Monday, June 19, 2017

Matchstick quilt & a fort I built

I don't know if we're quite into the dog days of summer, but Borga is certainly enjoying our hot weather!

It's definitely the cat days of summer, at least!  Tabitha loves to explore outside...carefully supervised, of course.

Bosewichte, meanwhile, does the usual...cries to go outside, gets outside, eats grass, throws up, repeat...and sleeps wherever he can find a comfortable place.  The thing about running a business is that you always have lots of spare boxes for cats to nap on!

Our friendly wild creatures have been making regular appearances too.  I just caught a glimpse of this mama deer leading one of her fawns on a foraging run...

...but this little guy was too slow and got left behind!  He bleated in our driveway for a minute or two before tearing into the woods.

Anoles are everywhere right now.  I'm almost positive that one is living in our outside ferns.  They usually are pretty skittish, but this dapper fellow was polite enough to pose for me!

I love their tiny scaled hands.

I caught a very quick shot of this red-tailed hawk just outside of my office window this week.  We haven't had one around for a while so I'm happy to see this one, although he was unsuccessful at his attempt to skim a squirrel from a tree trunk.

Meanwhile, those deer haven't gotten into our hostas yet.  They're starting to spike...

...and flower.

Pollen rests on the slipper-shaped anthers, but it's hard to see unless you get really close!

Meanwhile, I've been working away on indoor projects.  First - and finally - I have some knitting completed!  I'm knitting a sweater.  It's got a wide garter stitch neck and panel going down the front.

Mine is about halfway done.

I'm not moving very quickly with it, because I've really done a number on my hands, tensioning the yarn incorrectly for years.  Portuguese knitting helps, but I still have a very bad habit of curling my fingers and clutching the needles much too tightly.  To force myself out of these habits, I wear thumb braces and finger splints to keep my fingers STRAIGHT.  It looks ridiculous, and sometimes I only get a row or two done a night, but I'm determined to break these bad habits.

I've also been working slowly on my latest quilt.  Once I finished piecing the squares, I had to decide whether to make the stars "match..."

...or be more willy-nilly.  Willy-nilly won out!

I added sashing and sewed the top together.  Then I made my quilt sandwich and draped it over a chair to keep it tidy while I debated quilting finishing styles.

By the way, a draped quilt makes a great fort for an intrepid cat!

I watched a Craftsy class called "Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot."  I practiced making somewhat tidy rows, grids, and gentle curves.

In the end, I decided to go with matchstick quilting.  First, you sew even 1" lines across your quilt, then bisect them.  These lines are still at the 1" width...and no pesky marking or measuring!  There's an adjustable bar that slides into my walking foot, and all I have to do is line that bar up with the last stitch line.

This, too, is going a bit slow.  My right shoulder has been plaguing me for a couple of months.  I was convinced I'd hurt it at the gym.  I'd modify my workouts, but the pain didn't go away.  I knew my quilting table wasn't quite ergonomically correct, being 4 - 6" too tall, but I realized my puzzle table is also several inches too tall and that I have to lift up and over almost fourteen inches when I print labels for work...which I do daily, many times.  What I have is a repetitive stress injury.  I promptly switched to my left hand, from mopping to hoeing to computer mouse to pouring water from a pitcher.  It's definitely helping, but the pain won't go away until I adjust my work stations.  That should be happening soon, I hope!

Have a great week!

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