I've gotten a few questions about how things are here in Egypt, whether or not we've been affected by the ongoing turmoil in Lebanon and Israel. So far, knock on wood, it's been very quiet. We're fine. The embassy has sent out Warden Messages which say to avoid areas where protests may occur, but there haven't been any problems for Americans here.
Now to completely switch gears, figured I'd better throw some quilting content in here. I wanted to show you this cool area where I turned the corner on the freehand fans. I'm doing the spiral pattern (you can see how this looks drawn out in my freehand fan tutorial) and this is the lower right corner where I'm ending the third row (or ring really) and beginning the fourth.
Just to the right of the bottom of the t, you can see where I began my last fan arc. It's an incomplete arc, since it runs smack into the second row. That's how it works. I also thought this arc set was too short so I threw in an extra arc - making seven of them instead of the usual six.
Then, below the o, I started the first fan of the fourth row.
And I wanted to include this pic to show you how the widths etc can change in these arcs. Look in the lower left - that arc is narrower. And as seems to be usual I have a bit of a bulge at the top of the arc set and then the whole thing sort of flattens as it goes down. That's not a mistake or a problem - it's just the way it goes.
I made these pics larger than I usually do, so you should be able to click on them and see the details.
If you want smaller stitches, try working without the hoop. Seriously. (You can read the tutorial here.)
I got an email asking for some advice on hand quilting. Does anyone out there have a good alternative for using a regular thimble? I know one alternative is a leather "thimble" and I have friends who swear by them, but I found them awkward and they do wear out much faster.
I don't think I could quilt without using a thimble. I swear by mine - it's got a ridge around the top that helps control the needle and keeps it from sliding off. I think it's made by Dritz. It's fabulous. One key thing is that the thimble has to fit well - not so tight that it pinches and not so loose that it wobbles around and wants to fly off.
As far as the quilting stitches going all the way through to the back of the quilt, I wouldn't worry about that when you are first learning. If the stitches aren't going through at all to the back, then maybe every tenth stitch you could do a stab stitch (send the needle straight down through the layers, then move your quilting hand underneath the quilt and send the needle straight back up. As you keep quilting and get more experienced I suspect that your stitches will start naturally going all the way through.
At least mine did. They're not pretty and don't look at all like the stitches on the top, but they go through. They didn't use to, I assure you. The other thing to try is a different batting (wadding for my British/Aussie friends) - one that is ultra-thin. I've also heard that wool is delicious to quilt through, but my allergies rule out that option.
We rented a couple of movies over the weekend. "National Treasure" was completely silly and predictable but fun. I'd heard good things about Woody Allen's new film "Match Point", but bleck. It wasn't a mystery - it was another plodding character study like "Crimes and Misdemeaners." That's it Woody, we're through. No more new movies from you. I'll stick to rewatching "Love and Death," "Annie Hall," "Manhattan Murder Mystery," and "Hannah and Her Sisters."