Saturday, January 30, 2016

Machine Quilting is Done, and some other Blog updates

I did the quilting on Allietare over several days, so I didn't hurt my neck or shoulders.

Just an allover large stipple or meander or whatever it is called when you don't cross over your previous quilting.

I am ready to make binding, I will use the same gold as the inner border, because I already have some leftover binding from my scrappy double irish chain, and I have enough yardage for the rest of the binding.

That means, the only fabric I purchased for this quilt was backing, outer border and the gray constant. Every other scrap was from stash. I love that.

I uploaded a few things to my crochet page, and added my selvage bag to the Sewn projects page

Are you this crazy? Do you save your pretty selvages and make things out of them?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Good cat, bad cat

Truly, I love them both. But I wish they would not follow me around so much. Today, I got back to work in my quiltorium annex (no room to machine quilt in the main quiltorium).  Since it was late morning, Clyde's hunger meter was already on the "near enough to empty that I could have some lunch" setting.

So, since I had given them an early breakfast before 6 am, I capitulated, and went downstairs to feed them. We give them three small servings of wet food daily, because Bonnie is a barfer and we don't like to let her overeat. The kindest thing I can say about her condition is she hasn't yet thrown up on a quilt. 

Back upstairs, sit down at the machine, and I have two cats on my table.
At least Bonnie did not sit on the quilt. Her highness prefers finished quilts. Clyde, who outweighs her by a good four pounds, decided to rest a bit.  He's probably thinking, "Does this pose make my rear look too big?"  YES CLYDE YES!

After chasing them out of the room, I managed to get the center of the quilt done, and am halfway round the inner border. Might be finished quilting it this weekend. I'm done for today, as my shoulders hurt. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

And....we're off!

Well, I started quilting Allietare today.  It's a heavy quilt so I am going to do it in short bursts.  I enjoy the luxury of having free time now in retirement. I used to race to complete things in a weekend of machine quilting, along with all the other errands and household stuff.

My quilting isn't perfect, as I find it so hard to maneuver a quilt on my Aurora 440. It's tough on the wrists and shoulders. I am burying thread tails as I go along. That's a habit I never developed. When I stop to reposition the quilt sandwich, I do it with the needle up, and line up the needle carefully to minimize little jigs and jags.

So, if it's not perfect, it's at least better than my last machine quilting effort. And that's fine for me. I am not one to enter shows. I see so many quilters torment themselves for not achieving perfection. It's a process, and I feel this way:  I don't have to be perfect. I just have to concentrate, slow down, and do the best I can on a given day.  

I refuse to let the pursuit of perfection rob me of my joy in doing this. I love doing this, and I can't let it turn into frustration.  

Quilting on the center is going to be plain, and it will try not to compete with the piecing. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This and That

Both blogging and quilting have been light lately, as I have been catching up on some of the quotidian little things that I have been avoiding in life. Like clutter. I think it will take me a full year to tame all the clutter.

Housework: I really need to make a system so that something gets done every day.

Allietare: I WILL start quilting this tomorrow. I will haul my machine out and give it a go. I will do a widely spaced meander through the body of the quilt, as I don't want to distract from the piecing too much. Then straight stitch the inner border, and maybe a medium stipple on the outer border. I like to quilt with variegated thread. I impulse bought a ton of it back in the day, and need to use it up!  I think I have some tan to golden  tawny brown variegated that would work on all the fabrics in the quilt.

And already, other projects are beckoning me. It's going to be small stuff for a while.

Idaho square dance blocks, to make some new placemats. Great for any dinner that features potatoes, in my opinion!

And a few smaller projects have crossed my feeds. I've downloaded the patterns for these:

Valentine mugrugs from Poorhouse Quilts (image is theirs too)
Valentine Mug Rug

And this mini totebag pin cushion. Too cute. Pattern and image from Poorhouse Quilts. 

Pin Tote

And I am normally not one for paper piecing, but I like this for some pillow covers, perhaps.
Nell's Star  a Judy Martin design. Image attribution contained within the image. Just trying to keep it legal.

Nell's Star quilt block pattern

Do you recover from big quilting projects by making small things?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First blizzard of 2016

Quilting has been interrupted by the storm. We got two feet of snow on Saturday. I spent the day basting Allietare, but after helping the menfolk dig us out, my arms and shoulders and hands have not been ready for machine quilting the past few days. The snow began to fall in the evening. Here is the view from the front window.

It snowed all the next day.
And on Sunday, we spent most of the day clearing out, greatly assisted by the snowblower we got ourselves for Christmas. I am the early riser, so I tackled the front walk first. It had been blown clear during the storm, so I didn't have to shovel the first 8" or so.
 Then my younger son came out and cleared the walkway round to the driveway where the cars were buried under some interesting windblown drifts.

Our driveway is a hill, and we scrape it and sweep it down to the blacktop when it snows. Otherwise its impassable. We were done before nightfall, and crept off into town to pick up some takeout food. 

It reminded me I never should have given up my weight workouts for the upper body.

Friday, January 22, 2016

And on to other scrappy projects.....

