A Better Way

It was a beautiful morning to get out for a walk yesterday. I needed to empty the compost pail, and I needed to feed the birds. My little cat and I took advantage of the sunshine to make a few laps around the property.

We noticed some daffodils already poking their heads up. It seems awfully early to me.

With the sunshine, the temps had risen to around 40°F., but there were still patches of snow around.

There was frost first thing in the morning, but it had melted into zillions of droplets by the time we got outside.

There was raking light coming through the Douglas fir next to Mike's shop.

We moved into our house in June, 2002. There was minimal landscaping at the time. It looked as if the previous owner had hurriedly planted a few trees and shrubs here and there just to make the place look a little better before putting it on the market. (We were told later by our neighbors that a relationship break-up had precipitated the sale.) In any case, the tree in the image below was left behind still in its five gallon pot. I think we waited another year before deciding on a place to plant it. You can see now that it towers overhead. It's one of my favorite trees, called a Weeping Fir.

At that point, Smitty and I headed back inside and I went to work on those damnable flowers for the Quiltmaker's Garden. I still needed to applique the center over the large flower I'd made the day before. I'll need to top-stitch this, but I'll do all the flower centers at the time time.

Then I was ready to give a try to the smaller flowers. As I said in yesterday's post, I had in mind to try a freezer paper template to bring the two paper-pieced seams together. I made templates for the first and last piece in the circle

Then I held it up to the light for placement and glued it in place.

Before continuing, I cut the center piece out since there was too much bulk if it was left in. Then I continued piecing around all the petals until I got to piece #10. 

For that, I made a second template and cut it to size and tried to match it up to the seam allowance for piece #1.

I was able to complete the flower, but it was still a painus in the anus. I added the center applique, and one small flower was done. Nine more to go. Oy.

I took a break there and checked my email. My friend, Karen, had written to suggest cutting the paper-piecing foundation in half by trying to find two seams that were more or less on the same line.

That turned out to be an excellent suggestion. You can see that the seam line for pieces #3 and #9 are fairly well straight across. It's close enough that no one will ever see the difference. So, I cut the template in half there and then paper pieced it in two sections.

When the two sections were finished, they looked like this.

And then all I needed to do was to match up the edges and sew them together.

I added the center applique and laid them side by side. Can you tell which is which?

Well...that just about made my whole day, so thank you for that excellent suggestion, Karen. The remaining eight flowers are all white with green petals, but they'll go together so much easier. I think I'll actually get this finished without needing to slit my own throat.

After that, I decided to do something a little more fun, and so I made Block #2 for the Solstice Challenge. Pat Sloan calls this block the Day and Night Star. I've also heard it called a Split Star. As I said in an earlier post, I'm trying to make these blocks represent something seasonal, or something that happened during the week. We've had plenty of snow and cold weather, and so this block reflects our recent snowfall.

After that, I thought I might do some more flowers, but someone else had other ideas. He'd taken up residence on my sewing chair and didn't seem inclined to move.

Yes, you're done sewing for the day.

Okay...well, the boss has spoken. It was time to call it a day.

This morning I have a doctor's appointment and then I'm getting my monthly pedicure (a week late this time around). After that a few errands before coming home. I'm not sure I'll have any time for sewing, but I'm hoping to get a few more flowers finished.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Isn't it great whe that ta-da moment hits - even if someone else turns on the light bulb for you? Looks like you will get thru these just fine now, but leaving those raw centers did throw me.

Quilting Babcia said...

That was a beautiful Oregon morning yesterday, love that photo of the light coming through the tree by Mike's shop. So glad you found an easier way to piece those flowers,thanks to Karen. Great tip and one I'll need to remember since I'm looking at piecing some similar (but not tiny) blocks in a future quilt that's been on the list for awhile.

Teresa in Music City said...

What would we do without our friends??? It's wonderful when we find a great solution to a pain-in-the-butt problem! Rocky loves my sewing chair too. Thankfully I have two chairs in my studio, one for the sewing area and one for the computer area. When he usurps my "throne", I just roll him out of the way and roll my computer chair up to the sewing machine. He always give me a very self-satisfied smirk when I do this of course LOL!!! The computer chair is smaller and less comfortable, but it works when I'm not quite ready to quit sewing and the pleasure of his company makes it worth it :*)

Brown Family said...

Karen s a smart cookie! I can't tell the difference in the two! It was warm (hot 80) here yesterday so we spent the day in the yard. It always amazes me that two giant oak trees can produce 40 bags of leaves! If it warms up some today, maybe after 4 days we can finish for a week or so! I have not turned on a sewing machine since before Christmas. Still racing the clock to get the last piece of cross stitch done so I will be ready for the new project on Sunday!

wheelinsticks said...

There always seems to be a dog hogging my recliner in the sewing , plus a couple of cats in there too. Makes it a cozy place to be.

Ray and Jeanne said...

So glad you found a solution that works~ ~Jeanne

Jen said...

Isn't that interesting the way our minds work things out differently? What might work for one person doesn't make sense to the other. :) I am glad that you found a way to make your flowers a little less difficult! They are very pretty!

Angie in SoCal said...

Oh Wow - was that ever helpful. Brilliant suggestion, Karen. Great process post, Barbara. PS we once had a cat (Sandy) who use to go on walks with us.

Sandra W said...

Yes, your friend's suggestion is brilliant. This would be a good approach to many pp patterns. It makes it so much more manageable.

Kate said...

Yeah for finding an easier way! It's been sunny here, but too cool to do a lot outside. I'm already ready for spring!

Marina Louw said...

I am so glad to hear that you found a solution - always thankful for friends who can think out of the box and see a solution. Thank you for sharing and making it easier for others! Happy New Year to you and the Boss

Wendy Tuma said...

Yay for solutions that work, and quilting friends who help! I like your solstice blocks; mine are coming along as well, but pretty random. I'm just pulling fabrics I like from my stash, but checking to see that they agree with the block before at least a little. My first block was a bore; I may redo it. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

gpc said...

I did the first solstice block and had the second ready to finish before I realized that there was a typo and my 2 1/2 strips were not going to finish at 3 1/2 inches -- I don't cope well with frustration, I guess, so I'm out. :) But yours are lovely.

Dana Gaffney said...

Playing catch up again with blogs so I'm weirdly reading them backwards. Raking light? that's what that beautiful light is called?

quiltzyx said...

Excellent solution Karen! Anything to help you with the dreaded paper piecing...I know how much you love to do it - NOT!

gpc said...

She's corrected the typo on the pattern I used the first time -- maybe I will try it again. Learning curves are steep for me and I am clearly not a high stepper. :)