12/15/18

Beautiful Morning

My worries about walking in the rain yesterday morning were premature. It just goes to show you should never trust a weather forecast. The rain held off until late in the afternoon, and the weather most of the day was lovely. Sue and I were meeting at the bottom of our hill. As I drove down, the valley was so pretty with a light fog settled into the lowlands. There were a lot of power lines in my field of vision, and so I took two photos. This one looks off to the left. That's Mt. St. Helens there in the middle.


Off to the right, I saw this. You can see the top of Mt. Adams there on the left.


Also, I noticed this on my way down the hill. It's a structure at a Christmas tree farm near our house. I've never noticed this before, but there is a barn quilt block there.


The sky was beautiful as we set off. Here are two oak trees. Sue and I agree they are almost prettier without their leaves. Their branches look like the most intricate lace.


Here's my favorite barn off in the distance. Looks peaceful, doesn't it?


Oh yes, and this little red shed always catches my gaze as we walk by. I might like to quilt it one day.


When I got home, I did my usual icing and eating and then I got straight to work on the binding for Wind in the Whiskers. I've turned three corners now, and I'm hoping to finish the hand-stitching today.


Smitty sat on my lap the whole time...except for the moments when he thought we needed more purrsonal contact.


After turning three corners, I was kind of tired of hand-stitching. There are currently nine quilts on my pile of quilt tops to be sandwiched. Three of them require backs, and so I got to work on that.

You might remember I purchased this Dream Big panel with a gift card I won from the OMG Challenge. It's really just to practice free motion quilting, but I've seen pictures of these after they've been quilted, and they are lovely. The panel is 45 x 45 inches. Some people have added borders and made them into larger quilts. I'm going to leave mine as is and have it as a nice lap quilt...or maybe a wall-hanging...or maybe a table topper....or maybe...


Whatever it is to become, it needs a back. I went shopping in my stash for something, and came out with this nice pastel batik. I wanted something with at least some of the color from the panel, but it needed to be something that would show the quilting on the back. I think this is just the right choice, and it allows me to use a fabric that has been in my stash for a long time.


Also, Hocuspocusville. I finished this quilt top nearly a year ago, while we were still on our trip. If I'm remembering right, I was stitching the rickrack while we were stopped off near Tybee Island...off the road for the Christmas holiday


All along, I've had this fabric to use for the back. Yesterday I cut the lengths I needed and sewed them together, so this one is ready to go now too.


Finally, the Solstice Challenge. I call this quilt Solstice to Solstice. It's another I finished while we were traveling.


Last spring, I purchased this fabric for the back. When I looked at it yesterday, I started thinking it was going to behave like a plaid, and that I should try to match up the pattern when I sewed it into a backing...and that sounded downright torturous.


So then I got the idea to sew a contrasting panel down the center to separate the two pieces from one another. Then it won't matter if the pattern doesn't match. I picked something else from my stash, and then had another idea about it. So the piecing for this back is still jelling in my feeble mind. I'm hoping to get it finished today.

There is just one more quilt on my quilts-to-be-quilted pile...this little table topper for St. Patrick's Day...


That's on tap to be quilted in January, but then I'll be fresh out of quilts to be quilted. And that means I'm going to be setting up my plywood and sawhorse tables in the garage for a good ol' day of making quilt sandwiches. Having a stack of quilts for quilting is like having money in the bank...or maybe not when one considers the amount of money expended in the making of said quilts.

Okay, so that's what's going on here today...hand-stitching and backing. But first...I'll be moving my hoop today to stitch the base on the Snow Globe block.


This one is mostly finished now, and I'll be moving on to something else soon.

12/14/18

Around the Corner

No time was wasted sewing the binding to Wind in the Whiskers yesterday. It's from the same fabric as that in the outer border.


While I was sewing that to the quilt, I had this little quilt on my mind. In a no-time-like-the-present moment, I decided to finish the quilting on that too.


Here's how it looks from the back.


And I in my kerchief
My cat in my lap
We settled ourselves 
For a long stitching patch.