I will do a few posts featuring some other scrappy projects--things that are neither quilts nor wallhangings.  First up, some scrappy placemats.  These were made from little sample squares I received one year when I joined the Keepsake Quilting Club.  I did the four patches as a leader and ender project for a while.

As you can see I am using up some very old fabrics. I remember buying that outer border fabric about thirty years ago when I lived in the beautiful state of Tennessee. (Leave a comment if you are fortunate enough to live there!)

I had just gotten my Babylock Evolution serger, so I bound these with a wooly nylon wide three thread set on a short stitch length. Quick and easy, but it used up a lot of wooly nylon. The edges of these placemats are not as stable as those that are bound with bias binding, but I use them for everyday. I never regret trying a new approach -- even if the result is ho-hum. It's all a learning opportunity.

How about you? Are you an experimenter, or do you stick to the rules in your sewing and quilting?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Oopses in the Sewing Room

I had a couple of mishaps in the sewing room this week.  First, my pinpoint oiler that I use to lubricate all my machines periodically split in my hand. I had to order a new one. I got a two pack, because my featherweight is in a different room from the rest of my machines most of the time.

Then, when I was reloading a bobbin for my 301 to finish Allietare, the bobbin thread would not feed. I took it out and put it in several times. I took the plate off, dusted, etc., reseated it properly and no go!  I was in a panic. I love that machine! She's a beauty, you must agree.

Turns out, I was using a replacement bobbin I got on ebay. It's just a tad taller than the original issue singer bobbins. It has been banished, and I will only be using original issue bobbins in both my 301 and my 221 from now on.

Here are some closeups showing my border fabric and backing fabric for allietare. I know, I said I would start basting, but I need for someone (he knows who he is) to clear off the big tables I like to use for quilt basting.

The golds are kind of washed out on this photo, but I like the two pindot patterns next to each other.

My backing is rather plain. I usually don't spend big bucks on backing. This is a cobblestone fabric, I think it's appropriate for something Italian.

Waiting for the big storm to hit the east coast in a few days. That means I'll be hauling more groceries in tomorrow, for sure.

Monday, January 18, 2016

First flimsy of 2016

Of course it's a 2/3 size Allietare.

I plan to start basting it tomorrow.  It reminds me of some of the colors in the pictures I've seen of Siena's Palio race--the banners and the costumes.

Image result for The Palio

Image Source:    (great source for information about this historic annual race)

In other news, it seems like winter has finally come to us.  Overnight snow and sudden chilly temps and wind gusts.  And a bigger storm brewing for the weekend. Great time of year to be quilting!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Yay, border fabric is here!

My border fabric arrived, and is in the dryer now. It's black with a pointillist gold scrolly patter on it.  I put it in a cold wash with a dash of detergent and a color catcher and the color catcher looked fairly clean, so I'm happy about that. Not sure if I will get to it today, as I feel like putting my feet up and handquilting this some more later....

I would like to get this done and then decide if I have the stamina to hand quilt my Lazy Sunday top:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Double tumbles

Maybe some snow fell, but we never saw it.  By morning, the rain was gone, but there were gusty winds and much deadfall as we walked our usual route. I think the cold air gave me a whopping headache or threw my sinuses for a loop, because I have had a headache all day.

Nonetheless, I managed to get my tumbler rows put together:

Don't took too closely, I am not being super-diligent about matching seams on this. I figure the mistakes will hide in the mish-mosh of fabrics, and no one will see them from a galloping horse.

I also did some mending.

I partially refilled my raw materials (oops, technical term from my past life creeping to the fore) bin

with some allietare leftovers that I haven't put away yet, and other fabrics pulled from the stash drawers.

As I was dusting yesterday, I realized I tend to collect things that aren't quilts, but that are quilt-themed in some way.

This tray that I got on a trip to Lancaster--

This little wooden box I picked up at a yard sale--

And this Milky Way tin I bought on ebay years ago when I was far more prone to impulse buying.

Do you tend to attract these quilty themed objects as well?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tumblin time

While waiting for my border fabric to arrive, I consolidated my tumblers as planned.  My rows consist of 33 alternating dark and light tumblers with three dark tumblers on each end. Here's how I do it:

1. Cut a bin full of darks and lights. I have a cute plastic tray that fits them nicely, as you see in the middle of this photo.  When I started Allietare, the bin was full, and now it is getting low, so I guess it's time to cut some more.
2. My true leader and ender part of this adventure is just sewing them into pairs, with the dark tumbler on the bottom, with it's shortest side on the top.

Then when it's row piecing time, I piece the pairs into quartets, and make four quartets per row. I add one extra light to one of these quartets. Then I piece two dark trios, and do the final assembly. This prevents me from having to recount how many I have piece into a row, as I did on my first five rows.

I was too tired to press and assemble these rows. I can only blame the fatigue on my decision to dust the living room and tidy up a bit there. (Long overdue, believe me).  So now it's time for coffee and a cookie and maybe some handquilting downstairs til it's time to cook dinner. I'm hoping we see a few flurries tonight, it's been a snowless winter thus far.


