The Easy Friday List, June 22

This is my weekly list (posted every Friday) of items that have made my life easier in some measurable way these last seven days. Maybe they can make your life easier too.

AC: Summer. Georgia. Air conditioning. Let’s all take a moment and pray for the continued existence of Georgia Power. Amen.

Quilt Basting Spray: I’ve just finished quilting the koi wall hanging. He’s gorgeous.

I’ve never used basting spray on such a large project before and I am very impressed. I had to clean my needle with alcohol about halfway through quilting and some of the sticky stuff did come off on my table, but other than that, everything went as it usually went. I don’t think I’d use it for hand quilting (hand fatigue!), but for FMQ, it’s amazing.

Full Disclosure: I over-sprayed a bit around the wall hanging as I was spraying. FYI: basting spray comes off of tablet PCs with some paper towels and elbow grease.

I most definitely owe the great and talented Mrs. L (one of my quilting inspirations) for giving me the can of basting spray some time back. I can’t believe I waited this long to use it.

Juki TL-2000 Qi sewing machine: This thing handles multiple layers of thick fabric and batting like it’s nothing. My old machine would skip and skew stitches while complaining loudly when I made purses. (My old mantra: Please don’t explode… please don’t explode… please don’t explode…) I don’t have to worry about exploding machines now. My Juki doesn’t even notice when I sew through several layers of batting and upholstery fabric. Sweet.

Also, I’ve just finished quilting my largest FMQ project to date (the koi). I am extremely impressed with how everything came out. I had to fiddle for a while on thread tension and I’m still getting the hang of getting my stitches all the same length (and not so teeny tiny), but I am so hooked on the whole process I’m giddy. And I can only blame part of the giddiness on the early morning and the obscene amount of black tea and coffee I’ve consumed this morning.

The quilted koi at fig+fence.

I quilted waves around the koi.

This is also my first quilting project that is entirely machine made. (Well, there is a strip of hand stitches along the koi’s back and the beads will be hand applied, but other than that, the rest is machine.) I don’t think that everything would have gone as smoothly without the Juki.

Koi, Work In Progress

Do you ever get an idea then sit on it for a long time, just allowing it to swirl and simmer and shape on its own in your head? I don’t. Typically, as soon as I get an idea, I write it down and think it to a slow death. By nature, I plan and list. Oh, planning and listing are both well and good, but I think that sometimes my projects lose something amid all the planning and listing.

I’m trying to be a little more reckless in my projects, and not plan them to death.

I’ve been brewing about a project for some time. Oh, I have plans and lists, but it isn’t something I’ve thought out completely. So I’ve decided to go ahead and start it, without knowing exactly how I’m going to finish it. I’m working on a quilted koi wall hanging.

The koi wall hanging at fig+fence by Janet Millsapps.

The koi wall hanging's top right now, with my crayon-colored drawing and notes I've made.

I’ve just finished turning the applique pieces and I’m ready to glue everything down, applique him, and embroider his whiskers. I accidentally made all of the applique pieces backwards. Oops.

The koi wall hanging at fig+fence by Janet Millsapps.

I'm testing beads out to see which I'll use in the water.

I love the colors of this. I haven’t decided yet what beads I’m going to use in the water, if any. I think I’ll wait until I’ve quilted the whole thing before I do that.

Bright Summer Fern

I have fern seeds. I am invisible.

I love ferns – it’s something I get from my mother. We used to have a wrap around porch she smothered with hanging ferns. It was gorgeous. I’d love to do that again. Alas, I have no porch.

Remembering those lush ferns from when we lived in Summerville, I designed and made Mom a fern wall hanging last Christmas.

The fern wall hanging, sitting on the mantle.

I love the hot colors against the dark green background. The fern fabric is a batik I bought at Tiny Stitches more than a year ago. I love that fabric and I wish I’d bought more. The background is a rose print of dark greens and black. Also wish I’d bought more of that. It’s good for so many things.

There’s a lesson there, I think. “Fabric hoarding is good and useful.” Or something like that. At  least, there’s a true and honest reason I can use to justify my stash.