Think about this.....

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

Friday, September 30, 2016

And Humpty-Dumpty was put back together again.

Hurray!
A delivery from Utah arrived yesterday! Springs for DW!!! Now to install them both.

Problem
If you look under that black knob, at that tiny little hole, it contains a set screw within that hole to hold all the tension stuff together within that black knob. See the larger hole beneath the tiny hole? That goes into the body of my machine. Guess where the set screw ended up?

Off to the hardware I go to purchase a snake magnet to try to fish out the tiny little set screw from DW's insides. Thankfully, I was successful, and now DW is all back together again.

I took a few basting stitches with him before heading out for the night and he sounds WONDERFUL! Now I can identify with the sounds he makes when his springs are sprung.

Unfortunately, I can't play with DW until I get home from work. And...quite honestly, don't know how much I'll want to work in here after spending all day at the store; I may be too pooped.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Everybody's Got the Flu

Well, not everybody, but I borrowed the line from the movie "My Cousin Vinnie" because before I even started blogging this morning I had to check on the four sick people in my life. Caleb is doing better, mom is not. Dad should be released from the hospital today, and Andrew has a walking boot for the next 4-6 weeks for his broken large metatarsal bone.

Jim and I (knock on wood) are just peachy.

Yesterday I made one more quilt fairy gift, I cleaned up my studio a little bit, and I started on another structure for my little "village". Here's the progress I made before we headed down to Aunt Shirley's to visit with her, Aunt Sharon and Hal.

The beginnings of the flower shop
I'll continue on with this today. These take a while to do and will probably occupy most of the day and then off to guild I'll go. It's a great day to be in the studio as it is very wet and "fall like" outside.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Life Happens

Isn't it funny how life can coast along at a nearly monotonous pace and then all of a sudden it starts to pour? As much as autumn is my favorite season, this one isn't starting out very well.

While at the new job yesterday (orientation all day), mom comes back home from her Oregon/California trip sick, dad is hospitalized for a very large, very septic kidney stone, Jim's mom is throwing 2-year old tantrums, and Jim's aunt is here visiting from Oregon with his other aunt who lives over the bridge. Meanwhile, Jim receives inquiring text messages from his sister about his mothers behavior and I receive text messages from my brother about dads condition. There are even more messages/texts on my phone from Meijer, quilting customers, and guild members.

I'm out of the work force for six years. I think I received more voicemail messages, texts, and phone calls in one day then I have in the six years I've been home. WTH?

Today was supposed to be a out-and-about day with mom, but since she's not feeling well, that's out. I was going to go and visit dad in the hospital but Charlotte informs me he's drugged up and they are probably going to send him home this afternoon anyway.

So, today, I'm going to play. I'm going to enjoy a quiet day in the studio and see what I come up with. There certainly is plenty to do in here so away I go.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Parts

After spending a half hour on the phone yesterday with Handi Quilter, it looks as though Mikes "fix" for DW was simply a temporary one. I have new parts coming for the backlash spring as well as the tension spring to completely fix our little looping issue. In the meantime, I'm going to just chip away at the charity quilt currently on the frame.

Here are last weeks BODs.

September 21-27
I'm sure people who get our quarterly newsletter have no idea how much time and organization it takes to create a simple four-page piece of information. This is how it all starts.

Getting ready to create
Members contribute articles and pieces of interest to be included. We have birthdays, upcoming events, letter from the president, major announcements, and then there's the three months we've covered for activities and the happenings of the guild. 

The rest of yesterday afternoon and early evening were spent creating, printing, proofing, changing, printing (again) and preparing to mail newsletters. I'll get them out via e-mail on Thursday...just before our meeting and mail out the others today on my way in to work.

Work. Haven't had to say that in a few years. I'm excited. I'm reserved. I'm a little apprehensive. I'm also probably a little clueless since it's been a while since I've worked retail. But, I'm sure I'm going to love it. I did before. 

The rest of yesterday was spent working on quilt fairy projects for next years camp. I know I'm starting early, but these are not run and done kind of projects. They'll take a while and each one is being hand-planned (meaning I'm not mass producing from a layer cake) this year. 

I only have a few hours in here today since work starts at noon--meaning not much will be accomplished in the way of quilting production. Ahhh...winds of change. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Inspection

When the kids were home yesterday (all seven of them), I had Caleb take a look at the stitching on the charity quilt currently loaded (younger eyes see better). He couldn't seem to locate any loops so maybe we have this problem rectified.

