OMG: A Sewing Day

It was raining yesterday morning. We were expecting colder weather, but it hadn't arrived yet...fortunately...or we might have had snow. This morning, it's significantly colder, but still dark as I'm writing this. We have one more night here before moving on to our next destination. We'll spend one night in Crestview, Florida, and then we'll be driving straight through Alabama to a state park in Mississippi. I'll say more about that when we get there.

As for yesterday, I'd committed to a stay-at-home-and-sew day, and I was looking forward to it. Of course, any day always gets off to a better start when I take time for some hand-stitching.

I filled my hoop and then moved it to the next position.

Also, it's important to wear proper attire when sewing in an RV, so I suited up in my RV Quilters t-shirt and then got all my sewing crap set up and covering every available surface.

This day's job was to achieve my January goal for the month.

My goal...and I quote...

[T]his month's goal is to get in at least one session of sewing in January. And if I do, I'm going to start sewing together the blocks for last year's Solstice Challenge...no promises about how much...but something. How's that for a definite maybe? 
Okay, so the blocks are made for this quilt, and I'm ready to start sewing them together. Here's the layout. It will be a large quilt when it's finished, at 86 inches square.

The quilt is constructed in sections, and I was hopeful about finishing Section A on this day.

There were some fillers that needed to be cut, and I needed to cut a bunch of 2.5 x 2.5 inch squares to make checkerboard strips. I've seen these quilts made up in certain color sets and similar fabric lines. My quilt is scrappy, and so all my filler strips will be done in black, and my checkerboards will be in black and white.

As for my helper cat team...they were going like gangbusters.

It's hard to find good help these days. They don't have the same work ethic as Molly and her pony.

So anyway...on with the sewing. The first two blocks were sewn together with a black strip.

Recall that my blocks all commemorated something that happened during the week they were made. The one on the left above was to commemorate the epic snowfall that fell at the Three Cats Ranch that week. As a reminder, it was the biggest snowfall for a single event in more than thirty years.

For the next block, I needed to sew a black strip to the left and a checkerboard strip to the right. This block was made to celebrate the first day of spring, Vernal Equinox.

Finally, this large block, made in colors to celebrate Earth Day. It needed a checkerboard strip across the top.

Before I could sew the section together, I needed to add a checkerboard strip along the right side of these two blocks.

And then I could sew the whole of Section A together.

About then, the helper cats came to life.

Say...this looks meowrvelous with my furs. Honestly, I think you've put together the purrfect combination to show off my colors. Is it fur me?

Wait a minute, Smitty. I think this Earf Day block is very complimeowntary to my earfy tones. Purrobably, this quilt is fur me.

While the cats and I were sewing and discussing colors, Mike was hard at work repairing my side of our Sleep Number bed. Sleep Number beds are basically adjustable air mattresses. We have one in the RV and one at home. When we're traveling, the pressure in the bed is sensitive to elevation changes and to weather changes. (It's sensitive to weather changes at home too.)

The hose on my side had become kinked. It's been giving me trouble for a while, but eventually, it stopped working altogether. The Resident Engineer solved this problem by cutting off the kinked section of the hose and reattaching it. It's all good now.

So from there, he took Smitty out for a walk, and I got to work sewing together Section B.

You can see that I've done some (gasp) math to put this section together. It occurred to me that it might be interesting to have a different scale of checkerboard in the larger sections. You can see that there were several rows of checkerboard strips in the upper right-hand corner of this section. I decided to substitute whole cloth with a checkerboard pattern. The top row looks like this:

The smaller scale of checkerboard is kind of fun, and a whole lot less annoying. If you made this quilt during the challenge (or even if you only started it), you know that it contained an annoying number of half square triangles. Anything to make this quilt less annoying is welcome. Also, I added a black filler strip to the left side. These blocks were made to celebrate (on the left) Black History Month and Matthew's April birthday.

The next row was made by simply sewing together three blocks. From left to right, they celebrate Martin Luther King Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Finally, the largest block of the quilt. The block below was made to celebrate Valentine's Day. I needed to add a black border on all four sides. And may I say that one has to be quick with one's shutter finger when helper cats are around.

And that was a fairly quick section to sew together. Here's how it looks. My design floor is small, and on this day, it was sun dappled.

Then I sewed Section A and B together, and my sewing day was complete.

Since my January OMG was to "start sewing together the blocks," I'd say January's goal is in the bag.
I'll link up to the finishing post when the time comes.

Even though I've only sewn together two sections, this quilt top is well on its way to completion. The large area inside the red box is finished now.

When I work on it again, I'll start with the section on the top right.

There were still several hours of daylight left, and so Mike and I got out for a hike. On this day, we hiked the Pine Flatwood Nature Trail.

We could have walked right from the campground, but we decided to first walk along the road to a nearby picnic area and start the trail from the opposite end. Along the way, we noticed these trees with a white blaze.

You might recall from our Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge days that these blazes indicate where the endangered Red Cockaded Woodpecker is living. We had to walk to the far side of the tree to find the hole, and there it was...halfway up.

Looking off in the forest, we could see a number of trees with white blazes. It's good to see the woodpecker (and the trees) making a comeback.

It was a short distance to the picnic area. We got a kick out of this shower made from half a canoe.

There was also a swimming area. Looks like a nice place for a swim, no? Unless you're a sissy afraid of alligators (raises hand). We get a chuckle out of these signs that say, basically, they don't eat people...much.

