Think about this.....

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Obligations

Even though I don't have a "real" job, meaning, I can come and go as I please, doesn't mean I am exempt from obligations. This week it is/was getting those two charity quilts completed before Thursday, and, moving my mom.

After we spent most of yesterday afternoon and early evening loading up two pick-up trucks and two SUV's full of moms stuff, we came home and started working here. At 10:15 last night, the two quilts were completed.

They don't want to come up from my iPhone at the moment so I'll share them tomorrow.

Today, I head to moms new place to help unload the four vehicles we loaded last night. And then, maybe back out to the farm to get another load or two. I don't know exactly what her plans are and am basically at her beck and call for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Two for One

After working on my daily blocks,

August 24-30
I started to load the first of two charity quilts. This proved to be very interesting.

Enough Batting?
I had one batting, one backing, and two quilts. The batting looks short to me from this angle.

Left Side

Right Side
And these are how close the sides are. 

DW's latest
After some creative manipulation, I started in.

After a few hours it was now time to load the second quilt right behind the first. 

Less then an inch apart
This is my plumb line running right next to the first quilt. I could not afford any waste since I was pushing the envelope with space anyway.

Short, short, short
As you can see, this is how much batting I didn't have and just how close to the backing came to the second top. Now what?

I had to insert a second piece of batting from my stash with some creative sewing. (I actually did it by hand using a whip stitch). This took some time, but by 8:30 both quilts were quilted.

I was too tired and frazzled at that point to move along any further. I'll get the binding on later tonight after we get done loading our first moving load from moms.

Begin rant: It's frustrating when you provide your time and materials for these charity quilts and all they give you is grief. I was expecting this project to move along a little smoother then it did, but as you can see, it was a fight from the very beginning. And now I have to bind the @#$&*() things. I pieced one of these quilts myself, I made about 16 of the blocks within these quilts, and then I'm given square parts to fit into a round hole to finish them up? I may be thinking my charity days may be coming to an abrupt halt. End rant. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Coast to Coast

Saturday night found me in the throws of something a little new. I started with a piece of thicker-ish muslin, transferred a design, and then colored the design with crayons. The crayons are then heat set to prevent future bleeding. This is where I ended Saturday night.

Two already colored
The name of the series is called "The Mystery of The Salem Witches' Quilt Guild". I have the first three patterns in the series and when Carolyn gets the fourth one in, she'll save it out for me and let me know it's ready to come and get. I absolutely love this so far!

As much as I wanted to just stay here yesterday and continue to work on my witches, mom decided it would be a great day to go to the lake. Summer is nearing its end and spending a warm, sunny day at the beach sounded good before her "big move" on Wednesday. Here's where we spent most of yesterday.

Lake Michigan
While we were playing in sand and water, Caleb was out west saying hello, once again, to our Saguaro cactus friends. They stand sentinel in the Sonoran Desert and while much smaller in stature, are just as majestic as our great lakes.

Sonoran Desert
Once we returned back inland and got mom back home, we made a slight detour into Charlotte to pick up two quilt tops for the Orlando victims. These need to be quilted, trimmed, and bound by Thursday, so once I get those BOD's caught back up, I'll dig right into those today.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Enough Already

Most all of yesterday was spent on Stitcher's Garden homework for both I and II. Jim asked if I was done for the day (I was not) at around 9:45 last night. I JUST finished up everything and the reason for blogging so late today...these needed to get done already.

Here are a few of the sections I was working on all day yesterday.

SG I

SG II
It's a beautiful day to quilt; rainy, stormy, overcast. Unfortunately, we may not be here much longer. After Jim returns home from work, we are supposed to be heading over to moms...more farm condensing.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Three Vehicles

Not only did I drive three automobiles yesterday (rental car, Sherman, and Ghost), but I drove three sewing machines too (Jay, Mike, and Laura). It was a weird day.

This is what we completed in Portland yesterday during our Stitcher's Garden II class.

Blocks 5 and 7
I still have to compete block 11 (obviously we aren't doing these in block order) for homework, and today is probably the day to do that...unless Jim gets home earlier then we think...then we have to run Sherman back to Grand Ledge to get a head gasket replaced.