Tristan was taking his nap so he's not in the pic
I received an email from Handi Quilter on Friday afternoon for a contact person to talk to later today. We are going to go over some items on the machine and see if what Mike had me do is the actual "fix" for what DW needs to eliminate his looping issue.

I start my new job tomorrow which will reduce some of my studio time. I'm not sure yet what my hours are going to end up looking like, but indicated to my new manager that under 25 a week would be optimal. I'm sure, during busier times, it will be more.

I did tell them Thursdays were not an option for me to work. And, I also mentioned quilt camp next year (as well as the reunion) and she was very flexible and understanding about both.

My new job: Tractor Supply Company doing just about everything and anything they need me to do. I was also hired at Meijer as a cashier, but I'm probably going to defer that offer later this week depending on how it goes with TSC tomorrow. The wages are the same, but found out [later] that Meijer takes union dues out of its employees. What? This is a Right-To-Work state. Union dues? Really?

For today, I'll be making the most out of a quiet day now that all the kids/grandkids are back into their own lives. Working on the guild newsletter needs to happen sometime this week since I want it out by about Friday and I have this long arm thing to deal with. A few customer quilts are still patiently waiting to get done and I have one more coming in (that I know of) in the next few days. Giddy Up!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hands Quilter 0...Gall Sewing 1

Handi Quilter has yet to contact me back on my little looping issue with the long arm. Mike, at Gall Sewing, however, has been a HUGE help! We spent about a half hour on the phone the first time yesterday morning, another 20 minutes on the phone a little later on, and I think we have a handle on my problem.

It was an upper tension issue. It was a bobbin tension issue. It was a too-tight-on-the-frame issue, and it was totally on me; not my machine.

When you use a piece of machinery as often as we do, certain "routines" are forgotten or glazed over. I became lax in how I was threading, checking, and rechecking before stitching and this was the root of my problems. While the looping is not 100% rectified, we (Mike and I) think the thread (Signature) is probably bad. It is three years old after all.

And, the machine isn't really looping anything at the moment, it's just snapping thread about every 10 minutes or so.

I would love to play some more this morning on the machine to see how he's behaving today, but I'm off to two job interviews. This will take up most of my morning and early afternoon. When I get home and after gobbling down some lunch, I then have to kind of clean my house. The Ohio kids are coming for us to sit Tristan while they "play" with their old college friends all weekend.

Since we'll have Tristan all weekend, blogging won't occur, and I'll barely spend in any time in here. He hates the long arm and it'll just be easier to keep him out of here as much as we can. There's nothing really in here for him because needles, rotary cutters, and lots of expensive machinery do not mix with a two year old.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Frustrated!!!

Three exclamations on the title does not even begin to describe how yesterday felt.

DW is being naughty, naughty, naughty. It's probably me but I can't seem to figure out what it is.

Here's where we finished yesterday afternoon.

Sharon E.'s quilt
And then we loaded this charity quilt because

A charity quilt I did a previous sew in ago
We are having this issue.

UGH!
Isn't it pretty? This is the top. The bottom is even worse but the pic from down there is not real clear.

I have a call into Handi Quilter. The educator I talked with (Kerri) is stumped and talked to Vicki Toth. She said to try to crank up the tension on the bobbin and top threads both. I did. She suggested I loop the thread around the tension disc a whole rotation. I did. I even have a message posted out there on the HQ Facebook group looking for help, because so far, nothing has worked.

In fact, now DW just breaks or shreds threads because his tension is so tight. And...he sounds like a jack hammer. I tried to contact Gall about this yesterday and I keep getting their answering machine.

Needless to say, plenty of tears were shed.

Today, with the sun shining in my studio just right, I'm going to take off the needle plate and see if there is anything hung up in there (a thought I had while in the shower this morning). Meanwhile, here I wait, still very frustrated, and still very spent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Long Arming Fun (Carol R. don't look at the first pic!)

This is what started yesterday, and then finished out in the early afternoon.

Paint Chip Challenge
I loaded another quilt for this person right after squaring and trimming the previous quilt.

Marvel Comics
Something totally different then what I'm used to quilting for customers. It was fun!

The completed quilt
After getting this one completed, I loaded yet another quilt before calling it a day.

Sharon's Quilt
This is what DW is wearing for my morning start. I'll be working on this pretty much all day today. It's a larger quilt that will require individual triangle quilting and will take a while to accomplish.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

I'm Back in the Saddle Again

Wasn't that a Gene Autry song?

