A View of My Quilt Life

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Road Trip Recovery

We made it back from Shipshewana!!

Everyone in the group had a really good time and they are already planning a longer trip next time. There is just no way to fit everything into one day. It was another marathon 36 hour road trip with lots of shopping - fabric (from Lolly's Fabrics) and horse stuff and model horses and baked goods and some more fabric (from A Little Bit of Lolly's)and spices and seasonings and clothes - OH MY!!!  With all the shopping, I forgot to take pictures of the adventure - My Bad!
One of the highlights was a ride on the1906 Dentzel Carousel on the third floor of the  Davis Mercantile
My friend Pam was on this trip as a co-trip director and all I got was this tee shirt ;)
ARC Update - All 50 Arcs are *finally* appliqued to the background!!  Only 29 green junction pieces to go before I layer and quilt. So I need to start thinking about how on earth I going to quilt this one. 

And it's time to start planning this week's road trip - Iowa looms ahead.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beagle Drama, Baking for the Road Trip and Arcs, Arcs, & more Arcs!

Thursday, September 26, 2013 Post - late because of picture delay - GRRR!

Here is Himself - doing oh so much better than Tuesday.

This is Hobbes, our beloved 14 year old Beagle stretched out on the couch, under the influence of some feel good meds from the vet, and resting comfortably.

I have several more gray hairs and crashed at 7:30 last night after the stress of worry and the vet visit.
We are truly blessed to have an excellent vet, though his office is about an hour away, who has been taking amazing care of our senior citizen for the last 8 years. Dr. Chris is down to earth, practical and thorough.  Hobbes is in remarkable shape but has some old age issues, the primary concern is arthritis. Ninety-nine percent of the time, you wouldn't know that that is an issue and then he does something stupid like jump off the couch like a flying beagle or his brother bowls him over. And then we're off to the races - meds, supportive care, altering his exercise/movements, etc.  The first episode was a year and a half ago & that one was bad - we had to carry him up & down stairs.  This episode was concerning because he presented with different symptoms, primarily his neck & shoulders but not very severe.  Thankfully, a few days of meds and rest (and extra dog treats, of course) will make everything all better.  That and a little box of hair color for Mom ;)

This morning has been devoted to my new baking obsession - Scones! 

I made a test batch from a new recipe last week & subjected the friends to the results, with positive reviews.  Tomorrow is departure day for the latest Road Trip so I decided to make some scones - 6 batches, four flavors (Cranberry Orange, Blueberry Lemon, Apricot and Heath Bar)!  DH has tasted 3 of the flavors & has a container of them to hold him over while I'm gone. The kitchen looked like a bomb went off and there was a heavy cream disaster but counters wipe off & the store is five minutes away - all is well.

This afternoon will be all about ARCS!! The hand stitching them down to the background, that is.  I've been working on them in between things all this week but you have to wait for more progress for a picture. There are 50 separate ARCS and I'm not quite half way done with them - they go rather slowly but I didn't want them machine stitched so I'm persevering.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Tale of Two Greens and Everything & the Kitchen Sink, er, Table.

This is currently on the wall.  This will one of my entries for the NY Mod Quilt Guild DWR Contest.  I am using Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabric - the Renaissance colorway with a pop of green on a honey background. So far the arcs are only basted on - they will be hand appliqued.
Did you notice the two different greens?  I tried out 3 greens and decided on the lightest one. Made 6 large square junctions and cut 6 of the 11 small junction rectangles.  And they just didn't look right, so I left them there and looked at them and ignored them and looked at them and still couldn't decide. I replaced the center square with the mid shade and looked at it some more. Then I had my DH look at them to see which he liked better - he was unusually noncommittal - WHAT?!!  I need help here, Man! 
But late Thursday night as I headed downstairs without turning on a light, there was enough light from upstairs to remove the color so I could see the value.  And the light green lost - it just total washed out into the background.  So today I am cutting out the new medium green junction pieces.  We are visiting with friends tonight so I might just get some actual sewing on the arcs done.
You might ask why I didn't start the new green pieces yesterday - because I went to a Quilt Show!!  The Northwest Suburban Quilters Guild held their biennial show yesterday & today.  What a nice show!  They had over 300 quilts hanging, with 6 different categories for competition.  In addition to the 26 vendors, the Guild had old magazines, books, patterns and of course, fabric for sale. 
And then we finally have a kitchen that is 95% done!! 

DH finished the flooring, we moved the appliances back into their places, and installed the new kitchen table set.  All that's left is the shelves and outlets & outlet covers. WOOHOOO!!!  And that's Zappa in the bottom picture, along with the cats favorite toy - brown paper bags.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Fixed It!!!

Now, I'm a fairly bright person - or at least I like to think so, but maybe not.

I have *finally* fixed the Follower section on my blog so people can follow along & I can see you them.

I previously had the Google + Follower on my page since that was the gadget listed under basic gadgets but hadn't engaged my Google+ profile and didn't want to, so it just sat there, doing nothing.

