Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tessellating Autumn Leave Quilt - Finale

Well folks, I was determined to finish this project. After my class, I came home and hand sewed the binding until it was finished. By the end of three (3) Thomas the Tank Engine DVD, that would be around 12:30 a.m., to bed I went. Normally going to bed late wouldn't bother me if I was doing some pleasurable quilting, but...... I'm tired!

So here it is, the finished product. You cannot imagine how relieved and ecstatic I am that it is completed at last. To give it some dimension I added a 1 & 1/2 inch binding. The center seemed lost in the border and I didn't want to fiddle any more than I had too, so a darker binding was added. It works to me! As for the machine quilting, I ended up outlining 1/4 inch from the seam. The border was nothing fancy, just simple meandering. I didn't want to devote any more time to that quilt. It's been too long of a project already. Today, being such a beautiful day I had my nine (9) year old daughter take a picture when she came home from school. Yep, that's me behind the wall hanging.

After all of this, I still cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would want to paper piece. Needless to say, my top ten (10) list still holds true. I could even add a few more to the list but we'll keep it at ten ;o). No offense to my colleagues who enjoy the paper piecing process, but for me it just doesn't cut it.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Life has just been crazy as of late. To say that I have been emotionally exhausted is an understatement. I am ecstatic to report that life is back to normal, what ever that means. I am or will be working on the Tessellating Autumn Leaves quilt, as I feel I must finish it before I move on to something else. And moving on to something else would be nice, as I am creatively blocked at this point. Besides, I'm getting sick of it and yet feel I must finish it, otherwise I'll never pick it back up again. The other UFOs will be so much more pleasurable to work on.

I will say that although I have not been able to quilt, I have taken the time to enjoy reading the various blogs on the Stashbuster ring. There are some amazing creative people out there. Thank you for keeping me sane during this crazy period.

I'm off to machine quilt that paper piecing project. I am hopeful that by tomorrow I will be able to post pictures of this PITA.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No quilting but lots of simple pleasures!

My daughter is on school break for the week. I haven't had much of an opportunity to work on the Tessellating Autumn leave, which is still on my machine waiting to be quilted. Although I haven't worked much on the pp projects, my daughter has made some sewing creations.

Last Christmas/Yule Time she received the following book from Santa: Sewing Fun for Kids Patchwork, Gifts and More! by Possibilities. The book is packed with lots of fun projects to make, some requiring little sewing. It is colorful, has a friendly layout and includes detailed instructions and templates to use for the various projects. Yesterday she made the pictured place mat as a gift for her grandmother. who just loves snow people.

Last summer, my daughter took a sewing class at the Vermont Bernina dealer. The class was tailored to teach children how to quilt, from choosing fabric to layering and basic machine quilting. At the end, the Bernette 55 that she used was hers. It was quite an incentive for her to take the class and the cost was so reasonable. So now she has her own sewing machine to creative with. She does like to make crafts and clothing more than quilts. You know, that's okay!

Today I do not expect to get much quilting done. We have an appointment in Vermont at 9:30 a.m. and onward we go to visit her grandmother. My daughter is anxious to give her the gift she made.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tagged - weird things

I have been tagged by Wendy to list five (5) weird things about myself. No I had not forgotten, I needed time to think about them ;o). I asked my husband to tell me something weird about myself and he said that I wasn't weird but unique. So there! :op lol

Here goes:

1. I scare easily - At night, I can look up at the sky and scare myself silly. If you see me running into the house, I've just scared myself silly. I have a vivid imagination.
2. I'm peculiar about the movies I see. I cannot watch stupid movies, scary movies, or any movies with violence. I cannot detach myself from the actor's experience on the screen. I love Thomas the Tank Engine and most children movies except for ET, that's a scary movie.
3. I believe in magic, fairies and Santa Claus.
4. I climb trees - In the summer time you may find me up in a branch of our crab apple tree watching the birds feed off our feeders.
5. I like to dance around the house like no one's watching even if they are watching. I tend to be silly even thought I'm supposed to be grown up. I like rock and alternative music.
6. I don't like to shop, except at quilt stores and book stores. When I need to purchase clothing, a new car or what ever (except fabric) I'm on a mission and it's best that you stay out of my way. I do not think about it, I just do it. The internet has cut down the amount of time I spend in clothing stores.

