Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pug Quilt

I discovered that my car has bluetooth.  I have no clue what that is, but it appears that I can connect my phone to it and then talk without having to use the speakerphone or hold on to it.  Since DH drives an hour and 20 minutes to work, this will really help him.

I got the sashing strips done on the pug quilt yesterday.  My back gave out this morning due to all the errands I ran and sitting in movie theater seats to see RED so I wasn't able to sew the top together.

Here's a pic with the sashing strips and the border fabric:
I haven't cut the border fabric, just laid out the fabric and folded it a couple of times.

Here's a pic of the entire quilt minus the bottom row:

Once I get the rows and borders sewn on, I'll be able to baste and quilt it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Baby Came!

Nope.  Not another machine and I didn't have a baby without knowing I was pregnant..although I would love that kind of addition.

Here she is:

A Honda CR-Z Hybrid.

She already averages at 32 mph which sure beats 20mph on my Santa Fe.  DH gets to drive the CR-Z while I get the Santa Fe during the day, but I've had a blast using it today to run some errands.  Single ladies, if you get one of these, guys gravitate to it like crazy.  They can't resist shiny metal objects with wheels.  I've had several guys come up to take a look while I was paying my cable bill.

We haven't needed a second car in 14 years so this is really nice to have since DH has had the car during the day since June.  We've never owned such a nice car before.

I'm just wondering how soon it will be before the cops pull me over..not for speeding, but because they want to check out the car.  LOL.  I figure I'll give it a few days to a week.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does It Have Heated Seats?'s not about the sewing machine.

I won't get my new car until next week, but was happily telling my mom about it and here's what she asks:

Mom:  Does it have heated seats?  Or a heated steering wheel?

Me:  No.  Why would I need heated seats or a wheel?  That's crazy!

Mom:  It keeps you warm.

Me:  So does a coat.

Mom:  Does it have a nagivation system/GPS?

Me:  No.  I use what's called a map.  It's cheaper.

Mom:  Oh.  Well, do the seats adjust electronically?

Me:  No.  I can do manual labor.

Mom: Well, as long as you like it.  That's all that matters.  But I couldn't live without those features.

I have to ask; Are people so dependent on these kinds of features that they can't comprehend those of us who could care less?

Now it sounds like I have a bare bones car coming next week, but it's a pretty sweet little car.  I feel envious that DH gets to drive it back/forth to Lincoln everyday, but it's exactly what we need and want.  I'll post a pic and tell you what we got next week when it gets here.

Now when it comes to sewing, she has the simple barebone machine and I have the machines with bells/whistles on them.  Could I live without them?  Yes.  The only thing that would kill me would to lose the auto scissors.  That has me spoiled big time.

As I thought about our differences it comes down to what you use the most.  My mom is busy taking teenagers and grandkids everywhere.  I don't drive unless I have too and DH only drives to work.  I use my sewing machines all day and use almost all the features so I guess it's the same difference.

I did do some sewing today.  I sewed up the strips I still had laying on the table and left it at that.  No need to over do it, but I had to get it out of my system.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Making Decisions

You know your day is going better when you can:

*get out of bed by yourself and it didn't take you 5 minutes to do it

*get dressed with some difficulty but manage

*only need one wall to use for support as you walk

I was hoping to have Tracy's quilt done and it won't happen for some time now.  Does anyone know if long arm quilters can baste a quilt?  Is there a setting on the computerized ones for this?  There is NO way I can baste this quilt on my living room floor.  Even if I put a couple of tables together, I don't think I could do it that way either.

I may even have to have it sent out for quilting and that scares the daylights out of me.  I've heard horror stories about some quilts being ruined this way.  Given that it's closer to Christmas, they are probably backed up anyway.

All I was going to do was a SITD around all the squares, go around the dogs, outline the stars, do a design in the plain squares and maybe feathers in the border.  Or FMQ dog footprints.  If I just quilt the borders in straight lines, I may be able to pull it off.  

