Sunday, November 28, 2010

Itsy bitsy bit of thread

This morning I was awake early, full of enthusiasm, wanting to get to quilting the Christmas Tree Skirt, but my normally dependable machine would NOT cooperate. Thread nests, pokeys, snarls, threads not laying flat on top. And I had put in very good, expensive thread, both top and bottom. Changed threads, re-threaded, changed feet, and nada, nada -- even tried a second new needle. Then I got out a flashlight and looked as well as possible into the tension area. I could not discover any method to remove the cover OFF to look closer, but I DID see just a bit of extra threads in there. Sure enough, with my tiny tweezers, I pulled it out -- a small fuzzy, knotty wad of thread. Voila - problem resolved.

I always have the feeling there is still a small bit of invisible thread in there. Anyone know how to remove the cover from the tension disks, on a Janome MC6500?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ready for Quilting!

I'm lovin' it! Next is the quilting, then I will bind it in that dark green. My inside corners are fixed, with some fiddling and hand sewing. Whew - THAT issue was a learning experience!

It's laying on batting -- I can baste it in the house. It's about 58 x 58 inches.

Oh my, how will I ever cut into it, for the slit and the tree hole? Yikes!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Uh oh - mess up on the inside corner

This is my Tree Skirt, and I'm planning on adding HSTs around the entire perimeter - they are already made. I figured that inside corner would sew up to a nice 45 degree angle to possibly hand stitch together. I carefully sewed to the stopping point - you know, stop at 1/4 short of the seam end.

A little messy, but "it will be OK." I sewed the HST's (not shown on the above top) to the triangular log cabin units on the side.

But look what happens!
They don't match up at all! What the heck????

OK, some of you are laughing because YOU know why, but I learn best by doing, even if doing is wrong! lol

I sure was surprised and even put out some calls for HELP!!!

After thinking for 2 hours I realize that the diagonal measurement (see the triangle) is longer than the leg of the triangle! I hope the photos describe better than what I'm trying to say. If you make this kind of inside corner, with HSTs, you cannot have a continuous line of HSTs because now, they measure a different width since they are on an angle.

My solution is to remove the HSTs from the triangular log cabin blocks, then border them with plain strips, at 1 3/8 raw. The HSTs are 2 inches raw. IMHO - (that mean don't bet money on me!) This is because a strip that is 1 3/8 inch on the diagonal, measures a bit shy of 2 inches from edge to edge - the size of my HST. (Remember how you figure a block size on the diagonal - measure block size x 1.414)

Next time, I'll draw it out. I jes' LOVE learning experiences? 8-))

WIP, Christmas Tree Skirt

Whew - gotta remember my geometry! I didn't use a pattern., and there's still a lot of work, but you can see where I'm going. The HSTs go all around the perimeter. Those inside corners should meet at 45 degrees, and therefore NOT be an issue but ... wish me luck! The center hole will be faced, then I'll use normal binding around the edges.

There were bias issues on the side log cabin triangle blocks, so I had to make additional minor adjustments to the seams.

I'll bet all you quilters are just like me -- when you give a quilt you feel compelled to explain all the ins and outs and techniques used, to a non-quilter who, most likely, has no idea what you are talking about! LOL

Enjoy your weekend -- and Happy Quilting!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homemade laundry detergent, and a Star Log Cabin

Today I made my 3rd or 4th batch of homemade laundry detergent since December 08. The original cost of ingredients was approx. $10.00. I DID have to purchase a second bar of Fels Naptha for about $2.00, but I STILL have a half box of Washing Soda and half box of 20 Mule Team Boraxo, and 2/3 of that 2nd bar of Fels Naptha. Cost per load is about .01 -- yes, that's right! Also, I don't need fabric softener any more with this detergent - another savings to pocketbook, space and environment. I've not purchased ANY other laundry detergent since 12/08.

There are just the two of us in this household, but I've saved several hundreds of $$ by now, in addition to consideration for the environmental issue. I can only guess at the dollars saved if you have a large family. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to make a batch, I store it in empty milk containers or ice cream buckets - something that can be covered. If interested, check out I still purchase stain removal products and occasionally use bleach. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY OVER $10.00 PER CONTAINER FOR LAUNDRY DETERGENT. Try it, you might like it!

On a quilty subject - here is a star log cabin WIP to be turned into a Christmas Tree Skirt. While the conventional blocks are easy, I became confused with the scrappy centers, where there was no light/dark differentiation, and I had to admit defeat a time or two and put my seam ripper to good use. More blocks are planned on the outside to make it octagonal, and then it will be surrounded with HSTs (I hope). This is for an artificial tree, 7 1/2 feet tall. How large should I cut the hole? (JoHanna, pretend you haven't seen this!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Whew - a wonderful retreat!

