Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Went to the doc today and have an appointment for PT tomorrow.  They took some X-rays to make sure there wasn't anything wrong with my spine.  Other than where it's curved, mine is on the flat side, it's all good.

After being pushed around in a wheelchair in Wally World, this sucks.  I felt really bad for the people giving me sympathetic looks as DH was pushing me.  I'm not paralyzed or helpless. Really.  There was just no way I could walk around the store without being in pain.  People are amazingly nice when you are in a wheelchair.  They move out of your way and you get fabulous customer service.  Hmmm.  Nah..rather walk around in the store all by myself.

IF I ever have to be in a wheelchair for good, I'm getting the athletic kind and customizing it with British green racing stripes.

For some crazy reason DH and I decided to go with our phone service for internet.  I got the modem in the mail today, opened the box, and went to install everything.  No problem right?  Hook it all up to the wireless router and instant internet.  Errr... you won't get very far if your phone jack is on another wall.  Didn't even think about that when talking to the lady.

Tomorrow I have a phone guy coming to install one.  If it doesn't work out, I guess Time Warner gets my money again.  Yes; I do still have a land line.  If my cable goes out or the cell phone doesn't work, I still have phone service.  Plus, I don't want my kids on my cell phone racking up minutes I don't have talking to friends.  I just have the bare bones service and it works just fine.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Still Sore..Grrr.

Not much going on.  My back is still really sore so I'm breaking down and talking to the doc about physical therapy.

It's just so frustrating to not be able to do things.  I might be doing good for half a day and then do something to make it sore all over again.  I can't bend over the table to cut fabric.  I did it for the samples but paid for it later that night.

*Scratches Head* Something is up with DH.  He behaved himself in JoAnn Fabrics again.  Well, he was taken with the Halloween fabric that was next to the cutting table and kept "petting" the fabrics as they were sheer.  Also, he did march up to the cashier with my baby flannel and purple fabric, handed her the coupon and paid for it like he was the one using it.  She looked at him funny, but didn't say anything.  He's got this coupon thing mastered.

Wrestlemania was great.  We had a fun party with some friends and had a good time.

On the bunny side, Lacey seems to have calmed down some since being separated from the other two.  Today was she was licking me on my arm as a sign of grooming.  I'm loved again.  She's been a real pain lately and seeing her sort of back to normal is good.  However; she peed on my carpet..grrr.  Probably a sign of territory as the other bunnies were out earlier.  I need to buy another litterbox.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Got The Munchies?

I got my copy of "Quilter's Home" magazine in the mail and sat on the floor in the living room and started to flip through it.  Meh..nothing of interest unless you count that I'm a shark/bear on "10 Quilter's Totems". Mostly a shark.

However; I had two extremely interested bunnies just happy to check out (eat) the magazine:

Now try reading your magazine with Bandit on your legs:

Bandit's curiousity towards the rabbits is insatiable but Magnum will chase him mercilessly if he gets near.  Bandit's options are to sit on the nearest person, watch on the couch or run like mad when he gets chased off.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  It's very hard to capture moving animals.

"Fast And Free .5" practicing

Things went much better today while doing the FMQ excercises.  I got most of my tension issues worked out once I put the setting on "Woven Heavy".  If your machine has settings like this, use it.  I completely forgot this last night.  DUH.

I set my machine speed to a lower setting so I can keep better control.  My Topaz has 4 speed settings.  My Janome 6600 has three; turtle slow, slow and Speedy Gonzolas which get really annoying for FMQ.  The Topaz has far more regular speeds which are more managable for detailed work.

I also realized that Patsy starts at the top.  I find that harder as you can't see where you've been.  If I start at the bottom and work my way up, I don't get locked into a corner.  I did try it from the top after some confidence built in, but I still find working from the bottom up easier.

I did pretty good at the first stitch-outs.  The further I got, the easier the loops were to make.  Then I got to the suns.  Oh..this isn't pretty.  I'm sure that it's not that bad, but the rays wouldn't go straight and they looked like dejected flowers. I just started cringing.

I got to the next chapter on linear designs.  Ohhh, this is way hard.  Finding entrance/exit routes gave me a headache and I kept messing up.  Now the designs themselves aren't bad, it's the backing yourself into a corner that was killing me.

If all else fails, print out the charts from Patsy's site, stick one on top of the sample and stitch it out:

This makes a lot more sense now.  It's not hard but I still need to learn to visualize space better.  The rest of the designs are far more complicated than my brain can take right now.  I'll do them another day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Practice Sample from "Fast And Free .5"

By the way,  I Have A Notion has these DVDs on sale.  Kelly is going to make me go broke..LOL.

I put in "Fast And Free .5" and started the lesson.  Feeling quite smug, I thought this should be easy.  Get your tension right and then do the first lesson.  After all, I've been doing this for 5 years.  It can't be that hard.  In about an hour I should have the first chapter done.

