Pin Points

It was a busy sewing day yesterday. I was determined to get the blocks sewn together for the Gingerbread Square quilt. It still needs two borders, but the biggest part of this project is finished now.

When I started yesterday, I needed to make the third horizontal row of nine-patches set on point.

Throughout, these were a little tricky to sew together so that the nine-patches were straight, and so that the points weren't cut off in the seam allowance. I fussed around with them for a while until I figured out a little trick to pinning them together. Maybe this is obvious to some of you smart people out there, but it took me a bit to figure it out. I'm banking on a few of you being slow-starters like I am, and so I'll show you how I did it.

To start, of course, it's fairly easy to keep your points when you're sewing them together in a seam where the opposing piece has no point...say, when sewing flying geese together, for example. These are some of the ones I did for the Vintage Tin quilt. 

I don't know about you, but when I do something like this, I just put the side with the point on top so that when I sew it, I can see the point and the stitches are guided to keep it out of the seam allowance.

But what do you do when you have two pieces like this, each with its own point, to sew together?

When I started, I was kind of doing it via the Braille method, feeling with my fingers and trying to line up the seams. Then when I pinned it, I'd stick the pin right at the intersection of the stitching lines...

then check the back of the second piece to see if I'd matched them up. More often than not, it was off by just a little.

Doing it that way made this job exceedingly slow going, not to mention frustrating.

So then, I sort of engaged my brain, and started doing it this way. I'd start with one piece, and pin as before,

then add the second piece. Holding them separate, I could put the pin exactly where I wanted to.

Then, I'd squeeze the two pieces together keeping the pin in place,

and finish securing the pin. Then I was ready to sew the seam. I've been known to sew over pins, but with so much bulk, I stitched just over the previous line of stitching, then pull out the pin just as I got to it.

When I pressed it open...Voila!

Probably some of you are wondering why this wasn't obvious from the beginning. All I can say is that you're much smarter and more experienced than I am. For the rest of you...I hope this makes sense.

Yesterday there was a fabric delivery. I'm getting ready to start a new project. I blame The Pine Needle Quilt Shop which is where I dropped off my quilts for the Northwest Quilters Expo back in August. They had the Tuxedo Tales quilt made up in their shop. Is this the cutest thing ever?

This is a BOM created by Bonnie Sullivan. It was supposed to be a kit, but they were sold out. Also, it was originally created to use a line of flannel fabric that is no longer available. The pattern alone was quite expensive, and so I resisted purchasing it at the quilt shop. Looking online, I found it for less than half the price on eBay. Even then I delayed purchasing it for approximately 27.5 seconds. I know...I'm a paragon of self-restraint, especially when it comes to cat quilts.

So anyway...it was very cute done up in flannel, and I considered putting together a kit for myself using either flannel or wool. But then, I hated buying yet more fabric, and so I decided to use my own scraps. Still, I needed a consistent background fabric. I really like the "Marbles" line by Moda available right now, and so I purchased their black Marbles from Fabric.com.

It has enough variation in it that I can still make some of the cats solid black and have them show up against the background...especially if I top stitch with a light thread. 

If you've ever shopped for fabric at Fabric.com, then you know they'll ship for free if you spend $50. (It used to be $30, but inflation, I guess.) So, I'm not above paying for shipping, but I'd rather put that money toward fabric, and so I always look at what they have on sale. While I was looking, I came across this fabric that I think will be perfect for the quilt back.

And then, I was almost to the $50 mark, and so I kept looking and I found this fabric. It seemed perfect as a binding for the Gingerbread Square quilt.

Only, when I opened it up, I was kind of surprised to see that black background. All of a sudden, it lost its luster. And when I laid it down with the rest of the quilt and its future borders, it seemed all wrong.

Mike pointed out that when it's cut narrow like it is there above on the right, you lose a sense of what it is. So, never mind. I only purchased a yard of it, and I can use it another time.

Back to Plan A, which was the red and white candy cane stripe you see below on the right.

And no quilt borders can be applied until the kitty has done his final inspection.

He's given me the nod to carry on.

While I was doing all this sewing yesterday, I was also making last night's dinner of French Onion Soup. Mike was browsing through a cooking magazine last week when he said, "Would you make some French Onion Soup sometime?" Well...what kind of wife would I be? So I went to my go-to new recipe finder of America's Test Kitchens and found their recipe for the "Best French Onion Soup." It was surprisingly easy to do, and oh so delicious.

I've always avoided any kind of French Onion Soup recipe because I thought it would mean standing for hours on end over the stove top caramelizing the onions. America's Test Kitchens managed to shortcut the recipe by roasting the onions in the oven. While I was sewing they roasted for an hour, and then I stirred them, and then roasted them for another hour and twenty minutes. By then, they were a lovely mahogany brown color.

