A View of My Quilt Life

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

There is so much to be thankful for - DH, dear friends, happy family, beloved pets and more.  I am thankful for the time and opportunity to pursue my quilting. I am thankful for my blog and my followers.   

Wishing you all the very best!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Early Thanksgiving Present

Thanksgiving Presents?  
Not something normally given but I got one!

It's a Project Present. 

On Sunday, a much anticipated gift arrived, pictures taken in the garage, before being moved into the studio.

She is a 1920 Singer Model #66 Treadle with the Red Eye decals, in Cabinet Table No.2.

And she's filthy dirty.

Technically owned by a dear friend, this treadle was originally her grandmother's machine, handed down through her mom to her.  No one has run her in about 30 years, though her action is smooth when I turn the hand wheel.  It's been kept in a finished basement for the last 10 years, thankfully! My friend will retain ownership, as it's a family heirloom, while I have custody.  In honor of the women who stitched on her, I am pleased to introduce...

 Ella Mae Lee!

Slide plate missing and one hinge may need to be replaced.
The cabinet is in pretty good, if dusty, condition.

The cleaning and restoration will be my winter project.  I will be going slowly and taking my time.  

I'll be posting picture of the progress of her restoration.  I am thrilled to be taking this on! I've always wanted a treadle and it's so much more special that I know the history of this one.  

This is what I'm hoping to get close too - it's good to have a goal.

I am very Thankful to have her home and have this opportunity to bring her back to her former useful self.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ready, Set...

The groceries are bought, the recipes reviewed, movies picked out - all is ready for our Thanksgiving! 

Except for the custard pie, which I'll bake tomorrow night. Thankfully, the original custard pie recipe is safely tucked into my main recipe book - I can never, ever, never misplace it or try to substitute another recipe.  

DH will know if it's not the EXACT pie. 

Ask me how I know...

More importantly, in this quilter’s studio, Featherweight is oiled & ready, neutral bobbins are wound, new rotary cutter blade installed, cutting table is cleared off, with ruler at the ready.  Batiks are pre-washed and separated for the project at hand.

All that’s needed is Mystery Quilt’s Clue Number One posted at Quiltville.Blogspot.com.

T minus 3 days and counting!!

Well, due to the Road Trip, it will be Saturday morning before I can embark on the Grand Illusion adventure. And knowing me, I prepped a swatch card to carry with me in the event I fall into a quilt shop on the travels.  

It’s all about being prepared! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Linty Bits!

Saturday night was the time to tackle the huge pile of fleece headbands.  I had 24 prepped, the raw edges turned and handstitched closed and ready for the Velcro strips. I set those up assembly line style and zipped through them.

The next batch of 24 needed the raw ends stitched and I opted to do them on the machine.  I was on the 24th one when my needle suddenly bent - WHAT??!! I knew what that meant - linty build up.  DANG!  The assembly line screeched to a halt.

This is what I found when I opened up the bobbin area. A little hard to see but all the blue grey fuzziness is fleece lint. WOW - that's a lot of lint for the short time I was stitching.

And it was worse when I went digging around.

I'll have to be extra vigilant while I'm working on this project. 48 down, 96 to go.  sigh.

I NEED to get these done *BEFORE*  Thanksgiving if I can.  Fingers Crossed!! Evenings next week will be busy to say the least.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Venting and Planning

Why on Earth would anyone every sew fleece?  OMG!!!!  It’s wretched! And it black!! 

 So, I’m pretty much an unhappy camper sewer:
1.       I can’t STAND the feel of fleece;
2.      It’s a PAIN to sew through; and
3.      It’s causing EYE STRAIN because it’s black and I’m sewing with black thread!

Okay, there!  I feel better getting that off my chest!  Some days you have vent it out, pull on the big girl panties and keep sewing.  This is one of those projects.  I sometimes wonder how I get myself into the projects. I don’t know how exactly the Universe decides thing, I just know I get my fair share of these things.

On to more important news…

There may be a Road Trip in the future, the very near future.   Fingers crossed because a lot hinges on the weather.  We’ve been hit with some January temps and the area we need to travel through has received lake effect snow. Not Buffalo, New York snow but enough to think about.

