Saturday, August 31, 2013

long weekend quilting

 Started yesterday and have these three done, plus about 1/3 of the wedding quilt I'm working on.  That one is going to take forever.  It is huge!

On the health issues...I found another breast lump and went to the doctor yesterday.  She thinks it is another cyst and I'm going to have a mammogram on Tuesday.  While I was there, I talked to her about another female problem I was having.  I figured she's just say it was from the change in medication.  Instead, she asked if I had time to get my uterus scraped.  If your doctor ever asked you to have your uterus scraped, run.  Run fast!  I asked if it was going to hurt and she said not as much as child birth.  When someone compares a procedure to child birth, RUN!  Run fast.

At least with childbirth, you get a baby.  I thought I was going to die.  Pain, cramping, nausea, yeah, next time I will just keep my mouth shut.  The worst part is waiting the one to two weeks to find out the results of the test.

While I wait, I might as well quilt.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

two more quick ones

 one today, one yesterday, not much, but at least its something.  I can't wait for the long weekend!  I have quilts to do :)  Work really gets in the way of fun sometimes.  Plus, my shoulder is killing me.  I think it is from writing on the board and I'm out of shape.  Gotta build up those arm muscles again.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Going back to work to rest

 I think I am more tired now than when I started the weekend.  I think I need to go back to work to rest up for next weekend which is a long weekend.  What a rough start to working.  Teach 7 days and then get a day off :)  I quilted two big quilts on the robot today and one by hand, which only takes 10 minutes or so and went to Sam's club to get Gatorade and water.  Man, that stuff is heavy.  I also had to get gas for the lawnmower.  The backyard is a jungle and my son has used the excuse that the mower has been out of gas for a couple of weeks.  Since he was off visiting his girlfriend, I mowed the front yard.  Don't want the neighbors thinking all I do is quilt now do we?  I bet they wonder what that sound is at 5:30 in the morning some days when I have the front door open and the quilting machine humming away.  There are three bands on my street, one is a professional band (the Hipwaders) and they give us a concert once a week.  I figure I'd return the favor by playing my own type of music, quilting machine rhythm and blues.  They blues comes in when I'm crying that the machine isn't working right!

I think I will call it quits for tonight and get things organized for the week.  Hopefully I will have a bit of energy at the end of the day and be able to load a quilt and get something worked on each day.  I picked up 6 bags of fabric this week that someone had dropped off at the quilt shop and after sorting through them, I picked out one big bag full to keep.  The rest was stuff we couldn't use, knits and poly and satin and other things that a friend of mine just loves.  I texted her to let her know there were bags ready and she came over yesterday to pick them up.  I love being able to pass along what we can't use.  She makes dog beds and book covers and costumes and lots of other things with many different types of fabrics.  Nothing gets wasted around here!

Ok, banana bread is ready!

this one's pretty

another big one quilted by Rebecca this morning.  She was giving me troubles with her encoder not reading in one direction.  I cleaned the track, turned it off and on, cried a little bit, replaced the o rings and got a toothbrush to clean the tracks again.  Found there was a small piece of thread stuck under the encoder reader thingy.  I guess it was keeping the rollers from reading the track and it was causing the encoder from reading the track.  The robot is very sensitive.  There is a big learning curve to this quilting machine and I'm glad I haven't given up.  I love quilting these big quilts. I have so many more quilt tops to go.  I also have a huge pile of quilts waiting for binding.  I must get them out  soon.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Three more today

 Two more on Rebecca, the robot and one on Pierce, my old, trusty Janome.  I'm slowly working through the quilt tops, trying to catch up.  Feels so good to quilt.  I must find time during the week to get some quilting done.  Went on two walks today.  That's another must.  I feel so much better when I exercise, but finding the energy to exercise is hard when I'm tired.  Catch 22 if there ever was one.  Tomorrow is another day of rest.

Quilting time is healing

Feels good to get back to quilting again.  Woke up with a migraine again and finding time to relax while quilting is just the thing I need.  I also found some time to take a walk which also helps.  Walking in the morning is so much better than walking at night.  I haven't even had the energy this week to walk at night.  All I could find energy to do after school was make it to the couch to lay down.  I just love the tumbler quilts, they are good for males or females, easy to put together, can be made in all sizes and are great for using up scraps.  I love the swirl quilting design too.  It goes quickly and can be used on lots of different quilt tops.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Finished on Monday and now it's Friday

 I finished the quilt for the 16 year old who is battling Leukemia and got it in the mail on Tuesday.  I love the robotic quilting machine and the free quilting pattern that writes all the words.  I hope it brings encouragement to her.  It should have been received yesterday, but I haven't heard if she got it or not.  I know she probably has other things to do than let me know if she got the quilt.