I'm not panicking, just frustrated. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Taking A Break

Sigh.  I put my back out big time yesterday.  I think walking DS up to the doc on Tues and walking 2 miles down to the car dealer was the last straw on my back.  I don't know when I'll be posting.  Just sitting here is almost agony.

The good part about this?  DH got us a 2nd vehicle last night so I won't have to walk around town.  It won't be ready for a week or so, but I feel SO much better after last night.  DH is quite smug with himself since he got what he wanted.

Crawling back onto the couch with an ice pack now.  I wish docs could just fix my back.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pug Quilt

Woo Hoo!  I still have the horizontal sashing between the strip sections to do, but this is the layout before borders:

There's still the bottom row that didn't make it into the photo, but you get the idea.  All the pugs are done and have beautiful buttons on them:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eye Help

These two sweeties need some help with buttons or some other idea for eyes.  The two pugs together have very small eyes and the one pug that will be sitting on a blanket has one eye that is almost covered.  I thought of adding some beads, but I worry that they will get chewed up and swallowed.  I had also thought that a hand embroidery stitch might work.  I don't do handwork, but if you know of a stitch that would work, let me know.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Woo Hoo! Almost Ready!

The buttons look gorgeous!  I love these brown ones I found in a small shop.  She has all kinds of odds and ends you can't find in major chain stores.  I may have to raid her store again this week if I can thumb a ride.

Not all of the dogs are done.  I have a couple that I can't decide on the eyes and some that I now realize need more satin stitching.  One still needs brown shadows for his eyes.  I need 3 more star blocks.

I finally came up with a layout that still needs sashing cut and sewn on:

I didn't catch the bottom of the quilt, but I really like the stars and the pugs like this.  Of course Bandit had to check it out.

Oh.  You know your cat is protective when he sits like this on your machine and refuses to get out without a struggle:


Fabric Or Buttons?

DH and I have different "views" on the pug eyes.  He says fabric circles and I'm leaning toward buttons.  What do you think?

Sorry about the flash.  Fabric circles:


Friday, October 15, 2010

"Quilt In A Day" Flying Geese Rulers

I picked these templates up a couple of weeks on some recommendations.  I have a love/hate relationship with them.  I love that they are accurate.  I hate that I spend forever trimming the blocks down.

She has you make the fabric larger sewing two squares, cut in half, rearrange them and cut them again..or something like that.  Here's what the templates look like and the finished block before you trim them down.  Can you see where this would take forever?  

Here's a pic with the ruler in place and then you trim everything down:
I think I'll try the old fashioned version and see how that goes.  My hands ache from trimming today.

Here's what I have done today despite all the trimming.  I'm beginning to think it really needs sashing to break up the blocks so your eyes don't get lost.

I don't know if I'm done for the evening.  I just know I need a break.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Not To Eat For Dinner

Plastic cups/plates and Orange Glo wood cleaner do not make for a good dinner.  All it gets you are two fire trucks, a police car, an ambulance and a trip to the ER for smoke inhalation.

The plan was spaghetti.  I put the pan on to boil water, turned on the burner and walked away for about 10 minutes. Obviously I turned on the wrong burner.  Great.  The ONE time I didn't think to move this stuff OFF the stove I try to burn the house down.

I come back with the kitchen filled with smoke and smelling of burnt plastic and cleaner.  I yell at my kids to get out of the house as my biggest fear is the cleaner bursting into flames.  I grab the bottle (good thing I didn't burn my hands) and toss it outside.  I turn off the burner, open the windows to air out the house, and realize I don't know how to take care of the mess.  Nothing is on fire, but the smoke and fumes are everywhere as it continues to burn.  Water would spatter making it more dangerous and with cleaner all over, I realized this was out of my control.  I called 911 and asked how to handle this.  They said to get out of the house and they would send over the fire truck.  

If you are asking why the smoke detectors didn't go off, it's because I took the batteries out several years ago.  Everything would set it off, even water boiling.  DH was working nights/sleeping days and it was continously waking him up.

The firemen took care of everything and because I couldn't stop coughing I got sent to the ER.  My neighbor down the street took the kids and the cat (always keep a cat carrier for emergencies) while I went to the hospital.  After the firemen left, she and my kids came back and cleaned up.  Then she ordered pizza for everyone and picked me up from the ER since DH hadn't come back from work yet.  

