Monday, February 28, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I am feeling SO much better today.  I do have a doc appt. later to see if I need meds.  I figured I'd brave it out and see how it goes last week.  DH said to go to the doc despite my protests last night.

This morning I made a few more log cabin blocks on my Horizon.  I wanted to see how the new 1/4 inch foot worked going over multiple seams as it's been a major sore point with most owners.  So far it sews beautifully which may put this machine back into my "like" list.  I finished up a couple of rows and may start a new pink and a brown one depending on how I feel.

At night while watching TV and some WWII documentaries I've got this much done on my canvas work quilt:

The top border isn't hard, it just requires your eyes to cross frequently.

And finally, block one of "My Tweets" as I've worked on the satin stitching before I got too sick to work with it.  I've decided to use threads that match the leaves instead of using just one color.  I need to rip out the threads on the light leaves now.

BTW, don't accidently use cut-away embroidery stabilizer.  You'll spend forever trimming it down with a seam ripper.

Make sure you check out Judy's blog to see more Design Wall Monday entries.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bear Paws and Lamb

I did get out yesterday.  Remember the fiasco with my phone GPS that actually works on a previous post on finding the quilt store?  There's this awesome gyro place next door and I wanted another.  You are truly out of your mind and delirious when you want to trave an hour just for a gyro while you are sick.

The owner remembered who I was and was so pleased that we had traveled so far just to eat at his shop.  While waiting for our meal to arrive, my teenage DD wanted to know what meat we were eating.  DH told her it was lamb.

Her eyes got all wide, her jaw dropped and she said, "How could anyone kill a baby sheep?" in an indignant voice.  "That's horrible!"

DH said, "You've eaten a gyro before in Ohio.  You've already eaten a baby sheep".  DD gave him a dirty look and I told her, "It's okay.  There are plenty of baby sheep that live".

She responded with, "NOT this one".

I halfway figured she'd suddenly go vegan on me, but she did eat the gyro.  The whole time, my other DD kept saying, " are eating me....Baaaa...".  We were dying of laughter but with all of us being sick, it really helped.

We went next door and looked around the store.  This time I wasn't frustrated at being led up/down the street for 20 minutes and enjoyed looking around.  I looked up at the wall and saw all the classes being offered.  Two were on fusible and machine applique.  I so wanted to take the classes but they were in the evening and with an hour drive up/back and the time of classes made it impossible.  Sigh.

I did end up buying this kit.  It finishes at 16x16 inches.  The sample was beautiful and I couldn't resist.  Blue and cream/white are my weaknesses.  It is paper pieced and the patterns are SO little.  I'll put this away for now.

You can't beat bear paws and lamb.  Makes for good quilting and eating.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Keep Lysoling your computer screen.  We all have bronchitis.  It's so hard hearing your kids cough at night.  DH has been off work for a week.  I tried to do some satin stitching around my blocks, but I just don't care about it right now.

At the same time, I have severe cabin fever.  If I stay in this house one more day I'm going to lose more of my mind.  I was excited just to get out the snow blower and do the driveway yesterday.  That's bad.

I hate fusible webbing.  The pieces are coming off my blocks.  I've used every brand out there over the years and they hate me.  Maybe I should just start over with backbasting applique.  It would take forever to get it done, but at least the pieces would stay on the background fabric.

Crawling off into somewhere outside.  I have Dayquil and I know how to use it.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Block Two of "My Tweets"

Please Lysol your computer screen before you read my post as everyone at my house is sick.  DH has bronchitis, DD has a cough,  DD2 has lost her voice, DS is getting sick and I feel like I've been run over by a train.  I'm glad I made DH go to the doctor today to get his cough checked out.  Men do NOT like doctors.

I actually had most of block two of "My Tweets" cut out before I started feeling crappy and after a shot of Dayquil earlier, I managed to fuse the pieces down:

I love it.  This is going to be a gorgeous quilt.  Now that I have the colors figured out, I just have to trace the pieces and fuse it down.  I am going to be sick of GREEN thread by the time this quilt is done though.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Self Preservation

It's been crazy the past month.  I've been on overload as I'm doing too much but can't seem to stop.  It's also been those days where the more you look at things, the more overwhelming they are.  Then if you walk away, all you can think about is the stuff you walked away from.  I can't win.

I think all of us have this built-in fear of "what if it's not good enough and people laugh at what I do?"  It's not about the "quilt police" or a competition, it's about self-preservation.  If you deal with a mental illness, you are always switched on to this idea and it's hard to turn off.  If it's really bad, it turns into paranoia (that's NOT fun) making life extremely difficult.  I'm at quilting paranoia.