Here are the BOD's for the past week.

September 14-20
Our block sponsor seems to be throwing in a few 6 1/2" blocks every so often. Not sure what's up with that?

DW's latest fashion
This is a charity quilt Gloria H. made over the weekend. I used this one to see how DW was performing.

Finished charity quilt
Apparently he was doing well because we knocked this one out before the evening hours rolled in.

DW's newest change
This is a paint chip challenge quilt that I'm actually kind of nervous about tackling. All the guild members will view and scrutinize the piece for "judging" on October 6th. My initial tension check resulted in those ugly loops and issues I was having with the one I did for Susan two weeks ago. You know, the one I spent seven hours ripping out? However, it seemed my thread was (once again) not totally into the tension discs because after rethreading twice, got everything to work out (finally). We'll work on this piece today.

While Gloria's quilt was being quilted (I had the computer stitch that one out because if he's going to be naughty, this is the hardest way to work him), I put together that striped top I posted yesterday. The blocks were made, but they needed to be put together into a top. 

After a day of long arming, DW sounds just fine. I'm still a little concerned about the looping issue. Do the tension discs wear out over time? Why am I just starting to have problems with this? I think I need to contact the guys at Gall and see about my concern. Onward, ho!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lots and Lots More

1. DW is home again! Without going into a long detailed narration about his issues, it basically boils down to my not oiling him in the correct location within his bobbin case. Go figure.

2. Hannah's baptism was actually fun (despite my misgivings about being in a church). Isn't she cute?

Our little cutie pie
3. Stitcher's Garden (neutral color way) is complete! Well, the top is anyway.

Another Stitchers Garden top completed
4. I made this on Saturday at sew-in.

This is called "Autumn Blaze" from Quitmaker
Busy weekend for certain.

Since the long arm is back in action, I have some serious catching up to do. I think I have around 8 quilts sitting here to do for other people. I'm going to run a charity quilt on it first this morning and then dig right in. I have a paint chip challenge quilt to do (for a guild member) so this is priority one since they're due in three weeks. Good thing mine is pretty much finished. :-)


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Another SG Day

Mom showed up earlier then expected yesterday morning and I was barely able to start my BOD. However, while chatting on the phone with Carol R. and April B. I was able to trim the 5 1/2" blocks down to the 4 1/2" needed for one of the Stitcher's Garden borders.

After mom and I spent the day in Marshall shopping and she then headed home to finish packing for her trip, I started putting the center of SG together after finishing my BOD.

When the studio lights were finally dimmed I had the three main sections assembled. I'll put the bulk of it together at sew-in tomorrow when I have more table space to complete the task.

Today the remaining borders will be prepared and assembled also for sew-in work. The remainder of today will be cleaning up around DW's frame to get him ready for his possible return back home (removing dust, cleaning his truck wheels, and picking out any threads from his track). We are definitely keeping our fingers crossed that he'll be home soon!


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Patience

As a quilter, patience is a virtue. Whether it's a machine you rely on that is ill, or whether a daunting task is before you in completing.

Like these guys.

Big Project
80 of them needed to be sewn. 80 of them needed to have papers removed (I ran out of phone book pages and found a notepad I could use for the last 10 or so), and 80 of them to square up to 4 1/2". Then, once all of this is done, the blocks have to be laid out correctly and then sew together to yield four border sides.

Yesterday, while chatting with folks on the phone, I was able to get all the papers removed from the blocks. Getting time to square them will be today before mom comes over. Not much else will be accomplished in here because after we confirm her flight for her trip, we are heading out somewhere for lunch and shopping.



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Jobs

Hunting for a job is a very long and tiresome task. I need to find a part-time job. I have/had a part-time job quilting quilts for people, but it seems my long arm is being fickle and I can't rely on him; at least for a little while.

Most of yesterday morning was spent on-line searching and applying for a job. After completing the daily block,
September 7-13

Getting it ready
gears shifted towards getting Stitcher's Garden I organized for completion this upcoming sew-in weekend. Here's where I am currently.

This was thrown up the previous night, and all of the remainder of yesterday was spent preparing the sashing and borders. One of the borders requires stitching a half inch decorative stitch from a drawn diagonal line...on both sides. It took me about three hours to complete. Tearing off the phone book pages will be this mornings task and then sewing the sections of pieced borders will follow.

