Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Happiness Is...

...Running out of bobbin thread on the long arm right after you pull up the last stitch! Just saying.

Finally, Beachy Bovines is complete! Including the hanging sleeve and tacking down thereof.

Beachy Bovines
This quilt makes me smile. How can it not?

After I completed this piece I had some "homework" to do for our guild meeting last night. Dale wanted me to share my Quilt U stuff to tie it into our 'new blocks from old' series. While rummaging through my shelves to locate said blocks, I found three unfinished pieces I made during Quilt U using the pinwheel block as a basis.

I quickly finished, layered, basted, quilted, and finished this little table runner to show at our meeting.

A little Disappearing Pinwheel table runner
I haven't done much in the studio today. The little kid and I did some errands this morning and I found a little gem at our local Hospice house. I'll get pics of it tomorrow after I get through discovering exactly what I did find. I'm not entirely sure yet, I just know the price was right and I snapped it up before somebody else realized what the possibility was here.

After we got home and had a bite to eat, the beans in the garden were calling my name. Those had to be put up and most of the afternoon was spent in the kitchen. Fresh is better after all.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Other Quilters

Difference is what makes the world go around. If we were all the same, it would be a pretty boring place we lived in.

Quilters are no exception in their differences. How they make the quilt top, attach their borders, prepare their backing, and assemble their binding. It's funny how one takes for granted familiar ways of doing things until they are pushed into a diverse situation.

Take this quilt for example. It's not that anything was done "wrong" on it, it was just done differently.

Disappearing Pinwheels for a customer
The backing was assembled different. The borders were attached different. The binding was constructed differently then I usually construct mine. And, seams were pressed different as well. Again, it wasn't anything done "wrong"...just not what I'm used to.

But, then there are some things we just can't overlook. The customer asked me to attach their binding onto the quilt, which I did. Or, at least I attempted to.

Oops
Too short! This is a definite problem. I texted the customer back this morning to see if they had any additional fabric. They don't.

Fortunately, they know where they purchased this particular fabric and will get some more tonight prior to guild. Whew!

Meanwhile, and while I'm at a standstill with that, I'll begin their other quilt (they have a few sewing machine chores for me to do prior to getting the piece on the long arm) and then I'll have to leave it until I get and finish a rush job I'm picking up tonight that takes priority.

I should be able to get Beachy Bovines on the sewing machine for binding today too! What a productive day or so!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Motivation

Have you ever committed to something for somebody and later regret committing to that something you said you'd do?

Sometimes I feel that way. A number of folks approached me over the retreat weekend for things they would like me to do and of course, I gladly said yes. Yesterday I was not feeling so generous. I think it was post-retreat syndrome or something. I was so tired and worn out that even these two pillow cases was all I could muster out of my energy level.

But, today, I'm back to my springy self and no longer have those regrets. I wonder if just taking a step back and getting away from what's bothering you is all it takes to get over the "bad" feelings and back into the good graces of life.

Now I'm a philosopher, right? Ha!

New Pillow Cases
When I ran down to The Marshall House yesterday to get the fabric for these pillow cases, the table there with all the books on it was calling my name. I have so many books around here already about quilting the last thing I really needed was another book to give me more to do.

Well, I bought another book. It's actually written for kids (I'm a big kid, right), and the projects are pretty simplistic and wouldn't take much time. But I have those commitments I talked about earlier and so must remember to always do what I say I'll do. I'm kind of funny about that. If I tell somebody I'm going to do something, I DO IT!

A few of what I committed to earlier last week was some quilting for guild members. That was my first commitment. I shall start there. But before I can long arm I need to finish those Beachy Bovines hanging out (still) on DW and so today we'll spend the day on the big machine and knock out some of those to-do's on that list.

Let's turn on the lights, the machine, and the tunes and have a great time in the studio today!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Happened?

I was going to take my own pillow to camp with me. When I grabbed it off the bed I discovered this under where I lay my hands.

Big shredded hole
What's interesting about this is that the rings I usually wear in the winter (with all the sharp edges) I take off in the summer months. And...when I washed this pillow case earlier last week, this was not what I took down from the clothesline.

