Sunday, December 30, 2012

My machine eats my fabric!

I'm wondering if anyone else has this problem.  I have a new Babylock Grace sewing machine. I bought it in October. 

When I'm sewing two pieces of fabric together, everything is fine. But when I'm sewing together two rows of pieces - say, HSTs, - the machine wants to eat my fabric.  It happens nearly every time I go over some intersections where there are several layers of fabric "bunched" together. About 8-10 stitches AFTER I sew over the seam/intersection, something grabs the fabric behind the needle, the needle starts to sew in place and then turns sideways.  I have to stop, take it all out, unstitch, and resew the area that has been grabbed and bunched up.

I took the machine back to the shop where I bought it, and tried to reproduce the problem with Teresa. It happened ONCE.  But at least she understood what I was talking about. Off it went to the repair guy, who returned it after a week and said something about adjusting the feed dogs. 

But after only a week or so of using it the problem has returned.  I will be taking it back to the shop again.  I think tomorrow morning I'll grab a few scraps and reproduce the problem so I have some examples of what's happening. I didn't have that before.

I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Scrappy New York Beauty

I subscribe to many blogs, and as I was zipping through my Google Reader last week, trying to get caught up, I passed a quilt made of New York Beauty blocks and black sashing. Aha!  I grabbed my batik scraps, pulled my New York Beauty paper-piecing patterns out of my notebook, and got rid of a bunch of my batik scraps. My patterns are from Ula Lenz and Donna Duquette (whose patterns are no longer available. So glad I saved them!) 

These are 8" blocks, so this is a wall hanging-sized quilt.  I'll get it quilted sometime in the spring.

Don's Manly Quilt - Finished!

After several years of gathering and making brown sampler blocks, I decided to sew them all together and get Don's quilt finished. It's been quilted and bound, and now he's using it!

Keeping Busy

One of the joys of retirement and doing some subbing is being able to say no when I'd rather stay home and sew. So lately I've spent lots of days in my sewing room, working on various blocks for swaps, blocks for sew-alongs, and all kinds of miscellaneous projects.  As a result of doing this for many months, I've developed a huge backlog of tops that need to be completed.  I decided to make backs, and will be taking several tops and backs tomorrow to my guild for donation to community service. Someone else can donate batting and quilting! 

This one is a scrappy trip-around-the-world top I made with some of the blocks I won in Block Lotto. I have more, and will be making another top with them.

This is one of four string tops I've made with blocks I made while camping in my trailer. I've tried different patterns; this was the first.

A couple of years ago I was in several different swaps where I kept asking for browns. I also made a bunch with some coordinating fabrics. My goal was to make what I came to call Don's Manly Quilt - he asked for browns. Originally it was going to be a queen, but he and I decided to make a smaller one for him to use as he sits in his recliner. The top above is made from some of the leftover blocks.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I"m Late! Traveling Pic-Stitch Blog Hop!

I'm never, never, late for anything - which is why I'm so aghast that November 17 came and went without my post on the Traveling Pic-Stitch Blog Hop.  I sat around the house doing a little bit of nothing on Friday, and then yesterday, the 17th, my day for the blog hop, I went to a "Quilt Till You Wilt" activity at my LQS. I was there from 9 am to 9 pm, and in the middle of the day I realized I'd forgotten to do my post.

Please forgive me.

But here it is!

We spent 3 months in Colorado this summer, deliberately scheduling our trip to end in October so we could see the aspens turning. That was a bucket list item - something I'd always wanted to do but never could since we always had to return home in August so I could go back to work.  As I was going through my photos to choose one for this blog hop, I decided to use one that had the yellows of the changing aspens.

After running it through the Palette Builder, I selected this combination of colors:

My next step was to select fabrics.

I ended up not using the brown on the left - but just one dark brown piece for the center to represent the cabin.

As I was designing my block, I realized my focus was on proportion.  I deliberately planned the block to have the appropriate ratio of yellow to green to brown to sky blue to the gray of the mountain in the back.  I was quite pleased with the results:

My next step was to create something with the block.  I chose a pillow:

It's now sitting on our couch, and I can look at it all the time and fondly remember my beloved yellow aspens.

