Return to Plan A

It seems I'm doing a lot of that these days...trying something new, and then going back to the old way. I have both good news and bad news to report. After writing my post yesterday about the sad trial of the Sulky heat transfer pens, I went back and looked at the pieces again. I was quite distressed to find that after a period of less than 24 hours, the ink had actually bled into the surrounding fabric in the most "marker-intensive" areas. I hope you can see it in this image:

Can you see in some of those areas where the fabric has gone from cream to a light brown? Good grief. Clearly, this is a terrible product for embroidery. It might have some other use, but I won't be using it to transfer embroidery designs again. Those went straight into the pile of scraps I use for testing out this or that thing before actually using it on a quilt project, and I re-did the embroidery motifs on new fabric.

Updated to say I'll be linking this post to:

I wish I had some good news to report for my "New to Me", but alas. Not every new try has a happy outcome.

Don't ask why I used red on these. I thought it was brown. Oh well. Anyway, one piece of good news is that I cut all the fabric for the remaining embroidery blocks in this quilt, and I had a little fabric to spare. It's good to know that I won't run out before I'm finished.

I started stitching on the birdbath last night, and this morning I worked on it until it was mostly finished.

The other piece of good news is that I took another look at the Vintage Tin pieces I've done with the Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Of the different transfer methods I've tried, this one seems to be the best. I know some of you have not liked it; but for me, it beats tracing onto fabric, especially on large and complicated designs. I still have the largest and most complicated pieces yet to do on the Vintage Tin quilt, and that was the reason I tried it out in the first place. 

I was saying in an earlier post that I thought the rinsing process had caused some shrinkage on one of my pieces. I've concluded that isn't the case. I think the shrinkage occurred because I'd worked around the outside of the piece first, and then embroidered the center. 

The pieces that have an outline around the outside fairly scream out to be worked in that order, but I've decided that, like quilting, embroidery of large pieces is best worked from the center out...or from one side to the other. But starting around the outside first and then working toward the center causes the slightest amount of bunching in the middle. At least that's my working theory. If you've been reading for long, then you know I change my mind about these things all the time.

So once I had my embroidery debacle fixed, I had a little argument with myself about going swimming. It went something like this:

Me: (In my whiniest voice) But it's raining! I don't want to leave the house.
Other me: (In my mother's voice) You know that the possibility of getting wet is the stupidest reason ever not to go swimming.
Me: But it's cold! I want to put on my comfy sweats and stay home.
Other me: But you're going to that reunion in July. Don't you want to lose some weight and look all buff?
Me: Yes, but, but, but...I hate it when I can't think of any good reasons to be lazy.
Other me: And didn't you just tell all your bloggy friends how you had worked swimming into your morning routine, and you were all proud of yourself about how consistent you'd been?
Me: Well, yes, but they won't know if I don't tell them...
Other me: I have a voice in the blog too, and you know that I will tell them, and then you'll look like the slacker you actually are.
Me: You are so mean to me...after all I do for you...taking you swimming and everything, letting you buy fabric and thread and everything...baking cookies for you! I'll go, but I will be very unhappy about it, and I won't speak to you ever again.
Other me: Yes, but you'll be glad you went when you're finished swimming and you feel good about it.
I hate losing arguments with myself. So I went. And "other me" was right about being glad I went. I imagine we'll have the same argument tomorrow.

After that I went home and finished top-stitching the Duluth Trees quilt. I need to give this another name, but I haven't decided yet. Some I've tried on have been "Yamhill Trees" for my home county of Yamhill, "Dark Sky Park" for the sky-watching Mike and I like to do. That one came about when I considered adding some crystal stars, but then I discarded it just as quickly because a full moon does not make for good sky-watching. Or maybe "Clair de Lune" (translation: Moonlight) for the piano piece I used to play back in the 14th Century. Or maybe Blue Moon or Harvest Moon or ....... Any good ideas out there? Chime in.

