Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Apologies to Miss Genie

In my last post I mentioned Miss Genie’s stitches were long. Well, I forgot she’s an old fashioned lady. I’m not certain where I had her stitch length set originally, but last night I moved the lever all the way down, hoping for a smaller stitch. What I failed to recognize at the time was the scale is not the length of stitches as on QD, but the # of stitches per inch. To get a smaller stitch, I should have moved her lever up. Which I did to 12 and now I have a lovely line of stitching. Fortunately, I figured this out before I sewed too many of those 4-patches.

We’ve come to an understanding on stitch length and even a 1/4 inch seam – for basic piecing like the 4-patches. But I haven’t mastered the 1/4 inch seam when making HST from squares. When I had her cleaned up, I bought a 1/4 inch foot, but she has a tendency to send the fabric off ‘that a ways’ unless she has her nice broad foot on. So, I move the needle to the right (only 3 positions) and have a ‘stop’ of sticky notes for straight piecing. I’m not sure what I’m going to do for those diagonal lines of stitching.

Another positives about Miss Genie. I turn her on and she’s ready to go. With my big machine, QD, (Husqvarna Quilt Designer) I have a ritual I follow when I sit down to piece. Turn her on. Wait for the ‘music’ to stop, hit the stitch width button, hit the mirror image button, hit the menu screen twice, hit the needle down button and then hit the fix button. Miss any of these steps and I don’t have my nice scant 1/4 inch seam. There’s nothing more frustrating to realize that you missed the mirror image button and are now sewing with a wide 1/4 inch seam. I really must do more piecing on Miss Genie. She done a fine job on these 2 inch 4-patches I've been working on.

Aren't they cute. I'm about a third of the way through them.

Meet Miss Genie

This is Miss Genie. She's been hanging out at a friend's house for several months waiting for me to get back to group sewing. Tonight I went and picked her up. My big sewing machine is still in the shop and I HAD TO SEW.

Miss Genie came into my life about 16 months ago. DH stopped at a garage sale and saw her. He knew most of my quilting buddies had a smaller machine to take to classes and retreats and figured I might like her.

He was assured Miss Genie worked fine the last time she was used, but was put up due to her previous owner no longer sewing. For $5 he figured I'd get a kick out of her.

Miss Genie came home. Clearly the individual selling the machine didn't know WHY the previous owner had stopped sewing. It was right there in the bobbin case. She was jammed up big time. DH and I worked on getting the thread out of the bobbin case, pulled her open to work on the dust, dirt, smoke and decided to get a second opinion. For the cost of a tune up and a thread pin, I now had a 'portable' machine.

Miss Genie is not that much lighter than my big machine, but due to her compact size, she is a bit easier to carry.

Although she's not my primary machine, she does sew a straight, albeit lengthy stitch. Tonight she allowed me to start on those 112 two inch 4-patches.

I may only have one done, but it's made a difference in my mood. Not sewing for a week when I wanted to sew was driving me crazy.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stash Report Week #17

More fabric came in than went out this week. Included in the incoming fabric is fabric to make my husband a shirt - or to use as the backing of his music quilt, 3 pretty yellow FQs, binding for my pink and brown quilt and 3/4 yard of a beige print I've been looking for to finish up another quilt. Oh, yes, I bought the red fabric I need for a new quilt I'm starting. I still need the gold and blue and will get it Tuesday night while it's still on sale.

On the outgoing side of things, I cut the binding for my OTR and have it sewn together and with the quilt top, and I cut the pieces for the new quilt I'm starting. 32 six inch blocks. Boy are those pieces tiny. 4-patches that finish at 2 inches. The cut pieces fit into a single sandwich bags. What have I gotten my self into?

Fabric Added this Week: 7.5 yards
Fabric Added to Date: 120.0 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 2.29 yards
Fabric Used to Date: 38.12 yards

Net Stash: +81.87 yards

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Retreat Flimsy Four

This is the last of the quilt tops I finished at the retreat. This is my husband's music quilt.

It started innocently enough. On a road trip, I stopped in a quilt shop and saw some music fabric and picked up a couple of FQs back in the Spring of 2003. At the time, I was still knitting, and quilting had not taken over. DH suggested that I make him a quilt, using just music fabrics using a repeat from each fabric. I nodded, the quilter in me wanting to piece, and started collecting music fabric everywhere I went.

Fast forward 5 years and now I have two drawers full of music fabric, only a handful repeated. I continued collecting since I hadn't started the quilt, and had no idea what I was going to do. DH's idea was beginning to look better and better.

Then I saw a quilt on the Quilt in a Day forum that someone had posted. She had taken squares of floral print and set them with sashing forming stars. I knew then what I was going to do with my music fabric. I wish I could remember who the quilter was to thank her for the inspiration.

Before I left for retreat, all the sashings were pieced, the top half of the quilt was sewn together and I had two additional rows sewn together, so it came together pretty quickly.

There are 168 different fabrics, no two a like. I even printed my own square, scanning in an original composition my husband hand wrote, Large Egg Rag.

Naturally, this didn't make a dent in my music fabric, so there is another music quilt in my future some day.

