Think about this.....

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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Doody

Yesterday afternoon I really started feeling like doody. Stuffy nose, lethargic, sore throat, swollen glands. I decided I'd been going too fast since my return from Arizona, and I was going fast there too. I basically closed up shop early.

I did get much accomplished yesterday though before feeling all oogy. Andrew's t-shirts are all interfaced and prepped for sashing strips.

Vicki's quilt was pulled off the long arm, measured, cut and attached additional backing, remounted onto the frame and is now quilted (this is how a quilt should look when you reach the end row/border) and trimmed.

The real way to end a quilt with the backing
Bill and Betsy's lap quilt is quilted, trimmed, and the binding is attached for them. It's an odd shaped thing so attaching the binding was weird. I had to watch a video to remind me how to do angles larger then 90 degrees.

Charity Lap Quilt for Bill and Betsy
I pulled Gloria's charity quilt out and pressed and attached the backing before I started not feeling very well. Hopefully I'll continue with getting it on DW before Jim gets home from work today.

I noticed in the bathroom this morning there is a space next to my sink that needs a little something put there. After thinking about it I came up with something and maybe if I have time today, I'll get it planned out and drawn up for small project Sunday.

I think we have to run errands this afternoon which will take me out of here for the remainder of at least most of the day. But, if we do have to run errands, Bonnie has released her fabric requirements/colors for this years mystery quilt! I'll pick up my paint chips and start planning with my stash.

Friday, October 30, 2015

97 X. BAM. The Future of Rock and Roll.

I love the movie Rainman. Not so much for the story line or all the vulgar language Tom Cruise seems to use throughout the movie, but more for the lines within the movie so appropriate for everyday life.

Today's line is to remind me to just crank up the tunes, enjoy my jobbie, and dig in with gusto.

Because I couldn't long arm yesterday, I did get mom's quilt top finished.

Mumbo Jumbo Lap Quilt for Mom
I'll get it on the long arm later next week.

From there I started pulling all the charity quilts out of the closet and got all their labels put on. Here's the ten that went last night.

2015 Charity Quilt Donations
I still had some time left before I had to leave. Since the big kid doesn't read my blog I can divulge what I started next. Any guesses?

Andrew's Christmas Quilt in the works.
I got through about half of the t-shirt pile before I needed to pack up and leave.

While talking with Carol R. prior to our meeting beginning, Bill and Betsy approached me about quilting a lap quilt for the VA for them, to include putting on the binding. Caroline brought over the extra backing fabric for Vicki's quilt, and after returning to my "designated" corner, Gloria asked if I would be interested in doing a charity quilt for her. I nearly walked out with as many bags coming back home as I did entering the building. Happy Face!

What I was talking with Carol R. about was how Sue Patten quilted her quilts to death yet they didn't feel like a board with stiffness. Carol thought it was the batting she put in that gave it this wonderful flexibility. I checked my notes this morning and what I inserted into her handouts was the following:

A longer stitch length will result in a softer quilts...even if you "quilt it to death". 

Another note I had inserted was ...avoid hitting lines twice which keeps all the stitches evenly textured. 

I need to get my scanner working so I can get the Saturday morning notes to Carol, but that may not happen today since I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed in here. I'm running to Meijer sometime this weekend and I'll pick up printer cartridges; this way I can actually print them out and bring them to her instead.

Another dreary day with our weather, so off I go to make some fabric beautiful with thread!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Hitches

The least thing I like to do is contact a customer about their quilt because of a hitch in the quilting process.

Not good!
That plastic thing in the bottom right hand corner of the pic is the end of the backing fabric.

Ummm???
Again, the bottom right hand corner is the problem. I still have that much quilt left and not enough backing fabric (you have to look real hard but there's a wide border past the last row of blocks).

After I contacted Vicki, I checked myself to make sure I didn't have a "whoops" moment when loading the quilt. Even if I had turned the quilt 90 degrees, the backing still would have been short by about 2" and that doesn't include my extra 8 inches for mounting onto the frame.

Thankfully Vicki got the backing at The Hen House and can get more. I'll unload it tomorrow once she gets me the fabric at guild tonight and add the new backing on to the existing one for her.

