Sunday, January 30, 2011 in crafty things

In just a few minutes

People keep asking me how I get all this sewing done. Even the other quilting ladies.

Actually, this is my only hobby right now. I haven’t even really taken very many (non-quilt) pictures. I don’t go on photo hunts, I cleaned out a lot of my scrap booking stuff and I barely watch tv. If I do, it’s usually online.

Yeah, I gave up housework, too. 😉 A looong time ago… ANYWAY!

My home office is at one end of my house and the ktichen is at the other end. Far enough away that I cannot hear the timer on the stove. even from the old office, I couldn’t hear it. Ron sometimes could, but I could not.

So, after a few burning dinners or running up & down staircases multiple times in five minute increments, I decided to just stay downstairs for however long it took me to reheat or cook whatever we had.

My sewing machine is set up in a room downstairs in the middle of the house. Just a few steps through a small hallway and I’m back in the kitchen, actually. The sewing machine is always plugged in and I can leave my work in a second. There’s always something to work on, and I just grab whatever is on top of the pile.

I sew and sew, with a lot of chain piecing. that’s just pushing in one seam after another without cutting threads between them. I sew whatever seams I need to as long as they do not cross. I use all white thread. If i do need to use another color, I will plan multiple projects of just those colors.

Sometimes I will spend my time cutting instead. That’s how I wind up with ten quilts cut out though.

Sometimes I will iron instead. I don’t have a dedicated ironing station, so I’ve been using the kitchen counter for smaller ironing. For larger pieces, I either do it down at the quilt shop where she has custom boards, or I use the dining room table. I’ll do a couple of items at once then.

Right now I am still sewing that red & yellow quilt. I’m piecing each row together in stages, usually chain piecing two rows at a time, cutting sewn section apart from each other as they come out the back, and lining them up for the next seam to go through the front. I think there’s a piece halfway through the machine if I go look now.

I usually start supper, get to a spot where I don’t have to stir anything, set the timer & go sew. Maybe it’s five mintues, maybe it’s ten. Sometimes it’s two. I do two meals a day, and sometimes if I am really tired of sitting in font of the computer, I will go downstairs and sew for a bit instead. Half a hour maybe. Or iron as I puzzle something out and figure out how to phrase a support questions without sounding condescending or frustrated.

One tough Monday, everyone had communication issues, so I went and sewed every time I wanted to scream at the computer. I got a lot of sewing done that day. Since I work on multiple projects at the same time, there’s often only a few steps needed for each one to reach completion, so it looks like I finished a whole bunch of things at once. A lot of the recent quilts I’ve finished, I actually cut the pieces out two or more years ago. I just told myself I needed to finish the tops before I cut out any more, and that’s been my motivation.

Of course, now I have a large pile of quilt tops to quilt, instead of a large pile of cut blocks to sew, but that’s a different problem. Right?

(Hrm, it would probably help the readers at home if I linked to the different entries in the archives for each quilt. Ooops.)

At any rate, my point is just something like ten mintues twice a day at the machine adds up by the end of the week. It’s all straight sewing, nothing fancy.

Friday, January 28, 2011 in all about me

The Secret Club

I was at the quilt shop sewing this afternoon. Chattering back and forth with the ladies there. It was normal everyday conversation.

Except for one thing.

This time last year, I woudl have been odd one out. Now I am part of the secret club.

“Oh, they called me up the other night to babysit. I was halfway out the door before I got off the phone”

“I have to finish knitting these sweaters before I send them off. And then this quilt for the other ones.”

“Terrible we both don’t have pictures in our purses, isn’t it?”

“I bet yours are adorable.” “Yours too!”

“Aren’t they just precious?”

The knowing smile, the crinkles at the corners of our eyes, and the slight nodding of the head.

Yep. Room full of grandmas.

Thursday, January 20, 2011 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Serious progress

I keep making progress on my quilts, as I am forcing myself to get off the computer and go do something else – especially if I don’t have it in my to actually work. Spacing out & doing fluff is…. well, fluffy. And I need the break.

So. I’ve been powering through some of the sewing pile, and seeing it halfway down (and seeing some of my TABLE) was motivating. I told myself I can;t cut out another one (or start another one) until I get more tops done.

Also, I was sewing instead of fuming over some online things, so … progress indeed. 😀

Tonight I made *HUGE* dents in some of the tops I’m piecing. I just kept on sewing, and if I was at a point, I needed to iron, I just piled the pieces up and moved to the next quilt.

I worked on THREE in less than two hours.

The Christmas quilt I am dubbing Tacky Xmas has all the rows sewn together. I just have to press the seams and sew the rows. Then figure out the back, which shouldn’t be too hard, as I have a couple of large pieces of very loud Christmas print. I had been considering a flannel back as well. I may still do that, as this is for cuddling under over the holidays. It is for someone specific next Christmas. 😀 And that is all I am saying. It will torment you all year.

The other quilt is the red/white/yellow Paddington quilt. It is also done in the Yellow Brick Road pattern. I have all the rows sewn together, I just need to press them, then sew the rows on. I am undecided on the borders, which I may make narrower than the pattern calls for. Then I need to piece the back which will be mostly yellow. I’ve already purchased cotton batting for the inside, which will make the quilt look old and crinkly after washing. 🙂 It is for one of the new babies in our family and I hope to finish it before the kid is walking.

Lastly, I sewed more pieces on my yellow and red disappearing nine patch, matching up each square with one white piece. I got all the way through most of it until I ran out of white pieces (rectangles) I had pre cut. So, I need to press, pieces in rows, cut out more white & finish the last two rows, then sew all the rows together.

