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Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Tree Skirt Turned Table Runner is Done

It is entirely machine quilted. I used the new walking foot and did a basic outline around each star. I am pretty happy with that part. There are a few puckers on the back, but overall it's OK for a table runner.

I even sewed the binding on by machine.

That part was a total flop.

This runner is almost six feet long and I was trying to save time by using the machine. Big mistake. If I could do it over, I would spend the extra hours hand sewing the binding to the backside.
It looks OK from the front,but the back is pretty awful. There are spots where I missed sewing the binding completely for an inch or so.

When I use it I will have to pin it down to the tablecloth so nobody can pick it up and look at the backside!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Old Maid's Puzzle - book review

I am really getting interested in quilting mysteries. I am surprised how many are out there when you really start looking for them.

My latest read was Old Maid's Puzzle by Terri Thayer.

Dewey Pellicano recently inherited her mother’s quilt store and is determined to make it profitable.

It’s the store’s 20th anniversary. They are planning a huge anniversary sale. The day before the sale a national quilting show is going to air a ½ hour interview with one of the store’s clerks, (who also happens to be the jealous sister-in-law). Dewey is very optimistic that the national debut will be the saving grace for the shop.

That is until a dead body turns up in the quilting shop’s alley. . . and then a second body….

I found the book to be a fun read. I started it on Friday and finished it on Saturday. You don’t have to be a quilter to enjoy this book, but there are enough quilter references to keep you interested if you are.

I didn't realize until today that this is the second book in a series. The first book is Wild Goose Chase. I should have read that one first. I am not sure if I will read it now that I have already read #2. I hate to read them out of order.
I will, however, be looking forward to a third book.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lollies, Pumpkins & Maple Leaves

It's a very dark, cold, deary, wet fall day here.

Even so as I soon as I got home from work, I ran out in the cold drizzle to cut down some Maple leaves before they were all gone.

I had an idea to make a centerpiece with lollipops & maple leaves in a pumpkin.

I used the lollipops because they were the inspiration for the quilt I just finished and I wanted to use it for a tablecloth.

In about 10 minutes I had it completed.

I like that I have just finished this quilt and I already found a use for it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Almost Finished

I love Sundays.

Usually I stay home all day and revel in twelve hours of domesticity.

I almost always spend a good portion of the day cooking, so that I don't have to do much cooking during the week. Today I made ground bologna sandwich spread (DH loves this), macaroni salad, beef roast w/potatoes and carrots, squash, & apple crisp. I also took some homemade frozen chicken noodle soup out of the freezer for tomorrow night. I am pretty well set for at least three days next week.

In between cooking & cleaning the kitchen, I sat in the family watching HGTV design/decorating shows and working on the quilt/tree skirt.

I got it all sandwiched, then had to rummage around the basement looking for my embroidery thread. I don't do embroidery, I just have the thread for other craft projects. I finally found it in this brightly-colored sewing basket, circa 1970.

Wouldn't you know the spot where I thought the ties would look best was right smack in the center of 8 seams....trying to get a needle through that is not so easy. I used a thimble to push the needle through.......
then I couldn't pull it with my fingers. I grabbed what was handy......a pair of small scissors...not the best tool for the job, but it does work. It also ruins the scissors.
After pulling a few through with the scissors, I got up and went looking for the proper tool. Luckily I found another sewing basket within a few minutes and the tool I wanted was in it.
I am not sure what it is called. I used to use it for Barbie doll jewelry. It works great to pull the needle. Once I had the right tool, the tying went fast.

Within a few hours I had it all tied. Then I had to find a binding. At first I was going to use a plain green--the same fabric that I used for some of the pinwheel backgrounds. BORING....I thought a stripe would be nice...again fate was with me as I found enough of a striped fabric that I had already cut into long strips.

Much better!

I have used striped fabric for bindings quite a few times during the last year. I really find that it gives just the right amount of "punch".

I still have to slip stitch the binding to the back.

I think this will work just fine for my "Visions of Sugarplums" Christmas tree. It's also the right size to cover my table, or a baby quilt or just a little lap quilt for a cold winter evening. I love multi-tasking ---even for my quilts!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Husky V was Sick Last Night

Yes, right after my post last night, I went to sew those pinwheel blocks.My Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 850 begin coughing and sputtering. The "motor overload" light kept coming on. Four times I removed the jammed thread in the bobbin area. Finally I gave up, packed the machine in it's case (which, by the way, is quite flimsy) and took it out to my car.
This morning I took it to the Husky V doctor.

I left it and went back to work.

Within an hour I had a call that Husky V was all set.

Wow. That was quick. I asked what was wrong.

I was a little embarrased when he told me it was not threaded correctly.

Somehow I missed one little spot where the thread needs to go.

Well, at least my trip was not a total waste. I have been waiting since I purchased the machine for the quilting kit that I ordered. It has been 8 months and still no quilting kit.

The dealer said that he did have a walking foot in (which is part of the kit). He said I could take it home and use it while I am waiting. This is the walking foot.

But is it this cute?
No kidding. This foot is $98.00!

