Thursday, November 16, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 4

With hubster out of town on a business trip and I quite satisfied with left-overs from the previous nights’ supper I got quilting.

Completed the next row of blocks (14 blocks done) but something is not quite right, somehow the two lights curving on the far edges seem to be different but what the hell, I’ll just keep it as is and if it really bugs me when the quilt is completed, I might just fix it.
I now have a new activity to focus on, my Q’niqe quilter on the frame and I realise when everybody said that there will be a learning curve, they did not lie.  As comfortable as I felt doing free motion quilting on my domestic machine I now am lost, feeling like a total beginner again.

I have finished my first practise piece and this will be utilised to catch the sand and dust carried in by the cats on my cutting mats.  It will at least serve a purpose.  I don’t have a problem with E2E quilting, I will however still have to practise days and nights doing finer detailed work.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 3

I have house cleaners coming in once a week and hell or high water; I make sure that nothing in my sewing room is out of place or causing them not to be able to clean properly.  So I worked liked crazy to at least get the first row done before they pitch up tomorrow. Only then could I pack away all these strip sets not having to fear that someone would distort their order.
Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week.  I have to lock my dogs in a small courtyard when I leave for work because the cleaners are scared of them but that also mean I can leave the office at around 10 am to rescue our poor pups from captivity.  Nothing is as special as walking into an impeccable clean house.

In the mean while I had my first lesson on my Qnique quilter and I am so impressed with myself apart from the fact that the moment my tutor left and I continued stitching, I couldn’t remember how to roll the quilt up any further….. Darn!  This is however what I’ve accomplished.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Another new toy

We had the grandkids (of the human kind) over last Friday evening.  Granddad is clever in that a swim/splash in the tiny pool counts as a bath after dinner, so cleansed they were and loved it being done.
Then on SaturdayI got word that my latest new toy arrived and we desperately needed to make space for this but first I had to go shopping. Our local quilting guild (I am not affiliated) has a quarterly meeting and I do support one of the vendors from another city.  So I placed my order for Best Press and quickly went to fetch it and while there got some serrated scissors by Apliquick too.
Back home hubby and my son, who just came to fetch the grand kids, moved furniture from one guestroom to another (or totally out of the house) like crazy and I had to start washing all the bedding.  Then ripping the carpet from the floor followed and it was interesting to see the manufactured date on the back of the carpet. 19 July 1983.  This carpet is 8 years older than my daughter and it wore well.
After discovering a huge crack in the sub-floor hubby fixed it and smoothed it with self-levelling screed.  Ha! I sound so intelligent using daily technical terms used in our flooring business.
Then he fitted luxury vinyl tiles in a colour I absolutely adore.  A mix of greys and brown so anything goes.
Time to put my quilt art up the wall.
Finally home but still boxed and the dealer was rather strict and we were told not to even attempt to set it up ourselves, but after convincing him that my hubby is really good, we got the go-ahead.

A week later and I have my new toy assembled in a newly created play-area and I am ready for my first lesson on Monday.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 3

Some days are diamonds and some just plain hectic.Yesterday was one of those hectic ones.  I knew I had to take MIL to get her monthly prescription, so parrot had to go to the office with hubby but I also bought MIL groceries with some stuff in the refrigerator and these needed to be packed before I left. So we got up and most went according to plan, got back to the office and started my routine which was somewhat disrupted in that hubby planned to leave on a business trip and then the days start slightly more uncontrolled than others but we got going, organized, planned, divided monies due to temporary workers and what not and just as things calmed down slightly, it hit me!.... poor Struis, a rescue dove, was all forgotten in the cupboard where he sleeps at night, alone in the dark without food or water.  There and then packed up, I knew MIL too would soon phone for me to fetch her again, so I called it a day and simply came home to rescue Struis from the cupboard and then got going with my quilting. (I didn’t have to cook dinner seeing that hubby was out of town!)

Even though I had way too much wine when I started this part of the mystery I managed to finish it.  I now have 32 full flower units, 4 left facing partial flower units and 4 right facing partial flower units.  This keeps me guessing.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 2

I continued with this baby and it kept me rather busy.

