Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Turned the corner

Turning the corner is not at all like "going round the bend" so you, my snarky friends, will just have to find something else to say about my title!

I have turned the corner on my quilt, though. I have finished the 36 whirligig blocks and have started on the alternate blocks. So far, I think I have finished five of the alternates. When I get a few more finished, I'll post photos of both kinds so we all can get an idea of what the finished product might look like.

While I was finishing the additional whirligig blocks, I lost some of the callus that had built up on my "under finger." That's the finger held underneath the quilt and gets stabbed with a needle with each quilting stitch that is taken. This photo shows what my callus looks like. The callus is on the tip of my left index finger. I tried to put a marker showing the callus, but my photo editing skills are a bit sketchy. You get the idea, though. And yes, behind my hand is the back side of one of the completed alternate blocks. A quick tip: My finger can get really sore while I'm building up the callus. One way I deal with that is to go at it slowly in the beginning. Maybe quilt for an hour and then take a break for a few hours. Another thing I stumbled across this spring is a way to help get the soreness out of the area while the callus is building. One time, I stabbed a bit too hard and actually drew blood. I didn't want to take a chance of infection, but the spot wasn't bad enough for a bandage. So I grabbed the Neosporin and applied a very, very thin film over the tip of my finger. I let it sit like that for five or ten minutes (obviously, I couldn't do anything during this time...other than read). Then I wiped off the excess Neosporin and went about my business of doing something other than quilting for the rest of the day. Surprise! Surprise! All the soreness was gone by the next morning. Now, at the end of each day of heavy quilting, I put Neosporin on my finger just before going to bed and it feels fine the next day. Another happy accident!

This quilt is turning out to be more of a pleasure to work on than I thought it would. I'm excited to see what it turns out like. You see, I don't plan out my quilts. The closest I come to planning is to take the size of the block and multiply it by whatever it takes to make the quilt approximately 85" x 100". The whirligig quilt will be approximately 80" x 90" (hence the need for 72 blocks - 36 whirligig and 36 alternate). And that, my dear blog friends, is the extent of my planning. I know that each whirligig block will be attached to an alternate block, but I don't plan which blocks will go together. As a matter of fact, what I typically do is dump all the blocks into a garbage bag and pull one out when I need it. Definitely random placement!

Back to quilting and the Kindle. Stay as cool as possible in this hot, humid weather. Until next time...


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back on track...almost

I'm finally back to where I was three weeks ago -- only six more blocks to go to complete the first half of the quilt. Yes, the set-back I experienced a couple of weeks ago when I found myself four blocks short has been rectified. I pieced six new bocks, they have been appliqued to the background fabric, layered with batting and backing fabric and are now ready for quilting. I am about half finished quilting the border of one. With luck, it will be finished before I go to bed tonight or at the latest sometime tomorrow. Maybe I can have half of them (three) done by stitch night this Thursday.

In full disclosure, I must admit that I could have been finished with those additional six blocks before now, but I got a new gadget/toy! Anybody who knows me well, knows that I like gadgets. My new gadget is a Kindle e-reader from Amazon.com. I am an avid reader and find myself spending a lot of money on books. The problem with that is that eventually space becomes an issue. And I have always been concerned with the killing of trees for my reading pleasure. I find that I love reading on the Kindle. So far I have not purchased a book. Why should I? There are thousands and thousands of free books available. The free books are ones whose copyright has expired, but that translates into mainly the classics. I mean, heck, I can get a free copy of War and Peace! I could, but I probably won't. I wasn't interested in reading the book in paper form (too long!) and I doubt that electronic format will make it any better. On the other hand, maybe I will read it! One of the advantages of the Kindle, or just about any other e-reader, is that you can be reading several books at the same time. I can read a chapter or two of one book and then switch to another book and read some of it. When I go back to the original book, Kindle remembers where I stopped and goes directly to that page. I like the portability of carrying a thousand or more books around with me in a small electronic device. Needless to say, I've been playing with my new toy and not stitching as much. But it's so much fun to play with toys!

Back to readi.....er......uh.....back to stitching. Yeah, that's what I meant......stitching! :-)