Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Note to self: review checklist carefully

Back in the old days, I used to be much more involved in my local quilt guild. I actually belonged to the guild, number one, and I would participate in swaps, retreats, activities, etc. Then life interfered, and my free time became completely unpredictable. All my crafting and quilting took place at home in whatever snatches of time I could carve out. But over the past year or so I've made an effort to reconnect. While I wish I could still attend guild meetings and retreats and Saturday sew-ins, I've at least committing to joining "Wooley Bee."

Wooley Bee is like my "Cheers". When you walk in, everyone looks up from their projects and exclaims "Hello!" "So good to see you!" "Can't wait to see what you're working on!" We're allowed to complain about work, commiserate over family issues, share our triumphs, oogle handiwork, show off purchases that receive appropriate levels of appreciation, and give into peer pressure to start yet another project. Oh yes, and we also sew. And sometimes we actually sew wool projects at Wooley Bee.

At last night's particular meeting, I was planning to work on my hexi project (not a scrap of wool in site), but, as I mentioned, I have good momentum going that I want to keep. It's also super portable and I knew I could crank out some rows of hexis while chatting and catching up with everyone. Too bad I didn't bring thread. Really. And none of my buddies had any regular sewing thread, because they were using fancy thread for their wool projects: wool thread, sparkly thread, beading thread, pearl cotton thread... No cotton sewing thread to be found. And the quilt store next door was closed. Aaaaarg.

But maybe it was a blessing in disguise because I did bring my own pearl cotton, and was forced to embroider my next sea creature: the dolphin. I had used a chain stitch for the outline on the birds because I wanted it to look full and feathery. I wanted a smoother effect for the dolphin. The stem stitch wasn't working out with the pearl cotton, so I used a backstitch. The problem was that a single backstitch wasn't bold enough on the dark background. A second line of backstitch gave it the width it needed, and kept the primitive style I was looking for. And going around the dolphin a second time was much more palatable surrounded by excellent company that it would have been in front of the TV at home.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Hexi Project

August was kind of a lost month. We took a family vacation, which meant we were gone for about 10 days. As soon as we returned, the kids were off and running to their extracurricular activities that were beginning several weeks before their classes began. August is also one of my busiest times at work.

So of course I started a new project!

I had a baggie full of 5" batik squares from an online swap I was in a million years ago... or maybe 5 or 6 years ago. They were so pretty that I really couldn't bear to cut into them. But my unofficial resolution this year has been to use the pretty stuff. What am I doing just keeping it folded up in storage bins?

I was looking through this book recently for a wool pattern when I ran across a great hexagon pattern that featured primitave embroidered chickens. Inspired by my batiks and our recent family vacation, I decided to remake with an ocean theme.

It calls for more than 625 hexagons. But I've had help.

I've been alternating between making hexagons and embroidering, so I had to see how the hexis might frame some of my shorebirds...

I chose to use a darker background for the embroidery, as the original pattern called for. I really like it. I want to do more embroidery on prints too. But I've been working steadily on this project for a few weeks, so I'm going to try to keep my up monmentum on a single project.