This morning I got to searching around, asking help, digging deeper and low & behold I found regular old Followers.  Of course, I would have never thought it was buried under More Gadgets, past the Daily Puppy, the Universal  Translator and the Temperature Converter gadgets but there it was.

And now it's where it belongs!

Maybe some more steaming arcs and basting today. Definitely more flooring to be done - we are inching our way to the kitchen.  It's slow going.  We've done enough home renovation to understand that nothing is square or plumb as house do settle. But the hallway wall actually flared out at one end so we'll see how the kitchen does. We replaced the base cabinets already so we have some idea but one never knows until you're right there working on it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Something Old, Something New...

After a decade of use with hard water, at least two house moves and apparently one too many dives off the ironing board, my little, old generic iron died.   As in - ain't going to heat up for you no more - EVER.
Drat.  It had to be replaced. And it was - with this. 

I neat, new Black & Decker steam model - not very fancy but man, does it heat & steam to beat the band.  Ask me how I know?  Because I just about steamed my fingerprints off working on the newest project.

I'm taking the old Double Wedding Ring pattern and making it new.  The NYC Mod Quilt Guild is having a DWR Challenge, with 3 categories (small, traditional & modern), open to all quilters worldwide and the deadline is Dec. 1st.

I'm cutting and pressing the pieces using a cardboard (cereal box) and graph paper template - a rather old method but tried and true!  Thank Goodness for 'Best Press'!  I think my color choices are rather new & different. Here's a sneak peek.  I'm using Cherrywood hand dyed fabric in the Renaissance colorway.  The cornerstones will introduce a pop of another color so stay tuned.

More progress on basting the arcs has been made since I shot this but I've had to squeeze it in between working on the flooring.
It's vinyl, easy to work with and almost done. This is just the upstairs hallway and you can just see Drake (Chinese Shar Pei) photo-bombing on the right side.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Road Trip Recap and a little different kind of sewing

3 states, 36 Hours, 664 miles.

The trip to Metamora to visit Martha & deliver the barn-ette quilt was a lot of fun packed into a short time.  I don't think we stopped talking the whole time - lots to catch up on. Her house is so pretty, situated at the top of a small rise, with cornfields behind.  Unfortunately, they had a predator move into the area that wiped out their small flock of chickens and inflict damage on their neighbors flocks as well - so no chicken visit. Martha & her DH are planning the new larger chicken yard as free ranging is not an option any longer.  In the meantime, the two of us were hatching even larger plans for converting an existing shelter into a more all-weather mini barn for an few alpacas (fiber boys) and the necessary fencing. Not entirely sure her DH was thrilled at all the work we were planning for him. We were so busy chatting that I forgot to take pictures!  Martha promised pictures once the barn-ette quilt gets installed.

We even managed a visit to the Metamora courthouse right on the village square.
The first floor is the local historical museum including the history of Abraham Lincoln practicing law in the second floor restored courtroom.

The trip continued and allowed me to find the solution to the design brick wall I've hit with the Summer Stripes quilt.
YES - the answer to my dilemma - more fabric!! Stay tuned
And finally, yesterday - a different kind of sewing. Horse blankets!  It will be winter before we know it so it was time to shake out all the horse blankets, inspect the damage, repair & waterproof everything.  My friend Pam & I set up two machines and out of 27 blankets, 12 needed repairs.  Most were minor repairs but one of the horses (Bob) managed to rip clear through both layers in a most interesting way - requiring an inner and outer patch! 


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Out of the Repair Shop!

My sewing machine is ready to be picked up from the Repair Shop!  Going to get it today before we start back working on the floor in the upstairs hallway and possible storms moving in the area this afternoon.

What kind of sewing machine do I quilt on?  This is my workhorse machine - bought 12 years and many, many, many sewing miles ago.

Hopefully, the tension issues are all resolved and the insides are cleaned, oiled & ready to go.  Not that I'll have a chance to sit down to sew until the weekend because I'm going on a ROAD TRIP!
Yep - very early tomorrow morning, I'll be loaded up and hitting the road.
Destination: Scarlet's house in Metamora, Illinois - 159 miles, 3 hours 9 minutes.
Scarlet, aka Martha Witcher, is a very talented fiber artist with her primary focus being weaving but she also knits, spins and can quilt but only under duress, every 10 years or so.  Please take a minute to visit her blog - Thistle Rose Weaving.  While you are there, please vote for her in the Martha Stewart American Made contest - details on Scarlet's blog.
I am taking down her barn-ette quilt & spending some time just visiting. I'm quite sure fiber will be discussed. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Week - new fabrics, new inspirations and a quilt show visit

Monday, Monday...

Was able to attend the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison on Saturday.

