Sunday, July 30, 2006

No sewing in the sewing room

I haven't done much sewing/quilting this week at all. I did meet a new friend and that was a lot of fun. A lady that has the same quilting machine as mine asked if she could come to see my setup as hers wasn't set up yet and she was stymied. That of course required that I clean up the sewing room until it was presentable for company. It also motivated me to make some changes for 'temporary fix' to "final solution' on some items.

A while back I need a design wall for a project I was working on. My quick fix was to tack a fleece blanket to the wall. Precarious, droopy, but served the purpose at the time. This week I bought a piece of wooden stripping, stapled the blanket to it, installed a couple of picture hooks and hung the wood&blanket from it. No more droop, considerably more stable. Since I was already on the ladder, I also strung the thread tiki lights along the top just for laughs.

I took the practice pieces off the quilting machine and put on a piece of paper (I buy cheap gift wrap when it’s on sale and cheaper still) so that I could demonstrate the machine and she would be able to see the patterns, placement, etc. That's what you see on the frame-the wrong side of some Christmas paper.

Then it occurred to me that we would need an extra chair in the sewing room. One of my boys had had a chair, but somewhere along the line the back had come off and disappeared into oblivion. As I cleaned I had thrown my scraps and leftover project pieces into a basket to be cut up for future scrap projects.....I had just put in something that would be about the right size for the back of the chair. Well, of course that required that I stop cleaning immediately and make a back for the chair (can you say ADD boys and girls??). There were two pieces that I was able to use as a front and a back, but it seemed too light weight, so I found a piece of batting from the same scrap basket and put it between the two pieces. Presto Chango- a seat back, which coordinates with the actual seat in less than half an hour.....and I needed to take a break from cleaning, anyhow!

The bottom line is after all the straightening and making changes, we had a delightful visit, got along like a house on fire and plan to stay in touch. However after getting all my surfaces cleaned off, I don't want to mess them up again!! It took until this morning for me to go in and cut some more bricks for the Bricks and Stepping Stones and to sew a few of them together. hmmmmmm, I wonder how long it will stay neat?? And –ever wonder why we make do for so long with stop gap solutions instead of doing things up properly for ourselves from the get go?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Any thoughts?

Back in the beginning, when I was just learning to quilt, I spied a colorful bundle of fat quarters in my LQS. I had no idea what I would do with it since some of the colors were not at all 'my' colors, but it was so bright and cheery, it came home with me. Then I participated in an online progressive quilt(round robin?) on Prodigy-now that's a blast from the past! My colorful bundle made the 4 pinwheel blocks that form the center.
The other ladies who participated were wonderful and kind to this newbie, it took me years to realize just how kind they were and just how clueless I was.
Anyway, that quilt is one of my UFOs since I could never figure out how to quilt it. Now that I can do it on my PCQ, I'd like to get it done. You can still see some chalk lines from differenct ideas I was considering. I had wanted to make the pinwheels stand out, like they were whirling. Now I just want to get it done, but don't want to do all over stippling. Any ideas?? I have to be very careful since the center of each windmill is several layers with beads to look like hubs (and to tactfully disguise my poorly done points!) Whoever had the embellishments to do also added some ebroidered patches of bees and butterflies, which might break the needle. Also, the person who had the applique did a wonderful hummingbird that needs to be emphasized, not flattened into the background. Then there are several rows of borders. What would you do?? (besides give up on it! LOL)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

the forever wreath

Just put the label on, so its finished. This is the wallhanging/tabletopper that has been a UFO for about 10 years. The one I mentioned previously where I ripped alot out to make corrections. Its still not great, but it will do. I originally called it the Forever Wreath because being cloth instead of pine boughs, it wouldn't die. Hubby thought it should have that name because it is round and therefore unending. Now I just think its the Forever Wreath because it took FOREVER to be finished! After so many years, I no longer had fabric from which to make the binding. However, careful cutting and pieceing of the extra backing on all sides of the top gave me enough to make binding, plus 2.5" left over! Can I count that as stash busting? If I hadn't used those scraps for the binding, they would have been cut into strips or squares for some future scrap project. This way I used them up before they even hit the scrap pile. How's that for efficiency?!

I'd like to get a ribbon and a small brass looking French Horn to tack to the bottom of the wreath to give it some dimension and a little pizzazz as a wall hanging. If I leave it flat, I'll use it as a table topper.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Such a good girl am I...

well, sort of......On Monday I made a trip to one of the LQS to get some thread to quilt that pile of UFOs sitting in my closet. I bought five spools of thread and browsed around. I was so good, I didn't buy any fabric, or books or even notions. As I was waiting for my receipt, I noticed something hanging on the wall in a pine garland. Surely they didn't still have Christmas decorations up? Not exactly. They had a string of tiki lights (like Christmas lights except they are usually of some sort of theme- flamingoes, palm trees, etc.) Guess what these lights were? Ha! Spools of thread! Guess what else-I bought a string. No, I don't need them, don't even know where I will put them, but they are tooo much fun.

