Sunday, April 19, 2020

How small can you go?

Don't hate me! But this quiet time has been a HUGE boon to my mental well being and wrapping my head around my quilting stuff. I've been the most productive for the longest period that I've ever experienced and I can only hope that this is going to continue once things get back to normal.

There are a couple of reasons for this increase in productivity.

1. I lucked out in the gene category. I spoke to my Dad yesterday. He's going to be 87 in a week or so. Is he bored? Is he watching TV all day or sleeping? NOPE - my Dad is learning. He's into CNC and learning as much as he can about the technology. For your information, CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. It's the technology that drives the long arm, the digital cutters, the embroidery machines and in my Dad's case - the plasma cutters, the routers, and gosh knows what else.

He's been watching YouTube and well - who knows where else he goes. But the pride in his voice yesterday was unbelievable. He has figured out how to create the files to make something work - I didn't quite understand that part. But it involves combining the files from three complex software programs to get an end result. It doesn't matter - he's not bored.

My Mom is also busy but then life hasn't changed a whole lot for her as she doesn't leave the house anyway and manages to keep herself busy with reading, and family history and all of her other hobbies.

Thankfully, those traits of self-reliance, curiosity, and well - a whole lot of other things got passed down to me. Actually to all three of the kids. Thank you, Mom and Dad. Love you for that!! The best GIFT ever!!!!

2. I was already on a roll for the decluttering process and this extra dedicated time came at just the right moment to get the momentum going full force.

3. I suck at multitasking. Oh - we think we're doing a great job, but in reality - we are not. Now that I've got my laundry basket of projects for the week, I'm not getting sidetracked and doing stuff that I shouldn't be doing. I do work on a variety of stuff during the day so it's not like I only sew one thing. But I'm much more focused than I've ever been.

4. My mind is so much clearer. I think part of that comes from the increased levels of exercise and fresh air. There's no doubt in my mind that getting out and seeing more than the four walls in my house are helping me cope a lot with this situation. I also do not have many stimuli to get me off track. I do check e-mail and my social accounts, but I'm keeping it to the bare minimum each day and that 's also helping. I get the highlights of the situation and that's all I need.

5. My girls. How could you not have a good day when you've got two amazing entertainers in your house for some diversions.

Having said that - I have way too much to post again today but you'll get to see that later this week and something amazing happened this morning. Intuition? I don't know, but I had a good chuckle. That's a story for tomorrow. I know - that miracle and I'll call it a miracle happened at about 5 AM - now that's just the best way to start the day.

One of the projects in the laundry basket is the Mini Block of the Month. I think the project got started as a class at The Hobby Horse. When?  Years ago - of course!!!  We're talking teeny, tiny little pieces.

In this photo, I'm sewing a four-patch together. The darn thing is almost as big as my presser foot. This is a case where the stiletto comes in extremely handy. The seams are almost as big as what you see on the front!!

Sewing a teeny tiny four-patch

And now all the components are ready to sew together into the 9-patch.

Block components ready to sew together
 So you can appreciate the size, I added my seam ripper!!! Now that's totally insane. When I first started, I wasn't trimming the sections as I went. That was a mistake, but that's OK - not going to go back and do that.

See how small those pieces are?

And there's the block after it was sewn together. The darn thing measures 3 ½" UNFINISHED.

The block is now together

Not bad on the points considering the size of the silly thing. This is the back of the block. It actually looks like a big jumbled mess because of the size. But all those seams are twirled. Otherwise, the front of the block would have looked very lumpy and bumpy. Remember - manipulate with your fingers, then press with steam. You'll get flat seams every time. It's as simple as that. Nothing else is required. No starch, no tools, NOTHING but some finger pressing and then steam.

The back of the block

I got the next block ready to sew together. That meant making and trimming all the half-square triangles. Hey - I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on this project.

The 12th (and last) block is ready to sew together

That's how I left it two nights ago.

Eleven of twelve blocks are complete

But before I closed up the studio for the night, I thought I'd check the pattern to see how many borders were on the quilt. ACK!!!!  There are three and look at that second border - it's PIECED with those itty-bitty little triangles again.

A picture of the finished quilt

Hmm - I need to sleep on this. And I really going to make over 100 of those teeny tiny half-square triangles??

I got the components of the last block together and trimmed. I wish I would have trimmed the other blocks, but I didn't so move on.

The components for the last block are together

I guess I was so excited that I didn't take a picture of the last block once it was sewn together. Well, here are all the blocks on the design wall. I think putting them on the big design wall was a bit overkill!!!  Hmm - they don't seem balanced. The left side is a bit light.

The mini blocks are done!

This looks a bit better. Not perfect, but probably the best it's going to get. It's time to get this thing sewn together. I cut all the sashing and cornerstones and I was ready to go.

