27 February 2019

Hexagon Phenomenon

It's been a long day but I want to report that I've
finished quilting the hexies and it's off the frame.

It's a little dark again as it's getting late (as usual)
but what good is a report without proof?

It's too cold to do much else around here but
piece a quilt,
quilt a quilt
or be under a quilt.
Obviously I can mark off #2; I'm doing #3 right now.
#1 should happen tomorrow after I bind this one up.

Full finish pics* of Hexagon Phenomenon to follow soon!

*A "full-display hanging outside" pic is completely subject to
temperature being at least in the double digits!

Stay warm and Happy quilting!


26 February 2019

Some Days

Some days things go amuk...
and other days they go amazingly well.
Terrifically, you could say.

After I spent about an hour removing my "mistakes" from
 the hexi quilt yesterday, I walked away.  After that kind of
"fun", I find it's best to wait and start fresh in the morning.

When today began with a free coffee I thought,
"Hey, just maybe the odds will be in my favor?"
(We've been watching the Hunger Games.)
Squaring up my shoulders, I set about problem-solving.
Five minutes later, a brand new needle was
in the trash and I was off and running, re-discovering
the joy of quilting without a single thread break.
Just what is more fun than that?

Could it be finding out you've won fabric?
It's kind of a tough call so let's
just say they're both great!
Why not get fabric and quilt it, too?!?

The entire bundle!

That's 40 fat quarters!  Four-zero!
And I love Bonnie and Camille!
Now I have two reasons to happy-dance about the house!
Just what am I going to make with all of those?
Is there any way I'll get to it this spring??
Time to pick up the pace!

Melissa at Happy Quilting!

25 February 2019

A Small Log Cabin Start

Here are two trial blocks for my son's quilt.
I had originally intended to go from light to darker-light
on the one side and from medium to dark on the other.

Right now I'm not up to keeping track of all of that so
I'm sticking to a light side and a dark side and that's it.
No gradations to keep track of.

Placing them on the sashing fabric and putting the gold
fabric where the stars will be on the actual quilt, I'm getting
a pretty good vision of what I've got.

I'm not liking the larger center square at all,
especially with the "lights & darks only" plan.
Maybe the main point of the log cabin block is for that
center square to stand out but in my quilt, it's going to be
those gold stars in the sashing that will pop and I don't want
them to "fight".

Below on the right is what I'll be doing; my original is on the left. 
Sure it will change my overall measurements a little
but I'll just deal with that later.


(I could increase the size of the strips but I prefer smaller pieces
as a general rule--and I've already cut some strips.)

No matter the decision, it all serves to prove making trial blocks
are never a waste of time.  AndI've now relaxed a little (a little!)
there because these stitched up quickly.  I've been kind of panicky
lately knowing I have three to four large quilts to complete over
the next few months which are going to be busy enough already.

I have started quilting the hexi quilt but immediately ran into
tension problems again.  Why this occurs about every 4 or 5
quilts, I have no idea but I'll be a much happier person when
I get it sorted back out.
(I'm pretty sure this has something to do with why I need
the log cabin block to be simple!)
I really should just take the LA in for a good solid tune-up but,
like any of us would do, I'm trying to time it
when I won't be needing it for several weeks.

In my last post, I was trying out a new recipe for sourdough
baguettes; I didn't quite trust that so little work
would yield a good result.  Oh me of little faith!

In fact, it was the best sourdough bread I've made so far.
Lots of that "bite."  Definitely a keeper.

Weekly goals
Finish quilting hexi (need a name!) and bind
Make next log cabin trial blocks; then go ahead with lots!
Hit end-of-bolt sale for log cabin backing

Happy quilting!

22 February 2019

A Snow Sew and A Finish

Cozy Christmas 56x70

Quilting up my little Cozy Christmas quilt took weeks
for various reasons--ie bad thread, bad back--but I have
finally finished it.   I've been trying to use up some spool quilting
thread (from regular machine; I generally use cones on LA) but the
long arm was NOT liking it and it kept breaking.  Then I came
across a break in the thread on the spool and finally tossed it.
No it wasn't particularly old, either.  Just defective.
(Hmm...sounds like me....lol)
I decided it's not always worth it to try to use things up!
Not one thread break after that.