I have thought about who I will tag. I feel that both these individuals are unique and should offer an interesting list. They are:

Sweet P

Monday, February 19, 2007

Top 10 reasons NOT to paper piece

I managed to sandwich the tessellating Autumn Leave last night. This was not without some set backs. At this point I still DO NOT like paper piecing and cannot, for the life of me, justify using this method. Okay, maybe for flying geese, but that's it! For one thing, it took a while to remove all of the paper from the blocks. The "specialty" paper from The Patchwork Place is not that easy to remove. I managed, despite being extremely careful, to rip out some stitches. As I removed the paper, I noticed that my tension was not that great. Although I had checked the tension on numerous occasions, it looked fine with the paper in place, but once the paper was removed, it was not acceptable. This, of course, changes my plans for machine quilting. I may have to do meandering all of over the quilt as opposed to quilting individual leaves. The meandering will ensure that the blocks are secured and minimize further unravelling. Mid way through the process of paper removal Midnight, terror on four kitty paws, managed to knock my iron on its side and water came out onto the first couple of rows of the quilt. The hand dyed fabric bled onto the white. I will either wash the top after I machine quilt it or just leave it as it and tuck the quilt away.

I have compiled the ten top reason NOT to paper piece:

10. You need Zoloft/Prozac and/or sherry
9. Waste of thread - thread strands everywhere
8. Cutting fabric never stops
7. It's messy - you're constantly cleaning as opposed to quilting
6. It's unfriendly to the environment - Save trees!
5. You become bald from pulling your hair
4. Preparation time is tedious - you need lots of paper foundation
3. Paper slides on the feed dogs - irregulars stitching -> see 10 for relief
2. Paper removal is tedious, time consuming and messy
1. It makes you hysterical

So today will be spent machine quilting this wall hanging. Once it is completed I will put a picture up.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Onward to the border and sandwiching

I finally finished the top of the tessellating Autumn leave, THAT Carol Doak paper piecing wall hanging. I now have to choose what fabric to use for the borders. I still haven't figured out how I shall machine quilt it. I may have to sit on it for a while. Perhaps outlining the leaves a quarter inch would work. I will definitely use monofilament thread, otherwise, too many color changes. I don't think I have variegated thread in autumn color. That would certainly be another option.

Despite my frustration, I must admit that I like the way it turned out. Besides having some pieces not cut properly to size, I did not have all of the fabrics for the quilt included with the little bit that had been completed. I ended up using some scraps from my bin, which included old Timbleberry fabric as well as more of the hand dyed fabric from a course I took back in 1997.

I'll have to go through some of my old binders to see if I kept the date of the workshop. It must have been around 1998-99 as I was a member of the Franklin County Quilter's Guild in St-Albans. During the workshop we had traded fabric strips, so it is a nice reminded of the guild. I also had the opportunity to take a Feather Star workshop with Mary K. Ryan, which I never completed the quilt. I did keep the pattern and I think I threw the little I had done away. What a tedious quilt that was, pretty but tedious. Gosh, don't tell me another UFO will be surfacing from it's hiding place, not the Mary K. Ryan quilt!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My trip to Glenn's Falls

I forgot to write about my experience in Glenn's Falls. It is just a bit pass Lake George. The ride was wonderful and scenic. I arrived at the Heirloom Sewing Center and Quilt Shop around 12:30 p.m. and dropped off my 180E. There is quite a nice selection of fabrics at a reasonable price, as well as patterns. Took a visual inventory and left to catch a bite to eat at a little Cafe. I found a Joann's to browse a bit. I had a 40% coupon and did want to pick up some Pellon fusible fleece for an embroidery table runner that I will be making. The thought of using polyester as a batting skieves me out, but I tell myself it's an embroidered table runner. I'll use this fleece on Jenny Haskin's Aqua Ambiance pattern.

You'll never believe who I met at Starbucks cafe, my daughter's past principle Joanna. What a weird place to meet given that she lives the next town over. This is her first year as a retired school principle and she is busy. She's quite involved with the girl scouts and was in Glenn's Falls for a meeting. She treated me to a latte. What a sweet person she is!

By 3:00 p.m. my machine was ready. I went back to Heirloom and had a chat with the owner, Jackie. I than proceeded to peruse the fabric and pattern section. I must not have been in a buying mood because I didn't leave the store with much fabric. They did an amazing job on my 180E. I didn't think of bringing the cable so she wasn't able to update it (I don't think there are other updates). When I got home I took it for a spin and it ran well. There was a springy noise that stopped when I opened the bobbin case door. I think it was just the wire for the bobbin sensor that must have cause the springy noise. I wrote Jackie an e-mail and she told me what to do and voila, fixed! I will be going back to Glenn's Falls. I was pleased with the service. Best of all, the machine is fixed on site.

