1/5/14

Sewpocalypse Weekend Continues

Looking for the December NewFO Linky Party and Giveaway?
Click right here.

Unless I miss my guess, the Polar Vortex is hitting you folks on the eastern 2/3 of the United States just about now. And may I just say that the term "polar vortex" pretty much cracks me up. It's a little like taking a "Sharknado" and turning it into a "Snownado". Apparently, however, this is a technical term. I know because I just Googled it. (And I ask again, how did we live without the internet?) So, just take heed, America:

During the winter polar night, sunlight does not reach the south pole. A strong circumpolar wind develops in the middle to lower stratosphere. These strong winds are known as the 'polar vortex'. This has the effect of isolating the air over the polar region. Since there is no sunlight, the air within the polar vortex can get very cold. So cold that special clouds can form once the air temperature gets to below about -80C (fig.2). These clouds are called Polar Stratospheric Clouds (or PSCs for short) but they are not the clouds that you are used to seeing in the sky which are composed of water droplets. PSCs first form as nitric acid trihydrate. (source)
And if "nitric acid tihydrate" isn't enough to scare the spit out of you, here's an image for your nightmares:


Yeah, I don't know what it means either. I'm only posting it so that those folks who are just looking at the pictures and not reading my well-thought-out and cogent text (cough) will get the mistaken notion that I'm real smart. Just think of me as your friendly quilteorologist. (I just now made that word up. It's true that my creativity knows no bounds.)

So all of that intro to say that, in spirit, I'm staying inside with all of you and keeping warm next to my sewing machine. The faster I stitch, the warmer the machine gets.

Yesterday, the Cornflowers table runner got all of my attention. I cut all the applique pieces and fused them to the background.


This was a little bit scary. There was a template provided for the candy corn, but the stems and leaves were cut free form. (What?!!, my terrified self exclaimed in horror...No templates?!?) Yes, I actually had to color outside the lines for a change. It worked out okay. You couldn't tell, could you? It was actually kind of fun cutting those stems.

So once I had them fused to the background, I started top-stitching them. Except for the leaves, I got the two upward-facing flowers on the left and the middle finished and started on the stem for the one on the right. 


It took me a little bit to decide what color thread to use for the top-stitching. Yellow and orange came to mind first, but then, which color should I use for the three-colored candy corns? I briefly considered black for the whole thing, but then decided that would be too much black. Finally, I decided on orange for the candy corns and stems and yellow for the leaves. I think it was the right choice.


So I'll continue on with that today. I'm hoping to get them all finished. It takes about half an hour to do one flower, minus the leaves, and so there are several hours of work here. I can't sit for hours on end doing this because it makes my neck and shoulders hurt. I think my chair is too low, but it's as high as it will go. Today I'm going to try putting a pillow on the seat to boost myself up a little. I tried just now sitting on one of the bar stools I keep in my sewing room, and the height was more comfortable, but the seat is much too hard to sit for long. If the pillow works, I might consider getting a different bar-stool-type chair with wheels if such a thing exists. I have a plate in my neck from a surgery about eight years ago, and so my neck is especially sensitive to this sort of thing.


And I just love the new year when folks come up with the most clever ideas on their blogs for sew alongs and linky parties. Sharon over at Vrooman's Quilts has come up with a very fun idea for a monthly link-up called "Let's Book It". You can read all about it right here. The gist of it is that we all have tons of books on our bookshelves that we bought for one reason or another...I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the quilt on the cover enticed us. Then we put the book on our bookshelf and never looked at it again. And I'm also going out on a limb and saying most of us never made the quilt that enticed us to buy the book in the first place. Am I right about that?

So Sharon is encouraging us to actually make some of the quilts in some of these books, and I think that is a genius idea. When I read about her challenge this morning, I went straight to my bookshelf (after first fortifying my resolve with two more cups of coffee) and picked out this book:


2014 has me focusing on smaller projects, especially table runners, and so this seemed like a good choice. There were several cute quilts in this book, but I consulted my consultant (aka Mike), and we both decided we liked this one.


I have some perfect fabrics in my stash for this. The quilt finishes up at 18 x 54 inches, and it would be pretty on my table this fall.


It also involves a new technique, and so I could end up ripping the thing to shreds in a fit of frustration. Let me just elaborate by saying those leaves ain't no applique, honey.