Now it's ready for quilting. I have several small quilts ready for quilting now, and I think when it comes time to set my March goals, quilting these little table runners and wall hangings is going to take top priority.

So that brings me to today, and today really is a stay-at-home-in-my-comfy-sweats day, which I'm going to enjoy all the more for having gone swimming yesterday.There are quite a few little jobs on my to-do list today. I absolutely positively must get my tomato seeds planted if I am going to have tomatoes for canning this summer. I could always use starts, but I can never get the tomatoes I went when I depend on local nurseries to choose the seeds. Last year I used the Super Marzanos, which make a nice meaty tomato with very few seeds. They were great in my pasta sauce and salsa. Also, I used a variety called Heinz for some added flavor. I'll plant a couple of slicing tomatoes too, but I'm really interested in the sauce tomatoes. Also, I want to get my dill, Italian parsley, and basil started. I'll wait until I can move things out to the greenhouse to start the lettuce.

If I'm feeling really energetic, I might try out a new recipe for Orange-Pecan Tea Bread that came in yesterday's email. I happen to have a half-zested orange and a small amount of leftover buttermilk in the fridge. Mike is a fan of anything orange, and so this seems like an easy way to get rid of those leftovers and make something yummy. Also, I need to plan my menu for a grocery shopping trip tomorrow and do a little bit of housework. If I can get all that accomplished, then I'm going to get started quilting my strawberry table runner.

This quilt isn't thrilling me as much as the pattern picture did. I'm hoping I'll like it better once it's quilted, but either way, it'll be a nice table runner for my spring table.

What's on your to-do list for today?

27 comments from clever and witty friends:

Marei said...

My "to do" list starts with (1) get your butt off of the computer and (2) get back to basting quilts! First time I looked at your tree quilts with the moon I thought "Shine On"....for whatever that's worth. I use the sticky Solvy all the time and have no problems with rinsing it out or shrinkage, but didn't want to say anything as I'm using it NOT for embroidery. I float my Solvy projects in a couple inches of very hot water in the tub, let them swim a bit, then agitate them a bit (who doesn't love to be agitated?) and then I rinse. Works for me. Oh...glad you ditched those pens.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Send some of your energy my way...:) I'm with Marei, I need to get my butt off of the computer and do anything else. I love your reviews of new products.

Sher S. said...

Have you tried a Frixion pen for transferring your designs? When you finish the stitching you iron your piece and the ink just disappears. I liked the name " Shine on" that seemed to fit well. My dh and I cleaned out another cupboard and found more to donate before we move. This is hard going thru 40+ years of stuff because we haven't moved from this house ( it's out very first house). This move will be the last on also. 😬😉

Patrica said...

Your swimming argument sounds just like my exercise argument only I'm sure I do a lot more whining. I've been semi-good for Feb. after a terrific Jan. this is the entire reason why I DO NOT make new years resolutions, why set myself up for failure? Anyway - My goals for the day are to machine embroider another block for a baby quilt in progress and to piece the pink scrap blocks for this month which I totally forgot about until this morning!

Celtic Thistle said...

Think you are on a hiding to nothing arguing with your swimming alter-ego, you are never going to win those arguments Barbara!

gpc said...

I am a very good arguer, and my good side rarely wins, which is bad. I would call the tree quilt 'Howl,' cause that's how I roll in the woods when the moon is full. :-O

NancyA said...

How about the title of yesterday's post for your quilt name?

WoolenSails said...

I really need to get out and exercise, but it really is too cold and raining, lol. Just doing some simple stitching and resting, think I am fighting off a flu again and daughter is home sick. I always think quilts look better with the quilting. I like the fresh, spring look of your piece.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

I have those talks within myself too. Can't help with the name because it would be a long list. I worked on my last piece of the 'Book It' project and now have to put it all together.

Jacque said...

