Monday, March 31, 2014

Out Like a Lamb

First of all a great big shout out to my oldest daughter Kathryn Elizabeth and a big happy 30!  I know you are all wondering how can someone sew very young have a 30 year old daughter when she cannot possibly be a day over 30 herself?  For years I maintained I was 29 and the children celebrated the XX anniversary of mom's 29th Birthday.  Once Kate got into her 20's that was no longer viable.  Anyway Happy Birthday my dear.

Can you believe this is the last day of March?  My monthly goals were not strenuous by any means.

1.  8 Farmer's Wife blocks again.  Check that was easy.  I am getting pretty excited to be on the downhill side of this one.
2.  Aurifil Block of the month
3.  Scrappy Chevrons
It is finished but by the time I was done it was too dark to get a picture.  Maybe a picture tomorrow.  

4.  Quilty Barns Sashing in progress but not to a flimsy yet.
5.  Quilt loaded onto the quilter and start to work on it.
Wow 4 out of 5 is not too bad?

I also started working on the Green Tea and Sweet Beans
And I finished recutting the ancient flying geese UFO now to sew it.
Also I read/listened to 8 books this month.  Not too bad, 18 so far this year.  
How were your goals for the lovely month of March?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quilter's Spread

Wow I have "Quilter's Spread".  No I am not talking about that one which is anatomical which I know kind of just happens with eating too much chocolate, and not enough exercise.  I am talking about the kind of spread which happens when you have multiple projects going on multiple machines, or other quilty goings on.

This morning while sitting having a cup of coffee with DH before he left for work I realized how really bad it was! 

Barn quilts getting their white sashing on the Singer 15. 

Cutting flying geese on the couch while watching TV with DH for a quilt which was started over 30 years ago.
Strip swap strips laid out on the dining room table as well as Scrappy Chevrons quilt blocks.
Scrappy Chevrons on the wall in the dining room.  Halfway finished!

The quilter in the sun room.

That does not include my sewing room which once again *hanging my head in shame* is a disaster!

DH jokingly says that does not include the boys room which has two machines, the guest room which has several, the sewing machine in the kitchen, dining room, and front parlor, or the basement.  Oh yeah I have a couple in the garage, and his man cave/the barn!  And yes there is another machine in the sun room other than my quilter. 

Sew in an attempt to get control.  I sorted the strips for the swap and got them mailed out early this morning.  Would you believe the post office is open at 7:30 am?  I don't go out that early unless absolutely necessary.  One mess down. 

I worked on my Scrappy Chevrons, and alternated between it and the barns getting the white sashing.

2 more rows of the scrappy Chevrons and one barn completely sashed.  I changed up the pattern compared to what was originally written.

I think it turned out cute sew far. 

Do you experience spread?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sew, Sew, Sew a Row

I have been sewing a bit, in between working.

DH and I put up a rod for a design wall, but the design wall can be removed and a quilt can be hung when the design wall is not in use.  It was just a black pipe which DH painted and we installed using curtain hardware. 

It is very long, but there are times I need the extra.  I finished making all my blocks, and started laying the quilt blocks out.

The top 4 rows are all sewn together.  The next two rows which are not on the wall are being sewn together, and the next rows are ready to go.  There are lots of corners and points to match. 

It has been very cold around here the past few days, and we even had snow yesterday overnight.  Just a small skiff but the temperature is not getting much above 30 degrees F, so I haven't worked on my quilter much.  I just did not want to go into the cold sun room, also I was having some frustration. 

While I understand it is a learning curve I was having a hard time coordinating my foot pedal, and moving the machine.  I kept having problems with my thread shredding and breaking because I could not seem to get it together.  I have never had any problem when I FMQ normally.  What I wanted was a speed control which is a part which makes your machine sew at a certain speed and usually has a thumb/finger button so no foot control.

My foot control is a rheostat.

See the part down at the bottom is is basically a spring that  is an  resistor  that adjusts current or the varying of resistance in an electric circuit.  Push down lightly the sewing machine goes slow push all the way down it goes fast.  The quilter needed to be at full speed all the time to sew correctly.

The Grace company makes a speed control for sewing machine to use as quilting machines, but they do not make one for my machine.  The Grace company does make one for a Viking Mega Quilter though, so I decided what the heck I am going to order one and see if I can reconfigure it for my machine.  DH was convinced there was going to be rewiring so he had all of his electrical circuit testers out. 

