Thursday, August 31, 2006
This is the finished one hour quilt -- I had to throw it over the porch railing lengthwise to get the picture. Guess those lighter blue squares do stand out -- but I still like it. I like it enough to keep for myself, but I may give it as a Christmas gift.
This is the last day of August. Also it would have been my dad's 89th birthday -- he died 13 years ago. He was a great dad and I miss him, but only have one regret and that is that he didn't get to see our log home being built -- he would have loved to have been here for that. He spent all the years of his retirement taking care of my mom, who had Alzheimer's, but he never complained once. Now that was true love -- it was a long haul. Happy Birthday, Dad.
On to the saga of the car: Service Manager calls me today to tell me they have to order parts -- that indeed the transmission is leaking. Good news is that they will be paying for this fix, bad news is, because of the holiday the parts probably won't be there until Tuesday, so I will be without a car. I could borrow one from the dealer if I needed transportation, but we have Bill's truck, so really don't need it. That said -- you know I normally wouldn't need the car this whole time, but as soon as he said it wouldn't be ready today I thought of all kinds of places I wanted to go! vbg Then I decided I could just as well spend the entire four days + quilting and catching up on things around the house -- it's all in the attitude! I did have Bill drive me to the bank to pay our real estate taxes that are due tomorrow and hopefully that will be the extent of "having" to go anywhere.
So - back to the end of August. I can't remember if I finished any ufo's other than the 1 hour quilt this month -- don't think I did. I have been working on Briana's Christmas gift -- the twin quilt with all the appliqued flower blocks. I did buy fabric, so not very good on the No Fabric Challenge. I did make 3 baby quilts and used stash for two of them.
For September through December I've decided to give myself a "Quilting Budget" of $50 a month. This will include anything quilty -- including books, which is my downfall. If I have to, I can borrow from the next month, but I really would rather save up for something from month to month. I am going to keep track of every penny. This is just a fun challenge for myself -- I'm not going to make myself crazy with it!
1. The car is not going to cost us anything -- yippee!
2. A beautiful late summer day with a nice breeze.
3. Cleaning the house so that I can have 4 free days to sew.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I think this was about the sixth of 15 done. I keep plugging away at them. I did finish the one hour quilt -- binding is sewn down and the quilt has been washed and dried. I'm going to try to get a picture of it outside tomorrow.
Otherwise, this week is another of those "spend all your time on the phone, or waiting for something" weeks. The car is back in the shop -- for a transmission leak, no less. Certainly hope they don't plan on charging me to fix it this time -- I'm not going to be a happy camper to deal with I can tell you that!
1. Bill cleaned the truck so I can actually see out of the windows (the dogs "breathe" on the windows and you can hardly see out of them after awhile!).
2. I have all the pictures that were stacked up since AJ was born put into albums now. Not necessarily in order, but at least they are put in the books!
3. Paper shredders.
4. Dinner with friends and a nice dinner with Steve & Kim on Monday night.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
The answer is NO. I bought one of the very first HQ's that came out -- in my humble opinion, they rushed to be one of the firsts in the home quilter market and shipped with many flaws. Everyone that bought those first ones had to modify the rails because they were light weight aluminum that did not support more than a small wall hanging. Another company made "Handi-handles" so you could plug your machine into them and eliminate the foot pedal, instead of standing behind the machine, hold the foot pedal with one hand and try to guide the machine with your other hand -- honest.
I complained to the company immediately about the track -- pieces of plastic of different lengths that you had to tape to your table and they didn't always butt up close. I got no response at all. I did join the HQ list and got lots of information from other users in making our own changes, but I went no-mail when it got to be too much and didn't get the angle iron fix. I quit using the HQ for months at a time.
I would in all honesty, not recommend the HQ to anyone because I don't believe they are a user-friendly company. I don't believe they stand behind their product at all. This is just my humble opinion, folks.
