Saturday, March 31, 2012

UFO Challenge 2012 update

Judy asked if we made any progress on our March UFOs.  I'm pleased to report I actually finished mine, which were these two tablerunners: 

Baby Boxes, and...

...Party Time.   This is the fourth tablerunner I have made from this book:

Heather Mulder Peterson's On the Run.  She's done a lot of pattern books built around precuts but gives general cutting directions so you can use scraps or other yardage.  I really like the strong diagonal lines in many of her designs.  Check out the Inspiration page on the website for some of the beautiful projects in her books:

I made this one, called Sweet Escape, last year to give to the caterer for my daughter's wedding.  I pulled the blue and pink charms from a pack of Boutique; the Party Time runner has the other colors from the same charm pack.

This one, Fresh Blossoms, was a blogversary giveaway prize in 2011.  Since I'm giving the Party Time runner to my mother, only one of the four actually will stay here.  Seems I need to make a couple more from the book!  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Plugging Away

The lack of any blogging this week has several causes, none of which are worth blogging about.  But some stitching has been done.  I'm trying to finish the hand quilting on my version of Lori's (Humble Quilts) Strawberry Fields Quiltalong from a couple of years ago. 

Patriotic Fields is what I'm calling this.  I attached my binding ahead of finishing the quilting to avoid all those ratty edges from handling.  Rule breaking, I know! 

I've been using my Beam and Read light while propped up in bed, and some nights I only get a few stitches in before it's time to turn the lights out.  A few more hours of work are left, I think.  Let's just call this utility quilting, as my stitches are not close and tiny.  I'm considering carrying the lines across the background out into the wider border, and just stitching in the ditch next to the red border.  Opinions? 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Design Wall Monday--March 26, 2012

Last Design Wall Monday in March, how time flies.  Although this photo looks strikingly similar to ones I've shown before of this UFO project, this week I get to report a finish--finally! 

After ripping out all the previous quilting, on the advice of several blog friends I bought Aurifil Mako 50 wt cotton quilting thread and a new package of 90/14 machine needles.  I am happy to report that all the quilting was accomplished without a single thread or needle break.

There was some ripping of ugly "traveling" stitches or arcs that looked awful, but no thread nests appeared on the back, thankfully.  I quilted the lines about 3/4" apart and really like the texture.  This design is called "Echo Shell", from Leah Day's From Daisy to Paisley free motion quilting book. 

The striped bias cut binding went on quickly.  The fabric is Boutique and the pattern "Party Time" by Heather Mulder Peterson (Anka's Treasures) from her book On the Run.

I'm pleased that this tablerunner is at last ready to be used.  My mom fell in love with it so I'll get to enjoy it until Mother's Day.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Walking on Wood Products

Three strong, hard working men and 3.5 hours was all that was required to get from this:

Sea of furniture in the backyard.

Removing the nasty old padding.

Baseboards removed and first course getting started.  Grant is giving some extra direction.

Halfway done!

We chose this distressed, hand-scraped "Hampton Hickory" laminate. 

Installing the T moulding between the tile and new floor was the last step.

Never again will embarrassing frayed carpet be seen here!  It looks good with our existing tile too.

Standing in the dining room looking to the front windows.  Grant was afraid it might be too dark but because it is reflective it lightens up--there is plenty of natural light in this room.

$20 worth of felt furniture pads later, the room is reloaded. 

No more tack strip to stab anyone.  We had the nondescript baseboards removed and will reinstall some taller, nicer ones after we paint the walls--the terracotta has had a long run but it is time to go.  We are thinking a warm tan color but keeping it fairly light now that the floor is darker. 

What a difference a few hours makes! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting Ready

Tomorrow our new laminate flooring for the main living/dining area gets installed.  A few before pics of the 20 year plus carpeting that is leaving:

Looking towards the dining room; living area to the right.

I won't miss this eyesore that we have tried to hide under a rug and furniture for years.

