Monday, January 31, 2011

Center Panel For "My Tweets" Came!

Instead of agonizing over the colors on "My Tweets" I thought I'd wait until I get the center panel and see what worked.  That was ordered separately via her Etsy site.

I had no idea it was THIS big so I'm glad I waited.  Even if you decided not to do the entire BOM quilt, the center panel is gorgeous and worth the 10 dollars.  She is very generous in having the rest of the blocks for free.  

It's SO wonderful when a designer puts her pattern on one sheet of paper as I hate taping pieces together.  It's even better when they reverse the pattern if it's not symetrical.  This may sound crazy, but this would a wonderful way to learn hand applique.   The pieces are large with gentle curves and you could easily change the shape the flowers to make it easier.  It's very tempting to do this by hand.  Back basting would work very well with this panel.

I think after seeing this panel, I will add the yellow and possibly the green.  I'll play around with it some and see what I like.  We are expecting 6-8 inches of snow, so there will be plenty of time to play.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"Fiesta" Block One

I think I hate fusible webbing.  I have marks appearing from the webbing coming through to the front.  The "lite" stuff doesn't stick and the regular ones leave marks.  I hate positioning the stupid pieces hoping they don't shift while pressing as I messed some of that up as well.  Arggh.  I hate fusibles.

Here's the block.  I love the colors.  The inside flower is from Hoffman's 1895 Bakiks in Blue Jay.  I only had a fat quarter from the bundle I bought so I ordered 2 yards online.  The other blue is something I found in my stash.  Tuesday I'll have to go to the store and see if there is more or find out what the color is to order yardage.  If she doesn't, I wish she could just order me two yards instead of looking for it online.  I'd rather her get my money.  


Friday, January 28, 2011

"My Tweets" Design Process

This whole block has been a mess.  I love it.  Then I hate it.  I like the yellow but then I don't.  There is such a design process with blocks.  It's a narrowing down of choices and if you've ever received an email from me, my quote is:

"I used to be indecisive but now I'm not so sure." and this block as proved it.

Here are the choices.  If you find one you love, leave me a comment.  I like them all.  Just not sure what I really want.

Played with the block a little more.  I think I like this one even better.

Then I thought I'd just dump out all the yellow to see what happens:

The yellow brings out some color the blue looks more subdued and soft.  Sigh.  It wasn't supposed to be this hard.  The original intent was to make a blue willow style quilt and it got lost from there.  I went back and cut out blue leaves to see if I liked it better:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Tweets Block 1 Progress

I bet your sewing area is pristine and beautiful just like mine:

I spent the day working on the first block of "My Tweets".  I knew it needed something else besides the yellow and blue.  Something that zinged.  I went to my book "Color Play" and discovered that Spring Green worked with the blues.  I pulled out a FQ labeled "spring green" and cut out leaves.  Yes.  I label my fabric by color.  It keeps me from going mad when it comes to matching fabrics.

Does the green work?

I still need to work out flowers.  I thought of purple, but wasn't sure if it was distracting.  What do you think?  I'm leaning towards staying with blue/yellow.  Adding more colors in might make everything "muddy".  

Linda Franz Made My Templates!

Remember that set of blocks that I wanted to do but making templates would be a giant pain?  I thought maybe Accuquilt might do a die but then realized that even if they did, you'd need the 1/4 inch marks to do the piecing.  That's the biggest disadvantage to the Accuquilt applique die sets.  Then I thought of Linda Franz.

Linda has created Inklingo that allows you to print the templates right off your printer onto the fabric.  You just use freezer paper to stabilize the fabric and run it through.  I emailed her and asked if she could do this.  She said yes and the pattern came out today!  Check out her site.  While I haven't quite figured out how it works (I got the wrong page printed out) it does print on the fabric.  She did an amazing job and once I figure it all out, I'll put that in my BID (Before I Die) pile.  I need to get other things done first.  Linda, THANK YOU so much for doing this.

There are so many creative people out there and I'm grateful for the internet to meet so many of them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's In A Name?

I took my son to the chiropractor today and got a shock when there were several teenagers there that yelled out "Hey Mormon Boy!  What's up?" and they all proceeded to talk about school and getting their backs/necks adjusted because of sports.

