Monday, May 15, 2017

Back Again

Life sure has a way of getting busy!
I took a "Trip in a Zip" class from Ann Tully at Lucky 2B Quilting shop in Pecatonica a couple of months ago and managed to not only finish the top, but it's quilted and bound and ready to be gifted.
This is one of the kids quilts we make for the homeless, or needy.  I cut the tumbler fabrics with my Go! cutter and pieced one, and then our quilters at church pieced a few more.  This is one someone else pieced and it's waiting for me to quilt it. (It is quilted now!)
Our little church quilting group took a road trip to Bloomington, IL (about 2 hours away), because the Treadle quilt shop has big sales (all the time), and this time it was fat quarter packs for 1/2 price, plus an additional 20% off if you paid cash, so those 3 FQ packs are from there.  But while I was thinking about that sale, I started to think about all the FQ's I already have, not to mention a whole lot of yardage that's just aging in the cabinet.  So, I decided to start cutting it all up.  These piles are waiting to be cut.

These are two almost full bins of cut up fabrics and I haven't made a dent in the cabinet, although I did clear out a three drawer plastic file stuffed full of FQ's!

The plan is to cut 7" strips, 5" strips, and 2-1/2" strips.  I don't save anything smaller than 2" strips because I don't use anything smaller than that, and if I do need something smaller, I can cut from the 3 sizes of strips I have. I have a container of 3-1/2" squares of mostly kids fabrics, but if we need more, I can cut them from the 7" strips.
All of this fabric will be used for our charity quilts -- its so nice to use quilt shop quality fabric instead of some of the super cheap stuff that is sometimes donated to us.  And, when I want to make something for myself or others, I'll go buy the fabric! I mean, how many years of fabric stash do you have?  I started my collection in the early 90's!  So, I now take out a stack of fabric, press it one day, cut it the next time, etc.  It may take awhile, but I'm glad I started doing this.  We can cut the strips into rail fences, or just squares, or whatever pattern we want to make.

Until next time....blessings.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Finding Stuff

I was looking for some Double Wedding Ring templates I used to have (I never did find them), and came across this top I made probably 10 years ago.  I never quilted it because I couldn't figure out how to do it!  Now I have the Statler with thousands of patterns and might have to spend some time designing the quilting.  As I recall, this was my own design.
I also came across a Grandmother's Flower Garden top that was in my husband's family, although none of them knew who made it.  I had basted it to the backing to do some hand quilting -- also many years ago, but now I think I'll take that off and put it on the machine and finish it too.  (I can no longer hand quilt). There are some great GFG's patterns out there, so that won't take much to decide.
And now I'm off to do some hand applique.
Until next time.....blessings.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Making some progress

I've been working the past two days on quilting and cutting tumblers.  I have two quilts finished and ready to give to my friend, Nancy for her to bind -- both are quilts for the homeless.  I also loaded another to quilt next time.  And, I finally managed to cut all the tumblers for making kids quilts.  I have lots more of some fabrics than others, but that's okay, I can always cut more if we need them.  So, now I'm working on piecing one kid's quilt top to take with next Friday when we meet to sew at the church.  I need to show our new quilters how to piece the quilt, and then they can piece one of their own!
And, last night I actually cooked.  In case you don't know -- I hate to cook!  I'd rather sew or read or do anything else!  And cooking for one is not fun.  So, my niece gave me free sign-ups for Plated and Blue Apron.  Last night's meal was from Blue Apron.  (I had three meals for two delivered on Wednesday).  This was called
"Vegetable Fried Rice Bowls".  I left off the fried egg on top!
They send all the ingredients prepackaged in one use size.  That dark green stuff is Gai Lan, which I had never heard of!  
So, this is supposed to feed two people.  I think there's enough for three!  It actually was delicious.  Only problem is I have leftovers that need to be eaten!  But, it was good, and all I have to do is reheat the leftovers, which I'd rather do than cook another meal! lol
I still have two other meals in this shipment:  Cajun Catfish and Spiced Rice and Baked Ricotta Cannelloni.  I like catfish, but not real spicy food, but you can use as much or little of the spice as you want, which works for me!  
Until next time....blessings.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Just a little time in the studio today

This is the tumbler quilt I need to work on.  One strip done!
So the other day I managed to print 12 labels for the quilts for the homeless and I pressed all the kids fabrics ready for cutting.
Today I loaded a quilt on the longarm, added two labels to the two backings I had pieced and pressed, and then spent time cutting tumblers from the fabrics I already had cut.  
I didn't finish quilting the quilt, hope to do that tomorrow.  This has just been one of those weeks that I have a lot of appointments, or errands or other things that needed to get done, so only a few minutes spent in the studio and only about and hour and a half today.  And tomorrow we'll be visiting Lily and dropping off the lap quilt for her friend, that I did manage to get the binding sewn down!
Dinner tonight is going to be Panera Chicken Tortilla Soup that I just bought at Sam's Club this morning!  I got a delivery box from Blue Apron yesterday and was planning on fixing one of the dinners, but running around this morning wore me out and I'm too tired!  Maybe tomorrow!
Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Today's Adventure

