Saturday, April 10, 2010

Texas History Trip

Howdy! Well, I'm back from my whirlwind tour of central Texas with 40 fourth graders. I have my sewing machine back and my finger feels just about normal again. Life is good!

I have to share just a few photos from my trip since I am such a proud Texan. I know my family (who read my blog and never comment) will appreciate them.

Our first stop was the Texas State Capitol. This is view from the east side. Since everything is bigger in Texas, our state capitol is the largest in the United States. It's not the tallest, Louisiana has that honor, but it is taller than our nation's capitol.

Inside the capitol dome.

We visited the Texas State History Museum in Austin, and then headed south to San Antonio.

Out first stop in San Antonio was Mission San José y San Miguel de Aguayo, founded in 1720 when Texas was under Spanish rule.

I loved how the doors around the mission were numbered.

Beautiful ironwork abounded.

The doors of the church at the center of the mission and their beautiful Baroque facade.

These gorgeous hand carved wood doors were made in 1937. The church was finished in 1782. 

The inside of the Mission San José church which still holds weekly mass.

The mission grounds were being prepared for their annual gala and fundraiser (which is the reason I have no photos of the famous Rose Window). Workers were hanging these gorgeous piñatas all throughout the mission.

I could not stop photographing them.

I want one for my house!

On to the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio.  It was built for the world's fair in 1968. A glass elevator ride to the top of the 750 foot tower provides beautiful views of San Antonio.

A hamburger lunch and tour at the Texas Buckhorn Saloon & Museum.
This place is true Texas all the way.

Our obligatory photo in front of the Alamo.
When you tour the Alamo (as I'm sure is true of all historic battlegrounds), you really do feel as if you are standing on hallowed ground.

A riverboat tour and dinner on the gorgeous and historic San Antonio Riverwalk.

I'm a Coke fan, but I didn't tell them that at the Dr. Pepper Museum in Dr. Pepper's birthplace, Waco. They claim to have the largest collection of soft drink memorabilia in the world. The old fashioned soda fountain Dr. Pepper wasn't too bad I guess. 

Our last museum was the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco. It was interesting. They have a lot of guns in there. A lot of guns.

I wasn't sure how much room I would have on the bus, so I didn't take the ripple afghan. Turns out, it's become too large to be portable, especially with all the necessary yarn skeins. So, I took the hexagons and pieced them on the bus where I had a row all to myself. A few of the girls enjoyed being able to pick the next random hexagon for me to attach.

Thanks for letting me indulge in a little Texas pride, partner. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hexagons Thoughts :: Week Two :: Piecing Hexagons

I wanted to share a few thoughts on piecing hexagons this week.

Here's my hexagon travel box. I can't remember how long ago I bought this box, but it is from IKEA. It holds more supplies that the bead box and I have everything I need to take my hexagons on to go.

I'm using hand quilting thread and a size 9 betweens quilting needle for piecing. The hand quilting thread is heavier and feels more durable, especially since I like to make sure my stitches are really tight. I've also found that I see fewer threads on the front if I use light brown or grey thread. The threads I've been using are above.

After trying multiple piecing methods, I'm sticking with the whipstitch. Even though it makes tiny ripples on the front side at the seams, it feels much sturdier than the ladder stitch. I didn't really like using a running stitch. It pulls too much fabric into the seam in my opinion and can cause puckering.

Here's the back of that area. I'm trying to keep my whipstitches very small and only grab the very edge of the hexagon. I counted between 15 to 20 stitches per inch on these pieced hexagons.

In the photo above, you can see a few of the stitches on the top of that Amy Butler peachy paisley, but since it's brown, it's not too obvious. That's why I like the brown (or grey) as opposed to white for piecing. Even on white fabrics, it seems hidden in the shadows if a few threads end up showing on top.

And finally, the back of that area. I make a quilters knot in my thread and then sew the tail down under my whipstitch. At the finishing end, I tie another quilters knot up tightly against the fabric and then weave the thread through a little so the end isn't hanging loose.

Don't forget to check out all the great hexagons over in the flickr group and add your images! I love seeing all the inspiring photos. There are a couple of discussions going on too.

Heather of a la mode fabric started a hexagon flickr group and there are some beautiful and inspiring images there also!

Happy hexing!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Busy week!

We've been enjoying some warm spring weather in Texas! Spring is definitely here. I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend. Mine was very busy!

The day I hurt my hand last week I had taken my sewing machine in for it's complimentary one year tune-up and I still don't have it back. There hasn't been much sewing going on around here without it. My finger is still unbelievably sore. What I originally thought was a large cut turned out to be a cut and a very deep puncture. Good thing I had that tetanus booster last year when I had the rotary cutter accident.

A few weeks ago I participated in my first big swap on flickr where I traded some American Jane Peas & Carrots (aka Mono Pez) for Flea Market Fancy. The swaps are still trickling in and I'm just giddy when I check the mail! I'm still missing about six prints that happen to be the hardest to find, but I'll keep looking. I want to make a quilt with all of this Flea Markety goodness, but I haven't decided on a pattern yet. I just love this one and this one! Oh, and this one!

I'm going on a Texas history field trip for the remainder of the week with my daughter's fourth grade class. We are visiting the Texas capitol and the Alamo among other historic Texas sites. I'm mostly excited about the hours and hours of travel time I'll have to work on my ripple afghan. I've been trying to sew hexagons together, but it's quite slow without my index finger. I've adjusted my crochet hold to work without my index finger, so crochet is still an option. I'm hoping to get another hexagon thoughts post together for this week but I need to get my packing done first. It's so great to see all the beautiful hexagons everyone is working on! Enjoy your week!