Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shiver Me Timbers

Saturday morning and I thought I was going to go do some retail therapy.
Not my normal fabric store, but I needed some cheap muslin, and cheap batting?  No I was not going to make a quilt for someone I was going to practice my FMQ because for the first time in 8 months this is empty!  I wanted to practice the motif I was going to use on my next quilt and play with a really cool ruler I found. 
Can you believe it?  I have been struggling with a quilt, and sewing machines for months!  This is the 3rd sewing machine we finally put on it, the Singer 15-91 and it works wonderful.

Lessons learned?
Love my quilter that DH made me.  I have given him suggestions for upgrades.  ;)
After changing machines multiple times I finally found the one, but once I get so far in the quilt I only have about 3 inches to quilt at a time. 

I squared it up as best I could and tried to make sure that I did not cut off any of the points on the borders.  I have a lot of thread ends to bury, and I need to figure out where I had some stitching problems and mark it so I can rip out the quilting and redo that area.  I think some safety pins will help.  I am just thrilled that it is quilted at least.  I will get my binding ready too!

My plans have been thwarted by mother nature though.

We had an ice storm this morning.  The airport is also closed, a plane slid off the runway.  DH is at work, it is their holiday parade, fun run, and 5 K today for the municipality he works.  They are saying that the weather is going to warm up.  We will see.  But for now?  I have a yellow brick road to work on. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I Am Just Not Ready

Oh the weather outside if frightful.....come on you know the song.  All I can think is that it is much too soon for the white stuff which is covering the ground.  But perfect weather for getting some sewing done.

I finished up my basket case quilt top (pattern by Cluck, Cluck, Sew).  I am kind of liking the colors. DH says he likes the bright!  I tried to match the colors based upon the card included in the Bali Pop but somehow when I ordered the border fabric I ended up with one that was more of a poll color with peachy pinks in it.  I thought I was going to hate it, but I think it kind of helps. 

I did a bit of quilting, still not finished yet.  UGH!  A little at a time will get it done right? 

I did get inspired to start to make some Christmas gifts.  Thanks to the Twas the Night Before Christmas Blog hop at Sew We Quilt, and Dawn at Sew You Quilt 2

I made a chap-stick holder. 
I think that it may need to be a wee bit smaller.  I thought it turned out pretty cute though and it would be a nice little stocking stuffer.  I have a few more to make.  I have been digging through my scraps, and my room looks like it!  DH says that is just not his colors. 

I also received some fabric stash enhancements.
 Red grunge which is for the grandson's quilt I am planning, some text fabric one is kind of a golden yellow, the other is white on white, also a black on white print with those fun safety pins for some stash enhancements.
A gorgeous multi color thread for quilting the grandson's quilt.  Here you can get a better idea of the color of the text print. 
 Some toweling to make a Christmas gift.  Or two or four. 
These awesome chalkboard Christmas prints from Fat Quarter shop.  I just loved the line and had to have it. 

I am kind of surprised at how much I have been getting accomplished.  We will see how I do Tuesday.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Rude Awakenings

Have you ever had a day which you are just kind of lost in time?  Well Sunday was one of those days. 

It started with this sound like a snap near our bedroom window.  (We are on the 2nd floor).  I looked out and our barn and garage lights were out, the street light across and down from us are out, the neighbors across the road and field were out, but the Ancient ones and the widow next door had lights.  I put some clothes on, grabbed a flashlight and headed out the door.  Someone had hit our power pole.  After they had hit a curb, taken out the speed limit sign, flew through the Ancient ones front yard, hit the domed storm drain cover, tore a section out of the Ancient ones driveway, and  hit our power pole taking about an 8 foot section out of it.  The wires kept it standing.  Whomever was driving fled from the accident, leaving their car. 

Fifteen hours later we finally got our power back, but boy it was a cold day, and with the early wake up call DH and I kind of napped off and on all day long. 

Saturday was a whole other story though.  I got quite a bit quilted on this quilt.
I actually ran out of light on Saturday.  I am learning lots now that I have a machine that works pretty well while quilting. 
1.  When you start breaking threads-  change the needle.
2.  It doesn't get light enough on the sun porch to quilt until about 10 am and by about 3:30 pm it is getting too dark so I only have about a 5 1/2 hour window.

I was so hoping that I could finish this up Sunday, but with no power I was not willing to run my sewing machine using generator power.  Maybe this week. 

I finished trimming up the blocks on the basket weave quilt, got the blocks put together, and one border.  One more border all cut and ready to sew and the top will be finished. 

A few yellow brick road blocks.
I have had this pattern and the blocks kind of cut out for a very long time.  The problem is that I had a tough time understanding the pattern.  I finally realized it did not give me directions for anything larger than a baby quilt, you would end up with 3 different block units, but the way you sew and cut them apart there is not a whole lot of variety, and you kind of had to figure out how many of each of the blocks to make on  your own if you wanted it larger even though it told me I needed 90 blocks.  Isn't that kind of a silly reason to put a quilt aside for years? That a simple quilt which many people make and is considered very easy totally flummoxed me. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Squaring Up!

