Wednesday, September 20, 2017

More of the Same

This week I finished the beehive cross stitch and started a new one, Luna in her Gryffindor lion head.  My fabric is a 28 ct light blue linen, but it photos as gray.
Pattern by Sewing Seed on Etsy
Pattern purchased from Tiny Needle on Etsy; store no longer exists.

I finished off the pieces to the quilt I was working on and have a layout decided upon.  The pattern is Shortcake by Cluck, Cluck, Sew and the fabric is Kate Spain's Paradiso.  This is one of two I was working on that I originally thought would match my new furniture, but it turns out they do not look nice with the furniture.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them; perhaps try to sell them.  It's hard to make any money on a quilt though; no-one seems to be willing to pay you the true value of the time and materials invested.

I bought a few new patterns to try for shirts since I'm still having trouble with figuring out how to move the bust dart.  Now I just have to cut out a million pattern pieces.

And I've made a preliminary fabric pull for my guild's next swap.

In other news, we replanted lettuce, broccoli rabe, and cabbage seeds in the garden a week ago and the lettuce and rabe are already up. I haven't tried a fall crop before, but so far, so good.

We have a meeting with a drywaller next week. I'm excited!  

Why is it that dealing with other parents seems like high school drama all over again?  Why can't we be mature and act like adults? I, for one, have no desire to revisit my younger years. Speaking of drama, so much of Facebook is so ugly and reflective of current politics that I can barely stand to look at it anymore (and don't most of the time).  Not sure if this is reflective of who I am "friends" with or if other peoples' pages are like that too.  Why can't people be civil?

MQX is next week!  I'm signed up for four classes and the awards ceremony.  

I still haven't managed to try out the Juki with the dampeners yet.

That's about it for this week.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not Much

Not much has been happening.  I'm kinda in a slump.  I can't decide what to work on and everything feels a bit off.  The quilts I was working on to go with my new furniture look HORRIBLE with it, so that has taken away the will to want to work on them.

I did finish my Threadbare Creations Mystery quilt top.  Kinda funny that it is a snowflake and my fabric has dragonflies on it.  Oh crap.  I just realized I have two pieces sewn wrong.  Well, guess I'll be doing some ripping.  :(

I finished up Super Koala last week and started this little bee hive.  Pattern is by SewingSeed on Etsy.  My fabric is a really pretty light blue linen, but it is not photoing well.

I really need to make myself some shirts.  I bought all this fabric last year and I now I NEED some shirts because a lot of mine are either too big or worn out.  I watched a bunch of fitting classes last week on Craftsy and then watched a bunch on You Tube as well.  I still am unsure on how to fit the pattern I want to use.  It has a bust dart to take into account my  shapely figure.  The bad thing is the dart is much higher than I need it.  I thought I understood how to lower it, but I'm mentally blocked with it.  And I need to buy a French curve and don't feel like going to the store.  Current state of the worktable:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Back to Sewing

My back is feeling much better.  Yay!  I'm able to drive and sew again.  

Monday I took advantage of the free Craftsy class viewing and watched many hours of instruction. I'm not the best at sitting and watching TV and classes are also like that for me.  So I worked on the fish quilt a little bit.  I finished trimming the blocks I'd already pressed and then ironed all the rest.  There's still so much trimming to be done--I'd say well over 400 of them.  It's quite daunting.
I also sewed and pressed part of these blocks.  There are 28 of them.
And for something a little different, I am participating in Threadbare Creation's seven-day-mystery-sew-along.  I shopped my stash for this one!  At the end I should have a mini top.  Want to participate?  Check here to get started.
And I'm trying to be better about working on something rather than just sitting and playing with the iPad in the evenings.  I've about finished my Super Koala (pattern by Sewing Seeds on Etsy).
I finished the Windermere #2 quilt a few weeks ago and have updated my 2017 finishes page with that.  

My new furniture is being delivered tomorrow.  I hope it looks good!  We sold our old furniture and delivered it to its new owner on Monday, so the living room is looking quite large and somewhat bare at the moment.  Surprisingly, my son was very upset that we sold the old furniture.

FLL is going well.  Our team works wonderfully together so far this season.  It makes everything so much easier and much more pleasant.

I still haven't had a chance to try out the long arm with the new plates on it.  Sigh.  I really need to get on that.  I'm attending MQX in a few weeks and taking some classes.  Anyone going?

Last week we had to get our front porch lifted.  It is cement and had settled over an inch in four years (due to the installer's lack of care).  Anyway, now it's back in place and guaranteed for five years.  I figure that means that at five years, one day, it will start to settle again.  Ha!

