Sunday, April 27, 2014

Only a Little Sewing Last Week

We've had a lot of “just life stuff” on our plate this week.  Some was fun like hosting the AARP volunteers who worked with Bob during tax season.  Others were less fun including a series of medical visits and trips to the country to start the bidding process on making the ranch house habitable again.  All of them were worth the investment in time and effort, but they sure cut into my quilting time.  

I managed to glue baste the applique pieces to 12 center blocks for the Jill Finley quilt.  There are 4 more blocks and two borders still needing to be prepped for handwork.  I could just work on the ones that are ready, but I want to clear off the table in the sewing room so I can resume machine quilting my split nine-patch.  

I tried to listen to movies while prepping the blocks, but the long, repetitive commercial breaks eventually got to me.  I finally set up my iPad so I could enjoy some commercial free videos from the web.  This is one of the ones available from the PBS series “Call the Midwife.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It took longer than expected, but the 66 circles, 96 leaves and 310 inches of stems are finally prepped for applique on the Jill Finley quilt blocks and the first block is glue basted.  I had to pace myself during the prep process when I discovered it was making my wrist sore.  Many of my friends have issues with their hands and wrists and I want to delay the onset as long as I can.

This project will be my grab-and-go hand project for the foreseeable future.  Besides the 16 blocks like the one in the photograph above there are additional appliqued borders on the top and bottom. 

I never know what I will encounter on my morning dog walks.  I've seen spiders, skunks, geese, a pelican, lots of turtles, the occasional snake and today…this crawdad.  

We have lots of ponds in our area, but this is the first time I've seen one of these guys.  I estimate that he is about 4 inches long.  Llano, a community about 40 miles from here, is having its annual crawfish festival this weekend.  Maybe this guy was looking for a place to hide.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Post Card and Roses

Wednesday’s Quilt Club workshop where Carol Morrissey led us through the process of making fabric post cards was great fun.  We did not have time to do any machine work on them during the workshop, although several people did complete two designs.  These cards are constructed so that they can actually been mailed through the postal system.

What a difference a few days makes.  Here is the rose bush that was covered in buds earlier this week.  Now is it loaded with open blossoms.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Anti-Ouch Pouches and Leaves

Instead of working on Jane Stickle blocks today, my usual Tuesday project, I stitched up these anti-ouch pouches to take with me to quilt club meeting tomorrow.  I discovered the kits in the bottom of my sewing closet over the weekend and realized they should have been handed in a couple of meetings ago. 

Here is where I stand with prepping leaves for the Jill Finley quilt I’m working on.  I need 96 total and I think I have 50 here plus two others still wrapped in the templates…I’ll be busy for a while.   I may pause on the leaves and work on some of the 66 circles I need so I can get at least a few blocks ready for handwork. 

We were very fortunate to stay above freezing last night and there was enough of a breeze to prevent a frost.  My garden plants appear to have come through unscathed.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Progress on Multiple Fronts

The 16 blocks are pieced for the Jill Finley quilt and I've begun prepping the pieces that will be appliqued on them.  

Here is the collection of bias strips that will the stems.  

Next up are the leaves and blooms.

I’ve also begun stitching in the ditch on my split nine-patch quilt.  

This time I’m using invisible polyester thread for this step.  I’m not crazy about it because it is shiny, but it is much less noticeable than using even the finest thread in my collection that has a color.

Work continues on the ranch house.  Everything has been moved out and workers have been busy this week removing dry wall and cabinets so the mold damage can be assessed.  It’s a necessary step before repairs can be made.  One worker left his respirator in the garage overnight with the garage door open.  When he arrived the next day there was a four-foot snake cozily coiled up in it.  We’re betting they will close that door in the future.

…the first rose of the season opened up Friday.

…and the bush has lots of blooms.

There is a possibility for a freeze Tuesday.  I’m hoping it doesn't happen but I guess I better figure out a way to protect my tomato and pepper plants.  Everything else can be moved inside for the night.

Today I’ll be prepping more applique pieces plus going through my stash looking for fabrics that can be used in the quilt club’s workshop on Wednesday.

Monday, April 7, 2014

More Progress on Jane Stickle Triangles

Jane Stickle block, Bottom Row 6, Frank’s Ric Rack, is finished.  I only have one more bottom row triangle left to do plus a gazillion triangles on the left side.  The next two triangles I'm going to work on are kitted up and ready for tomorrow when I join my friends for a sew day.  They require both paper piecing and applique, so they won’t be completed until I come home and finish prepping and stitching the pieces to be appliqued.

I've also basted my split nine patch quilt and begun the process of stitching in the ditch.  I’m still thinking about how I want to do the quilting that will show

Friday, April 4, 2014

Another Jane Stickle Triangle Block

Here is Bottom Row 12, Jesse’s Stained Glass.  I was concerned when I first saw the completed block because it looks lopsided.
However, when I used some remnants to approximate how it will appear without the seam allowances, I liked it better. 

I have one more block that is complete except for final trimming.  I will try to post a picture of it this weekend.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Signs of Spring and a New Start

I've begun work on a new project that will be the full size version of the Jill Finley quilt that we made a sample block of during our workshop.  This one will be more muted colors than the sample block I made, truer to the picture of the quilt in the book.  Right now I'm doing the very tedious steps of truing up triangle squares which I chose to make using the instructions she gave in the book.  There will be lots of applique in this project which I'm looking forward to.

Even though we continue in a severe drought, we are enjoying signs of spring.  The blue bonnets are not making as big a show as some years, but they are around.  This shot was made on one of my morning walks.  I had to push my camera lens through a chain-link fence and aim at a patch in the city cemetery to get this picture.

This little guy was in our yard.  Blue has always been my favorite color and it's not always easy to find it in nature in our area.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tuesday's Triangle Block

Yesterday was sewing with friends’ day and I worked on two Jane Stickle triangles.  One is finished.  Here it is.  This one was entirely paper pieced. It is Bottom Row-10, Nicholas’ Diamond.  The colors are more muted in the photo, perhaps due to a heavily overcast day today.  We are praying and hoping for some rain this week.

I have an additional two triangles in the works.  Almost all the remaining blocks require both paper piecing and applique, so actually finishing one on Tuesday while away from my applique prep tools is not always possible.

My order for batting and backing arrived yesterday so I’ll wrestle the monster cutting table out of its nook in the laundry room and prepare a top for quilting.  Since my HQ16 is out of commission while the ranch house is under repair, I’ll be quilting on my Janome.  That’s slower than working on the HQ, but I always feel like I have more control over what I’m doing.