Monday, May 30, 2016

Last Week

We don't often have company, so it was a treat to have friends visit for five days last week. Greg and Patty are from my husband's hometown - Mason City, Iowa - and I've known them since 1972. For two years now they've lived in Texas and we consider it an honor that they take time away from their home and family to be with us. A whole lot of laughing goes on when we're all together.

Patty always makes our visits a treat because she asks for girl time. So, via golf cart, we went to my hair stylist so Patty could get a trim, and then next door to the Nail Saloon (not a misspelling!) for pedicures and manicures.

Lunch out, a nice Dan-made evening meal, a rousing game of Mexican Train Dominoes, and a second day spent shopping fulfilled the request for girl time!

In between activities, Patty and chatted in my sewing room about 12 quilt blocks she brought along. They'd been stored away for more than 30 years! Talk about a UFO! :-) Patty says she made the blocks in 1984 when a group met monthly at the library (on her lunch hour) to get a pattern, and draw, cut, and hand-piece a block.

After playing with how to layout the blocks, we settled on this vertical chronological arrangement: January's snowflake in the upper left; May's basket in the middle top; and September's school house in the upper right, ending with the Bethlehem Star at the bottom right. June's block of the outline of Iowa and Iowa's Wild Rose (state flower) is special.

The blocks were pretty wrinkled - Cranston VIP Printworks fabric from the mid-80s is thin - and not the same size. After Patty left, I spray-starched, pressed, and trimmed each block, and added compensating strips of Kona Ruby to those blocks that needed just a bit more to measure 16" X 16" unfinished. They look much better now.

Patty and I figured out a quilt arrangement using EQ7, so she'll end up with a king-sized (104" X 111") quilt for her master bed, and ordered fabric online - Kona Prussian (blue) for sashing, and Kona Snow for the drop around all four sides. A batt of Quilter's Dream Select Cotton is coming too. Patty wants big undulating quilted feathers in the borders which seems just about perfect for this traditional quilt. We looked online and found hand-quilting: for $1.10 per yard of quilting thread. Patty's hoping to find a group of Iowa Amish women to quilt this.

Our Central Florida MQG is participating in the 2017 QuiltCon East Charity Quilt Challenge. I've collected the fabrics for it, and have been thinking about our design. I'm working on it with Becky.

The MQG has rules that include what size to make the quilt, and which solid colors and manufacturer's brands are allowed. These are the Kona solids to which I have added Kaufman Blueberry Park prints. Prints are permitted that match the solid colors.

I wanted to play with the prints and the free foundation paper-pieced Beach Chair Block I found on the Cotton and Steel blog, so I made this 10" block. Doesn't that Kona Yarrow look good as sand? There's also a Retro Shell and Lawn Chair Block. I think I need to make more for a wall hanging.

This Memorial Day weekend found me making a huge mess in my sewing room. I have been thinking about an original design I'd like to create for QuiltCon East. It isn't coming together as I imagined. Even though I first drew and colored on graph paper, I've lost something in translation. Thought I'd make this with solids from my stash, but the background is coming out more pastel-colored than I imagined.

On the right side of the design wall are all the blocks and circles that have been made and discarded. I'm collecting some nice pieces for a backing! 

After two days of this, in frustration and disgust I sorted through everything and put it away - except for what's on the design wall. It's percolating. Ha! Perhaps I already have a name for this unknown entity! Linda

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Movin' Along

This week I completed steps on a couple projects.

This hand appliqué design was given to us at last Saturday's Central Florida MQG meeting. Beth, our program presenter, designed it à la Carolyn Friedlander. Beth demonstrated several appliqué techniques, but I opted to appliqué mine using my favorite back-basting method. Are you impressed that I fussy-cut Australia in the circle? This is the first time I position the country right side up! You see, I decoupaged the same fabric on my desk (see it to the left of the knob?) and Susan (from Australia) pointed out that I'd positioned it upside down! Then, she allowed that Australia is, after all, "down under." :-)

My "Building Fun" quilt top is complete, so far. The quilt top is 41" X 53" at this point, and the pattern calls for another 3-inch border. I'm still unsure whether I want to add it. I like this quilt, though I'd hoped it would look less child-like. I'll probably give it to a child.