We are not sure exactly what happened here to make my pillow case shred like this. Jim's pillow case is fine and I'm at a total loss for why this would suddenly occur.

I have a "temporary" case on my pillow now and it bothers me so much to not have the cases matching I need to get replacement pillow cases made and soon. The Marshall House still has some of the fabric in stock from the quilt we made with our wonderful wool batting in it (and, by the way, have not been hot at all under it during our latest warming trend) and so buzzed down there this morning to pick that up.

I did some shopping while I was out, found some other supplies, and then came home to grab some lunch. On to pillow case production.

Monday, July 27, 2015

...And Now They Are Unpacked

I'm home. I'm tired. I'm ready for another fun filled weekend with all my quilting friends already!

Here's a bit of what I did this weekend.

First stop was to make a Bingo card (because I forgot mine here at the house). That was a nice warmer-upper to dig into something Friday afternoon/evening.

I completed the charity quilt Friday night before heading off to bed. This is it already to get put on the long arm once I obtain batting at Thursday guild meeting.

Friday Night's Charity Quilt
I started working on my July Arcadia Avenue Friday night and completed it on Saturday morning before heading off to lunch. The rest of Saturday was spent working another set of Selvedge Pinwheels in green this time.

July Arcadia Avenue and One More pinwheel set
Sunday I started digging into Radiant Suns (aka Twirly Quilt). I accomplished 35 blocks before heading off to bed last night.

Radiant Suns...the pile
I still have a lot of these blocks to build, but they go together fairly easy, but patience and slow sewing with all those curves.

This morning I continued with what fabric I had cut out here at the studio and only got two more done before running out of cuts. I then moved back into Selvedge Quilt mode starting on the reds.

Starting the red Selvedge Quilt Blocks
The quilt fairies were extremely generous this year. This is most of what I received minus a stiletto and a cute machine pincushion which were camera shy at the time of picture taking.

Quilt Fairy Gifts!
A lot of laughter, some tears, some frustration, and way too much fun! Can't wait for next year (already).

Friday, July 24, 2015

All my bags are packed...

...and I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside my door; just waiting for Margaret to run by and pick me up.

Leaving for Quilt Camp 2015
I love quilt camp! Can you tell?

The projects slated for this year are:

1) A charity panel quilt for the VA
2) Arcadia Avenue July and August BOM's
3) Selvedge triangles and
4) Radiant Suns (aka the Twirly Quilt)

Number four may not be worked on despite my having cut, and cut, and cut some more pieces out to do it during camp. It depends on whether I can locate a 1/4" foot for Mike or not. The utility foot I have for him lacks easy curved piecing and Jay is much better at that function. I'm thinking if I could locate a more narrow foot for Mike it may make it easier.

I also have to find (during our shop hop on the way up today), 32 tiny bells for the Christmas Tree piece I did last week at sew in, a star button for the top of that tree, and a 24" heavy duty zipper for another project I picked up at Around the Block last week. A few patterns I have here are calling for something called Timtex (???) Not sure what that's about, but apparently I need a total of about 2 yards of the stuff.

Meanwhile, I have to go and finish getting last minute things around from here. See you back here on Tuesday morning sometime.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Going Quilt Camping

We don't actually "camp" per se, but rather we gather together and power sew for four days straight. Well, I sew for four days, a few others leave a day earlier on Sunday to head back to reality. I have the opportunity to stay the extra day and enjoy the company of fellow quilting friends, and for that I am very grateful!

I finished my Dale BOM's yesterday in the very late afternoon. Here's the second color way.

2nd Color Way for Blocks 4, 5, and 6
Those went together much quicker since yellow, white, and gray are easier then trying to assimilate the color wheel.

On to power cutting. Here's where I ended yesterday evening.

Power Cutting
I don't actually cut with my scissors. They just happened to be there when I shot this pic this morning. I actually use my handy rotary cutter on all these templates.

