"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

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy First Day of Spring

Reporting from Oklahoma City in the midst of a blizzard.

Husband has several guitars but only recently has taken them out to tinker with them. We'd had them in storage and didn't get them out until we moved home.  He had one in the shop and picked it up, yesterday.  After twelve years of not playing, his fingers were stiff and he was distressed that he couldn't get them to work right. Pearly and Evelyn seemed distressed at the sounds that were coming from the guitar. They both howled, repeatedly.  That was last night.

Yesterday was the last day of winter but it was 69 degrees at 7:00 p.m.  We sat out on the back patio with a glass of wine (husband had a beer)  in short sleeves enjoying watching the birds play.   We knew a front was on the way so wanted to take advantage of the nice temperatures while we could.  The wind had been teasing us all afternoon and before we retreated inside, we could feel the cool mixing with the warm air.  Within an hour, the last gasp of winter started barreling through like a freight train,  scaring poor little Pearly to death. She isn't wild about loud noises or noises she can't identify. 

It is saying something that Pearl was so afraid of the loud wind that she retreated under her dad's desk, notwithstanding that he was making some pretty darn disturbing noises on the guitar. 

I'd have taken my chances with a tornado.  I stayed back to my sewing room to continue working on my barn quilt where I could enjoy the concert at a distance.

At about 4:00 this morning, Pearly jumped in bed because the rain had turned to ice and it scared her.  That's no Samoyed, that's a fraidy cat.  By the time we got up, this morning, it was pretending to be winter, again. 
I did some housework most of the morning but worked on the barn quilt this afternoon.

When it comes to learning a new quilting technique, like most things, you get better with practice.  Once I got to the third section of the barn quilt, I started "getting" how to make it come together.  I am charmed at how neatly the freezer paper matches up.
Don't look at my scribbles.  The fact that I am not afraid to change my mind is a virtue.  The fact that I use permanent ink before my mind is completely made up is a learning experience.
Here is the section that has the trees in it:
You can see the artsy sky I decided to go with.  I am not sure I needed to piece it the way I did but it was good practice.

Here is the roof of the barn.  I am very pleased with the fabric:
Here are some of the sections on my design wall, waiting to be pieced together:
As I played with this, I worked out a method to stitch the pieces together that works for me.

I put slashes on the pattern before I cut it apart so matching them up tells me if I have the pieces lined up properly.  Remember those marks I scribbled out when I made mistakes that I mentioned?  Well, they came in darn handy to help me line up the pieces so let us all give praise to the fact that I made lemonaide from lemons. 

First, I line up the pieces to make sure they are going in the direction I want.  The correct sides of the fabric face each other.

Being the number one fan of the lowly gluestick (if it had a church I would join), I next dab a few spots on the piece that goes on bottom.  After I think I have it in the right spot,I finger press it to keep it from shifting.  Absent the glue dabs, it will go all over the place.

After that, I stab a pin straight down on one of the slash marks.  If it comes out on the other side in the right spot, I'm good to go.  If not, I can tell whether the piece needs to shift left or right.  It still moves easily, notwithstanding the glue. 

Once I am satisfied with the location, I press it with the iron and that holds it much more securely than if I hadn't.  That generally is enough to hold while I move to the sewing machine (my Beloved Janome) and during stitching.  I tend to put the side with the most seams facing up so I can make sure they aren't getting wadded up. 

I prefer waterbased gluestick to pins when I can get away with it.  They say bugs are attracted to glue but I don't know where the hell you live that you have bugs crawling all over the place.  I'd move.  Good Lord. 
I refuse to even think about such a thing.  Anyway, you can wash the quilt if you want to make the glue go away.  And get a pest control contract, for the love of God.  Who lives like that, anyway????