We walked out on the dock there. The wind was howling when we stepped out from the blockade of trees. Looking to the right, we saw this:

To the left...this:

The river was moving swiftly on this day.

Turning directly around, we crossed a parking lot to the trailhead. There, we read the many ways we could be eaten by bears on this day. If the alligators don't get you, the bears will.

And, I wouldn't have thought it, but apparently we should be on the look-out for polar bears. We thought this was strange in Florida, but there it is...right there on the sign.

Also, this guy, demonstrating the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" method of avoiding bear consumption.

On our walk to the trailhead, Mike had observed a strict demarcation between the scrub oak trees and the longleaf pine trees. This sign explained it.

It's a little harder to see it from this side than it was from the road, but here's a picture. Looking beyond the long and tall trunks for the longleaf pines, you can see the stand of scrub oak.

Also, we saw this sign about forest industries and turpentine production.

We looked all along the trail for the remainder of our hike, but could find no evidence of the scarred trunks. A fire had destroyed many of the trees in this area, and we had a feeling most of the turpentine trees had been lost to fire. The closest thing we could find was the one in the image below, and we aren't sure this was caused by deliberate scarring or if it was just a remnant of the tree's having burned at some point.

Nevertheless, it was good keeping a sharp lookout because off in the distance, we saw this buck.

Looking a bit to the left, we saw his lady friend.

We sat on a nearby bench and paused looking at one another for at least ten minutes.

Eventually, we moved on and so did the deer. As we crossed back to the campsite, we noticed their tracks.

And that was our day.

Today we have no plans. It grew very cold over night, as I mentioned, and so we're hoping for some sunshine to warm things up a little. We'll probably get out and do some more hiking...possibly driving back to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge to some of the trails there. Really...I have no idea. It's nice to have a do-nothing day planned. For sure, there will be hand stitching, and that's where I'm headed next.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

CJ Smith said...

I can't believe how much you accomplished on your project! You are a machine!!! I'd still be putzing around with the blocks in the first section. Must be all that good (wink, wink) help you have.


Yep--it is cold here in Fl today--but the good news is--it is just for today--Thursday--tomorrow we warm up again!!! I just love those helpers and I am torn as that quilt does make each cat look great--so I don't know how you will decide 'which' one will get it!!!!
enjoy, di

Arlene Adams said...

My solstice challenge is sitting in a pile gathering dust (I kid you not!!) But you just gave me a nudge to get it out and work on it again......maybe it will get finished in 2018. I just got an email from my niece in Daytona Beach - it is 29 degrees; yikes, that is cold! Enjoying your travels....

gpc said...

I started that quilt but did not finish it. When I ran into a couple that had errors early on, I lost interest. I did make several of the blocks, though, and have other orphans, so maybe I should lay them out and see whether there is any way to create something. Otherwise they will just stay in my already overflowing WIP/useless scrap stash, and I don't really need more of that. I loved the big star in the center, it is my favorite of what I did for that project and I am tempted to just turn it into a crib quilt instead. Nice campsite, so much fun when you can just sit and watch critters watching you.

Lady Jane said...

All your blocks are pretty. I love the colors. You do well in a small space. You have to be very organized. Hugs, lj

Kate said...

Congrats on finishing up your OMG early. It's going to be a fun and scrappy quilt. I've been catching up on your blog. You've got some great photos from this part of the trip. I loved the one of the white squirrel. Hope you were able to enjoy today and get in some good hiking.

Sally Trude said...

Dearest Smitty,

What an excellent smoky eye. Your application of eyeliner is spectacular...or is it a tattoo?



piecefulwendy said...

You'll have that Solstice done in no time. Glad that it's coming together easily. I'm in a couple of QALs this year, both relatively simple. Apparently I'm better suited to simple when it comes to QALs or BOMs. Haha. Glad you are getting some relaxing days in. I've been surprised at how cool it is in Florida; they were only 4 degrees warmer than us the other day!

kc said...

How nice to look back and reminisce over the happenings of the year. Glad you were suitably dressed for The adventure..that's a really cute photo!

The park looks interesting too, lots of great ways to die. Speaking of which, did you see where Spike TV has finally died? They're the wonderful group that brought the show, 1000 ways to die, to life. I found never watch that show cuz it was so gory and full of just plain stupid! Hubby loved it! I also found out the main guy responsible for stories made most of them up when he was stoned. Go figure!

Can't wait to see where you go next!

Karen L. said...

I am still with you on this trip and enjoying every entry you make, every photo you post, and every quilt shop you visit. Some of the fabrics have made me drool! Anyway, it was the deer photo that made me come here to comment. I made a quilt top called Autumn Lady by Bigfork Bay Cotton Co. a while back that was of a deer sitting low in autumn colored foliage. Your photo of the two deer that you watched for a bit really made me think of that. It is somewhat similar except maybe for the colors ... it not being Fall at the moment. You should check the pattern and see if you agree. Keep up the great posting and wonderful stitching. What a journey you are on!!!

quiltzyx said...

It is pretty cool that they used a picture of you & Mike on the Pine Flatwood Nature Trail sign. Do you get residuals?
Great recycling use of that canoe half! And, wow, Polar Bears in Florida - who knew?!!
You did get a LOT of your Solstice put together in one day! Sigh, I am so behind in everything these days...

Angel, Kirby and Max said...

Great progress on the quilt! I realize it is finished now! I never thought of beard in Florida, especially Polar bears!