Sunday, January 3, 2016

Half Year Review - 2015

Well, howdy, Internet friends!  Seems that I sort of disappeared from blogging the last half of 2015.  So, it may take awhile to catch you all up; I’ll resist my initial inclination to do it all at once!

I started a new job last year, in May, which coincides with when my blogging dropped off the map.  I’d been at my previous employer for almost 10 years, so it’s been a bit of a transition.  I’m still in the same tech field, though it’s a much smaller department, and even get to travel and go to conferences.  I think I’m finally getting comfortable and I really like the people I work with.

I also started a small quilt group.  It wasn’t an intentional decision, just a group of my friends who I wanted to spend time with and, well, it just sort of blossomed.  This photo is from one of those sessions where they helped me with a collection of scraps; what happens at sew day, stays at sew day!

Interestingly enough, the majority of the group are teachers, whether by formal training or natural ability.  We call ourselves the Grateful Threads and we meet once a month, working on both personal and group projects.  There’s so much laughter, fun, and learning that goes on, I can’t believe how lucky I am to know each and every one of them.

I bought a Pfaff 7570 sewing machine this summer because not only do I love my Pfaff machines, this one is capable of embroidering and came with the original cable that will allow connection to an (older) computer and a TON of embroidery cards.  I’ve had some challenges getting it connected so I can make up the embroidered quilt labels as I intended, but that’s an ongoing process.  I’ll keep you posted!

Fast forward to the recent holiday season, and I had several customer quilts I had promised for Christmas.  I finished by the 12th of December, so I helped a friend with her first quilt, which was made up of a variety of 5” blocks sewn together and a dark blue minky back.  She wanted to give it as a gift for Christmas and it was so much fun watching her gain confidence in the process.  I didn’t get any photos of the quilt, but I’m sure she did so I’ll post them later.

I also made 4 hats on my bulky knitting machine, 3 of them using this EASY pattern:

For the 4th one I adapted a hand knitting pattern that allows for a ponytail at the top so that my long-haired niece could wear it:

It was fussy to do because I don't have a garter bar for the bulky, much less know what I'm doing with adapting patterns or moving stitches around!  LOL!
I'm planning on getting my ribber set up in the next couple of weeks because I really want to start making a sweater that uses ribbing and I REALLY don't want to hand knit it.
I’m also looking forward to trying a  new pattern for a Quarter Crown hat pattern that not only is it a new technique to learn but I'd like to contribute some chemo hats to a gal who only takes hand knitted hats made in the round because a seam is too rough on the chemo head.

I’m definitely looking forward to this coming year.  There will be many challenges but I’m going to embrace them all the best I can.

Happy New Year!

Monday, May 18, 2015

PSQ: Postage stamp swap

PSQ_swap_Indian_OceanYou know what amazes me?  I got a package in the mail today all the way from the Indian Ocean!

How, you ask?

Well, I signed up to swap 7 packages for the spring swap hosted by The Curious Quilter.  She generously donates her time putting on a swap twice a year and this time I signed up for international swaps.

I’m doing a traditional alternating dark/light pattern with mine, and it’s taking me awhile because I use them as leader enders instead of focusing on them, but that’s OK with me.  It’s really fun seeing the progress.20150504_071518

My original plan was to make a king sized quilt, but I think it would be way too busy with this pattern.  Maybe next time.

You should check out Mary Wilbourn’s site even if you don’t think you’ll ever do a postage stamp quilt.  It’s fun to see the variety that can be made from them, but Mary is fun, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What’s New?

20150308_162656I have been thinking of several topics for blog posts over the last 2 months, I’ve even taken photos!  However, life has simply gotten in the way of posting.  Seriously, maybe I need to re-think how I post; Mary from posts something almost every day!


I, however, try to post on both Wordpress, Blogspot and my own website and that means keeping them all updated at the same time.  Simplify?  Yes, I need to do that!  But I also want to reach the widest audience possible.  Why?   It’s my social side; I’m also planning a podcast!  I like to talk to people and share what I know.  The problem is trying to figure out the technology and schedule.  I know I love being able to share my ideas and conversations. And then I also think about the need to update my website…aarrgh!


What’s new?  I started a new job!  That is, I left my employer of 10 years to start providing tech support at a new place.  So, in some ways I feel like I’m starting a new career.  It just happens that I am still providing tech support, which I love, ‘cuz I love helping people.  It’s just who I am.

I’m also going to be teaching another beginning quilt class in June; the first one was in  March at Jones Sew and Vac.  I made the quilt that is shown to illustrate how a rail fence pattern looks without a sashing in between each block.  I love the design and it’s great for a beginner.   I really enjoyed the last class and learned a lot.  I think everyone had fun and I even made new friends.


Now, I’m back to quilting customer quilts and my June is totally booked!  No surprise there!  I will be teaching new quilters in June and I’m hoping to attend a family reunion.  My step child is also graduating from college but because of the new job I won’t be able to attend; I have no time off now!


I hope you are all working on projects and enjoying yourself; life is just too short.