DH is working this weekend, it is cold, dreary and rainy and I cannot just settle down.  When I got up this morning it was too dark to try to do any quilting so I thought I would wander into my sewing room.

What was waiting for me?

The pile of farmer's wife blocks to square up.  I hate squaring up, I know a necessary evil, but I wish I could somehow miraculously be more accurate and not have to trim!  Blech!

I did buy some fabric for my farmer's wife though and it arrived Friday.
The navy I am going to use for the cornerstones, but I could not decide on the sashing.  It It is so difficult to get a true color representation when you shop online.  So I chose two tannish colors that I thought I may like. 
My completely scientific method of choosing.  I decided the parchment (the one closest to the navy) would be the "go with everything".  I still need another fabric which is used as setting triangles for the end of the rows.  I have thought about red, but then also maybe just an off white tone on tone.  Maybe a light brown shirting type print.  When I see it I will know it is perfect.  I will say that I love Thousands of Bolts online fabric shop for my solids.  They have great prices! 

I also have these to square up.
Thursday I had decided that I did not have enough blue color strips to get my 30 blocks I needed.  I counted, counted one more time, and counted a third time I was at 22, and I had 4 more blues left.  By my calculation I need 4 blue batiks because the colors in the Bali pop did not have any more blue left.  Now I have heard rumors that there is a shop in Maumee, Ohio called the Quilt Foundry that has loads of batiks.  So I set my GPS and off I went.  No I didn't take pictures, but imagine walking into this small shop with 2 rooms, one is totally batiks, the other prints and solids.  The batik room is stuffed to overflowing!  The Quilt Foundry had acquired the inventory of a couple of local online shops that had decided to close.  There were bolts of fabric everywhere, and these poor ladies were trying to separate them by color.  Batik bolts were stacked on rolling racks, stacked on the floor 10 bolts deep, on tables.  Did I find what I was looking for?  A most resoundlingly yes!
And a cute little chicken pincushion too!  I also picked up some fabric for one of the borders of my basket weave quilt. 

The color is called lipstick and seems to match a lot of the pinks. I had already purchased the backing a few weeks ago when I saw it on sale, it was from the same line as the Bali pop.  Oh and my calculations?  They were off.  I didn't need any blue batiks because obviously I cannot count that from set of two strip I get two blocks and I had 22 blocks already made.  You get the picture. 

I am still prepping for doing Bertie.  I decided to stick with the original colors of Bertie and the background so I ordered that from Fat Quarter Shop.
With that much fabric Bertie needed a project box!
 I also found some pink sketch to use on the Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion Mystery which will begin at the end of the month. 
I also purchased a little bit of white on white fabric which has a sketch type look to it. 

I decided I would square up a few farmer's wife blocks, a few of the basket weave blocks, and work on the BOM I have been doing with a group from My Quilt Place. 

I sat down and calculated how many blocks I was going to do.  (We usually do a couple of blocks a month) Also how my layout of my connector blocks would work. 

My totally mathematical genius way of figuring it out.  I had 4 connector blocks made, I would need 25 in total.  Wait a minute.  I had one fabric which I was using for background on my blocks and connector blocks and how much did I have left?

OMG not much, about 1 yard, and I had calculated that I needed 5 strips which were 8 1/2 inches wide just for my  part of my connector blocks.  That did not include the 4 1/2 inch strips which I would need for the rest of the connector block.  I purchased this fabric earlier this year, and the one thing I will say about batiks which makes me crazy is that it doesn't have the name of the manufacturer on it.  Off I went to see if I could find the manufacturer and any shop which still carried it.  I skimmed through some online shops which specialize in Batiks, and was just about defeated when I found a shop which had it!  So I promptly ordered 3 yards, that should get me through my connector blocks and leave me extra for blocks. I have done 11 blocks, one I am not using it just doesn't work for me, and I am 6 blocks behind still! 

Finally I pulled out a project box with a UFO.  I am going to work on the yellow brick road quilt.  Again. 
After I work on some more quilting! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Necessity is the Mother

What do you do when things don't go exactly as planned?  Improvise!

I was working on a quilt on the frame when I ran out of bobbin thread.  I had used all the bobbins I had prewound so it was time to wind some more, but I didn't want to unthread the machine and take it off of the quilt to wind the bobbins, I also had some bobbins that I had wound from my previous attempts with the Husqvarna/Viking that I could use if I had a way to unwind them.

 I had previously used my singer 66 to wind some bobbins and it worked marvelous, but it has a quilt on it getting quilted and I didn't want to remove it either. 

I thought about the my new to me Industrial which has this nifty separate bobbin winder, but I could not find a spool pin which was small enough to hold the bobbins which I needed to unwind and rewind, it would not sit correctly and I didn't want to take a chance on breaking it.   Not even a cone thread holder would work. 
 While cutting parts for the drunkard's path I decided I would like to sew a few more of them together and wondered....would the Singer 301 work even though the bobbin winder is similar to a bobbin winder on a 221 (Featherweight)?  Yep it worked so I was back in business. 