 If, and this is a BIG IF, the temps warm enough in the next few days to melt everything and there are no more weather system moving through by Thanksgiving, a friend & I are hitting the road VERY early on Black Friday to head to Shipshewana.  It’s the twice a year (the other day is Good Friday) saddle horse and tack auction.   I was going to skip this year’s fall event & actually be able to start the Bonnie Hunter Mystery on Black Friday but then things changed. Like. They. Do.

Said friend has just recently begun jumping lessons.  Three weeks ago, during the lesson, one of her stirrups leathers came off the bar.  She retained her seat, stopped the horse and reattached the stirrup leather to the saddle.  One week later, the same thing happened with the stirrup leather, only this time, she took a fall. Nothing serious – she was wearing her helmet.  But this saddle came off the horse and went straight into the dumpster.  

It had lived out its useful life (it was an older, inexpensive training saddle).   Unsafe or worn equipment has no place in a barn! But that leaves her without a jumping training saddle.

So, we are on a saddle hunt! 

To Shipshewana.

Where my truck may make an unexpected stop at Lolly’s Fabrics, all on its own accord, of course!  

Looking forward to the Road Trip - it's the thought of it that will keep me sewing on the wretched fleece until this project is behind me. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PIn, Pineapple and Puppy

A small slightly squishy package arrived in the post!

I LOVE getting packages! This one traveled all the way from Three Cats Ranch in Oregon to my doorstep.

 All this year, I’ve been linking up to the NewFO Challenge over at Cat Patches.  It’s kept me starting new things, trying different techniques and motivated me to always have something new in the works. It didn’t have to be big, it didn’t have to be a FINISH, it just had to be a start. And you know what? If you always need to start something new, eventually you have quite a few finishes!

Back to my slightly squishy package…

I WON!!!  
I was the winner of the October New FO pin – Flying Geese!

Proudly adding it to my pin collection.

And I am thrilled to announce:  My “Pink Pineapple” quilt for the Quilt Alliance benefit auction was sold for $82.00!

Not the top selling quilt of the group but a respectable showing.  And of course it’s to support a good cause, so that’s a win in my book.  I hope whoever won it, loves it.

I am already considering their challenge for next year “The Animals We Love”.  I’d totally love to do a “Flying Hobbie” quilt – 

Well, two of them actually because I’d want the first one for our house.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winterizing the Studio

The recent trips to IKEA have resulted in new curtains in the living room, dining room, master bedroom, downstairs bedroom, and office.  The only rooms left are the kitchen (under planning at this moment) and my studio. 

This was a little hard to do.

These dark blue curtains were re-purposed from the master bedroom.  My studio in on the ground floor (split level house), on a concrete slab with 30 year old sliding glass doors to the backyard.  After last year’s Arctic winter, the reality is that the studio needs more insulation on these doors than just the vertical blinds.  Since we already had the curtains & they have life in them yet, it was a no brainer to just use them in the studio.

The hard part?  The dark color.  No light is getting through these things when they are drawn and they need to be drawn to be effective.  Oh, I’ll be able to open them on balmy, sunny winter days but this is what I am facing – a dark blue wall.  There may be more brooder lamps in my future.

Maybe making all these winter preparations will ward of the Polar Vortex this year!

Monday, November 17, 2014

A New Project

This weekend saw my return to the barn!

I haven't been there for over two months - which was stupid as I missed some gorgeous fall riding weather.  This Saturday dawned cold and clear.  We got a great ride in, in the indoor arena.   I rode a new horse, Stormy

 for a lesson practicing lateral movements - leg yields.

And the barn led to my new sewing project..

Before on top - After on the bottom. Only 143 more to go!

Making 144 headbands smaller & adjustable.  It's quite an undertaking and they have to be done in just a few weeks!  Did I mention they are fleece??  ICK!  I have a touch issue with artificial fabrics so this is going to be interesting. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's Next...

I was wondering that exact same thing.  I have an 14 day break!  I finished the French Braid and got it shipped off 2-Day Air on Monday.  It’s in Indiana for a school benefit auction later today.

I have 14 days until the Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion Mystery quilt kicks off. Soooo, what’s a quilter to do?  I can’t sit around gathering dust for the better part of two weeks!  Yes, of course there are chores and projects around here that need to be done. The garage project got mostly delayed, though I did put in some time out there on Tuesday.