DW is currently naked and I'm debating on what to put on him next. I'm either missing batting (for the charity quilt I have sitting here), batting again (for Sharon's first quilt I'm doing for her), backing (Roberts deer quilt), or time (the other three customer quilts).

I want to keep DW fairly free to see what's going on with some other charity quilts that may be coming in. I'd like to just slip something fairly easy on him in case I need to help Carol R. with the two heart quilts that need to go to Orlando.

And not only is the truck very ill, it seems my phone is as well. The battery, this morning, all of a sudden just tanked, and now the dumb thing won't turn back on. Argh!

I received another round of block testing from Quiltmaker last night so after I get done with my BOD, so I'll start there and decide what to do after that.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Satan's Garden

This Stitchers Garden should be renamed Satan's Garden. Look how the border ended.

Not pretty, is it?
As much as I pushed and eased, this was about as good as it was going to get. Believe me, it was a LOT worse!

Here's where I started and this is where it ended on the measurement.

An inch and half? Really?
I scoured videos, help sites, professional quilting personnel. I pushed and eased till I was blue in the face. I actually removed a lot, a lot, a lot of stitches on this piece (which is usually a no-no for me). And, of course, once I took it off the frame this morning, it looks absolutely wonderful.

Why are we such critics? The customer will be ecstatic it's finally done and she will be none the wiser should I not point out these (to my eyes) serious issues. I do have to bring the holes to her attention since she was charged with the repairs, but nonetheless, I think she'll like it. I'm just glad it's going away today!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Frustrating

The current quilt on DW is becoming a very frustrating adventure. Lot's of pulling on the piecers part, gaping holes in the piecing, and lots of easing in with the borders. What should have taken me a half day to accomplish took all day long...and, I'm only half way through the quilt.

And I'm supposed to make this look good?
Here are last weeks BOD's.

August 17-23
For some reason we have done two 6 1/2" blocks in blue. Not sure what's up with that?

I received another block to test for Quiltmaker last night, and we are supposed to head over to moms later today to pick up our peaches and to get crab apples for jelly. AND...Sherman (my new yellow truck) needs to go back in to the shop since it's still backfiring miserably.

I need to really get cranking in here this morning because it appears the rest of the day is shot.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Routine Based

This weekend was filled with sew-in and visiting family. After all of the interruptions in my otherwise normal routine, I was able to finally load this quilt last night when everybody departed.

Getting ready to quilt
You can see my chalked markings on the top border and this will be todays focus. I'm supposed to have this one, the one I've already done for her, and another hanging around downstairs, completed by Thursday. I think she'll be lucky to get two of them. This is last years Stitcher's Garden done in the neutral color way made by Loraine.

I've already completed my BOD today and the second load of laundry (Lili's blankets) are in the washer. This is what happens when I get out of my routine...everything gets out of order, like posting to my blog, working on projects, etc.

I've come to the conclusion that people who farm, or were farmers (like me), are used to routine. The animals have to be fed twice daily and there isn't much room for getting out of that routine since they depend on you for their sole survival. When the routine is disrupted, it throws the world off kilter. It's not a bad thing, just an observation based on what happened this morning with my "usual" order of things.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Another WIP Completed

Actually, yesterday two of them were completed.

This is the first.

Giraffe for Tristan

This was the pile of fabric on my pressing table two days ago. I finished stuffing and closing him up at The Hen House yesterday afternoon.

The second project was this:

Hexagon and Pentagon Ball
I started this at camp a few weeks ago while watching the Olympics with the girls after sewing all day. Doing hand work later in the evening is always very relaxing!

Let's talk about tools. This particular tool was shown to us a few weeks ago and its many uses for creating half square triangles.

The Strip Tube Junior
I wish I would have had this thing when I started my BOD project since there are so very many HST's within each of the blocks. I can't wait to start using it and since its purchase, haven't had many HST's in my BOD's (now, doesn't that figure?).

I was able to start the binding on my paint chip challenge. I sewed the binding on prior to leaving in the afternoon, and then started hand stitching at THH after doing the ball and the giraffe. It'll take a while to get it all on so I'm glad I started it already.

