Another weekend spent quilting circles

 Hurricane Laura kept me busy last week.  I was constantly checking the weather.  I was logging in to work at 5:15 for about an hour, then I'd get ready for work, work my regular shift, make and eat dinner, then work more from about 7-8.  By Friday, I was exhausted.  I had the perfect, brainless, run and enter numbers project ever, and I turned on some music and just lost myself in it for the afternoon and I got a lot done and by time Rob got home, I was chill and ready for the weekend.  

While we were on the dry side of the storm, Laura brought in a lot of hot, humid air and left it all over TX.  We went out for one thing on Saturday morning and then went shoe shopping to kill some time before lunch. I  found such great shoes...for the office that I never go to anymore, but I got a new pair of walking shoes.  I'm still doing that.  But, it was so hot, we took lunch home and I'm not sure I went outside after that.  I made Naan again.  Last time, it cooked perfect, but it was kind of bland.  This time, it tasted fantastic, but it wouldn't rise and by the time it cooked, it was hard and tough.  I don't think it had enough yeast in the recipe.  (Megan, the only new ingredient was the yogurt.  I think it gave a good flavor that had been missing.)

I would estimate that I spent between nine and ten hours quilting.  Circles.  Tiny Circles.  What kind of man makes tiny circles?  Fat circles, skinny circles, circles up on rocks....okay, enough of that.  You get the idea about what can happen if you do the same thing several thousand times in a weekend.  

Now that the whole arc section is outlined, I can start filing those empty corners.  Except I don't quite know what I'm going to fill them with.  I have this vision of a 6" circle, filled with smaller circles that don't overlap.  I'm thinking about drawing the large circle with a compass and tracing around spools of thread to create the inner circles.  I'm thinking of having those float around outside the arc area and quilting them in a multi-colored thread (okay, the thread I'm more iffy about).  But, then something will have to fill in around them, and I haven't figured that out and know better than to start without a fully developed plan. 

Rob built me a table top desk for my studio.  He finished just before we went into 'stay at home'.  All I needed to do was finish it.  But by then, I needed it too bad to do without it long enough to finish it.  So, I worked on it for a few months, being very careful to never get anything like coffee on it that would become permanent.  When we did our staycation, I decided to take the desk apart and finish it.  It started out great, but then I misread a can and made a real mess of it.  By time I finished undoing that, it looked terrible.  But, I stuck with it and it ended up great again!  

There's a keyboard tray with a riser for the keyboard to sit on, a drawer that has a section sized to a sheet of paper so I can keep scratch paper and notebooks in it, and a section I'm using for regular office supplies and another for electronics and connecting cables and plugs.  

Even though it's hotter than a chicken fryer outside, the flowers are still blooming, but it's gonna cost me on the next water bill.  

I don't know the official name for these, but they're much like rain lilies.  We had a rain a couple weeks ago and they came up and bloomed.  They won't bloom for hose water, only for rain.  Now, they have faded, and I'm waiting to discover whether they continue to grow and develop on their own, or whether they need another rain.  

This is skyflower.  It's bloom season is spring and autumn.  The plant has gotten huge, so I'm looking forward to a "really big shew" in a month or so.  

And, the bougainvillea is started.  This is a hot pink bloom and even though it's as far from the kitchen as my garden grows, I can still see it out there while I do dishes, flashing like a light in the breeze.  

And, my shadow.  She loves to lie in the sun.  She'll come when I call...most of the time, but last week, she was determined.  I called and called, but she would not come up, so I walked out there.  She tried to duck her head down so I couldn't see her over the grass and as I walked out, she rolled partially on her side to be even more hidden.  Even though I'm talking to her, she won't look me in the eye.  But, that tail just banging on the ground as fast as it can as I got closer and closer.  I confess to picking her up and not making her come.  I know.  Bad dad.  So what.


I can't.  I just can't.  Even I've given up on watching the news.  I've taken to gaming on my phone as a distraction.  Playing games while my country melts around me.  





That weekend it rained

 Not much to talk about today.  Rob is still working to get the house ready for the work being done.  I'm spending as much time in the garden as I can.  But, it's been so dang hot.  It just saps the energy out of us, so I'm catching up on my quilting inside and we're watching a lot of afternoon TV.  

This weekend, I worked on quilting all those small spaces I had skipped around when quilting the echoing lines in the center of the arc quilt.  They're small, they take a lot of time, and leave a half dozen knots to bury in each one.  They were a good thing to skip and I'm glad I was able to knock them all out in one weekend.  You'll have to look past that stray gray thread.  There's a lot of that happening, but I'm trying not to use the lint brush on it yet, but there are random wool fibers everywhere and every piece of thread that I've dropped in the studio gets stuck to that piece of black fabric....like it's threadnetic or something.    