Since this was discovered late yesterday morning, I had the rest of the day to make blocks for my new project.

Here's the mess I'm making while constructing the blocks.

This drives me nuts!
But the blocks are so darn cool (if you like the scrappy look that is).

Mumbo Jumbo Block
I figured I would need about 16 blocks total for mom's birthday lap quilt. It'll be a bit wider and a little too short so I'll add an uneven border around it to make sure we nearly hit her goal measurement. The blocks are made of random width strips so it should look alright I would think.

When I closed up the studio last night I was at 14 blocks. Since I can't long arm today (sad face) I'll work on this for today. I don't think this should take me all day (although, you never know what kind of interruptions I'll have), and since we are nearing the end of the month, maybe I'll start my November Arcadia Avenue next (happy face).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Zen Place

After the string quilt was completed, and after my company left, Vicki's quilt was loaded. It took a while longer then usual to load (customer quilts get a lot of TLC), and I started to then design what I was going to put into the quilt.

Vicki's Quilt
Wendy suggested Press n' Seal to use to mark the quilt out. We picked some up last Sunday at the store and I tried it yesterday but didn't like how it was behaving. I don't want to mark this quilt in any way with chalk or pens because it's not mine to mark up.

Next option. I tried to find my graph paper (why is this stuff always so allusive when you need it?), and instead only found my tracing paper. I roughly gridded that out and then drew what I wanted to put into the quilt onto that. I think we have a winner. Next: Muscle memory.

I'll trace the design out a dozen or so times to get the movements into my head before laying down the thread. The last thing I want to do is pick out a whole motif because I failed to plan.

By this time it was starting to get dark outside, Jim was in for the night, and I knew once I began quilting I wouldn't want to stop. You know, it's that zen place you get into while doing something you really, really enjoy.

I opted to shut DW down for the night so I could solely focus on the quilting today. While scooting around DW and putting him to bed for the evening, I noticed that the situation below was getting way out of control!

Messy, messy, messy!
Thankfully, I kind of knew it was getting bad and picked this pattern up while in Arizona at the Three Dudes Quilt Shop.

My next quilt project
Mom wants a small (36" x 48") lap quilt to put around her when she's reading at night. I think I can modify this pattern to her specifications by reorganizing the placement of some of the blocks. It should chew through some of that mess above and I don't have to be particularly fussy about what I'm putting where within the blocks.

Once I get her quilt done, I can continue on with more blocks to eventually get into a full size quilt as the pattern suggests. It's not like I'm lacking any scraps here and perhaps the little cabinet/shelves above will stop throwing up fabric all over the floor by the time I've finished.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

New Friends

I attended a class a while back with a renowned quilter named Paul Reid. A lady by the name of Darlene attended that same class with me and we hit it off right from the start.

She was in the area this week and asked if I would like some company. Heck yes! Needless to say, our day and a half together went entirely too fast. We exchanged patterns, information, tears, laughs, and food together. What a great start to this week!

I did manage to get some things accomplished despite the visit.
First Stitcher's Garden block for Stitcher's Garden #2
This is what was on DW yesterday morning.

MJ's String Quilt for SIREN
Guess what Darlene and I finished today?

Ready to go back to MJ for binding
Here's a little something people don't consider when asking for long-arming services: All the little threads that peek out between the seams that have to be removed. A conscious long arm quilter will remove all of these. My friend didn't know it was that big of a problem until she assisted me in some of the removal process.

Thread Peekers
I can pick on this particular block as a thread seeker offender because it's one of the blocks I contributed.

Darlene has now left and I am once again all alone. I have another quilt to load and start so I'll be doing that the rest of the day.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hello Blog!

Studies have been done for habit formation. It takes "x" amount of days (I don't know the amount of days it is) to form a habit. I wonder how many days it takes to get out of the habit formed? It's been nearly two weeks since my last blog and I seem to still be in the habit of this morning ritual. Gladly.

Arizona was fun. Long arm classes were more fun. But, it's good to be home! I have no desire to travel afar again for quite some time. It seems airports are nothing more then people calls (cattle on two legs) and it takes me away from what I love to do on a daily basis.

Between the classes and unpacking, I was able to complete this little chevron quilt on DW.

