Friday, December 8, 2017

Such a Day

Overall, the last few days have been really low energy days.  I think the vertigo that returned a week ago after a five or six month absence is zapping my takes effort to focus you know, so that you don't swirl right onto the floor. 

A large portion of SoCal has been burning up, and it's taken energy to watch the wall-to-wall coverage.  One of the fires was in our general area, but the wind took it away from us so we didn't get even the smoke from it.  Still, with the high winds that were relentless, and can be unpredictable, tensions have been high all week.  Humidity drops into the single digits and all of this combined just grates on me.

For the last couple days, I've been feeling an inner nudge to get back to work on En Provence.  I last worked on it on April 10th.

Well, this evening I received a message from an old friend in another state clear across the country, and she deeply explained some very sad and disturbing situations going on in her family, and it breaks my heart.  It's the kind of situation that just drops you to your knees to plead with the Lord to bring change, peace, comfort and support on their behalf.

With this on my heart and mind, I felt the need to focus on something else while I could pray, and process the trials she's going through, and there was En Provence, waiting patiently. 
First of the blocks to get back under the needle.
When I left off back in April, I had been working on putting the blocks together.  The blocks are a set of smaller blocks sewn into rows, and those rows sewn into one large block.  I knew I had pinned together many, if not most, of the final two sections of those blocks, but really could not remember where I was within the directions.  I began by going ahead and sewing the seam of those that were pinned, then I pressed those seams before looking at the instructions.  All was good, but I'm sure I probably pressed some in the wrong direction.
The stack of pinned block components.
Once those were done, I had all but four finished; for some reason they weren't with the ones I finished, though I found them and they are pinned.

The required number of a border blocks are done, but then there's another border block for the outside of that which is only in the primary block sections.  I'm thinking I have a whole lot of time yet to spend on this may get set aside again.

On Monday, I'm planning to go with my friend Panda, to the nearest quilt shop to see if I can find a satisfactory black for the Bow Ties quilt borders.  I might check Joann's, it's across from our Walmart and I need to do some shopping there too...should have done it today as I don't generally like to go there on the weekend.

Friday, December 1, 2017

More Progress

There were several days this week that I thought I wouldn't be getting back to my bow ties quilt work, but today, I decided to just set everything else aside, and worked on it for just under 3.5 hours.

The duplicate was re-done with a unique fabric...I didn't take any pics of that process, nor of putting together the six that seemed to vanish, get stolen, or that I incorrectly counted.

Today's work also got these blocks and rows put together.  

Approximately 1/3 of the uniques in that lower section.
A 4 x 12 section completely sewn together.  I got to thinking too, for my plan to use black as a border between the 13 x 12 unique sets unit (once they're all sewn together) and an outer single (maybe double) row of duplicate bow ties all the way around, that I will have to shop for a black that works.  Well, I'll cross that bridge eventually.
What? Well, who are you?  Little scalawags! They're the missing six bow ties! 
Original six uniques that went missing!
It would appear they jumped out of the bin and landed in a little pocket on that shelf.  So now, instead of being in the center unique section, they may get to play in the border rows.  I am relieved that I truly didn't mis-count the original number of pieces that had been on my design wall!  I second guess myself a lot lately though.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Then There Was This

Hmmm, even though I was very careful in separating duplicates from each unique fabric, it would appear I missed one.  This one:

is the same as this one:
so that one is going to be replaced.  And then, it would appear once again, that I mis-counted the number of unique blocks I had, as now laying them out again on the design wall sewn into bigger blocks of four bow ties, I'm six individual bow tie blocks short, for my planned 12 x 13 bow ties center.  That or my pesky kitty ran off with them or I put them in the wrong pile while taking them off the design wall. Probably the latter. 
Empty space for "missing" six bow ties.
I have a bunch of pre-cut sets I can search through for six more uniques, but will have to find a black that's close enough in tone and texture.  I have a Kona, but Kona tends to be heavier textured than what I used.  I have a piece of a black, but it seems to be a looser weave than I used too.

