Thursday, September 30, 2010

Retarded Geese

I have retarded flying geese..LOL.  After playing with several methods that I found online, both machines are stretching the blocks via the bias putting them out of alignment.  They curve upwards, ripple, and the seam allowance is distorted.  I've never had this happen before.  It's so wierd.  I even tried putting a piece of paper under the fabric for stability.  If you have a cure for retarded geese, let me know.

I went back to the quilt stores and bought more fabric since paper piecing seems to be the only option.  Both owners adored the blocks and recommended paper piecing so the points are perfect.  

As for the cat solution, everyone has told me to get a second cat to keep him out of my hair.  The last thing I need is TWO of them into everything.  DH said NO which means that's the law at my house.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Murdering My Flying Geese

Why is it I was able to put together this quilt several years ago and can't do a simple star block with flying geese now?

None of these blocks are paper pieced and 99% of the points are perfect.  I love this quilt except for the horrible quilting and binding job I did.  I want to rip it out and do it over.

I have tried all the tricks for the flying geese in the star block.  Nothing works.  This is such a simple block and I should have put out 13 of these within a couple of days.  I barely made two paper pieced ones just today:

I had planned on using Thangles for the half squares and doing the way you get four flying geese with a couple of drawn lines on the four squares and big square.  Or even using one rectangle and sewing on the diagonal with squares.  Paper piecing is murder on fabric usage and I can't bear to waste fabric.

I want to crawl into the stupid hole and never come out..LOL.  

I did trace another pug today, but he's not ready to show yet.

I'm not happy that the Horizon eats triangles even with the single hole engaged.  My Topaz had no issues.

I have a cat someone can borrow while I do this project.  He's a pain as he won't stay out of anything.  He's in your face, sitting/stomping over stuff, knocking things over and trying to stick his paws in the sewing machine.  If I put him in another room he howls and gets into things there.   Is my cat the only one that is such an attention hog you can't get anything done?  

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Patterns

Thanks to all for the kind posts.  They really helped.

Still feeling sorry for myself, I walked up to the quilt store and to the pharmacy to get my meds.  I needed paper piecing paper as I discovered regular paper just doesn't work that well with lots of pieces.

Is paper piecing considered cheating?

I only decided to go this route as my flying geese blocks weren't coming out right.  Does anyone else's block bow on the bottom side when doing them?  I feel like I've gone through so much fabric as I need more.

I picked up the paper and made the mistake of looking at the patterns.  These called out my name and begged to come home:

I'll post a picture of the paper pieced block when I get it done.

Feeling Depressed

This is a "whoa is me" entry...

I'm so bummed out I couldn't take that job.  Everyone is losing theirs and looking for work and to not be able to take a job is such a let down to your self esteem.  I just had no idea I'd spend every day crying about  it.

I can't tell you how debilitating having a mental illness like manic-depression is to keeping a job.  I can get jobs.  I have a terrible time holding one down.  I'm not lazy, stupid or incompetent, which makes it that much harder to explain to others that holding down a job is almost impossible.  The last thing I'd want to do to this lady is end up quitting because I wouldn't be able to keep up at some point.

For those that say to just "pull your pants up and deal with it"; I do that every day.  Manic-depression is a battle that never goes away and one you can't ever afford to lose.  You grit your teeth, get out of bed, pretend everything is okay to the rest of the world and "fake it until you make it".  You run yourself into the ground trying to deal with things that are simple to everyone else.

Quilting is my way out of the chains of manic-depression.  It calms down the manic frenzy and lifts up the depression.  Besides my family and meds, quilting and blogging keep me sane.  I wish I could say I feel a little better after posting, but I don't.  I just feel like a leech on society and I was raised to be self sufficient.  It sucks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Three Doesn't Go Into Eight

The block I found via EQ6 doesn't go into an 8 inch block evenly.  I didn't even realize it was a 9-patch block until I started putting it together.  Duh. The diamonds wouldn't work at all even with templates.  Even when I moved it to a 9 inch block, the diamonds wouldn't measure right. 