My lungs are fine and I was released about an hour later.  The nice thing about living in a small town is that you don't have to sit in the waiting/hospital room for hours to get seen.

*Today I'm getting new smoke detectors as they said mine were ruined and I won't take the batteries out.  I don't know how to buy a fire extinqisher but I'll Google it.  I don't even know if I could have used it for this.

*If you have animals, keep a carrier or a leash near the door to get them out faster.  I've read that you should have a piece of paper with all your animals listed the door for the firemen to know that you have them.

*Have a meeting place outside and how to get out of your house in different places.  Mine is the big tree outside and I'm so proud of my kids for going there after I told them to get out of the house.  My son was downstairs, grabbed the cat and carrier and went outside without me asking him.

* Know the different ways to put out small fires.  If it had just been plastic, I could have take care of it. 

*Sigh..and keep stuff OFF your stove. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Quilt Layout

I started doing a basic layout with the star blocks.  Obviously this isn't going to be lap sized even with an extra row or two.  EQ6 insists that it is, but it would need some very wide borders.

I've pulled some more pug pictures to make into blocks.  I figured today I'd work on the star blocks.

Part of me wonders if there should be some sashing in between the blocks to make a border/picture frame of sorts.  However; I don't want it to be overkill.

I need to pull out my Topaz and see about creating a tapered satin stitch that would work for the wrinkles on the pugs.  It does have the taper satin stitch; it's just a matter of playing with the settings.  I'd FMQ them but it just makes a mess.

Back to making star blocks!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Machine Satin Stitching

I feel really silly. I didn't even think of putting collars on the pugs.  That would really set each one off very nicely and add some color.  I don't have a dog so the last thing I had on my mind are collars.  Only one has a collar and that's because it was in the picture I had.  Any way to add in collars after they've been fused and satin stitched?  Or another way to set each dog off?

I have been satin stitching around the pugs and giving them a little personality by putting in mouths and wrinkles.  The satin stitching is really making the dogs seem more real and not just fused down.  Janome makes a specific applique foot which has turned out to be worth it and so much better than an open toe foot.

The foot is covered in the front but is smooth underneath for easy movement as you go around the pieces.  Check it out at your local dealer to see if it's for you.

Some secrets to satin stitching:

*Lower your pressure foot level so you foot glides around the pieces with ease.  I have my machine set at 1.  You don't want to fight the machine.

* If your machine has a needle up/down setting use it.  You have better control if your needle stops in the down position.

*Try to finish with the needle on the right side of the applique piece.

*Use a stabilizer of some kind.  If you don't, the project crinkles up and your machine eats the pieces.

*Go at a pace that is comfortable for you.  Small sections and curves need to be slowed down, sometimes to the point of one stitch at a time.

*Plan your stitching by going from the bottom layers to the top.  Your stitches will blend in better.

*If your zigzag stitch is set too small, your foot can't move over the stitches creating a huge mess.  While a setting of .2 looks better, it would jam up in places.  A setting of .25 works much better and still looks nice.

*Don't stare at the needle.  Keep your eyes down on the piece watching the edges so you don't go off.  Stop often to rest your eyes.
A great reference book is by Harriet Hargrave, "Mastering Machine Applique".

Here's what I have been working on.  None of them are finished, but I'm getting there.  What I'm not sure about is how to do the wrinkles.  I realized they would be more realistic done with a satin stitch, but I wish I could taper them off.

I'll get some more pics up as I keep working on them.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Invasion Of The Pugs

Now that I am feeling so much better, I got to work and did several more pugs today.  I need 12 and need a couple more.  There are two pugs that I think will get tossed out, the one with the blue blanket and the one with the brown muzzle.  They just aren't looking right.  If you vote for them to stay in, let me know.  I'll redo the one with the brown muzzle by taking the brown fabric off.

Here's a closer view:

They still need noses and I'm debating on the paws.  I still need to either satin stitch or just stitch just inside the pieces for security.  My Horizon will satin stitch very fast but I'm not that in love with how it looks.  The Topaz does a stunning satin stitch but it goes much slower.

