Saturday, October 30, 2010

Introducing "Marilyn"

I've designed another purse. I needed a new purse for the fall/winter season (doesn't everyone?) so I came up with "Marilyn.." She's soft and curvy just like Marilyn Munroe. The front pocket has a band and pleats like the front of a skirt. The inside has pockets along the front side. The top zip is fastened to side panels of fabric so the top is a little wider than others I've made where the zip is attached directly to the lining. I love the black and brown with cream pattern. It just suits the softness of this bag. The single strap is short enough to be carried like a handbag, but long enough to fit over the shoulder. Meet "Marilyn."

Stash Enhancing Exercise

I love it when quilting stores have sales. What better excuse to add to the stash? One store in London is closing down, so I've been there twice in the last two weeks, once for me and once for a client. Then I got a notice that one of my fav's was also having a sale - 30% off everything in the store! woohoo - score!
I came back with yardage to make a second "Ribbons in motion" bargello, some yardage for a new bag like the one I made yesterday, and some really cool winter print flannel to make my DS some PJ's for Christmas. I also added some Superior threads to try out on the quilting frame, and a pak or needles, and a bag of batting, and a calendar...
Then I went to Michael's to pick up a new 45mm rotary cutter as I broke the handle on mine this week. Michael's had a 50%off coupon in their flyer this week so it was a good time to get one. While I was there, I noticed that my favourite storage system was on sale again. So I picked up a storage cube with four drawers. The drawers are the perfect size for fat quarters!
The system is officially for scrapbooking, but they work great for sewing too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Hooray! I love a contest. And one with prizes is even better.
Here is the quilt story I'd like to enter into the Bloggers Quilt Festival.
My "Renaissance" quilt was a lesson for me. When I first looked through the Moda turnover package "Renaissance", I was heartbroken. I had bought the pak online and was less than enthusiastic about it when I received it. The colours, although beautiful, were not to my taste. Some of the retro style prints were not to my taste. But what should I do?
I'm just too frugal to toss them. I don't really want to stash them because they'll never see the light of day again. So, I made them into a quilt. There. I feel better now.
First I made a trip to the LQS to pick up coordinates to flesh out the turnover triangles. I'm not really fussy on matching angles and points and the such so I left the tunovers whole and made them into HST with print and plain fabrics.
Then I lined them up, trying not to put the same print beside itself. I wasn't going to have enough with just the turnover squares, so, I tossed in a full plain square here and there. I had plenty of those since I made a math error and cut nearly twice as many as I needed!
As I sewed, I was amazed to see a secondary pattern of random large plain triangles appear. This quilt was starting to grow on me. To make it a more useful size, I needed to make it longer, so I added another row of plain squares to the top and bottom. A bit of sashing and presto , Renaissance was born. I put it on the frame to quilt it and it came together rather quickly. If you don't count picking out two rows of quilting because I didn't like my thread colour choice. Ah well, if you're a sewist, then you're an unsewist too.
I had fun quilting this with alternating blocks of orange peel and curvy flowers. All in all, I learned to not give up on a fabric that I don't fall in love with immediately. And I learned that it's OK to stretch your colour palate.
I donated "Renaissance" to my son's school bazaar. I'm sure it will find a loving home.

Hurtin' Household

We're a pathetic bunch in our house today. DS came down with strep throat last night. I feel so sorry for him because I can't make it better other than to pump him full of tylenol and advil until we can see the doctor at 3pm.
I had an hour and a half appointment at the dentist this am to replace some broken and cracked fillings. And..
My boarder had a wisdom tooth out this am.
I'm glad the puppy's healthy!
I did some sewing on the bargello quilt top last evening and today for a bit. I really like how it's coming together - and that's just sewing the strata together. I can't wait to cut it up into ribbons!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Sunday

Today started and ended well. My DS was in a good mood this morning so getting breakfast and off to church went smoothly. Once we got home, DS basically immersed himself in his Lego. It was rainy off and on so we didn't venture outside except for doggy duties. The movie Monsters Inc. was on tv, so that was on in the background.
I pulled out the "Best laid plans" quilt and added another row to the bottom so it will end up twin size when finished. I'm tall, and there is not much worse than a 'too short' blanket!
Then I added a 5" navy border that has a subtle white on blue print. Having the blocks so square sure made it easy to put on straight borders. I can't wait to get it on the frame and scribble all over it with the Horizon.
On another note, the 'senior's quilting club' that I go to on Mondays, is starting a new project tomorrow. We're all making the bargello quilt called "Ribbons in Motion." I still needed the flannel blanket for the batting, but couldn't find one anywhere. Don't people use flannel anymore?
So, I'm taking a risk. I bought a microfleece blanket to use for batting. It's soft but not stretchy, I got one that's twin size and in cream colour. Hopefully that will make for a good batting. It doesn't shrink either so if I ever have to (hopefully not) wash the wall hanging, at least it will be stable. If it works out well, I may just have a cheaper alternative to W&N batting for kids quilts and wall hangings. Anything helps the budget! I know people use minkey for the backing on kids quilts, so I'm hoping the theory transfers to microfleece.
For my good quilts though, I'm sticking to what I know works. I'm chicken I guess.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shh, Don't tell my mom...

