Dead in my Tracks

Yesterday I was all set to sandwich the last two quilts from my seven quilt stack. For one thing, I was waiting for the backing fabric for the Icy Blues table runner. And since I'd already sandwiched five quilts one day last week, I'd left the Quilting Snowladies (the largest of the bunch) for last. I asked Blow Man (who often masquerades as the Resident Engineer) to come blow the leaves off our covered patio where I go to spray the deadly 505 spray baste. (I don't think it's really "deadly" per se, but it makes the story more interesting when the word "deadly" appears in one of the sentences. Wouldn't you agree? And now I've used the word three times in one paragraph, so I'll just move along.) Anyway...Blow Man knows what's good for him, and so he got right on that.

So off I go, happily (cough, cough) sandwiching my last two quilts from the stack. Icy Blues was first. This is the backing fabric that's been holding up the works:

It wasn't quite wide enough to accommodate the length of the runner, and so I needed to stitch a little extra to make the back. Then, it was sandwiched and ready for quilting.

The quilting design is worked out in my head, and that's always half the battle for this quilter.

Then I got the backing and top all laid out for the Quilting Snowladies, and let me just say that they are a gabby group. They get so excited when their turn comes up in the sewing room, and I have to get out my megaphone to be heard over the racket. But on we go...

I always lay the top over the backing first, just to make sure I'm not unpleasantly surprised by the size differential. And then I started unfolding acres and acres of batting pieces. 

When I started this task, I was certain I had a large enough piece of batting, but then discovered I was coming up just a couple of inches short. I suppose I could have pieced some together, but for such a large quilt, I wasn't relishing that idea. Finally, I decided I'd just order some more and save the pieces I had for another project...and, of course, the lists of "another project" are never-ending around here. I ordered some from Amazon, and it will be here on Wednesday. Amazon Prime, baby. Gotta love it...especially when you live on the frontier like we do.

That was okay with Smitty. He's grateful for this excellent napping place for a few days. He can walk around and find the perfect napping position...stretch out his lengthy and decidedly macho body...and snooze-a-roo to his heart's content.

He's having to do extra lap duty these days, and so he's just plum tuckered out with the hours of additional labor required. So many laps, so little time.

Since I was stuck dead in the water for the time being, I decided to get to work on the 4th of the December blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt. This is Payton's original block submission:

This one was constructed using the inset circle technique I learned from Dawn White earlier this year. By insetting the circle rather than appliqueing it, I was saved from having to embroider through the thickness of the applique...always a good thing...but, honestly, doing inset circles is the way to go on some of these. I'm so glad I attended that class, because it really has been a boon to my sewing.

Once I had the circle done, I used the triple stitch on my sewing machine to stitch around the outside of the baseball. Some of the blocks done by children are created using more than one color of pencil or crayon, and so it's often hard to match the colors. In this case, I wanted the machine stitching to match the hand stitching, and so I chose the best match to Payton's art work while also matching my sewing machine threads to my floss collection. It ended up being a sort of rusty brown color.

Then I used a fly stitch to hand stitch the baseball lacing and four strands of black floss to stitch Payton's name. And there's the finished block: 

I'm a little bothered by the way the seam allowance is showing through to the front, but I think that will disappear when it's backed with white batting. That's been my experience, anyway.

And that was Block #40 of 56. These are the four blocks completed in December.

Today I'll get to work quilting the Icy Blues. I'm going to continue to practice quilting snowflakes for the Quilting Snowladies...they're next...and I have some other ideas for the Icy Blues as well. It shouldn't take too long, and again, it'll be a good practice piece.

Laundry is already under way because Mike goes back to work tomorrow. He's enjoyed a relaxing week off, and it's been nice to have him around. And...not that we're counting, but 488 days until retirement.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I love your ' blue preiod' pieces. The 4 new blocks done this month are super. Ah, the count down begins.

Kate said...

You got a lot done before you had to stop. I'm looking forward to seeing all the blocks for the Live, Love, Teach quilt set together. You are getting really close to that point.

Chris said...

Love your quilts! You're so good about keeping your checklist up to date.

488 days! Oh boy...that will go fast. And you're working up a list of things to keep him really busy, huh? Brad plays golf twice a week, does the gardening and yard work 2 days, gives in and tackles something on the honeydo list another then we're in trouble. He just can't keep busy enough....a guy who has always been on the move. He only takes one job a week these days which can be 2-4 days depending, can read for just so long then it's up and out of that chair! Guess it's time to redo the master bedroom.......could use fresh paint after 12 years. Never, ever thought I'd get to the point where I couldn't think of something to do in the house.....it's exactly where I want it to be!

Dana Gaffney said...

I agree with Sharon, lots of restful blues going on there. Nice that retirement is looming, have you started making all kinds of plans?

Sally T said...

For the inset circle, after its sewn you can just iron the seams back toward the inside of the circle to hide the seams and make the applique go from an inney to an outey (if you will forgive the technical jargon).

Lou said...

Search you tube for Whirls and Swirls Quilting. She is a gal out of Canada that shows lots... over 200 quilting designs for longarms. She has a really simple snowflake I used:) Lots of looking through. I follow her on FB and she posts a new pattern everyday!
LMK what you think:)

Laura said...

Wow, so many quilts layered! Congrats. Have you ever tried Sulky KK2000 to spray baste? It's not toxic like 505 (unless one is particularly allergic). It looks more expensive, but is more concentrated than 505. Glad that Smitty is get back to his old "pawcedures".

gibbygoo56 said...


Sue Laughton said...

Ah the Deadly 505 spray! Mary Ann was using it for some of her machine embroidery (400 knit caps - yikes!) and discovered that the 505 definitely did not get along with her fancy long nails! Goo-ed up the polish or some such thing.
I love your quilted snowflakes - in all those sparkly colors.