Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wool Work

The ongoing Greenpiece BOM blocks were top of the list today.  I started by adding additional pieces to in-progress blocks but ran into a problem immediately.

Seems I got a little over-enthusiastic with curving that rind and the other watermelon pieces did not play along.  So I ripped out the rind's buttonhole stitching on that end and straightened it out--fortunately an easy fix since I'm stitching by hand.  The next problem was the applique glue bottle.  It took about 20 minutes of messing with it, rinsing, using a pin, and squeezing the heck out of the bottle before I could get it to work.  I think a new bottle is in order!

Coming along, coming along.  There are five more pieces after these mustard petals.  Sheesh!  While waiting for the glue to dry I sorted through the pile of traced designs for the rest of the blocks and started ironing and cutting more pieces.

Lots of teeny pieces mixed in with a few good-sized ones.  I think that circle is about 5" in diameter.  Notice how there isn't a single straight edge in any of these designs.

Of course I thriftily save all the scraps to use for some of those teensy parts.  After a lot of cutting I think I only managed to get all the parts cut for three or four blocks, but that's progress anyway.  Tomorrow I hope to get a lot of stitching done.  Happy Easter, everybody!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Whaddya know!

Poking around the Santa Barbara County Courthouse while waiting for my bus home yesterday...


I spied a tree with some really pretty yellow flowers that look like daffodils.


 Just as I was thinking to myself that these flowers looked like trumpets, I see a small marker below.

Well, whaddya know--I was right on!

On the wall behind the tree was this commemorative plaque.  I had no recollection that The Queen and her Prince had visited Santa Barbara lo those many years ago.  There are two other plaques--one commemorating the royals of Belgium visiting in 1919, and one for the King of Spain's visitI don't think I'll get tired of people watching while I wait for the bus.  I've seen three brides, numerous photographers, and a news van filming.  And that's only one week's worth of happenings!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface today are more Greenpiece BOM wool applique blocks.  Hope you are not all sick of seeing the same thing this month--but they are the primary project happening around here from the Getting it Done list.
 
 Six are complete--well, except for a little embroidery on the butterfly.
 
Above is the most recently finished.  The colors are not exactly true in the photo, they are a bit richer.

Two more are prepped, one is partially stitched already there on the left.  Eventually it will be the rind of a watermelon, and the one on the right will be pansies.  The end of the month is coming up quick and 10 blocks is my goal--I'm getting there!  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Cutting up Fabric

DD Elaine texted me Friday evening to ask if I wanted to cut up some fabric.  Of course I did!  We are collaborating on a baby quilt project for a friend of hers.

I fell in love with this Moda Bakeshop quilt and told Elaine I needed to make it, even if it weren't for my eventual-someday-in-the-future grandchild.  Being the age she is, lots of her friends and acquaintances are either pregnant or new moms, so baby showers are plentiful.  I remember those days :)

Some weeks ago we went to Superbuzzy, the in town brick-and-mortar version of the very popular online shop that stocks hundreds of modern fabrics and many Japanese designers, to pick out adorable prints like the ones above.  We chose 13 fat-eighth pieces, which was way more than needed but gave more leeway in featuring the designs on the small petals (the quilt designer used charm squares).


 I washed and dried the fabrics and Elaine even ironed--something she says she never does.

Then we traced and traced and traced to get 72 petal-shapes cut out of all the fabrics. Despite the late hour, Elaine wanted to push on and see what they would look like on our Kona gray background, so I ironed and cut the piece to size.

We gave it a thumbs up :)  I have to do more tracing, lining up 12 circles on the background for the full raft of petal placing to come.  The designer used fabric glue to fix the petals to the background before machine blanket stitching around, coating the entire petal before sticking it in place.  I'm not sure I want to do that, afraid that it will make the fabric stiff, and may just use dots of fabric glue instead.  Hmm.  This may call for some practice pieces. Anyway, it was nice to play with fabric and visit with my DD Elaine after a very full work week!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • Last Thursday was a very long day.  It started at 6:00 a.m. with getting up and ready for my first day on my new job.  The drive up wasn't too bad.  I was introduced to at least 25 people, led around the maze of the office, then upstairs to the very close quarters transcriptionists and other clerks occupied, given a desk, and spent time listening to different doctor/assistant's dictation. 
  • Electronic Medical Record programs are many and most of them are not set up for transcription.  So there are a lot of glitches and not many shortcuts.  However, the work is right up my alley of Workers' Comp and orthopedics/pain management.  
  • It was nice to clock out and be done with the workday, unlike my last job, where as manager I had to worry about employees, the computer systems, supplies, patient load, billing, etc.  
  • Traffic Rant:  The drive home was long and I was getting off the freeway one mile from my house, tired but eager to get home and ready to play Bunco with the group.  A highway patrolman saw me turn from the offramp into the right side of the two lane road where I immediately turned onto the frontage road.  He turned on his lights and pulled me over.  Yep, on my very first day of commuting I got a ticket.
  • The officer claimed I failed to stop at the top of the offramp (I disagreed but was smart enough not to say so).  He claimed I had pulled out in front of another car.  I thought it was in the other lane and said so.  He claimed I was "driving on the shoulder" and that was the reason he pulled me over, stating it was highway patrolmans' pet peeve when people drive on the shoulder.  I had no idea that it was the shoulder; it should be a right turn lane anyway.  In the end he only cited me for failing to stop at the onramp's stoplight.  Then he asked me if I had ever had a ticket and I told him I got a speeding ticket on my honeymoon; the first time I signed my married name was on the ticket 28 years ago.  He said that was a pretty good record.
  • So today I took the commuter bus on a trial basis. Tomorrow I'm buying a monthly pass.
The bus drops off/picks up in front of this gorgeous building, the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.  Above is the clock tower which is about 85 feet tall (look closely at the right side of the railing, there is a person standing there, to give an idea of scale).

