Starting Line

Yesterday I finished the first hooping of Friendship's Garden.

This was Sadie's contribution. It was too chilly to be outside yesterday morning, and so she opted for the comfort of my quilt-covered lap.

Chilly or no, I got outside to empty the compost pail and fill the bird feeders. The seed feeders are good for about a week to 10 days this time of year, when we have fewer birds. The peanut feeder never lasts more than about an hour. Peanuts are kind of expensive, and so the blue jays have to wait between fillings. Once I've filled it, it takes them only a few minutes to find the peanuts and start their siege.

There was housework to do, but I decided to cut myself some slack and sew together the Rainbow Jubilee blocks first. That takes care of November's color.

There are 44 blocks now, with four more to go. It makes for a big stack of blocks.

After finishing up my housework, I vowed to get a start on Wind in the Whiskers. Just getting the machine set up and the tension adjusted takes some time. If that was the only thing I could finish in a day, it would be enough. So I opened up a new cone of monofilment thread. Finding the open thread end is quite a challenge, but I got 'er done.

Some of the little applique pieces have peeled up in places in the years it's been waiting for its time under the quilting needle.

For that, I set up my little travel iron, and I'll give them a pressing as I come to them. Hopefully, I won't find any lost pieces, although I do have scraps of fabric left over if I need them.

This butterfly's wings are three dimensional, held in place by the tiny body of the butterfly, and so I stitched that down right away. I feared my shifting the quilt around would cause it to come loose.

Stitching the edges of the applique is going to serve as the quilting for the vast bulk of this quilt, although I will quilt in some clouds and lines of hills in the larger open areas. I'm using a 90/14 needle, which is the smallest needle I can find for my mid-arm machine. Unfortunately, it's leaving holes in the batik. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I'm hoping it will heal as I go. Things always look worse to my eye as I stitch. When I stand back and look at the whole quilt, I lose track of the things I didn't like in the moment.

Also, I'm taking three stitches at the beginning and ending of each piece, and then just traveling with the thread to the next one rather than cutting thread each time. As I finish each small section, I clip the traveling threads and call it good.

By the time I quit for the day, I'd stitched all around the darkest green, the kittens, the basket, and the lower half of the tree trunk.

Little by little will be the name of the game to finish this off.

Here's where I'll pick up my slow stitching this morning.

Sue and I are walking for the first time in months. We have a chilly, but sunny morning to get back at it, and we'll walk the Fanno Creek Trail. We're both hoping it isn't partially under water, as it sometimes is. When I get home, I'll get back to my quilting. It's good to have it started. When I've been dreading a project for a long time, I find just getting started is enough to motivate me to finish.

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

Denise :) said...

Wow, your blue jay is a LOT darker on his head and shoulders than ours are! So much so that I wondered what kind of bird it was when I saw the pic (before I read the paragraph). Is it maybe a Steller's Jay? Sadie looks so sweet all tucked in. Cozy kitty. I love the the appliqued basket of kittens -- that is so cute! :)

Julierose said...

Lovely applique quilting you are doing...I've never tried free motion quilting--only various straight line ones from the book "Walking" which shows what you can do with just the quilting foot...I just LOVE that quilt--is it a Mckenna Ryan one? Just really lovely...
Chilly windy day here--expecting heaps of rain lashings.
hugs, Julierose

Connie said...

You're such a busy girl . . . isn't it nice to just sit and work on hand embroidery . . . I love hand work, but I never get into it until cold weather hits . . . it's a nice thing to do when watching TV with the hubby :) Your creations are beautiful.
Connie :)

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I like to 'travel' as much as possible when quilting - speeds things up. A good start to this one. Enjoy your walk even if brisk - we had snow this morning and probably more to come with the Lake Affect.

Brown Family said...

Rainbow Jubilee is getting close to the finish line! Sadie has the right idea!

quiltzyx said...

And zoom! The peanuts are gone again. What piggys!

You got a good start on Wind in the Whiskers. Just too fiddly for me, but I do like watching what you do.

I finally got a couple pairs of readers! Both eyes now get to see clearly when reading for a change and I'm hoping my sewing mojo will return too.

crazy quilter said...

Wind in he whiskers is going to be wonderful! I did a McKenna Ryan quilt , Storybook Farm , and did sew all the pieces down. I saw what you are seeing with the holes from the needle even though mine was only a size 12. I switched to a size 10 and the holes were less noticeable to me. When the Quilter did her magic her quilting did wonders to hide the needle holes in the batiks. I think Batiks being tighter woven fabric just get this look of holes with any size needle that is not small. I think when you are done the holes will not be as noticeable as they are now since you are up close and personal while quilting. Those pesky blue jays, leave it to them to hog all the peanuts. They are kinda like raising teenagers never full. Keep on sewing it looks fab. Stay warm with the kitties in your cold weather, and enjoy your weekend.

Vivian said...

Lovely quilt, the kittens are so cute ! If you are really bugged by the needle holes in the batik fabric you could use a vinyl eraser to gently rub them a bit and they will approve somewhat -(I did say if you are really bugged by them!). Be kind to yourself, you do such wonderful work. My condolences on your recent machine issues. Such a bother!

SJSM said...

I can spend more time procrastinating than doing the task, at times. Getting started can be the most difficult part of a process.

Since there is weather talk I will add our forecast. We are headed into very unhealthy air due to the Camp Fire in Butte County, CA. We are several hundred miles from the area. That is just one indication of how massive and brutal that fire is. The smoke blocked enough sunlight it affected our expected high temperatures. Going forward the forecast is trending downward for highs for the same reason. We may get to hazardous air quality depending on which way the air shifts. Very unhealthy means stay inside with recirculating air, no outside air to come in this is for the average person. Hazardous conditions suggest wearing a mask when going outside. There is a slight chance of rain 7 days out. I sure hope Butte County gets the rain sooner to quell that burning. I’m sure the SoCal fires are creating an equally devastating affect in the area and wherever the wind blows. Yep, we are chewing the air we are breathing.

Sew have a productive day. I may do the same as it will be an all inside day for me.

Kate said...

We've hit the downright cold weather here this morning, it was 27 F when we go up. I'll settle for some hand stitching under a quilt too. Unfortunately, there's no kitty at our house to share my lap. Hope you got in a very nice walk and made some more progress on getting your quilt moved farther along.

piecefulwendy said...

I'm always amazed at how many nuts those jays can get in their beaks. We used to put out peanuts, but like yours, ours were gone in minutes between the jays and the squirrels. I'm convinced our bird population knows that the birder girl has relocated; we don't get nearly as many birds as we did when she lived here. Haha. Way to go on tackling the quilt. You'll like having that one off your to-do list!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Quilting before housework always! :) Looks like you did both, so that's a good thing! I love what you're doing with the string blocks - it will be fun to see all the colors together!

Shasta Matova said...

What a beautiful blue jay! I really like your whimsical applique and your wonderful stitchery. Looks like a lot of fun at your house.

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Jays like peanuts, who knew! Great projects!

Karen said...

Your embroidery piece is going to be oh so nice. I don't have much patience for doing embroidery the last couple years. But there are many, many good designs.