Happy quilting!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Growing, not shrinking, stash!

20150308_162656I wanted to try to show an alternative block size and layout to the pink and white Odd Girl Out Rail Fence pattern I’ll be using when I teach my beginning quilting class at the new sewing machine shop in town, Jones Sew n Vac.

So, what did I do?  I shopped my stash, of course!  And I found some great fabrics that work well with the colors in my living room, the colors that my DH is most comfortable with.  This will be easy, right?

I ended up with 24 blocks and I decided I liked the traditional Rail 20150308_141653Fence layout but I wanted a larger quilt.  I like scrappy so I started adding fabric.  And then I needed just one more color, maybe two.    But I needed more than just a fat quarter.   Oh, and how about this other color, I need that one, too.  Oh, but that green is too dark, I’ll need to replace that one, and that print is distracting, so take those blocks out.

Seriously, see the orange print?  It’s distracting and I hadn’t noticed it before I took this photo!  So, those are going into a different project.

All in all I spent my allowance for this on fabric that I didn’t intend to purchase and my stash has grown, not shrunk!  Aargh!

But I’m happy to report that the blocks are sewn into rows and I’ve started sewing the rows together.  It seems that I’m a lot less tolerant than I used to be for those seams that shift when I sew them together.  Either that, or I’ve gotten sloppier in my technique.  Oh yeah, THAT’S why I don’t use this layout in my beginning class!

I should have the top done by Saturday, but I may not have borders on.  That’s OK because then I can use this top as an example to show my class, which is exactly what my intent what in the beginning, anyway.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Beginning Quilting Class Sample

20150221_145426I had so much fun yesterday!

I pulled fabric from my stash to create another version of my Odd Girl Out rail fence quilt in order to refresh myself on my beginning quilting class instructions because I’m going to teach the class again, which is actually a piecing class, in a 2 day series of 4 hours each, March 14th and 28th at Jones Sew n Vac, the new sewing machine store in Boise on Fairview avenue.

Once I pulled the fabrics, I headed to Jones Sew n Vac to test the new Pfaff Performance 5.0 machine.  They prominently display all of the Pfaff sewing machines (my favorite!) and carry the new Brother Dream Machine for sewing and embroidery which looks like SO much fun!

This is the same class I taught for Community Education a couple of years ago and I’m really excited to teach it again.  To get started, I’m going to cover tools, choosing fabric, how to cut and sew and we’re going to get the majority of the work done to start work at the next session.

During the second class we’ll put the blocks together l20150221_202851earning how to add sashing and borders, then create the back.   My mentor, Marian Drain, taught me a super easy, super fast method of creating a square back that any longarmer will love!

Once I got back home I started playing with the layout of the blocks I’d made. 

I’m partial to the stair step design, but the initial purpose of creating this quilt was to show students how the design would look 20150221_213542using 4 - 2.5” strips instead of 5 – 2” strips.

The other factor is that if I don’t use sashing then my quilt is smaller.  Well, that is, using only the first fabrics I pulled.  I may need to create another set of corresponding blocks, similar colors and values, to add to the design, and explain to my students the nature of changing your mind mid-project!

I’d appreciate any feedback, if you care to share your opinion on which way to go.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Brother Profile 585 knitting machine

Brother_585_Jan_24_2015This is the Brother Profile 585 knitting machine I bought yesterday.  It’s a standard gauge metal bed machine and has the ability to do some patterning, although it’s a manual process.

The seller is looking for the accessories box which has the original manual, some additional weights and the original manual, which would be great.  I found a copy of the manual online and it’s got very clear instructions so I’m excited to get started.

I have to clean it up first, and there are 2 bent gate pegs that need to be bent back first, though.  I'd really like to find a ribber and a knitting machine stand for it and then I think it would be complete.

I have an electronic Singer Studio 500 that I’ve never used because I’m a bit intimidated by it;  I don’t have a manual for it, no mylars for the patterns, and the electric brick gets pretty warm and I’m just not sure if it’s in a completely safe condition or if the temperature is normal.  So, I figure if I can learn the manual setup first while I’m on the hunt for the mylars and I’ll have a much easier time when I get the Singer 500 working.

I just love having more than one hobby!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy Trails

DSCF8490As promised, I’m sharing the last customer quilt I completed, which was in November 2014.


This is Nani’s quilt, one she made for herself out of some vintage cowboy fabrics.  I did an overall DSCF8487looping meander to simulate the look of a cowboy’s rope.  It was really fun to quilt and Nani loves it.  Best of all, I’ve made a new friend!


During the holiday break I had a chance to work on the 9 patch medley and it’s all quilted.  I love how it’s turning out!  The binding is already made and once the I finish the label I’ll catch 2 sides of it into the binding seam so all I have to do is stitch down 2 sides.  Once I finish it I’ll post photos.


I also went shop hopping with a couple of friends and while I don’t need more fabric, I did make a few purchases.  Uh, some of them might even be fabric.   Winking smile 

I’ll highlight them in some upcoming posts but for now I’ll just say “Happy New Year”!

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