Think about this.....

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Small Project Sunday

It's been a while since I've done SPS. I miss it.

Here's yesterday's:

Jeans Duffle Bag
Two pairs of jeans later it's a duffle bag. It doesn't look like much empty, but it turned our really cute!

A few notes on this project:

1) Make sure to use jeans with a small waist, but a long inseam.
2) Keep the heavy jean seam away from where I need to make my seams.
3) While Jay will plow through a lot of layers, 10 is about his maximum.

Since this duffle didn't take me all day, I spent the remainder of the day hand sewing the tiny jingle bells on the tall Christmas Tree I made a few sew-ins ago (I think it was in June when I made it).

I spent this morning making cookies (a new chocolate chip recipe I wanted to try), so I've started out this afternoon cleaning the studio up a bit. I had two large rolls of batting to mount on the batting bar under DW. I had a large set of dust bunny colonies setting up camp under the long arm, and I picked out my next small project I want to work on during my "quiet" sewing time.

I still haven't got the Twirly quilt on DW; maybe today. Tomorrow all the BOM's hit and I'm actually ready for this month. Actually, I'm looking forward to them all coming in this month instead of feeling I'm behind the eight ball. Hurray!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Making Use

I have plenty of little pieces left over from Twirly quilt. Rather then filing all of them in with the other little pieces I have in my 16-square bins, I'm sewing them together to make something else. Maybe a future bag or purse or some other something or another.

Making Fabric
Since I needed something else to do prior to this project on Friday, I found a little something in my new Angela Walters book to do. This occupied some much needed sit and sew time and perhaps a quilt fairy gift idea for next year?!?

Water Bottle Case
The pattern made this project taller then I originally would have made it, so I think if I do use it for a gift idea, I would alter the pattern in height somewhat.

Today I'm going to finish the fabric making project from above and maybe load Twirly quilt onto DW. There are a lot of things I can do and since it's Sunday, I have quilters choice where I go with my day.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Not so Honey, but Definitely Nutty, Cheerios

This quilt was a dream to quilt to start. Everything was fine until I got down to the end. That's when I discovered my backing was short about 4 inches. After rectifying this problem yesterday afternoon, I re-loaded and finished out quilting the top.

I measured around the perimeter, selected a binding fabric and found what I had selected was JUST enough fabric to go around the complete quilt.

Ummm...no.

I was about eight inches short.

I scrounged through my stash, my little pieces, my short cuts, and finally, the last place I looked, found a piece I could use to extend the amount I needed.

While ironing the new piece into the old and pressing the crease to add it to my quilt, the iron decided to become incontinent (again) all over the end of the quilt and one of the "accidents" occurred on a section of white. I need a new iron.

Now I'm glad this quilt is done where before, I didn't want it to end because it was so fun.
Cheerios
I think today I need to just sew. I need to sit and muddle through a pattern, put fabric together, make 1/4" seams, press, measure, and cut. I have a little pattern here I may try to stray from the long arm for a day. 

I do love long arming, but I love to piece and create tops as well, and I haven't done any of that in over a week. I wonder if I'll remember how to use my machines? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Reaching Half Way

When doing a marathon of any sort (having plenty of experience in this area), it seems once the half way mark is crossed, it's all down hill. When I see the end in sight, I actually feel a mixture of happiness and sadness both.

Here is what I finished Wednesday morning.

VW #3 Quilt
Here's what was loaded yesterday afternoon.

In the afternoon
Here's what came off the long arm this morning.

VW's 4th Quilt
I could have actually pulled this off last night, but I didn't want to get started onto something else because I probably wouldn't have stopped. Jim's cousins were coming to pick some of their stuff up from the basement this morning and I knew most of the morning would be shot, but was able to get this off prior to them showing up.

And we are now back to Cheerios. I have suido-loaded it back onto DW and am trying to muddle through the last four inches. I did have just enough backing fabric left to attach the piece I needed so we'll cross our fingers and hope for the best with its completion.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quilting Marathon Update

Coming off the long arm late last night was this little cutie. I was concerned about the quilting quality on this piece because the customer wanted to have a heavy flannel/muslin type of batting in between instead of traditional batting. DW sailed through it like a trooper and in fact, I feel like this actually quilted out better then traditional batting.
VW's Second Quilt
On the long arm this morning is this beautiful Square in a Square; VW's third quilt.

