Sunday, January 29, 2012

“Life” Gets In The Way

There is nothing, nada, zip, on my Design Wall.  I had big plans.  If you want to see what I did get done please back up one post and you will see how far I got quilting Crazy Cats. (see edit below) I was so proud of myself and planned another almost full day of quilting before the weekend. 
However, DH had other ideas.
War Eagle 1
Enter Gari’s new car.   AGAIN!

War Eagle 2
This is a Chrysler 200, the replacement for the Sebring.  DH decided I needed to get back to having a convertible and he says he got a “really good deal.”  And he only went to the dealer to get the oil changed on his truck.  I can’t let him out of my sight.
Anyway, since he was going to be tied up Saturday I decided that I would take the War Eagle to the beach and introduce her to the beauty of white sands and emerald green waters.

War Eagle 3
Doesn’t she look pretty amidst all that beauty?  Of course it was a little chilly to let the top down but that’s the beauty of a convertible, you can choose how you want to drive.  There will be plenty of convertible days.
Now, my plan was a full day of driving and “beaching” on Saturday and then a full day of quilting on Sunday.  Not going to happen.  DH has decided that we need to drive back to Pensacola, by way of the beach, of course, and then go see the new Stephanie Plum movie.  Well, who could say no to that great idea?  Not me.  So quilting will have to wait until Wednesday when I will quilt and cut the fabric for the next comfort quilt (fabric already washed and ready).
If you came here wanting to see quilts, better hop on over to Judy’s blog where some people got something done.  Be right back

edit: I did get something done this week, I just forgot in all the excitement.
This is my 81/2" x 11" color challenge quilt.  I am using the format I did with the journal quilts last year and they can be displayed in a plastic holder.  I am trying to get out of my symetrical box.....not easy for me at all.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Crazy Cats on a Roll

I may not have much time in the studio these days but when I have been in there I have been having fun.


Since every block is different I have not gotten bored.  My CC’s are still funny looking and my loops are not consistent but I still am really liking how it looks overall.



Now, about my echoing.  This is really a challenge.  I must say that I have FAR more control of the machine now that I have the Railz system, but my control still leaves something to be desired.  But since this is kind of a primitive quilt I am thinking of this as a practice/learning quilt and thus  it looks pretty good.


funny cat

I have been having fun doing this.  I also have been wondering, do other people talk to themselves while they are quilting?  I do, and not always complimentary.  Who me?


I like to play soft jazz music while I quilt.  With this quilt, since I have to think more than when doing a panto, I am listening to Earl Klug.  The sound relaxes me and helps me to not hold onto the handles too tight.



And, after an afternoon of quality quilting, this is what I came back to.  Two of Sadie’s toys have bit the dust.  There was stuffing (see white bear) and bits of rubber (see green rubber duck) all over the front room floor.  But she loves her toys and plays hard with them so who cares.  The other two dogs only infrequently play with toys but Sadie has to have them all out on the floor, tosses them, and obviously chews them.  And what, I say, are the toys for if not to play with?


Now, I’m off to shower and then spend another quality day in the studio.  See ya!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Design Frame



After a week of being on the road every single day, I finally got back in the studio on Sunday and got DH’s Crazy Cats loaded.  Then, of course, it was time to figure out what I was going to quilt on it.  I have not done any free motion quilting for several months so I was fresh out of ideas.  However, I browsed some YouTube videos and came up with what I think will work.


This is my continuous curves 042attempt.  I have no artistic drawing skills and it shows up in my quilting also.  However, I think that I will improve as I go down the  quilt and once the blue marking is washed out, these will look better, I hope.



This is what I am quilting in the strip blocks.  Sometimes I see a row of e’s and sometimes I see l’s.  Since DH’s initials are EL, that works for me.



I am going with really easy loops on the large outer border so that part is going well.  And for some reason I didn’t get a picture of the second border so I will try to get that online later this week.  I am planning easy leaves for the inner border but haven’t started it yet.  I am not really excited about leaves so maybe something else will come to mind as I go along.

Oh, I haven’t gotten to the cats yet.  My current plan is to echo the cats and that will take me some time since I have never done that, either. 



This is the thread I am using.  It is a Floriani machine embroidery thread and is working out very well, looking good on all the different shades of blue.  I have Superior pre-wounds in the bobbin.






We had a wonderful time in Gainesville, FL last week.  We ate well, slept well, attended a great concert, new fabricvisited two antique malls, and, of course, visited a fabric store, Fabric Art, in Lake City.  Did I spend any money?  Oh, yes I did.  And here is my bounty. The two batiks and spotted fabrics were 40% off.  I already have a plan for the batik on the left (it is a lot more purple than this picture shows).  I bought the banana fabric because bananas have become a favorite of mine since they are 0 points with Weight Watchers.  I hope to make some kind of garment with it so I can wear it to meetings.



