Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skipping around on the RRCB Mystery

I have a baker's dozen of string blocks done for step 3. It's a far cry from the 60 I need, but I have been string piecing stockings too. I'm glad I went ahead and started over on the blue string blocks. I think the navy blues in the other ones I had were too dark. I love making string blocks, I even like tearing the paper off of string blocks. I usually rip off the paper when reading digests from my yahoo quilting groups, since I really don't have to look at the paper to tear it off.

Here is step 4 all finished. It was an easy step, so it wasn't hard to knock these out.

I'm still working on step 5. I have about 300 HST's sewn (200 ironed) of the 600 needed. I haven't trimmed the dog ears off yet, but I figure I'll do all of that once they are all done.

I managed to get the triangles cut for step 6, but nothing sewn on that step at all. I was hoping to do a lot more sewing done this week than has happened. My back is doing better, but I still can't sit too long in one position.

Today I didn't get a chance to sew at all. I went shopping with DD#2 for things for DD#3's baby shower on the 9th. I'm a little lost on throwing this baby shower, the last one I went to was the one some church ladies threw for me when I was pregnant with her! I imagine it will be fine, as long as the food is good, right? I couldn't find anything with twins on it, and DD#3 has an aversion to pastels, so I bought purple and blue napkins, plates, balloons, and streamers to go with her nursery colors. I found Mickey and Minnie Mouse things to put on a cake or use as decorations. I also found boy and girl rubber ducks, which I am hoping to use in a centerpiece.

***I got interrupted while writing this post, so I went upstairs and sewed while I talked to my best friend on the phone (gotta love headsets). I sewed another 200 HST's while we talked, so only 100 more, then a bunch of ironing :-)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Quilty Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas, albeit a bit early due to work schedules. I had asked everyone to chip in and buy me EQ7, and they did! I am so excited to try it, but I'll probably end up waiting a few more days. DH also bought me 12 fat quarters, and DD#2 bought me some quilting happy socks. I usually wear happy socks (what I call socks with weird designs on them), and these are my first pair of quilting socks.

A friend of DD#3 who really appreciates my cooking also bought me some fabric. He got me these three pieces, all tone-on-tones. He's got a great eye for someone who knows nothing about quilting! The funny thing is, I have been thinking about making a quilt with a black background, and two of these fit the bill. I really need some more black-on-blacks if I'm going to make the quilt in my mind. I have pretty much chosen the colors, just not the pattern.

I haven't gotten any sewing done in the past few days. I'm hoping to get a bit done tomorrow, but we'll see. I hurt my back and I'm not able to sit for too long at a time. It's not too bad so in a few days I should be good to go.

I hope all of you had a fabulous Christmas too!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Our tree is finally up, thanks to DD#3. She put it up all by herself and at seven months pregnant with twins that is no easy feat! I wouldn't have even bothered putting it up this year, life is so chaotic right now.

I got the front and backs made for three stockings. they aren't sewn together yet, and I know I won't get all of them done before Christmas. I do like the way they are coming out, and I think they will all look very nice next year. I let everyone pick a color, and I'm using my strings in those colors to make their stockings. I need eight stockings this year, but I'll need at least 11 next year. I decided I'd enjoy making them much more if I didn't rush so much. We'll survive a year with no stockings.

Yesterday I spent some time cutting for the RRCB Mystery. I got everything cut for steps 4 and five, even though I haven't finished step 3. I needed some more strings for step 3, so I decided that was easiest if I just cut them while cutting for the other steps, since they all needed the same color.

Here is my progress on step 3. I decided to do a dozen at a time, so when I finish five batches, I'll be done. Of course this is only my first batch, but you have to start somewhere ;-) The gray strings on the side are for DH's stocking. I keep alternating what I'm working on. I love string piecing, I find it so relaxing so this step is great for me, especially with all the chaos around.

Do you like my mountain of blue strings? I decided not to use the blocks I showed earlier, and I eliminated the navy blues from my "mountain". I thought the navy blues made the blocks too dark, but there is still a lot of variety in these strings. I hope we are done with the neutral now, if we aren't I'm going to have to go buy a few fat quarters, or use yardage for all of the last couple steps.

Today I spent helping DD#2 pack to move back home. Now I'm doing loads upon loads of laundry. Tomorrow I babysit and do more laundry. Tuesday I go help pack up DD#2 and DS the Elder's kitchen then Wednesday they move home. Thursday we celebrate Christmas, since almost everyone is working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I'm hoping to find some time to do some relaxing sewing between Christmas and New Years.

After the New Year I will switch to baby mode, and work in earnest on things for the twins. The baby shower is January 9th and I need to get everything done for that too. DS the Elder will be moving to Texas right around then, so he is just here for a couple weeks. So many changes, so much going on, that sewing is like a guilty pleasure right now. I try to steal a few minutes here and there to sew and save my sanity.

In case I don't post again before Christmas, I hope you all have a wonderful loving holiday!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Quilt Finishes for 2010

These are the last of my 2010 quilts. I know I won't have any more finishes this year, because I'm not even going to try. I may end up with a couple more quilt tops completed, because I have a couple that are almost done, but as far as finishing quilts go, this is it. This D9P will go to the veteran's hospital.

The grandtwins flannel quilts are finished. I auditioned a couple different colors of binding for each quilt and let DD#3 choose.