I have 48 of each of these to cut, and then I need to pack and get ready to go. I'm not sure what time I'm leaving in the morning; I'm being picked up (I hope) and I have no idea when they are planning on fetching me. I'll have to ask tonight at guild.

And, at guild tonight, it's our Round Robin Row by Row Reveal (say that three times real fast). A few were revealed last week, but the bulk of them will be this evening. I'm excited to see the rows I created inserted into other quilts, but moreover, a few of the quilts coming tonight have never been seen by others. It should be fun.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Half Way

I pretty much thought my Dale BOM's would take a day or two, but I'm finding out it's taking longer then I thought. I'm only half way done after spending 12 diligent hours in here yesterday.

Probably because the first color way is kind of a "wing it" sort of thing. I knew what I wanted to do in my head, but to actually pull the fabric and make the correct tones of color work is another. Thankfully I have a pretty decent stash of fabric to choose from and was able to pull everything together, although, not in a very timely manner.

The first block in the pic below is the focus (and center) block of the first color way being done. I love how it turned out and a big thank you to Jim for helping me choose the correct values in color to make this an amazing block!

Blocks 4, 5, and 6-1st Color Way
On to the second color way today, which goes much easier since there are really only three colors involved. Then, maybe, I can start cutting for camp this evening once these are all completed; and Beachy Bovines doesn't seem to be getting done by itself either.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Cleaning

I don't mind cleaning the house. I'd just rather be in my studio working on something a bit more meaningful then dusting or scrubbing bathroom toilets. The problem with not cleaning is that I sit in my studio thinking about the cleaning I should have done this morning prior to coming into the studio.

Here's the deal. I clean for 20-30 minutes each morning. What I get done is it. No more. If I finish earlier then my 20 minutes, bonus! The house is meant to be comfortable and lived in. We are farm folk and not the Better Homes and Gardens police. Visitors have commented on how relaxing and comfortable our house is and this is how I plan on keeping in that way.

Yesterday I finished my July Stitchers Garden work. This was probably one of the longer months since I had to tear those six small blocks out two or three times. And, our homework for August was three long blocks, crosshatched on the diagonal, with a lot of appliqué blocks to draw on our fusible web. I ended up not doing bobbin work on the small blocks and instead substituted rickrack on the sides with embroidery work around each flower.

July Stitchers Garden Blocks
I started Dales BOM after the Stitchers Garden work was done. We have a lot of homework there too and I don't really want to take it to camp to work on so I'll tackle those today (and probably tomorrow since there is so much to do). At some point I need to get my cutting done for camp and now that's looming over my little head. Feeling a little overwhelmed.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Christmas in July

I took my Stitchers Garden homework to sew-in on Friday. I got as much done on the large block as I could there, attempted the six small blocks (unsuccessfully) and then ran out of anything to do because Laura was being a butt.

I toddled over to The Hen House to find something else to work on and picked up this little project. It actually took me the rest of Friday and most of Saturday morning to complete. In fact, I don't think I finished it until an hour after our lunch break. I still have to embellish it with bells and garland...and a cute star button for the top, but here's the basic tree.

Skinny Tree
Once I returned home I found myself still in a quilting mood. I then finished the Stitchers Garden large block on Mike and then started ripping out all the stitches (bobbin work) Laura totally hosed up at sew-in. I didn't come out of the studio until around 10:00. A couple of things about bobbin work:

1) Laura does not like it
2) Invisible thread is a bitch to tear out
3) I'm not going to attempt it again until I can get one of my machines to agreeably do it
4) I think drop-in bobbins are not the way to go with this type of sewing

I have to do something with these six small blocks today yet I'm at a loss for what exactly to do with them. I'm wondering if rick rack may be a solution, or perhaps my free-motion couching foot?!

I have to start cutting my fabric for camp soon. I know we are going to be really, really, really limited on space (we have 32/33 coming at the last count) and space for about 24 comfortably is the target number. It's going to be cramped and I want to eliminate the need for spreading out (like I have a tendency to do), and precutting everything seems like the logical thing to do prior to departure on Friday.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stars

Stars seem to be everywhere in quilts. I've made my share and the new BOM I'm beginning is following along in the star theme.

Meet Night Stars...the beginning.

Night Stars
There will be 16 smaller stars (which are not really small at all with each measuring in at 12 1/2" unfinished), and one large star in the center of the quilt. This is two of the four I'll be constructing this month, which I worked on last night after returning from a tornado-ridden Portland.

Beachy Bovines and I spent a little time together prior to leaving for class yesterday, but nowhere near completion on the long arm.

Papa has a doctor appointment later this afternoon I'll be attending with him and then we may toddle over to the fair depending on when his trailer is ready down in Indiana. I need to get a pic of me with my quilts hung there. Mary Jean took one of me but it was just terrible! Well, the quilt was fine. I, on the other hand, looked worse for the wear since we were just arriving back from the reunion.

Bobbin work during our class yesterday was interesting. My practice piece turned out fine, but then the actual blocks didn't. Kathy worked on my bobbin case to try to loosen it up and we'll see this weekend what happens when I work on it during sew-in. I liked doing the bobbin work. There's so much you can do with it and I really hope I get this figured out. I can definitely see using this technique in future embellishment opportunities.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bobbin Work and Bovines

Beachy Bovines is on DW. This is continuing to be quite a fun quilt to create. It's freeing to be able to add artistic elements to the quilt through the quilting process and this one is no exception!

Beachy Bovines
Our Stitchers Garden class is scheduled earlier then usual this month. Later today I'll be taking off to attend and today's subject is bobbin work.?????

Bobbin work (from what I understand) is sewing heavier thread/floss/yarn/whatever through the bobbin rather then through the needle. What? It should be interesting. And, from what I understand, I can actually also do this type of work on DW using a special bobbin work foot. Hmmm...

The binding is attached to Total Eclipse on the front side, but because I have decided to hand stitch the back of the binding down on this one, won't have a pic for a little while. It'll probably end up going to guild for the next two weeks and then on to quilt camp for the finish. Look for it in early August. 

Totally new experience yesterday. For the first time ever on my long arm I broke a needle. I knew it was just a matter of time before having such an experience and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was completely my fault in that I thought after having done Total Eclipse (a smaller-ish quilt) I would have enough "use" out of the heavier gauge needle for the heavier needle work required in Beachy Bovines. (I'm using two totally different weights of thread, therefore two totally different needles should be used). 

Moral of the story; change your needle after EVERY quilt, regardless! And, a lighter needle does not work (well) for those heavier threads and vice versa. Lots of tension issues and snapping thread when attempting. FYI. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Learning

I love to learn new things. Even if I'm attending/participating in a class I know I probably have very little to gain, I keep an open mind and will always find something new to glean from it. It may be a little tip or grain of information to make my life easier, but either way, I benefit. 

Craftsy recently released a new 6-month BOM. The class is free, but they recommend purchasing the kit to participate in the class. People were complaining about the cost ($69). Really? Really? Are you kidding me? 

The quilt is going to finish at 69"x69" and is done totally in batiks. For easy math, that equates to about 4 yards of fabric. At $10 a yard (which is a really inexpensive price to pay for batiks), the cost of the material alone for this quilt is $40. It also includes the binding fabric as well as the instruction to make the very striking quilt. People were grousing about the cost. Our instructor isn't worth the additional $29 for her time?

Okay, enough ranting. Anyway, I signed up, got my package delivered (of course, while we were at the reunion), and here they are all pre-washed, pressed, labeled, and ready to go. 

Craftsy BOM 2015
Each month it looks as though we'll be doing more then just one block. July alone has four, but they appear to be smaller-ish in size so the time shouldn't be too daunting.

Speaking of BOM, I noticed on our guild calendar we have a BOM set due this coming Thursday so the remainder of yesterday was completing the other color way I selected to do Dale's quilt. 

