Sunday, March 29, 2015

The eagle, er Nolting, has landed

     I took the big plunge. I bought a true longarm. No computerization, just me moving it. I happen to have an extraordinary dealer, Delightful Quilting and Sewing, about 1 1/2 hours from me. I met Joyce at a NYS Quilt Consortium meeting and tried out machines in her business. I was able to purchase a used, reconditioned machine from Nolting. Joyce and her husband set it up for me and continue to answer my myriad of questions.
     I hesitated to put up a post because it is such a huge decision, expense, takes so much space and I am afraid people will think I am extravagant. I could no longer push quilts through  a domestic machine with my neck/shoulder issues. 
    So it is here and I have 12" left of a comfort quilt until I get it off and see how much I have to learn. I had to put in the basement and move a lot of stuff, but it is here and hopefully, soon, I will be more proficient.
Hate the knotty pine panels, so dark

Takes a whole wall up

Spring? Not! More Gold Star Dis9Patch

     Last Saturday, my husband and I went to Plantasia, a plant and landscaping show south of Buffalo. It was heavenly to see real green plants with real luscious flowers. In my excitement, I bought a new pair of garden shoes, Sloggers, made in the USA. However, this is what my garden looks like this week.
My garden
     My guild members and I have been making the Disappearing Nine Patches self sashing quilts in an I Spy theme still for the kids Gold Star camp coming in July. My friends at Chasen Dreams (on Facebook) are long arming them. We will put the bindings and labels on. More to come. I just got back the first batch quilted, so I need to make bindings quick. Below are more that just went to be quilted
My boy's chambray one, thanks, Edna for the chambray scraps!
Marcia and Mary's team effort
One of Elizabeth's many contributions

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dancing Star with borders

      Finally the quilt top is done. This is the last quilt I will make using the Square in a Square Method. It does work, I just like to not have so much strange shape waste and don't like the constant trimming process. It is not like any other quilt I have made, so my thoughts are not sure if I like it. .

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Swimmers Purse

   Previously, I have made the Barbados purse by Pink Sands designs. I love it. I wanted to make my daughter a special purse. I had found the fabric last summer- women swimmers of which she is one! I decided to make the purse 1" larger overall. I am math challenged, but I was able to write all the bigger dimensions down and cut them all out right. I used Soft and Stable instead of fusible fleece (too floppy for me). To sweeten the deal, I added some chocolates to the inner pockets (made a set on each side instead of the one in the pattern) and a gift card for some clothes. I think she really liked it. She can put her Kindle in the big pocket and her clutch wallet inside easily. The cross body design keeps you from clunking items or people when you bend. 

Inside Pockets
How it hangs
The 1" larger overall compared to my earlier purse attempt

       New Hands 2 Help Challenge! 
 Visit Sarah's blog for the new Challenge this year! I am planning on sending two quilts to Happy Chemo again. Button in the sidebar.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Moda Figures mini charm quilt and denim

     The Moda Figures mini charm packs I got at Houston have been sewn into a lap quilt. I also added my favorite- recycled denim. Gray Kona finishes the design. Now to be quilted. I added the funky seam from the jeans just because.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Give away winners and some progress

     First, thank you to all those who commented and told me what they liked. Thank you for taking the time to do this. I gave everyone a number in order of a valid email post and drew one number at random. However, a number of you were no reply bloggers (a couple gave me their emails in the comment), and I have no way to get in touch with you. If you go to this link, it will tell you how to correct it for the next time you want to enter a giveaway or get a respones
    On Monday or Tuesday, I will mail your packages to the winners. I will email you and you can give me your addresses. Thank you everyone who commented!

    I was away visiting my daughter this weekend, so I did not get much sewing done. These pieces in progress were on my wall when I left- Fading Charms with leader-enders and and a mini charm block with denim and gray lap quilt.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dancing Star

      Almost two years ago, a rep from Square in a Square came to our guild and did a workshop. I thought this would be a great way to build speed and accuracy. I chose the Dancing Star. I was able to get books and the DVD used. I bought the ruler new. I sort of got frustrated with the trimming and it sat until the quilt retreat. I dug in and finished it except for the borders because I don't have the right colors. All of the Square in a Square stuff is going up on ebay because although the method works, I have a hard time with the trimming accurately. I am better cutting things first, then sewing.
Blocks laid out
All sewn waiting for borders

