Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Quilt Class - Week 4

This past Sunday was week #4 for my quilting class.  Its hard to believe that there's only 2 more classes left.  I think I will miss going to class every Sunday.  While its a little bit of a pain to pack up the sewing machine and take everything with me, its fun going and sewing/chatting with the other women.

So this past class we learned three different techniques on how to make Flying Geese blocks.  The first two ways were traditional methods.  One was cutting the triangles before hand and sewing all the pieces together.  The second was cutting rectangles and squares and sewing the diagonal lines and trimming away the excess after the block is sewn.

The last method, which is more modern, uses a ruler by Eleanor Burns.  Its a bit different, but you actually end up with flying geese blocks that are the correct size and it only requires sewing 4 seams in order to do it.  Its a bit labor intensive with the final cutting and pressing seams open, but its definitely worth it.

I had made flying geese blocks a while ago using the traditional methods. See my post here.  I ended up making lots more flying geese than I needed because half of them were the wrong size.

So here's the final blocks made with the flying geese from class:

The picture isn't great.  I took it late last night in a room with a CFL light bulb (yuck!).  Also, because the background fabric is close to the carpet color, I had to put my dark green sweater underneath the blocks so you could actually see them.  Not all the points are perfect, but they are pretty darn close.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Goals - Week 13

Last weeks progress...

Goals for week 12:
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph -- Done - Finished page 17 and photographed.  I just have to post the new picture.
- Wash fabric for cousin's baby quilt -- Didn't complete.
- Clean up and pack extra fabric/quilting patterns. Organized and packed a whole bunch of fabric (didn't realize I had THAT much).  I also cut up some of the excess small pieces into 2.5" squares for my scrap quilt.

Last week was another busy week.  We found out our buyers are approved for their mortgage pending a bank appraisal (which happened on Friday...we'll find out early this week if we "passed") and pending verification of funds....from BRAZIL!  These people are only putting down 3%...so like $5000 and the bank has to verify that they have enough funds in their various accounts, one of which is in Brazil.  So they have to get a letter from the bank in Brazil and then have it translated because it will be in Portuguese.  It won't stop the closing, but may delay it a bit.

I suppose the delay is good because we're still struggling with finding a place to live.  We looked at one apartment complex this weekend and while their terms are really good (3 month minimum lease, no down payment, month-to-month leases after the initial lease, etc); the apartments themselves are really depressing and crummy.  So we're still looking....

So Goals for Week 13 (lucky 13):
- Post pictures of quilt class blocks and Starry Night sewing. --
- Wash fabric for baby quilt --
- Setup fixed sewing machine and quilt commission quilt --
- Complete all 4 Flying Geese blocks for quilt class --

Hopefully I'll get most of these things done. ;-)

Stashbusting 2011 - Week 13

This past week was somewhat productive.  Not a lot of fabric used, but some.  Mainly it was  for the quilting class (0.65 yards) and for the scrappy quilt (0.42 yards).

My quilting machine did get fixed this week, but not until Saturday morning.  Thankfully, it was just thread caught in the bobbin that had caused the timing to get off.  That will teach me to use cheap Sulky thread instead of good quality thread.  I was trying to get the quilt quilted, so I wasn't picky with my thread and didn't want to wait for Superior to ship.  Serves me right...If I had just ordered the good thread and waited, I probably would have gotten the quilt done this past week anyway and wouldn't have broken the machine.  oh well...live and learn.

I also ended up buying fabric last week.  My cousin is having a baby this summer, so I picked out some nice, bright-colored fabric for the baby quilt.  Damages....5.25 yards.  There's 2 yards for background material and 13 fat quarters.  I only need about half of each fat quarter, but I wanted to get a good variety of colors..so I'll have some left over for another project.

So here's the numbers for this week:
Added This Week:       5.25 yards
Added Year to Date:    37.64 yards
Used This Week:         1.11 yards
Used Year to Date:      16.17 yards
Net Year to Date:        21.47 yards

Still haven't used as much as I have bought.  I find that I always buy about 1/4 yard extra for fabrics and then I count only what I actually use.  So even when I buy fabric for a quilt and make the quilt, I still have added to the "stash".  I have to really get moving on the scrap quilt to use up some of the excess! :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Quilt Class - Week 3

This past week was the 3rd week of class.  This week the main technique was strip piecing to create nine-patch blocks.  I've never cared for strip piecing just because its so hard to get the entire length of the seam exactly straight.  I always end up with little "wavies" in the seam...no matter how careful I am.