At this stage I had no clue to where I was supposed to be going but figured I am not that good a cook but if I followed a recipe to the T, it usually works, so I might as well do it with a quilt pattern.  This was not even half way through cross cutting my strip sets.
I often read about quilters referring to their time in the sewing room as “mindless stitching” but heck for this quilt I had to have my wits about me all the time….. nothing mindless about this one and the cat did not help much. This is only block 1 of 42 with this one only packed, not even sewn.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

How much wine is too much?

I got the next (number unknown…. I’ve worked really hard, it is hot, I am dead tired and sip wine to keep hydrated) clue to my mystery (name now eludes me…. wine the problem too?) and I started sewing what should be a flower block.   I got no less than 7 of these (not sure why I can remember this number though)
Now would you believe me, I unpicked all 7, re-stitched, scolded myself, vowed to not drink wine when quilting before it hit me…… simply swap or turn the bloomin sections you fool.  It should look like this.
So this post is directed to “dear me”…… this is what should be done when you had too much wine.  Maybe I should just continue tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Owl – 4

With my painted bird done I tackled the Owl, another one of those projects that may never disappear from one of my design walls if I didn’t put serious effort into finishing it.  Chicken’s parent came to pick her up and it was absolutely wonderful knowing I could walk anywhere in my house without stepping into something unwanted.

I had a pretty busy day yesterday with me joining a friend for a back and neck massage which turned out rather mediocre.  A new beauty salon opened and we suspect we were used as guinea pigs for students but then it was so cheap, we should not complain.

Then another friend was in town after a trip to New Zealand and she popped in and gave me a lovely gift of fabric.  Nice to have friends thinking of you when they travel.
This is how far I got with my owl.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Permission to play -2 - Done

This weekend I babysat my daughters’ chicken and more spoilt you won’t find anywhere else.  Needless to say having huge dogs and cats simply leaving chicken to wander around is not the safest idea, so I literally did chicken-sitting.  Where chicken went I had to go to check that nothing goes wrong.  Very little quilting got done and this was one of the few times that I could actually be in my sewing room.  Chicken sleeps, yes, she is not dead, she really does sleep like this
I had to move my colouring project to the ironing board just to get a little more done but I must give chicken credit unlike our parrot the chicken did not show interest in or chew on my Inktense pencils.
I still didn’t like the colouring in part BUT it made me WANT to quilt again so I forbid myself to not finish this and have yet another half-finished project somewhere on a design wall or stuffed in a cupboard and early morning, still in my PJ’s, before chicken and the family got up, I would be colouring in.

On Saturday morning we fetched my daughters’ 2 pit bulls, so a rather busy, dirty and disrupted house with my 2 cats closed down in a guest bedroom. 
My own poor little rescue had very limited time with mom.
To make this very long story of living beings short, I finished my painting project!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I got myself a new toy

Many moons ago I made a rather expensive purchase and bought myself a Metalnova Vapor 2800 iron and because of this little tool I am one of a few people, I know, that doesn’t dislike ironing.  I’ve used my iron to its maximum capacity for all and everything, having it for quilting is simply an added (and wonderful) bonus.

So realising that I am not getting any younger, would soon be dependent on a mere pension I took another leap and bought myself a spare one and I got it this week, brand new, still in the box but to me this feels like an amazing investment made for my old age.  I don’t feel pretty, I feel rich or rather secure, knowing I will have stress free ironing days until I die.  Now watch Crimplene fabric make a come-back as I grow old, just to spite me! This is my new boxed iron.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Permission to play -1

I don’t quilt as much as the quilters in our area may believe and only have a small window of opportunity late afternoon and not necessarily every afternoon.  My other chance is over weekends if granddaughter doesn’t stay over but I have learnt to make the most of my quilting time. When I am done for the day I make very sure that my sewing room is neat and whatever would be next on my agenda would be prepared in order for me to just get going.

With this limited time however I would always be feverishly working on one of my next quilts.  I do work on more than one project as I tend to get bored with one technique, colour scheme or pattern rather fast.  So in trying to make yet another bed quilt and get it done, I hardly ever allow myself time to simply play with my hobby.

When I taught quilting classes, I did this (playing) much more as I had to experiment, test and make smaller projects to be able to accomplish this during a class.  For the last couple of years however I only make bed quilts.