I also had my thread break twice, so switched from a 70/10 needle to an 80/12 and that solved that problem. Had no thread nests on the back at all -- because I remembered every time to put the foot lever back down (vbg). I increased the speed on the handi-handles, because I tend to move my hands faster, and that really helped give me more uniform stitches (I still don't have that hand/foot coordination with my Bernina, but I'll work on it! All in all, I'm not unhappy with the stitching on the quilt -- it could always be better, but I'll take good! I'll post a picture when I have the borders done and the binding on!
1. Conversations on blogger -- really a learning experience. I learn from all of you.
2. A relaxed day of quilting - most unusual for machine quilting for me - vbg.
3. Bill's new chain saw works well -- he's worn out two previous saws!
4. Thanks to JudyL for the 1 hour quilt pattern.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
While I was off in Rockford today picking up my next block for the BOM I'm working on (and buying a bolt of Warm & Natural with my 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby afterwards), Bill was busy buying some metal and retrofitting my Handiquilter yet again. It now has metal tracks to run on -- maybe it'll be a little smoother now. So, I pressed and sewed the backing and then pinned the 1 hour quilt on it this afternoon, cleaned and oiled the machine and wound a couple of bobbins and it's ready to go. My plan is to do some general meandering and loops and swirls and I'm going to do the borders on my Bernina after I take it off the HQ. We'll see how it goes. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I'll be able to work on it.
1. My hubby is a real gem -- yes I do appreciate that he treats me like a queen.
2. Homemade meatloaf.
3. Homegrown tomatoes and green peppers.
4. Saturday night at home -- peaceful and quiet.
Friday, August 25, 2006
I love the quilt anyway. I've got the binding made, the batting cut and the backing chosen -- I'm going to use some of the ugly $2 a yard fabric that really isn't ugly, for the backing. It needs to be pressed, cut and stitched -- but it'll wait til next time.
Judy mentioned that she might put a new quilt up each month -- I think that'd be fun. I may not be able to do every one, but it sure is a good way to use up scraps and stash and aiming for an hour a day has been a good idea.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I've been reading a book the past week or so -- The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs. I bought the book because I was going to take a class at BN university a few years ago and needed the book for the class. As it turned out, and, as usual, I had too many irons in the fire and didn't keep up with the class and the book ended up in the sewing room patiently waiting. Anyway -- I picked it up and started reading (thinking that if she tells me I have to move to a commune, etc - I'd just toss the book!). I have ten more pages to read (and there's 300 or so). There are quite a few "roll your eyes and 'get real' points" like do all your clothes shopping for yourself and gifts for others at resale shops -- that's not going to happen. But she also makes a few good points like live below your means, and on a cash basis so you don't have to work forever to pay off things you don't really need, etc. One point she made was that we, as Americans, live in bigger and bigger houses and then we fill them up with stuff, and then we must work much longer to pay them off. While, in most parts of the world, people live with less stuff and smaller houses and are probably happier than we are and probably less stressed also. I can vouch for the fact that we live in bigger houses - we live in a very large 3 bedroom log home that I really can't wait to downsize because I have to spend too much quilting time cleaning it! vbg My ideal house: One very large room with a bath w/shower, a hot plate and microwave, futon for when I need to sleep and all my quilty stuff surrounding me. But I digress. The book has chapters on money, health, exercise, housing, gardening, decluttering, travel, etc. and I am really amazed that it really is interesting reading.
Anway, soon as I finish it tonight it'll be back to the applique blocks for Briana's quilt!
1. I am grateful for the house we live in, even when I have to clean it (like today!).
2. Wild turkeys -- a whole family of Tom & Tina and at least 6 babies in the woods.
3. Sewing time.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I did this applique block on Saturday night. I have another ready to go, but I've been reading at night instead of appliqueing -- I'll get back to it after I finish my book.
