Bee Brave

There's been lots of sewing since yesterday's post. I've taken the Bee Loving quilt to a near finish. When I left off last time, I had quilted all but the two borders, and was considering how to quilt the first narrow border. This "spiral heart" was a contender.

Mine wasn't stitched exactly the way Lori Kennedy had done it, and so I took another stab at it. This motif is stitched bottom half first, then backward for the top half. The top half was kind of confusing for my directionally challenged brain and hands. It was okay, but it seemed I gained little design improvement for a vastly increased level of difficulty. If I was going to do either of those, the one above was the clear winner.

My only hesitation with this was the directionality of it. I could stitch both side borders so that the hearts were right side up. But then, which direction should I stitch the top and bottom borders? With that in mind, I decided to try the motif Lori Kennedy calls the "Sweetheart Border." Mine isn't as pretty as hers, but it was much easier to do than anticipated.

That was the obvious choice for me, and so I went to town. It took just a few minutes to stitch all the way around.

While I already had a motif in mind for the outer border, I took a bold leap of faith and decided to try one of the quilting templates I purchased months ago...this one.

A few months back, I got a wild hair up my tookus, and purchased a bunch of these expensive acrylic templates. So far, I've only been brave enough to use the straight edge. This quilt was made just for fun, and I'm not any more attached to it than any other quilt I've ever made. It seemed like a good one for risk-taking. I used some scraps of batting and some inexpensive muslin and made myself a couple of good-sized practice pieces, then gave it a try.

And it was surprisingly easy! I gave it a few more tries before committing it to the quilt. As it turns out, it was far easier to hold the template steady on the muslin than it was to hold it steady on the quilt. (Who knew? Actually, I figured.) Neverthless, it's acceptable. What I didn't know how to do was to make one edge of the border...

look the same as the other edge. It would be plain dumb luck if your border turned out to be the exact length required to begin and end at the edges of the half-circle template. Certainly I am dumb enough, but not nearly lucky enough.

I was contemplating how one could make this work and considering that it was probably something like centering a line of typing on a manual typewriter. (Please tell me you're old enough to have ever typed on a manual typewriter. And if you're not, then shut up.) Anyway...this turned out to be a pretty good analogy because it hit me that if one found the mid point of one's border, one could simply start there and work out from one side, and then return to the middle and stitch out to the other side. I'm not sure if this is how "real" quilters do it. If someone has other ideas, please speak up. Please do not give me any math problems to solve. As I've said before, I'm much too old and cranky for math.

So anyway...I was happy with my border, even or not, centered or not, and even though I lost the symmetry at times. Like I said, it's acceptable, and acceptably finished is better than perfectly unfinished.

It took about an hour to go around the whole quilt, and then the quilting was finished. It's a little too large to photograph without another set of hands provided by the Resident Engineer. I will be enlisting him soon enough.

Here's how it looks from the back.

So, I didn't really expect to get the binding sewn on, but there were still hours left in the day. I took it downstairs where it was immediately set upon by my newest quilt inspector.

Smitty, this quilt has wabbits on it. One of my most purrfurred foods! Don't they look pawsitively lip-smackingly delicious?

Allow me to paws here to smooth out my furs.

Sadie, when will you learn to take care of your purrsonal grooming befur starting to purrform quilt inspection tasks?

I'm going to let you handle this one. It's so comfurtable here, I'm feeling a siesta coming on.

It's okay, Smitty. I purrfur to work alone anyway.

Mommy...this might be your most supurrlative quilt of all time!

Oh, purr-lease, Sadie. That is such an unpurrfessional purrnouncement to make befur the quilt is even finished. Honestly. Amateurs.

You humans know what I'm talking about, don't you?

This is what I put up with day in and day out. Squabbling over quilt inspection. Mama Cats, don't let your kittens grow up to become quilt inspectors.

So anyway, despite intense ongoing bickering over the merits of the quilt, the binding was sewn on and it was ready for hand-sewing.