My son had told me that's what the kids call him but it's the first time I'd heard it.  I don't think he hates it, but he just finds it annoying that no one seems to know his real name.  He's just called "Mormon Boy" by the kids at school because he doesn't drink coffee, tea or smoke.  When his friends asked him why, he said he was Mormon and the name stuck.  

It is hard for my kids to be the only LDS teenagers in the school and that all the other teenager members live 20+ miles away.  Rural wards have boundaries that can easily be 40-50 miles and activities and church services aren't always easy to get too.  I hate being "inactive" by default and not necessarily by choice.  It's frustrating that he only gets seminary with me instead of meeting up with the other 20 kids up north of us.

Growing up, it was easy being a member of the LDS church.  The church was 10 miles away with several hundred families.  We had a nice building and tons of activities.  I had friends in school that were members and I never had to think about compromising my standards.  I knew kids from other wards and we met up for stake activities.  My kids don't have that option and it's hard not to get resentful that they miss out on so much.  We have a crappy building that I wish a tornado would destroy so we could get a new one.

Actually; after a really bad situation in Texas and in Illinois, I've always struggled with being active.  I had hoped when we moved to Nebraska, the ward we'd be in would be much better but rural wards are so much more challenging.  When you struggle with a mental illness being active in anything requires a huge amount of strength.  When there are days when you can't even get out of bed, trying to make it to church by 9 am is almost impossible and usually is.

I am grateful that the kids in my son's school don't call him "Mormon Boy" to be mean.  That would be a terrible way to spend your entire high school.  I also hope that because they know his standards they will keep him safe.

Thanks for letting me vent about rural wards.  I don't bring up my religion in my blog because it's meant for quilting.  For me religion is private and it can make people uncomfortable when reading it on a blog when all they wanted was to read about quilting.

"My Tweets" BOM

The last thing I needed to find was another BOM.  This one is from One Piece at a Time called "My Tweets" and it's simply stunning.  I chose a yellow and blue fabric scheme but I'm not sure how to make it all work.  I'll take another look at it in the morning and figure out flowers and leaves.

Design Wall Wednesday

I'm a little late for Design Wall Monday but here's what I've got so far:

It's coming along quite nicely even though I'm moving much slower than I usually do.

My blue fat quarters arrived today!  I haven't had a chance to work with my Fiesta block but will do so tomorrow.  They are just as gorgeous in real life as they are in the stock photos.  I'll try to get the first block done tomorrow and show it off.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Accuquilt Company? Can You Make This For Me?

I fell in love with the quilt on the cover of "Quilter's Newsletter" and picked up a copy.  Of course, there isn't a pattern, but for once, a magazine put a complicated block in:

Finally!  Something challenging!  I'm not sure how easy it would be to machine piece, but it would improve my hand piecing skills.  If you need a challenge pick up a copy.  It's too bad the Accuquilt company can't just make me a die so I don't have to make templates.  Well, I think if I owned the Studio they could.  They'd probably want a fortune for it though.

Regardless; I'll get to this project eventually.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Singing The Blues

After going over the first block of Fiesta this morning and everyone's comments via here and on the Yahoo! site, I decided the blue fabrics are the culprits.  They don't look bad, but they need more zing to them.  The dark is too dark and the light is too light.  I like the yellow, red, orange and the lime.  

I went to my LQS and found NOTHING resembling the blue fabric in Sindy's quilt.  Apparently loud blue isn't in vogue with Nebraska quilters and decided to go online.  I checked out the Fat Quarter Shop and found a fat quarter package I liked so I googled it for a cheaper price.  Another store came up and BAM! all the colors of the rainbow smacked me in the face.  Gorgeous batik prints that made me want to spend several thousand dollars.  If my LQS had those fabrics in stock, she'd be rich and I'd be broke.

Here's the link to Batiks Plus if you want to check them out.  I have the "Shaved Ice" fat quarter pack from Hoffman Fabrics coming soon.  I really wanted all 370 prints but DH wouldn't be very happy if I pulled that off.  I do have to save up for Quilt Nebraska.

Can't wait for my box!  

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yellow Is LOUD

After feeling sorry for myself yesterday, I decided to be a little more productive and worked on my "Fiesta" block today.  I think I need to look into some medications to help with the fibromyalgia.  Too bad they took Vioxx off the market.  Best stuff ever.

