Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Don't Want to.....

Model My New Dress!

 Miss S was not too thrilled about modeling for me, even though I was all happy I finished her dress. Turns out this pattern ran large, so she will likely be able to wear it early next summer too. That makes me feel a bit better about not having gotten it finished sooner. If you can't tell, the dress is lavender with yellow rubber ducks all over it. Miss S loves ducks!

Their Mama gave them some mini graham crackers to calm Miss S down, but Mr. L made sure to get his share.

 Doesn't she just look as sweet as can be now that she's been bribed?

My next sewing project is some more towel bibs for Miss E, my Texas grandbaby. She, DDIL, and DS the Elder will be coming to town next week for DDIL's surgery. DDIL wanted more bibs for Miss E anyway, and I don't have enough to go around if I'm babysitting and have Miss E, that is 5 bibs per meal, and I think I only have 12 or so, not even a day's worth at that rate! If I can get her new bibs finished, It will be easier during their six week stay, and I can send them home with them when they leave. DS the Elder will only be here a few days, he will have to go back to Texas to work, but DDIL and Miss E will be here for a while. We're all praying for an easy recovery for her.

I had a very unexpected phone call last night. A car ran into my parents house! My Dad was knocked off of his chair and onto the floor, but thankfully both he and my mom are ok. They were in the opposite end of the house at the time of the crash. All four people in the car were taken to the hospital, but from the little I heard, it sounded as if they should all recover. I am so thankful my parents are safe! I guess the house will get some updating now, whether they were looking to do it or not.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Actually Sewed!!!!

I actually got to sew for an hour or so yesterday! I didn't get very much done, as I was having a hard time with buttonholes. I've only made a couple buttonholes with my Aurora, and I keep doing something wrong. It is absolutely user error, and nothing wrong with the machine. I need to go back to the shop I purchased it at and get a refresher course on making buttonholes. Well, actually, I could likely just look it up on Youtube, but since I got the two buttonholes I needed finished, I'll likely wait until next time. If I made buttonholes more often I wouldn't keep forgetting how to do it!

I have the yoke on Miss S's dress finished, and time-wise, that is likely almost half the time I needed to make the dress. Everything else should be fairly quick, but the yoke was fiddly. There is some gathering to do on the sleeves and ruffle, but other than that it will just be straight seams.  I am hoping to finish the dress this weekend (before she outgrows it!), but my calendar is filling up quickly. Two of the girls want me to give them haircuts, and there is plenty of housework to waylay my plans, but I am determined to get that dress finished while it's still hot outside, and she still fits in it.

Today I had planned to sew a little, but it worked out that I had no children in the house for a while so I pin-basted a quilt instead. It is really hard to have the kitchen table free long enough to get a quilt basted, so I seized the opportunity.

 DD#3 started back to college this week and right now is very excited about her classes. DDIL has her knee surgery September 6th, so things will be really crazy for a month or so after that. Busy, busy, time for all of us, but I am going to find bits of time to sew for my sanity's sake! I can do this!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August Quilting Spree a Bust!

You know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Well, my plan had been to get almost all of my quilt tops quilted by the end of August. If I get even one more quilted I will be shocked! I haven't sewn a stitch since we got back from Granny's funeral. I haven't pin-basted any quilts either. It has just been crazy! DD#3 had her tonsils out last Friday, and she is still feeling awful. She's been running a fever off and on, but not a high enough one to be concerned about infection. Since she is out of commission, I am caring for the twins, which is pretty time consuming. Sewing with two 19 month olds underfoot is not happening.

 I babysat Monday and Tuesday, and the 2 year old I watch is potty training. Monday went well for that, Tuesday, not so much. Trying to sit him on the potty every 30 minutes or so when I have three kids younger than him in the house is interesting.

I had my dates all mixed up in my head, and I thought my DDIL and Miss E were coming in from Texas next weekend. Turns out they'll be here this weekend. I will love spending time with them, I know Miss E is crawling now, and spending time with my DDIL is always fun. DDIL is in town to meet with two surgeons, so she can choose one to fix her knee, which she hurt falling down our stairs back in May. Returning to the scene of the crime for the surgery. Hopefully she can get the surgery scheduled soon, then she and Miss E will be back for a few weeks while she has surgery and recovers. I'm sure DS the Elder will be flying out to see them as he has a chance, but he has been working long hours to help pay all the medical bills.

Next Wednesday DD#3 goes back to college, and I am really hoping she feels better by then. I will be watching the twins 4 days a week while she goes to school, and my babysitting schedule for the other two I watch is changing as well. It looks like I will be babysitting varying amounts of kids Monday-Friday, which is a LOT more than I have been doing.

