Sunday, February 24, 2008

Another Finish

We woke up to snow this morning. The wonderful forecasters said we were supposed to have rain. They can't ever seem to get it right. Thankfully it hit the high 40's so now it's all melted. I'm so ready for Spring.

I was able to make some time and finish the quilt top I started on Thursday night. Todays quilting session seem to go much smoother than Thursday night.

I used Linda Taylor's Rosey Posey panto. I LOVE that design. I think I'm going to have to use it on a lot more of my quilts. The pattern came as an 8 and 15" design. I can do the 8, but I think the 15 is bigger than I can work on my frame. I will have to figure out how to do some reducing.

One more UFO completed. I don't think I really have accomplished as much as I wanted during February, but I did get a few things done.

Our computer is up on the 2nd floor and we have an open floor plan. I'm chuckling at the conversation going on downstairs. DH is trying to convince Grace it's bathtime. She needs her hair washed tonight, which is always an ordeal. He asked if she was ready to go upstairs and the response was a definite NO. When asked why she responded that Mommy was going to wash her hair. Daddy tried to explain that he could do it. Grace's answer - NO WAY you use the bucket. Meaning he fills one her play buckets with water and just dumps it on her head. I think I would have to respond the same way to him if I knew he was going to wash my hair like that.

My MIL will be coming in Wednesday night from California. I don't think I will get much done while she is here. I wished that she was crafty because then we could hit the quilt shops, but she's not. I believe there will be a trip to the Disney store and the Merry-Go-Round at the mall. Oh well, it will be nice to visit.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Melancholy Day

Today I'm a little on the sad side. My Godmother (Auntie Lo) passed away 2 years ago today. At the time, I had some serious craziness going on in my life and I don't think I really took the time to mourn her passing the way I should have. I think what’s hard for me that she was the only really connection I had to my mom who passed away when I was 7. It was fun to hear Auntie Lo talk about all the fun and trouble that she and mom got into together. Best friend stories if you know what I mean. You are probably thinking my dad isn’t around, but he is. It’s just different to hear stories from a best friend versus a husband. My dad isn’t real good about communicating either, so it’s hard to pull much out of him as it relates to my mom.

Now that I have a child it makes me sad to think that Auntie Lo will never get to hear the funny Grace stories. She won’t get to enjoy the pictures that I have taken yearly of my little munchkin to see how much she is growing up.

I realize its all part of life and growing up and being an adult, but it’s still not fun.

Anyhow, I thought I would share a quilt that I made for Auntie Lo. Auntie Lo loved anything that was Asian. She had her ENTIRE house decorated in oriental d├ęcor. I saw the kimono wall hanging and knew I had to make it for her. When I went for her funeral, the quilt was beautifully displayed on her living room wall (with a picture of me from high school right next to it).

I paper pieced the kimonos because I was pretty new to quilting and couldn’t figure out how to piece the crazy triangles. The binding is a little rough looking because I thought everything should be sewn on the machine. Some day I may take the binding off and “redo” it, but for the time being it will stay as is.

I love and miss you Auntie Lo!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Still a UFO

Well this evening I worked and worked on a baby quilt in an attempt to check it off of my February completion list. No such luck. Hopefully I can finish it up tomorrow night.

I'm sitting here chuckling to myself because I realized I'm finally breathing. I need to learn to relax and breathe like a normal (or semi-normal) person when I machine quilt. At least I'm wasn't gritting my teeth which is my normal state affairs. Somehow I manage to hold my breathe until I either sew to the end of the quilt or I break the thread. Then there is always a huge gasp. I'm such a dork - at least I can laugh at myself.

I decided to work on my pantograph skills. Boy do I need help. At one point I got lost on the pattern and started to back track over what I had just sewed. Didn't look to bad, so there is NO WAY I'm riping out those itty bitty stitches. I managed to get tangled in the cord at one point and couldn't figure out why the machine wouldn't move. Helps not to have all my weight on it. My guess is if there was a video of tonights sewing session, there would be tons of laughter. Oh well. This quilt will more than likely be a donation quilt.

Well, off to bed! I'm sure I will dream about the crazy panto pattern tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Snow Day

This is what we woke up to this morning. It rained all night and then turned to snow at some point. Now it's just wet and yucky outside.

In attempt to find something to do that didn't involve a movie or TV, I fused some fabric and decided we were going to make "art quilts" that were sunny and flowery. The best part is that the fabric came from Laura Wasilowski.

When in Chicago last, the munchkin and I hit the Mancuso quilt show and the vendor mall. Laura was selling some of her remnants. Grace (aka the munchkin) couldn't stand it and had to have a bag of fabric. Who am I to tell her no?

Anyhow, this is what we made this morning.

