Sunday, November 30, 2008

Working With Thangles

  You start with these, Thangles and strips cut 1/2 inch larger than your finished HST's will be.
Lay strips right sides together with the lighter strip on top. This will insure the seam allowance being pressed to the darker fabric. Pin the Thangles paper on, with pins parallel to the sewing lines (dotted lines).
I chain sewed my Thangles, only cutting the first strip off each round to start the next row of stitching. I found they were easier to handle when I didn't cut between them until after I was done sewing.
In this picture you can see that they are all connected at all sewing points, except the first since it was my leader/ender.
Here they are all cut apart into strips and I am cutting the first strip on the solid cutting lines.
Here are the final steps lined up. Press open the HST, leaving the paper on. I had never done any sewing where I had to pull  paper off, so I found it easiest to rip down the center of each triangle and take half of the triangle section off at a time. Once both of those are off, the last bit of paper in the seam allowance comes right off. Now you can flip it over to the right side and there will be one dog ear to cut off.

    So the question remains, what did I think of using them? I found them to be easy to use and very accurate. I know some people have problems with accuracy on HST's, so if that is a problem for you, this could be a solution. I liked not having to cut anything at 7/8 of an inch, and because each strip makes a certain number of HSTs, I found it very easy to keep count. The pinning on of the paper strips seems to take about the same amount of time as drawing diagonal lines on squares which is the only other way I personally have ever done HST's. There was no squaring up to do, because the accuracy was great. I did not care for tearing the paper off, although it did get easier once I found a method that worked for me. Would I use them again? Probably. I don't drive so going out to a LQS frequently to pick up more is not always convenient, nor is always paying $5 a package. I will continue my search for the method of making HST's that will work best for me, but I will probably come back to this method as well. HST's are sometimes tedious, and these did make the process move right along.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas quilt progress

   This is the top half of the Christmas quilt I'm working on. It is not sewed, just laid out. The table is only big enough to lay out one half at a time. I plan on getting most of this sewed together on Friday, and then start working on the bottom half of the quilt. All of the HST's are done, it's just layout and assembly that need to be done. I've had a couple people post asking me about the Thangles I used, and I decided to take step-by-step pics in a few days. I can see in the picture some of my fabrics are reading differently than what I expected, but I am on a time crunch, and since the overall pattern is still there, I'm going to leave it. I think the mixed fabrics show up more in the picture than in person. That is actually good to know. Next time I can't decide how a color will read in a scrap quilt, maybe I'll just take a picture of it and look at it on the computer. I seem to learn best by my mistakes, why can't I just do it right to begin with?

My sewing command center

     The argument over what to call one's sewing room, quilting studio, whatever, just cracks me up. I have decided to throw a twist into it, and call my new room my sewing command center. A lot of my life is spent sewing, so I figure I can call it whatever I want. It is still not quite done, no blinds or curtains yet (my windows have UV protection, but I'll get blinds up within the week), nothing decorative, it's just functional.
     The first picture shows my sewing area. I'm thinking a quilted wall hanging above my thread holders. The second picture shows my cutting area, that folding table I put on bed risers. I still haven't cut anything on it yet, but I did lay out the top half of the quilt I'm working on. The third picture shows my stash. The cabinet on the left has fabric sorted by subject, baby, juvenile, patriotic, holiday, the other two cabinets are separated by color. I actually have another cabinet in the basement, a little larger than these, that is full of fabric, but that is only for scrubs, not quilting. The next picture shows the cabinets closed, and you can see my plastic bins, and my shelves with bolts on them. I bought all of my bolts on ebay for amazing deals. The last picture shows the closet. I have my rolls of Warm and Natural in there (one crib sized roll, one queen, both bought at for 40% off and free shipping) along with my backing fabrics, denim fabrics, and things for other crafts. I am planning on hanging a roller shade with a flannel lining over the closet, so I have a design wall when needed. I will probably set up my ironing board in front of the closet as well, since I do not need daily access to the closet. Right now my ironing board is neatly stowed between the plastic bins and shelves with bolts.
    I don't have everything quite where I want it, and there is still much I can do to make it homey, but I have so many projects going on right now, functional was more important. Since my DH just finished painting Sunday, and I only worked on it Monday and Tuesday, I think I got  a lot done. 
      Today I cooked all day. Thanksgiving dinner is at MIL house, but I am bringing a lot of the food. I was hoping to get all my cooking done today, but I will need to bake a deep dish apple pie with cream tomorrow. I made seven other pies, and I was going to have the eighth and last be a plain apple pie, but deep dish apple with cream is DH favorite, and since he painted my room, how could I refuse when he asked me to change it? I also made double batches of both white and wheat rolls, a butternut squash dish, and dressing. Tomorrow I will make the apple pie with cream, and DD will assemble the green bean casserole, before we pack it all up to go to MIL. Last I heard there will be 26 for dinner. Usually I host all the holidays, and it might have been easier to host rather than moving all this food, but this way I didn't have to clean, and I wasn't sure how far I would get on the room switching, never mind cleaning the whole house!
     Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