Any other suggestions are welcome.

Tinkering With My Machine

I've been playing with my machine this morning.  It's in wonderful condition.  The only things it needs is the stand and needles.  Those needles are so much longer than the ones available now so I don't know if they even exist.

The shuttle is in amazing condition.  I cleaned out the lint and figured out how to thread it.  I figure since I have the top thread going around the shuttle and between some tension disc? on the back it's working.  It's just not working perfect.  Adjusting the tension is driving me nuts this morning.

You can see the little bobbin that goes into the shuttle and the larger needle for the machine.

I'm not sure I have the top tension done right and it keeps coming loose.

I also figure a big part of the problem is that I have to turn the handwheel manually and that messes up everything.  It really needs the treadle part to sit on and the leather thing to keep it going continously.

I haven't tried winding a bobbin but watched a YouTube video of it.  Wow.  It was pretty cool to watch.

It just needs some fine adjustments that I don't know how to do.

Too bad I can't set it up with my Janome table.  I moved my boards over so it could sit down into the space.  If I could rig up a treadle contraption, it would work.

I need to take it down, move the boards back and put my Horizon back on it for today's project.  It's a sweet little machine and it would be awesome to get it working via a hand crank or..gasp an electric motor.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Vintage Sewing Machine

I know nothing of treadle machines but I bought one today from the hardware shop I was at yesterday.  I know it's a "no brand" machine and probably not worth anything but fell in love with the scrollwork.  Who'd have thought finding mold under your kitchen sink can lead to good things..LOL.

If you know anything about treadle machines, I would love some information.  I have dates on the back in the metal engraved as patented Oct 6 1891 to Jan 12 1909.  It's in perfect condition if it's truly made circa 1909.  Everything moves smoothly and evenly.  It looks like it hadn't had much use and/or very well taken care of.

*After doing some internet searching, it appears to be made by the Monarch Sewing Machine company.  There isn't alot of information out there but if I understand it right, it's probably built after WWII in Japan circa 1950's.  It's a copied/knock off version of the Singer 15? and uses the same shuttles and feet*

The shuttle runs back and forth vertically if that is important.  It didn't come with a stand or any other parts.  If it's an off brand, finding parts like the shuttle would prove difficult.

Here are some pictures for identification if you are knowledgable enough to know these things.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I Bet Your Day Didn't Go Like This

Most people don't plan out their days by needing a painters breathing mask, rubber gloves and a cortizone shot.  I hadn't.

For the past week or two, I haven't been able to locate an odd smell.  It wasn't cat related as I had the box cleaned out and fresh litter put in several times.  I have carpet in my kitchen and wondered if my kids had spilled milk, half cleaned it up and left the rest to rot, or they hadn't run the disposal in days.  It wasn't bad enough to freak out but it was driving me nuts trying to figure out what it was.

Today I was determined to track down the smell as for the past 2 days it's gotten worse and I had company coming over.  I cleaned out the sink and the dish rack trays and didn't find the smell, but I did find some small spots of mold under them.  Great.  Mold.  Then it hit me.  It's a mold smell!  Not the traditional musky mold, but mold for sure.  The only place left is under the sink.  I must have a small leak in my pipes.

I open the doors and about fell over due to the fumes.  Coughing and trying not to throw up, I quickly slammed the door.  Great.  Now I have to get this cleaned up.  I take some old towels, go outside to get a deep breath race back in and grab the rusted pizza pan that the mold is sitting under.  I throw that in the trash and realize I need something stronger than going out for air every 5 seconds to clean out the mess.  I can't even describe the acrid smell of mold and metal mixing together in a soup mixture for at least 2 weeks or more.  Most of my pans are in a user friendly cabinet, not in this one, so I rarely open it.

I picked up one of those masks that painters use and a package of the industrial rubber gloves and started cleaning with a bleach mixture.  Thankfully; the mold was sitting on contact paper and I just had to scrape off the paper into a plastic bag and dump it into the outside trash.