Pretty darn good for a 4 year old. I did the cutting with the rotary cutter and Grace did the picking and placing. She announced that she had to have a bird house. I made the pieces, but didn't realize her intent was for a 2 story house. So I made another square and VOILA!!! I also did the ironing, although it was somewhat of a fight to keep her from trying to help with that.

This is my rendition.

I will just need to do some quilting on both of them and then we will have 2 "springy" quilts to look at.

This will sound corny I'm sure, but I think I'm going to hang them in our guest bathroom. There is nothing in the bathroom that adds any kind of interest to the walls. I think if I put both of our pieces of art in there, then there will definitely be something interesting to look at.

Just have to share this picture too, because it makes me smile. I pulled out the big blocks and was trying to figure out what to do with them. I want to get the crazy top finished and quilted so that I can strike another thing off my list. Grace decided she wanted to help with the arranging. This is her rendition of what the quilt top should look like. (I placed the high pieces, she did the rest) I think it might be a bit wide and short if I keep it according to her plan. Oh well, budding artist in the making.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Woman on a Mission

Today I was a woman on a mission to finish some projects before starting anything else.

I started by cutting and sewing together binding for 4 quilts and a back for another.

I quilted a baby quilt that was on my frame. I was concerned because I kept breaking the thread and ending up with a giant mess on the backside of the quilt. I finally got everything running smoothly and was able to finish the quilting. I'm pleased with this one. I did swirls again. Definitely think I have the hang of them and need to move onto something else for the next quilt.

My DH was impressed with this quilt. He asked who it was for. All I could do was shrug and smile. I think he thinks that I have a person in mind for each of the quilts that I'm managing to finish.

Next on this list were bags. I love those little bags, so I made 3 more. They go together so quickly I couldn’t help myself.

To finish the productive day, I put the binding I made on 3 quilts. I will get to the last quilt and it's binding once I get all my hand sewing done.

On top of my productiveness today, during the week I managed to finish 9 bags for the photographer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ode to My Honey

Happy Valentine's Day

My honey is home sick today with the crud that we keep passing around. He wasn't looking or sounding so good this morning, so I was more than happy to come to work. (YIKES - that's bad huh!)

My post today is basically in honor of my honey. As I'm typing this I think what a great guy he is to put up with all of my hobbies and interests. Don't get me wrong there are times he gives me plenty of grief over the quilting and the amount of cash spent on fabric (that doesn't get used). He also likes to get his pokes in about the craziness of taking a large piece of perfectly good fabric, cutting it up into smaller pieces and then sewing it all back together.

My DH is also the first one to let me retreat to the basement to sew after an exceptionally stressful day at work. He knows it's better to give me a few minutes...or an myself to relax than deal with what ever he might have to face if he doesn't.

Compliments are also something he is very quick to provide on my quilts. He knows that I'm my own worst critic and is very quick to get his compliments in before I start dissecting the top I just put together or the quilting job I just completed.

So with that said, Thanks Honey and Happy Valentine's Day.

P.S. - Can I stop at the quilt store on the way home? :-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Boring Boring

Not much to report, unfortunately. We have had some sort of germ running around in our house, so everyone has been a bit out of sorts. The munchkin is continually yelling "Where's the Kleenex? My nose is running." I had to laugh this morning when I got up to get ready for work. The snoring going on is horrible because of the germ that has taken up residence. I actually think the munchkin was out snoring my DH, if that's at all possible.

My excitment for this week has been working on bags for the photographer. I think I have 9 done and hope to finish some more before the weekend. Again, I complain, how incredibly slow those things go. This is when I wish I was Jeannie and could just put my arms together and blink my eyes and they'd be done. I'm not, so I trudge on.

All for now....

Saturday, February 9, 2008

UFO #4 (Quilted)

UFO #4 was quilted this afternoon. All I need to do is get the binding on it and then it's officially done. I picked this pattern up when we were in Dallas 2 years ago. The car and it's driver (me) needed to make a trip to McKinney to The Quilt Asylum. Very cool store. The pattern is made from a charm square pack and it's supposed to look like an elongated star. If I really stare at the top I can see it, but it's not something that jumps out at me.

For the quilting, I did some swirls. Pretty fun and they didn't turn out too bad. I don't have a stitch regulator on my machine, so there are some sections were the stitching got a little large. I think it just means that I need to practice some more.

