Thursday, May 31, 2012

I've worn out my gloves!

I don't use quilt shop gloves when I'm machine quilting. Instead I bought a pair of cheap cotton gardening gloves that have black sticky dots on them.  I got them more than 7 years ago, I guess, and paid a buck for them.  About 2 years ago I wore holes in the thumbs and index fingers when I'd finished a big quilting project, so I stitched them up as best as I could. I mean, the rest of the glove was fine, so I couldn't throw them out! They cost money, doncha know?

Well, now I've really done it.  By the time I finished the last queen sized quilt I quilted, I'd worn holes in the patches on my gloves! I wasn't going to patch the patches!  After all, there's a limit to my frugality! I went to the same place, "Bargain Bill's," and of all the luck, they had more of my kind of glove and here's my brand new pair.  Don't you think they look "snazzy", as my 97 year old aunt used to say.

Because I'm so thrifty with my gloves, I indulged myself when I stopped at a quilt shop in a neighboring town the other day.  I got these bundles of fat quarters, one to make some patriotic place mats for the Fourth and other times, and the other to make something Christmasy with next fall.

The shop had a huge sale the day before I got there and they'd not had time to clear away all the sale things, so of course, I had to dig through them. I got a bunch of fat quarters for $1 each and two 1 yard cuts of the blue and yellow fabric for $5 each. Don't know what I'll do with these fabrics, but they'll look good in my stash until I need them.

And lastly, I bought yardage of chicken and egg fabrics!  I've never seen egg fabric before and the clerk said they'd had chicken wire fabric but it was sold out. :-(  These will go into a table runner and place mats either for me or for the Etsy store.  

So, with new gloves and more nice fabrics, I'm set to sew up a storm!  Gotta get downstairs to my sewing room and make some progress on my latest project.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

15 minute challenge

For once, I'm remembering to post my weekly progress on Kate's 15 minute challenge.  Even though I only spent two days quilting.  Hey, life interferes occasionally with my quiltmaking, what can I say?

Last week, I finished the auction quilt that I've been working on since January, but not steady. There have been other projects interspersed.  I posted pictures and narrative about this quilt in my previous post, if you want to take a look.  I spent 3 or 4 hours each on Tuesday and Wednesday stitching on the binding.  Since then I've looked around in my sewing room, but haven't done anything.

I find that after I've finished a quilt that's due on a deadline, I take a few days or a week off. It's like I have to decompress from the pressure of that deadline. Fortunately, I don't have any more deadlines in the immediate future.

A couple of weeks ago, I was telling one of my coworkers about this quilt and she asked me how long it will take to do the quilting on it. For once, I kept track. To quilt up the queensized quilt took 27 hours. I was amazed!  I imagine the piecing and all the rest took at least that long as well.  Wow!  No wonder I feel so burned out when I've finished one of these giants!  And I have 3 more big quilt tops in my cupboard waiting to be quilted up. 

Today, I'm planning on spending a few hours working on a little table quilt that I want to get pinned and quilted so I can put it in my Etsy store. I'll post a picture when it's finished.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The 2012 Auction Quilt is Finally Finished!

I put in the last stitch Wednesday night and took it from the drier this morning.  It's done and here it is:

This pattern is one I got in a magazine solicitation mailer several years ago and I thought it was one I'd like to make up one day.  Since the fundraiser is in early June every year, I thought this would be nice and springy/summery.

The blocks are simple pinwheels made of 5" or maybe 5 1/2" squares to start. I used a variety of florals alternating with a floral white-on-white fabric.  I FMQ it using a heart and loop continuous design in the body of the quilt.

In the border, I FMQ a design of leafy vines with two large florals on each side. I tried to take a pix of it but it's harder to see here than in real life.  I outline stitched around the appliqued leaves and stems.

The pattern I got was for a lap throw, but I enlarged it to be a queen sized bed quilt. I like this quilt a lot and wish I hadn't made it to be donated. :(  But it's for a good cause--our small local school--and likely will bring in several hundred dollars, if past experience holds. :)

By the time I'd finished the machine quilting and hand sewing the binding, my shoulders and back were screaming!  I've never felt such pain before in my life!  So I took the plunge and had a massage last night--my very first.  What heaven! By the time she was finished with me, I felt like a new person, although I can feel some pain between my shoulders this morning. Barb, the masseuse, told me it would take several sessions to get out all the knots, so I guess I'll just have to go back again, right? Can't ignore "medical" advice, you know.

Now that this huge quilt is finished, it's time to get outside to the gardens and see if I can win the Battle of the Weeds that I've lost every summer in my life! If you're a betting person, bet on the weeds. LOL

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

15 minute challenge

My fingers and hands have recovered from all the unstitching I did over the past few days. Can I count that as part of my 15 minute challenge?  Oh, yes, I can!  Yesterday, after giving my mitts a "Satin Hands" treatment (They are oh so smooth and soft now!  Love it!), I spent over 5 hours at the machine, re-quilting the auction quilt, this time in a design that works much better with the quilt blocks and which is much more suitable to me. I go about a third of the center done--Yea!

I seem to be working on my quilting only on my days off.  By the time I come home from work, I'm totally exhausted from the hampster-cage atmosphere of the office.  But on my days off, I can get in 4 or more hours at a time--and my back pain is lessening as I increase my time. Does that mean I'm turning into the Hunchback of Prairie Farm?  Or does it mean the muscles are getting stronger?  I hope it's the latter. :)

Monday, May 7, 2012

I have sore hands and fingers . . .

. . . from unstitching the quilting on my giant auction quilt.  I'd done about a third of the quilting in the center and on Friday, I saw that the tension on one of my bobbins was off and had left unsightly loops on the back that needed to be taken out. I thought I could simply take out that section and then carry on. Wrong!  As I ripped out the stitching, I gradually came to realize that the pattern I'd chosen for these blocks was wrong and that I should take it all out and do something different.  So, about 10 hours of unstitching later, I have finished with that task and am ready to move on with a different, better design, and with a proper bobbin tension--I hope! I think I need to give my fingers and hands a rest first--maybe treat them to a beauty treatment or something--before they tackle the quilt again. Wish me luck! ;-)