Tuesday, January 31, 2012

busy, busy, busy . . .

I'll be right upfront about this ... it's going to be a long post with lots of pictures.  I've been so inspired and so (sew) BUSY!! 

But first things first, I wanted to share about my doctor's visit yesterday morning. Thank you for all your kinds wishes yesterday -- it went well.  After looking at the x-rays, the doc said that the bone growth was progressing nicely and the new growth was encompassing the donor bone.  I mentioned to him that I had some discomfort when walking on the heel.
He looked at the x-rays again and noted that the screws do jut a little ... and he brought up last visit's x-rays to see if they were in the same place.  They were, which is good; it means that the screws haven't moved from being walked on ... they just stick out a little far.  If the discomfort continues, he might go in later on (4-6 months) and remove them.  Nice!

He will see me back in two months.  During that time I'm to progress to boot-free, full weight bearing walking, starting with an hour a day (which I'm doing right now -- LOL!), and to let pain be my guide as to how much or little I do.  And to continue the ultra-sound treatments.  So, good appointment.  As an aside, when I asked him about his weekend, he told me it was a good one:  he'd been fly fishing in Utah on Sunday and snow boarding on Saturday, and jetting about on Friday.  Heh.  Glad I could help.  Hahaha!!

From there we went to one of my all-time favorite places for breakfast . . . 
Cracker Barrel!

Yesterday was busy, full of meetings and errands.  I did find an unlikely smile popping up . . .
Everything here thinks it's SPRING!  I'm afraid they're all in for a rude awakening. Perhaps not, but I don't think winter has given up the ghost yet!

Okay, on to quilty things.  First up, NewFO projects!  I started and finished the quilt for Ellie:
I started the HQH 25th Anniversary BOM:
I was going to do a mock-up of the tiled pinwheel block I'd first drawn and then put into EQ:
But when I printed it out, it looks so complicated, I need to go back and see if paper piecing it might be easier.  I did simplify it by making it just three colors instead of the original five ... that will cut down a little on the bits and pieces, at least for a mock-up block.

And I was *completely* inspired by a piece of art work done by the daughter (Heather) of one of my dear friends (Reda):
When I asked Heather if I could use her painting as a basis for a quilted wall hanging, she said no problem, she'd been inspired by something else!  Okay then!
Looking at our flatscreen, I decided I not only wanted it that size, but that it would be the perfect cover for the TV when it was not in use (which is more often than not) and it would give me a terrific place to hang it.
Then I printed out the Scripture (which I'll eventually use to trace onto my fabric to be embroidered) on blank paper and taped it together so I could sketch it out.  Mind you, my drawing abilities aren't top notch, but I think it gets the general idea across.

Then I spent some time trying to figure out how to translate this onto fabric.  Applique?  Fusing?  Oh wait ... what about faux applique?  That's something I've wanted to try, too!  So I got out a little piece of scrap fabric and my colored pencils and went to work . . .

Here's what it looked like after putting on the textile medium to set it.  I didn't have a brush and it would definitely need to be spread more delicately, but I think I like the look of this.  I would stitch the verses on my four back ground fabric quarters (the green, blue, pink and grey) and then stitch the quarter panels together, and then draw the tree and leaves.  I'll probably need to buy more colored pencils -- you have to press really hard to get the color!

I'm linking up HERE at Cat Patches for the NewFO's.  There's been some really gorgeous new and interesting work going on that worth checking out!

And then I'm happy to report that I *did* work on the Free Motion Quilting challenge.  Yay!!  After lots and lots and LOTS (and lots and lots) of drawing out the leaves on paper . . . 
I finally bit the proverbial bullet and put needle to fabric sandwich.  I think this was a tough design to start with, and it went against what I'd been previously taught in FMQ (that the space you are going to stitch in should always be in front of your needle), so I had some overcoming to do.
One thing I always struggle with is ... nope, I drop my feed dogs (in fact, I need to remember to pop them back up) ... I always, without fail, forget to lower the pressure foot!  It cracks me up and it always takes me a minute or two to figure out what's wrong!
I did find Leah Day's suggestion for using a self-threading needle to immediately bury your thread endings incredibly helpful, and I also was encouraged to see Frances Moore, in the tutorial video, stop and start ... in my mind I've always thought that FMQ equaled continuous, non-stop motion.  Duh -- it's so much easier when you can stop and reposition your fabric!
 I also found that the gloves really, really made a positive difference.  My level sewing space if very small, so I definitely need to have a good handle (haha--pun intended!) on my material as I work with it.
It's not great, but it's much better and I do feel a little more confident in my abilities.  I should really spend 15 minutes a day practicing FMQ ... practice makes perfect, after all!  For the FMQ challenge I'm linking up over HERE at SewCalGal's blog for the January entry.  Right now there are over 250 quilters who have participated!!

Okay, that should do it for me for today.  I'm headed out to do a little [silver] fabric shopping (and I want to get one of those self-threading needles) and then I'm going to spend some quality time with my darling Ellie (and her mommy) and then tonight it's off to a Stitcher's Group sewing circle!  A pretty darn good day laid out, if you ask me!


