Monday, August 29, 2005

Inheriting my mom's rejects!

This weekend I took my mom that yellow and red quilt that I had finished quilting. She had another one ready for my to bring home and quilt. She made this quilt for my nephew. She is trying to make and handquilt at least one quilt for each grandchild. When she got this quilt together she decided she didn't like it enough to hand quilt it for Isaac. I, of course, loved it. So she said I could have it! It is currently 84"x84" - so I am going to add a big wide border so that I can use it on my bed. I stopped by JoAnn's yesterday to use my 40% off coupon to buy batting. I walked quickly by their quilting fabric and fell in love with this floral fabric in the bottom picture. I think it goes well with the civil war feeling of the quilt. I can hardly wait to get the border on and the quilting done so I can use it on my bed!

Speaking of batting - does any one have a good source for good prices on batting?

Hope everyone gets to quilt some today!

What's "Too small"?

All this talk about tiny pieces inspired me to share my tiny log cabin quilt. Each "log" finishes at one half inch. The whole thing is 18.5 inches square. This size log is too tiny for me! Never again! Not sure what I am going to do with this thing. I will probably put a border on it and then quilt it. Maybe a table topper? or a wallhanging?

Returned from Nashville

Well, we survived our whirlwind trip to Nashville and made it home safe and sound. We left Friday afternoon around five and drove for about four hours. We stopped in Birmingham and had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack (Yes, I thought of you Nina!). The kids were excited because we spent the night at a hotel. We drove the rest of the way on Saturday. While me and my mom went to the quilt show, my poor husband had to watch the kids and help my dad move his woodworking shop to their new barn.

We got to the quilt at about 2:30 and they close at 5 pm. We decided this was perfect timing. The crowds had definitely thinned out and the vendors had marked their prices down! Several different vendors had fat quarters for $1 each. Some had bolts marked down 50%. We had plenty of time to look at the quilts and do some shopping. They hung the quilts up with two quilts in each little area sort of in a very wide "V". Does that make any sense? Anyway, my quilt was hanging right next to the first place winner in our category (My Favorite traditional pattern). At least it wasn't next to the grand prize winner, right? When I told a friend about it being right next to the blue ribbon winner, she said well at least you know a lot of people saw your quilt! Good point!

Our favorite part of the show was the antique quilt part. They had quilts dating back to about 1830. They were all amazing and much more my style than the artsy fartsy quilts! I appreciate the talent and time it takes to make the art quilts but I prefer the traditional quilts.

I managed not to buy too much fabric. I bought a few of the bargain FQ's and I found a FQ pack of coffee fabrics for my father-in-law's quilt. It occurred to me that if I am going to make him this quilt for Christmas, I'd better get going!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Finally Done!

It is finally done! Amazingly it only took about 15 minutes to finish quilting my mom's quilt once I finally got around to it. I had been avoiding it since Tuesday because I was having such problems with the tension and then with the wavy borders. Still don't know what went wrong, but I sure am glad it is done! I am also glad that I don't have to bind it!

The first picture is my son and his friend, Taylor. Way too much blond hair and blue eyes! They are so funny together.

Tomorrow night we head to Nashville to go to the AQS show on Saturday. I am looking forward to spending the day looking at beautiful quilts and hopefully not buying too much fabric! It still costs $9 a yard even if its a fat quarter!

Our local sewing center is a collection site for blankets for Project Linus. For every blanket you donate you get a ticket for a drawing for a new Janome DC3050. The last day is 2/18/06. I see a few baby quilts in my near future. Actually I have several sitting here that just need binding. Check out your local Janome dealer and see if they are running the same contest.

My headache never did turn into a migraine but has decided to hang around for three days now. Kind of a dull ache that I don't notice unless I sit still for a minute.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Is today over yet?

I had such high hopes for today. I was going to finish quilting my mom's scrap quilt and get all the furniture put back in place after having our carpets cleaned yesterday.

So I started quilting and soon ran out of thread in the bobbin. The bobbin my quilting machine uses aren't the huge bobbins like a Gammill uses. They are about the size of a regular sewing machine bobbin. So you can see how it wouldn't last long at 1500 stitches per minute. So as I putting the new bobbin in, I notice that the bobbin tension seems very loose. You know how the bobbin is supposed to just barely lift off you palm when you hold the end of the thread? Well mine was unraveling freely. So I tighten the little screw, put it in and start sewing again. The stitches don't look quite right so I try adjusting the top tension which just further messes things up. Finally gave - readjusted the bobbin to too loose, reset the top tension and ripped out a couple yards of stitches.

Then on the next row of quilting I discover that the quilt seems to be growing in width. In order to keep the borders in a straight line I have to make three tucks of about a inch each. I called my mom and said I was sending the quilt back to her because I was tired of wrestling with it. She said for me to just do what ever I thought it needed - so it needed three tucks! I don't think they will be too noticeable.

