Obviously, I'm bad terrible about posting on this blog...it's been a whole year since my last post!! What have I been making and photographing? Actually, quite a bit, and the place I've been documenting this has been on my Instagram account. I like being able to quickly post a picture & write just a few lines. Still, it is handy to have this spot to post & document on as well. We'll see if I'm any better about it now that I've been back here to visit. But, if you want to see what I've made, and bird photos, and tasty, baked goodness, my Instagram account is the up-to-date spot to go. Here's hoping they listen to those of us who use it and keep it chronological instead of showing us what they think we might want to see.
I'll still post here, but I know me - I'll post there more.
Recently I worked on my blocks for the Four Seasons quilt group mystery quilt. Pretty Girl was my go-to machine for that. :)
When I shifted back to working on the star quilt, I decided to use some inexpensive fabric to "play" with first since I haven't done this pattern in decades, and the other time I made it I was using a cardboard template, cutting pieces with scissors and hand sewing the pieces together. Phew!
This time I'm following Eleanor Burns' method, so there's a little bit of a learning curve...and I don't want to waste any on trial and error.
Yesterday and today are my Cornell Backyard Birdcount days. Yesterday we had a Carolina Wren show up. Acording to Cornell, these birds have been steadily moving north so aren't considered uncommon, but it was a first for me to see one. :)
Yesterday we had lake effect snow off and on throughout the day, ultimately adding upwards of another ten inches or so of new snow.
Thursday and today are my bird count days for this week regarding Cornell's Project Feeder Watch, so I've been busy watching birds (and others) who show up for a bite to eat or a sip of water.
We have had just a wee bit of fine snow off and on through the day but cold temperatures - so far we've made it up to 12°F - which is actually much warmer than was forecast, so I'm feeling grateful.
Since it isn't much fun to be outside, I've just started looking at the fabrics which are likely to be players in the next quilt I'll be starting soon. It'll be a Lone Star quilt (aka Star of Bethlehem, aka Native Amercan star, and several other names as well depending on just how one does it). Like the double wedding ring this one will be a gift (for a friend this time) and will also be queen size.
Between the colors of the birds, the deer, the squirrels, and the fabric, I've been able to mostly ignore the cloudy skies. :) And since we've made lasagne, beef and veggie soup, home-made bread, and chocolate walnut drop cookies, I'll have plenty of time over the next few days to look for inspirational images, and then begin to cut fabric! I hope to use all three of my machines: Lida, Pretty Girl, and the modern Janome - in piecing this quilt.
As I'm watching fine snowflakes coming down yet again...
The double wedding ring queen sized quilt requested by one of my daughters-in-law is done! I was battling a rotten cold all week, but since I had gotten the binding made and machine stitched to the front just before the germs got me, I was down to just the hand stitching of the binding to the back. So, on the days when I had a little bit of energy, I had the perfect quilt project to work on. Those little bits of time added up, and now...it's finished. Huzzah! :)
The bias binding worked well as it curved in and out, and the quilt lays nice and flat when I spread it out on the floor. I'm also pretty pleased with how the quilting turned out.
Weather wise, we hit 30 °F today -woo hoo! Earler in the week we picked up an additional 8-10" of snow, and every day since we've continued to get an additional 1-2". Since the temperatures have stayed in the teens and twenties for highs each day, it just keeps getting a little deeper each day. Tomorrow night into Monday and possibly even Tuesday our area is projected to possibly get another 10-16" so it could be interesting around here! When the deer came around today, the snow was nearly up to their bellies, so if we get more as predicted, it could be tough going for them. I'm really glad we put burlap around the rhododendrons out back, and around the hollies and azalia out front. Last winter the deer chewed the heck out of these plants. The reality, of course, is that deer will eat pretty much anything when they're hungry.
Here's what it looked like just the other day -
I think that calls for some contrast. Fortunately for me, my Christmas cactus has decided to be a Valentine cactus this year...
Today I mustered up enough energy to cut out the stage one pieces of the mystery quilt for the Four Seasons Quilters group I belong to. Tomorrow I hope to get those sewn together. I also need to get the twin sized Project Linus flimsy loaded on the long arm and get that quilted. After that I need to start on a Lone Star (queen size) quilt for a friend. Lots of good projects for this cold, snowy weather. :)
The Syracuse University basketball game was really good even though they didn't win, so I didn't end up trimming the quilt until this morning.
Once I did that it was time to tackle making continuous bias binding. Missouri Star Quilt Company has a YouTube video which gave me the gist of it but it was early days for them and I couldn't see how and where Jenny D. was "crossing" the marked lines, so I poked around briefly and found text and photo tutorial which I really found helpful: Generations Quilt Patterns . Also look for the link on the page to part one of the tutorial - that has some great charts regarding the amount of fabric you need to create the size and amount of binding you want.
I found the cross-hatch marks to be particularly helpful when I was pinning the "tube" prior to sewing the seam.
This is what the tube looked like after sewing the seam -
Then it was a simple matter of cutting on the line and... voila! continuous bias binding. After lunch we moved my sewing table and my Janome out to the sunroom and I basked in warmth and sunlight (the outside temperature was about 14 °F) while I slowly stitched the binding to the front side of the quilt. It's real progress! :)
Hooray! I finished the quilting on the DWR this morning. There were some glitches along the way, most notably on the 23rd when I thought I would be finishing my last three pantograph areas. I had taken a break for about an hour and a half. That doesn't really seem like enough time for the metals to have changed temperature and therefore tension, but it had. I, of course, didn't check the back...just merrily zipped along doing all three. Then I checked my stitches on the back. The tension wasn't even and the stitches looked really poor (front looked great). Well, no one to blame but my lazy self, so I spent some more quality time with my seam ripper. After that I just needed some away time. Visited with some family on Sunday, and today I zipped out the last bits of quilting with no issues, and with absolutely no adjustment to the tension on the machine. Quilting gremlins, ya gotta love 'em!
So, here we go - more pics of my first DWR as it nears the end of the process:
This is the pre-trimmed top
The "pansy" pantograph. I bought this and several other flower pantos from Urban Elementz several years ago.
Used one of my curved template tools to do the "leaf" shape on the little green squares.
And free motion leaves in the little melon shapes.
Tonight while I'm watching S.U. basketball I'll work on trimming the batting and backing to match the front scallop shape. Tomorrow - deciding which fabric I'll use to bind it, and getting that cut, ironed, and sewn to the front. I almost always stitch it to the back by hand. I just like that process and how it looks. Every now and then I do attach the binding strictly by machine...but not on this one!