In basement news, the insulation is almost totally done.  We finally got a drywaller to return our calls.  We'd called several who didn't respond and it was getting a little disheartening.  Hopefully this one will work out and we can progress.  Can't WAIT to have my own space where everything can be in one central location and the mess will be contained to one room rather than spread all over the main floor.

Finally, it is guild week!  Yay!  Love my guild and meetings.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Attack of the Vacuum

Last Thursday I was cleaning and decided to vacuum the stairs.  We have a landing part way down and that is where I had the vacuum while I was at the bottom of the stairs trying to use the extension hose/wand.  I know, I know.  Bad idea!  The vacuum fell on me and when I tried to lift it back up and then finish the upper part of the stairs I hurt my back.  Who knew vacuuming could be hazardous to your health?

So I haven't been doing much.  Driving and sewing were not comfortable and for a while I couldn't even sit comfortably.  Thankfully I'm much better now, although still taking it really easy to give it time to heal.

I got on a bit of a cross stitch kick once I was able to sit comfortably.  I made this Buddy the Elf, but I'm not entirely happy with it, so I'm going to redraw the elf portion and restitch it.  (This was stitched from a free pattern by weelittlestitches.)

In the meantime, I started on an easy "Super Koala" design just for fun.  I'm not sure what/who "Super Koala" is, but I like the design (by SewingSeed on Etsy--lots of really cute, easy stitches).  Hopefully it's not some weird thing.  ha ha

And I did sneak in a bit of sewing.  I have 28 nine patch blocks to sew.  I have a few of them ready for sewing the rows.

The thing to do, it seems to me, is to prepare yourself so you can be a rainbow in somebody else’s cloud. Somebody who may not look like you. May not call God the same name you call God — if they call God at all. I may not dance your dances or speak your language. But be a blessing to somebody. That’s what I think.”--Dr. Maya Angelou
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Juke Dampening Plate for the TL2200QVP Long Arm

I mentioned a while back that I'd finally gotten the dealer who handled the sale of my long arm to order the dampening plates for me.  Juki is notorious for not having parts available in a timely fashion.  I figured it would take a while, but surprisingly the entire process of initial contact to delivery was within two weeks!  The man I worked with this time at the dealer was fantastic to work with.

Even though these parts now come standard on the machines, they are considered an upgrade to older (1-5 year old machines).  On the Juki owners Facebook group I belong to, some people were able to get the part at no cost while others were quoted upwards of $700!!!  The average seemed to run around $200.  While I still feel Juki should have provided these at no charge--at the time I initially inquired my machine was one year old; search Juki in the search bar for the back story--I felt that if $200 was what it took to make it run better, it would be worth it.  I ended up being charged $140, which was $125 for the parts and $15 for shipping  (a great deal since the dealer is five hours away!).  

So we got the parts and they sat for a week or two before I convinced my husband to install them for me.  The directions that came with the parts are not very good, again typical Juki.  In fact, the original  equipment parts shown on the diagram are nothing like what was on my machine.  I took step-by-step photos in case anyone else out there runs into this issue.

Here's what comes in the box.  By the way, you need to know which version of the machine you have in order to get the right pieces.  Mine has a green on/off switch and is version 2.
The directions 
The new plate
The hardware--the four rubber dampeners, some nuts and washers
 Here is a step-by-step process of what we did.
Remove the dead bar.
Remove the top bar.  This one takes a little more time since you
have to remove the handle wheel first.
Gently lift the machine off the tracks and lay it on its side.
We laid ours on several layers of fleece for cushioning.
Carefully remove the encoder since you will
need to reattach it to the new pieces.
Take the two bars off.
Remove the plate that was closer to the front of the machine.
Remove the larger plate from the back.
This photo show the new locations of the plates.  Note that you will
have to rotate the larger back one so that the holes line up.
Don't attach them just yet.
Add the rubber dampeners.
Tighten down the jam nuts.
Reattach the large plate to the bottom of the machine as shown.
Closer view.
Attach the rubber dampeners to the front plate, then reattach as shown.
Attach the new plate to the bottom of the machine as directed.
Detail shot of reattachment.
Reattach the encoder.  
Carefully place your machine back onto the rails and reattach all the cables.
I have not yet had time to try quilting with the new setup.  I can say that the machine feels wobbly on the tracks now.  I imagine this is by design, to help absorb all the vibrations.  I will update once I have a chance to try it out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I've Been Busy

Now that the kids are back at school (a week already!) and things seem to be settling down, I've been pretty busy working on things.  Some sewing, lots of FLL.  