A more balanced look for the blocks

I got all the sashing rows together and all the block rows together. And one of the sashing rows is attached to a block row. It won't take long to get this part finished. Oh, shoot - I see that I need switch the bottom row around. How the heck did I do that? I was in a hurry. I'd better do that right now so I don't forget.

Partially sewn together

I just ran up to switch that bottom row around and ACK - do you see what else I did? Yep - I switched the blocks in row two. I don't want that as it's not balanced so I ripped that out as well. Oh, dear!!!  Twelve small blocks and I still get them switched around. I'd better have a much better look before I continue to sew it together. Thank goodness it wasn't finished.

As for that border? I thought about my original intention for the quilt. It would have been to add that pieced border. So everything is cut and ready to sew. It's going to take some time, but since I'm now focusing on this rather than using it as an ender/leader, it's going to go relatively fast.

The pieces are cut for the border

I get a chuckle every morning when I walk the girls. We've seen this sign for months. It's usually on the side of the path, but yesterday, it was right in the middle. Is someone trying to tell me something? It's that nice corrugated plastic that I use for bag bottoms. I don't need it - I've got loads of it in the garage and besides, this would be cumbersome to carry for the entire walk and handle the girls.

A piece of corrugated plastic on the walk

I do have to say something about cars and pedestrians. Trust NO ONE. I was approaching the driveway to the grocery store. It's a big wide open piece of road. I saw a car barreling through the parking lot to get to the entranceway. I was right on the edge of walking into the entranceway when the car cut me off. I'm in a BRIGHT orange jacket and with two big dogs. The driver was turning left, and she had to wait for traffic. I screamed at HER. I walked to the other side of the car (driver's side) and screamed at her again. Oh yes - I was upset. An older lady who totally ignored me. I hope I scared the crap out of her.

Did she see me and ignored me? Did she not see and was then too embarrassed? I don't know, but people if you are in your car - there are cyclists, pedestrians, out there. PLEASE pay attention.

Another day, I was crossing the street and a car was sitting there waiting to turn left when the light changed. She was on her cell phone. I made a motion and she indicated that she was stopped so it was OK. GRRRRR  - and the speeders? Don't get me started - some people think that the major streets are now speedways.

Because of the dogs, there's no way that I would consider jaywalking and I always wait until we get the walk light to cross the street. In other words, I don't dash across the street because the light is turning yellow as I'd end up flat on my face with them. So I'm a very considerate pedestrian. But I trust NO ONE.

Back to the bed and the stack of quilts. I did add some more quilts yesterday. I will do a count one day - there's quite a stack of them. This is one that I made years ago. It was for a class at Cockadoodle Quilts.

One more quilt on the pile

I love this next one - I made it with two panels of Colorworks Concepts (Northcott) for QuiltCon. It's a free pattern on their website.


And I was roaming the internet the other day for some fabric inspiration and I found this. OH MY GOD -- what do you think???  I should buy one and use it as the topmost quilt. Now, who is selling this panel????  I must look for and buy the panel. It would be perfect.

To make M happy, I centered the little quilt on the metal hanger. Yes - it does look better.

The mini quilt is now centered

Don't yell at me, but this is how I left Studio U last night. I can't help myself. I just love getting there in the morning and seeing everything ready to go for the day ahead. I've become obsessed with keeping things neat. And you know what? I'm loving it. I didn't take pictures of Studio B, but it's pretty much in the same state! There are a few things on the cutting table for me to put away later today, but it's in pretty good shape as well. I'm going to do my best to keep both spaces the same way. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.

The ironing board - CLEAR

The sewing table - block ready to sew 

The cutting table - only the current project is on it

Oh my - I've run out of time!!! So much to say and so little time. But first, I thought I'd leave you with this very interesting perspective on sewing masks. There are several different perspectives - it's a bit long but well worth the read and interesting how each person looks at the task. I only sewed one and I'm perfectly OK with that.

On that note, I'm out of here. I've got a full day planned and I can't waste a minute!!! How sad is that!!!

Have a super day!!!!



  1. Elaine, I have been so happy that you have been standing strong against making face masks. Then this article, which sums it up completely! I now have a firm rule in place: If you asked me to make a mask, a gift for someone I may not even know, mend your child's favorite whatever, or make a costume, and then you make fun of the stash from which I pulled the supplies to do what you asked, you will be dropped from my list of people for whom I am willing to sew. I have drawn my line in the sand! (By the way, I'm not talking about the gentle teasing that friends or husbands do, that is still okay. I'll tease you about cooking or cleaning or lack there of and we will be even!)

    1. Yep --- I'm glad I took that stand as well. But we each have to make our own decision. And you can tease about cooking and cleaning (or lack thereof) any time!!! Have a great day.