Sunday, April 25, 2010

How do you like my "new" machine?

She's an old Bernina 830. And she is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. How did she come to be you ask? Well, since I had finally finished enough stashlets for my purpose I figured it was time to quilt the quilts I had pinned a while back. I can't baste anything else until I free some of my pins!

So early yesterday morning I pulled out the quilt I had been quilting when my sewing machine decided not to play nicely back in February. Remember that? It was gone for almost 2 weeks. For some reason when it came back I didn't resume quilting, just piecing. And my machine pieced just fine. But quilt? No, it would not. Same exact problem. So I packed it up (remembering the power cord this time) and took it back to the LQS. Coincidentally the repair man was on site as was the primary owner of the machine side of the business. We tried the "brick" test and a few other things, and of course, nothing seemed wrong. The consensus was that it was my foot pedal or the motor. So the easiest thing to do was loan me another foot pedal so I could test.

So home again, and guess what? I know you know the answer. It was not the foot pedal. So back to the LQS. While we discussed the possible cost of replacing the motor (not as bad as you might think) and whether one was on order or not, the main thing going through my head of course, was how long would the machine be gone. As we were finishing up the discussion Linda asked if I had anything at home to sew on. And then offered me the loaner machine. It came with lots of feet, but no manual. No problem. When I was a teenager I babysat for a family who had done a tour of duty in Japan and brought back a Japanese machine. Since there was no sewing machine at my house and I was learning to sew in home ec they let me use it. And since all the instructions and markings were in Japanese I had to figure out everything on my own. So an older Bernina hardly represents a challenge at all!

I finished the quilt that had so long been partially done, made binding, applied it, and even started quilting on another. This is a wonderful machine! The older mostly metal ones have such a different sound from the newer ones made out of more plastic. The only thing I use all the time that it is lacking is a needle down option. But you can manage the needle position with the foot pedal. So long as you remember that is!

Anyway, what looked like it was going to be a not very good day at all turned into a great one. Now that is customer service, isn't it?

So, finally I have another finish for 2010. Only my second one. Oh, well, many more to come. Another scrappy quilt, of course, and one that includes my favourite block!

And the only possible name for it don't you think, is "Quiltus Interruptus".

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some things I should like better than I do