Go to Laura's main post about the bloghop for more information. She has a list of all the posts so far, and all the rest still to be posted. Have a great time going through all the links - there have been some wonderful photos and blocks so far!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sewing Along with the Travelling PicStitch Blog Hop

Annnouncing - almost a month into it - the Travelling PicStitch Blog Hop!  I learned about this from a blogger I follow, and when I went to the information page, I discovered that one of the dates in November was open. So I asked to be "stop" on the blog hop, and now I am!

Here's what's going on:
1. You take a picture from your travels.
2. You select fabric using the color palette of the photograph.
3. You create an English Paper-pieced block with the fabric
4. You post about it in your blog!  I'll be posting mine on November 17

Palette Builder is a great site for taking a photo from your computer and creating a color palette. It's easy to use, and produces images like this:

Colorado wildflowers

Go to Laura's main post about the bloghop for more information. She has a list of all the posts so far, and all the rest still to be posted. Have a great time going through all the links - there have been some wonderful photos and blocks so far!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Modern Monday/Traditional Tuesday - all caught up!

While we were in Colorado this summer, I didn't do ANY Modern Monday or Traditional Tuesday blocks. I didn't take any of the "modern" fabric with me, and wanted to just wait until I got back and get all caught up. Today I finished the last block, and am now ready for tomorrow's Modern Monday block 55.

Week 41 - Patience Corners
Week 42 - Greek Cross
Week 43 - Chevron

Week 44 - Apron
Week 45 - Monument
Week 46 - Ship
Week 47 - Lantern

Week 48 - Chevron Zig Zag
Week 49 - Card Trick
Week 50 - Orange Peel
Week 51 - Posy
Week 52 (modern) - Hash Tag
Week 52 (traditional) - Crosses and Losses
Week 53 (modern) - Butterfly

Week 53 (traditional) - Butterfly
Week 54 - Tumbler

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Say Hello to....Carla!

I'm one of those people who names her sewing machines.  My Featherweight is named Jessie.  My hand crank is Gertrude - a good old-fashioned name.  Today, I acquired Carla. Carla is a Babylock Grace.  My favorite quilt store, which used to be called the Quiet Mouse, went out of business over the summer while I was in Colorado, and reopened last month as Cherry Berry Quilts. The new owners have discounted their sewing machines, and got a great deal on this one. It's my first machine that has a stitch other than the straight stitch.  I just got tired of not having a zig zag, or a blanket stitch, or any others.  This one has 40. 

I set it up today, learned how to fill the bobbins and thread the machine, and finished up a couple of Block Lotto blocks.  I learned that I need a 1/4" foot (well, "want" is more like it) and while I'm at it, I'll get some more bobbins. But I really like her!

Back from Colorado - lots of mail, getting caught up on swaps

We got back from Colorado last Wednesday; I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen and doing some shopping and getting organized. One of the things I needed to do was go through 3 months' worth of mail, which included some blocks from swaps.

First, I've gotten all the blocks now from Boomerang 7.0. 

from Christina C
from Susan C

from Ruth B

from Sara V
from Mikayla A

from Andrea S

from Carolyn R
Next, I have the Block Swap Adventure blocks I received for July and August.  I asked for bright-colored stars, traditional or wonky, on white solid or white on white.

July - Twisting Star from Kim B

August - from Susan P

 I then had to make a couple of blocks for Block Swap Adventure:

Double Quartet for Charlene S - October
Ohio Star for Agnes W in Ireland - September
Two more swap blocks:

Scrappy 9-Patch - Quilters' Board Monthly Bee - for Sandy C - October

for Jennie in Northumberland, UK - Stash Bee - October

Friday, September 21, 2012

Remember when I asked about this block?  I made it with solid corners, and decided to call it Boxed Star.

Before I left on the trip, I made up a bunch of "kits," all the components for a bunch of these blocks. I was able to really cut into a pile of 2" strips, along with a bunch of neutrals for the 3.5" squares.

Last week I finished all the blocks, and sewed 25 of them together into a nice top. I added a 3.5" border, and now have a nice lap-sized top to donate to my guild's community service program!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quilt Show in Creede

Last weekend, the Silver Thread Quilt Guild had their annual quilt show in Creede.  The guild and the show are pretty unique - many of the members are summer visitors to the area, and most of them make their quilts in their RVs when they're not at home. Also, the show takes place underground.  Yes, underground. Creede is an old mining town, and just north of the town is a huge complex under a mountain. There's a mining museum - very authentic since it's underground; there's a community center with meeting rooms for various events and organizations, and there's storage area/garage for fire department emergency vehicles.  The quilt show was set up in the community center and part of the museum, and the vendors were in the garage.

