Saturday, June 30, 2012

12 in '12 -- a leaner, not a ringer

OK, it is another obscure sports reference! This time: horseshoes!

I am not going to have a finish this month. I have a nearly-finished -- ABB, All But Binding. And the binding is machine-stitched on, but not hand-sewn down. I didn't think that I would be done with the quilting, but that went super fast. I am chipping the rust off of my free-motion "skills" & am fairly pleased with the results. You can sure tell what I did first & what I did last -- my stitches are a bit more even, the movement a bit more fluid. And I bet the boo-boos will get lost after I wash & dry the quilt.


Sorry Amy, Liz & Saf. But the good news is that I will already have a finish -- in just a few days -- for next month!

The good folks hosting the 12 in '12 Challenge said I could include it as a June finish (well, one of them, Saf did & I took it & ran). It is done now, washed & crinkle-liscious from the dryer!

quilting & back detail

bluebonnet new wave

Monday, June 25, 2012

Batting One Thousand

I had Shug give me some lessons in baseball batting averages.

A player's batting average is calculated by dividing their number of hits by their number of at-bats. So say I was at bat 8 times & got 2 hits: that would give me a batting average if 0.250, kind of average. But say I got a hit every time I was at bat -- that would be 1 divided 1, or 1.000 -- or batting one thousand. Perfect.

Well, I am not perfect when it comes to how I buy batting. Right now I have 3 tops ready to layer & baste. I have quite a few bags of batting on hand -- but they have all been cut into. I could do some piecing together of my batting scraps, but THERE ARE HARDLY 2 BAGS OF THE SAME KIND OF BATTING!!! Low-loft polyester, medium-loft black polyester, bamboo, cotton & polyester, all cotton. I would have some kind of crazy Franken-batting if I tried to cobble something together with all of them!

I thought about what I have & what I've used & decided that my favorites are the low-loft polyester & the bamboo. The polyester makes a nice, light-weight quilt. I nearly always machine quilt & I used to have problems with tucks on the back. But with a light spritz of spray adhesive & some safety pins (I am a belt & suspenders kind of girl), the tucks are minimal. I was delighted with bamboo batting from the first time I used it -- nice & 'sticky', so no tucks. I also like that it is a more green choice. But it makes a slightly warmer & heavier quilt than we often need here on the Gulf Coast. I think that between these two types of batting, I think I can happily quilt on into the future. If I limit myself to buying just these two I will be able to put together a scrappy batting when I haven't any whole, unused bags.

 piecing batting

basting with pieced batting

Shug tells me that a 1.000 batting average is possible over a short period, like one game, but unheard of over a season, much less a lifetime of baseball. A lifetime average of 0.300 is considered very good. So maybe I'm not doing all that badly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

To Do List

I am coming along well with my Stitched in Color HSTs. The top is nearly done & I really like how it looks. I am scratching my head a bit as to how I will quilt it & what I will back it with. I will have LOTS of HSTs left over, so I may -- for the first time -- have patchwork on the back! I know, I know, I am always the very last one to follow the new fashion, but I am more of a Path Finder than a Trail Blazer.


 I am also trying to get something quilted this month for my 12 in '12 finishes. There is the New Wave top done up in bluebonnet prints & plaids that should be pretty simple to quilt & should go quickly. Keep you fingers crossed on that one.

 I  want to make 2 tote bags for gifts. One I want to give this fall; I already have the fabric for this one. The other is for later this month & I don't even have the fabric for it yet! (This one may be given a bit late.) I am counting on guidance & support from my guild members for these projects.

And  Shug wants me to make him a shirt. My shirt-making skills are a bit rusty but since this is a birthday request (his birthday was earlier this month) & since it is for Shug, I'll give it a go. I hope shirt-making is like bicycle-riding & that it will easily come back to me.

 But as I toil away with these, a new QAL has caught my eye: the Low Volume QAL. I already had an idea in my head that would use up some 2.5 inch squares I have, in fact, I took the squares with me when I went to the HMQG retreat -- but I didn't get to them. I also have a big stack of pastel, old-school calicos that I have always wanted to do something with. Now seems like the perfect opportunity to pull out these projects, join the group & get them going! No time like the present, right?!?



Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Update

This past weekend was my first one home in the last 2.5 weekends.

The first half was filled with social stuff: on Friday, my new book group met for the first time, we discussed The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (interesting, liked it but didn't love it); that evening, there was a pot luck dinner at our sail club (it sounds fancier than it is -- no yachts here, just small boats like Lasers & Sunfish), after dark, we watched the 'practice' fireworks of the neighboring tourist area -- fireworks over water -- always beautiful; on Saturday, HMQG had its summer pot luck & BBQ party. Some spouses & some kids were there -- Shug came along. There was lots of great food & I talked with some members that I didn't really know that well & with some new members & had a wonderful time.

Then on Sunday we stayed at home & did what we wanted to do. Shug tidied his (very messy) workshop & did a bit of turning. I got out my HSTs & began laying them out & stitching them together. I even rested with book in the afternoon!

HST palette

I got the laundry done & did a bit of dusting. But didn't get the floors cleaned or the rugs vacuumed. Please don't tell anyone, but I really don't care that I didn't!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hey, y'all...

Remember me?!? I used to blog here.

Well, I'm back after more than 2 weeks visiting my Mom -- waaaay too long. I don't think she really benefited by it & I was really tired & home-sick. FYI, she continues to fail mentally & physically & is in the fussy 2-year-old surrealist stage. Example: she gets her watch & her glasses mixed up, I set them both out so she could see them & said "this is your watch & these are your glasses", she says, "why are they the same?"' I say, "they aren't the same; one tells time, one helps you see; they are different", she says "that's what I said, why are they different?" {sigh}

Another week getting a caught up at home & at work. Then, here I am!

I took a sewing machine & projects along with me so that after a day at the nursing home I could relax with patchwork in the evenings -- it really helped my state of mind. And I got quite a bit done. I sewed together some strings for a scrappy diamond quilt, made a big stack of HST squares & -- TA DA -- finished my Swoon blocks!


I started thinking about what you would call a bunch of Swoon blocks. You know, like a charm of finches, an exultation of larks, a murmuration of starlings (it's a real thing, look it up). I came up with a Swirl of Swoon! What do you think?