Bright Chevrons
This was my first completed UFO quilt from the auction. Oddly, when the brown bag reveal happened Thursday night, I received a chevron block back from Heather. I think we may make a pillow out of it and add the two together. They aren't quite the same, but I think they'll work.

Yesterday, after the kids left and the dust settled from the week/weekends events, I worked on my next year's 1st Stitcher's Garden block. This is about all I have done.

Neutral Stitcher's Garden First Block
I have to put the borders on yet and then prepare for block two (since I'm already a month behind). Class isn't until Nov. 12th, but I want to get this off my to-do list.

Thursday at guild I was given a string quilt to quilt for MJ. After attending classes last week, I won't be doing a typical meander in it, although I haven't a clue what exactly I'm going to do. It's on DW at any case.

Vicki gave me another quilt to do for her as well. Wendy and I designed a tree with falling leaves and some squirrels. I picked up some Press and Seal to use to get the design on the top so I have some idea where I'm going with it while it's being quilted.

Fall is upon us. The colors are beautiful out my studio window and I must take advantage of this wonderful day in here! Glad to be back! Glad to be in my favorite place!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Getting Ready

I thought mom would be over here sooner then later today, but it turns out, she didn't get back from her Martha's Vineyard trip until late last night. She'll be here around noon and then on to Detroit.

Meanwhile, I'm taking this time to make more hexagon material for our very long four hour plane trip. It's so hard for me to sit still that long and not do anything. I usually read for part of it and work on hexagons the other part. If mom is rather chatty, I'll just whip out another hundred hexagons or so.

I decided to make the zipper pouches after all yesterday. Here they are.

Zipper Pouches
This was my first time making this particular pattern. It was another free class from Craftsy I had enrolled in quite a while ago. So far, this is my favorite! The little tabs on the left side are the same material as the lining inside! These would make wonderful quilt fairy gifts, wouldn't they?

DW has a new foot! I gave it a test run yesterday and OMG! What a difference!!!!

I'll just have to make sure I keep mindful when getting close to any edges. I could see that foot getting caught in the edge fabric and causing all sorts of issues.

He seems to be running smoother too?!? While the foot was being exchanged, the bobbin case area was thoroughly cleaned and Jim raised the foot up just a tad because we felt like it was dragging before. Wow, I still can't believe how smooth he's running now!

New Foot for DW
Well, it's on to our trip. Have a wonderful week and weekend. Enjoy the autumn colors and Go Green! Go White!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mission Accomplished

I wanted to get this quilt done before leaving for Arizona tomorrow. I really didn't think I would reach my goal, but hurray, the top is complete!

Here are the five borders in their entirety.

All five borders

A close-up of the painstaking stitching in border four
Here is the completed Stitcher's Garden top hanging for us to enjoy before my departure.

Stitcher's Garden utilizing the brights color way
Not sure what's going on there on the left. Okay, I just checked, it's just the way it's hanging on the design wall. Whew!

I've already started packing today and it seems I'm short on luggage amenities. Another rant: I hate plastic bags. They are horrible for the environment, they make an annoying crinkling sound, and they smell funny (at least to me they do). Jim's mom packs everything in plastic bags. I make my own reusable, environmentally friendly bags to put stuff in.

I need two bags today: One for all my personal hygiene stuff (deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, etc.), and one for my electronic chords. I was going to make zippered pouches but I think instead I'll make drawstring bags. They sound like more fun to make.

I hope to slip a little long-arming in there to satisfy that craving and continue to gather items I want to take along with me as my day moves along.

And, unless I whip out something quick tomorrow morning, this may be my last post for about 10 days. I might get a few words in here and there if time/resources exist, but quite honestly, between our Arizona trip and my Sue Patton classes, I don't think much is actually going to happen in the studio for a while, which is very sad.

So...

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Late Start

I decided last night I needed some new clothes for the Arizona trip. I have been looking in a few stores here and there and quite frankly, am disappointed in both the quality as well as the price of clothing nowadays.

When did a simple top hike to $40? Do you have any idea how much fabric I can buy for $40? When did jeans near $60 a pair? I don't think so!

