Monday, 23 March 2015

Still Here

Waiting for them to reach the islands so I can fly out.
The good news is they have passed the mid-point of the trip. The anticipation and uncertainty of when I go has me reluctant to start anything. So I have been plugging away at finishing the Star Struck quilt. With good effect, finished webbing the top together and auditioned fabrics for the back yesterday
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 It came out ginormous, much larger than I had thought I was making.  Mostly due to a basic math error. Some how I got the number 360 fixed in my head for the quarter units I was making. However, a rather basic multiplication shows that 80 blocks (which is what I was aiming for 8 X 10 setting) would require 320 units. I don’t remember why I came up with 360, that was way back in January in the dark ice age. But I can confess that my 8X table was always my weakest link.
A wonderful bonus of all those stars was of course lots of bonus triangles. Plus I’ve been un-earthing stashes of them all around the sewing room and assembling them together. It makes a nice little portable project to take down stairs and work on while I wait for things like potatoes to cook or kettles to boil.
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Here they all are with their ears clipped and pinned in tens. 1230 of the muliti-coloured, 280 just pink. I kept the pink to one side thinking of doing a project just with them. The rest are going into an Ocean Waves quilt I have in mind, from Bonnie’s free patterns. At first I thought I’d have to scale it down and only do 3/4 size because her directions call for 2124 triangles which seemed unattainable  but now I might just aim for doing the whole thing. The little round container has some uncounted and I”m sure there are more around here in similar containers. If not, there are more patterns in my future that will produce them. Maybe I should work on that “Oklahoma Backroads” UFO…it has flippy corners….or go back to packing.

Saturday, 21 March 2015


We’re melting, we’re melting!! And it’s a good thing.
A few days of above freezing temps and sunshine and look at the progress. Now you can see how messy my backyard is.
February has been a hard month. It was tempting to say a “long” hard month but given it’s the shortest need to find more descriptors for a month that had no days above freezing.  But instead of dwelling on the horrible cold, it is time to move forward and greet spring sunshine, even if we’re a little short on the flowers yet.
The sun and warmer temps seem to have shaken me out of my doldrums. Plus I actually have stuff I can talk about. We have been planning a fabulous Caribbean sailing trip that I have been reluctant to mention. Mostly because it was on hold for so long as we waited for repairs to be made to our friends boat. daboat
And finally it is ready. DH is there now, flew out yesterday, I will be joining them once the boat is in St Maarten. First they have to sail it from Fort Lauderdale and that will be an open ocean 24/7 cruise that I’m just not qualified for. Everyone aboard that leg has to be able to helm the boat for three hour watches and my experience on our little 17 ft cat boat here in the big lake just isn’t enough to make the cut.
While we have been waiting for this to happen, I’ve been keeping busy sewing. Not all of it quilts. I branched out into bag making to send some gifts to our friends. Taking a tip from Quiltfool, who’s blog has taught me lots, I did some prototypes first. Once I learned the pattern, I could branch out and make modifications. 2015-03-08 003
The original didn’t have the pockets on the outside, which you can sort of see where the fabric changes. I had to go to another bag pattern to learn how to do that. All in all, I made 5 bags to get two to send. But since they called and said how much they love them, it was all worth it.
Found a pic of them in progress showing the pocket. The white at the bottom of the bag, before everyone starts to wonder why I would put white on the bottom where it is going to get so much wear and tear, is sailcloth. Yep, the actual stuff they make sails from. It was a pain in the butt at times to work with but should be pretty durable.
It was a fun project and a good reminder that there are things other than quilts  to be made from fabric.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Successfully finished

I managed to finish the quilt on the frame with the “new” Singer.  And even loaded another. A lot to learn with this technique, luckily I have a lot of finished tops to learn with.


2015-02-13 003

I only wish the back looked half this good, some real tension issues and traveling too fast in places.


Most of my time this week has been spent on this monster. This is only 80 units, it needs 360. So lots of cutting and sewing. It is Star Struck from Bonnie’s free patterns and I am doing it for a client who initially asked me to do a quilt over 2 years ago. Luckily she’s extended family and not too demanding but I have been feeling guilty about the delay, hence the flurry of activity. 

Plus I’ve finally got all the blocks pieced for Smith Mountain Morning and started webbing the top together. smithmtn

Better pictures coming once it is further along. I did have one of it up on the wall but it was on my phone.





