Think about this.....

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Too Much Fun

Is it legal to have this much fun in your own home without the aid of alcohol and drugs? I can't seem to stop having so much fun now that I've gotten going.

Maybe I need an intervention? Maybe it's because I was pulled away from the studio for four days and am trying to make up for lost time? Maybe, just maybe, it's because I've gotten the hang of all this quilting stuff and since I feel like I can accomplish positive results, am actually enjoying myself rather then becoming frustrated. Three cheers!

Here are the two long-arm pieces displayed museum style.

Traditional and Modern Quilting
After I got the newsletter pretty much done yesterday (still waiting on one piece from a certain somebody), I bound the two tops above and then moved along to start the domestic sewing machine quilted pieces. When I shut down the studio lights, the traditional piece was quilted. Today I hope to move on to the modern piece.

The moderns take much longer. I'm not sure why exactly, but maybe it has something to do with all the filler they required between each "channel" and they are more of a "quilt it to death" kind of situation.

At some point, I have to belly up to the memory quilt bar. I am dreading loading that thing since it's so huge. I know once I get it loaded it won't take long to quilt, it's just man-handling that much fabric by myself that seems daunting. Perhaps if Jim comes home early today I can get his help.

At any case, it's Thursday, which means Ugly Sweater day, and then my daily BOD before anything else occurs in here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Look Familiar?

Hey, we've seen this before. But with feathers and fillers and arcs.

Were did the feathers go?
Oh, this is the modern version of our little quilt top, not the traditional version I was working on yesterday.

I was having so much fun with these two pieces I quilted nearly through my lunch yesterday and on into the night hours last night; I even missed part of The Voice when Jim started watching it. Oh no!

As I look at both of these while they are drying from marking removal, I can't wait to do something cool on my little sewing machine with the other two pieces I created as cast-offs from these two.

The tops, while nearly the same, change their looks depending on what quilting is put into them. It'll be fun to share them with the guild group. I won't share until I get the other two done on Mike, which may be another week. Hey Carol, should I wait until you get yours done before bringing in mine so we can bring them in together? :-)

Waiting to be finished while drying from mark removal
Before I can tackle the other two pieces on Mike, I realized last night that today is the 30th. THE 30TH!? Crap, I have a newsletter to make. Well, of course, that takes priority for today's things to do. I won't even start my BOD until it's done, so I guess we'll call blogging a warm up exercise.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travel

I have decided I don't like to travel. A day trip is okay. Staying over night for multiple nights is not okay; unless it's quilting related and I'm traveling to sew/quilt.

I could probably list 100 reasons right now why I've come to the conclusion I'd rather just stay close to home and not venture too far away, but this is a quilt diary, not a travel bash blog. Let's just say, having to play catch up from being gone for four days, took the whole day yesterday to accomplish.

And it didn't go very well. It's like I lost my groove or something. I couldn't cut accurately, or even roughly for that matter. Once I got things cut, I couldn't sew worth a tinkers darn. All my seams seemed to be wonky or just plain off.

And check this out. I couldn't even get my orientations correctly.

March 23-29
She gave us two blocks we could do on Easter. The large center block (Easter Cross) or the large block on the right (Easter Lily). Easter Cross is supposed to have light colors in each outside corner, not parallel to each other like I set them. The sticky note below the block; that's to tell me not to use the block when putting the quilt together later. It had 16 miters within that 6 1/2" square and let's just say...it wasn't very pretty.

After getting through five BOD's, I moved along to the two Ugly Sweater blocks. Both of them were Christmas trees; one traditional and one modern.

Numbers 14 and 15
I was supposed to have a visitor over yesterday to load a quilt on DW and work as a team to finish. My visitor wasn't feeling good so we rescheduled for next Monday which opened up some choices for a week with DW.

I have the memory quilt to quickly get that meander in but given my poor performance in the studio with piecing and sewing, didn't sound like the best option, or, work on my little class piece I'm doing through iQuilt.

I went with the smaller option since I didn't want to press my luck loading a stretchy piece of king-sized backing. Here's what DW will be wearing for a day or so.

Traditional Quilting on the Long Arm
If you look, you can see where I have already started (I was pretty excited to get into it actually). It's not perfect, but then, nothing is. It's a class and I'm supposed to learn from it, right?

