Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Life This Week

Things I want to do:  sew, quilt, relax.

Things I am doing:  FLL prep, FLL prep, and yet more FLL.

Things I'm thinking about:  FLL, Christmas shopping, FLL.

FLL stands for FIRST Lego League.  My husband and I are coaching our son's team.  We have six elementary school boys this year.  Here's our robot.  Our qualifying competition is this weekend. We have two more practices to go, along with making sure everything is ready for Saturday.  I have lists, papers, supplies, and parts everywhere!  This season has been pretty smooth overall, but the last week before competition is always crazy, as is competition day.  I'm proud of how well the boys have worked together and the amount of work they've done this year.  In case you're wondering, in my opinion, six is the perfect team size.

Moving on to sewing, last week I got most of the Kaffe top put together.  It still needs three borders.  The backing we ordered came yesterday and it kinda matches.  I'm ready to go with quilting next week (assuming I find time to get the borders on).
I sewed with my guild friends on Saturday.  I got about half of the blocks done for the fish quilt. This thing is just so tedious.

I really want to work on this Lori Holt mini.  It will be next up.

I've been attempting to gather up some April Showers fabric.  I won a jelly roll on eBay and was trying for yardage and a layer cake, but I keep getting outbid or the system would freeze and not let me bid at all in the final minutes.  It's so frustrating.  I did find a couple half yards and a fat quarter on Instagram.  I still need either another jelly roll or a layer cake for the project I want to do.  Finding one at a reasonable price will probably be a challenge since it's out of print and people jack up the prices ridiculously--think up to quadruple retail in some cases.  :/

The quilt my friend and I made for our guild mate had a bit of the backing bleed onto the front.  I managed to get it (red) out of the white and thought all was well.  Then I looked again in the sunlight yesterday--so nice to be sunny, raining again today--and some of the blue had run all over it.  Sigh.  So far I'm not getting it to come out very well.  At least it's less noticeable than the red. I used Dawn, water, and hydrogen peroxide to get the red out. 

I added photos to the 2017 finishes page.  Guess I'd better get back to work.  Until next week (which will be much less hectic, can't wait!).  

PS--Can you believe Christmas is only 40 days away?  Eep.
Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Power of Fabric Choice

Over the summer I went to an all-in-one shop hop--many shops, one stop.  I fell in love with a quilt that Scarlet Thread had on display.  It was my normal colors, but not my normal fabrics--it was made all of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  I bought the fabrics and ordered the pattern since they were out. (Yes, I am making an exact copy.) I would never in a million years have purchased the pattern based on the cover image.  But seeing it made with much different fabrics made all the difference.  It's a good reminder to look past the cover/outside--a good lesson in quilting and in life.

I need to order backing fabric (my daughter and I chose one yesterday), and I think I know how I'm going to quilt it already.  Just need to finish the piecing.  If I could settle down and concentrate, I could have the top done in a day or two, tops.

I've also been working on my Tasha Noel snow globe quilt.  Half of the blocks are made.

I'm sewing with my friends this Saturday.  I'm planning to work on my Fishline quilt blocks.  It's very tedious, repetitive sewing, so hopefully it will be a good one to sew while talking.  Maybe numb some of the tedium.

I think I wore out my walking foot.  I'm sure it will be pricy to replace.  Sigh.  But I really need one.  Just bummed because I'd rather spend my money elsewhere.  And really bummed because I ripped all the quilting out of my B&C Bobbin Box quilt (poor tension, too much foot pressure), replaced some snagged fabric, started again with proper settings, and the stitches are terrible. Some are microscopic and some are huge.  More ripping.  Yay.

We have a week and a half until the FLL competition.  Time will pass very quickly, I'm sure.  I'll be glad to have the time freed up afterward.  I can't really complain though; this year's team has been a really great group of kids (and parents).

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Some Bonnie and Camille Stars

I finished up the scrappy string block I was working on last week.  It's less controlled than I would normally do, but I like the results.  I'm trying hard to stretch my creativity into things I usually wouldn't do.  This is a 12" finished block loosely based on a template I found at Coriander Quilts via Pinterest.
I bought a kit from McCall's a while back (a year, two years??).  It's a lone star made with Bonnie & Camille's Miss Kate and a solid blue print--not really a solid because the it has a definite front and back.  I had made it to the point of sewing and cutting all the strips and then put it away.  This week I've been working on assembling all the strips, which is a lot of pinning, sewing, ripping, and resewing.  Now I just have to join up the chunks and sew the corner triangles on.  I do have a coordinating backing saved for this project, and I think I have an idea of how I want to quilt it.

Something I was thinking about while sewing this yesterday is how I pretty much never read all the way through the directions before starting.  I glance at all the pictures, but that's about it.  I had been sewing along, pressing the seams to one side.  I got to the point of needing to flip the page to the next set of directions and noticed that there were actually directions on how to line up the angled strips.  The VERY LAST direction given in the pattern is to press the seams open.  Well, too late for that!

I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make here.  I always put a little disclaimer at the beginning of my doll clothes patterns to read all the way through first.  Many patterns give that direction. 99.9% of the time I do not follow that.  I try to give all directions in a logical sewing order.  If you need to know a special technique, I'm going to either direct you where to find that technique when you are at the step that is required or put it right at that step where it's needed.

Do you read all the way through before you start?  Let me know!

I did send out two "Get your Quilty Wishes Granted" packages.  One of the ladies was so gracious and thanked me publicly and privately and offered to send me something, which I declined.  The other lady thanked me when she sent her address and then sent me a written thank you. I was trying to put out good karma and I guess it worked.  Keep reading.

I'm planning to make a snapshots quilt that Fat Quarter Shop did a few years ago.  It called for a FQ bundle, but I could only find fat eighths, so I bought two of those.  And I found all the extra yardage except for the backing print.  Then I read through the pattern and realized I needed some pieces bigger than a fat eighth could yield.  Luckily I either have or was able to find the few prints I needed, which is outstanding since the fabric's been out of print a few years.  Well, all except one.  I couldn't find it anywhere.  I decided to take to Instagram yesterday pleading for a 3 x 16.5" piece and within an hour, someone said they'd send it, at no cost to me.  I feel so thankful!  Karma in action.

I didn't have to make any Halloween costumes this year since my younger decided he didn't want to trick or treat this year.  My older was quite disappointed, but she is really too old for it now.  At the last minute they decided to go to two neighbors' houses, but only one was home.  We actually had a fairly light turnout this year.

In other news, the drywall in the basement is mostly finished.  I don't understand why they won't fix the bad spots without me begging.  He tells me to put one coat of paint on and then they will come back and fix anything that shows.  I find this incredibly frustrating.  I'm paying them not just big, but HUGE bucks for this job.  I have previously painted five houses.  I know what will show and not show.  Fix the darn stuff now so that I don't have to repaint.  Why do people not take pride in a job well done, but just try to coast by with the minimum?  Don't accept poor craftsmanship, people.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Scrappy String Block

Last week I'd mentioned that I won some Bonnie & Camille scraps.  I decided to make a scrappy star block with some of the pieces.  I've had very little sewing time in the past week (which was making me pretty cranky), but I started on the pieces.  Although I thought I had too much fabric for each piece, as it is turning out, I don't have quite enough.  I will need to pull a few more pieces for the majority of the block components.
I finished binding the special quilt last night.  I just have to tuck in all the thread ends to finish.  I need a photo helper to get a picture of it and the other finish I've had recently.

Happy sewing!
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Surprise Finish & Other Odds & Ends

I received word that a guild mate's husband died Friday.  Another guild friend and I wanted to make a quilt for her.  We pooled resources--I had this twin sized top completed and she had backing fabric and batting.  We decided to add a row of hearts to the back--she is known for being anti-boring backs.  Plus we thought adding in a row of hearts would make it more special for the grieving friend.  I can longarm and bind.  She brought me everything Sunday night.  I made the backing and got the quilt loaded on Monday, I quilted it yesterday and am currently working on the binding.  I really love how it came out and I hope that the new owner will love it and know how much we care about her too.

The pattern is one I drew up years ago and taught as a class. The hearts on the back are available from Cluck, Cluck, Sew.  We used the 10" size.  The quilting pantograph is called Hubby Love; it seemed appropriate.

We're working through ways to set up my new sewing room and trying to figure out how to do the sewing table itself.  I would love for the arm to be at the table level for a smooth surface, but my bobbin is not top-loading and I need to be able to access it.  And what if I ever need to get a different machine?  The hole size could easily vary.  We thought maybe buying a Sew Steady table would be the answer.  I got the 18 x 24" size.  Right now I'm of mixed opinion on it.   I wish there was a size in between the large and junior.  This one is pretty huge for putting in a table.  My other complaint is that I have to lift it up in order to access the bobbin door.  Not a lot, less than 1/8", but it is sorta annoying considering this is supposed to be a custom-made piece.  I do really like the ruler that is mounted on it.  If you have a Bernina 440QE and are interested in this table, I'm willing to sell mine for $85 shipped in the US.
I won this bag of Bonnie & Camille tiny scraps from Sunshine Quilt Studio on Instagram.  I'm planning to make the block shown with the scraps.
The pink fabrics I was planning to work on last week did not work out.  I made something different for my swap, and it is finished, but I'll probably wait to reveal it until when it's received in December.