Speaking of child... our six year-old grandson, Tay, who's a kindergartner, participated in a special event at an Overland Park, Kansas high school. The 2016 graduating seniors held a graduation event last Friday morning, and in attendance as special guests were selected kindergarteners from the elementary schools that feed into the high school. Tay was chosen to represent his elementary school because his big sis, Celina, is a junior this year, and next year little brother Aesa will represent the same elementary school for Celina's senior class.

Anyway, they put the kindergarteners on stage, in front of the seniors, and asked each one of them a question about being in kindergarten. Tay was asked what advice he would give to seniors, and his response was, "Stay out of trouble." Good job, Tay!

I can't believe he's going to be among the class of 2028! That sounds like the distant future, doesn't it?

And speaking of graduations, Aesa celebrated his pre-school graduation. Adorable.

I haven't mentioned Hogan lately, but he's doing well!

He has completely surprised us - and our neighbors who know him - by making a full recovery from his December bout with a serious subcutaneous skin infection and bronchitis, compounded by a large lump on his chest that was identified after surgery as soft tissue sarcoma. The vet said she couldn't remove all the sarcoma because it was so invasive, so we expected Hogan's slow decline. Such is not the case! He's been almost acting like a pup again, running around with his dog pals, briskly walking, and insisting on us playing with toys with him each evening. You wouldn't guess he's 12-1/2 years old.

This pic simply shows the odd behavior he's displayed for years... tucking his head under something for security. He does this often, sometimes against a table leg, or my knee, or alongside my hip when I'm sitting on the floor with him. He's awfully precious to us.

Most of the week I've been quilting. Dr. Q.'s quilt is coming along nicely and I expect to finish by Friday. Five spirals of various sizes and overlaps were quilted first, and I'm now custom quilting to fill in the rest of the open areas.

My Pfaff Grand Quilter is mostly working well for quilting. I've had ten unexpected thread breaks on this quilt - does that seem like a lot? - but the skipped stitches are fewer. I talked with a Tampa Bernina/Pfaff dealer for about 25 minutes and he gave me three suggestions for preventing skipped stitches. The two I've tried are: 1) set the machine speed on slow, and then quilt with the pedal to the metal. That seems to be a steadier quilting speed than setting the machine on high speed and trying to keep the foot control speed in the middle range; and 2) use a size 90 jeans needle. When I put in the jeans needle, I immediately had more skipped stitches, so I lowered the needle about 2mm, and screwed it in tight. Better now. His third suggestion is to quilt with cotton batting. That will be in the next quilt.

Today, on my way home in the golf cart from doing Line Dancing for Exercise, I saw this turtle just walking down the sidewalk. I parked the golf cart so I could take a picture. It's a very big Florida softshell turtle! Ugly too, isn't it?
I had just walked back to my golf cart when she decided she needed to cross the street. Yikes. I pulled into the golf cart lane to block traffic, and waved my arm to get carts and cars to slow down. Fortunately, another walker with whom I'd chatted about the turtle, called Community Watch. The Community Watch vehicle arrived almost right away with red lights flashing! Hopefully the turtle was moved to a nearby pond. I've been told this time of year is mating/nesting season.

I'm definitely not in Iowa anymore! Linda

Friday, May 13, 2016

E-Book Giveaway

This giveaway is closed. The winning number, chosen by Random Number Generator is: 
Congratulations Beth! - blue_dragonfly5

It's Friday the 13th, and it could be your lucky day! I'm hosting a giveaway and I couldn't be more happy to share this one - a quilting book.

Fellow domestic machine quilter, Christa Watson (author of Machine Quilting With Style) has written another quilting book, and in my opinion, it's a must-own. That's because it's written from two quilting perspectives: Christa's as a domestic machine quilter; and Angela Walters', as a longarm quilter. This makes the book a winner whether you domestic machine quilt or longarm quilt!

Not only is it an ingenious idea to write a book like this - sort of a "he said; she said," though this is  "she said; she said" - but the book layout is inspired!

Every page related to longarm quilting is color-coded turquoise-blue to indicate that this is what Angela has to say about it.

