Tuesday, March 6, 2012

15 minute challenge

I just realized it's 15 Minute Challenge day--time to weigh in report on my progress this week. 

This week I quilted several hours on Wednesday since I was snowed in and didn't go to work. Thursday and Friday, I did work, so no quilting. Saturday, Sunday Monday and Tuesday, I was in the sewing room for many hours each day.  As posted a little while ago, I finished the D4P for Lily.

I also updated the list of UFOs on my side bar. I'm going to keep that as a list of the things I've accomplished, quilt wise, in 2012. It'll be interesting to see what it adds up to--a pleasant surprise, or quiet despair--next December 31.

Next project, before we go to AZ for a week's vacation, is to prepare the backing and get my grandmother-in-law's handmade quilt top to the machine quilter to do while we're gone.  This is one that needs the expertise of a professional quilter.

I like having to account for my time every week. Maybe I'll eventually clear out all that stuff in my quilting room. LOL

Lily will get her new quilt today.

It's finished.  I started working on Lily's new quilt last September and it's finally done.  I used mostly fabrics from my stash that Lily's mom, Tessa, had bought to make a quilt, which she never did, and a yard or two that I had to buy to get the variety of colors.  The quilt measures 67 by 90 inches and is a generous twin sized piece or a little-bit-skimpy full sized cover.

I did a Disappearing 4 Patch block, one that I've always liked but had never tried. I really like how it turned out but it's a labor intensive block so I may not use that block again for a bed-sized quilt.  I like all the bright colors in this quilt and I think it will brighten up Lily's bedroom for many years to come. 

Today is very sunny and "relatively" warm outside but there's way too much snow on the ground and everywhere to take it outside.  The 3 season porch is flooded with sunshine today so that's where I took the pix.

 The is the top of the quilt. I used the same floral-with-white-background fabric for each block and used the various colors in the flowers for the contrasting fabric in the blocks. 

I appliqued flowers, leaves and vines around two opposite corners of the quilt. Stitching these appliques is what gave me such a hard time with thread breakage, but yesterday, I took my time and managed to finish that part.  Then I simply did a meander in the white part of the borders. Binding was pieced together from scraps.

This is the quilting design in the blocks of the quilt. I used Golden Threads papers and a varigated thread. I like the heart design. I found it here:  http://www.patchpieces.com/2001quiltingbom.html.  Thank you Patti R. Anderson for posting these quilting designs.  I just did a simple vine and leaf free hand design in the sashings.

Finally, this is the back of the quilt. I thought I had enough of the multi-colored flower squares fabric but as you can see, I did not and a little piecing was called for.  I like it and Lily can use either side of the quilt on her bed, as she chooses.

Tonight is my quild night and I'll take it for show and tell, then pop over to Lily's house and give it to her.

This quilt was more laborious than I'd expected. I had hoped to have it on Lily's bed before Christmas!  But when she's seen the quilt in it's various steps along the way, she has seemed to like it a lot. That makes all the work worthwhile--a happy smile on the face of a child.  I know she will snuggle warmly in it for a long, long time, and I hope she thinks of her Nana when she does.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thread War s!

I've been waging war with my thread!

This weekend I was determined to finish Lily's quilt so I could move on to something (anything!) else. I get really bored when I'm nearly finished with a big quilting project and just want to finish it, already!  Am I the only one who gets like this? Please say I'm not, please.

Anyway, I sat down yesterday to begin working on the borders of the quilt. That's all I have left--just the appliqued borders.  I decided to do some accent stitching in the flowers, leaves, and stems. I started having problems with the top thread breaking.  The same thread I've used throughout the body of the quilt. The same bobbin thread. The same tension settings and the same needle.  So frustrating!  I could sew about half a flower and, Bam!  Frayed, broken thread!  Since Lily was in the house, I kept my mouth shut, but there were words flying around in my brain I'd even never thought before much less said!  I started trying to fix it--re-threaded the machine. Changed to a new needle. Changed the thread.  Nothing helped. Finally I quit and went to fix supper and didn't return all evening.

This morning, I had a brilliant idea! I was going to try an embroidery needle. They have larger eyes and maybe the thread wouldn't shred and break.  I sat down this afternoon and put in the new needle--no change. Ten stitches and snap!  I gave up. I'll have to take the machine in to have it fixed and it'll take about 2 weeks to get it back.  Lily will have to wait even longer.  I made a little quilt sandwich to show what was happening so the repair guy can see for himself.  The thread didn't break!  It was a miracle!  The problem must be fixed!

I returned to the quilt--you know what happened, don't you.  Ten stitches and &((^%$$&%##!  I went back to the sandwich to get a sample ready for the repair guy, and again, no breakage.  Now I was really stumped.  What was different between the quilt and the sandwich?

Finally, the light bulb went on in my feeble, curse word addled brain.  It was the fusible in the applique!  That's what was different!  I had used a fusible to stick the flowers and things on before edge stitching them and when I stitch through that sticky layer, it must get on the thread and cause it to stick in the machine mechanics.  When I was sewing on the non-fused part of the quilt, no problem. Same for the quilt sandwich.

Lesson learned:  Be prepared for thread wars if you stitch fused applique. Better to save that stitching for non-fused applique.  I'm so happy I don't have to take the machine in. I just have to be verrry patient and I'll get the quilt finished. Soon. I hope.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

Tater Tot Hotdish.  http://champaign-taste.blogspot.com/2009/03/tater-tot-hot-dish.html

Tater tot hot dish just out of the oven

I was reading Bonnie K Hunter's blog today http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2012/03/leap-day-drawing-time.html, and she mentioned Tater Tot Hotdish. I realized what a favorite comfort food that dish is and it's this week's FTF. 

Even though I spent the most of my life in MN, and didn't permanently move to WI until 1988, I'd never had Tater Tot Hotdish.  That's almost unheard of in MN!  For those of you who aren't from the Midwest, a "hot dish" is known as a "casserole" in the rest of the world.  Sound just a little too fancy for Minnesotans, doncha think?

Anyway, a couple of years  ago the family had a reunion at a resort in Cass Lake in N MN and I made TT Hotdish for the first time when 6 year old Lily asked for it.  She and I both fell in love with it and it's become one of my favorite comfort foods.  It's so simple, cheap and tastes super.  The recipe is at the website at the top of the page but the recipe I use has a layer of frozen mixed veggies between the ground beef and the soups, and there's no cheese on top. I like to think these changes make it a "healthy" dish. LOL

My other favorite comfort food is a hot pork sandwich as we have it in the Midwest.  Can't find a pix so a description will have to do.  Sliced roast pork in a sandwich made of white bread--whole wheat if you want this to be "healthy!"  No butter, no mayo, nothing but bread and meat.  Put on the plate and put a scoop of mashed potatoes alongside. Super generously slather everything with homemade pork gravy.  To me, that's comfort food, especially if it's homemade mashed potatoes with some little lumps in there.  Yumm!

I am now so hungry and it's 3 hours yet until lunch!  Enjoy your Friday and your comfort food too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How I spent my snow day

I couldn't get out of the driveway yesterday because of the wet, heavy mix of snow and slush so I stayed home from work and quilted.  I FINISHED quilting the center of Lily's quilt!  Yea for me!  Now I only have the borders to do and then my favorite part (next to beginning a new quilt!)--the binding.  I'm so ready for this one to be finished so I can  move on to another project. And so Lily can finally have her new quilt.  Pictures will be posted when it's finished.