26 May, 2017

Wrapping It Up

I'm down to quilting the last few rows of blocks in this quilt: "Jackstones". It's been on the rails for a very long time; so long, in fact, that I have removed it and replaced it three times already to quilt pantographs on other quilts while it languished! It really is way beyond time that this one gets wrapped up. I don't know about you but I feel a particular sense of urgency at this time of year, a push to get things done, wrap up loose ends and complete tasks. I believe it goes back to all those years of being a student. The month of May signals "end of year" like nothing else in my mind, that signal increases in frequency and volume with each passing day in the month. Just thinking about term papers being due, final exams and end-of-year this or that can still elicit a cold sweat, even after all these decades. With increased age I am keenly aware now, more than ever, of the all-too-swift pace of time passing; easily gauged through the rocket-like growth of my own grandchildren. There's no time like now; right now! "Wrap it up, finish the job, get it done" echoes in my head, "there are new challenges on the horizon". We were invited to a few "end of year" programs for Gregory and Lynnleigh at their respective schools (didn't school only just begin last week?).  They were both adorable, naturally.
Lynnleigh, age 4
Gregory, age 6

Back to the job at hand, only a few more rows. "Wrap it up, finish the job, get it done"... almost there!
None of us know how much time we have; but I, for one, know that I don't want to spend forever quilting on just one quilt! There's simply too many other things that I want to try and need to get done. I am thankful for this ingrained "end-of-year" urgency that not-too-gently propels me forward, presses me onward; yep, it's high time increase that final effort and wrap things up! Summer (and all the fun and adventure that one word implies) awaits; and beyond that there are newer, bigger, mountains to climb! I'm sure you remember that feeling too: the giddy excitement of what's to come.

Life is Good!
Up next: "Twirl, Girl, Twirl!"

15 May, 2017

Light Duty? Really?

The new processional cross, at Grace Lutheran Church,
 used for the first time on Easter Sunday.
Yesterday was Mother's Day, I hope that yours was a blessed one. Ours certainly was, although it was the first one since my husband's mother entered the Church Triumphant, we missed her greatly. Since her death last November we had been considering many options for the use of funds generously given in her memory to our church. The purchase of a processional cross seemed to be exactly the right item. Mom's entire life was one spent following God, she was an exemplary model of Godly life; just thinking about all eyes on the cross at the beginning and ending of each worship service seemed like the best and most fitting memorial to her. Okay, a processional cross it was! I was given information by our pastor as to the appropriate size, style and type of base needed for it to stand in. Taking all of those items into account I called the church supply store to place the order, I had a few questions of my own: I was unsure of the size base needed, there was a wide discrepancy in prices. I was told that there were "light" and "heavy" duty crosses, the one we were ordering, 72", would be considered "heavy duty" and required the larger base. I laughed, out loud, I couldn't help it. The woman on the other end asked what was so funny. I explained that regardless of the size I couldn't ever think of any cross being referred to as "light duty", they're all heavy duty in my estimation regardless of size. She agreed. "You know", she went on, "I have never thought about that descriptive term in regard to the cross before now" she explained, "but I don't believe I can ever use it again". We purchased the larger base. 
The cross was dedicated to her memory during our worship service two weeks ago. It gives us great joy and immeasurable comfort to gaze upon the cross at worship and remember Mom. We will always miss her, not just on Mother's Day, but every day. She lives on-- in us, through us, and for us in a myriad of ways. This processional cross, a heavy duty one purchased in her memory, is yet one more occasion to remember her and to give thanks to God for her life, her example and her witness.
Life is Good!

Up next: "Wrapping It Up"

13 May, 2017

On The Edge

The Big Hex is finished, a flimsy no more. It is quilted and edge-finished with a lovely turquoise trim. Let me walk you through the finishing stage with photos; I am happy to report that this project turned out even better than I had hoped. 
After the quilting was completed, I trimmed the edges neatly on all sides. I had intentionally kept the quilting away from the edges to give myself enough room for inserting the trim. 
From there I took the quilt to the ironing board. I folded the top back and away from the binding and drew a line 1/2" from the edge directly onto the batting with a Frixion pen. Using that line as my guide I folded the top down exactly along that line and carefully pressed in an accurate 1/2" folded edge, with the iron, down onto the batting. Since the Frixion pen contains thermal ink the drawn line then disappeared.
I repeated the exact same procedure on the back side, rotating for each of the six sides.
I then took the quilt to my work table and worked my way around the edges, I trimmed away the 1/2" of extending batting as I progressed around and slipped the just-cut batting edge inside the folded edge of the top. As I worked, I laid the edge of the trim inside the "sandwich" and pinned through all the layers: top, batting, trim and backing; making certain that the folded edges of the top and backing were aligned and that the corners matched up.
Following the pinning stage I threaded up a long basting needle with thread that didn't match anything (for easier removal later on) and hand basted the edge as I removed each and every pin.
Once basted into position, I put on the zipper foot and, moving my needle to the far right, edge stitched along all six edges. I kept the needle as close to the edge as possible assuring that top and bottom edges were perfectly aligned and stitched very slowly, stopping and pivoting in each corner.
The edges turned out just fine, front and back, and the pom pom trim is securely attached.
This Big Hex quilt/play mat is all ready for gift giving. I hope the recipient will enjoy many hours of happy play time delighting in the shapes, colors and textures as much as this quiltmaker enjoyed every step of its construction!
Life is Good!