 It is only a few blocks away from the office, an easy walk.  I think I'm going to like letting someone else do the driving!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

National Quilting Day

Now that I'm a full-time working woman again, weekends will be more precious than ever.  Today being National Quilting Day, I wanted to get some piecing time in. Previously I showed the parts to a pieced border for the Greenpiece BOM which I was using as a leader-ender project.  The final component of the parts was a 2.5 inch square.  I wanted to try my GO! cutter to make them but hadn't taken the time until this morning.
The instructions called for four 2.5" width of fabric strips to make the 56 squares required for the borders.  I sliced the kit-provided fabric into two sections wide enough to cover the die, which cuts three 2.5" strips at a time, stacking the sections for four layers.  This worked perfectly.  I then cut four of the strips into 8 inch sections and carefully laid them crosswise on the die squarely, ran it through the press and had oodles of 2.5" squares in no time flat, along with two extra 2.5 strips I can put into my precut scrap drawer, or use for part of the binding later. 

The 2.5" square is just folded in this photo, but I've since stitched a lot of them in place.  The instructions call for leaving two layers in the corners, but I may deviate from that and just leave the burgundy triangle.  I've been working on the wool applique blocks for this BOM and in fact may just settle in this afternoon to more stitching.  It is a very gray, overcast day and not inspiring me to much more activity!

P.S.  Apparently some readers got spammed by a comment left on my blog that the spam filter did not catch.  My apologies if you were struck!  I've removed the comment but am not sure what else to do about it.  Anyone have ideas?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Finish, and a New Start

First, the Picnic quilt top did get finished on Monday night and is crossed off the Getting it Done list, hooray!

 A few California poppies--our state flower--add a pop of orange to the scene.

I used mostly medium scale prints, medium tones, and one background fabric.  No idea yet what I'm using for the back but the binding will be a red print I've already picked out. 

And now for the New Start:  After being mostly unemployed for the past six months, I got a full time job which starts tomorrow!  It is doing my favorite thing, medical transcription, and is of the orthopedic type--in which I have 15 years experience.  The fact that I will be an EMC (early morning commuter) is a new wrinkle in my night owl world, but I will adapt and overcome.  Very excited to get going on this new chapter of my working career.  Thanks for all the crossed fingers and well wishes!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Design Wall Monday--Mar 11, 2013

On my design floor is one of the items on the Getting it Done list for the month, the Picnic quilt (Scrap Basket Sensations book, by Kim Brackett).

 Mini the Quilting Inspector taking a work break.

My seam intersections apparently didn't need too much inspection, as Mini was much more interested in looking up at me than the blocks :)  Only two more rows yet to piece, then the remaining two sections can be joined and this quilt top is DONE, the goal for the month.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Tuesday's Orts--on Friday

Orts--bits of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly...more on the job hunt.
  • This week has been full, but not with crafty stuff.  I applied online for a full-time transcription job and there has been a bunch of back and forth between the hiring company and me.
  • My eye was twitching every day from stress, after filling out paperwork, sending in my resume, taking tests online, contacting references, etc.  Then yesterday I was doing nervous cleaning.  I never do that!
  • Finally I got the call yesterday that the initial review was done by the employer and an interview was scheduled for this morning.  My first phone call was to my hairstylist daughter to have my skunk stripe eradicated.
  • Then I went shopping for a top to go with a skirt I bought after last month's job interview.  Of course I went home and tried on my outfit and modeled for my husband. Thumbs up!
  • What swear word do you say when you put your thumb through your pantyhose while pulling them up?
  • Traffic Rant: So the job interview was in Santa Barbara, 35 miles from here, meaning I had to leave an hour early.  Much of the freeway drive is only two lanes wide and traffic was crawling.  A lady in a BMW first forced her way into my lane, then zoomed off the freeway at the next exit.  She re-entered the freeway again about a mile later.  RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.  I was consoled by the thought that she didn't gain a thing.
  • The interview went well and within half an hour I got a call that the hiring process was escalated to the background check, new hire paperwork, and taking more online tests--these were for personality and behavioral results.  There was a lot of focus on my opinions about stealing from an employer, or using/selling illegal drugs at work.  For the record, I am thoroughly against both and have done neither.
  • If all the checking goes well--and it should, fingers crossed--I could start a new job by the middle of next week.  Yay!  This would be my view for a lot of the commute: 
 
 Well, maybe not this close--but the Pacific Ocean is still viewable about 50% of the drive.