There are sections like the one above where the larger echo work fills part of the space.  And, there are sections like below where all three segments had to be filled the same way.  

You may not see this quilt for a while because the next step is to add 3/8" circles all the way around the outside of the arcs.  That's going to take a while.  A long, long, long while.  They go so slow.

Here's another of my quilting tips that I learned somewhere along the way.  When I'm doing dense quilting like this, I don't stop to fix every mistake or all I'll do is fix mistakes.  I move forward, unless it's a really bad mistake.  I'll pick out a really bad mistake and do it again, but the little errors, I just move on by.  If I can find it at the end, when the other quilting is done, then I'll fix it.  Most of the time, the additional quilting will cover the mistake.  Out of the hundreds of little errors made in a large quilt, I generally only need to fix a dozen or so of the most obvious ones at the end.

There is not much happening in the garden.  It's too hot and dry.  All I can do is keep it watered, but Mother Nature gave me Saturday off by bringing us a heavy rain shower that lasted about an hour, early on Saturday morning.  It surely did more than my little sprinklers could have done.  But, there's not much in bloom out there.  So, I'm focused on cleaning up some of the spots that got some work in the spring but not much.  This is an area in transition (you can tell by the random bricks still sitting around).  I've tried so many things in this spot, next to the greenhouse.  This went from a shade garden, when it turned out not to be a shady spot, and now it's a succulent garden, full of small pots of succulents that enjoy the morning sun and can take the shade in the afternoon heat.  The impatiens were supposed to go somewhere else, but it turned out to be too shady and they wouldn't bloom, so for now, here they sit, in front of my bench.  


Sadly enough, that's about all that's going on...well, except we picked new light fixtures for outside the house.  We really like these and spent a lot of time making sure we were getting exactly what we wanted.  The gray paint under it is the chosen color.  We had chosen a paint chip from the Behr line and this weekend, we needed to transfer that to the Sherwin-Williams line color palette.  The first SW paint chip we found was called Pussy Willow.  We both agreed that we were not asking our painter to paint our house pussy willow gray.  But, that is a new name and fortunately, we found the same color in an older color wheel for them and it's called Dorian Gray.  That's much better.  The white on the door frame is not a true white.  It's a slightly purple white and it goes great with the gray.     

One day, we'll get this project finished, but we're on hold right now as the company that makes the windows has been hacked by ransomware and they're not able to fill our order right now, so we're waiting for the windows.  We don't know how long that will take.  But, we're not deterred.  We are looking forward to the day this work is done and the only drawback to the delay is that our house is currently painted about 7 colors.  The neighbors will just have to get over it.  


The republican convention is going to happen this week.  The republican platform is one item.  Support trump.  That's it.  He's going to speak all four nights.  The only other speakers they could get are his family and paid staffers and Nikki Haley, who may have sold her soul to trump for far less than it was worth.  Tiffany trump, who has kept her head out of the light for so long beat out Moscow mitch for a speaking spot.  Even the ever supportive lady g isn't getting to speak.

Imagine people continuing to support the republican party when the only thing they're voting for is to prop up the dictator wannabe so he can continue his campaign of hate and corruption and the destruction of our whole way of life.  I can't account for the evangelicals who are happy every time he takes the name of the lord in vain.    

It's going to be a stark contrast with the DNC last week, where there are lofty goals of equality and all of us taking care of one another and rebuilding our damaged nation.  

Oh, and bye-bye Kellyanne.  We will not miss you.  

Everybody have a good week.




What I did on my summer staycation. By Lane

Remember having to write those papers at the start of the school year?  They were probably as much of an assessment of what we remembered as they were a way to keep us quiet for a while and settle us into the school year routine.

We did a lot of stuff on staycation.  We picked a color for the house and did some yard work and did a little bit of brick and mortar shopping that we'd been putting off.   But, mostly, we just relaxed.  I even took a nap one day and I almost never take a nap.  

It was so hot tho.  Over 100*f every day.  I couldn't stay outside after about 9:30, so I spent afternoons in my cool studio, quilting.  I got the hard part of the quilting done on the arc quilt.  It was black thread on a black background.  I had to bring in a second desk lamp to shine on the surface from the rear right side.  I have a lamp that shines on the front left side and the machine light shines straight down.  It helped that I was quilting in the afternoon when the sun is bright.  I came out of my studio yesterday afternoon and walked past Rob and said I have to take a picture of the quilt while the sun is up.  Of course that was completely random to him and he gave me a very quizzical look, but didn't say anything.  

