Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The September Sun Project

Life has been awfully busy the last several weeks; and when life gets busy, something has to give. For me, blogging is the least critical activity, so that's what usually goes first. I've had no time to either read blogs or write my own, so I have lots of catching up to do, and I look forward to it.

What am I so busy with?
*Social obligations, most of which involve either quilting or knitting, so that, at least, is a good thing.
*Things around the house and fall clean up. I am home alone most of the time, so everything pretty much falls to me. I'm still behind with the fall clean up. I don't think I've ever seen so many leaves in the yard, and they're mounting by the day, but we've had enough rain to keep me in the house.
*Work! I went back to work at the beginning of October as a seasonal hire. Even though I only worked a grand total of seven days this month, it's enough to disrupt the schedule I've developed over the last six months. I've had to develop a new schedule to make work the priority.

I continue to fit in as many sewing days as possible, and today our small group who is working on the September Sun project is meeting at Sherry's house for a day of sewing. I came down with an awful cold on Monday and decided it would be best to stay home today so as to not expose the others. But I'm still working on the project and communicating with the girls by phone, and I thought I'd share my progress today as I go along.

Here is what I've got done so far--all but the center four blocks. The last time we met, two of the girls worked on the center blocks and expressed their difficulties in a pretty colorful way, so I suppose I haven't been looking forward to it.

I made some templates for myself to assist in the process, and my strips are cut, so I'm ready to go.

I've sewn all the strip sets together for the center star block. After a couple of well-chosen expletives and some hair pulling, I also got two of the required eight diamonds sewn together into a quarter of the block. There's a darn good reason why I never made a Lone Star quilt. My motto today is, CLOSE is GOOD ENOUGH.

I called Sherry's to see how everyone was doing. In the background, I could hear things were heating up over there too. Barbara is working on the same set of star blocks I am, and she was using a different set of equally effective expletives.

Sherry is teaching her sister Sandy how to make mittens from old sweaters today, and she's going to teach me too. Up here in Maine, you can't have enough pairs of warm mittens.

Anyone still with me? My head hurts. I have spent far more time ripping than I have sewing on this block, and my patience is at its end for tonight. This half of the block looks pretty good until you look at the square in the upper right corner. I've lost nearly all the seam allowance for the blue square, and it took me ages to figure out that the seam allowance on the strip set wasn't quite large enough, which threw off that whole corner. I'll be ripping some more again tomorrow, but at least I know what NOT to do for the second half. It'll come together--just not tonight.
Right now I'm going to do something mindless. I'm knitting a scarf.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hourglass Log Cabin

Last night I finished sewing all the blocks together for the little log cabin quilt. I think I will be happy enough with a 3/8" binding to frame the quilt, so no border on this.

Several people wanted to know how big these blocks were, and I'm sorry I didn't think to include that information. Each of these little blocks finishes to 4" square, so each little log finishes to 1/2" wide. Because the pieces were small, I cut strips or rectangles from my scraps that measured at least 1-1/8" wide. Then I paper pieced the blocks, trimming any excess fabric off as I went.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playing With Scraps

I haven't spent much time sewing in the last couple weeks, but that is not to say I haven't been busy in my sewing room. I finally finished the last of the mini log cabin blocks, 36 in all. I enjoyed making these so much that I'm going to start on an offset log cabin block next or maybe a pineapple blossom.

I played around with all the traditional arrangements for these blocks and finally settled on this hourglass arrangement. I haven't decided yet whether or not I'll add borders to it. As it is, it will finish to 24" x 24", which is just right for its appointed space in my hallway.

Next I started rooting through several bags and a couple of boxes of scraps I've acquired over the last year and a half. Quite a few of them were channeled into ziploc bags for several scrap projects I have lined up. The rest were consolidated into two medium-sized shopping bags and stored under the longarm. Only a very few of the scraps were actually cut up, but I sure feel good about getting this all cleared out.

Since I was on a roll and felt like cleaning out more stash, I spent several more days going through my cabinets pulling fabrics I thought might be suitable for pillowcases. Some of these fabrics I bought when the kids were younger, intending to make some project for them that never got made. Others constituted a what-was-I-thinking-when-I-bought-this moment and went into the pile too. Everything got washed, and I kitted up enough for 29 pillowcases. I really like some of these fabric combinations, so I'll save several of them for the grandchildren I may never have, and the rest will be donated to the Conkerr Cancer project.

I also cut up about a yard and a half for a small tablerunner. All total, I busted 32 yards of fabric that week and didn't buy a thing. Too bad I'm not still doing stash reports!