Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's a Boy

Y'all can stop thinking pink now.

William Joseph has shown himself this morning via ultrasound! And this is the first thing Grandma went out and bought for him. I did tell Stephanie she'll have to have another after this -- we definitely want another girl! But, AJ will be happy with a little brother to play sports with!


Thank Heavens for little boys, too: Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The top is finished

I finished the borders today. I still need to press and square the top, but I'll do that when I'm ready to quilt it. I did make up the binding today and it's pressed and ready, but I still need to put the backing together. I don't want this one to lanquish too long, but I also want to get some other things done soon. I have a punch needle project I have to finish before Saturday and another small quilt I need to work on, plus I still haven't done my bom for this month.
I'm going to a one-day retreat on Saturday - a yearly thing by invitation only and I'm looking forward to it. I want to have a couple of projects prepped to take along -- I think one will be some strings for the heartstrings project and another will be a quilt I started there last year and put aside because it wasn't coming out the way I'd planned, so I need to figure out what to do with it and get it done!

The winter storm wasn't quite as bad as projected.
The washer and dryer.
The digital camera and the laptop -- having some problems with the pc, so it's nice to have the laptop to fall back on.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back to Hour a Day

I finished the last 12 blocks today, sewed the blocks into rows and then sewed the sashing strips together -- discovering in the process that I did not cut enough sashing strips and didn't cut any of the sashing corners at all. Really had to scramble to find enough fabric for the cornerstones and then had to piece 3 of the strips themselves. Don't know where my brain was when I cut out this quilt. Hopefully, the borders are all okay ;-). Tomorrow I'll finish piecing the top and try to get a border or two on. I'm loving how this quilt is coming along. I used 4 different red fabrics for the stars.
Also want to work on my BOM and get it out of the way. And, I have a punch needle project that won't take much to finish, but I need to find the time to do it.
We're getting the snow now to add to the high winds we've had since last night, so tomorrow is definitely going to be a quilty day!


Cozy dinner by the fireplace.
Sewing time all afternoon.
Phone call from a friend.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I forgot

to tell you that I quilted Baby Rails with a pantograph pattern called Rainbow Flight by Miki & Diane Designs. So, not only was it my first quilt on the longarm, it was my first completed pantograph! vbg

The first official finish!

Baby Rails with Attitude is finished. It is officially the first quilt completely quilted on the longarm. (I finished Gratitudes for Bill on the machine, but started it on my Bernina; and Happy Days isn't finished!) I stitched the binding down while waiting for Bill's tests to be done on Wednesday (everything is fine). I haven't put a label on this quilt yet -- this one is for my new grandbaby and I want to wait til we find out it's a girl (think pink!).

Been playing catch up a bit around the house this week. Still have a whole bunch of paperwork to catch up on, but it'll be there tomorrow, right?! Mostly, I've been trying to clear the decks so I can sew all weekend. I haven't done anything on the Hour A Day quilt and I have another BOM block to put together. Quilt guild was a bust on Monday -- we stayed long enough for the program (which wasn't that great), and then my friend got sick, so we had to leave. I hope we can stay for the whole meeting next month -- we have a new president this year and I think she has some great ideas and enough energy to get people psyched up again. I did give her a printout of the Heartstrings project, but didn't get to stay long enough to find out if anyone is interested.

We're supposed to get some "weather" this weekend: anywhere from an ice storm, sleet, 6 - 12 inches of snow or rain! Another reason I want to quilt all weekend. Donated blood platelets this morning, then stopped at the car wash and got the past month's worth of salt off the car, picked up some groceries and I'm good to go for the weekend -- hibernation here I come!

Bill's stomach pain has subsided. Results of polyps and spot biopsies won't be ready for 10 days, but doctor wasn't concerned at all about them.
No line at the car wash at noon.
Roast chicken for dinner -- already in the oven and fixing itself.
Clearing the slate for a quilty weekend.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Hour a Day

I have 8 of the 20 star blocks made. I did them yesterday. We were on the road Friday and Saturday for birthday celebrations (Bill's twin sister & brother's 79th birthday!) and AJ's 3rd birthday on Saturday. He was adorable, of course.

