Monday, March 30, 2009

Erin's Baby Quilt

Well, I started cutting out the fabric for the new baby quilt I'm making. Here's the fabric.

I didn't spend very much time over the weekend quilting. On Saturday I did hand sew on the binding onto my FL Shell Quilt (see previous post), but after that DD got up and we ran a bunch of errands and then I took her to go see Race to Witch Mountain at the movie theater. It was pretty good and I'm glad we went. We came home long enough for her to change clothes before I took her to a 3 hour shut in at the YMCA. She was pretty phyched to go and I know she had fun, but they discontinued a bunch of stuff that she was looking forward to.

And then it started to snow. And snow. And snow. It looked like alot as I was driving back from the Y, and I know that south of here got alot more, but when I went out to snow blow Sunday morning, there was only about an inch and a half. I started up the snow blower, but the snow was too heavy and wet and wouldn't "blow" anywhere. So I put the blower back in the garage and got out the shovel and had it done in about 20 minutes. Because there wasn't very much, it wasn't too heavy to lift, so it wasn't too bad.

After cleaning out the driveway, DD and I drove to IL to see my dad, who just got back from FL. We hung out with him for a little, then the three of us drove over to see my new niece, born about 4 weeks ago. I got to hold her for the longest time and even got to feed her! Such a sweet sweet baby. We all went out for dinner at Chili's and then took Dad back home and then DD and I drove back to Port Washington. It was a long day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Florida Shell Quilt Done!

Well, I just finished hand sewing on the binding on the Florida Shell Quilt. I really like the machine quilting I did. Funny thing happened though, when I had about 5 minutes of quilting left, my needle broke. I think it developed a burr and then the thread caught and pulled it out of alignment and so it hit the plate and broke. So I took the quilt off and was replacing the needle when I realized that I had forgotten to cover the dog feet (my feet don't lower, there's a plastic cover that goes over them). So I pulled out the cover and put it on the machine for the last 5 minutes. When I looked at the back after I was done, those 5 minutes of quilting really stuck out like a sore thumb. Adding the plastic cover made the quilt move smoother, but it also made the tension change. I never would have thought of that. Huh....

I'm not sure what my next project is going to be. One of the ladies at work had her baby last week and I bought the fabric for her baby quilt a few months ago, so I could start that. Or the only son of my best friend is getting married in December and I bought fabric for a wedding quilt for them. The baby quilt will definitely be needed sooner as we're going to have a shower for her at work (we were going to have it several months ago and her doctor ordered her to bed rest before we could pull it off).

Speaking of machine quilting, I ordered the Pajama Quilter video and Patsy Thompson's video, so I have some stuff to watch today and tomorrow. We're expected to have 4 - 7 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, so good thing I'll have stuff to do!

I have 4 Girl Scout quilts to put the binding on so I'd better get at it.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Florida Shell Quilt Update

Over the weekend I got the top for my Florida Shell Quilt put together. I think it is turning out pretty nice. I've been machine quilting is (meandering) for the past several evenings and am about half done. So hopefully, by the end of this weekend it will be done!

Of course, my dad left FL for his northern home yesterday, so now it won't go to FL until next fall. But I can always give it to him for his birthday (July), so it won't be all bad.

Saturday DD and I went to West Bend. They have a quilt store there that I had never been to and have been wanting to go (West Bend is about 30 minutes away). Although DD made the grumpy noise about going to a quilt store, the first things she did was say "there's no material here that are my colors!" I pointed her to the next aisle over where she found the brights. She picked out a backing fabric and was soon pulling out coordinating fabrics for the front. I bought her FQ of each of her fabrics and 2 yards for the backing. Maybe this weekend she'll want to work on it.

Sunday at church I made a final plea for someone to take my piano. I just never play it. I got it (for free) from the church about 5 years ago when they were replacing the piano with a new one. I had a notice put in the bi-monthly newsletter a few weeks ago and although I got a couple inquiry phone calls, nothing ever panned out. I was going to put it on Craigs List if necessary, but was a little concerned over who might be showing up at my door. Well, someone at church (who I know well) said they were interested and on Sunday afternoon her husband and DF came and picked it up. Now I have room for an official cutting table! I'm thinking of completing changing my dining room (which currently houses my computer and bookshelves and no dining table anyway) into a sewing area. But I think for now I'll just add the cutting table.

Last night was Girl Scouts and I had some quilts that I had bound to give back to the girls and got 4 more quilts that need the binding. I got a lot of complements from other moms on how excited the girls were to make the quilts. How fun is that! Maybe I'll put together a workshop later this summer and see if girls want to come and quilt some more. I think I could use the church so we wouldn't have to go out of town and we could just order in pizza instead of cooking. Sounds like an idea. Hmmm......

