if I needed to but now that I have made a pillow to match the quilt, I am very thankful that Anita was willing to help Ratbone by donating her time to this project.
Not that my pillow turned out bad but it sure did take a lot more effort than I expected. Making all the corners match and all the border strips the same width was more stress producing than I expected. I cannot imagine having to do this 20 times over.
It's all good though. All the parts are assembled and quilting starts this week. Plus, work has begun on the second quilt. We will have two quilts this year. The second one will be VERY striking. I selected fabrics to go with the blocks and they are absolutely gorgeous. Updates to come.
October 07, 2009
I am really anxious to see it all set together and get some pictures of the whole thing laid out on a bed. This would look good in my guest room. Too bad I can't participate in the drawing. Being one of the board members of the rescue excludes me from the raffle but I will be watching to see if someone I know gets the quilt. There are a lot of hours in this quilt, between the many Ratbone members and supporters who made quilt squares for us and the time donated by my friend, Anita, who makes beautiful quilts AND who gave me my first Rat Terrier.
For more information about the quilt or to get your numbers for the drawing to win, go to the link.
Ratbone Rescues Quilt
September 29, 2009
She has made quilts as well and the beds in her house, as well as those of her relatives, all sport stunning quilts. She is an expert at matching the colors and patterns to fit the setting and make a quilt that fits beautifully into the setting it is to be used in.
She has offered to teach me to piece quilts but I'm not sure about that, it is that straight seam thing, you know. On the other hand, my grandmother made quilts for years. I remember watching her cut tiny little squares and stack them by color then stitch them all back together by hand in a colorful pattern. These days it is doubtful you would find anyone doing the stitching by hand but many of the patterns are the same. Actually, I have found the applique part to be fun. I enjoyed making the squares and perhaps will try some wall hangings. Not sure where I will hang them but could be fun to make.
As the quilt has started being set together, it promises to look spectacular. The blocks made by the rescue members and supporters are being framed with black and at the corners, squares of cream color fabric with tiny paw prints are added.
This fabric will also be used on the borders of the quilt. The plan is for the black and the single, subtle print to add a degree of calm to the busy nature of the quilt which is inevitable with pictorial quilts.
Anita's one concession to my busy personality has been letting me design an applique for the quilt
edges. The plan is to apply this design to the cream colored border. The red will not be "red", it will be wine or very dark red, just enough for contrast from the black, to accentuate the twisting of the ribbon and the heart. I am really anxious to start working on this as I want to see how it will look on fabric. I think this will truly be a unique and beautiful quilt which someone will really enjoy owning.
September 25, 2009
For several years, one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for Ratbone has been a quilt which was made up of blocks our members and supporters make. When all the blocks were received, a volunteer assembled the top and quilted it so it could be raffled. Prior to last year, I had no involvement in the quilt, in fact I had never even made a quilt square before that. I made two squares for that last quilt and that went well. They were put in a wall hanging that was added to the raffle.
Early this year, it was decided that Ratbone would have a 2009 quilt raffle, the only problem was our volunteer quilter was no longer going to help us so the Board of Directors had to figure out what to do about getting the project from a bunch of cloth squares to a complete quilt. Somewhere in that process, I vaguely recall volunteering to handle getting this done. My grandmother pieced quilts when I was a child and I watched her stitch some elaborate blocks together but my experience at actually working on quilts was almost zero. What HAD I done??
After volunteering is not the time to figure out whether one is up to the job. Fortunately, I have a friend who is quite an experienced quilt maker and she agreed to help with the assembly of the blocks into a proper quilt top. I found a quilter who will then add batting and backing and quilt it together. I then set to making my own quilt blocks for the project. I had great fun with it this year, ending up with 8 squares to contribute to the quilt. One was of my own little Scooter, the others were from pictures of foster dogs or dogs owned by members of web-groups like Rat-Terrier.com. I even did a pair of squares with American Hairless Terriers (hairless Rat Terriers) on them. These are easily identifiable as they are wearing their "jammies".
All of the quilt squares arrived at my house about 2 weeks ago, then I really did wonder what I had gotten myself into. There were so many. There were different sizes and colors and I had no idea where to start. Lucky for me, I didn't do anything until I talked with Anita, who will assemble the top. She promptly told me "Touch NOTHING!" as she has special tools to cut squares perfectly square and all the same size. I am familiar with the term "special tool"! My mechanic always had one for some job on my car which made it impossible for me to do the job myself. I have a number of special tools myself, mostly related to woodcarving and sculpture, my first hobby love. Quilt making tools? No idea what they look like.
In the past 2 weeks, Anita and I have worked out the best layout for the squares, balancing colors and designs as much as possible. We figured out fabric colors that would go well, be pleasing and keep the overall appearance of the quilt unified and not too busy. This can be challenging when the different blocks contain so many colors, patterns and textures but we found some good option. The top is starting to come together already and my assignment is to design an edge pattern which will be appliqued on each side. I finished the design tonight and I believe I am happy with it. What Anita will think of it remains to be seen.
Stay tuned for updates as this project comes together. Be prepared for a special looking quilt and go to the Ratbone Rescues web site to get your raffle tickets.
August 20, 2009
Check out Ratbone Rescues' Stained Glass Lamp Fundraiser!
To see pictures and purchase tickets, please click on this link (at the top of the page, the word "website" is a link to buy tix):
This one is just one of Susan's lamps that I REALLY LOVE!