What are the quilts backed with? Mickey and Minnie Mouse flannels!

I packed the Juki away for now. I'll set it up again when I have a few tops ready to quilt, but for now, its cabinet is closed :-(

Now that my quilting spree is done, it's on to Christmas chores and other work. Two of my kids are moving back in next week, one of them for just a couple weeks, one for a few months. Lots of rearranging needs to be done for that. Add to that the Christmas baking, and present wrapping, cards to send, and maybe, just maybe, those stockings to make, and I'll be a busy woman.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Computer Quilt

Now that this quilt has made its way around the world to South Africa, and my DSIL has it, I can show it on my blog. DSIL (married to DD#1) is a computer programmer, and does web design as well. As a result, a lot of people think since he works with computers, he should be able to fix theirs.

He gets a bit tired of explaining that's not what he does, so I had someone with an embroidery machine make this, "No, I won't fix your computer, but thanks for asking" sign.

Here are some close-ups of the novelty fabrics I used. He is quite the cat person, so when I found the cat computer fabric, that one was definitely in. Some quilters from Stashbusters Yahoo group helped me with some of the fabrics since I was on no-buy at the time.

Here is a pic of most of the quilt. It is made from the I Spy with a Twist pattern by Lisa Moore. If you look at my sidebar, Ralph's woodsy quilt and Martha's angels are made from the same pattern. I've heard some quilter's say they don't like to make a pattern more than once, but this is one of those patterns that I go back to a lot. It seems completely different based on color choices, and I think it's fun to make up a good pattern in more than one colorway.

I've had some finishes, and I'll post on those soon. Some before Christmas, some after, you know how it goes this time of year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

RRCB Step 2 +

I finally finished step 2 of the RRCB mystery quilt. Here are all my HST's pinned into groups of four, per directions.

When I saw step three I was undecided as to what to do. I already have 8 1/2 inch paper foundations cut, because I had already been making 8 1/2 inch string blocks. I am using blue as my neutral/background color, and I was aiming for a medium shade of blue. The thing is, I have four blue string blocks done in the palest blues (I was going to use it in a baby quilt) and I have 8 blocks already done in the shades above, medium blues to navy. I hadn't planned on using such dark blues, but having 8 blocks already done is pretty tempting. The 4 light blue blocks are not as tempting, as I have very few light blue strings and I'd have to cut them all. Now the real dilemma, do I go for it with all the various blues, or should I start from scratch with just the medium blues? I may not have to choose for a bit, since I am up to my neck in other projects. I will have to cut more strings no matter what, but I'll raid my 1 1/2 inch strips drawers first. If I go for the shades like I have above, I probably have enough strings for half the blocks, plus the 8 already done, so that would be an advantage and I'll have less to cut.

Right now I'm leaning towards going for it. I figure the worst that will happen is the quilt will be too dark for the person I was thinking of giving it to. Then I'd have to make them a different quilt when the occasion warrants, but that's not so bad. I can always find someone who will like this one.

I got the chunky churndash quilts for the grandtwins pin-basted, as well as the D9P charity quilt. I'm working on quilting some other projects right now, but these are ready when I'm done with the others.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another D9P

I am seriously trying to finish things up before the end of the year. I had this quilt top partially assembled, and I completed it tonight. I also got the center of another quilt top together, but I need to cut borders for it, maybe tomorrow during baby's nap.

I got a bit more done on my RRCB mystery quilt. I still haven't completed step 2, but I'm close. I'm only sewing the mystery quilt as leaders and enders, and since my main projects are assembling quilts, I don't have a lot of need for leaders and enders. Every once in a while I sew up about a dozen HST's so I feel like I'm getting something done.

Tomorrow is my last day of babysitting for a couple weeks, and I'm hoping to spend quite a bit of time next week quilting. Whatever I don't have time to quilt by next weekend is not going to be quilted for a while, so I really need my time to be productive. I did get my new walking foot, and a spare as well, so I shouldn't have any problems with that. I will be crosshatching a couple quilts, so I needed the walking foot. I haven't decided what to do on the other quilts, so we'll see. I might do some free-motion quilting, I might take out some stencils again, who knows?

At the end of next week I will close the cabinet with the Juki, and it will stay closed for a while. I need it put away so I can put the Christmas tree up, but I am also rearranging the house so DD#2 can move into the family room. I will be trying to figure out how to put the furniture from the family room into the living room, and still have room to walk. I'm sure I'll be getting rid of a few things, which is no great problem. Our living room furniture is shot, so maybe by the time DD#2 is ready to move again, we might have enough money saved for some new furniture. I would imagine we'll at least be able to get some second-hand furniture then.

I still haven't managed to clear out the room that will be the nursery, so the idea of emptying out two rooms is a bit daunting. I have started moving my scrub fabric, and I've gotten more than half of it moved. I'm having to do something I never wanted to have to resort to, which is storing fabric under my bed :-( Right now I'm not making any scrubs, because I just don't have time, but I may in the future, and I also can use the fabric for quilting since almost all of it is 100% cotton. I have one shelf in the cabinet that holds the scrub fabric that is poly/cotton blends, but all the rest is cotton. Some of the fabrics that are not novelty prints, are being folded into mini-bolts and put in with my quilting fabrics now. I can only make myself fold a couple pieces of fabric at a time, since I got burnt out folding fabric this summer.

