Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Guild Meeting

A new *guild* is starting up in my area, so I went last month to see what it was all about.  They have elected to be more of a chat and learn group then a guild, and that works for me right now.  Sometimes guilds can get bogged down with rules and cliques.  This month the guild (that I’ll start calling a Bee) was featuring gadgets – as in bring in your favorite gadget – and Show and Tells.

I took in a specialty ruler – the Lazy Angle – by Joan Hawley from Lazy Girl Designs.  I had made this quilt for a teen girl using one of the featured star block designs and fabric leftovers.
and I am in the process of making another star block design for a Quilt of Valor.

I have the book that has a bazillion blocks:

and I plan to make lots more of the various stars from it since they are quick and easy and will add a little interest to my mostly geometric children’s quilts.

One of the Show and Tells from the meeting was this modern quilt – an original pattern by a Bee member named Ellen. 
Modern quilts are a hot item now in the quilting community and Ellen’s quilt was juried into the Paducah Quilt Show this past April - a great honor!  Congratulations, Ellen.  I can't see me jumping on the Modern movement, since I'm more of a Traditional person, but I liked the colors in this one.  To learn more about the AQS shows, check out this link:

But, speaking of current fashions, here’s what’s happening in the neighborhood:

Yep, spiders are popping up everywhere - they must be "in" this year!  The one above is a big one, but don't worry - that is an adult that it is wrapping up - no children were harmed in setting up this spider - LOL!  And this is a little one hanging from a tree:

And we even have purple ones with eyes that glow!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Road Trip!

Well, the truth is – it was only a little trip for me.  I moseyed on over to the Zephyrhills area (northeast of me) to the Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa, FL.
I’ve read about the great trails they have there, but I’ve never been.  I met up with my friends that are traveling around in their brand new R-Pod at their campsite, and boy! is that camper cute.

It has everything – from a nice fridge to a microwave, a bed that stays down (doesn’t have to be converted) to indoor plumbing and a shower.
Indoor is better than this!
They have come down the east coast, visiting family and friends and checking out viable locations to return someday.   Their next stops will be in the FL Panhandle with its white sand beaches, then heading north again.  As my friend, Tom, put it, “this is the camping sampler trip”.  Think maybe he’s a closet quilter? Get it?  *Sampler* trip?!!  LOL

We went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Z-Hills, only to find it was karaoke night … what a hoot! 

Most all of them were very good though, albeit loud.  It was fun and a great story to tell (no, we did not participate – we served as the audience – it was not crowded …).

It was so good to see my friend, Sarah, again, and once my eyes that are green from envy, turn back to blue, I’ll tell her so.  And I’ll tell them thanks for swinging by this way – hope to see you again soon.
Sunset over the Hillsborough River last night
Then this morning when I was at the grocery, I saw this 1930 Model A (I know that because it said so on the Horseless Carriage license plate):

Now that’s a touring car!

So, back to quilting, this is the latest child’s quilt top for Wrap-a-Smile:
the border is a check that doesn't show well in the photo

close-up of the zebra

Gotta get that quilted today … always something to get done – especially if you stay home!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catching Up the Blog - Final

This is Installment 3 of playing catch-up going backwards.  We had a wonderful vacation in North Carolina.  It was at least 95 degrees and humid when we left FL, so the mornings in the 50s and 60s were very welcome and the balmy 70s and maybe low 80s by mid-day to play golf in were great!

We started off at an easier muni course near Forest City.  It is not as challenging as the mountain courses we would play later, so a good intro for me since I don't play that often:
Par 3 over water - really?! - why is it always over water??
It is a really pretty course and enough to wear me out!
It's all fun until they turn the sprinklers on you - LOL!
Then we played at the two courses at Lake Lure:
Dogleg right with a creek, no less!

Split fairway with another creek - love this hole ...

Many creeks were swollen from recent rains ... good golfball traps
One day I was playing with 2 guys so I got to see the views from the white tees and this duffer was in a nearby year, hidden by the trees lining the tee box - almost scared me to death, so I snuck in between the trees and took his picture!

And I loved seeing what was blooming:
Japanese Maples were lovely

Lots of sneeze-inducing goldenrod

And one day mid-week, the ladies went shopping at nearby Hendersonville – the decorated bears were on display (they get sold for fundraisers later):

the bear above was in front of this ice cream shop

This guy was in front of a Sports Bar

And a local bank had a display of antique quilts - hard to get good photos because of the plexiglass but they were nice:

Then more golf, and home to FL – this was at the FL/GA border Welcome Center - no bears for us.  It was a good vacation!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Catching Up the Blog

This is Installment 2 of playing catch-up going backwards in time.  Just a hint of pictures since the quilt has not been awarded yet.

