Wednesday, July 31, 2013

today's three

I managed to get my three quilted today, even though Carla tried to distract me by dangling a new quilting pattern in front of me and making try it out.  It was a flop and I will show you pictures later, but I had to sew all the pieces together after I had cut them all out.  Then, I spent an hour or so cutting out pieces for my friend's memory quilt from her mother's clothes. I'm hoping to get it done for her birthday in about a week.  Memory quilts are hard to make because I know they are really special for the person receiving them and I want them to be really nice when they are done.  I'm using the book, Too Cook T Shirt Quilts and I'm learning how to organize things to make the quilt look like it went together really easily, but I'm not a math person and it hurt my brain.  I had to stop and work on simple quilting for a while.  Tomorrow is another day.  Rebecca is coming over for another quilt play day.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm caught up with my goal, now to get ahead

 you never know what tomorrow will bring, so when I get the chance to catch up, I will take it.  I have so many projects waiting to get done, I'm procrastinating by quilting these quick quilts.  I'm also trying not to get stressed out with all the changes at my school that are waiting for me when I get back.  Every day there is someone else leaving.  I feel like the pirates on the sinking ship (our mascot is the Viking) who don't realize the ship is sinking.  All the rats are jumping off and swimming for shore and we are singing and dancing and celebrating.  There will be about 15 new staff members this year out of about 100.  That's a huge turnover and there are a lot of reasons that all make a lot of sense, some for shorter travel, some moved positions (into administration, making room for a new teacher or counselor) some retired, some changed schools within district or to a different local district, some just got out of teaching all together, but it makes for an uneasy start to the year.  Change is good right?  Uncertainty causes growth.  I will have to step into a leadership position this year and pray I can handle the new role with patience, compassion and maturity.  There will not be a pay increase, but a work load increase so I hope I can still find time for quilting.  I'm trying to get a class period off for quilting, but I'm not exactly sure how to approach the principal with my idea.  Stress management?  School beautification?  Life skills?  Just cuz I really want to still have time to do what I love and keep my sanity?  Maybe if I bring my quilting machine to the first three days of inservice and she sees just how much I can multi-task, she will let me keep it in my classroom and I can teach and quilt at the same time.  I could get the students to quilt inbetween doing their work.  Yeah, that would work.  I could teach them a skill they could really use after graduation.  :) You know I'm only partially joking here right?  Anybody got a pause button on time?  If only...

gorgeous fabrics

 wow, look at these batiks!  These are so pretty in person, I wish you all could come over and see them.  I'm trying to catch up with these little quilts.  My son was supposed to have his consult for his surgery on his ear, but we talked to his local doctor and since we are holding off on the surgery, we decided it wasn't worth the drive just to decide we weren't going to have the surgery.  We are going to have his hearing tested in another 6 months and if his hearing is getting worse, we will look at getting a hearing aide and then tested in another year.  If it continues to worsen, we will consider surgery again, but they aren't sure surgery will make it better.  Surgery may make it worse and there is no going back once they open things up in there.  A hearing aide can't make things worse.

If you are a teacher or know a teacher, I have to share this with you.  I laughed so hard I cried.  This is my life the first few days of back to school.  We have to sit through inservice where someone thinks they have the newest and best way to do things.  When I first started teaching, I would listen intently, taking notes and trying to learn everything that was said.  Now that I'm a veteran (aka, old hat) I just nod and pretend that I'm listening and hope not to fall asleep and sometimes crochet, especially if we have a veteran principal that I don't have to impress :)  This year our same principal is the same.  I can probably get a dozen baby hats done in the 3 day inservice we have!  Here's the link, check it out

Monday, July 29, 2013

not keeping up with my goal on day 3

 I"m already behind on these little guys!  Ack!  Do you think they would notice if I showed up a week late to school?  I found out today that I can't take my sick days with me when I retire so I have a feeling I'm going to get sick at least once this year with 'quilting fever'.  I hear it is very contagious.  Be careful, you might get it too!

Fight like a Girl

 For my childhood friend who is fighting ovarian cancer.  Finished this morning, before my son's 2 hour dentist appointment.  I think this will be the summer of the dentist!  All of us have been to the dentist, my daughter is going back for the third time next week to get a retainer for her front teeth.  They have a gap in the middle and he filled it in a couple years ago.  The gap is back and we asked him to fix it again but he says the teeth are just moving so she needs a retainer to keep them from shifting apart.  No braces, just the retainer.  My little guy had to have 4 fillings and 2 sealants.  I don't quite understand the idea behind the sealants.  I have only had one cavity my whole long life and it was because of sealants. They scrape all the enamel off your teeth and put a plastic coating on top.  Then, that came off and I got a cavity.  Go figure.  If they had left the enamel alone, I wouldn't have the cavity.  The appointment today was so very long. The first hour was waiting for the dentist and starting the sealant process, then the second hour was filling the 4 teeth and finishing up the sealant.