Have a good rest of your week!

Monday, March 16, 2009

St Patricks Day Fabric???

Ok, I'll be the first to admit that I don't "do" green. I don't wear green (or yellow). I'm a pink, purple, blue type of gal. But I was scanning fabrics online last week and this green fabric called my name. Maybe it was just the Spring colors and we've been through such a dull grey/brown winter and my mind has been begging for some Spring colors. Maybe my mind was thinking ahead towards St Patricks Day (but I suspect not as I was so focused on the GS campout that I couldn't have told you that St Patricks Day was even this week).

Anyway, the fabric arrived on Saturday before we left on the GS campout and all I had time to do was bring it inside and leave it UNOPENED on the kitchen counter so that it didn't sit in the mailbox overnight. I opened it last night and fondled it fondly (funny that those two words come to mind) and realized that it had a bunch of green in it.

I often buy fabric in project sets (stuff that goes together) without any notion of what pattern or project I'm going to buy it for. It makes it very difficult to store it in my stash -- I want to keep the fabrics together (heaven forbid that I can't find the fabric that goes together later). I've started storing each fabric set in tubs, but now the tubs have taken over my living room. I kid you not! Now, many of them are shoe box sized tubs, but when you start to stack them 8 tubs high, they start to fall over.

I've got to do something. I have a plan, but its going to take some organization of furniture and stuff destined for the summer garage sale or Goodwill bin. And that will take me away from sewing. (big sigh) But I think it will be worth it. I might even (almost) have a sewing room when I get done.

Wonderful Weekend with the Girl Scouts

What happens when you take 14 Girl Scouts up to camp and teach them how to quilt? You get 14 very different quilts and 14 very excited girls.

On Saturday afternoon 14 girls ages 9-10 and 5 adults went up to the local Girl Scout camp and as a main event, made quilts. I developed the lesson plan and bought all the fabric, batting, thread etc. We had 13 sewing machines so only two girls had to share.

On Saturday afternoon we discussed the history of quilting and I showed them some different designs of quilts (a Double Wedding Ring, a Log Cabin with applique flowers and vines, and the Trip Around the World that I made). Then after S'Mores we pulled out the fabric. Each girl got to choose her backing fabric first (there were 20 backing fabrics, so even the girl who went last got to make a choice), then we went in backwards order for them to pick their 42 6" squares for the front of the quilt. I was amazed at the different designs and the girls were incredible in their creativity.

Here are some of the designs laid out on the floor prior to any sewing.

I took each girl's picture with her layout and printed it out over night so that in the morning when we started sewing that she could duplicate her layout again (we had to pick up all the fabric because we had to layout the cot sized mattresses and sleeping bags so we could sleep on the floor).

The other adults were wonderful helpers, even those with limited sewing experience. And I think they all learned how to make quilts, too, even though they didn't actually complete one themselves.

What I didn't anticipate was that we would have so many machine problems. I pretty much ran from machine to machine fixing problems. I suspect that many of the problems were caused by user error, but a few of the machines were just flaky.

By the end of the afternoon, 6 girls had fully finished quilts and everyone else's quilt was at least pinned so that she could do the tieing and I will finish the edging of anyone who brings their quilt back to the next GS meeting. I brought three quilts home with me to finish the edging with the tieing already done.

My DD (the rainbow colored quilt above pictured sideways) is so proud of her quilt. She told all the kids at school today that she made a quilt over the weekend and asked tonight if she could take it to school to show everyone. I think she'll take care of it since she knows first hand how much work it was to put it together.

I got a quilt magazine in the mail today and was glancing through it while dinner was cooking. At first, DD was like, "oh, another quilting magazine" like oh, no, how stupid, but then about 15 seconds later she was leaning over it and saying, "oh, I want to see this so I can decide how to make my next quilt". I think she has the bug. So funny.

The weekend was a great success!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More About Girls Scouts

Well, it's taken me a lot more time to cut all the fabric than I anticipated (of course, we've been out of the house every night this week with Camping Club meeting, Girl Scout meeting, and gymnastics). I finally finished the fabric last night around 11pm. Tonight after work I'm going to WalMart to pick up the rest of the things we'll need (batting, thread, pins, needles, etc).

I hope that tonight I can get the batting all cut out and get the felt shapes all cut out (see post below). I bought EQ6 so I plan to put together some simple blocks to give me the shapes for the felt. And of course, I still need to finish the laundry that I started yesterday (yes, I know I said I was going to do it on Monday, but it didn't get downstairs until Weds morning).

Then Friday night I'll put together the portable design board I'm making. I already pulled all of the magazines and a couple of books that I want to take. I still need to find all of my rulers.

