Thursday, July 27, 2017

Everything But . . .

This week I’ve been working on a few smaller things and packing for a mini sewing retreat with a friend. It’s amazing how getting ready to go on a sewing vacation can unearth some interesting things. Read more below.

In all the packing hubbub, I am happy to say that this little project found a home in my sewing room. The hummingbird pillowcase was a gift. Jennie (the gift-giver) lives in Australia and they use the metric system there. Here in the US, as you know, we’re still stuck on Imperial measurements. So finding a simple pillow form to stuff inside didn’t work. Not to worry. Went to my stash, found some plain white fabric, cut it to size, seamed around it, and stuffed it with fiberfil. And Wallah! This comfy pillow featuring my beloved hummingbirds has a home in an easy chair in my office where it makes me smile every day! (Thank you Jennie for your thoughtful gift!!)

Kitchen Sink Sewing

Every summer about this time in July, my friend Gail invites me to her camp about an hour’s drive north of my home. We set up sewing machines either in the garage or on the dining table inside depending on weather. It sounds like we’re ‘roughing it’ but it’s really quite nice and we treat ourselves to yummy meals, like seafood and salads, and healthy-ish snacks while we work on a variety of projects.

It’s four days of *basically* non-stop sewing - a typical quilting retreat. But you know how this goes . . . you start to select the projects to bring and pretty soon a few days of sewing looks more like a few months-worth of projects.

I usually try to bring non-work-related projects so it really feels like a break from the daily stuff that I do. Translate this to: I raid my unfinished project stash and target some projects to be finished or to be elevated to their next step. With still a few days to go before I leave, I’m hoping to finish up a couple of these before I pack up the car.

Let’s see what I unearthed.

1. These little four-patch blocks and some matching border stripe prints. These are just a few steps away from getting done.

In fact, I took a little tangent from packing. (I guess I am easily distracted - and I’m not leaving for a few days yet, after all.) I threw together a quick place mat, four-patches in the center, border prints on top and bottom. Layer with backing and batting, sew around the edge . . .

 . . . Turn. Sew around the edge again, this time with a decorative stitch. Quilt. Done

Wow, this packing is getting off to a good start. Better find some more projects.

2. How about these four patches, they’re already sewn together. They need a border, backing, and quilting. Cute table topper. On deck.

Uh-oh. We hit a snag. What in the H-E-double toothpicks was I thinking when I started this? Dull boring colors. Bleh-h-h. This one is coming out of the undone project stash. Reclaim those appliqué pins. All those background squares will cut up nicely into my ScrapTherapy bins. . . NEXT!

3. Now we’re talking! I think we’re back on track. Fun colors and a zipper (from my friend Brenda). I think I need to make a little bag!

4. Reds, greens, and creams. Holiday prints. Never too early to start on this year’s holiday card stuffers. Might be fun to do this outside of the early-December-panic-mode tactic that I usually employ. What would I do without all that holiday stress this year. . .?

5. Gads. We’ve taken another treacherous turn. I had a weak moment and purchased this tissue paper paper-piecing pattern a few years ago at a show. I put this away and take this out on a regular basis. It’ll be a nice wall-hanging some day. I love the fabrics, but I just don’t *love* paper piecing. it’s coming anyway. *Cringe!*

What else can I find?

6. A trip down memory lane! Once upon a time I thought the starch method was the best thing since sliced bread when it came to hand appliqué. I started this project from a kit of hand-dyed fabrics. It will be stunning. But a good chunk of the appliqué pieces are only partially prepped for appliqué. So that means adding more starch (yuk, not happening) or trying to make this work with my preferred appliqué method (back basting appliqué - scroll down a bit to the appliqué cute). Or I suppose I could abandon it entirely (I think my heart just skipped a beat) - nope! I must persevere.

7. (Seven? - how did we get to this many?) Ahhh! This one makes my heart sing! Lots of tiny pieces, wonderful Liberty prints (from the London store thanks to Jen’s recent business trip across the pond). Each of the 6” blocks in the book only has the pattern illustration - no instructions, no appliqué, all piecing. And I want to patchwork piece each one. Some have 30 or 40 complex pieces. Lots of figuring. Love a good puzzle!

In case you were thinking, ‘she’s insane!’ No I’m not insane, only Nearly Insane - the book title says so.

8. The Sampler quilt I used last week to show you my little pin tip is all done and bound. I just need to hand-sew the binding fold to the back. So close to the finish line. This one HAS to come with me!

9. The girls (Doodle the Sun Conure and Woodstock the Jenday Conure) need a new cage cover. And I want to play with a new Dresden ruler tool I bought recently. And I’m starting with this fabric for inspiration.

That’s it. I’m not going to add ONE more project to the list! However, I still have a couple of days before I leave on Saturday. Jus’sayn!

Here’s one thing that’s certain, no matter how many projects I bring, I’ll touch each one at least twice - once to get it in the car, and once to get it out of the car.

It’s completely possible I’ll go rogue and come up with something off the list. . . .

At least I’m not planning to bring a kitchen sink . . . Everything but, though!

Happy Stitching!
Joan Ford

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