I don't know which of these you'll be able to see better.  You'll likely have to blow them up to see much.  It's hard to get the light right to show off the stitching.  

I found a quilt where a quilter had used overlapping echo stitching to fill an odd curved space, so I gave it a try.  I did one echo, then between the next two echoes, I filled in with pearls, then continued the overlap from both directions out to the next arc.  I skipped a few small spaces that I'll fill in later.  They're much easier.  It's hard to run that long curving echo through the machine without repositioning my hands at least once and stopping in a curve is a very bad thing.  

I want to document things I was thinking while I did this.  These are all things that I heard other quilters said over the last 20 years and I don't think any of it is original.  Try not to stop when quilting a curve.  My brain has planned it out and my hands are all geared up to make the curve, so an interruption means my brain has to do it all again, from a new starting place.  It might not end up with the same curve as before.  Never stop with needle up.  Always sink the needle into the quilt before removing my hands.  When repositioning the quilt, move it, then spend time smoothing it out so that there's no pressure on the quilt that will cause it to "jump" as soon as the needle comes out.  Pressure is usually from having too much quilt in the harp.  Be sure to roll the quilt in as tight a roll as possible to go in the harp and keep the smallest amount of quilt I can in the harp.  Puddle the quilt, meaning pile it up around the needle end of the machine, leaving a flat space under the needle to quilt in.  NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER LET THE EDGE OF THE QUILT HANG OFF A FLAT SURFACE.  Never.  Gravity will pull the quilt down, over that edge and it will form a crease along the edge that prevents the quilt from sliding along the flat surface while I quilt.  Suddenly, the quilt stops moving at all.

We have a friend that's a teacher and she got one of my early masks.  To start school, she asked for another.  She's getting four, because she's gonna need them.  

This is how we pick paint.  These grays are not the first coats of paint either.  The other day, this space was blue and green and gray.  Then, we decided on gray (and all the neighborhood that has walked by voted for the gray).  Then, we needed to decide which gray.  Here are the last four we tried, but there were more.   

This is Rob's box of paint testers...the short stacks are all 2 deep.  He's tried a lot of paint and we ended up going with the first one we tried, which was leftover paint from the living and dining rooms.  Hey, when you get it right, you gotta take advantage of it.  


Bless the teachers going back to school.  Bless the grandparents that will be exposed.  Bless our nation during what I fear is going to be the roughest time yet.  



Sitting and relaxing

 I'm not good at sitting still.  If I'm busy, I stay pretty happy.  

I got the hand pieced quilt in basted and in the frame.  I've started quilting, but I have lost my quilter's callous and can only quilt for short periods, then my finger needs a rest.  I can feel it toughening up, tho.  

Not planning anything complicated on this one.  Circles in the circles, squares in the squares, and baptist fans in the border.  Lots of echoing.  But, you never know.  I was just sitting here looking at it and thinking about what to do and had a great idea for some holly leaves and berries.  My stitches started out pretty large, but I'm down to a small stitch now.  And, I've got my rocking motion back.  If you've ever hand quilted, you know what I'm talking about.  This is my second hand pieced, hand quilted quilt.  The first was an appliqué quilt and I got the idea to hand assemble and quilt it.  I hurt my hand working on that one and haven't done any serious hand quilting since.  It was named Every Stitch by Hand and I keep thinking of this one as Every Stitch by Hand, the Christmas Edition.  Still enjoying this little quilt.  But, when I started making these drunkard's path blocks, my hand piecing was not that good and I wish I'd double checked and remade some of them when I picked this project up again.  No one will ever know but me.  But, I know and that's enough :)

I picked this little basket up in Goodwill about a hundred years ago.  I wanted to use it as a trash can.  It's about 8" tall and about that in diameter as well.  You can see why this would not make a very good trashcan.  

I've been using a very narrow trash can, not much taller than this, and it's hard to get thread to fall into it.  After cleaning up the thread ends from the floor the other day, I decided to make a liner.  This probably isn't my last liner, but it's doing the trick for now.  

I used the leftovers from this project.  I needed a temporary cover for the chair in the studio.  Bella lays there all day, every day while I work.  I needed something that she could sleep and scratch on without damaging the upholstery and that I could toss in the wash to get the dog hair off of.  

I really need to change that pillow, don't I?

This week's garden pics are about the creatures instead of the plants.  

When I'm in the yard, I see leaves jump and move and I know it's one of these geckos.  They are plentiful in the garden and watch me, just like this one is.  Just waiting and watching.  When I'm watering, they follow the hose, drinking water droplets in my wake.