Due to those various reasons, it's just not my best quilting
effort so I'm keeping it.  I mean, I'm defective and my family
 seems to keep me around so I figure it's a good fit.
I don't really have a Christmas quilt
that matches our formal living room anyway.

Sure, it's almost March but with our current weather
it's easy to imagine curling up with a book over
the holidays with this one.  Clearly Chloe likes it.

But she's on any quilt within the 60 seconds it takes for
me to grab my phone for a pic.  It's almost a race.

We finally got a decent and beautiful snow a couple days ago.
I had to get out in it early the next morning--up at 5:40. :o)

Unfortunately it had mostly melted by late afternoon
when the sun decided to come out.  But!  There is
a 100% chance of more snow tomorrow, starting
with rain this afternoon so yes, sewing weather.

I have started loading the hexi quilt but stopped to air
out the batting overnight.  It's a tight squeeze
with this 90" batting but I'm out of 108".
I should be ok as long as everything is straight!
First goal of the day is to get it completely loaded.
Not sure I'll start quilting as I'm kind of missing my
sewing room and want to play with the log cabin blocks.

I'm also baking sourdough baguettes today--not sure what
to think of this recipe as there is so little kneading involved.
I'm no expert but isn't that what develops the glutens?!
Somehow they form though.

Side note:
Check out the chef's jacket--off to the races!
Seriously, doesn't it look like a jockey's jersey?
Ha!  I love to see their style!

But that's the fun of trying different recipes all the time.
And, it was certainly easy enough to start at 10:30 pm.  
Anyway, I do have to mention that "Vesuvius" is still alive
and producing, over a year later.  I keep the starter in the
fridge most of the time and take it out here and there
for a few days at a time.  I don't use it much but I'm always
more likely to bake during the winter.  One of these days I'll work
with it more, finding recipes that work for me and my schedule.
Till then it's pretty easy to keep it going...so I do.

It's Friday but my goals for the week:
Finish quilting and bind Cozy Christmas
Finish loading hexi quilt
Work on West Point Cabin blocks

Happy quilting!

BOM design by Sherri of A Quilting Life; directions found here.

14 February 2019

The Other Side of Gifts: Learning to Receive Well

I'm working on the long arm today but in light of our
jacket-free temperatures, I've also been spending some time
outside in the sun.
Spring is definitely on the way, even though our temps will
be dropping in just a few hours and snow will be here tomorrow.

Several days ago I came across a wonderful, thought-provoking
little article that gives such a beautiful angle on
loving the created things around us that I feel
very compelled to pass it on today.

Simply put, as creators we love to give what we've
made to others and find immense delight in that giving.
From this, the author draws us to consider 
all that has been given to us from God...
and how we receive it.

The busyness of life can certainly be distracting, and so much
of society seems to do all it can to alter, ignore or, worse, refuse
and consciously toss aside the most beautiful gifts from God.

Quilters can put so much thought, time and love into what
we're creating that I know we can relate to the acts of giving
and receiving really well.  I love this call to expand
my perspective to look at 
every.  single.  created.  thing. around me and realize
how it has been lovingly created and gifted to me.
To us all.

Happy Valentine's Day!

11 February 2019

Monday Update and Iron Recommendations Please

Happy cold, wet Monday!
I still wouldn't mind a big blizzard but I admit to slowly
turning my thoughts toward spring, sunshine and my garden.
So rain is always welcome.
I didn't quite escape the Respiratory Thing but I did't get
it as bad as everyone else.   It could be that getting some crisp,
fresh air into the lungs here and there, even in single digit temps,
 is better than staying in a warm house of sick germs.  I won't
recommend it but it seems to have worked for me.  And today
I'm again interested in sewing--the bonus of "time off".

