Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sewing At An Angle

Went to the Air Force show yesterday and had a good time.  I got to see the B-2 bomber fly over (saw the first public showing 16 years ago) and loved the F-22 the best.  Air planes are a thing of beauty and it's a shame we have to have them for deadly use.  I am so grateful for the men and women who serve our country.

I figured out why I was having a hard time piecing yesterday.  I realized I sew with the machine at an angle and once that was fixed, no problems.

I have no clue why I do this, just it works.

I picked up the latest issue of "Australian Patchwork & Quilting" for this quilt:

I'll never get around to making it, but if by chance I do, I will have the pattern.

Friday, August 27, 2010

1/16 Off

Sigh.  I keep getting these seams 1/16 of an inch off despite what I do.  I even tried hand piecing and came up short.  I don't get it.  I know it's not the machines or the 1/4 inch feet.  I just can't find the right adjustment to make this work and it's driving me crazy.  I give up for now.

Facebook Issues

IF you are getting a link to some video from me, it's a virus.  It's gone through all my friend list and posting links as a chat from me.  Other people are having the same problem.  If you need to, defriend me.  I can't find a way to contact Facebook to let this know it's going on.

I don't keep a contact list in my email account anymore because of a virus that went through Hotmail last year hitting all the people I had there.  If you get an email from me, I didn't send it.

If you know how to contact Facebook, let me know or do it for me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Piecing Issues

I figured this log cabin block would be really easy.  After all, I managed nearly 1440 1.5 inch finished 9-patches right?  I'm off by at least 1/4 inch.  This is only 1/4 of the block.  The other three work together to make the entire block.    

I've run into some problems:

1.  Some of the fabric is very sheer making it hard to piece.

2.  Some of the fabric is thick and the threads fall off when you use them.  Because it's 1.5 inch strips losing one thread makes a difference.

3.  Normally I enjoy Aurifil thread, but the color I'm using appears to be much thicker than the white I have.  I guess I need to adjust my needle position to compensate.  Or find a thinner thread.  I need brown to match the fabric or I would use the white.

It's back to the drawing board to find the best way make the pieces work.   

Circumventing Technology

Today is planned for some sewing.  I took my Horizon off the table and put my Topaz back on.  Janome has a new 1/4 foot for the Horizon coming out in September so register your machine if you haven't.  They will send it to you.  I'll get pictures of my blocks up soon.

Yesterday was intensely frustrating as I discovered after downloading an ebook from Deseret Books that it won't convert into a format that works for my iPad.  I spent hours trying to circumvent the issue to no avail.  I'd order some books but Deseret wants full price for everything.  I went to for a book and it was almost half off there.  Go figure.      

Deseret Book uses Adobe Digital Editions for their reading.  I thought that the format was in ePub as I can download it to DH's nook just fine.  I figured since it was in his nook, I'd add it to my iPad nook.  The iPad nook application isn't the same as his.  Sigh.  The books digitally download from Adobe into all the products except the iPad.

Adobe and Apple have some kind of fued going hence Apple not having Adobe products like a flash player on their iPod/Pad products.  Grow up Adobe and Apple.

So, why not just use DH's nook?  You all know I have this ability to kill expensive things.  He's got over 300 books on it and I'm not about to ruin it by my "talents".  I can get the books in there for him, but I know I'd ruin something if I handled it for longer than a few minutes.

I thought about buying my own nook since they have gone down to 150 bucks but couldn't justify it.  DH just said to use his and I'll just hope I don't kill it by accident.  There are things I like about the nook, but I don't like the battery life of it or how slow it responds.  It's also not very user friendly at times.  It won't accept my password to download books and you have to really nagivate through the screens.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Still Here

I'm still around.  Just been reading "The Time Traveler's Wife" and wondering if I can stand cutting more strips for the log cabin quilt.  I figured the book would make a good avoidance excuse.

