Sunday, May 31, 2009

Next: Tula Pink

This is Tula Pink's "Nest". I started these blocks on my Featherweight last fall, and right away I knew I was going sideways (almost literally). None of the blocks were working out to the size they were supposed to be, but, being hard-headed and stubborn, I kept sewing. I added some of the block corners on my New Home, and tonight I added the last corners using my new Bernina. A couple of times, when I asked her, mother advised me to square up the blocks, which I didn't (again with the hard-head). Mostly because I have real trouble with "square." I think it goes back to the seventies when "square" was not something you wanted to be or do. You can see, or maybe not, that I am now going to have to square the blocks before I can join them. Even after that their seams will not match up where they are supposed to. It is a good thing that I am practicing machine quilting; I don't have to worry about messing up when the top is already high on the messed up scale. Chalk it up to yet another lesson learned the hard way. Let's see: Patience, planning, and practice (listen to your mom?). CHECK!

I Like it!

Yes I do! The t-shirt quilt is migh-T-fine, if I do say so myself. Not sure what I will do about quilting it, but at least I have something to show at the t-shirt class reunion at Patchwork Cottage on Tuesday (if it is still going to happen).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sue Spargo's Michelle Pillow

Thank you, Aunt Katie! In the mail today was the brown wool blend thread I needed to complete a small part on the Michelle pillowtop I started in Sue Spargo's class at Gwinnett's Original Sewing and Quilting Expo last October. My sweet Aunt Katie (Primitive Woolens) sent me an entire spool even though I said I only needed 2 yards. I will have to do a lot more wool work (I really enjoy it)! I am not sure my pillow top will make it to a completed pillow though, since pillow finishing is uncharted waters for this novice sewer (oh man, look at that word). I guess you have to be a novice seamstress because you can't be a sewer except out loud, otherwise it looks nasty. But if you know a lot of hookers...
Anyhow, I can't wait to get done with work tomorrow so I can spend some time with my Kitten in my sewing room being a seamstress and blogging with hookers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Never, never again (t-shirt follow up)

Wren Kitty loves the blanket I made for her last weekend. You can see that she is getting quite pudgy. Her one-eyedness is unique, but I am sure most kitties get the ear-turned-back look on occasion.

Mom called today. She wanted to give me advice on the easy way to put my t-shirt quilt together. Something was wrong with my ears after that. I think she said something about multiples of 2 or 3, but it felt like I was under water. The room started spinning. Then it hit me: I could have used this (bleep, bleep, bleep) information 2 days ago! The t-shirt project had already reduced me to tears of frustration. For any other budding quilters out there - IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA to have every shirt cut to a different size. I was so creative that I even cut the framing strips different sizes: some 1 1/2 inch, some 3 inches and, toward the end, I found I'd cut some 3 1/2 inches (probably because somewhere along the line I remembered about seam allowances. YES, A PLAN IS A GOOD IDEA before you cut.

The picture is how I am leaving it for now. I plan a 1 inch dark blue border followed by a wider border of the red/pink Hawaiian print. But for now I am resting and perhaps finishing some hand quilting. I've earned the rest, and I darn sure need it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

That T-Shirt Thing

Maybe I should have stayed with the pattern from the class. Yes, I should have done that, but now it is too late. I have chopped up every t-shirt I could find in my closet (4), every shirt I bought off E-Bay (5), the one I bought off a website, some donated from school and a dress. I have all kinds and sizes of pieces from shirts ironed onto woven fusible web. I have not come up with a plan yet, but I have been buying indigo batiks thinking I could come with a plan as I went along. Still, nothing, so I am going to start sewing and see what emerges. I am not much for planning anyway. I have been ruminating over my fabric choices; one isn't really a batik, one isn't the same quality of white in the background, etc. I can't think anymore. I am going to slice it up and sew. Unless someone advises me to stop.
Oh, speaking of stop. I stopped husband-person from walking out the door with our old toilet seat in his arms. He was headed to Home Depot and wanted to be sure he got the right size seat. I told him the other day, after I challenged his plan to call a plumber to change out the toilet seat (a do-it-yourself for a child) that it was gross to carry a (used) toilet seat to a store to be sure the size and whiteness (are you kidding me?) matched. Is his memory really that short? I could just do it myself. Really, it is exhausting to supervise husband-person. I have to let most things go. But the toilet seat issue was just too much.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mom and I were talking about fabric panels the other day, and I mentioned one I'd seen at Georgia Sewing and Quilting. I thought it was called "Empire," but when I went to pick one up today I found it is actually Benartex' "Gotham" which is an entire line. I only bought one panel, so I may have to go back for more. I was online and saw some other panels of interest at Reproduction Fabrics. I really like the panels under "American Artists" and "National Parks and Scenic Areas." The latter category has a four panel set of Ellis Island prints. I don't know what I would ever do with the printed fabric (some of the them are a little pricey), but they do provoke the imagination, and who knows what we might come up with on our own? That reminds me: I need more play time.....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Great Blog Giveaway

No, sorry not on my blog, but Pat at Silver Thimble Talk is having a really great giveaway. Check it out. I am happy to find her blog because she is local (Atlanta area, same as me). Perhaps I will meet her someday. Atlanta area quilt bloggers should have a get-together. What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Baby Rabbits!