I successfully free hand quilted a quilt from the front of the machine using something other than loopy meandering.  I'm about 2/3 done binding it.  Fabric is Windermere by Brenda Riddle for Moda along with some Kona Snow.  Pattern is all HST.
I quilted and bound my Thimbleblossoms Vintage mini using Bonnie & Camille's Handmade line of fabric.  It's about 15" square.  This pattern was a lot harder than it looked!
I made a pieced backing out of some of the leftover charm squares and trimmings from the blocks.  I got some weird ripples.  I think I may need a new walking foot.  How do you tell if it's gone bad?
I've been slowly working on a Kate Spain Paradiso quilt made using Carlene Westburg's Labyrinth pattern.  This pattern uses charm squares and is really easy to sew.  I used five charm packs for the version I am working on.  I made one several years ago using B&C Bliss and finished it last year. I feel like this is a good pattern for making a quilt that you know you will use a lot but not feel bad or worried about using because it goes together so quickly.  Anyone else scared to use their "favorite" quilts--ones that took FOR-EV-ER or ones with a super special fabric?
Anyway, I'm actually almost done--half of it is completely sewn (as pictured in this really poorly lit and poor color-representation laundry room picture) and the other half needs to be pressed and rows joined.  I have been working on this in bits and pieces since January, one charm pack at a time, in between projects or when I needed a break.  I had my daughter choose the fabric pairings for the last pack since I did the last two at the same time.  This strategy worked really well because I did not find any blocks that came out the same!  My daughter also did the majority of the layout with a few tweaks from me.  Mostly I just left it. I have four leftover blocks that I think I'm going to use to make a pillow.

We took the plunge and ordered new living room furniture over the weekend--a navy couch, navy/turquoise nubbly fabric for two chairs and an ottoman, and a recliner in a pattern called "very cherry" which is actually a dark fuchsia pattern.  I'm hoping that the Paradiso quilt will kinda blend with the furniture colors.  And I really hope I like the furniture in person because I will be in debt for some time and it had better last the next 20 years at least!  

I've been busy prepping for our upcoming FLL season.  We are starting on Friday.  I'm not really ready yet.  I still don't really understand the programming, so I'll be learning that as my husband teaches the kids.  My part is more teaching Core Values and supervising their project progress. And discipline and assigning homework.  It's a pretty intense program for elementary kids and for us adult volunteers as well, what with all the prep and stuff.  If you know someone who is a coach or a participant, please recognize all the hours they put in.

I got my Juki dampening kit last week.  We have opened the box but have not gotten it installed yet.  I'm planning to wait to quilt anything else until it's on.  Once we get installed I plan to share photos of what's in the box, the installation, and my opinion of the change.

And finally, I've officially broken the 20 pounds lost point.  I'm now back to pre-babies weight, but would still like to lose another 15-20, taking me closer to my wedding weight.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."--Martin Luther King,Jr.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Day of School!

It's the first day of school for my kids.  We didn't get off to the best start--my daughter's bus was over 1/2 hour late and I almost forgot to take a picture of my son, amongst other things.  I hope things work out okay for them during the day.

I haven't really had much sewing time lately.  My birthday was a few weeks ago and my husband and I spent a good chunk of time that day putting insulation in my future sewing room.  I totally felt like I was shoving pieces of Chewbacca into the walls.  And I learned that insulating ceilings is the worst.

We have a bit more cleaning up and more insulating out in the main part of the basement and then we are ready for drywall.  That will be the half-way point.  Man, I can't wait!

In sewing news, I have my B&C Vintage pattern mini ready for quilting.
I had to take a break from trimming all the Fishline HST because it is so incredibly boring.  Plus, the trimmings are coming off in little tiny chunks, which makes clean up frustrating.
So, I cut up my Tasha Noel Pixie Noel fabric over the weekend.  I am going to make her Winter Wonderland pattern with it.

I got a few more stitches into the blue bird cross stitch.  I really should be working on the never-ending house cross stitch instead.

I need to get going on quilting Windermere #2.  It's been hanging on the frame for two or three weeks now.  Oh, that reminds me...I ordered the dampener plate for my machine and it is in.  Theoretically I should receive it by the end of the weekend.  All the more reason to get this quilt done.

Unfortunately, I think cleaning will have to take precedence over all of these things.  I need to vacuum and the kitchen desperately needs a good cleaning.  And if I am really good, I should do some weeding & clean up in the gardens.  Probably not gonna be that good though!  :)