Friday, September 5, 2014

When Quilting is No Fun

I have been quilting the Project Linus quilts using donated polyester batting and having a terrible time with it.  The batting was very inexpensive – it has the “special” price on the label (probably why it was donated).  The batting itself is very uneven, and has a horrible texture.  You can feel the tiny bits of plastic clumps in it and when the needle hits them, the thread breaks – often – over and over - repeatedly.  My advice:
    Do.Not.Buy.Batting.That.Is.$7.48.For.Ten.Yards - not even for charity quilts!

I have a whole second roll that is unopened and will stay that way as far as I am concerned.  I am done with messing with it.  I will return it to the Project Linus group and buy my own batting from now on to donate for the tops I quilt for them.  Enough ranting …

This is the quilt I just finished for them - the panto is an edge-to-edge called Joy:

Even though I switched over to expensive batting, I had a rough time getting my machine back into smooth working order.  I had to change the needle, the tension, and the tautness of the backing, among other things.  And they gave me muslin for the backing, so every little quilting mistake and stop and start shows. 

And to top it off, I put it on the frame at night and I think I put the nice, expensive batting on upside down.  It was so frustrating and I had been having such fun before using the cheap batting.  Oh well, back to the drawing board … I expect to have fun sewing this weekend!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Project Linus Day

I just finished quilting another top for Project Linus.  They provide the top, backing and batting and I just get to pick a panto and quilt them up - what a deal - I get to have all the fun!  This simple design looks so sweet with a panto called “Eye See You” that has butterflies, dragonflies and birds.  I return them to the group as is so they can bind them.

And this is the next one on the frame for Project Linus … the panto, called Joy, looks pretty with the roses in the fabric.

I’m on a quilting roll today!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Almost Forgot the Reveal

The recipient has the Sneak Preview quilt in hand from this post and is happy with it, so here is the less-than-big reveal:
The fabric I was given is the black/white Rotary Club fabric in the middle.  It was printed like a batik and was less than perfect to work with.  The lady wanted some color to go with it, so I came up with the multi-color HSTs for the front.

Then I had to piece the back (I wanted to use all of the fabric I was given), and I found the lovely golden yellow prints.  I almost like the back better!

But like the Quilts of Valor that I sometimes quilt for my group, these large quilts are just too much of a hassle for me to work with very often.  I really love working with smaller children’s quilts and I’m going to stick with them for the foreseeable future!

This is the latest “boy” quilt top.  Love those critters on quilts – LOL.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I’ve Been Working

I’ve been knocking myself out on a quilt that is much larger than I am used to.  I won’t be able to show it here until it is given away, but here are two sneak preview pix:


Odd fabric choices, huh?!  But I am happy with the finish and I’ll be sure to show the entire project later.

Meanwhile, here is the sunset reflected in the clouds outside my sewing room window:

And knowing how goofy I am, it won’t surprise anyone to know that I let some of the weeds grow from the birdseed that I put out just to see what plants come up.  This was turning into a beauty but I had yet to identify it – I was waiting for a blossom or something:

But I waited too long and the deer decided it was good to munch on …

Now I’ll never know what it really is – I think the deer just call it “tasty” – LOL.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quilting for Others

I’ve been quilting for Wrap-a-Smile and Project Linus members, but I think I have been sporadic about posting the finished quilts and the quilting details.  Some of these may be repeats, but then I will be caught up, I think!

First, these novelty squares quilt tops from Beth in NJ for WAS are fun because I get to pick an inspiration novelty print and a matching quilting pantogram design.  It’s a lot of fun to go through my notebook of designs and find something new to try.

Here’s Butterfly Enchantment (details were shown in the last post):

Next is Critters with details:

And then we have Musical Notes (details were shown in the last post):

And last is Seashells with details:

And I finally saw that there was a printed ink overlay of flowers in the tough-to-choose Project Linus quilt top, so I selected a floral quilting design and it turned out fine:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Big Time Score!

A local quilt shop is having their pre-inventory clearance sale and I scooted up there today.  It’s my destiny to help the economy, you know!