There is a wonderful, clean, and not to mention huge consignment shop in Okemos called Kellie's Consignments. She has decent prices, always has some kind of markdown gimmick going on, and I always find at least a few things there. Currently, she's batting a 1,000 with me because I walked out with 12 tops/blouses for $37 total thank you very much! Most of these tops have name brand names on them like Coldwater Creek, Talbots, or Christopher Banks. Stuff that Kohls!

Enough of my ranting. While we were out and about, Jim and I needed to return my birthday present back to Gall Sewing. All the boys went together and purchased me a very high end steam iron for the studio. Unfortunately, the iron is more suited for somebody who owns a dry cleaners or who makes clothing rather then intricately pieced quilt blocks.

The other iron Gall offers Cindy didn't recommend for my use. Apparently it's shut off feature is rather bothersome and it doesn't get all that hot (according to the Amazon reviews). We exchanged the iron the boys bought for a couple of things.

I have a new conversation kit for my long arm which will give me open-toe quilting capabilities as well as the option of purchasing additional feet like couching or appliqué feet for speciality quilting. Since I'm now finishing a very intense appliqué quilt, the appliqué foot would certainly come in handy. I also purchased a new oiler for DW since I stepped on his and basically squished it flat.

Now that we're home, Jim is off to get his trailer and my new tops are in the washer, I can get back to work in here. Here's what I did yesterday in the studio!

80 Blocks
(80) 5 1/2" blocks stitched 3/4" from the marked center. That pile on the right in the sun is the 40 white blocks.

Block closeup
After stitching, misting, drying, misting again (for those who didn't want to give up their marks) and pressing them out, I'll be trimming them down today to 4 1/2" and putting them together to make up the fourth border in my Stitcher's Garden. Just keep trimming, just keep trimming...

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Something Accomplished

I didn't think I'd be able to get much done in here yesterday, but I actually did. Here are the first three borders on Stitcher's Garden

Getting There
I still have two more to go, but the fourth border is very, very labor intensive. It consists of 80 blocks total. Each block has two sets of fancy diagonal stitches done 3/4" away from a drawn center line.

I have to create some kind of stabilizer to put behind the blocks to keep them from getting ruffled while stitching the lines. Carol's phone book page idea will most likely be the candidate.

We did some yard work this morning and I have a fresh new haircut for my trip this coming week. I'll be in here for the remainder of the day since it's already past 2:00.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Birthday

My birthday isn't until Wednesday but I'll be on the road with mom headed to Arizona. We're celebrating today, beginning with lunch at the Olivet Garden, with the kids (minus the Ohio group).

Having said that, I won't be around much until later today and wanted to share what I did yesterday.

Laying out Stitcher's Garden
Getting the pieces in some sort of semblance was the first order of business. As I look at this pic I realize it's actually sideways but this is an idea of what I'm working with today.

Center Section
This is the middle of the quilt for which I'll build the rest of the pieces around.

After struggling with all the weight and gentle handling of each block, I finally had the center of the top done a little after 5 pm last night. I started in on the borders.

There are five borders to this quilt. I still don't understand how it takes so darn long to set borders into a quilt. I spent the remainder of the evening getting the first set on and beginning the second set.

Getting the second set started
This is where I left off after around 8:00. This is where I'll come into later this evening when we return home from Lansing.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Gloomy Day

I'm one of those weird people who love gloomy days. While residing in Arizona, I longed for days like today where the sun wasn't going to shine and the rain was a constant bother. It must be a Michigan thing?

After applying the first border to the Friendship Star quilt yesterday I decided nothing in my stash was going to work for the second border I have in mind. I need to go shopping.

After getting ready to put that away for the day I noticed this next to it.

Iron Puddle
Thankfully this puddle isn't due to something large like a leaky roof. It's just the iron (again) peeing all over the place (again). Good thing my birthday is coming up. I think I know what I'm going to target this year.

Cute Baby Quilt is complete. I needed something cute after Ugly Blocks.

Cute Baby Quilt
DW wasn't naked for long. Here's what he'll be wearing for a few days.

Colorful Chevrons
Since it's Friday and I have the whole day free with no errands or visitors expected, I'll try to start my Stitcher's Garden completion. That's why that quilt above will be on DW for a few days. I want to get a bit more serious into the Stitchers Garden completion because...