The best thing about February is the sunlight, the worst is it’s still winter. If I still cross-country skied it would be a great winter. That’s a big IF

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Short Arm Quilting

Sunday we got the quilting frame set up and Monday I loaded my first quilt into the bars.  It is not a pretty set up area and I am sharing photos of an area of my house that few will ever see. The over-stuffed basement.
front of frame
This set up doesn’;t come with a bar for the batting, rather has it floating between the layers. Which means it is hanging down in the way all the time. I also didn’t have it trimmed to size for the quilt I am doing so there is some excess folded on the side so I can get the clips to hold all three layers. Here is the back where I stand and drive the machineback of frame
You might notice a lack of machine on the trolley.  ( it is really hard to get a good picture of the acrylic frame)
That would be because I burnt out a gear on the machine I was using.
After much deliberation and measuring, we went with the Stylist 514 I have had kicking around for a couple of years.
 After the first two rows, I realized the foot controller was not working the best and was doing either full out, top speed or off. A call to a sewing machine repair guy confirmed that the pedal would need to be replace or a least a part in the pedal. But due to the weather, neither DH nor I wanted to drive to this guys shop and get the part. So I kept going and ended up shredding a gear in the bobbin area. 
Last night after doing an inventory of my machines and figuring out what machine would be second choice, we decided to try the thrift store and see if there was a good candidate available. Value Village had a machine, not a great choice but for $30 I figured it was worth a try. ts750
Singer Touch and Sew 750. On the Vintage Sewing Machine F/B group they are called Touch and Swear or Touch and Throw. Known for nylon gears that are prone to breaking and a timing belt that is difficult to replace but needs replacing. So I might end up breaking another gear on this one.  Or not.  First off, we are oiling and greasing anything that needs it and I am learning how to do the self-winding bobbin.

Then back to this. Some of the worst free motion quilting I have ever done. If I had a dog, this would be a dog blanket. I just keep telling myself it is a learning curve and I need the practice.
And it is better than shovelling this stuff.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Grand Illusion Link Up

We were so busy yesterday, I didn’t even get a chance to write a post to link up.
Blocks are still stacked up , waiting to be sewn together.2015-02-01 002
I thought I was ready to web the top,however, I was jumping ahead and didn’t have enough of the sashing done. Another counting revealed only 103 not the 120 I need. So back to the sewing machine.
But not today. Because today we are putting together what we drove hours yesterday to pick up, a quilting frame. One designed to use a regular sewing machine for free motion quilting.
 This is what it looked like in the ad I saw on Kijiiji

This is what it looks like right now2015-02-01 005.

Some assembly required. Also some space, we need to set up a table downstairs as I don’t want to take up the living room with this.

So no sewing today, but look out tomorrow, thread will be consumed.

So now to link up with Bonnie and all the rest over at Quiltville.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Final Mystery Link up

It is hard to believe the mystery is over, it seems to be so quick. This past month has just flown. 
I didn’t keep up with the cutting so when the final clue was revealed on New Years Eve, I had a lot of catching up to do. Still haven’t finished all the pieces needed. And I’m resisting putting more than one block together before I get all the  double diamonds done.
mondaylinkup 2015-01-05 001
But here is number one assembled, with one side of the sashing. I really like how it is looking and haven’t been tempted to tinker with any of the colours or arrangements.

Just have to get 57 more double diamond units sewn to put all of the blocks together. Plus 24 more sashing sets done, and 63 more blocks done for the border. That's all, but a major cutting blitz got all the pieces cut, just a matter of sewing them together.mondaylink 2015-01-05 003
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My poor geranium blossoms just barely made it to the end and only because I didn't  dead head them when I should have last week. 
This has been a great adventure and I love doing the mysteries. One of the best parts is the group of quilters that I get to visit with along the way. The sharing of ideas and tips is such a great resource, a veritable wealthy of information. The best tip I learned this time was concerning the bonus triangle guide. I learned how to cut one and use it several mysteries ago but this time some one showed how to attach it to a ruler and the light bulb went on.
I  had two plastic 4” squares DH had cut for me for another purpose and weren’t being used. I glued the triangle buddy to one side of them and voila ! So much easier for me to hold onto when drawing the lines and the straight edge won't get ragged with use. I wish I could give credit to the quilter who mentioned this but have no idea who it was. A heartfelt thank-you goes out to her as I was almost going to give up on bonus triangles.
mondaylinkup 2015-01-05 002 
And now to link up with Bonnie over at Quiltville