Guild BOM
I had a computer update this morning so had to wait until it was completed to blog. While waiting, I have taken Total Eclipse off DW and will (hopefully) get Beachy Bovines on there today. Meanwhile, I have been researching irons again. It appears my newish one is still under warranty and will need to exchange it for a new iron. It peed all over my planning/ironing table yesterday and I can't continue to have it doing that especially when working with so much white fabric lately. 


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Fun Begins

I love our family! All the work preparing for the DeGroot Reunion is so worth it when you come away from the wonderful weekend we just had the privilege to be a part of! But I'm glad we can resume back to our "normal" life now.

And...

After coming home to a surprise from Ben and Alisha (they were [again] working on our floor upon arrival since they were not in reunion attendance this year due to a wedding), we unloaded, washed, showered, and relaxed for a bit before my curiosity got the best of me. We headed to the Eaton County Fair to see how my quilt entries did in their showing this year.

The "Wanted" quilt built for our guild AQS challenge this year did nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. In fact, it was folded and laid so that it couldn't even be viewed. Which, I'm pretty bummed about.

Then I turned around and holy cow, what a surprise!

"Animal Whimsey" got a first in the appliqué division and "Squirmy Wormies" took a first in the child/kid quilt division.

Four first place ribbons hung on my quilts, and two of them had Best of Show ribbons on them. The "Beast" (or Amish Stars referred to previously) took overall Best of Show in the Pieced and Patchwork division, and "The First Snow" took Best of Show in the Other division. What a great surprise!

It was a pleasant surprise and a huge boost to my quilting confidence level too see my work doing well. The funny thing is, two of my entries I have in mind for next year are sitting right here with me in the studio. The Beachy Bovines would be cute for the wall hanging division and of course, Total Eclipse would show well in the Pieced and Patchwork. Thankfully, I can honestly show them next year since they won't be completed within the the years' allowed time for entry.

And now I can relax and enjoy the rest of the summer. Sew-in is this coming weekend! Quilt camp is the weekend after and there are not too many pertinent deadlines for quilts in my immediate future. Whew! Breath. Smile. Enjoy. Repeat.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Presents

For any family members, the picture below may or may not be the disguised quilt [smiley face]

I decided to go a little shabby-shiek for wrapping some of the white elephant items this year.

One of the white elephant items being donated. Could it be the quilt?

Here is this years quilt for DeGroot Reunion 2015
The decision on which quilt to donate this year was pretty tough. There are a few I would have liked to contribute, but this is the winner for 2015. I still have to embroider a label onto the front of it and I feel like instead of working on BOM's yesterday, I should have been addressing some of the little details I need to address for the reunion. Oh well, we did some reunion stuff after Papa came home from work. Does that count?


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Skip a Day

It's a rare day that goes by without me having at least did a little something in the studio. Sunday was a true "no studio" day. I did solicit the help of the kids and my mom to select my fair entries (thank goodness that's done) but other than that, nothing else.

Yesterday, after doing our "reunion chores", I was able to get in here after Papa went to get his load. This is what DW is wearing today.

Total Eclipse in the quilting works

One of the quilted stars
After I did some long arming for a time, I realized that if I finished the quilting, I was going to have to pull the quilt off and complete the binding, which I really didn't want to do until returning from camping next weekend. Well, the quilting is finished and surprisingly, I just left it on the frame. It's out of the way there, dad really loves this piece and so he can admire it during his stay for a few days.

I have a second set of blocks to do for our guild BOM and I started cutting those. I'll get those put together today and perhaps redo the block that was bofunk from last weeks attempt.

No reunion chores today but tomorrow is a different story. After picking up the boys we'll have plenty to do to gear up for our trek northward.

Meanwhile, I'll just enjoy [another] rainy day here in the studio and see where the waters take me.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Which One?

I finished the first four sets of the Selvedge Pinwheel blocks. I haven't sewn the 12" blocks together yet because I don't know which configuration I like best. What do you think?

Here's the first one (which I'm leaning towards).

Example #1
I like this one the second best, but don't know if it's getting too busy. Remember, I have five more colors to add into this whole quilt top, so after adding in all the colors, it may become too...???