Later today we have to run out to the farm and pick up the few items we've selected for ourselves. I have a new bench coming for the front porch and Jim has a few building items he has chosen. Caleb's stuff he picked out will be brought home as well and we'll help mom in anything else she needs done around the place before she takes off for Oregon on Thursday.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

DW in the Shop

Yep, he's gone again. That's what I was doing this morning prior to heading out to the farm; taking him back in to be worked on. He started making that wretched noise again and before I finished Susan's quilt yesterday, he was gasping for life.

Jason blew us off when we were there. But, I guess in his defense, he and Mike were the only two in the shop and there were lots of other people there besides us.

It sounds like their game plan is to start from the beginning and work their way up through each component and figure out what was maybe missed when he went to Utah. Either way, it'll give me time to work on more piecing around here.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Committees

Being a part of a quilting group is a wonderful way to share ideas, patterns, problem solving, and moreover, the fellowship with people of like mind.

My little quilt guild, Across the Square Quilters, is nearing the time again when we have several committees doing things. Things like the Christmas party (I'm a committee member with Margaret this year), a committee for the bazaar we participate in, and a nominating committee to usher in candidates for offices needing to be filled. This year we have three vacancies of the four voted on.

One of those committee members voiced a concern about not "bellying up to the trough" because of XYZ reason. She tried to encourage each of us to become involved and just because a 100% participation rate is not possible, should not be a reason for exemption for consideration. That's how I became involved with the Christmas Party. It was guilt. Pure and simple.

I have a lot on my plate with our guild already, but felt like the little bit of time I would need to set aside for the group wouldn't be so demanding that I shouldn't volunteer. Plus, Margaret only lives about two miles away from me and going to her place to help out won't be that daunting.

Okay, that was what I did last night. Yesterday's Stitcher's Garden last class was fun! We laughed so hard and had such a great time sharing and asking questions that I'll truly miss trekking to Portland every other Thursday. I still have SG II but One is now officially closed.

Jim and I made about 16 dog bed shells between SGI and guild. Half of them got taken last night at the meeting.

The start to my day
This is how I basically started my day yesterday. Isn't she cute? Hannah and I read books, looked in the mirror at the strange baby, and played peek-a-boo. She did her exercises and we chased several of the cats around the house. Two hours went by in a flash!

Today I have two BOD's to tackle before anything else since Hannah and I took up all of yesterday morning. It's still really humid and muggy today so I'll leave DW down again for another day. I'll continue to work on the "Quilt Shop" in my Painted Lady series and perhaps do one of my quilt fairy gifts (still working on the fabric "theme" for those though). And, IT'S PIZZA DAY! My favorite!!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

One Track Mind

When I get my heart set on something, it seems like I have a one track mind. I was so consumed in this project yesterday the day just flew by as it was starting to come together looking like something other then a green and re blob.

Quilt Shop
It is far from done, but at least you can tell it's a shop.

No working on it today. I have to rush to Lansing to babysit Hannah this morning before my class in Portland this afternoon. After class, I'll be at The Hen House making dog beds to hand out during our guild meeting. People were asking about them last week thinking I would actually have any made after having everything else to do.

I should have made dog beds yesterday, but honestly, couldn't bring myself to going downstairs to get the fabric for them. It's very nice down there (cool wise). It is not very nice up here with the latest heat wave we're having. It would have just made coming back up here worse.

I'm off and running. This is our last Stitchers Garden One class and I'm sad/glad to see it come to another end.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Seven Hours

Seven hours on the couch, another hour on the pressing/planning table, and I think all the crappy quilting is out of this quilt. Ebony Love calls is Frogging because all you do is "Rippit, Rippit".

I'll get it reloaded, but won't quilt on it today. It's already 80 degrees and it's not even 10:00. DW does not like hot weather, and quite frankly, I don't like quilting in it. Especially since the dreaded hot flashes are coming on fast and furious these days.

Today, I'm going to play. I don't know what with yet, but we'll find something in my mondo bag of goodies.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To Quilt or Not to Quilt

Some days are great quilting days. Yesterday, my morning was a great quilting morning.

Some days are not great quilting days. Yesterday afternoon, after it started to get hot and very humid, turned into a horrible quilting day. This is why.

Just horrible!
All the grey quilting thread I put into the quilt during the afternoon time turned out like this. I've unloaded the quilt and now have to rip stitches. And there are a LOT!

Here are last weeks BOD's.