For six addition, and one replacement.
Good, I do have seven more unique sets, one for the duplicate replacement and six for the bad count.  Now, to see if I have any black scraps that will work, I would only need enough to make 14, 2" squares - 2 squares per block.

Resting on black.
After carefully looking at texture and "color" of black, using a previously sewn block, I chose this one.  It's not exact, but closest of the few choices I had at hand.  Looking at them under my OttLite help in the choosing.

I may tackle that this afternoon after church (online as we decided we didn't want to battle the holiday 'return' traffic on the freeways), or I may figure out where I left off on En Provence...and remove the cat hair since the cat decided to use that bin as a sleeping spot a few times!  Thank God for lint rollers :)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Making an Effort

This year I'm only following along with, and printing out the steps, of Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery Quilt, On Ringo least so far.  But something kicked in finally yesterday as I was reviewing the instructions, and seeing the pictures others were posting of their already completed units. I wanted to sew.

I'd also been looking at my Black Tie Party project on my design wall, and while nice to look at, it kept reminding me of all the projects that lay unfinished, so I cleared off the area around my sewing machine, or at least enough room, and took down all the unique blocks, placing them in a bin.  I realized I was off by one of the 156 I had calculated (there was a duplicate I missed) so I had to make another from a fabric that was not already in the mix.  Once that was done, I started putting two blocks together, while watching the Star Wars where Han Solo was killed off as the premium channels are free for the weekend, randomly matching by grabbing without looking, though I admit I'd occasionally say no to a match and grab another.  
When those were all sewn, I placed them all back into the bin (except for the ones I held back for the odd-numbered row) and randomly grabbed and matched two sets and pinned them, and that's what's in the picture, waiting to be sewn.  During this process I found I had one block rotated wrong, so had to fix that.  

It was hot yesterday, 87ยบ and my little room warmed up enough to have to turn on a fan.  It'll be a little cooler today, but still in the 80s; tomorrow too, though Monday will only be in the 60s with a 40% chance of rain.  I hope the rain happens, I miss rain and clouds.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Month Has Passed

The quilting mojo just has not yet returned.  I tried, by putting my bowties up on the design wall, and while they are nice to look at, I'm just not yet of a mind to start sewing.  I've been close a couple of times.

I picked up the paint chips for Bonnie Hunter's 2017 Mystery Quilt, but I lack many of the chosen colors in my stash.  I'll follow along but it's not likely I'll do it this year.  I ordered the special rulers...just in case, though she stated it isn't necessary to have them, but what the heck, I'll have them for next time. Right? 

My friend Panda is planning to do it so she went fabric shopping and I tagged along.  While I didn't get any fabric, I did pick up some Insul-Bright.  I've had it on my shopping list forever as I thought maybe I'd make some new potholders.  I've been using ones that are pretty worn out and stained; most are 21 years old or older...time for some new ones!
Panda saves her scraps for me, and had given me a bag or two that night, so I have culled through them and sorted them by color.  She tends to use brighter colors and different prints than I would, so it's nice to have some new variety in my scraps...
Bag of scraps, to get back to a sewing mood.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bow Tie Calculating

In July of 2013, I began my Bow Tie leaders & enders project ala Bonnie Hunter - Quiltville.  I last wrote about it January 2016, you can catch up (as I did) with this post.   I still have at most a couple dozen sets to sew into blocks.  I have 156 unique fabric blocks.  I have, if I counted correctly, an additional 203 blocks.  Of those repeat blocks, quantities are mostly 1 to 5 of each, but one of them has 18 more just like it!  
Black Tie Party, Project #043

I've calculated that the 156 uniques can be laid out, in the above pattern, at 13 rows by 12 columns, which finished will give a 39" x 36" unit.  I'm thinking I will add a 3" black border all around it.  That would bring it to 45" x 42".  Still just a bit small in my thinking, so perhaps another round of bow tie units (I obviously have no shortage of blocks), which then would bring it up to 51" x 48".  I could leave it at that, or add yet another two rows all around, maybe alternating the direction of the blocks.  I would have to cut and construct 3 additional blocks though...again, all depending on if my initial count, and calculations are accurate.  I'm not known for counting accurately!