One more picture.  While at one of the antique malls I found this.  It is a sewing room for a doll house.  I didn’t buy it (I am cutting down on things that have to be dusted) but thought it was perfect.  It is a treadle machine and bolts of fabric.  It was one of those times when I really wanted to buy something just to look at.  However, I have no more surfaces to put “things” on so it stayed where it was.

Now, for a whole lot of quilting inspiration, check out Judy’s Design Wall blog.

Monday, January 16, 2012

An Anniversary & Design Wall

This week we are having another anniversary, our 51st.  Last year our 50th was spent apart (see this post).  Well, our luck has not improved this year.  Our anniversary is on Tuesday and that just happens to be the day when I am on the road for WW for 14 hours and DH is on the road teaching for the same 14 hours.  However, do not despair.  On Thursday we are going to Gainesville to see The Manhattan Transfer, one of our favorite singing groups.  We have seen them twice before and have really enjoyed the show they put on.  And on the drive down and back we plan some antiquing, just to keep our hands in.  If possible I will also make a stop in Lake City where there is a really nice quilt shop (the name of which I can’t remember right now).  What we have learned is that it doesn’t really matter when you celebrate the important occasions, just that you celebrate them.  And a long marriage is really something to celebrate.


And, yes, this is still on my Design Wall.

cats top done

But finally, this top is done.  All the cats have faces and the center has borders. 


backing-first plan

Next came the backing plan.  I had bought 6 1/2 yards of backing fabric (end of bolt) and my quilt calculator app told me I needed 8 7/8 yards.  My first plan was to use the extra strip blocks to make a center panel.  However, after some figuring and figuring, I decided I could get a full backing out of the one fabric if I did some fancy cutting.  Then it was cut and piece for most of Sunday afternoon.  I even pressed the seams open so it would lie flatter (a first for me).


under the frame

Here is the backing as seen from under the frame.  There I was lying on the floor, just to get this cool shot.  And there you can see my Red Snappers holding the backing onto the leader.  (I LOVE my Red Snappers)


batting at rest


After rolling the backing back and forth a couple of times to be sure it was straight and even, I put the batting over everything to give it some time to “rest” some of the fold lines out.  Later this afternoon I hope to begin some quilting on this but first I will need to figure out what thread to use and what I am going to quilt on it.  I will not be doing a panto as I don’t want to quilt over the cats.


Because today is a holiday I do not have my Monday WW meeting so I have an extra quilting day.  I will quilt and piece Monday and Wednesday, work on Tuesday (see above) and then hit the road on Thursday.  Sounds like a fun and busy week, doesn’t it?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Keeping Busy

Today begins a new semester for DH and this is going to be a busy one.  He retired from college teaching 5 1/2 years ago and almost immediately began teaching as an adjunct instructor at the Community college where he had been teaching and at two others, also.  This semester he is teaching 3 classes at the local school, 2 classes at one other and is also working with the music director at the second school to produce a musical.  This is going to be like old times when he taught full-time and put on two plays and one musical each year.  I think our evenings are going to look a lot like this.

This is me with one puppy and one cat, working on the computer and enjoying a quiet evening.  All we need is a remote, coffee, and we can rule the evening.
This past week I did get some time in the studio.
And this is what my design wall looks like now.  I finished sewing all the Crazy Cats blocks together and the center of the top is finished.  I plan three borders for this quilt but will not get back to it until Wednesday.

I did want to show the cats now that they all have faces.  Just like putting the quilting on a quilt top, having the faces on the cats really made them come alive.


cat 1
cat 2

cat 3

cat 5

cat 6
cat 7cat 4

You may have noticed that the dress quilt is back on the wall.  I said I was going to put it up so I could start thinking of how I might want to finish it.  Well, even before I could begin thinking, I got an email from my mother.  She told me that I hadn’t gotten her message when she told me that she really liked the dress quilt and that what she had meant was that she would like to have it.  Well, I think that is a great idea.  However, now I really have to come up with an idea.


So here it is.  I do have some ideas but they are not completely clear and I am not sure how to carry them out.  And one of the other things is that I have no oriental fabrics.  Usually the idea of buying more fabric is exciting but right now I am not sure since I have never used this type of fabric before.  So this will all be an experiment for me……and I guess, a wait for Mother.

edit 1/11/12:  Got a call from Mother and she wants the dress quilt, as is.  She said that she wants to hang is over her bed and thinks it will be easier for her if it isn't quilted (read heavy).  She doesn't even want me to put borders on it.  So I will be putting a hanging sleeve on this "flimsy" this week and sending it on, hopefully, by the weekend.
And then I can get on with the other projects that are waiting for me.  Yea!!

