Sunday, June 16, 2013

It Has Been A While

The last few weeks have been very busy at home and at work. At home I am almost finished another quilt top, and I have finished the Almondine socks, striped socks, and another pair of self-striping socks with silver. I am letting the yarn do the designing as I am coming close to the deadline of needing these items to give as gifts. I have also been studying the work of Gwen Marston, and hope to begin a long series of works using liberated quilting, but getting a little more serious about experimenting in small quilts that she refers to as "sketches." I also would like to have a couple of tops completed to hand quilt over vacation. Still so much to do!

Work has been busy with the normal things that my job includes: scheduling, outgoing and incoming calls, minutes, etc. all of the usual secretarial duties that keep me busy. But this past week and a half was particularly difficult and depressing. The June 5 building collapse in Philadelphia that killed 6, and ultimately contributed to the death of a 7th person has created a sadness like no other disaster I have heard about.

It could be because this disaster was so close, physically. The collapse occurred 2.5 blocks south and 8 blocks west of where my office is. I was shopping across the street and almost went into the Salvation Army for clothes to quilt with the previous day and noticed the demolition next door, but thought "at least the Salvation Army will still be there for my occasional shopping trip at lunch time." Having just been to an area within 24 hours of a disaster can make you think, wow, that could have been me. I am trying to shake this feeling of doom and worry that something will happen to me or Mr. R. I also feel lousy physically all of the time. If it is not my back, it is a tooth that I am having work done to. If not that headaches and body aches. Old age just is not fair. When you are young you think you have all of the time in the world, and then you turn around and the clock is just ticking away.

So back to the stuff of craft blogs. I thought I would pass on a tip that I may have seen somewhere, but honestly don't remember. I've talked about how I am NOT about precision, but I am about design--and colors and patterns looking good next to each other is an important part of that. So while I am all about improvisational quilting, it is not willy nilly and there is decision-making in the process. After I arrange everything on the design wall and am happy with it, the time comes to sew it together. My design wall is in another room so I needed a way to carry the blocks from one room to the other without mixing up the direction in which to sew them together. (I get easily distracted with just my own thoughts let alone if Mr. R. talks to me.)

I have seen many ways to organize your pieces for sewing and they all involve little notes, boxes, or cards. I am "The Lazy Quilter," so that was too much work for me. My method is easy-peasy. Flower Head pins, or any pins where you can easily differentiate the head from the point. I like flower head pins because they are long, they are color-coded and the cheap ones have so many bent pins in the box that I do not want to use them for sewing.

So I place a pin with the flower going top to bottom in the right side of block 1. I place another pin in the left side of block 2 going in the same direction. On the right side of block 2 I place a pin with the flower going bottom to top. In block 3 on the left side I place the pin going in the same direction, and on and on for all of the blocks in row 1. Once the row is complete I put it back on the design wall with a pin with the flower on the right in the bottom of the middle block. I will put a pin in the top of the row 2 middle block with the flower going in the same direction to sewing the rows together without doing it upside down. Not rocket surgery.

And since I like nothing that reminds me of factory work, I do the first row and then I pin the second row and so on. Here is a photo from my cutting table. I remove the pins that are going in the same direction, sew the seam, press, and get the next block with the matching pin to sew.

I hope to make a back for Sunny in Philadelphia. I found a different method of basting by hand on Purple Daisies, LLC that I would like to try. I have purchased the baseboard and the tatting thread and am just hoping it is as easy as it looks with  a 45" quilt.

I found a great tip on the Free Motion Quilting Project blog using self-threading needles. Check it out! Of course I purchased those too.

Baci e abbracci...