Approaching the Finish Line

Yesterday, I decided to start my sewing day by finishing up the little spot of embroidery I'd missed on my first pass with the floss. It was simple enough to do.

Since I've never missed a spot before...at least none that I know of...I wasn't well prepared to choose the right color of floss. When I finished embroidering all the blocks, I put away all the floss, discarded my floss color key, and sold the patterns. That meant that when I went back to fix it, I had to decide from my blue floss scraps which was the right color. These were the four I had...very similar.

I laid each one out next to the finished portion of the scarf, and after careful consideration, decided the one in the upper left was the right one. And then I stitched it, but I still think I chose the wrong color. It's close enough and no one will ever notice that, but it taught me a lesson. Never put everything away until the whole quilt is finished, right down to the hand-stitching on the binding. As I said, I try to learn something from every quilt. One thing I've learned about quilting is this: Most everything a quilt teaches us is learned the hard way.

With that finished, I got busy quilting the four corners. First these two blocks and their associated sashings:

My quilting posture is very bad, even though I remind myself constantly not to hunch. Do I listen? No, I do not, and so that means I have to take frequent breaks to give my neck and shoulders a break. When I went downstairs to the living room, I found Miss Maggie napping on our recliner as if she didn't have a care in the world.

So we snuggled a little, and then I had some lunch, and then I was ready to go back for the kill...er, finish.

With the final two blocks finished, I took it downstairs and laid it out on the floor next to the windows where I can get the best light to see the quilting from the back.

I've taken pictures of all the blocks, but I'll hold off posting them until I have the binding finished. There was plenty of time to do the machine sewing yesterday, and now it's ready for hand-stitching.

When it comes to performing her duties as quilt inspector, Miss Maggie is a slouch. This doesn't make Mr. Smitty very happy. He wandered around on the quilt, kicking his paws at the embroidered figures, and complaining the whole time.

So, where's that freeloader now? Huh?

She's never around when there's work to be done. And when I go upstairs to roust her tail out of bed, who gets squirted with the squirt bottle, huh? Me! That's who.

And I have it on good authority that little streetwalker has been stepping out on me with some cat named Juno! And have you noticed that "Juno" rhymes with "Uno"? Coincidence? I think not. Just check this out right here if you don't believe me.

Quilt, Schmilt. There's no justice in this world.

Well, clearly, little man still has his nose out of joint, but we're making progress.

The only other thing I did in the sewing room yesterday was to add one more fabric to my 365 fabric bin. I started thinking it would be fun to have all 50 states represented in my regional fabrics, and immediately Hawaii and Alaska sprang to mind...not the sort of places you jump into the car and drive to on a moment's notice. It's an excellent excuse to visit both states, but then I remembered some fabrics that Matthew and Valerie brought me from their trip to Alaska. (Valerie is from Alaska, and she has family there.) There were several, but I picked this one for its color and its design, and then fired off an email to them to see if they remembered the name of the shop. They did. It came from the Whale's Tail Quilt Shop in Ketchikan, Alaska. In searching for their website, I discovered that it was formerly known as The Silver Thimble, and Whale's Tail is its new name.

Ordinarily, I'd only include fabrics from shops I'd visited myself, but I couldn't resist including this gift from Matthew and Valerie in my quilt. And since Alaska isn't exactly on the beaten path, who knows if I'll ever get a chance. It's all in the family, right? And life is short...shorter than we think sometimes. It's too uncertain not to break the rules now and then.

This morning I'm heading out to have breakfast with Erik and then I have a few errands to run. When I get home, I'll start on that hand stitching. A journey of 280 inches begins with a single stitch.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynette said...

Oh, wow!! Coming back from a long absence, it's so fun to see this quilt at the end stage. :) I can't see where the missed spot had to have been. I'll sure agree about quilt lessons being learned the hard way. (and I love that Alaska fabric)

Quilting Tangent said...

Looks great!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

How exciting - the binding! Enjoy those stitches as this one comes to it's end of the journey. I love the Alaskan fabric - yes, it needs to be included.

Ann said...

Glad you are at the hand sewing stage with the binding. I love this quilt. My cats and I are enjoying the Maggie, Smitty, and Juno stories as well.

Valerie Reynolds said...

Ii lOVE seeing them all together.....I had to giggle at the snow shoveling snowy as THAT is what I think when I have to go shovel...though I don't mind the winter exercise. :) :) Congrats on a great finish!!

Lana Ku said...

I think if you get the fabric from a family member it counts! Lol. Loving your regional fabrics. I'm still relatively new to quilting(not sewing), and while on an Alaska cruise I visited a Whale's Tail in Ketchikan by accident. My sister (who is not a sewist or quilter) spotted the store an encouraged me to go check it out. Then while in Skagway she spotted the Rushin' Tailor's quilt store. We both bought some regional fabric, her with me telling her I would quilt her a pillow and zipper bag to thank her for treating me to the cruise. Pretty good trade I think! She's treating me to a trip to Mt. Rushmore this year. Will need to be on the lookout for quilt shops.

Dana Gaffney said...

It looks really good and is perfect for the weather. Maybe your little man just needs a little extra love from mom.

Michele said...

The quilt turned out great and of course Maggie wasn't there to inspect it yet Smitty. You haven't explained all the job responsibilities to her yet and you have to show her just how to do it right.

As for her stepping out on you with my Juno, you are her Brother, not her boyfriend, so you shouldn't have your tail all out of joint. And if you looked at his pictures yourself, he looks nothing like Uno. Plus we live on the other side of the country. Relax dude.

crazy quilter said...

You are making absolutely wonderful progress on the snow ladies. It should be a finished quilt in no time at all... I think Miss Maggie is quite cute and agree with Juno they should be friends. Smitty will come to love her I am sure of it!

Susan said...

I love this quilt.

Smitty kitty, am I sensing some jealousy on your part? If you want to put the kibosh on this romance with Juno, you need to let Maggie know you really like her and welcome her. Also, when it comes quilt inspecting time, just think, if your mom and dad hadn't brought Maggie home, you would be inspecting quilts all by yourself. And, since you aren't being a purrfect gentleman with Maggie yet, why would she want to inspect quilts with you? Just some "food" for thought.

Brown Family said...

Another stunning piece!

Cath said...

a good (aussie) morning to you Barbara! I love the snowladies...if I could get my hands on one of those here, I would be stitching it pronto! It is looking really lovely, I am sure Smitty is in agreement with me.

Kate said...

Congrats on finishing the quilting. Hopefully Smitty's inspection didn't find any other areas of concern. Quilting Ladies is looking gorgeous.

quiltzyx said...

LOVE the fabric from Alaska - will the 2 curved dolphins fit into the circle for your block? That would be fun.
How wonderful that Maggie has a beau!! Juno sounds like just the guy fur her. Be a good big brother Smitty & keep an eye on him tho', just in case.