Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Dear Jane, I Don't Really Hate You...

 A couple of weeks ago, when I was blog hopping around, I found a couple of references to the Dear Jane quilt, which reminded me of something...

... which is that back in 2010, a couple of friends and I had taken Brenda Papadakis' Dear Jane class at Asilomar, through Empty Spools.  If you're not familiar with either of those things, go ahead and click the links.

I'll wait here for you to get back!

I talked to my friends--well, actually, I sent them an email that said,Dear Jane, I hate you! and suggested that we get back to working on our blocks. The result was that today we had a group of Janiacs, and never-wanna-be Janiacs, sitting around my dining room table working on Dear Jane and a few other projects.

Getting ready for this involved doing some excavating, because quite frankly my Dear Jane materials came home from Asilomar with me and promptly were set aside, not forgotten but not in active rotation either.
(Side note: While I was up at Asilomar, my father took a turn for the worst and passed away. I spent a lot of my time there on the phone with my brother, in Massachusetts, who was making arrangements. As soon as I got home from Asilomar, I was on a plane east. My dad was 94 and had a good, long life, and he'd gotten to meet many of his great-grandchildren. But that's another story for another day.)

So the top picture is my notebook--I had my book sliced off at the local office supply store, and put all the pages into clear sleeves. The second picture shows one of my blocks inside the sleeve with its pattern. I've done this same thing with some of my other books and patterns, like the Civil War Tribute quilt. Keeps the pages clean and organized but easy to take out and refer to.
I had signed up for the Dear Jane Block of the Month from Stitchin Heaven  in the indigo and cream colorway, which is what you see in that third picture. I know it looks like a tote bag full of plastic bags...which is basically what it is. I've since moved all this to one plastic tub, gotten all the monthly pieces in order, and they're now much easier to access.

 So that was Saturday's project, and along with hunting down all my Jane supplies, I did some reorganizing and rearranging of some of the stash. I think I posted a picture of that last time. The rest of the weekend I managed to do a little more on the pinwheels...

Here you see the top of my kitchen island, transformed into a cutting table. Yes, I cut all the strips for the side rectangles to go with those pinwheels.
 This required a bit of fortification along the way. The Hornsby's was left over from the Fourth of July picnic potluck.

I guess the PT is beginning to show some results, because I was able to do all this cutting without too much trouble. I'm learning some new standing techniques and some ways to mitigate the pain, and generally building up my muscles to compensate for the weakness in my arthritic joints (that is, all of my joints!).

Naturally once I had all those strips cut, it was time to sit down with the DVD player and some Roderick Alleyn stories.

Below you see the first 100 little rectangles.


 Naturally I had lots of help from the Quilting Supervisor.

He did think the stack of white strips made a good post from which to supervise my activity.

I mean, if I wanted to do something besides pet, skritch, and nuzzle the cat, I was going to have to work for it.
 Look at that expression, would you?

Is that the picture of wounded innocence?

Then he relocated to the cutting board.

He wasn't thrilled with my choice of entertainment, but I didn't want to watch a couple of hours of "cat TV" and I'm the one with the opposible thumbs.

 Moving right along. Today was the first meeting of the group--I think there are now three people who are determined that they will never tackle this quilt.

But Anne and I were not discouraged. Here are two of Anne's blocks, hand appliqued.

She's got quite a few blocks done, and she has a nifty chart that she's been sticking little pieces of her fabrics onto so she knows what colors she's used in relation to the others.

Since mine are all blue and white, I don't need to do that. I think I can remember which colors go where...

 Among the treasures I unearthed while doing my reorg (I'll call it that...it's the most polite word I can think of) was a whole tub of leftover class samples,  scraps from other projects, and a baggie full of these.

Dresden Hearts, all set up and ready to go, more or less. The top one is all pressed and turned, and pinned into place on its background fabric.There are five more, pinned onto backing fabric and ready to be stitched and turned.

This was a class I taught way back when, several times. It's a cute variation on the Dresden Plate pattern--my copy of this pattern has a copyright date of 1989. So yeah, from back when I first started teaching at the old Bearly Stitchin'. No link, because the shop moved to Arizona and has now morphed into an online and quilt-show shop selling patterns and kits, called Desert Stitchin.

These will get stitched and pressed, maybe even this week, since Friday night is another Quilknittys session, and I usually bring some kind of hand work. Turning these little guys and getting them pressed nice and flat would be a good project.

I've also still got all the templates. No, I'm not tempted to start another one...but you never know.
So here's my major accomplishment for today: one more block! Not my finest hand applique, but as Brenda has emphasized often: "done is better than perfect."

It's been quite a while since I've done any hand applique, and I'm sadly out of practice. I also did this using the freezer paper on top method, not my favorite way of doing needleturn. At least I was able to jump back into it, and I actually started on another block as well.
Ethel didn't have a project of her own to work on today, but she (says) loves doing the hand part of binding... and I just happened to have a quilt that needed binding sewn down!

I had this one down to the last side, and thanks to Ethel it's now all finished. I put it on the guest bed for its photograph. Tomorrow it should get its bath, and then it will be ready to be added to the stack of finished quilts.
You can see the butterfly design quilting on its back. I can't wait to see how it will look once it's been washed!

And then she picked up another one of my binding-in-progress quilts and started sewing it down, too.

I'm beginning to hope that these quilts will be done soon. I have a whole lot of things that need to be quilted, all of them things I want to quilt myself.  I just need to find a place to pin them that won't kill my poor back.

After everyone went home today, I went back to the rectangles. This last picture shows you all 1200 of them, cut and ready to sew onto the pinwheels.

You can see that the supervisor was totally thrilled with this process. Uh huh. Sure he was.

I also sorted through the trimmings and leftover bits from cutting all the colored pieces, and made a stack of 2.5" strips to cut down to sashings, and cut a bunch of 2.5" squares to use for cornerstones. I did figure out how many I need of each, but it's the kind of numbers that makes my head hurt, so it's much easier to just cut a few now and then do the math another day.

The supervisor and I are headed up the wooden hill to the bedroom, where I will feed him and he'll let me sleep till the first rays of dawn.

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