Today I'll quickly get my chores done and play with the piece above. I'm just glad to be somewhat caught up again so I can actually enjoy myself in here instead of stressing about all I have to do.

Monday, March 28, 2016

After 300 Miles

It's a little under 300 miles to the kids' place in Ohio. We went down on Friday and returned home yesterday. Even after traveling all day, unpacking, doing some laundry, and saying hello again to Lily, I managed to do two BODs before calling it a night.

I'm still behind. Very behind in fact. Three BODs still (didn't do any Thursday before class) and two Ugly Sweaters.

Must get busy!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chairs

When I work on my little sewing machine to quilt I must remember to adjust my chair. Remember yesterday when I was complaining about my back? After a little adjustment yesterday my back didn't hurt at all even after quilting for about six hours.

My fanny? That's another story. Apparently my chair doesn't have enough padding in it (or my fanny needs more); either way, it was becoming sore after working only an hour or so. Perhaps I need a new chair? I have a cushion I use on my chair during sew-in weekends that I ended up putting under my butt. That seemed to help.

What happens when you come across this while quilting/ditching?

Raised/loose seam
I actually tried to hand stitch it down for the customer, but that didn't seem to work out so well. I think I need to have some hand stitching lessons. I thought maybe I could glue it down for her, but didn't feel right about doing that.

What I ended up doing was finding thread as closely as I could to the fabric and taking a little bit of a off the ditch approach to the ditch stitching. It worked well actually and everything lays pretty smooth and the stitching isn't noticeable unless you get your face right into it.

I finished this piece yesterday and can't show it to you. I was sworn to secrecy. It's a challenge quilt for a reveal scheduled for a later date.

After getting this piece done I moved on to my iQuilt class. Have I mentioned them? They are the AQS version of Craftsy. You know me and classes in that I LOVE to learn. This particular class is given by a lady who isn't the greatest of instructors, but is an amazing and beautiful quilter. That's what those little negative spaced tops I've shown the past two days are for.

The lady I'm taking the class from is named Judith (Judi) Madsen from Green Fairy Quilts. Her thing is that she marks all of her quilts. And boy, does she ever mark. I can't imagine doing all of this on a full-sized quilt top, but apparently she actually does. The rest of the evening was spent marking the two little tops I have prepared for the class.

I have another class today in Portland (Stitcher's Garden II) and then guild. I'll deliver Audrey's quilt on my way to class and then Vicki's quilt between the class and guild. Having said that, I should get packing for the day away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Waste Not

When a quilt top is made, often times there is a lot (two words, lol) of waste cut away. Sometimes it's just a little bit and sometimes it's quite a bit.

The two long arm exercise tops I made were in the "waste a lot" category. After I trimmed off the corner triangles, I pieced them together, fashioned another small top from each of them and came up with these two pieces at the bottom of the below pic.

Making use of trimmed triangles.
The original two tops at the top of the pic will be used to demonstrate traditional quilting versus modern quilting motifs on the long arm. I'm going to use the bottom two modified tops to demonstrate traditional quilting versus modern quilting using the domestic sewing machine.

Here's why.

A little wall hanging under the needle
This particular quilt was brought to me to finish for a customer. The quilt pattern was provided because it gave the quilting suggestions along with the top pattern and I indicated to the customer they could do it themselves (instead of paying me) on their home sewing machine. I'm glad for the work and extra income, but it's truly not that hard to do...just time consuming is all.

The customer indicated she didn't have the time (and I get that) nor the motivation to complete the top herself. But I think sometimes quilters sell themselves short on what exactly they really can do on their little machines at home. I want to show people that, while I'm not trying to get rid of any jobs, some of the jobs I get are easier for the customer to do then they think they are.

At any case, I'll be working on this today since the customer needs to have it done ASAP. It took some time to get it layered and pinned (longer then I thought it would) before I actually started the extensive ditch work the pattern calls for. I called it a night after 8:00 since my back was screaming from leaning over the little sewing machine; I forgot to lower my chair down to that comfortable level I need to when I quilt on it rather then piece. I'll remember better today I'm sure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quietness

I didn't even turn on Pandora yesterday. It was nice to work in peace. No background noise. No talking. No singing.

That was yesterday and a very rare occurrence I assure you! While I was in my little Zen place I got a lot (two words :-)) done. Last weeks BOD's...

March 16-22
An ugly sweater block...

Number 15
A new bag...