Today I "played" with the girls at our monthly guild sew-in. I was able to get some of my Stitcher's Garden homework done and I got the border on the Zebra. After much deliberation, we (many of us) decided only the one thin, black border was sufficient. Anything else would take away from the Zebra itself and now the search begins for backing fabric for it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sewing, Not Quilting

I didn't run into town to The Hen House yesterday to pick up the batting I'm in need of.

Just Waiting for Batting
This is the quilt who needs a queen-sized batt, but the weather was getting ugly and I didn't feel like braving the storm. We get a bigger discount today anyway.

I moved along to a WIP hanging out on my shelves.

Sewing! Ugh!!!

What is this?
Unidentifiable, huh? Hopefully today, before I have to take off, it'll actually be something other then a pile of fabric and thread, and this is where I'll spend most of today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Cutting it Close

Long arming is so much fun! I'm glad DW and I got to spend some quality time together yesterday, but it got a little hairy at the end.

That's not 4 inches!
As longarmers, we request from our customers, an additional four inches of backing for the side and for the top and bottom of the quilt. This is NOT four inches! The tan color on top is the top of the quilt, and the cream color is the backing.

After pulling this quilt off, trimming threads, doing my billing, and gathering up the quilt for delivery, I started in on quilt #2 for this customer. Once again, we have border issues. And, I thought I had a queen-sized batt in my stash only to discover I didn't. I'll need to run to town today to remedy that so I can move along.

Aside from my BOD today, I haven't planned anything else. There are plenty of things for me to finish around here so this will probably be where I go for the day...finishing things.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Blueberries

It's that time of year again. The time where all the crops are coming in and they have to be canned or frozen. Yesterday was blueberry day. 23 pounds in all and the freezer is quickly filling. Sunday we put up apple pie filling from the green apple tree on the property. Peaches are due in next Tuesday.

At least the BOD's are staying up to date. Here are last weeks:

August 10-16
Here are the dog beds we'll deliver (hopefully) later today. Six more!

Headed for the ECHS
After working on these two items yesterday, I started preparing for next years quilt fairy gifts (ordering supplies, watching videos, getting the pattern). This one will be a lot more taxing then years past and if I start getting ready now, perhaps the 30 or so I'll need for next year will be completed on time. It would probably be wise to select a day a week to work on them so I stay on task.

A rainy day ahead provides quality quilting today. DW still hasn't been turned on for a while and I think today may be the day we reconnect (again). It's Jims short day, but after being cranky yesterday about not being in here so much lately, I think he'll understand. I think he has things to deal with anyway...the basement flooded last night with our deluge of rain we received overnight.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Leisure Day

August Amish with a Twist is complete.

August Amish with a Twist
Quilting this quilt is going to be an absolute blast! 

Reporting in on the Block of the Days; over 6,000 pieces as of yesterday.

When Jim returned home from work, we moseyed down to Quilts at the Marshall House. We hadn't visited Karen in a while and I needed a king-size, medium loft batt for the next quilt set to get on DW.

Since it's not so very hot today, some long arming may be in my future, depending on what Jim wants to do or if he has other ideas. 

Or, since it is Sunday, a small project may make its way into my world. Tune in...

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Farm Fun

Getting things done in here is becoming impossible when helping one downsize/move. Especially when moving from a 110 acre farm to a condominium. There is still much to do, but each visit to moms brings us closer to getting her goals met; reducing all the stuff.

Yesterday, the temps were in the low 90's with 99% humidity. It. Was. Hot! I've never before witnessed my legs sweating, so that was a new experience.

After a full day of farm fun, I promptly came home to take a shower and about all I accomplished in here was my BOD.

Lately our BOD's have been rather full, meaning lots and lots of seams. Two days ago, the 3 1/2" block had 44 pieces in it. Here's what it looks like from the backside.

A rather interesting view of a quilt block
Today I have all day in here. No place to go (although, if Grand Rapids was closer, I'd venture that-a-way for the last day of the show), nobody scheduled to come over, and Jim got a late start on his run, so he won't be home for most of the day either.

