26 September 2017

Gnome Quilt Top Complete

Doesn't it feel great to finish up UFOs?

Two weeks ago I finished this retro-fabric
quilt top that was started last spring.


Today I finished the sashing, backing and
binding for this gnome quilt began late
last summer while making a baby quilt
out of the same fabrics.

My Crib Size Version

I still have enough fabric to make a third
gnome quilt but no plans for that just yet.
Apparently I really liked this fabric.
(Note to self:  only buy enough for one quilt!)

This means I'm celebrating two empty baskets.
I love jumping in on new projects so I only
allow myself six "open project" baskets to keep
myself in check.  And if I have empty ones, I feel like
I'm doing a great job.  I'd love to have only one
project "open" at a time but things like Christmas,
garden season, football season and babies on
the way can really throw that.
I don't generally carry projects on too long so
six seems to be a workable number for me.

This BOM is hanging out in one of those baskets,
waiting for the next three months to be posted.
"Apple Orchard" is my early start on Christmas gifts.
BOMs are my favorite way to de-stash.

So, yes, I'm getting a nice little pile of quilts
ready for playing around on the long-arm.
Which is just fine by me because some day very
soon I'm going to feel practiced enough to begin.

This is my last year as a football mom so I've
been giving over much of my time to the team.

Last week my husband and I cooked up
a meal for the offense here at our house.
Feeding 50 ravenous guys is no small feat but
we've gotten some practice at large meals over
the last few years so, aside from a little
normal stress, it really was quite fun.
So fun we decided to step up and take on
this week's meal as well.

Our program has a reputation for being very
successful, and for having great parental involvement.
With these Thursday night meals, Friday pre-game
meals, a coach's radio show on Monday eves,
and other random activities--not to
mention the games themselves--it's getting hard
to have a day actually open to quilting.
I'm having a wonderful time but I'm a little torn.
I'm getting a little worn out, and I'm wanting
to get to know my new long-arm.  Of course,
for that, I will have the rest of my life.

But only a couple more months of this.

21 September 2017

Hi, I Have A Long-Arm Quilting Machine

I'm struggling to get the time to make
a great post about my super big surprise
so I'm just going to put it out there.

The short story is:
I just happened to see one at a price that I
absolutely could not refuse.
I'm not sure I ever thought I'd really get one,
and certainly not before we were empty-nesters!

So, for at least a couple years it will sit in our
sunroom.  Taken down to half-size, it's not too bad!
When I woke up the next morning,
I texted my sister (who also quilts):
"Hi, my name is Cheree and I
have a long-arm quilting machine."
(Would it be too weird to greet complete strangers this way?)
It was all just so unexpected!  So out of the blue!
Two weeks later, I'm not sure the realization
has even hit me but I guess I have my whole
life for that.

Some features:
18", up to king-size, stitch regulation,
pantograph laser, Phoenix frame, etc.
It has only been used for 4 quilts
so it is practically brand new.

Now, before you ask,
it did not come with a computer attachment--
I'm not convinced I want one.  I've been burned
by technology becoming outdated before.
(which is why I have a pricey little embroidery machine just sitting in my closet)
 I also don't feel like pushing a button to
let the machine go on its own
is going to feed my creativity very well.
(If I were doing it as a business,
things might be different!)

It's a little humbling to have learn a whole new way
of quilting--almost like starting over.
And maybe the biggest struggle is that I just
haven't had much time for it.
Fortunately it's quilt season for me
(even if football is taking most of my time!)
and I hope to learn very quickly!
I want to put an order in for some pantographs
soon, and maybe make some of my own--an
idea that I'm very excited about.

* * * * * * * * * * *
I do have a question for any long-arm owners
out there:
I have two quilts basted already
that I was planning on doing with my regular
sewing machine.  Is it possible to put these on the
frame somehow?  What if I attached each with the
basting in them and stitched all around the very edges
and then pulled the basting pins?  I didn't leave
enough excess around the quilt on the batting
or backing that everything says I need for a long-arm
but maybe I could at least quilt the main part there
and then move back to my other
machine for the borders?  Hopefully stitching
those layers together will avoid any layer/space
issues?  Help!

18 September 2017

Time to Catch Back Up

Well look at that...
another 6 months slipped by.
Catch-up posts are getting to be a thing with me.

I only made 2 quilts over this time
but one of them was probably the most
challenging quilt I've ever made.

Our son-in-law was graduating with a
degree in architecture so I went out
of my comfort zone to find an appropriate
pattern--and then made it in a week.  Insane.
As it often happens when I work with a pattern
I think isn't really my taste,
I ended up really liking this one.
This is why we need to step out of that zone!

We also had a daughter's college graduation
and our 2 boys' great track post-season
(one took 5th in the state in shot put, the other took 3rd in the state in
pole vault; as an entire team, they all took 2nd in the state)
so I just didn't get started on time.

Even months later, I still love to look at this pic.
I think there are probably better ways to position
the blocks, especially along the sides, but I was
out of fabric and certainly out of time.
Anyway, I kind of like the way it suspends
there among the black.

I also completed another baby quilt
from the same pattern as in my previous post...

but in this I used the more feminine fabrics
of that same layer cake.

This was given to my niece and her baby girl.

Now this next one I made last year so I didn't
really count it, but it does qualify as a "finish".

I purposely waited till spring to do the quilting
so it would be nice and new when I
gifted it to a high school graduate.

We had all new flooring installed
throughout the two main levels of our home.
Thirty years is more than enough for carpet and old
vinyl, and we wanted to switch to wood floors
wherever possible.
In preparation, I pulled the last bit of wall paper
in the house (yay!), repainted a lot of rooms,
(because who wants to paint over a new floor?)
generally cleaned everything and thinned out
any items we weren't using,
including some large furniture items.
For the actual installation, we had to move
almost everything to the basement.
Over two weeks (weekend, too), strangers,
noise, chaos and more dirt than I thought
possible hung out in "my space."
If only the dirt had gone away with them!
So, I got to clean everything all over again,
including windows--which is a two-day chore in
itself.  Some walls still need touched up with
paint.  A few areas still need new trim.
But we couldn't be happier with our floors.

Recently, I helped my daughter throw
a baby shower for our other daughter.
Though I didn't get these done in time
for the shower, I did make 10 burp cloths out of
the fabrics that were left over from the baby quilt
I am currently working on and will post more
about later along with my big surprise.

I'm also working on the Fall '17 Quilts tab
that should be up shortly.

Till then, happy quilting!
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