Friday, March 24, 2017

First Finish of 2017!!!

This was seeming to be the quilt that never ends. It wasn't really the quilt's fault, it was more the interruptions that never end. At any rate, it's finally finished!

This quilt is for my youngest granddaughter, and her mom and I were debating binding color. I had planned on purple, but grabbed some yellow on a whim, and I prefer the yellow. 

You can see I went askew when I laid out the backing for  pinbasting. No harm, no foul in my book, I had enough excess backing that I didn't run into problems, so I'm not going to fret over it. No photos do these fabrics justice, the colors are stunning in person. I had some border fabric from this line, and since I changed my plans on the front of the quilt, I decided the backing was a great place to use that border fabric up. A large scale border fabric like this was likely to languish in my stash, and it's better used than stashed indefinitely. 

Although I have a bunch of quilts to make, I'm going to be working on some small projects for a bit. I have several things in the mending pile, and I hope to tackle all those in the next day or so. Then I'll be making some simple placemats and potholders for DD#1 so she'll have some when they move out. The placemats are already cut out, I'm just using rectangles of novelty fabrics. I was hoping to use up some batting scraps on the placemats, so I'll have to piece some batting together to use with those. 

I'm hoping getting some small projects done will get me back in the swing of things. There are still lots of interruptions around here, both daily stuff and bigger things. I'm planning a bridal shower for April, and a big birthday party for May. There will be people moving out, a wedding, work on the house, then someone moving in all in the next couple months! Never a dull moment around here!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I know I haven't blogged in almost a month, but I like to keep this mainly on quilting, and I have been too stressed to sew. It's pretty bad when you are so stressed, you can't do the thing that is most likely to relieve some stress.

BUT...yesterday I made myself do some sewing. I STILL haven't finished quilting Miss A's fairy quilt, and the quilting on it is simple. I was bound and determined to get some quilting on it, and then I spread it out to get a feel how it's looking.

You can see the only basting pins left are along the bottom. I finished quilting the top yesterday.

I tried to get a good angle on the quilting, so you can see how much texture that giant spiral adds, as compared to the unquilted section. I used a washable wool batting, and I am always so impressed with wool batting. The quilt still feels pretty soft, even with this dense quilting on it.

Now that I can see how much/little there is left to quilt, I'm hoping I can get the quilting finished this week. I know if I got a quilt finished, it would give me a much needed boost.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love Is in the Air Shopping Spree

I have been trying so hard to keep quilty purchases to a minimum! Well, I blew that in a big way, but everything has a purpose, so I'm not going to fret over it. 

DD#3 is newly engaged. I still haven't managed to make DS the elder's wedding quilt, but I'll just use DD#3's wedding quilt as the leader/ender for his. I bought the fabrics for DD#3's quilt, but I'll add a couple from stash.

I'll be adding in a couple of lighter shades, but she wants the quilt pretty dark, and all jewel tones. 

This is the pattern I'm planning for those fabrics. It's a radiant nine patch.

One of my niece's just got married in December. I had no heads up on that one. She did a funky urban wedding photo shoot, and it gave me an idea for a modern quilt for her. I found this fat quarter bundle that will be great for it.

Another of my niece's just announced her engagement, and after talking with her, I decided on a bargello quilt, and I found the fabrics for her quilt as well.

She wanted green and red, and I was trying to avoid it looking too Christmas-y. Hopefully when it's done I'll be happy with it. This will be my first bargello quilt, and I picked an easy version of one.

I now have a pretty full quilting schedule for 2017, and I STILL haven't finished the quilt I was working on! It's been crazy around here, and right now DS the Elder is visiting with his wife and son, so it's extra busy. Meals for 13 take a lot of time!

I plan on sewing DS the Elder and DD#3's wedding quilts as leaders/enders for each other, and I'll likely do the same for my two niece's quilts. I'm not sure how well a bargello will work as a leader/ender, but the modern quilt will be a good one to use as a leader/ender project. 

DH is still hoping I get a quilt made for our bed soon, but we'll have to see how things go. One of our close friends just got married too, so five wedding quilts, plus a quilt for our bed is a LOT! I'm thinking I'll have more sewing time the second half of this year, but for now, it's hard to come by. In some ways, it's not bad that three of the couples got married with no notice. Since they are already married, the quilt is already late, and in that case the pressure is off a bit. In cases like that, I usually aim for the second anniversary. 

I know it's been a month since I blogged, but what a month it's been! Our furnace broke, and even here in Southern Arizona, the house temp was down to 48F. Our furnace and air conditioner unit were both old, so we had them both replaced, but now we need to replace the ductwork too. We're still waiting on estimates for that job. 

As if that wasn't enough going on, our washing machine broke too, but thankfully it was still under warranty. Our washing machine has probably done more laundry in the last four years than most people's ever do. I can't really complain about the washer having parts wear out. 

That's some of what's been going on in my life. It certainly hasn't been boring!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Round and Round She Goes!

Since my soft books were finished, I started actually quilting a quilt! There was one deadline quilt from 2016 I didn't get finished, but it was pin-basted and ready to quilt, so that's what I chose to work on next. 

It is a quilt for my youngest granddaughter, Miss A, the red-headed wonder! I knew I wanted to use silver thread to quilt it, and I had that, so no problem, but I was struggling to choose a quilting design. I didn't want to meander, but it's pretty chaotic in the house right now, so I needed something pretty easy. I've been seeing quilts with one big spiral quilted on them, and I wanted to try that, so that's what I chose.

