9/4/15

Indulging the Inner Stitcher

As expected, there was no time for sewing yesterday beyond binding the Four Fabric Forest. This morning, I added its label. Originally, I had the lettering in an aqua green color, but it didn't show up well when I printed it. The purple lettering worked better.


As I told a few of you in response to some of your comments, I'm very tempted to make another one of these with different fabrics. With that in mind, take a look at the finished quilt:


Now imagine it with these fabrics:


Every time I open my orange stash, I see those three orange fabrics together in a Four Fabric Forest. Yesterday, I needed to go to a local quilt shop to drop off a quilt for the upcoming quilt show, and I saw that brown fabric on the left. It seemed perfect for the trees in an orange forest. It's as if the Universe is begging me to make this quilt in an orange and brown colorway. With fall on the way, who can argue? So...I'm not saying I will, and I'm not saying I won't, but I'm giving it a powerful thinking-on.

The only other sewing I did yesterday was to get a little start on the ninth of nine little stitcheries for the Vintage Kitchen wall hanging. This morning I finished it up.


There was still a little time left for my morning stich-a-thon time, and so I ended up finishing Sophie's block for Lisa's Live, Love, Teach quilt. This is block #27. Here is Sophie's original block submission:


And here is Sophie's block rendered in floss and fabric:


As I said in an earlier post, the finger-painted head isn't technically a rainbow, but my eyes read it that way. I decided to use some rainbow print fabric from my stash, but the size restrictions meant I had to choose between the blue at the top and the red below the mouth. I used a rainbow-colored variegated thread to top-stitch it. Tomorrow I'll get a start on Block #28. There are 56 blocks in the quilt, and if math serves me, completing #28 will get me halfway there.

Today I need to fill the birdfeeders and I have just a little bit of housework to do. I should easily have time to get a start on quilting the Vintage Tin quilt. It's doubtful that I'll have time to get it finished before we leave on our trip to Moab, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

9/3/15

Four Fabric Forest Finished with Finesse

Awesome Alliteration. I just had to add the "finesse" at the end of that title for, you know, finesse. It was a productive day yesterday, and I'm feeling pretty darned spunky about it. Four quilts were sandwiched:





The Vintage Tin quilt was the largest and most cumbersome to work with. It really should have been done first because I was kind of tired of sandwiching quilts by the time I got to it. 

Also, I wanted to say that I took a cue from Sharon Schamber's board method and used spray starch when ironing these quilt backs. She said she always starches her backs to get a smooth result. It occurred to me that the same thing would be true no matter what method one used to baste, and I believe it made a difference. When these were sandwiched and flipped to the reverse to check for puckers, I found them much smoother, and pretty much finished with only a little additional smoothing necessary.

And there they are...a stack of four to be added to the stack of two already hanging out next to Eliza for quilting.


When those were finished, I made up my grocery shopping list, took a short nap, played with the cats, and ate some dinner. It was around 6:00 by then, and Mike wasn't home. He's rarely out past dinner time, and so I found myself at loose ends a little bit...not really able to entertain myself...and both kitties were napping by that time. 

So, I did what any good quilter would do: I got to work quilting the Four Fabric Forest. This is a small quilt at 13.5 x 23 inches, and so I did it on Big Bertha, my domestic machine. Letting the fabric guide me, I decided to pebble in the foreground.


Then I stippled in the mid-ground.


Then I did a sort of scallop in the background, which is supposed to suggest clouds in the sky.


Then I switched to a black thread to put the markings on the birch trees. By the way, did you ever wonder how to tell the difference between a birch tree and an aspen tree? Well, I did, and so I turned to my friend The Google and asked. Here is what Google tells me:

The most visible difference between the trees is the bark. Aspen trees have smooth, white bark while birch bark can be gray, grayish-white, red or black. Additionally, horizontal markings mar the surface of birch trees while aspens typically only show knots or scars. (Source)

So there you go. And with that in mind, I decided these were technically birch trees. It's important to be technical when discussing such things, don't you know. Anyhoo...my trees.


So...by gosh and by golly...at that point, the quilting was finished. And Mike wasn't home yet, and so I went ahead and sewed on the binding.


By then, I was kind of running out of ways to entertain myself, and so I created this label.


That's my address and phone number there in the middle. Didn't figure I'd post that for the entire world to see. And by then, I was getting tired, so I quit for the day and got into bed to watch old episodes of The Daily Show. What? You didn't think I stayed up that late, did you? 

This morning, I hand-stitched the binding. The morning sun was so pretty that I took this rare Oregon opportunity to take it outside for its final pictures.


Here's how the back looks.


The rising sun's rays actually made it possible to see the quilting from the back.


And there you go. That's pretty much 24 hours in the life of a quilter whose husband stayed out late last night. Not a bad day's efforts.

