Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter giveaway

I am so ready for it to be Spring! I'm giving away Winter this week. You want it, it's yours. Come and get it. No returns.

I'm listening to The Buena Vista Social Club on the stereo - lovely Cuban music - trying to drown out the sounds of another Winter gale outside. Now that Winter has finally arrived, it won't leave.

If nothing else, I'm making headway on a little wall hanging that was supposed to be a Christmas present in 2009. With luck I'll get it to her before her birthday this year. This is the one that I'm constantly ripping stitches out of. I haven't had this much trouble with my stitching in a long time, but the backing might have something to do with it. Nice looking material, but very coarse and not really a good choice. Live and learn. At least, I'll blame it on the backing fabric. I've unstitched it about four times now - some of the fabric is starting to look like Swiss Cheese.

I was more or less happy with the stitches I did last night. They got better as I went along and were not too bad by the time I finished. The first few... well, I could live with them. This morning I was working on it and Rusty decided to jump on it. I grabbed it away from him but he snagged a claw in one of the stitches and managed to pull the thread out. (That's Mr. Innocent there to the left.) Yeah, it was the part I wasn't really happy with, and it was near the edge rather than right in the middle of the whole thing. So, uh huh, pulled the stitches out again. Just a few. The good news is, though, that once I replace them, I'm ready for the binding! Woohoo. Hard to believe. I will be so happy to get this thing out the door and in the mail!

I wish I could post some pictures, but it's still a surprise - even after all this time, and the recipient might be reading. Most of what I make, I give away. No reason to keep them - I have pictures if I want to see them again. Someday I'll make a quilt or two to keep. Until then, it's all practice. These mug rugs were Christmas presents to my co-workers, and I used mostly scrappy fabric that I wanted to use up and get rid of. It was the first time I'd tried applique, which I'd always referred to in the past as the A Word. Not a great first attempt, but not bad. My co-workers liked them

I machine-appliqued these. My old sewing machine is pretty limited in its stitches, and this was the best one I could find. It's not bad on a large design, but I tried it later on some small pieces and it was awful. When I first started quilting, more experienced quilters told me I'd be wanting a new sewing maching pretty quickly. It's taken me a couple of years, but I think I'm finally at the point where I want to do more than my sewing machine will deliver. I have my eye on a Janome Horizon (MemoryCraft 7700), but it'll be Summer I think before I actually make a purchase. I may have changed my mind before then.

I figured that I could whip these mug rugs off pretty quick - the bloggers all said how fun and easy they were! Well, they were fun. And easy, I guess, compared to other projects. But finding the time is always a problem for me because I work full time and at odd hours. I ended up finishing the last few stitches on these at my desk on the day of our Christmas dinner.

I was pleased with the way the free motion stitching on them turned out and thought (again) I was finally getting the hang of it. It's like two steps forward, one step back, but it's the same when you're learning something new. Before I grew interested in quilting, I hadn't used a sewing machine in 30 years. My mother tried to teach me how to sew when I was young, but I had no patience for it. She passed away many years ago, but she'd be astonished to see me sewing now.

You know, we cast our seeds of knowledge here and there and never know where they'll take root. Often we never know. I'm sure that my mother never expected me to ever use a sewing machine again in this lifetime, but here I am, and it's as much due to her influence as anything.

Here's a picture of Ginger. She's an awful Quilt Inspector at this point. Maybe she'll get better as she gets older, but right now she scatters my squares or plunks herself down right in the middle of operations. I can't turn my back on my iron because she's right there, drawn to the heat. She steals all of my pencils and stashes them under the refrigerator. And she would eat my discarded thread if I let her. She and Rusty are still young. If they survive their kittenhood (or if I do) they'll be fine cats.

Until next time,


  1. Love your helpers Wendy, I have one here too! Nice work.

  2. Thanks Rhoda. Where would we be without our helpers to distract us and make us take the occasional break? Hope you're managing to keep warm!