Saturday, October 7, 2017


I last worked on Quiltville's 2016 Mystery Quilt, En Provence, all the way back in April, nearly six months ago to the day.  I haven't worked on any other quilting projects during that time either.  I need to review the process to mentally catch up on where I left off.
I unearthed the components shown above, and my project sheet where I keep track of fabrics, and time spent sewing.
I also unearthed this bin with part of the components, and those brown bags have other to just remember where I left off.  I'm contemplating diving back in and working on it some more.  I know the 2017 Mystery Quilt will kick off with colors and fabric requirements in just a few weeks, though I will have to decide if I want to participate this year or just save and print the instructions and vicariously follow along.  

When I say I "unearthed" these, you would have to see this room to understand.  I've been spending more time on genealogy, and I have papers everywhere and beyond.  Additionally, with the passing of Marty's father, I've been scanning photos to send to his brother who is planning to put together a picture-video memorial.  I need a bigger house (said tongue-in-cheek) where I can have dedicated rooms for my individual hobbies.  Regardless of which I'm doing, I have to pick/clean it up in order to work on the other.  

And I still have that grandson's quilt to quilt and bind, and then get started on the granddaughter's!  I really need to get my head back in the game.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

A Quilt Show

I went to a quilt show yesterday with my friend Panda, and another friend of hers whom I met for the first time.  We had a very nice time overall.

In the past, this quilt show was held near the Burbank (aka Bob Hope) Airport.  A few years ago, it moved to Pasadena.  Last year the show did not occur at all as a different, big craft show had just been at the new venue within weeks of its regular time, which was always in March.  There may have been other reasons too, of which I'm not aware.  This year, it was scheduled for September.  We had great expectations that it would be the same as in the past, though we knew it was only being held over two days, where in the past it was three or four days.  Sadly, there seemed to be far fewer vendors, and maybe even a smaller number of quilts than in past years.  

The boutique had an impressive amount of boxes of fabric sorted by color fabric for $2/pound.  To my eyes, it was all maybe 1980s-90s fabrics or older, perhaps stuff that had been donated to the guild by deceased members or members who just wanted to clear old stuff from their stashes.  We didn't take the time to go through any of it - our own stashes perhaps need to be down-sized!!

We enjoyed what quilts were there and I'll now post the few pictures of some I especially enjoyed. The following photos were all taken at the 2017 Glendale Quilt Show.


#108 statement


#107 statement


#013 statement


#100 statement


#135 statement


#084 statement

My only purchase at the show aside from admission and parking, was for a half-yard of this fabric:

The selvedge reads: Place of Origin: Division of RJR Fabrics, Designer: Sarah Watts/Wattsalot, Collection Name and Description: Cat Lady meow-meow-meow-meow-meow-meow, Season: Fall 2015 and made in Japan
Will have to see where this ends up in the future...maybe in a Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt?  Wonder if she'll use any pink this year.  I think it makes a good neutral with an added pop of pink.  Maybe it'll fit into a quilt for my granddaughter.

After the show we went to the Bear Pit BBQ.  I'd never been there before, and I enjoy BBQ.  It was a nice meal, and tasted great!  Then we headed home, Panda dropped me off and I took a nap.  I was tired, having ridden in a car for 10 hours the day before.  I sure slept well last night!  I developed an eye problem while in Arizona and think that is tiring me some as well.  I saw an eye doc while in AZ and he diagnosed it as posterior vitreous detachment - it will heal eventually.  Very thankful it wasn't a related tear or retinal detachment, that would have been more serious.  I do have an annoying small dark floater which I hope eventually disappears or lightens.  It's like looking at a gnat with your peripheral vision :/

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Not a Lick

I've not sewn a stitch, cut a strip, nor fondled a piece of fabric in quite awhile, though I may have shuffled a bit of fabric once or twice, and straightened up a stack or two in my stash closet after a kitty decided to take a nap and readjust her 'nest'.
Flame, knowing Mom's not happy with her location choice for a nap.
Clearly, I'm taking a break from all things quilty, and bloggy, though it was not a purposed break.  It will probably be this way for awhile yet.