Despite the mask I was still gagging and feeling sick after it was all done.  Doc said to come in and said I was having an allergic reaction.  He gave me cortizone shot and I went home.  My house smells better now but I can pick up faint smells of despite my kids not smelling anything.

Now I know why I've been feeling "off" for a couple of weeks and it explains my inablity to concentrate on working on this quilt.  I've been agitated and feeling sick.  I'd get started and hour or so later not be able to work.   My table is 3-4 feet away from the kitchen sink right it full view of it.  I've been inhaling mold while tracing and cutting out pieces.  It also explains why I'm sleeping much of the day.  I feel sick, go lay down and sleep for a couple of hours.  I go back to working on the quilt, feel sick and go back to bed for another couple of hours.

If you smell something funky, don't wait like I did.  Find it ASAP.

I was going crazy trying to figure out why this quilt was getting to be so hard to do.  I almost wanted to call it off out of embarassment that I can't even do flying geese blocks for the stars or stumble over tracing pug pieces.  I just felt..well..retarded.

If you are walking around like you are drunk (like I would know) confused, disorientated, agitated and are having memory issues, there's something serious going in your house.  I thought it was a medication issue since seizure meds do a number on memory and coordination skills, but this felt entirely different and I now I know why.

I'm grateful the lady at the hardware store insisted that I buy the mask for spray painting instead of the usual face masks for construction work.  There's no way I could have done it with one of those.  I kept tightening the straps until I couldn't smell anything or the smell weakend.

I'm also grateful for contact paper as the wood flooring underneath wasn't a moldy mess.  I just had to scrape 8+ year-old contact paper with a scraper to get it taken care of.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Pug Progress

Woo Hoo!  I found it!!  Steam-a-Seam 2!!  One of the LQS in Lincoln had it!  I bought 3 yards and have spent part of the evening working on pugs.  Having paper on both sides means nothing is sliding around and it's far stickier for easy placement of pieces.

Here's what I have so far for a layout:
These have turned out really nice.  I got 3 done this evening.  They still need some noses and maybe a collar.

While at the quilt store I found this kit:

I'm a sucker for blue.  Especially indigo.  The quilt and fabric are stunning.   Does anyone else find themselves buying kits and then finding they have "stash" of them?  I never thought I'd be stashing kits.  LOL.  

Friday, October 01, 2010

My Early Birthday Present

DH and my birthday are only a couple of days apart so we celebrate them together.  We went to Omaha had lunch and then hit our usual hangout, Best Buy.  He drools over the Blu-rays and I check out the gadgets.

I was really hoping my next "gadget" would be a dryer but DH doesn't get that the dryer shouldn't take 3 cycles to dry something.  He's just fine with doing laundry this way.  Yes, he does the laundry.  He only does it because I forget about it..cause the DRYER doesn't dry.

I don't even need a fancy dryer like the side loading kind.  I found one for a reasonable price but DH said we didn't need one.  Maybe I should accidentally break the dryer to point where he can't get it fixed.  It's only 10+ years old and has had parts replaced several times over the years.  I love DH dearly, but if he's happy doing a couple of loads of laundry that take all day to do, so be it.

My b-day gadget is a Bamboo pen and touch tablet.  It uses both a stylus and your fingers to scroll through pages and do items.  My last Bamboo tablet used a mouse and a stylus but it wasn't always that responsive.  I love the stylus on this tablet.  I'm still getting used to using my fingers like a mouse but it's getting easier.

On to quilting:

I despise Steam-a-seam 2 light.  It doesn't stay on the paper and makes a huge mess as it sticks to itself like Saran Wrap.  I'm cursed because all the LQS carry it and not the regular Steam-a-Seam or the Steam-a-Seam 2.  Everyone loves this stuff but me.

I've tried pinning it to the paper, cutting down the roll, I've even tried pressing it back on with an applique sheet.

I may have to order it from another site.  I found I could get an entire 25 yard roll of it for 119 at  I could use a 40% off coupon for that right?  

If you know how to use Steam-a-Seam 2 lite without going stark raving mad, let me know.