I figure I'll piece this quilt on my Topaz since my Horizon hates piecing.  It's not that it won't,  I just have too many pieces to worry about if it will be accurate enough.

DH got mad at me when he found me using DS's skateboard on the front porch.  LOL.  No, I'm not about to pick up skateboarding but it's fun to just mess with it pretending I know what I'm doing.  I know he doesn't want me falling over and hurting myself.

Back to reading.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Cat Joke

How do you keep your cat occupied for hours? 

Give him a plastic bobbin.

Bet you thought it would be some lame cat  

He even knows where I keep them and goes crazy if I open the drawer to get something else.  Since he has to stick his nose in every project I'm doing, he knows where lots of stuff are kept. 


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Using The "Shape Cut" Ruler

I've been so busy that I hadn't had a chance to answer some emails about the "Shape Cut" Ruler.

First off; no ruler is completey slip proof.  I don't care what anyone says, human error always wins.  Non-slip products do help and there are several products out there.

The trick to rulers is finding one that works for you.  Are the markings easily read?  Does it feel good in your hands?  Is it too bulky or too small for the project you are doing?  You should have several sizes to work with.

 I've used the non-slip kitchen rolls.  I can just move the piece under the ruler and cut.  It's cheap and it's okay if I accidentally cut it.  I don't like stuff on my rulers as I find it distracting and harder to see the marks.

The basic idea of the "Shape Cut ruler" is to place the ruler over the fabric aligning the edge with the dark line and cut the strips.

I put the edge of the fabric on the second line so the cutter doesn't get stuck in the grooves.  I have 3 fat quarters folded over creating 6 layers of fabric.  That means the ruler needs a little more stability other than my hand hence using the non-stick kitchen stuff.

The hardest part about cutting strips is knowing your math.  It's easy to lose your place if you don't know the numbers to put your cutter through.  0, 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 10 is for 1.5 inch strips.  If you did it right, here's what you get: 

The nice part about this ruler is that you can now make squares.  I align four strips of fabric across, put the ruler on them and cut.

My squares:

Truthfully; I can cut much faster than the Go! Cutter this way.  I just feel like I have extra steps with this product.  I still haven't opened my box.  BTW, if you are cutting strips with the Go! cutter, cut 8 inch wide strips to put across the die.  

I also cut at an angle.  I don't know if anyone else does, but I just align the ruler up and cut:

Now back to cutting never ending strips!  Only about 20 more fat quarters to go!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Anyone Need A Baseball Bat And A Lawn Chair?

I now have a lawn chair and a baseball bat with a "free to good home" sign next to it.

 My FIL and his wife stepped over that thin line of civility and are no longer welcome in my house.  I'm sure the neighbors heard me screaming "Get out of my house and never come back!"3 blocks away.  16 years of pent up anger and a horrible week of frustration finally burst through after they crossed the line.

I don't have the answer for dealing with our elderly parents/in-laws who make things so miserable.  What I do know after this week is that my family and sanity are more important than being walked over out of my misguided "respect" to extended family.  They chose to do behave horribly all week.  I chose to not put up with it in my house.  I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off of my chest and I can move on without guilt.

Skater Shoes

Much to the extreme embarrassment of my son, I bought these yesterday:

I love them.  I've always wanted a pair of skateboarding shoes and finally splurged.  I grew up when the skater kids where considered losers and my mom wasn't about to buy me a skateboard.  I made due with the Tony Hawk video games (I have one on my iPad) and a snowboarding video game over the years.

I've tried a skateboard a couple of times but I don't have the balance for it.  I nearly fell over this morning scraping my arm playing with my son's.  The shoes making gripping the board so much easier, but the balance issue will always be there.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Got My AccuQuilt Go! And Watching TV

My new Accuquilt Go! cutter arrived yesterday.  In a few minutes when my friend comes, I'll return my old one to the company.  Truthfully; I'm too scared to open the new box.  I can just see myself somehow destroying this one as well.