A lot of non-quilting things are taking big chunks of time right now, and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. I'll feel better if I get a few more projects finished up before the Juki gets packed away, but I can only do what I can do. Small quilts I can quilt on the Bernina, and for any really big quilts I can send those off to be quilted. Maybe 2011 will be the year I get a quilt finished for our bed!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chunky Churndashes for the Grandtwins!

I finished the Chunky Churndash quilt tops for the grandtwins tonight. They will be getting other quilts later, but these are flannel and warm, and I should have them quilted by next week, so these will be ready when they arrive. This top one with the purple background is for Serenity.

Here is the one for Lucius. I was using these blocks I had already made on my flannel busting spree, but I tried to make them look a little alike by using the striped sashing and borders. Their next quilts will be in the samurai/geisha theme of the nursery, and they'll be a bit larger. These quilts are just a couple of warm ones to get them through winter. (As wintery as southern AZ gets, anyway) The pattern for the Chunky Churndashes can be found at Bonnie K Hunter is very generous with her patterns.

I did get a few HST's done for step 2 of the RRCB mystery quilt. I finished maybe 1/4 of them, or a little more. I am so glad I used the Accuquilt cutter to cut the HST's. No dog ears to trim off, and they are going together so easily! I'm doing the mystery quilt as leaders and enders while I try to get some other projects together. Now that these two quilt tops are together, I'll go back to some others I left in some stage of assembly. I think I have three quilt tops in rows, and another that just needs borders. If I can get those to at least completed top stage, I'll be doing the happy dance for sure ;-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll Step 1

I just cannot resist a Bonnie Hunter Mystery! I've only missed one since I started following her a few years ago. This newest mystery is called, as the title of this post indicates, Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll (which shall hereafter be referred to as RRCB which is much shorter to type ;-) I switched up all the colors, but I did get step one finished, and step 2 is cut. I am babysitting four full days this weeks, so not too much sewing time, but I'm figuring I will get step 2 done before step 3 comes out on Friday. Thankfully, I had the correct die for my Accuquilt cutter for step 2, so it didn't take long at all to get it all cut.

Since any of you who read this blog with any regularity know I never work on just one thing, I am also working on quilts for the grandtwins, these are the smaller flannel quilts they are getting. The center of Serenity's is almost done, and I have the rows of Lucius' assembled. I have a stack of stuff to make for the grandtwins, and the only thing I have made is some burp rags. I keep telling them to stay inside Mommy because Nana is not ready! Of course, I am also working on a couple of secret Christmas projects too.

I thought I would get quite a bit of time to sew over the weekend, since there were leftovers to eat, but as I was working on my Christmas surprise, my walking foot broke :-( I called all over town, and no one had one in stock. I even went to one place because they said they had one that might work. I told them I needed a high shank foot, and what they showed me was not a standard foot at all. My Juki can use Janome high shank feet, but this was something I've not seen before. It wouldn't have fit any of my machines, and they all take different feet. I ordered TWO new Janome walking feet online so I'd have a spare. My Christmas projects are on hold until the new walking feet get here. I did finish one project, with the guide duct taped to the original Juki walking foot. I really dislike the Juki walking foot. It is extremely noisy and cheap, and no place for a quilting guide to be attached. Of course, it was a Janome walking foot that broke, so I don't know what that says for it either. My Bernina walking foot is my favorite, and I have walking feet for all my machines, but of course, it only fits my Bernina, and I can't work on this project on the Bernina. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. It would be a nightmare! I paid for quick shipping, so the new feet should be here before I actually have a day off of babysitting.

Last week was CRAZY! The finishing touches were done to the remodeled bathroom. DD#3 and DSIL moved in on Wednesday. On Thursday I had 24? people here for Thanksgiving dinner. We found out that DS the Elder will probably be moving to Texas, and that will mean DD#2 will be moving back in temporarily (they share an apartment right now) It was a fun week, it was exciting, and it was nuts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn Strings Done

Here is my autumn string quilt. I hadn't planned on keeping it when I started it, but I like it too much to give it away. It's a good size to use when watching TV or reading. I did all the stitching-in-the-ditch yesterday, and the other quilting today.

I'm not sure how well you can see it, but I used a leaf stencil in the border. I used Dritz chalk to mark it, and had no problems getting it out in the wash.

In each block I traced a leaf cookie cutter, I had an oak leaf and a maple leaf. I've almost gotten rid of my cookie cutters multiple times, now I only keep them because of quilting.

I wanted to mark all 56 blocks at the same time, and I was afraid the chalk would rub off, so I tried using Crayola Washable Markers to mark the quilt. I have heard several quilters say they use them all the time, and they wash out fine. Since I was keeping this quilt, I figured I'd try it. I used a brown marker to trace the leaves, and I did that yesterday. I finished quilting the quilt today, got it bound and washed it, and the marker came out just fine, no traces of it at all. I wanted to be extra sure it would come out, so after the washer filled with water, I let it soak for 15 minutes before running the cycle. I figured the longer it sat, the water soluble ink should have more time to come out. I checked carefully when the washer was done to make sure the marks were out before I dried it. So, my personal experience was that the washable marker came out fine. I did try to finish ASAP, because I figured the longer it sat on the quilt, the more likely I was to have problems getting it out. I don't know if the soaking or the short time it was on the quilt had any effect on things or not, but that is what I did with good results. I won't hesitate to use the washable markers again.

