Alpaca Fun Day and quilt update

Last weekend my pal Sam invited me to go to an Alpaca Fun Day event at a local alpaca farm. I didn’t even know that there WAS a local alpaca farm! It’s called Isabella Alpacas (no web presence that I could find). I was pretty excited to see what it was like.

The alpacas were SUPER CUTE, of course. They had some who were young and had just been sheared for the first time this year, and others who were older.

Alpaca Fun Day

One of the folks there handed Sam a bowl and the nearby alpaca was VERY enthusiastic about eating the kibble. He also made some really cute snorting noises that reminded me of Coraline.

This weekend I also made a beeline for CraftyTown and worked on my current quilt project. Hooray! I haven’t been making enough time for it lately so I was really happy to have several consecutive hours to give to it this weekend.

Day off means quilting and podcasts #joy

I’m working on the background of the quilt in quadrants which are six squares (each 3.25″ square) square. I find that I have a neater result when I do it this way, though in the case of an art quilt like this I’m not 100% upset if things aren’t perfect. I have my sketch drawn out on graph paper (you can see it on the left side of the photo above) and this helps me to know what fabric I want to put where.

Quilt in progress

Having the 36 squares laid out, I then match them up so I can do smaller sections and then attach them to each other to make the whole 6×6-square quadrant.

Quilt in progress

I’m using a non-traditional seam allowance on this quilt. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to do this – it’s been ages since I started this project – but when I picked it back up, it was obvious that’s the seam allowance I chose, I’m going with it.

Quilt in progress

Not too long ago, Susan hipped me to these Wonder Clips, which I now adore. They make piecing SO EASY! I love that they’re red on one side and clear on the other, so I can use that to remind me which was is up, if I happen to jumble my clipped squares. They’re also a lot easier to put on and take off than pins are – though I will often use pins along with the clips to designate the position of various sections so that I remember which way it goes throughout the transport from the cutting table to the sewing machine and back.

Quilt in progress

I’ve also started to use chain piecing, which for a project like this is saving me all kinds of time. Thanks to the Wonder Clips and my pin “labeling” system, I can sew a bunch of bits together in one go and not worry about forgetting which piece goes which way.

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FO Friday: Star Trek Macbook Air Gadget Guard

I end up taking my laptop to work with me on a fairly regular basis and I wanted a sleeve for it that would fit into my purse and protect it a little bit. I looked around online and didn’t see any ready-made sleeves that were cool, so I looked for patterns instead and came up with Dog Under My Desk’s Gadget Guard. Susan has often recommended DUMD and assured me that her patterns are super-detailed and really work. The pattern was even on sale!

I picked out some fabric from my stash, made a trip to Joann for some zippers and interfacing, and placed an order online for Soft & Stable batting alternative (sadly Joann doesn’t carry it in our local store and I wasn’t able to reach anyone at the local quilt shop to find out if they had any in stock). I debated on fudging the batting with something I could buy that day or had in my stash, but it seemed important to get something with some shape, and I’m glad I did. The case is fitted exactly to the shape of my laptop and I can see that if the sleeve was squishier/had less structure, the lappy wouldn’t slide in and out as easily as it does.

MacBook Air Gadget Guard - pattern by Dog Under My Desk

As you can see, it turned out really nicely! The front pocket has a double-pull zipper and a pleat, so there’s room for something a little more than flat to fit into it if desired. And the top zipper is also double-pull, which I just find really handy.

MacBook Air Gadget Guard - pattern by Dog Under My Desk

I used a geometric design for the lining and I think it is a nice contrast to how busy the exterior fabric is.

Gadget Guard in purse

As you can see, it fits! It’s snug and sticks out the top a bit, but that is fine with me. I like that it’s a snug fit – the laptop sleeve isn’t going to slide out by accident – and I sort of like that it shows off the fun fabric a little. If I’m going somewhere that I need to have “invisible” devices hidden in my purse, I can go without the sleeve or just take my tablet instead.

Gadget Guard in purse

OH! And the best thing is that this pattern uses a formula, so it’s easy to make cases for any gadgets you have. I will likely make one for my iPad as well, since it travels with me quite often. The pattern was, as promised, VERY detailed and really nice to use. There are step-by-step instructions and photos all along! I haven’t ever used a pattern with such clear instructions, actually! I highly recommend Dog Under My Desk.

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let’s go swimming, let’s go swimming

That’s what these two eensy-beensy bugs were doing this afternoon in one of the Ivory Peach Bellflower blooms in the front garden:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

They looked like miniature ladybugs – maybe just a very tiny species? We have had several thunderstorms today, and this was between the first and second. These Bellflower plants are really looking great! I had no idea they’d turn out to be quite so tall, but I really dig the look:

Ivory Peach Bellflower

Ivory Peach Bellflower

I’ve also got yet another pair of plants that I know I planted, but can’t remember what they are:

Unidentified plant

And a close-up:

Unidentified plant

It looks vaguely herb-esque, but I’m not sure.

Back in the veg garden, the Golden Sweet Snow Peas are blossoming:

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

Golden Sweet Snow Peas

I know I’ve had the lilac/purple blossoms before, but I don’t remember them being such a bright pink. I guess I got a slightly different variety this time? Regardless, they’re stunning.

I’ve also got Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli:

Calabrese Green Sprouting Broccoli

And some Iceberg Lettuce:

Iceberg Lettuce

And Bloomsdale Long-standing Spinach:

Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach

And here you can see Willow hanging out by the Rocky Top Lettuce Mix:

21/52: Willow in the veg garden

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix

Susan and her hub were visiting on their way out of MI last night so we made dinner (!). Mostly K grilled stuff but we also made a delicious salad from some of this lettuce, some fresh mozzarella from the Canton Farmers Market, and a delicious homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette S’s hub whipped up.

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

Rocky Top Lettuce Mix salad

(These photos are obviously pre-dressing and accoutrements, but they’re pretty.)

More pics on Flickr.

Bonus points to those who recognize the song quoted in the title.

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