So I thought this block would work after playing for several hours and when I put it side by side I'm off by my usual 1/4 inch or more.  At least my points are perfect on the flying geese block.  I just wanted to cry as it's gorgeous block.  Maybe I should just trim my pug blocks down to match the block..LOL.

Off to think this over some more...    

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Job Offer And Brown Buttons

I found brown buttons!  DH had the day off and drove me up to a LQS.  I knew she had a zillion buttons and I wanted some brown fabric.  They are gorgeous and perfect for the pugs.  It wasn't the black wasn't working, but pugs have soft brown eyes.

And...I got offered a job from the store owner.  The hard part was telling her I couldn't as I don't have a car during the day.  Even if I had a car, I don't feel safe driving a 40 mile round trip every day.  I can legally drive in the state of NE, but that doesn't mean I always should.

I also learned that the credit card companies charge 5% to the merchant for EACH purchase through the credit card reader.  I'm going back to writing checks or giving cash.      

After I got home I finished up block two.  It's not fused and I need to figure out his left ear, but looks wonderful.  I'm going to attempt to make the pieced block

I have another block done, but not fused.  His left ear needs figured out.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Pug Breakthrough

After agonizing over this pug quilt ,I gave up yesterday.  Not for good, just my brain needed a massive breakdown.  I overthink everything when it comes to quilting so it's no surprise to have the same issue with this quilt.  It will be gorgeous when it's done.  I promise.

I spent yesterday helping a friend work on her first rag quilt.  Once again, do NOT buy homemade patterns unless you know the person can write patterns.  I'm all for people doing their own patterns but this certain place can't write a pattern to save the store.  As a newbie quilter, had she taken this home and followed their directions she'd have cut the fabric to the wrong sizes and ran out of fabric.  I fixed the directions and started working on it.  We'll get the top sewn and maybe start on the ragging today.

With my brain refreshed this morning, I started working again on the pug quilt.  A big part of the problem is how busy the blocks are.  I have tried block after block in EQ7, but everything was overkill.  I finally went back to what I know: EQ6.  Within a matter of 10 minutes, I had the block I wanted and the colors perfect. No overkill and everything blends in beautifully.  I'll talk to Tracy later this evening to see if it passes inspection.

Here's what I've got for test run:
I still need to fix the pug under the paper fabric printout.  His poor feet and right desperately need fixed..LOL.  The other paper is an outline and the pug on top needs his collar.  None of them have been pressed down.

It's SO nice to finally get this all worked out in my head and in real life.   

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DH And I Are Tax Deliquents

Apparently DH and I are tax deliquents.  

According to the Nebraska Dept of Revenue DH and I didn't pay taxes in 2008.  I got a very nasty letter yesterday claiming that if I didn't pay up they'd put a horse head in my bed.  I'd have an extra 25% added to the 5% penalty interest I've been fined.  Or something crazy like that.  Umm... I think the IRS needs regulated even more than the banks/credit card industry.

I roll my eyes for the stupid people who can't do anything right over at the IRS.  I get out the 2008 folder and pull out a copy of the form that was sent to them. By the way, if you gave me a refund then you got the form.  It's that simple.

I think the state of NE is broke and they are backlooking for losers that don't pay their taxes to make up for it.  Don't be surprised if all the states are doing this and you get a nasty letter as well.

DH spent the evening making copies of all the paperwork they wanted to prove that we weren't tax deliquents and I get to send them off today.

Lesson: ALWAYS keep your taxes filed away in PAPER format.  The tax people don't play games even if they are the ones that screwed up.  As long as you have the paper trail, you can make them look like a fool.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pug Block Two

Here's where the buttons come in.  The hardware store next to the quilt store in the small town I was in didn't have much of a selection but I found some.  My girls opted for googley eyes instead of buttons.

