Saturday, March 25, 2017

Using My Stash

When Irene came to town, a year ago October, she used so many quilting terms that I was unfamiliar with, including, having a stash. She talked about colorways, shot cotton, various brands, different designers, all things I'd never considered before. Well, these days, I know just what she means, including her criticism of one of our local quilt stores. Back then I was baffled by her thinking, however, now I know just what she means. I mean seriously, I went there for a washable marking pencil, and they had not a one. And that is not the first time that has happened while looking for something really basic for quilting. But you don't really care now, do you?

Before I get into the stash business, let's have a little nature shot for fun. Now that they stay away from my bird feeders, I can only sort of appreciate them.
And then too, when last we were together I was fixing to make a Blueberry cake which I did. Had I not been talking to Nancy while it was cooking, I would have taken it out of the oven about five minutes earlier.
While it is good, it could definitely be moister. You might note the Kitchen Aid stand mixer given to me by Matt and Tom one Christmas. It's the black you see on the right. That will be sorely missed during our Vancouver sojourn!

Although I'd yet to add the second border, I took the quilt outdoors to see how it would fit on my intended backing; a sheet I'd purchased at an estate sale. Granted there were a few patches, and some evidence of darning(!), but I thought it might add a little charm to my quilt.
According to Jacquie (quilting teacher), you should starch both the front and back before sandwiching with batting, so I dutifully attempted to starch a King sized sheet. It is such a deep yellow; you are seeing the inside of it, and while you are looking you might note those little white patches. I'd gotten about halfway done with the starching when I discovered some small holes. Hmmm....this doesn't look good. Now what?

Because I used only fabric I had on hand for the top, in other words, "my stash", I went digging in the drawers and pulled every large chunk of fabric I owned to create a backing. Unlike many quilters, I buy yardage rather than pre-cuts, so to build a stash, I would buy a yard here, and a yard there, of fabric I liked. By the time I'd attached the outside borders, the quilt measures around 90" square. Guess what? Fabric comes in a useable width of about 42". You can always tell a vintage fabric by the lack of selvage which these days renders about 3" as useless. Too technical probably for which I apologize.

Here's what I had to do, using a bunch of my stash...make two sides for the back and sew them together. It is very colorful to say the least!
One thing I always do before I begin the actual quilting is make the binding because I want it to be ready when I am ready for it. You are looking at about 450" of binding.
Oh, wonder of wonders, it is the same color as the feet on my snazzy ironing board! You may also notice all the thread on my floor, which when the floors were new, gave me a heart attack, while these days, I'm like...whatever, I"ll clean it up!

You may recall my practice pieces from the last post, and after examining them, Bruce and I decided to go with a curved crosshatch, except I was thinking, "how the hell am I going to mark that?" Not to worry, I have a master carpenter in the house! One who never fails me either. Loads of quilters, when faced with such a gigantic project, lay it out on the ground, but Mr. Peck is vehemently opposed to working on the ground. He came up with a solution.
Our dining room table with the leaf, as well as two tables I used to use when doing shows. Holy Cow! He even helped me put the layers together, pulling a tape every chance he got. In reality, it took over two hours to get it all square, during which time he never lost patience, even when I did.
In a stroke of brilliance, he got all my lovely coffee table books, given to me by my wonderful sons, and used them to keep one side in place while we sorted out the other side.
Actually, I received the Kaffe Fassett book as a gift this past Christmas from Tom's Mum, Jane. She is very supportive of my efforts. In any case, I remembered something else Jacquie said from the class, and here's where they went next.
Yup, all around my little extension on the machine to help support all of the weight. Until you've done something like this you really can't understand how heavy it can be. Not that I suggest you do so anytime soon, but just saying! That is another thing Irene talked about when I first met her; sending her quilts out to be quilted by a professional. I'd never even heard of that practice, but now I know it is totally common place. That said, you already know that if anything is at all possible to be done at home, I will give it a go even if it is difficult. Perhaps some might call me stubborn like that. 

Surely you are thinking that about the refrigerator situation, as well you should, because it is still not working properly. I'm having to give in and call a repairman. :( I do, on the other hand, hire professionals when I think I am overmatched, and that is surely the case with our taxes, which are now completed, and I am thrilled to report that I owe the accounting firm more than I owe the government! I glanced through the download of our return they sent, some 40 pages, and my eyes glazed over in short order.

Above, in the photo with the books on the quilt, Bruce is measuring and eventually marking with painter's tape, the curve that I should follow to begin the quilting. To keep it consistent I use this bar inserted into the back of the walking foot.
While it fantastic helping me keep my lines straight, I am having a heck of a time with that bar that extends to the right. The heavy quilt keeps hanging up on that. Third world problems, right? Hours and hours later, I have a little more than half the first pass lines sewn.  I quit sewing in order to get ready to go to church to hear a speaker named John Dominic Crossan. He is pictured on the far right. The man at the microphone is Shawn Garvey, the pastor of our church. I took the photo because I thought it said so much about our modern life with him using his phone to introduce our speaker.
Interesting, to say the least.

Lest you think our weekends are always fun-filled, this morning we worked like crazy in the yard, cleaning out the area of our yard that we call the "jungle." Not quite so jungly after this!
By the time it was all said and done, there were six big garbage cans, and six huge bundles of palms for the guys to pick up on Monday morning. Whew!!

And when was the last time you saw a gigantic bee hive on the pages of Camera Crazy?
Never before, that's when! Riding my bike in Southern Oaks the other morning, a yard guy pointed it out to me. Pretty darn amazing, isn't it?

Off to the kitchen I go...dinner time.

yours truly,


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