I chose the star this fairy is looking at as my center, and I started the spiral free motion. Once I had a few rounds I switched to a walking foot. LOTS of turning the quilt, though as I work my way out that is easier. It's actually a perfect design to quilt when you are stressed. When I'm FMQ I do best if I have a block of time to quilt, and I get in the groove of quilting whatever design I'm stitching out. With this design, I'm just using the edge of my walking foot as my guide, and I can switch on the machine, stitch for 5 minutes or an hour, whatever time I've got, and switch the machine off.

It's pretty fun watching the spiral grow, and I'm now getting close to the edges on the side. Once I get to the edges, I'll just be working on the top and bottom of the quilt separately, and eventually just in each corner. I'm happy with how it's coming out, and I'll definitely be quilting a spiral again. 

I was a little worried about quilting a quilt with my new sewing set up. I normally put my sewing cabinet in a corner of a room so the back of the cabinet and the left hand side are up against walls. I find quilting a large quilt on my DSM much easier if I don't have the quilt falling off the edges of my sewing cabinet causing drag. With our new bedroom, the only way I could place the sewing cabinet in my preferred orientation would have blocked a doorway. DH was strongly opposed to blocking a doorway, so I needed a different solution. 

I ended up buying a set of shelves with nine cubbyholes. Three of those are stuck behind my ironing station, but that's OK, because I stuck things in them I'm not likely to need very often. I purposely bought shelves taller than my sewing cabinet, but not wider, because I didn't want them sticking out into the room, I just wanted them to stop the quilt from falling off the sewing cabinet. 

So far, so good, and it's working like I hoped it would. It won't be really tested until I quilt a really large quilt, but this one is about a full sized quilt, (twin bedspread) and it's doing fine.

It could take a couple more weeks to finish the quilting, I don't always have much sewing time available, but the big spiral is a great option when you can only quilt a few minutes at a time. 

Of course, I could have a extra time to sew if my washing machine isn't easily fixable. It's making an awful high pitched whine, and the repairman couldn't come until Friday. It's under warranty, so I'm not too worried about it. Over the phone their guess was the bearings are going out. Our washer and dryer are over four years old, and they've already done more laundry than some washer/dryers ever do. I'm hoping they can fix it Friday, but we'll see. I'm babying it along right now, doing some small loads, and waiting on whatever can wait. 

My goal for 2017 is to quilt one UFO for every deadline quilt. All my current quilts are technically UFO's since they were started in an earlier year, but I'm counting Miss A's quilt as a deadline quilt. I've already chosen the next quilt to quilt, which is a UFO, and is already pin-basted. I am really hoping to stick with the deadline quilt/UFO/deadline quilt/UFO pattern. I'm fine having a few UFO's, but I'm not comfortable with how many I have right now, so concentrating on catching up now is a good idea. I won't finish my UFO's this year, but if I can finish 2017 with less than I have now, I'll count that as a win!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Story Time

I've had a bunch of different reactions to the fact we have two grown daughters and their families living with us. I've had the, "Oh, you are so blessed to have so many together like that!" all the way to, "I'd never let my kids move back in, you're nuts!" 

Honestly, things range drastically day to day. We have really sweet moments like this.

DH is reading four of the five grandkids living here a story. It was really sweet, and quiet for a few minutes.

Some days are more like this...

Overall, I'm happy things have worked as well as they have, and I know this situation isn't forever. 

I think the thing that's been most difficult is finding time for DH and I to spend quality time together. He's been working a lot, I'm being pulled in multiple directions, and when we are together, it's most likely a trip to the grocery store!

DH said he wanted a whole day with me, so Tuesday, we took a day trip, and had some real quality time together, with no one tagging along. We went to see the sandhill cranes that are wintering here in AZ. We went to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area south of Wilcox. There are thousands of cranes there, along with some snow geese, and multiple varieties of ducks.

I had no idea how noisy cranes could be, but in big groups like this, they make quite a racket! I heard the geese honking too, but the ducks were mostly quiet, just a bit of quacking as they took off in flight. DH took some great pics, but you are stuck with mine ;-) The birdwatchers there said there would be far more cranes there in February.

While we were out and about, we went though a bunch of little towns, cruised along the Mexican border for a bit, ate a fantastic lunch in Bisbee (dates filled with blue cheese and cinnamon roasted almonds, wrapped in bacon, AMAZING!) It was just a lovely day, with some much needed time to reconnect. 

On Wednesday, I finished the first project of 2017!

All those soft books I was working on are finished!!! I have one of each set aside for Mr. LJ, and the duplicates are in the gift cabinet. I try to keep baby gifts on hand at all times. 

Today is the twins birthday, I can hardly believe they are six years old! We already celebrated their birthday, and they are at school today anyway. I took the time to weed out some of their toys. It's time to pass some down the grandchild pipeline. Birthdays near Christmas can be pretty overwhelming, so regular cleaning out of toys they don't play with much is a must. 

Now I need to decide what to work on next! I have some placemats to make, but I wanted to piece batting scraps for those. I may just quilt the deadline quilt from 2016 that didn't get finished. If I finish it in January, that's not too bad, right?