August 31 - Sept. 6
I'm still wondering just how this is going to be quilted, and the more I think about it, the more I'm leaning towards actually tying this one. I love tied quilts. They are very snuggly and warm and feel just a bit more cozy then a quilted quilt. I have four months to worry about it I guess.

Here's my new chicken in progress.

Bwk, bwk...
This is being done on my domestic machine, and I'm actually done with the quilting. I finished that yesterday too, but didn't snap a pic yet because I'm working on the binding.

Later today we once [again] head out to the farm for more moving adventures. Today we move all the artwork and miscellaneous things mom hasn't already gotten...and gather our crab apples for jelly. That means a short day in here today. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bulk

After two busy days with both mom and my father, we resume normalcy. For now.

The bulk of moms old place is now in her new condominium. It took six of us (Alisha and my mom don't really count though) a little under five hours, two moving truck loads, and a lot of sweat. But, all her "big" stuff is moved. Sigh!

We visited her after spending yesterday with the boys, my dad and Charlotte, to replace the dryer cable since the one she had wasn't the right one. She's tuckered out, but seems happy so far.

Since the last two days were a bust in here, I'm going to probably just putter around today to get my bearings back. I have this little guy I slid in since Friday that I need to quilt out. I'll add him to the chickens who already live in the kitchen.

New Chicken
I was also able to get the remaining witches colored and am now ready to start the hand embroidery. But, there's a problem with that. The DMC floss I have here is so old, only two of the colors cross over to the pattern. And, after looking up the colors, don't have anything even close to what I need.

And, then there's the variegated floss too. I have no variegated embroidery flosses, and it doesn't appear DMC makes anything close to what I need. Jim gave me permission to order the floss kit needed for the whole "Witch" kit, minus the third panel, since those haven't even been released yet.

I have Susans quilt sitting on DW that I didn't even think about working on, and so I have plenty to do today with the BOD's and other such things. Jim has already left for work (since it is a holiday), and will have about six uninterrupted hours to enjoy my time in here. Yeah!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mice

Summer is dumb. Between the fruit flies in the house, the mosquitoes, and the mice that are starting to find their way in for the winter, I'm about ready to pull what hair I have out of my head. Generally the mice stay downstairs, and Jim sets a gazillion traps to eradicate them. However, one has found its way into my studio. Lily is going bonkers trying to find it!

He/she hasn't found my customer quilts (yet), but this mouse thing has to come to a halt before it does. Thankfully, I have a tenacious dog who won't give up until she finds the bugger.

And, so, that's what I've been doing this morning...trying to find the mouse.

Here are the three quilts going to Orlando.

Heading to Florida

Prior to going to guild, Jim and I buzzed over to pick Sherman back up from the dealership. Jim said he was great coming home; we'll see!

Before going to get the truck, I worked on two more of my witches.

Two more
Before working on the witches I loaded DW with this customer quilt for Susan N.

Chinese Lanterns for Susan N.
Susan wanted the Eiffel Tower inserted into the negative space and this is what I came up with.

Eiffel Tower
The outline I created myself and then the filler was all ruler work.

Today is another moving day (later), but I have this morning to myself. Tonight is the official start of college football (hurray for more quilting time). The boys/girls will be out to watch the game and be here so we can get an early start tomorrow moving all moms heavy and bulky items with the moving truck we are picking up later today.

Piecing/coloring time will be this morning, a little free motion early afternoon, and then we're off and that's about how my day will go.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Short Day

After mom finally "released" me yesterday, I ran some quick errands and then scurried on home. I wanted to at least get my daily block done and I'm glad I started this first. We are starting to build the corner blocks and this required 4 6-inch blocks to complete. Yesterday's block had 126 pieces in it alone. It took the remainder of the night to finish.

Here are the two quilts going to guild tonight, as promised from yesterdays post.

Heading to Orlando
I forgot to mention a few days ago that my paint chip challenge is done! I finished it last week, but kept forgetting to put that in my blog. Of course, there are no pics yet, but after October I will be able to post it up.

Since I asked for a moving pardon today, I'm quite confused in what to do. I have to wait until 10:00 to see what the BOD entails, but I think DW needs to have another customer quilt loaded. I have quite a few still down there to get worked on and should probably head in that direction.

We are basically moving more for mom tomorrow night and all day Saturday and if I get a top loaded I can chip away at it in between all the moving hubbub. Apparently dad wants to visit on Sunday and Monday and you never know what happens when he comes for a visit; I should probably take advantage of the quiet day today.