Also this weekend I've been stitching away on the third of four stitcheries for the next section of the Gardener's Journal quilt. This is the largest of the four. I really dislike doing the lazy daisy stitch, and so getting all those leaves done at the top of the piece will mean the rest of it goes a lot faster from here on.


I finished this one earlier in the week:


And this one before that:


The fourth one is tiny, so I'll have these done probably before the week is up. Then I can move on to my next Quilted Snow Lady. And with that, I'm going to link up to Slow Sunday Stitching at Kathy's Quilts.

Slow Sunday Stitching

Before I finish off here, I just want to say that tomorrow is your last day to link up to the December NewFO Linky Party. It's the last chance you have to link up under this banner:


After tomorrow...she's gone for good. And that's about all I know this morning. Time to get to it. Stay warm and dry, you "Polar Vortex" people. I'll turn up the heat in your honor.

28 comments from clever and witty friends:

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

This Polar Vortex victim plans to not leave the house until Tuesday! Our governor closed all schools tomorrow already so my teacher and student are a-ok with that. And our kittens spaying has been postponed for a week. Love your candy corn project!

gpc said...

I am tempted to go for a walk out in our Polar Vortex but fortunately have my sister's health to use as an excuse not to. I need to be here to hover. I like the leaf pattern - you are lucky to have an excellent consultant.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I am so happy you explained all the weather situations - hey, its cold, snowy, cold, icy, cold, windy, cold - easy peasy. Stay inside people! I love the leaf pattern (I eyed that skinny book once). Do some scrap fabric sample blocks first to see if you are happy with the technique - rather than a lot of bad words and destroyed loved fabrics - you can always change it up to applique if the technique just doesn't fit - at least you would have tried.

Kate said...

The candy corns are looking great, as does all the hand stitching. I will have to check out Sharon's challenge. I definitely am quilty of piling in the books, then not making any thing from them. Enjoy the rest of your sewing weekend.

Valerie Reynolds said...

YOu crack me up....loved this post...and love those candy corns.

Sher S. said...

Love reading all the info about the polar vortex, I'm just going to take your word about it. Love the corn flowers, that will be striking on a wall or table. I'd love to be sewing/quilting right now but my machine needs to go in for service. It's giving me nests on the bottom side and I hate ripping out my quilting stitches. Besides, I need to get packing for our trip on Tuesday...off to Florida to watch my dh run in a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon and a full marathon at Walt Disney World. The weather is a mix of rain, sun, and maybe thunder storms. Hard to pack for all that. Wish me luck. Love all your hand stitching.

Tami C said...

I really do enjoy reading your blog! You are the friendliest quilteorologist I've ever met! Your Cornflowers are really cute! Of course, it helps that I really like candy corn. I like the colors you chose for top-stitching. My hubby walked in while I was looking at the picture showing your top-stitching and said "That looks good. Can you do that one?" Guess I'll have to think about that.

Cathy said...

Isn't it funny how we all like different things... or maybe it's a good thing.... Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I like doing the Lazy Daisy stitch and intensely dislike doing the back stitch. If we lived in the same region, we could swap out stitches on projects. We're getting our snownado at the moment, so we're all tucked in warm and cozy at home. Lovin' your candy corns, by the way.

quiltzyx said...

The cornflowers came out great! Another thing you could try, other than a taller chair, is to tilt your machine a little. I've had friends do that with those rubber door stoppers that are only a couple $$, usually using 2 of them. Might be worth a try.
The stitcheries are also looking good. :D

Are those leaves pieced in? That is a really nice looking skinny quilt.

Denise :) said...

Look at you go! Glad you're enjoying your sewpocalypse weekend!! Your projects are all fun -- especially the Cornflowers -- I love it!!! :)

Doris Rice said...

I'm turning up my heat in honor of all those polar people too. You've been busy and making good progress. I'm also testing the no reply blogger thingy. Hope I fixed it!

CaroleM said...

Ha. you made me laugh, I don't know what it all means either, except that I'm glad I'm living outside of polar vortex zone. I agree, it sounds like something that voice over guy would do "In a world where freezing reigns, the polar vortex is going to make it worse..."

Janet said...

I recently read a book where the solution to the mystery was the Karman vortex street. A non-fiction book. The concept has me awed. Your skinny table runner pattern is a good one! I have volume 1 and have never made anything from it...

Lynne said...

My, you are challenging yourself with new techniques, aren't you? First you booked in for classes, now you're contemplating "Blushing Aspens". Good on you, I say; an inspiration to us all,

Dasha said...