It’s okay if you aren’t really following along. 😀

I also dug out the leftover pieces from the last quilt, including some really large lengths. Enough to put in other quilts, but I will piece an interesting back, because it is what I do. Emma & I talked, and we decided on some sort of wave quilting pattern. While Emma would love for me to use the recycled batting, there’s too much white on the front and I don’t want the green tinge to come through, so I’ll probably use cotton.

And then! I have been hearing news of more babies, so while Ron & I went to town for a couple errands, I was thinking about this and building up a stash of finished baby quilts. So, I pulled out a large piece from the remnant bag I purchased for $5 a couple weeks ago. It has small hankies or mini quilts on it, and half of one was missing. After squaring it off, there’s a nice 9 blocks there on the panel. I found some soft pink to go with it and squared that scrap too, so I can add pink borders. I got it from a large box of solids at a yard sale for something dumb like $4. Then I found a really big floral piece for the back. It is a long strip, but if I cut it in half across and sew down the long end, it is just big enough for the back. I paid a whopping $1.50 for that piece at Global. Serendipity indeed. This is why you have a stash – so you can pull different pieces together. 😉

Edit: a pic
baby quilt

Speaking of things that happen for a reason, in other vague news there has been something I have been thinking about. It’s big and scary. I finally decided that I was going to wait for a sign before I moved forward. And lo, within an hour I got a very important email on just that.

Funny how when I ask for a sign, I get a smack upside that head. 😀

Lastly, almost all the baby wallpaper is gone from the old office. I hope to make way more progress on it this weekend, cleaning up the mess, scraping the remaining bits off the wall, and maybe getting Ron to start patching some rough spots.

Monday, January 17, 2011 in crafty things

Another one down

I finished this quilt top.

new wave quilt top

Calling it Blue Wave and Emma called dibbs on it. For her “new” room (Sarah’s old room) she wants to paint the walls blue. It’ll be a while until we get to it though. We have to do Meaghan’s room first. 😉 I’ll piece the back from some of the scraps (not much) and use a LOT of what. No idea on the binding or the quilting. I would *love* to do an allover stippling or waves, but my skill level is not there.

I also finished this top last Friday, but didn’t get a recent pic.

sunshine & shadow

All that needed to be done was sew two borders on the side. The blocks had all been sewn together, and the first two borders were on. They are also black. I will back this with black fabric and quilt it with black thread. No idea on the pattern yet though.

Saturday, January 15, 2011 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

And another week goes by.

So this week one of the thing we did was work a little more in the old office peeling wallpaper off. The top printed layer comes off in one piece, leaving the brown backing. I have to wipe that down, but not so much it makes plaster fall off. At least they had painted underneath before papering – in most spots anyway.

Meaghan also wanted to go into town looking for a few things for what will be her new room – the bedroom we are in now. We didn’t find much, and some of it was overpriced. Up side: the lady who works at the pawn shop is *also* a quilter, they are everywhere I swear. (Oh and they miss Sarah. She went there all the time.)

I did remember to cal my aunt and tell her I had a pile of Fimo here for her and she came down the next day to pick it up. She brought Ron a big basket of beautifully arranged old fashioned molasses cookies, because over Christmas he didn’t make it up to her place. Yes, she spoils him rotten!

Anyway, she was overjoyed at the amount of stuff I gave her, plus two large books to loan out. She brought a little wee baby she made, but was dismayed to find his arm broke in her purse. oops. She’s still *really* talented though, see?

fimo baby is tired

And then on Friday afternoon, I went to Sew With Jo because regardless of what I had or had not accomplished during my work week, it was definitely a full and productive week. I find the breaks do wonders, really. I made progress on a couple quilt tops, and started quilting a baby quilt. I also met a few more quilters, inviting me to the quilt guild. OKAY UNIVERSE I HEAR YOU.

As God as my witness, I will never use polyester quilt batt again. For this quilt, I just took the top & back & pins to the store, bought the batting, laid it out in the back room on their awesome huge table, pin basted it and quilted away. Jo also let me use her little tool for helping with pin basting and of course now I need one. (not want, neeeeed.) The batting I used on this quilt is Quilters Dream Green, made from recycled pop bottles. It has a faint green tinge, so I wouldn’t use it with a white quilt, but it is so soft and so easy to work with. I love it. I picked up a cotton batt as well, becasue there’s some new babies over in Cousin land who are without family quilts, so I need to get cracking.

After I came home, fed my poor starving family, and worked for a couple more hours, I set my machine back up and finished the section of quilting I was working on. Yes, it’s for Isabella, and yes Kaytlyn has seen the top before, but not what I picked for the back. I had an idea to finish it before Christmas, but you see how that worked out.

baby quilting

A preview pic posted not as a surprise killer, but visit incentive. (Their car is having issues. Pooh. 🙁 ) I’m thinking in a couple weeks I just might have to make up an excuse to go to Fredericton anyway. Like, to deliver a quilt.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 in working at home & loving it

New chairs!

Ron ordered new office chairs for us before Christmas and we picked them up today. They are super-pricey, but very very good. The amount of changeableness on them is insane. you can’t even adjust the car’s driver seat this much.

I think it’s improved my typing as well. It’s gonna take a bit to get used to.

You can see them on the manufacturer’s website here. We bought them at Covey’s though. Pics coming when I get around to it.

I also figured out the right process for using the scanner to make a multi-page PDF so I was pretty high on that today, AND I have four packages ready to mail. Two are Christmas presents.