Anyway, Sunday was the first day in awhile that I've been able to quilt. I also pinned a baby quilt onto the longarm, but probably won't have time to quilt it until the end of the week. Today I have quilt guild, so I will at least be immersed in quilt related stuff. vbg I've been so unproductive lately that I finally sat down this morning and wrote down a list of things I need/want to get done -- a very eclectic list, for sure. And then I tackled one of the items on the list, which was to trim the magazine pages I've torn from the quilt mags and get them filed into sleeves and books. It feels good to actually get something done. I still have some major paperwork stuff to do, but at least it's on the list and not clogging my brain! And, of course, I have some quilty stuff and a punchneedle project on the list too.

I took the sewing machine I bought back in October at the guild show up to DD Saturday and a stack of 5" squares that I found in one of the containers. She wants to make a quilt, and seeing a plain ole scrappy squares quilt hanging at the Quilt Center during our first class, decided she could do that. I had to put some moleskin on the machine to mark 1/4" because the machine didn't have a 1/4" foot. I'll have to look for a foot sometime when I'm out and about. I put a basics quilting book in with the stuff, so we'll see how she does on her own.

1. Bill and his remaining siblings (two sisters and a brother) are in relatively good health and we had a nice visit with them Friday.
2. AJ was a little angel on his birthday -- and he loved everything he got as presents, except he wasn't real thrilled with the shirt and pants his Aunt gave him! vbg
3. Kevin drove us to Steph's on Saturday -- it was nice letting someone else do the driving.
4. Clearing the brain and making lists!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A finish for this year

This is Gratitudes that I made for Bill for Christmas. I marked it and quilted the centers with a feather wreath. I marked the borders, but I had already bound this quilt and that is not a good combination for the longarm, so I finished the borders on my Bernina. It's been washed and the label is on (amazing that I found the label in my many piles of stuff on the sewing table!).

As far as Happy Days goes: I took it back off the longarm. I really like the quilt and hate the batting I used, so instead of adding more quilting, I'm going to take all the quilting out and redo it with a thinner batt. Not right away, mind you, but I just couldn't live with it the way it was.

I've ordered some Hobbs 80/20, which I think will be much better for most of my quilts.

Finally moving off square one and finishing something.
Refocusing on the next project
Pot roast

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lessons Learned

No picture today ;-). I finished quilting Happy Days this afternoon - at least for now. This is what I have learned so far:
1. Clean up the mess around the machine and on the tables before starting a quilt -- you'll spend a whole lot less time trying to find something (scissors, bobbins, etc.).
2. Pay attention to the batting -- this is a big lesson for me. I was going along on my merry way thinking the whole bolt of batting I received with the machine was 3 oz. (I don't normally use polyester, so don't pay a lot of attention). While cleaning up, I found the ticket for the batting -- it's 6.3 oz! The finished quilt looks like a comforter -- not a good look. I think I need to put it back on and quilt all the other elements to tame the batting.
3. I still need to practice, practice, practice and pay attention to the edges of the borders -- it was difficult to quilt to the edge because of the loft of the batting.
4. Next one I'm going to mark the quilt itself and work from there.
5. It takes time to learn your machine -- I did manage to go in and reset the needle positions and that did help the dragging needle problem (I did this yesterday before changing the needle, too -- but not all of them, so the problem returned.)
6. I still love my longarm.

I'm caught up on the Hour a Day quilt, too. Have all the quarter square triangles made, just need to square them all up.

