Friday, November 21, 2014

More lessons to learn

Oh boy, new photo system, new to this computer, new to this brain!!!  Old camera (2006) not functioning as I remembered it used to, and I had been using an old 2003 Windows XP desktop in the past, but for now, it is not cooperating.  The little camera disc is also not reading to this newer laptop, not sure what to do about that, but I was happy to find out the camera cable will connect to this gadget - I DO  have a brand new rechargeable battery in the camera and that part is now making the camera work properly.  Duhhh, I didn't realize I was supposed to purchase new rechargeable batteries.  My camera is a Kodak -- rechargeable batteries were not easy to find.  However, my friend Fern directed me to, I called the Ft. Collins franchise, and they mailed me what I needed. 

Does anyone have suggestions as to why my camera disc won't read on this new laptop?  It used to a year ago, when last I tried it.  The laptop recognizes it is "there" but I get an "error".  Perhaps because the previous battery was dead it damaged something to the disc?

Now, I just need to figure how to wander thru this new interface.  It was not as difficult as I had imagined. 
 I was asked to make a small quilt for an auction.  I called it "Gifts" meaning we all have gifts to offer not just the kinds that we wrap up.  It's about 38" x 40", and would be artfully positioned in a small antique sled.  I quilted winding ribbons all over it first in one thread, then another. 

Time was short so I started with a lovely Moda Charm Pack - I have never done that before.  What a time saver! 

The feathers on the outside border were easy.  My friend Jody calls them "fat ladies on a barstool"!  LOL

The backing was PERFECT. 

Below is my Scrappy Spider Web I've been working on between machine problems.  Did ya ever have whole months when NOTHING was working properly?  Ok, got that fixed, and improved my stitching issues with Sewers Aid liquid lubricant.  What a great improvement THAT made! 

The first spider webs were in a creamy tan thread - didn't look quite right, so I changed to a white shiny poly that had some silvery look to it - much better. 
I deserve a GOLD STAR after struggling with a variety of geekie issues.  I stuck with it, didn't cry, didn't curse and swear, and didn't give up!  8-))))  I am woman, hear me roar!!!!! 8-)))

Friday, November 07, 2014

Tumalo Trails, an Auction gift, and an Apron Idea

Last weekend was our Guild 3-day Retreat, and I was able to get these blocks together in rows. They were inspired by Bonnie Hunter's Tumalo Trails.  48 blocks, set 6 x 8, blocks finished 9 inches.  A while back, I had started making a gazillion small 9 patches, and someone gave me an extra large plaid shirt, knowing I used them in quilts.  The items were both piled on my sewing table, and suddenly it hit me, "Elaine, use that shirt with the 9-patches!"  I renamed my project "Cowboy Up".

Below is a small quilt made for an auction in about 10 days.  I machine quilted an overall ribbon, covering the quilt 2 times with 2 different threads.  Hint - if you do this with 2 different threads, be sure and quilt with the darkest one first - a light thread first (in this case) made it difficult to follow with the second stitches!  I'm pleased with the end result (not shown in the photo).  This was the first time I purchased a coordinated set of charms - oh my, that made fabric choices so easy!  I added a few charms of my own, given or won from other Guild members.  This little quilt is about 40 x 44 in.

Below is a clever apron idea by Tina, a friend and Guild member who was also at the Retreat.  Those light patches are family recipes, now printed on fabric - what a great idea.  The handwriting is clear, and even the fingerprint smudges from the recipe cards are included on the patches.  She's making several for family members, who might even recognize their own fingerprint smudges on family favorite recipes! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Totes -- one delicious, one dorky

This lovely little tote bag was a gift from Nancy and Gene, who are quilters and computer/embroidery people who faithfully arrange for the local sewing/quilting gals who meet each month.  I had admired this project during it creation and Nancy told me it was for her Mom.  Is that a lie?  8-))  Thank you so much, Nancy and Gene - I LOVE it.  

 I've wanted to make a few tote/utility recycled bags from the amazingly strong large pet foods bags we see.  They seem to be made of Tyvek or similar - hope I am using the right word.  If you haven't made one, you will re-learn the word "wrestle" as the stuff is strong.  You will need strong clips instead of pins.  I wanted the cat to show, not necessarily the "Kaboodle".  I stuffed a medium-sized quilt inside.  I wiped out the inside of the bag with a damp cloth and lined the bag - lining was not necessary but seemed like a good idea.   This can be used for my quilt basting supplies that currently hang in the garage.  How about a strong book bag?  Show and Tell? 

