Sunday, January 21, 2018

Slow Sunday Un-Stitching

The colours in this photo are much brighter than in real life!
I made this quilt for my son Eric and gave it to him for Christmas in 2010. He has used it quite a bit since then and when I last washed it I noticed that the quilting threads were breaking. :(  All over the quilt and not just the areas I photographed.

This quilt has been used but not abused so I am puzzled as to why this happened. This quilt was quilted on a domestic machine long before I had my long arm. I wondered if it was the thread I used. So, I started looking closely at other quilts that I had done on my domestic machine.

The photo of the quilt below was one that I had made for my husband in March of 2010 and I used a different brand and type of thread. I can be sure of that because it is variegated and I still have some left on the spool.

The one thing in common with the threads is that they were 100% cotton and I am pretty sure they were quilted on the same machine. I know that whenever I was preparing to quilt I always changed my needle so it is not possible that the thread would have frayed because of a burr on the needle. Could it have been something going on with my machine? I don't know but I am not thrilled about this to say the least.

I thought about what I could do and I have decided to start with Eric's quilt. I am removing the binding with Molly's help. She decided she needed to have a nap on the quilt as I was working on it. :) After I get the binding off  I will try to press as many wrinkles out of the quilt as I can. Once that is done I will baste a strip of fabric all around the edges and load it onto my quilt frame and requilt it. I hope that this process will work - I can only try. I am not going to remove all of the old stitches, they can fall out by themselves, but I will make sure to trim any toe catchers so that my hopping foot won't get caught in them. I will press the binding and maybe I can reuse it. If not, I will just have to find something else that will work.

This week Kathy has asked us to show some of our hoops that we use for our slow stitching. I use this hoop most often, but not often enough. ;)  It is a simple pvc hoop and it is very lightweight and the edges are smooth. It does the trick for me.

I am linking up with other slow stitchers over at Kathy's Quilts. I am pretty sure you will find links to wonderful projects actually having stitches added to them!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Again!!!!

If it is Saturday then it is the day to link up for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge over at soscrappy. I made another cute little midget block. This is Midget Block 111 - Wedding Ring and I think it looks really cute!

This block was machine pieced and it went together so quickly and easily. It is made with an odd sized block - 1-3/8" and called for 1-3/4" squares cut in half for the half square triangles. I got around that by using 1.5" scrappy strips of blue, matched in pairs with the background fabric, and used my easy angle ruler to cut the triangles. It was just a matter of doing a bit of sliver trimming to get my hsts to the correct size.

Yesterday, after my exercise class I came home and made these loaves of sourdough bread. You can get the recipe here. I have made this bread many times and it really is a winner!
I thought that I had killed my sourdough starter because it had sat in the fridge unfed and unloved for more than a couple months. It took a couple days but I was able to revive her and it back to very good health. I must remember to take better care of Bertha because I would have been very sad had I lost her.

This is Bertha - straight from the fridge. She didn't mind that I didn't tidy her up and put her into a new bowl. ;) I have enough excess starter that I will make some sourdough buns today. My husband and son gobble this stuff up. Honestly, who can resist homemade bread or buns. :)

I cannot believe that it is Saturday already. Time seems to fly by so quickly even when I try to stay engaged and live in the moment. Poof....another week has flown by!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Block Lotto

Do know about Block Lotto? Just as the name says - it is an on-line lottery for blocks and anyone can join in. You can read all about the details here.

This month's block looks really intriguing to me. I think they would make a great quilt top to practice some custom quilting on.

So I dug out my bright solids and black and white fabrics and I got to cutting. I may add a few more solid colours to the mix but I think so far so good!

I made two blocks as a sample and they went together very quickly. I sewed my black and white strips together and chained pieced my blocks even though the instructions are written for making one block at a time.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My First Custom Quilting :)

Oh my goodness...why was I so hesitant to do a bit of custom quilting.  It was actually quite liberating. I am so happy with my results that I think I will do more custom quilting on my own quilts.

I used a ruler for most of this quilt although some of my lines are very crooked so you might think I did it free hand. ;)  I can't actually say that it was fun because it was work and it was hard on my shoulders. I had to keep reminding myself to get them away from my ears - they got very tired! It certainly did take a lot longer to quilt than if I had used a panto but I think it was worth the effort.