I have been hunting for something I misplaced for quite some time now -- unsuccessfully I might add. Anyway I have come across some things that I really should like alot. After all I bought them didn't I? Must have liked them, right? And I do like them, but they are just not quite right somehow. I thought I would share a few. First up is a make do. Very popular in the prim world, right? And from my very favourite prim store, but, I don't know, maybe a little too purposely contrived as prim? Or how about these boxes? I was quite pleased when I discovered them at the thrift store, but no matter where I put them they somehow just do not float my boat.
Or this. Also thrifted. Cute as can be, right? Well, maybe not so much. Very retro '50's. I just have no clue what to do with it.
Now here is someone's mega project. This was in a plastic sack at the thrift store. It was hard to tell its size. Turns out it is about a foot wide and several feet long. I think it was made a while back based on the fabrics. Yo yos are really popular. I am not a very good yo yo maker. Maybe it's because I don't like them as much as everyone else.
Doesn't it seem like there are cycles or trends in the quilting world? Redwork for a while, aprons for a while, tote bags still seem to be really popular. Oh, and pillowcases are the latest thing, aren't they?
I had to rescue this and I do appreciate the labour that went into it. I just don't seem to like it all that much. Oh, did I mention how heavy it is? A full size yo yo quilt would way a ton I think.
As you know I LOVE Christmas. And when I found these (also at the thrift store) I had big plans for replacing the fabric centers. Years later, and have I done it? No. And I suppose I never will.
Here's another set of primitive boxes. And I have seen this set in oodles of primitive and country magazine photos. Again I was delighted when I found it at the thrift store. And I have placed it in many places in the house. But, nope, nowhere seems to be the right place for it.
And hearts, you know I love hearts. We do an ornament swap every year at work as part of the 12 Days of Christmas and this was the one I won a few years ago. Old fashioned -- check. The look of mercury glass -- check. Heart shaped -- check. And yet, I have never hung it on my tree. That little twist on the bottom just doesn't work for me.
Oh, here we go, an item from Gooseberry Patch. It's a collectors' item now, right? Since they have discontinued their catalog. Hearts, gingham, cute curly wire. But it is a garland and you all know I am garland challenged. I have never found the right home for it either.
And these are red, snap on to Christmas tree limbs or other things, but, hmmm. Nothing.
Another Gooseberry Patch item. What could be better than plaid stars and hearts? These items have graced many a bowl and basket trying to find the perfect spot. Even the Christmas tree. And yet they have spent more of their life in a box then anywhere else.
One last item, then I will change the subject. I have a red one of these that I love and when I found this one I thought immediately of my lack of spring time decorating items and pounced on it. At a real store, not a thrift store I might add. And I have put different things in it every Easter and spring for the last few years. But, no, just doesn't quite do it for me.
So, do you have things like this? Things that for some reason or another are a disappointment? One person's disappointment is another's happy find. I am thinking some of these items will be featured in upcoming giveaways. Just because they don't make me happy doesn't mean they won't make someone else happy. So stay tuned.
Meanwhile I have something new to share. In keeping with the bummed out theme of the last few weeks though, it wasn't easy to acquire. I have been thinking of purchasing one of these ever since I saw in Sweet P's blog that she was using a similar item to cut circles for penny rugs. And when I researched it on the web as far as I could tell everyone who used one loved it.
I had that JoAnn's gift card burning a hole in my pocket and this seemed the perfect item on which to use it. Except it is not carried in the stores, only online. Well, okay, I received an email with a 40% off coupon and free shipping a few weeks ago. Time to order. Not. JoAnn's web site doesn't allow you to use 2 coupons. Grrr. Frustrated, I didn't place an order and hunted elsewhere on the web for it.
And this sad tale goes on and on, but enough of the whiney downer stuff -- finally I got my hands on it. What is it you ask? Well, look and see...
Now, I don't scrapbook. In fact, if it weren't for this blog I wouldn't take pictures either. But after learning that this will indeed die cut fabric, even wool, I really wanted it. So right off the bat, I had to test it out. What do you think?
Cute, aren't they? And look what else you get! Oh, okay, these probably are supposed to be thrown away. But there must be something you can do with them, don't you think? I just know it.
So look at this stashlet! Isn't it cute? Fun, fun fun.
Oh, and there is one more stashlet to share. Now I have 22 of them and that is enough. I know you are wondering what I have planned for them. I guess I can share as none of the folks who work for me read my blog. Or even know it exists.
I think I mentioned that I am planning on retiring at the end of the year. Every year I have tried really hard to find unique (and inexpensive -- there have been as many as 30 of them some years) Christmas gifts for my folks. I usually hunt all year long and they always look forward to them. So this year, stashlets for all. That way they will have something to remember me by. And that's the reason I wanted so many colours and styles. I don't really know their tastes. So I figured if I have enough for all plus some spares they can choose something they like. I just haven't figured out quite how to do the gifting so they have a chance to choose. But hey, I have plenty of time to get that figured out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Continuing saga of the stashlets

Another weekend, another pile of stashlets. I almost have enough made now for what I have in mind. I actually am working on the last one but ran short of time today. You will have to wait for next time to see that one. Meanwhile, here is this week's production.