I don't know if I like the applique colors.  I keep looking at it and wondering what's wrong.  Will it look better once all the blocks are sewn together?  Am I just not used to the color scheme or is a color "off"?  I think it's the yellow not playing nicely with the red, but yellow is a "loud" color to use.  He's the ADHD color in the wheel.  You can't ignore him and he never goes away.

I decided to fuse the dang quilt because my back is not about to let me press all that fabric under a template and then machine applique it together like I wanted to.

I haven't fused the pieces yet and I need to find the last two orange pieces but here's a first attempt:

Any advice for color choices?  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Checking In

Do you ever get to the point in your life when you realize you just need to give up and face reality?  I've been avoiding it for months.  I keep telling myself it's all good and don't worry but today I had to face it.  I desperately need new clothes.  Almost everything I have is too small or too worn out.  I wear clothing until I have to buy new clothes.  

I know you were thinking it was something drastic, but I hate shopping for clothes.  I hate trying on clothes.  I hate creepy sales ladies who peer over at you with distain.  Since Lane Bryant no longer carries the blue color jeans I love, I've held on to mine as long as possible.  It's hard giving up your favorite pairs of jeans.  It's a sense of loss.  Black is apparently the new "blue" at Lane Bryant.  Ugh.
After today's chiro visit, I felt so depressed that even shopping for clothing seemed like fun.  I drove up the local outlet mall and looked around.  Surprise!  I found three pair that fit nicely and they were blue.  I even went into Dress Barn Plus and found sweaters 50% off.  I like the light shirt style sweaters and Dress Barn has nice comfortable ones.

I'll make it through with my back issues.  Apparently it's my SI joint, sacrum, and lower lumbar vertebrae that are the problem.  The fibromyalgia is raging through my back as well.  I just ache and ache.  

Despite all of this, I did get some more blocks done and pieced into rows:

I'm not sure I'm in love with the LED light as it glares off of the metal foot but it is sort of nice.  I guess I need to find the right position for it.

I'm heading to bed.  My entire back aches.  I'm surprised I made it through trying clothes on.      

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All Fixed

Thank you so much for all your kind comments on my last post.

I talked to the Bernina store earlier and they were happy to give me my money back and order one that would fit my machine.  They just needed to figure out which box to order as there are 3 styles.

I also talked the owner of one my LQS about the LED light as she has one on her machine.  You can use Goo-gone and then it's repositionable.  After reading through the crappy pictures again, it does *picture* that.  Someone needs to draw better.  After trying several positions, this seemed to be right for me:

If you decide to buy one, make sure you put it where you want and not what the *picture" says.  They put the drawing in because they want the notch to stick out for easy removal of the light.  You can get it out without having to press down on the notch.

Worst case scenario is get some double sided tape w/foam and use that.  I still think they need to add in another mount.

I also talked to my LQS owner about Quilt Nebraska.  She said it was tons of fun and the registration fees/classes would be coming soon online.  The flyer I got was just announcing that it was coming.  Part of me would just like to drive out by myself so I'm not dependent on someone else's schedule.

Oh.  I do have a small Ott light.  Meh.  It's good for some things and not for others.  It's perfect for a light table.  Just stick it under an acrylic table and there you go.

Friday, January 14, 2011

LED Light And Bernina Box

Apparently when you buy the overpriced LED light, the installation pictures aren't worth the money and I screwed up.

Yeah.  I know you are thinking, "Geesh lady, just stick it on the side of your machine.  How hard can that be?"

The sticking it isn't hard.  I got that part.  It's where you PLACE the light that matters and I screwed that up.  Of course for your 50 bucks, they don't bother to INCLUDE an extra mount or make it repositionable.  That would make it cost more.  IT doesn't come off without help either.

The crappy pictures made it look like you had to place it where the tab could stick out.  It needs placed down and to the front  Once I use the goo-gone crap, I'm done for.  My outlet is over to the left so putting the cord through the clips is useless.

And to make things even more complicated, I bought a Bernina accessory case and it doesn't fit behind my machine.  Do they make smaller ones for the activa line?  Probably not.  It would be too easy.

Stupid case should only be about 15 bucks and I paid a fortune for it.  I may be making another trip to Lincoln tomorrow to return it.  I can just keep everything in the accesory pouch.  It's not worth 65 bucks even if they had one that does fit behind the machine.  Yep.  You read that right.  65 bucks.  Now you can say "Geesh lady.  You really are pathetic" and I'll agree.