It does feel good to know that I have another tool in my quilting toolbox. I have gained so much confidence by stepping out of my comfort zone and just trying. Of course, I will need to do more practicing and now I am inspired to try to do some free hand quilting too.

I have made plenty of wobbles and bobbles on this quilt and honestly it really doesn't bother me one bit. I don't plan to pick out anything on this quilt and not because it is a donation quilt. Even if I was keeping it or gifting it to a loved one I would not pick out the imperfections. I think it just shows that a perfectly imperfect human being did the quilting. :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Organizing My Pantographs

I recently had an email with questions about how I organize my pantographs. I think I have come up with a pretty good system.

I unroll all of my pantographs and then I fan fold them into a size that will fit into a hanging file folder. I use legal size because some pantos can be quite wide. I make a tab with the name of the panto and then I store the pantos in alphabetical order in a filing cabinet.

The other thing I do is that when I order a new panto I print out the image from where I am ordering. I place these printed images into individual page protectors and store them in a binder. The binder ends up being a catalogue of all of my pantos and I can quickly peruse through it and choose the panto I want. I can also write any notes about the panto so I can keep track about any issues or whatever information I want to add. It is then just a matter of taking the panto from the file folder and using it.
The binder must be cute for the system to work :)
I find that this system works perfectly for me. I can easily find what I want when I want to use it and it doesn't take up a huge amount of storage space.

I hope this tip helps others that are looking for a practical storage solution.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Quilting has Commenced

I am so happy with the way things are looking. :) I am actually quite surprised! I thought I would have the most difficult time but the only real challenge so far has been the power kept cutting out on the machine. I didn't know why so I called out to my husband and asked if we were having power blips? Nope. My husband is an authority on electricity - he is and electrical engineer - so I ask him to check my machine. He doesn't even move off the couch he just says make sure the power cord is in all the way. Let's just say he really is an expert! lol  I had recently given the machine a really good going over because when my sister last used it there was a very strange noise coming from it. So I had unplugged it and checked everything possible to check and it had all seemed okay. I guess when I plugged it back in I must have been a bit limp-wristed and didn't get it seated all the way in the outlet. Thankfully it was such a minor thing!!

In preparation for quilting I wanted a design plan so I would know exactly what I was going to do. So as I made my design decisions I drew them onto this piece of plexiglass using a wipe off marker. I had asked my husband to purchase this quite some time ago in hopes that I would start using it right away. Well, that didn't happen until now! It is perfect to use to figure out what a design might look like on the quilt and it is reusable. The only thing that I need to change is that I need to exchange the painters tape around the edges with duct tape. The painters tape wants to lift off and that is not good. I absolutely want to make sure the edges are very visible so that I don't mark the quilt by accident.

I wanted to quilt a design that wasn't going to be too difficult and that I thought that I could execute as a beginner and I think I accomplished that. I just didn't want to stress by trying to overachieve! I am really happy so far with the quilting. Sure, there are wobbles and bobbles but I am okay with that. I don't think the recipient will be too worried about it either. :) It took me about 2 and a quarter hours to quilt the first three large blocks. By the time I got that much done my shoulders were up above my ears! I have three more blocks to do plus the sashing and borders. I think if I get an earlier start on it today I could potentially get it all finished.

Monday, January 15, 2018

On Ringo Lake

I have started clue 9 and it is a doozer! A whole lot of steps were required in preparation for putting the quilt top together.

Happily I did find enough yardage pieces for the triangle border although I really would have preferred to have more variety. Cue the music -

You can't always get what you want 
but if you try sometimes you might find 
you get what you need.

I did get everything done to the point where I am adding the side sashing to some of the blocks. I must confess that I am having a bit of a problem with that because not all of my pieces/blocks are the correct size....gasp. They are close but some just not close enough. ;) I think the problem was that I adjusted my seam guide mid project and didn't get it back to the correct position. I must have put together several many blocks before realizing the error of my ways. Oh well, such is the life of a quilter!

I can tell you that putting these blocks together and into rows is going to be a very slow process for me. I will really have to pay attention to the orientation of the sashing because sometimes my mind does wander. ;)