I got out one of my quilt sandwiches, pulled on those dreaded PITA gloves and started working with my tension.  I only put on these gloves as Patsy said they helped and figured what the heck.  She lies.  It may work for her, but I feel constricted.  I can't feel anything and they make my hands feel creepy and sticky.

I was WRONG about this being easy.  I start messing with my tension using two colored threads so I could prove it could be done.  10 minutes later and I can't even get that to work.  It's the top tension since the blue keeps going to the other side of the quilt.  It's also me not getting the movements rights.  I really miss having manual tension on my Topaz machines.  It's a piece of cake on my Janome 6600, but I want to work with this machine.

Meh..close enough on tension.  Figuring I'm close enough I start doing loopy thingies.  There are reasons why I don't do this and detest it.  I can't do it without getting stuck somewhere or they are all the same size.   The picture isn't the greatest, but you get the idea.

 Here are my questions/thoughts after doing this.

*  She can get her machine needle to stop on a dime even as fast as she goes.  My machine takes a couple of extra stitches and then stops.

*  It also looks like when she stops at places, she can start up at the same pace she left off.  My machine still likes to take extra stitches.

Part of the problem is that my foot moves up after you stop making you take that extra stitch when in needle down.  I know she has a Pfaff and some of the machines do the same thing.  I don't know if hers does.

*  Fingering position and those PITA gloves.  How do you move the sandwich with ease?  I know it's practice but even on a small piece, I feel like it's going to run away from me.

*  Keeping even speeds.  Again, it's practice but my eyes get tired and then my foot slows/speeds up.  I don't think it's a light issue since the machine has two lights.  Does anyone else do this?

It's ll:30pm..I think I'll give it a rest and try tomorrow.

Patsy Thompson DVDs

Truthfully; I'm not always impressed with quilting DVDs and rarely buy them.  These are the ones I own  and are worth buying if you have thought about them despite their audio/visually quality.  A lot of the time I feel like I'm being sold a product/machine instead of learning something.  If I wanted that product, I don't need a 30+ dollar DVD to sell it to me.

I took a risk on buying Patsy Thompson's DVDs after seeing a video on her demonstrate the bendable LED light gizmo.  She was clear, explained everything and was comfortable in front of a camera.  Everything I wish I could be when doing one of my videos.  She almost talked me into one but the 50 dollar price tag doesn't have me running for it.

I sat down to watch her "Fast and Free" .5 video and started it up, not sure what to expect.  To my surprise I was blown away with the video/audio quality.  Now, I know my Blu-ray player upconverts to 1080 resolution instead of 420 resolution (which most DVDs are) to make a better picture, but this was fantastic.  It's not 5.1 surround sound or higher, but it was lound and clear.  It was nice not to have to turn my sound up to level 65 to hear her either.
From Embroidery Designs
"Fast and Free .5" goes over the basics of FMQ.  I've been doing this for 5 years and I can't believe how much info she pointed out that I was missing.  There were little tiny details that I had wondered how to fix, but didn't know how.  She goes over details of tension, quilt basting, the foot, and the fabric. Volume 2 builds on these skills with different designs.

The only thing I don't get is how she can spray baste a queen size quilt and not have it shift.  She'll have to come to my house and prove it.

Here's where the video quality REALLY kicks in.  Most DVDs have terrible close-ups on the needle area.  It's blurry, too dark, shaky and you find yourself sea sick as the camera moves.  This had beautiful clarity on the needle area and the stitches.  You could easily follow everything she did.

As she demonstrated the different techniques for FMQ she builds on the last thing you learned.  She went over starts/stops and did full stitch outs of the designs explaining how not to get stuck or trapped into a corner.  That's usually me, by the way...LOL.

Oh... DH was impressed.  He sat and watched part of it while we had lunch.  He didn't know you could do so much with FMQ and was fascinated as she did the designs.  He even liked her Pfaff machine.  Hmmm...that has possibilities.  I haven't had any stories to post about him since he's been suprisingly good.  He didn't annoy the Bernina lady at Hancock's the other day.  He didn't question my Dovo scissors purchase and he let me buy the Patsy Thompson DVDs.  Something must be

If you are questioning the purchase, go for it.  If I'm not griping about anything, you know it's good as I can be a stickler about that.

Thank you Patsy for wonderful DVDs that I will treasure and refer back too as needed.


Machine Embroidered Doilies

I got this done yesterday and I love how it turned out.

Each piece took about 45 minutes to stitch out.  The machine did a beautiful job and I was able to get two designs on one prewound bobbin.  I used two layers of Badgemaster which is a water soluble stabilizer to stitch out the design on.  A year or so ago I tried a mesh type water soluble stabilizer and the design wouldn't stitch out correctly despite several layers of it.

