Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our Favorite Walk

The assistant and I love the walk on the bank of the Erie Canal.  I sometimes take for granted that we live by this man made marvel but I never fail to notice the beauty on our walks.   The assistant even says it's lovely for a quick dip on a hot day, but I'll have to take her word on this. 

This year we started up again in early March when it was still empty.   The first day we walked I noticed a solitary white duck waaay down just floating around in the dirty puddles on the bottom.  I figured it was just a fluke and it was passing through.  It was still freezing at night and snowing many days but on and off we would walk on nice weekend days through March and April.  Every time I walked I noticed the duck all by himself.  I started calling him the solitary duck and I looked for him every time we were there.  I came to depend on seeing my little friend and I always wondered about him.  Why is he alone?  Is he a farm animal gone astray or a pet that was abandoned?  Does he like being alone? 

Two migrating geese stopped by one day this spring and he tenatively swam over to them and floated around in their company for a while.  I was so happy for him that day! 

It's the end of July now and he's still out there.  Now he has taken up with some wild brown ducks and their brood.  He looks so sleek and shiny and happy this summer.  I don't like to think of him wintering out there again ....

I'm leaving for vacation on Sunday so I'll leave you with some pictures from our favorite walk on the Erie Canal.  When I get back it will be August and my favorite time of summer will be beginning.  Ya know ... the end of summer when even though it's still hot out the nights start getting a little cooler and a little longer.  There is a slight change in the atmosphere and I keep saying, "I can smell fall in the air!"  Ahhhhh .....  pretty will be sewing weather again. 
This is my favorite picture of the solitary duck
Lots of Queen Anne's Lace out now
I'm so glad he has some friends now

Gratuitous picture of The Assistant carrying a big stick

My solitary duck in March. Doesn't he look lonely??

I've got a mule, and her name is Sal.
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
She's a good old worker and a good old pal,
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal.
We've hauled some barges in our day,
Filled with lumber, coal and hay,
And we know ev'ry inch of the way
From Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge! Ev'rybody down!
Low bridge, 'cause we're coming to a town;
And you'll always know your neighbor,
You'll always know your pal,
If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Light Bulb Moment

I learned something MAJOR this week!  I love doing this sampler quilt a long because I'm really trying to expand my skills and neaten up my sewing.  I've made two projects with half square triangles and I have trimmed them up to the same size but my triangles were always uneven.  My pinwheels quilt came out OK just because the squares were pretty big and the uneven triangles weren't that noticeable.  But making these fussy little squares really made it obvious I wasn't trimming them evenly.  Amy was showing us how to trim but I just wasn't getting it.  I was ready to give up but decided NO, this would not defeat me.  I googled half square triangles and found this awesome video that showed someone trimming them with a square and the 45  degree line.  Wow!  I got it!!  I love learning from the Internet but sometimes I just need a person here showing me what to do.  How simple.  Now when I read Amy's instructions it all makes sense.  She explained it perfectly! 

Here are the squares from the last two weeks.  The log cabin looks huge because it came out too small so I added one more set of logs so I could trim it down later.  One challenge I'm working on is my 1/4" seam.  I got my machine all set and marked the spot where my needle should be for the perfect 1/4" and it works for a little bit but I swear the needle moves back.  The slider is in the exact same mark under my sharpie line but my seam is bigger again.  If I turned the machine off and on and move the slider down and up and reset it at the line it's 1/4" again but soon I can tell it's back to the default. Does anyone have trouble with keeping their needle in one spot?  I think I'll just learn to adjust my cuts to work with my slightly bigger seam allowance.  It really hasn't been a problem until I'm making these squares that require precise measurements.  

Sunday I'm off on a vacation with my honey for eight days.  I can't wait to get away for a while and just R.E.L.A.X.  I'll be all refreshed and ready to catch-up when I get back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Processing process

I'm getting ready to start my next quilt and I'm super excited about it!  Months ago I found some novelty Michael Miller fabric that was just PERFECT for someone in my family.  I'd love to post a picture of it but, even though I'm pretty sure no one in my family reads this blog, I don't want to take the chance of blowing it.  My challenge was getting this fabric first and then trying to come up with a design that involved biggish blocks to show off the large prints.  Hmmmm .... I want it a little jazzier than a plain patchwork but I can't cut the fabric too small.  I finally came up with the idea of these snowball squares with some colorful borders. I find it is much easier to come up with a quilt idea and then find the perfect fabric for it than the other way around.  

As rudimentary as this drawing is it really, really helped to figure out my square sized and layout.  Designing my own quilts has been my goal since I started quilting.  Although this isn't terribly original I had to take the material pattern and colors into account.  Of course, now that I'm designing my quilts everyone in blogland is now designing their own original FABRIC!  Baby steps .... baby steps ....

I'm plugging away at the sampler quilt and this week's blocks were fun.  I love how I'm working on honing the basic skills.  This week it was all about half square triangles and strips.  Can't wait to see what we're doing next week! 

Gotta go! I'm taking the assistant down to Petco to have her portrait done.  Yes .... I'm one of THOSE people ....

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Humidity kills the spirit

It's funny how my mood and my productivity are tied directly to the humidity level.  This week has been cooler and the humidity is down to normal so my mood has skyrocketed and my mind is just brimming with new project ideas.  A big change from the week before when I was wallowing around crying and contemplating getting rid of all my fabric since I was never going to sew again anyways.

I started a sampler quilt a long with Amy and am somewhat pleased with how my squares are turning out.  I have had a red and white quilt rolling around in my mind for a while.  They are just striking to me and I've been itching to make one.  Amy's sampler quilt came along at a good time too ... it's two blocks a week and I think I can handle that during the summer.  It finishes at 58 x 58 and I'd like it a little longer so I'm making two blocks of my favorite one each week so I can stretch to out a little. 

The part I'm disappointed is finding out that no matter how careful I am I am still a very imperfect quilter.  Before I started I did the tutorial on sewing a perfect 1/4" seam.  I figured out exactly where to set my needle with my new 1/4" quilting foot with the guide.  Perfect!  Well, I'm still not getting the exact size and sometimes my seams don't match.  Oh well .... this is good practice for me and it will certainly enhance my skills, even if it's a tiny enhancement.  Why wouldn't everything be perfect though?  Still puzzling to me. 
Not perfect yet ....


I've got an ambitious day planned today.  Humidity stay away!  I've already got some bread rising and I've got a list of things to do:

1.  Organize my fabric and clean up my sewing area
2.  Get laundry done
3.  Make two days worth of dinners
4.  Sweep and mop the kitchen floor (it's getting crunchy again)
5.  Lose five pounds and try on that bathing suit that is still sealed in the mail order package

I'll let you know how I do!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...