Yeah...it doesn't really work poetically...and there was no kerchief. But the cat was real.


By the time I'd stopped for the day, I'd rounded the first corner.


It moves closer and closer to a finished quilt. So that's where you'll find me this afternoon. Also, I'm hoping to fit in some stitching on the Snow Globes block.

This morning I'll be walking with Sue. Sometimes I come home and throw myself on the couch for a nap after we've walked. It's a little warmer today than it was when we walked last week. Rain is in the forecast, but I'm hoping it'll hold off until this afternoon. Just as I wrote those words, I checked the forecast:


Looks like I'll be donning my rain gear this morning. Wish I could pack along my hot chocolate.

For today's effort, I'm hoping to get around two more corners of Wind in the Whiskers. I'd really like to get on with the embellishing and finish it off this weekend. It's a tall order, but I'm up for the challenge.

12/13/18

The Everlasting Quilt Project

Okay, well you know there was nothing going on here yesterday except free motion quilting. By day's end, I had the edges cut off the quilt, and now it's ready for binding. Let's review, shall we?

First, I'd been thinking about how to connect the motif I wanted to use in the final border. If you look at what I'd done the day before...


You can see that it starts and ends at the same place there on the left. And so the question becomes: How do I move that motif across a border from left to right? So, after giving it about two seconds of thought (all I'm up for these days), I decided to go with a sort of loopty-loo thing. Also, I could turn the flower itself in different directions and come up from the top or bottom. So, here we go...swirl, petals, echo, echo, loopty loo...


Wait a minute...Loopty-loo? Do you hear what I hear?


For just a minute there, I thought I heard my mother's voice singing this little song to me. Tangential, as always. So anyway...yes, I think that will work for the quilting, and I started on my merry way across the bottom border.


Checking the back, I like what I see.


So, on I went until I got this close to being finished...


And I ran out of bobbin thread. Of course, I did. You'd be disappointed if I didn't, wouldn't you? So, I paused there for about ten minutes to wind another bobbin, clean lint out of the machine, lubricate the machine...okay, and then it took about 30 seconds to finish the quilting.


So, I yanked it off the machine and took it downstairs to the living room where I can lay it out next to the windows for the best light. It's looking a little rumpled after being wadded up on the machine for several days.


Here's a section of the back...


And then I took it downstairs to my sewing room to cut off the edges and get it ready for sewing on the binding. Oh, but wait...there might be a short delay...


Squaring it up and trimming the edges was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be.


The more I encouraged him to sit elsewhere, the more he wanted to stay where he was. What's that law of physics related to "objects at rest"?


Finally, I plied him with some of the green stuff...


but that only worked temporarily. Then I tried moving him to his final resting position, holding down my sewing chair.


When I turned back around...


Oy boy. Well, that took some time, but I finally got it all trimmed up and the binding strips cut. And that's where I left it for the day.


Only, later in the afternoon, I decided to take a look at the embellishments. This is the other part of the project that has me gnashing my teeth. There are hundreds of beads, embroidery floss, twine for the clothesline, and clothespins that will have to be applied after I have the binding finished. The beads will mostly go in the centers of flowers, and there are a few for some of the birds' eyes. There's also floss for applying whiskers to the kittens and antennae to the butterflies.


Oh, but then I came across some pieces that still need to be applied...and stitched down...and there I was thinking I was finished.


Looking at the pictures of the finished quilt, I was thinking this chickadee on a branch might go here...


But then I uncovered yet another branch and some more flowers, and I started thinking it probably should go here where this disembodied piece of branch and greenery appear.


To explain, the sections of this quilt can be made to be smaller wall-hangings with their own borders. Since I made the whole quilt, the instructions were a little different, and there are seams where there might have been borders if I'd only made a single section. And since I started this quilt in August of 2013 (yes, you read that right), my memory of how this was all supposed to go together has faded.

Also, I found a few envelopes, dutifully marked, with pieces inside. Do you think I can remember where this stuff was supposed to go? Of course not.


It's going to mean getting out the instructions for the blocks and re-reading them, along with their corrections, and corrections to the corrections.