I've had a rough week with going back to work.  Meetings Mon, Tues, Wed and the kids coming back yesterday and today.  I have really good kids so far this year, but I've had a migraine every day so far.  Today is the worst.  I've come home exhausted and just wanted to lay on the couch.  I'm really missing my quilting machine and sewing machine and am hoping to get some quality time with both this weekend.  I'm sure next week will be better as my body gets used the new routine.  I've also been going in a little early to help out the new teachers (we have three of them this year) since my daughter is still home to take my youngest son to school in the morning.  My older son has been driving to and from school which I'm sure isn't helping with the migraine.  He's a good driver, but it's still stressful.  Stress upon stress, even good stress added together adds up to a migraine.  I'm going to try and go back to the doctor to see if there is anything else they can do for the migraine.  I'm not feeling hopeful.  I am hoping that this weekend I can unwind, spend time with Rebecca the Robotic Quilting machine and not have a migraine.  Hey, one can hope right!?!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Final day of vacation

 I made good use of my last day of vacation.  I finished up the college quilt for my daughter, all it needed was the binding, which I couldn't find since I got the quilting machine.  I moved the fabric and couldn't remember where I put it.  While quilting the bottom two quilts this morning, I cleaned up a bit and found the fabric.

 I love the quilting design on this quilt.  I purchased this one here, at for $5.  This is the first design I bought and I know I will use it a lot.  I can't believe how expensive quilt designs are.  I have to learn how to use the design program that came with my machine.  The lady purchased it for $1,000.  It's called QBOT and can't be that hard to understand.  I just need time to try it out.

 I was able to quilt these two guys this morning while cleaning up,  I tried out a new pattern that I wanted to use on the quilt for a 16 year old who has cancer.
You can see that there are words written all over, love, courage, perseverance, family, hope, faith.  Words that I hope encourage her to fight and get stronger.  I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow and get it in the mail this week.

Final day of vacation

I've already changed my countdown to Days til the last day of school.  291.  Wow, that seems like a long time!  So, what to do on this last day of vacation?  I should be getting ready to go back to work, but that is depressing :)  There is plenty of time to work on a work day.  I think today will be spent with the kids and the hubby and the quilts.  What better way to enjoy the day!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

working double time

Here's the pattern I used to make this quilt.  Really easy and you could use a jelly roll if you like those kind of things.  I use what I have on hand and it's mostly scraps and bits and pieces of things.  What I love is that I can now piece and quilt at the same time.  I got three quilts done with Rebecca (the robot) while I sewed the quilt top together.  I had to finish putting the blocks together and put the border on after the third quilt was done because I kept getting mixed up and sewed the blocks together wrong.  I still have to pin everything because my short term memory just isn't what it used to be. Not that it ever was very good.  I imagine I got in 5 miles of walking just going up and down the stairs to tend the quilt machine and back to sew a row or two on the blocks.  I love how this quilt turned out.  It is for a teenage girl with leukemia.  She is the friend of the Vanden student who passed away this year.  The student was the sister of my daughter's good friend.  I just found out about her through a Facebook page from one of my former students.  I'm hoping to get it quilted tomorrow and in the mail this week.  Once school gets started, my quilting time will be so short.  I still have to put the binding on my daughter's college quilt.  I had planned to do that two days ago. Maybe tomorrow!