Up next: "Light Duty? Really?"

12 May, 2017

Lots of Things are Simmering...

There's lots going on these days at Chez Goodneedle, you might have wondered since I have been so quiet. This movie clip stars a piece of vintage (1940's) Pyrex Flameware doing what it's designed to do. The clean out of my dear MIL's home continues. I used to watch her use these small stove-top dishes (this is one of a set of three) all the time and I always loved them. I have brought them home with me and will keep them in frequent use. Years ago there was a handle that clipped on for moving these off the burner, I have no idea what ever happened to that, but it is long gone now.
This is us doing the happy dance. After only three and a half weeks her home is now under contract. The afore-mentioned clean out has now ratcheted up into a faster, more accelerated pace, it's all good.
If you remember an earlier post about the Big Hex Flimsy I am determined to make a play mat/quilt with a pom pom edge as I found pictured. I ordered this trim, but it only came in natural. Since this quilt is to offer visual stimulation for a little one there simply has to be color added. I looked up many websites for 'how to's' on dyeing pom pom trim.  To be honest, they weren't encouraging. And still, undaunted, this idea of mine was still simmering on the back burner of my brain. Suspecting that my trim was all cotton, I cut off one of the pom poms and dropped it into my cup of tea. It grabbed the color! YES!! (A word of caution: as long as the trim is cotton (or natural fibers) the dyeing will work just fine; acrylics, polyesters and blends won't pick up the dye or yield satisfactory results.)
A quick stop at Joann's with this purchase and I was on my way home. 
I followed the directions on the dye packet to. the. letter. Simmer, simmer... stir, stir. Wash. Rinse.
And dry! Perfection!!
The quilting was fast and easy, few starts and stops, one arc led to the next and then the next; continuous line quilting makes for a happy quilter. No simmering here... this was done at the speed of a rapid boil!
Life is Good!

Up next: "On The Edge"

10 May, 2017

Changes Are Afoot...

... or maybe not! I bought a new pair of walking shoes. They are exactly like the pair I had before them, and the pair before that, and the pair... well, you get the idea. Change does not come easily to me. I order the same shoes when mine get broken down and worn out not only because they fit my foot perfectly but also because I can. I fear that one day they won't make this particular model of my beloved shoe anymore and I will be forced to make a change. Until that day I gleefully hit the "reset" button and order, for me, what is tried and true. Perhaps I act within my own safe zone, finding comfort in the familiar. Do you do the same thing? I also believe that this act of reordering is a time saver: I know that they fit, I know that they are comfortable and support my foot, there's no risk; there's no time wasted and no surprises. Am I missing out? Is there a better shoe out there, one that might be more exciting or one that would save me money? How will I ever know? Am I alone? Please weigh in, I am eager for input into these questions I have posed. Is this repeat behavior of mine unique?
Life is Good!
Stay tuned for my next post: "Lots of Things are Simmering"


04 May, 2017

The Big Hex Flimsy

The Big Hex ~ 44"(h) X 52"(w).
I have been inspired by this quilt/play mat for little ones that I found on Pinterest as a way
to combine my own recently constructed hexie blocks (most recent BOM at my LQS) into a similar project for a baby gift; the hardest part, for me, was finding suitable quality pom-pom trim, I am super picky about that! I found some that is absolutely perfect, it is a natural color, I can use it as is and it will add visual interest, texture and assist in weighing down the edges when it's on the floor for baby's tummy time; or, I can get brave and try dyeing it turquoise for one more pop of color. I am still not sure about that. In the meantime, while I decide to dye or not to dye, I already have a quilt on Snowbird, as soon as the quilting is completed on that one I will be loading Big Hex on the rails for its turn and adding the sweetest Goldilocks and the Three Bears backing fabric. I do believe that the new baby, and her Mommy, will really enjoy this gift.
Stay tuned for the pom-pom edge finishing touch; I am hopeful that last step will be as wonderful as I am imagining it to be, I have never done anything like this before (dyeing or adding an embellishment as an edge finish), any advice or tips would be most appreciated. Fingers crossed!🤞
Life is Good!

02 May, 2017

Project Bag

I made a Project Bag today, actually I made up several! This is the fourth in the series of organizers being highlighted each month at my LQS featuring Patterns by Annie. This quilted tote makes up quick and easy and is handy for keeping up with everything you might need in one place for any type of projects on-the-go. I made mine in the large size, which finishes to 13 inches square; these are the perfect size for fabric bundles and a pattern and/or book, for carrying completed and pressed quilt blocks, or anything else you can think of. The fabric requirements are minimal: a few coordinating fat quarters and you're good to go, the addition of a see-through vinyl window in front for easy identification of the contents and a zipper to keep it all secure. I think this is an ideal gift, too, I am already thinking about making a few up in children's fabrics and slipping in a coloring book and crayons or travel games for in the car! (There are three other sizes for this bag too, I might just have to make one of each.) What would you carry in your project bag?
Life is Good!