...I signed up for another year of classes doing the neutral color way this time. It's a long story after some phone conversations yesterday, but I'll be traveling to Portland again for another year to create another set of Stitcher's Garden blocks and quilt. The first one was more of practice round and now I'll really get serious during the next go-around. So excited!

And, I have to start winding down in here to get ready for my trip to AZ next week. I haven't started packing and/or made plans where it is mom and I will be going. Jim and I will work on the logistics over the weekend for sight seeing plans and I'll start to pack between birthday stuff. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Visitor Day

Ever have one of those days where you feel like you could really accomplish a lot, and then people keep dropping by?

Yesterday was one of those days. Since we have so many friends and relatives in the area, it's great to know people feel comfortable enough to just pop in and share a cup of coffee or find out what the latest neighborhood gossip is all about.

I feel bad when people say to me, "We were just by your house and should have stopped by." Well, why didn't you? Do I smell? Did I do something wrong? Is my home unwelcome to you and if it is, how can I make it more welcome?

I did manage to get the cute baby quilt quilted, and I did manage to get the Friendship Star blocks assembled. I'll work on the borders for that today. I want to keep the baby quilt on the frame until I get those borders sorted out. Too many large projects on the pressing table is not good.

Here's the first border I've chosen.

First Border
I have to audition fabrics for the second border. I knew I wanted red in the first to mimic some of the center of the blocks within the top. But, this is a really dark red laced with black. My initial intention of putting black on the second border may be changed. I'm thinking a black with a hint of white may work better. Isn't being creative fun?

If all stays quiet today (and so far that doesn't seem to be the case actually), I'll be able to complete the cute baby quilt after getting these borders attached.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Misgivings

Let it be known I love to do charity quilts. Really, I do! I know somebody will receive this quilt I'm making and wrap themselves up in warmth and love, and maybe hope.

The second firemen's quilt is off the frame, folded, and ready to go to Peggy for the binding on Thursday.

While working the last two borders I noticed this...

Some kind of stain or something
I did not need to iron this top prior to putting it on DW so this discoloration was not me.

Then after I rolled the top to get the last border completed, this is what I discovered...

Cutting it too close
The blue fabric on top is the last border. The blue-ish color on the bottom is the backing. Anything wrong here?

This seems to be a theme amongst these charity quilts. Something is usually a bit off about some aspect of their construction. I feel like I don't know how many more of these I really want to tackle. The frustration of having to un-load, re-load by pinning, and then still not getting close enough makes me wonder if doing this for free is worth the headaches anymore. Hmmm??

At any case, the quilt is done and I'm moving along. This is what we dressed DW with yesterday afternoon.

Cute Baby Quilt
This is one of the UFO's I purchased a few weeks ago at the guild auction. I had only intended to load this and move on but I actually started the quilting too. This should be done later today.

I began putting the Friendship Stars together after the baby quilt, but I guess I was a little tired. While the window guys were here setting up for the family room replacements, I ended up sitting there ripping out the first row while listening to them because it just wasn't fitting together with the second row.

I forgot to square up the first row blocks and thought I could muddle my way through, but it just wasn't working out. I hope to get those blocks together today and then can start planning for any borders I might want to incorporate into the top.

Lots to do today and have beautiful weather to do it in. Loving my quilting life!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Long Arm Learning

Despite a late start yesterday morning, I was able to get Ugly Blocks completed prior to lunch. It'll be a nice quilt for a vehicle I would say.

Ugly Blocks in all its Ugliness
Moving along. The firemen's quilt was loaded and prior to getting it out to measure, I had not a clue what I was even working with.

My Second Firemen's Quilt
This is a pretty easy pattern and quilting ideas spilleth over! However, I know the guys who receive this won't give two toots about how it's finished so I decided to work on some of my straight line free motion stitching. You can see from the nearest blue block where I started.

But, since the blocks are so square, I incorporated some swirls into the mix to soften the quilting effects. 

Swirl Quilting
I only completed about half of this yesterday. It's taking me longer then I had originally thought, but that's because I'm taking my time and enjoying the learning process. 