Nor this embarrassingly worn and stained part of the dining room leading into the kitchen. The throw rug keeps you from stepping on the tack strip that is poking through.  The installers will move all our big furniture but we spent an hour or so this evening clearing all the small stuff and emptying out furniture.

Mini helped me with the sideboard. 

The flooring has been delivered and acclimated and we expect the installers around 9 a.m.  I'm hoping to be able to share a finished floor by dinnertime.  Very excited!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events of my week that land here.
  • Youngest daughter, Erica, has come into town for a few days of spring break from ASU.  I haven't seen my car in almost 12 hours since she dropped me off at work this morning.
  • Last night we had a belated birthday dinner for Erica--it was a spur of the moment decision to have it here and Erica requested a family favorite, Hamburger Soup, followed by strawberry shortcake for dessert.  Yum!   
  • I'm not sure whether I like a new experience I've been having very recently--which I am calling Personal Weather Systems.  HOT, cold, HOT, mostly at night. Any guesses?
  • Traffic Rant:  Bicycle riders who ignore every.single.caution.  No helmet, riding against traffic, riding on the sidewalk, going through stop signs and even red lights.  Please, people, bicycles are moving vehicles and are supposed to obey traffic laws, same as cars. Don't end up with your bike crushed beneath a pickup truck's front tire as I saw one rider last week (riding on the sidewalk against traffic!)
  • We had a big storm, very cold and windy and rainy this past weekend, and the snow level dropped to about 3,000 feet.  A lot of the snow had melted off the TopaTopa range by the time this pic was taken this morning but there was still some left:

But don't the telephone pole and mobile home park add so much to this view?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Design Wall Monday--Mar 19, 2012

On my design surface today are some more blocks for the Cocoa Baskets quilt (link is to McCall's Quilting, Sept-Oct 2010).  I'm making a smaller version than the magazine calls for, however.  Note that my churn dash block construction differs from the magazine pattern--which to my eye has more of a Shoo-fly look--and I prefer this one with the open center.

The pretty deep green print beneath the completed blocks will become a churn dash, 9 patch and basket block too.   Once at least half the blocks are made I will do a mock up to see what I'd like repeats of.  More low contrast blocks are on the horizon--I really like that green churn dash I just made.  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, March 18, 2012

National Quilting Day-after

Some quilt related activity did happen here on National Quilting Day.  There was some cutting and stitching, but mostly it was UN-quilting.
Removing the Echo Shell quilting seemingly took almost as long as quilting it!  I'll be setting off shortly to get a spool of replacement thread and restart the quilting process. 

In the UFO trifecta I'm attempting this month is this hand quilting project.  The blocks have been completed and I'm working on the background.  I first started with navy blue thread through the zigzag following my tape guide, but it disappeared into the background and did absolutely nothing for the quilt.  Now I'm thinking I'll stitch across the entire navy print background horizontally about every inch, including the setting triangles, if I'm making myself clear.  I'm debating whether navy or cream thread would be best.  Opinions, anyone?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adventures in FMQ

Following a long day sitting around at the courthouse for jury duty (no panels were called), some sewing was in order yesterday.  This little free motion quilting adventure started with a design from Leah Day's From Daisy to Paisley beginner's free motion quilting book, called Echo Shell. 

Since this would be my first foray into "travel" stitching, a practice sandwich was my starting point.

This time I used Leah's suggestion of leaving the feed dogs up, but setting the stitch length to zero.  "Traveling" by stitching over the same line to echo the half circle isn't the easiest thing to do, but I felt this wasn't a bad go and decided to move on to my tablerunner after a good number of echoes on my practice piece.

An old spool of orangey thread seemed to blend well and I started off down the primrose path.  SCREECH.  Stop for broken threads when going over seams.  Okay, try a larger needle.

Have you seen this gadget?  Funny looking, but very useful. I bought mine at the Husqvarna booth at the Road to California show.

The slot fits perfectly into the screw holding the foot or needle in place.

Easy to get a good grip on the screw and remove or tighten.   OK, back to echoing and a number of  SCREECHES to a halt for thread shredding and breaking, and some ugly traveling that had to be ripped out and redone.  