Still have some editing on the side and the top of his head.  I can't get the coloring/shade right to make his front paw work.  I'm wondering if I just need to outline with the dark brown fabric.  Nothing is fused down so if it looks funny, it is.

Bigger buttons, but they aren't glossy.  I think the size is right though.  Oh..forgot he needs a nose.  Tomorrow I'm buying Steam-a-seam since the stuff I have sucks.

Here's a crayon drawing:

The lady at the quilt store did the "ohhhhh...he's soooo cute!" when I showed her the drawing and explained the project.  She couldn't believe it was done with crayon.  Actually drawing it out helps make the pieces more exact when I trace for the wrinkles, nose and eyes.  

First Pug Block

I've run into a few bumps so I thought I'd run this first block through the experts here.   It's not done as I don't have a tail and a few design issues:

How do I get the dark brown parts on the top of the face to work right?  I don't think I could cut out the pieces that small and using a dark brown pen doesn't work very well.  There isn't any eyes, nose or mouth pieces either.  Small beads for the eyes?  dark brown DMC embroidery thread for the wrinkles?  Use the brown marker and do everything as pen?  

I'd like to put brown paws on his feet and a brown tail. Draw in the brown coloring instead of the fabric?

Super Hero Quilts

I went to my first quilt show today!  DH and I went to Nebraska City to see the local guild's show.   DH was really impressed and enjoyed or pretended to enjoy my narrative on different styles of quilts.

DH bought me two of these incredible charm quilt squares after we finished walking around:

I'd never seen them before and fell in love instantly.  I went to the website and realized there were tons of them and I want them all.  They are beautifully designed and so intricate.

Now to the fun part of the show; DH's views on quilts:

"That quilt looks like it was made of sheets" DH says quietly.

"That's a feedsack quilt.  If I remember right, feedsacks had flour or sugar in them and ladies kept them because of the prints.  They then used them for quilts".

"Well, it looks like someone cut up ugly sheets and pieced them together to make it even uglier.  I don't like it."

We pass a T-shirt quilt:

"What's that?" DH asks.

"It's a T-Shirt Quilt.  You cut out the printed part and add a stabilizer to make blocks.  Men love them because they don't have to give up their old ratty shirts to the trash because the Mrs. says they stink."

DH thought that was a great idea and we walked down another row for this conversation:

"I don't see any flying geese in this quilt" as he reads the note "Why would her husband write that there are geese in here?  Is he daft?"

At this point I lose it with laughter and exclaim that he's referring to the name of the block used to make the quilt.

"I still don't see geese in that block".

Out of the blue he asks, "Do they make superhero quilts?  You could make one right?"

"I don't think they make superhero quilts".

"But I bet you could make me one right?" he asks.

Then it hit me as we walked by the T-shirt quilt.  Get a bunch of superhero shirts like the vintage looking ones he has at home and make a T-shirt quilt.  I tell him so and his eyes light up with excitement.  Told you that men love this kind of quilt.

Guess who's making a super hero T-shirt quilt sometime in the future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Coloring With Crayons

I did some checking on on crayon quilts and colored a preliminary drawing:

Not too bad for a first attempt.  I made my kids gag when I pressed the iron to heat set the wax into the fabric though.  My shading still needs some work but I realized I only had 5 browns and had to play with and you have to go from light to dark.  It's been a long time since I've played with crayons.


First Design Attempt

Translating a free clipart pug to fabric has proved harder than I thought.  I figured I'd just trace the body,  the dark/light areas, put fusible backing on the fabric for a perfect fit.  Errr.  No.

Pugs have tons of wrinkles and their brown/black coloring around the eyes is hard to pull off with fabric without it looking"off"or making them even more fugly looking.  I recognize putting a 3D object into fabric isn't easy, but I wasn't planning on a few"wrinkles".  I want the pugs to look soft and inviting, not a fabric monstrosity of bulging eyes and funky wrinkles.

I also know I'm a perfectionist when it comes to things like this making myself doubt more.