In a couple weeks, Nick and I will be headed in one direction for a two or three week trip which will take us to an area where we should see the eclipse fully though that's not our purpose, but rather it's where family lives, and Marty will be taking a week's time and heading to a different state specifically for that purpose with his photog buddies.  Oregon is warning of huge numbers of tourists bombarding the state, so I'm not looking forward to the actual drive up.  Nick wants to take the coastal route, though it'll take two or three days...we may be sleeping in the car.

Several decades ago, I was an Artcraft Concepts party demonstrator.  I didn't do many parties, but I sure managed to purchase plenty of kits.  I've worked on sorting through those that I still have and am trying to disconnect from my attachments to them.  Some projects are in original packaging, some opened but not worked on, some partially worked on, some completed with leftover instructions and materials. Here's a sampling:
counted cross stitch
'quilted' purse and eyeglass case
soft-sculpture Godfrey Gobler Thanksgiving decor (pattern and leftover materials).  Hmm, I wonder where Godfrey is stored?
Pumpkin Pals - soft-sculpture pumpkins (partially done)
Plastic Canvas & yarn... instructions only
macrame towel holder (ivory) [barely started]
veggie refrigerator magnets, plastic canvas is missing
I have a Santa's Village that was yarn and plastic canvas too.  I'd cut out all the pieces in readiness to stitch, some are stitched (it's 3-dimensional), and then decided I no longer wanted to display Santa-related items, so boxed it all up and there it has remained except for the once a decade or so attempt at sorting through the kits.  I liked their kits, they were almost all better quality than the store-bought kits.  Unfortunately, the company is out of business.  I wrote a bit about Artcraft and the Magi embroidery kit back in 2011 on my DOOW blog.  You can read about it here.  That project is finally close to being finished...I ran out of the darkest red thread and needed to located something close...with just a 3" section left to finish!  Had they still been in business, I'd have only had to contact them, and they'd have sent more at no charge.  Oh well, time passes and little remains the same.  I think I'm ready to pass these on.

Sunday, June 18, 2017


That's not what you think!  I haven't been drinking!

I've been inventorying some things lately.  I started on my quilt books yesterday, and today I was flipping through one and saw the image of a hammer with the striking area covered with fabric.  

What? We use hammers in our quilting?  The book is Reversible Quilts by Anita Murphy and was published in 1991.  The excerpt reads:

"After all your blocks are joined sew rows together with connecting strips in same manner.  Trim batting.  If you still have a lot of bulkiness at the intersections, cover a small hammer with a bit of fabric and batting, Fig 7 [that's the hammer image], then give the intersection a tap with the hammer.  It should help eliminate a lot of bulkiness to allow you to handstitch the connecting strip."

There you have it.  Add a hammer to your quilting supplies and when you have too much intersection bulk, give it a whack tap.  

Have a blessed Sunday!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Oh Who's Counting?

Well, how do you like that? It's been nearly another month since I've posted.  And I don't have anything to show that's been done during that time, so I'll just leave it at that.  I'm still alive and kickin' as they say, just otherwise pre-occupied.

I got out on Saturday to a quilt show in a valley not too far away, only took one photo and it's on my phone..somewhere.  My friend Panda went with me, well, actually I suppose it would be more correct to say I went with her since she drove, but it was my idea to go ;p  We had a great time together, even if my lower back decided to start barking joining the chorus of my feet's complaints.  It didn't help that I discovered my shoe's sole was coming apart.  Better than my soul coming apart!  

Oh! I did buy some fabric.  I bought a charm pack of Moda's Bee Inspired line, and a charm pack (gift for my daughter) of Moda's Sugar Plum Christmas line because it had gingerbread boys on the top fabric and we've had this gingerbread boy thing going on since she was a little girl.

Nick's graduation is coming up on the 1st, along with my daughter and family coming in from Texas the week prior, and I've no place to put them!  So you likely won't see me on here for another month while I figure out where and how to rearrange.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Bobbin, Bobbin

Do you have a least favorite aspect of this whole process we refer to as quilting?  I think my least favorite is having to rewind bobbins.  