I have been paranoid obsessed over this "My Tweets" quilt for the past few weeks.  I want it perfect even though my standards of perfection are way beyond normal standards.  I want the perfect color combination and haven't been able to trust my instincts.  I really wanted the stitches to be invisible, but no matter what I did with THREE machines, I couldn't make it work.  I had to "settle" for a satin stitch.

Then I wanted the PERFECT satin stitch and went through those machines again.  Then I wanted the perfect thread with the perfect colors.  I had to "settle" for Mettler as I didn't have the ability to match colors online.  As I was sewing, I couldn't decide if I wanted to satin stitch the colors of the feathers or just use one color everywhere.  I lost my light blue spool and have looked everywhere for it.  I could use a different brand of thread, but then what if it looks out of place?  Am I driving you mad now?

Then should I satin stitch the light blocks with light green (I couldn't find the color), the medium with a medium green.  Will I lose the light color green if it's outlined in a darker color?

Here's the partially done block that I did yesterday:

Now the fusible webbing is coming off from the fabric as I satin stitch.  Great.  I can't win.

Then today I thought I'd check out the new 1/4 inch foot for the Horizon.  I worked on my log cabin quilt and figured if the foot can't handle those blocks, then I'll stuff it back in the bedroom.  No way.  The foot works.  I sat and pieced a row and made a couple of blocks.  I put the regular foot back on and it hated going over the seams:
I was so excited to see the results that all my fears went away.  You know;  I'm dang good at what I do.  The satin stitching is just fine.  If I want to do the entire birds in blue, it's okay.  If I want to mix thread brands, it's all good.  A huge burden has been lifted and it feels good to be back to "normal" for now.  



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Both "My Tweets" Blocks Done!

It's done.  Two blocks are fused and ready to finish the edges of the designs.  I have never worked so hard on a quilt before.  Tomorrow block two comes in and I'll work on that.  I'm going to start having nightmares of peacocks and flowers after this.

I started satin stitching block one.  I don't know.  At this point, I say just do the stupid satin stitching had have done with it.  I have tried dozens of decorative stitches via two machines but nothing works out around the edges neatly.  Invisible thread just makes a mess.  A small zigzag eats the edges of the design.

Do I rip out the dark thread around the light leaves?  I couldn't find a light green that worked.  If I wanted to cheat, I could use one blue on the birds instead of outlining each color fabric.

Once again, I'm making this much harder than I should.  I'm walking away for now.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This must be the year for gorgeous BOM's.  Check out Esther's Blog and see her stunning block.   I downloaded the PDF file and will save it for later.

My fabric came in on Monday:

The index card is all the fabrics w/names in Hoffman's "Shaved Ice" collection.  I'm using some of them for "My Tweets" and having a name with the fabric color makes for much easier ordering.  I needed Dragonfly, Blue Jay and Cornflower.  The green fabric was a gift from the store.  How nice to get an extra!

I've run into a design problem with "My Tweets".  I'm not sure I want to satin stitch around all the pieces.  A simple small zig zag stitch looked terrible and I don't want the look of a blanket stitch.  It's too "country" looking for me.

Truthfully; I should a) fold the edges under or b) back baste and applique by hand to get the look I want. Now that I have the color scheme I want, maybe I should start over.  I'm obsessing too much with this quilt.

If you own a Janome 7700 there is a built in stitch that does invisible applique, number 51, that gives the Harriet Hargrave look to machine quilting.  I tried it with invisible and regular thread and if you like that look, it works.  No fiddling around with settings.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I'm going to die of excitment until Friday when the new block for "My Tweets" is ready.  Maybe my fabric will come in today (right colors this time) and help ease my anticipation.

While in one of the stores the other day, I saw canvas work up close.  It's beautiful.  After going through several patterns I found one I figured I couldn't screw up too badly.  I bought the canvas, which appears to look similar to cross stitch but heavier and the threads to go with it.  How hard can it be?

Several hours later and very cross eyed, I gave up.  I can't read these patterns to save my life.  I get the general idea but my brain isn't comprehending how to read the pattern.  The threads are on a 8x8 grid but nothing is coming out right.  The pattern is on the diagonal and I'm not getting a true diagonal line when I start the second block and I'm off by a thread.

The next morning with fresh eyes I start up again.  Same issue.  I took out the thread and looked at the pattern again.  Then I realized my mistake.  I don't know how to explain it but something about the thread not going through the spaces right when I go to my next block.  You have to skip the first space to do the diagonal.

Then I realized it was a 9x9 space grid (the pattern goes by the canvas lines) and everything made sense.  All I had to do was count the spaces instead of the lines.  Duh.

This is so much easier than cross stitch and works up much faster.  I think I have a new hobby.  I like handwork but it's so hard on the eyes and takes forever to finish something.  I added the metallic thread but may rip it out.  I'll see what happens.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Quilter's Internal GPS System

As soon as my blue fabric comes in and work on the leaves/details I'll have this panel finished!  Hopefully the fabric will come tomorrow or Monday.

