Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In Wrap Up

My Friday Night Sew-In was actually a Friday and Saturday Night Sew-In. Because of a committment on Saturday, I couldn't stay up as late as I normally would for something like this and at the end of my sewing time on Friday night I still had work to do.

I spent Friday afternoon with a friend, but before I left I set up my room for sewing. My sewing room has other functions, in addition to serving as a sewing studio/office for me, my family tends to hang out in there with me and we also use the room for a second dining area when there are more people to feed than our table holds.

I cleared the table and set up my sewing machine, a cutting mat and a design area.

I also set up my ironing board. I usually use a small table top one, but when I know I'll be doing more sewing I prefer a regular board. I also cleared off my design board so I had somewhere to put the finished blocks.

I spent the day Thursday choosing fabric, rotary cutting squares and using templates to mark curves and cut the pie shaped piece.

Several years back I started cutting binding when I cut the pieces for a quilt top so that later on I didn't accidentally use the fabric for something else. Once the cutting is finished, I sew the binding strips together and press them so it is ready when the quilting is done.

You can see a hanger full of binding behind the pink one I just made, that visible binding reminds me how much quilting I have yet to do!
The reason I was making the Drunkard's Path block is so that I could make friends with my curved piecing foot. I bought it several years back and tried it out, but never took the time to get proficient with it. When I found out a friend was having a baby, it gave me a deadline more pressing than the challenge deadline.

I sewed a couple of practice pieces without a hitch, then picked up the first pieces of the baby quilt. I was pretty happy! While the one side didn't match perfectly, it was close enough to go together well. It looked funny to me. There wasn't the contrast I expected when I picked the fabrics.

That was because one piece was facing the wrong way. OOPS. Thankfully I just had to see what the blocks looked like before sewing all 64 of them! I ripped those two out, and proceeded on.

I alternated sewing and pressing and pinned the finished blocks on my design board. The curved sewing foot meant sewing curves with NO PINNING. Really. No pinning at all. Those little Drunkard Path blocks went together in no time and will be a new addition to my scrap quilting projects.

I admired the blocks and tried a couple different placements of the green ones, but this is what I landed on.
By the end of the evening I had sewn together the top half of the quilt and by Saturday night, the top was together, borders and all. I was quite pleased with the result and and looking forward to basting in the next couple of days.

I continued marking on the Oriental Roads quilt once the baby top was done and am still working on that today, though I think I'm finally nearing the end. I have the backing sewn together and will baste both the Oriental Roads and the baby quilt as soon as the marking is finished. The shade is nearly done, it should be finished by the end of the week.

And, of course, Ruthie. A friend gave us some dress up clothing that her daughter had outgrown and Ruthie found this in the bag. Our little princess has her own crown now. She spent quite a bit of time admiring herself in the mirror.

My next several days of sewing are planned out and I'm very excited. We're enjoying the Olympics and it seems a lot has gotten done in the first week of them, I hope that I can be just as productive during the second!

Happy Quilting!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Settling In and Gearing Up

We haven't had much in the way of snowfall since early December, though until recently there has been snow on the ground. A couple of warmish days and the grass was peeking through again, but no more. We didn't get as much as predicted, but probably got about 8 inches. I loved it. It's the first good snow that came down during the daylight hours in a long time. One of my favorite things is to sit with some handwork and watch the snow fall. All this snow got me even more in the mood for the winter Olympics. We've been practically counting the days since the new year began and they are finally here. I will be watching as much as possible during the 17 days of Olympic coverage, starting with the opening ceremonies tonight. Our Olympic tradition includes popcorn. We call them the running bowls of popcorn because they always have something in them. Yesterday, I made the caramel corn as it will keep without getting stale. The picture doesn't do it justice.
I also make plain, cinnamon sugar, and parmesan pepper and at least two flavors will be out each evening. I'm hoping my plan to quilt through them keeps me from eating TOO much because I'll need to keep my fingers clean!

The main project for during the Olympics is to finish quilting the shade. I'm getting close to only the outer blocks needing to be quilted, still a lot of work, but quite doable. Each square of strips is a four block unit (with the attached background pieces, which have a motif in them) and I can quilt a 4 block unit in an afternoon (or evening) if I'm mostly quilting. The binding for this one is made, so I should easily be able to do the machine sewing part during an Olympic break should I get that far.

Next Friday night, I'll be participating in the Friday Night Sew-In over at "Handmade by Heidi" . I have a committment Saturday morning, so can't stay up as late as I'd like, but I like those kinds of evenings for machine work. Part of my Over the Tops challenge is to learn to use my curved piecing foot and making a baby quilt top with Drunkard's Path blocks. I'll have the pieces cut before then and hope to finish the night with the top well under way. I would SO love to stay up until the wee hours that night, but can't this time. To join in the fun, click the link and sign up!
Also during the course of the next week or so I plan to mark the Oriental Roads quilt. I ordered some red thread for the quilting and plan to pick up the batting next week so this one will be ready to quilt as soon as the shade is done. I've realized that my challenge probably is more than I can really do, but I'm going to give it a good go!

Ruthie can still be found sleeping in the afternoon on occasion.

More often, the picture below is what we find. She's rarely upset or angry and when she is, it's pretty short lived. She usually looks a little disheveled, but is almost always sporting a smile.
Her speech continues to improve both in clarity and functionality. She's stringing words more often and can most definitely let you know what she wants! We're hoping she gets into the Olympics. I watched some tapes of the 2008 summer games this week, to get in the mood (and there was NOTHING else on TV that I wanted to see) and she would come running when she heard the theme.

I still have a few things to do before the "big night" tonight. We're meeting with friends tomorrow so I have a couple of cakes to make along with a few odds and ends to finish today so I can park myself tonight to quilt...and watch the world come together.
While the athletes are competing at sports, I hope to get an Olympic amount of quilting done in the next 16 days!
Happy Quilting!