Today I'm getting my monthly pedicure and dropping off the Vintage Miniature Sewing Machines for the quilt show at the end of the month. (I'm dropping it off at a local quilt shop, and you know that's always very, very, very dangerous for my wallet.) Then I'm going to the grocery store. I'm telling you...the action never ends here at the Three Cats Ranch.

9/2/15

Wednesday of Tranquilty

My housework is caught up, and Mike will not be home for dinner. Aside from sewing, the only thing I really need to do is to make up my grocery shopping list for tomorrow. I'm going to take advantage of it because tomorrow will be busy. I'm getting my monthly pedicure (which is nice, but it still takes me away from home). Then, I'm dropping off the Vintage Miniature Sewing Machines quilt at a local quilt shop to be entered in the Northwest Quilting Expo at the end of September.


After that, I'll head off to the grocery store, and so it will be a full day. This might actually be my last trip to the grocery store before we head off to Moab a week from tomorrow. Before we leave, I'll have most of our meals for the trip prepared, including some of our breakfasts and lunches. The camper is small, but comfortable. Nevertheless, there isn't a lot of counter space, and so cooking is a little inconvenient. The more I can do ahead of time, the better.

The kitties are staying home this trip. The truck camper is too small for two adults and two cats. Besides, the cramped quarters cause us more worry about escapees, and so we just don't chance it. We have a good pet sitter coming in to take care of them. Smitty and Gracie have been getting along like old friends lately, and so they are good company for one another as well.

So with tomorrow mapped out, I have a leisurely day ahead of me with lots of hours to myself. It feels luxurious. This morning I finished the embroidery for Erik's quilt label.


Usually, I don't go to this much effort on a quilt label, but the "speeding ticket" was included with the Vintage Tin pattern. I adapted it for Erik's birthday, and it only took a couple of sittings for me to stitch it. I had extra skeins of floss left from the quilt, but just a partial skein already opened and wrapped onto a card. I was getting a little nervous toward the end because I thought I might run out of floss from that final partial skein. When I was finished, I had this much floss left.


Usually, it goes the other way. I figure the Universe felt I'd paid my dues for the month when I got that actual traffic ticket at the Oregon State Fair last week.

Since I had the right color of thread loaded onto my sewing machine, I decided to go ahead and finish this up, using the fusible interfacing method I talked about in a previous post. This label being square instead of round, I decided to try a tip I read just a few days ago...and I'm sorry, I can't recall where I read this. Instead of clipping the corner at 45° from the corner stitches, one makes two cuts, thereby reducing bulk at the corner.


This actually worked pretty well. I've also tried another method whereby one turns 45° a single stitch short of the corner, take two stitches, and then continue on 90° from the first line of stitching. I actually liked today's method better. It did reduce bulk and I was able to get sharper corners when I turned the piece inside out (or outside in, depending on your point of view). So there's my finished label.


Now I just need to sandwich, quilt, and bind the quilt, and I'll be ready to sew that puppy on. As I consider that previous sentence, it's a little like that classic Steve Martin routine where he instructs you on how you can make a million dollars and *never* pay taxes! First...you get a million dollars. Now...

So, again, I found myself with a dearth of embroidery projects. There were three stacked on my light box for tracing, and so I got to work on those. The first was Sophie's block for Lisa's quilt.


The finger-painted head isn't technically a rainbow, but that's how my eyes read it. I decided to use my rainbow print fabric. The size restrictions meant I had to choose between the blue at the top and the red below the mouth. I chose the latter, and used a rainbow-colored variegated thread to top-stitch it. Just the name requires embroidery, and then this one will be finished.


Also, I considered how to do Chelsea and Misty's block. You can see that they've included book titles on their little books. The books are only about one inch in width. It was going to be difficult to applique and then stitch those tiny book titles, even with a single strand of floss. 


In the end, I decided to embroider the whole block and to color with crayon in the sections requiring color. Also, Lisa asked me to correct the spelling of "elamentary", which I did. Here's what I came up with. It requires embroidery now.


Finally, I traced out the last block for the Vintage Kitchen wall hanging. I'll probably stitch this one first since these little blocks can be stitched in one sitting.


This is the ninth of nine blocks for the free pattern by Jenny of Elefantz.


The pattern will be free until the end of 2015, so if you like this, now is the time to get it right here

Yesterday, I finished up the Blushing Aspens table runner. When I started on it Tuesday morning, I had three of the row of ten small leaves completed.


It took most of the day, but I finished the remaining seven leaves and then sewed the strip to the rest of the runner.


Then I added the borders, and the top was finished. I'm going to use that same greenish-blue for the binding.


So that brings me to this moment in time. Today I'm going to be sandwiching quilts. The Blushing Aspens are on the list. Also, Vintage Tin,


Feed the Cat,


And the Four Fabric Forest.


If I can get all of those sandwiched, I'll start quilting the Four Fabric Forest. It's going to be shown in my guild's quilt show next month, and so I need to get it finished. After that, Vintage Tin will be my next victim.