I haven't done any sewing/quilting for a few days.  I've been watching season one of "Royal Pains" that DH bought me.  My kids are with my FIL and I have the TV to myself for once.  I have one last disc and then I'll start season one of "White Collar".

I still have a British show called "Goodnight Sweetheart" that needs going through the first season.  I had to order it from England as it's an obscure show.  For some reason my region free DVD player doesn't convert this series very well.  I downloaded a program on my computer that converts PAL to NTSC and watch it that way.  I can also convert the show to MP4 to use on my iPad.  It comes out beautifully on my iPad.  Gotta love technology.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting A New Cutter

I talked with the Accuquilt Company today and they are sending me out a new cutter.  It should get here in a couple of days.  Their customer service dept has been really great to work with over the past week.  I'm hoping my cutter was just a fluke and I won't kill the one coming.  I've got mine packed up and ready to go once I get the return order number emailed.  I'm wondering if I killed the 1.5 inch die because of a faulty cutter.

Just because my experience has been iffy, check one out for yourself if think you want one.  Your best bet is to find a quilt store that has one to see how it works.  The 1.5 inch die makes accurate strips so easy and I know I've cut my cutting time for this log cabin quilt.

Fingers crossed that my new cutter will work great for a long time as several people have emailed me to say.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Shape Cut Plus Ruler

I emailed the Accuquilt company last night about returning my cutter.  I just want my money back, but I bet they'll just want to send me another.  If they do, it's tempting to just sell it privately.

If you've decided the Go! cutter isn't for you, my favorite tool for cutting strips is a Shape Cut ruler by June Tailor.  I bought the 18 inch one online from Walmart last week and have been using it instead of my cutter.  I have the 12 inch one but it wasn't long enough to do the cutting I needed.

The 12 inch Shape Cut is available in most stores, but the Shape Cut Plus isn't.  I called all the retailers in my local area to no avail.  Walmart had it online for 25 bucks and they shipped site-to-store for easy pick-up.  It seems to retail around 40 bucks everywhere else.

Thankfully, my FIL leaves tomorrow.  For the most part, he's behaved himself.  Except in public where I had to profusely apologize to the waitress for an extremely crude joke and his tantrums about the music volume.  Apparently he's not a Queen fan and for losing his hearing, he sure hears more than he should.   Selective hearing maybe?  I do recongnize that hearing aids amplify every sound to the same level you've got the volume at, so I know the music probably came in pretty loud to him.  It still doesn't excuse his tantrums.

I'm hoping his wife takes my son and I to the chiropractor without him.  We are under a heat advisory making it not safe to just walk up.  I called the office giving advance warning just in case he comes.  The receptionist laughed, said she understood and would warn the doc.   Umm..I hope she still laughs after he leaves.

Friday, August 06, 2010

I Told You. It's NOT The Handle.

I was explaining to a non sewing friend about my ability to "wreck" things.  He laughed and said,  "Bethany, you should be a beta tester for these companies.  You don't wreck stuff; you just push the limitations of the product".  Anyone hiring a beta tester to wreck your stuff?  If I don't wreck it, you know you call sell it.

I got my handle today, read the instructions and started to follow them.  I know it's not the handle, but I'll humor them anyway.

Step one.  Prepare to curse or something close to it when they want a "small" screwdriver to pop open the green cover.  Why wasn't that included?  Meh.  My really small crochet hook worked just fine.

Step two.  Take your special "T-10 TORX" tool (AKA an allen wrench commonly found in your store's tool dept) and spend the next 5 minutes praying you don't strip the screw.

Step three.  Attempt to take the handle off by jiggling it and hoping you don't break the inside parts.  3 minutes later that part is off.

Want to know what is behind your handle?

Oooo  a couple of gears!  I turn the gears and this horrible SQUEAK starts up.  DH sits up and looks around confused.  Sigh.  I told you it wasn't the handle.  Your handle is made of plastic painted to simulate metal.  Plastic does not squeak like gears do.