This is my 12th finish since October 11th, and the last of my pile of quilt tops. I have a couple quilt tops almost done, but I've been on such a quilting spree I've done hardly any piecing. I have just over a month before Christmas, so maybe I can get those stockings done after all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swing Your Partner DONE!

I started this quilt in March 2009, but today, it is finished! I took the photos when it was all warm and crinkly from the dryer. DS the Younger is asleep, and DH is not home from work yet, so no quilt holders, therefore the couch had to step up.

I quilted fans in each block, and I used a stencil in the sashing. It was my first try using a stencil, and I liked it.

I meandered in the borders, because I wanted to use a pattern where I could avoid stitching the pockets in the borders closed. I wanted the pockets usable. Who knows what treasures may end up in those pockets, remote controls, little toys, only time will tell! All but the sashing and inner border are men's shirts recycled into a quilt.

I've already started quilting the next quilt, all the stitch in the ditch on that one is finished. I am going to trace some cookie cutters in each block, and use a stencil for the border. I think one full day of quilting will finish that one, but there is a lot going on so it is more likely to be two half days of quilting. I'll post a photo whenever I finish the next one.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter is doing a new mystery quilt starting on Friday, November 19th. The mystery is called Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, and it can be found at Yes, I still have several projects in the works, but I am at least going to start this mystery quilt. I am hoping to at least keep up on the cutting, and maybe sew up some units, but I really have no hope of keeping up, and I'm OK with that. If I can keep up with the cutting, I will at least have a nice kit to work on next year, when quilting time will be at a premium. I'm not using Bonnie's colors at all, from left to right there is a butter yellow, sage green, peach, lilac and blue. The blues will be my neutral, so this quilt will have a blue background.

I have used a lot of sage green and purples in the last year, so I bought a few small pieces of those, plus some peach since I had only a couple peach pieces at all in the stash. The largest piece of fabric I purchased was a 1/2 yard, but that was only because there was sale and half yards were the same price as fat quarters. I didn't buy any blue and I had the yellow. All in all, this quilt will probably be 70% from stash. I would imagine I will end up supplementing these piles with strips from my strip drawers, but until I know which colors need which sizes, I can't look in those. Bonnie said we'd need some neutral strings, and I have a lot of blue strings all set aside, so no problem there.

I have been wanting to use an unusual choice for a background color, and when I was thinking of who would likely end up with this quilt, I decided blue was a good choice. I think that no matter how many blue quilts I make, I will never run out of blue.

I can definitely tell I've done a lot of quilting lately. Piecing backings have made noticeable spaces on my fabric shelves. That's a very good thing as I have to move all the scrub fabrics into the sewing room. Some of those fabrics will end up under my bed in underbed storage containers, but I will fit more than I originally thought on the shelves in the sewing room.

As far as other things go, I am almost done quilting anther quilt. If I quit playing on the computer, I might be able to finish the quilting tonight. One more quilt is pin-basted, and it should take no more than two days to quilt.

We bought a new shed and DH got it up this weekend. We had a shed once upon a time, but it was falling apart and had no doors, so we tore it down a while back. We had actually gotten rid of so much stuff we didn't need a shed, but with DD#3, DSIL and twins moving in, we need storage space again. How I miss having a garage!

Work on the bathroom is coming along, slowly but surely. I have walls now! Looking at freshly installed drywall is much nicer than looking at studs. We're in the middle of a few days of taping and mudding the walls. Drying time wastes a lot of time at this point. I was told that the room will be ready for paint on Thursday, and DH will do that. After the room is painted, the other fixtures can be installed.

Ah, DD#2 just arrived and needs Mom time, so maybe that quilt will get finished tomorrow ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Finish Today

I finished this quilt today, and washed and dried it too. In case anyone is wondering, the design is Bali Sea Star and directions are in the book Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett. I quilted it with an allover Baptist fan design (or Golden Arches as Patsy Thompson calls them) using variegated thread.

I've only been free motion quilting for a few months, but I am learning as I go along. I've read several places that beginners shouldn't use variegated thread. I LOVE variegated thread, and not using it is not an option. That said, I've learned the hard way, that if I am having thread breakage issues, if I just quilt more slowly, that issue pretty much goes away. I know that you should match the speed you move with quilt with the speed you are sewing, and with some threads I can quilt pretty quickly, but if I'm having thread breakage, slowing the rate I'm sewing and the rate I'm moving the quilt is essential. I quilt on my Juki and it is capable of stitching 1600 stitches a minute. I am learning not all threads can handle that. I know that is pretty basic information for most people, but I am new to free-motion, and maybe someone else out there is new to it too.

Since I've been on this quilt finishing spree, I've been trying new threads and a couple more designs. I started out matching the top thread to the bottom thread, but on this quilt, I used a C&C Star variegated in the top, and a solid Aurifil in the bottom. Oh my, what a difference using Aurifil in the bottom makes! I didn't have any tension issues, even though the threads were different weights, but the big plus was I could wind so much more Aurifil on the bobbin. The last quilt I quilted that was about this same size, where I matched the top and bottom threads with variegated, I went through about 9 bobbins. On this quilt I only used 6, which meant I spent half as much time changing bobbins! Since I am in such a time crunch, any time I can save is a bonus.