And that ought to be enough to keep me busy this Wednesday. Time to get to it.

9/1/15

September Goals and Progress Report

It was a dismal showing for my August goals. In my defense, I'll say that I spent 8 days in the kitchen canning. From the outset, I knew August would be busy, and so there was little hope of finishing my goals for the month. Still...nothing ventured, nothing gained. Here's what happened, aside from canning:

1. At the tippy-top of my to-do list is to finish up the Vintage Tin flimsy and sandwich it for quilting. In Progress. The quilt top is finished, but I haven't sandwiched it yet.



2. Quilt and bind To the Rescue. Complete!



3. With Vintage Tin so close to flimsy stage, I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt I started for the Let's Book It challenge quite some time ago. It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. No Progress.


Monthly Challenges

4. As is my usual modus operandi, I'm two months behind on 


This month's goal is to make a red cat for July. August's color is indigo. These are the cats I have so far.


As you can see, I already have an indigo cat, made for the blue month. With that in mind, I think I'll make a black cat for August. No Progress

5. I missed participating in the July's


Join me on the Block Lotto Blog
blocklotto.com


and so I'd like to make a block in August. No progress. August's block included a template, which discouraged me from participating. Better luck in September.

6. Also, I've missed the Let's Book It challenge for the past two months.

I'd like to give another try to a table runner I chickened out on some time ago.  No finishes are required for the Let's Book It challenge. A start is good enough. With that in mind, this goal is Complete!


There's still a little bit to do to finish off this top, but it's very close.

WIP's

7. For this goal, I'm going to back way up to a goal I set for myself in June, when I made no progress getting it done. With that in mind, I'd still like to make two more block sets for Yard Art...a project so long on my WIP list that it's beyond embarrassing. No progress, and so the embarrassment continues.


8. Another project on my to-do list for much too long is the Mumm's the Word quilt. I'd like to make the next section of blocks for this quilt as well. No Progress.


9. Finally, I want to keep up with making a block each week for Lisa's Live, Love, Teach quilt. This month, I'll be working on blocks 25-28. When those are finished, half of the blocks will be complete.
In progress. Two down, two to go.



Of course, I always like to put something on the list for


10. For this month, assuming I get the Vintage Tin quilt sandwiched, I'd like to get a start on quilting it. It absolutely, positively must be finished by October, and so time's a-wastin'. Since the quilt isn't even sandwiched, obviously, No Progress.

Okay...no bonus points for me, unless I get bonus points for canning. Then...I get mega bonus points because it's been an

 extrava-can-za 

in my kitchen. Ha! Do I get bonus points for that pun?



Okay, so September promises to be a busy month too. No doubt, there will be more canning, but we're also going over to Moab for ten days. Smitty and Gracie aren't going this time. They'll be at home with our pet sitter. 

So what's a quilter to do with so many demands on her time? Well...I can tell you this: I'm not adding any new goals to my list. Instead, I'm going to give myself another month to finish up the ones I started in August. Here's the list:

1. At the tippy-top of my to-do list is to sandwich and quilt Vintage Tin. It must be finished by the end of the month.



2. There are a couple of exceptions to the "no new goals" recipe in September. One is to quilt the Four Fabric Forest. It's a small quilt, and I can probably finish it up in one sitting. It's going to be in my guild's quilt show at the beginning of October, and so it too, is a must for finishing.



3. I'd like to try to finish off the Mom Cats quilt top (pictured above). It just needs embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting and binding. 

Monthly Challenges

4. As is my usual modus operandi, I'm two three months behind on 


and so this is the other exception to the "no new goals" rule. This month's goal is to make a red cat for July, a black cat for August, and an orange cat for September. The cats I have so far are pictured above.

5. I missed participating in July and August for the 


Join me on the Block Lotto Blog
blocklotto.com


and so I'd like to make a block in September. 

6. I like participating in

but for this month, I'll just aim for finishing and sandwiching the tablerunner I started in August. You can see it pictured above. As long as I'm going to be sandwiching quilts, I might as well sandwich all of them.

WIP's

7. For this goal, I'm going to back way up to a goal I set for myself in June and yet again in August, when I made no progress getting it done. With that in mind, I'd still like to make two more block sets for Yard Art (pictured above).

8. Another project on my to-do list for much too long is the Mumm's the Word quilt (pictured above). I'd like to make the next section of blocks for this quilt as well. 

9. Finally, I want to finish the two blocks that weren't finished in August, Sophie's block and Misty's block (pictured above). With so many must do projects on my list, I don't think I'll add any more of these during September, but pick it up with my block-a-week goal in October when things settle down a little.

Of course, I always like to put something on the list for


As long as I'm sandwiching quilts, I'll want to include Feed the Cat in the pile. 


Today is a CSA pick-up day, but otherwise, it's NBS (nothing but sewing).