 Underneath this mountain is the huge museum and community center complex.

 The vendor mall was in here, where emergency vehicles are normally parked.

Don and I went to the show on the first day - Friday. We were quite impressed with the organization, the wonderful volunteers, and the lovely quilts. I took photos of my favorites - some were award winners and some weren't. Everyone's tastes are indeed different!  I've included the descriptive information from the attached cards.

 "Pyramids Have Value too!" is the name of this quilt. Made and quilted by Sharon Woodard. "I'm going to remember this one as one of my biggest personal challenges. There are 1,198 pieces (with only three green triangles repeated) to achieve the value color changes. That means 2,396 bias edges! Never again (but I'm glad I did it)!

 Creede el 8852 (el=elevation) Made and quilted by Tricia MacDonald. "This is our cabin in Creede on Bluebird Lane. I used leftover scraps from the quilts I made for the cabin. This quilt makes me happy!"

 "Illusions in Purple." Made and quilted by Vi Koch. "This fun pattern is from a vendor at our 2010 quilt show. I had a little help from a creative granddaughter. It is a gift for my son Paul."

 "Tatanka" Made and quilted by Sharon Woodard. "I was in South Dakota last fall during the yearly Buffalo Roundup and was so impressed by these magnificent animals that are truly American!"

 "Fireworks" Made by Julie Dunn, quilted by Diane Singer. "A similar quilt to this was on display at my quilt store in Tomball, TX. I could not resist it. My first experience with paper piecing, but certainly not my last."

 "Swan Silhouette" Made and quilted by Bea Mansanarez. "Over 65 fabrics were used to create the swan and its shadow. Machine appliquéd and quilted using many different-colored threads."

 "Creede Hotel 1892" Made and quilted by Mary Robbins. "I made this for the Creed Repertory Theater art poster contest for the 2012 season."

 "Watermelon Summer"  Made by Julie Dunn, quilted by Ida Anderson. "The Round Robin quilts were so much fun. What a wonderful surprise when your little 12" square finds its way back home."

 "All About Fish" Made and quilted by Sharon Reznik. "Machine appliquéd pattern by Lunch Box Quils. This quilt is for all those fish that got away."

 "Patchwork Sampler" Made by Fran Switzer and quilted by Diane Singer. "This quilt was quite a challenge to make - piecing as well as color choice. Leftover fabrics were used for the backing."

 "Scrap Happy Hearts" Made and quilted by Diane Singer. "This is the first paper piecing quilt I've ever completed and it may be the last. Paper piecing is very accurate but removing all the paper is not my favorite thing!"

 "Turquoise Trail II" Made by Pat Miller and quilted by Diane Singer. "An adaptation of a Debbie Caffrey design. My family likes turquoise and the Southwest."

 "Floral Romance" Made by Carolyn Flood and quilted by Diane Singer. "The challenge on this quilt was to choose each flower individually and cut from a fabric of wild flowers."

 "My Mourning Star" Made and quilted by Kathy Jennings. "This was the first quilt I made after I lost my husband. It was very challenging and therapeutic. It took five weeks to do the trapunto and quilting. I worked on this quilt for two years."

By far, this was my favorite quilt - mostly because of the story behind it. The white glove volunteer said that the husband died of a brain tumor; he was much too young.  I teared up (and am tearing up now) over this - so sad to lose your husband. There was an odd mixture of fabrics - polka dots, batiks, Civil War, pastels - all that added to the beauty of this quilt.

 "Dresden Plate" (large quilt) made by Jan Wolfe and quilted by Diane Singer. "In the year 2000 a group of my quilting friends decided to exchange 2000 5" squares. We exchanged about 1200. This quilt is the result of that exchange."

 "My First Miniature" Made and quilted by Kathy Jennings. "This quilt proved to be quite a challenge. It was made of 1,579 small pieces of fabric."

 "Dresden Plate" (miniature quilt) Made by Judy Christensen and quilted by Diane Singer. "I used old buttons for the center of each plate. Red is my favorite color and I always wanted to make a Dresden pattern."

This was the raffle quilt - representative of Creede and the surrounding area. It has fish, 3-D columbines, mountains, rivers, pine trees - just a lovely, lovely quilt.  And darn it, I didn't win.