Tuesday, September 01, 2015

It's September!

And that means I have survived another summer in the Delta. I know September will still be very warm, but there's an end in sight. Can you hear me taking a deep breath and breathing a sigh of relief?

September also means my Yarn Sabbath has come to an end. It felt very strange to sit down after lunch and pick up knitting after a month of not doing that. I welcome yarn back into my life. We're still friends. But I hope I have a slightly less maniacal relationship to it. At one point this afternoon I felt my shoulders tighten up and realized I was going for some sort of land speed record with my needles. I had to stop, put the knitting down, breathe a few times, and then start out again at a deliberately slower pace. Even though I do this thing to produce lovely finished objects, I have to remind myself that it's supposed to be relaxing and meditative, not a competitive race to the finish line.

The big news of the day is that Baby M is finished. Completely finished, all the way to the labels.
I finished the hand sewing of the binding on Sunday, then gave it a day to rest. Today I went back in, finished sewing down one of the labels, and did the rest of the quilting around the outside, double checked it for anything else that was missing, and plunged it into the washing machine for its first bath. Because of the black, I was a little concerned about color transfer, so I used a Color Catcher, but there don't appear to have been any issues. After 30 minutes in the dryer I spread it out across the living room couch, which is in a cat-free zone, to finish drying. With any luck it will be on its way to its intended recipient before the end of the week. And the baby isn't due for another couple of weeks. I love it when that happens! It's so rare.

Then I gave the machine a good cleaning and started on the next project on my Fab Four list. I've always called it Prison Bars, although I think its real name is Garden Trellis or something like that. The pattern was in one of Georgia Bonesteel's books from the 90's, and I know I made the top in the summer of '95. I had a huge love affair with that print fabric. It got used as a feature fabric in at least two quilts, and I think I even found a small piece of it to put in Crazy Geese. I basted it sometime last year, and now I'm anxious to see it finished and on display somewhere. It's not very large - about 40 inches square if I remember right.

The big question mark as I started quilting this was whether or not the fusible batting I used was going to perform as it was supposed to. I had pinned around the outer edge of the quilt, just to keep some sort of accident from pulling the layers apart, but the only thing holding the middle together is the fusible adhesive. I have to say it has performed its job. Most of the middle is quilted, and there are only a few places where some minor puckering has happened. But that is more likely the fault of the piecing than anything else. I'm not doing anything fancy with the quilting, just following the outside edge of the navy bands. It's graphic enough without adding another design element to it.

With any luck I'll finish quilting this tomorrow. Then I'll have to see what the next project to go into the sewing machine will be. I've left Thangles out where I can see it, and I may try to start quilting that this week. I have an idea what I want to do with it, which is always a good place to start. I also have a bunch of pillowcases cut out and ready to sew. This is a donation project that I'm trying to get caught up on. I don't need them finished until December, but I have a bunch of them to sew. And I need to get started on a set of placemats for a wedding present. I looked today at the fabric I had thought I would use for those and realized I don't have enough, so I'll have to develop another plan. I'll study on that while I quilt tomorrow.

 And now I'm going to download the pattern I had picked out last week to cast on today, find the yarn and the needles, and start my first new knitting project in a month. I'm back!

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