Insanity by the Numbers

It was a chilly day in the sewing room yesterday. It was possibly the hottest day we've ever seen here in 15 years at the Three Cats Ranch. We're generally 10 degrees cooler here than in the valley, and our thermometers were reading 100°F. That meant the air conditioner was running for most of the day. Although we have the vents closed off in the basement, they still leak some air, and it was like a refrigerator down there. I had to come upstairs about every half hour or so, just to get warmed up.

It was okay though because the chill kept my mind sharp for the scrub jay. All I can say is that I should have enlarged it more so that the little pieces would have been a little larger. Oy. I'm not kidding...those suckers are small!

That picture was taken as I worked on the last and most difficult section for the day. It's probably the most difficult section for the quilt. It's comprised of the pieces that make up the area between the birds legs...not to be pornographic or anything. The bird is fully clothed, after all. I drew it in such a way that it preserved the fringy section there.

It might have been easier just to draw a straight line and call it good. When I took the class from Ann Shaw last time around and drew in my brother's hair, Ann showed me a way to preserve that look.

By making a little zig zag there, it avoids having the hair look more like a cap or a helmet. I decided I could pull it off with the bird too.

Miss Sadie has been my fabric consultant, helping me with fabric choices. She lies on the ones she's rejected, leaving me to choose among the ones that are not weighted down.

You can see that fringy piece at the very bottom. This was where I left it for the day, only...

That bottom section just isn't right. I should have a straight line extending thus:

But I couldn't get the edges to match up there. From experience, I've learned this means that a piece in that section is not oriented correctly. I studied this for a half hour, at least, comparing the shapes and numbers to the original drawing. I simply could not figure it out. If I leave it as is and try to work with it, it's going to haunt me when I try to sew it to the section on the left...and probably when I try to sew the section below. In other words, it will throw off everything around it. 

With the pieces so small, and because I hadn't lost any of them yet, I decided to take them off and start over...just re-cut and re-sew the whole section. Before I start, I'm going to line the pieces up on my work table and highlight the adjacent edges with different colors of highlighter. Then, there will be no question how they are oriented. Perhaps it will go together more smoothly. With that in mind, here's where I left the piece when I walked out of the sewing room for the last time yesterday afternoon.

Sadie helped me to select some fabrics to audition for the small inner border on the left. I'm leaning toward the one on top or else the one on the bottom. The one on the bottom is my current favorite.

If you're wondering about the orange, I'm choosing it because of the orange-ish poppies in my other background, but also because it is the complementary color to blue. I like the greens on the one at the bottom, and I'd probably choose greens for the branch where the bird is perched...just to reuse that color. As I make fabric selections, I continue to ask myself, "What would Ann Shaw choose?" And then I do what she would do. If it ends up looking terrible, I can blame her for the resulting abomination.

Despite the hot day, the evening was lovely. Mike and I took a walk around the garden. Some of the echinacea have finally opened. I'm afraid something has chewed the petals of the one on the right. I'm guessing the squirrels have been after it.

A few of the sunflowers are developing buds.

And some of the hydrangeas are beginning to open.

All of the tomato plants have flowers now. I'll be re-potting them into their largest pots of the season either today or tomorrow.

This morning we're meeting up with Matthew for breakfast in downtown Portland. After breakfast, we'll take a walk along the waterfront. The weather is significantly cooler today, and so it should be a nice morning. I'm hoping to get back to the scrub jay this afternoon if I have some time.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

Judy H said...

so you sent the hot weather to Montana! We will be 93 on Monday in Helena and no AC. So I will be 'chilling'

CJ Smith said...

I think the background fabric for the jay is PERFECT! Really makes him stand out, while giving the look of nature.

WoolenSails said...

The colors on the jay and the yellows look stunning against each other.
Your flowers are so beautiful. I got some new ones yesterday to brighten up my porch and garden.


Brown Family said...

I agree! THere are times when you just need to remove the wrong parts and give it another try. Usually you are happier in the long run!

Dana Gaffney said...

The orange will be beautiful, it plays so well with the other background and really makes those blues pop.

Synthia said...

Your scrub jay is going to be beautiful. I greatly admire your patience in dealing with all the itty bitty pieces. Of course the detail you are achieving is what is making it so gorgeous. You go girl!!!!

piecefulwendy said...

Nothing more frustrating than having to redo, but sometimes it just makes the most sense. Especially when you know that leaving the current piece will throw things off. Ugh. The bottom orange fabric is going to work really well! You know I like orange and blue, so I'm truly a bit excited about that. I have good feelings about this quilt; this may take you a whole new direction! Keep that hot stuff over there a bit longer, huh? We are having perfect weather here, so let me enjoy it just a few more days. Hope you enjoyed your time with Matthew and your walk.

Debbie said...

I am going to say a lot of insanity for the jay! Tiny pieces would drive me up the wall. But because you persevere it will be wonderful in the end.

Sally Trude said...

The two delicate Virginia flowers and I almost melted. By the way...your jay's eye is perfection. And we're following along with our own jay who hangs our near here.