Monday, June 30, 2008

yesterday's final quilt top and today's plan

Ok, so here is the final quilt top from last night. Just had to get it done because you never know what a day will bring.

This morning, I woke up and decided that today was cleaning day. When I looked at the kitchen table...

(Before and after shots and then the after/after shot of after I made the crumb quilt blocks. Yeah, looks like I'm back to where I started...sigh...)
Sewing room floor...

and saw the mess I had made over the weekend (ok so the past 3 weeks) I decided that it was time to put things back and start from scratch.

This is the chair with all that's left of 76 bolts of fabric. Yeah, not bad for a weekend worth of cutting! Go me!

Well, those of you who know me, know that I am easily distracted.

I was able to take the pile from the sewing room floor and put things away, but saw the box of strips and bits of fabric and decided that I needed to make a crumb quilt. If you have never made a crumb quilt, you are missing a lot of fun. A crumb quilt is basically where you take your leftover bits of fabric and just sew them together randomly to each other until you have blocks big enough. My blocks will be 12 1/2 inches because I have a ruler that is that big. I decided to make 20 blocks today. I got 6 of them big enough to square up and the other 14 are almost done. Of course, I had to stop to take the girls to the doctor for their physicals (everything is good) and then treat everyone to ice cream because Emily had to have shots. Shots are very traumatic and deserve ice cream for everyone, especially mother!

These are some of the crumb blocks that are waiting to be squared up. I need to press them and the put my 12 1/2 inch ruler on top and cut them. I think I will put plain blocks with these and make 2 quilts out of this. But that is tomorrow's project.

One more thing. Remember that naked troll fabric? Well, here it is. I pulled it out to take a picture to show you all and Ariel says, "Hey, this is really cool Troll fabric! I want to make a purse out of it!" And I asked who wants naked troll fabric? I suggested maybe a pillowcase so nobody could see it...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

and another

I got a head start on this one. Joey sewed the first three blocks together last week and I just finished them off. I had some leftover 4 1/2 inch by 10 1/2 inch blocks so decided to add them as a border around the whole quilt. I love the colors on theis quilt. They are flannels and the quilt top is so soft. I have another one where the blocks are all done. Emily did that one and I just need to sew the blocks together. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. We have another movie to watch tonight after Ariel gets back from tennis. I think two more quilt tops will fit in the box and then off it goes.

instant gratification

After working for 5 hours on the Not So Top Secret Challenge Quilt top, I needed something instant, so completed this quilt top in 30 minutes. It is the ButtonBerry pattern (scroll down on the blog) and I had already cut and sorted the fabric a couple weeks ago. I have 9 more packs of fabric sorted so will keep working on these to send to Alycia for her QOV program. Feels good!

I'm so proud!

Wow, this is the most beautiful quilt I've ever made! Yes, yes, yes, I will make another and another and another. It turned out so great and from far away, you can't see that I didn't match every seam perfectly. I'm proud to say this quilt is going to a wounded solier for the Quilts of Valor program to say thanks for serving our country.
Won't you join me in making one just like it?
Here's the link again to the pattern.

The best laid plans...

Well, yesterday I had plans to finish the Not so Top Secret Quilt, but I had a stuffy head. My ears plug up sometimes for an unknown reason. Maybe I have allergies. I blame it on the changing weather and a change in the pressure. My ears plug up and my nose plugs up and I can't hear and I lose my balance. So, I decided to take some Sudafed to release the pressure in my head. Bad idea. I was on the couch from about noon until I went to bed around 9pm. I was so dizzy and nauseous that I could barely get up to make dinner. The quilt had to wait until today. I did manage to make 4 more preemie baby dolls while sitting on the couch and took a nap and watched Wimbledon and National Treasure 2, but that was not my plan for the day.

My stuffy head is back today, but I'm not going to take anything. I don't know why this happens to me. It comes and goes without warning. There is a low pressure system moving through so maybe that is it. The wind is blowing out there.

I am going to finish that quilt top today and maybe work on several other Quilts of Valor quilt tops today. The Not so Secret one is taking way longer than any other quilt top I've ever done in my life! It is made of 2 1/2 inch squares and 4 1/2 inch squares. Lots of them. I just know the finished product will be great. There are a zillion and one corners to match too. I'm not very good at matching corners, so this quilt gives me a lot of practice. I'm happy to be learning something new. New is good right? If you keep doing the same old thing over and over where is the fun in that?

Here is a link to the pattern for the Not so Top Secret Quilt if anyone else wants to give it a try. I have a second one already cut out so I guess I'm comitted to making at least one more. I also have enough of the cream colored fabric for a third one and enough of the smaller blue for a third, but have to cut more of the bigger strips for a third one. We will see if I can do a third one.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oh, George, you would be proud!

