Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Guild Mug Rug/Coaster Swap

My guild met last week and we exchanged the coasters/mug rugs.  Here's the one I made for my partner.  It definitely fell into the large mug rug category.  I used Cotton Way's Bobbin Box pattern as a base and used Bonnie & Camille Basics for the fabrics.

I received the cutest hexie-shaped coaster.  It's perfect because the fabrics and colors are all ones I love and it's also something I would never make for myself.  
We also had the gift exchange.  Here's most of what I included in my gift.  Not pictured is one more pattern and a pin.
Here's what I received.

I was quite happy that the mug and my mug rug match.  Nice coincidence.
In other news,  I'm so relieved that Alabama came through.  I feel a small amount of hope from this.

Also, I finished up the fish quilt top and quilted it yesterday.  I had a moment (or ten) of panic when I thought I broke my bobbin case with a row and a half left to go.  I thought the bobbin was empty, so I went to pull it out of the case and the check spring fell out too.  After reading posts in the FB group about it, I finally found a description of how to reinsert it that made sense.  Whew! Disaster averted.  I started binding last night and only have about 380 inches left to go.  I have 10 days.  No sweat, right?

I was feeling good about it until I realized that I still have to embroider 10 shirts and make a teacher gift in that time or less.  I can do this.  I can do this.  I can do this.

At least the decorating and wrapping is done.
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Finally, Some Breathing Room

We have now officially ended our FLL season.  The boys won the Innovative Solution award at the Southern state competition, but were not selected to move forward with the Global Innovation Award.  They were in the top 13 teams in the state, and one of the youngest.  So it's an honor, but we're still disappointed that no reason was given why they weren't selected.  I am proud of this year's team because the kids did the work.  We also had the opportunity to do a little outreach in our community last night.  It was a lot of fun and we're hoping to do more.

This is the first free Wednesday night we've had since July.  I almost don't know what to do with my time.  Ha ha.  Of course I jest because I have a to-do list a mile long.

My quilt guild meets this week and we will be exchanging our mug rugs and also having a gift exchange.  This leads me down a path a bit...the intent of the exchange is for each person to bring one nice gift and then we exchange them by drawing a number and selecting a gift from the pile. Each person after number one has the option to draw a new gift or take someone else's already opened gift.  

What do you call this kind of exchange?  It was labeled first as "Dirty Santa" but someone said that's usually done with risqué gifts.  It was then relabeled as "White Elephant."  To me, White Elephant indicates a tacky but useful gift.  However, I have lived in several regions of the country and it seems to mean something a little different in each place.  

So it should be interesting.  Nice gifts, tacky gifts, something in between?  Here's what I have so far ($20 limit).
I've also been very sloooowwwllly working on the fish quilt.  I have two of the six seams for the main top done.  Then there are two sets of borders, quilting, and binding remaining.  18 days to finish it.  😬

Can you find the "oopsie"?  Poor fabric cutting?  ha ha
I am hoping to start priming the basement this weekend.  Although painting isn't my favorite thing, I'm ready to get the show on the road.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Many Scrubbies?

I mentioned last week that I was knitting some scrubbies with Red Heart's Scrubby yarn and Lily's Sugar and Cream yarn.  In case you missed it, I used size 8 knitting needles, cast on 15, and then used garter stitch on every row until I thought it was a good size, around 3 x 4 inches.  

I decided to see how many I could get from one skein of the Scrubby yarn.  The answer: 7.5 scrubbies.  I think I could have made each of them one or two rows less and then I could have eight total instead.  I will use them as stocking stuffers.
I've also made a bit of progress on the fish quilt.  I laid out all my blocks and put numbered pins in over the weekend. I started sewing yesterday.  I have four rows sewn and am hoping to get the other three knocked out today.  Then it's six seams to join the rows and two sets of borders.
Be sure to check out my Etsy shop (link to the right----->).  Everything, patterns and finished clothes, is on sale through Saturday, December 2.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More of the Same

Still FLL.  This QT was a little different than the one we've attended in the past.  There were only five awards given instead of 15-20.  The boys won the project category and also were nominated for the Global Innovation award, which is a big deal.  We are competing in the Southern State Tourney in a week and a half and we have also been invited to apply for judging in the state Global Innovation competition, which is a week after our state tourney.  There are up to 13 teams nominated in our state for the G.I., and the judges will select four teams from those that apply. Two of those will move forward to apply for the national G.I. competition.  Twenty teams worldwide will be selected to compete.  Like I said, it's a pretty big deal.  Keep in mind our team is elementary school aged.
The tourney was held in a town known for limestone, so our trophy is a small limestone Lego.
Besides that, my husband had a freak car accident Monday morning on his way to work.  He's fine; the car is not.  Someone heading the opposite way hit a deer, flinging it into the air.  It landed about 10 feet in front of our car and my husband hit it and drove over it.  The other car never stopped.  He had to call 911 to get an accident report.  While waiting for the police he had about 10 people stop and ask if he needed help, which I found nice. Once the police officer arrived, two more people hit the deer remains, so the officer had to drag the carcass out of the road.  The car has $3500 of damage!  
I haven't gotten much sewing done, unfortunately. Time's-a-ticking.  I have 11 more blocks of the fish quilt to sew and three that are 1/2 done.  This is my most pressing project at the moment. There are 35 blocks total, plus borders.

I have made a few scrubbies using Red Heart Scrubby yarn knitted along with Lily Sugar n Cream yarn.  I'm thinking these will be stocking stuffer gifts since I can do one in an evening or two--the Scrubby yarn is pretty rough on my hands.  I have one skein of each yarn.  I'm curious how many finished scrubbies per skein I can get.  I'll try to update soon.  I'm casting on 15 with size 8 needles and working in garter stitch until it's about 4" wide.

Have you seen the new "Snowy Day" holiday stamps?  So cute.  By the way, postage is going up in January.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

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.