Wednesday, June 13, 2018

You Know That Time...

I did something really stupid today. I was working on sewing blocks for the pink background quilt in my last post. I had more HST's left, but no more room on the design wall, so I did some figuring and decided if I set the quilt four blocks by six blocks, I would only be six HSTs short. I knew I had no yardage of the pink left, but I raided my scrap user system and found some squares I could make the correct size HSTs from. I made those and started assembling blocks. After a bit I counted my finished blocks and the blocks still on the design wall, decided I had miscounted the first time, and I would be a block short. After much deliberating, I figured out a way to make one more block worth of HSTs with a different background color and just have it look like a design element and not just look weird. I made the extra units, and when I refigured it all out, turns out I was correct the first time, and didn't need the extra units after all! UGH! So much wasted time! Someone please tell me I'm not the only ditzy quilter out there!

Not only did I do some stupid stuff today, I found mistakes this week that I made a few years ago. 

One of these corners is not like the others, and I found two different blocks I made this same mistake on! I did the necessary frogging (rippit, rippit), and it's all fixed now. I have this quilt sewn into rows now, I just need to sew the rows to each other to have that quilt center done. This UFO is going to grandson Mr. L, as I'd rather finish a UFO to give him right now than have a new start, and he's happy with this one. 

I did have one quilt finish this week. A few years ago I made a quilt for DS the Elder in all Australian fabrics. He went to Australia for three months several years ago and LOVED it! I had some extra Australian fabric after making his quilt, and I liked the fabric in the big blocks of the Garden Path quilt pattern so much, I made as many more blocks as I could from the leftover fabric. Thus Aussie 2 was started. I pinbasted this quilt about two years ago, then life got crazy, so it never got quilted. Finally, it is a finished quilt!

It was pretty windy the day I took this pic, and the quilt is 96x110", so not small by any means. DS the Elder's quilt is 112" square, because his has one more row and his border is a little bigger. This quilt is huge considering it was made from leftovers. This quilt used every bit of leftover border fabric, and I only have some misc. strips of Aussie fabric in my scrap user system, yardage has been busted!

I managed quilting this quilt with my bum arm by setting a timer for one hour, and I would only quilt one hour per day. Of course having the sit down longarm makes it much easier to deal with huge quilts, and the quilt suspension system was also helpful to keep the strain off of my arm. I did do additional sewing on the days I quilted, but nothing where I was dealing with huge heavy quilts. 

So what's next? I'm still working on wedding quilts, as none of those are finished. I have two into quilt tops, and I hope to get those pin-basted in early July. Once I have them basted, I can work on quilting them one hour at a time, the same way I did Aussie 2. 

I am piecing a wedding quilt as my main project, and assembling a couple other quilts as leaders/enders. Sometimes I just need to look at something different for a little while, and if I can assemble a UFO into a quilt top instead of starting something new and still get that feeling of change, so much the better. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Design Wall!

I have been waiting rather impatiently to get a design wall. I make a lot of BIG quilts, so I wanted as large of a design wall as I could have. We debated various mounting techniques, and in the end, I decided to not mount the boards at all. 

We bought three sheets of insulation board and some spray adhesive. I had DH cut the 4x8' boards down to 7 feet tall, because 1) our ceilings in the basement aren't quite 8 feet tall, and 2) I can't reach any higher than 7 feet anyway.

I had king sized Warm and Natural batting on hand, and cutting on the fold gave me 60" wide pieces to wrap around the boards. We used spray adhesive on the boards, held the batting taut and lowered it onto the adhesive. Once we had all the batting adhered, we brought the boards into the house to staple the excess batting on the back of the boards. We could have stapled outside, but it was 108 degrees, so doing as much as possible in the house seemed to be a good idea. 

The insulation boards are very lightweight, so very easy to move around, which is very important in my sewing room.

The wall I have to put my design board on isn't actually much of a wall. The board on the left blocks the closet, the board on the right blocks the door to the bathroom.

When I add the third board it blocks most of the doorway to the hallway. Since the boards are easily moved, it's not that big of a problem. I never use that door to the bathroom, there is another door to that bathroom from the hallway. I do have lots of quilting stuff in the closet, but  I can get whatever I need from the closet before I lay out a quilt. Only the largest quilts I make will require all three boards next to each other, and since I won't be laying out a quilt until I'm ready to assemble it, I think I can squeeze by the third board to get in and out of the room during the couple days a quilt is likely to be on the boards. 

When I'm not using the design boards, I can stack them in front of each other on the section of wall with no doorways, so not in the way at all. 

Now that I've got a design wall, Time to start laying out some quilts.

My grandson, Mr. L, just got a full sized bed, so he needs a bigger quilt. I am so far behind on wedding quilts, I didn't want to start one from scratch, so I dug out the Allietare mystery quilt I did in men's shirts. I did Allietare in two colorways, but neither is assembled, both just have all the blocks done. This version should work fine as a full sized quilt once I add a border. I'll be assembling the rows as leaders/enders while I make units for one of the wedding quilts. 

Since I only needed two of my design boards for this quilt layout, I moved the third board to a spot not in my way, and started laying out another quilt.

This quilt just makes me happy. Such bright, happy colors. These were bonus HST's from making 4x8" Flying Geese units. 

My sewing room isn't all neat and tidy right now, I've got projects going everywhere.

