Friday, August 25, 2017

Sewing in Neutral

I feel that my sewing life has been in neutral this past week. And not just because light neutrals are the color of the month for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Steve watching the eclipse in our front yard

With my brother Steve living here with us, bless his heart, there seems so much more to do that takes me away from sewing. Like helping him fill out paperwork and chauffeuring him around for Social Security, Teamsters retirement, to say nothing of helping him cancel his AZ benefits and see about Utah benefits (a ‘no go’)..... health insurance, drivers license, etc etc. Calgon, take me away!

But enough of my whining. Steve is here and we do enjoy having him. He has a hilarious sense of humor, loves the cats (and Alfie adores him), and is a considerate, fastidious house guest. He has started us composting, keeps the cars clean, and has planted a late season garden that is doing well. And he, like Bruce, loves my cooking! So it’s all good.

On Monday we all watched the eclipse, naturally. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, we were in the 91% zone. The sunlight became weaker as the eclipse progressed, but even at its peak, it was brighter than you would have guessed for only 9% of the rays coming through. However, it was quite dark in the house when I ran in to get my cell phone. I had to take pictures of the light through the trees (left). I love the crescent-shaped shadows and from other people`s pictures online, I believe lots of us were fascinated with them!  It was a fun late morning event in the ‘hood, and there was even a Solar Eclipse Party down the street at Wheeler Farm (hence all the cars parked on the street).

As far as sewing goes, I did finish the rest of my neutral string blocks. There are 168 of the 4.5” (unfinished) blocks. Ready for when I decide to tackle the Jamestown Landing quilt by Bonnie Hunter next year.

Yep, that’s my funky tomato pincushion in the center. And also yes, I do have lots of other pincushions - all cuter. But they are too cute to use. so they are just on display on shelves in my sewing room. When the tomato dies, I will select a different one down the road.....

This next picture is not too impressive, but let me explain. I have finally started Bruce’s Groovy Guitars quilt, which is a pattern by Robbie Joy Eklow.  This is the piecing diagram, and I decided that if I was going to have any chance of getting this done in any orderly fashion, I would have to color the diagram so I would know which color goes where. This was NOT colored with an eye toward any type of artistic effort - it’s just a quick-and-very-dirty "fill in the blanks” effort for placement purposes. (Yes, I can color better. And so can my 4-year-old grandson). But you get the point, right?

The drawing above is in reverse, because you trace the pieces onto the paper of the fusible webbing, then fuse to the backside of the fabric. Then you flip and fuse it to the background. The background for Bruce’s quilt is solid black Kona cotton. The other colors are the three primaries (red, yellow, blue) and the three secondaries (purple, orange and green). My only changes are that I will make the orange guitar (on the left of the diagram) whole. Same with the yellow/red one on the right. If I still have any sanity left, I may make their headstocks complete, too.

So, what did I do first thing? Fused the orange guitar to the wrong side (left) of the fabric, instead of the right. That’s what I get for changing it to a complete, symmetrical piece. Luckily, I had enough orange to re-do it, and the missssssnake on the black fabric will be covered down the line....

My progress has been frustrating and painfully slow. I have made every conceivable mistake  that can be made. But I am learning! Learning that this will be the LAST EVER fusible project I will ever inflict upon myself. I have a hard enough time thinking in reverse (paper piecing comes to mind), but add fusible webbing, huge pieces, and no instructions (other than basic How to Fuse), and it’s recipe for disaster. My brain just does not work that way!

But so far, everything has been fixable. Except my poor ironing board cover, which I will have to use inside out from now on. But we will just skip that story. I see you shaking your head....

So, I put Groovy Guitars in Time Out for a few days and decided to start on some kennel quilts. I got 2 of them done on Friday afternoon.....

The cats won’t care if they are perfect or not! That gray backing on the top quilt says “You’ve got to be Kitten me”.  It was a remnant I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics.  Two down, a half dozen more to go before the end of the month......