I actually made it work by unplugging the plug which goes into my foot pedal and plugging the cord into the speed control.  DH just looked at me called me a savant and walked away.  Now my quilter is up and running.  I still need to work on how fast I can move, but I think I am doing OK.

I am just working on a kind of squiggly meander.  I think it looks alright.

I also received a lovely package from Quilt Sandwich this cute little shop that I ordered from last week which was featured on Pile O'Fabric last week.  

I thought the wrapping was sew cute.

I could not resist these fabrics the other day.  There is a gray with polka dots, text fabric, little skeletons that we just too cute, a yellow which is American Jane Happy Campers which has checks, flowers, alphabets all in one piece of fabric, and I just fell in love with those little blue birds!  Most of these were actually on sale too!

I think I need to go on a fabric diet.  I know, I know..... it is way past time.  I am only committing for a month though! I know I have several quilts that need to be quilted and they all have backs except for my Scrappy Chevrons, and if I just happen to finish my Barns that would need to have backing of course. :D

Hope you had a Happy Humpday!

*** Confession for some reason I thought today was Tuesday***

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Good Day Sunshine!

The sun shined brightly yesterday and while it was sunny it is still a bit chilly.  The snow and ice are melting and I see grass starting to green up a bit.  Can it mean that the cold weather is slipping away?  Our temperatures are about 15-20 degrees below normal according to the news.

I locked myself in my sewing room and worked on my blocks for the Scrappy Chevron. I still need 29 more blocks to cut up to make 58!  But all the others are trimmed and squared up.

I do this while watching TV in the evening with DH.

I also decided I needed a wee bit of a break so I worked on my Green Tea and Sweet Beans propeller blocks.  I thought I only needed 12 so I picked through scraps and came up with 9 more to make a total of 12.

Only to discover I need 4 more blocks.  Awe drat!  I was looking forward to moving to the lozenges. 

I also cleaned up my cutting table a bit and decided I have so many HST I wondered if I could make a Lady of the Lake block from some of the scraps.

Back to Scrappy Chevrons and I need an inspirational bolt to hit on what to quilt on my Lazy Sunday.  DH and I worked on the quilter and pieced together a speed control and now it is wonderful as opposed to the other day where I was having thread tension problems, thread fraying, changing needles, changing bobbin thread, rethreading and everything and just not having much success.  So now to figure out a simple quilting pattern.

I am thinking of just doing kind of a loopy lazy swirl all over the quilt.  Something simple.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Worldwide Quilting Day

Today is Worldwide Quilting Day or maybe it is Worldwide Quilting Weekend!

DH and I went for a short road trip to Ann Arbor and went to two quilt shops.

Pink Castle Fabrics where I purchased some half yards of fabric.
While I didn't find the exact fabric that Kris at krislovesfabric used for her applique background for the quilt Green Tea and Sweet Beans, I found some fun fabrics.  I had to get the two strawberry/cherry fabrics they are sew cute and they were 25% off today they are Japanese prints. I also luv the newsprint fabrics which I found. 

We then went to Ann Arbor Sewing Center.  There I bought some Isacord thread,  some Aurifil thread for quilting, an echo quilting foot for my machine, a couple fat quarters and a new jack the ripper.  When I told DH that a girl could not have to many seam rippers he just rolled his eyes at me. Things that make DH Crazy!
 We then returned home and loaded my Lazy Sunday quilt on the frame. 
I wound some bobbins set my machine and I am ready to get my sewjo on! 

What kind of fun are you having?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Nearing the Finish

I know I have mentioned that DH has been making a quilt frame that I can use my machine on.  He has been working on it for months, he designed it after attending quilt shows, looking at the different frames online.

She's a big girl almost 12 foot long!
All of the parts were repurposed from items he located in the dumpster at work.  As I was making leaders, and he helped me put the first one on I was saying how I thought it may be difficult to pin the leader on the take up.  Also that the handles were a little short and kind of hard to reach.

Yesterday DH showed up with a new design feature.  He created a new rack which will put the rod that holds the quilt top down about 8 inches and in about 5 inches.

See that arm jutting down that will be the rod for the quilt top.

I created my leaders out of "Utility" fabric which reminds me of unbleached muslin but with a duck cloth weight.