At the signing with West Point Track Team

At my son's signing last week, I realized how much we owe
to his main coach.  He has worked with our son from the
beginning through every school track season (spring) and
off-season (summers and winters) in track club--for six years.
SOI'm going to try squeeze another quilt into my spring to-do list.
When you can't put a value to someone's volunteering a huge
amount of time, a quilt seems to be the way to show thanks.
Side note:
I did finally get the short video of my son's vault working.

To catch up on quilty stuff:
Obviously I couldn't get much done last week but the fabric
to finish my daughter's quilt top arrived this weekend so
I'll be hopping into the sewing room next for that.
I found more fabric for the West Point quilt so I think I'm
ready to begin.  Black fabric with approx 1" gold stars
 doesn't seem to exist so I'm moving on without it.  
More than anything, I want to get some trial blocks made
to see how I feel about block size; this in turn will tell me
if I have enough fabric.  While I'm sticking to the color
theme, I'm still doing it "scrappy".

1)  Gold stars in sashing and smaller border
2)  Sashing and center squares of blocks
3) Outer large border
The rest are a mix of purchased and stash fabrics that 
I'm hoping will work well for the log cabin blocks.

Yes, there are warm and cool ones up there.
I know you'll understand when I mention having a little frustration
at having to sift through so many shades of grays and blacks!
Though I had started out choosing "cool" colors, I finally gave up
and focused only on warm ones even though 
"cadet" gray is cool.
I just couldn't warm (pardon the pun) up to it.  Especially with gold
in there.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it but I just feel a little uneasy.
Getting some trial blocks made up should really help.

And now I'd like some thoughts on irons.  I've had a couple
Rowenta irons that I love but they are not lasting.
My most recent started leaking before it was a year old.
I realize the instructions say to empty the water out of
the iron after every use but I'm in and out of
the sewing room sometimes several times a day and
that is just not feasible.  Does anyone know of an iron
that doesn't have this requirement and does not have
auto-shutoff?  That has a self-cleaning surface and that
will actually last?  Does such a miracle even exist?
I'm getting a little tired of buying irons.

This week:
Finish hexie quilt top
Quilt Cozy Christmas
Make 3 or 4 trial West Point quilt blocks
Find backing for West Point quilt

Happy quilting!

03 February 2019

Hexies As Done as Can Be

Last week was just off.  Hubs was home all week with
a rough respiratory thing that's going around.  It's really
rare that I get sick but now that everyone else in our family
has it, I am starting to feel a little like a sitting duck.
My lack of sleep isn't helpful but, I'm a fighter.  We'll see...
Anyhoo, he worked from home through conference calls
and such with me taking care of him on the side.  Nothing
major but still disruptive to a routine.

Saturday was his first day out and, after hitting a new
coffee shop, we headed out to my son's latest track meet.  

14'6" jump

Above is a pic of his 14'6" jump; he didn't quite get both
arms extended on on that one but cleared it and went on to take
first place with a jump of 15'.  I'm still struggling to get videos
embedded but I think I have the 15' video below--we'll see.

Updated:  I've changed this video from "private" to public
so maybe that fixed it.  If not, here's a link:  Ethan's jump

His official "Signing" with the West Point track team takes
place at his high school this Wednesday.  My job is to set
up a table with cookies/snacks and drinks for guests.
So you see, Mom isn't allowed to get sick.

Well, on to quilty things.  I did finish the top of the hexie quilt--
to the point that I could anyway.

88 x 108

When cutting this out, I discovered I didn't have
enough solid gray.  And, of course, Missouri Star was out.
Not on their floor, mind you, where I got it just 3 days before,
but in the warehouse--which is the only place they pull
from for online orders.  I sure wasn't going to run back up for
less than a yard of fabric so I've been waiting for them
to get it back in this week as promised.  And praying
there isn't a "dye lot issue" or something.
Hopefully I can still get this completely finished within
the next couple weeks on move on to the West Point quilt.

The week ahead

Son's signing ceremony (cookies, etc)
Finish shopping for and start West Point quilt
Quilt "Cozy Christmas" (loaded and ready)
Optional:  work on choosing next quilt (charity)

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