Well, it is a sad day, but the tree had to go. I had hopes the one day, it would produce cherries. After all, it was a cherry tree. But, alas, no cherries will come from this tree. I think the rains got it last winter. It had a giant split all the way up the trunk and was dying. Poor tree. It only took about 5 minutes with the chain saw and it was out. Did you know that dead wood is harder to cut than fresh wood? See, I learned something new today. I wish I had the chain saw last Christmas when we cut our Christmas tree. They gave us a rubber saw and it took us about an hour to cut down a 6 inch trunk. Next time, I'm bringing the chain saw and a 1,000 foot extention cord. Sure, people will look at me funny, but I will be out of there in 5 minutes. Or, maybe that is the point. You are supposed to spend an hour with your family, making memories.

My husband thinks we are supposed to dig up the roots. Anybody have an electric root digger?

I can't get rid of the double picture! Agh.

After cutting down the tree, I cut another 5 quilt kits. I figured that while I had the fabric out, I might as well cut it up. It's easier than putting it away. I'm hoping to give this to the pastor's wife at church to sew.

Today's plan is to cut out a Not So Secret Top Pattern and get started sewing it. You can find the pattern here on Alycia's blog. I'm making this for the Quilts of Valor program. It is for our wounded troops who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, June 27, 2008

my best friend, Nancy

Today, I busted some stash with my best friend Nancy. She came over for about 3 hours and we cut fabric for 16 quilts. We cut strips for the Quick Strippie pattern if you scroll down the blogs you will see it at the bottom. I already had one cut and she took them all home to sew. She will bring the ones back next week that she gets done so I can quilt them. She brought 6 quilt tops for me to work on, I guess I had better add those to my "to do" list on the side bar. I started with a pile of fabric and ended up with a pile just as big. How does that happen? If each quilt takes about 1 1/2 yards of fabric, I should have busted 25.5 yards of fabric, but where did it go? That means another 25 yards for the backs so 50 yards of fabric will be gone when these quilts are out of here. Think that will make any more room in the house? No, because as she was about to leave, I went out to the shed and grabbed a box of fabric to sort through. We had a good laugh at some of it. There was one piece with phesants on it and another with naked trolls! Who wants a blanket with naked trolls? NOT I!!! She thought I should make pajamas out of that one. I asked, "so nobody can see it because you wear it in the dark?" What were they thinking? The box has about 60 yards of fabric in it. So much for making room...

making babies

No, not the real ones. These are preemie dolls people use as 'fit' models to try on preemie clothes for real babies. I have been making these for over a year and a half and giving them away to a group called All Crafts for Charity (AC4C). I still have about 35 more to make.

Each on takes about 2 hours to make from cutting to sewing to stuffing to making the hat and blanket. You can't just send them into the world naked you know. That would just be wrong!

The babies come in all sizes from 6 pounds down to 1 pound. I even made an 8 ounce one, but that was really hard to sew.

Here's a link to the webpage with all the details of the contest I sponsored in January of 2007. Yeah, it's taken a long time to make all of these dolls.

I also quilted the farm scene quilt today and am going to have a friend come over for a while. She wants to try out the quilting machine and cut some more fabric.

I got a phone call from a Binky Patrol chapter in Orange County (S. Cal) and she wanted to know if I wanted some fabric from a lady in San Francisco. Of course, those of you who know me, know I can't say no to fabric. I got an email from the lady saying that her mother was an avid quilter who has Alzheimer's and has over 100 yards of high quality quilting fabric to donate. I'm going to see how we can make the connection. Of course, that means I have to work quicker to make room for it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

no jury duty

Well, I have been released from Jury duty for this year. Oh, well, it would have been fun, but I guess I have better things to do anyways.

Check out my updated list of UFO's to finish up. I'm going to try to finish these up before starting more quilts. Think I can do it? Me neither! I didn't realize I had so many quilt tops done and waiting to be quilted. It will be exciting to get them all out of the house to make room for more.

6 more today

I'm still working on the smaller quilts and have 6 more done so far today. Three are the same pattern from the San Jose Binky Patrol and three are ones I made. My favorite is the red brick one. My favorite color is red, so of course, that has to be my favorite! I can get one quilted in about 15 minutes with the stitch in the ditch quilting. Nothing fancy here, but gets the job done.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

on call

Well, I didn't get called for tomorrow, but am on call for Friday. I guess they remember me as the one to make the trial last an extra day. Hey, I was having fun and wanted to be sure I had all the evidence. Oh, well, I guess I get an extra day to quilt =)

Here's what I got done today.