Snow Day!

Another snow day! We didn't get as much snow as anticipated. Nonetheless, it is beautiful out there. Of course, it would be more pleasant if the wind wasn't howling! My daughter has no school once again. A treat for her. For me, it just means that I'll have some interruptions throughout my day. Should she have a friend over, she will ask to use my laptop so that they can play on Club Penguin together. The joys of two computers! It might be a tad too cold to play outside.

This morning I woke up around 1:00 a.m. to be able to catch my friend's Flamingo party in Australia. Unfortunately, I needed to do that tonight (well tomorrow morning). This Oz time business is difficult for me to get a grasp on. I never seem to get it right. Cheryl has a group of sit & sew and they do seem to have a good time. Hopefully I'll wake up and we can chat on yahoo msg. If I cannot be at her party in person, cyber space is the next best thing!

I'm still working on that paper piecing pattern and am almost finished. I will post pictures once it is completed. No sense boring you with the same old details. My opinion on paper piecing has not changed. I can see using this technique on flying geese but that's about it. I am determined to finish this wall hanging before I move on to something else. Given how old this UFO is, I think it's because I'm scared that I'll never pick it back up again after this! Besides, I only have one more row of blocks to make!

Keep warm! It sounds like a cold one out there. The wind is just howling! Hopefully my birds feeders and bath are okay and I will not have to step out!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Taking a break from UFO!

Today I will not be working on the paper piecing quilt as I will be heading to Glenn's Falls shortly to have my 180 serviced. The machine needs a good cleaning. I have been on the waiting list of the Bernina dealer that is closest to me for approximately a year and my turn is no where near in sight. I have the feeling that she prioritizes the people who bought a machine from her. Her shop has been open for almost two (2) years. Northern Vermont has had a revolving door of Bernina dealers. My two machines are orphans! Not that I blame her, but that does not solve my problem. So to Glenn's Falls, which is the closest Bernina dealer in Upstate New York, I'm headed. It will be a five (5) hour drive round trip for me. I will be dropping off the machine around noonish and provided that all is well, I'll pick it back up around 3:00 p.m. I do have a few things to pick up. I want to make the Aqua Marine Ambiance table runner. Thankfully I am not on a fabric diet so no guilt for me! lol

As for the wall-hanging, thank you to all those who kindly offered to finish it for me on Stashbuster. You guys are wonderful! I did work on it until 10:30 p.m. I managed to get all of the fabric cut and placed on the designer wall. This should speed up the process drastically. I did get one row sewn together, so I now have four (4) rows done. It's amazing how long this project is taking. It seems to me that I have made queen size quilts in less time than this! Oh well, I will be happy when it's ready for machine quilting, which should be soon!

Off to get ready for my drive. Have yourselves a wonderful day! Tomorrow we are suppose to get a snow storm. I can't wait, I just love snow storms!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Paper Piecing progress - UFO

Yesterday from noonish to 11:30 p.m., with a couple of breaks in between to maintain a decent level of sanity, this is what I have accomplished, ONLY two (2) rows. The quilt has eight (8) rows of eight (8) blocks. This is not a good project for those wanting to learn whether paper piecing is their thing. I will agree with the lady who commented on the first post, this is a quilt from H*ll!

I cannot begin to tell you how often I had to use the seam ripper. One of the blocks, third (3) row first block from the left, the fabric was not long enough. Of course, it was the last piece to sew on!! The fabric had been cut in class a long time ago and I didn't check what was already cut. I decided that I was not going to waste that block and sewed two (2) pieces of fabric together, just like in the olden days when fabric was not wasted. You will not be able to see the seam, but it's there and it's fine with me.

I had originally traced the pattern on tracing paper and needed more templates. I thought I would scan the block and print on this special paper piecing paper I had purchased back in 1999. After fiddling with the image, attempting to figure out how I can do this, I managed to print the blocks. Off I went to continue. The only problem was that my paper is no longer transparent and I had to rework my method of fabric placement. Believe it or not, at first I used the printed side to place my fabric. Well duh, I couldn't see the line to sew on, so rip it I went and used the printed side to sew on. That was fine until the placement of the colors were incorrect. If you recall, every other block as a section of two other blocks.

Around 10:30 p.m. my husband walks into my sewing room with the comment "wow you're still at it". I hysterically replied "and I've only accomplished two rows! I then begin to describe the process and he looks at me and says "it looks like you're working upside down and in reverse. I could never work like that". Okay, so I'm insane!