This was Friday evening view, with recent snowfall. You can see the Platte River sparkling near the center of the photo, behind the fence.
(Above) The blond gal in the center (long hair) did not sleep after arriving Friday morning, not Friday evening, not Saturday until very late Saturday night when she FINALLY went to bed! Whew - and she functioned very well!
(Above) This is one of my roommates, Lari, finishing up a Kaleidoscope quilt (and she DID). She had the bunk on top -- keep in mind that that we returned to our rooms late at night, lights are out, being quiet so as not to disturb early retirers, and she had to climb up, ladder fashion between two bunks, into her bunk! I sure could not have done it.
Now, why are their tables so clean and tidy??? I know they each finished many projects. Colleen on the right finished at least 9 separate projects! She is the most organized person I know!
Below is my tablemate, Chell, who I introduced you to in my previous post. She has definitely 'taken' to machine quilting, and she's also brought her embroidery machine. I don't think she slept longer than 2-3 hours each night.

(Above) I finished my Red/White/Black top -- only needed to add borders.

The start of a Christmas Log Cabin Star. The center was all green colors - no lights - and I became very confused!
Sharon said she only made 572 HSTs, out of the needed 800 or so. Her quilts are always spectacular. We noticed her paperpiecing some extraordinary stars also.
These old blocks had a heart-warming story. Nancy was putting sashing on them. Her 82 year old friend was given these blocks by HER mother who made them when (the older mother)she was 92. Nancy's friend did not have a clue that they were turning into a quilt.
By own mess - I took this so DH knew I was actually accomplishing something. I take a small Janome Platinum to classes.

If you've never attended a retreat, you don't have a clue what you are missing. We had 3 days this time and what I loved the best was hearing personal stories and getting to know each other more than just seeing their quilts. I believe there were 40 of us, working in two separate spaces, so we had plenty of spreading-out room. The meals were simple and wonderful, friendships rewarding and I believe everyone went home with projects completed. The local fabric shops were more than generous with gifts and certificates handed out at the culmination of the retreat. Can't wait until next year! Thank you to Marlene who did an enormouse organizing job!!!

Now, I have something else to do!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A new blogger, a new machine quilter on a DSM

My friend and fellow Quilt Guild member, Machelle, at has jumped in and started a blog. And, with the attitude of "I am Woman!!!", she's been learning to machine quilt on her DSM, with excellent results. Stop by and see her - give her an attagirl! She also lives out in these open parts of Nebraska/Wyoming.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Keeping track for 2010

2010 Yards of Fabric in 107.00
2010 Yards of Fabric used -129.00
2010 $ spent for sewing supplies $1,415.82

2009 Yards of Fabric in 118.25
2009 Yards of Fabric used (107.70)
2009 $ spent for sewing supplies $1,680.63

I appears my spending and sewing activities are running along at the same rate as last year. The costs include Retreats, books, Quilt Activities, in addition to the 'regular' costs of fabric, threads. I don't count gasoline. But this is close and I'm trying to reduce it from last year, and use what I have. OK, I'm weak!

This weekend is a 3-day retreat at a lovely YMCA Lodge location, not far from my home. Originally I thought 3 days would wipe me out toooo much, but then realized that with 3 days, I'd actually have time to rest a bit. Ya think?

This time, I'm taking photos! See y'all in a week or so.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Too much Visual Stimulation!

That Split 9-Patch arrangement (previous post) is too much for me -- while I like things that are visually lively, I will probably tone it down somehow. Maybe I'll turn all the blocks in one direction but if you have suggestions, I'd welcome them. I'm not much for "giving the eye to rest" but there ARE limitations to how much visual chaos a person can take! LOL

I will most likely add a plain 2-3 inch white border around it, then another border made of ??? I'm sure the LQS will have the perfect thing.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Best MQ book so far, and Split 9-Patch

This is the last book I'll ever need to keep improving on my Machine Quilting on a DSM. The author, Judy Woodworth, is a member of our Guild and makes the most amazing quilts, and then long-arm quilts them with astonishing perfection. Every winners list on MAJOR Quilt Shows include her name among the winners, frequently with her friend Mary Sue Suit, also an author and another member of our Guild. Aren't we lucky? What I like best about this book is the detailed, brilliant photos of her amazing, heavily-quilted backgrounds. This book is for quilters who use either a DSM or a long arm.
I've shown many of my quilt books on this blog, and every one of them has something to offer. I AM a glutton for books - love them all - but even if a quilter gets only one idea from each book, that's good enough. The best thing I get from books is ENERGY and INSPIRATION!

Below is a likely arrangement of my recent Split 9-Patch, "Which Way?" I LIKE how it jumbles my eye, confuses where to look - I like it this way. This photo could use a white border to help set it off. I WANT it to be confusing, wondering which way it goes, which side is up, etc.