Today I'll continue with the quilting until completion (probably). I have to have it back by Thursdays guild meeting and I don't want to tempt fate. My stitch counter on DW is at 12.5 Million and Mike never came out to do the PM on him, so I'm playing with fire. 

I'm not sure what happened with Mike not coming out, but I think Jim has something up his sleeve because he's being very evasive about why the man never showed up. Jim's sneaky like that. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Family and Chaos

Whenever the boys come home, it seems like chaos ensues. They are loud. They laugh (A LOT). And, they are boys after all; messes seem to follow them everywhere they go.

Andrew, Laura, and Tristan came Friday night. Ben and Alisha followed shortly after they arrived. Caleb came later Saturday and on Saturday night, we had the whole fam here. It was awesome!

But, then Monday arrives. They have all departed and the house returns to quietness. Odd, how when they are here, I long for a quiet day in the studio, but then when they leave, I can't wait for them all to return again in a month for the same rigorous weekend.

This is what I did prior to everybody showing up Friday night.

BOM
This is the Craftsy BOM and this is October's blocks. I can't say enough about how beautiful this quilt is going to be once we near the completion of it.

I also did one Sugar Block BOM but the pic didn't turn out.

When we returned yesterday evening from taking the little kid back to college, this was on my doorstep.

Firemen's Quilt Pieces
I actually expected this on Friday sometime, but apparently it wasn't to be. I couldn't have worked on it much this weekend anyway with all the goings-on around here.

I'll slip this under DW today since Ugly Blocks is now finished (at least the quilting is...I still need to attach the binding today). I may start putting the Friendship Stars together while Jim is fetching his trailer later on, but for now it looks like just a long-arm and quilting type of day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

UFO Reduction

Yesterday, after long arming for a while and completing this block on Mike, I decided some UFO projects needed to come off the floor. No more messing around with these projects...let's just git 'er done!
Quilt as you Go

Project #1, which has been in the works, is the Friendship Star blocks. Project #2 was the Chevron top already finished. Project #3 was ????

It was a bag full of bags and instructions and fabric. What the???

Here's what I pulled out of the bag(s) in paper alone.

Most were dated 2008
Since these patterns instructed me to finish these blocks using templates; simple blocks with HST and the like, I decided to scrap the paper, file the fabric, and move on.

Project #4. It's the last floor piece and this is how it came.

Cute Baby Quilt Kit
It seemed innocent enough to begin with, but I've been deceived in the past. Some of the instructions were a bit cryptic, but I read ahead and then back tracked to find my answers to the variety of questions I had. 

Here's the finished top.
Giraffe and Bluebirds
The back even came with the kit, it's all put together and was supposed to go on the frame next. BUT, Peggy's long arm is currently under the weather and she was asked to do the last firemen's quilt. 

I moved my Friendship Star blocks around and I think I like this arrangement better.

Random Arrangement for Friendship Stars
I have to get ugly blocks done! It's been on the frame long enough and it's time to move along. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Chilly Morning with no Heat

Jim lit the furnace on Monday night. Apparently the pilot light went out sometime yesterday (he didn't make it home last night) and the house is rather cold this morning with temps last night in the very low 40's.

Yesterday I long armed another two rows on Ugly Blocks. After lunch I did another (really intense) Sugar Block BOM and it seemed to take a very long time. After I took it off Mike I realized I did some serious quilting in that particular block.

I didn't want to quilt anymore. Time to place blocks on the new and improved design wall. Here is setting #1 on the Friendship Star top. I don't know if I like this "arranged" setting or whether I would rather have these blocks more random. I'll move it around again later to see if I like random better.

Friendship Star Setting #1
That didn't take very long to work on and I felt like making something. I pulled out Arcadia Avenue BOM for October (since we're just on its cusp) and actually completed it before closing up the studio for the night. This one is called Starburst.

Starburst
I'll long arm this morning to keep me moving and to keep me a little warm. It's time to get all the fall wallhangings out and trim up the house for the autumn season and running up and down the stairs will help too. I think I'll run in early today and stitch with the girls at The Hen House like I did last week. It was fun and if Jim doesn't make it home to re-light that furnace, it'll probably be warmer there anyway.