I got a couple of books from the library today.
Has anyone read this quilt murder mystery by Terri Thayer? I hope to start reading it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm Just NOT Having Fun Any More With These Pinwheels

I have been playing with layouts.

I like the first one the best, but I am tired of making pinwheels. I am trying to stretch out the ones I have so I don't have to make any more.

I am planning to use this around a Christmas tree this year, but I don't want it to be round or look Christmasy. I want it more versatile so I can use it as a table topper, too. If I add the 12-inch plain blocks, it would be big enough right now.

I think that is what I may end up doing. I will add a 3-inch border with little 3-inch pinwheels in each corner. It's almost November, so I need to get moving on this one. I think I will tie it with yarn because I think colorful ties will add a festive element.

I just thought of the yarn tying as I am writing this. That would give a bit more texture and interest to those plain blocks. Yes, I think that is exactly what I will do! I am off now to start sewing all the 6-inch pinwheels together.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Goal Accomplished

I had two goals for this weekend.

#1 was to get the deck cleaned off for the winter. DH and I did that on Saturday.

Goal #2 was to get my pink star quilt sandwiched (I really need to come up with a name for this quilt--any ideas?)

It's a beautiful autumn day today (close to 80 degrees). I knew if I went outside, I'd never get back in to do this, so first thing this morning I found some backing fabric from the stack I bought yesterday and set to completing this task.

I usually make king-sized quilts, and I most always use a good quality muslin that is 120 inches wide so I rarely have to piece my backing. I know muslin is "out", but I really do prefer it for quilts that will be on a bed. I like the fact that I can see all of my hand quilting on the muslin.

This is a much smaller quilt and will be draped over my flowered living room sofa, so I thought a coordinated fabric would be nice for the back. I picked this soft pink fabric,

taped it to the floor, topped it with batting (I use polyester because I find it easier to hand quilt), then I added the pieced top.

I crawled around on the kitchen floor and used quilt pins to baste the 3 layers. I like to use the pins rather than thread to baste. I just find it goes faster and I don't have to remove the basting stitches after I am done.

I don't think I am alone in my dislike for this part of quilt making.

I would probably like it more if I had a fancy studio where I had big tables at just the right height to baste a quilt. The odds are pretty good that I will never be so lucky to have such a studio, so I am doomed to be crawling around on the floor until I can no longer get down low enough to crawl.

When I got dressed this morning, I threw on a turtleneck. I used to love turtlenecks, but now I hate having anything around my neck. I thought I could handle the turtleneck since it's usually a bit chilly in my home.

I was totally WRONG.

After just a short time, that shirt was making me miserable. Admittedly, I was a bit cranky just because I was crawling around doing a task I dislike to begin with. Suddenly I grabbed the scissors and just cut right down the center of that shirt!

Ah, it was like I was being released from prison.

It felt so much better!

Yes, I ruined a shirt. It's just a shirt I wear around the house anyway. It's so comfy now, that I am sure I will wear it often while I am cleaning, etc.

I am feeling very good right now. I completed both goals.

It's a good thing I did this before I went outside. Because I worked hard in the gardens today and I know I never would have had the energy to crawl around the floor basting when I came inside at 3:00 p.m.

I am happy knowing that when I get the urge to quilt, this one is all ready and waiting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Everytime I see this, I get Excited

Half off the already reduced fabric.

Who can resist?

Not me!

I came out with 31 yards of fabric for a fraction of the original cost. Most of it is light background colors, which I always need.

I am so happy to report that I did find some matching fabric to fix the hole in my pink star quilt.

I just finished fixing it.

I just added a small patch of fabric instead of painfully picking out 1.5inch stitches along all sides of the entire piece. Nobody but me will even notice it once it's all quilted. I don't know if you can see it with this picture. You may need to click to enlarge.

I am hoping to get it sandwiched this weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

36 Pinwheels Done

I have been busily sewing pinwheels in the little bit of spare time I have had this weekend. I have finished 36 blocks.

I don't know how many I will need. Later this week I will play around with a few layouts to see where to go from here.

Look at this pile of scraps that I've cut from the 6-inch blocks.

I decided to make some 3-inch blocks with them.
I will have to figure out how to work them into the layout.

My sewing room is quite a mess.

That's how I like it.

If there's no mess, then I am not creating.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Scrap the Pink Tree Skirt & On with the Lollipop Inspiration

I have decided the pink blocks in the last post will not be a tree skirt. Each 6-inch block has 17 pieces and I would need about 100 of them---that's way more work than I want to put into a tree skirt.

I have completed 20 of the six-inch blocks, which is just enough to make a table runner, so that is most likely what these blocks will become.

I have set them aside for a few days while I work on my second attempt at a tree skirt. Earlier this year I bought a dozen large lollipops that I plan to use on a Christmas tree. I came across them while cleaning out a cupboard a few days ago. Right away I decided to take one to my fabric stash to find some matching fabric to make a tree skirt.

I wanted something much easier than the above blocks and something fun, whimsical and colorful. I decided to try pinwheels.

I think it's working!

What do you think?
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