I finished DSIL's (DD#1's DH) quilt, but I don't want to post any pics of it on the blog until he gets it. Now I am down to two quilts pin basted, and amazingly enough, I am keeping both of them! One is a throw size, and the other is approximately twin, but a bit wide for a twin, maybe closer to full. My goal is to have these two quilts completely finished before Thanksgiving.

On days when I don't have much time to quilt, I am working on some other projects. Today I made a couple more burp rags, as I only finish them as I have batting scraps large enough to make them. The flannel has been cut for months, and I make a few at a time.

I am also working on some big square swaddling blankets. As much as I love quilts and afghans, my favorite baby blankets were some my MIL made made me. They were just big squares, as a big a square as she could make from the fabric, maybe 42-44 inches square. She made some with two layers of fabric, and others with a single layer just hemmed, as we lived in Texas when our first two were born and it was hot! I had one blanket she had made that was pink on one side, and blue on the other, and my babies always came home from the hospital in that one. I never asked about gender when I had my ultrasounds, so I never knew which to prepare for. That blanket was perfect! The big square shape is much easier to use for swaddling a baby than rectangular receiving blankets, not to mention I think receiving blankets are just too small! My last baby weighed 10 1/2 pounds, and a receiving blanket just wasn't big enough to stay around him.

I made some of the square swaddling blankets for DD#1 when DGS was on the way, and she loved them as much as I did. Now it's time to make a bunch for the twins. I'm just using fabric I already had for these, not worrying about the nursery theme or anything. I did buy fabric for curtains for the nursery though. I had to buy fabric when I found some with cartoon samurai and geishas done in purple and blue which are the nursery colors, and the nursery theme. It's perfect! I have a geisha panel and a samurai panel to use for the twins quilts, but I decided to make some smaller quilts first. At first they will be sleeping in the same crib, so I wanted smaller quilts for that, then their samurai and geisha quilts will be for when they are each in their own crib. I'm still hoping to make some crib sheets too, but we'll see what I get done. Swaddling blankets, four quilts, and curtains may be enough for the twins for now. I already have a big stack of burp cloths ready for them.

Bonnie Hunter is starting a new mystery on November 19th on, and I REALLY want to do it! I did pick colors, with a specific person in mind. I haven't pulled fabrics yet, and I'd really like to get a few more fat quarters of a couple of the colors. See how much better I've gotten? I don't want to go buy lots of yardage, just some fat quarters I will use right away. Well, sort of use right away. I know I won't be able to keep up with the mystery, I have too many other things going on right now. I'd like to be able to keep up with cutting, and sew at least a few units, so I have some blocks done. If I can get everything cut, I'll at least have a kit, which may work very well as a 2011 project when my sewing time will probably be 15 minutes at a time.

Whether or not I start the mystery depends on what I manage to get done between now and when it starts. If I do finish these other two quilts, and have made progress on things for the twins, I'll probably start it. If I can't get those things done, I probably won't. I think there will be about 30 people here for Thanksgiving dinner, so I won't have much time to sew that week, as I'll be cooking a couple days prior to Thanksgiving. I have to make all new stockings (nine of them) before Christmas, and so far all I've done is cut the batting. Just over two weeks until Thanksgiving, 47 days until Christmas, and an unknown amount of time before the twins come. What will get done, what won't get done, and will it really matter?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Two more scrub tops are finished for DH, so I am done scrub tops for now. This is the one I finished today. It SO reminds me of the Travelocity commercials with the traveling gnome. The other I can't show because it's to go under the Christmas tree ;-)

I got another quilt pin basted, and I have another layered on the kitchen table so I can baste it in the morning. The one on the table is the one I will quilt first. If I get the basting done quickly enough, I may start quilting it tomorrow. It is for my DSIL in South Africa, and it needs to be mailed soon to have any chance of getting there for Christmas. I won't be showing any pics of it until he gets it. I am going to meander on DSIL's quilt, but I have some other things planned for the other three quilts that are pin basted.

Tomorrow should be a busy day. DD#3 has an ultrasound scheduled and I get to go! I'll get to see the twins for myself, and I'm so excited. I've already heard their heartbeats a couple times. Tomorrow night I am supposed to make pumpkin pancakes for my boys. We were talking about them the other day, and decided on Wednesday night.

On the remodeling front, the tub is in, so it's starting to look like a bathroom again :-) The man doing the remodeling is out of town for the next week, so that's how it will look for a while. Everything is in now, we picked up the flooring and the vanity top, so hopefully things will go together quickly when M. gets back.

Oh, my no-buy challenge is over, and although I never went a quarter without buying any fabric, I did reduce my buying significantly. (I had to pay a penalty for that gnome fabric, and all the other fabrics I used for DH's scrub tops) I'm not joining any challenges for this coming year, because next year will probably be so crazy. I have no idea how much time I will have to sew with seven people in the house again, especially considering two of them will be twin babies. I should have plenty of incentive not to buy, since my sewing room is so crowded right now. Unless I will be using it immediately, I doubt I'll be tempted to buy that much. I still have to empty out the room that will be the nursery, and the cabinet with all my scrub fabric is in there. I am going to have to find room for all of that fabric in the sewing room, and that will be an adventure! At least DD#3 wants to keep the cabinet in the nursery, to use for the twins things, I would have hated to try to find room for that somewhere.

