So what's this all about anyway? Well...let me tell you.
Perhaps you've noticed these doors in random pictures of my basement sewing room.
Behind the louvered doors (think of them as Door #1 and Door #2), you'll find the furnace, water heater, and air filtration system for our house.
Behind Door #3 is stuff related to our water. We are on a well here. Our water tastes good, but it is hard water. We have all this fancy dancy stuff to soften the water, but we also have a system to regulate the pH level in our water. We learned completely by happenstance that we have aggressive water, which means that it is corrosive to the plumbing in our home. We had noticed the bluish stain in our shower, but didn't think much of it until we talked with a neighbor. Turns out the blue stain was evidence of our copper pipes corroding away. Enter a very expensive system to counteract this problem, and you have the items behind Door #3.
And I'll just say that if I were a child of, say, 8 years or younger, I would probably be afraid to come into the basement because of all this stuff.
It doesn't bother Smitty, however. Since discovering this place, we cannot be in the sewing room with these doors closed. He comes in, day after day, and whines and whines until I open the doors for him. Yesterday, I was resisting, and so he started walking around on my sewing table, picking up random items, and throwing them on the floor. Not that he's spoiled or anything.
So what's so wonderful about this place anyway? See that space in the image below to the right of the light bulb? There's a space where he can get between the main floor and the basement ceiling and explore. Occasionally critters take up residence in here, and we have to set a trap. For now, it is irresistable to our cat.
I was nervous about letting him up here to explore, but Mike has looked around with a flashlight and assures me it is perfectly safe. And so, it's become Smitty's personal spelunking grounds. Oh yes, and this Any-Cord-Within-My-Reach-Must-Be-Chewed cat, took the time to chew the end off the cord we use to turn on the light yesterday.
I hadn't thought much about the cord until I heard the tiniest "ping" sound yesterday afternoon, and I knew instantly what it was.
So there you have it. Smitty's jungle gym and cat cave.
Entertainment for hours. All you need to do is open the doors.
So yesterday, I was being very mysterious about the new project I was planning to start, although I wasn't trying to be intentionally mysterious. Actually, it seemed easier to just take some pictures as I worked on it. As it turns out, I didn't get very far.
Here's what I'm making.
This picture is from the website where I found a tutorial a long time ago. Recently, I found it again, and I decided to make it for our CSA farmers. Our next pick up will be Week #23 of 28 weeks, and so the season is coming to a close. We've so much enjoyed being a member of the "Farmily" and the beautiful veggies we've received that I wanted to give them a little quilt as a thank you for all their hard work. This summer was so danged hot, and they always came through, week after week.
So I got to work on it yesterday. You could easily make the quilt from the tutorial, or you could be lazy like me and purchase the templates. They aren't available at the link I gave you any more, but I found them right here. And I'm adapting the pattern a little bit. For one thing, I'm going to do the quilting quite a bit differently, and I wanted to add a sun at the top. For that, I'm using the same sun I used when I made the Line Dancing quilt for my laundry room.
So I pulled out the pattern for that and borrowed the templates to make the sun. I intended to get quite a bit further along on this, but alas. This is as far as I got.
As the title of this post suggests, frustration abounded as I got to work. Here's the thing: I've always used Heat 'n Bond Lite for all my applique projects. As I said in the tutorial I once wrote about fusible applique:
It's the only product I've ever used. It was recommended to me. I tried it and liked it. It's never given me a bit of trouble, and so I've never felt a need to try anything else. It is readily available at most fabric stores, and can be purchased in pre-cut rolls or by the yard. I prefer to purchase it by the bolt. I do a lot of applique, and this is the most economical way to purchase it.
With that said, I took a class in Tacoma last summer and one of the classes required that I bring Wonder Under, the choice of many others. You can read the post I wrote about the class right here. Basically, the advantage for the class was that it can be peeled up and used again. You can also use it to transfer designs to your fabric. It's too much go to into here, and so if you're curious about this, I'll refer you back to the post from the class.
So all of that to say that I've had this Wonder Under hanging around my sewing room ever since. And then I used it again when I made Gracie's portrait. June Jaeger recommended it in her "A Cat is a Cat" class recently. Having used it a couple of times now, I had an idea that it might be less stiff than the Heat 'n Bond Lite. I decided to try it again yesterday.
So here's where Wonder Under and I started to part company, probably for good. I was using a fabric from one of those bundles of fat quarters you often find at Joann fabric stores. They come in lots of colors...some in shades of the same color, and some in rainbow colors. I use them a lot because I love the colors, even if the fabric is not the best quality. And when I fused the Wonder Under to this fabric that loves to fray, I had the hardest time peeling away the backing. I nearly destroyed the points on the sun's rays trying to get the backing off. I was seriously so frustrated that I almost started over again.
Finally, I got them all separated from the Wonder Under, trimmed off the frayed edges and fused them down. Here's a picture of the Wonder Under on the "sticky" side. It looks and feels like parchment paper.
And here's what the Heat 'n Bond Lite looks like...shiny...probably more plastic (or something). Anyway, I have never fought with the Heat 'n Bond the way I fought with the Wonder Under.
As a person who does a lot of fusible applique, I have this recommendation: Wonder Under probably is less stiff than Heat 'n Bond Lite. However, I wouldn't choose Wonder Under again unless I'm using tightly woven fabrics like batiks. For other fabrics that are of a looser weave, I will choose Heat 'n Bond Lite from now on. And one more thing: There may be other fusing mediums, but the only other one I'm aware of is Steam 'a Seam 2. I've heard from two sources now that Steam 'a Seam 2 is not a good product, although I've never tried it. Apparently the original version of Steam 'a Seam was well-liked, but then taken off the market and reformulated for some reason. The newer version is not preferred.
And that, my friends, is probably more than you wanted to know about fusing medium. It's amazing how verbose one becomes when one is frustrated. Often, the verbosity consists of words that should not be repeated.
This morning I turned the third corner of the Dream Machines quilt. Of course, I always start inches from the first corner so that I can turn a corner right away and then announce, "Wow! Look at me go!!" It makes me think I'm making progress, even if I'm only just getting started.
So here's how it's looking:
Whoa! Is there a quilt needing inspection here? Why wasn't I consulted?
And how am I supposed to give it a thorough inspection when it's all folded up like this? Huh?
Like I said, frustration abounds.