Thursday, January 31, 2013

January LYoF - Eggplant and Mustard

Goal was set to finish my mustard and eggplant lap quilt. 
Relevant progress links last three blocks and finished top and binding.

Mission accomplished!
Eggplant and Mustard
Final size is 55 x 68"
Eggplant and Mustard
blocks contributed by kim, 21bakerstreet, Lynnmariewood, Alison, sunshine_sally, seahorsequilts, runswithscissors, Anne, fresh raspberry quiltsstampqnjlr, pemiddleton, and shimmyblisster. Thanks ladies!

Not to single anyone out, but I have to give mad props to Donna (aka. seahorsequilts) for parting with some coveted mermaids in this perfectly pieced block. 

The back is mostly a large scale print from cocoon called Metamorphosis plus some of the leftover flannel from the pink-a-lime-a-tron quilt back. The binding is Kona celery, also leftover from the same project.
Eggplant and Mustard

Eggplant and Mustard
The woodgrain quilting shows up nicely on the back. I quilted this one with a neutral Aurifil thread and it only took a few hours. Much easier design than the last quilt!! And the texture is to DIE for. I am snuggled under it right now.

The quilt has found a new home on my couch. Giant laser-eyed dog for scale.

Linking up with LYoF, TGIFF, Crazy Mom Quilts and the rest of the world.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP Wednesday - brand new WIPs

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Almost done with my January finish. Nothing like handstitching on a deadline.

First block for another baby quilt. I think this one may get named star gazing.

The rest of the fabric is cut and I will chain piece the blocks

 I am about to attempt some curves in making Elizabeth Hartman's Happy Hour quilt. I didn't want to buy template plastic because I am cheap environmentally friendly. Take a shirt box and make your own...

No shirts were harmed in the construction of these templates.

Linking up with the other WIPpers at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cake day

Happy Birthday to Kim a la CrafternoonDelight. In honor of her birth and continued will to survive I made this giant cake...

Apparently on Instagram they use bananas for scale. I don't instagram but I'll play along. Ideally you should use an item with constant size for scale, like a quarter. Or at least use something vulgar like this:

Do you want to see what is inside this monster?

4 layers of deliciocity. I used the black-and-white mocha cake recipe from the January issue of Food Network Magazine. Then I doubled the recipe for the chocolate buttercream filling and used it to fill and ice the cake. There was an additional chocolate ganache to be drizzled on top but I think that would be excessive at this point.

The yellow cake recipe is amazing. Maybe the best I have made. It is dense and flavorful. The chocolate cake is a good chocolate cake but nothing special. 

This is how I felt after eating my "small" piece. It was worth it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Inspiring Molecular Biology - Merging Science with Art

Sew Hungry

I am a molecular biologist. I study very tiny things to learn more about diseases like cancer so we can be closer to a cure. In reality, my day to day duties consist mainly of moving small amounts of liquid from one tube to another. I met a lot of other quilters out there who also stemmed from the sciences. I suppose the joy in doing repetitive tasks in research draw the same types of people to quilting.

But this is a post for everyone, not just the ones who get giddy over DNA sequence and electromicroscopy. I think there is a real art and beauty to the science we perform. Many of the patterns in the natural world could lend themselves to some striking and modern quilt designs. I've chose a few common scientific images from molecular biology to illustrate my point.

DNA sequences
This is a group of related DNA sequences. As you may remember from biology class our DNA is an alphabet with only four letters, A, T, C, G. The number and order of these letters is the basis of what makes us who we are. When you line up related sequence the result is an interesting pattern - not quite random - not completely ordered. Wouldn't this make a striking quilt design?

In fact, Beverly St. Clair makes these gorgeous genome quilts. Each letter of the DNA code corresponds to an HST in a different orientation. You can literally read her quilt and decipher the DNA code. I made a genome quilt last year as a graduation gift for my PhD thesis mentor. I even used a DNA print from spoonflower as one of the letters. 

The CrPV IGR IRES RNA sequence.

DNA gel
This is an image of the DNA separated by size on a gel. You have probably seen images like this on some of the forensic science shows. Because each person has a unique DNA sequence, the pattern of the DNA when separated on a gel will be unique. This is one way we can determine paternity.

These image have false coloring - sadly our DNA is not actually a rainbow of colors in our bodies, but, it creates a beautiful image.  There are companies that will turn your DNA into artwork. I can easily see the quilt possibilities here.

Did you know that viruses love hexis too? A virus is composed of DNA surrounded by a protein shell, or capsid. The capsid is made of of lots of small proteins that interlock to form a hollow shell. 

Viral capsid (Jäälinoja HT et al. PNAS, 2008)

The capsids are a real testament to the process of assembly. Imagine if you collected a bunch of hexagons and pentagons and put them on the ground and they assembled themselves into this...

That is what viruses do. They make hexagons and pentagons and turn them into 3D shells. Luckily we quilters only have to work in two dimensions. 