But I need something else in there for balance, mental health, manual dexterity exercise and chill out time.

I’m planning on using ‘Wild Cherry’ for the piecing of Grand Illusion, so I’ll need to have a practice, get-to-know-her project. 

I could also bring out ‘Wendy’, the 301 for some run time. 

But I need a fabric plan to sew on to do both of those things.  The FW still needs a dust cover made as I am loath to pack her into her case. She’s too pretty to be put away. 

Hmmmm...need to dig around in the stash & see what I can find to work on.  Nothing challenge or contest related - those two (Sauder Village 2015 and Quilt Alliance 2015) are still percolating in the noggin.

I'll meet you back here on Monday to show you what kind of trouble I got into over the weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tools of the Trade

And now for something completely different… tools!

Marking the quilting lines on the French Braid quilt got me thinking about trying different tools to get that job done.  Add to that, the upcoming Grand Illusion mystery that I know will require some marking of the pieces, and I know I need to branch out. 

Currently, I use either the PrimsaColor Verithin silver metallic pencil,

or a regular Mirado Black Warrior pencil (used lightly) to mark lines.

The issue I have is that you need to constantly sharpen the point on either pencil, as the fabric smooths out the lead too much to mark a line. Kind of a pain when I get on a roll.

I have tried the Sewline Fabric Pencil – not a huge fan, unless they redesigned it for better access when the lead breaks or jams. 

I just checked their website and discover they have a whole page dedicated to how to use it, that didn’t exist before (I’ve looked), which leads me to believe others have voiced their opinion on this issue.  I’ll dig mine out & see what’s what. But the line it produces is not the best for me.

I have purchased a set of 6 FriXion pens in assorted colors, 0.5mm extra fine tip,  to try them out.  If you haven’t heard about these pens, the ink is formulated to disappear with heat. I’ve read some good reviews from other users, so I’ll give them a try. Observing some general ‘Be Careful how & when you use these pens’ warnings.

I’m also going to check out General’s white pastel chalk pencils.  The Grand Illusion quilt has black in the fabric line up, so I want to be prepared!  Nothing is worse than not having good tools on hand when you need them!  They don’t have to be fancy – they need to work the way you need them to work.

It will be interesting to discover the different uses for these new tools.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Belated Happy Veterans Day, and Braids - Borders and Binding!

Happy Veterans Day!

Yes, I am late with my good wishes but I have a good reason - I spent the day with my DH, a disabled vet!  We had a lovely day, taking advantage of a few restaurants offering meal deals and doing some low key shopping for house things.  It was great to see vets of all kinds out & about!

The French Braid Quilt:
This is where I left off on my last post -

Borders on and waiting for quilting. I decided to run four lines of straight quilting, butterscotch thread, along the length of the border stripes.  It was quick, simple and added just enough dimension to the borders.

Time to bind -

After considerable deliberation, I went with the dark green/gold metallic print for the binding.  It narrowly edged out the dark blue fabric. I attached the binding to the front with machine stitching, turned it to the back & hand stitched the binding down.  

How long does it take to stitch down 300 inches of binding??

Two hours!!  

I had the DH time me and that included re-threading numerous times and 1 bathroom break :)

Presenting... the French Braid Quilt!

French Braid - 70" x 80"
It's already been tape rollered clean, packed and shipped via two day air UPS to Indiana - it should arrive sometime today.  Just in time for the school benefit auction on Friday.

Made it with 2 days to spare. Yikes! That was cutting it too close.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stopped At The Border

On Friday, I posted that the center section was done, except for the back seams and, as it turns out the top & bottom stop borders.

First the back seams - look close see the pins. 
Back seam pinned

Back seam hand sewn
The pattern of the backing fabric helps blend the back seams.

Need to add the missing stop borders before I could consider the outer border.

I needed to determine the border strip repeat - 7 3/4 inches so I could decide who wide the outer border would be  and make sure I had enough of the fabric to cut the strips from.

The outer border finished at approximately 5 inches wide. This picture shows the section I chose with the green/gold strips as the stop border and binding.

An outer border and backing attached to the bottom edge of the quilt.  Followed by the adjoining side, to create the first mitered corner.

Tomorrow - border quilting and binding!