Here's what I have so far.  Most of the pieces are fused down exept the birds.  I'm still in the process of finding pieces that have been scattered all over the table as I'm not an organized person.  Now that I have what I want, the rest of the blocks will be so much easier.  I'm glad I used the yellow instead of the orange.  I love it.

Now onto the GPS sytem part:

Yesterday I had grand plans of visiting a couple of quilts stores after getting the oil changed on my car except I got lost.  How hard can it be to find a quilt store that is off of the freeway a couple of miles and up the next road a few more miles?  Apparently, in my case, very difficult.

I missed the street.  I thought it was the right street, but kept going.  I turned into a residental area and did a google search.  I know I'm not that far off.  (I did google the directions before I left).  To my surprise my phone popped up "Google Maps" which is a GPS system.  Okay.  It didn't ask if I wanted this service (my phone will usually ask if it's not a feature I've paid for) so I put in the information.  All of a sudden, an arrow showed up where I was and gave me directions.  Neato!  I was supposed to turn on that road I mentioned.

I turned on the road and went up.  I followed the directions into a strip mall that wasn't marked.  Great.  Stupid GPS.  I've heard of GPS systems not being accurate which is why I don't have one.  I don't travel enough to justify buying one either.  I could have added a GPS system to my CR-Z but didn't feel it neccesary.  However; deep down I knew I was right.  I just couldn't figure out where it was.

I called the store and she gave me some weird directions.  I went up the road some more and found myself in another town.  Great.  I turned around and drove back.  My phone GPS took me into the same strip mall.  At this point I gave up and went to the second store as an hour or so had passed.

It was a nice store and she had Jeanna Kimball needles!  I picked up a package of straw needles and some YLI silk thread that I would like to try on this "My Tweets" for invisible applique.  She gave me directions to the first store.  Go figure.  It was in that strip mall.  Just at the other END of it.

I drove back and found the store on the opposite end.  It was also very nice but expensive.  I won't ever complain about my LQS prices now.  Some of the items were ten dollars over what normal retail value is.  I recognize that independent quilt stores can't buy in quantity, but I know when I'm being taken advantage of.  Gotta love being paranoid right?  (Not really).

Now my biggest fear is that I somehow messed up my data plan and will get this huge phone bill while using the GPS.  It's not the paid Verizon navigator so I might be okay on that end.  If you can't use a naviagtion system because of an unlimited data plan that's really "limited", forget it.  I'll use a paper map.

Lesson learned:  We quilters know exactly where a quilt store is.  We have a built-in GPS system to find one.  Had I followed mine, I would have made it there within a few minutes of getting off the freeway.
Oh.  Having a smart phone is actually very useful.  If I'm truly messed over with the GPS system, I'll use the basic google search and not the map application.      

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What Three Things Would You Bring?

My daughter has been studying the Holocaust and today her homework was to ask what three things we would take with us and what would be hard to leave behind if we had to go into hiding.  She told us food and water would be provided.

With a straight face, DH said he'd bring clean underwear, toilet paper and an assault rifle.  When my daughter finished laughing, she asked why he'd have a rifle.  His response was that if he needed something, they'd give it to him.

When asked what would be hard to leave behind he said a working toilet.

My response was bringing my scriptures, my photo album and pen and paper.  The scriptures for comfort, the album for memories and the writing supplies for journaling the upcoming events.  Oh.  I was going to sneak a tarp in with the photo album for a tent or a flag claiming sentimental value.

I'd have a hard time leaving behind modern electronics.

I started physical therapy with my back today.  Doing pelvic tilts the physical therapy way is much harder.  He had my stand on some sort of squishy pad and hold my balance on one foot.  That was a complete disaster.

I am almost done with block one of "My Tweets"!  I had to order fabric for the wings and still have a few leaves left.  I went with yellow instead of the orange because the flowers didn't look like pumpkins.

I have most of the center panel ready to go and will get as much done as I can tomorrow.  Now that I have a color scheme, the rest of these blocks will be pretty easy.  The next part is the machine applique.  I have some ideas and i hope one of them works.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

I know you are all sick of this BOM, but I "think" I have it.  I was in Lincoln seeing the specialist and stopped off at a LQS and asked for help.  The lady said to go lighter on the flower centers and found me a beautiful yellow fabric.

So with soft light yellow:

But then I tried this with dark orange: (forgive Blogger)

I really love the contrast of the deep orange but I like the softness of the yellow.  At least it's down to two  choices.  Both of them stunning in different ways.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Saw The Doc

Short post here, but it has good news.