Meanwhile, back in the sewing room-I was riding on such a high from that one finish, that I thought I'd try to finish off another one. I had a wall hanging that just needed binding-for about nine years! I thought that would be a quick finish since it was small and that far along. Welllll, trying to measure it, looking at it more closely, I wondered who had made this thing! I wound up tearing out the quilting, the border, the outer row of the center and then reapplying them, correcting mistakes that I made years ago. I think that a gremlin got into my UFOs and messed up all my hard work, anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Now its back together and on the quilt frame, ready to be quilted. I hope to get to that today so that I can do the bindings in the evening and knock off another UFO.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


ForestJane recognized this quilt as one of Planet Patchworks mystery quilts (by Merry Mayhem). This was the first online mystery that I tried. I did it as the clues were presented every few hours, and participating in the chatroom to ask questions, offer support and just chat while sewing away on the quilts. I must say that it was a lucky pick, as it went together well and wasn't overly large. The directions were very interesting, and the designer was clever in how she presented the instructions, not having you do all the cutting at once. She had you sew a bit, cut a bit, sew some more, cut some more-the pattern lent itself to that technique. Nothing was overwhelming that way. I believe you can still get the pattern from them, but there may be a charge. They may still have the photo album up of many of the quilts done during that mystery, if you look, you will see how important it is to have fabrics with high contrast. And Nancy is right, wouldn't it look spectacular in black and white with some blazing bright fabric for the centers and small border?

Finished !

I finished the quilt that was on the frame and spent the last two evenings putting on the binding. Today I added the label, so now I have one less UFO! Now, if I were to look at all those UFOs and WIPs and PIGs still waiting for my attention, I could get overwhelmed and even depressed. So, at least for today, I will only look at the finished quilt and celebrate finishing!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A little more about the shorts

This is for those who asked for information about the shorts and a picture. I called to ask my son to snap a picture of my granddaughter wearing her shorts and email it to me, but the shorts were already in the washer. Here is a photo of the pattern and the fabric. (click on photo to get a closer look) The pattern is 'see & sew B4161'. The waist is elastic in a casing, but there is a little tie that is stitched to the front to make it look like a drawstring waist. If I were doing it for me, I'd leave off the fake drawstring - I certainly don't need any attention drawn to that part of my body. However, Miss Thing wanted it, and it is a good way of telling which is the front and which is the back of the garment. A girl's size 7 doesn't have alot of visible difference between the two! I don't think it would take 30 minutes for an experienced sewer to do these shorts. While the fabric was laid out, we also cut the top so she will have a matching set. We didn't have time to sew the top. I may do that for her since she could be another size before I get some time alone with her again (well, that's what if feels like). There is enough of the fabric left that I may try to make a pair of pedal pushers for myself. I haven't sewn for myself in years, although at one time I made most of my wardrobe. These days I have to make adjustments to the pattern, and I have never been comfortable with that. (that's one of the nice things about quilts, no matter its size or yours, they always fit!) Now.....if I could lose enough weight that I could once again fit into a pattern just the way its made............HEY! a girl hasta have some hope!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A quiet holiday weekend for us....

This has been a fairly quiet holiday weekend for us. We usually have more going on for the Fourth. Quiet is nice for a change....I guess. My granddaughter spent Sunday night with us. As soon as her folks and younger brother left she asked if we could do some sewing. She likes using my machine. I figured that I'd sneak in a little instruction, so I showed her how to lay out a pattern (she's 8 and wasn't too interested in that part, but you never know what sinks in) then we cut out some shorts and up to the machine. I would show her the directions, pin the pieces together and she would sew. In a couple of hours from start to finish, she was wearing the very first garment she ever made! Now I had bought the pattern when she started wanting to use my machine, but the fabric came straight from my stash! Whatever I had planned to use it for, this is a far better purpose and it is now being used and out of the closet. I wish that I had a picture, but then again, one pair of shorts is like most others.

As for me, now that the house is quiet again, I got back up to the sewing room and did two more rows of quilting on one of my UFOs. Two more rows and the quilting will be done. I may go back up tonight. Its a small quilt and doesn't take too long, but I try to give myself and the machines a break. Besides, I still have cooking and other household things to get in. I look forward to taking it off the frame and mounting the next UFO in the stack. This quilt is only the second that I have done on the PCQuilter and I am still learning. This time I made a couple of mistakes that I will have to figure out how to overcome for the next quilt. I don't think that they are big enough for anyone but me to notice and I'm working on the least 'precious' of my UFOs first, so any mistakes aren't a big deal. If they are too big, the dog gets a new quilt. Otherwise they are wall hangings or nap quilts for us. I haven't done anything that I hope will be totally wonderful yet - still lots of practicing to do.

Hope that the rest of you had a wonderful Fourth. Maybe by next year I will have done a patriotic quilt like the beautiful ones so many blog members have shown in the last few days!