The baby I babysit for will be turning one on Friday! I can't believe he's already one. I will watch him Friday, then go to his birthday party that night. DH will be at scooter rally again, so he won't be going with me. Now, if I can just manage to pick up the baby a present between now and Friday...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Unexpected Week

This past week has not gone at all like I planned. I know it happens to everyone, so I'm not surprised, just stating the facts. We had a very sad event this week, and a few worried moments, as well as some pure frustration. It wasn't all bad, and I got to throw a birthday dinner for one of DS the Younger's friends whose mother is out of town, and DD#2 finished her second sewing project. I wish I had thought to take a picture. The only sewing I managed to do, was making three scrub tops for DH.

Here he is, ready to go to work in the ER today. I had been looking for this fabric for ages, it's the Universal Monsters print, and it's been out of print so everything I found was sky high in price. I finally found a reasonable deal on ebay. I love really graphic novelty prints for his scrubs. I figure it takes the patients mind off the pain for a bit, and he gets lots of comments on his scrubs.

Here are two new Christmas scrub tops. I know we don't live anywhere near the ocean, but I am always on the lookout for warm weather Christmas prints. It has taken me a while to get used to southern Arizona Christmas'. I grew up looking forward to snow and sledding on Christmas, and here we typically have cool mornings but warm afternoons on Christmas. We've actually had to open the windows on Christmas Day before.

I am hoping to get the rest of his scrub tops sewn up today. We'll see how that goes. I really need to get back to quilting, but everyone once in a while, I need to let DH know I haven't forgotten him ;-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One More Finish and Lots of Changes

Here is the girly frog D9P all finished. I packed up the donation quilts for this year, my goal was 12 and I have 14, so yeah me! Ten quilts are going to Project Linus, 4 to the Veterans Hospital. Last year I made more for the veterans, so maybe it evens out? Next year I have no idea how many donation quilts I'll be able to get done, if I get any done that would be a win.

The past few days have been crazy. I cut backings for the next four quilts, but I've only pieced two of those. I do have those two layered and pinbasted. I have tendinitis in my wrists again, so I decided to take a break from pinbasting, I've done a lot of that in the past couple of weeks. None of these four are donation quilts, two are gifts and two I will actually keep! I got 5 scrub tops cut out for DH, but nothing else sewing related done. Well, with the exception of staying up until 2 in the morning last night rearranging my sewing room yet again!

I turned my sewing cabinet 90 degrees, and now I can have the Brother set up in the sewing room too. I also fit this old microwave stand in there, which gives me a bit more storage. I don't know if you can tell, but there is an Asian print on top of the microwave stand, and that will be a maternity top for DD#3. She is making it herself. Since DD's #2 & 3 are both learning to sew, I really needed the Brother set back up. It's pretty crowded in the sewing room now, but it is still functional, all the stations are accessible, and there is just (barely) enough room to move around.

I think the Brother cs6000i is a great beginner machine. It has some idiot proof features that other machines don't have. It will not sew if you have the presser foot up, it won't sew if you have the wrong foot for the stitch you selected (how it knows which foot you have on, I have no idea, I can't see any computerized components on the foot or where you attach it.) It is easy to thread, and has multiple error messages that tells you exactly what is wrong. Most importantly for a beginner, the markings on the faceplate are easy to read, the 5/8 inch seam mark is very well marked. I think it is the better machine for the girls to learn on, so now that it's set up they can sew whenever they have a chance.

The bathroom downstairs is now gutted. Evidently the drain from the bathtub has been broken for years, and the drain underground had completely filled with dirt. Whenever a bath or shower was taken in there, it was draining all the water under our house instead of down the drain. Not a good thing, but now since everything is torn up, it will be fixed and all will be well. There was no way for us to know that was happening, as the problem was under our basement, and the water did not back up into the tub. In fact, the damage may be from before we even bought the house. I have to go to Home Depot again tomorrow and buy more paint and get the medicine cabinet we forgot the other day. The new bathtub is in my backyard, the new vanity in the family room, a toilet in the nursery. Boy, will I be glad to have the bathroom done and things put back in their place!

DS the Younger decided to paint his new bedroom after all, and thankfully, he wanted to do it by himself ;-) He picked a dark brown, which I like better than I thought I would. It is very masculine and warm looking. Most of my kids pick pretty dark colors when given free rein. The plus to the brown is the new burgundy curtains I had purchased for that room when it was the guest room will still match pretty well, so at least that works.

You know, I didn't think I had that much stuff stored in the guest room, but since I had to find new places to store everything, I realized there was actually quite a bit in there. I had the mailing supplies and gift wrap in the guest room closet, and now they are in my bedroom closet. I had to rearrange most of my closet to get those things to fit. I had been storing the donation quilts in the guest closet until I got ready to turn them in, which is why they are now packed and being dropped off this week. The closet was by no means full, which is why I didn't think there was much in there, but I had to do a lot of fiddling to store the stuff elsewhere. Since I will now have no bed for guests set up, I had to rearrange the linen closet to fit the extra linens that were on that bed. We are looking for a shed to store the bed itself in, as well as DD#3's kitchen stuff. We don't have a garage or any large storage areas, so it's either buy a shed, rent a storage area, or get rid of everything we want stored. We are getting rid of quite a bit, I have a pile to go to the thrift store, but to get rid of everything would be foolish, as we will need some of this when DD#3 and DSIL move on. Their kitchen stuff certainly should be stored as it would be very expensive to replace.