Saw the back doc today and it's all good.  Got some pretty x-rays done and there's nothing to be worried about.  The place I went to is high tech and the x-rays went right to the computer screen.  It was cool seeing the x-rays so clear and not muddy.  There is nothing wrong with my neck and that the chiro doesn't need to touch it.

He said my back was fine but that I needed some core strength exercies and physical therapy to keep everything working right.  He didn't have a problem with seeing a chiro if it helped me.  Just tell him not to do any adjustments to my neck.

When he has done neck adjustments, the first time my entire left side went completely numb for a day and a half.  I was totally disoriented and slurring my words.  I went to the ER thinking I was having a stroke but I wasn't.

Second time just my left arm and neck went numb.

Third time I had a splitting headache for the rest of the day.  Not even three Aleve helped.

Fourth and last time I went numb down the left side and had some mild confusion.  That's when I said enough and I'm seeing a specialist about all of this.

Now he has helped my lower back by leaps and bounds so I'll keep him for that.

I feel so much better now.    

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Using Orange in "My Tweets"

Karla over at Karla's Krafts suggested a crayon yellow or orange for the flowers.  I hadn't thought of going that "orange" but figured it couldn't hurt.  I added orange centers to the top blue flowers and added yellow flowers at the bottom.  My problem now runs with the centers of the three yellow flowers.  The orange centers where really overpowering.  I didn't think to put them into the picture at the time.

Blogger is being a pain tonight and so is iPhoto so bear with me.  Here's the block with orange for the top flowers, the three orange flowers and under the wings.  My son said green wings looked dorky and insisted that they should be orange.  It's BOLD but I sort of like it.  Same problem with the centers of the bottom flowers.

If I add blue (the blue centers were done before the pot so they are the same), I need another blue or another color to work.

The orange works.  I think. Now, would orange "leaves" that you can see the outline above the birds help balance everything out for this bottom pic?

Any favs?  I'm leaning for the last pic.  I'd just have to test the green or the orange for the leaves.

If you happened to get this far, I have an appt. with a back specialist in the morning.  My chiro wasn't very helpful in explaining the x-ray results he got back other than something about my C1 and C2 vertabrae and mumbled about an MRI.  I figured I'd take matters into my own hands and made the appt.

BTW, don't joke about the possibility that your neck has been broken for the past 8-10 years w/o your knowledge after he goes over the x-ray.    He didn't find it very funny and insisted that my neck was NOT broken.

This chiro has done wonders though.  For the first time in almost a year I've been able to do anything.  I can walk around the stores.  I can stand outside with my DH while he uses the snow blower for up to an hour.  Just don't tell him to speed up while the blower is aimed in your direction.  It also hit me the other day that something was wrong and I couldn't figure it out.  Then I realized I haven't run into doors, walls, corners of furniture and stairs after a couple of visits.

Friday, February 04, 2011

I haven't had much to say about DH as he's behaved himself until the other day:
DH got a snow blower before the last storm hit and was so excited to use it.  He was almost done when I asked why he was only using the first speed when he has six to choose from.  He shrugged his shoulders, put it on speed six and started going.  At the same time he hit the blower part and nailed me in the side of the face with snow.  I guess that's what I get for asking him to speed up.  Poor DH.  He's been apologizing for a couple of days now.  

I have made this "My Tweets" block a huge mess.  I was determined to turn the edges under and machine applique the pieces.  I spent several days trying to make this happen.  Yesterday I finally said "Forget it" and bought some fusible webbing.  I just don't have the patience or the time to do this.  For those that love hand applique my admiration is beyond words.  

My next problem still figuring out a color scheme.  With the center block more intricate, I thought the yellow color was needed.  I finally have this layout but still not sure I love it.  Regardless of what I do, everything blends in to make mud or look funny.  The shoe is there to keep the paper from shifting in case you are wondering.  

  I thought I'd see what it would look like in gray scale:
 Hmm.  Wierd. The yellow doesn't even show up!  Just looking at this, I think the bottom flowers and the vase need to be dark to balance everything out.  I'm not sure what I should do with the top leaves now.  

Or take out the yellow completely and blend the blues together?  The gray scale approach really changes how you look at your block and gives you so much more information. 

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

I've spent all day working on block one of "My Tweets".  I really wanted the edges turned under but I'm about to start pulling my hair out.  It's not that it's hard.  It's just SO time consuming.  I don't want to hand applique and when I started doing Harriet Hargrave's blind stitch version I wasn't impressed.  I don't want the heaviness of a blanket stitch and since I turned the edges over, I don't want to satin stitch.

Here's what I've glue basted right now (except for the body and wings):

It's really pretty and I love the look.  It's just finding the right way to stitch it down.  I thought about waiting until the top is ready and do a straight stitch around the pieces that would both quilt and make a decorative stitch.  I just don't know if the glue basting would stay for that long.

I guess I could just "cheat" and use fusible webbing.