This has been a week spent in the car rather than my sewing room. Some months ago, I enrolled Julia in a class at our ‘local’ state university. They hold summer academy classes in a range of subjects for high school age kids. She wanted to take the Forensic Science class. This academy is very well done. She has a professor from the college and only 16 students are in each class. She has been working on extracting DNA from samples of blood and learning about how things are done at a crime scene. She loves the class. This girl loves her science.The university is about 1 and 1/4 hours from our house. Her class lets out at 5:00 which is, naturally, prime traffic time so the commute home is long and tedious. It has been worth it though to hear the stories of what she is working on. Choosing to live in the rural area that we do means driving your kiddos all over kingdom come in order to expose them to all the experiences a child needs.
We spent one night in a hotel near the university to avoid a couple of the drives. I brought my small sewing machine and set up shop for a day and an evening.
I made a bit of progress on a new project I am just starting. I am using some of the blue fabrics from the vintage collection that I posted about here. I cut strips from the blue scraps and joined those in sets of three strips. Each stripset was then sub-cut into strips that are 1 and 3/4″ wide. Those strips were then joined to make tiny 3″ nine patch blocks. The little nine patch blocks are the cutest. I will be combining those blocks with solid 3″ blocks into a larger, double nine patch to end up with a 9″ block. I have made about 25 of the baby blocks and need 100 so I am just getting started.
Hopefully I will get caught up this weekend. It is supposed to be fairly warm so I don’t see that I will be outside very much. Spending the week in Sacramento with my daughter really made me appreciate living in the Sierra Foothills. Sacramento is so darn hot – it was 107 degrees today! In addition, the traffic is lousy. We are so lucky to have nice cool nights and no traffic. I am thankful for our little town in the mountains.
Loved waking up to rain this morning. It is still going and that is making for a great start to the day. Today is my birthday….. my husband asked what I wanted to do today. Did he really need to ask? I haven’t had much sewing time this week so today I am going to spend the afternoon in the sewing room. My daughter is down with a bug so it is a good day for just hanging out. Before I get to the machine tho, there is a sale at Roxann’s Humble Fabrics in town. I love her shop. She has a great selection of new and “pre-owned” fabrics with a lot of cool vintage pieces if you look hard enough. I figure a fabric sale on my actual birthday is a must.
I have several holiday items that I have been working on. Three of which are finished or, almost finished. I posted about this disappearing nine patch that I pieced a few weeks ago. It is done. The binding needs to be hand sewn on the back side but that will wait until tonight. It is a good “tv watching” task.
It finished out as a 38″ square. My mother-in-law called dibs on this one and wants to hang it on the wall. I will put a sleeve on the back after I sew the binding. To quilt it I outlined the Santas and then used a large circular pattern all over the rest of it. Kind of reminds me of Christmas ornaments. For some reason the thread shredded constantly and this drove me batty. I don’t know what the issue was. I cleaned the machine and re-threaded everything but it kept happening. For the first time I was using Superior’s Bottom Line thread in the bobbin which felt soooo thin. I don’t know if this had anything to do with it. Though it was my top thread that was shredding? I switched to Aurifil in the bobbin and that actually seemed to help. Maybe it was just coincidence. I am not sure.
I like the dark green polka dots that I used for the binding. All in all, it turned out pretty cute.
I also finished up a few table runners over the past week or two. These are both destined for my Etsy Shop. Here is the first one.
Very pleased with the look of the fabric and the green and gold striped binding.
And another runner:
A different look altogether. The tan and red borders are so pretty. Kind of a linen look to these fabrics.
Not so sure if I like the idea of putting labels on items that are in the shop. It means that the runner isn’t really reversible. I may not put them on in the future.
Hope you are all enjoying some lovely fall weather. My maple trees are turning and I am loving the colors!!
Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts. As always, the links are available up at the top of the page, under Link Ups.
This week has been moving along slowly for me. I have hypoglycemia and every once in a while my blood sugar tanks. When it does I am wiped out for a few days. For the most part if I do eat the right foods and don’t eat the wrong foods and my levels stay copacetic (a word my father loves to use!) Ok, last weekend I was not so careful. A couple of m&m’s, a 1/2 of a cookie here or there. white rice instead of brown and I am paying the price for these transgressions! The problem is that 3 out of 4 times, such a small stray from my “healthy” diet doesn’t cause any problems, which makes temptation hard to resist. Every once in a while it throws everything out of balance. Anyway, this makes for a ‘low and slow’ week, as my husband and I have come to call it. No energy to do much of anything. No ability to focus or concentrate.
