Friday, April 29, 2016

Weekend Quilting Goals

Deb on hearts2hands mentioned having a four day weekend and hopes to get some quilt time in  A few of us decided to join in the fun.

We send an email with what our day's goals are.  This is to get the goals "in writing" in the hopes that we actually keep on track.

My goals today were:
 *   Practise quilting feathers with my Bailey
 *   Add the binding on a quilt found when cleaning up around my frame
*    Load a quilt onto the frame to force myself to quilt some feathers "for real"

I'm happy to say that the practising went well, the binding on the quilt and (quilt is in the wash), and a very small quilt top is loaded on the frame ready to quilt tomorrow.

Goals achieved for the day!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

365 Block of the Day Challenge - The Centre

We got the email!  The one where we are told to put the borders on the centre medallion!  Finally!

After a celebration call to Joan who is working on the BOD project along with me, I ran to the sewing room.  With great anticipation hundreds of little blocks are sewn together and then added to the centre of the quilts.  And naturally things don't go as well as expected.

The blocks are all sized correctly.  Seams meet with little to no issue.  Before I know it I am proudly looking at the first quilt centre complete with borders.  Bring out the wine to celebrate!  Oh, wait.  Something looks funky. 

I decide to bring in the experts.  My DS as well as Joan.  Yep, it's funky.  There are too many lights in one corner and none in the other three.  We need some balance here people!

Mom laughs as she asks if I'm crying.  In junior high school I would cry every time I had to rip out a seam.  With a one or two years (okay - over 20) of quilting under my seam ripper, I've stopped crying.  Practise makes perfect and I'm a master frog stitcher now.

With time and patience along with some Disney podcasts, the seams are ripped, blocks turned, and the two centres are done:

I wonder when we get to add the next 100 or so blocks.....

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Photo tutorial of making the Turnstile block

The April 21 bock for the 365 Block of the Day Challenge was the Turnstile block.  As always, the instructions were there for making this block.  And as what almost always happens, the fabric I decide to use for this 3 1/2" square is not the right size.  So I improvise.

Several friends asked for some photos to explain how I made this block.  Here it is.

First 8 HSTs (half square triangles) are made.  Mine were approximately 3 1/2" square.  Don't worry if they are not perfect.  They are going to be cut down:

Cut the HSTs on the diagonal:

Make sure the lines on the ruler are on the seam.  If the HST is larger than you need, you have no need to worry about cutting exactly through the corners.  You will be fixing that when you square up the 2" blocks soon.

Next sew to a strip of fabric.  No waste as you can sew these triangles on both sides of the strip.  The photo shows the sewing on one side only, but you can see the large green space where a triangle could be sewn on the opposite side (which I did):

After cutting to separate the blocks, press open.  Then trim to 2" square.  Diagonal mark on the ruler is at the 1" mark on the seam - clear as mud?  Sorry, forgot to take a photo of the ruler on top of the block.  But you can see the seam where the two purples meet the green.  Lay the diagonal line of your ruler along that seam, with the 1" mark where the purples meet each other. 

Before trimming:

 After trimming there is one inch of purple on each side - darn 1 it would have been so much easier to just show a photo instead of explaining:

Paying close attention to the layout you will be sure to get at least one of these blocks.

And if there was no "oops" when squaring up to 2" squares, you will have four finished 3 1/2" blocks like these:

I've been asked why make four blocks.  Well I am making two quilts and there are a few of the Blocks of the day I do not like.  So when I find a block I like I make extra to take the place of the ones that will be set aside for another project.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ducks in my yard!

It's possible that we have never been outside or looked out the window at the right time before.  Or maybe this is the first time it's happened.  We have ducks in our front yard.

I was expecting a friend to come over for a fun  day of quilting.  When she arrived she parked behind our garage instead of on the front street as usual.  When I asked why, my friend explained that she didn't want to disturb the napping ducks.

Camera in hand I rushed to the front window and this is what I saw:

 There were four ducks altogether.  More visitors arrived and I guess the ducks decided there was too much activity.  We got a scolding for disturbing their rest.  What a racket!

Our berry bushes are in bloom so it was time to take the solitary bees out from the fridge and place them outside in a safe place.  We'll be checking today to see if any of them survived the winter.

