Tag Archives: machine quilting

The End of Summer Is in Sight

Scrappy mug rugs awaiting some hand-binding.

Scrappy mug rugs awaiting some hand-binding.

Often when one of my fave tennis tournaments are on, I’m writing.  When that happens, I watch very little tennis, but this year I’ve enjoyed a fair amount of the US Open, even with friends staying over a couple of nights during the Labour Day weekend.  They appreciated a break in their lengthy road trip holiday while I took advantage to feast upon the action in Flushing Meadows and sit behind my sewing machine.  By the end of yesterday, I had two scrappy mug rugs waiting to be bound as well as great conversations reviving distant friendships.

Not sure how the latter figures into the end of summer, but the US Open tennis tournament always hearkens to the start of autumn.

While I sew and write year-round, there are lulls in the action, and when a break in writing coincides with another passion, I don’t waste too many prose-less moments.   Sewing is a great pastime amid breaks in serve or commercials.  I had planned to finish the coasters, then present them to my friends as a parting gift of sorts, but a pleasant surprise interrupted; our eldest, her hubby and Little Miss (and Buttercup too) popped in for a belated dinnertime visit. These days Little Miss is also known as Frownie Brownie, for she has mastered a grimace that isn’t completely related to new teeth coming in.  However she was happy to eat leftover BBQ while Buttercup ached for some scraps.  When they left at a near toddler’s bedtime, I thought what a lovely way to wrap up the weekend.  A firm door was closed behind them, as this morning I shared breakfast with friends, then saw them off on the rest of their journey.  My youngest and The Burrito are back in school, daylight is lessening, and evening temperatures are starting to dip.  Maybe it’s warm out right now, but come sundown, I’ll be glad to snuggle under a quilt while Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga take to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

I especially like hand-quilting these, something very soothing about the process.

I especially like hand-quilting these, something very soothing about the process.

In the meantime….  I will be watching the Caroline Wozniacki/Anastasija Sevastova match, but no comforter will be required.  I plan to start machine quilting the housewarming placemats, although I suppose first I should piece together the batting that goes in the sandwich.  I’ve made the backs for those six placemats; my quilt wall is covered in a bright array of summer/fall hues, with some Christmas coasters in the upper corners for good measure.  Actually, it’s a bit of a mess right now, as is our backyard (The hubby bought himself a new hedger and has taken my poor honeysuckle bushes to task!).  I would have done some raking today, but the green can is full, more signs of the changing seasons.

Placemat bindings!

Placemat bindings!

Transitions are often a jumbled barrage of unexpected joys; I’m not writing, but thoroughly thrilled by other activities.  Once I make the placemat sandwiches, the quilt wall won’t look so disheveled.  And perhaps next week, I’ll have a better idea of when I’ll slap on my authorial hat, that last section of The Hawk starting to peck at the back of my brain.  Do tennis players feel that way as August winds its way into September, the end of the season in sight?  Maybe it’s how I used to feel as a kid, when Labour Day rolled around, the start of school hovering.  (I probably spelled it Labor Day back then, but hey, eleven years in the UK sticks with me in funny ways.)  I doubt I noticed how shadows fell differently, but the sunshine possesses an autumnal appearance, which I first noticed back in Britain.  Then it appeared not long after Wimbledon ended.  In California, the US Open is the demarcation.

Coasters for myself as well as part of the housewarming present; mine are the two already quilted.

Coasters for myself as well as part of the housewarming present; mine are the two already quilted.

Autumn won’t officially arrive for a couple of weeks, and for me, it’s delayed until either it rains or gets somewhat chilly during the daytime.  That means October usually, although my husband and I hope for a September shower.  We’re not alone; California needs all the precipitation it can get.  Rain hampered some of the matches today in New York, but tonight’s games will be played under the new roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium.  Just watching those matches brings to mind how fleeting are the seasons, even a West Coast summer.  The Christmas coasters will be my next project, followed by a Christmas quilt.  And if all goes well, by the time that holiday arrives, The Hawk will be nearly done.  Goodness, where has 2016 gone?

My very busy, slightly chaotic, quilt wall.

My very busy, slightly chaotic, quilt wall.