I have lots of quilts to quilt  and so I knew I needed to get crackin'!  I wanted to work on the guild charity quilt and had enough pantograph to do a row but the cabinet the machine is in is a bit sticky because the wood was not taken care of, the cabinet was what was an original barn find with a singer 15-91 in it.  It opens up nice and large, but I wanted to use the 15-91 on my quilting frame.  DH moved the 66 which was in a small flimsy type cabinet which was pretty beat up to the cabinet that the 15-91 was in, which gave me plenty of room to quilt.  But I just could not get the quilt to slide.  I have a supreme slider but it is on the machine on the quilting frame.  While I was in the kitchen it hit me that bakers use parchment paper because nothing really seems to stick to it.  I had just enough to cover the bed of the machine. 
While not optimum it will work until the new Queen Supreme Slider I ordered arrives and I can do some quilting on this quilt.  Necessity is the mother of invention. 

I was surprised at how quickly I can get a pass done on this quilt, even though occasionally I get lost on the pattern.  It is not always easy to see even with good light.  Everyday I seem to have planned to quilt, things don't work out, but I really need to complete some quilting! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Quilter's Conundrum

Doesn't it seem like November is just whizzing by?  DH was off on Tuesday for voting day.  Me?  I didn't get home until almost 6 pm, no breaks during the day even.  I had a meeting, a class, another meeting, between my morning and afternoon runs, and another meeting before I finally got home.  The difference between teachers and bus drivers?  Teachers teach about 30 kids mostly of one age for 6 hours a day not including lunch, and recess.  Bus drivers deal with children 70+ kids for 2 hours a day but the ages range from 4-13 during one run and 13-18 on during 2 hours on another run. 

I think I am glad I didn't have voting day off too.  Dh split wood, most of the day in the rain the cold wind, and plowed to make the orchard larger and to give me an area further away from the garden to plant sweet corn and sunflowers for next year.  But I do get to have Wednesday and Thursday off which is very cool.  What is my conundrum?  I should clean house, I have some furniture in the barn to paint so I can kind of straighten up my living room, but I have lots of sewing and quilting to do also?  Also the weather is beautiful!

What did I decide?

I have worked on a few drunkard's path blocks.
A few basket weave blocks.

And worked on quite a bit of quilting during my free time.  I had started with my wavy lines, but I wanted some sort of star quilting too.  I found a free pantograph, printed to the size of the blocks I wanted to make, and started to copy it on Press'n Seal.

I then placed it on the quilt in the joins and started quilting. 
It takes a bit of time but it is working out pretty good.  While I am watching some of the old original Dr. Who from 1963/1964 I work on tracing the blocks.  I will need about 30 all together.  I quilt for a bit, then either piece blocks, cut blocks for my drunkard's path or cut some scraps.

I have made a few fabric acquisitions along the way too. 

I bought some flannel to make the Bertie's patterns.  I didn't want to do the BOM nor could I afford it, but purchasing the fabric, and some layer cakes on sale I am slowly acquiring enough to start.  Certain fabrics I am keeping the same, like for the background and Bertie.  The others I will do it my way.   I am kind of looking forward to making these little cuties. 

I also found this cute mini quilt pattern that I just had to have.  I love acorns and maple leaves. 

Oh and to provide proof I did do some housekeeping.

What do you do on beautiful fall days?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Weekend Musings

I know I should probably feel a bit ashamed for saying this, but I love it when DH works on the weekend and I have the house all to myself.  Saturday morning started at 5 am, I can't sleep much past my normal wake up time which kind of is a bummer.  I know I must try to stay up a wee bit later to adjust for the time change this weekend. 

DH got up at about 5:30 and left about a quarter after 6, so I had the house to myself.  What was I going to do?  Sew of course!

Ozark Maple Leaf

Butterfly at the Crossroads


Noon & Light


Autumn Tints

Friendship Block

Star of Hope

Yee Haw!  I finished all 111 of the Farmer's Wife blocks.  Now to figure out what colors to use for sashing, cornerstones, setting blocks, and borders.  Almost all of these blocks were made from scraps.  I cannot even begin to tell you what a sense of accomplishment I feel completing all of the blocks. I put them in order and started to square them up Saturday evening. 

I started cutting up some scraps to get control of my mess, but then decided that I would work on the Aurifil Block of the Month called tossed salad.

I then cut some more scraps and then cleaned up my area a bit more and started to work on my drunkard's path.  I completed one block and got the parts for 4 more sewn together into rows.

Not bad for a weekend of sewing. 

I had a slight epiphany after finishing the blocks for the farmer's wife.  I have a bunch of quilts that need to be quilted and in order to do that I need to reassess how I use my time.  More quilting, and less piecing. 

Sunday it was beautiful and sunny, but not warm.  DH cleaned out the garage so I could park my car in there.  He then plowed  the garden so we were ready for next year.   We doubled the size of the garden for , and also doubled the orchard area, and also made a new area where I would like to grow sweet corn, and sunflowers.   I am still having a hard time believing it is November, especially since I still have flowers blooming.