Busy Day

There were quite a few things on my to-do list in yesterday's post. A lot was accomplished, but I wasn't able to tick everything off my list. For one thing, I'd forgotten that I planned to do laundry yesterday, which meant frequent interruptions to my work flow. I don't know about you, but being born during the 14th Century, I'm not as good at picking up where I left off as I used to be. There I'd be, working away, when the dryer would start whining about how the clothes were dry, and I'd better come get them before they got all wrinkled, etc., etc., etc. I live in a home with very bossy appliances, let me tell you.

So I'd go take care of the latest laundry task and then I'd come back to my work.

Here's a little dialog I have with myself when I attempt to return from an interruption: Okay, let's see. Where was I? Who am I? How did I get here? Where am I, anyway? And whose cats are these? For one thing, I was trying to bake a cake while also doing the laundry, sewing, cleaning, etc. Yes, I'm an excellent multi-tasker. Who said anything about multi-finishing anything? And after all, isn't multi-tasking just the art of being completely disorganized? Enough said, I think.

So, I did finish the cake, and it was dee-lish...which probably didn't help my concentration any. It smelled so good. And then it had to "cool in the pan" which is just plain torture, if you ask me. I never hesitate to cut into baked goods the instant I take them out of the pan, but this "cool in the pan" instruction just gets in the way. Finally, finally, finally, I could take it out of the pan and slice into it. Oh. My. Goodness.

It made an excellent lunch. And then, after lunch, I had another piece for dessert. It's as versatile as it is delicious. It's really more of a coffee cake than it is a dessert cake, but you could eat it either way. Mike and I tested the "coffee cake" version this morning, and it was just as delicious with coffee as it was when I had it for lunch. It was easy too. The top is kind of crunchy, and it gives the illusion of being a streusel topping, even though it isn't. Also, you get the feeling it has a lot of brown sugar in it, but it doesn't. I thought I'd posted a link to the recipe yesterday, but apparently I didn't. Sorry to be so cruel. Here it is, right here. Go ahead and try it. I promise you won't be sorry.

So while that was baking and cooling, I did some housework, and then got to work on my latest blocks for hand-stitching. First, I could no longer continue to sit and stare at Teagan's block for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. I knew what I needed to do, and I just needed to do it, if you know what I mean. Here's the "beta" version.

I had decided that a stained glass applique approach was going to be the best chance at reproducing this in fabric, but you can see that the black butterfly "leading" (as in stained glass leading) is very intricate and slender. Cutting out all the little bits and holes was a little like cutting lace from whole cloth, but I did it!

From there I needed a background piece, and I dug through my multi-colored scrap bin until I found the fabric of my desire...this one. It isn't exactly like the coloring Teagan did, but it's going to work just fine, I think to myself.

Then I made applique pieces just for the wings. It was tricky because I needed to make them large enough for the black butterfly to cover, but not so large that I would need to do a lot of trimming. My pressing sheet came in very handy here, and the pieces were pretty darned close. Just a little trimming was needed.

Then I laid the "beta" block under the fabric for placement and fused it to the white background.

All that was left to do then was to trace in the portions that are to be stitched.

I used my machine's triple stitch to stitch the outer circle and the butterfly antennae. When I finished up yesterday, I was just starting to top-stitch the black butterfly. I'm using a 60/8 needle and smoky monofilament thread, and I'll need to stitch both edges of every little curve and curl before I'm finished. 

That's at the top of my list for today, and then I'll just need to hand stitch the words to finish it up. This one was a hard one to figure out. Hopefully, things will continue to move along smoothly.

Also in hand-stitching, I traced out and colored the Block #5 for the Gingerbread Square quilt.

While I was at my guild meeting last night, I started stitching on it and then worked on it some more this morning. 

Speaking of my guild meeting, oh my, what an entertaining speaker Suzi Parron is! She "discovered" and wrote the book on Barn Quilts. Her presentation included a slide show, but she requested no photography during the slide show because of copyright issues. 

Here, our program coordinator introduced her to the guild.

Her talk was humorous and heart-warming and very enjoyable. Suzi explained that she "discovered" barn quilts while on a road trip from her home in Atlanta, Georgia, to Yellowstone National Park. While driving through Ohio, she spied her first barn quilts. She stopped and asked the barn owner about them and was told that they'd been painted to honor the work of women on farms. It was explained to her that when folks see barns, they generally visualize a farmer who generally happens to be a man. The farmers in this corner of Ohio wanted to recognize the substantial efforts of the women on farms. 

She went on to say that she was so intrigued with the barn quilts that she decided to read about it when she got home from her trip, but she could find no books on the topic. And thus, her own book Barn Quilts, was born.

