Monday, April 18

Finishing a Quilt

I don’t get nearly as many regular visitors to my blog as I used to. I suspect maybe there was too much golf talk and not enough quilt talk, plus it seems most/all of my cyberpals have switched to Facebook and Instagram. I think people’s attention spans nowadays are shorter, too. Facebook is faster, but I still blog because I like to. And it’s a good diary for when you can’t remember when you did this or that. Or you just want a trip down Memory Lane. I guess Facebook could be that too.

I finished this Little Grapes Quilt, I didn’t name it officially, it is a hostess gift for some dear friends who live on the central coast where we used to live. We are going to visit them in May and they are always generous with their wine, food, and accommodations. They are big into the wine scene there.

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It’s a small piece, 19 x 23. I wish I had made the leaves more colorful. It lacks a punch of bright color, but I know the subtle colors will look nice in their house.

I thought I’d share some of my finishing techniques because they are a little unconventional. First, I hate to hand-sew. I hate it so much that I will find every way possible to avoid it.

I don’t bind art quilts. I bind lap quilts and such, but my art quilts get a facing. I don’t like the look of the strip around the edge. I sew the facing onto the front and then I turn it to the back. I don’t even do a proper turn-and-poke corner, I achieve a better, more square corner just sewing on four strips and folding. I fuse it down with Steam-a-Seam that comes in a thin roll like tape. It doesn’t need to be sewn. I do, however, stitch the facing where it meets the quilt edge, as seen in the upper right corner of the picture below. I always use a dark color for the facing because it disappears. Anything light you will see. 

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When I gift a quilt, I make a little hanging apparatus for it. My own quilts, I often hammer very fine nails right through the quilt to the wall. Yep, true. If I decide to take it down for some reason, a spritz of water will make the tiny pin-holes disappear like magic. This has never been a problem in all my years of making quilts, but if I wanted to show the quilt I would have to make a hanging sleeve like below.

I do have to hand-sew the hanging sleeve to the back of the quilt, without the thread showing on the front. That’s a big oops and I have to start all over again. I am not good at hand sewing but I don’t trust the fusible tape to hold.

I buy long strips of lath from the hardware, in what—three or four foot lengths I think, and we (JJ and I) saw them off to size as needed. Then I screw tiny eye-hooks into the wood. I provide the little nails. You get out a level, hold the strip up to the wall, mark through the hooks, pound in the nails, then slide the quilt onto the “stick” (that’s what we call it) and slip the hooks onto the nails. You don’t see any of the wood behind the quilt when it’s on the wall, only a half-inch of stick shows beyond the sleeve.

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I get good wood that has a light finish on it because bare pine might leach oils into the fabric over time. Not a chance I want to take.

I don’t make a proper label for the back, I sign my name to the front because it is a piece of art. I sign the piece before I quilt it, with permanent fabric pen. If this was a show or competition quilt, I would have to make a label with my name and address, etc. and the quilt would have to have a proper title. They tell you exactly what they want the label to say, how big the sleeve should be, etcetera. They are very specific and an infraction will disqualify the quilt.

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Saturday, April 9

Pizza and a Movie Saturday

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I can hardly wait. When you can’t eat wheat you occasionally miss bread-things. I don’t miss bread per se, but sometimes I miss cookies. Gluten Free pizza and cookies aren’t terrific, but they’re better than no pizza or cookies ever again. And they are coming out with more and more G-F products, and improving them, all the time. So I can’t complain. You get used to it and not having arthritis, asthma, or migraines is totally worth it.

I have been benched from golf for six weeks. I’m getting  physical therapy for tendonitis in my rotator cuff. Its quite painful and PT is pure torture. The therapist I see is a performance specialist; he knows everything about sports and the muscles used in each sport. He understands the biomechanics of golf and the kinesiology. I learn a lot from him as he digs his knuckles into the sore spots and pulls my poor painful shoulder into positions I’d rather not be in. His goal is not only to heal me but make me better than before. Bonus! Cool!

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He told me I could practice my chipping and putting, no problem. Not playing 18 holes of golf every week will give me the time to practice a part of my game that needs serious improvement: Putting. I’m going to dedicate these next weeks to finally getting my putting where it should be: Look out 90s, here I come!

This physical therapy place is in a community I don’t often visit, Rancho Santa Margarita (we love long Spanish names here). I travel on a road called Antonio, and turn left on Avenida de los Banderas (Flags Ave in English). It gets shortened to Banderas on the street signs.

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You can’t get a picture of the two street names in the same shot, but yesterday on the way home  I saw a bus, and on the front of the bus where they have the sign that tells where the bus is going, it said Antonio/Banderas. Hilarious!

I shelved Golden Poppies for a while and started piecing this little grape thing for some friends we are going to visit next month (a hostess gift). I made the grape cluster one piece instead of fusing many individual circles, and when I quilt it the grapes will pop. I ordered some deep purple thread from Red Rock Threads. While I’m waiting I can tidy up the studio. It needs it! Fabric and freezer paper everywhere!

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I fused the branches but not the leaves or grapes, I simply do not like the look of fused applique. Yes it’s fiddly, but it looks so much better—to me. I’ve already decided to do the background quilting in the same shapes as what’s in the border. It was a fat quarter that came bundled with the bunch I ordered a few weeks ago. I had absolutely no use for it but it’s perfect for this border! I don’t know how the free-motion quilting will be on my shoulder, I hope I’ll be able to do it, I’m actually a little afraid to jump in…

Saturday, April 2

Same Stuff, Different Day

It has been pretty much the same old thing around here. Sewing, golf, cooking, eating, reading. Every day. I am a creature of habit.

I am nearly finished piecing Golden Poppies, I just need to add some foreground leaves and some background poppies. They’ll be fused. If I’m diligent I can have it ready for quilting today.

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If I put my shoulder to the grindstone.

Speaking of shoulder, I’ve had a shoulder problem lately and I’ve had to put myself on the injured list for a while. It’s quite common in athletes people of a certain age, and my geezer golf pals all had sympathetic stories to share. Boy, you mention sore shoulder and they all meander over to your cart and start commiserating. A couple weeks ago it was stiff at the start but it actually felt better after I played. And I played brilliantly that day, my best round at that course. 100.

Needless to say I was eager to get back out there and get a 99.

But I decided to quit after 14 holes, thinking I might be doing some damage. This gave me an opportunity to get a couple photographs of the Prickly Pear cacti on #16 while the others were putting. I saw some Golden Poppies close to the cart path but we were going way too fast to get a shot. You really can’t stop and dawdle when you’re golfing.

Aren’t these little puppies cute?

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The flowers should be in full bloom next week.

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I went to the doc, hoping it’s not a torn rotator cuff. I have yet to know the results of the X-rays, but Doc seems to think it’s most likely tendonitis and he prescribed a strong anti-inflammatory drug. I have PT next week. I sure hope it works because we are having Cheryl and Alan from Los Angeles next week and it’s all about golf. Right now the jury is still out on whether I’ll be able to play, but I think so. It is feeling a little better every day. The doctor, who specializes in sports medicine, says he gets it. His mother was a die-hard golf nut and club champion, so he totally understood when I said I had a big-deal golf team-tournament next week. Okay, so I embellished a little—it’s not really a team tournament or even that big of a deal, but I still want to play.

Rain was in the forecast, which would have worked out nicely for a postponement, but now it looks clear. Clear and cool, which is just how I like it.