Here you can see part of my leaders laying over the poles.  DH will help me load them on either tonight or tomorrow.

I also was looking for some clamps which would be attached to bungee cords to keep the quilt taut from side to side. DH produced these for me  yesterday.

Yeah those clamps take me 2 hands to open and close and beware getting your finger caught in there!

Finally DH was not happy with the fact that the batting would be laying on the floor so he created a cradle to hold it.

Not many quilts can say they have a diamond plate cradle to hold their batting off the floor!

And to top it all off my backing fabrics arrived today!

I am sew excited.  I have a few days off from work and I can't wait to load something on this baby and take her for a spin!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Things I Do to Make DH Crazy

I love my hubby and he is sooo patient with me!  But I know there are things I do that make him crazy.

1.  I save plastic grocery bags.  I use them to line the little garbage cans in the bathroom, bedrooms, and my sewing room.  They also come in handy when there are little people around to enclose a very dirty, stinky diaper, or to send home wet, muddy clothes after playing on the farm.

2.  I save big garbage bags.  I have a "can" bin where we put soda cans and bottles and that bin is lined with plastic garbage bags.  When I return the cans to the store for the deposit, I save the bags, and reuse them.  If I have multiple bags of cans and bottles the extra bags go into the bottom of the garbage can and I just grab the next bag when the one above is full.

3.  I stock up on certain items when they are on sale-  Coffee when it is only $7 or less a can as compared to $11so I will buy 3-4 cans.

4.  There are items I have a tendency to purchase every time I go to a certain store.  Dishwasher pods, now many people do not like them, or swear by the powder, or liquid, but I kind of like the fact that it is the perfect amount.  Same goes with laundry detergent.

We stopped at Joann's and picked up 3 yards of "utility fabric" which is kind of heavy muslin looking fabric but it has the weight of cotton duck.  I decided I wanted a new rotary cutter. DH looked at me and asked why do you need another cutter?  I explained that when I sew in my sewing room I lay blocks out on my cutting table and soon there is not much room.  If I have to cut yardage I need more room and so I cut on the dining room table.  The problem is I get tired of carrying my cutter back and forth.  Sew much to DH chagrin I now own another rotary cutter.  I only own 8. 
 DH looked at the design wall and asked if I felt it absolutely necessary to put holes in the wall.  I just looked at him, smiled sweetly and said:  But honey this is the unfinished wall and after we peel that horrendous wallpaper you will have to fix it anyway.

He just shook his head and said ok, kissed me and walked away.   

I have been working on my Scrappy Chevron blocks but after making so many I decided I needed to calculate what I needed to make sure I have enough of all the basic units sewn together so that I am not unsewing.
I am pretty excited about how it is turning out.  I know I will move blocks around once I have them all finished but it is nice to get an idea of how it will look together. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I worked yesterday and sent DH a text I would love to go out to dinner.  We had a couple of errands to run after work and I only got home a few minutes before DH.  Just enough time to change my clothes and wash up a bit.

We took a card to a cousin who recently lost her daughter to Melanoma Cancer.  Sarah was 31 years old and leaves two beautiful children.  It has been a very sad time in our family.  Lots of regrets, and thoughts on what could have been, but DH as the oldest male has decided to resolve the problems and take charge.  That is what is sooo great about him.

 Stop 2 before dinner was to take us to the MIL's house to deliver a crochet butterfly that she had dropped at our house accidentally.  The MIL decided she wanted to go out to dinner with us, and DH, I think tried to discourage her. The MIL is not very adventuresome when it comes to cuisine and I wanted to go to a small restaurant called The Alex Kabob House which is basically Lebanese food.   MIL said she wanted to try it so off we went.  We usually order Crushed Lentil Soup, Toum (garlic paste), pita, Tabbouleh (salad), a pilaf rice, and grilled deboned chicken.  I showed the MIL how I eat it and she dove right in.  I think she actually enjoyed the dinner. 

I woke up this morning fully expecting DH to be gone and 2-3 inches of snow on the ground- the forecast was that the snow was supposed to start at about 1 am.  Looked out the window.  I could still see gravel on the driveway and it had just started snowing.  Went downstairs and DH was sitting on the couch.  He had awoke early to plow the drive, and the neighbor's drive and there was nothing.  I am sure there were some people who were really disappointed-  every municipality in the area had declared a snow emergency and almost every district in the state had decided to cancel school. 