As it turns out, the first barn quilt was an Ohio Star, painted on a barn in 2001. You can read the story and see some pictures right here. Suzi's own website Barn Quilt Info goes into more history of the barn quilt movement. Quoting Suzi's website:

"I'm often told that barn quilts must be part of the wonderful Amish quilting heritage or that they came to America from some European tradition. Although both of those theories are interesting and have been published from time to time, they just are not based in fact.
How can I be so certain? The answer is a rather simple one. No one has been able to document the location of a painted quilt square that existed prior to the Ohio Star that was painted in Adams County, Ohio in 2001. Donna Sue Groves' idea continues to inspire folks across the country to join what has become the largest grassroots public arts movement in our history."

Click on that link I've given you to Suzi's website, and you can see an interactive map that shows you barn quilt trails all over the continental United States, including the one our own guild has started. You can see our barn quilt progress right here. Suzi informed us that some 8,000 barn quilts now exist in the continental United States, including all 48 of the lower states, except Nevada. Nevada quilters: I think you have your work cut out for you.

Today is a CSA pick-up day. I'm going to continue on finishing the top-stitching on Teagan's block, and then I'm going to get to work sewing the buttons on the Dream Machines quilt. It seems the "murky lurker" winter weather of Portlandia may be here to stay.

It's okay by me. It's good quilting weather.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

CJ Smith said...

Hi Barbara!
Just came over from reading Amy's Creative Side (Amy Ellis blog for those that don't know) where I found YOU as today's featured quilt blogger! Woo Hoo! I love how the quilt blogosphere is such a wonderful community. It was great fun to see “Psycatedelic” in her post.

Cath said...

Will you stop with the yummy food already! Everytime I read your blog, I have drool appearing at the corners of my mouth!! Ok, that butterfly has just become my favourite of all those blocks you are making....I was dubious about the background fabric you chose but W.O.W! Superb pick lady! It looks stunning as the stain glass in those butterfly wings.....I don't envy you stitching it down but I admire your resolve.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The cake looks yummy. The butterfly came out beautiful - perfect background fabric.

Quilting Babcia said...

I've got to get over to that link for the cake recipe, it looks positively wonderful. Your stained glass butterfly is going to be the highlight of that quilt! Though all the blocks are super, I'm always amazed at your ingenuity at interpreting what every one sketched out for their blocks. Congratulations on your guest spot on Amy's blog.

Ila said...

OMG...that cake. *sigh* If only I wasn't using my oven for fabric storage But...if you're interested in barn quilts, there's a Kickstarter project that was funded to make a movie/DVD about it. You might like to look at this

Shannon Meyer said...

I think that butterfly just might be the best block yet!! Beautiful:)

Kate said...

Wait, what? No. Barn quilts have been around forever. Right? No? I had no idea! Also, the butterfly is beautiful and now my apple pie seems inadequate.

Lyndsey said...

I know your problem of trying to do several jobs at once. The jobs dovetail together nicely but I lose track of where I've got to especially if one of the jobs is stitching. I'm ignoring the recipe for now but have clipped it to my evernote. Unfortunately a little bit of extra weight has crept on recently and it has got to go so no cakes. The stained glass butterfly is beautiful.

Claire said...

That's quite an elegant butterfly! You have done some amazing "translations" to fabric. The barn quilt lady spoke at my guild too--very good story teller. I checked the link for the Tualatin Valley trail--some really nice ones!

Jackie said...

Love your butterfly! Gorgeous!! Really love how your snowmen stitchery is looking. The stitchery really makes the pattern pop. That cake looks yummy - I'll have to make one soon. I like to have a snack with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Kate said...

The butterfly is gorgeous! You really are using a lot of the tricks and techniques in your bag on this project.

Ellen Pearce said...

You are so clever. The butterfly is marvelous. What fabric do you use for your embroidery? You have inspired me to copy my grandchildren's drawings of cats and embroider them. Years ago I used bleached muslin, but the fabrics today seem much better.

Barbara said...

Thank you, Ellen. Your settings are at no reply, and so I can't answer you personally. I'm hoping you'll see it here. Many people have asked that question and the answer is that I use whater will allow the embroidery to show well. In this case, it's a Kona white solid. I've used tone on tones before, but, depending on the print, they can make it difficult to trace the design onto the fabric. I always use a stabilizer of some kind behind my work, mainly because it keeps the threads from showing through. Sometimes I use muslin, and I use 505 basting spray to hold it in place. Other times, I use a lightweight iron on stabilizer by Pellon.

quiltzyx said...

I can almost smell the apple cake from here! I'm glad it tasted as good as it looks too.
Love love love the fabric you used for the background of the butterfly wings - I know you'll do a great job on the top-stitching, but I'm sure glad that I don't have to do that!!
In that first pic of Suzi, she looks a little like Linda Lavin from the old TV show "Alice"!
I'm hoping that the next time I get up north to visit my sister, that maybe we can take a day to go on one of the California Barn Quilt trails.