Monday, December 08, 2008

Plugging along . . .

I'm being really good at not starting some new projects . . . that is, if assembling patterns, making templates, and selecting fabrics are not presumed to be a "start". I keep telling myself, it isn't started until I cut into the fabrics. (That's my story . . . okay, so far!)

I have 8 days to finish my brown bag challenge quilt for the Old Tippecanoe Quilt Guild Christmas Party on December 16. I'm just about to turn the corner on the half-way point around the border of my piece. The first border is just a plain one-inch strip, the second is a round of flying geese, and a plain border on the outside quilted with a cable design. My left index and middle fingers are very tender, but not bloody yet!

That's how I learned to use a thimble when I first started hand-quilting . . . I couldn't leave it alone, I was so entranced to the texture of the quilting. Once the fingers on my right hand were extremely sore, it made the transition to the thimble a snap. I've sewn since I was 8 years old, but my mother didn't even own a thimble, so I did all my garment sewing without one, too. Now, I feel undressed without my thimble . . . or one of the choice ones from my collection of silver thimbles. I probably have more than 50 that I have collected through the years. About five are silver with gold bands, and I have two 18-karat gold ones. One my husband bought me at an auction on the day of our 40th anniversary. It's an 1880's Stern brothers ten panel. The second gold one, DH gave me for my birthday in October. One rule I have is that the thimble must not have any holes, and it has to be suitable for use. Otherwise, I'd probably need a shopping cart to push them around!

I picked up a nice silver thimble on my recent Florida trip with friends. We were in Gulfport, for the best crab cakes in the world at Backfin Blue Cafe. It was evening, and there was a street fair going on. While most of the vendors were artists, there was an antique dealer right in front of the restaurant . . . and he had an entire case full of vintage sewing items. I selected a plain thimble which has the name "Irene King" engraved around the outside edge. It's a lovely remembrance of the fifth trip we have made as a group to Florida.

Pat Sloan has a cute pattern on her website for "Twinkle Ornaments". I was sorry to miss the opportunity to participate in a swap, so, at Pat's direction, I started to make one for myself. The pattern will use up a lot of those "scraps too small to be used" in a little box of gilded fabrics that I can't bear to throw away. If the scrap is too small for one of these ornaments, it is REALLY too small to be used! I need to dig into my doll dress trims for some embellishments to finish the top and bottom of the ornaments, and I think this is the kind of project that one keeps by the chair for brainless sewing while watching a movie. I've already decided that the blocks, which are rectangular, should be staggered with some sort of gold cord or rickrack to resemble a chain linking them together.

Tomorrow evening is our little quilt group's annual Christmas dinner. We are to be at Marguerite's . . . and of course, since she lives at the top of a hill with a steep drive, the weather forecast is not really good at the moment. She swears that all she has to do to bring on a snow- or ice-storm is invite us to her home during the winter months! So far, her record is intact.

It's only six weeks and a couple days until our mini-retreat at Miss Mary's Quilting Cottage. So far, I have two sets of blocks lined up with borders cut, ready to be assembled. One other project needs review to see exactly what remains to be cut to get it ready. I have a little stack of about seven blocks needing a pieced border, and my Santas of the World quilt will be closer to completion. Just some embroidery on each block to finish the main blocks off. Hopefully, once Christmas is over, I can focus on those and get that one all together, too!

Pictures next time . . . I promise!


Quilts And Pieces said...

I never used to use a thimble either until I started hand quilting. Now I need one on even for applique and bindings! (although I have a different kind I use for those)

Jan said...

Want to come down here and make my decisions on projects for Miss Mary's?

Roslyn Atwood said...

I have tried so many thimbles so many times but I always use the finger that doesn't have the thimble on it, lol.I give up with the thimbles,maybe I should send them all to you!

Diane said...

I don't see any pictures of my perfume bottles...he he