1. Bill is going to get some angle iron to make new tracks for the Handiquilter -- that should hopefully solve some problems with the HQ. And, it buys time on saving for the longarm. :-)
2. Lunch with Deb yesterday.
3. A wool penny rug workshop at guild on Monday -- great instructors and lots of fun -- although there's another unfinished project waiting in the wings.
4. Making decisions on Christmas gifts to make.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I finished this block on Thursday night and if I had taken the time on Thursday to prep a few more like I was going to, I could have gotten another done Friday night -- but I was too tired to pull fabric and make decisions.
For my 1-hour quilt, I cut the rest of the strips into 2 patches today; then assembled strips of 5. I have the sides ready to be added to all the blocks, but I only had time to put one together completely today. I like the block a lot. Probably won't be working on it for another 3 days though -- have a picnic/baby shower out of town tomorrow, guild and a workshop on Monday, and errands to run on Tuesday.
1. Made it safely home yesterday, even though I had to drive through rain the whole way (but we didn't get much at all!)
2. Sleeping in today.
3. Dinner out tonight (I hope :-0)!
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Here's the 2nd applique block for Briana's quilt. I did this block last night. I have another already prepped for tonight. Tomorrow I'm going up to do back to school shopping with Steph and Briana, so probably won't do any sewing tomorrow. Maybe I can get a couple more blocks prepped though -- it's nice to have them ready to go when I sit down in the evenings.
1. I encountered a wasp nest on the front porch today and managed not to get stung. I did spray it immediately so need to remember to sweep it down in the next day or two.
2. Fresh peaches.
3. Clean front windows and screens.
4. Light drizzle today -- but it's been awhile so we'll take any amount of rain we can get.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Also took a picture of baby quilt #3 -- the Paper Pinwheels. It, too, is a terrible picture for the same reason as above -- laziness! After washing, the quilting doesn't look as bad as I know it really is. No toe catchers though, so it's going to be moving on to the new parents whenever the time is right.
Didn't do any appliqueing last night, after I prepped two blocks, vbg. Maybe tonight. There's nothing on tv, so last night I just read, while Bill napped.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
My progress today: I trimmed the hst's, then sewed them to the sashing strips and pressed. That took care of the hour -- I have all 20 blocks ready for the next step.
Then I switched gears, finished the last piece to applique down on the block I prepped last night.Then, switched gears again to iron the six or seven shirts in the laundry basket! Then, hand sewed the binding on the 3rd baby quilt -- it is now in the dryer. And finally, shifted gears one last time to prep two more applique blocks for Briana's quilt (there are 15 in all -- but all easy like this one. And that was my day more or less!
1. Nice breakfast out with friends this morning.
2. A pleasing conversation with my favorite grocery store employee today. She's a very pleasant woman to talk with.
3. My resurrection lilies are blooming in the front -- need to check the backyard yet.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I'm doing the Sew for an Hour Quilt that Judy at Sunshine Quilts designed for us and challenged us with. Today was day one (or hour one). It took me about an hour and a half to pull fabric -- all from stash and scraps, press it and cut it to size. Then, I marked my squares to make hst's -- because I also use that method to make them, and sewed 40 squares, cut them apart and pressed them -- so I have 80 (4 blocks x 5 blocks) hst's ready to be squared up. It only took me about 45 minutes to actually do that part, but I was tired from doing chores, and running up and down stairs doing laundry in between the cutting/sewing part. vbg I think I made a respectable start today anyway. I cleaned up my mess -- actually I stacked the fabric left over and stuck it in the cabinet without sorting, so I need to clean out the cabinet again -- big time.
Then, I managed to prep one applique block for Briana's quilt -- the pieces are all cut that need to be pieced, but I haven't pulled the fabric or cut any of the applique pieces. I'll do them one at a time. That's the next big project I'll be working on -- so I'll probably be doing it in between the Hour a Day Quilt. I hope to do the applique tonight on that one block.
I also managed to sew the binding on the baby quilt I no longer like. vbg Still need to hand stitch it to the back. I washed the Jacks baby quilt and it is now ready for baby -- well, still need to wrap it and buy a card. Need to wrap the first baby quilt - hearts and stars -- too.