Friday, August 16, 2013

busy day

 My friend Tisha came over today and quilted two of her quilts on my new machine.  She brought over a friend who sewed for about an hour.  She took home a bunch of tumbler blocks and is going to put together a couple of quilt tops for Binky Patrol.
 Then, Carla came by to help me with my tension troubles.  I had taken out the bobbin washer and the machine was working ok.  She showed me that using a business card got a ball of gunk out of the bobbin case.  Then, she put the washer back and it worked just as good.  I think I will stay away from the prewound bobbins for now.  They are great because they last a long time, but they sure give me troubles too.
 Then, another friend, Sandy came by with some finished quilt tops and picked up some fabric to finish some others.  She was short some fabric on one of the kits and luckily I had a piece sitting out that matched.  In between all the excitement, I was able to quilt all of these little guys.  I sewed a ton of fabric together for the backing, loaded it on the quilt and did the first three purple quilts by hand.  They do go quickly on the bigger machine.  It's nice to have the stitch regulator and the bigger throat space.  The last one I did using the robot and was able to sort through a bag of scraps.  I'm loving being able to quilt and do something else at the same time.  I hope to get through all these Super Size 9 patches soon.  I also wrote a grant to get funding so we can work with the middle school students again this year.  I know they learned a lot from making these quilt tops and we are able to help out a lot of kids with the finished quilts.  Problem is, the batting is expensive.  I hope the grant is approved soon.

I did the four purple quilts all together on the same backing fabric on the big machine.  So much quicker because you don't have to pin in between each quilt.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

my quilting machine dead bar

 a dead bar is a bar that doesn't do anything other than keep the quilt a set distance from the quilting machine. My new quilting machine didn't come with a dead bar, so when I was quilting, I would have to move the quilt up as I quilted.  What a pain.  Carla showed me her dead bar and my son thought he could build me one instead of paying $90 for a ready made one.  Carla's is made of a piece of conduit like electricians run wires through under ground or in your attic.  I went to the hardware store today and started looking around for all the parts needed.  I found this rectangular piece of metal I thought would work instead of the round bar.  I got a metal shelf bracket that fit inside the bar and some bolts and washers and my son hooked it up for me today.  We have attached it with some zip ties to the frame for now, but will attach it with a couple of bolts tomorrow because it needs to be a little bit lower and closer to the bed of the machine.  I didn't want to drill through the frame if I didn't have to, but it looks like we will need to drill one hole.
 This bolt fit through the hole in the frame that was already there.
 Here's the end of the dead bar.  The quilt goes under the silver bar and up to the roll above.
 a little overexposed picture, but it is the outside showing that the dead bar sits right above the two black nuts that hold the top bar in place.
And finally, a quilt this is it.  One tiny quilt today.  Done on the smaller quilt machine.  Had a major migraine again today.  It started yesterday after I went in to work for a little bit.  My son picked up his schedule and so I stopped by to say hi and see the new student teacher.  One of the teachers was griping about her class schedule and that started the stress.  Oh, this will be a great year!  I actually have a great schedule.  I have to remember to let things go and not listen to some people complain.  Their problems are not my problems.  I will not be having a student teacher this year and will have two great TA's (student helpers).  Only three more days of vacation.  I'm having a friend come over tomorrow to play with the quilting machine.  I hope we have fun.

I'm still having troubles with the tension every time I change the bobbin.  I can't figure out why. I'm trying both the prewound and the bobbins I wind myself.  There has to be a trick that I'm just not getting.  I will not give up.  I remember when I first got my other machine, getting so frustrated for about 2 weeks and wanting to just send it back because the thread kept breaking.  It's probably something so simple.  When it works, it is really nice and makes such great stitches, but at the beginning of each bobbin, the tension is just terrible.  I tried running the machine freehand off the edge of the quilt, but that didn't help.  Ugh.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Turning 20

The Turning 20 pattern make up a quick, BIG quilt in no time.  I've had this one waiting around for quite some time, just perfect for the bigger machine.  It will go to my friend's mom's cancer treatment center.  I used up some nice floral pieces for the backing too.  I quilted it with roses and leaves and it will give the patients something to look at while getting treatment in addition to keeping them warm.

wedding quilt top

SO much fun to sit and sew and listen to Rebecca humming away, quilting up the quilts and knowing that I'm getting so much done.  This quilt will be for my dear friend who I've known for more than 20 years.  Her son is getting married in September and his bride to be asked for a modern quilt in greens and blues.  I added a touch of brown and I hope it fits the bill.  The drunkard's path 7 inch block is quick to sew up, even for a huge queen size quilt like this.  Lots of curved seams, but they are so easy with the die cutter.  There are 8 different colors in this quilt and it was hard to not get some colors to hit and some blocks have colors touching.  I like the randomness of the quilt and the soothing palate.  It looks like I planned it