Monday, January 30, 2012

my design wall is singing . . .

Well, not really.  But if it could, it would, because I've been keeping it relatively busy here of late!

This week I've got my first HQH 25th Anniversary BOM up there, and I'm very pleased with the look of it.

Here's the pattern for the second block:

Here's the colors for the second month (our guild year runs September through August):

And here are the three fabrics I picked:
I'll use the orange and the cream tonals for the stripes, and the black for the corner triangles and the center appliqued square.

This is so much fun!  (I've decided, 2012 is going to be the year of Fun Quilting.)  I mentioned yesterday that I had a project that was begging for new fabric ... I think I need to find some tonal silver or light grey with a sparkley thread of silver running through it.  I mean, since 25 is the "Silver Anniversary", right?! I'll use that as the sashing.  I don't think, after some careful consideration this past week, that I want to use it for the FMQ challenge.  Which means I need to figure something else out for it and pretty darn quick! 

Last, but not least, I also have this . . . 
It's not on my design wall.  Yet.  And I'm not sure what I'll do with it or how, but a quilt WILL come out of this.  It's been bouncing around in my head forcefully enough that I had to at least get it on paper!

Be sure to stop by Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to see what's up elsewhere!

As for me ... headed to the doc's and **really** hoping to hear happy news!!  Have a TERRIFIC Monday!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

stash report #5 and an a milestone . . .

Well, not in the (necessarily) normal sense of a milestone.  But it *was* one nonetheless . . . both for me AND for Sawyer.  Yesterday was his first visit to the fire station!  Oh MY but we had a good time!!
He was jauntily dressed for the adventure, too!
He was excited to be off in the car with me and even more excited that it was Paw-paw we were driving to see.  He wasn't quite sure of what to make of the station, when we pulled up, except that across the street there was a big school bus parked, quite a number of tractors, and a plane.  The garage doors were closed so he couldn't see the fire trucks ... yet.
We went in and he clung to his Paw-paw.  All these strangers greeting him and talking to him like they knew him!  It must have been a little overwhelming (which isn't a bad thing for a rambunctious nearly two-year-old, if you know what I mean).  Todd took him around to see the station and introduced him to the crew.  Sawyer wouldn't say much (except, Paw-paw and Neesey), but he did give all the guys a fist bump.  He's cool like that.
Then we went into the truck room . . . talk about your two-year-old shock and awe!  I heard that breathless little, "Whoa!" quite a number of times as they explored the trucks and turned on lights and opened "secret" compartments.  It was such a sweet evening.  And Sawyer ate like a fire fighter, too.  Grilled chicken, baked beans, potato salad and rolls.  And don't you know that boy cleaned his plate and ate off mine, too!  
It was a milestone for me too . . . my first outing with him since the surgery!  Whoohoo!!  I've been getting along pretty nicely without crutches or the roller and just the boot for about the last four-five days.  I was supposed to be working on being full-weight bearing in the boot by ... TOMORROW!  I did it!  I go back to the doctor's tomorrow morning for more x-rays and we'll see where I am.  Whew.

Stash this week?  It stayed the same.  I must say that's getting rather boring.  I've not purchased a single bit of fabric so far this year and it's chafing me a bit.  I do see a purchase in the very near future, because I'm working on a project that is just *begging* for something I do NOT have in my stash.  What's a quilter to do?  Shop, of course!!  Anyway, here are the numbers:

Used/donated this week: 0.0 yards
Used/donated year-to-date: 3.25 yards
Purchased/added this week: 0.0 yards
Purchased/added year-to-date: 4.0 yards
Net used/donated for 2012: -0.75 yards

As usual, I'm linking up with Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times.  Head on over to check out how everyone else fared this week!

This is the day that the LORD hath made; I will rejoice and be GLAD in it!!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

quilt of another color . . .

After Thursdays headaches (even though it all worked out in the end), I chose to NOT work on The Pineapple Quilt yesterday.  I figured that was best for both my sanity and the quilt itself.  Most definitely. 

Instead I worked on some other projects.  My Orange Crush being one of those.  All sixteen of the blocks are completed and four of them are sashed (and quilted).  I needed to put a dent in this, so I resolved to get all the corners blocks sashed.  I'm pleased, then, to be able to show this:
Yay!  Only the four corners will be sashed in the purple ... the remaining blocks will be sashed in the orange.

And I even got one marked for quilting . . .
For this one I chose a looping heart pattern.  This should give my hands something to do in the evenings and when I'm doing my ultrasound treatment on my foot!
Today is all about the guild's newsletter . . . and this evening?  I'm so excited!  It's family dinner night at the fire station, so Sawyer and I are going to go have dinner with Paw-paw and the rest of the crew.  It will be Sawyer's first trip to the fire station ... and I can't wait!!  You can bet my camera will be busy, busy, busy!


Friday, January 27, 2012

trifaulta . . .

