Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unintended Break

I’ve been unintentionally absent from my blog since the end of July.  Boy, does it feel like a lot longer than that!  I’m renewing my efforts to re-establish some habits I enjoy, working out and blogging among them.  I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to drop off the face of the planet!

It wasn’t a planned break.  It started out that I finished up my customer quilts and had a little bit of time off.  As it turned out, I haven’t quilted for a customer since July, at the latest, and that’s when my last blog post was.  I’ve been busy, though, and really needed the break.

hot-pink-white-sm I’ve really been enjoying the time off and actually finished one of my own quilts!  Do you remember this hot pink and white quilt from Sept 2011?  I’ve called her Odd Girl Out because of the one block that is different, created in a unique way at the very end of the process because I started this quilt without a plan and ended up improvising on the last block of the quilt.

I ended up not using any of the border ideas I’d plotted out and posted back in 2011.  Instead, I used a Kaffe Fassett fabric that turned out to be the EXACT same colors as the interior strips!  That just NEVER happens!  I had quite a dilemma choosing the fabrics because I found quite a few strong contenders.  I think I spent an entire afternoon in the quilt store taking photographs, comparing, and trying to decide.

DSCF8196I only chose the back about a month ago.  I got a wide back fabric from Craft Warehouse, a local chain here in Boise.  I don’t remember the name of the fabric line itself, but it’s a nice quality fabric.  I really like the light gray on the back, it gives it a nice, fresh feel.  I used Hobbs Tuscany 100% washable wool for the batting and I like the texture and how light the quilt feels.  I’m still experimenting to find my absolute favorite wool batting, but in general I really like wool.DSCF8193

I outlined the flowers in the border with Permacore  to give a very textured surface; that took about 4 hours alone!  I sewed a wavy line down the middle of each strip and a freehand circular motif in the sashing with the So Fine and the SID work..  Superior Omni thread was used on the back.  I finished it with a dark purple binding and think it’s the perfect finishing touch.  I even got to try out my new vintage Kenmore walking foot while sewing on the borders.

DSCF8210I’m entering it into the local quilt show which will run from September 27-28th at the Expo Idaho fairgrounds in Boise.  Because I had some tension issues in the border area it’s an exhibition only quilt, but I’m thrilled that I’ve actually finished one of my own!

During this time off I also rearranged my quilting studio to accommodate space for another quilter so now I have room to have a friend over to sew!  During that upheaval I located all of my UFO’s and I’ve committed to working on those projects to finally get them completed.

Well, that’s all the news I should share for now.  I always have a long post when I haven’t shared for awhile!  I hope you’re all happy, healthy, and enjoying your crafting adventures.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How Much Do You Love YOUR Iron?

DSCF8152I made a blue and orange quilt for a customer, which she picked up this week.  I’ll post more about it later this week.  It turned out quite lovely, I must say!

Because this is a customer quilt I’d planned to hand sew the binding; you may have heard me say in the past that I absolutely detest hand sewing so you’ll understand when I tell you I wasn’t looking forward to the task.  A quilter friend of mine hates adding borders so I traded her hand sewing my binding for adding her borders.  All in all not a bad trade, but I’m glad it’s now finished so I can take a break and work on my own projects.  I think I’m even going to be able to enter a quilt into the BBQ Quilt Show in September!  I haven’t made a quilt of my own for about 3 years, so this is quite exciting!

As I was finishing up the borders on my friend’s quilt yesterday, my iron turned itself off.   That’s the nature of the automatic shut-off so no biggie, right?  I jiggled and nothing happened.  Then I moved the cord around and the light slowly, and dimly, came back on, then the iron started working again perfectly.  Then it shut off again.  More jiggling with no results.  More cord moving with results.  I remembered that the cord near the base had felt pretty warm, even hot, earlier, too.  Uh oh!  I have a fire hazard on my hands!

20140726_135639I’ve had my iron, a Shark Professional model GI490, for about 7 years and I love it!  You can see that the finish on the handle is even starting to wear off.  How am I ever going to replace it?  I’ve seen all of the online requests asking for recommendations for an iron which I’ve blissfully ignored. 

I knew, of course, that because of the amount of time since the manufacture of my unit that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the same model again so I started my search on The reviews I found on the next model after it are terrible!  I was shocked and truly disappointed.  Eventually, though, I narrowed down my choices and went shopping.  Nothing beats an in-person inspection.  And you know what I came home with?  Another Shark! 

20140726_184354The Shark Ultimate Professional model GI505 is the next model up from the model with the bad reviews.  It looks and feels very similar to my old model so I suspect I’m going to really like it, all except the size of the top button that selects the temperature.  That’s the main button in the use of this iron so maybe I’ll get used to it and the size won’t bother me.