This hummer and I had a stare down.  I was apparently too close to the feeder and he got right in front of me and just hovered there, looking at me until I took three large steps back, and then he went to the feeder.  I've never gotten hummers before, but this year, I have a pair of black chin straps.  I've tried and I own more feeders than I should admit to, but I've never really been successful until this year.  

This is a red dragonfly.  According to the internet, they're pretty common in parts of Europe, but this is the first one I've ever seen.  It landed on a stick just a little bit away and stayed there long enough for me to get this picture, then it was gone.  

The plumbago is finally blooming.  Poor 'bago.  I nearly killed it last year by letting a large shrimp plant overgrow it.  Over winter, I divided and moved that shrimp and was able to share one with Rob and one with a neighbor.  But, I wasn't sure whether I'd saved the plumbago or not.  then, it started to come up and after a long wait, I'm getting a consistent, tho sparse bloom.  Better luck next year.  

It's so hot out.  Over 100*F every day.  I can hardly stay out there past 9:30 anymore.  And, I have watering chores every day.  But, soon it will be October and everything will be fine again.  

Everybody have a great week!  Rob and I are both off.  We're getting the house ready for the work we're having done.  There are old cables and wires and nails and all manner of stuff that needs to be removed because we don't want it painted over.  And, I have a list of other things I want to do.  Saturday, I spent most of the day hand quilting.  Sunday, I spent most of it in the kitchen, baking bread and chocolate chip cookies and rearranging things.  Now that it's just me and Rob, I'm using smaller pots and pans...yes, I know it's been over a year since Syd moved out...and I've gotten tired of reaching over things to get to the things I'm using, and double tired of reaching over things to put the things I'm using away.

Stay safe.  Wear a mask.  If Ruth Bader Ginsburg can continue to go to work to help save the nation, everybody can wear a damn mask and do their part to save it, too.    



August already

Blogger has a new look and feel today.  I wonder if it's permanent.  I kind of like it, once I was able to get in.  

I got the last border on the drunkard's path Christmas quilt.  I'm really liking this little quilt.  I think I am going to layer and baste it soon as I can and start quilting it.  If feels like a happy quilt and I think it will make a great addition to our holiday collection.  

I also hand pieced the back.  The outer border on the back is the same fabric as the corners above.  The center of the back is a larger scale of the images in that border.  The gold was because I didn't have enough of either of those for a back.  

Not liking this new look and feel of Google much anymore...just sayin.

Some flower pics...

I saw this on a walk the other day.  Another magenta flower that caught my eye, even tho I'm not much on the color magenta.  We have a neighbor who plants a nice strip between sidewalk and curb (we call that a hell strip, partly because you don't own it but you have to maintain it, and partly because it's hell to keep it watered and growing.  Anyway, this neighbor does a great job of drought tolerant plants that are eye-catching and it changes through the year as plants develop, bloom, recede, and something else develops.  

More garden phlox.  This is a great bloomer all season.  I had a shepherd's hook with a large basket on it come down in the garden last week because of all the sudden rain and did some damage to them, but they look like they're going to recover nicely.

And, more star hibiscus.  These just keep giving.  /they take a good bit of water because they've outgrown their pot this year, but they're putting on a great show and are living in the hottest part of the garden.  

Yesterday, I spent a good bit of the day in the kitchen.  I made keema and am marinating satay for dinner and I made homemade naan (definitely an Asian theme to dinner tonight).  I'd never made naan before.  It's much easier than I thought it would be, it looks wonderful and it's some of the best Naan I've ever had.   I suspect I will be doing this again.  I'll be working on my traditional tear drop shape, tho.  

 Rob and I are both taking some time off.  We're going to have the siding, windows, doors and gutters replaced on the house.  That will start in about four weeks, after the windows are made.  But, before we do that, we're going to have some other things done, like having leaking hose bibs replaced outside and maybe the control to the shower.  If we're going to have the siding off, may as well do all the things that you have to remove the siding to do while we're at it.  It's a big job.  We've been watching the process on several other houses in the neighborhood that are having the same thing done.  I guess since we can't get outside, we're all trying to stimulate the economy the best way we can.  

Everybody have a great week!  Listen to Dr Fauci.  He's the expert.  Everyone else has a suspect opinion, so ask questions (never thought we'd have to ask whether they believe in demon sex).  I feel empathy for everyone out there having to decide whether to send kids back to school.  I am so glad we are not making that decision.  These things should not be that hard and would not be that hard if we had good leadership.