All of this gave me a headache, so I laid down to take a nap and the headache only got worse. I get migraines very rarely, but I thought to my self, oh no here it comes. My husband made me take some aspirin but that didn't seem to help.

After dinner, I was feeling slightly better until I remembered that I had promised my daughter that she could get her ears pierced, TONIGHT! The piercing place only has two people on duty on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Since we are going out of town this weekend, it was now or never. Since I wasn't feeling good I was hoping she would chicken out but she didn't. I was so proud of her. She didn't scream like I expected - just a little sobbing after it was over. She got cute little pink daisies. She is quite proud of her self!

Now it is bedtime. I think I'll take some tylenol PM and hit the sack. I'll wrestle with that silly quilt tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Shopping....with children

For some insane reason, I woke up this morning wanting to drive to Montgomery which is about 45 minutes away and go shopping. So I piled me and the kids into the car and headed off. Whe we got to Parisians, I returned the shirt I had bought two and half months ago and decided I didn't like it. Anyway...they were having a huge clearance sale on all their summer clothes and since it is still going to be hot here in southern Alabama for quite some time I decided to look around. My children decided to go crazy, chasing each other all over the place. After leaving the mall, they start begging for lunch - its only 10:30! So we go across the street to the quilt store. Amazingly we only stayed about 10 minutes. Nothing on the sale rack was calling me too loudly and I definately don't need any full price fabric. So off we go. We hit a furniture store that was going out of business, claiming that prices were slashed 50 to 70 %. No way. They definately had jacked up the prices so they could then claim to slash prices. Left there quickly too. Then went to McDonalds to quiet the natives. Low and behold right next store is a Hobby Lobby. Went there to check out there sale racks. Came out with 17 yards of fabric for $26 - yes..that's $1.50 a yard. Got several large pieces for backings and some blues and yellows I couldn't resist. Then we came on home and took a nap!

I think I'll go putter around in the sewing room for a while before dinner. I need to quilt a lap sized quilt of my mom's before next weekend so I can take it back to her.

Hope everyone else is getting some quilting done too!

Friday, August 19, 2005

My personal quilt gallery

Today I thought I would share a picture of my personal quilt gallery. I got my mid-arm quilting machine and frame in April. When I am not using it to quilt a top, the 10 foot long frame becomes a place to hang quilts in all stages of completion. Starting at the left end are two lap quilts (Blues and greens) waiting for a border and then quilting. Then there is the yellow and green quilt I pieced earlier this week. Hiding underneath that one is a green baby quilt waiting for me to handstitch down the binding on the back. Then comes two baby quilts done in thirties fabrics that are both waiting for the binding to be put on. Are you seeing a developing theme? Then there is a small log cabin table topper (Yellow and black) that I found in a box this week . It needs to be quilted. Next is the wonky houses wall hanging I made. Directions are on Bonnie's site. This one has the binding on, just waiting to sew it down on the back. I know...I know...But I hate doing hand work...I'm so slow at it! And then the last thing hanging on the frame is the scrap quilt I have been working on.

You can just imagine the mess it creates when I want to quilt something and have to take all those quilts off the frame and they end up thrown onto my sewing table! Luckily I can't sew and quilt at the same time anyway!

On another note, I decided to go for a walk this morning as soon as I got my daughter on the school bus at 7. So off I went. Our neighborhood is very hilly, which makes for good exercise, but it also makes you think you've walked a lot farther than you really have. I walked and walked and walked....When I got home I had only been gone about twenty five minutes. So I jumped in my CRV to go measure how far I had gone. Only 1.6 miles. I know that is better than nothing at all but it felt like I had done at least three miles. Just goes to show that I need to exercise more!

Today ends the first week of school. So far my daughter says first grade is "easy". I am sure things will pick up soon! I am hoping she learns to love reading as much as I do. I could lay around all day and read and be perfectly happy. It is so amazing to me how she learned to read. We were contemplating home schooling but teaching someone to read stumped me. Her kindergarten teacher was wonderful. Her first grade teacher has been teaching for twenty years so I am sure she will be able to challenge Maddie enough to keep her interested.

Hope everyone has a chance to quilt this weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lots of tiny little squares

This morning I spent a couple of hours helping my four year old son rescue his room from the pit of despair. How do they get a room so messy so quickly? And it doesn't seem to bother them to walk over piles of sharp little objects to get to their beds!

When we finally got the room clean I took the opportunity to take a picture of the postage stamp quilt I made when I was pregnant with Ian. I got most of the squares put together, but not the borders. After I got the borders put on, it sat at my mom's house for about three years waiting for her to hand-quilt it. Last winter she decided there were too many seams and it was way too busy to even notice the hand quilting. So she passed it back to me to be machine quilted. So I finally got it finished...only 4 years after his birth. Not too bad!