I'm not sure what the bottom gear is made of it.  It could be really metal or the stuff that is made to look like metal, but isn't.  When I turn the top gear, the bottom gear doesn't spin freely in some places causing the squeak.  The bottom gear doesn't look stripped, but there are some wear spots. Sorry for the bad pics.

Another spot:

 Great. I am glad I didn't put oil in as the gears are lubricated with graphite.

When I turn the metal rollers, there isn't a squeaking noise so it has to be these gears or another set of gears behind the plastic casing.  I don't think my warranty would be valid if I took the outside plastic pieces off. I go buy some graphite and see if that works or call up Accuquilt AGAIN and see what they want me to do?  It's that warranty thing again.

There's a part of me that just wants to send the whole thing back and ask for a refund as my cutter appears to be defective.  Accuquilt has been great working with me and I'm grateful for that.  I'm just not sure if this is a defect with the product or me "wrecking" it.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Sqeaky Wheel Gets The Grease

ROTFLOL! The Accuquilt company must despise me.  Well, at least they know my name very well now.

I got my new die set yesterday and went to work using it today.  It started out okay and then there's this HORRIBLE squeaking noise when you turn the handle.  Squeak, SQUEAK, groan, squeak as you send the die through.  Sigh.  I'm so cursed with this thing.

For as much as I paid for it, I figured I'd better call up to see how to grease the parts.  With my luck, I'd ruin the warranty by doing it wrong.

The lady was very sweet, knew who I was, and asked how the die was working.  I said great, but the cutter part is squeaking horribly and asked if there was a way to grease the part.  She put me on hold, came back and said I would need a new handle and was sending one out.  By the time I get done with this project, I'm going to have this thing completely rebuilt.  Good thing it's not my car engine right?

I'm really wondering if I should have bought the Studio if the home version isn't standing up to my apparent ability to kill the dies I have and now need to a have a new handle.

The only problem is that the Studio dies are horribly expensive and I have no place to even have the Studio set up.

Walmart won't send out my Shape Cutter Plus for a few more days.  I should have ordered directly from the regular site.  I figured the "site to store" option wouldn't take that long but it does.  


Monday, August 02, 2010

New 1.5 Inch Die Coming!

Wow!  I'm impressed!  I emailed the Accuquilt company when I discovered the knicks and I got a phone call today from them asking about the problem.  The lady said they would send out a new one right away!  Since I live in NE, it should get here soon.

Thank you so much Accuquilt!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Dull Spots In My 1.5 Inch Die?

My Go! Cutter 1.5 inch die seems to have two dull spots when I cut:

This is really annoying as I have to take scissors and cut them apart every time I use the cutter.  I really do have a love/hate relationship with this product.  The die was 80 bucks and if I have issues after 10 fat quarters of using it, it's really not worth the money if it dulls in spots.

It does it with every layer and the most I've done was three at a time.  I've carefully cleaned the mat and the die with the pick to make sure there wasn't a piece of fabric or something else there but there isn't.

In some ways it's not that big of a deal to just cut the threads, but it's the how long the dies last that I have an issue with.  If I upgrade to the Studio as it seems I'm wearing the home version dies out, will I still have problems?  I have 38 more fat quarters to go and I'm about to just use my Shape Cut to finish up it cutting the strips.

I don't think I'm doing anything wrong either.  I lay the 8 inch strip, place the mat on and use the handle to push the die through.  There shouldn't be too much skill involved with that.

Part of me just wants to pawn this product off to someone else.  It too much of a pain to work with and I must be the only one that isn't over the moon with excitement over it.

*edited*  I took my pick and carefully checked the two blades where I had issues.  There are indeed large knicks in those spots.  What I can't figure out is how they got there as I store it vertically with the mat against the die part.  I actually found small knicks on the other blades as well.  I wonder if the last time I carefully cleaned the die, I accidentally did it with the pick.  The metal strips are very thin and fragile and the pick has very sharp points on both ends.