You know I don't do a lot of blue quilts but for this purpose blue is good I think because most people seem to like blue and don't have my prejudice against it. I like this one. Another citrus-y one.
And on to another blue. Some of these blue fabrics are old, old, old since they are from my blue period. It is nice to get to use some up
I decided to make another of these. But only one more as all the little squares do get tedious. Since this image is patriotic it seemed right to add some red into the squares.
This one actually looks tons better in real life than in the photo. The various shades of purple actually look really ygood together.
I like this one alot. Yesterday apparently was my red, white and blue day as these two were the first ones finished. I used to buy my fabrics at JoAnns and So Fro and the other companies that JoAnns seemed to buy up. Lot's of these fabrics are from those days. Mainly it was an issue of price. These days I am definitely a quilt shop fabric snob. Even though it kills me to pay $9.00 plus per yard. Not that JoAnns is so cheap anymore. I still buy backs there and even when they have sales the prices aren't as good as they used to be.

Here is the other RWB one. I don't like it quite so much although Mr THQ seemed to like it alot.
This project was not nearly so much fun this weekend as last. I think it is because I have been pretty bummed out about everything the last few days. Among other things my sewing room was a complete mess from having so much fabric out for this project. And I had un-decorated for Easter and just hauled everything up and plopped it on the floor and my tables. I think the degree of mess finally got to me so I got the fabric re-stashed and the Easter goodies put away. (Except for the ceramic eggs still on the mantel that I didn't even notice until a few minutes ago -- it seems like I always totally miss something!)

So once I finish up the 9 patches for the last stashlet it is time to get back to quilting all the quilts I pinned a while back -- remember that? Starting to quilt my way through that pile was what I was doing when my machine took a dive and had to go to the hospital for a little TLC.

Anyway I can't pin all these until I quilt enough of the larger quilts to free up my pins. So next weekend it will be time to get the gloves on and get going!

So as I was getting ready to publish I changed the font to Trebuchet. It is one of my favourites. I always have to change it because I can't figure out how to make it the default font. Anyway, changing it made me remember an article in our local paper recently. It said that if you are tring to save ink or toner you should always use a font with a serif because they are generally thinner so they use less ink. Times New Roman was recommended. Eeuw. I just don't like fonts with serifs and is there a more boring font than TNR?? I guess I will just be an ink waster! And proud of it!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Stashlets, stashlets everywhere

And still not quite enough although I am getting close. It's really amazing how much using the already sewn blocks has sped up this process! And look, I have even made binding for a couple of them! This has been a lot of fun although I am afraid I am getting obsessed with it. I am really enjoying finding really weird things in my stash and figuring out a way to use them. But last night I found myself dreaming about how I was going to make one. So I got up and made it!

Don't look too closely at this next one. This was a block that definitely did not come out right. Either I sewed it poorly or trimmed it poorly but there is hardly a point that did not get lopped off. Dressed up though, it is almost cute, or at least no longer forlorn! One thing I have noticed is that I seem to be making borders way too wide. I have been cutting down the inside ones but have decided to leave the outside ones until they are quilted. I have also been doing lots of "un-sewing" since sometimes I don't realize a better way until I have put some of the pieces together. I guess I should be planning better in advance but it seems like it is more fun to just "free-sew". Uh, oh, speaking of "un-sewing" I spy a twisted block I had not noticed before in this one. Oh, well, it's a planned mistake now!
I particularly had difficulty with this one and it ended up with more center stripes and blocks than I intended. I am not quite sure why but everytime I tried to put it together the white ended up next to white and the green next to green. To make it worse I was watching Martha Stewart while I was working on it. I guess the more perfect she was the more imperfect I was!
For some reason some of the colours on this one really washed out in the picture. The green is light, but not THIS light.
A little more of the happy bluebird fabric. There is only the tiniest bit of it left now.
This pattern is wonderful for using up stray blocks. Half square triangles and 4 patches are easy to come by in my block stash and this pattern uses them up!
It's hard to believe it is April already and that quilt show season is approaching. A quilty friend and I made plans last week for our first show of the season the last week in April. And wouldn't you know it's in eastern Idaho and we will have to drive right by my very favourite quilt shop in Rupert. How d'ya like that!
I have not ever been to any shops in Pocatello or Idaho Falls so am really looking forward to getting a chance to do that. Hmm, better stop in Rupert on the way home or there won't be any funds for the new shops!