Perhaps I don't get it, but I really haven't seen the pleasures of paper piecing. First, you're always cutting these strands of threads. Threads every where! You're working upside down and in reverse. You need to cut numerous pieces of fabric that will need to be re-cut after sewing. You need to make templates. Finger pressing does not work as well as an iron (hey I did figure out that leaving my iron on low works better than finger pressing). It is bulky to work with. When you're finished, you have to rip all that paper out! Really, what am I not getting here?

Yes I do want to finish that quilt as it will be a souvenir of the course I took with Carol Doak. If it wasn't for that, I would have tossed that UFO a long time ago. I am determined to get this quilt finished. I will say that this will probably make the other UFOs on the waiting list a pleasure to work on, provided I don't give up and go totally insane!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Another UFO re-surfaced!

Oh my gosh, I had totally forgotten about this quilt. That's probably because it was tucked away, out of sight. It is/was in the process of being hand quilted. The joining of the stashbuster group has this psychological effect on me. All I think about is what projects need to be completed. I am being haunted by UFOs!

The beautiful QI on this quilt is our late Mr. Bud. He is truly missed.

Time to get off the computer and start working on those UFOs. I may just put the Carol Doak project on hold and work on something else. I am not in the mood to think hard on fabric and color placement.

UFO wallhanging

This is a UFO quilt that I am attempting to finish. The pattern is called Autumn Leaves and it is from the book Easy Paper-Pieced Keepsake Quilts by Carol Doak.

It was a workshop I took with the author when I belonged to a guild in Saint Albans, Vermont. You can see that the fabrics are clearly from around 1998 -99. I did include fabric I had hand dyed from a course I took at the Quiltsmith (no longer open) that was given by this wonderful lady, whose name I cannot remember, on dying your own fabric. I would have liked to take up the hobby of hand dying fabric but I quickly came to the realization that you cannot have many hobbies at the same time. Thankfully for this UFO, I have, I think, all the fabrics that were to be used on the quilt. I really would like to finish this quilt, as it would be a "souvenir" of the workshop.

One of the issues I have about this quilt is that you have to think of the fabric placement. Each block has an overlap in another block. Your block must be laid out so that you can have the proper sequence of fabric. This reminds me of the kaleidoscope quilt I finally managed to finish. I say finally managed to finish as it blocked my creativity and I could not quilt any longer. It was one of those project that had to be finished in order for me to continue quilting. One summer, during my vacation, I finally made the effort to finish it. The quilt is made using batiks as well as some of my own hand dyed fabrics. I need to figure out how to post more than one picture in such a way that I can comment next to it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Cleaning out the dust bunnies!

Yesterday, I worked on one UFO. It is quite a challenge to come to a project after more than eight (8) years and jump right in and do it. This particular quilt I chose to work on requires getting a bearing as to how the color placement works. After experiencing some frustration, I decided to clean out my sewing closets. What did I find besides dust bunnies, MORE UFOs!

When I began quilting I made a rule that I would not have more than two (2) projects going at the same time. After a while I increased it to five (5) and slowly it went up to ten (10) projects. Somewhere along, I extended the cap to infinity. What is sitting in limbo are not quilts that I do not like, but projects that were conveniently forgotten due to the excitement of something new. So, as I cleaned out the stash closet, I made a list of the forgotten projects and consolidated these UFOs to a bin. So far, I have twenty (20) UFOs, which according to some quilters is nothing. However, this does not include the projects that I have acquired the fabric and are just waiting to be started. I do not know that I can count that high! lol

Last year, someone on the RCTQ newsgroup once posted something humorous on the origin of a UFO, which I will share with you.

Where does a UFO start? It starts as a WHIMM (Works Hidden In My Mind).
After a FART (Fabric Acquisition Road Trip) and some SEX (Stash Enhancing eXperience) it becomes a PIG (Projects In Grocery sack).
The PIG becomes a HSY (pronounced hissy ... meaning Haven't Started Yet).
Once you have a HSY fit and begin work, it becomes a WIP (Work In Progress). The WIP becomes a UFO (UnFulfilled Opportunity).
And the cycle continues

Needless to say the WHIMM never ceases, which continue to increase my UFOs. I think that is the cause of my "compulsive quilter" syndrome. All of these WHIMM needing to be birthed.

