And I’m back :)

Sorry for the blogging hiatus…the last two weeks have been a bit on the nutty side.  We’ve had the death of the dear family friend I spoke of in my last post, and then my husband’s uncle passed away, and my mom’s sister’s husband is very ill and expected to pass any time now.  It seems to come in groups doesn’t it?  On a brighter note…work has been incredibly busy.  The allergy season is rough, not only on us, but on our furry friends as well.  These insanely high temperatures in the midwest are not helping at all.  The horses have been getting cool sponge baths morning and evening (read = I cool them off, they make me filthy flicking the cold dirty water around with their tails, lol).  I wish I could just set up a sprinkler for them to run through, but knowing Tongo she would get it caught around her hoof, get a gash in her leg, and we’d end up with another $2000 Tongo bill 🙂

So, what’s new?  Well, last weekend I worked on a block of the month that I have had for a year now and just have been too intimidated to start (yep, I’m a wimp that way….buy something so I will be able to learn a new technique and then not want to ruin it).  Not only was I intimidated by the pinwheels (I’d never made them before) but the hand stitching makes me nervous too.  I love the look of applique and really enjoy the machine applique I’ve done, but I’ve never done hand applique or embroidery (other than cross stitch as a kid).  This quilt is based on a BOM called “A Kitten’s Tale” by Lynette Anderson.  I love all of Lynette’s stuff (probably because it features animals so often!).  I found it on www.pastimesonline.ca as a 2010 BOM.  Valerie, the creative force behind Past Times Online is super sweet and these monthly kits have been fantastic for a newbie handwork person like me.  I know she has several BOM projects and was a sponsor for Alison from Within A Quarter Inch for a long time…you should check her out 🙂

So I took a deep breath and dove in.  I put the interfacing on the back of all the silk pieces, traced my applique pieces on freezer paper, cut them out, fused to fabric, cut those pieces out and traced my background on the fabric…I was ready to roll.

Now what?  Well, Valerie has some great tutorials for each month of this BOM (of course most people have finished by now…but she’s kind enough to keep them up there for slackers like me) so I tried her method of needle turn applique for the white cats body.  A couple of things I think I’ve learned:  I don’t think I left enough fabric around the edges for the needle turn as it was a pain in the you know what, I fried my fingers several times trying to iron the edges of the fabric around the freezer paper pattern, and I cut out one too few legs for the brown cat 🙂  That’s ok though, most of the cats in my house are here because someone didn’t want them due to being special needs, so this one-legged brown kitty will fit in just fine.  I didn’t think I liked needle turn, so I tried to do some buttonhole stitching.  As you can see, I need A LOT of practice.  It’s not pretty…but I’ll get better 🙂

Now it was time to start on the blocks that surround the applique center.  Oh boy….time to brave the pinwheels.  And ya know what?  I’m pretty proud of them!  They’re a long way from perfect points and matching, but for my first endeavor, they’re not too bad.  Here’s my first pinwheel block ever.Hee hee!  So, onward I went.  I made a total of 6 pin wheels and 4 rail fence blocks.  I felt more confident doing these then I did with the hand stitching, lol.  The end result:

Now all I have left to add to this block are the yo-yo’s on the ends of the branches.  Yeah, I’ve tried those twice so far with the yo-yo maker and they look like crap, so I need to google and find some tutorials to see what I’m doing wrong.  They look like they should be so simple.

So that’s what I’ve been up to…how about you?  My stomach is growling so I’m going to go get some breakfast to go with all the coffee I’ve been chugging this morning and then figure out what to do with the day.  I REALLY need to get working on some Powerpoint presentations for some lectures I have coming up in September, October, and November.  It’s a good day to stay inside and work, so I may do that and then reward myself with some sewing later as a break.  If I start with the sewing first, I’ll never make it to my work, lol.  Have a great weekend everyone!


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