I went digging through my stash and found the perfect body color and then realized I only had 1/3 of a yard.  I love Moda Marbles but they aren't found easily here.  I may have to order some.  There's another quilt store 40 miles away that has some beautiful creams that would work.  Anyone have a car?

First off when doing a project, dump your cat off the light table:
Next if you need a light table, get out your clear acrylic extension table and an Ott light:

Trace your picture with a permanent pen onto the stuff that you use for overhead projectors.  Impossible to find here, so in a pinch use the clear paper inserts:

Make sure you TURN over the traced picture so you don't get a reverse image when you trace it onto fusible webbing.

After multiple attempts at fabric choices and your OCD perfection issues, here's a basic layout that still needs far more work but you get the idea:

 The other problem I didn't even think about was that I bought some yardage with a gradual color change from cream to dark brown (It's perfect!) but didn't realize there were faint stripes down it.  You can see the lines in the picture.  Argghh!

I think I'm going to walk down to the other LQS and find several variegated brown batiks that might work. 

Another idea I thought of was to do a crayon quilt.  You use Crayola crayons to do the picture and shade in everything.  Then you press an iron over the picture to heat set the wax into the fabric.  I have 8 years of crayons stuffed into a drawer nearby.  It is permanent, but I think you have to wash the quilt by hand.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quilt Shops Are Evil

I got my yearly nanobot upgrade software today.  For those of you who are convinced there's a microchip in your brain, get your yearly software upgrade.  You'll feel better.  I figure the doc screwed up the insertion process at birth since I have epilepsy.  Actually; they can fit a chip inside your brain that regulates your electricity so you can stop seizures.  It's still in testing phase, but pretty cool.  

For those of you who need paranoia translation, I got my flu shot today.  

I was at the LQS today and fell in love with this quilt kit:
The creams/reds/blues are gorgeous and the picture doesn't do the quilt justice.  It's absolutely stunning.  

BTW, Tracy, do you want to skip pugs and give this to your wife for Christmas? I'll machine quilt cream thread pugs on it just for her.  Or I can do it with red/white/blue multicolored thread machine quilted pugs if you like.  

Tracy and his wife Suzanne have been good friends of mine for years.  It's amazing how the internet ties people together and creates strong friendships.  I plan on making a couple of blocks tomorrow and seeing how they look.  Tracy found some wonderful clip art of pugs to use for his quilt and I'll see about appliquing one as well.

More Pug Quilt Layouts

I got thinking and wondered if a horizontal strip quilt would look better with the pugs appliqued in various positions across the strips.  I also wondered if I drew fence blocks would that make the quilt more fun:

The green is awful, but you get the idea.  Or adding an open fence:

And if I kept the blocks from the quilt I posted yesterday into this style:
I wouldn't use the same pug (and my tracing is terrible) but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pug Quilt One

I'm not good enough to put the pugs in, but how does this quilt layout appeal?  It needs some better browns but the pugs would fit in the squares.  Is it too busy and you'd end up losing the pugs within the quilt?  Do I just go with some simple sashing?  I know I need to talk to my friend about the layout but some input would help.  The blocks are 12x12 inches.  I think that makes the center squares 4x4 now that I think about it.  This would overkill the pugs. I think it's back to the drawing board... It's still a beautiful layout regardless.     

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Drawing Pugs

I suck at tracing with a mouse/stylus.  All I want to do is trace in EQ7 several pugs to make applique patterns for my friend.  I figured if I could do my own via software I'd have this quilt looking spiffy and it would piece of cake to draw them out.  All I had to do was make the applique blocks and then put sashing between them.  Actually; I have a quilt style in mind, but I'm not going to show it here since my friend may read my blog.

I'm thinking I may need to raid the library for a book on pugs or buy a calendar so I can draw them out via the old fashioned way with a pencil and then get the fabric needed for the applique.

My printer even won't print out the pictures I have in mind insisting I don't have paper in there.