I've become a fan of starch. No, hell hasn't frozen over as far as I know. But I've been reading a lot of quilters blogs and there are a lot of them out there that say they starch all their fabric before cutting and it makes the pieces more stable so they sew together better.
So, I've been dabbling in the 'starchy' world. Today I put a quilt top together that I had starched the fabric before cutting. It really did make the fabric a LOT easier to handle and, I have to admit, it made my accuracy on seams much better. Ironing the seams open really was easy. I had the 3 piece blocks done last evening and it has taken less than 3 hours to get the blocks together into a flimsy.I'm calling it my " Best laid plans" quilt because despite my best plans to not get two blocks with the same print touching, by the time I had it together, there were. But I'm NOT unstitching it. I'm enjoying the scrappy look of this one. Even the back looks pretty good. It has some Moda, some Thimbleberries, some Benartex and some unlabeled fabrics in it. I think I'll use up some navy print that I have in the stash for an outside border and backing. But right now, it's nap time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Never stop learning.

I learned something new tonight. I've had my workhorse Janome (QC6260) for three years now. I never knew that the needle position could be changed. Duh.
I found it on my new Janome Horizon last week, by wondering first, and then looking it up in the owners manual. All I have to do is press the stitch width button up or down to move it left or right.
Tonight I was having trouble getting that perfect 1/4" seam, so I thought to myself,
"Self, I wonder if this machine moves the needle like the new one does."
So I tried it. And it does.!!
Should have read the manual three years ago.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Got the ugly done.

I am still not in love with this quilt. But when I brought it to the school this morning, the ladies loved it. Hopefully it will do well in the auction and find a home where it is loved.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My Darling Son just 'pranked' me !!!

I have just been pranked. It's the first time he's pulled a practical joke on me that I wasn't "prepared" for.
I've just been "squishy-d".
What's a squishy? You might ask?
It's a prank from the "Captain Underpants" books for tweens.
He takes two packets of ketchup. Fold them in half and place carefully under the toilet seat - preferably under the little "feet."
Then when the prankee, in this case, ME, sits down, "S P L A T" goes the ketchup. On the wall, down my legs, on the floor and all under the seat.
I couldn't stop laughing to get stern with him. I knew immediately what it was because we had read the "book" together. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have been so amused.
The little stinker has a sense of humour!
He just better not try it again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I recently bought a package of Moda Turnovers online, called Renaissance. I must say that I wasn't totally impressed with the designs. Oh, they were pretty, just not in any of my colours.
So, what to do?
Off to Fabricland, to purchase more fabric that would coordinate with Renaissance, since I didn't have anything to wear, oh, I mean, go with it.
A marbled rusty, terra cotta sort of red was it. Unfortunately, it doesn't photograph well, and looks pink.
I started with 80 triangles. Sewed 2 to each 6 1/4" square for a total of 40 squares. Unfortunately, I did my math wrong, and cut out almost 80 squares before I realized I only needed 40.

Once I got the squares cut back into triangles, I started trying to place them in a design. I wasn't feeling happy. So I started throwing those extra solid squares in here and there. It started to look better.

So, back to the machine to stitch, and stitch, and stitch. Once they were all together, I had it 9x9 square. Not a real useful size. So, I added a border of the outside border fabric and another row of solid squares on the top and bottom. Ah, much better. By now, this quilt was starting to grow on me. So I put the outer borders on and started to piece the backing which I DID pull from my stash. It, happily, is in a dark teal with a paisley that has the same rusty red in it. So at least the binding will go with the backing! Once I get this quilted, I think I'll donate it to my son's school bazaar. Maybe it will find a home where someone absolutely LOVES the colours.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And now, the big reveal episode.

Mom's quilt is done! I got the binding on and finished the borders today. In that order.
Yes, I put the binding on before quilting the outer border. I do it for a couple of reasons. First, I don't like it when my quilting pattern in the border is cut off by the binding. It just looks unplanned. Secondly, if there is any easing of fabric to be done when sewing on the binding, I find it a lot easier to do, with better results, if I have the fabric width of the border to take in the easement. If I've got the quilting done, then I only have a cm or so to take in the fullness and I usually get tucks in the fabric - which I don't like. Mom used to make me "unstitch" anything that had a tuck in it, and I guess that lesson stuck. So here they are, the final pictures.

