Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Subtle Progress

I've been making steady progress with Subtle Charm over the last few days.  All 30 blocks are now completed so now I get to match up all those points.  I'll work on that perhaps later today.  For now, housework must come first and Nick and I both have optometry appointments this afternoon.  It's been a few years since I've had my vision checked, so maybe if I get new glasses, I'll do better at cutting and sewing accurately.

6 of 30 Subtle Charm blocks
After working on so many scrappy quilts in recent years, it does seem a bit strange to work on such an organized quilt of just four fabrics.  It certainly makes it easier to put blocks together in rows, no switching them around to get the best placement or to keep from having too many of the same color or fabric side by side.  
 While my bias edges have been a little bit of a problem (blame my eyesight for cutting and sewing inaccuracies?) I am quite pleased that I have no volcanoes in the center of the blocks, they aligned quite nicely...
...and my points are pretty much on target.  We'll see how they line up though when it's block to block; there may be some easing and stretching to keep them in sync.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Design Wall Monday

Why yes, yes there is, something on my design wall...and it isn't just pins!
Subtle Charm blocks
These are the first two of 30 blocks.  I'll share some additional photos, but you must promise not to laugh, and definitely not call the quilt police.  In yesterday's post, I alluded to my dislike of working with bias edges.  You'll see why in the following photos.  There are several problems, but I do find ways to work around them, and still get my quilt tops to lay flat.  It reminds me of quilt author and lecturer, Mary Ellen Hopkins, and her 'personal, private, measurements'.  I seem to quite unintentionally have my own...measurements.  These blocks are supposed to finish at 12".  I think mine will be fitting closer to 12 1/2" give or take several or more threads ;p.
Initially, I thought I was doing really well.  I had even found a special acrylic tool that helped me trim those points before sewing.  That tool was far better than my own plastic template traced from the pattern.
 There's something not so 'even' there.
 OK, this one doesn't look so bad, but maybe just a little off.
Not terrible, but where the tan and the green meet at the edge, it's a little off.  That's a close up in the next photo.  No, I didn't take it apart and ease in the excess, nor trim the tan.
 I left it, and the green side will just be a bit skimpier on the seam....
 As with this one which was a bit skimpy on the tan triangle. 
And oh my, oh my, what have we here?  Um, yeah, I had to splice in a skinny little section because there was no way I could do a 1/4" seam.  Since it's so close to the edge, and will be practically unseen, I didn't bother with making the additional strip on the bias, which is what the triangle edge was.

I suppose if I were making this for a show, I might be more inclined to 'play by the rules' (who makes those anyway?), but this is a long-overdue quilt - I bought the fabric over ten years ago - for our bed, and that means only hubs and I will be seeing it, and trust me, neither of us are going to complain if there's a mismatched seam or even a point cut off, but I'm persnickety on those points, so they are actually looking pretty good.

Linking up at Patchwork Times and I'm off to get more housework done.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Stash Report Sunday, Week 39, 2015

Since I didn't make it to church this morning and it's more than an hour before the live-stream broadcast, I thought I'd get my Sunday Stash Report posted.

When I was last in Oregon, as you may recall, I went to Quilt Camp.  While there, I hung a bag for the other ladies to place any unwanted scraps into, and a week or two ago I had hand-washed them since so many were quite small pieces.  I spun them 'dry' in my salad spinner (I saw that tip somewhere in my internet travels.) and then put the pieces into mesh laundry bags and placed in the dryer.  They tended to clump up in the bags, so I ultimately hung the bags and fluffed up the pieces so they'd dry completely.  Yesterday, I pressed them when I got tired of playing with Subtle Charm's bias triangle edges, and here's a picture of the end result:
It doesn't look like much really in this photo, but I was curious how much yardage it possibly equaled.  I took a one-yard piece of fabric from my stash and weighed it on my kitchen scale.  It weighed just over 5-ounces.  I then weighed these scraps; they equaled just over 10-ounces.  That could equal 2-yards, but I'm going to be skimpy, and add this as just one-and-a-half yards to my stash, because it's untrimmed scrap which after trimming or use, will result in quite a bit less I think. 

It's not looking good for getting out of the red this year.  But, there are still 13 weeks to go, so...maybe?