Also, I'll need to hang the clothesline and couch it into place. Then I'll need to glue on the clothespins so that I can "hang" the clothes...


and this little quilt. This is an actual quilt, with backing and batting.


I'll need to quilt it by stitching down the appliques here too.


So, you can see that I have miles to go before I sleep. (Apologies to Robert Frost.)

But let's just not think about that for now, okay? If I've learned anything from these McKenna Ryan projects is is this: One step at a time. Do not look ahead. Do not become discouraged.

Today I'll get the binding sewn on, and then I'll do the hand-sewing before I worry about all this embellishing business. I might also go ahead and finish off the little quilt. I can do that on my domestic sewing machine. It was a little disheartening to find all of those pieces yesterday afternoon, but there is still plenty of time in the month to get it all finished. There are times I wish I'd never started this quilt, but I know I'm going to love it when it's all finished.

12/12/18

One More Time Around

It's going to be a good day...I can feel it in my quilting hands. There's just one more go-around in the outer border of Wind in the Whiskers, and then that puppy will be heading for the finish line. But before I get started on that...let's back up to the beginning of the day.

The latest Snow Globe block is off to a good start. Whenever I start anew on a block, I always have to first clean up all the leftover bits of floss from the last time I worked on it. That's what you see here:


If I'm remembering right, this one includes all five colors of sparkle floss used in this project. Of course, I can't do proper slow-stitching without my lap warmer cat. She was yesterday's photo for the photo-a-day project. Yesterday's prompt was "Begins with 'S'"...and that was easy. I happen to have two living things that begin with "S".


After that, I had to gird up my loins for a trip to the grocery store. I managed to get through the trip without killing anyone, although I was on the razor's edge of leaping across the counter and onto the cashier. Recognizing this would only slow down an already world-record-breakingly slow process, I held myself in check. It was a very close call.

When I got home, I unloaded the groceries, ate some lunch, and then got busy with my free motion quilting. My goal was to quilt the inner border, and I'd selected this motif from one I found on Pinterest.


Looks easy enough, right? In fact, it was. I did a little practice line, and then committed it to the quilt.


After that, I pulled the quilt off the machine so that I could load a practice piece for the outer border motif. In the process, I found the missing applique piece.


Of course, I did. Now that I've made a new one, fused it down and sewn it on, it only makes sense that the original one would show itself.

So the motif I've chosen for the outer border is another I found on Pinterest. I think originally I saw it on Instagram. It's not as complicated as it looks. You come in from the top and make a little swirl, doubling back on the outside of the swirl to the "petals" of the flower. When you've gone most of the way around, you echo back in one direction, then the other, and done. And, heck...I figured I could do that.

 So I loaded an old practice piece onto the machine and did it on the first try. Voila!


A couple of the "petals" are a little wider than I'd like them, but I'm confident I can pull this off. And since I'd worked on this quilt for three days in a row, I gave myself the rest of the afternoon off. I'll start on the outer border today, and I'm hoping I can get it finished. If I do, it'll be ready for binding.

The only other thing to happen yesterday was the arrival of this 36-fat quarter bundle from a Massdrop purchase I made recently. Since I'd used most all of my black and white scraps in the Rainbow Jubilee quilt, I wanted to get another grouping. I've already picked out my project for 2019, and it's going to use blacks and whites too.


This is the Black & White collection from Michael Miller...not that I pay much attention to fabric designers or names, but I know some of you do.


And what fun these were to go through. Here's the image from the Massdrop page that drew me in.


I pulled off the ribbon and looked through them...well, don't you think these are some of my favorites.


And how about these many ways with polka dots.


So that was a nice way to end the day.

It rained hard most of the day yesterday. Today is much nicer...chilly, but for now, blue sky and sunshine. I simply must get outside to empty the compost pail and fill the hummingbird feeder. We have Annas hummingbirds year-round at our location, and so I put food out for them. The kitties like to sit near the window where the feeder is and chatter at them. There's one small housekeeping chore to do today, but the rest will be NBFMQ (Nothing But Free Motion Quilting).