I give up for now.  It's 10:30 and I'm cranky.

Quilt Nebraska

I'm having anxiety attacks just thinking about it.  DH actually said I could go but he really wants me to travel with other people.  I'll figure that one out as I'm sure I'll find someone.  I'm really excited but have some concerns.

I have no idea how this works so if you've been to a Quilt Nebraska retreat, let me know.  The pamphlet I got said nothing about fees, hotel arrangements, when the classes were (there was a list of people that were teaching) and other essential basics.

My next problem is my back.  Will it take the strain if I do sewing projects?  Can I sit w/o being in agony?  Can I drag around a machine and the other stuff needed?  I have yet to find a carrying case set that actually works for a tall person of 5'10".  

Another problem is my anxiety.  I can't even take a basic class at a LQS w/o leaving because the room is spinning or just hanging in there because I want to learn the technique.  I'll probably need a doc to sedate me before I go.  LOL.  The last thing I want is to hide out in a hotel room because I can't leave.

You could almost put seizures in this category.  Even though I'm seizure free, one is always lurking.

And the last worry is money.  I need to start saving.  The last thing I want is to be broke because I didn't plan it right and everyone else is having fun while I sit there looking pathetic.  Some numbers would be nice.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Update On Quilt

Apparently Bandit likes Aurifil thread.  DH found him sitting behind the sewing machine happily munching away.  He wasn't eating it, just pulling it out from the thread stand with his teeth.  Great.  He chews tape, cardboard and now thread.  He's lucky to be alive after chewing on the corner of DH's prized "Battlestar Galactica" box set.

He's now got some idea that he can go outside.  I accidentally left the door open a crack and he mananged to open the door with his paws and get out.  I watched him do this with fascination since I know animals have a hard time with doors that open toward them.  After a few seconds, I got him and brought him in.

Now he's at the door, howling and trying to get the door open using the handle.  Sigh.  Some female in heat out there that's he's after?  If he gets that heavy door open using his paws to turn the handle I'll eat my shorts.

Here's an updated picture of my quilt:

It hurts too much to use the iron so the blocks are just hanging there.  I've overworked my back the past two days on piecing and going to the store a couple of times for simple groceries and to a couple of quilt stores.  I forgot that bending down to reach bolts of fabric is NOT a good idea.  What I've tried to do is make one pink diagonal oval block and one brown one each day.  Yesterday I got ambitious and did some extra pieces to another set of both main blocks.  See the one pink block and the 3 brown ones?  Those were the extras.

I'm taking it easy and not doing any piecing today.  It's not worth it.  Add in that I slipped (but didn't fall) on some ice yesterday and I'm asking for my back to hurt again.  If it's not the quilting, it's a store and now it will be ice.  I'm doomed.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Still working on my log cabin quilt:

I've added more since putting this up but haven't had time to tape them to the wall.  I stopped for the day after that.

Kids were out of school today thanks to the snow.  They get tomorrow off as well.  I had DH take the SUV instead of the CR-Z.  I'm glad I did as I drove the CR-Z to the chiro to get my back adjusted.  She just slid all over the place.  DH wouldn't have made it to work with the CR-Z. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Catching Up

Two and a half weeks without my back going into spasms but limiting my sewing is killing me.  Only getting a couple of hours in has made this quilt that much slower to complete.

There are 4 small blocks that make up one block and there are so many pieces to piece that it really takes some time.  It's not hard, just time consuming.

The book has you sew rows instead of the large blocks together so I laid out what the book had set up using six blocks to see if I liked it.  One block is the diagonal ring.  Four diagonal rings make the "wedding" block look.

A great way to "mark" which way the seams are sewn is to take a sticky note, label the row and direction and pin the note to the row:

One thing I love about this quilt is the randomness.  Just grab the letter sizes you need from the bags and sew together.  The only thing that is hard is making sure there the pink rings have the right light to dark to light pattern.

So far I am loving this little Bernina activa for piecing.  Exact 1/4 seams without having to move needle positions and the 5.5 mm makes it that much easier.  I hope to keep enjoying it for years.