Used This Week: 0 yards
Used Year to Date:  11.4 yards  
Added This Week:  1.5 yards
Added Year to Date: 56.69 yards  
Net Used / Added for 2015: 45.29 yards

Linking @ Patchwork Times
Head over and see how others are doing.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

One Bite, or Two

So the title of this post has more meaning if you read my last post on my DOOW blog, but in a nutshell, when you're overwhelmed with too much to do, you eat the (elephant), one bite at a time.  I swear that elephant heals up though and it's like starting over every other day!

But setting that aside, today, I decided I'd sweep everything off my workspace - or at least make the peripheral stacks higher to make space, and turned on "Ruby".  As you know, Ruby recently went to the sewing machine hospital/spa and was rejuvenated, but I hadn't put her to work since I brought her home, and that's now almost two weeks ago.  Today was the day, and she purred  more than my kitties do!
I do so purr, Mom! and I keep you company.  Yes, yes, you do Raven!
 The project I began working on is this one, which I've written about before (somewhere) as I barely started working on it at quilt camp 2014, and then worked on it some more in July at quilt camp 2015.  I'll write more on this project at a later time.  Would someone kindly remind me of why I wanted to a project with so many triangles and bias edges again? 
Subtle Charm
 Then there is this quilt project.  This was passed on to me by my good friend who has bailed me out several times over the years.  When I broke my foot, she picked up Nick and took him to and from school for about six weeks, and in many of my absences the past 18 months, she came alongside us again on many occasions.  I owe her in so many ways.  She had purchased this quilt kit a few years ago and had planned to do it herself.  She finally decided / realized, that she really didn't enjoy quilting, so decided I should get the project to do what I wanted with it.  She had started it and had the batting, thread, etc - everything needed to finish it.  I had finished the top after a little rework back in the Spring. 
Layered and pinned.
A few days ago, my other friend, Panda, asked to come by so she could lay a quilt out to be pinned on my big tables, so she did and we had a nice little visit while pinning her quilt.  I had not yet taken the tables down, so decided it would be perfect timing to go ahead and pin this one.  And, if I'd had more pins, I'd have pinned my grandson's quilt too, but it'll have to wait for now.    I was thinking I'd just do simple diagonal lines on this in each direction.  It has nice big blocks that would look nice with some fancy stitching, but I haven't perfected my FMQ...I keep saying 'some day'...but really want to get this finished so I can give it back as a gift to my friend for all the help she gave me and don't want to wait while I practice FMQ.

Small bites, but progress. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Never Enough Hours

Well, I brought Ruby (my sewing machine) home on Monday, and while I've set her up for action, I have yet to sew a single thing.

Instead, I've been trying to get ready for a meeting with our financial advisor on Friday afternoon.  He always wants to see what our "monthly spending" has been.  He thinks we should be budgeting and living within that.  He doesn't know us very well!  We have no debt other than our mortgage, and we live within our means, but living ON a budget is just too restrictive.  His categories for purchases don't match mine (notice I didn't say ours...I'm the one with the analytical mind and I do all the day-to-day tracking and categorizing...maybe too much so!).  Anyway, it's a bit of a chore, and always takes me longer than I think (that's my problem! overthinking!) and with this go-round, I've been trying to re-categorize in an attempt to be more in-line with Mr. Financial Advisor.  And since we use Quicken to track such things, I get on rabbit-trails of trying to fix or re-categorize records for somewhere close to 20+ years...yep, that long!  Marty used Quicken before we got married, and we've been married now for 19 years.

Housework is never ending time consuming, and yesterday I decided to make BBQ Country Ribs using my toaster oven and after the first 90 minutes of letting them cook at 250F, I then had to turn and baste them every 30 minutes for the next few hours.  Oh but they turned out pretty good!  
They look pretty dark - BBQ sauce - but they are not burnt.
I served them with a rice dish from a box (because I had it and it was easy), deviled eggs - ok, had to prepare those too, and a salad which required a bit of prep.
I also joined the modern era with getting a smart phone on Saturday, so I'm learning all manner of things about it.  I can text now.  Fascinating!  And yesterday, I learned that I have a built in app (I guess that's what it's called) that tracks my steps.  Also fascinating!  I'd been wanting a FitBit type monitor for over a year, but too many features/styles/costs to choose from and I hadn't taken the time to really analyze what would be best for me, so I was excited with this find, though my phone is about 7.5 ounces heavier than a FitBit would be and carrying it around is cumbersome!  I became aware of this feature, which automatically sets the goal at 10,000 steps.  Let me tell you, I thought I walked a whole lot in the house yesterday, but by bedtime, I'd only walked just under 1400 steps, pretty discouraging!  That didn't count my steps prior to discovering this feature of course.