The trip to the quilt shops on Thursday evening was a LOT of fun. As usual, I did some damage. We hit Quilting Bits & Pieces in Eudora first. They have such beautiful fabric there. I had one very hungry 4 year old on my hands, so finding food was of the essence. We loaded back up in the car and drove to Lawrence. Dinner was at Free State Brewery. I absolutely love that place and pick it every time we head to Lawrence. Unfortunately dinner took a little bit too long because Sarah's was closed by the time we made it back down the street. I'm sure that people were laughing at the 3 of us standing in front of the shop window oogling over the fabric on display. There will be a return trip to Lawrence in the near future. We jaywalked across the street to Stitch On Needlework. That's where the damage occurred for me. I love all of the BRIGHT kids fabric that they carry. The munchkin was on a mission to add to her purple stash. My friend Christine didn't help and just kept handing her more and more purple fat quarters. I'm going to have to come up with something to use all of the fat quarters we accumulate.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fun Find

While hunting for a piece of batting last night I ran across a quilt that I did about 3 years ago. I was a on a kick for a while making quilts that consisted of one large piece of fabric and a border (or two). I saw the pattern in a Fons & Porter "For the Love of Quilting" magazine.

I love the scarecrows but could never figure out what to do with them since they are so tall. I think the fabric is from Alexander Henry. Here's an up close.

I just need to bind this and it will be offically done.

There is another quilt on the frame. I'm hoping to get to it tomorrow night. It's a baby quilt, so it shouldn't take that long to complete.

After work tonight, the munchkin, a friend and I will be heading to Eudora and Lawrence to hit the 3 quilt stores there. I think it's official, I have given up any attempts at not adding to my stash. I will try to be good, but I'm sure I won't succeed. Oh well!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

UFO #3 (Quilted)

YIPPEE, I have my first quilt done for February. I'm bad, I don't name my quilts, short of this is for baby Corbin, so I'll call it Corbin's Quilt. This is the quilt for my husband's coworker that I mentioned in a previous post. Maybe by the time I hit my 100th post, I will figure out how not to get the crazy angles I manage to capture in all my pictures. Oh well, this blogging is creating numerous learning opportunities for me. Quilts for Babys: Easy as ABC by Ursula Reikes is the book this Attic Window pattern came from. I love Ursula's books because patterns are very easy and always go together without issues.

I spent last week watching my quilting DVDs for as many tips as I could possibly pick up. I decided to work on my Loop-D-Loop skills with this quilt. Patsy Thompson mentioned that you shouldn't make all the loops the same size. I really think that helped me. Instead of freaking out because my loops weren't the same size it was fun to make small loops and then giant loops. I let the "Spirit" move me. It seemed liked it made it a lot easier for me to vary the direction of the loops too.

Saturday I pulled out my box of unquilted tops - 25. Adding the 2 from Sunday that makes 27 (aren't you impressed with my 1st grade math?). I think I should have plenty of opportunities to practice this month.

Tonight was good.
  1. I tried very hard not to be critical of myself. My quilting isn't perfect, but the quilt is done. Practice makes perfect. (26 more to go)
  2. I tried to float the top, which I don't normally do. I had some bunching by the time I got to the bottom of the quilt. With that I learned that I do a better job when the top is attached to the appropriate roller on my frame. I'm never going to know how it will turn out unless I try.
  3. I used 2 pieces of batting butted together for this quilt. I managed to clear 2 pieces out of my batting stash instead of creating more. I didn't have a lump in the middle and I think the amount of quilting I did will definitely keep all the batting in place.
  4. I learned that Mindy Casperson (I Have a Long Arm and I'm Not Afraid to Use It) is a genius. In her DVD she talked about small spools of thread and how they need to come off the spool the way they are wound. Small spools aren't wound like the large cones. Makes sense, but I really didn't know that until she said it. Mindy recommended using a horizontal spool holder on the machine. Since I don't have one I improvised based on her recommendation. A chop stick duct taped to the machine with a binder clip to keep the thread on. Very McGyver don't you think? My dad would have a coronary if he saw this picture.

Duct tape really does have a million uses.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Sunday

What a GREAT weekend!! Sewing, shopping, football, food, commercials - what more could anyone want.

Yesterday I met Laurie in person. What a treat to be able to put a Blog to a face or an actual person, as the case was! We met at Harpers in order to attend Charm School. We both managed to spend some cash that we probably shouldn't have. Oh well, it's only money.

The pattern from Charm School was so easy that I couldn't help myself. Not only did I make a baby top out of the fabric I purchased (the brown collection below), but I grabbed another charm pack from my stash (Valentines fabric). I figure my creations play into my whole, finish 2 old in order to work on 1 new. I certainly finished the 2 old over the last 2 weeks. Pulling from the stash and completing the new top to boot, should also count as finishing an old. Anyhow... The pattern was from Moda. As you can tell it was very simple to put together. I like those type of patterns occasionally.

The official start of Machine Quilting Month will begin tomorrow. I'm armed with new design ideas from Pajama Quilter Dawn Rameriz and Patsy Thompson. The first quilt will be the baby quilt that DH requested for his work friend.