So, basically, it was a quilty day and I even managed to finish the laundry and clean the basement and the bath down here and mop the floor in the basement. ('Course I mopped this morning and left the bucket of vinegar/water with the mop still in it until this evening when I came down and remembered I hadn't emptied it!)
1. Bill had to run to the hardware store, so he picked up the salad fixin's for tonight's dinner (I hate having to run into town for one thing at the grocery store - especially since tomorrow is shopping day.)
2. I'm glad I organized my next projects in bags waiting on the table -- so much easier to open the next project and have everything I need right there.
3. Another beautiful day in the midwest -- but no rain.
4. I'm getting the rush from the longarm dealer -- another note in the mail today. That's okay -- keeps the idea fresh in Bill's mind, so he will know when the money is saved that it's going to be spent on the longarm! vbg
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Baby quilt #2 is finished -- binding and label included. Quilting was easy -- although it took about 5 hours to do it -- all in the ditch, including the centers of the pinwheels. I took this picture this afternoon on the front porch and the quilt is now waiting to be washed. I finished it yesterday afternoon.
Today, I quilted Baby quilt #3. The stitching in the ditch was easy, but the rest was a PITA! My freehand quilting, even following a pattern drawn on the quilt, leaves a lot to be desired. I cannot for the life of me control the consistency of the stitches. I am so frustrated by the time I'm finished I actually hate the quilt. I still need to put the binding on, but decided to give it a rest today.
I got a call from a sales person for a longarm dealer yesterday afternoon (because I signed up for the newsletter on their site). She was calling from Park Ridge, near O'Hare airport -- the dealer is in Wisconsin and thought that anyone with an Illinois address should go through this lady I assume -- problem is we probably live closer to the dealer than the sales lady! vbg Anyway -- she was very nice and we talked for a few minutes. She wanted to know what stage I was in (how close to buying a longarm). I told her "dreaming and drooling"! I'm saving my pennies and realistically, I may be able to buy one next year.
But now I have a question or two for all you longarmers out there: Were you quilting a lot and well on your regular sewing machines before you bought your longarm? Did you learn how to quilt on the longarm -- I mean, I keep dreaming about being able to quilt really well on the longarm, but what if I can't quilt on it any better than I do on the sewing machine, or with the Handiquilter -- I will have wasted a whole ton of money. I plan on taking all the classes the dealer offers (and the first two are free, but they also offer some advanced classes I'd be interested in). One of the reasons I think I can do better on the longarm is the stitch regulator -- for me that would be a godsend, I think. Thanks to anyone that answers me!
1. We had tomato/bacon/cheese English muffins for dinner tonight -- fresh garden tomatoes!
2. Even as frustrated as I was today, I still count my blessings that I have a very nice sewing machine to work with.
3. Listening to a whole range of music on cd while quilting today -- Fleetwood Mac, Shania Twain, Eric Clapton, Roy Clark and Neil Diamond!
4. Another beautiful day in the heartland -- but please send a little rain.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The car was finally ready at 3 this afternoon -- $825 later.....there was nothing wrong with the power steering line! Just the major seal problem on the transmission! So, picked up the car, got some quick groceries (even bought a couple of steak kabobs for dinner -- really lazy way of cooking), then on to the quilt shop! Bought two different flannels for the last two baby quilts and a piece of kids print purple for the center block and borders on the pinwheels. Threw the fabrics in the washer while I fixed dinner and into the dryer (they should be done by now). I hope to get the third top finished tomorrow and maybe one of them pinned for quilting.
While I was waiting for the car call, I made giant 9 patches (well, they're 9" finished) with the fabrics that I cut for the original quilt I was going to make -- I had all these 3½" squares leftover even after using as many as I did in the pinwheels. I made up a bunch of 9-patches using those squares and the same background I had in stash. I still have some more squares to use up, so might end up with two small size quilts for charity after I finish the baby quilts. And those are from stash.