I saw a post on a Facebook page (Sit down free motion quilters) by Sandra Pearson on how she coloured a quilted piece with Inktense pencils and although I have done this before, I couldn’t resist doing another.  So off to the copier I went, tracing the image onto fabric, and then started quilting on the lines. I used neutral thread on the background and can truly say I dislike this.  Even though with the free-motion foot, it felt like stitching heaps of straight line stitches.  Next time I’d rather go back to my old way of stitching quilt motifs with coloured thread and just enhance these with Inktense pencils.
It felt like it took forever and a day to get all the lines stitched but I did it.
Then I sprayed the piece with water to get rid of the blue lines.
I got the rest of my toys ready.
And it turned out to be nothing more than “colouring for adults” this time simply on fabric.  I am quite convinced I won’t do this again but I am this far, so I might just finish it up.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 1

I bought myself a PDF Bargello pattern called Eye of the Storm (and for October 2017 most patterns on THIS SITE are less 50%) and once I decided on my colour and found all the fabric needed, I could start cutting 2½” strips from all 6 colours. The quilt on the pattern was in purple but being from central South Africa, with very little rain, our storms are usually just masses of dust, so I chose browns.
The next step was to lay out my strips according to colour and sew these together, praying the whole time that one of the cats wouldn’t jump on my strips and distort the order.
I tried glue basting and it worked fantastic.  Once I’ve laid out a series of strips, I glue basted and heat set these and could go to the machine in one session and simply string piece the seams.  I am not too sure I would use it for ordinary blocks but for Bargello’s it is a definite must! Glue basting also helped when I woke up at 4 am and without waking up granddaughter, whose room is opposite of my sewing room, with the noise of the machine I could start getting strip sets ready.
Only on page 3 of the instructions and this is already the amount that I’ve sewn.  These are not necessarily all single strip sets, some are sets of 5 (all pinned together).

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 2

I am not getting much done on the quilting front…. Reached a slump I guess but I am still sorting out my new storage space and have opened up and got rid of temporary plastic storage drawers.  I’ve tried a technique when I overheard 2 embroiderers discussing their way of doing free motion quilting (actually they embroider motifs on a quilt) but it failed miserably when trying this on a domestic sewing machine.  So 4 solid days of unpicking was part cause of my quilt time wasted.

Let me move on to better news.  The second sewing clue for this mystery quilt arrived on time, in fact, earlier than I expected.  Being South African my clues seem to arrive long after the rest of the world receives theirs.

So this was what my sewing table looked like one Friday afternoon after work.
And once sewn together I had only these two stacks.  Now I have to wait yet another month for the next clue.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 5 -Final

Started off very enthusiastically trying to quilt with metallic thread but after 6 thread breakages in the span of 14 inches I gave up.  Some wars are simply best left alone, so I did what I said I’ll do in the previous post and opted for a bright yellow.

I tried to use my “non-hopping” ruler foot for all-over quilting and this worked like a breeze and in future I might only use this instead of switching feet when not doing ruler work (not as if I have used rulers before).

So with the last sentence in mind I tried my hand a ruler work and I guess for a first try I should have gone with a thread colour less contrasting to the fabric as this combination showed up every little flaw.
Fortunately unpicking the contrasting thread was not that hard and after all the trials and errors I opted to make it easier on myself and chose a large scale all-over meandering covering the 3 borders.
Another one bites the dust!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Packing Space

On one of hubby’s frequent business trips, going through a quaint little town, known for selling antiques, he noticed something on the pavement in front of a pawn shop.  Aware of my quilt addiction and my need for plenty of storage space but not necessarily deep drawers, rather flatter but MORE space in one cupboard/storage area he stopped and made a purchase.

