Karen writes about life as a Quiltmaker in Austin, Texas; surviving in an empty nest, marriage, cooking, gardening and (did I say?) Quilting...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Winter Day Piecing

It's one of those days. Even in Austin we will see some dreary, cold (er, well cool - in the 50's!), cloudy and wet days - now the third in as many days. And, to really improve upon the mood, a cold - the sort that makes one want to stay in bed, pull the covers up, and hope for a better day tomorrow.

But, I get up anyway, and start the day with a good breakfast, mainly to spend a few civil minutes with my partner - though we quickly part into our own methods of dealing with the depressive weather and lingering congestion and coughs. He to make a pot of some sort of simmering stew, me to work on some mindless piecing.

A few months back I embarked on cutting up the last of several large bags (giant garbage bag size) of scraps into 1-1/2 inch strips. The idea was to make up a nice basket of scraps to use in the creation of truly scrappy versions of "Trash to Treasure Pineapple  Quilt" blocks. This block design, by Gyleen Fitzgerald (Gyleen's Colourful Stitches Web Site) is a great way to use up those pesky 4" of so strips of fabric left over from finished tops. Gyleen designed a great ruler to make the task go fast, and has a nice book that get's right to the point - with clear illustrations and inspiration!
I still had a good quantity of these strips left over from my purchase some years ago of a going-out-of-business long arm quilter's scrap bags and fabrics.  So it was easy to convert it all to 1-1/2 inch strips for pineapple blocks!
So, the day is going well... I'm taking a break to share my method for coping with a dreary winter day off...

The cockpit - stocked for a rainy day sew-in...

Here's the cockpit - (yes, that Is a NEW machine at the dashboard - the Topaz got traded up to a Designer Diamond!), the basket of scraps it at my feet, with a nice cutting area to the left for trims.  While it may look crowded, there's plenty of room for work, with both the table the machine rests on and the table to the right covered with cutting board mats. The serger fits perfectly to my right when I need it, or I can set up an ironing station there temporarily. Today I was to lazy for that, so am using the big board, which is against the window to my back...

"Necessaries" for optimum creative results!

To the right - other necessities! Chocolate, hot tea, and completed blocks for inspiration.  Not pictured: a small space heater to chase away chills... my sewing room faces south, but my windows are the best in the house, and it always seems drafty in the cold weather!

Pile O' Scraps!
Note the basket of scraps...

So, I'm set for a good day of piecing. Hope you get some sewing fun in today!
Keep WARM!
- Karen

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