I'm in the top 20 for my online UFO challenge, so I dug out a quilt I had pin-basted, and I'm setting a timer for myself to quilt one hour a day. Right now my suspension system is not holding up the quilt, I release the quilt when I'm done for the day, so I don't stretch out the bungee cords prematurely. It's very easy to move the clamps around as I need to. 

I'm making Flying Geese units on my Singer 201 for one of the wedding quilts. Of course I'm double sewing those sew and flip corners so I get lots of bonus HST's to play with later. 

My Bernina has a couple different things piled up on it. I need to hem two lightweight baby blankets, then I'll be back to making HST's and four patches for the same wedding quilt I'm making Flying Geese units for. I really like having one machine have a seam guide screwed in, and one set up without a seam guide. Normally I'd have my vintage machine have a seam guide, and be doing everything else on the Bernina, which I will probably will switch to as soon as I'm done making Flying Geese. I was itching to use the Singer 201 (my favorite vintage machine), but I wanted to do the Flying Geese first, so I didn't put the seam guide on it yet. I've got to take the seam guide off the Bernina to hem the blankets, so I will probably just leave it off, and when I finish the Flying geese units, I'll just put the seam guide back on my vintage machine and finish the four patches on it. Keeping my Bernina free for when I need specialty stitches usually works best for me. I sew all my bindings on with the Bernina, and hopefully, that hour a day of quilting will lead to a finish soon!

With a bit of a mess about, it definitely looks like the new sewing space is up and going!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Something Old, Something New

Did you expect this post to be about weddings? It's not. My something old is a Singer 66.

Sometimes dating a machine isn't as easy as it seems. Here is the serial number.

That first letter is hard to read because of that black splotch. It looks like a C to me. I even took a rubbing and it still looked like a C. I looked up C series machines, and they were all made in Prussia, but the records were lost in the 1940's. As far as I knew Red Eye decals were mostly an American thing, and when I looked up Prussian Singers, they had a different medallion than this one.

With the decals indicating American, and the medallion being wrong for Prussia, I decided the first letter must be a G, and from there it was easy to date. This machine was made in 1918, so it is 100 years old!

I knew it was an early Singer 66, because of the decorative end plate and the fact the presser foot is back clamping.

New sewing machines are pretty ugly compared to these beauties. 

Now that school is out for the summer, I wanted to do a project with the grandtwins. I decided I'd like to use a handcrank to teach them, since I don't have to worry about them going much too fast on an electric. At 7, I thought it would be too hard for them to reach everything on a treadle. 

I dug out my five inch squares from my scrap user system. I wasn't sure how interested they'd be, and I didn't want to work with anything smaller. I decided a 4x5 layout would work well for a doll/stuffed animal quilt. 

First rows done. I didn't want to press my luck, or have them get tired of sewing, so I would only have them sew a couple seams before we'd take a break. I had them for a couple days, so there wasn't a big rush. 

They eventually got more comfortable with the machine. I was glad a had an adjustable height table to put the machine on, lowering the table made it much easier for them to work the machine. 

I ended up doing the quilting and binding myself, but they helped pin-baste. They went home from their three days at Nana's house with finished quilts! New quilters at my house, on a 100 year old machine! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's a Girl!

My news this week is big grandbaby news! DD#1 just had her fourth child yesterday, and it's a girl! Eliora Muireal was 8 pounds 3 oz, and 20.5" long. 

DH and I had the other three kids during the birth, so as soon as Mama was settled in her room, we took the kids over to see the new addition. I'm holding the baby and showing her to one of her older brothers. Now DD#1 and DSIL have two boys and two girls. 

This pic was taken today, such a sweetheart, and wrapped in the quilt I made!

Besides playing the busy Nana, I finished cutting out the wedding quilt I was working on, and I started sewing up the sub-units. Life is a bit crazy right now, but I expect to have at least short sewing sessions fairly frequently. My arm is feeling a bit better, so I'm thrilled on that front!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Block Tower

I've been making Town Square quilt blocks, and I've now got all the blocks finished.

How's that for a stack of blocks? I didn't count them, and I can't remember offhand how many I was making, but at one point I figured there were enough for a queen/king quilt. If I remember correctly, I think there were even a couple extra blocks. 

Mother's Day was fun around here. I got some vintage-looking sewing advertising signs for my sewing room.

I haven't decided where to hang them yet, and I'm a little hesitant to hang them right now, because I've got a few more on my wishlist, and my birthday is coming up. If I do hang them now I might just use pushpins for now, just in case I happen to get a couple more soon.

I also got these for Mother's Day...

...and I got a book, a gift card, and I heard from all of my kids which was the best!

I don't need the Town Square quilt finished anytime soon, so now that the blocks are done, I've put them aside and am back to cutting a quilt I do need done ASAP. My arm had been hurting too much to do any cutting, but it's feeling a bit better, so I can cut a little at a time. 

I have two grandsons that either just got a bigger bed, or will be getting a bigger bed very soon, and I need to come up with quilts for them, as well as finish the weighted blankets and wedding quilt backlog. With my arm still causing issues. I chose a UFO for one grandson, that has all the blocks done already, and the other will be getting a UFO that has been cut out, but not sewn on at all. I'm hoping to use it as leaders/enders while I work on the wedding quilts. I really need to get a design wall sorted so I can start assembling some quilts more easily. Since most of my quilts are scrappy, seeing them laid out before I sew them together makes for a much more balanced quilt.  I don't have a good floor area to lay out a big quilt, which is why I saved one wall in my new sewing room to feature a large design wall. Now to just find the time to get it made...