VW's Third Quilt
I basically just set the top on the batting so I could get my blogging done this morning before getting lost in my stitching work. This is a little larger then her previous two quilts so it may take most of today to get through it. Aside from the sashing pieces, I pretty much know what I'm going to do in here (once again, remind self not to quilt it to death since the customer does not want that). 

It's a gray, gloomy, (and coldish) day, which is perfect to stay inside and work on these wonderful projects. Let's Quilt!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quilting Marathon

I finished out yesterday afternoon was this cute little Christmas quilt VW made. This is her first of four I'm doing for her.

VW's First of Four
I snapped this pic prior to calling to see if I needed to trim her quilts and, yes, she'd appreciate me doing that for her. I'm going to square up the corners as well since she's kind of in a transitional living place right now.

I snuck AH's charity quilt in later last night, and earlier this morning. I knew she was going to be heading out of town and would probably want to work on the binding during her trip. And, Jim needed to have some quilting lessons/experience. Charity quilts are a perfect opportunity for him to work on his skills.


AH's Charity Quilt
After returning home from the dentist early this afternoon I started to load VW's second quilt when lo and behold, one of Jim's cousins stopped by. This occupied a couple of hours and so didn't get this loaded until later in the afternoon.

VW's Second Quilt
Hopefully the next two days will be a bit more productive since I'm running out of appointments to head off to and people who may stop by to visit.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tools of the Trade

After observing, viewing, and studying quilting motifs I was very often astounded how quilters could get the quilting so perfect while using complimentary thread over complimentary fabric. How did they see to quilt it? How were they able to make their stitches so perfect without being able to know where they were going? What was their secret?

No matter how hard I tried to see my stitches in a thread/fabric complimentary situation, I was basically stitching blind. I would stop often to feel my way around to see what I had done and more keenly, where I was going to next.

After attending the quilt show last week and stopping by the Handi Quilter booth, I think we found our secret.

The secret
This little light clamps on to the side of my left handle bar (I don't use it much anyway since I quilt one-handed). The key is to get light shining sideway ACROSS the threads rather then trying to struggle with the overhead lights in either the studio or on the machine. Neither of those were working anyway so we had to try something else.

The quilt currently on DW...
VW's First Quilt
...is a customer quilt. Customers generally tend to not like to see much of the quilting in their quilts. That's why they made the quilt in the first place; to see the design within the top. Only the crazy long-armers/quilters look at the overall quilting much (right?).

The thread selected for this quilt is blending so well, that even with a direct spotlight we could hardly see the stitches. With our new little side light, I can see everything baby! It's wonderful.

Cheerios was taken off yesterday, but it is incomplete. When getting to the last two inches I realized I was running out of backing fabric. I have to scrounge some more from around here some where (I have a tiny bit left that I may be able to piece together), but put that away until I could get through these five other quilts. 

So, with some bobbins all wound,
I'll crank up Pandora and Rock and Quilt!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Before and After

When I'm working on a block or set of blocks, sometimes I wonder if they would just look well enough alone before adding all the embellishments and frills.

Here is a before pic of what I worked on Friday.

Before
Here is the same set of flowers, vines, and leaf after I added some stitching.

After
Notice how the first one looks okay; rather flat and not too interesting, but passable. Notice how the stitching in the second pic brings out some movement and adds interest into the very simple motif?

All my homework is now completed for next month on the Stitchers Garden. Here's the completed three blocks and the five last blocks for next month are background stitched and ready to go.

I had a customer stop by on Friday while I was tackling my homework to drop off what I thought was only going to be one quilt to long arm, but instead turned out to be four. Another guild member FB'd me and asked to do a charity quilt for her, and I received a text message from a cousin asking about doing a king on DW.

August Stitchers Garden blocks
Yesterday Jim took off from work and we spent the day running around and enjoying each others company. We had some supplies to pick up and one of our stops took us to the Hen House to purchase backing fabric for the Twirly quilt. Although, with the recent influx of long-arming for others, it may be a week or so before I can get to Twirly.

Today I MUST get Cheerios done. I have to get some of these customer quilts on the frame because we all know how much I love having things hanging over my head. NOT!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Another [Lost] Day

I had just started to work in here yesterday, and then mom stopped by. Need I say more? She and I have a tendency to get lost in other projects, conversation, coffee, and the need to run around. I know the long arm noise bothers her ears and so I try not to work on DW when she's here. It's pretty rude of me to just sit and sew in front of her since sewing is one of her least favorite things to do in the world, so nothing was accomplished (again) yesterday.

But, I did get some work done on Wednesday before and after class.

This was before.

Some of the Cheerios quilting
And this was after.

One of our three blocks this month

The other two 
I have the first block totally complete. The other two are only stuck on with fusible and need to be stitched out today. I'll have to add their borders and then they'll be completed. The fusible pieces are drawn and cut for next month, but I still need to stitch out the background sections (and there are a lot of those to finish the year out).

I'll work on Cheerios when I complete my homework, whenever that may be, so high ho, high ho, a quilting I will go.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hiatus

A nearly one week studio hiatus was due somewhat to the "big" kids moving back to the midwest. Ohio will be their home for at least a year, perhaps two, depending on how the job market goes for them. The rest of the kids and I were down for a long weekend helping them unload, clean, unpack, shop, and laugh. Did we ever laugh!

After my return home late Sunday, the energy level to return into the studio was limited. I worked at a very leisurely pace throughout Monday and today I seem to be back to some sort of normal energy.

I just finished the Twirly quilt top. It turned out really great and I'm pleasantly surprised, after adding my own set of creative borders to it, just how big it finished. We laid it over the queen-sized bed in the guest bedroom and it covers with a some drape to the sides.

My "holding" shelves seem to be getting a little burgeoned. I think I need to tackle some WIP's and reduce the amount of projects I'm working on. Although, most of them are BOM's that I can't finish now that I think about it. Hmmm...

Cheerios is still on DW and waiting for me to make up my mind on how I'm going to quilt it. I have my new long ruler to use with my table and I should make some use of that I think.

Since it's so late in the day I'll take stock of what I have going on and try to plan out next week. The remainder of this week is class tomorrow in Portland, homework from said class, preparation for our next class (which is our last for this series), and then long arming Cheerios. That should take me up to the weekend...maybe?!?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Art or Craft

If you really think making a quilt is merely a craft rather then an art form, you obviously haven't attended a large quilt show. The talent is amazing and truly a form of art with textile mediums as the chosen expression type. Words can not describe what we had the privilege to see yesterday and if you really enjoy quilts, take the time to attend one of these wonderful events.

Here's what I closed up the studio with on Tuesday night. This is our first attempt at laying out the twirly quilt blocks.

First Layout Attempt
I don't think I'll be doing too much in here today (???). I have to get ready to go to Ohio for the weekend to help the kids move in to their new house. We'll see how the time works. The little kids are arriving early evening and spending the night so we can head out early in the morning (another early morning, yippee).

This is kind of a bummer because while we did spend some time viewing quilts yesterday morning, the afternoon was spent at the vendor mall and I had some fun getting new things for DW. A new ruler, some batting, some new thread, needles, etc. Oddly, not one scrap of fabric was purchased.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

AQS Show

Originally, Jim and I were going to attend the AQS Quilt Show this coming Wednesday (tomorrow).

Then, I needed new glasses, which of course, the insurance only pays a paltry amount on. I said to Jim that we should forgo the show because of the expense of the new specs.

Then he surprised me this weekend and said we were still going to the show. And my mom is going to go with us too! What a fun day we have planned for tomorrow!

Well, it's a fun day for me. I don't know how much "fun" Jim and my mom are going to have. I guess if they get too bored they can wander around downtown Grand Rapids since there is a LOT to do within a short walking distance of the convention center. We can't stay too awfully late because we have to pick up our fair pig later tomorrow at the fair grounds, but I'm just busting with excitement!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

...Here's what I did yesterday morning. This one is called "Boomerangs" and it has 96 pieces.

August Arcadia Avenue--Boomerangs
This pic didn't turn out very good. Sorry about that!

The afternoon was spent working on the Twirly Quilt blocks. I almost put it away when the first two blocks turned out like this...

Ummm, that's not a block shape
...but as the afternoon progressed, I figured out what I did wrong and zipped out 14 blocks total. This means I have enough to make the inside of the quilt body and am now working on those other blocks for the border. I thought I would only need 14 for the second border but forgot I'll be adding some distance with the first focus border. 16 total border blocks should do it which means I need about eight more to sew. Yeah!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Perspective

I was sitting here at my desk in the studio waiting for my [very] slow computer to catch up to itself, and I noticed the shutter angle of my camera. I snapped this pic from where I sit and blog every day and what some of the studio looks like from a different perspective.

A different view of the studio
See what I mean about the large pile of stuff down there at the end of my pressing/planning table?

I finished the charity quilt and here it is completed.

I Pledge Allegiance...Charity Quilt
I have to share something a little icky about this quilt. Maybe I shouldn't?! No, I'll skip it. If you want to know, just ask and I'll share. Anyway, this makes my eighth one for this year. One of these days I have to get labels them all.

Next up on D Dubs is this little Cheerios pattern compliments of Missouri Star Quilt Company and Jenny Doan. I did this at camp last year and am just now getting it quilted. That's how behind I still am.

Cheerios
Haven't a clue on how I'm going to quilt this one. Maybe it has to sit here for a day or so until I can figure that out. Any suggestions (other then with thread Katie?). There's a lot of negative space and quite honestly, if I was really ambitious, I'd just take it off and do some straight line stitching on Mike instead. Hmm...maybe I could baste it while it's on DW and then take it off to do that. Hmm....????


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Loopy

Sometimes it's just fun to just play on the long arm. I didn't feel like doing anything intricate since I just had that with the two previous quilts and I wanted to have a few hours to just enjoy my thread and my machine.

That's what charity quilts are for: To hone smoothing skills while moving the machine around the cloth, and, letting yourself become more acquainted with the whole quilting process.

Loopy quilting on a charity quilt
We ended up running to Hastings yesterday to Jami's Variety Store (where I purchased the fabric for Arcadia Avenue) to obtain some more black (remember, I messed up block #7 at camp). They were out of the black linen (of course). We ended up down at Sisters Quilt Shop and she had something pretty darn close and so purchased a 1/2 yard from her.

After finally returning home (of course, you can't just go to Hastings and leave right away), I started on my Arcadia Avenue #8 (since eight was robbed for #7's error) which is where I left off last night.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sewing Day

It's nice (no, actually, it's wonderful) to have a carefree day where there are no doctor appointments, errands, places to be, or other obligations hanging over your head and sewing freely is the only thing on the agenda.

Yesterday was one of those days. Here's where I finished last night.

Craftsy BOM for July and August
The first two on the left column were already completed before yesterday, but the other six were added on my free sewing day. I love, love, love the colors Kimberly has selected for this BOM and each block is turning out nearly perfect.

Today I have another one of those days ahead of me. I don't know where I'll be going in here, but it should be pretty relaxing and I look forward to the time!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Needles

In the last 12 hours or so I've learned a lot about needles for my long arm. I've learned that certain needles are not welcome for use in my long arm lest consequences may ensue. Very expensive consequences I might add, and the money saved on purchasing said needles will cost me greatly in the long run.

Moving along.

B&B's second quilt was finished by mid afternoon yesterday. Bill seemed thrilled at the work I did for them and they looked great when he showed them last night. They didn't look so great up close, but I'm reminded we see these quilts at such a close distance that most people don't view them at...and we are our worst critics.

I had a few hours to kill between taking care of the long arm stuff and heading for town so I made a bag for Mike to put his pressure foot and power cord in for when we travel together. Similar to the one I have for Laura. Here's his.

A New Draw String Bag for Mike's Essentials
The next long arm piece is this top I made at camp. It'll be donated to the VA in November and I was able to get the batting needed for it at last nights meeting.

Next to go
I think today I need to just sew. I have my July BOM from Craftsy to finish (I only have two of the four done) and then maybe I'll do the August blocks. I can't do my Arcadia Avenue BOM until I jog over to Hastings to pick up more of that black linen (since I found out at camp that I screwed up the cutting here at home).

And there's always Twirly Quilt blocks to work on. I still need 6 more for the body and then the rest of the blocks will be for the border. My planning table is getting cluttered so I need to deal with some of these things to get it cleaned off.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Eyes

Eyes are important for a long-armer. It's important to me to get regular vision check ups and keep up good vision health. While I dislike taking a day away from my studio, having those peepers checked out far outweighs my dislike.

Everything checked out fine except for the vision in my left eye, which seems to have deteriorated somewhat over the past two years. New glasses are now on order and I'll have them in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, dilating my eyes causes obscured vision for a few hours. Therefore, studio work didn't begin until late afternoon, and even then, I was squinting to see what the dickens I was trying to accomplish.

After a while they settled down. I basically stuck to working on B&B's second quilt so I could possibly deliver it tonight. Here's a close up of some of the work going into it.