I'd better get back to that project, Friday will be here before I know it.  I also have to run to the bank.  I'll be driving, not running, but that will add a few extra steps walking from the parking lot!

Have a wonderful day!

Edited to add:  This should have been posted on my Duck Out Of Water blog, but it seems I forgot to switch over, maybe I'll fix it later, maybe I won't!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Ruby's Home

I drove out this morning to pick Ruby up from the sewing machine hospital / spa.  

Aside from a general servicing, she needed only a tension replacement part which wasn't terribly expensive, so I'm happy.

Now, to put my mind back into sewing and figure out where to start.  Perhaps it shall be the project I left off on while at quilt camp in July.  It looks like I don't have a picture and I'll have to find where I put it...could it be that I have actually put it away in my stash closet?  Maybe it's in the bedroom across the hall.  It is here...some where!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Stash Report Sunday: Week 36, 2015

Trying to get back into my blogging world now!  It's time for a long overdue stash report.  When I was gone during July, I purchased some fabric, but didn't blog about it during that time, so here I am now catching up.  Oh, and I found my camera - minor detail, but it sure helps when one has pictures, no?

Five pieces of yardage.  The white has variant-sized dragonflies on it.  Dragonflies are fascinating.

Multi-colored dots and hearts.

I couldn't resist the kitties and paw prints.  The black & white and orange kitties loosely remind me of my two kitties.
My sewing room seems so empty without my sewing machine.  I sure hope her hospitalization and spa trip aren't very expensive!

Used This Week: 0 yards
Used Year to Date:  11.4 yards  
Added This Week:  8.5 yards
Added Year to Date: 55.19 yards  
Net Used / Added for 2015: 43.79 yards

Linking @ Patchwork Times
Head over and see how others are doing.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Well, Finally!

Yesterday I asked my good friend and quilting buddy if she wanted to go with me on an errand, and thankfully, she was available this morning. We met at my house, went to breakfast, and then took my sewing machine to the sewing machine hospital, or spa if you prefer, but it needed some repair in addition to the spa treatment, so I'm inclined to say hospital.  It will be at least a week before I can bring her home.

When I get her back, I'll be a little poorer, but I will be SO very happy to be able to sew again.  I've never given her a name (maybe Ruby, or Rosie/Rosy to coincide with her red front?), but she's been an excellent companion and workhorse since I purchased her, oh so very long ago (ten years more or less?), and she's never ever been to the spa.  Some will shame me for that, but I've cleaned out her lint with every bobbin change and given her oil drops then too. 
I realize I don't have a good close-up of her, or couldn't find one if I do have one.  She's a Pfaff Lifestyle.  If I were to ever purchase a new (second?) machine, the only things I'd like to have added are 1) a needle down option, and 2) a low-bobbin warning.  Other than that, I don't care much about any other bells and whistles.  She only has 10 or 12 stitches, but I've not bothered with any other than the zig-zag on occasion.  

For her return, I will have to do just a little bit of tidying and cleaning in order to set her table up again.  Ants were invading so I'd set out a Terro bait station and managed to have the entire contents, liquid, spill out in a pool.  I've left it there while the ants were so busy consuming, but yesterday went to wipe it up with tissues and realized the liquid had hardened - who knew? - so will now have to figure the best way to clean it up without damaging the flooring.

Before this machine, I had (still have) a 'cabinet' model Sears Kenmore from the '50s.  I used to make clothing on it.  The problem was always that the needles hit the bobbins and I don't know why, otherwise worked fine.  It hasn't been sewn on since at least 1999, and serves only as a bedside table now.  I also have Marty's mom's, also ca. 1950s, sewing machine; portable but could be used as a boat anchor - yep, that heavy!  It works well, but would have to be lifted onto the table, and it hasn't been used since I got the Pfaff...and would have to be dug out of in-house "storage", hehe.  I think it'll be just a little longer before I can sew again, unless I do some hand-work.  I've plenty of 'catch-up' issues to work on now that I'm home to stay.  Home to stay...has a nice ring to it!
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