Pocket-a-Plenty Bag
Two new blocks to quilt...

For a later use
All while long-arming Audrey's quilt...which I finished BTW.

I have another quilt coming today from Vicki (I think it's today), and the usual chores around the studio this morning. Quilts ahoy!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Quilt Show

By the time we finally arrived back home last night, put everything away, re-hung the quilts around here, and collapsed in the living room, it was after 7:00. I didn't have the energy to do a thing in the studio so here are a few pics from our quilt show. Enjoy!



















Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quickly

Before I have to run off back to our quilt show today...

This is what I did on Thursday before heading into town for the day.

Ugly Sweater #14
And this is what I loaded last night after the show set-up and before running back into town to get groceries...

Audrey's 1600
I actually got the first row set in before Jim decided we were in need of sustenance around here. It was too late to get back into it by the time we returned home after dark.

Won't be doing any sewing at the show today. Our space is very limited and we have to watch the power cord placement so viewers don't trip and hurt themselves. I have some embroidery I'll work on and a few patterns I need to take and read through instructions for.

Gotta Run!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Quilt Show

Our annual guild quilt show is this coming weekend! Looking at all the beautiful quilts everybody in the group has made is a wonderful treat and sewing with them while the public is also viewing our quilts makes it extra special.

I only have five going in this year. Most of them are from challenges or projects we did as a group this year. I think the only one that isn't (and it was actually a Carolyn, Wendy, Colette project), is the Twirly Quilt.

Yesterday I shut my phone off and I concentrated on getting Diane's quilt done. BUT...I had to call her a time or two for two reasons.

1) This:

So not square
One of her borders was way off. By about a 1/2" or more. I needed to ask her if this was okay or whether she wanted me to take the quilt off and have her fix it. She just wanted the quilt done.

Then we had to discuss another issue after advancing the quilt from this wonky border. Backing shortage. UGH! Will it never cease?

She instructed me to take from the sides what I could, or if there wasn't enough from there, pick something out of my stash and make it work.

Craft Herpes
My boys often joke about glitter being the bain of all the craft herpes. I think minky backing tops the glitter. The pic shows what my pressing table looked like after taking that side trimming off.

After I trimmed off the one side, (and that made reloading oh so joyous) I was able to piece together JUST enough to add to the bottom of the backing to make it work. Because she did choose this fluffy stuff for the backing fabric, I wouldn't have had anything around here to match and I'm just glad it worked out.

Here's the front of the quilt.

Diane's Medallion Quilt
And here's the back (which looks so cool!).

I love the effect this fluffy stuff projects with the quilting
I have it hung in front of me to snip those stray threads I sometimes miss when I'm trimming and squaring the quilt. I'll pack it up and take it with me this weekend. Diane and I are supposed to hook up at some point so she can pick it up.

I'm meeting Audrey today at the Hen House to get a quilt from her, so that'll be the next one loaded.

But, after I finished Diane's quilt, I started back in on the memory quilt. I got all the quadrants pieced together (and they went together easier then I anticipated), and I also pieced the backing we picked up last weekend. Like a stupid head, I also choose to put minky on the back of it and what a PITA to piece. OMG. NEVER AGAIN!!!!

I'm learning a lot from the memory quilt. 1) Never say you'll do another one. 2) Never say you'll work with this fuzzy, stretchy stuff for backing again. 3). Stick to quilting cottons; life is much better for it.

Yesterday's BOD was again a 6 1/2" block, which took a long time to piece together. Today I'll do that and my ugly sweater before heading into town later to spend some time with my hand stitching friends at the Hen House. Maybe I'll pick up my April Amish With a Twist BOM while I'm there. 

I have to find something to take this weekend to work on during our show. I haven't a clue so I'll rummage around here and see what I can find that's not too huge since we have limited work space with all the quilts being up. Happy St. Patty's Day! Are you wearing your green?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Not Normal

I'm going to do something today I don't normally do. I'm going to hide my phone. While I LOVE to talk on the phone, responsibilities and commitments come first. This quilt on DW needs to come off today. The customer may be wanting it tomorrow and I can't take the chance of her calling me and asking for it's whereabouts.

Pandora and I will just have to keep each other company until this project is completed.

Having said that, I have this little hurdle to deal with while I'm working.