Here's where the bobbins get wound on my Pfaff.  At the far right, that piece with the screw in it was originally set slightly more to the left - think clockwise - but wasn't filling the bobbin very full so I took it to the dealer (shortly after purchase) and asked if that could be adjusted.  He adjusted it and it now gives me full bobbins.
The bobbin sits on the peg and will be wound according to that diagram embedded in the plastic.
To start the bobbin, I have to manually wind a little bit of thread onto it, then slide the peg loaded with the bobbin to the right before running the machine to wind the bobbin.  More often than not, it takes several attempts before the thread actually catches and starts filling.  That is a very frustrating aspect of winding bobbins.  Now someone, I'm sure, will school me on how to poke the end of the thread through that little hole in the bobbin first.  Maybe I'll try that the next time I fill bobbins. 

I'd like to think some bright engineer could come up (or should have by now) with a system where when you add your spool of thread, you add an identical spool of thread that runs through an area that functions like a bobbin...and ideally both would run out of thread at the same time.  You'd know that when the top spool is low, that the 'bobbin' one is also low.  No more filling little plastic/metal bobbins that run out on you at inconvenient before you sewed those dozen or so units without thread :/

But, until that brilliant engineer develops the machine of my dreams, I'll continue to wind bobbins the 'old-fashioned way', and experience the frustrations and aggravations of so doing each time.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Wait, What?

Sometimes I can only laugh at myself.  While watching The Voice I was busily pinning the block rows together and it suddenly dawned on me that something just didn't look right.  It isn't that all four of the yellows weren't matching because I was sifting through and grabbing the right one as I went, but...where are the center neutral 4-Patches, and that's not where things belong?

Just not right!
Somewhere along the line I got all discombobulated and had things sitting in wrong piles, having pinned about half, I then ended up having to un-pin and sort out my mess.  When all was done, I found I wasn't in such bad shape as I thought and only had to un-SEW one long seam and then lay them in their correct places so that they could be pinned and sewn correctly.  Sure glad I caught that before I'd pinned and sewn them all!
Correct layout
I'm getting a lot of mileage from this photo - this is now the third post with it - which shows the correct layout, which is how I sewed the individual units from, so once that was done, they were pressed, I have no idea how I managed to get the rows all twisted around - perhaps being distracted with the TV?  Or maybe just tired!

It's a shopping day at the big warehouse store that opens in under an hour so I'd better get myself together and get scootin'.   Have a great day!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Week 15, 2017

I haven't had anything to post to Design Wall Monday in quite awhile, but I got busy on En Provence over the last few days.  On Saturday, I put in a full EIGHT hours of piecing time! Yesterday was only three, and I haven't done any yet today...maybe after my afternoon nap which will be right after this post. 

En Provence block layout
 I posted the above pic a few days ago but thought I'd repost it as a reminder.
Putting two units together, chain piecing all the way through the stacks.
 I had pinned a number as to row & column on the top piece of each unit in the layout.  That helped greatly in keeping things in order as I chained through rows 1 through 5 and columns 1 - 4.  The 5th column will be included in the next round, and the sashing strip (those with the pinks) were treated as a 6th row.
This is not a basket!
 As I chain pieced, I just let the units fall off the back of my Sew-Ezi table.  When I was done, this is what I saw.  The units naturally formed a 'bowl' as they landed round and round.  I thought that was pretty cool.
4/5ths of a row
 Getting ready to sew the 5th-column pieces to the respective rows.
Sashing unit pairs
 The sashing units didn't land in quite the same attractive bowl shape but they still circled into a pile of sorts.
En Provence block rows
The five rows are now ready to be sewn into blocks.  I have started the process, but didn't photograph yet.

As long as it's been since I've posted a Design Wall Monday post, it's been as equally long since I've looked to see what others have been doing.  I'm sure everyone else is far more up-to-date than I am with what everyone else has been doing, but I'm going to go have peak....and then take my nap.

Linking up to Patchwork Times!
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