Once I have the pieces where I want them, I run a stitch.  I use my quarter inch foot but I could just follow the line where the freezer paper ends if I wanted to. 
For this project, unless there was an odd intersection of fabric or I wanted some added depth, I pressed it to lay flat. When I was having trouble getting the stupid seam to open (there is glue there, remember?) I recalled that Husband insists that there is a perfect tool for everything.  I believe him.  So I took a glance around the room and decided a pencil would be perfect.  It was. 
You can see the slash marks on the edge of the fabric piece in the photo, above.  You could probably use something else to open the seam but this works for me.  And since it is on the back side of the fabric, I don't have to worry that it will cause some kind of ink drama that I don't have the time, energy or inclination to deal with.  After all, I don't retreat to my sewing room to look for stress. 

In fact, just to illustrate the point and not at all because I am aggravated, I just suggested that Husband leave the room when he came in and I proudly showed him my progress.  The artsy sky unnerved him and he didn't think anyone would understand that there was a shadow on the overhang since the quilt doesn't have a sun in it.  He proceded to start pointing out the distance on the overhang on "most" barns vs. the one in my quilt.  Then he had the nerve to start talking math and the angle of light and where the overhang stopped and the face of the barn began.  He was just about to launch in to *&^$%# trigonometry when I stopped him. 

No, no, no.  He has to leave.  He needs to go back to his room and continue tormenting the girls with his guitar.  I would go tell him how to play but I don't know enough about playing a guitar it to stick my nose into it.  Not that knowledge of a subject slows him down when it comes to my quilting...

I, of course, am a saint.  I don't engage in such activities or say them out loud.  Nor do I gossip about him so let's just drop it. 

Serenity now...

Here is some of the artsy sky he hates.  If I had put more green in it, I could have insisted it was just before a tornado hit.  Maybe someday I will do a tornado quilt and include that.  Remind me.  I will put a little man that looks like himself running away, perhaps.
Here is as far as I've gotten.  I think the shadow looks good.  In fact, I was especially proud of it...sniff...
I'm not too wild about the foreground.  We'll see how it looks when I finish the barn part.  It may be too dark. 
The girls have been enjoying going in and out and in and out to play in the snow.  Pearl sits so cute:

Evelyn is such a fluff ball.
The love seat (the bright light in the window is reflecting off the snow) belongs to Evelyn:
And speaking of practice, not too long ago I heard a lovely sound coming from Husband's office.  It was a guitar sounding the way a guitar ought to sound.  I wondered if he was playing some music off YouTube in hopes of being able to mimic it or perhaps to give the dogs a break.  Wonder of wonders, when I went to check, it was himself making beautiful music.  He is getting his mojo back!  He looked pretty proud of himself.

Yeah, he looked something like that.

Happy Quilting,

Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


jacquie said...

the barn quilt is awesome...i should do something like that based on my parent's barn....so cool! how about this first day of spring...8 inches of snow here and still coming. hope all is well...the pups look fabulous!

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, Penny girl, you crack me up!!! Sitting here laughing my butt off. Didn't you say that he's an engineer? You must have momentarily forgotten. That's the way they think, remember????? Too funny. I'da sent mine packing too if he said something like that. Thankfully he's trained to just shake his head and leave!!

BilboWaggins said...

I've got one like that - no damn idea how to do it Himself but full of telling me how *I* should do it, and then getting in a right snit when I don't do it *his* way! I soon learned not to ask him, and after many years he's just about learnt not to try and stick his oar in!

Your barn is coming along beautifully, I think the shadow under the eaves is perfect.

Sorry I have not been keeping up with your posts recently :{

Penny said...

Jacquie, the sun is up and shining on the snow, this morning. Spring really is here but off to a rocky start. The girls love the snow so I guess it isn't all bad.

FFGirl, he doesn't work as an engineer but he has an engineer's brain - his boss once told me that. And here I thought he was just autistic.

Bilbo - Haha! Well, I love the man but sometimes I wonder how he has managed to avoid being murdered for so long.
And as for following my posts, good golly, Miss Molly - as busy as you've been??? I look forward to the blooming/harvest season.