If I go more than a week without posting, it will likely be just because I haven't sewn anything. Once I get used to the new normal, and DDIL is recovered from her surgery, I think I will actually be able to carve out some sewing time, at least on the weekends. I am thinking of tackling some non-quilty projects for a while, until life settles into a routine again. I tend to put off garment making, and then when I do it, I am always amazed at how fast a project is completed, not the months it can take to make a quilt. With short sewing times available to me, I think I will likely feel like I get more accomplished if I work on projects that take less time, some of which I've been putting off for a couple years. We'll see, I just don't know how it will work yet.

To get my quilting fix, I managed to catch Bonnie K Hunter on her quiltcam twice this week. She is so funny, just talking away like you are right in the room with her. It was just what I needed to get me through my sewing drought. There is a three hour time difference between us, so I ended up watching her on my Iphone while I was making dinner. Some people said they couldn't get sound on their phone, but it worked fine for me.

I needed to get a novelty fabric for a backing of a themed quilt, and I found just the thing on I noticed they had scrap bundles and I am a sucker for scraps. They sell 1 pound bundles, which end up being between 3 and 4 yards of fabric. Below are the warm color bundle and the cool color bundle. Check out the fabric with "Hello" in a bunch of different languages :-)

The other bundles I got were a stripes and dots bundle and a neutral bundle. The fabric that looks like a dress pattern is fun!

 I got a pillow panel in the stripes and dots bundle, which I thought was pretty funny.

 I just love getting scrap bundles or grab bags. It's like Christmas, wondering what I am going to get! Since I rarely make quilts out of just a couple of fabrics, scrap bundles work well for me. When you are using 25-50 different fabrics for one of the colors you need in a quilt, it makes no difference if you only had a 4" WOF piece to start with of one. Another great thing about equilter's scrap bundles, The use a WOF strip to tire them together in bundles, and those went straight into my string stash! BONUS!

***Note- I don't know why this didn't post last week like it was supposed to. I had a good time with DDIL and Miss E. They will be back when DDIL has surgery on her knee. We'll find out when that will be in the next couple of days. I have been happy even without sewing, but I am itching to sew on something! I think in the next few days, I may be able to at least find a little time for that, so hurray!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Keeping Busy in the Car

We are back from my DH's grandmother's funeral. It was a quick trip, 500 miles in the car Sunday, funeral on Monday, and 500 mile car trip back on Tuesday. The twins did very well in the car aside from some motion sickness issues on Sunday, which we prevented further with liberal doses of gingersnaps. Ginger always worked better for my kids than Dramamine, and the twins are too young for any of the anti-emetic drugs anyway.

Since the trip was expected, I had gotten some little toys for the twins to play with in the car that they hadn't seen before. A couple new books as well as DVD players in the car made for easier traveling for them. They were still more than ready to be home and out of their car seats by the time we arrived though.

I knew DD#2 and 3 could keep themselves entertained in the car, I had the twins taken care of, and DH would be driving. Now I had to come up with something for me to do in the car. I have issues with motion sickness myself, and unlike most people I know, I do best when looking down doing something in the car. I can read, stitch, do pretty much anything but look out the window. If I look out the window I feel sick. Yes, I needed a project.

I had all of the squares cut for the snowball blocks for the twins I Spy quilts, but I hadn't drawn the diagonal lines on them yet.  That was a good thing to do in the car, and I got them all finished on the way to New Mexico. I plan on sewing all the snowball blocks on my Singer Featherweight.

I knew that wasn't enough to keep me busy for how many hours I had in the car, but I did have an idea that would take a while. It required a lot of prepping though, and left me no time to work on that dress for Miss S.

I have a box of denim in my sewing room, but as with a lot of things, the box of denim had become a box of denim, a huge pile of denim on top of the box, and even a big pile of old jeans on the floor. One of the denim projects I want to do is the denim circle quilt, which is a faux Cathedral Window. I knew cutting all of those denim circles would take quite a while. I have never made a quilt with this method, so I don't know how I will like it, I just wanted to cut enough for one picnic quilt, I'm thinking 60x70 inches, so I needed 168 circles for the size circles and squares I chose. I knew Accuquilt had circle dies for my Go cutter that would have made easy work of cutting the circles, but until I know if I'm interested in making more than one of these quilts, I didn't want to invest in the dies.