Here's the back.  I squared off the bottom so it could hold a lot of groceries.  Finished project is almost as large as a paper grocery bag.

I was given 7-8 more bags, with dogs, horses or cows on them.  My job would have been easier if I had used the free arm on my machine, instead of a flat surface.  Instructions and great photos were found at  What would you use it for?  Is it too dorky?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Creative Grids, Pineapple Trim Tool - a Review

 I have enjoyed numerous How-to videos on You Tube, especially those that are quilting related.  I discovered Creative Grid rulers and demos of their products, and even though I don't need them, I want them all!!!  So, while I already HAVE a Pineapple Ruler that works well, I wanted to try this one, because I appreciate PROCESS and SYSTEMS. 

There are good instructions included for it's basic use, and my package also included a Cut Loose pattern.  I don't know if this page is included with all rulers.  Part of the reason I "bit" and purchased this ruler  is because I am so grateful for the nice videos, since our TV quilt programs are seldom available.   Jeanne Ann Wright does the one I've been watching.

These instructions look overwhelming, but one step at a time.  I would recommend a practice block first, as the method itself is not the easiest, but the instructions and guides on the ruler make it accurate.  Mine finished at exactly 8.5 in., as planned.  The strips must be larger then 1.5 inches, and finish at 1 inch after trimming.

The nature of a pineapple block is that there IS waste, and it CAN get crooked.  Scrappy,  and care when lining up the ruler for trimming are good approaches.  If you have one of those small suction cups to stick to your ruler, that might be helpful because there is a lot of flipping back and forth, and looking for the guidelines on the ruler, in preparation for trimming.  One also needs to remember which "round" you are on.  The "rounds" relate to various lines and squares on the ruler -- you can't just throw one together without some concentration.  This one has 6 rounds and "ears" on the corners.  This scrappy block, my first one using this ruler, took about 40 minutes and I got lost a few times, but then decided to READ THE DIRECTIONS!

If you get lost, you can review the video on line.  Have fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tumalo Trails, "Cowboy Up"

Tumalo Trail

In a frenzy following too much really strong iced tea, I started making 9-patches from my 1.5 inch scrap box, continued for 2 day, wondering what I'd do with them, then remembered Tumalo Trail, a design that has been tempting me.  My "pile" of "to-dos" is also on my sewing desk, and I'm to the point of being overwhelmed by the eternal clutter. Oh good grief, Elaine, you have GOT to cut that shirt up (left in photo) one of these days!  

Uhhh, that shirt cutting job ... that shirt kinda looks OK with those 9-patches. Wonder how it would look .....?  

Sometimes that MESS of accumulating fabric leads to delightful accidental discoveries!  Looks kinda "cowboy", doesn't it?   I'll call it "Cowboy Up"? 

I might include a narrow sashing to solve the problem of all those seams needing to match.  I never would have included that lavender, if it hadn't been accidental!  I will have enough of the blue plaid for most of the quilt top. 

Sausage Pillowcases  

Our last local gathering produced a LOT of pillowcases.  I had cut up a bunch of fabrics, both body, cuff, and accent and brought it all to our sewing group.  12-14 yards used!  Yeahhhh!  We mixed and matched the parts, and various pillowcases went home for final sewing.  These will be going to the DOVES, and the number we donate will count towards the "Million Pillowcase Project."   It's funny how our fabrics we've had for years look pretty spiffy when made into something else beside a quilt.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

We're supposed to clean these machines?

The bottom of my Janome 6500 can be easily opened up for occasional cleaning, by removing 5 screws.  The last time I cleaned it was ... uhhh, over 5 years!  (I DO clean the bobbin regularly.)  This job was necessary because my always reliable machine was not machine quilting well.  Despite all the internet help, friend help, manual help, etc., it still was skipping stitches.  Off to the sewing machine hospital.  

Is this not terrible???? I have probably quilted 15 or more quilts in the last 5 years.  

I vacuumed it with the big, household vacuum cleaner, then blew it with canned air and it dislodged several clumps, that were like felt pads.  Wow - who knew??? 

It normally sits IN a sewing desk - taking it out like this is not a small job.  I promise to do it more frequently.