Saturday morning I'll play with my new photo printer and camera and make sure they all work well together.

And of course, all of my own equipment needs to be labeled!

We're dropping off the dog at 12 noon on Saturday and meeting the other GS at 2pm. I think I will be ready. Uhhgggg! Anything else????????

Monday, March 9, 2009

Girl Scout Camp, Here We Come!

Well, my company has come and gone and I even got some time Sunday afternoon to play with fabric. As you may know, I volunteered to teach DD's Girl Scout troop how to quilt and the campout is next weekend. So I've been buying fabric so that these 14 girls (ages 9 - 10) can make their own quilt. They all voted about what kinds of colors they wanted and so I went out and found fabric. Yesterday afternoon and evening I sat in front of the TV and cut all the backings out (1 yard long x selvage to selvage wide) and got about half of the 6" squares cut out. I hope to have the other half done tonight (although I need to buy groceries after work and do laundry). I'm waiting to hear back from WalMart about possible donation that I will use for batting and thread. Hopefully I'll hear today.

Here's what I have planned: (This is an overnight from Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon)

Saturday afternoon - evening
- 15 minutes of the history of quilts, discussion on types of quilts (whole cloth, pieced, applique, crazy, etc)

- 1 hour Design time - each girl will get to pick one of the backings, then find 42 (6 x 7) squares that she wants to use in her quilt front. I have a digital camera and will take a picture of each girl with her design to give her so that she can remember the layout she chose - with 14 girls, there won't be enough room for everyone to layout their quilts all at the same time. It will also give them a memory as I want the girl in the picture, too.

- Sewing and quilting/tieing - there will be 5-6 adult women, including me, so I'm hopeful that I won't get too stressed out running from girl to girl.

Stations (since not every girl will have her own machine, some of the girls will need other things to do while waiting their turn and to give girls a chance to get up and stretch and do something)

  • Design a block - I'm making a small design wall and will have felt shapes cut out that they can design a block - squares, triangles, rectangles, etc. I'll take pictures from their final design on that too.
  • Needle threading - I'll have different sizes of needles and they will try to thread all the different needles and notice how hard it is for the ones that have really small eyes.
  • Measuring - I'll have a bunch of different rulers, including yardsticks, tape measures, etc. and they will have to measure and cut their own yarn for the tieing.
  • Quilt Books and Magazines - I'll bring a bunch of my own books and they can look at what the industry is doing.

The only thing that may be a problem is that I may be the only one with a walking foot. Since I'm planning to have the backing pulled up over the front and then sewed down, each of them will need that. I've thought about doing it pillowcase style and turning them inside out, but would need the walking foot for that, too, to make sure that the batting is caught inside. Any ideas? If I have to, I can do them myself on my machine in about 10 minutes each, but that would take alot of time in total.

I'm organized in my head, but know that I still have a lot of things to do before we leave Saturday. Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time Away from Quilting...

I've got company coming this weekend, so I've started to clean my house. I might be done in time for Easter (bg). I've let the house cleaning get really bad since Christmas and I need to get it under control. So quilting is going to have to go on the back burner for the next few days and until my company leaves on Sunday. Then its back to the fun stuff!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Florida Sea Shell Throw

I got started this weekend on the throw I'm making for my Dad in Florida. He comes back up north at the end of March, so I have a real incentive to get this done quickly. I bought the fabric (Wilmington's Weekend Getaway) while in Florida during our Christmas vacation in December.

This throw will be a big one that he can pull over himself while napping in front of the TV.

DD had another friend spend the night Saturday night, so they have been very busy all day today playing on the computer. I laid out the blocks on the living room floor early this afternoon to look at how they would look and went back to cut out more blocks from the panel fabric. I came back 30 minutes later and the two girls were playing Barbie in the middle of the fabric. They weren't using the fabric in their play, just sitting on it and messing up the layout. I couldn't believe it. I know that lots of people have trouble with pets who want to be part of the action, but I didn't think I'd have that problem with a couple of 9 year old girls!

Otherwise, this was a much better weekend than the last one. Ran a few errands on Saturday (including a trip to the library where I came away with 20 pounds of books) and went to church this morning. Delivered a few more Girl Scout cookies to DD's customers and then took Molly, our 3 year old Golden Retriever to the pet store, which has a do-it-yourself bathing area. Molly loves to roll in other animals (mostly wild animals) poop, and with the deer and rabbits that roam in our backyard, she's been smelling pretty ripe. I couldn't stand it long enough to wait for an appointment at the groomer, so off we went to clean her up. It was a wild experience, but well worth the small amount of money it cost. And now she smells nice and clean.