Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Summer Time is Definitely Here!

The communities surrounding us have already been experiencing triple digit days, but today was the first time it reached the thermometer on our back porch.  I cut short my day at Sit ‘N Sew so I could buy groceries and get home to tend to our fur babies before the real heat of the day reached us.   

My collection of Jane Stickle blocks for the month of June has grown.  I hope to complete a few more before the end of the month and they come off the design wall and go into storage.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time to Reconfigure the Sewing Room

One of the roadblocks to progress over the last few weeks has been that if my primary machine (a Janome 6600P) is set up for piecing, then it really isn’t available for machine quilting, and vice versa.  So, today I reluctantly set about reconfiguring my space so I can have my Pfaff set up for piecing and my Janome set up with the bobbin holder, foot and thread for quilting. 

My Hearts Abloom wall quilt has been on my design wall for months as I keep putting off the quilting part of the project.  It’s small enough that I can do it at home rather than make a special trip to the ranch for the HQ, but it still has been on the back burner for too long. 

I also have several Jane Stickle blocks prepped for the handwork portion of the applique and my accumulation of blocks completed in June is growing slowly. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Breaking the Mold is Bound, Labeled, Done!

Serving as a kitchen volunteer for Vacation Bible School is proving to take its toll on me this year.  I have been at work in the kitchen at 7:30 every day preparing snacks which we serve to 268 youngsters between 9:30 when the first group arrives and 10:55 when the largest group and the oldest children are served.  It has been a great week, but it has left me little energy for much else.  The other ladies working in the kitchen are wonderful and we all try to be very supportive of each other despite the pressure to keep on schedule. 

Somehow, I finally managed to stay awake long enough last night to get the label attached to Breaking the Mold, my version of a piecing technique explained in Margaret Miller’s book, Strips That Sizzle.  I first saw examples of this technique on Wanda Hanson's blog,  Exuberant Color

I started collecting fabric for this project more than a year ago, and its blocks hung on my design wall for months before I committed to a layout.  Unfortunately, the photograph does not show the colors accurately. 

I quilted it with a simple meander, and used three different threads. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I won!

When Bob and I returned from the ranch Sunday I had an e-mail from Ashley at Amy Bradley Designs informing me that I had won a giveaway!  I was given the option of choosing any item in their on-line store and I opted for this kit of patterns for the Seasoned Quilter, and my package arrived promptly yesterday.  I love the whimsical twist Amy incororates in her designs and am so happy to receive this.  It makes me smile every time I flip through the seasonal patterns.  Thank you so much Amy and Ashley!  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back from the Ranch

We spent three relaxing days at the ranch last week.  We needed to rest up because both of us are volunteering for Vacation Bible School in the coming days.  I’ll be working in the kitchen making snacks and Bob will be towing a group of 5th and 6th graders from event to event.  It’s a good bet that very little sewing will happen around here.  

I didn’t have anything ready to go on the quilter while we were at the ranch so I made these Jane Stickle blocks.  The blocks are A-1, Pinwheel Gone Awry; I-3, Family Album; A-5, Cathie’s Campfire; and E-9, Quilt Jail.  The two green fabrics used in E-9 were remnants given to me by a Sit ‘N Sew friend.  They were two width-of-fabric strips.  One was roughly two inches wide and the other more like three inches.  I flipped through the book until I found a block that would accommodate them.  It sort of looks like my jailhouse has foundation problems, but I’m calling the block “done” anyway.

My DJ blocks are creating lots of little bitty scraps.  The paper foundations for the log cabin blocks surfaced when I went through my quilting closet recently and I pulled them out.  They were part of a pattern featured in a special 2007 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.  The design is by Lesly-Claire Greenberg and is also included in Jane Hall’s, The Expert’s Guide to Foundation Piecing.  Her version was a very color controlled wall hanging in pinks and greens.  The blocks finish at three and one-half inches.  My block is anything but color controlled.  After struggling with the Jane Stickle blocks, it was a relief to play.

Unlike our last trip to the ranch, we had no adventures with bats or coyotes, but upon our return we found a broken window and a golf ball.  Fortunately Bob had an ample supply for duct tape and a rigid plastic sheet to stop air conditioning loss while we await repairs. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Few More Jane Stickle Blocks

I was able to do a little more work on Jane Stickle blocks this weekend, trying to keep up with Doreen's pace.  I still have some more do-overs I would like to attempt, but I think for the briefest of moments I’m pretty much caught up with her.  Pictured above are D-13, Field of Dreams; E-1, Aunt Exie’s Phlox; K-7, Rose of Sharing; G-1, Hattie’s Hen House; RS-4, Dutch Apron; A-8, Florence Nightingale; E-10, Five and Dime; and D-3, Jason’s Jacks .

It looks like the colors on Jason’s Jacks ran, but that is not the case.  The background fabric has those color variations in its design.  I carefully prewashed the print until the rinse water ran clear, a process I am using on most of the fabrics as many batiks have so much dye they will bleed.

My project this afternoon is to start putting the binding on Strips That sizzle.  I will take it with me to Sit ‘N Sew tomorrow to do the hand-stitching, since an early meeting at church will make me arrive late.  I really want to be there in time for lunch, though, as one of our group has promised to bring homemade black berry cobbler and another is providing the ice cream. ….Yum!

This past weekend we made an outing to Fredericksburg where we bought some peaches from a road-side vendor.  The season is short, so we have to take advantage of it while we can.

This is a view I always enjoy from my sewing room window.  I find it very soothing.   Right now we are still seeing a lot of green in our area.  By this time last year we were already reaching highs of 100 degrees.  The longer we can delay them this year, the happier I am.  

And these little critters have resumed their regular visits.