20140726_184429None of the other irons felt quite right, probably because I’ve used the same iron for over 7 years and have truly enjoyed it. has this model highly rated, although there are no reviews on it yet, but time will tell.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Updating the Quilt Cave

20140706_122702Yesterday I was finally able to start the project I'd planned for the 4th of July weekend, which was rearranging and decluttering the quilting studio.

I'm embarrassed to show how bad it's gotten, but I'm proud of my progress.  I’d love to put recessed shelving in between the studs on this wall.  It’s a load bearing wall so I can’t just knock it down!

20140706_165011I love my cutting station!  But I needed to get this out of the way in order to move the green cabinet from the corner to the long wall.

Now, I’ve removed that white table underneath and I really like how open it is.  I have a bunch of stuff that might have to go back there, but I’m hoping no.

One of my goals is to create another workstation for when I have friends over.  I put my smallest Singer cabinet in that space, the one that holds the 401.  I have plans to refinish the cabinet that holds the Anker RZ to put into that space but it won’t fit right now when the top gets opened up so I will work on that for another time.

Here’s a link to my online album, showing my progress.  There’s more to come!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June was a busy month!

What have I been up to?  There’s so much to tell!  While you haven’t been hearing from me I took lots of pictures and thinking “that would make a great post!”…and then not posting it.

20140603_191616All of the expensive things seem to have happened at the end of June.  We got our house painted and then both DH and I had dental work.  Of course, about that time is when his vehicle needed over $1500 worth of car repairs.  Oh boy.

As for the fun stuff, the first quilt you haven’t seen was absolutely darling.  I got a couple of photos of it while it was on the frame, but forgot to get photos of the entire quilt.  How does THAT happen?

20140608_173021I met a new friend, Maryon, at a Quilters’ Schoolhouse quilting class put on by Boise Basin Quilters and we made an awesome string quilt for donation.  We had a heck of a time deciding on which border to add, and we eventually chose the dark green one.

20140608_141012I was contacted by a new quilter, Katie, to quilt her first quilt.  She thought she was picking an easy project, and she did a GREAT job, but I told her that was NOT an easy project!  Do you see all those straight lines she had to keep in place?  And that color arrangement?

We picked a blue and yellow variegated thread, which looked 20140616_210130awesome, but I hadn’t realized that it was a size 17.  Why would I have something different in my thread stash?  Let me just say that size 17 is about the size of a rope, when it comes to thread, and I ended up picking out an entire bobbin’s worth of quilting.  That took about 4 hours.  I ordered some King Tut thread from Superior and it turned out beautifully!

20140704_103940I also finished the spinning project I started while I was at Mom’s house over Memorial Day weekend.  It sure turned out differently than what I expected.  I’m really proud of myself because I actually finished a project!  Not only that, the yarn is balanced, which means it’s not twisting back on itself when it’s hanging on the hanger.  And this is only my third spinning project!  I’ve been asked “what are you going to make with this?” and the answer is “I have no idea.”  I just picked it because it was pretty. 

One aspect of finishing a yarn is to set it by soaking it in hot water.  This means the twist in the fiber won’t come out and the wool “blooms”.  It’s pretty cool!  I checked on mine this morning and it’s still a little damp where the cotton yarn is holding it together so I’ll be hanging it outside today.  Boise has been close to 100 degrees lately, that should do it.

Day1_TDF2014And yesterday, I started Tour de Fleece 2014!  This is my first TdF, and I’m using Gritty Knits LeGrand Boucle merino, which arrived yesterday afternoon.  In case you’re unfamiliar with Tour de Fleece, it is an online spinning event that mirrors the Tour de France, including rest days.  They spin, we spin.  A real spinning-themed spin-along.

My goal is to spin at least 15 minutes a day.  Since I’m on vacation over the 4th of July weekend, and we were watching a movie, I spun for about an hour and a half yesterday!

I’m having trouble making a consistent single because I’d used my jumbo flyer to spin the singles on my previous project (I won’t do that again!) and have changed back to the traditional flyer, but after about an hour of spinning my normal technique is starting to come back to me.

20140705_180255This isn’t a colorway I’d normally pick. The red/orange is on either end of the braid and the brown/yellow is in the middle. I decided to alternate the strips of color in my spinning, we’ll see what happens!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Catching Up

Life has been just TOO busy!

Wait, I always say that, don’t I?  Yeah, but I usually post at least once a month and this time it’s almost two months!  People are going to think I dropped off the planet!