My sister's Murphy quilt

   I have named my sister's quilt Murphy. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. She ended up changing her design several times, to try to deal with things. She made this quilt for my nephew=her son, and his wife. Their favorite color is red, and they really like Asian things.  I was afraid several times that this quilt was bound for a ufo pile, or worse yet -the trash, as a WOMBAT (Waste Of Material, Batting, And Time). I am so proud of her for persevering and finishing! Everyone loves it when a project goes together easily, but it shows a lot of character to continue to the end when things aren't going well. The end result is a beautiful wedding gift. The border just inside the white one is a 100 wishes border, with 100 different red squares. I donated some of that fabric, and my wish for the newlyweds, is that they work as hard at their marriage, as their mom did on this quilt.
     Joanne, the quilt did not come out as you originally planned, but it is beautiful! Good job!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What I've been up to

It's been a few days since I've blogged. I have been playing around with the tiny Thangles, making small blocks that will hopefully become Christmas ornaments before Christmas. Those are the blocks scattered on the table in the picture. What I've spent most of my time doing is in all those bowls. They are all the HST's for the Christmas quilt I'm working on (made with the 2.25 inch Thangles). I had to make 400 HST's in combinations of red/light, green/light, light/light, red/red, and green/green. I finally got the last of them ironed today. I need to lay them out via my graph paper plan, but I am also in the process of moving my sewing room. I doubt I'll get much sewing done in the next week between Thanksgiving and rearranging.
     My husband finished painting the new sewing room today. I didn't have him paint the closet, so I'm going to start loading it tomorrow.  My exercise for the week will be climbing all the stairs moving supplies. I will try to get quite a bit moved myself Monday and Tuesday, and leave the furniture moving for Wednesday, when DH and DS are both off of work. They can move the heavy stuff while I do a lot of the cooking for Thanksgiving. What a deal, they do the lifting, I pay them in pie! It's a win-win situation.
     When everything is moved, I'll show pictures of my new sewing/quilting control center. My goal is to be back to sewing by the end of next week. 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Progress on the new projects

I have cut all the strips for my new quilt project and the Christmas ornaments I want to make. I cut extra strips from the non-Christmas fabrics I'm using to put in my strip bins. My goal for the next couple of days- make one scrub top each day before I start sewing on my new projects. Hopefully, I can get the first scrub top finished by mid afternoon, and have this evening to play with the Thangles I bought. DH works until midnight tonight, so I should have some good sewing time. The kids will probably be in and out all day, so besides taking a break to make dinner, I should be able to have a long sewing session.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My new project

