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.