This morning, I turned the first corner, and I'm about one-quarter of the way around.

It's always so gratifying to turn that first corner, flip it back and see a freshly sewn binding.

Lest you think sewing was the only thing I did yesterday, I should tell you that I tried honeydew melon sorbet. This was so good. Melon seems to be an especially good choice for sorbet. You can find my post about making sorbets right here.

For this honeydew melon version, I used two cups of honeydew melon puree, 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of melon schnapps (Midori, if you're feeling extravagant).

DeKuyper makes a cheaper version. You can also use vodka in place of the schnapps. The honeydew melon puree is nearly white, and so the little shot of green from the schnapps is nice. You can also leave the alcohol out altogether, but as I explained in my earlier post, a little bit of alcohol will keep the sorbet soft and scoopable. We had some while we watched television last night, and it was so tasty and refreshing.

Also yesterday, I finished up the last embroidered block for the Summer Holiday quilt.

When I get into the sewing room today, I'll put the borders on this block and the other I finished recently...this one...

and then I'll be ready to sew this quilt top together.

It's a CSA pick-up day, and there is always a housekeeping chore, it seems. When that's all done, I'll get to my sewing.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

Beautiful work deserves a little alcohol. If only I could manage the beautiful work. Sigh.

claudia said...

Fantastic progress!
That last block for the Summer Holiday quilt is soooo cute!!!
Man, that sorbet makes my mouth water. I'm going to have to give that a try one of these days.
Right now I have my hands full with a very inquisitive five year old boy! (Mind you, I raised all daughters...so this is extremely different for me!) Plus all that smoke left my poor already sick lungs in a tizzy. I just finally got rid of a cough, that left me energy-less.
After tomorrow I can pick up the pieces and get back to ABnormal!

Sharon Wood said...

Barbara, I enjoy reading your blog so much, but seldom comment. The "bee" quilt is simply beautiful. And I love the Summer Holiday blocks you are working on. Could you tell me where you got the pattern? Thanks!

Quilting Babcia said...

What! Woofies and kitties in the same quilt blocks?! Have you even dared show them to your inspectors? What is the world coming to! Yeah, I remember 10th grade typing class, Royal manuals...

CathieJ said...

Your quilt is beautiful. I enjoyed the kitty bickering. Those embroidered blocks are just so sweet.

crazy quilter said...

It finished beautifully! I thought the same thing about the typewriter alignment. Since I am old enough to remember these things. I got some of those rulers too but only a few. I do like them but have yet to put any to use on anything but a practice piece. Kitties are so cute and they are the best quilt inspectors, they really take their job quite seriously. You are so blessed to have such good help around, even if Smitty does not always approve of Sadies' assessment abilities. This quilt rocks!

Brown Family said...

I beg your pardon! You are a real quilter!

Maria said...

Love it. Absolutely astonishing. Love the bicycle block.

piecefulwendy said...

Nice finish on the quilt! The blocks are so fun. I'm particularly attached to the one with the cat and the tophat. How cute! Your two kitties do the quilt inspection well. Max is fairly indifferent, he'd rather help me piece the quilt, playing the role of anchor to the quilt pieces. Slows down the process, rather.

Dots said...

What fun it is to read your post. To see all you do, pretty work, too. I like the applique and embroidery on the Summer Holiday blocks. I also love the comment 'too old and cranky for math' made me chuckle.
But, I've seen your superwoman moves as you do unreal creative work, so, I do not think that is true about you. Neither too old nor cranky. lol. I know without doubt that you are one SUPER woman that quilts beautifully. Love the cats.

FairviewFarm said...

Pretty quilt.

Yes, I'm old enough to remember manual typewriters. Back in the day, typing was a required class. We had a choice of business (secretarial) or a generic courses. Due to my schedule that year, I ended up in one of the business classes. I finished but, ahem, the resulting grade did nothing for my GPA. So much easier viewing words on a screen and being able to make corrections before printing on paper.