I've even tried my Adobe Photo Elements and Corel Draw 4 to work through this.  I'm heading to bed so my brain can unwind as I know I'm making this much harder than it should be.

If my friend is reading this, don't panic about this post.  I got it figured out.  Your quilt is in good hands.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Editing Software And A Greedy Bobbin Stealer

My new editing embroidery software came today!  It's called "Stitch Era" from Deborah Jones and it comes with a manual that is actually useful.  My overpriced 4D Extra doesn't even come with a physical manual.  If you are into machine embroidery, check out her site.  If you have a Mac with a dual processor to install a Windows product it works after a software upgrade.

My back still hurts and I'm not up to quilting for now but that doesn't stop Bandit from helping himself into anything quilt related:
 He's looking for bobbins and is digging out any drawer that is open.  He's been a pain today as he's broken a bobbin and found my DMC yarn to drag all over the living room while I was talking to the mailman.

He's dumped over the trash can to get the broken bobbin and has eaten paper, knocked over pins/needles, fabric, pens, and found my DMC yarn to drag over the living room again while I installed my software.

It's a good thing he's cute.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Picked Up A New Book

While waiting for the new tires to show at the dealer, DH and I headed up into Lincoln to go to Best Buy and to JoAnn Fabrics.  Best Buy has a Steelbook case for "Beauty And The Beast" that we wanted.  DH and I have all the ones made for Disney up to this point.  Pick up one for yourself if you happen to be in a Best Buy.  They are beautiful cases with wonderful artwork and no man should have be denied shiny metal objects.

I digress..

While in JoAnn Fabrics DH and I wander over to the books.  You all know what is coming.

"Hey!  This is a new book!" as he shows me the book, "Still Stripping" and grins.  "How do you strip when you have to stand still?"

He flips through some more books that have stripping on the title and laughs.  I still think he's convinced there's a secret door somewhere in the store.

To his credit, he did buy me a great book over the weekend called "Machine Embroidery On Difficult Materials" by Deborah Jones.  He's the one that picked it out (probably because he was looking for books that have stripping on the cover) and said it would be perfect for me.  I can't get the picture turned correctly but it's a wonderful book and has tons of information in it.  I love it.  Now to get brave and do some more machine embroidery.  I haven't pulled out the embroidery part of my machine in a year.

I still get amazed at how intuitive DH is about picking out books/fabric when we go into stores.

My back is doing better but I'm not up to piecing right now.  I should probably pull out the Hardanger embroidery and work on that project.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Note To Self

Note to self:

Do not get lazy by bringing the iron next to the sewing machine as there are so many seams to bother with.  For some reason moving the chair causes your body to twist causing another back spasm.

Unless things improve, I won't be piecing this quilt any time soon.  

Monday, September 06, 2010

My Friend's First Quilt!

A good friend of mine finished her first quilt the other day!  I'm SO proud of her.  And she said she didn't know how to sew a straight line.  She wouldn't let me show her face, but the quilt is gorgeous.  She'll have a the local lady professionally quilt and bind it.

She used my Horizon to piece and if she can work it with ease anyone can.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Finally Getting Some Blocks Done

I replaced my clear patchwork foot today and everything "seamed" to work perfectly!  I accidentally stepped on the foot when "Four Paws" knocked it over a couple of weeks ago and broke off the metal guide.  Bandit is into everything when it comes to sewing and he drives me crazy.

The Creative Grids ruler set with the smaller grids have been amazing!  I now know how innacurate I cut and piece now.  I can't really fix the cutting as I've already cut out the strips, but I can fudge the blocks better.  If you are really struggling with accuracy check out the set so you can figure out where you are making mistakes.

I have two complete block sets done but not sewn up:

It's going to look really great if I don't lose my mind with all the piecing that's required.  My mind is going numb just looking at the blocks.  I guess it's time to stop for the evening.