Retreat to move forward

      Retreats are sort of ironic. Sounds like going backwards, however a quilt retreat moves me forward. Last weekend, my guild held a quilt retreat at Stella Niagara in Lewiston, NY. It was a great bunch of women to work with. Packing is my nemesis. I hate it. It makes my brain hurt and my palms sweat. This time I tried to pack all quilt related items in a suitcase instead of a lot of carry sacks. All of that fit, but when I closed the suitcase, I could not move it. The suitcase itself was heavy to start with. So, I got out Suity, my daughter's first suitcase she left behind. Ria has always loved suitcases and traveling and packing. I still use her multi-page checklist for packing every year we go for a week to the Adirondacks. Everything fit in Suity, which was a much lighter case, but it does not roll well or have a telescoping handle.
Everything packed nice in here, but could not lift it.
Everything fits in Suity, but not so navigable
Everything I took
      I got the idea from my friends of having a common project to work on to build some fun and comraderie. This time, I chose a mannequin pincushion an online friend sent me for Christmas. I printed up the patterns, gathered supplies, glue gun, jelly jars, etc. and demonstrated to the women. Some women did not buy into early on, but eventually everyone made one and here is a shot of the lineup. Pretty neat.

      I worked on Sea Urchin by Judy Niemeyer and did not make much of a dent. I worked on a cross body bag I kitted up before I left, but one critical pocket piece was left on the cutting board at home, so it needs to be finished. I worked with two other women on a quilt raffle block, and finished UFO Dancing Star from the Square in a Square system. Just needs a border. Although that method has many benefits, I don't like it for the way I work, so I am selling the 4 books, DVD and ruler on ebay as soon as I can get it listed.

Work done by the women at the retreat. Snack table also. Got to have snacks.
     I was up working late as we have a large room open to us and the spring time change sort of wreaked havoc on my energy level from working so late. It is hard for me to stop sewing when I have opportunity. I wish I could find some more places to quilt retreat at such a reasonable rate. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring cleaning Giveaways

      I am linking up with Vicki Welsh's Giveaway week. I am forcing myself to move out what I am not going to work with even though it interests me. I need to narrow my focus so I can be better at fewer things. The way the Giveaways will work is leave me a comment as to what work you like of mine and which giveaway you would like to be considered for. On Friday morning, I will take the number of people who asked for which item, assign a number in the order received and have my grandkids draw the number and notify you. I will mail it to you, so make sure you are not a no email responder or it will go to the next number draw
     Number one, I LOVE hand dyed fabric. I love to pet it and cut it up and sew it. However, although I have taken classes, I do not want to make it. I will buy from people like Vicki and quilt show vendors. I have a kit of dyes, unopened, that you can comment what work of mine you like and that you would like the dye kit.
     Next, I have a small bin of 1 1/2" strips. I cut all my smaller than fat quarter pieces into strips or squares. Bonnie Hunter's system uses 1 1/2" as well as 2 1/2". However, I find I am not going to use the 1 1/2" size. So, if you would like an envelope of unwashed 1 1/2" cotton strips, please leave a comment as to what work you like of mine and that you would like the strips. 

     Ok, maybe I can find some other things, but for now, here we go!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bright HST sewn

      I won (!) a charm pack from a quilt store, Patchwork Plus, at QBL in July. I had bought a black and white charm pack from MSQC because I love black and white and I love Lotta Jonsdotter's designs. I did not have enough to make a big enough lap quilt, so I had to resort to borders. It took a lot of auditioning, but the purple worked real well as the black dots and the gray with faint loopy lines. Thought you might like to look at the process.

Too small

Now a respectable lap size

On the wall and another year begins!

     Today marks the beginning of another year for me. I don't know whether to cry or laugh. I will just be thankful for another day. So many ideas, so many quilts, it is overwhelming. Life just gets busier. 
     Thank you to everyone who is a follower and reader. You are my birthday present!
     So what is on the wall? I have been using 2.5" squares of kid prints for leader/enders and slowly putting Fading Charms together, so here is where I am now. Long way to go.
Center and two sides done
     Also, Sarah Craig of Confessons of a Fabric Addict blog, has been doing a Sweet Sixteen series. See side button. I looked through my squares and found 3 mini charm packs that I got free from the Fat Quarter Shop in Houston and sewed them into 16 patches. I will put this together with some denim squares. I will set these blocks slightly off center with gray background. I am figuring it out on graph paper.
Three of the 8 blocks
With denim added
     I have tried to improve my techniques and organization bit by bit. I finally learned how to pin going from left to right. This enables me to use my guides attached to the machine bed, to remove pins with my left hand and put them in the pincushion without letting go of feeding the fabric with my right, and the pins stay in the fabric much better especially like when two opposite borders are pinned at the same time. Maybe every one else knew this, but not me.
Border pinned at top and also at side makes sure the short side does not shift while the long side is sewn. I put the pin through twice on these long pieces.
Another side
Pin put in left to right as seam would be sewn.
The pin heads do not lie outside the fabric.

     I have put a plastic crate I used to use for markers in my graphic design days next to my machine and put every tool back into it instead of laying it on the table, having it fall or get covered up. I have the iron set right behind me with an ironing pad. Makes sewing small stuff so much easier and pleasant.
Crate to right, leader-ender squares to right.