Just to illustrate my point, here is a picture of the tub of butter that I personally selected at the grocery store this afternoon. Please note that there is butter smeared on the outside, the little plastic seal is loose and protruding from the lid. This is exactly how my husband found it in the fridge tonight. He asked me if I had used this yet, or was it new? “New”, I replied. “Just bought it earlier this afternoon”. He just smiled. No need to comment further. He knows me too well. This is how the tub was when I bought it and how it was when I put it away. Never did I even notice this mess. Yep, low and slow.
Of course, it doesn’t take much energy to sit at a sewing machine between naps and reading my book on the couch. Surprisingly I got a number of things accomplished. Not with any great efficiency and certainly not without error. I made great use of my seam ripper over the past few days. Remember, low blood sugar = low brain function (at least for me anyways!!) I was working on the sashing, corner and setting triangles for the Christmas Lattice Quilt that I blogged about here. I just could not believe how many times I sewed the triangles in upside down. Really? Upside down? Then I would have to look at it for a minute or two to determine exactly what I had done wrong. Jeez! The fabric I am using for the sashing is a white on white holiday print. Again, upside down, or wrong side facing out. I was covered in tiny threads, picking out one seam after another. Finally I set that aside. It was making me more than a little crazy.
I needed a new project to work on (well, ‘needed’ might be a bit strong.) Never having made a disappearing nine patch, I decided to give that a try. If you are unfamiliar with this block, there are a million tutorials out there for it. Basically you just create a nine patch block (3 rows of 3 squares each.) Then I cut the block down the center and across the center, creating four equal pieces. These smaller blocks are rearranged in whatever layout is pleasing to the eye and sewn back together. I was shopping a week or so ago and came across some cute retro looking holiday fabric in Jo-Ann’s. Without any plan in mind, I cut my squares, fussy cutting the Santa fabric and the candy cane fabric as much as possible so I could use those as a focal point. I used a deeper red fabric for each of the center squares as I wanted to have smaller squares with a darker value than the rest of the squares. Here is the resulting 36 x 36″ quilt top.
Now that this little guy is sewn together, I have absolutely no plan as to what I will do with it! It is too large for a table topper and too small for a quilt. I didn’t really take into account what I wanted to do with this project when I was cutting up the squares. (Remember, I was operating with significantly lower than normal brain function!) The size of Santa determined the size of that block and the rest of it just sort of happened. Any ideas?? I am thinking of adding a fairly large red border (maybe five inches wide all the way around?) and then just backing it with the same red. Then sewing the back to the front, envelope style – no binding needed. I could use it as a small table cloth if I don’t use any batting in the center. Maybe that would be fun?
Another project that I worked on was a small art quilt. My inspiration for this project came from a piece that I saw on Pinterest (of course, where else?) I followed the link back to the original site, www.onthetrailcreations.com. The artist at this site designs and sells patterns and kits for quilted cards that are really pretty. I wanted to make a small (7 x 9 inch) art quilt. It was really the first time that I sketched something out and just cut little pieces to applique. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. I did an autumn theme with a bird that is reminiscent of the nuthatches that frequent my feeders in the winter months.
Here is my version:
For the most part I used raw edge applique. For the gold strip running through the center I used a decorative, blanket stitch. The branch that the little guy is sitting on was sketched with thread. (I have been practicing a bit of thread sketching lately and really enjoy it.) The leaves were cut from a scrap of fabric I found with leaves printed on it. I bound the quilt with the same fabric. You will notice the lower right corner of the binding looks all saggy and weird. What can I say? Not my best work right there. 😉
I am really happy with the bird and the branch he is resting on though. Such a cute little guy. I used a french knot for his eye. I applied fusible stabilizer on the back of the base fabric before doing any of the stitching or fusing the applique pieces on. The stabilizer makes a world of difference. Without it the fabric will often pull and bunch when densely stitching something (like the branch).
All in all, a fun week in the sewing room. My friend and I are going to a quilting retreat sponsored by a neighboring quilt guild in the town of Downieville this weekend. I have been stacking up everything I need to bring. I have fabric ready for two different projects and most of the supplies gathered. Hoping for better energy and a higher level of functioning by then!!
Linking to my usual sites: Freemotion by the River, WIP Wednesday, Lorna at Let’s Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, TGIFF, and of course, Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts!! Take a minute to check out some of these sites. I have links to all of them at the top of my page under Link Ups.