Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Plugging away

I only managed to get one and three-fourths blocks quilted. I was really tired last evening.

The blocks in blue are the ones I quilted. The one with the asterisk is the one only 3/4 done.

The blocks in the middle take longer to quilt as I am wrestling with the bulk of the quilt. I have to stop more often to adjust the position of the quilt. I am so close to having the background of all the blocks quilted!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moda Halloween progress

I was able to get two more blocks quilted so I am finally into single digits of blocks left to quilt! Nine more to go! Here are the two blocks I did yesterday.

Of course, I am still charting my progress. I marked yesterday's blocks in green. I also reworked the schedule a bit since I didn't make the schedule that I had in red which was very aggressive.

Here is the quilt laid out next to the sewing machine ready for the next block to be quilted.

I had to take some time last evening to oil the machine up again as it was sounding like a thrashing machine and was skipping stitches when I would go backwards. It worked much better after the oiling. I did some calculations and I will have close to 2 miles of quilting in this piece by the time it is done.

I received an email from the lady who earlier this year I made three pieces for possible use in a book she was writing. As you know, none of my pieces were accepted and we were not allow to post pictures. She was going to post the picture next year as part of the book launch. The email that was sent on Sunday stated that if we wanted we were allowed to enter our pieces in other competitions including QuiltCon. Talk about waiting to the last minute to let us know she changed her mind! If I would have known sooner I would have worked on finishing the other two that were not done. Since QuiltCon is ok with posting pictures I am posting the pictures of the pieces. The black and white piece is done, the off white and tan piece is almost done, and the dark piece has not been quilted - this is the one I wish was done. I still haven't decided which quilts I am entering so there is still possibility that any of these could be entered.

DP progress

I got a bit done on this, but as you know I am up to my eyeballs in trying to get the Halloween quilt finished. I did get the fabric for my second DP quilt sorted, pressed, and paired up as this will be improv pieced.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Halloween quilt and driveway

I am so tired I can hardly type. Thursday and Sunday my quilting friend Stephanie came over to pin baste quilts. On Thursday she did this quilt.

After 6 hours of quilting she then bound it and needed to pin baste another quilt. So she came back on Sunday and pin basted this quilt that is suppose to be the mushroom from Mario Brother's video game. With both quilts I helped her tape down the backs, smooth out the batting and the tops, but she did all the pin basting so I could continue to machine quilt Thursday and power wash on Sunday.

The weather was so nice on Sunday, in the 50's, that I needed to get the mud cleaned up in the driveway from the big construction project. The contractor had swept up a bit, but it is hard to sweep up frozen mud and rocks! I power washed the driveway using a shovel to scrap up the 1/4"+ thick mud and used a broom to help move the water and dirt along.

My driveway is not sloped correctly as the section of concrete have settled over the years. There is an area at the left side where I just had to push some the water and dirt over to let the water dissipate and I will have to go back and shovel up the mud left behind. So now the driveway is pretty clean!

I also backfilled in the curb at the foundation repair. It was so muddy that the clay was sticking to my shoes more than staying where I was trying to pack it down. This whole area is where they put in the drain piping and curb is going to need some cleaning up in the spring.

I got my haircut Saturday morning, so other than that and the previous activities I already talked about I was quilting on the Moda Halloween quilt. Since there was a Clint Eastword marathon on Saturday on more than one channel to keep me company, I just kept quilting. I finally went to bed at 1:45 a.m. Sunday morning and was up by 7:15. Overall I managed to get 22 blocks quilted. I now have 11 more to go. Here is what the schedule looks like now. The red is the if I don't sleep at all schedule and you can see that didn't happen!

I decided to make a little drawing of the quilt and X out when I finished a block just so I see that I am making progress

although sitting at the machine all I keep seeing are lots of safety pins

Thursday, November 20, 2014

MQG meeting, preparing for the quilt-in, and why I save scraps

We had a wonderful time at MQG meeting last evening. Lots to talk about! Stephanie has taken over the web presence for the group - yeah! She is working on a web page and linking up the members who have blogs. I am anxious to see what she had done. Thank goodness she is doing this. Our FB page is a disaster and maybe once she gets everything cleaned up we will get some new members!

After Stephanie sewed a snap on her coat that had come off, she showed us her latest quilt top commission. She is coming over to my house this weekend to pin baste it. It needs to be done for Christmas. I have a spool of 50 weight Aurifil that I think will be the right color for this quilt. 50 weight doesn't work well in my machine so I will be glad to have someone get some use out of it.

Next June showed the quilts she made for a newborn set of twins - a boy and a girl. The quilts turned out beautiful! June is still a newbie and she does a wonderful job with color choices and workmanship!

Joanna brought two wall hangings that she needed help choosing binding. This first piece looks like a landscape and has the threadwork/machine quilting to look like a river is running thru it. I love that red orange in this piece!

The other piece was this one made with beautiful pieced leaves.

I had brought my Moda Halloween quilt to show and to work on hand stitching the binding while we talked. I decided that I wanted to match the binding to some of the blocks after I wasn't totally thrilled with the way the binding looked on the orange and green Halloween quilt I made in September. Remember that one? What bugged me was the orange binding next to the green blocks.

So this is what I am doing for this quilt - call me crazy, but I am doing it anyway. I cut my binding from the fat quarters I had left. Then I butt joined them using a 5/8" seam. Stay with me now.