Nice Show - did not take any workshops, but saw all the quilt exhibits and shopped the vendors, of course.  The Alliant Energy Center is an easily accessible facility and the show is large & well run.  I always come away from shows of any size so inspired.
First on my list was a visit the Cherrywood Fabrics booth for an addition to my hand dye stash.  It's so hard not to just want one of everything but the checkbook would have died on the spot, so after reviewing what I current own, I settled on a yard of onyx (nice black!) and the 'Blue Lagoon' colorway.
I'm thinking this group would just glow when paired with the Onyx.  That's going to be down the road as there are several projects in various stages of planning and graphing at the moment. Not to mention the blasted Summer Stripes blocks that are giving me fits.  The last layout on the design wall is okay but not large enough and has a few 'holes' in the color wash effect.  I think I have a solution for this but I won't get to work on it until the weekend at the earliest.
And then I found a new temptation.
Yes - it's SILK. Silk Dupioni to be exact. 
I am dipping my toe in the 'using silk to make a quilt' water.  It will be a relatively small wall hanging - thinking like 18" square range.  And to make it eligible for Pieceful Gatherings (LQS) quilt show next year, I am planning on having it long-armed there.  I've talked to Vonnie (one of their experienced Gammill Girls) and though she hasn't quilted silk before, she is excited at the prospect.  I bought her a FQ to experiment on.  This will be quite the joint adventure. 
The fabric run is the silk dupioni jewel tones colorway of fat eighths from Country Keepsakes (Rome, PA) and I added the fuchsia, new teal & violet FQ, as well as black.  Now I just need to think about quilt design to show the silk off to its best.
Work on the kitchen and hallway floor is planned for today & tomorrow so probably won't get to the sewing machine but I have some pattern drafting to do. And there is a Road Trip planned for later this week - stay tuned!!



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back to the Design Wall

Summer Stripes block are back on the design wall. 

 It's coming along but I have reached the following conclusions:
1. I need more Rainbow blocks cause I messed up on the original cutting
2. I want more Caribbean blocks so I can blend to Waves (blue), since I removed the Sunset blocks & may be removing the Twilight blocks from the quilt.

Tomorrow is a day away- to the barn I go...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fun with my Featherweight!!

I can free motion on my Singer 221 Featherweight!!!
Okay, I *knew* it was possible because I did it at a quilt show but now I *know* I can. 
And because I really love my FW, here is her picture. 

She is a beautiful 1957 machine that I found on eBay.  I really need to do more sewing with her - machine should not just sit around. They need to be cleaned, oiled and run on a regular basis. 
I should mention that while I machine quilt all the time - I am a mostly straight line quilter.
My 'sun rays' can be quite intense.

And I think I set a record for 'quilt-stop-turn-quilt' on this quilt

My problem with free motion quilting is letting go of uber-control and just go with the flow.  I can do it and will do it.  Its a matter of deciding to learn a better skill, putting in the time, practicing, creating muscle memory and building one skill set on top of another.  Oh yeah, and remembering to BREATH!
While roaming around blog-dom, I came across Diane Gaudynski's blog.  I love her 'Yes you can & you can on a regular home sewing machine' approach to machine quilting and now own both of her books, which I had read before from the library.  I am starting with some practice pieces (see above), which are the cut-offs of backing & batting of larger quilt projects.  I'm also dating the samples so I can document my hopeful progress and which machine I used on which sample.  The first sample were done on my 6510 and are not shown here - that will be a later post - stay tuned.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day! Time for a break..

A Service Break 
Last Friday I bite the bullet and took my sewing machine in for an overdue servicing.  While it hasn't been as long as the rotary cutter debacle (DUH Moment of August 23rd), I had been seeing an issue with tension.  On an auto tension machine, that's an issue.  Most likely, it's a 'get the machine cleaned & serviced, you idiot' issue that will be resolved fairly quickly.  I hope so, cause I get twitchy without it.  'It' is Singer 6510 Scholastic machine that has been driven miles & miles over the last 12 years.  It has sewn quilts of many kinds and sizes, curtains, Renaissance Faire garb, dog beds, leather bits, etc.
It has also regularly traveled to Wisconsin, Indiana & Michigan.  Recently, I headed to Michigan to do some yard work for my folks, scheduled to be gone for about 2 days, and when I told my DH I wasn't taking my machine, he looked at me like I had grown another head on my shoulder.  I took the machine with me on that trip. 

Unfortunately, the service techs are on holiday for a week so it will be two weeks at least before I get my machine back.  Breathing deeply... So what's a quilter to do without her workhorse machine???
Go Fabric Shopping, of course!!
A Shopping Break
I headed over to Shipshewana, Indiana to my most-favorite-quilt-shop-in-the-whole-world, Lolly's Fabrics.  It is an AMAZING place, with over 13,000 bolts of quilt fabric - batiks, moderns, civil war repro, 30's & 40's prints, flannels, solids, blenders, florals, Orientals, holiday, wide backs, conversation novelties, baby & kid prints, books, patterns, kits, notions and more!  This is a picture of the side door and porch, complete with rocking chairs so folks can sit and rest from all the fabric and other shopping.

Lolly's is located inside the Davis Mercantile.
Here's just a few of the things I picked up.
An Experiment Break
While the workhorse is in the shop, the Featherweight gets to come out & play.  Featherweights are incredible for piecework but I'm going to push the envelope and practice some free motion quilting on it.  Yes, it can be done and while I've tried it at a quilt show, I've never done it at home. Time to try something new.  I'll keep you posted on my experiment.