Went to lunch after church, then came home and loaded the railfence onto the longarm.  Selected a pattern called Dancing Clovers -- not too dense and doesn't take long to run.  In theory.
First row ran fine, rolled the quilt, basted one side, and while basting the second side, the needle broke. And that was a brand new needle I just put in today, of course.  So, put in another needle, ran the basting, but it didn't sound right, so decided I needed to clean under the needle plate, and while doing that I noticed the timing was off on the machine.  The needle has to hit a certain spot at the same time the hook arrives there.  It was not.  So, shut down the machine, find the instruction booklet, and the timing device.  Need a flashlight, one in basement needs new batteries, of course -- the big type battery.  Find the other one upstairs.  Loosen the set screws, which, btw, are located behind the hook race and not exactly easy to get to.  Set the timing, moved the needle while trying to tighten the set screw, had to redo the timing.  Finally got it all timed, screwed in tight and put back together.  Clock chimes 3 times!  This was supposed to be a quick job!  Anyway, glad I did all that because it purrs like a kitten now and finished the quilt.  Made the binding while it was quilting, put on the walking foot on my Brother machine (why do they make it difficult to put on and take off the feet - my Bernina is really easy).  Started putting the binding on and thinking I'll probably run out of bobbin thread with my luck.  Yep -- ran a whole side and went to turn the corner and discovered I ran out of bobbin thread at the top of the side!  Replaced the bobbin.  Finished putting on the binding.  It is now upstairs with my sewing kit to hand sew the binding down sometime before Friday, when my friend Sharon and I are going to visit Lily (who btw is about 87 years young!) and bring her the quilt for her friend!
Only other chore on Sunday is gathering garbage and taking it to the road.  I have a ton of recyclables that need to go out too, but it is extremely windy here today, so I'll have to try to beat the trash men in the morning!
And that's all I have accomplished today, but it's enough!
Until next time....blessings.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

This is how Chaos Starts!

I got call yesterday afternoon from a sweet lady at church.  We gave her one of the lap quilts we made last year and she uses it every day either in her wheel chair or her couch.  Her friend loves it, so she requested I make her friend one, but in earth tones!  Cracks me up that they make a request of certain fabric when we make a lap quilt.  Anyway, so I had a stack of Kansas Troubles fabric strips that I was cutting for the ladies to make into homeless quilts.  I had to clean off the sewing table that had the Dresden plate pieces on it, and while the longarm was working on the Daisy pattern, I managed to piece a rail fence quilt - 36" square.

The daisy pattern took a long time to quilt one row, so it was a good day to piece.  Up until the last row, it went smoothly.  Then I kept getting thread breaks and what have you, so I ended up finishing the quilt and taking it off the longarm, but did not load the next one.  Some days my frustration level tells me to quit! 
I did manage to find a fabric for the backing for the rail fence and it's ready to be loaded tomorrow afternoon or the next time I get down there.

So, after I took the flowered top off the machine, I realized I didn't have any more backings made.  I like to have backings made up ahead of time for whenever the girls give me tops to do.  Thankfully, I had some fabric on bolts that was donated to us by "Lucky 2Be Quilting" shop in Pecatonica, so I pieced 6 backs.

However, I also need to put labels on the quilt backs, so I pressed four backings, had to clean off the other sewing machine table so I could zigzag the labels on, and the second shelf shows the four that are done:
The two on the ironing board didn't get pressed or labeled, because now I have to make labels!  I did move the Dresden Plate pieces to the counter.

And, that my friends is why all my big plans of finishing my own quilts or whatever else I want to work on, gets shoved to the back burner!  I did not press or cut any of the kids fabrics today; I did not piece any of the Dresden plate quilt. I didn't even get another quilt loaded on the machine.  Next time, I need to put in a new needle and run the oil routine before I can start quilting, and I need to spend a few minutes today printing more labels to use.  I pick Bible verses to put on the labels and our church name.  I print them out on the label fabric Electric Quilt sells.  It seems to work well.
And then I need to finish the two backings I haven't pressed or labeled!  
At least I'll have a lap quilt for dear Lily's friend by the end of the week!
Until next time.....blessings.