Meanwhile, I have an idea for a new comfort quilt.  I have decided to make one in flannel and this is what I have in my stash.

flannel 1
And this is the idea I have for the quilt.  I hope to be able to start cutting the fabric for this later this week.

Now it is time for you to  check in with Judy to see what other quilters are working on.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Love Winter Cold

Well, as everyone who knows me knows, that’s a lie.  However this morning, while taking the dogs out, it was 24F with no wind, the sun was shining low in the Eastern sky, and it was beautiful.  Everything had the frost twinkle on it and it looked like the landscape had been sprinkled with diamonds.  Of course I didn’t have my camera with me and with two dachshunds on leads, I didn’t have any hands for a camera anyway.


Breakfast of Champions


As beautiful as the outside was, I was really ready to come in when the dogs were.  And this is what I was ready for: hot oatmeal, a banana, and hot coffee (a 4 point breakfast for WW’s).  Now I am ready for whatever the day brings.





CPC Jan 2012And I am happy to share where I am in the Color Pallet Challenge.  This little quilt is a fused “art” piece.  It is 8 1/2 x 11”.  I only have it fused in place and hope to begin some form of quilting this week.  I used my Go to cut the shapes and played with the design last weekend.  One lesson I learned, from Laura while watching a segment of Sewing with Nancy, was that I need to fuse take the paper off of the fused fabric prior to cutting the shapes.  It is not always easy to get the paper off of small shapes and the whole piece of paper is usable  whereas the smaller pieces just get thrown away. 

One other rambling thought.  I am Facebook friends with a 20 year old  who has a 3 year old child.  Almost every day she writes that she “has” to go to work and how much she hates having to leave her child or how much she hates her job.  I want, so much, to tell her that she doesn’t “have” to go to work.  She can stay home.  Of course she will have no money for the house she wants, for her son’s clothes, food, or the fun she wants to have.  And I want to tell her that there are lots of people who really want work and would be happy to take her place at her work. 

I thought of all of this yesterday as I was leaving at 7 am to begin my once a week 13 hour day traveling and leading WW meetings.  My first thought was that I would much rather be in the studio (I am retired, you know).  Then I remembered my Facebook friend and realized how lucky I am that I can share my success with others, that I have the health that allows me to hit the road and travel around, and that I then can come back home to be greeted by a loving husband and some really great puppies.  I do thank my God that I am so blessed.

Monday, January 2, 2012

And away we go with 2012

table rnner 2011

One last shot of the table runners I made for Christmas 2011.  I made 6, 5 for gifts and this one that is currently on our dining room table.  It will packed up today, along with all the other Christmas decorations to make a triumphant return next year.

So, my plan for last week was to spend most of my time doing a cleaning and reorganizing of the studio.  If I tell you that not a lot got done would you be surprised?  Of course not!


clean machine

I did do some, however, and now the machine I do most of my embroidery on has been uncovered.  It sits on a very long table, where I used to do my DSM quilting with my first HQ frame setup, so it is very easy to pile things on. 


found projects

So I found several started projects while cleaning this table.  Here, at the other end, is one.  This is a string project that I was using as a leader/ender.  I have five completed 8 1/2” blocks and 10 in-process blocks, seen here.  I love how these blocks look so I will be continuing with this project until I find a completed quilt.



color challenge 2012

But I also couldn’t help myself and started something new.  The printout in the picture is for the color challenge being hosted by Judy and Vickie.  I have decided to participate and am combining it with an uncompleted journal quilt challenge hosted by Vickie last year.  Also in the picture are the fabrics I pulled from my stash: I think they match the challenge colors really well.


color project Jan started

My original plan was to just pull the fabrics but once they were on my “design ironing board” I couldn’t help but play.  This is what I finally had to leave in order to get dinner made.







recording studio

As the final Christmas fun, DH and I watched old family videos.  DH has been rescuing old VHS tapes and putting them on DVD.  The oldest is one that was originally 8mm movies of family Christmas’ from 1963 – 1969.  This picture is the “recording studio” he has set up in our living room.  He assures me it will find a new home prior to his return to work in mid-January.


a third of old tapes

Here are about a third of the tapes that we have not yet converted to DVD but with that wonderful setup, seen above, it should take no time at all.  Of course, once he has finished with the videos, he is planning on putting slides of the plays he has produced over his 47 years of teaching.  That will take some time, I am sure.


Now, next week I hope to have ongoing progress on the above and at least 1-2 more.  However, I may be taking on another Weight Watcher meeting so my time is being stolen, again.  See ya,