I trimmed around the design to get most of the stabilizer out but enough to be able to satin stitch the pieces together.  I arranged the four pieces together to get a general idea of the size and then cut fabric larger than the design.  I trimmed it down to a 17 inch sqaure so I could draw center and diagonal lines for correct alignments.

I then pinned the pieces to the fabric and satin stitched around the center pieces making sure all four pieces were connected.  I admit, it's not the greatest job, but it works.

Using my applique scissors..I think they are a called duck billed ones as they have one part that is larger than the other and carefully cut the fabric out behind the designs and down to the satin stitching.  These scissors work great for this.

I then satin stitched the rest of the connecting pieces.  This is where leaving extra water soluble around those pieces gives it a foundation for your machine.  Again, it's not the prettiest as I couldn't get everything aligned perfectly, but I still love this doily.

I put it in the sink to rinse out the stabilizer and I just need to trim the tails.

Here's a close up of it:
From Embroidery Designs

I did another doily a year or so ago:

From Embroidery Designs
I hadn't trimmed the fabric off and you can see the stabilizer that is used for connecting each piece.  Each of the larger pieces took 2 hours to stitch out.  There are 8 of each.  The small flowers between the large designs took about 5 minutes.
Here's a close-up of setting up the center section and where I pinned.  I couldn't find any more pictures of this doily.  I gave it to my mother for Christmas last year.
From Embroidery Designs

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Moon Steelbook

Not quilting related at all, but if you are a Twilight fan you'll love this:
It's a Steelbook case just for "New Moon".  It's beautifully embossed and very nice.  I have the Blu-ray one but they have DVD ones.

It's over at Best Buy if you'd like one for your collection.  I had two guys fight over what they thought were only 3 copies on the shelf.  Turns out my Best Buy had about 30 of each when I went over to the cardboard displays and in the "N" section.  It was hilarious watching them grab at the copies since most men to seem to despise this series with a passion.  And, if they do like it, they just say they are buying it for their wives/girlfriends/daughters..LOL.

If you live in Canada, Futureshop has a much nicer cover.  It would be nice to have it, but I'll be happy with this.  

Got My Dovo Scissors!!!

My scissors came!!!  Woo Hoo!  I haven't had a chance to use them yet but I know they will be divine.  I bought the 4 and 5 inch ones.  Thank you so much Kelly!  If you want a pair, Kelly at I Have A Notion will order them for you.

Okay..cut up some fabric.  They work awesome!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So..What Would YOU Do With This?

Oh Embroidery you tempt me with your designs....  This one of the beautiful designs from "A Fluttering Filigree" design pack.  I just wish the set was on sale.

The others in the set are equally stunning.  Very simple and elegant.  Most of Emblibrary's designs are extremely dense taking hours to stitch out.  I have done a couple where it took 5 hours to do it like this one:

From Embroidery Designs

I have no clue what to do with the above stitchout.  I just don't think creatively with crafty stuff.   I wouldn't know what to do with the butterflies either.  I'm such a practical boring person when it comes to stuff and home decorating.

So, what would you do with the above design if you could have it made for you?  It's on a cream type Kona fabric and I have 6 different designs done.  Or with the butterfly set?  Let me know and post it.  

I think it's an 8x8 inch design.  I was thinking a quilt with the set, but at 5 hours a piece and having to wait for each thread change, it's not practical.

I love the large designs since I can use them on my Topaz but I hate having a pile of designs with nothing to use them for.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Easy Life

Now this is the easy life:
From Three Tricky Rabbits
Chilling out in the litterbox with your best girl grooming you.  He has it made.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Doc's Orders..No Quilting

Went and saw a chiropractor in Friday.  He said my hips were out of alignment and my upper back needed to be far more flexible.  I figured his adjustment was it and I was done.  Nope.  He said I needed to come in for adjustments for several weeks.  I left feeling..wierd.  I can't describe the feeling other than my brain was completely confused.  Almost like having a seizure where it's foggy.

He was amazingly gentle and very nice.

Today I went and he wasn't quite so gentle but still nice.  My hips started aching after I got home.  He did say no quilting as the muscle injury was still there and with him manipulating bones it could easily come back.  He actually knew about quilting..LOL.

I ended up crawling on the couch and sleeping.  I'm glad I did the bunny cages before we left.  DH did the hard part of crawling around with the vaccum cleaner.

For a giggle, here's Bandit and Cagney hanging out on DH's lap.  She was on her way to investigate Bandit and I got the picture before he woke up.

From Three Tricky Rabbits

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sister's Baby Quilt Top Done

I was able to cut and piece my sister's baby blanket today!  There's no way I can baste it right now as I'd hurt my back doing it.  Here's what it looks like:

From Three Tricky Rabbits
I chose a panel and two borders so I didn't have to piece as much.  I wanted to make something far fancier but I still hope she loves it.  I plan on outlining the dogs by free-motion quilting.  I'll put the rick rack on after I quilt it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Socks, Recliners and Shedding Rabbits

After watching some YouTube videos on knitting socks with circular needles I think I'm ready to try it again. My attempts have been disasterous so far.