Have you ever seen the GetYourQuiltyWishesGranted hashtag on Instagram?  I haven't participated in it before, but I'm considering it this year.  
Wednesday, October 11, 2017


It's been a strange and interesting week here.  Without getting overly personal, let's just skip on to the cool stuff.  We had drywall delivered Monday and it was all hung yesterday!  It looks so different in the basement now.  It's been a long time coming.  I looked back on my Instagram feed to see when I'd posted pictures of the start, and it was in January 2016.  It's still a long ways from being done, and they won't come back to mud it until next week, but WOW!

I loaded up my Paradiso #2 quilt on the long arm, and by myself, no less.  I really wanted to test out the dampener plates by working on a pantograph.  What a huge difference!  The laser never bobbled off the lines I was following, with the exception of the points.  The points look really, really good though.  It was really enjoyable.  The only issue I had was that the power box and cord were falling out occasionally.  That may be because I was using a different extension cord and I had a lot more stuff in there in preparation for the drywall.  I will update my Juki post with the current information too.

After that went so well, I decided I wanted to try something new from the front too.  So I loaded up my snowflake quilt from Threadbare Creation's mystery stitch along a few weeks ago.  I tried to do the repeating flower design freehand.  It's far from perfect, but I got in done in just over an hour and while the mistakes really stand out to me, hopefully they aren't totally noticeable.  I bound the quilt that evening, and here it is.  Oh my gosh, now that it's completely done, I see another mistake.  Argh!  Oh well, too late now.

I also finished up this Luna cross stitch over the weekend.  I'm unsure on it.
Here's a view of my work table.  I'm working on a swap.  Not sure if my idea is going to work out though.   :(
I also saw a new bird this weekend.  It is a yellow throated warbler.   I saw two flying around, but this guy flew into the slider, so he sat for a long time.
We also had a lot of bluebirds hanging out on our feeders, which is odd.  They typically eat bugs and worms, not seed.
And, while watching the warbler, I saw this hawk overhead.  
Until next week.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MQX Midwest

I enjoyed my time at MQX last week.  I took two classes from Linda Hrcka:  one on feathers and one about how to use rulers, which was a hands-on (using a machine) class.  Both were excellent although I have a long ways to go on the feathers!  I also took a beginner basics class from DeLoa Jones and a trunk show with Teresa Silva.  Teresa showed us how to draw a lot of different designs too.  She showed us many of the quilts from her new book and I have to say that though the photos in the book were nice, I was so fortunate to see them in real life, because they were so much more amazing in real life.

Things I learned:  all three instructors use primarily Superior Threads and mostly So-Fine and Bottom Line.  They all prefer Quilter's Dream battings in most cases.  They use the Dritz blue and purple markers or Bohin (white only) chalk. Two of the three use Linda's rulers (The Quilted Pineapple) and they were sold out by the time I got to my ruler class with Linda.  Most of them don't change needles as often as you'd think.  Wondering which way the batting goes, or what is right side up?  The scrim side, which will look like it has an interfacing dot pattern on it and may be a bit shiny, goes down.  Trying out machines at a show?  Try making bumps, sort of like clamshell quilting, and see how the machine comes out of the valleys.  Make sure the stitching stays consistent (same stitch length) coming out. Also go from right to left in a straight line to see where the thread breaks.

I didn't find much to buy since many of the vendors were machine vendors.  I bought a few spools of thread, some extra pieces for my Leader Grips, and Teresa's book, which she autographed for me.
Linda Hrcka showing us some of her quilting.
Detail of one of Linda's quilts.
One of Teresa Silva's quilts.
Teresa's Lone Star quilt.
Teresa's business name quilt.
I took a few photos in the show.  The lighting was kind of odd, but it did really help the quilting texture show.  The way the quilts were hung, you could see many of the backs too.  I only had my cell phone with me, so these aren't great, but hopefully they are still enjoyable.

The special exhibit was the Cherrywood Lion King Challenge.  120 quilts were selected for the traveling exhibit.  The quilts are 18" x 18" I think.

Here are some other quilts I liked.  I unfortunately didn't get good enough pictures of the labels, so I've included them where I could.
Me:  "Is that George Michael?"  My husband's response to the picture of the quilt I texted him:  "Is that George Michael?"
Quilt is George Michael by Mary Menzer.
This is one of Margaret Solomon Gunn's quilts.
I don't know.
Ruby Splendor by Rhonda Stockton, quilted by Cindy Gravely
With Milk or Sugar? by Rhonda Adams, quilted by Jane Hauprich 
Galactica Supernova by Corrine Woodward
Soft Serenade by Suzy Webster 
I can't read the tag on this one.  :(  It was all black, white, and gray and really striking in person.
Blush by Cindy Seitz-Krug, quilted entirely on a sit-down machine.  Tag below.

Mini Wholecloth by Linda Read
My absolute favorite at the show--Birds Fly by Barbara Lies.
Back of Birds Fly
 Hope you enjoyed the pictures!