1. The car was cheaper than I thought; I'm thankful it's fixed.
2. Playing in the sewing room today and using up stash.
3. Buying fabric today-- I can see the end of the baby quilts soon!
4. Random Act of Kindness: I set the mechanic at the garage up with our neighbor/friend that repairs tractors -- it was one of those just "mentioned in passing" things and turned out well for both parties.
Monday, August 07, 2006
So, came home, did laundry, finished the Jacks top and pulled fabric for the 3rd baby quilt. Good news is I have the background for it in stash. The first quilt I planned though, and cut the pieces for, didn't work the way I wanted, so I dug a different pattern out and started it. Problem is, I didn't have enough of some of the fabrics to make the change. But I think I may just need one bright fabric and may do sashing and borders with it. The pattern is from Quilters Cache and is called Paper Pinwheels. It's really a great block to make! I have four done and may only make 9 instead of the 16 I was going to make. I think the quilt will be big enough (they're 12" blocks), if I sash and border it. Here's the four I have done so far: The rest will be made using some of the kids prints I used in Jacks and the first baby quilt.
1. I'm grateful the car didn't fall apart when I was driving it and they found the problem immediately.
2. I'm thankful Squire was home this morning when I called so he could get Bill!
3. I'm glad I had the background fabric in stash.
4. Corn on the cob for dinner because Bill ran to the store for milk.
5. Crockpot beef!
Sunday, August 06, 2006
I have all but the top and bottom strips of the last border done on the "Jacks" baby quilt. I have the prairie points made and the borders cut to size, just need to put them together. So, now I need to buy some more baby flannel to back this quilt with. So, I give -- I lost...uncle! I'm going back to my original resolution of not buying stash enhancing fabric, but trying to stick to backings, borders, background, etc. I do want to use up some of the old stash this year, and have done so, but still need to do a lot more!
I have one more baby quilt to make after I finish Jacks -- and I think I know what pattern I'm going to do, but need to work it up in EQ tonight. I will have to buy background for this one, too, and flannel for the backing. Should be able to use a lot of the brights I bought for the other baby quilts for some of the blocks.
I have to take my car in to have the power steering line fixed -- LubePros said it was loose and leaking, so I have an appointment at 8 am at the dealers. I'll probably just bring a book along to read while I wait, but I've been making a shopping list out so I can combine errands on one trip to town. None of the stores open til 10 though, so I may be sitting in my car in some parking lot for awhile! vbg
We had a ball at the pool party yesterday. AJ (2½) wore a one-piece suit that had pockets in the front and back that you slid little inflatable pillows into. What a wonderful invention. He loves the water, but can't swim yet and the suit kept him afloat easily. Kevin's pool is an inground one -- big. AJ was jumping off the side into his "Unca" Steve's arms, or mom & dad's. Briana, 8, is learning to swim -- she had little water wings, but she did quite well without them. Steve & Kim are planning on giving them a subscription to the Y for Christmas so they both can learn to swim well. I even went into the water -- been years since I've been swimming. It was wonderful actually -- but boy was I sore this morning -- obviously used muscles that I don't use in quilting. vbg Food was excellent and I think a good time was had by all.
Friday, August 04, 2006
I did manage to write a little in my quilt journal -- still need to add some pictures -- I rarely print off digital pictures, so will have to make a new habit there. I also got my journal out and started writing in it too. While I was getting it off the shelf, I found my "The Simple Living Guide" book by Janet Luhrs. I bought this book a couple of years ago because I signed up to take a class from B&N online, I think. I never did read the book, and didn't even keep up with the class -- best laid plans and all that. Anyway -- read the introduction this afternoon and think I'll read a bit of it to see what's what. I'll let ya know....