I dug out the box of denim, the pile of denim, and the pile of jeans. That made a HUGE pile and completely covered my Juki sewing cabinet. I have quite a bit of printed denim, and I didn't want to use any of that for this project, so I set all of that inside the denim box which I had emptied. I then started de-constructing the jeans, and tossing all the parts I wasn't interested in using in any imminent project. I have seen projects done using all the parts of old jeans, but I am not interested in doing every project I've seen, so I tossed the zippered areas, waist bands and bottom hems. I left the flat felled double sewn seams in the legs, but cut out any regular seams. I kept all the back pockets, as I've seen several fun projects using pockets. Front pockets got tossed, again, I've seen projects with those, but right now I am not interested in doing those. Very worn, torn or stained areas were tossed. I was shocked to have two kitchen trash bags of bits I was not going to use! That really made my pile smaller and more manageable.

I made a circle template out of some template plastic I had, and started tracing the circles onto the denim pieces I had left. I traced about 170 circles so I had a couple spares, and then I rough cut those apart. I was surprised how much denim it took to get that many circles. I am so used to cutting tessellating shapes out of fabric, where there is no waste, that circles really seemed to waste a lot of fabric. While I was rough cutting the circles out, I sorted the scraps of that. If I couldn't get at least a 2" square out the scrap I tossed it. I have a pile of small denim scraps on my cutting table that need to be cut to certain sizes for the other projects I have in mind.

Once I had all the pieces rough cut, I made a nice neat pile, put them in a plastic grocery sack with my spring-loaded scissors, and I had a second car project. That was a LOT of prepping for a car project, but I am so glad I did it. All the big pieces of denim went into the denim box, along with the pockets I kept. Now all of the denim I have left is in the denim box, with some room to spare. No piles falling over, no piles on the floor, and I am one happy quilter! I now have a good idea that the projects I have in mind for my denim will likely use it all. Tossing the unusable bits gave me a much better idea of how much usable denim I actually have. I will end up with more denim, all my kids know not to toss a pair of jeans, give them to me. Denim quilts were some of my first quilts, so I've been saving old jeans for a long time!

Here are my denim circles all cut out. I started them in the car on the way, and actually finished them in the hotel. It was a good thing I had my kindle with me, because with my car projects finished, I read on the way home!

Before we left on that trip, I dropped off seven quilts for Project Linus. I always drop them off at Hancock Fabrics. I avoided the yardage without a problem, but I always check their remnant bins, at $2 a yard they are hard to resist. I happened upon the remnant bins at a good time,  someone had returned a bunch of fabric, and they put it all in the remnants. The piece of red on the far right is a 3 yard piece, and I got it for the remnant price. SCORE! I ended up with 11 yards of fabric for just over $24 with the tax added on. I left more fabric than I took, but I am happy with the variety I chose.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Five More Finishes

I have been babysitting a lot, but I still got quite a bit done over the weekend. I finished quilting the last of the pin-basted quilts, and got all five bound and finished. Machine sewn bindings really go much faster, and I think they hold up better in the wash.

Pastels aren't really my thing, but this quilt grew on me as I quilted it. It has some simple crosshatching in the center, and meandering in the border.

I had this quilted a month ago, but I knew it needed orange binding, and I didn't have any made. Thanks to my mom sending me a box of binding, it is now finished. This one is quilted with free motion flames.

 This is the same pattern as the first quilt, but this one is made with men's shirts. I quilted it the same as the first one too.

 This is made from the scraps of the quilt that is on my bed. I didn't do all the extra sewing and put black sashing between all the pieces on this one. Besides a few misc. scraps in my scrap user system, this is the rest of the fabric I bought in Hawaii. This one has a large meander all over it. I found a large meander harder to do than a smaller one.

This was my first attempt at a disappearing four patch. I've made one since I started this one that was finished long ago, but this one was languishing. Now it's finished and ready to be loved. It is quilted with a combination of SITD quilting and free motion pumpkin seed designs. The border is straight stitched framed at 1" intervals, which I find I really like. I'll be doing that again.

I have seven more quilt tops ready for quilting. I have had very little time for sewing this week, I've been babysitting every day but I did manage to get backings sewn for six of those quilts. I have a 60" wide piece of fabric that should work for the seventh quilt, so as soon as I have time, I will be ready for a pin-basting marathon. 

I think I am going to interrupt my quilting spree and sew up a dress for Miss S that I cut out a couple months ago. If I don't sew it soon she'll outgrow it before it's finished. If I have any sewing time tomorrow that is what I will work on.

My husband's grandmother passed away this morning, she was a lovely Godly woman, and she'll be missed. I am so glad I had the chance to know her on this earth, and we shall meet again on the other side.

We will be leaving town for the funeral, but we won't be gone long. We have to get back for DD#3's surgery next week. She's having her tonsils out! I'm sure the twins will not understand why Mama won't be feeling well, but we'll all get through that too. I'll be doing all the childcare for a few days, of the twins and the kids I usually babysit, so likely the next couple posts will not be quilt related, but may be kid related :-)