P.S. I just found the link to the inspiration quilt.

Retreat Flimsy Three

It seems it doesn't matter how careful I am when I'm packing for a trip, I will always leave something at home. This retreat was no exception.

A week before I left, I pressed and folded all of my border fabrics and quilt tops I was planning on working on. Everything had to fit in my tote bag as there were 3 of us hauling sewing machines, stuff to work on, clothes and bedding to the retreat and it had to fit in my Escape.

Saturday morning I pulled out the Old Tobacco Road and realized I had left the pieced cornerstones at home, but I did have 6 extra flying geese with me. What to do?

Well, I could cut some pinwheels from the extra geese, but that would only give me enough for 2 cornerstones. I ran around bumming yellow fabric, but when I realized how many little pieces went into the cornerstones, I opted to use a single yellow, cutting into the 1/2 yard I purchased on my way to the retreat. Yellow solved. That left the green and purple.

Purple was easy. I had not cut off the ends of the bricks to square the quilt up, so all the pinwheels came from the end bricks. I just had to borrow a ruler. -- no I didn't take my ruler since I was just putting borders on the quilts.

The green turned out to be easy enough as well. I had two choices. I had two different greens with me for the inner border. I could use one of them, or I could go scrappy by pulling apart some of the 2-patches I was sewing into 4-patches as leader/enders. I opted for the 2nd choice.

With the exception of the borders and the aforementioned yellow, this quilt was from my stash. I try not to buy fabric for mystery quilts, so when picking the fabric I had to come up with a color palette from my stash. I picked green, yellow and purple, thinking Mardi Gras, but the quilt doesn't say that to me. In fact, after I had half of it finished I was wondering about my choices, but as I added each section to the quilt, I decided I liked it better. All I have to do now is pick a name.

I'm thinking something about spring plowing. The purple/lavender reminds me of the blue/purple plant that tends to grow in the fields before they are planted around here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Retreat Quilt Flimsy Two

This is my Stack-n-Whack that I started at the April 2006 Retreat. A couple of months after the retreat, I had about 1/2 of the blocks done and then the quilt was put aside for something else. Last year it was on my list of UFOs to work on. My goal was to get it to the top stage. I took it to the Kansas Troubles Quilters Retreat this past November with the intention of finishing it, but decided it needed something besides the floral border. I tried several fabrics and then someone handed me a dark green paper napkin. It was just the thing to set it off. So then I had to locate the fabric.

I found a pretty green batik, which is next to impossible to see in the picture. There is a 1/2 inch green border separating the floral border from the body of the quilt. That was the easy part. I spent quite a bit of time crawling around on the floor figuring out how to square up the quilt. Fortunately, there were blue and black alternating tiles on the floor which made this much easier. Sure wish I remembered to take my knee pads with me.

Retreat Quilt Flimsy One

In addition to visiting with friends from across the country (I think the count was 13 states) and meeting new people, my goal was to get the borders on my quilts. I took six quilts -- 4 just needed borders, one needed the blocks sewn together and one is a stripy quilt which just needed the strips sewn together. I got 4 done to the top stage. My Black and White Strip Twist was the first quilt top to be finished. I started this quilt Super Bowl Weekend. It's a Bonnie Hunter/ pattern.

We arrived Thursday afternoon around 2:00 PM. After setting up, I got to work. There was plenty of space to stretch out the quilt to measure it without getting in any one's way. Has the power not gone out in a '10 grid' area, I would have finished it Thursday night. Instead, I went to bed early and got up Friday morning about 5:30 AM. I am NOT a morning person, so this was unusual for me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Stash Report Week # 16

This report is a couple of days late as I didn't get back from my quilt retreat until Monday evening and then I collapsed! Too much fun and then too much driving. I finished four quilt tops (3 only needed borders and the 4th just needed the blocks sewn together) over the weekend, and got the inner border added to a 5th quilt. The side bars have been updated, and I'll get pictures added later this week.

I did not stay out of the quit stores though, so the report is mixed.

Fabric Added this Week: 11.75 yards
Fabric Added to Date: 112.5 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 8.5 yards
Fabric Used to Date: 35.83 yards

Net Stash: +76.67 yards

My machine is in the shop for a check up/cleaning, so there won't be much used up this week.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Stash Report Week #15

This past week I made a gift for a secret sister exchange, the Decadent Victorian Jacket and the Kansas Troubles Stash Society binder cover.

Fabric bought includes the binding fabric for the jacket - I wanted long unpieced bias strips, so that was a yard - most of which ended up in the stash, a music themed FQ, and FQs for a gift. Technically, the gift FQs aren't going into my stash, but I didn't setup my spreadsheet to track gift purchases separately.

Fabric Added this Week: 2.75 yards
Fabric Added to Date: 100.75 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 5.25 yards
Fabric Used to Date: 27.33 yards

Net Stash: +73.42 yards

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Decadent Victorian Jacket

The jacket is finished. I used most of a jelly roll and charm pack of Decadent Victorian which I purchased a couple of years ago.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where has the Week Gone?

Here it is Thursday and I'm trying to figure out what I've done this week.