And finally, you might remember that when my DGD Lauren visited a couple weeks ago, I mentioned that we painted a wooden garden ornament - a cockatoo - together. I finally got a picture of it.


He is a handsome fella, isn’t he? For the picture he is sitting on the living room mantel, but his natural habitat is out on our patio. The other side is just more of the same.......  We just used acrylic paints and sort of figured it out as we went along.  Not bad, eh?

That about wraps things up for this week. Hopefully by next week I will have finished the rest of the kennel quilts and made good progress on the Groovy Guitars. If I can survive that monster, I can survive anything.

I’m linking up to Angela’s Scrappy Saturday post for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Hugs and prayers for the safety of our friends and families who are in the path of Hurricane Harvey, due to make land in Texas as I write this.....

Cathy maroon


  1. I was at 99.7% totality and was amazed at how light it stayed. And despite your frustrations, the guitars are looking great. I love that orange batik dot.

  2. your guitars are looking so terrific--I have lotsa trouble with reversing (never mind just regular ;{{{) patterns...I try to avoid it whenever I can--(and let's not talk about driving...)
    you have been busy --I have lots of odds and ends to finish up projects on the go...
    why is it the labels, hanging straps etc take me so long??
    hugs, Julierose

  3. Great pictures! Love the flowers in front of your house! And the neutral string blocks, too. The guitar quilts is going to be awesome!

  4. Glad that the good things about your brother's stay outweigh the changes it brings. We just hosted my mom and a friend of hers for 5 days, and just that little bit was a lot! Maybe Bruce's quilt will become known as the Epic Guitar Quilt (all caps intended)! I think it looks fascinating but definitely complicated. I'll be looking forward to your Jamestown Landing progress. I have not attempted a Bonnie quilt yet! September is almost upon us! I will send you a separate note about some details! :) xo

  5. Best of luck with those guitars. Looks like a lot of details to keep straight. Hopefully you will love it though, when it is done. Great cclloection of strings for Jamestown Landing. Looks like you are ready for lots of HST blocks next.

  6. So many pretty things, your neutral blocks are great, and I like how you took the picture of them. The guitar quilt is going to be amazing - wow! I'm intrigued by your kitty quilts, I think I'd like to make some of these, it would be a good use of some scraps and bits of batting, do you have a pattern or instructions?

  7. Smart thinking on using NEUTRAL month to get a head start on one of your RSC18 projects!! I feel your pain on the fusing, as I once fused down fusible on my friend's brand new ironing board cover. Oops!!

  8. the guitars will be wonderful. I was also surprised by how light it was.

  9. You are super sewer!! That is an amazing number of blocks so quickly. Jamestown Landing is in my to do pile, but I may be 80 before I get to it.
    I always fuse at least one piece wrong when I am appliqueing. Looks like you will win the battle. I love the colors!

  10. Love the guitar quilt. But I'm with you fusible applique does not compute in my brain. I'll enjoy your progress from afar. Happy stitching this week.

  11. I wish you lots of luck with the guitar quilt. Doing it in reverse is a real challenge. By the time you finish you should feel ready to do another, maybe. The cockatoo is so colorful and real looking. Also, .your entrance plants are gorgeous.

  12. Consider it a learning process - the beginning lesson about fusing not the final one. You have got this!

  13. Jamestown Landing is a fun quilt to make--love your strings.

  14. Hummmm. I have house guests myself for a bit. It can throw your whole routine out of whack. Our eclipse was 93% and I was also surprised how bright the sun still was, but yet it was kind of eerie too. We were all going out to share the one pair of glasses we had. But it was fun. The neutrals month will be gone before you know it.
    xx, Carol

  15. Good luck with the Groovy Guitars - it will be wonderful when finished, I'm sure! Ringo is indeed a handsome fella - he's quite the head-turner with his coat of many colors!

  16. I'm with you on having a favourite pincushion that gets daily use and all the rest sit on the shelf because they are deemed too pretty to use. The guitar quilt is going to be amazing - despite the angst of having to think inside out and backwards (not a feat I'm good at either).


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