I've spent some time the past couple of days reading blogs -- I find it very hard to keep up with every one I want to read -- there's way too many interesting people in this world and if I spend all my time reading their blogs, I won't be able to quilt at all. I don't always take the time to comment either, so I tried to make a point this time to comment.
Take care everyone, until I see you again -- maybe tomorrow, maybe Sunday! Have a great weekend!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
I made 24 blocks today (made one the other day) for a total of 25. The crib size calls for another row of 5, but I rather like the 5 x 5 size, so it'll be a nice sized baby quilt. The pattern is called "Jacks" from P.S. I Love You Two by Smith and Milligan (Possibilities). The pinwheels are actually prairie points. I've made this quilt twice before (and I dislike making the same quilt more than once), but it really is impressive looking when it's finished -- and I only make it for very special babies - for friends and family. I hope to work on it some more tomorrow.
I also took a picture of the pattern by Blackbird Designs I was talking about a day or two ago: (It's hanging on my bulletin board above my sewing machines -- which happens to be quite messy at the moment). I really like this pattern, so I really want to finish my "have to make" quilts and get started on it.
1. Bill is much better today after having a bad night and day yesterday -- something akin to an allergic reaction, but at 1 am after being asleep for 2 hours -- really weird.
2. The rain showers cooled the air and took the humidity -- even turned off the A/C today.
3. Making progress in the sewing room -- it sure feels good.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
As promised -- a picture today. This is the baby quilt with the binding on the front, pinned to the wall. I have since sewn the binding to the back, but the second picture wasn't as good as the first and I need to recharge the batteries in the camera!
I did a meander with stars and hearts all over and stitched inside the stars and hearts about 1/4" from the edges. The stars and hearts are machine blanket stitched to the quilt top. The background was all stash/scraps. I actually made a quilt with a similar background and had the 2-patches leftover. In fact, here's the original quilt that now hangs in my daughter's house -- it was for AJ, of course! The upper right balloon looks black, but really is a deep purple!
1. Two hummingbirds fed at the trumpet vine while I walked on the treadmill this morning. What a great thing to watch.
2. One baby quilt done, two to go!
3. We're supposed to get storms and rain tonight -- a welcome relief from the heat.
4. Having an all-day in the house, nothing to do but sew day.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Time for a monthly update though. I did manage to finish two ufo's last month -- the sunflower table runner and Tulip Farm -- although technically, Tulip Farm is not finished because I need to unstitch and restitch the borders.
I did buy fabric last month -- but mostly for particular quilts which are in progress. Except for the great buy on backing fabric -- I don't have a particular quilt in mind, but it sure was a great price at $2 a yard!
Now, for the August Stash Challenge Vicky has made. I already blew it -- and early in the day too. vbg I bought a yard and a quarter of flannel for the back of the baby quilt in progress -- so guess it doesn't count, 'cause it is a backing, but still.....I should have bought it on Saturday.
Anyway -- I'll start over on the challenge -- no more fabric for the rest of the month. How 'bout you -- think you can keep from buying even that FQ you think you have to have?
I did buy a pattern today -- it's actually last year's pattern by Blackbird Designs. I can't remember the name of it (CRS), but it has a house with a black cat on top in front of a full moon. The house is surrounded by pieced stars and there are vines with leaves in the borders and a bittersweet vine next to the house. I don't actually like Blackbird Designs (the same people that designed Tulip Farm), because their patterns are not well written at all. But the shop had this quilt made up at the end of last year and it didn't get much time before the season was over, so they're getting it out now and I fell in love with the quilt. Theirs is made with a lot of homespun fabrics and the background is black -- it is just a wonderful quilt. I had to have the pattern -- and I sure hope I can get my "have to" stuff done so I can play with this quilt! I'll have to get the camera upstairs and get a picture of the front tomorrow.
1. The tomatoes are finally starting to ripen on the vines.
2. Edy's Fruit bars were on sale today.
3. Lunch with a friend.
4. A/C in the car.
5. Quilter's General Store in Rockford.