"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tomatoes and Beautiful Fabric

More evidence of my paw fetish:

Look what's cooking:

We are OVERRUN with tomatoes.

Here are half of the ones we got out of the garden just this week.

We are eating everything we can think of that has tomatoes in it. Salsa, hamburgers, quiche, tomatoes with mozzarella, etc., etc.

Here is one I picked just a minute ago.

It is so big it looks like a small pumpkin. They are so heavy they are falling off the plant and the birds and squirrels are getting them.

The girls can't get into the tomato garden or they'd get into them, too.

I made quite a bit of progress on my Floral Weave Quilt but it was a big fist-fight to get the measurements right. I did two prototypes, this morning (AFTER cutting out the fabric for all of them, like a fool), and LOOK at the difference in size:

Honestly, I don't know how that happened. The one on the right is a snowball block. They are super simple and I hate them like poison because they have angles, which live to get out of line. I need about 35 of them.

The other block is just a modified log cabin. I need 24 of them. I could have put in a set in seam but I'm just not going to do it. This is supposed to be fun, afterall.

So I went back to the drawing board to figure out why they ended up so out of wack from each other. After scratching my head, measuring and holding it up to the light, I decided the best way to fix it was to take the neutral center on the modified log cabin block and reduce it from 5.5 inches square to 4.25 inches square. Simple enough to fix and while there is some waste, it was not all that much and I hadn't cut all of the centers out, yet. I HAD cut the borders and if I had tried to change their size, it would have been a lot more waste.

I chain stitch then trim down.

Notwithstanding my sometimes questionable results, I am a fanatic about seams. I press in opposite directions so they lay flat.

And of course, I use my trusty water based glue stick to hold the seams in place until they are stitched down.

When I began quilting, I didn't pay this much attention to detail. However, over the years it has become second nature. If I see a seam pressed the wrong way, it makes me nuts. I will rip it out and repress (For the nonquilters who read this - if the seams don't lay correctly, you end up with seams that aren't lined up, lumps in the fabric and more thread knots). When I first started quilting, I didn't do that and it caused problems. Over time, I have gotten technically better and lots faster. Now, I can do it correctly just as fast I can do it sloppy AND I don't have to spend extra time to try to fix mistakes. If I mess up, I can usually fix it faster than it would take to deal with it down the line. When I first started, if I was this careful, I'd still be working on my first quilt.

The old adage "a stitch in time saves nine" makes perfect sense when it comes to quilting. And everything else.

Here is how it turned out:

Pretty darn close to nine inches, the way it is supposed to be:

Okay, that was easy enough but the snowball blocks (for me) are trickier. It took a little time to nail down exactly where the snowball corners needed to be to line up with the log cabin seams.

After I figured out that the corner seams needed to be 3 inches EXACTLY from the corner, I got a bit anal about making sure the lines met. I am spoiled from my paper piecing with the perfect points. Whenever I try to deal with half square triangles I end up cussing.

The traditional way to make snowball blocks is to put a square on the corner, stitch diagnally on the corner square, trim off the excess and press the top fabric back to make it square.

Alternatively, you can trim off the corner, line up a half square triangle right on it, stitch, then press it back up square. That was my original plan.

Somehow, that went south and I ended up ruining a block by cutting off too much.

To keep that from happening again, I decided to take the time to mark up my half square triangles. I used my disappearing purple marking pen to mark the stitch line and made sure it ran diagonally three inches from the corner to three inches down the other side. I also marked the neutral part of the block so I'd know where to line up the seams.

When I looked at the disappearing ink pen closely, I noticed that it had a warning on the side: "Please take off a cap with hands, not with a mouth."

I also trimmed the half square triangles before stitching them on the main block so they'd fit right on the neutral part.
Rather than risk another cutting disaster, I didn't trim off the backs before stitching on the corners. I wanted to make sure they were exactly correct. By waiting to cut, I could take them off the corners to restitch if I needed to. I only had to do that a couple of times.

Actually, in that last picture, I left the tails on the triangles but after the first one, I trimmed them off so I could see exactly where they fit.

When I finish pressing, I stick it under my big block of wood while it is still hot and it presses it super flat. That helps the blocks go together better.

I really, really love this fabric:

And then, there is this:

Evelyn, my bosom quilting buddy, decided to sing:

And here is Pearl with her beloved bunny:

And this is what I discovered at the landing of the stairs when Evelyn and I came out of the sewing room from an afternoon of quilting:

Pearl strikes, again!


Shogun said...

I love the fuschia flowers on that fabric. It's one of my favorite flowers to grow.

Stephanie D. said...

That's gorgeous fabric!

Tandi has taken to doing the same thing as Pearl. First it was just my socks out of the laundry basket or laundry or wherever. If she can't find my sock, hubby's sock will do, and she always takes them to the living room.

Now, when we spend time in the sewing room, I will find a tidbit from the scrap basket in the living room waiting for me when we finish.

Mmmm, tomatoes! But that's a heck of a lot. Just how many tomato sandwiches can a girl eat, anyway?

Paula said...

Love the picture of Evelyn with her tongue sticking out. Of course, she's NOT aiming it at you. We know she loves to have her picture taken. LOL


swooze said...

Do your dogs just spontaneously start singing or is there a trigger of some kind?