Saturday, June 28, 2008

Triangles & Vacation

So I think I figured out the triangles. I think its just a case where I have to be EXTREMELY careful in cutting the small triangles in order for them to come out right. I also have to square-up all the blocks after the triangles are sewn.

All next week I am on VACATION from work!! Yay! I'm bound to get a bit of sewing down while on vacation. In fact, we're actually going out to my parents for a few days. Here's two pictures from the lake that they're on:

I told my mom that I would bring my sewing machine with me so that we could sew together. She's been trying to get some things made for my niece, Alannah, and I figured we could spent a few hours sewing together. Last night I was in a frenzy of cutting fabric so that I had stuff to sew while I'm there, which is how I know have all the strips cut for the blue/white four-blockers and all the white pieces cut for the 60-degree triangles and the center squares of my blocks. However, I was too tired to attempt to cut more 30-degree triangles.

Anyway - it may be a few days before I post again, so ...

Happy Quilting! ~Sarah

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stupid Triangles

So the quilt I'm attempting to make for us is the pattern Fifty-Four Forty or Fight. It has a 60-degree center triangle and two 30-degree side triangles, and four of these sets per block. I went and bought the EZ-triangles tool (similar to the companion angle tool) because it supposedly would help make these triangles correct. Well the "magic" angle that's on the tool for the 30-degree triangles is just a load of junk. There's no way to actually cut it correctly and its impossible to get everything to line up correctly when you piece the triangles together.

I've spent all evening first sewing parts of the triangles, pressing them, sewing the other part only to find out that they don't line up and my resulting squares are completely wrong. ARGH!!! Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to get these things to work??

Blog Changes

So I don't know if people have noticed, but I've added a few progress bars to various parts of my blog. Right on the top there's one for the number of hours (estimated of course) I've spent sewing on my new sewing machine. I set the 500 hour mark as just a milestone, although I'm thinking maybe I should lower it to just 100. :-) Then I'll see more progress. Hahaha!

I also added two progress bars on the right side of the blog for the number of 12" blocks I need to make for Quilt #7 and the amount of hand stitching I have left on Quilt #6. Last night, in only 20 minutes I was able to sew about 16" of binding.

I didn't get much else done last night in terms of quilting. It was my sister-in-law's and her husband's anniversary (the couple that just had the baby), so Rich and I went up to visit them for a little while. It ended up being about an hour that we were up there, but it was good visiting with them.

When I did come back home, I finished cutting the blue and white strips that I sewed the night before so that I can sew them again into four-blockers. I do have to press them first though. Tonight I'm hoping to get some more hand stitching done and then start sewing my triangles while I'm awake. :-)

Happy Quilting! Sarah

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Quilting Progress

I was able to find some time tonight to not only hand sew part of the binding on baby quilt #6, but I was also able to zig-zag stitch around some fat quarters (so they won't unravel during washing) and I sewed 13 strips of blue and white fabric together. The blue and white strips were 2.5" wide and will eventually make checkered blue and white blocks that are 4.5 x 4.5 (unfinished).

Sometimes I'm amazed at how much I can get done in only two hours in the evening. After coming home from working 9 hours, somehow I find the energy to trim our flowers, help Rich (DH) build concrete test specimens for a materials camp we volunteer for, make dinner, clean up after dinner AND get sewing done. No wonder I'm always tired. :-) The sewing is definitely worth it and unfortunately, everything will catch up to me and I won't sew for a few days or I'll do cross-stitch instead of machine sewing.

I think what I like best about doing the hand sewing of the binding is that its pretty much brainless. You just sit there and stitch away and there's no pattern to follow, no set rules, and you don't really have to pay that much attention to what you're doing. Its a nice break sometimes from trying to keep that 1/4" seam and trying to follow the gazillion characters that make up a cross-stitch pattern.

Anyway - hope everyone had a good evening and...

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Here she is.... My Niece!

And another post without any quilting...but this is much better! :-)

Here's Alannah Josephine, my niece:

Alannah and her mom

Alannah and Dad

Rich and I with Alannah

Me hogging the baby ;-)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Addition

Yesterday evening, my husband and I were able to meet our new niece. She was born on 6/16 at about 6:45 in the evening. She's a healthy 7 lbs 13 oz and is completely adorable! Her name is Alannah Josephine. My sister-in-law's husband took a few photos of me holding her, so once I have those I may share. ;-)

On the quilting front, I finally finished setting up my machine in my new sewing cabinet. I don't have the custom insert yet, so the sewing machine has to sit a little higher than I would like for the time being in order to fit the table extender that the machine came with. The cabinet has already proven itself to be handier than the table I was using before. I sewed the binding onto the quilt last night and the cabinet did a great job in supporting the weight of the quilt so that I wasn't constantly fighting with it. I'm not sure if I completely like where I have it placed right now as its really difficult to see the TV (although I should be watching what I'm doing versus watching the TV).

Once I get the hand sewing done, I'll post some pictures of the finished quilt.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not much sewing...

Sadly I haven't been able to do much sewing lately. Late last week, my new sewing cabinet arrived! Yay! It took my husband and I two nights after work to put the thing together. The one bad part about the assembly process was that the manufacturer didn't tell you that when you attach the wood base for the sewing machine to sit on, it has to clear the lifting mechanism. We didn't find that out until the last part of the instructions and there were many four letter words uttered and created.

Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Saturday we spent Father's day at my sister-in-law's (who is up the road from us) and had a nice little get together with my husband's family. Sunday we worked on the garden a bit in the morning and by noon had gotten flowers trimmed, everything fertilized, plants planted, gutters cleaned and the lawn mowed. The afternoon we decided to drive up to my in-laws who live on lake and we were able to relax and do some swimming. It took a little while to get used to the water, but once you were in it felt good.

Time for me to do some work and nurse my sunburn from yesterday morning!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Amazing Two Weeks!

In two weeks, this is what our garden has done.... Its literally exploded!


So here's some pictures of our garden taken on June 1st. The James Galway (pink flowers) are really going strong and the others are just starting to really take hold.

Closeup of James Galway:

And here's our rose garden:

And the streambed in the backyard:

More Quilting

Between Friday and Sunday evenings, I was able to finish all the quilting on baby quilt #6. It does look pretty neat with the quilting, even though the quilting is just straight lines. I've figured out how much binding I need and I just need to cut the strips and press them. (Once again one of the things I don't like doing.)

It was a pretty busy weekend as DH and I went to visit my parents. My mom has been meaning to plant some flowers that she got on Mother's Day and just hasn't had the time to do it because she and my dad have been helping one of my brothers put a new roof on his house. So while I was up visiting this weekend, we planted all her flowers, so now she can start enjoying her garden. It was wonderful spending some time with her getting in the dirt and planting the flowers. She really likes the flowers and even though she doesn't plan what flowers she wants and where she'll put them, they always end up looking nice because she has this montage of flowers everywhere. :-)

Friday, June 6, 2008


Last night, after getting home from our anniversary dinner, my husband and I took a few minutes to look at our flowers. I noticed that there was something strange sticking out between a few of the rocks in the wall. When I looked closer, it was a snake skin!

Typically I don't mind the little snakes, but seeing a snake skin reminds me that the reason I see the skin is because the snake got bigger.

Also, over the past few weeks I've been filling in some small holes in the garden because I thought the neighborhood cats were digging in it. Now I find out that those holes were actually the snake holes.

I told my husband that if I'm outside and he hears a blood curdling scream, he'll know that I found the snake. :-)

Little Bit of Quilting

Sadly, Wednesday evening is the last time I quilted on Quilt #6. We went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate a birthday and I was able to still get some quilting done that night (in between watching hockey of course). I finished up all the quilting on the main pattern of the quilt (the spiral in the middle). I still have to do the quilting for the borders, but at least the main pattern is done, which is the hardest to try and fit everything underneath the arm of my machine. I would love to have a long-arm quilting machine, but I don't have the space nor the money to get one.

Not much went on last night as my husband and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. We went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in downtown Schenectady. We've been there before and its a little "Mom & Pop" restaurant that has excellent Italian food. When we got home we oogled over the flowers for a while and then just became lazy and didn't want to do anything. :-) No sewing, no TV, but we did play a computer game for a while.

Anyway - more quilting will get done tonight as my husband is going indoor rock climbing with some friends (I'm WAY jealous!). I won't be going as I am still on the DL from foot surgery. Even though its been 4 months, I'm not allowed to "run, jump, or twist" on my foot until at least the end of August. Oh well - lots of quilting can get done. ;-)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Progress on the Quilting Front

I finally got around to getting the backing cut for Quilt #6. I even got all the layers pinned together last night and practiced using some monofilament thread on some scrap pieces of fabric and batting. It took a little bit to get used to the monofilament and I had to put the spool on my secondard spool holder as the normal one caused it to just snag and get wrapped around itself and not sew.

I'm hoping tonight that I'll be able to start doing the quilting on the quilt. I'm still debating how I want to start it though. The last machine quilting I did, I used a hand needle to pull the bobbin thread to the top, but I'm not sure if I want to do that this time. I probably should as I know it works, but a lot of people say that you can just start sewing and the bobbin thread will lock itself in. We'll have to see....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Multiple Quilts

I've gotten into the habit lately of checking up on other quilter's progress through their blogs (see the list of them on the side of my blog) and I'm always surprised by the number of quilts they have in progress. I think on average most of them have 4 or 5 quilts going at one time in different stages. They also are able to do a complete quilt top in a weekend.

Either they are incredibly fast sewers or they aren't doing anything else besides sewing! Not matter how much progress I wish I could make on a weekend, there always seems to be something coming up that prevents me from making the progress I would like to make.

I also read that a lot of them have UFO's (unfinished objects). Part of me thinks that this is because they have so many quilts going on a one time that there is a single one that they may not particularly like so they keep putting off that project. I've been trying to keep only one or two quilts going at one time simply so that I force myself to finish the current project before I start the next one.

Since I'm almost finished with the last baby quilt (at least the last one that we know of right now) I'm hoping I can at least get started on our quilt. I think if I can start cutting some of the fabric before I finish the last baby quilt, then I'll be able to continue sewing as soon as I have the baby quilt finished. We'll see how that goes though as I haven't done machine quilting in a while, so it could take some getting used to again.