I was taking an online programming class, but it was just too much to handle that along with everything else so I gave myself permission to drop the class and move on.  Now THAT is a huge step for me because “quit” is a four letter word!  But I wasn’t getting anything else done, either, and I really wanted to start participating in other events.

20140531_second_skeinAnd I’m glad I did, because I finished plying my second skein of yarn!

I purchased a jumbo flyer and it worked out great.  I loved having that extra large bobbin because I didn’t have to tie off the yarn ends in the middle of a skein.  I’m hoping my regular size yarn winder will be sufficient when it comes time to actually make something with this skein.  It feels wonderful!  So squishy and soft, but I have no idea what to make out of it!

20140524_142433For Memorial Day weekend (US), I took a trip to Montana to visit my mom and I took my wheel along, too.  With the amount of visiting we do, I figured I could setup my wheel and I’d get a TON of spinning in.  Well, I started, anyway!  Mom helped me pick  a BFL / Silk combination, one of two roving options I brought along.  This one isn’t going so well, it’s like I’m not spinning tightly enough and the single strand is pulling apart.  I posted on Ravelry and someone suggested that the jumbo flyer isn’t rotating as fast as the regular sized flyer so I either need to speed up or change 20140526_105547back to the other flyer.  I’m going to try increasing my speed first, that seems to be a little less hassle.

While I was in Montana I did several odd jobs around the house for Mom, including installing a lattice fence into a trellis and fixing a door knob.  But it wasn’t all work and no play!  We ate lots of ice cream, attended a backyard barbeque and we petted the cats a LOT!

20140524_150932We even saw a vintage sewing machine used in a store’s window display and we had to go in to talk to them about it.

I looked up the serial number for them, it was a Singer 66 from 1947.  I found out they have a whole basement full of old sewing machines left by the former owner.  I was itching to go down to see them, but I didn’t ask because it was almost closing time.  I told them how they could find the serial number on the ISMACS website so they could find out more about them later.

I’ve got quilt pictures and new vintage sewing machines to share, too, but this post is long enough for one day.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quilting & Programming

MelbaChristmasQuiltI’ve been pretty busy lately, but then, that’s nothing new!

I finally got over the crud that was going around, which, of course, started right when I began teaching my software training classes at work.  Thankfully I didn’t get the version that kept coming back 2 or 3 times  like some of my co-workers.  I give credit to my holistic medical approaches which included extensive use of the nasal rinse bottle and using almost an entire bottle of doTERRA’s OnGuard essential oil blend!

However, before I got sick I was able to finish a quilt for one of my fellow guild members, Melba.  She made it as a Christmas quilt for her corner_quilting_flannel_backgranddaughter with the idea she could take it to college with her in the fall.  It’s going to be nice and snuggly with the flannel backing she picked.

I did an overall meander in the middle and a custom design in the border, adding SID (stitch-in-the-ditch on each side of the inner border.  It always amazes me how long SID takes!  I  used Superior’s King Tut on the front and Superior’s Omni on the back.  Melba provided the Quilter’s Dream cotton batting.

I signed up for a Python programming class on and of course it started the week I got sick and I missed the announcement that it started, so I’ve been busy trying to catch up on the homework.

If you’re unfamiliar with that site, you simply MUST go check it out!  They offer free online college level courses from all over the world!  I’m not going for the certificate track, which has a minimal charge, but I may do something like that in the future.

So today I’m loading another customer quilt.  Maybe I’ll get some homework done, too!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

It’s the Switch!

DIY oil pan matDo you ever make to-do lists for the day?  I’m all about them, especially for the weekend.

Today, though, even though I hadn't planned to, I spent a fair amount of time removing the old oil pan drip mat from the Featherweight I purchased online at the end of October 2013.

The reason?  I called my OSMG, Jerry, because I had a couple of sewing machines to hand off to him.  He’s done so much for me, he’s the first person I thought of when I started clearing out machines from their hiding places. Smile  Jerry offered to look at the Featherweight again and I’d removed the pan from the machine to try to get the smell out of it.   I wanted to have it ready for when he picked it up, so I spent the time to get it ready.20140330_105400

I replaced the original drip pan mat by tracing the outline of the pan, then refining the pattern so that a single piece of black felt, which I stuck in place with Elmer's school glue, fit perfectly.  If I have to do it again it won't take so long!

The problem with the Featherweight?  I cleaned it up, and purchased a foot controller, but when the pedal is pressed nothing happens.  A couple hours after Jerry picked it up, he called to say he’s narrowed the problem down to the switch!  He’s found a replacement and I’m hoping it’ll be working by next weekend!

Woo hoo!!  I can’t wait!

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