Thursday, July 20, 2017

Butterflies and a Pin Tip

I’ve shared that I often bring my laptop out to my front porch (I call it my summer office) when the weather is nice. My house doesn’t have central air so my desk can get pretty steamy when the mid-day summer sun shines through the skylights in my office space.

Working outside has its hazards, though. For one, I can be easily distracted by birds and critters that make their way into the yard for one reason or another. This time of year, it’s butterflies that grab my attention. The cone flower bed is thigh-high with blooms, and the butterflies find this plant irresistible! In the last day or so, I spotted and captured pictures of four different butterfly varieties that stopped by to pay a visit (and sup on the flowers’ nectar).

There’s this yellow swallow tail - I think it might be a tiger swallowtail.

And this pretty orange one. A Fritillary, maybe? The butterfly field guide reveals quite a few varieties that look similar. Might it be the Great Spangled Fritillary . . .

This primarily black species had bright blue spots on it. It was a fast-mover, so the picture is out of focus, snapped quickly before it fluttered away.

And the mighty Monarch. Sadly, this species is in trouble, therefore my husband (he is in charge of the garden around here) has allowed the milkweed to carry on in the flower beds as they are the Monarch’s main diet and nursery.

A Quick Pin Tip

After getting a few projects done, I’ve shifted back to finishing up my Splendid Sampler quilt. When I start to see the end in sight, for any quilt, I usually start some sort of count down—X number of blocks left to quilt, X number of in-the-ditch lines to quilt, etc.

For this 100-block quilt - I am quilting it on my BERNINA 750, I started with some ditch-quilting to outline the blocks, then I’ve made three passes from block to block with free motion in three different thread colors - cream, blue, and brown. What do I mean by ‘passes’ - ?? I started with the cream thread, loaded it in the machine and bobbin, and evaluated the blocks one at a time - if cream thread was called for then I quilted the cream parts. Same thing with the blue thread.

Now I’m ‘on’ the brown thread - the last color. A couple of days ago, I spread out the quilt and placed a safety pin (the same ones I use to pin-based the quilt) and stuck a pin in the to-be-quilted block or its border.

As I finish the brown-thread quilting, I remove the pins one block at a time. So the pins become like a count down. A visual one.

50 pins left . . . 45 . . . 35 . . . I’m now at 20 pins left to remove.

Seems (or ‘seams’) very do-able! I guess I’ve always been a numbers kinda gal!

At the close of a quilting session, I place a brightly colored covered pin on the block where I left off. That way I’ll see exactly where my starting point is for the next session.

Once the blocks are done, there is still border quilting, binding and a label (piece-o-cake!). I bet I’ll be able to add this project to my ta-done list in about a week or so.


Happy Stitching!
Joan Ford

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