1. I'm becoming less afraid of the longarm (was wondering if the terror was going to last forever!) vbg.
2. Our neighbor, Tim, plowed the drive again this morning before we even got out of bed. He's a nice kid (we have a very long drive!).
3. Having my menus made up ahead of time -- really saves me time and aggravation.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Loops and Swirls

It took me all afternoon, but actual stitching time was only 33 minutes and I've only done about a third of the quilt. vbg
I'm doing just some loops and swirls in the large squares and in the center of the small white squares I'm freehanding some loops, and also practicing re-tracing a line or two to do smaller loops on the sides. That part is not easy --first because these old eyes can't see the line too well with white thread on white fabric and second because it takes more skill than I have acquired yet....but time will improve it I think. I'm having fun doing it, so that's a plus.
I had to take a break in the middle to print off my daughter's taxes for her -- their computer wouldn't allow them to print (I think it may be a popup blocker problem). Anyway -- it gave me a break in the middle and that was good.
When I finished for the day, I oiled the machine and then changed the needle (first time). I was having a problem with the needle not going all the way up and then dragging on the quilt when I moved the machine -- spent a good half hour with the maintenance book and finally decided to just try changing the needle. That seems to have fixed the problem -- and bonus, it still stitches okay and the oil sprayed on my practice piece, not on my quilt! There is just so many things to remember each time you start to quilt...hope it all becomes second nature soon.
1. Talked to Steph today -- she's really crabby this first part of her pregnancy -- we decided she must be carrying a girl -- lots of estrogen! vbg
2. My blood pressure was down this morning to more normal for me levels.
3. It got all the way to +20° today - veritable heat wave.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Days Are Here Again

That's the name I decided on for the Depression Block quilt. It's a take on both meanings of the Depression name -- it was actually referring to the Great Depression, but everyone that hears the name of the block thinks physical depression. Anyway... it's pinned on the machine!

When I took the top to class last Monday and asked the instructor what her thoughts about quilting it were, she suggested a meander in the white parts, maybe a circle in the dark center blocks. I thought that sounded boring. And I thought -- I bought a big fancy longarm machine so I could do big, fancy quilting - I could meander with my Bernina or even with that handiquilter setup. Yesterday I laid the top out and auditioned all my stencils and finally came to the conclusion that meandering was probably the best way to go! The goal is to learn how to do everything on the machine, but you have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run, and I am definitely only at the crawling stage. I need to rein in my tendency to jump ahead of my abilities!

So, I have the backing made and the quilt pinned and ready to go and it's taken me a few hours to do it. Now I'm going up and spend an hour working on the hour a day quilt.


1. Cooler heads prevailed and I see the need to babystep the quilting process.

2. Hershey's Kisses filled with Caramel

3. Corned Beef Sandwiches for dinner (don'tcha just love leftovers?!)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Hour A Day

I did hours one and two on the Hour a Day quilt today. The dark fabric is a navy blue with red leaves. I plan on being caught up on this quilt this weekend.
Tomorrow I need to clean the house, but I have nothing planned but sewing and quilting for the rest of the weekend.
I finally went to see my Rheumatologist today. He gave me a cortisone shot in the middle finger joint on my left hand. It hurts like the dickens! So, I'm about to read my emails with ice on my left hand -- not supposed to use the finger much for the next few days -- I'll be real careful sewing and quilting, because I really need to get this finger healed. Doc did say this particular type of osteo-arthritis will probably be re-occuring (oh joy) and eventually the joint will be frozen. I have frozen joints in most of my other fingers, so I can deal with that -- but they don't hurt! He also told me the pain in my left hip is probably bursitis -- if it gets to be too much he can give me a cortisone shot there, too! I think I can live with it for awhile -- sometimes you can work bursitis out and I have full movement in my leg and hip joint. All in all -- old age sure does get in the way of my quilting! vbg
1. Sewing time today with focus. I've been rather aimless the past few days and not concentrating on one thing, so it feels good to actually accomplish something.
2. Invitation from a friend for a quilting day in March in the mail. Definitely will accept!
3. My Rheumatologist -- he's the greatest.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I bought fabric; classes; playing

Jackie (my quilt buddy) and I ventured out in -25 to -30° wind chill temperatures on Sunday for my favorite quilt shop's (Sew Many Antiques, Pearl City, IL) yearly Super Bolt Sunday sale. We got there before it opened and waited for the doors to open, then made our way quickly to the $2 a yard sale bolts. The bottom 4 fabrics below are 30+ yards of $2/yard fabric -- all for backings. The top two fabrics is about 11 - 12 yards of 25% off backgrounds (normally $5.20 and $6 a yard). And that was all I bought! But I think I done good and should be set for backings for awhile anyway. I needed some background fabric for Judy's Hour a Day quilt which I'm going to do in patriotic colors and make as a QOV. I did manage to get all this fabric washed today. Hopefully by the end of the week I can start cutting into it.