I think the reason I've had problems in the past was that my strip piecing used really long strip sets (full width of fabric).  In class, we cut the strip in half, so it was only 22" long.  This made it a bit easier and my seams didn't seam to waver as much.

Along with 4 nine-patch blocks, we had to make 4 friendship star blocks.  I was able to complete all the blocks between time in class and a few hours at home on Sunday evening.  I don't have pictures yet, but I plan to post some pictures later this evening.

As with the past few classes, I haven't really learned anything new, but its nice to get out of the house for a few hours and spend some time with other ladies who quilt.  I'm enjoying the class and I think I may take another class there after we're done with this one....one a little bit more advanced. ;-)

Updated with picture


Monday, March 21, 2011

Goals - Week 12

Last week's goals:

Goals for Week 11:
- Test quilting panto on "Tumbler" quilt -- Completed
- Make 4 pinwheel blocks for quilt class -- Completed
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph -- I did do some sewing, but no photos.
- Complete quilt top for commission quilt -- Completed piecing this, but not quilted yet.
- Purchase backing material for commission quilt --Completed

This past week was very productive.  In less than a week, I got a complete quilt top made and ready for quilting.  Unfortunately, I ended up breaking part of my MegaQuilter sewing machine, so its in the repair shop and I won't be able to do the quilting on the commission quilt until I have the sewing machine back.

We also passed our house inspection this week, including the radon tests.  So now we just have to make sure the mortgage for the other people goes through.  We've started packing up a few things at this point, but part of us doesn't want to get too far down the packing road and then have something fall through.

We also checked out a rental property.  We've been having trouble finding a house rental because everyone wants at least a year lease, but we only need 6 months.  We don't really want an apartment because it will mean storage for everything.  However, an apartment may be the answer.  The house we looked at belongs to our builder's dad.  The layout is kind of wonky, but the biggest worry is that there is no central air and the place smells kind of musty/moldy.  Since I have pretty bad allergies, we really don't know whether the place will bother me or not.  If it does...it will be a VERY long 6 months.

Goals for week 12:
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph --
- Wash fabric for cousin's baby quilt --
- Clean up and pack extra fabric/quilting patterns.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stashbusting 2011 - Week 12

This week was a fairly productive week.  I finished up a quilt top for a co-worker, but then I ended up buying backing material (1.75 yards).  I get to count it as used though because its already washed, pressed and loaded onto my quilting frame.

Now...the quilt was going to be quilted this weekend, however I had a little "incident" with the MegaQuilter.  So Friday I tested out a new pantograph on a practice quilt sandwich and everything was fine.  I loaded the backing for the commission quilt and started stitching a straight guide line across the top of the backing and batting.  About 15" in, I heard a pop and saw my needle was broken.  I thought it was just a bad needle.  So I put a new one in, went to pull up the bobbin thread, and the bobbin snapped the tip off the needle.  When I opened it up and looked at the bobbin area, it was clear something was wrong.
I took the MegaQuilter into the local sewing repair shop, and they said that somehow either thread or a portion of the first broken needle got jammed between two parts of the bobbin race and threw the timing off horribly.  Thankfully it can be fixed, but it could take 2 weeks to get the MegaQuilter back.  So much for getting the quilt done this week. ;-(

Good news is that it can be fixed though.

So between the backing and prepping the binding for the commission quilt I ended up using some yardage this week.  Here's the damage:

Added This Week:       1.75 yards
Added Year to Date:    32.39 yards
Used This Week:         2.22 yards
Used Year to Date:      15.05 yards
Net Year to Date:        17.33 yards

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Yay!  Finished up piecing the top for the commission quilt for my co-worker's daughter.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Goals - Week 11

I didn't get a lot of my goals done from last week, but that's mainly because the goals had to change partway through the week.

Goals for Week 10:
- Finish quilting "Tumbler" quilt -- Didn't touch it last week
- Make 16 log cabin blocks for quilt class -- Completed!
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph -- Only a small amount of sewing done.
- Wash and prep backing for "Shine on Bayou Cane" -- Didn't touch it last week.

The main reason for the goals changing is that we accepted an offer on the house!!