Home remodeling and people moving in or out always has the domino factor involved. To do this, you must first do these few things, and then since you did that, you must also do x, y, and z. It never seems to be simple or straightforward. Ah well, at least life is interesting!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three More

I got three more quilts finished in my quilting marathon. This top quilt was made from orphan HST's and some four patches I had made as leaders and enders with no plan.

Here is the one of the quilt tops I made from my flannel busting spree. This one was the only grown up quilt I made from flannel.

This D9P frog quilt is finished too. I'm up to 7 quilts finished so far this month. I have one more quilt pin-basted, another frog D9P, but a girly one. I am hoping to get it quilted tomorrow.

I'm having to take things one day at a time. Plans have been changing daily, so I'm trying to stay flexible. The downstairs bathroom remodel starts tomorrow. DS the Younger wants to move his room this weekend so he can be close to a functioning bathroom, so although I had planned on a serious quilting weekend while DH is at a scooter rally, I guess I will be moving furniture instead. It had to be done sooner or later anyway, since DS the Younger is giving up his room for DD#3 and DSIL to move in. In the grand scheme of things, this weekend is as good as any.

I am quilting whenever I get a chance. Hopefully I will find time to piece some more backings so I can pin-baste the next batch of quilts. I may change the order I had been planning to get the next few done, to better reflect when they need to be done. I had been saving the ones with deadlines, knowing I'd get more done if I did the others first, but it may be time to bump those up to the head of the line. I am so glad I bought more basting pins, because for me, I do better basting several quilts then quilting them all, as opposed to basting-quilting-basting-quilting. Everyone has different things that work for them, and this seems to be working for me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taking Advice from Larry the Cable Guy

Git R Done, Larry the Cable Guy says that all the time. That is what I am trying to do, finish up as many quilts as I can before the house gets turned upside down with changes.

^I've had this top done a while, and now it's quilted and done. I use this pattern a lot for donation quilts. It is an easy pattern to do as leaders and enders, and I can go completely scrappy like this one, or keep it color controlled.

^I just finished another top just like this one a couple weeks ago. This is indeed a different quilt though.

^Here is another quilt where the top has been finished a while. A lot of these tops are from when I cleaned out my orphan box and made quilt tops out of the four patches I had been making, along with extra HST's from various projects. The border fabric has musical instruments all over it, and as a joke, I decided to put this chair fabric on the back.

I have no idea who will end up in with this donation quilt, but if they are musically oriented, they may know that the best player of each instrument in the symphony gets first chair.

I have four more quilts pin basted and ready to quilt. I have bobbins wound for the next couple of quilt tops. I have finished four quilts this week, and with the four more that are basted, you might think I'd be catching up. The thing is, I have five more quilt tops finished that aren't basted yet, plus I have at least six quilt tops that are close to be being completed. Now I also have quilt tops started that aren't that close to being finished. I think I actually had about 25 projects going at once!

Well, at least four quilts are off of my list and done. Tomorrow is a sewing lesson with DD#2 (she's making a cape), and then she and I are going to the U of A to see their production of Dracula. Friday is DH's day off, and I'd like to go to Home Depot to finalize my choices for the downstairs bathroom remodel before I go there with the contractor next week to buy everything. Friday night several of us are going to the movies together. Saturday DH and I are planning on going up to Phoenix for the State Fair, and Sunday is sewing lesson with DD#3 who will be making a maternity shirt. I might get bits of time here and there to do a bit of quilting, but I doubt I'll have another finish until next week.

My goal for this month is to get at least all the quilt tops that are done quilted and bound. That would be at least 13 finishes for this month, which is crazy. If I can do it, it will cut my current project list in half. I'm not overthinking any of these quilts on the quilting. Mostly I am meandering, which I'm getting pretty quick at. I might crosshatch a few, might not. I'm not debating endlessly which color thread to use, nor I am I going to buy any new thread for any of these. I am simply going to finish them and get them into a usable form. They aren't doing anyone any good as quilt tops.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Tide Is In!

Here is the sea quilt, completely finished and bound! I did an allover meander on it, yes even over all the sea critters. After all, if you are looking at the animals through water, you would have distortion anyway. My real reasoning for the allover meander is that I think it will hold up in the wash better and being that this is for a 6 year old, I'm sure it will have several washings.

Here is a close up of my jellyfish.

Octopus anyone?

This is my food chain element. The angler fish luring in the little striped fish with her glowing ball. It's a 'Come towards the light so I can eat you', type of thing.

I love this fabric for the starfish. The variegated thread was a plus, I didn't know I had that color, it came in a sampler pack. I just had to have the starfish go into the border, as a whimsical touch.

I am so happy to have this quilt finished. My plan for the next couple weeks is to see how many quilt tops I can get quilted. I might just have a quilting spree until the end of October. I'm sure I'll work on some piecing too, but only on quilts that have already been started. I really want to make a dent in this pile of quilt tops I've accumulated before I start on all the grandbaby quilts.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sea Quilt Top Done

I just finished the sea quilt top a few minutes ago. I wasn't sure if I'd finish the top today or not, but I'm glad I did! Maybe I can even get the back pieced today, and lay it out overnight with the batting and get it pinbasted tomorrow morning. I'm not sure that will happen, but hey, a girl can dream can't she?