Yesterday was my first longarm class at the Quilt Center in Janesville. It was an all-day class and we learned how to do pantographs -- edge to edge quilting. We learned 3 different ways: row by row, interlocking, and point to point. The last couple of hours of the day were taken up with machine maintenance and troubleshooting -- we had one machine almost completely taken apart! My daughter, Stephanie, came with me -- she has no quilting experience, no piecing, etc. She was a natural at the machine! And, she wants to learn to piece now! YAY! I'll get her hooked on quilting! I bought three new pantograph patterns before we left about 4:30. This first one is called "Bellflower" and this view is the practice that I did today:
The second was called "Ivy Leaves" and is an example of interlocking that I also played with today.
I didn't try the third one yet. But I did try some freehand feathers. I bought a book last week from Sherry Rogers-Harrison called Formal Feathers 101. It came yesterday while I was gone, so I went through it last night and then played today. It was so fun! I need to practice, practice, practice, but I really enjoyed playing today. I'm going to try to get a real quilt pinned by the end of the week -- time to start actually quilting, I think. Before then, we have appointments and I have some catching up to do, but looking forward to quilting makes the work a lot easier to finish!
1. I'm grateful we didn't have class today, as we got 5" of snow blowing like a blizzard this morning. We stayed in all day and the neighbor even came by with his snow plow and plowed the drive for us.
2. Having my daughter take the class with me yesterday -- so much fun.
3. Feeling more comfortable with my machine today after the class yesterday.
4. Leftover chicken and rice soup for supper -- easy.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Playing with AJ

This is what I was doing yesterday morning -- playing with AJ -- before we went with Mommy to her first ultrasound. Still too early to tell whether it's a boy or girl (think pink!), but definitely one baby and a strong heartbeat -- could actually see her heart beating. Steph is probably going to have to go in once a week for an injection to prevent pre-term labor for the next 24 weeks. Bit of a pain, but let's face it -- we are lucky that AJ is so advanced for being born 10 weeks early, and we can sure do without having to leave the baby at the nicu for 5 weeks too.

And this is what I was doing today. I finally got all the borders on the Depression Block quilt (going to have to come up with a different name for it, though). The amazing thing about this is that I designed the borders in EQ6 and the final pieced border fits perfectly ;-)! And all the hst's turn the corners in the right directions, too. Now I need suggestions for quilting it. I'm going to take the top with me on Monday to my first longarm class and get some opinions there, too. I'm really pleased with how it turned out though. The binding is the same as the dark blue inner border, and I stay-stitched the pieced border to help keep it from stretching before I get it finished and bound.

I have a large corned beef brisket simmering on the stove -- it's going to be corned beef and cabbage for us non-Irish tonight. Tomorrow will be Reuben sandwiches while we watch the Bears win the Super Bowl!


1. The pieced border went together relatively easily today!

2. Corned beef and cabbage because we've both been hungry for it.

3. A warm house and fireplace in the kitchen because it is below 0° outside, not counting the wind chill.

4. A beautiful new baby in no hurry to greet the world.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Playing with Strings

The first one was my attempt to control the strings in color and size -- can you say boring? It would probably make a neat quilt (I was thinking of the Quilts of Valor patriotic colors), but I'd never get it done because it's way too boring and controlled for my taste. The second was just grabbing from the pile of scraps I've dumped on the sewing room floor. Lots more fun. I'm going to suggest the Heartstrings project to my guild as the service project this year and offer to machine quilt them -- it'll be good practice and maybe we'll have more quilts finished that way.

I'm also going to tell them about the QOV project -- but I think that is more of a personal thing. I'm going to make Judy's February Hour a Day project for my QOV project -- so I will probably be buying some red, white and blue fabrics -- but I think this qualifies as a good excuse to buy fabric.


I am blessed and it's time to give back.