Previously this little green plastic rack used to be my paper sorter/container…. Fugly to say the least and now I could replace it with this wooden one. I turned the wooden one to face my computer, so people entering the room would not be able to see the mess inside but just see a wooden frame.  So much neater!
The second purchase was this divine little cupboard with flatter but more (30 in total) storage spaces.  It was just what I needed for all my accessories and tools.  I have heaps of these scattered in several drawers or spaces inside cupboards and always wished for one central area to store all of these. Hubby just added the little doors for me.  Neat or what?  I can hardly wait to start packing and sorting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 4

Before going to bed on Sunday eve, I had my top assembled thus achieving my goal for the weekend. And if you are looking for the mistake I mentioned in my previous post….. I fixed it (irrespective of what I may look like from behind, my conscience is still bigger than my butt)!
Monday was a little rougher in that after work, I had to clean the birds’ room (another one of hubby’s chores that I had to take over, this week) and run some errands for the office before I could even think of quilting but I still managed to add two borders to my quilt top.
Tuesday I had to wash carpets.  Having 3 huge dogs, each having a couple of favourite spots on which to chew their juiciest bone, our carpets never stay clean for long.  I however noticed we tend to make a cleaning job a much bigger issue than it really is.  Got home, spot sprayed two rooms and let the cleaning agent sit.  Went to my sewing room, started doing either cutting, pinning, single seam stitching or whatever was next on the agenda and then returned to room 1 to wash the carpet, break to quilt, spray room 3 and this went on and before long I not only had a house with clean carpets but the third and final border sewn onto my quilt.

Wednesday off to my favourite Pfaff dealer to get backing and backing and then I sat behind my Pfaff Grand Quilter to practise my overall free-motion pattern…… wait for it….. with metallic thread.  Lots of prayers need to be sent my way, please.

Then it was time to go outside to my newly discovered (but actually old) quilt basting table and before any cat could become annoying on this blanket mom put outside, I had the basting done.

Now I am disappearing from the blogging world for a while as I have to focus on SLOW and painfully patient quilting hoping to become good friends with the metallic thread…. Otherwise I’ll just quilt the thing in yellow thread and pretend it is gold. Oh and I am trying out my new ruler foot without the hopping motion.  I just figured I paid a fortune for it, if I can only use one foot instead of changing all the time, I might as well do it, so wish me luck.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Birthday fabric One Block Wonder – 3

With hubby away on a golf break for a week, I’ve set way too many quilting goals for myself.  With all I planned, a day should have twice as many hours and I forgot that I still had to go to the office daily (couldn’t also take off), has to take over all hubby’s chores, so walking the dogs twice a day and checking on the garden too has to fit into a single day.

I however set this weekend out to make good progress on my Birthday OBW which I did.  Started joining the half hexes in strips and all went just fine, then started joining strips in pairs when I saw THIS BIG BOOBOO!

The worst part is that I already saw this as I put the half hexes up on the design wall and eliminated this hexagon seeing that I had 3 that wouldn’t be put to use.  Somehow, somewhere it must have crept back into the final layout.  Bummer!  Not a good mood-setter for the rest of the week.  I am still contemplating whether to unpick and fix or just let it be.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trip to Smithfield

One of the smaller towns some 1½ hours’ drive from us hosts a quilt day once a year and this year quilting friend, Karin and I, decided to attend but the sad part is that we never even took a single photo, not of us in the car, the venue, the quilts or our fellow quilters.  We are really getting old!

For such a small group they did everything right.  We had no less than 4 demonstrations and way-way too much to eat with the most interesting lunch I’ve had in a LONG time.

My Snowflake Splendour One Block Wonder won the second prize in the viewers’ choice after I didn’t want to enter it initially, Karin took over and gave it for display.  I will have to share my prize money with her.

This week our men are taking a golfing break and our plans for this ‘time-out’ is to do very little but quilting, so hopefully I will have some progress to post about after this week.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Magnolia Mystery - 1

Up early one morning, working through the blogs I follow on The Old Reader, I came across a new mystery quilt over HERE.

Now the one thing that bugs me about most mysteries are that the completed size is seldom given with the fabric requirements and I would dread going through the process of making a mystery to end up with a small wall hanging or table topper (I simply just don’t like these or then prefer quilts to be on my beds).  This one however gave you a choice for the completed size and when I saw QUEEN I was as in as could be.

I am still trying to work away some of my stash and had to search through this for my fabric choices.  This is what I came up with.
As usual, everything I was busy doing came to a halt when I got the cutting instructions.  Here most of the cutting is done.

The first stitching instruction appeared on the first Thursday of September (and the next will be posted every first Thursday of the next months) I stayed on track and did my homework. A total of 72 half square triangle blocks done.
We had an ill granddaughter over for the weekend so very little quilting happened.