My back is doing better.  Getting new furniture with back support has done wonders.  After almost 16 years of marriage DH and I were able to buy couches that we wanted and not what was given to us.  It's a wonderful feeling.  I have a double recliner love seat and a couch that has end recliners.  I made sure the middle part that doesn't recline wasn't rock hard.  My mom has a couch that everyone hates the middle because of that.

I have 2 rabbits and a cat that are shedding miserably.  A brush doesn't really help.  I can get more out with my hands.  Cagney is a lop eared rabbit with long fur and desperately needs the matts under her combed out.  She's still skittish and I think I'm going to have her taken in to get them out.  A site said to get a pair of electric shears and shave them out.  I have one, but I can see her freaking out when if I tried to do it.  A wire brush just isn't getting under there.

Off to attempt to try a sock.  I'm going to cheat and make it a tube sock.

Friday, March 05, 2010


I'm going through quilt withdrawal and while in Lincoln yesterday I picked up fabric for my sister's baby blanket and some yarn.  I'm now an aunt!  My sister had her baby a couple of days ago and I had planned on making a baby blanket.

With my back still sore I can't cut out fabric right now so I kept it simple.  I bought a really cute panel and picked out the borders/backing for it.  The original was a kit but the lady helped me make it for a girl.  I hope my sister loves it.

From Quilted with Love
It hit me that I could do some handwork while waiting for my back to get better.  In the same building that I bought the fabric there is a yarn store.  I went in since I needed size 5 needles in lengths of 16 and 24.  For some reason they are impossible to find and I figured she'd have them.  She did and while there I picked up this incredibly soft yarn:

From Quilted with Love
I have a weakness for blue and the softness made it that much easier to buy.  The lady said I would have enough to make a pair of socks.

Speaking of yarn, I got my first ever knitted scarf done!
From Quilted with Love
Here's a close up of the stitches.  The pattern is called "Cotton Twirl Faggot Stitch Scarf".

From Quilted with Love

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Back Is Still Sore

Feeling better but bending over to cut fabric or sit on a chair to quilt is still difficult.  I bought more purple fabric for my nine-patch quilt today to ease the withdrawal.

I started a bunny blog to keep this more quilt related.  Shenanigans Of Three Tricky Rabbits  I am NOT an expert on rabbits.  I've spent the past 3 months learning as I go and reading tons of websites.  Actually; owning more than one has proved more productive.

I'll be back online soon.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Do you have a Houdini? You know. The animal that can escape ANYTHING despite all your attempts? And your neighbors are always bringing your dog back and giving you dirty looks while you look helpless and imcompetent?

I have one. Except she's a rabbit. DH found her outside her cage the other day happily playing in the TV room. He discovered that she undid the door and got out. I placed a giant box in front of it thinking it would work. Nope.

This morning DH found her playing in the TV room AGAIN! She'd popped the tops off the cage in an attempt to escape and figured out how to shove the box enough to get out.

The TV room door doesn't shut all the way so I have a makeshift gate there. She can push it out and then open the door. She can squeeze under things I never thought a rabbit could do.

So...we got a new cage. While putting the cage together we put Lacy in a 35 gallon plastic bin (top off). A few minutes later she'd jumped out.

From Quilted with Love

Actually; we got a couple of cages. More on that. She has been banging at the door and trying to pop the top off since we put her in. All she wants is out to play but she needs supervision. The bottom section slides out and I bet she'd figure out how to do it so that's why she's on top.

Now look UNDER the cage. You may have to enlarge it. Can you see TWO rabbits? That equals THREE now. Under no circumstances is DH allowed in a pet store EVER. I have printed out signs to post on the doors of all pet stores and will send them out tomorrow.

DH bought a mini rex and called him Magnum, from Magnum P.I. *snicker* You got it. Cagney, Lacey and Magnum. Cagney and Magnum are starting to be friends. However; until the 4th, no more true interactions since I don't want babies. They all get fixed on the 4th.


From Quilted with Love
When the vet asked what their names where and I told her, she burst out laughing.

Cagney, a lop eared rabbit:
From Quilted with Love
If you want to know what rabbit proofing looks like:

From Quilted with Love
This is to protect the cords and keep them out. While Lacey can easily jump them, she stays out. These are perfect for going around items like bookshelves, in front of your TV and other places that don't have openings.

My only complaint on the cages is that the rabbits can't come out freely on their own. I put up several litterboxes around the room and hope they will use it.

Lacey doesn't like the other rabbits as she's been here the longest. It will take some time to bond. Cagney and Magnum are just a couple of days apart and pretty much worked it out.