I decided to quit after finding nests and having to rethread the machine one too many times.  All of this is going to be ripped out and a new spool of thread purchased to replace the old polyester one.  And I'm going to try an even larger needle to help with going over the seams.  The good news is that I like the texture so am going to redo the same design--hopefully with a much better result. The adventure continues...

Thursday Quote

Glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly; Cincinnati museum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events from my week that land here.
  • My husband bought his Mom some candy and a card for Valentine's Day but forgot to give it to her a few days after at my mom's birthday party.  She later told him on the phone, "Just give it to me next year".  That's wonderful optimism for a 93 year old lady, don't you think?
  • Traffic Rant:  Drivers who first hesitate to get going and then slowly cruise forward on a green turn light, ensuring that the car behind them (me!) will not make it through the intersection and have to wait a whole 'nother light cycle.
  • Somehow my wardrobe is polarized between business and "can't-leave-the-house-in-this" clothes.  I have nothing for Date Night.  But face it, we are homebodies who rarely go out!
  • DD Erica is coming home this weekend from AZ for the first time since Christmas.  There is a lot of spillover stuff piled in her room that needs shifting before she gets here. 
  • Shots with my little camera that has trouble with low light sometimes results in unexpectedly interesting photos, such as this recent one of the sunset at the beach:

I have no idea how that line of stitching ended up across the scene.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Design Wall Monday--March 12, 2012

Again my Design Wall is a blank because quilting is still going on for the UFO pick of the month, two tablerunners.

Two broken needles and multiple thread breaks and skipped stitches later, the quilting finally got done.  I don't know if it was the thread, the tension, the needle, or the fabric, but it was a big pain in the rear for such a small project.

The striped bias binding turned out really well I thought.  It is all machine applied.

I made a trip back to Pier 1 since I could not resist picking up the Bunny in a Carrot Car, but photography in my house at night is difficult due to poor lighting. (Isn't he adorable, Darlene?)

Here you can see his luxurious tail and sweet pink painted nose and ears.  My spring decor is just about complete--I just need to finish the other tablerunner.  See more Design Walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Forward

I'm happy to leave last week behind--what with the receptionist out all week sick with the flu and my filling in for her AND trying to do my own job, plus covering for the absent transcriptionist at my other job from home, it was a very long week.  Throw in a brush fire in the river bottom half a mile from our office causing smoke and ash to choke us for a couple of hours on Tuesday, plus a surprise visit from the DEA Drug Diversion officers on Wednesday, and it was quite a work week.  Obviously not a bit of sewing machine time was accomplished, I was just too tired.  The only fabric interaction involved cleaning up the cutting table a little Friday night.

Saturday morning brought some testing--of the optometrist kind, and picking out new eyeglass frames.  Afterwards I headed to a department store but was drawn instead into the Pier 1 store by the adorable awnings painted on the windows and all the cute Spring wares.  I was unable to resist these lambs and bought both, which I delivered to DD Elaine.  I might have to go back and get the bunny in the carrot car to go with the couple of items that I bought for myself:

This new bunch of striped carrots are a nice foil to the Spring mini quilt that Julie gave me and I love so much.  The crackled glass eggs in the wire bunny egg holder are favorites of many years.  I might get some Capiz eggs to fill it up when I go back to Pier 1.  Seems I've decided, haven't I!

This "moss" covered bunny floral pick was also irresistible. 

The footed glass punchbowl and cross-stitched tea towel are vintage pieces from my mother-in-law.

A bunch of twigs plus a set of LED lighted branches gain a little life from another bunny.  The houseplants give life too--however temporary--probably doomed to my yellow thumb.  It was nice to spend some time playing with pretty pieces and making little vignettes.  By later today I hope to have the Baby Boxes tablerunner gracing my coffee table to add to the Spring look.  Anybody else redecorating this week?  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday quote

...who, like Bear, just wants to turn over and go back to sleep in the morning!

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...