Since we now have less than two months to find a new place to live, pack up and move, and actually sell the house, my goals have had to change. 

We're not sure if I'll be able to setup my mid-arm machine at the rental, so I'm racing to try to get the commission quilt done in the next week so that I can get it on the mid-arm and quilted.  I made progress on making the quilt top (go here for info) and its at least 50% done at this point.  Due to the fact that I'm now rushing to get this top done, I had to cut back on pretty much everything else.  I've decided that I'm just going to pack up "Shine on Bayou Cane" until after we move into the new house.  I'm just not going to be able to get to quilting that thing anytime soon, so it will have to wait.  The same thing goes for the "Tumbler" quilt.  Even though its on the mid-arm right now, I'm only going to quilt two more rows to test out my self-made pantograph and then its being taken off for the commission quilt to go onto it.  The "Tumbler" quilt will just have to wait until we move.

Goals for Week 11:
- Test quilting panto on "Tumbler" quilt --

- Make 4 pinwheel blocks for quilt class -- Completed!

- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph --
- Complete quilt top for commission quilt --
- Purchase backing material for commission quilt --

I'm sure I'll make progress this week...mainly because I have to. ;-)

Quilting Class - Week 2

Yesterday I had my 2nd class of the beginner's quilting class that I'm taking at a local quilt shop.  (If you want info on class 1, its here.)

This week, we moved on to making half square triangles (HST) and making a pinwheel block.  I've obviously made a lot of HST in my quilting time, so that wasn't anything new.  However, the instructor did show me how to do the "pinwheel" thing with the seams on the back of the block.  I've read how to do it a few times, but haven't figured out how to do it.  Its amazing how easy something seems when someone actually shows you how to do it.

So here's the blocks we made this week.  I got two of the blocks made in class, and then the remaining two I got finished up as soon as I got home.

Pinwheel Blocks

Here's the little "pinwheel" of the seams on the back of the block.

Pinwheel Back

Unlike last week where we only got 2 "logs" onto the 16 log cabin blocks in class and then had to make all 16 full blocks during the week, this week I only need to make the 4 pinwheel blocks.  So I'm done!  ;-)

They all measure up to 8.5" square, so they are spot on what they need to be.  Its also nice knowing that I won't spend most of the week making blocks for this quilt.

Along with the pinwheel blocks above, below are the 16 log cabin blocks I made last week.

Log Cabin Blocks

I still enjoy the class even though I definitely know a lot of the techniques already.  The other students are already coming to me for questions when the instructor is tied up with someone else.  So part of my class time is helping the other students, which I enjoy doing.  I definitely have a good time at class, so that's what truly matters. :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stashbusting 2011 - Week 11

This week was a very productive week on the quilting front.  I did have to add some fabric to the stash this week, but its for a commission quilt and will be used up fairly quickly (at least most of it).

I finished the log cabin blocks for my quilt class.  Here they are laid out the pattern that they will be used.

Log Cabin Blocks

I also used some fabric for the 2nd week of the quilt class to complete 4 pinwheel blocks.  The instructor was also able to show me how to do the "twirl" thing with the seams on the back of the pinwheel blocks.  I've wanted to do it, but never could quite figure it out.

Pinwheel Blocks

Pinwheel Back

I was also able to cut ALL the fabric for a commission quilt on Friday evening and got a whole bunch of square-in-square blocks done along with prepping the applique pieces for the child's name.  The "requirements" of the quilt were that it was super soft & cuddly, used Dora and Diego in it somewhere, and that the child's name was on the quilt somehow.  The left the design and fabric choices completely up to me.  I'm not going to show the entire plan just yet, but I'll hopefully get the entire top done this week so there will probably be pictures next week.




So for me...I was actually able to use a lot of fabric this week, which is unusual.  Here's the numbers:
Added This Week:       5.75 yards
Added Year to Date:    30.64 yards
Used This Week:         4.40 yards
Used Year to Date:      12.83 yards
Net Year to Date:        17.81 yards

I think I need to start making some more blocks for my scrappy quilt to use up some stash. ;-)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quilting Class - Week 1

On Sunday, I went to the first of six sessions for a beginner's quilting class at a local quilt shop.  Throughout the course of the class, we'll be making blocks to complete the quilt below.