Depending on how warm/hot it gets today will determine just what I do in here. Running the long arm in extreme temps is probably not a wise idea. I have plenty of Stitchers Garden homework to do and that will probably occupy most of my day instead.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pixelated Quilts

The Zebra quilt is what we refer to as a Pixelated quilt. It's done with tiny squares put together to make a whole picture. Cathy S. and I are in search of a method to pixelate the quilts ourselves rather then relying on a book with the author of said book having a hand in our work. In other words, we want originality.
The completed Zebra
Yesterday was spent researching and finding ways for us to be able to do this. I have several answers to report to her this evening at our meeting on how we can accomplish our task.

I was also babying my back and head yesterday. I was in extreme pain and didn't want to do anything to exacerbate this issue so I took it fairly easy. Nothing much else to report.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Change of Plans

AQS plans were made. Every intention was there to go. And then when I awoke this morning, my upper back is screaming. Not very much sleep last night and I'm exhausted because I have already been up for about four hours. A nap may be in the near future. 

Needless to say, I didn't have the inclination or energy to drive, walk, talk, test, carry, walk, and drive after such a crappy night. I'm pretty bummed.

If the drive was a little more exciting and a lot less lengthy--if the day ahead wasn't so long, maybe I'd go. 

Ahh...there will always be next year (tomorrow I have class and guild, Friday I'm at the farm helping out all day, and Saturday the crowds will be too big to deal with). 

And then there's North Carolina. Mom and I have already started packing, supplies have been purchased, reservations have been made, and then I get a phone call yesterday morning. "I'm sorry, but we have to cancel your class." What? Really? This is a sick joke, right?

It's not a joke, unfortunately. I'm sad. Very, very sad. :-(

I didn't even feel like long arming yesterday. A few Quiltmaker test blocks came in and I did one of those and then to try to pick myself back up, I worked on this yesterday afternoon. 

Some more studio decor
Just something fun to do to try to cheer myself back up again. It's being blocked right now and should be about finished this afternoon. 

Today I have another Quiltmaker block to do (I think it's our last one), get ready for tomorrow, maybe if my [now] headache and backache subside a little, I'll get on DW, so today is being driven purely by how I feel physically. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Great Weekend!

Sewing with all your quilting friends sure is fun. Here are some pics from our last weekend retreat at Higgins Lake.

A Jock Strap for Jim -or- a Thong for a Large Lady
Actually, it's a backpack for Sams daughter's bears/stuffed animals. But we thought the jock strap was funnier!

Raggedy Andy-ish
Vicki was making Raggedy Andy/Anns for our bazaar this fall. This is where she left him so we could run out and get a group pic. I thought it very funny!

Quilt Fairy Gifts
We cleaned up this year with our quilt fairy gifts. Look at all the booty man (and there's actually one thing missing from the pic).

Clare, Michigan
No up north trip is complete without stopping at Cops and Doughnuts. Barb and I stopped on our way back home Monday afternoon.

Once I returned home, I had to catch up on my BOD's. The internet connection this year was horrible and I had to wait until getting back home to do these daily buggers. Here are last weeks.

August 3-9
My zebra is "roughed" in...meaning I have all the panels together and it's a top but we think a side border is in order to make it complete.

Robert's attic window top is done. My hexagon ball is half-way done, and that's about all for now. Getting back into the groove so we'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, August 5, 2016

All My Bags Are Packed...

...and I'm ready to go! Just going to blog here for a wee bit to make sure I didn't forget anything.

Here's what's being taken for the weekend:

1) Zebra
2) 1,600
3) Roberts Deer Top
4) A Hexagon/Pentagon ball thing I was introduced to yesterday
5) BOD's for each day

The turtle project didn't make the cut. It wasn't until late yesterday afternoon before Elise and I could figure out how to use the hexagon ruler and since I didn't have any of my pieces cut out, that project wasn't going to happen for the weekend.

There are 25 of us attending this year, which is about five or six less then last year. A few new ones are coming along, and sadly a few "oldies" aren't.

I've been asked by several people why we do this; drag all our stuff up, spend money to sleep away from home, sew in confined quarters, and quite honestly, I haven't a clue. Probably because I love to spend time with my sewing friends while doing just that, sewing. I can't do that here at home alone.