My darned cute quilt inspectors

All right folks, it's time you meet the quilt inspectors at my house. The aloof cat is "Smitten", also known as furball, and drama queen. She likes to play the "woe is me" game until the dog falls for it and chases her. Then she makes a fuss because the dog is, well, chasing her.
Our puppy is "Neeka", usually known as "naughty Neeka." She's got her fall coat on. I prefer the shorter trim, but it's pretty chilly out there late at night and in the early morning, so I might just leave it a little long for the winter. It beats having to put a coat on the pooch!
Smitten will find any quilt, or part of a quilt, or stack of fabric, or even a scrap of fabric to lay on. I think she's just testing it for coziness.
Neeka keeps my feet warm when I sew. She's usually a few inches from my feet and sometimes closer when I sew. If I'm sewing in bare feet - yes that does happen- she'll sometimes lick my feet to get attention. Eeww!
So now you know. We have a menagerie at our house. Two cats (the other one is my boarder's), one dog, some 15 or so fish in the aquarium, one 10 year old boy and me.
Who makes the biggest mess? Well, that's debatable.

Craft Rescue

I just couldn't leave it the way it was. So I picked all the blocks apart and tried again. This time the pattern worked, I guess the key is to stick with 4 patches per block and not try to make an all over pattern. The dog is still getting it, but at least I got to practise my free motion swirls!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Long arm, Mid arm, Shaky arms!!!

I know, I read it a hundred times,"learning to quilt on a frame with a mid or long arm takes practice, practice practice."
But, surely, that didn't mean me? I've been sewing for over 40 years and quilting for almost 10. Surely, I could just plug it in and go?
Well, in a word, No.
I couldn't believe how shaky I was for the first few rows. And I had all the problems a beginner has, broken thread, broken needles, tension off, etc. Don't count the dog chewing on my feet.
I got the thread sorted out - what I was using was just too soft - it looked great, but it shredded with the higher speed machine.
I changed the bobbin thread because I wasn't using the same as on the top, and miraculously things got better, until I rolled the pickup roller far enough to see the back stitching - tension problem. I had eyelashes everywhere.
So, after a bit of practice on the edges to get the tension right, I thought, OK, let's get going. Still my hands were too shaky.
So, I modified my beautiful new $3000 machine.
I took the hood off the head of the machine, and on the two screws that held the hinge, I mounted two small "L" brackets. To them I mounted a 4" steel plate that was predrilled with holes, and to THAT I mounted a 8" piece of 1" wooden dowel on yet another "L" bracket.
Touchdown! Being able to hold the machine comfortably worked wonders. Having the "hood" off had extra benefits - I could actually see the needle to rethread it, and I could see where I was going. A novel idea - duh!
And, I slowed down the speed of the machine to med-fast.
With a stretch of my neck, and a crack of my back, with a little shoulder roll to reduce the knots I had worked up by hunching over, things started rolling along. My swirls were starting to look like - well - swirls!
But I'm humbled. Yes, I do need to practice, practice, practice.
So much for superpowers!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tim Horton's vs McDonalds - the coffee wars.

My name is Teresa and I am a coffee-aholic. My usual vice is the Timmies drive thru on the way back from bringing DS to school, on my way to a meeting, on my way home from where ever, etc, etc, etc.
But, McDonald's has their Monopoly game on Mom! Can't we go there, puleeeeze?
DS usually only eats fries and a small drink, so none of his things gets a Monopoly sticker, but Mom's coffee does! It gets two - BONUS!!
So now my DS is an enabler. "Mom, don't you need a coffee?" is what I hear every time we get into the van. Don't get me wrong, I do like McD's coffee, but even I have my limits.
Pass the sugar please.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The quilt show is done! Yeah!

My guild's biannual quilt show is finished. Between accepting quilts on Wednesday evening, Setting up the display racks and quilts and having the vendors move in on Thursday, then the show from 10-8 on Friday and 10-4 today, then tear down and sorting the quilts for pickup tomorrow, ----I'm pooped!
A happy camper, but plum tired out.
We had a smashing success. The visitors were happy, the vendors were happy and we had no major crisis.
Tear down today took 90 minutes. Set up took 5 1/2 hours !
If only I had someone else's charge card - I could have gone crazy in the vendors' mall. The one has custom made cabinetry for sewing rooms. Her son who makes them has a degree in industrial design, and he has a passion for woodworking so the sewing tables and cutting tables he makes are simply amazing pieces of furniture.
The assortment of fabric vendors made sure there was something to appeal to everyone.
Wow. But I'm glad it's over for another two years. I better get sewing to compile some new entries :)