It has finally started to snow, I have dinner in the crock pot cooking (DH took the truck and I was forbidden to leave the house), the dishes are done, and I can spend the rest of my day sewing.  

I decided to use one of the unfinished walls in the dining room to pin up my design wall which is just a yard of flannel which I purchased a couple of years ago.

My Scrappy Chevron Quilt is coming along quite nicely.  

And I love bright colors on gloomy days like this.

Oh and Happy Birthday to my sister in Oregon!  There are times I miss being near my family.

Monday, March 10, 2014


GWP is jargon that is used in marketing which means Gift With Purchase which is normally used by cosmetic and perfume companies.  DH says he gets them for purchasing tools at times also. 

I love it when I order fabric online and I get a small gift with puGWP.  I once had a block of the month that each month I got a charm square. I have received pencils, fabric marking pens, tea, patterns, seam guides, and pencils.  I even like the little cards with the different sizes of mattress measurements so you know how big to make a quilt.

I finished up my last 4 Farmer's Wife blocks for this month.  All 8 are completed for the month! 

Grape Basket



Prairie Queen
It is exciting to be on the downhill side of this quilt.  Only 44 more blocks to go!  That also means if I stick with my 8 a month that I will have all of my blocks completed by August. 

I decided I would work a bit on the quilt called Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Jen Kingwell.  I have read different opinions regarding the quilt, and reading the pattern it is similar to doing the Farmer's Wife.  Just some shapes but no real measurements.  I started measuring the templates and had to remember to add a 1/4 inch seam.  The squares and rectangles were easy to calculate but there were some triangles, hexagons, clam shells, and wedges which were not so easy to measure.  Therefore I photocopied the template page, and cut them out.  pasted them to a piece of thin cardboard (I did not have any template plastic)  and cut 1/4 inch bigger. 

An example is the propeller blade.  I cut it out and glued it to the cardboard with the marking up as the directions states.  But if you look at the pattern it is actually backwards which after cutting 8 propeller blades for one block I realized is actually of backwards. Orphan block.   Grrrr....I made two of the propellers after I figured out that it was backward.

Only 14 more to go! 
I also made the one block called the Wedding Chain Block.
I had fun making these blocks from scraps sitting on my cutting table, and I love the bright and happy fabrics.

I got some more done today but I will share that tomorrow. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I always am amazed at how people "label" things and themselves.

Remember the Wizard of Oz?

Glinda:  Are you a Good Witch, or a Bad Witch?
Dorothy:  Oh I am no witch at all!

If I say I am a scrap quilter does it eliminate me from using one specific line of fabric to make a quilt?
If I am a modern quilter does it mean I have to have geometric design elements, and heavy quilting or use modern fabrics?
If I am a traditional quilter does it mean I can't make a Bento Box quilt?  Or use Batik fabrics in a jewel box quilt?
I think you get where I am going with this one.  Seriously why do I have to label what I do?  I love fabric, and the endless possibilities of what can be done with it,  which is to frankly-  make a utilitarian item.

I finally broke down and decided to buy some quilt labels.  I don't seem to have any luck when I use the pigma pens it always fades after the first couple of washes.  I have also done some embroidered labels which are fine but not always practical.

I ordered labels from Jennifer's Jewels there is also an Etsy store.  I had fun designing this label using one of my favorite pictures from our farm.

Now just to work on quilting a quilt to use them.

I have not had a lot of time to sew lately so I was thrilled to get the Aurifil block of the month made.

I am still trying to continue making red and white blocks. 

Today was my first day off for over a week.  I woke up at a time that I thought was early only to discover that we were supposed to spring forward.  Which meant while I thought I was up at 6 am it was actually 7am. 

I did manage to get 4 Farmer's Wife blocks completed today. 
Pine Tree
Broken Sugar Bowl

Farmer's Puzzle
I actually figured out all the pieces I needed to make for the 8 blocks and got all the necessary templates ready. The Farmer's puzzle though was very frustrating.  The book does not show how to put it together, just how it looks when it the units are put together in the 4 sections.  I did it one way and it did not work at all.  While the other blocks only took me about 1 hour at the most, this one took me a couple of hours.  So goes the challenge of The Farmer's Wife.  Still it was nice to be able to have time to sew today.