    I know I said I had all these other projects to do, and they can wait. I'm stressed and I need something FUN. I ran across this exploding star pattern in one of the books my DH grandmother gave me, and it MUST be made. My best friend has another friend going through a tough time and she wants a Christmas quilt. It's been floating around in my mind all year, and when I saw this quilt, it was like God reached down and said "This is it." I've been wanting to try using Thangles, and I went to a LQS to get some. I wanted 2.5", but they were out, so I got 2.25" This will probably be a better size anyway, because I want to make something between a crib size and throw size. With the slighter smaller size HST's, I'll have room for a border.
    I had my graph paper and crayons out, and my rendition is to the right of the book. I will do it scrappy with lots of Christmas prints and some misc. red, green, and lights mixed in.
     I also got some smaller Thangles to try and make some pinwheel Christmas ornaments. I want to make some log cabin ornaments too. I need to play.
    My machine is back from the shop, but now it messes up in reverse. I ordered another sewing  machine on Amazon today, so this one may end up being my backup until I want to fiddle with it some more. It still sews great forwards, just not in reverse. I will still start my new projects on it.
     Sorry for the fuzzy picture. My DS has our good camera with him in Japan. I hope he's having a great time. My DH took this picture with his phone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

luggage tags

Here are some of my luggage tags. DH has delivered all the dog themed ones, so here are just a few I had around. There is a clear vinyl pocket on one side to put a card with your information on it. Other than that, they are just cute tags that help you identify your bags when you're searching for your luggage on the carousel. I would think these would be especially helpful if you have black luggage. The last several times I've flown, there has just been a sea of black luggage on the coming out on the conveyor belt. I've been glad my luggage has green leaves and lady bugs all over it so it's easy to spot.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

orders complete!

In the last week I have made 8 scrub tops, 24 luggage tags and 5 steering wheel covers. I am all caught up with orders, so now I have DH scrub tops, DD skirts, and POSSIBLY some Christmas projects.
I have a quilt in my head that I'm just chomping at the bit to start, but I can't decide between a disappearing 9 patch or attic window. I NEVER do this, but I think I'm going to make sample blocks to decide. I only have a limited amount of the fabric I want to use, and I figure making a couple of sample blocks may save me heartache in the end. My biggest problem will be, what to do with the blocks I decide not to use. That's why I never do samples, I don't want to waste anything.
My machine is still in the shop. I'm still using my sister's machine. She is so patient, and doesn't want me going through withdrawals. I am convinced I need a second machine. Don't try to talk me out of it, I am certain this is a necessity! I am also thinking about getting my grandmother's treadle up and going. I am going to have to do research to find someone who can restore it to working order. It is Free brand machine, with a beautiful tiger oak cabinet. Does using a treadle machine count as exercise? If it does, I could use that as a great excuse. Quilting as exercise, wouldn't that be great?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

machine in the shop

My sewing machine is tired and needs some spa treatment. You know, an oil bath, some massaging of the timing and such. With all I've made on it, I'm really surprised I've been able to go this long without having it serviced. It doesn't need anything major that I know of, just a regular TLC check-up. It's going in tomorrow. I'm borrowing my sister's machine to get me through the weekend. Now I know why people have more than one machine.
I did get five scrub shirts done this week, as well as the luggage tags and steering wheel covers. I still have lots of scrubs to make. Only two for someone else, the rest for my DH. My husband has acquired a scrub addiction, which compliments my fabric addiction nicely. Now we both enjoy searching for fabric. I found some Beatles fabric and he so wanted some Beatles scrubs. I also bought some Jetsons fabric to make him a scrub top. I figure being in the hospital is stressful enough, it's nice to have a nurse or doctor have a wild scrub top to take your mind off things.
I am struggling with myself to get anything done today, but I am working on cutting out scrubs, and cutting up shirts. I just keep making more and more scraps, and have no time to get it cut into scrap system sizes. I keep waiting for time to do it, but I really need to make time to do it. I am coming to the conclusion there will never be time to cut if I don't schedule it.
I will try to take some pics of the luggage tags. I've had a couple people ask about them.