On the other side are the coastal hills, almost as nice to look at.  Much better than last month's job interview which was through 50+ miles of multi-lane freeway and densely populated areas :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Design Wall Monday--March 4, 2013

There's something new, something ongoing, and a win on my design surface today.

Something new is playing with a leftover St. Patrick's Day block I made a few years ago (I think this was from Quilter's Cache).  I'm pondering turning it into a banner like the ones I showed in my previous post.  If I do that, I need to build it out to approximately 12 x 21.  It's a puzzle to play with :)

Something ongoing is the Greenpiece BOM project on my Getting it Done list.  I've prepped two more wool applique blocks.

The pear needs only its leaf stitched down.  I've started with the simpler applique blocks but am thinking I should mix in a few harder ones soon. 

Something I won is this collection of great background fat quarters.  Lori of Humble Quilts had a 4th blogaversary giveaway and mine was one of the lucky names picked!  Lori and I started blogging the same month so we are practically twins, right?  :)  Backgrounds are hard for me to pick out so I am most grateful for this grouping.  The acorn one is unique and eye-catching, isn't it?

See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hijacked (long post lotsa pics)

This doesn't often happen to me, but occasionally I get hijacked by something I see in blogland.  In this case, it was the intriguing title of the "Ten Minute Table Runner".   The pattern I downloaded was from Red Hen Fabrics, but a quick search just now produced dozens of links, of which I think THIS ONE is very good, especially as it offers instructions for three different sizes and a gift bag.

My interest lay in the possession of a couple of St. Patrick's Day fabrics and the desire to make something from them to sell at the Shoppe.  The two fabrics I had, however, were opposite the instructions for the Ten Minute Table Runner, i.e., I had more of the theme or focus fabric and less of the coordinating print.  In addition, the theme print was directional.  So after looking at my available fabrics, pondering and sketching, I decided to use the table runner method to make banners instead that featured the back.  Here's what I did:

The fabric yardage I wanted to feature was about 2/3 of a yard (around 21 inches by WOF) and I cut it to two pieces 18 x 21 inches wide.  The striped print seen face down here I cut to 12 x 21 inches.  I had enough to make two banners.

Per the instructions, I sewed the long edges together to make a tube, which was then turned right sides out and pressed, centering the smaller piece.

Very quick construction, no?  I trimmed the short ends and then folded the banner lengthwise with the inset piece facing out.  Although the instructions called for 1/2" seams, I used 1/4" seams with no difficulty.

  I stitched one short end only for my banner...

pressing the seam open and then turning it to make a point and making sure the seam was centered.  My  focus fabric was actually the BACK.

Isn't this a great St. Patrick's Day print?  Old fashioned postcard greetings.  I believe I  found it in a remnant bin  last year along with the shamrock stripe.  Now, to address the top of the banner:

I turned under the raw edge 1/2" and pressed it.  Then I made hanging tabs from leftover strips.
 This is a 3" strip 21 inches long that I cut in half and then stitched right sides together along the long edges only. 

After turning and pressing I cut the tab into two 5" sections, then folded them in half and inserted them into the still open top of the banner.

 I made sure they were evenly extending from the banner...

 Then topstitched close to the edge.

On the reverse at the opening to the pointed end, I slip stitched by hand because I didn't want a line of machine stitching across the postcards (on the second banner I used Stitch Witchery to secure the opening). 

 My husband helped me cut down a 1/2" dowel rod to use as a hanger.  I love the way this looks!

On the St. Patrick's Day second banner, I altered the tab shape.  Both banners got a Celtic style button and a black tassel.  I did some minor topstitching around the postcards on one, and only edge stitching on the other.  Adding those details certainly made it take longer than ten minutes, but all in all they were very quick projects.  Except that the idea rolled on to my trying the banner idea with just two fat quarters: 

 These had both been in the stash for a couple of years.

 Because of the shrinkage of the fat quarters when washed, this banner is a little bit narrower than the St. Patrick's Day ones.
I found some inexpensive premade miniature crocheted flowers at Michael's when I was searching for tassels last night.  A cross-stitch like machine stitched detail was added with cream thread.  But I still wanted to try the Ten Minute Table Runner idea.  I found a beautiful floral print in the remnant bin at my local fabric store when I purchased the tassels.  I paid $3.00 for the approximately 22" wide yardage and made two table runners from it, pulling the coordinating prints from stash: 




The colors are not exactly true here--the green is not that bright!  It is a Dimples fabric.  I only had two fat quarters so sewed them together to give me the proper length for the table runner.  In this case I machine topstitched across the opening where the point is formed.

Again, not true in color--a bit washed out here.


On this table runner I added some detail with a machine buttonhole stitch.  I'm quite satisfied with this hijacking adventure and look forward to some Shoppe sales from my experiments!