I made out like a bandit!  For all but one of the above I got 70% off the price per yard for buying what was left on the bolt.  And that meant that I paid only $3/yard for $10/yard fabric.  I was so excited.  And the other piece was 60% off and the two panels were 50% off.  This fabric just feels so darn nice in your hands … I may have to fondle it awhile before I make up a few quilts …

And I noticed that I had forgotten to post a few of the sneak preview close-ups of the quilting I was doing for Beth in NJ for Wrap-a-Smile quilts.  This is Musical:

You can see grace notes and whole notes and the upside down treble clef – so cute!  These are part of the bunch that I am binding now.  I'll be done tonight and show them all soon.

And this one is Butterfly Enchantment – butterflies, of course and swirls for them to perch on:

And I have to include the Nature Shots of the day.  The first is the Woody the Woodpeckers that we have been watching.  These things are just so huge and they sound just as nutty as the cartoon Woody when they call.  First, this is how far away the snag they like to run up and down is behind our house:

This is a stock image of the male Pileated Woodpecker from Wikipedia.

I think I have a breeding pair.  They are just too cool.   And this is as closeup as I could get with my puny little camera:

And we’ve had so much rain, it’s been hard to get too many outside shots, but this was a nice sunset the other day:

That’s the fountain in the pond in front of our house.  Very pretty!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Air-conditioning is a Good Thing

We are not in the Dog Days of Summer … we are in the throes of Heat Stroke.  The heat index the other day was 105.  And I am doing as little yard work as possible.  Does that mean I have more time to sew?  Not always, but I have accomplished a little.

Remember these pillowcases I made last Sep for ConKerr Cancer?

They had another challenge at the LQS and I made six more, but forgot to take their picture in my haste to get them turned in by the deadline.  These were the fabrics I used and they were cute as a button – take my word for it!

And every once in awhile (like every day recently), I get chased downstairs by the thunderstorms.  I have arched windows in my sewing room on the second story and lightning out those windows is too scary for me (and I have to unplug my expensive machines!).  This little rain cloud I can take:

It’s when the big ones roll in that I take cover!

I did manage to quilt this one for Project Linus:

The colors are much better in person – it’s a very sweet quilt in pastels.  The panto is Flora Wave.

This one for Project Linus is a Brain Teaser though … how in the world will I quilt this fabric?   The center is printed fabric, not pieced.

I’m only up to edge-to-edge pantos, no custom quilting, and don’t know whether to go with squares or bubbles or something wavy?  I’ll have to ponder it for a little while then bite the bullet and get ‘er done!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jamming Does Not Mean Good

When I talk of jamming, I am not talking about music.  I have, on occasion, gotten the hopping foot caught under the edge of a quilt and since the needle is still in full swing, it has sewn the fabric into the center of the hopping foot.

Big giant bummer!  And then whilst trying to get the thing unstuck (rippit, rippit), I broke the seam ripper (holy smokes – never done that before!).  And, BTW, it took forever to find where that tiny pointy piece flew, so it wouldn't get sewn into the quilt!

But, fortunately I have two of those (this style is my favorite, so I have one in my travel bag) and it eventually comes unstuck.  So I finished up the Quilt of Valor that I was working on and got it over to the meeting – too bad Flat Stanley didn’t get a photo with it.
Pieced by CT Quilters QOV Group, Quilted by Me
After that, I finished up another of Beth’s novelty squares quilts – this time with a different panto of critters that I like.  This one had smaller turtles, snails and frogs:

Frog, bottom left - Turtle, top right


Isn’t that heart in the middle a nice touch?

On the nature front, I have been trying to take a photo of our Gallinule family for quite some time.  The saga began with one Gallinule in our pond – unusual for us.  This is a stock photo:

This guy was all by himself for at least a week until another came along.  And then the other was gone … or so I thought.  The second one was the female and she had retired to the grassy area in the pond to build her nest.  The tiny babies were the cutest things – just little black puffballs.  The red shields on their faces comes later.

But the dad wouldn’t let anyone come within 300 feet of them without squawking and when he does, they all melt away into the grasses quicker than a whistle.

Mom and the babies are in the grassline in the back

They look like an elegantly dressed duck – black, a little white and red - but they aren’t really ducks at all.  They are in the Rail family and they have long legs and clutching feet that can walk on top of the weed covering and hold onto the grasses.  They swim and dive very well even though they don’t have webbed feet like ducks.  The babies have gotten quite big now and they are venturing farther afield from mom, so maybe I’ll have a better chance of a photo soon.