Block Feather Detail
I'll continue on with this quilt today until I have to leave for guild tonight. Chances are, I'll get it done before leaving, but the customer wants me to also attach the binding and that takes some extra time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Sculpting

Mom and I took a free book sculpting class yesterday. It was pretty fun, and mom had hers turning out really cool. Mine wasn't completed before our two hours expired. My piece is not turning out as nice as moms.

Prior to leaving for lunch/class I was able to complete Margarets quilt. I'm waiting for her to text me back to see if she wants the quilt trimmed prior to packing it up for delivery (I forgot to ask her when she gave it to me last Thursday).

I finished the binding on B&B's first quilt...

Disappearing Pinwheel for Bill and Betsy
...and started the blanket stitching on B&B's second quilt.

After I returned home I finished the blanket stitching and loaded their second quilt onto D Dubs.

Civil War Quilt for Bill and Betsy
This quilt has a LOT of thread changes in it. Betsy doesn't want to see the quilting much so I have to change out for all the different values in color. And, we have a lot of intricate designs we've selected to put into it so this little 46" square piece will take a couple of days to complete.

This morning I have an eye appointment (my annual check up) and because they'll dilate my eyes, I'll be virtually useless for most of the rest of the day. I can't drive for a while so may wander over to the Hen House to work on some EPP hexagons for a while until I can actually see again. Hexagons just require a simple basting stitch so no precise work there.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Not 2 Hours

This pattern I purchased a few weeks ago at Around the Block quilt shop was called Two Hour Tulip Purse.

Not!

More like six hours!

But it turned out nice (I guess). I am not a seamstress and this was a big struggle for me!

Two-Hour Tulip Purse
I should have been long-arming those customer quilts instead of working on this but I just wasn't there in my head yesterday.

Later today I have a class I'm taking with my mom on book sculpting at the library in Charlotte. I'm not to sure exactly what we are going to do, but it sounded like fun, I get to spend the afternoon with mom, and it's a free class.

This morning DW and I will spend some time together since we are meeting mom for lunch and so the remainder of the morning hours is all I have. Ta ta!

Monday, August 3, 2015

11.2 Million

My curiosity gets to me once in a while and since I didn't really do anything in here yesterday; just a little long arming before we started into something else, I interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to pass on a public service message.

As of this morning, I'm at 11.2 million stitches on my long arm. We are just about at a year and a half of actual use on DW, and according to my dealer, I'm reaching what he considers a "professional" or "commercial" level of use.

That is all.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Finger Is Numb

I cut so many pieces out yesterday for the Twirly quilt that my pointer finger seems a little numb.

I ran out of sections to sew together at our retreat and I really wanted to work on these blocks yesterday. Cutting ensued. Lots of it! I think I have enough cut now to probably complete the top.

I did get five more blocks sewn together and this brings the total to 42. I need 48 for the inside section of the top and another 14 for the outside border, so only 20 more blocks to go. If I could just sit down and crank out a days worth of sewing I could finish the block building, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. Too much going on around here and customer quilts to long arm come first.

Twirly Blocks
This is one of those customer quilts.
Margaret's Baby Quilt
Margaret made this during our retreat. It's so darling! She said the recipient would probably use it as a floor quilt for the expectant baby, so I'm debating on how I want to quilt it. I think swirls and loops would be cute in here but I have a feeling it's gong to receive lots of washings. A meander would probably be the best bet for its impending use?? 

I won't get much done in here today though since we are going to visit mom later after lunch. This means I need to quit blogging and get to work I'm afraid. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rescued

This machine was the one I referred to last night. I cleaned her and gave her a quick check up. I may have Mike at Gall work on her more if the test run I perform today doesn't go that well. I'm thinking of naming her Holly since she's a New Home model #532.

My 1964-ish New Home rescued from Hospice yesterday
I love the colors on this machine! Katie pointed out the tape on the right of the presser foot indicating the 1/4" seam allowance...meaning the previous owner was probably a quilt maker! How cool is that?

Since I didn't spend much time in the studio yesterday, I think today will be studio filled. Or, at least I hope so. Papa is home from work early today and Caleb is still here so perhaps they'll be busy doing father/son stuff. You just never know around here.

I snapped a pic of my design wall.
UFO's!
I have plenty to do in just making tops, let alone the four or so quilts I have sitting here for DW. Let's get ready to sew!!!!