And laugh. Man do we laugh! Memories...yeah, we make plenty of those, and as far as I'm concerned you can't put a price on the laughter and memories. I'd spend all my energy and money to have the bonding that occurs while we "play" together.

Here's the deal. We had a guild member say her good-byes last night. She is moving to Arizona next week. She's been here as long as I have (in the guild) and quite honestly, I want people to be able to say many [good] things about me when I depart. Remember my motto (at least one of them) is there is nothing more scary then settling for what we know rather then trying something new.

And if we don't have fun this year, there's always next year. But, fun is what you make of it!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Camp, Camp, Camp!

Quilt camp is right around the corner--we leave tomorrow morning, first thing! I'm riding up with Barb S. this year since Margaret will already be up that-a-way beforehand. She wants me at her house around 8:00. I probably won't sleep much anyway since I always get so excited about camp.

Yesterday resulted in having half of Loraine's first quilt quilted. I feel better about taking off for four days having accomplished that much.

Today I have to pack and then hit The Hen House for some turtle instruction. The pattern was rather elusive to me when applying the setting triangles, and since one of the girls there made this particular quilt, they'll know where I messed up.

Not quite right
The trimmed block should measure 6 1/2" by 8 1/2". I got the 6 1/2" part right, but was only able to get 7 1/2" on the width.

This is why you always, ALWAYS, run a test block. I would have been really bummed if I had cut out my new grunge fat quarters to discover I did them all wrong.

Also going along to camp is the zebra piece Cathy S. and I have been working on as well as a 1,600 quilt. These three projects should keep me pretty busy, because I'll also have my daily blocks to do from Australia. Thankfully, I can usually pick up intermittent WiFi up there and will hopefully not get behind on those.

If time permits, maybe I can stick some long arming in todays mix too. We'll see since we also have our guild meeting tonight to snug up all those pesky camp details--and I still have to pack. Better get going, huh?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Taste

Working on a large quilt is fun. Starting that large quilt is sometimes overwhelming. Wrestling with ideas on what can be done can be a chore and once it gets on the frame, the best planning can be changed once it actually gets loaded.

With this quilt, there were no ideas, right up until that first bobbin thread was brought up.

Loraine's First Quilt
As you can see...I eventually come up with something.

Getting in my Groove
Getting a taste of quilting again was just that, a taste. After getting this much done we had to head to Lansing to watch Hannah for the evening. But it was a good, no make that a great, taste of getting back on the long arm.

Today is supposed to be very hot and somewhat humid. Mom and I had planned on heading to the big lake to spend the day near the water, but she has people coming to look at the farm (another potential buyer) and has errands to do in Hastings.

My day has since changed from the lake visit to now enjoying activities in here. Three hurrays!

Not that going to the lake would have been bad mind you, but one day a week on the long arm just isn't fair, nor is it enough now that it's back to working beautifully. Happy day!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Moving Mom...the Beginning

After some severe detours of late, I'm back in the studio--for a few days anyway.

Most of our time this past weekend has been preparing mom for her impending move. It's amazing what a working farm can acquire in stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. My biggest revelation while helping mom sort out toolboxes, workshops, sheds, and barns, is the amount of screwdrivers one could possibly posses. Don't even talk to me about my sewing machines, thank you very much.

After we started to get back on track yesterday afternoon (I in my studio and Jim in his truck), I made an executive decision to take the borders off the quilt I was hired to do and remove the nearly 4" in slack. I know we can shrink borders with steam and starch, but 4" is way to much to do that with.

Hopefully I'll get started on that quilt today since it took over four hours to remove, measure, and replace those pesky buggers.

I was able to keep up with my BOD's over the weekend though (which is ALL I did in here).

July 27-August 2
Unfortunately, I don't get to spend the whole day in here today since we have to head to Lansing to watch our newest granddaughter for the evening while the parents head out on a date night.

Hannah Grace DeGroot
I hope to take one of my camp projects along to cut out while we are at the kids' house, but I have a feeling we'll be working on/in the house instead since they are still working on renovations in the bathroom/laundry room area. We'll just have to wait until we get there I guess.