I haven't seen anyone use a virus structure as the inspiration for a quilt yet but I would love to see it happen.

Congrats for making it to the end of the post. I hope you enjoyed this foray into where science and art merge. Maybe you even have a few ideas stewing. Or maybe you are bored to tears. So feedback anyone? Do you want to see more posts like this?

Either way, Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Giveaway winner

The gods have spoken and the winner is...
Ms. Sarah from stitchingandbacon. Shes relatively new to the blog scene so check out her blog if you haven't. Good stuff going on there. I know my fabrics will find a good home with her.

Thanks to everyone for participating! I had a lot of laughs over the bus stories. I bet some of you were thinking I had a particularly crazy bus story. Sorry to dissapoint you but I just thought of the question at random. My bus adventures usually revolve around me missing the bus as a kid and my dad making me write 500 or 1000 times "I will not miss the bus." It never seemed to sink in.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Quilting in circles

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Happy hump day. If you haven't stopped by since last week be sure to check out my latest finishes Playtime squared and Pink-a-lime-tron and today is the last day to enter my 100th post giveaway.

I am working on finishing this lovely for the January installment of the Lovely year of finishes (LYoF)
Eggplant and Mustard

Had a little issue at the very end of piecing the top. One yard of my feather print was juuuust not enough. SERIOUSLY, fabric, come on!
 I added a little cornerstone. Nope I didn't go back and add cornerstones to the other corners. Asymmetrical corners are tres chic especially for seam ripper haters.

Here are a few quilting in progress shots (QuIPs)

Wavy lines spaced 1/2" apart. Just going where my needle takes me.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced See you there!

Monday, January 21, 2013


The lucky square quilt is finally finished and has a new name: Pink-a-lime-a-tron. Kim came up with the name. I'm so indecisive and not creative when it comes to naming.

Details on the fabrics can be found here.


Name: Pink-a-lime-a-tron
Size: 65"x85"
Pattern: Lucky Square from Sew Crafty Jess (available in her pattern shop or on Craftsy)
Machine pieced, quilted and bound a mi casa


I forgot to take a picture of the back of the finished quilt so here is a full shot prequilting. The back is pieced with mostly flannel and a row of blocks highlighting the fabrics from the front. I had intended to use the purple dot only but I miscalculated how much I needed and had to go back and buy more. Joann's was out so I got some gray pebbly flannel. I am very happy with the way it looks.

Here is most of the back after quilting.


I quilted with an orange peel design except I peels are going from seam to seem instead of diagonally across the square.The texture it creates is just fantastic. I used Aurifil #1147 light leaf green for the top thread  Aurifil #2530 Watermelon pink for the bobbin. The pink really shows up on the green and gray fabrics but melts right into the purple dot.

Now you can appreciate how much difference the quilting makes. And yes this did take hours. I used my home machine which has about 6 inches of throat space. It took about the same amount of time as it would to watch all the Pixar movies. Guess how I know that?

And for the last touch of luxury, for the binding I used AMH good folks voile.

Linked up with Quilt Story: Fabric Tuesdays Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF. Hey I am real proud of this one :)

Don't forget to enter my 100 post give-a-way. It ends Wednesday night.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The start of something great

The start of something great
In this bundle, Cuzco plays well with Chicopee and friends. As a whole I wasn't a huge fan of Juggling summer but the ovals are a great stash builder. You can see it better in the photo below.

From top to bottom: paisley in lime (Chicopee), heatwave stripes in lime (Chicopee), voltage dot in black (Chicopee), Midnight sky birds (Simple Marks by Malka), dotted leaf in lime (Chicopee), Indigo citadel (Cuzco), Indigo plumage (Cuzco), Turquoise ovals (Juggling Summer), Indigo oakshott cotton, Gray tweed  texture (Mod Century)

I could just eat them up...

aaaaaand turtle cookie!

Today is a Pixar marathon day with quilting, cleaning, and cooking. How about you?

Friday, January 18, 2013

TGIFF- Playtime squared

Make sure to visit my 100th post giveaway. Open until Wed Jan 23rd

My Friday finish is a quilt for some friends who are expecting a baby girl soon. I almost called it Candyland because it was so sickeningly sweet (collective awwws from the audience please) and the pattern reminded me of a board game map.

Playtime Squared

Playtime Squared
Size: 36" square
Fabrics: Fly a Kite from Riley Blake and various solids from my stash
Pattern: Lucky Square from Sew Crafty Jess (available in her pattern shop or on Craftsy)
Machine pieced and quilted by me on my home machine with 50wt ivory Aurifil
Binding: pink stripe from Simpatico

Playtime Squared
Quilted loops in the solids

Playtime Squared 
Backed with Paris map print from Dear Stella and some pink

Playtime Squared
The quilting shows up nicely on the back

Playtime Squared 
Labeled = legitimate quilt.

Playtime Squared
I can take pictures in the snow too. See we got enough snow to almost cover the ground and thereby close school early. No complaints here.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday and TGIFF.