Monday, January 1, 2018

A Finish as 2017 Ends

Happy New Year!  

I managed to wrap up 2017 with a finish.  This quilt project began with a February 2015 Bonnie Hunter workshop in San Antonio.   At 73 X 81 inches it’s the largest project I’ve quilted since converting my HQ 16 to a sit-down model.  It also took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it’s finally done.  It seems I keep making the same mistake time and again.  It would have been much easier to bind this quilt if I had not chosen to use a batik. The design is "Texas Tumbleweeds."

While the cutting table was still set up, I pin basted my scrappy bow tie quilt.  Hopefully, its smaller size will make quilting it less of a wrestling match.

The last night of 2017 brought snow flurries.  We did not get enough for a measurable accumulation, but for this part of the world, it was a noteworthy event.

We had a visitor just outside our back-yard fence recently.  The dogs never noticed her and she lingered for a while undisturbed.  We rarely see them this close.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Loss of an Old Friend and Celebrations

I feel like I’ve lost an old friend.  My mother purchased this iron in 1997 and eventually it became mine.  It never had a drink of anything other than distilled water and it never leaked or sputtered.  After its most recent tumble from the ironing board, though, the electronics in the handle were visible and it was uncomfortable to grasp.  Even Bob conceded it was time to go.

I have learned that if you want to spark an animated conversation among quilters, all you have to do is utter one word: “iron.”

There are advocates of vintage dry irons found in antique shops and others who swear by the benefits of steam.  Some insist the way to go is as cheap as possible so frequent replacements are painless.  Others like the high-end ones with all the bells and whistles, like the neat one that levitates up and down and is available in a cute pink model.  I was sorely tempted by the levitating model and kept hoping to find an end of the year sale I couldn’t pass by.   Didn’t happen.

This is what I decided to get.  It is undoubtedly the priciest iron I have ever owned.  Had I known about two unanticipated expenses this month (refrigerator and vacuum), I would have gone another route.  It’s mine now, however, and I will do my best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.  My first time to use it was yesterday and it performed nicely.  I read lots of reviews before making my choice.  Some were extremely favorable and others said they experienced leaks three months after purchase.  One purpose of this post is to give me a record of its birth date.   

In other news, hubby and I celebrated our 40th anniversary Saturday. 

Dessert(s) were involved. 

Usually we like to mark the event with a trip to the Texas coast, but the damage left by Hurricane Harvey changed our plans.  We decided to spend an extended weekend on the San Antonio River Walk. 

Despite record rainfall one day, we had a great time and I even managed some leisurely strolls.

Julia and our youngest grandson joined us for one of the celebration meals (the one involving chocolate).  She gave me these Christmas earrings early so I could enjoy them this season.  Jewelry making is one of her many talents. 

Our other reason to celebrate this December is our oldest grandson’s successful completion of Marine boot camp!  I’m really looking forward to seeing him later this month.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Little Maintenance Required

I had hoped to be posting a finished picture of this project by now, but sadly, my HQ which is normally a rock-solid workhorse started getting very quirky over the weekend.  I finally gave up and took her in for an appointment this morning with the dealer who sold her to me in 2008.  I was told she had a timing issue and of course she got a good cleaning too.  While she was there, I had an open toe foot installed.  Now I will be able to switch back forth between a ruler foot and one that gives me improved visibility.  Maybe we are ready to roll and get this UFO finished.  

My current handwork project continues to grow.  It even has a corner!  I pushed so hard on it last week, though, that my right hand is feeling a little achy.  So, I’ve forced myself to give it a rest for a few days.  I recently had another birthday and my body is sending increasingly clear messages that I need to pay attention to these warning signs.

We’ve had a string of warm days…highs in the low 80s…and I captured this picture of a very uncooperative model earlier this week.  It appears, however, that this morning’s cold front has finally brought winter to Central Texas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Little of This and That

Fifteen more anti-ouch pouches will be going with me to Guild meeting today. 

Although I failed to meet my goal of finishing the quilting on this project, I have made a good deal of progress and the end is finally in sight.

I used up my spool of bobbin thread and had to place a quick order for a replacement.  While I was at it, I also ordered a few more bobbins for my Handi Quilter.  The ones that came with it in 2008 did not have the hole to feed thread through while winding the bobbin, I’m hoping these will be easier to wind.

My project while sewing with my Tuesday friends was my hexagon quilt.  It continues to grow at a very slow pace, but it is growing, and I’m really enjoying it.

I couldn’t resist including these non-quilting related pictures. 

Butterflies have always fascinated me.  This one was not a cooperative model, but I finally managed to catch a shot when its wings were open.

And while walking earlier this week, I looked down and spotted this bluebonnet plant growing among the weeds.  If we continue to get a little rain through the next few months, we should have some pretty blooms around mid-April.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Little Applique

Our monthly applique group met Thursday and everyone enjoyed themselves, including the hostess (that would be me).  This is the project I worked on.

When I finished appliqueing the blooms and leaves on this piece in July 2016 I thought it would be finished, but soon came to realize it needed something else.  Hubby suggested butterflies, and I had to agree, especially as I’ve always been very fond of them.

I started collecting butterfly prints and recently took my collection to the Tuesday sewing group where we auditioned the choices.  This is the first broderie perse project I’ve tackled.

It can now take its place in the queue with the other ready-to-be quilted tops.

We ended up having a light freeze early Saturday morning followed by an absolutely lovely day.  I feel like autumn is finally here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Those Long Term Projects

I’m at that in-between stage on my two primary projects where it’s difficult to report progress.  One quilt is under the needle on the quilter.  I have been dragging my feet on that project for a very long while, but my goal is to finish the quilting process in the next two weeks. 

My Edyta Sitar project continues to grow bit by bit. 

These are the only neutral hexies I have prepped; so, more basting is in my future....a lot more basting.

I did manage to complete 15 anti-ouch pouches and deliver them to the October guild meeting.  That pushes me over 100 in 2017, the goal I set for myself.

The weather has moderated to very pleasant temperatures and we may have our first freeze later this week.  Time to bring out the slow cooker and start making stews! 

Our bottle brush bushes which died back due to freezes last winter have recovered nicely and are blooming.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Growing

My Edyta Sitar hexagon project is growing.  All the rosettes are attached and I’ve begun filling in with neutrals.  I’m running very low on prepared neutral hexies and will be cutting some more out this week. 

Soon I will have to make a decision about borders.  I know I want to add a few rows of neutral hexies to all edges, but I'm not sure where I want to go from there.