Monday, January 03, 2011

I'm A Slacker

I don't do resolutions.  I don't do goals.  All they do is remind me that I'm a slacker and that I'm a darn good one.  But there are some things that do require some effort this year:

1.  Get my back working again.  I've gone almost two weeks without any pain which has been a huge relief.
a. I've had to force myself to only spend a couple of hours sewing instead of all day.
b. I've moved as much stuff as I can up off the floor and easy to reach
c. I downloaded a book that is on back care.  Turns out it's a yoga book.  Meh..not sure I buy the whole yoga concept but at least the stuff in this book wasn't way out there.

2.  Get over this manic high.  I can't believe I bought ANOTHER sewing machine and a BERNINA one at that.  I swore I'd never own a Bernina as I think they overpriced and underwhelming.  DH didn't even stop me which blows my mind completely.  He just said he doesn't want me collecting antique ones.

3.  Possibly sell two machines even though DH said I could keep them.  I'm not really that happy about the Horizon and my Sapphire 870 sits in a box just waiting to be used.

4.  Keep working on the log cabin.  Possibly work on the couple of kits I bought.        

5.  Keep working on organizing the quilting stuff I have.  I've done a lot over the past month and it's not like I have a lot of stuff, they just need to be back friendly and easy to get too.

I think that's about it for now.

Design Wall Monday

Been slowly working out this log cabin quilt. The twin size alone has 7000 pieces and I'm going for the queen size.  That's unless I go insane.

I'm still not a huge Bernina fan by any means, but my little activa 210 does piece beautifully.  It winds a bobbin nicely and the patchwork foot is worth every penny.  I really miss those auto cutters though.  I've just been using a pair of scissors or the side cutter.  I feel like I'm wasting so much thread this way.

She does fit nicely into my Janome table:

I would really like the accessory case that holds the feet, but once again, Bernina wants a fortune for it.  Come on, Bernina, it's a plastic box.  Since all I'll be doing is piecing, it's not that important but it would just be nice.

Totally off topic but "Top Gear" showed the CR-Z last night.  Only Rutledge liked it.  I had really hoped  that the Stig would take it around the track, but it didn't happen.  They spent way too much time selling stupid POS cars making the episode entirely pointless.  Sorry guys, but I LOVE my CR-Z. I'm not about to spend 40,000 on a Chevy Volt and the Prius makes going green look ridiculous.  

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Today's Purchases

I went shopping for fabric for the Fiesta quilt today.  Usually I do my own color scheme but this demanded the exact same colors.  I went to JoAnn Fabrics and found nothing I wanted.  My mistake was going to Hancock Fabrics a couple of blocks down.  Keep reading and you'll find out why.

I actually found the right fabric!  Usually they don't have anything.  It's extremely bold for my taste, but it should work against the black background.  The flash made the colors look a little different but you should get the idea.

Then I made a huge mistake of walking by the Bernina shop.  They had those baby Go! cutters and I took a look.  I could see the advantages of having a small one, especially for the small dies.  The Bernina lady and I started talking about it and that brought up my "Block Of Sharon" die.  I bought the book back in August that works with this die and figured I'd get around to it eventually.  The lady mentioned that there was embroidery software that was made for the quilt and she showed me the blocks she had made.

They were absolutely gorgeous.  I was almost tempted until I took a look at how the embroidery designs worked.  You put the fabric on, the machine stitches an outline of the design, you cut around those lines and then the machine does a blanket stitch.  You now have frayed edges and even with fusible webbing, it wouldn't really be that pretty.  It's a shame since it would aid in finishing the quilt that much faster.

As I walked around the corner, I noticed Bernina has come out with a new line of machines called the 3 Series.  I played with one for a few minutes and realized these were some of the ugliest machines ever made.   They looked cheap and reminded me of a KitchenAid mixer or a toaster.  It seemed to belong sitting on my kitchen counter instead of on my table.  They are replacing the Activa line with these machines.  I'd take the Activa in a heartbeat instead of that.  So...

I got one.  

It was too good of a deal to pass up as they were clearing them out.  I've wanted a small piecing machine for some time and for taking to classes.  What I forgot about was it doesn't come with scissors.  I keep looking for the button as I've been so spoiled.  Bernina has never gotten around to adding that feature to their lines and it's too bad.  Even some of the basic machines on other brands have them.

I swore I'd never own a Bernina after the experiences I had years ago, but this was too good to pass up.  Hopefully this experience will be better.