Thursday, May 21, 2015

4 in 20

I have quilted and bound 4 quilts in the last 20 days! My left elbow is complaining about all of the quilt wrangling, but overall, I'm feeling pretty good about getting so much done.

This is the Double Four Patch I finished yesterday. I was sick of doing allover quilting patterns by the time I got to this quilt, so I quilted pumpkin seeds on the diagonals, diamonds in the inner border, and leaves in the outer border.

I still feel like such a beginner at FMQ. My quilting is far from perfect, but it was pretty fun using the piecing as my guide. I've seen some very simple quilts brought to amazing levels by the quilting. I'm not sure I'll ever get there, and most of my quilts are so scrappy the quilting is pretty lost anyway.

When I was quilting this quilt, I was really wishing I had the HQ Sweet Sixteen Sit Down model I've been drooling over. I think that following the piecing would be easier if the machine was higher and at 90 degrees. The visibility would be so much better. Someday I'd really love to get one, but it won't be anytime soon I'm sure. I am thankful I have a DSM that works well for quilting, even a king sized quilt. My shoulders and elbow would appreciate a little less quilt wrangling, but at least I can do it.

I tried a short arm on a quilting frame, and sold it within two years. The quilting frame was not large enough for most of my quilts, and even that size frame completely maxed out the space I had available. I also had a harder time sensing a problem when so removed from the quilt, so when I had to rip out stitches, I had to rip out a LOT. When I'm moving the quilt I'm more in tune with what's going on. I think a sit down long arm would be the perfect set up for me, and someday, I think I'll have one.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mamaw's Last Quilt Is Finished!

Mamaw passed away in April 1988. Here it is almost 30 years later, but her last quilt is finally finished. I've been in possesion of the pieces for about five years, maybe less. Does it count for double points when you are crossing a UFO off two people's lists? ;-)

I am happier with the quilt now that it's quilted. It needed some texture. In case you are wondering why I chose a pink binding, there are a couple of reasons. All the white fabrics in this have pink on them, and the backing I was given for it is predominantly pink, so I chose a pink binding to bring out the pink on the front.

I also finished another quilt this week, which I can't show pics of yet. I started quilting on yet another quilt. I am ahead of schedule for getting these quilts done before our trip. Maybe I can knock out some smaller projects before we leave too.

I am in several online quilting groups, and a lot of quilters who quilt on their DSM like I do, do not like to quilt in the summer. They think it's too hot with part of the quilt on their lap. I think about it differently, and I'd much rather quilt than have the iron on in the summer. When I'm cutting or piecing, I have the iron on a lot, and when it's really hot (I live in Southern Arizona) it's hard enough for the air conditioner to compensate for the outside temps, never mind deal with an iron heating the inside. To each his own, but if you end up with a lot of the quilt on your lap when quilting, perhaps you could support more of it with an ironing board lowered down next to you, or a table next to your cabinet if you have a small work space. I am blessed to have a big sewing cabinet with extensions, but I still grab the ironing board to sit to my left if I'm quilting a huge quilt.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me about my attempts to be more active. So far, so good, I've been exercising for three weeks, and I'm noticing even on my days off the treadmill, I am moving more. Today was an errand day, and I've got almost as many steps as days I exercise. In fact, when DH was trying on shoes, I was walking the store just to get in some more steps.

Errand days can be a drain. We dropped off two vintage machines to be serviced. Both of those will be leaving the house, but I wanted them serviced before I pass them on. We then went to Costco, which was thankfully not too crowded today. Then it was home to put those groceries away, shoe shopping for DH (found some at the second shoe store), a quick run in to Joann to look at thread (didn't buy anything), then DH and I ate dinner out, and stopped at the grocery store to get a couple specialty items I couldn't get at Costco. Errand day was a drain, both on my energy and our bank account! It's all good though! DH has new shoes to hopefully ease his pain on his 12 hour ER shifts. The house is stocked with food, and I got to eat some yummy Greek food for dinner. So glad today was a "day off" for DH and me :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Last weekend, DH completely emptied both a small storage room we have, and the shed. Everything out of both places meant stuff all over the backyard. We found two boxes DS the Elder left behind, but five boxes DD#2 left behind. DD#3, who currently lives with us, reboxed her stuff, and got rid of a bunch. We donated enough stuff, that the seats had to be put down in the van to get it all in. Some stuff ended up in the trash, victims of mice or bugs. Outdoor storage has it's down side :-( At any rate, after a full day of working, only DH has stuff in the shed, and now he can finally call it his own, and work on his scooters and such in there. The little storage room has DD#3's stuff, along with stuff the twins have outgrown that I want to save for future grandbabies.

I think I still have one box I need to go through, that is mostly old paperwork. I'm thinking most if not all of it will end up recycled.

I repurposed a set of shelves that were in the shed, and I finally got my walk-in pantry cleaned up and organized. I've been working on it a little along, but now it really looks much better. All that organizing is incredibly time consuming, but worth it when it's finished.

I did quilt one quilt this week, not one of mine, just one I was finishing as a favor to someone else. It was made by their grandmother, who passed away a few months ago. It needed to be finished, so I did. I didn't even take a photo of the finished quilt. It was a tricky quilt to finish, as it didn't lay flat, but I pretty much quilted it into submission. I hope to start quilting Mamaw's quilt tomorrow.

I love to read, and I love quilting. The only problem with that is they are both sedentary hobbies. I've been trying to clean up my act as well as the house. I bought a treadmill, and my goal is to walk 45 minutes per day, at least on the days DH works. We often are pretty busy on his days off, but he usually works four days per week, so I am on the treadmill more days than I'm not. Because we are usually running errands on his days off, I tend to be pretty active those days anyway.

My phone has a health app built into it. It tracks my number of steps, and minutes of activity. My phone even takes my pulse.

This was a screen shot of my phone today. My phone evidently thinks that walking 2 mph is running, because believe me, I was not running for 38 minutes today. Still, 91 minutes of activity, and 12,000 steps is hopefully a good start towards improving my health. I get about 6,000 steps while on the treadmill, and today the other 6,000 were from shopping. Neither DD#3 nor I are big shoppers, but she really needed clothes, so we went clothes hunting for her. I had hoped to get some sewing time in today, but that didn't happen.

Taking the time to exercise definitely cuts into my quilting time. I used to shower at night, before bed, but now I am exercising in the morning, then showering, so by the time I get some housework done after all that, it's usually lunch time or close to it. I used to spend a lot of my morning quilting, on days I don't have to watch the twins, and now I don't. I'm sure it will have an impact on my quilting productivity, but my goal is, I'll be healthier and able to quilt more years if I take better care of myself now. I don't expect things to change overnight, but you have to start somewhere, so I'm starting on my treadmill.