7/23/14

A Day At Home

This morning I settled in for a badly needed day at home. There are lots of little paper-worky things on my to-do list...the kinds of things that take some time, and yet, you don't feel like you've accomplished much when you're finished. I spent the morning getting two quilts packed up for shipping. Those will go out tomorrow. 

As I said in my post yesterday, I have some things to tell you. For one thing, the first tomato has started turning red! This is very exciting.


And these greenies need to get a move on because all my canning has to be done before we leave on August 31st. I was perusing my posts from last year and discovered that I had enough tomatoes to make salsa on August 8th. It's looking promising, but it's never a good idea to count one's tomatoes before they ripen.


All that white dust you see on the foliage is sulfur dust. They get little sucking mites on the foliage if we don't use it. It's an organic product, and we try to avoid using chemicals on our tomatoes.

Karla Alexander spoke at my guild on Monday evening. She's a dynamic and fun speaker, and apparently an inspirational teacher since she was voted Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year at the Sisters (Oregon) Outdoor Quilt Festival earlier this month. That is no small honor, let me tell you.


As I said earlier, I got a chance to meet Karla when she traveled to Ireland with me in June, 2012. The tour organization has professional quilters accompany different tours, and Karla was on our bus. She was delightful, and she has a very good sense of humor. Her latest book is just about to be published, and she showed us the original quilts from the book on Monday night.


Here are the quilts that were on display, and some she brought along to show while she spoke.




I like this take-off on the Irish Chain.




As she showed her quilts, she took time to show us how the blocks were constructed. If you're familiar with Karla's work, then you know she also designs specialized rulers. She explained how some of these blocks are made using her rulers.


The leaves in the next image are pieced, not appliqued.


And she showed us a couple of these rag quilts where the subject of the quilt is pictured from the front,


And from the back.


Cute, huh? Here's another one:



Oh yes, and I had my first observation with the Coffee Creek Quilters yesterday morning. I drove down and met up with one of the other volunteers who lives down the hill from me. Another woman, also from the group, met us and drove. Then, when we got to the prison, there were three more volunteers, one of whom was "lead" instructor. It was enjoyable meeting the other volunteers, although you know I'm not fond of breaking into groups of strangers, particularly when it's a group that has been together a long time. Nevertheless, they were all friendly, and a couple of them had very good senses of humor.

The inmates were delightful, and I found myself wanting to spend more time with them. I was helping one woman learn to sew a quilt binding with mitered corners. I was stepping into a work already in progress, and so it was a little confusing. For one thing, the volunteer who asked for my help has an interesting way of sewing on her bindings, where she cuts four strips, the length and width of the quilt. Then she sews the binding on, and somehow hand stitches mitered corners. (My friend Marei explained this to me via email this morning.) I was thinking about this last night because when the volunteer asked me to help, the strips were cut in those lengths already. I had to show the inmate how to sew the strips together, and then we started sewing the binding on. We ran out of time, and so we only had sewn one side before it was time to quit. 

Also, she (the volunteer instructor) doesn't trim her quilt backs until after the binding is sewn on. In fact, the quilt in question was sandwiched and basted, but not yet quilted. That part occurred to me later. I don't know about you, but I always saw my binding on last. The quilt is quilted, squared up and trimmed, and then the binding is sewn on. Different strokes, I guess.

Anyway, I enjoyed working with the inmates. (I have to think of a better word for them...maybe the students? The quilters?) It's too soon for me to say whether this is a good fit for me. I'm being extra cautious since it seems an awful lot like social work, and I retired from social work because I was seriously burned out. I'm being very careful about committing to this, and so I'm not making any decisions until I've completed all three observations and thought it through completely.

The rest of the afternoon is devoted to getting two out of my four quilts ready for entry into the Oregon State Fair. (The other two have been shown before, and so they're ready to go.) I think I have about two weeks left to get things ready, but time's a-wastin', so I need to get to it. This morning I created the labels for the two remaining quilts,



I still need to print them on off-white fabric, and then I may decide to color in some of the details. I haven't decided for sure yet. Also, I need to add the sleeves. I'm hoping to get the sleeves made and pinned to the back of the quilt today, and then I can do the hand-stitching in the mornings when I would ordinarily do my embroidery.

Since I won't be around during the month of September, I needed someone to pick up my quilts when the fair ends on September 1st. Fortunately, a kindly person from my guild stepped forward for that. Thank you, AnnMarie. The rest of the afternoon will be devoted to the sleeves, followed quickly by getting the quilting under way for the "Where Angels Walk" quilt. I'm hoping to have this ready to gift to someone during the second weekend in August. Think I'll make it?

It's been a rainy day today with fairly heavy rain falling. I think we're all pretty glad for the moisture, although it made things pretty muggy yesterday afternoon. Still, it's nice to wet everything down, and it should help with the wildfires currently burning here in the Pacific Northwest.

How's your day going?

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Christine M said...

I love those two shaggy Christmas quilts. Sounds like you had an interesting day at the prison. I usually don't trim my quilt backing until I have sewn the binding on either. If I need to straighten up a quilt. I'll draw a line where to stitch the binding. Have a great day, Barbara.

WoolenSails said...

I can't wait for mine to turn red but I am getting a lot of tomatoes growing now, even though I started late. Great quilt show and the wonky chains are something I would do with my wonky sewing, lol.

Debbie

quiltzyx said...

I hope your abundant green PWPs are ready for canning in time. They MUST BE CONTAINED! (Singing "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes")
Karla has wonderful quilts!! I think my 2 favorites are the first blue/green/neutral zigzag & the Santa rag quilt. Sounds like a very good meeting last night!
Your observing of the Coffee Creek Quilters does sound interesting. I'm glad you're taking your time about your decision. We don't want you to re-burn out! I'm not sure how you could sew the binding on a quilt without trimming the backing. I have done my binding by using 4 strips before, but I didn't try to miter those corners! I just overlapped them & stitched 'em down.
Cute labels for your traveling quilts. I'm so bad about putting sleeves on mine - even when I'm pretty sure I'm going to put them in our show I always end up having to hand sew them on completely.
It's supposed to get into the 100s by Saturday here, with possible thunder storms. Ugh, I am NOT good with hot & humid. Blech.

gpc said...

I'm eating my tomato crop as soon as they show their little red selves, no mercy here. Not much sharing, either. I like your quilts better than hers, for the most part (just saying) but I love those rag quilts! I see some real possibilities there. Not surprised you like the prison work. Most interesting people have some sort of past, after all. Any you can take the social worker out of social work, but you can't take social work out of the social worker . . . or something like that.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh, those toms better get their red on soon. My Mom does her binding that way - I've tried it, but not my method of choice. The quilts are interesting and sounded like an interesting guild meeting. We are having heavy rains/thunderstorms today/tonight - hope it clears the humidity.

Janet said...

I'm a totally burnt out social worker. Why can't I be smart enough to retire?

Michele said...

All of those quilts are really fun and I'll have to look for that book myself.

Junebug613 said...

I finish my quilts in the same order as you. And I make my binding in one piece. Only volunteer as long as you enjoy it. You certainly put in your time, before your retirement. It is horrible when something you enjoy becomes an obligation. Been there, done that!

Kate said...

Sounds like you had a great guild meeting and an interesting observation session.