Ian calls it his lizard quilt because of the one square with the lizard face on it. The squares finish to 1.5 inches. And there are 2583 of them in the top. Tomorrow I will try and post a picture of the quilt my mom made with my left over squares. (Yes, its waiting for me to quilt it!)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Spinning blocks

Today was the first day of school (a.k.a more free time!) and I wanted to work on something cheerful and bright. Of course nothing that was already started would seem to fit the bill so I went digging through the stash and came up with a sunflower print, a yellow and a green. I wanted to do something mindless so I chose to do a rail fence....with a twist, literally. I twisted the blocks to make a kind of pinwheel, half of them yellow and half of them green. I still need to make three more pinwheel blocks, but I suppose I should do some housework before the hubby comes home. I am hoping to talk him into going out for dinner. After all, it is the first day of school!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Going to Nashville

About a week ago I had to spend a morning feverishly sewing on a hanging sleeve and label onto the back of my blue and yellow sampler quilt. I was supposed to be mailing it off to Paducah to be in the AQS Nashville show. Of course I had known for a month and a half that the mailing date was coming, but I am a huge procrasstinator when it comes to sewing by hand! I usually try and get my mom to do the hand work on my bindings. Anyway, after a morning of sewing by hand, I did get the quilt mailed off in time and thankfully it has arrived safely. I am looking forward to going to Nashville in a couple of weeks to see it hanging there! My mom and my sister are going to the show with me. (They both live there.) My sister said she was honored that I asked her, a non-quilter, to go with us to the show. I am also looking forward to doing a little shopping! The small town we live in does not have a quilt shop. My husband would tell you that is a good thing - much easier on his pocketbook!

The second quilt is a quilt that me and my mom worked on together. I pieced the top and she hand quilted it. It is done in Civil War reproduction fabrics, which I love. I submiited slides of this one to AQS for the Paducah show last spring. Of course you have to name the quilt. Since it is CW fabrics, I thought it should have a civil war related name. Right after we were married, an old man came up to my husband at church and said "Son, you married a Yankee!" Apparently he was shocked that Stacy hadn't made a more southern choice for a wife! Anyway, I named the quilt "Son, You married a Yankee!" It was accepted to the show and me and mom made a day trip up to Paducah. We were standing there gazing at our quilt and watched several people walk up, read the name of the quilt, and start laughing. It was really cute!

My dad and sister (both non-quilters) were very concerned about me and my mom winning a prize at the quilt contest, but me and mom were both thrilled just to have a quilt in a national show. We were "thrilled just to be nominated!" ha-ha. It seems to me that most of the prize winners these days are the artsy quilts. I fully appreciate the work and talent that goes into these quilts, but I prefer to make more traditional style quilts with a twist (as Bonnie says!) I think my quilts were accepted to the shows because they are trying to balance the huge amount of artsy quilts that they get submitted with the more traditional quilts.

On a different subject, tomorrow my oldest child starts first grade. She is excited and I am very thankful that she likes school. I can't believe she is 6 already. Next year my son will be in kindergarten and I will left home all alone! Whatever will I do with myself? I am sure I can find some fabric to fill my time with!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A few minutes with my scraps

Late last night I finally got a few minutes to sit down and sew. I wanted to get at least a little corner of my scrappy quilt together. Earlier yesterday afternoon I had a few minutes to cut out the alternate blocks and the setting triangles. When I cut out the strips for the setting triangles I had less than a quarter of an inch string left over! I had made the quilt bigger than first planned because I had enough of the blue fabric to make more alternate blocks. I really like the blue and the green fabrics - it helps to clam down the pieced blocks. Hopefully this quilt will end up big enough for my queen sized bed.

I am looking forward to having more free time in the near future. School starts on Monday for my daughter and on Wednesday for my husband (He's a professor, not a student!) That just leaves me and my sweet little boy (4) at home. He loves to play in my scraps and play with my button tin - so I see more sewing time soon!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I just got back from the hospital where I got to hold the brand new baby boy that this quilt belongs to. He was born this morning, weighing a hefty 9 lbs. 15.8 oz. He has beautiful strawberry blond hair. My arm is still aching from holding him!

When his mom found out he was going to be a boy, I set out to pick a cute boyish pattern and colors. I happened to be leafing through a QNM and saw this quilt, in these exact colors. Usually I don't like the colors they choose but this one really appealed to me. All the fabrics are 30's reproduction prints. It went together much quicker than I anticipated seeing that there were so many triangles involved. I have had several other people tell me that they want that exact quilt.

I love making baby quilts. They are so quick! If I don't like a particular block, its not that big of a deal to start over. Or if I get tired of making a particular set of blocks, they often end up as a baby/kid quilt.

