Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Few a Few CC's More 3 Scooter Rally Quilt

I said I'd post a photo as soon as the rally quilt was done, but I didn't. I finished it Saturday the 20th, and it will be raffled off this Saturday the 27th.  It is, however, finished, and that is the important thing.

I was debating between dark green binding and the burgundy, and obviously I chose the burgundy. I decided I wanted it to blend in more than stand out. There are several details in the quilting you can see in this photo, so now for the closeups.


I micro-stippled behind the applique to make the applique stand out more. It's amazing how much thread that uses. I went through two bobbins on each side of the applique border, so eight bobbins total.


In between each scooter pulled stagecoach, I quilted in a Saguaro cactus. I thought they came out pretty well.


In each corner of the applique border I quilted in the rally logo. It is a "brand" design to go with the western theme. The rally patches all have the same design on them.


This view gives you a glimpse of some of the texture in the quilt. Of course, you can also see one of my quilt inspectors checking it out too ;-)

I did go thrift store shopping and hit a dead end on looking for a cutting table. I finally found a counter height kitchen table online, and it should be here on Friday. I am so glad I found a table the correct height, and that I won't have to use risers. I think it will be a bit more stable. I've started moving my sewing room around a bit, and I'll do more a bit at a time. I won't be able to finish until the end of May, but there is a lot to move, so a little along is probably my best bet anyway.

Oh, I finished quilting one of the quilts I've had pin-basted since Christmas too. I have the Juki all threaded to quilt another one too. I can get my pins back and pin-baste a couple quilts I plan to use as gifts. It may have taken me until April to get my first quilt finish of 2013, but I'm hoping my numbers climb quickly through the summer, as I have a bunch of quilts just needing quilting and binding.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Mind is Whirling with Possibilities

You know when you have those times when life is just chaos? Every time I think things are getting back to normal, a wrench gets thrown into the works. I have been working on the rally quilt, and all that is left to quilt on it is the applique border. I even put the binding on already! I was feeling kind of smug about getting it this close to finishing, knowing I should be able to finish it easily this weekend, when DS the Elder shows up last night needing a place to sleep.

We have a full house, so anytime we need to accommodate an extra person, I have to move everything in my sewing room to one side, and inflate an air mattress. That has already kept me out of the sewing room for two months of this year.  I wasn't sure if he would need the room for several nights or just one, the company he works for botched his hotel reservations. I just found out he got the hotel straightened out tonight, so tomorrow I can put the sewing room back...again.

The sewing room has been weighing heavily on my mind, and I am anxiously awaiting the end of May, when hopefully, all my ducks will be in a row, and I can rearrange the sewing room. I have figured out how to move all of DD#2's bookshelves out of my sewing room, and initially,  was going to do very little rearranging. I figured I would mostly keep things the same but have a little more space. The more I think about it, the more I'd like to do a bigger rearrange. I've had my sewing cabinets in the center of the room, and I think I'd like to move them to the walls, and make a cutting station in the center of the room. My current cutting table is a workbench from Harbor Freight, but I really wish it was deeper. I struggle when cutting long borders or backings on it. DH has been eyeing that workbench since I bought it, so he can have that, and I'll get something else.

I started looking at cutting stations online, and the possibilities are endless. I've used a folding table up on bed risers before, but the table started bowing after a while. I looked at the cutting tables available and I haven't seen one I think looks sturdy enough in my price range. Most have fold down sides, but I am looking for something I can keep up at all times, and have storage underneath. The cutting tables I saw had support for the drop leaves that went at an angle, basically making the underneath useless. My favorite option was a kitchen island that would be perfect, but it's far out of my price range. The most practical options I saw are either two dressers or buffet tables placed back to back with a plywood top over both, or simply a kitchen table on risers. A kitchen table would be much sturdier than a folding table, so that is an option I could work with. I could store some of my plastic drawers underneath it, and it would work well. The dresser/buffet table idea would look better, and that would be nice. I think my next step needs to be a thrift store hunt to see what I can find at a reasonable price in the size I am looking for.