Every page related to sit-down (domestic) machine quilting is color-coded melon orange to indicate what Christa has to say about it.

How clever! After learning about their tools and tips in pages 4 though 16...  

... the book continues with 10 quilt patterns! It's picture heavy with close-ups of how each quilter chose to make and quilt those 10 patterns. The designs, and instruction for them continue all the way to page 138. With so much visual content, a quilter will never be at a loss for inspiration.

I'm a fan of spiral quilting, even though it can be physically demanding shoving a big quilt through a small harp. But once you get started, the quilting doesn't require much thought, and the texture is wonderful. So I was happy to see that Christa shared spiral quilting on her "Exploding Star" quilt.

With such good photos and suggestions throughout, the book really struck a chord with me. You can imagine that I was honored when Christa invited me to review the book for her, and offer a giveaway.

One winner will receive an electronic version of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting so the giveaway is open internationally.

You have until Sunday, May 15, 6 pm Eastern time, to enter.

In a comment just tell me if you're a domestic or longarm quilter, and be sure I have a way to reach you if you win. Many of you are "noreply-commenter" which means I do not have your email address to tell you when you win. If you don't know for sure, add your email address!

However, if you can't wait until Sunday, or would just like to have a print version to hold in your hot little quilting hands, then order directly from Martingale Publishing here.

Or head to Amazon for a discounted price here.
Or get a signed copy from Christa here.
Or get a signed copy from Angela here.

Options, options, options! Good luck! This giveaway is closed. The winner was chosen May 15 at 6 pm Central time. Linda

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Modern Retreat

From last Thursday through Sunday I retreated with 20 other quilters from the Central Florida MQG. It was a wonderful time! This is what our sewing room looked like.

For the first time ever on a retreat - and I swear I've been on at least 40 of them - I took along paraphernalia to do free motion quilting. This is my pre-trip pile that includes two sewing machines, and three tables!

I'm tired of having a stack of quilt tops waiting to be quilted, so retreat put me a long way toward catching up. If you're following my Pfaff Grand Quilter quilting saga - skipped stitches and breaking threads - the machine continued to do that on retreat, though not quite as frequently. Frustrating though, nonetheless.

First I quilted "Cartwheels Quilt," a foundation paper-pieced pattern by Lee of FreshlyPieced. I'll be teaching this project in the Beyond First Time Quiltmaking class that begins Monday, September 26. Registrations for this two week workshop are now open at the Lifelong Learning College. I'll also be teaching domestic machine quilting.

I spent most of Monday taking pictures of the process for sewing binding to the Cartwheels quilt. While I typically would have chosen the gray background (Widescreen) fabric for binding, the photos are needed for a binding tutorial. Aqua and pink fabrics as binding show up better in contrast to the backing color.

Cartwheels has a single layer of Quilter's Dream Poly, and is quilted with Aurifil 50-weight thread.

Machine-sewn mitered corners
I also began quilting The Rebel quilt, a pattern by Libs Elliott. Oh how I love this one! This 72" X 72" quilt is destined as a gift for my cardio-vascular doctor. He's taken such excellent care of me with PAD, and atrial fibrillation, and is going through his own very difficult business problems, so this is the least I can do to show my appreciation for his medical skill and attentiveness.

After quilting three large spirals on it, I decided to take a break so as to put it up on my home design wall to assess where the rest of the quilting design is headed.

The last project I worked on at retreat was this "Building Fun" quilt by Geta Grama. Each castle block is fast to sew, once all the fabrics have been chosen. Background fabric is white Widescreen, and all the colors are Blueberry Park... still a favorite collection. Three more castles to go!

Our guild is booked for Luther Springs again next year during the same time frame. I'll be there, and hopefully will accomplish as much as I did this time. In any case, it's sure to be fun! Especially if I can spend it with these same good friends:

From the top left: Laura, Debbie, Diane, Jamie, Judi, Cindy, Kathy, Kelly, and Lynne
From the bottom left: Monique, Mel, Janice (AKA Mamasita), Karen E., Linda T., Dee, Karen T., Jill, Carol, Sue, Lora, and me! Linda


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin