Friday, January 29, 2010

Lion's Wool

From Quilted with Love

I have gotten this far with my scarf...about halfwayish? I've gotten a little faster and my hands/arms don't ache nearly as bad. The only problem now is attention span. You can only say to yourself, "one, over, two" count in 3's and then make sure you have 24 so many times before you get sick of it. I now can count to 24 proficiently. I do love the look of it.

Speaking of yarn, while in the fabric store yesterday looking at more yarn, DH picks up a skein, checks it over and asks, "Do lions make wool?"

I should have told him yes. He probably would have believed me. I told him it was probably the company that makes the yarn.

"Well then they shouldn't put that it's lion's wool" and shows it to me:

I think he has a point in his favor. It does say lion wool. You can't exactly argue with that label.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

DH And Quilt Books Part II

From Quilted with Love
*Caution: This post is slightly irreverent*

My DH is NEVER allowed in the book/magazine section of a quilting store. Remember the "stripping" episode in JoAnn Fabric? It gets worse.

I was looking in some quilting magazines for a specific pattern but couldn't remember the magazine it was from when from out of nowhere DH exclaims, "Hey sweetheart, there's a book called "The Big Book of Crotch". I swear you women are hiding something in these stores cause all these books are named wrong. You have "Stitch 'N Bitch", books on stripping, and now something about crotches".

Grateful no one is nearby to hear this conversation I look over and he's pulled out the book.

"Oh, it's the "Big Book of Crochet", he says. "You women still have something going on in these stores. That's why you never leave them".

While I'm looking at fat quarters he wanders over to the Bernina section of store. I'm praying that he doesn't ask the owner some silly question about the machines. Thankfully, she's helping a customer. He wanders back over and exclaims, "That Bernina back there is still 12,000 dollars! That's a brand new car! What woman pays that much for one?" We've had this conversation before so I don't answer.

I pay for my fat quarters and my Mary Ellen's Best Press bottle and head out the door. Do you take your DH's with you or lock them in the car with the AC or windows rolled down?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Steal This Bag And I'll Hunt You Down

There is a reason I don't do bags. They take hours. Even the simple sew two sides and make some kind of casing thingy for the cord kind.

Oh I got it done. Between making it I helped write a paper on some guy named Antonio Vivaldi, learned ratio graphs on fruit prices and something else of which I don't remember but will never use in real life.

I found a pattern from Reanna Lily Designs and attempted it. I have done something like it in the past so I wasn't too lost. Or so I thought. The only thing I changed was that I used half a yard instead of a fat quarter. It's got to fit shoes in there.

I forgot to go up the sides. Don't know why. I think listening to"Four Seasons" messed me up. I also started making the cord. She used one inch ribbon and I did a fabric thingy. Sort of like bias tape but sewed up the sides and turned it right side out. That took some time since I needed tons of it. I pressed it to the seam so it lay flat.

I started the casing and did it on both ends. THEN I realized I didn't know how to put those together. I was lost on the directions as it wasn't clear on how she did that part. Since I didn't sew up the side seams I had to rip up part of the casing seam and do a 1/4 seam down the sides. No biggie. It still looks like a bag, just with open casings at the seams.
Maybe it's supposed to look like that?
Now somehow it's supposed to look like a backpack. I take a safety pin and stuff the fabric thingy through the casing on both sides. How do I make it a backpack? I'd have to re-open the bottom side seams or sew them on the back. Or just leave them as they are and let her have some funky handles with one side not finished. It's nearly 1 am and I don't care now. I've been doing this since 7pm.

I had to finally dump Bandit into the bedroom so he'd stay out of stuff. He's finally come out of his shell some and is into everything. Last thing I need is to press his tail flat since he matches the purple fabric.

Here's the "finished" bag:

From Quilted with Love
It doesn't look bad. It looks pretty good. My daughter hasn't seen it yet and I still need to figure out the straps. Backpack style or purse like? I'll let her decide in the morning. When she gets home tomorrow I'll see about embroidering something on cream fabric, use fusible webbing and stick it on.

I'll probably embroider "Property of DD. Steal it and I'll hunt you down. Give me 15 bucks and I'll make you one".

Help With A Sports Bag For My Daughter

I'm at a loss.

My daughter wants me to make her a bag for her basketball clothes/shoes. She's been using a plastic grocery bag. I thought she was just putting them in her backpack. I never did sports and boys just shove everything in their backpacks and let it reek all season long.

I've spent the morning looking at free patterns and nothing seems right. I can't buy a pattern since there isn't a store nearby that has a pattern.

I thought of a drawstring bag but figured she needed something she could just throw over her shoulder and go. My mom suggested a drawstring backback that goes over the shoulder. Everything looked complicated. I've made something where you take fat quarters and straps and make a backpack of sorts but it was several years ago and might be too kiddy.

All the tote bag patterns I found were made for adults and over sized.

I have the fabric she picked out. I just need a pattern. So..what are 13 year old girls using for sports?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Training For The WWE

I haven't had much of a chance to do any quilting. I had company both yesterday and today which has been really nice.

Bandit is settling in. He's found a couple of favorite spots to sleep; on top of the printer, behind my computer and on top of my fabric pile. The hardest part about Bandit is that he's black and blends into everything. The first day I "lost" him several times because of it. I had no idea he was on the printer because it sits back under a shelf. He'd been sitting there for several hours while I went crazy looking for him. The same with him being behind my Imac. He can just slip behind it without you noticing.

I spent some time cleaning out Lacey's cage AGAIN. For some reason she's decided not use her litterbox the past week and it reeks. I've tried different things and finally figured out she likes paper towels. Sigh. I need to find a decent cleaner as well.

Hey Mom! I'm ready for WWE! Just call me " The Hare Raiser"
From Quilted with Love

But Mom..HE said I could have them for WWE training. Honest.

From Quilted with Love

Still working on knitting that scarf. It's never going to get done at my pace.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bandit And Relaxing

From Quilted with Love

"Don't worry Mom. I'm just bird watching".

This is Bandit. He's our new addition. My friend found him outside her house a couple of weeks ago when the temperatures were frigid and brought him inside. She's already got several cats and doesn't need another so he's at my house.

He and Lacey have met. He was more terrified of her. She was quite happy to be friends. I let them get aquainted while she was in her cage and then carefully introduced them. Bandit wasn't so sure about this rabbit idea and kept his distance. That friendship will be carefully monitored.

I think our house is officially a zoo.

I have gotten further along with my scarf:

From Quilted with Love
For some reason I can't post it the way it should be, so it's this way.

I'm slowly learning to relax. I can't do this hunched over holding onto the needles with a death grip. I've had to tell myself that "I'm not diffusing a bomb", put my shoulders back in place and loosen my grip and keep going. The bomb thing has really helped. LOL. *Great. Someone has probably put on a watch list for that now*

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good Old Math

There is nothing like trying to teach your son math. Thank goodness for finding an online fraction calculator since I don't remember my fractions having numbers like 5 17/30 as the answer when I was in school.

Speaking of math I learned something new with the LeMoyne Star block. Another quilter was having problems with a pattern she found in a magazine. Intrigued I went over to EQ6 and tried to draw the block. Totally stumped. It's not a hard block and EQ6 had the specific block in the library, it was adding the background design that wasn't working right.

I got out my trusty and favorite EQ6 "Pieced Drawing" by Patti R. Anderson and looked it up. There has to be a specific drawing board setup for this block so I can add in the background. Well, there is and isn't.

I had no idea that the LeMoyne Star is based on a circle NOT a square making exact numbers nearly impossible. Gotta love the number 1.414. No wonder the stupid graph and points aren't working. To set up the drawing board in EQ6 the drawing set up is 7-10-7 which equals a 24 inch block. Then you would change the size when doing your quilt.

EQ6 does have a pieced PatchDraw section just this part which helps but you have to connect the "patches" which gets tricky. I did figure out the background part by doing the patches but not sure how accurate it is.

Then while my son was whining about how math was useless, I handed him my book and explained the LeMoyne Star. His eyes glazed over immediately but he couldn't argue that you never use it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby Booties?

Leave it to DH to ask some interesting questions.

"Are you knitting baby booties?" he asks as he sees me attempting to knit.

I about choked on my knitting needles.

"Is there something I should know?" is his next question with a confused expression on his face.

This time I swallowed them.

After carefully pulling them out, I asked "Where in the world did you get that idea?"

He replies with, "Well, it looked like you were knitting something small, like baby booties."

Baby booties?? Baby booties?? I didn't even know he knew those words. Does he even know what they are?

After at least 20 start over attempts I have this with some basic cotton yarn:

From Quilted with Love
After all of those attempts I finally figured out that the pattern is in groups of 3's. DUH. If I make sure there are 3 stitches after each section I know I'm good. As long as I come up with 24 stitches at the end of the row I'm doing it right.

I started doing the same pattern with the new yarn but didn't like the look. It just didn't seem to fit right.

The smaller one is the fancier yarn. The larger is a heavier cotton yarn.

From Quilted with Love
The biggest problem with this pattern is if you mess up, it's nearly impossible to fix it. That means ripping it entirely out for me. It's worse with the smaller one because the stitches are smaller.

*edited* I messed up the smaller one. I've tried fixing it only to make it worse. Sigh. I wish I knew someone close by that could show me how to fix it.

I still like the look of the larger one though.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Does Your Car Need Firmware Updates?

I bet you didn't know your car needed firmware updates.

DH and I took our Santa Fe in today because last Saturday all the lights started flashing and he lost power to the accelerator foot. The ESC light and the check engine light stayed on. Nothing like coasting at 20 mph on a major highway right? We turned off the car at the side of the road, read the manual which said to turn off the car and then turn it back on. The accelerator foot worked again and we drove home.

Turns out we needed a firmware update and a throttle sensor. The throttle sensor will be in tomorrow. The one thing I adore about Hyundai is that everything is under warranty and in the extremely, extremely rare cases I've had a problem, it's been easily fixed.

On to the fun part.

DH drove me to The Yarn Shop up in Lincoln and Sally fit me in the group class for a lesson. She's a great teacher and despite the large class was able to work with us. After people left for lunch she spent more time showing me how to purl. Getting my index finger to coordinate with my brain was a never ending fight. However; I did get this far:
Yep. A whole inch and a half..maybeish?

Having a class helped so much to understand this stitch. It's actually pretty easy once my finger and brain found a way to make it work toward the end.

I also figured out two things with knitting:

1. The quality of the needles makes a huge difference.

The ones above are addi Natura circular needles. After yesterday's post I found my other set of circular needles by Clover and found the yarn catching at the bottom where the bamboo and the cord meet. I was still struggling with sliding up but it was working much better than the straight needles.

The addi Natura are divine. I bought another set.

2. The quality of the yarn.

I don't know what kind of yarn I'm using cotton, wool, blend. I know it's not acrylic, but it's beautiful to work with. I bought some other yarns to try out and started that same scarf I tried yesterday. The difference is amazing.

Here's what I bought:

From Quilted with Love
The pink is Alpaca, Merino wool and silk. The white is Merino wool, Microfibre and Cashmere. They feel amazing. I'm doing that same scarf in the white. I've only done 2 rows but will post a pic soon. The first 2 rows have been a breeze. My hands don't hurt and I'm not jabbing myself with the needles.

I may actually like this knitting thing. Ask me tomorrow though. I may have a different opinion.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Butterfinger Knitting?

I've almost got the "Rambling Rose" top done. I spent most of yesterday putting it together.

Putting together the last two rosebud blocks was a giant pain. I had cut out and labeled the pieces but couldn't find them. I had to redo several over and then couldn't find one long background piece. If you do a background with a directional print, MAKE sure you have enough of it. I have one background that doesn't fit because of it. Maybe no one will notice.

I still have one more white strip that fits on the rosebud blocks. I haven't cut them out because the directions have them cut out as part of the lace border fabric. I'm still not sure if I want to piece it all and haven't figured out a way around it. I hate to run out of fabric if I mess up.

From Quilted with Love

Knitting. I have never found a skill so frustrating and me using so many swear words! I've taken this scarf apart 6 times because I can't do it right. Screw knitting. My hands ache. I've nearly poked my eyes out 20 times and the stupid needles slide out backwards into my lap leaving me trying to put the damn needles through the loops again. Or they fall out onto the ground.

I gave it one more try and got this far. I was so I excited I took a picture to show you all and after I started up again, the damn needles fell out of my hands, the yarn got caught up and it undid several rows. It took me most of the afternoon to get this far and I'm in tears.

From Quilted with Love
The stubborn part of me says to get this scarf done if it kills me. After all I figured out how to YO (yarn over) and to K2tog (knit two stitches together) with this pattern thanks to YouTube. I can do it. It's the needles.

DH and I have to take our car to the dealer tomorrow. Before I completely give up, there is a yarn store in Lincoln that gives lessons. Since I may be there all day waiting for car, I'm going to see if the owner will help. I did pay for lessons last year and maybe she will have time to give me one. Or set me up with a better set of needles like the bamboo ones.

Anyone else have a better idea for butterfinger hands with knitting? It's the seizure meds and that the needles are slippery metal. I do have double sided tape but I don't think that's the answer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm Cross-Eyed

I got out my knitting needles and read through the first part my "Stitch 'N Bitch" book last night. She had a great tip of reading it out loud while doing the stitches. I relearned the double cast on stitch. It was SO much easier this time as it finally made sense.

I figured out how to PURL!!! It's not that hard once I got my hands to work with my brain. The book is wonderful in explaining stitches. I was doing great until my brain suddenly froze and everything I learned just went "poof". I just stared at the yarn in frozen disbelief. Back to the basics again. My brain has gone "poof" several times over the past day. Go back and re-read the manual. Start again.

I joined up on as was suggested and found some free patterns. I just don't want to do a scarf with knit/purl/knit all the way down to eternity. I picked one and realized I had to learn how to increase 4 stitches evenly on the last row. *Flip to index on increasing stitches*

Errr. *reads the section several times* Right. No problem. Here goes attempt number one. Well, I managed to increase from 20 to 24 somehow with the directions so score one point on the scarf section. Not sure it looks like it should, but I figure it increased, I'm good.

My head hurts now and I've only done 4 rows. My hands/arms ache and I'm now cross-eyed for the remainder of tonight.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to figure out "Yarn Over". Make something with two sticks and some yarn. No problem.

Scissors Woes And A New Home For Lacey

A few weeks ago I emailed Brint over at Farmore Cutlery about my scissors woes as I've killed another pair of scissors. Kelly over at I Have A Notion met him last year and he was very knowledgeable about scissors so I figured I'd ask him about my troubles.

I actually got a phone call this morning! I explained the problem and how I manage to knick, bang and dull my scissors and I don't even do anything wrong with them. I don't go over pins. I'm not cutting up things with them. My kids aren't using them. I just can't figure it out.

He asked if I'd ever had mine sharpened. I said no because when I've taken mine up to Lincoln they have to keep them over for a few days or more and I can't just go back up and get them. They are always backlogged at most stores. I can't just come and go up to Lincoln or Omaha when I want because I don't drive, we only have one car and I'm dependent on DH's schedule. I also figured once you have a knick, there's not much you can do for them.

He asked about the tips of the scissors. I said they are fine. It's the middle sections I tend to kill. Then he asked the magic question. Do you drop your scissors? Well, yes. A lot.

Seizure meds are notorious for lack of hand control. I drop/fumble everything. He said that dropping them (even if they aren't landing on the tips or are open) cause vibrations that over time can cause problems to your scissors. Dropping them can also cause knicks and dings to the edges even if they haven't fallen that far to the ground.

He said he could sharpen mine..dings dents and all. All I needed to do was ship them out. I only have about 12 pair..LOL. I don't throw them out. I just shove them in a drawer. I can't ship them out right now, but probably will next paycheck.

It's nice to know I'm not crazy and they aren't magically denting themselves. I could probably make something that could wrap around my wrist to keep my scissors from falling when I drop them. I'm just not sure I'd like that tethered feeling. Or if it would get all tangled up when trying to cut. Something around my neck would drive me nuts.

Anyone else have this problem?

Bunny Update:

Mom said I needed a new home. Dad is really upset that I keep peeing in his "man space" and that his space is covered in boxes and toys that he has to trip over so I don't eat his Blu-rays or go where I'm not supposed too. He and I just aren't getting along very well. So...

Mom moved me to DS's room. He feeds me in the morning before school without even being asked and Mom is really proud of him. Since DS's room has been clean since Dad arrested DD at school, it's safe for me too. I also discovered that digging into a comforter is great fun. If the bed wasn't so high up, I'd be up there shredding it.

After Mom and DS better bunny proofed it, I can go in and out as I please when someone is in there, race around the room at high speed, do flips in the air, try to get up onto the bed and attempt to rip up the cheap carpet. Life is good except Mom still says I need my nails clipped.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Books, Fabric And An Owie

Gotta love civilization. If you don't live near a big city, you go stir crazy and I've been that way for several weeks. Finally a paycheck in which most of it didn't have to go to someone else. It's been months since that has happened. Other than some other basic shopping, these things needed to be done.

First order of business:

Purple fabric for my 9-patch quilt:

From Quilted with Love
There aren't a lot of quilting stores in Lincoln and I usually just hit up JoAnn Fabrics. The JoAnn Fabric store near me doesn't carry fat quarters. She said something about the company not having them as true fat quarters and people coming in complaining. It's not a big deal, you just get more of a variety with fat quarters. She said they would get some in, but not for awhile.

I also seem to recall JoAnn having lots of knitting books but couldn't find their stash. The quilt books were still there but nothing else. Has JoAnn stopped carrying them?

I ended up going to Barnes & Noble to get the book I wanted called "Stitch 'N Bitch":

From Quilted with Love
I picked up the other book as it looked interesting and I liked the sock patterns. I'm glad Barnes and Noble had it, otherwise I was stuck ordering it online.

I really liked the book and well worth the purchase. I'll be honest, the patterns are not anything close to what I'd want to make, but the stitch directions are easy to figure out and even I got most of the idea. That's all I care about, making the stupid stitches.

Second order of business:

Bunny supplies.

Mom and Dad messed that up big time. Right now I'm sulking in my cage because of it. I refuse to come out and play. Mom bought these awful looking cutter things and tried to do something to my feet. I kicked out really hard and now I have an owie now cause I got scared. I know she didn't mean to make me bleed, but it really hurt.

The Dad got this idea of putting these "things" on top of my box so I couldn't dump over the water and food dishes. I spent a few minutes trying to pull them off but it's not working. Dad wasn't thinking that they might be too hard for me to use because of how they are designed. I might get my bowls back.

I haven't gotten off my box all evening.
Mom said she tried finding a pen that would make it easier for me to play but couldn't find anything at the pet store. It was all for dogs and way too big for putting up in the living room.

They didn't have decent size cages either cause this one is small. She said she was working on getting a bigger house for me and to be patient. She said something about condos and that they were really expensive.

She did get me some toys. I'm not sure what to do with them. I've checked them out and chewed on them some, but that's about it.

Mom, it's been a hard day for both of us. Maybe tomorrow will be better. And if you attempt to trim my nails again, I will bite you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"March"ing Along

I got a lot more done on this quilt today once I organized all the pieces. This is going to be MUCH bigger than I thought it would be. There is still a pink border and then the lace.

I still have two rose bud block to finish up for the bottom corner and to finish cutting up the rest of the white pieces. Labeling ALL pieces has been essential to this project. I've had to go back and redo some of that since I figured I'd "rememeber" where all the pieces went. You can see where I added labels today after finishing blocks. Otherwise I'd mess up which corner they belong in.

I also have marked up the book so I know what I've done. I have no problems marking up a pattern so I don't lose track of my cuts and subcuts.

From Quilted with Love

Here's a pic of the card I used for knowing the order of fabrics and what I used:
From Quilted with Love
I try to do this will all my projects. When I took the picture I realized I started this quilt last March!! I really stuffed this one away out of pure frustration!

Maybe this top will get done by March of this year and quilted by March of next year.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Silly Human. Bribery Doesn't Work.

Do not be fooled by her innocent looking pose. She's peed twice today in that very room nearly missing DH's blu-rays, hence the box behind DS. Then she peed in front of the TV a few minutes after this picture. She's sorta litterbox trained. NOT.

But Mom, I figured out a neat trick that should make up for my boo-boos. I can jump up onto the the recliner now. Only cause I want to figure out how to get around all the boxes you've put up to fence me in. All I want is to get under the recliner to booby-trap it by eating the wood. Then when someone sits on it, it will fall apart.

I'm also REALLY smart. Mom thought she could trick me into coming out of my cage by bribing me with food. She showed me the food canister that got my attention, grabbed a handful of pellets and fed me one. I stuck my head out a couple of times to get food but figured it was much easier to shove my food dish up to the opening and demand a bigger portion. Silly human. Just fill up the bowl. Bribery gets you nowhere.

I do need to find a better way to give her a play area. Boxes and laundry baskets aren't exactly the easiest to work with. I've looked around via the internet for something that would work and nothing seems right. Now that she's figured out to climb onto the recliner, she'll need something with higher sides so she can't jump it. I need the tubing for cords as well.

She needs some decent toys as well. Wednesday DH and I head to Lincoln to do some shopping and I'll check out a Petco and the Walmart. I did find a really nice online store just for rabbits and may order after I get back if I can't find what I want.

It's the confinement that really needs some help. She's not trained enough to give free reign of the house and anything baby gate or pet fence related I've seen isn't what would work.

I'm really amazed at how well she's doing here. The kids adore her. She loves people despite her being pretty skittish.

Rambling Rose Layout Mess

I got sick of nine-patches today and cleaned up that mess only to make an even bigger mess:

From Quilted with Love
I started this quilt last year, got extremely frustrated with the directions for the center, tossed it in a bag and stuffed it away for another time. Another time was today.

This has been a PITA quilt. Usually Pam's quilts are fairly simple even though very complex looking, but this is a monster. The seams don't want to lay right with all the bulk. None of the blocks are square because of all the bulk and this quilt will never lie flat without extensive quilting and fudging. Someone with better piecing skills could get this to work better I'm sure.

I spent about 2 hours going through all the pieces and strips figuring out where I left off and making sure everything was labeled right. I'm SO glad I made a card with pieces of labeled fabric or I'd never remember which fabric went where.

Then I read through the wonky directions and through the pictures. I had to make an educated guess on what she meant and went with my gut instinct. It finally worked!!

Here's the finished center:

From Quilted with Love

There are times when it really helps to take a several month break from a frustrating quilt. The next frustrating part will be the "lace". I may say forget it and do something else since these blocks aren't coming out square.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Quilting Shows

ARGHHH!! There's a reason why I don't subscribe to quilting shows or watch them. It's not that I don't want too. I'd love to see some decent shows. The problem is that they just cut out the most important parts of a technique and then wander off to some useless "cutesy" topic.

I just finished watching "The Quilt Show" episode with Jinny Beyer and was eagerly anticipating how she was going to finish up the Lamoyne Star sections and they finished the segment before it was done!! I have no idea how she finishes hand piecing all 8 points in the center!! Then they go off onto another subject and on with the show.

I attempted 16 points with my Dahlia quilt and it came out pretty good for a first time attempt. It meets, but there's a nice bulk in the center. I was SO hoping she'd show how to work those pieces together. That's why I watched the episode!!! *puts head on the table and sobs*

Well, at least the episode was free.

On the positive side, I learned that most of what I figured out for hand piecing on my own through the Dahlia quilt wasn't completely wrong. Now I can sort of fine tune the hand piecing should I go there again.

Sigh. I'll just email Jinny and ask her how to do it. Or find a book. TV shows are worthless.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Dreaded "F" Word

I had a 2010 lightbulb moment today.

I watched "Julie and Julia" a few weeks ago and while looking through a book wondered if I could make ALL the quilt projects in it during the year. There isn't anything fancy or terribly complicated about them. They are just sweet and simple quilts.

Like I need more projects to start and never finish. However; I wouldn't have to FINISH them.

GASP! *choke* *cough* NOT FINISH a quilt??

Without any pressure to finish them, I would enjoy doing them more. I do give myself the option to finish them IF I'm up to it. The "F" word just isn't in my vocabulary this year. I DO NOT need to finish up any project.

There are 12 quilts in the book. Some are wall quilts and others are larger. It's a chance to use up scraps and not worry about giant bed size quilts as I have enough of those stashed in my UFO closet.

So...the title of the book?

"Garden Party" by Cynthia Tomaszewski

If you haven't had a chance to see the book, check it out. The quilts are very sweet and beautiful. I've had the book for several years and have planned on doing the quilts, but have never gotten around to it. This year I plan on doing all of them.

Now I really want those Dovo scissors for applique work. LOL.

Woo Hoo! Now I have a purpose in life. At least for this year.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Darth Vader's Guide To The Janome 6600

Sigh. I've figured out that must be related to Darth Vader. I'm not evil though. At least not evil enough to try to take over the Empire. I just breathe like he does. Really. I do.

I do find Darth Vader a fascinating character. For me, "Star Wars" is truly about him and not Luke Skywalker. It's about the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. Without him turning into Darth Vader, the Emperor could never be defeated. I digress..sorry.

Why do I say this about my breathing? I tried THREE times to make a video about my Janome 6600 and all you could hear between my talking was this crazy breathing in and out sound. Is there such a thing as movie making asthma?

Here's my review on the Janome 6600 in print form.

DH bought this for me about 3-4 years ago. I paid 1800 for it brand new. I don't know what they cost now but I know they haven't lost value as Janome did a great job with it. Everyone that I know loves theirs. I've had a love/hate relationship with it.


* It's heavy and sturdy. It's not going to slide across the table on you. I have put this machine through tons of fabric and it keeps going. I'm rough on machines and it's taken every bit of it with ease.

* It's not picky. I've never had a problem with different threads, even while FMQ. It's never jammed on me, shredded thread, eaten it, or come out of the take-up lever.

* It's super quiet. My Viking machines sound like a 747 on a runway taking off. You can barely hear my 6600 humming away.

* It's easy to use. The screen is well lit with large, easy to read numbers.

From Quilted with Love
The buttons are large and well thought out. You don't have to go looking for what you need. Everything is right at your fingertips. The tension dial is manual making for precise tension adjustments.

I don't like the speed settings. For me it's worse than snail slow, slow and so fast you can't work with it. There are no other speeds between those.

From Quilted with Love
* You have the stitch numbers/pictures on top for easy viewing. Janome has "modes" that help you navigate through the stitch menus. The only thing Janome didn't do was label the stitches in the book. Some of these stitches I have no clue what to use them for or what they are called.

From Quilted with Love
*The dual feed system. Attach the built-in walking feet behind and you are good to go. You have a 1/4 foot, an open-toe foot and a regular foot. Just unscrew the front foot section, add the foot you need, pull down the back feed dog and you off you go. It's a little bulky, but it works.

From Quilted with Love
* It FMQ beautifully and with ease. I've done some incredible work with it. The Janome 6600 comes with an open toe spring foot. The foot sucks as I hate the bouncing. The idea is that it grabs the fabric for stability and then bounces back up for movement. If you can coordinate between the two movements..great. I can't.

Janome finally came out with a much better foot that lets you adjust the spring and gives better visability. The foot is worth investing in and makes this machine even better for FMQ.

Visibility is limited because of the walking foot. You learn to work around it, but it can be a pain for intricate work.

From Quilted with Love
* The knee lift. Finally, with the push of your leg, you can move the pressure foot up/down for hands free sewing. However; it's very loose. I have to push my leg extremely to the right to get the foot to move up. That really needs to be fixed.
From Quilted with Love
I LOVE the table that Janome made for this machine. GET ONE. I put a board over the opening for my Topaz and use it that way.

The stitch quality is great. You can adjust many of the stitches with both width/length. It does a beautiful straight stitch and a nice satin stitch. I don't like the extra stitches in the blanket stitch, but it's still beautiful.

My biggest problem I've had with this machine is piecing. For some reason my machine feeds to the upper left. I'm constantly fighting it to keep the fabric to stay straight and feed through correctly. I've had it looked at, had other people use it with no problems, changed how I've sat, everything. I've spent 3 years cursing it. No one else I know who own one has this problem.

It hates going over bulky seams. It goes up, moves the fabric to the left and gets stuck in place. I have to lift the foot and gently move the fabric until it gets over the bulk. Even with the walking foot, it does this.

It hates pins. When the front of 1/4 guide hits a pin, instead of going over, it jams up, moves the fabric to the left, and messes up all accuracy. A lot of times, I need to get much closer to the pin (not put the needle over it) and I hate having to move a little at a time to get that accuracy. Same with the walking foot.

The foot pedal is way too small and moves across the floor. It's very precise and responsive, I just have to keep moving it back in place.

The manual is pathetic. Don't bother opening it. Janome makes terrible manuals. My Janome 350e manual is terrible too.

Is it worth getting? YES. As with any machine, test it out. Make sure it's what you want. Give it a work out to see the stitches and how it pieces and FMQ. If I could figure out the crazy piecing issue, it would be one of my favorite machines.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Quilting Ideas

I finally got around to thinking about some quilting ideas for this year.

* I'd like to start up on some YouTube quilting tutorials. I got the H1N1 virus a couple of months ago and it really put me back with all the coughing. Plus my camera people are little and that makes it hard.

Some topics I thought of via google analytics are
*back basting
*Janome 6600 review
*Janome 350e review
*Viking Topaz review
*Piecing a Dahlia quilt

Anything else you would like me to attempt to do for a tutorial?

*Buy a pair of Dovo scissors. I want them. I know I do. Just get them.

*Machine embroider pillowcases and a sheet set.

*Machine embroider matching towels (not to the above)

*Finish two quilts. That's right two. Not a zillion. Not five. Two.

*Think about getting those knitted beaded bags done. I have attempted it. Several times in fact. Things just keep going wrong. However; I can knit with size 0000 needles now. Sort of.

*Find a beginner book on how to knit a pair of socks. Maybe even try knitting one..not a pair. Just one sock. Any suggestions on the book? And NOT Knitting For Dummies. Useless book series.

*Learn to make or buy something *GASP* whimsical and cute that's not quilt related. This one will kill me. I know it will. Cute and/or whimsical is not me.

I've stretched my brain too far now. Anything else and my brain will explode.

Scissors? I'm Buying One Of These

After getting today's mail, I'm buying one of those babies. Yep. Can you see it standing like a giant eye sore in my backyard for hundreds of miles? I live rurally and I don't think the city has any ordinances (yet) on me putting that in. Heck, that thing might even power my entire town.

There's a meeting on Monday that I can go and gripe to them about raising the electricity rates by 25%. Think I should say that the State of NE considers it child abuse if you have no heat in your house during the winter? If none of us can afford heat and our kids get taken away, your company can stand in front of a judge and explain it.

Off to check out wind turbine prices. There's gotta be a government grant out there somewhere or something from an engery place to pay for it.

At some point these utility companies are going to price themselves right out of business and have riots on their property.

Hmm. Checked out some residential ones. Not all of them are eye sores. Of course they don't put prices online.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Almost Outsmarted By A Rabbit

Before anyone panics, NO chips or the bag were fed to Lacey.

I sat down with the Dorito bag figuring since she had ignored me for the past 30 minutes I would enjoy them. I had no idea she'd come racing over and stick her head entirely into the bag attempting to help herself. LOL. Too bad I didn't get that picture.

After pushing her away, she headbutts my hand, grabs the top of the bag and starts to drag it away from me. I'm laughing so hard at this point and my daughter grabs the camera to get this picture. I push her away from me again and she hops off.

Now I've been told that rabbits are smart but I figured they were wrong. For you non believers, instead of hopping off, she zigzags back, jumps over my feet, and grabs the bottom of the bag pulling it down. I wasn't prepared for this, and she almost made off with the bag. She also managed to rip a hole in the bag and was trying to help herself.

This time I just put the bag on the couch while we all laughed really hard. She looked most upset. Obviously I'm not going to be able to eat chips while on the ground. I'm figuring neither Doritos or the bag are great for rabbits.

Oh..I have 10 more blocks done. 210 blocks done!