Then I flipped it so one of the seam allowances was sticking out while the binding and the other seam allowance went the other way. I trimmed the green seam allowance at an angle.

Then I flipped the binding around, exposed the orange seam allowance and trimmed it at an angle the opposite way from the green.

And this is what it looks like with the seam allowance press open. What this does is spreads out the bulk and then you don't get a big lump with a butt joint.

This is what is looks like with the binding sewn on the quilt.

The other thing I do when I sew on my binding is use a different colored thread in the bobbin so I can pick that row of stitching out easier when I am folding the binding over for hand stitching. If I use the same color as the backing it is hard to pick out which row of stitching I need to follow especially when there are multiple lines of parallel stitching. See my yellow stitching line?

I did get some binding hand stitched.

So now to the scraps. Well, since I decided to match the binding on the non-black or non-white background blocks I needed to cut binding for these three blocks on the other side of this quilt.

I had kept or at least I thought I had kept, all of my Moda Halloween fabrics together. I could not find the leftover FQ's for these three pieces. After searching and searching it came to me that I had used them in the two Halloween quilts I made in September. Ok now what? Scraps! What did I save? At first I found the selvages which I thought I would use in the label, but now they would have a different use. They were not wide enough to make binding out of though. Then I started digging thru some pieces from trimming and low and behold I think I will have enough once I sew the pieces together. Thank goodness I saved those scraps or I would be buying fabric today for the binding!

I am taking a vacation day on Friday so it will be as much quilting as possible starting when I get home from work tonight. I do have a hair appointment on Saturday morning, but I will use that time as my break and relax. I gathered some items that may come in handy for this marathon.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Almost threw in the towel

I spent about an hour and a half messing around with sewing machines so I could work on the Halloween quilt. It is my own fault for not sending my original Pfaff 1475 to Jeff my sewing machine guru when I started having problems with my new machine. I would have had the original back by now, but it is what it is. Lesson learned.

I spend time oiling my original 1475 to see if that would help with the skipped stitches when I would get when I would free motion backwards. I tried and tired and was still having problems. I then thought I would try my Mom's 1471.

Well, it sews great, but there is no darning foot and no needle down feature. I tried sewing a bit with it, but it just wasn't going to work. This is when I almost gave up the thought of getting this quilt done and just throw in the towel. I thought I would try my 1475 again. Maybe the oil penetrated all the crevices by this time because if I went slow going backwards it wasn't skipping stitches anymore. I regrouped my head and am forging on with this quilt. I was up early this morning, about 4:30, and got this block done.

I have evaluated my schedule again and I will just have to quilt for three days straight and re-evaluate where I am on Monday.

Since I have the blocks on two sides done which means three corners are quilted, I am going to start sewing on the binding. Why? I have quilt group tonight and since I am on such a time crunch, I will do the hand stitching on the binding while at the meeting. I cleared off my table and found the fabric for part of the binding. I will work on sewing it on at lunch and after I get home from work before I head to the meeting at 6:30.

In the garage is my halogen work light and a small heater to try to keep the garage a bit warmer than outside. The work light throws off a lot of heat. We just need to get threw the next couple of days as it is suppose to warm up this weekend. Yes, I don't like leaving the heater and light on when I am not at the house, but one of the fellows at work assured me that there are safety features that will shut them off if they overheat. There is nothing in the garage near then that would catch on fire, but if it gets up to 33 degrees by lunchtime, I will shut them off and get them a break. The garage faces the south so it warms up pretty good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The madness continues

I didn't know what to name today's post as there were several titles I could have given it like Time Suckers or What did I do to the Universe. Let's start with the garage project. I went home at lunch and instead of having some time to quilt I got sucked into watching and helping out a bit. The driveway was covered in water and mud - just a mess. My feet and the bottom of my pants got wet and dirty.

The curb was poured to fill in the gaps in the footer and foundation.

After I got home from work for the day the contractor was still there and a fellow was troweling the garage.

Then as the guys were finishing up I helped out by holding open the plastic tent at one end so Don could broom the exterior concrete. I helped him seal up the opening. More time sucking! Here is the tent they built.

It was 5:30 before I got to sit down and sew. I only managed to get one and 1/2 blocks quilted.

This morning I was up early since I couldn't sleep with the wind howling so I thought I would get some quilting done before work. Not! My newly purchase machine will not stay on. I have been having trouble with it for about a month, but if I messed with it I could usually get it to come on. Not this morning.
I ended up switching out machines, but I was having trouble getting my old machine to work too! I swear the Universe is against me in getting the Moda Halloween quilt done! I wasted 45 minutes this morning cleaning and oiling the heck out of the machine to try and get it to cooperate. I needed to find the hot glue gun so I could stick my holder for large cone spools, but I had to dig thru the mess left from installing the closet doors - another time sucker. If I still have problems, I may have to try using my Mom's machine. At least I have options!
Remember how that room looks?

I was thinking about what my contractor could use to insulate the exterior concrete (the garage is considered interior space by Don). I had a roll of insulation so I decided to dig it out. It, of course, was buried behind the furnace so I had to move a bunch of stuff to get it out. More time sucking.

Don is coming this morning to spray some kind of sealer on the concrete and I assume get their trailer, skid steer, and junk. Tomorrow he will come and do the saw cutting. I will have to take to him about when he will be back to take down the tenting, but at least they will be done. It is suppose to be warmer next week - right now it is 12 degrees! - so maybe I can clean up the mud in the driveway next week.