My friend Moira over at the quilted snail has designed another lovely block for a block contest. Her block is done in those lovely fairy frost fabrics.  If you have a moment and love the design as much as I do, please give her a vote here 
Here is her contest block. Visit her blog for more info and to browse her other patterns and creations.

Monday, January 11, 2016

One more step to go....

On Allietare, and I won't be taking anymore pictures til the top is complete. I have the inner border on, but there is not enough of the fabric I thought I would use for the outer border, so I need to order some.

Since I am on a tight budget since retiring, I thought I would check Joann's first. Got in my car, drove there, and realized that I had neither my 40% off coupon nor my cellphone. So I didn't get the fabric today. I saw something on Connecting Threads, but their website is so slow!  I can't get my shopping cart to load again.  I put Allietare aside, and pulled this out: the Quiltville Tumbler challenge. I wasn't loving it until I saw someone doing this setting with a border of the darks and wavy rows instead of alternating lights and darks. my tumbler bin has gone way down while piecing allietare, I bet I can double the width of this, if I piece together all the pairs I have stitched and pressed while doing the MQ.

I am thinking of putting allietare on the quilting front burner, even though there are so many other UFO's. I have created a UFO tab on this blog to try to track my progress this year.  

Have you made a list of your UFO's? Did you make a resolution regarding finishing them in 2016?
I think I am getting too old for actual resolutions, I just try to move toward certain goals without beating myself up for falling short. Why make your hobby make you crazy?

Friday, January 08, 2016

Life intervenes, not much quilting progress

I promised myself that in January I would start looking for some ways to earn a little $. So on a tip from a friend, I checked out this website:

Real Ways to Earn

I will be exploring a number of things, but today I was working on completing a test for a crowdtesting site called TestBirds.

Last week, I signed up for this site and downloaded the app, and was surprised to find that it gives decent rebates on milk, eggs,yogurt,  and specific produce without requiring a specific brand for purchase. So I got $4.50 credited to my account for buying things I really needed to buy anyway this week. Once you earn $20 or more, you can get a payout by giftcard or via paypal.

I also started poking around a site called onespace.

But a certain quiltorium cat sounds like she just left a hairball in my office, so I guess it's time to leave my desk for a bit!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Gold blocks done

Whew...with three more to do this morning, I really frogged a lot of seams.  I am off to shower and then attack the borders. Let's hope they don't attack me!

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Like a turtle....

I limp along.  I should be able to finish all my gold blocks tomorrow. They are partially pieced and each need the final two long seams. I just sewed four of them together and they required no further ripping. The root of my difficulty was carelessness in the diagonal seam of the black to the red headless geese. I may have cut the red part a few threads too wide, figuring I could just trim them down to size.  But that throws everything off. So this afternoon, I fixed those diagonal seams before I did any further assembly with them.

As usual haste makes waste.  Here's where I was this morning.

 I hope the border blocks don't confound me this much!

Other than that, it was a day of two real FIRSTS for me:

  1. First day zipping back into the jeans I was wearing before the holiday cookies.  Not really dieting yet, just eating cleaner and eating less.
  2. First visit to the library since I retired.  When I was growing up, I loved the fact that the library was only a few blocks away, and it was right up the street from my elementary school. Because I've been working and doing a lot of work on the road, visits to the library have been rare and rushed.  I  love my kindle, it has travelled many miles with me. But I love browsing the library stacks even more than surfing at Amazon. I think it's great that I can borrow books to my kindle through the library, but a book is a book, and it feels different to put your feet up and read a book.     Don't you agree?

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Malocchio strikes my Allietare

Been slow going here for a while.  I am a bit fatigued, as I think my vertigo has resurfaced, albeit at a fairly low level. The extra load it imposes on my brain leaves me with a dull ache in the back of my head, and lower than normal energy.

Linking up!

Part of me doesn't want this mystery project to end. I feel the same way I did on the last day of my trip to Italy in 2001.

But if I were a superstitious woman, I would really think the Malocchio has it in for this quilt of mine. (nice shot of Assisi as the banner on that website by the way. Take a look).   However, I come from sterner stuff (see some of my ancestors here, they were not women to be trifled with!) so I will soldier on.

When my grandmother (on the right in this great photo) would return from one of her trips home to southern Italy, she would always bring back those red or golden horns to ward off the evil eye. Her friends had them hanging up in their houses.

Image result for Malocchio

Apparently, the color red in itself is supposed to be enough of a good luck charm. You would think, that with as much red as we have in this quilt, I wouldn't be making mistakes like this:

My gold center squares are giving me fits. Much ripping out, repressing, pinning, and even sewing over pins in desperate attempts to get the corners of the red pieces to match up nicely.

But I am making progress....and I WILL get this done.

In other news, it was too cold for me to walk this morning. I made it a few hundred paces up the road and my sinuses froze up, even though I was bundled pretty well.  So I got reacquainted with Mr. Treadmill in the basement, and we did about two and a half miles of fun. Not my daily quota, but the day is young, and all this walking back and forth between the ironing board and the sewing machine should help, right?

In closing, here is a little video I took the other day of my forest friends. I hope they are warm enough today.