Poison Ivy
This is just my wrist area. It's up and down the inside of both arms and sometimes it really gets to itching. I have to stop every once in a while to apply more medicine to it (I actually only use Vicks which works pretty well) but it still takes time to hike up my sleeves, get the stuff on, get the sleeves [carefully] back down over the stuff and get back into the groove of things.

Yesterday was virtually useless. I only finished one 6 1/2" BOD and then it was already near 8:00. Being in Lansing all day doesn't help the productivity in the studio. I can not believe how long we were in the doctors office. Four hours! Can you believe it? Four hours just sittin' on my butt waiting and talking to physicians with my DIL. But, we got to see baby's face, heart chambers, spine, the Omphalocele, the kidneys, the teeth buds...it was pretty cool. Wasted time, but cool.

Off to work I go.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Writing Late

Because I got to accompany my DIL on her monthly OB appointment for our new grandson/daughter who is scheduled to arrive on May 18th, I am blogging late today. Baby is doing fine (so far) despite the Omphalocele issue at hand and we can't wait to meet him/her soon!

Here are the BOD's for the past week.

March 9-15
We are now getting into mitered corners. I was a little apprehensive about those, but seem to be getting the gist of them as I move along.

The ugly sweater block for yesterday was this one:

The MSQC star! Cool!
After I completed these two little projects, I moved along to Diane's quilt on DW. It's a medallion quilt with several borders surrounding it. Several borders require several thread changes to it's taking me a while to get this little one done. I'm about half way right now.

I don't know if I'll get any long arming done today. I have my BOD to do and it's already after 6:00. Where do the days go?

I was supposed to pick up another quilt from Audrey, but didn't make it back into Charlotte before she had to leave this afternoon. I'm going to meet her instead at the Hen House on Thursday to get that from her.

On to do my daily chores.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lazy Sunday

After running to the store to pick up some cord yesterday, Jim and I pretty much did not much else. We ate lunch, we lounged with our devices, he took a nap and then watched the game while I made this. 

Fabric Bowl
I made this using the cord we picked up earlier and some strips of fabric I have hanging out in the string quilt basket. It's actually pretty durable and stiffer feeling then it looks. I just stuck the plant in there because I'm not really sure what I'm actually going to do with it.

That's about it for yesterday. Our BOD's of late have been mitered corners...which I'm trying to be patient with, but other then that, it was just a rainy, cold, lazy day. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

That Time of Year

You'd think I'd learn. Every damn spring I have to get poison ivy. This time it's just on my arms, but still. And...

...Every spring we have to set our clocks ahead. Every spring this throws everybody's groove off. You'd think our government would learn. Perhaps I'm just as stupid as the government. Huh? Hudda' thunk?

This is about all I accomplished yesterday due to our errands and things. We were Skyping the Ohio kids while I was finishing the four blocks.

Amish with a Twist-Month #3
Today is small project day and I'm going to do one. Just a small project. For me. Nobody else. No commission pieces. No long arming. Just farting around in here working on something for moi. So there.

I seem to be in kind of a rant-y mood today. Perhaps it's the weather? It's rainy and kind of chilly out.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hey!

I forgot to blog yesterday. Probably because the little kid and I were off and running pretty early. He had a doctors appointment and we had some errands to do in town. Thursday was spent on the road to class and guild, so nothing really was accomplished in here anyway.

Once we got back, shoveled some lunch down our gullets, and texted my friends to come over and play on DW, we were off and running again. Peggy came over to see how I load a quilt and she ended up staying about 2-3 hours; it was nearly 4:30 when she finally had a head full of things to try on her long arm.

This is what we loaded when she was here.

New Customer Quilt
This particular quilt wasn't even expected in. The new customer is somebody I take class with in Portland and she just basically thrust the thing into my arms, gave me a quick synopsis of what she wanted into it, and then we went on about our business. The backing for this quilt is something I've never worked with before. It's not Minky like I thought, but a cuddle-like fabric that is rather fluffy and very stretchy.

Peggy and I worked through it together and think we have a pretty good handle on what we need to do with this. To make sure, she and I set in the first two borders (well, I did anyway. She didn't want to quilt event though I offered plenty of times for her to try).

Peggy, like I was very recently, was not willing to "take the training wheels off" using her stitch regulator. I wanted her to see the difference in the movement of the machine with the sucker disengaged and she wouldn't go there. I can't blame her; it's a customer quilt after all, but still, I was willing to pick any stitches gone awry.