Example #2
I decided to play some more on the design wall and came up with color wheel opposites. This third one is fun, but very little secondary design???
Example #3
The last play session gave me a one pinwheel blade off-set. I don't see a secondary design in this one so much so I'm not too sure.

Example #4
The nice thing about design walls is you can play around with something you create from your own fabrics. Let me know what strikes your fancy. I'd be very interested to know!!

After playing with quilt blocks, I started playing with quilting options on Total Eclipse. I have some see through plastic I use with my dry erase markers to play around with design options for quilting. I like some pieces of one, and other pieces of another, and have come to the conclusion it really doesn't matter and to just get on with it already. The batiks are pretty busy within the background (which is where I'm struggling to fill) and I don't think it will matter what I really put in there.

After procrastinating on this quilt I think I'll finally just get to it and dive in. I'm really nervous about the quilting in this piece because it is so beautiful already and messing it up just isn't on my fun things to do list.

Friday, July 3, 2015

I Wanna Go Shopping! Me Too!

The "prize" I received from my RxR entry was obtained today. I have just returned home after 3 hours at The Hen House picking out fat quarters for the pattern I selected to do. Here they are!

Fabrics for Radiant Suns
I know they don't look like they really go together all that well, but with the assistance of Wendy, Carol, and Elise, we narrowed the 45+ bolts down to these 35 FQ's, and believe me, this is going to be a way cool quilt!

Yesterday I finally did my June Arcadia Avenue BOM. It's called Circling Geese and it's one of the lesser piece counts at 96.

June Arcadia Avenue
I'm really, really not happy with my newer-ish iron. If you take a close look at the block above, a spot of orange can be seen on the white fabric (of course, it had to pee on the white). Ugh! It seems to be developing incontinence like the Rowenta iron retired earlier last winter. Does anybody make an iron to last, or one that battles common water impurities? Yes, they do. But the Reliable brand iron I want (found at Gall Sewing) is more then I can probably conjure Papa into springing for. Double Ugh!

I also worked on my Selvedge blocks a while before taking off to guild. I still have the orange to work on today and I'll put the orange, yellow, and purple pieces together yet this afternoon.

I did remember to pick up the batting for Total Eclipse while at the Hen House so perhaps I will get to that yet today depending on how long it takes to get the selvedge blocks together.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Blah!

I completed Dale's BOM yesterday. It took most of the day? I didn't even do the second set (I'm overachieving and doing two quilts instead of one) because I started feeling so, well, blah. Jim and Caleb have been fighting a summertime cold and I think yesterday I was too. I hope not because I really need to be fit for the reunion.

I feel a little fuzzy today, but hopefully I'll perk up as the day progresses. Maybe getting so rambunctious with the RxR put me into a downward state. Who knows?

I'm running into town early today (hopefully) to pick up my "prize" fabric from the RxR challenge. I have decided on the pattern Radiant Suns to use with the winning fabric and since my batik stash lacks a lot of color, this should be the perfect solution.

No pics today since yesterday was a wash.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I dunno

I don't know where I'm headed today. Total Eclipse did not get loaded yesterday for two reasons: 1) Jim's cousins stopped by for most of the afternoon and 2) I want to put a nice batting in the quilt (rather then my "everyday" batting) and I would have to break down a queen-size bat (all I have in my inventory) to do this. I'll pick up a smaller bat tomorrow at The Hen House.

Beachy Bovines was completed between the cousin visit. I could probably get that on the long arm since it's a smallish little quilt?!?

Beachy Bovines
Dale informed me last week that at one point my BOM for the guild is going to require some intensive block building. With that information she indicated I needed to stay on top of my blocks so I won't feel so overwhelmed. I think I need to do those for this month so it's not hovering over my head. I'm doing two color ways so I have even more work ahead of me.

I'm feeling kind of cranky today. It's been a trying few days with Jim's family and lack of communication/scheduling. The DeGroot Reunion is coming all too fast. We have a lot of work in store after this weekend and it seems the boys are less then enthusiastic or helpful this year about all of it, which puts it all on our shoulders (again).