Monday, November 24, 2014

Excitement of the Holidays

I woke up this morning, said a prayer, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to read a couple of blogs before I head out the door to work.   All I could think of is.... I only have to make it 3 days this week!  Then I have a 4 day weekend to kind of,  do what I want.  Sorry if I sound like I have a bad attitude about my job, it isn't that, even after last week.  (Don't even get me started on a rant about people and being sick.  Nuff said!)

What I am excited about is that someone is making dinner for us, and it will be fun and relaxing, even though we will help since this is their first real foray into making a holiday dinner.  But it is also the beginning of Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion Mystery.

Now Bonnie says she attributes the ideas and colors to her visit to Mackinaw Island, in Michigan and their Grand Hotel.  With Bonnie being such a rockin babe I am going to attribute it to the group Styx and their song Grand Illusion which was really popular when some of us were teens and  young adults.

Forget the late Thanksgiving night shopping for Christmas sales, and Black Friday bargains.  I am excited about starting Bonnie's new mystery!  23,000 Facebook fans can't be wrong?  Can they? 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Have You Done Today?

The weekend was very busy.  I do know that because of my crazy schedule I am awake by 5:00 am.  But it was all a blur.

Saturday I fed the girls, gave them some treats.  Took my life in my hands with the ice on the ground.  Squared up the quilt I finished the day before, buried my threads, took out some quilting in a small section and I will quilt that section over. 

I made binding for that quilt.
Two more chap stick holders.  I still have a few more to make.
I have quite the pile of yellow brick road blocks going, but looking at my strips, I am thinking I do not have enough to make a queen size quilt.  I cannot remember what size I started to make originally.
So I started looking through my scraps for more pieces that I could add to it.  While I did not use fat quarters I think it will work, but also purchased some fabrics to help it along.

That is the danger of having such an old UFO sometimes there are no clues left, and if you can remember what you were thinking 16 years ago then more power to you, but I cannot even remember what I did that day.   I decided that from now on I am going to start keeping a written journal of what I am working on. 

I cooked a pot of beans and corn bread for dinner. The beans even came out right.  DH and I did something we rarely do, we watched a movie Twelve Years a Slave.

Sunday we had temps in the mid 40's which is lovely.  Again I am up at 5:00 am.   The municipality that DH works for do leaf collections.  The residents rake the leaves out to the street curb, and the workers rake the leaves to the street, and suck them up into a truck which kind of mulches them up.  The snow and ice has messed up their schedule too, so they are desperately trying to get them up off the streets before they have more snow and ice. 
 I took an old tape measure apart.  I keep seeing the snap bags and decided I have to make some, and DH just happened to have a tape measure available. 

 This is what 25 feet of tape measure look like unwound. 

I fed the girls no danger today except that I get mobbed when I walk in.  I think they are digging a tiger pit in their pen so they can capture prey.  Hopefully I am not the prey. 

Ran to the grocery store, Joann's for some supplies to make Christmas gifts, the bread store, the bank, to the MIL's to deliver eggs.  I left the house at 8:30 am and I did not get home until close to 3 pm.  I started a pot of chili, unloaded and put away part of the groceries, did dishes and DH was home.   Not much sewing getting accomplished. 

My mother called and asked what I did all weekend.  I could not tell her much because I just couldn't remember and it seemed like I accomplished so little.  Isn't it strange when you do a ton of things but can't remember anything you did? 

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!