At that point, I put them on the stove top and cooked them for another 15 minutes or so before adding the broth, some thyme, and a bay leaf, and then simmering it for 30 minutes. It was so easy. Except for some stirring, it practically cooks itself. This takes quite some time, and so start early if you want to give this a try. Ordinarily America's Test Kitchens requires a subscription to their magazine or a membership to their website (worth every penny, I might add), but in this case, the recipe has been posted on Food.com. If you want to give this a try, the recipe is right here.

There were a pile of bell peppers from our CSA in the crisper, and so I served the soup with these Bruschetta with Peppers and Gorgonzola. That's one of Ina Garten's recipes, and you can find it right here.

Mike didn't know I was actually making the requested soup until he came through the door. He was one happy guy, let me tell you.

It has poured rain all week, but the Weather Channel promised Sue and me sunshine for our first walk in months this morning. I checked the website every day this week, and it kept saying 5% chance of rain...which is pretty promising. It was still pouring yesterday, and so I had my doubts. Then last night I awakened at around 2:30 and I could hear it raining. That really had me skeptical. But when we met up this morning...beautiful blue skies and sunshine. I'm telling you, Sue and I lead charmed lives when it comes to good weather for our walks.

We walked the trail at Cooper Mountain Nature Park, and it was lovely.

After that, I dropped off our ballots (VOTE!). We're vote by mail here in Oregon, but there are ballot boxes stationed around the state so that you can vote postage-free. After that, I had a short grocery trip planned. As I walked through the door, I saw these. 

My walk in the sunshine with Sue had me in such a good mood that I couldn't help snapping their picture. When I got home I put the groceries away, and then iced my knee. And then I sat down here.

It seems like a good day to take a break from sewing. I think I'm just going to laze around for the rest of the afternoon. I might even take a nap. What's going on at your end?

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

Your quilt is beautiful and you did a beautiful job on the designs and piecing.
Love that cat quilt and the fabric would be perfect for that.


Linda M @ Pieceful Kingdom said...

I've been doing Tuxedo's Tales as a BOM with Keepsake Quilting. I'm doing needle turn applique so it's slow going, but I'm enjoying it...and I'm way behind. Your Gingerbread Square quilt is wonderful!

CathieJ said...

I enjoyed this entire post but I have to say that your Gingerbread Square quilt is absolutely beautiful.

Kaelyn Angelfoot said...

The gingerbread quilt is amazing!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

You've been busy! I went to an out of town quilt store, with a couple of friends. It was a nice day. I NEED to be finishing up some purses. We'll see....

gpc said...

Beautiful quilt, fabulous points! Love the cat pattern . . . do love the idea of it in flannel, but know that yours will be purrrfect. :)

Jenny - the lilac cat said...

Hands up I'm a slow learner too!! Your pin method is a great idea and will be used. Love the new cat quilt but I often end up with surprise fabric in my online fabric ordering. Often not what I envisaged because of scale or colours. Some nice surprises some less so....

Rebecca said...

Love Cooks Illustrated!!!!
And your red and white check on point on the Christmas quilt is just the candy touch these blocks deserve!

SJSM said...

Your version of the Gingerbread Quilt is more lovely than the designers version. It will be fun to see how you decide to quilt this.

I love onion soup and looked at this one....sold! I discovered using the two broths is more flavorful than using one type of broth a while ago. Discovering you can do most of the browning in the oven through this recipe had me save it to my Pepperplate account.

Quilting Tangent said...

Good job! Tiny nine patches.

quiltzyx said...

You have been very busy while I've been down & out! Love the quilting on the Cats quilt, very fun paw prints.
The 9 patch sashing is smashing and I love the candy stripe for the binding.
Glad the pie filling was tasty after all the mess. And that you have a plan for next time.
I've enjoyed my last hour or so getting caught up on the haps at Three Cats Ranch!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The new kitty quilt pattern is adorable and great black fabric for it. Candy cane binding is more appealing. I learned the pin method from a study with Barbara Breckman - as well as pressing tips (those tiny Civil War blocks).

Kate said...

Gingerbread Houses is gorgeous. It will be a great quilt for the holiday. Are you planning to snuggle with it or is it for decoration? Love the new cat quilt pattern. That one is going to be a lot of fun.

Brown Family said...

I agree that the candy stripe will look better. The other piece is interesting, so I am sure you will find a use for it!

beaquilter said...

blocks look great and that's exactly how I pin certain intersections of blocks..