It’s going at a pace that amazes me, one of the reasons I take these minutes to blather about tennis and sewing and writing and summer turning to fall.  These moments are here, then….  Then I’m calling Little Miss Frownie Brownie as she glowers for no discernible purpose.  She’s fifteen months old, no way!  Before I know it, Christmas will be on the doorstep, she’ll be eighteen months, and….

Completed coasters; go ahead grandkids and do your worst with them!

Completed coasters; go ahead grandkids and do your worst with them!

Hold it, just hold it now.  Time moves fast enough without me nudging it along.  Best that I concentrate on placemats and tennis matches as it’s just after four PM PDT, the second women’s quarterfinal about to begin.  I’ll leave Christmas and growing grandkids for another day.  Now, where is my batting scrap bag?

Some personal quilting essentials…

As with writing, every quilter has their own methods.  Now, I’ve been writing for over seven years, so I know how I prefer to go about it; early morning for the actual writing, revising anytime but late at night, for by then I don’t have any useful brain cells remaining.  But quilting, or piecing then quilting, well, that’s a work in progress, in the figuring out what makes me happiest.  I do know that I like a clean sewing machine, which means under the needle plate.  I mucked that out this morning, for yesterday I put the finishing touches on the Fat Quarters Quilt.  Next time I complete a quilt, I’ll snap a picture of the Magnolia’s easily accessible innards, for it was a fuzz-fest.  Now it’s tidy, ready for the next quilt in the queue.

Washed, puckered, and waiting to be used

But that’s the nuts and bolts of equipment.  What I mean are the quirky touches that only I can bring to the sewing table.  Music is a mainstay, mostly on the stereo when I’m piecing in the living room, then on my PC when quilting in the sewing grotto at my big table, as I did with the FQ Quilt.  Which is due for another name change, for I’m not keeping it, bequeathing it to my eldest and her hubby (and Buttercup the basset, of course).  It will be the Mijos Quilt, abbreviated Spanish for my children, but it has a personal significance for me, which if you’re interested you can read about here.

But still, I’m digressing, something I’m good at in real life.  In quilt life, well, I’m still so wet behind the ears that other than copious tunes, and a clean machine, I don’t yet have a rhythm, although I also prefer a new needle for machine quilting.  Fortunately needles aren’t too expensive, and perhaps as I go along, I’ll not be so fussy.  (My sister doesn’t replace her needles until they break, which when our mom learned about that, Sis was immediately chastised to change that needle more frequently!)  I do like a less-quilted quilt, which is going to be important for the next project, a big summer quilt for our bed.  I’ll tie that baby, as it’s going to be queen-king bed appropriate, and I’m still sorting just exactly how and where I’ll do that tying.

Flannel backing in blue and coral...

Something for later, surely.  Today I know music matters, and when in the living room, it’s the albums that rest against the cabinet upon which our turntable, amp, etc, sit.  The Mijos Quilt was pieced to Ryan Adams, Endless Boogie, Linda Ronstadt, Miles Davis, and Cat Power.  The quilting however was dependent upon R.E.M., Patsy Cline, Cracker, Josh Rouse, the Oscar Peterson Trio, The Cramps, and Josephine.  What was nice about quilting near my computer was I didn’t have to get up to flip the record, just sew endlessly (and mostly) straight lines while songs filled the grotto.

Another presence hovered as I sewed that quilt, but that had little to do with music, more about what I’ve been reading during lunchtime.  And as I consider that influence, I wonder how future quilts will be affected by outside matters.  Especially quilts that I won’t keep, which will be most of them.  I only need so many quilts.

Perhaps that seems like blasphemy, but our house is small, and we don’t live in the frozen tundra.  However, last night was chilly, and the Mijos Quilt was getting a trial run.  I thought it was fantastic, but will give it to those children in a few days.  Until then, I’ll give it another go tonight, making 100% certain that it’s acceptable.

My husband snapped this during a commercial while we suffered another baseball loss...  Thank goodness for a comforting quilt!

My husband snapped this during a commercial while we suffered another baseball loss… Thank goodness for a comforting quilt!

And maybe tonight, the SF Giants will win, making the evening not quite so dismal.  I’d give my kingdom for an offensive onslaught….