I got seriously bogged down trying to quilt a special Quilt of Valor for a fellow member of my QOV group.  The top was a gorgeous design using Log Cabin blocks and the US Army logo and was very well made.  The back was a mottled (of course) camouflage in very dark blacks, browns, greens and a touch of gold.

My friend wanted gold thread on the front and black or sage green on the back.  I went with the sage because the bobbin thread wouldn’t show on the front in between the gold stitches as much as black would.  I was thrilled that I had no tension problems and absolutely no eyelashes on the back (an earlier problem as I learned my machine).  I wasn’t able to see the sage in the stitching of the gold on the top (I really don’t like thread on top and bottom that doesn’t match), so I thought I was home free.

I wasn’t able to see the backing very well until I rolled it the first time and I saw tiny pokies of a lighter color.  I thought it was the gold thread and that they would pull through into the batting when the quilt was released from the rollers.  Oh, so wrong!

After the second pass, I kept seeing the pokies more and more so I tested darker threads, blacks and browns – first just on the bottom in the bobbin and then having black on both the top and bottom.  The black looked awful on the front side.  And then I saw that, with the black on the top AND bottom, there were still light-colored pokies … what’s up with that?!  It turns out the pokies I thought were gold thread were actually batting coming thru.  Yes, the dreaded “bearding”.

I was devastated.  I had never had this problem before, although I’ve read about it.  I went back and searched all of my quilter’s message boards for a solution, then I started rip, rip, ripping.  And ripping out long-arm quilting is a pain in the old tooshie, let me tell you.  I had to pull out the quilting on about a third of the quilt.
"Ripping Out" is sung to the tune of "Breaking up is hard to do ..."
I was using the batting that the friend gave me, so first I tried turning it over in case it had a right vs. wrong side.  No change.  So then I auditioned battings.  I tried three different brands.  Oh, and the friend inadvertently skimped on the extra backing fabric and top, bottom and sides, so I had sewn on leaders.  I had to keep testing the stitching on the real top and backing since I had different results on the leaders than on her fabric and had to keep ripping it out each time I tried something new.

I also tried adding a piece of muslin the size of the backing in between the backing fabric and the batting.  I couldn’t get both pieces to lay perfectly flat and taut without bunching one or the other, so I gave up on that.

To make a long story even longer, I finally settled on the batting I’ve always used – Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was acceptable and probably will be perfect after the quilt is washed.  My reading had told me that it was probably the weave of the fabric that allowed the bearding.

Lessons learned:
I don’t like quilting for others – where I maybe have to compromise my standards.
I like matching thread on top and bottom of the quilt.
I like to be in control, so that if I need to change out the backing fabric, I can.
I like quality materials.
I like to use what I like to use (my beloved Hobbs!).
I don’t like huge quilts – I love the size of children’s quilts.
I will continue to donate my quilting to QOV, but I will pick and choose which quilts I do.
I will never make a business out of quilting for others!  Too stressful for me ... [I didn't plan to anyway ...]

PS  I have completed two other QOVs with absolutely no problems:
Mock Many Trips Around the World made by the group - the light spot is from the camera!

Designed and made by a QOV Group member

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back in the Groove!

It’s finally time to get back into my regular routine and get some blog posts out there – don’t give up on me – I’m still blogging!

We went on vacation – I got bogged down with quilting a difficult Quilt of Valor (bearding on the backing) and just some good ‘ol inertia took over.

But now I’m back at it and I’ll catch you up going backwards.  Today, I sent off a box to Wrap-a-Smile with four children’s quilts that I made long ago (and probably showed here as tops with different names that I’m not going to look up now) and finally got quilted using different designs with my new computer.  Can you say “FUN!”?

First up is 9-Patch Posies with circular swirls and butterflies quilting:

And then a Zig-Zag with some kind of border swirls that I used in rows:

Then I *FINALLY* got my Round Robin finished with hearts:

And last is the Not-a-Maze quilt with retro leaves quilting:

And earlier last week I got one larger quilt sent off to Quilts Beyond Borders because they are winding up a collection requested by IRD for Syrian children in a refugee camp in Jordan.  I greatly respect parents that just want to get their children and families out of a war zone despite the hardships.  The quilting on this was called Denali:

The next post will be about that QOV that was giving me fits … stay tuned!