These quilts were all donated from the San Jose Binky Patrol chapter when it closed down. I think there are 14 or so of them all together. They are just 6 1/2 inch squares sewn together and are made of a polyester type fabric for the top. Not your typical baby quilt, but I love the look of the quilts. I just pin basted them together and did a stitch in the ditch along all the intersections. Each quilt only took a few minutes to stitch together. The batting was donated about a year ago from someone who does long arm quilting and these were extra pieces of really nice cotton batting. I just pieced some of it together to make pieces big enough for some of these quilts. Some of the batting was big enough for one quilt. Now to finish them off. I have 6 more needing stitching. These little quilts are about 30 inches square.

Here is the back of the first quilt. I had to take out the stitching and fix it. See the pucker? I'm learning!

waiting for jury duty

I'm on the computer, waiting for 5:30 to see if I got jury duty for tomorrow. I actually liked serving last time. I was on a trial for three people accused of making meth. It was very interesting and I got to be out of work for 3 days. We found all three people guilty. Of course, now I'm on summer vacation, so this would seriously cut into my quilting time, but hey, I live in a country where I GET to serve my country by sitting on a jury of my peers so I consider this an honor.

The smoke is really bad around here still. Emily went to a tennis camp this morning for 3 hours and then I took the youngest 3 kids swimming. I feel bad keeping them inside all day. Hey, people in Southern California live in this stuff year round and they don't keel over and die. It takes years to develop horrible diseases right? A couple of weeks can't be all that bad. The news says there are about 100 fires in the state of California right now. I believe them. Why would they lie?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

new machine?

Well, I am beginning to think it is time for a new quilting machine. I know, be thankful for what I have and I am, but this little Kenmore is giving me more troubles. The thread keeps breaking and then bunching up underneath the quilt after I re-thread it. I know, it's because a home sewing machine isn't made to sew 3 quilts a day. Well, I expect it to do more than its job around here to earn its keep!

So, I'm looking into my options. Of course, I can't afford any of them now, so I'm praying for one to just show up at my doorstep. The Bible says that with faith, we can do all things: He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."Matthew 17:19-21 If I can move a mountain with my faith, surely, I can request a new quilting machine if it is the Lord's will that I get these quilts made for the kids in Kazakhstan.
The three brands I've looked at are the Brother, Juki and Janome. They all run around $800 and have a 9 inch throat area for quilting. My machine now has about 6 inches so that means more room for making bigger designs.

In the meantime, I have to take more frequent breaks in my quilting, stopping half way through the quilt to let the Kenmore rest and cool down. That seems to help with the thread breaking troubles at least a little bit.

Here's what I got done last night and this morning.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm back

Ok, so the whole blogging thing is new and exciting and I have time in the summer so expect a lot of posts. I just hope that the blog doesn't meet the same fate as my childhood diary. Here's a sample of my diary from when I was 12. Dear Diary, how are you? I am fine. Three months later, the next entry reads...Dear Diary, Sorry I haven't written in a while. I have been busy. How have you been? Yeah, life gets like that sometimes. The really sad thing is, the diary had a lock on it.

So, today's project was to work on a couple of quilts and get them quilted. My goal is to get the pile of tops turned into a pile of quilts. I think there are about 40 quilt tops waiting to be quilted. If I can do 2 a day, that's 3 weeks worth of work. I really should count these guys, but for some reason I have a hard time with numbers. Like when my husband talks about our finances. As soon as he starts talking numbers, my brain just shuts off and I stare blankly at him. I'm not sure if he notices or not, but surely after 20 years of marriage, he must have made the connection. I just can't seem to keep track of numbers of things. I wonder if there is a medical condition associated with that. Maybe I will look that up on the internet and try to get disability for it. Of course, I would get distracted and find three more quilt patterns in the process and then forget what I was looking for in the first place and find myself sewing, so why bother starting in the first place.

Here is the first quilt of the day. I found the scrappy patches and had to add a border to it. I have no idea where the inside part came from and it is a bit wonky (crooked for you non-quilters out there) and I thought that if I added a border, not only would it make it bigger, it would straighten it out. Well, adding a border does not straighten things out, but does make them bigger. So, there are some crooked places in it. Good thing it isn't getting entered in any quilt show. I chose to do this one because I had a perfectly good backing fabric already pinned to the quilting machine that was just a little too small for a different quilt and so had to find a top that was just the right size to fit it. I was too lazy to unpin the backing and pin another one. That would have taken a whole 5 minutes, whereas looking for the perfect top only took and hour. Don't you see where my ADD brain makes perfect sense of the imperfect world around me?

Here is the pile of quilts I have quilted, waiting for bindings and here are pictures of each one. I may or may not post a picture of each one as I put the binding on. Sometimes I forget to take pictures.