Monday, May 18, 2015

Spinning My Wheel or Spinning My Wheels?

My mother had an expression she used when she felt like she had worked all day and hadn't accomplished anything. She said she felt as if she were spinning her wheels (and not the kind of wheels that produce yarn. That's how my week has been.

However, I did get some work done on my First Ladies Quilt. The class at Davidene's was on Wednesday. I had missed the class in April because we were in Moab, and I wanted to have that lesson's blocks done before the next class, which was on Wednesday. Tuesday I cut out the pieces for both classes' blocks. (We make two of the same block each time, so it was a total of four blocks.) Then I pieced the blocks from the class I missed. Wednesday the pups went to the groomer and I had the next class. Some ladies were having a quilt retreat near us, and a bunch of them came in for a shopping spree. I was already pretty well along on my blocks when they arrived, so I didn't mind when my teacher left me to ring up their purchases. Some of them noticed that I was using the Bloc-Loc ruler (see below) to square up my quarter-square triangles and started asking about it. I did a little demo, showing them how to use it for half-square triangle units (for which it was designed) and quarter-square triangle units (for which it works just as well). Two of the ladies bought the ruler from Davidene's.

Thursday I had my annual eye exam. Everything is fine, and I don't need new glasses, but I couldn't do anything much for the rest of the day because my eyes were dilated. I knew that would be the case, so I had dinner ready/planned for, and I had DGD1 drive me there, wait for me and drive me home.

Friday the pups went to the vet for their annual exam and shots. Like their "parents," DH and me, they are in good shape for their ages. Our vet is happy with them, and their only health issues are minor and under control.

I had planned to rethread the heddles on my loom and get it set up to weave, but while I had it folded up next to the wall, one of the bolts became bent. I couldn't fix it by myself or get it out to replace it. I had to wait for DH to help me. He worked on Saturday, when I was trying to fix it, and Sunday we had the opera (Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress," excellent), but he managed to get it unbent after we got home.

I managed to make some progress on my socks, though. Both the second Diagonal Cross-Rib sock (for DH; it really is bigger than it looks) and the second Kai-Mei sock are coming along.

Two more pattern repeats on DH's socks before starting the heel, and about an inch of the 3X3 ribbing on my socks before the heel.

For this week's cuteness, here are the two younger grandsons having their first trip to the farmers' market for the year, and Johan's first trip in the wagon.

I hope to have more time to work on my fun stuff this week, including "spinning my wheel."

What's on my needles: The Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks for DH, second sock moving along. Ready to CO his "March of the Fibres" cardi when I get a chance. (It didn't happen this week.) Also the Kai-Mei socks, progress on second sock.

What's on my Featherweight: Ready to start next month's blocks from First Ladies.

What's on my wheel: Still Full Circle spinning fiber in "Pigeon." No progress there.

What's on my loom: Dust! But I hope to get it up and running this week, now that the problem has (maybe) been fixed.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished A Hidden Witch by Debra Geary from Audible. Now listening to Madensky Square by Eva Ibbotson, also from Audible. Just finished reading Lady Fiasco by Kathleen Baldwin on the Kindle app. Entertaining story. NowI want to read the rest of this author's books. Now I'm reading Charming the Duke by Holly Bush. I like the story (mostly), but the typos keep interfering with my involvement. It's as if they used spell check or autocorrect, but no one proofread the book. Things like "woman" when they mean "women," and short words left out of sentences. Publishers: Please hire proofreaders!

What's in my wine glass: Lindeman's Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet 2014. The big bottle, which I needed after a week of spinning my wheels.

What's my tip of the week: The Bloc-Loc ruler is a great quilting notion. It was a little more expensive than most rulers its size, but I suspect that's because of the added expense of making the groove that runs diagonally from one corner to the other. This groove is wide enough to fit over the seam allowance on a half-square triangle (HST), from the seam line to 1/4" away. Here's how the ruler works: You place the diagonal of the ruler on the seam. If he seam is pressed to the right, the groove will be to the right of the diagonal. If it goes to the left, you turn the Bloc-Loc ruler around so the width of the groove is to the left. You have to make sure the lines indicating the size you want your finished HST to be are all on top of fabric, not outside the fabric. Then you cut the two edges on each side of the corner. Next, you turn the ruler and the square around, line up the groove on the seam line, adjust so the lines indicating the size you want are right along the edges you have just cut, and then trim the other two edges. (If I have a bunch to trim, I stack them with the seam allowance all going the same way, trim the top edges of each one, then turn around the stack of HSTs and the ruler and trim the other edges.)

Note that in the photo, the arrow indicates the diagonal seam with he seam allowance pressed to the left.

This ruler does two things: First, it helps you find the exact location of the the seam before you trim, and second, the ruler stays put as you trim, because it can't slide around on the seam the way a flat ruler would tend to do, so you don't have to put as much pressure on the ruler.

To use it to trim quarter-square triangles (QSTs), turn the unit so the vertical seam allowance and the groove are on the same side, as with HSTs. Then adjust the position of the ruler so the horizontal seam meets the line that indicates the size you want your finished unit to be on each side. (In the photos below, the ruler is set to trim to 4".)

The arrow points to the 4" mark on one side of the horizontal seam. You will need to adjust the ruler so the other 4" mark is in the right position on the other end of the horizontal seam. (There's some distortion in this closeup due to the thickness of the ruler, but you will want the 4" line to come out right at the ends of the horizontal seam.)

When you have the ruler in position, trim the top two edges, rotate the unit 180° and make sure your finished size lines up before cutting again. (You may have to turn the ruler around for the second cut, depending on which side the seam allowance is on after you rotate your block.)

(Note: I don't receive any kind of remuneration for advocating this product.)

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

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