Back to my closets. After organizing what I call the stash portion, I then moved on to the miscellaneous section, the other side. Since I have started to slowly equip myself for machine embroidery, I had a mess of spools and supplies to organize. I decided that it was time for my husband (a woodworker as a hobby) to design and build a portable stand with drawers to store my embroidery thread, as well as the embroidery module. This would eliminate the clutter and constant falling of supplies off the shelves.

Today, I have a bit more cleaning to do in my sewing room. Afterwards I will make another attempt to work on that UFO that is neatly placed on the designer wall. As for my husband, he has already finished designing the stand and will start working on it today. I was informed that he had a two (2) week span before the wood would be delivered for the barn. Yes, we are building a barn this year to store his stash of wood! ;o) - So, off he goes to start my new storage space.
PS: If anyone is thinking of doing a stash raid, as you can see I have my stash guard. She is not easily bribed! lol

Friday, February 9, 2007

A UFO in hiding - Celestial Dream

This is a pattern I thought I would make back in early 2001. I fell in love with this quilt when the quilt shop I used to work for had the trunk show. It was such a magnificent quilt. So in a moment of insanity, I bought the pattern and began shopping for the fabric. What a challenge that was in itself. The shop decided to offer a monthly meeting for those attempting to make this project. Everyone purchased a fabric kit and stayed with the theme. Some did substitute fabrics but no major deviation from the kit. Myself, that would have been too easy, so off I went on a fabric acquisition adventure, which lead to a late start on the quilt. If the fabric adventure was not not enough of a challenge, I then had to go on a thread acquisition trip. The images are all outlined using the satin stitch and decorative stiches are used throughout the quilt. Of course my collection was not acquired in one day. Working at the quilt shop allowed me the opportunity to buy as I needed, matching the various fabrics to a funky color thread. The thread case has been sitting collecting dust for the past six (6) years.

I did manage to complete the four (4) corner blocks and the top angel block. I will say that the planet block needs to be redone. My daughter, who was three (3) at the time decided to test her toddler scissors, you know the type that is suppose to only cut paper, on the square. She was always playing with this block as it was her favorite. Needless to say, it has a cut in it and must be redone. What really did me in was the top angel block. If I said that it took me more than 20 hours of labor, I would not be exaggerating. Perhaps maybe under estimating the time it took me to semi complete the block. It still requires work!

All this to say that what I am attempting to do is reduce my guilt. Yesterday I joined a yahoo group called Stashbusters. I am determined to reduce the amount of UFO clutter in my closet. They also have a program to reduce your stash and not buy fabric, but that almost gave me heart failure. lol So off I go, searching that closet for a UFO to complete.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Another quilt off the UFO list!

Well, I finally finished a UFO. This quilt has been long in the makings. The fabric used is from Robyn Pandolf, Folk Art Christmas II, at the time she was with Moda Fabrics. As you can see, it has been a while. I do love that line of fabric. The rich greens and burgundy reds are just right for my taste. I have named this quilt "Yule Time Garden". It is what I would classify as a winter quilt; the batting used is 100% wool. This was my first time using this type of batting. I tend to used Warm & Natural, which is 100% cotton.

Machine quilting the quilt was a challenge at first. Wool as a bouncy loft effect so my tension was off. It took me a long time to arrive at the right tension. I mainly us Mettler Silk finish 50 wt thread for most of my machine quilting. My Bernina just loves that thread. It had not occurred to me that I would have a tension problem given I know both my machine and the thread. After days of frustration, I put the quilt aside in total disgust. It wasn't until I began machine quilting another quilt using Coat's thread that it occurred to me to use the hook on the bobbin case to add extra bobbin tension. This is not a technique I had ever used with Mettler threads. After adjusting the bobbin tension to normal, I threaded through the hook and voila! I can still feel myself banging my head on my sewing table in total frustration.

Unfortunately, you cannot see the machine quilting details. It is difficult to get a good shot of the pattern. I will make another attempt after I have recovered from the frustration. Tension problem aside, it did take a while to machine quilt this project. I do not feel that I am finished with it. The red inner border needs something. What? I am still trying to figure that out. However, that does not keep me from enjoying the quilt. I will live with it for a while and decide what I want to do with that inner border.

I will say that the quilt is nice and cozy on those cold winter days. It adds extra warmth without the heaviness. I do plan on making more winter quilts. I have heard quilter mention how sweet wool is to hand quilt. Although I have never handquilted on wool, I will say that with machine quilting, it is not hard on needles. With Warm & Natural I do need to change my needle at least once during the quilting project. Of course this is all dependent on my not sewing over a safety pin.
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