Tomorrow afternoon is spa day with DD#3. She is going to dye my hair and give me a trim, and I will cut her hair. I have no idea what she wants as far as a haircut goes, and it is always a surprise with her :-) I learned how to cut hair from a book, (the way I learned most of my skills), and the kids are constantly stretching my skills by asking for different cuts. I thought it was very funny when I went to South Africa last time and DD#1 had me bring my hair cutting scissors and do her hair while I was there. I left a pair of shears there, so I can do it again next time, and not worry about forgetting to bring them. DD#2 needs a haircut too, but I'm not sure when that will happen, she's in and out a lot, and doesn't always remember to ask me to cut it.

I'm about 2/3 done quilting a quilt on the Juki, so as soon as that one is done, the sea quilt should be ready to quilt right after. I've got the Bernina set up for piecing again now that I'm finished appliqueing on the sea quilt, so maybe I'll use a few spare minutes here and there and get some other quilt tops finished. I have a couple in assembly stage and two ready for borders.

It looks like DD#3 and DSIL will be moving in with us, but I'm not sure when. I think before the twins are born will be easier. Lots of rearranging to do, but I like to rearrange so not a problem. I thought it was very funny when I realized that we will be back to 7 people in the house, which is what we had when all five kids were at home. Reminds me of that old saying, 'The more things change, the more they stay the same'.

The room we will turn into a nursery used to be DD#3's bedroom. We've tried to let the kids pick their own paint colors to make the rooms their own, and when we moved in this house, she picked a very bright lime green. I mean a VERY bright lime green. We never did repaint the room, so it's still this shocking color. I told her she should choose another color, one that won't keep her babies awake ;-)

DS the Younger is willing to give up his room for his sister and her husband, which is really sweet of him. The room he'll be giving up is the same size as our bedroom, and he'll be moving into a much smaller room. I always thought it odd that there are basically two master bedrooms in this house. Our room has a private bathroom, and the other has a walk in closet. I don't have a lot of clothes (I'd rather buy fabric), so I picked the one with the private bathroom. The people we purchased this house from used the other one as their master bedroom. Now that there will be two couples living here, the two master bedrooms are really perfect.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another quilt top, another GRANDBABY!

It's been so long since I posted, and so much has happened since then, that I had to read my last couple of posts to know where I left off! I rearranged the stuff on the sea quilt, and I started working on machine appliqueing (sp?) it today. I was a bit concerned because I am appliqueing over a bunch of pieced seams, but I'll tell you what, the Bernina doesn't miss a beat, and I can't even tell where the seams are by the way she's sewing.

I did re-think the border on the sea quilt, and the fabric I thought I had a yard of, I only had a half yard of :-( Of course, as luck would have it, the half yard I had, had no information on the selvages, and when I checked the online site I had ordered it from, they had sold out and did not have any listed, or any information about it. After 6 hours of online searching, I finally found the fabric in a different color, but it had all the fabric info, so I pretty easily found the right color after that. Actually, I had the fabric in a greenish-blue, and I ordered the green not knowing if I really had the green or blue. Turns out I had the blue, but the green matches the center much better, and since I'm adding an inner border, which will separate the similar colors, I am thrilled with the change.

I wanted to include a picture and I haven't done much in the sewing room in the last few days, but I did finish this D9P quilt top made from some of my 6 inch squares. I have several other quilt tops close to being finished, but now that I am appliqueing, no leader and ender projects are being worked on.

I got my Juki all set up again this morning. I had to close up the cabinet because of the big scooter function we had at the house on Sunday. The scooter quilt was raffled off, and although I had been told the scooter quilt was too yellow by some, the person who won it was thrilled, because her favorite color is yellow! Don't you just love it when things work out that way?

I'm glad the Juki is all ready to go again, because any time that I have time to sew, If I don't want to piece or applique, I need to quilt. I've lost count of how many quilts are in the pile to be quilted, and I am running out of time for everything! I want to get my current quilts finished, and it would be nice if I can do something for Christmas, but I'm not sure that will happen.

I was going to wait until after Christmas to start making the quilts for DD#3's baby (she's due in February) but now that I know she's having twins, I know they may come early. I bought a pattern to make crib sheets and such, and I'll make the babies quilts, and I'll make their new cousin a quilt too, because we found out DD#1 is pregnant again too! DD#1 is due in May, so hopefully a trip to SA then, depending on what's going on here with everyone else. DS the Younger graduates from high school in May too, so it's going to be hopping around here!

So, my new thinking is, try to get as many current projects as possible finished, start working on all the baby things, for all three new grandbabies on the way (Well, at least three, wouldn't it be crazy if both girls were having twins?) and if I can do all that before Christmas, then I will see about Christmas presents. See why I'm doubting I'll get anything done for Christmas? I have no idea how much quilting time I will have between the time the twins are born, and the baby in SA is born, it all depends on how much help DD#3 needs with the twins. I know I may have little time to quilt, and so I'd like to have the quilts for all three(?) babies done before the twins make their grand entrance.

Life is crazy, but blessings abound!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Check This Out!!!!!!

DD#3 had her ultrasound today, and she's having twins! We are so excited! She is having a boy and a girl. We didn't have an inkling before today that she was having twins, so it is quite the happy surprise :-) I didn't get any sewing done today, I doubt I could sit still long enough!