I've sewn for over 25 years, but I've only been seriously quilting for 6 years. In that time period I went from no sewing room at all, to moving to three different rooms. I think with every move I learn a little more about myself and my sewing habits. I love the way I store my quilting fabric, and that isn't likely to change. I found something that works for me and I'll stick to it. Some things I am still trying to figure out, like a cutting area that is best for me. I've discovered I prefer my sewing machines in a cabinet, and my two main machines, a Bernina 440 and a Juki 98 are in cabinets. I also have a Singer 99 in a cabinet, and a treadle that is not currently in my sewing room. I have several vintage machines that I use on occasion that are portable models. I'm considering getting a sewing table like a Gidget that would give me a flat surface no matter which machine I had in it.

Yesterday I went and bought a set of plastic drawers to store all my quilting thread together. I had thread in several places in the sewing room, and that was just not working. Big Lots had a set of drawers on sale for $20, and it had shallow drawers for smaller spools, as well as deeper drawers for cones of thread. I fit all of my thread in it and even had an extra drawer, so I figure that was a pretty good buy. I had been contemplating buying a cone of Aurifil in beige for piecing, but when I got all my threads together, I realized I had enough smaller spools of Aurifil in similar colors that I could put off that purchase for a while. Yes, storing like things together is the way to go.

I've also decided I will hold off on buying another roll of batting. I should finish off the roll I currently have on my summer quilting spree, and I will just buy single batts for a while. Eventually, DD#2 will move out, and I will be able to take over her closet for batting storage, and I will likely keep a roll of cotton and a roll of poly batting on hand at all times. For now, I've decided the space I have now is better used for other things than batting storage. Buying by the roll is less expensive, but right now space is more of an issue than paying a little more for batting.

I'll be posting a pic of the rally quilt as soon as it's finished. Maybe I'll even post before and after pics of the sewing room during the rearrange. I'm hoping I get things a little more workable, without spending much money.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rally Quilt Is a Top

This isn't the best photo, but it was windy when we were trying to take pictures. I finally got the rally quilt into a top, and I have three weeks to get it quilted and bound. It gets raffled off three weeks from today. I won't have time to sew everyday between now and then, so it will be some long sewing days when I can sew. Because of the time restraints, I will just meander on all of the quilt except for the appliqued border, which will be getting some details added in during the quilting. I pieced the backing for this quilt today too, so it is ready to pin-baste as soon as I have some time without two year old twins trying to help ;-)

I have been working on three inch nine patches as leaders/enders or just when I want to do a bunch of chain sewing to feel like I am getting something done. I have 330 of the white/black nine patches done now, but I need about 550 for the quilt I have planned. I am out of the squares I was using to make those nine patches, so the rest will be strip pieced, and I'm not going to do that right now. I will be making pink/white nine patches until I run out of pre-cut squares for that.

I am also working on putting borders on a couple of other quilts. I am planning a big quilting spree over the summer, so the more quilt tops and backings I can get ready before then, the better chance I have to get a lot done during the quilting spree. I have quilt blocks done for about five quilts or so, and two quilt centers waiting for borders. If I can get those all into quilt tops before college lets out the end of May, I will be a happy quilter. While college is out for summer, I won't have to babysit as often, and I will have a lot more quilting time. I already have a few quilt tops in queue for quilting, a couple of which are even pin-basted already!

It feels so nice to be back to sewing! I am simply a happier person when I get a chance to sew. I was getting pretty grumpy over the two months I couldn't even get into my sewing room. Quilting is my sanity saver, and when I can't do it, I just feel all frazzled.

It looks like I will be getting a little more space in my sewing room soon, maybe in May. DD#2 has had one wall of my sewing room covered in bookshelves (she is a seller on Amazon), and I think I will be able to move most, if not all of them, out to another room. I am excited about that, because that will make the difference on whether I have my Juki cabinet completely extended all of the time, or partially down most of the time. Right now I don't have enough room to keep the back flap up, and without those bookcases in my sewing room, I can have the back flap up all of the time. That will give me some storage space for my totes under the back flap, and makes it easier to always have a quilting project going as well as a piecing project. I am really excited about the additional space.