Look what was in my yard, behind the iris, when I got home from work. The flash from the camera scared them, so I hope they went back to their hiding place in the shrubs. The photo is not that great, but it is the only one I got. How many do you count?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Practice, practice, practice

Yesterday was my last machine quilting class with Peggy Barkle. She is an incredible teacher, so if you need help learning free motion machine quilting, she is the bomb. She covered everything from batting types, straight line and free motion quilting, to design elements in pattern choice and quilt planning. But, if you have been following this blog, you know I have had some sewing machine issues and I now have a new sewing computer (yes, the don't call them machines anymore). Today I have been practicing and learning more about my 1 week old Bernina. Next Saturday I have my first Bernina class, and I will be hanging on every word. The great thing about having played with the machine is that I will know something of what I want to know. It is like how I tell the math students to read next class' section in the math book BEFORE you go to class. Everything is more meaningful if you have some idea of the terms and subject to be covered. I hope some students listen. Good habits (and preparation) make a big difference.
Back to today's practice. I put binding on some of my practice pieces (the black thread is from practicing on my old machine), and then it hit me; I need a pad for the cat to lie on for the back of the sofa. I found some leftover flannel, some leftover stripes and a chunk of batting and VIOLA'; kitten proofed sofa. I practiced free motion quilting and binding secured by a decorative stitch. It is certainly not perfect, but the first thing kitty said when she put her paws on it was "Meow." That makes my practice project the cat's meow, and that's certainly good enough for me. Note: I posted the YouTube binding video I mentioned to the class below. It is the one with lavender binding. Also, one of the binding pieces I used for practice was a waist band from a pair of Talbot's suit pants. I save and use just about anything to practice on.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Aunt Millie's Garden" Bite #6

The Aunt Millie's Garden meets at Intown Quilters once a month on a Saturday. You can find class information by clicking here. I have now appliqued the 6th block out of 12. I am taking a break to learn about my new machine. Bernina classes are at the Atlanta Sewing Center.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Woo Wee QE First Stitches

Not one to waste sewing time, I stitched up my Atlanta Unity Church Quilters' Mystery Clue #2 as I test drove my new machine. Pictured is my guess what the final mystery quilt design might be and the backing fabric I may use. Only problem when sewing, among many, many wondrous delights, was my quarter inch seam is a little too fat. When I go to K.C in June (see Primitives of the Midwest), I will see about getting the foot with the quarter inch guide, along with the magnifying accessory, from the vendor there. Here is a link to a blogger who writes about her Bernina Aurora 450 QE.

Mom's Quilts

Look what I found in Andy's room! He will be mad that I took them out of his room, but I washed them and got pictures. Mission accomplished! There are a few spots that need a little mending, but they sure look and smell nice after drying on top of the too-long grass in the bright Sunday morning sunshine.
The Bernina is unpacked and awaiting futher instruction from me. And I keep watching the "how-to" DVD over and over. The bobbin is wound; only to find an already wound one in the bobbin thingy. Next is learning the auto-threader and taking off that buttonhole contraption.
But first I need to call Mom! I sent her some books and the DVD of Grey Gardens (a mother-daughter movie, if there ever was one).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Big Ticket Saturday

I did it! I got a new machine. Of course, right now it is "just" a Wren-ornamented box on my office floor. That is because I am too exhausted to clean up my sewing room to be worthy of a new sewing machine. I will sort things out in the morning and reward myself with an excursion into Bernina-land! It has to be better than the land-of-loopy I got trying to free-motion quilt on my old-but-still-great-for-straight-stitch New Home. This is the first machine I've ever purchased, and I did it with the grow-into-it philosophy of machine purchasing. Let's hope this decision is a winner (I think it is).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cabin Crazy

Yesterday, in a workshop by Peggy J. Barkle for her Blendable Curves (sponsored by the Spirited Quilter's of Duluth), I was exposed to an amazing amount of useful, practical information about piecing quilt blocks. Most important, I gained some sewing experience and learned a cool new technique. My machine was a challenge though. Last weekend, for some puzzling reason, my New Home decided to stitch all funky, so I sent it out for service and haven't picked it up yet. For the Blendable Curves workshop I brought my Singer Featherweight. I had pieced on it before, so I didn't think I would have any problems. The throat plate was just plain slippery and I couldn't see the quarter inch guide very well (I use a quarter inch foot on the New Home). I now realize how cool those fancy gadgets on the new machines are; like "needle down" and "bobbin alert." When I get my New Home back, I will probably be just fine again, but the only 100% cure for "machine deficit disorder" is a fancy new one (Janome, Bernina?).
While I was still sewing log cabin blocks, other participants were finishing and putting their reassembled curved blocks up on the wall. They were all so beautiful! My table-mate, Sandy, used the most vibrant pink and green. Her reassembled blocks were amazing beautiful! When I finally got two blocks up on the wall, I listened to the supportive comments from others, but I wasn't really hearing them. I didn't fall in love with my blocks until I got them home on my own design wall and away from all the others. I may never piece on the Featherweight again, though. Too much frustration!