After Peggy left, I got yesterdays BOD done. It looks like we're working into larger blocks now because yesterdays was 6 1/2" unfinished. I moved over to my ugly sweater block and finished that.

Number 12
I'm so glad I decided to do these blocks because they are turning out so darn [ugly] cute.

There was still some time left in the day so I completed Thursdays Stitcher's Garden homework.

Stitcher's Garden #1--Neutral Colorway
I had to pick the stem out from the first attempt at class. It came out spaced too far and the background fabric could be seen through each of the pieces of floss. I instead substituted the floss for a heavier dark blue to light green variegated yarn. It turned out much better.

Today we have to run to Lansing to help the middle kids with some house renovations. Caleb has to be returned back to school, and we have some items to pick up while we are in town; I have a rather large list. So, off we go and we'll return in time (hopefully) for the basketball game at 3:30. Maybe I can get some long arming and next months homework done before the day is done?!?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quickly

I finished Vicki's Kitties yesterday. It turned out so darn cute!

Vicki's Kitties
She had me really quilt this one pretty light, and had it been my quilt, I probably would have put a little more into it...but it's not and I did as the customer asked, so there.

After I finished Vicki's quilt (around 4:30), I went back into finishing my little chicken skinny.

This was completed around 8:30ish and it'll be hung this morning before I take off for Portland.

Hens and Chicks
Class is today with Margaret on Stitcher's Garden 1. I love going to class with her; we have such a great time and she's such a wonderful person to be with...like most of my quilting friends.

I took a peek at the BOD for today, as well as the Ugly Sweater. Chances of me actually getting through one of them before leaving is slim. They are both really labor intensive and they probably won't get finished until tomorrow.

Gotta run. Things to do and all that jazz.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Spring Hiatus

After working on my BOD yesterday, I started right in on Vicki's Kitties. I set the first borders in, started working on the kitties, and then Jim came home. After lunch, we discovered it was quite nice outside and decided to head out to do a "little" work.

After many hours, several sections of yard and garden, lots of sore muscles, and a few scratches, we came back into the house. Jim and Caleb went to vote. I started back in on Vicki's quilt. Needless to say, I didn't get as much done as I should have yesterday. After working on that for a few more hours, it was still early (the sun hadn't even yet set), and decided to head in another direction for a little bit.

I started this skinny wall hanging to replace the snowflakes hanging on the wall outside the spare bedroom.

Playing
I only spent about an hour on it, so I don't feel too guilty.

Today is supposed to be warm (again), but rainy, so I won't be tempted to go outside. Vicki needs her quilt done before the quilt show and that's in about 9 days.

Okay, so today, I need to do my morning chores, get Vicki's quilt done, get ready for class tomorrow in Portland, and get ready for our guild meeting tomorrow night. How many hours do we get in each day? Oh, and finish that skinny in the pic above so I can start something else new that I just KNOW I'll be picking up in Portland tomorrow. Wink, wink.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lost Time

I didn't post anything yesterday because on Sunday, aside from doing my BOD, nothing else was accomplished in here. Mom stayed throughout the day to share and enjoy with us, a narrative and pictures from Caleb's Australian/New Zealand Trip.

I made up for it yesterday.

BOD's for the week:

March 2-8
Here's the Ugly Sweater for Monday:

Number 11
I don't think this sweater turned out that ugly. It's kind of nice actually.

Moving along...I finished the charity quilt (finally) from a week ago, to even include the label.

My first charity quilt of the year.
I then finished the MSU door hanger.

Our new door adornment
Amongst all of this hullabaloo, Vicki stopped by to drop off and discuss a quilt I'll be quilting for her. It is oh so cute! I didn't actually think I'd get it loaded before I finished for the evening, but not only did I get it loaded, some of the planning is completed and I now have an idea on what I'm going to set into it. I ditched the first border she didn't want me to actually quilt anything in and I'll rock on with that later today.

Here it is on the frame.

Vicki's Kitties
I tidied up after getting all this work done and then settled down to some family time with the boys. It was a little earlier then usual but I felt like I had done enough for one day. I didn't want to quilt a customer quilt being all tired and whatnot and I was at a good stopping point for the day.

I'll long arm some more today, work on a BOD, maybe get those four quadrants put together, and then who knows?