July 06, 2009
The first thing I noticed when we met was how many bite scars this little 14 pound dog had on her face. Apparently, when you put 80 some dogs, at least half of them terriers, together in a house, not only is it dirty but it is violent at times. With just my small pack, fights will break out every once in a while and even though injuries are rare, there have been some. Pack mentality being what it is, when a pair starts a fight, chances are good that several others will join in the fray. When 5-6 dogs fight, there is a reasonable chance of breaking it up without anyone being seriously injured. A churning mass of 20-25 battling dogs is something to run from.
Zuni is very shy and frightened, another consequence of living with a hoarder. She has not been well socialized with people and will not approach me at this point. I can only approach her if she is in a corner as she will move away when I move her direction.
Tonight, she discovered how to let herself in and out of the dog door. She may have had some access to a dog door where she lived as it is unusual for a new dog to figure it out that quickly if they have never used one. This of course creates a new problem, she is able to let herself out when she doesn't want to be caught. Once outside, catching her will not be likely so starting tomorrow this girl will probably be dragging a leash when she is loose. At least that way I will be able to bring her in at night.She has unusual markings for a Rat Terrier, rather reminds me of a Foxhound. She has the build of an Italian Greyhound but the face of a Rat Terrier. She needs to fill out some but she is still going to be a leggy thing with a whip tail. She is a very quiet girl so far, of course she is still getting acquainted so this may change. In the two days since I started this blog, she has become quite proficient at using the dog door. She has trouble deciding if she wants to be in or out so she just goes back and forth. She did finally approach me tonight and sniffed my leg then she let me catch her without cornering her. Good signs! She is on the way to a better life.
July 03, 2009
May 29, 2009
The error part came in when I decided to drop a dozen or so of them in my little front yard pond. This is just a little 35 gallon, free standing pond with a fall which normally shelters my 4 large Comet goldfish. My largest fish is close to 6 inches long and I suspect
May 23, 2009
A little over a week ago I began to notice the "dog room" had a more unpleasant odor than usual. The dog room is the large room at the back of my house which opens onto the deck and into the fenced yard. This is where my computer is located, next to a row of dog crates. Currently I am in the process of pulling up the carpet and putting down vinyl tiles to make a more dog friendly environment. This is where the dogs stay when I am working, so they have outside access but can be in the house if they want. Needless to say, with anywhere from six to twelve dogs at a time living with me over the past three years, not all with good house manners, the room is bound to have some odor, but this was worse than normal.
I checked around the room but found no offending deposits. I checked crates but no one had soiled their bed, I even got down and looked under the TV cart after noticing a couple dogs looking under there but I found nothing to explain the increased odor. Within a couple days I started taking the blankets out of all the crates to wash as the smell was getting worse. There seemed to be traces of the offensive scent on many items but none seemed to be strong enough to account for what was beginning to be just plain stinky. I searched the room again, several times, still thinking one of my little darlings had left me a nice deposit in some corner but I came up empty.
Yesterday, as I crawled around the floor laying tiles near the dog’s feeding station, I said to myself "It smells like something died in here". All the dogs had checked in for supper and the birds just moved outside earlier in the day so it wasn’t a family member. Once more I looked around the room, to no avail. Having worn myself out laying tiles I gave up for the day and went to bed. Waking up this morning, I realized the distinct stench had now found it’s way out of the dog room and into my adjoining bedroom. That was the last straw, the room was going to have to be cleared and the source of the smell dealt with. My greatest suspicion lay with the feeding station which is actually an old three drawer chest, just the right height to prepare dog meals and providing a storage place for supplies. I figured a mouse had made it’s way in, looking for something in the "treat" drawer and had died there. I would have to take out all the drawers, empty them and possibly turn over the chest.
Behind the chest were two crates, one empty, the other April’s. This pup sometimes has a problem with wetting in her crate and this morning the stink seemed more intense around her crate so I took it out first and, removed the blanket, which was dry and moved the crate to the bathtub to be scrubbed out. I then went back for the empty crate, prepared to work my way through the room. I didn’t have far to go. Picking up the empty crate which had been stored in a corner, my first thought was "how did the cat toy get back there?". Then I realized it was not the fuzzy ferret cat toy but a young opossum that had squeezed into the space between the crate and the wall to expire. The rodent like critter was only about six inches long with probably that much tail and if it weren’t for the smell I would have thought it was playing dead.
I doubt it crawled up onto the deck and in through the dog door itself so I have to suspect that one of the Rat "terrors" found it in the yard, inflicted a mortal wound and brought it into the house where it obviously lived just long enough to crawl off to hide from it’s tormentors. A cruel lesson was learned today. When you disturb a long dead possum that was squeezed down tight on the carpet when it died, what was a rather annoying, lingering bad smell immediately becomes a nose clogging, eye watering, stomach turning stench. It is now apparent that man’s greatest pet invention was the poop-scooper as this was the only feasible method of removing the remains from the room. Fortunately, it is nice weather now as the day was spent with the doors and windows open, many candles burning and fans running.
Even the dogs spent much of the day outside, lying in the sun and fresh air. Tonight everyone is sleeping with blankets over their crates as the door will be open all night. Simple Solution is good but it is no match for this situation. Fortunately, the carpet is coming out, sadly it will probably be several days before I can remove that portion as I have to finish tiling the center part of the room first so I can move all the crates off the carpeted part of the floor. I now fully understand the attitude of my country living, terrier owning friend, on the subject of dog doors.