Saturday, May 30, 2015

Playing with Hexagons

I’ve pulled my pieced hexagons from their project box and begun playing with them on the design wall.  They've already been switched around since I took this photo a few minutes ago, and I know I will play with them a lot more before I'm happy with it.  I also need more single red hexagons to finish framing it out.  Between this project, my applique and the pieced blocks from Ami Simms' workshop, I definitely have enough handwork to keep my hands from becoming idle.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Workshop Project and Rain Event

The second workshop led by Ami Simms last week involved a technique she calls invisible applique.  It can also be used for hand piecing and is especially helpful when doing blocks with inset seams.  Last night I finished the sample block we were working on in class.  I have not pressed it nor done a final trim on the outside edges because I’m not sure if I will do anything more with it or incorporate it into a project.

Yesterday we had a major rain event.  After the tornado and severe thunder storm warnings were downgraded to watches (we did spend time in our designated safe place), I ventured outside with my camera. 

The run off will continue for several days, but Lake Buchanan is now reported at 41% full and Lake Travis has risen to 65%.  Sadly, the floods also brought loss of life with several people still reported missing.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Finish and Some Rain

My French General quilt is finished.  It measures approximately 48 X 72 inches, and was entirely quilted on my Janome 6600 with Maxilock thread left over from my clothes sewing days on top and Bottom Line thread in the bobbin.  It is overcast today, and I just could not get light to shine evenly over the quilt for its photograph.

We have had significant rainfall here and we are so happy to see it, despite road closures and flash floods.  Over the last two weeks the official gauge closest to our house recorded 6.84 inches.  The one at the ranch for the same period shows 5.22 inches.  Lake Buchanan is now at 40% of full.  This is the lake which provides our household water.  Lake Travis, at the end of the chain, has received more run off and is at 54%.  I heard on the news that the lake levels would need to reach 70% before water restrictions can be lifted.  So, this weather system which has brought so much devastation locally as well as across the continent has also had a beneficial side.  We are hoping for more relief here before El Nino is spent.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fun Day at Quilt Club

Today was Quilt Club meeting day with a presentation and the first of two workshops taught by Ami Simms.  She led us through several exercises where we practiced drawing feathers.  

Ami is a humorous speaker and a teacher who is very engaged with her students.  Tomorrow’s workshop will be on applique and hand piecing techniques, and I’m really looking forward to that one too.

I came home with more anti-ouch kits and a new dog bed to fill.  Since I'm committed to reorganizing my stash, maybe it won't take quite so long for me to fill the bed this time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lost Pin Found and Finally Some Good Rain

I was able to locate and remove the pin that had found its way into the doggie bed (see previous post).  While I was at it, I tried to run my hand through as much of it as possible to see if there were any more; thankfully, I didn’t find any.  It's definitely ready to deliver to Quilt Club Wednesday.

I began cutting my scraps into usable strips.  I was able to empty some old boxes to get me started.  Depending on how many strips I end up with, I’ll probably subdivide by neutrals and colors, or maybe batiks vs. non-batiks.  It’ll take a while for these to fill up, though.  Not that I don’t have the scraps, it’s just slow work to press and trim.  At least I've started.

The "El Nino" weather system has finally given us some significant rain here in Central Texas.  It’s been a long time since the pond near our house was so full, it overflowed.  They even had to close several low water crossings Sunday.  It's wonderful to see the streams flowing again.  If we could get some more rain while the ground is this saturated, we would get some good run-off for the lakes.

Finally, my husband is a happy camper.  We are trading in our old electric golf cart (the one on the right) for a new gas one.  The old cart was a refurbished one purchased nine years ago.  It served us well, and had been repaired many times.  However, it was becoming increasingly unreliable and requiring more and more maintenance so we knew the time had come.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Near Finish and a New Project of Sorts

My French General Quilt is nearing completion.  The binding is attached and it is ready for the handwork.  This picture was taken during the quilting process.  An online friend recommended using manila folders as a template, and I gave it a try.  It is the low-cost alternative to a curvy ruler and worked great.

Meanwhile, I’m launching into a new project.  Not a new quilt, but a clean-out of my sewing closet that has gotten so bad, I can’t even bring myself to post “before” photos.  Some scraps will be trimmed to 1 ½, 2, 2 ½ and 3 ½ inch strips as recommended by Gyleen Fitzgerald, Bonnie Hunter, and several other quilters I respect. 

Other trimmings I deem too small to be usable will be stuffed into this doggie bed.  Sadly, as I was shoving some more in, I was poked by a pin.  I never did find it, so one of tomorrow’s tasks will be to empty everything out and remove it.  I tried to be careful, but obviously missed one.  Since I need to deliver the bed to Quilt Club Wednesday, I have a deadline.

Some items will be donated to the Quilt Club’s Bits ‘N Pieces booth.  We have a show coming up in February, so I can start delivering things every month and get them out of my limited storage space.  It's hard work, but actually rather fun.

I will be having a milestone birthday November 28, and have promised myself that if I succeed in culling out and organizing my sewing space (and maintaining it); I will treat myself to something especially nice in November.  I haven't decided what that might be, so we’ll see how that incentive works.  At least I have a start, and I see lots of scrap quilts in my future.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Here We Go Again!

Bob is at it again!  My cutting table has been transformed into a model airplane hangar.  He tells me that this is a model of a WWII German Fighter FW190 nicknamed the Butcher Bird.  He was about to begin a discourse on more details until he saw the expression on my face.  I think it was somewhat akin to the way he looks when I start talking about quilting.

It’s a good thing I like putting my cutting mat on the kitchen island.  It makes for a much more peaceable household.

My at home stitching is currently focused on quilting this French General quilt.  I opted to do a simple wavy design using my Janome with its walking foot.  So far, I’m pleased with my choice.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Twirly Ball is Bound-Labeled-Done

I finished the binding on this wall quilt last night while we watched the results show for “The Voice.”  This was a workshop project led by Gyleen Fitzgerald which was a lot of fun, though I confess to taking liberties with its construction techniques.  It is 30 ½ inches square.

I tried to get a close-up of some of the quilting.  I used both my Janome 6600 and my sit-down HQ 16 quilter to complete it.  Gyleen calls this a feathered star block, but every time I look at it I think of twirly ball.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Monthly Anti-Ouch Pouch Batch Finished

I finished this month’s supply of 11 anti-ouch pouches last night, so now I feel free to play with other projects.

As a follow-up to my last post, I went by the church’s garage sale fairly early yesterday.  Aunt Mary’s antique chair, the Longhorn golf bag with lady’s clubs, desk lamp, one of two handbags, and several of the home decor items I donated had already found new homes.   I left without buying anything and I managed to get my 10,000 steps in for the day.  So I’m patting myself on the back. I’ll take my victories where they happen.  ( if there had been a vintage Singer sewing machine in pristine condition for $25, it would have been a whole different story...)