Today is only supposed to get to 77 degrees.  It was 64 at noon when we got home from the dentist.  I do believe it is July 29 in Northern California.  It is supposed to be over 100 this time of year.  Did someone forget about Global Warming?  Or did someone leave the air conditioning on?

I'm hoping to get this quilt in the mail today.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Really, a quilt in a day

This quilt top has taken me about 4 hours so far and I am hoping to get it quilted and bound tonight so I can get it in the mail by tomorrow.  It is for my childhood friend from down the street, Debbie, who has stage 3 ovarian cancer.  She loves horses and I found the horse fabric and my daughter picked out the other fabric to go with it.  I started cutting it out this morning.  I used the Go! cutter to cut the triangles.  I love having that for cutting triangles because they come out so perfect and it makes for easy sewing.  I went to JoAnn's and got the perfect backing fabric.  It has lots of horses on it.  I will post a picture later when the quilt is finished.  I know my friend is going to love it!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Making goals

 With 69 of these Super Sized 9 patch quilts to finish up before school starts and 23 days left of vacation, I need to quilt 3 of these a day to complete my goal of getting them all done before I go back.  I know there will be days when I can't do any, so I'm hoping to get ahead.  So far today, I've completed 5.  I'm still trying to figure out my pantograph pattern.  I'm also working on organizing the fabric room.  It is taking a lot longer than I thought and I'm making a huge mess in the process.  I need an organizational fairy to help me.  I better get my daughter to work before she had to go back to school!  She has offered and I'd be a fool to refuse her help!

Friday, July 26, 2013

trying new quilting

 I went to pinterest and printed out some pictures of quilting pantographs and tried out a new quilting pattern on these two quilts. Not sure you can see it on the quilts, but I'm trying to stretch myself quilting wise,  I have never figured out how to follow a pantograph with my machine.  When I first set it up, I worked for a while to try and set up a way to follow a pantograph with a pencil or laser light or stylus and finally gave up after multiple tries.  Maybe it is time to try again.
This one I've done many times and I used it on this quilt to hold the many pieces of leftover batting together.  I always love using leftover batting because it feels like I'm getting it for free.  Free is good.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I LOVE string quilts

This one gave me a bit of troubles.  I ran out of backing fabric one row short of the end of the quilt, which is going to be ok because the last row has a square with issues.  One of the middle strings isn't sewn down correctly and will need some major surgery to make it right.  I will have to unassemble it and sew it back together and sew will either just take the last row of blocks off, or find some new backing fabric and quilt that last row on the sit down machine.  Either way, that is a project for tomorrow.  I knew I should have measured the backing fabric that was left on the machine before starting quilting, but thought it would make it and most of the time I guess right.

I just love the look of string quilts and they are so thrifty, using up the last bits of goodness from other projects.  I need to make a few more of these as my strings buckets are getting to be overflowing.  I think I will invite Rebecca over to do some quilting while I work on another string quilt soon.  Multi tasking at its best!

Quilts in the mail and quilts quilted

Three quilts quilted so far today and hoping to get some more done before the night is over.  I'm still sorting scraps and chunks of fabric and hope to get some cut soon.  I wish I had three of me so I could work faster.  I even got my husband to help me quilt a bit today.  He quilted three blocks on the blue quilt at the bottom.  Of course I held his hand while he quilted.  Hey, whatever it takes to get some help around here!
 I mailed out three boxes of quilts today too, one for my sister in law, one for the Arizona firefighters and one for the Calgary flood victims.  Feels good to get lots of stuff done, especially after a day like yesterday where I felt like I didn't get much of anything done.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

not much accomplished today

I had one thing on my to do list today and couldn't even get that done.  Just a lazy day.  I walked this morning and then was tired and took a long nap this afternoon.  I guess I can have a couple of days like this.  After all, it is my vacation :)

Love the tumbler quilts

I do love these tumbler quilts.  This is made with the 3 1/2 inch blocks.  I changed the quilting foot 3/4 of the way through this quilt because the thread kept breaking.  I'm hoping to get two years out of this new foot like I did from the last one.