If a trifecta is a run of three wins or grand events, then you can imagine what a trifaulta is, right?  Yeah.  That was my yesterday.

Well actually I'm not sure when it started.  Because for the life of me I cannot remember which project it was that I cut into the black yardage that was set aside for my January UFO -- the Pineapple Quilt.   There was a hole cut out from one end, and a huge square cut out from the other.  Seriously?!  Ugh.  I'd purchased that material in 2007 and faithfully preserved it for that project.  Ugh again.  I hope I have enough!  Fault number one.

Sooooo . . . I pulled out the center today to trim it down.  I'd chalked the corners, got my ruler out and . . . 
Whacked away!  Haha . . . no, that was not fault number two.  Thank goodness!

Next I chopped up the quilted red for the sashing . . .

And then I pinned all four pieces onto the center . . .

That's when I realized fault number two.  I had just spent an hour carefully pinning all these pieces together only to remember that I'm NOT supposed to pin/stitch the pieces together until I've attached the strips that cover the zig zag stitches.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.

So . . . I abandoned the pinning for a minute and went in to dutifully cut my strips from what's left of my black fabric.  It's been so long since I've completed a QAYG project, I'd forgotten a lot!  I had to measure strips I'd already sewn down to know how wide to cut my strips.  I got my number, once again grabbed my ruler, cut out my eight strips, and turned on the iron to press them in half.

That's when I hit fault number three.  The strips were too narrow.  Crumb!  I hadn't taken into account the 1/4" (doubled) -- instead of 1-1/8" wide they should have been 1-5/8" wide.  And my black fabric is dwindling!  What do I do!

I forged ahead.  I went ahead and left everything pinned the way it was and zig zag stitched my pieces down.  

And then instead of folding my strips in half, I folded each side in a 1/4" to leave me with 5/8" strips. And then I hand stitched both sides of the strips down.  On all eight of the seams (four front, four back).  
So here's my thinking.  Yes, it took a lot of extra time, but I saved precious black fabric ... yeah.  All four inches.
BUT . . . I am this much closer to a finish now!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

catching up . . .

Would you believe I spent all morning with Ellie and all evening with Sawyer and I did not take a single picture?!  I was having too much fun to stop and get the camera.  Gosh, words cannot express how blessed I feel!

The forecasters are calling for a pretty heavy rain system in our area today and expecting 1 to 3 inches of rain.  Considering we've had 10 inches of rain over the last two weeks and the ground is completely saturated, that means flash flooding.  After Monday's rain, all of the local creeks and rivers were well out of their banks.  I'm sure that any rain we get will cause more.  We're under flash flood warnings for the next 24 hours.  Yikes!  Luckily we sit up very high and usually don't even have puddles, but the lower road coming in and out of the camp does flood and it looked like a pretty swiftly moving creek bed itself until yesterday!  Also luckily, no severe weather is expected in this system.  That allows me to breathe a tad easier.

That being said, today will be a good day to stay put and catch up.  (Well, weather plus the fact that Todd will be driving the PT Cruiser and I'm not comfortable working the manual transmission of the truck yet, with my foot.)  Anyway, there's laundry, housework, office work, blog reading, a guild newsletter and my January UFO that all are requesting my attention today. 
And as they say, there's no time like the present, so . . . 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

an exercise in binding . . .

 I try to learn something or add a new skill to my quilting with each quilt I make.  Ellie's quilt was no different.  With Ellie Has My Heart, I decided to play with a new toy ... my binding tool by TQM.  I purchased it in Knoxville last summer, at the AQS show, but I haven't used it yet.  I've bound a couple of projects, but either they were too small or I forgot about it until it was too late. 
Anyway, this time I remembered I had it and how frustrating the two meeting ends of the binding always are to me.  From my first quilt, I've just always fit the beginning of my binding into the end and stitched it down that way.  But it's so bulky and it irritates me to have to do that.  When I saw the binder tool demonstrated at the show, I knew it was perfect for me!  

The thing is, you have to remember you're going to use it before you stitch your binding onto your quilt.  You have to mark a 12" space on your quilt edge and start and stop your binding on those marks, leaving 10" of extra binding at both ends to work with.
The binding tool has lines on it to indicate where you mark your left and right sides and the diagonal line for cutting.  There's even a little notch which helps you match up your two sides for pinning and sewing.

Then stitch up using a 1/4" seam . . .

Press down the seam and fold . . .

And voila, you can't even tell where my binding begins and ends now!
It was very easy to use (once I had it figured out) and did a marvelous job.  And I'd give clearer instructions here, except there's really no need.  I did a search for a video tutorial -- it had been a tad long since I'd seen the live demo and I couldn't quite figure it out -- and the video demo done by The Missouri Star Quilt Co. is well done and made short work of the explanation.  
I was so pleased with how the binding looked.!  I won't be forgetting about it the next time I bind a quilt, that's for sure! 

My Ellie girl seems to be well-pleased with the binding job too . . .
What a sweetheart!