Ride in Peace

 Just finished this comfort quilt for a neighbor of a friend of mine.  She lost her son in a motorcycle accident in June.  He was a tattoo artist.  I hope the quilt comforts the mother and lets her know she doesn't need to grieve alone.  I love these star quilts because they look great and are quick to make.  Each block is 18 inches and a dozen blocks makes a nice size cuddle quilt for an adult or teen.  Six would be great for a child and would be even quicker.  One of these takes about 6 hours start to finish.  The center of the block is an 8 inch finished square so shows off the focus fabric nicely.  I had to special order the tattoo fabric online because out of all of the fabrics I have, I didn't have anything that was 'just right'.  I hope the mom likes it.
 I'm loving having the embroidery machine to make labels for these special quilts.  The backing fabric has these polka dots which the quilting machine did not like.  they area actually painted onto the fabric.  I didn't realize that until about half way through the quilting when the needle kept making sucking sounds.  It was when the needle was punching through the dots.  I finally felt the fabric and felt the dots were different than the fabric.  Live and learn.  The quilt turned out really nice though.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Three more Large quilts

 This one will go to a friend's mom who will give it to her cancer treatment center.  They asked for about 10 or so quilts.
 my daughter's college quilt, ready for binding.
Quilt for the neighbor of a friend who lost her son in a motorcycle accident.  He was a tattoo artist.  I hope to have it finished tomorrow so she can present it.

a great way to start the morning

Yep, car wouldn't start yesterday so I called the auto shop and had the car towed in this morning.  Good thing I still have checks left in the checkbook.  That means there must be money left in the bank account right? :)  I asked my son if he could fix the car.  He tells me cars are not like robots and he doesn't know how to fix it.  I think he needs to take an auto repair class.  That would come in handy.  Or, maybe I should take one.  Hey, we could take one together!  Oh, well, it's only money...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three bigger quilts

 Rebecca the robo quilter was busy today quilting up these three quilts.  She started the tumbler quilt yesterday but ran out of time, so had to finish up this morning..  Had some troubles with the bobbin thread, but once I figured it out, it was nice to have one of the bigger quilts done.
 Here's another one that's been waiting a long time to get quilted.  A mix of 12 inch blocks, another big one that was so much easier to make on the bigger machine.
Hey, nice socks :)  This was a fun quilt to make and I have to remember to make more like it.  3 1/2 inch strips of dark and light fabrics make an easy quilt.  Add a border and it's done.  I've got to get more big quilt tops from Carla.  I gave her all of my big ones because I couldn't handle them with my smaller frame.  Now I'm ready to blast through the bigger ones.  I'm so happy with the machine.  I'm also so glad my son knows how to fix things.  I pulled out the stop on one of the end bars when I was trying to roll the quilt.  I figured I had broken it and he takes one look at it and immediately knows how to fix it.  What am I going to do when he goes off to college? I guess I had better learn to fix it myself.  I have two more years before that happens.

pictures for now, the longer story will come later

 The short story, for now, my son is sleeping and while I don't think typing will wake him up, I don't think WWIII would wake him most days, I do have a quilt to finish up :) so just a short story to go with the pictures for now.  The longer version will come later, after I write the grant for funding for Binky Patrol later today.  Too many plates spinning right now!  It's a good thing, but I wish I had a full summer still left instead of only a week of vacation.

My son got the robotic quilting machine hooked up for me yesterday.  He is in robotics at school and is fascinated by anything computer related.  Last night after spending most of the day at a friend's house playing video games, he helped me work on a quilt and said he must learn how to run the machine because 'quilting is fun'.  Cool, another helper!
 Carla came over to make sure everything was running correctly and got the machine working correctly.  My son had hooked things up right, we just had a few things not perfect and when she tweaked them, the robot started working and we loaded the first quilt.  My little guy picked out a design, sharks, and off we went.
 Carla says, now you know why I haven't stitched out that pattern!  It took about an hour and a half to stitch out, very dense, but super cool design.
 You can see I have the machine sort of set up in the middle of the room.  The cutting table is set up behind the machine so I can work on cutting fabric while the machine is running and keep an eye on things.  The table in front will be for the Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter and there is sill a bunch of work to be done to clean up and put away.
 Here's the first quilt finished on Rebecca, the robotic machine.
 And the quilt I finished on Pierce, in the last row and a half, just to race and see how fast I could get one done :)  No contest!  I'm going to enjoy having two machines going.  My kids think I'm crazy, which I probably am, but now can work twice as fast, plus have the embroidery machine going, I don't even want to see the electricity bill!  Carla runs off solar power, smart woman.