Carla's scrap sorting system

Today I will share with you how Carla stays so organized with her scraps.  We both get donations of lots of scraps and mine tend to pile up while she is able to stay on top of hers and get them used up all the time.  I asked her to share with me and now I'm going to share with you.  Since I am the area coordinator for Binky Patrol, I purchased an Accuquilt Studio fabric cutter and I don't know how either of us could get along without it.  It plows through the scraps so quickly and we use it when we have quilt days with the high school kids.  We assign each kid to a different die and they each get a basket of scraps and in a few hours those scraps are cut into useable pieces of fabric.  But, before the cutting can happen, the sorting must begin.
The first thing to do is gather some laundry baskets.  I went to the 99 cent store and got a dozen baskets.  I got one for each size die we have, plus three extras, one for bindings, one for the original fabric to be sorted (the scraps) and one for strings-long strips of fabric too good to put in dog beds as stuffing, but too skinny to cut with the die cutter.
 Here are the many baskets and the bag of fabric that needs sorting.
 Here's one of the baskets with the label.  The scraps that are 4-5 inches wide at their narrowest side go in there.  There are three dies that can use these scraps.  The smallest tumbler die, the chisel and the triangle that goes with the chisel.  At the end of the sort, this basket had the most scraps.
 I dumped the paper bag of scraps into the sort basket and started my sort.
 I sat with the mat on my lap and just started pulling scraps out of the sort basket one at a time.  I would lay on them on the mat and measure the skinniest part of the fabric.  I would toss them into the basket they belonged in and go to the next piece of fabric.  If they had a weird piece sticking off, I would cut off the odd piece and then measure that too.  The tiniest scraps went back into the bag to be used as dog bed stuffing.  Nothing goes into the trash around here.  I have three dogs and they have lots of pillows.  I also have a friend whose girl scout troop makes dog beds for the local SPCA.
Here are some of the baskets after about 15 minutes of sorting.  I made it through about 3/4 of the bag after about 30 minutes.  That's only one bag of scraps.  I think I have about 20 boxes of scraps.  I think I need to get the teenagers over to my house for a scrap sorting day.  Then we will need to cut the scraps.  Or, maybe I will have my TA sort scraps this year when I don't have any papers to grade.  I will have to ask the students when they want to be my TA if they know how to measure and if they mind working with fabric.  Some years I get good TA's and some years not so good ones.  I'd love to find a student who wants to sew :)

I now have 2 adult children...WHAT?

My daughter just turned 18 yesterday.  How could that happen?  We had a house full of teenagers, laughing and playing games and telling stories.  My husband and I were held captive upstairs to stay out of their way.  Look at my little guy right in the middle of all of the fun!  He had a blast.  Being a teacher it was hard not to go downstairs and corral these kids into getting some quilting work done.  Just think of how much I could have accomplished with all of their help :)  But it was so fun to listen to them laugh all night!  Happy Birthday sweet girl.

Monday, July 22, 2013

I only got three done today

 9 total today between Rebecca and me working.  If only we could keep this up, we would have all of these little guys done in no time.

 I did some wavy quilting on this last one.  I used bits and pieces of leftover batting so wanted more dense quilting to hold it all together.  I don't sew my batting scraps together before quilting so want to make sure it doesn't shift around in the quilt.
Look at this funky fabric I used for the backing.  It is most likely from the 60's or 70's.  I think it has waited long enough to be used up and loved.

Everyone needs a Rebecca

 Rebecca came over again today to work on quilts.  She said she wanted to do better than last week and stayed 3 hours and quilted 6 quilts.  She didn't need much help this time.  She was able to load them, quilt them and take them off all by herself.  I have created a quilter :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Layers of Hope Quilting 911

 I belong to an online, Facebook group called Layers of Hope, Quilting 911. That's the group sending quilts to the families of the firefighters lost in the Arizona fire.  We also sent quilts to the Aurora, Colorado shooting last year.  I designed this label to go on the back of the quilts I'm sending.  I'm trying it out on different fabrics.  The top fabric is fleece and you can see how the L got absorbed into the fleece.  The bottom is muslin.  I also did it on satin.  I still need to trim the threads on all of them.  I like the muslin the best.  The satin puckers a bit and is slippery to sew to other fabric.  I plan to make more of these and send them to other members of the group that don't have embroidery machines.  I'm learning to label my quilts.
Here's the label I made for the quilt I made for my sister in law.  This is the first quilt I've actually labeled.  I really don't have an excuse for not labeling my quilts now that I have an embroidery machine.  I have a program that allows me to write anything I want and I can add a picture too.  I put the label on the front of the quilt because there was a blank square and it just seemed to fit.