Gack! Now my little "other me" voice has ammo...."YOU should exercise, cos you know that Barbara did her swimming, and YOU need to lose lots of weight and get all toned and buff." Sigh. You just had to do that, didn't you?
Hehee! You rock, girl, you did your swimming! Now I better go and do some aerobics! (I'm also going to have to get me a needle nanny....I keep seeing your photos with yours, and then I sit and hand quilt and lose my needle two or three times because I have to get up and down for various reasons.) :)

Brown Family said...

I think I will stick with the old fashion way, too! Thanks for being a tester! Keep up the exercise! It will pay off in the long run!

Tami C said...

I sure am sorry that those Sulky heat transfer pens ruined your fabric. I'll have to keep that in mind. Thanks for all the testing you do of things! I think that Blue Moon would make a great name for your Duluth Trees quilt.

liniecat said...

Cats Patched Moon ?
Makes sense to me too stitching from the centre out to keep the fabric laying evenly.
I applaud your swimming conflab - Id have put the kettle on and had a biscuit and then still not gone lol
Did youd ecide against stars in the edn on your Moonshine quilt then?
Wonder if you embroidered in silvery thread just afew it would look okay?
Whats your star sign, maybe you could stitch in the stars for that lol

Dana Gaffney said...

Well sh*t, I'm sorry those pens did that, I wonder if it would wash out and you can at least save the fabric. I would name it "Chipmonks Dancing Under the Full Moon".

Nita said...

On my to do list...maybe do some creative writing...for real, not just sit down at the computer and then jump up to do this or that " first" and work on.a sewing project if I could only decide on which...I've got so many on the go and bounce back and forth between them at a rate that ensures nothing will get accomplished. Looking at your embroidery reminded me that I would like to do some...actually bought Aneela Hooey's Little Stitches last year, the last time that thought popped into my head. Of course that means I will have to research how to transfer a pattern, and deciding on a pattern, which means spending the day browsing the internet. Or shopping for embroidery floss. Did I say shopping?

Nita said...

Where do you get all your fabulous embroidery patterns, anyway? (Can you see where my day is heading? Lol!)

quiltzyx said...

I like Reach For the Moon and Moonshine too. :)

Yesterday I ended up reading most of the day - didn't do any sewing at all. I did bring some yarn & my hooks to crochet at work today though.

Have fun planting!

Debbi said...

Moonlight and Memories?

LethargicLass said...

I think the moon totally makes the quilt :) Moonlight Forest?

carla said...

Hi!!! You and other You sure are busy!!! I argue with myself all the time!!! But we don't get as much done!!!! I like the idea of Howl!!! Very cute!!! Also I like By the Light of the Silvery Moon!!!! Keep on having fun!!!! Maybe Trees Dancing in the Moon Light!!! The Moonlit Path!!!

Dar said...

What a pain with the marking pen. Good to know though. I like that you repositioned the moon. It no longer reminds me of a lolly pop. lol I think Clair De Lune is a clever name for it.

Kate said...

It's good that you kept your swimming commitment. Hopefully you felt great afterwards.

Too bad about those pens, that's so no good that they bled.

I like Clair de Lune as the name for your tree quilt.

Lyndsey said...

Arguing with yourself again! No brainer as your good self really does put forward a logical argument. Having tried the various transfer methods with embroidery I'm sticking with the fabri solvy as I find it works just great. I treated myself to some new and therefore sharp needles so it isn't such an effort to go through the fabric and the solvy. Love the trees.

Janine said...

Thank you for sharing your transfer/stitching observations. It's really helpful to learn about how all these techniques actually turn out. I also love your idea of keeping scraps to experiment on. Good luck with your swimming routine :)

Mara said...

OMG, that is horrible about the transfer pen, thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Your conversation with yourself about going swimming made me laugh out loud! Just what I do all the time - glad I'm not the only one.


Catherine said...

Thanks for sharing your transfer pen disasters, good to know! I love your moonlit picture and can't think of a title to do it justice:-)