A word of advice:

If you are a quilting or sewing machine store, you ask for everything you get if you have stupid annoying toys for sale that make noise where my DH and kids can see them.  I have no sympathy for your pathetic creepy stare of death at my family.  Either don't buy the toys or put them up where people can't push the buttons to hear the noises they make.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Gripe Entry

This is a gripe entry.

My bank went bankrupt and another bank took over.  My "old" bank had it so you could transfer money on a Saturday and it was there right away.  No one told me this bank doesn't do this and the money transferred from another account won't show up until Tuesday.   It's a GOOD thing we didn't go to Worlds of Fun like we had planned.

I only found this out when DH took me up to Omaha to get another foot for my machine.  He tried to pay for it and the card was declined.  He tried again and it was declined.  Then the card locked up and nothing would come up.  Sigh.

DH went looking for an ATM machine and was gone for about a half hour.  Meanwhile I'm dealing with a crabby saleswoman that isn't pleased that she's stuck with my kids and I as it's close or past closing time.  I didn't want to be here any more than she wanted me here but she was more huffy about it.

So..are all banks like this?  If you transfer money from your savings to a checking account on a Saturday you are screwed until Monday?  Are they a pain when it comes to balancing your checkbook by doing some kind of a preauthorization code and then a day later or more having the correct amount show up?  Going out to dinner is the worst as it won't acknowledge the tip part until a day later.

If you know of a great bank that is easy to use and lets you have immediate transfers and works in NE, let me know as Great Western Bank is a joke of a bank.  I miss Tier One.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Two Blocks Done!!!

Yesterday was a disaster.  I kept using my new seam ripper to the point where I wanted to stab my pattern book into small pieces.  I finally broke down and cried for about a half hour.  It's a stupid log cabin block and I've been trying for a week to piece it so it stays square.

About an hour later, a friend of mine stopped by and asked if I could come up with her to the fabric store to look at a kit.  She's never sewn before and wanted my help.  Cool!  I went up with her, took a look at the quilt made with this pattern and gave it the evil death stare.  How dare you flaunt yourself proudly as I'm struggling to get one block done.

I helped my friend pick out a simple kit for us to do and went back to take a better look at the quilt. I wanted to carefully rip apart the seams in revenge.  While inspecting the quilt I realized her blocks were just as bad as mine!  Or mine are just like hers!  She had the same trouble spots as I did but the entire quilt is still stunning!

I asked the store owner about the quilt and she confirmed that the lady who had made had the same problems I had with accuracy.  She did the best she could (and I know she's better than me) and put the quilt together despite the issues.  There is hope!  I went home and started again.  Here's the first 2 blocks of the four that make one block:
If her blocks aren't perfect than mine will work just fine and I'll get this quilt done.  I still need to work out the pink so it goes from light, dark and back to light.

I also got some rulers to help with accuracy.  They are from Creative Grids and have 1/4 lines all the way through the ruler.  I have a one inch wide skinny ruler and a 1/16 skinny ruler that came with the set.  They are really nice and I love them.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pug Fabric

A friend of mine wants me to do a quilt with pugs on it.  If you know where to find some, email me.  I've looked through the internet and found some things, but nothing that really catches my eye.

Jack The Seam Ripper

It's design wall Monday, but everything I've done has had to be ripped apart.

I use a rotary cutter to undo seams but an issue of "Quilter's Home" magazine had this featured and happened to find it yesterday while at the dealer.

I tried it for a couple of minutes and proved that you can rip fabric despite the claim saying it won't.  Meh.  I'll just grab another piece and keep attempting to sew this crazy pattern.

It's pretty solid and I *don't* think I could easily break it but found it hard to get the right angle.  You can change the blade when it gets dull with the pack of 5 blades.  That's probably when I'll have to explain to the ER psych ward that I didn't intentionally try to hurt myself.

While there I discovered she had the Viking Ruby.  Sigh.  She's a beauty but at 4200 dollars, it's out of my league since I bought the Horizon in May.  I didn't get to play long but it's my Topaz with a touch screen.  While the Ruby has some really nice bells and whistles, my Topaz gets the job done.