Friday, February 10, 2017

A Little More Work Done

Today I was expecting delivery of my new bed - I bought a Sleep Number bed to replace the 30 year old mattress and box springs I've been sleeping on.  Normally, if I'm waiting for something, I don't seem to get much of anything done, but they called this morning and said I was 5th in line and estimated afternoon delivery.
So, I went downstairs. 
I finished my first Dresden Plate block, and started the second.
I actually cut some of the fabrics on the cutting table and moved them to the counter where my Go Big is situated.  I did cut out a few of the tumbler blocks, but I think I'll just press and cut the fabrics into strips until I have the mess cleaned up on the table before I cut the rest of the tumblers.
And, since I finished the quilt on the frame the other day, I loaded another afterwards and quilted it this morning.  I'm trying to use some of the 1000's of patterns I have with the Statler, so the other day I used one that looks like ferns and it took awhile to run a line, so I had time in between to clean off the table.  Today's pattern was Arrows, going in every direction, but it was a quick pattern to sew, so I just pressed and cut fabric in between each row of the quilt.
And then I managed to load the quilt below for quilting tomorrow.  I have a new pattern called Daisy (something or other), so that's what I will set up tomorrow to run.  These are all quilts for the homeless that I do.  My group pieces the tops and I quilt them.
So, I managed to turn a wasted morning into a constructive morning. and they came about 1:15 to put the bed up.  Took them less than 45 minutes - and they actually build the bed from the ground up.  I can't wait to go to bed tonight and hopefully not wake up with a back ache!  And, of course, technology being what it is, I can change the settings of the sleep number from my phone! LOL  And, it keeps track of how well you sleep, etc. after a few nights of sleep!  How did we ever live without our bed telling us how we slept?!
Until next time.....blessings.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Working in Chaos

This is what my sewing room looked like this morning:  I have at least 4 different projects open and spread out on the antique table.
I'm working on two different sewing tables - two projects.
The cutting table is piled high with kids fabrics that need to be cut into usable sizes to run through the Go Big cutter.
And there's a quilt on the longarm that is only half finished, because yesterday I couldn't work anymore in the chaos!  There's also quilts stacked on top of bins that need to be put away.

So, this is what I did all day in the sewing room:  Got the antique table cleaned off.  I also sorted through bags and bins of projects and added to my list of ufo's/projects to finish.  I now have 33 things on the list.  And I know I'm not done!
I decided that the list is overwhelming, so my goal is to finish 2 of the projects this year:  Sweetie Pie, by Lori Holt, which is a Dresden Plate pattern with appliqued fruit in the centers of the plates.  I actually bought the entire fabric kit and have cut most of the fabrics, and started piecing the plates.  I just started this project last week, but I want to work on it til it is finished.  The second project is Primitive Garden by Primitive Gatherings.  I've been working on this quilt, on and off, for years.  I have the quilt center done and only have 4 wide borders to applique and attach, so I want to finish this one this year.  
I also have a few pieced projects I want to do and I found some antique quilt blocks my friend gave me years ago and I'd like to put them together and quilt them too.  I also have a few small tops from Jo's Little Women club and Kim Diehl's little projects club that just need to be quilted and bound, so I hope to actually cross a few things off the list this year.  I know I still have a few things that need to be added to the list yet, too -- I haven't dug everything out yet!
Until next time....blessings.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year's Goals

The quilters at church met on Friday.  We sewed, or cut fabric, most of the day.  This stack is a bunch of backing fabric donated by one of the quilters.  We will use all of this for backings for the homeless quilts we make.
And this stack is 4 tops that one of the quilters pieced at home and brought in.  What we work on at church, we finish at home, and  bring them in each Sunday for me to quilt.  So far, we have 10 finished 60" x 80" quilts for the homeless, and 5 kids quilts, although we've already donated a couple of kids quilts this week.  We save them all up until October and distribute all at the same time.

So, I'm a good one for making New Year's Resolutions and of course forgetting them or giving up, come April or so!  This year I'm going to do something different.  I'm going to make monthly goals.  A couple of friends from church and I are doing a scripture-based diet this year - hoping we'll keep each other honest and work toward our own individual goals.  So, in keeping with that, my January goal is to walk for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.  I'd like to say I'll strive for 10k steps a day, but maybe I'll get closer to that goal later in the year.  For now, it's just trying to get 30 minutes of walking in 5 days a week.

My next goal is to clean out the freezer, fridge and pantry -- by eating what I have accumulated! A veritable Fridge Buffet (love that phrase coined by Kathy H.!)  I will be buying groceries, of course, but I'll be trying to use up what I have, so only buy whatever beans I need for my chili, for instance.  And coming up with different meals from what canned goods and freezer food I already have.  I'm going to print out both of these goals and post them on the fridge to remind myself every day.

And quilt goals:  I'm going to continue to cut fabrics and make kits for our quilters to use to make homeless quilts.  I spent most of December doing this, and can see an end to the donated fabric that is not really great quilt fabric, but good enough to use up.  After all that donated fabric is used, I will be using my own stash, as have our quilters that piece the quilts at home.  They have used lots of the donated stuff, plus fabric that was donated to them, and now we're all starting to use good quality quilting fabric.  I will post this goal in my sewing room.  I ordered a new die today for the Go Big die cutter -- a tumbling block die -- so I'll be cutting into some kids fabric and make a couple of kits from that.  We need a variety of patterns to keep everyone interested!

So, there are my goals for January 2017.   Hopefully I can report progress at the end of the month!
Until next time....blessings.