Monday - A bit of cleaning to uncover my big board. Then I pressed and carefully folded the fabric I need for the borders of the quilts I'm taking to retreat. I also started ripping the ribbing off of a sweatshirt. Yes, a new project is born and the race is on to see if I can finish it before I leave for retreat next week. I'm using a jelly roll and a charm pack of Decadent Victorian.

Tuesday - I don't want to repeat Tuesday. I dropped my car off at the repair shop. When he called me back he started the converstion with "You need new tires on top of this amount I'm about to tell you." Picked up the car and drove straight to the tire shop. Got home late and then started chopping up the Decadent Victorian.

Wednesday - Sewed the chopped up pieced back into strips and got two strips sewn to the sweatshirt. I'm hoping I make more progress this evening.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Stash Report Week #14

No dent in my stash this week, although I did get my geese sewn together and one more row sewn together on the music quilt.

On the other hand, I did bring fabric into the house. Last Sunday, when Sandra, the list mom from Stashbusters, was in town, we got together for a visit. She gave me a couple of potholders she made (and I've enjoyed using this week) and a yard of pretty green fabric.

Friday morning I picked up the yardage for the borders to OTR. Saturday another 1 1/2 yards for a bag I'm making for a gift. But it was Saturday afternoon which really caused my stash to grow.

A friend of a friend had fabric from her mother's or grandmother's estate. The boxes contained a little of everything, about 1/2 of it cotton. Of the cotton I brought home 13 pieces. I just finished measuring it. There's 48 1/4 yards there -- but it's all 36" wide. I did some fancy math to figure out what the works out to in 42" wide fabric on the theory that if a pattern today calls for 1 yard of fabric, 1 yard of this vintage fabric won't be enough -- I'll need about 42".

Fabric Added this Week: 47.75 yards
Fabric Added to Date: 98 yards

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used to Date: 22.08 yards

Net Stash: +75.92 yards

Friday, April 3, 2009

Can I Stop Cleaning?

In two weeks I'm going to a 4 day quilt retreat. Invariatebly, I take way more than I can accomplish, but I like a variety of projects so I don't get bored. Not finishing what I take is not an issue for me (if it was, my UFO list wouldn't have 33 partially completed tops on it). Anyway, this year I'm going to focus on borders. - Note to self, find knee pads for crawling around on cement floor.

However, working or borders all weekend will get boring, so I'm going to take atleast one PIG (project in grocery sack). I easily have a dozen to choose from, but decided I wanted to work on Springtime at Heritage which is the kit pictured above.

I bought it in Septemeber and it's been kicking around in my sewing room ever since. The only problem was I couldn't find it.

My sewing room is divided into two main spaces -- a u-shaped area with my personal computer, work computer and sewing table and the rest of the room where I hope someday to have two casual chairs and an occassional table. Or where I can set up a couple of tables and have friends over for a sew-a-thon. On the wall are shelving units with my fabric, completed tops, ufos and pigs. That's the only area which is really well organized. The u-shaped area is messy but functional and the other half of the room needs cleaning.

So, for the last couple of days I've been "cleaning at" the other side of the room a couple of minutes at a time looking for the fabric kit. Tonight I finally found it. So can I stop cleaning?

Oh, click here for the quilt pattern I'm using.

QCC - Quality Control Cat

Cats and quilting go together at my house. I've owned, or been owned by three cats since I started quilting. Fluffy and Grey were the original QCCs. Seven wasn't interested in quilting -- or for that matter living with two other cats. But after Fluffy and Grey crossed the rainbow bridge, Seven realized she had to fulfill the role of QCC.

I don't know what it is about cats and quilts. One time I brought several quilt tops into the living room to show my mom. Seven was sound asleep in the bedroom. I'm not certain all the air got out from under the quilt top when I shook it out and laid it out on the floor, before she was there laying on top of it.

Another time I had a top on the floor, blocking access to the kitchen and sewing room. Seven walks in and comes to a screeching halt, stopping BEFORE she touched the quilt top. I have to assume she didn't like it. My DH picked her up and told her she had hurt my feelings, so when she came back through the room, she gingerly stepped on the top and briefly sat on it before walking off. Somehow.

Tonight when I came home, Seven was sitting on the couch with DH. I pull out my Old Tobacco Road quilt and lay it on the floor. Seven doesn't move.

I pull out the inner green border I just bought, and lay it next to the quilt. Seven remains on the couch.

The flying geese are stretched out next to the green border. No response from Seven.

Finally, I lay the purple outer border next to it all.

Seven leaps off the couch and jumps on the quilt and fabric and starts 'massaging' the purple fabric, before reclining on the quilt.

I have to assume she likes it.

So here is some Haiku DH and I wrote about a year ago for Quality Control Cats

Mom is a quilter
Her quilt needs my approval
I must lay on it

And for Seven specifically:

Seven is QC
Approving quilts is her task
Hair removal mine

A Gaggle of Geese

Purple geese in yellow skies for my Old Tobacco Road quilt. I went with this option because I'm leaning toward a purple border. Of course when I get to the quilt shop, who knows what I'll find.