I have only one friend that expecting right now and she wants me to wait until they get their ultrasound done so I can do a gender appropriate quilt. For her first baby, I just made a neutral quilt because they didn't find out it was a girl until the birth.

Tonight I think I will work on the scrap quilt again. I drew up the quilt today on EQ5 and figured I have enough of the blue fabric for the alternate squares if I do a 5 by 5 diagonal setting. I have 15 of the pieced blocks done - so 10 more to go. I think I am going to use a dark green fabric for the setting triangles around the edge.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Top 10 reasons I love to quilt!

#10 - It's a really good excuse to collect fabric.
#9 - Visiting local quilt shops is a good way to escape my in-laws house during required visits.
#8 - Can you say STRESS RELIEF?
#7 - Makes me feel almost as artistic as my architect husband.
#6 - Quilts make great gifts - every is always so impressed that I actually MADE it!
#5 - Great way to spend time with my best friend (who taught me to quilt!)
#4 - Have I mentioned STRESS RELIEF?
#3 - It runs in my family. My paternal grandmother quilted, several maternal aunts quilted, my mom quilts. I am teaching my daughter (6) AND my son (4) to sew. Both of them love to play with my scraps.
#2 - I love making quilts for my kids. I can just imagine them tucking my grandchildren into bed and saying "your grandmother made this quilt for me when I was little." Any quilt I make my kids ask "Can I have that?"
#1 - I feel like I am leaving some sort of tangible proof that I existed. Someday someone will hopefully hold a quilt of mine and wonder about me!

Reasons for my ramblings

Just in case you are wondering why I am posting so many times in a 24 hour period... I am trying to get seven posts so that I can join Bonnie's blog ring. I promise to calm down soon!

Happy quilting.

Clutter control

Is everyone as messy as me when they sew? It seems that the messier my sewing room gets the more productive I feel. Maybe its an illusion! Maybe my mind is just thinking that with all this mess being created something productive must be getting done.

My sewing room is actually the dining room/office. The space is really too small for a formal dining room, but is just right for a home office. I begged and pleaded for a door on this room but my architect husband said no. Now he complains about the constant state of clutter happening in this room. I am not sure why it bothers him so much. He has absolutely no reason to be in here.

The clutter only gets worse when I want to use my quilting machine. Ususally I drape unquilted tops across the poles of the quilting frame. It looks pretty and hides the clutter behind it! When I want to quilt something I have to clear off the the quilting frame and pile everything on top of my sewing table. Plus drag out the bobbin winder, thread, batting, etc.

I wonder if other people make a mess when they sew or am I the only one?

Hiding places

I recently went looking for a certain unstarted project. It took me a few minutes to think of which hiding place I had placed this particular fabric. I am running out of spaces to put my sewing supplies. We moved into a new house in January and I am thrilled to have a sewing room. The room is only about 10' by 11'. This would normally be plenty of space for a sewing table and needed storage, but my entire life is crammed into this room. I have my sewing table in here. Also have my desk and computer. Then to top it all off I have my mid-arm quilting machine and it's 10' table. Now, are you getting the picture?

So this crammed-full room leaves no place for storage of fabric and other supplies, which leads to the various hiding spots around the house. The first hiding space you come to when leaving the sewing room would be the pie safe in the kitchen. My tea cup collection is on the open shelves on top. On the closed shelves on the bottom are plastic shoe boxes holding thread, already cut out projects, and Styrofoam balls for making Christmas ornaments (that look quilted!).

Then you will need to head down the hallway towards my bedroom, coming to the laundry room. Above the washer and dryer are two kitchen cabinets, each about four feet tall and three feet wide. One cabinet contains the normal laundry room items like cleaning supplies. The other has been taking over by sewing stuff. Several large pieces of home dec fabric waiting to made into curtains (ha-ha!), a shoebox full of antique quilt blocks waiting to be put into a cohesive top, several quilt tops my mom inherited from an aunt (which are eventually going to be machine quilted). This is probably the space that contains the most projects that I don't want to face! If you get stuck in here, you might not make it out alive!

My final hiding space is in my walk in closet. I have stuck an old unused dresser at the end of my walk-in closet. This is where the majority of my stash lives. This is also the only hiding space that my husbands knows about. I am proud to say that my stash has shrunk since joining "Stashbusters" yahoo group. I am especially fond of using Bonnie's method of 10.5" squares for the backs of quilts rather than buying additional yardage. Several people have commented how much they like my "Reversible" quilts! The picture at the top of this post is the back of my son's bed quilt. This was the first quilt back I made using the 10.5" squares.

If I need new hiding spaces, I am considering the vast areas of unused territory under my kid's beds!

How many hiding places do you have?