The basic techniques are taught in-class and then you finish the blocks up on your own at home.  This first week, most of the time was spent going through how to straighten your fabric, press it, and cut the strips.  The last hour of the class was spent actually sewing the center pieces of the log cabin blocks to the first strip to form the "logs" of the block (the two cream colored pieces next to the red square in the above picture).

By far, I was the most experienced quilter there.  There was another woman who is probably in her 60s that has made some quilts, but nothing very recent.  Most of the other women there (6 of us total) had either done no quilting or had just tried it once or twice without much success.  Despite not really "learning" anything at the first class (it was all stuff I knew how to do), I had a good time.  The instructor said that while there are 16 log cabin blocks, people just really have to make 4 of them in order to do the appliqued heart during week 4 or 5.

When I got home from class, I cut the remaining strips necessary to sew all of the log cabin blocks.  The pieces are all set to go, I just have to start sewing them onto the blocks.  It will be a bit tedious since you have to add one strip, then press, then add the next strip, and press, and so forth.  There's a total of 12 "logs" that have to be added around the center square, so its 12 times of sewing and pressing on each block.  Plus, to make sure it goes together correctly, you have to make sure everything is the proper size after each log is added.

These are the fabrics that I'm using for the quilt.  The red is the accent fabric to match the red in the pattern picture above.  Then I have 3 shades of blue that will replace the greens in the picture.  Then I have three different creams/tans to use as my "lights".

I hope that I'll be able to get to putting the log cabin blocks together this week so that I can bring them to class completely finished.  Plus, I'll then be able to share more pictures along with counting the fabric as stash used. ;-)

Goals - Week 10

I didn't get nearly as much done last week as I thought I would.  It was a hectic week with showings at the house and trying to determine if we were going to get an offer and whether we should stay with our current agent or not.  Here's the progress from last week:

Goals for Week 9:
- Finish quilting "Tumbler" quilt --  This is about 1/2 quilted at this point.  I've been playing around with my own pantograph design, so its taking a little longer to get it quilted.  Plus, the woman who pieced this top did a pretty poor job and there are ripples everywhere and the top is SO not flat.
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint -- I was able to sew a bit on this.  Its kind of my "go-to" project when I don't have a ton of time to do something.  I can pick it up for 15 minutes or 1/2 hour and make some steady progress and it takes a whole of 2 minutes to put away.
- Wash and prep backing for "Shine on Bayou Cane" -- didn't do this at all, but I have the backing! ;-)
- Finish quilting "Purple Squared" --  didn't touch this one at all either

So what do I plan on doing this week???

Goals for Week 10:
- Finish quilting "Tumbler" quilt --
- Make 16 log cabin blocks for quilt class --
- Sew "Starry Night" needlepoint and photograph --
- Wash and prep backing for "Shine on Bayou Cane" --

I'm leaving "Purple Squared" off the list for now since I can quilt that on my regular sewing machine...which I will always have available.

House -- So on the house front, we did get an offer from a couple.  Their initial offer was a complete low-ball offer of 20% less than our asking price.  Considering the asking price is under $250k, that's a lot to take off the price of the house.  We countered with dropping the price by $1,000.  We've been going back and forth the past two days and we almost have them up to the price we want.  Right now there's a $2000 difference between the prices.  We really want to get them up to $240k, especially considering we put $2000 of custom wood blinds in the house that are staying with the house.

If we do accept the offer, we're going to end up having to rent somewhere, which is why I am pushing to get things onto the quilting frame and quilted.  We're not sure where we will rent yet, but it may not have room for the frame to be setup.  If not, then I won't be able to quilt anything (easily) until we move into the new house, which will be in the October/November time-frame.  So I'm really pushing to try and get some things done so that I can keep the frame up as long as possible.

Stashbusting 2011 - Week 10

My post is a little bit late, but better late than never, right? ;-)

I used a little bit of fabric this week when I went to my quilt class Sunday afternoon.  Its not much, but its a little bit.  All said and done, in class, I used 0.2 yards of fabric.  I will be using more this week as I have to complete 16 log cabin blocks by next Sunday's class.

Added This Week:       0 yards
Added Year to Date:    24.9 yards
Used This Week:         0.2 yards
Used Year to Date:      8.43 yards
Net Year to Date:        16.47 yards

I plan on posting some pictures later this week, so for now..this is a picture-free post.

How did everyone else do?