The bee housing has been set out so we can start all over.  First photo shows the can with parchment tubes inserted for easy bee removal come fall.  The second shows the side of the can.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Embroidery and Block of the Day project

My DS decided that his birthday gift for me this year would be a visit to the Telus Space Science Centre for the Sherlock Holmes Exhibits only Canadian stop.  Definitely worth going to.  We only had about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to spend but could have easily spent another 3 or 4 hours at the exhibit and looking around the rest of the Science Centre.  The reason why we couldn't stay...."a" tax man was coming to do our 2015 taxes later in the afternoon.  (Anyone watch the early Corner Gas shows?)

Of course I had to bring in some Disney (and play with a sewing machine) to the day.  Mickey Mouse started showing up in a Deer Stalker hat welding a magnifying glass, in comics back in the early 1950's. Here's what we sported on our jackets:

I had fun making three of these.  But it would have been much more sensible if I had not waited to start until 12 hours before going.

The BOD (365 Block of the Day Challenge) has been the focus of my quilting for the past week or so.  The centre has been put together for both quilts.  And I believe most of the blocks have been made for the dark border which will be added soon.  I am so looking forward to getting that far!

Making the block each day is a big commitment.  And I can see myself deciding that there will be a lot of focus fabric squares in between the pieced blocks so the quilts go faster.  Time will tell.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Sewing Room Ramblings

My poor Janome.  It must be wondering what the heck is happening.  First the ruler foot was on it so no more piecing.  Plus it had that hard plastic box top taped over it to provide a base for ruler work.  At least the machine's owner figured out how to lower and raise the feed dogs.  But now what?

The 1/4" foot has been put back on for regular sewing.  A different seamstress was using the machine to make coffee coasters.  Then there is 100% cotton thread going through it and the Janome really prefers thread with some polyester.  The noises Janome making in protest!

So what's happening?  Here goes:

Just as I was really seeing some progress on my ruler work using a domestic machine a friend asked if we could have a group sewing day at my place.  Our mission was to make as many coasters as possible for her to sell at an upcoming craft sale.  Proceeds will be what puts food on her table so I was not going to say no.

Another friend joined us and we had an assembly line going.  One cutting, one pressing and folding and another sewing.  Then turning the coasters right side out and a final press.   By chance I over heard the other ladies discussing making the coasters large enough for a soup bowl.  The friend selling the coasters had a request for these from someone who heats up soup at work. 

Wait...a larger coaster isn't the solution.  A fabric bowl holder is.
A quick search on line and we have these:

Now the discussion is how much to sell them for.  The cost works out to about $3.50 each to make.  At the moment they take about 45 minutes from start to finish.  If she sells them at $5 each that's making about $1.50 per hour. 

My friend will have to decide if it's worth making at that price.  But my Janome won't be used for any more.  This machine really does not like 100% cotton thread and that's what you have to use on these holders.  Put polyester into the microwave and you could end up with a fire.  Perhaps a different cotton thread would be okay...but we're working with what I have in stock. 

One interesting development that I didn't expect.  I had left the hard plastic box top on the bed of the sewing machine and table.  The other ladies loved it.  Good thing I purchased extra boxes to cut up as they both took one one for their machine tables.

Then yesterday DH decided he had to go to Canadian Tire.  While I was killing time and getting steps in on my FitBit I came across the kitchen area (a place I usually avoid - I don't cook).  Hanging on an aisle end low enough for me to see (no short jokes please) was the Oven Genie and it was on sale. 

The Oven Genie is a Teflon sheet that can be cut to fit under the oven elements (can also be used in a toaster oven) to make clean up simple.  I had read that it makes a terrific top on a sewing table so fabric will move easily when free motion quilting.  I purchased one and still have to fit it in place.  Fabric does slide better on the Oven Genie than on the plastic box top.  But the box top is sturdier.  I may end up using both to get the best of both worlds. 

I won't be trying it out today.  It's Mom's birthday!  We are taking her out for lunch and then to a movie.  Tomorrow is back to the Alberta Retina Clinic for me.  Time for more laser and another injection into my right eye.  I won't be seeing much until Tuesday.  Then I'll be playing catch up with all my projects.