So until this week I had never heard of a "Polar Vortex", much less experienced it. Somewhat strange sitting in my workroom with the air con going, hiding from the 39-40C temps outside, and hearing about this weather phenomenon going on the other side of the world.
Haven't you heard of sitting on a cushion to raise you up? That is what squirts like me have to do full time. LOL
The challenge sounds interesting. And you are perfectly right - I haven't made a quilt out of more than 5% of the books I have, so maybe its time I had a look at Sandra's challenge.
I do like your sunflowers, you have done a great job on the stems and the stitching - what I could see of that.

Junebug613 said...

While it will be getting pretty chilly here, relatively speaking, I doubt we'll be involved in the snowpocalypse. Sadly, I didn't have time to do any sewing in December, so I won't be linking up to the party. I enjoy seeing everyone else's projects. I like how your cornflowers are coming along. Your garden stitcheries are cute.Now im going to have to peruse by bookshelves to see what quilty goodness awaits! You're such an enabler! Ha ha!

Jennifer H. said...

Wow, that Blushing Aspens quilt is beautiful - I can't wait to see your results!

To get a comfy bar stool on wheels you should look for a drafting chair. They're adjustable and comfortable, and should be a good height. I had one years ago that was covered in too-slippery vinyl, so it was hard to stay sitting on it, but in general they're a great back-saving solution to high work surfaces.

Dana Gaffney said...

That aspen runner is beautiful but if it's curved stitches I'd be tempted to just do applique, following instructions is for the weak. Even we are having a visit from the Vortex and I'm looking forward to it, I'll get to wear a sweater for one day.

Diane Wild said...

I really like the corn flowers. I think I'll investigate Sharon's book-it challenge. I'm guilty of having more books than time or ambition to make something from them. Too many other patterns get in my way. As for the cold, currently -18 with -37 windchill. The Sioux called January "The Moon of Frost Inside the Tepee." So the polar vortex is nothing new. The Native peoples had it figured out many moons ago.

Esther F. said...

You crack me up with those geography pictures! LOL!!!
Our weather has been weird too, way to hot for January. This morning the weatherman reported that Mother Nature was already producing flowers. But he... We have had two awfull snowy winters with slippery roads and leaking roofs, so I am liking these new winter temperatures. Bring on the flowers!
:-)
Love how the corn flowers are turning out!
Esther
esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

Patricia said...

I had just read about 'Just Book It' a little while ago and I'm intrigued. My plan is to use my template collection (which is Massive) but some of them included books or at least patterns. I have a massive quilting library too which I should use. What's the use of spending thousands of $ on such and never using them? Of course this will get me looking at the books and not quilting or piecing. Sigh...

Brown Family said...

I have completed my first new project for the year ans finished one from last year. I am off to a good start. Well, I guess I should say the finish was a binding on a 9X 12 mini and the New project was 4 hot mats!

Speaking of books, one of my sterilite shelves was collapsing from the weight of my books, so we replaced it with a metal shelf. Of course every thing had to come off the old one, so I took the time to finish cataloging my book titles, all 314 of them, ans put them in alpha numeric order. I know what sounds like my OCD kicked in!

Quilter Kathy said...

We are sure getting a lot of snow here!
Love your stitcheries!
And I love the lazy daisy stitch :)

scraphappy said...

Looks like you've got plenty of projects to keep you inside and out of the cold. Brrr.

Jacque said...

If the leaves ain't no applique, honey chile, what the heck are they? Giggle!
Polar vortex, naming winter storms like they were hurricanes.....what is the world coming to? Baby it's cold outside -- 5 degrees tonight here! Eek!

Michele said...

I like how your candy corn flowers are coming out so far. Yes I am one of the people in the vortex and it is not fun. If it weren't for work, I'd be able to stay inside and sew all day.

Vicki Price said...

LOL'd at your polar vortex technical explanation. Anyway, I am also a huge fan of Frieda Anderson's work. I will quilt vicariously through you, my favorite quiltologist.

Betty said...

We should petition to have your word "quilteorologist" added to the next edition of Webster's Dictionary! I will be glad when the Polar Vortex decides to leave Alabama. We haven't had temps this cold in twenty years! The kitties don't understand why I won't let them go out and they can sound sooo pitiful! Thankfully they are all sleeping right now.
Stay warm and quilt on!!