Wednesday, 26 June 2013

If a Duck Quacks

Ah ha! Remember the drawing of the lines on the bias squares, and how that created possibilities for problems? Well I am hooked on the Missouri Quilt Co. videos. You need to check them out. The Great P introduced me to them. A duck quacks at the beginning of each video so they had me hooked before they even began. Well, she presses her squares on the diagonal to make that line. I think this will be a more stable solution and intend to try it out.

I started another quilt while I slog through the first one. The second quilt is a real quickie with huge squares. I just like the design because the squares stop about 1/4 of the way from the top and then appear on the top 1/4 of the back. It makes for a perfect fold over quilt. Whenever DH makes the bed (not that often because I'm usually still in it) he never knows what to do with the pillows and cover. Do the pillows go on top or underneath.

Now really. He sees it every day. Men know exactly what they're doing, IMO.

With this quilt the design will help him out. Fold it back dear, so you can see the other blocks. I'm getting it quilted at work on the long arm quilter. You strap the poor thing to a huge frame and the sewing machine part travels back and forth, making a beautiful design that you program. It's like magic. This quilt calls for a bold quilting design to make it pretty, so I think this will be great. I prefer to quilt my own quilts, but you do need to try new things.

I haven't updated my reading list lately and I should. My nephew gave me a book a while back (Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books) and I've been working through it. Reading books by the 'home crowd' just gets to your soul on the first page. They know you. It also helps you to understand you. They touch on subjects you live side by side with, but don't give much thought. And what talent!

I love Michael Crummey and Alistair MacLeod (yes, dad to the little bonbon who taught my Atlantic Lit class). Ann-Marie MacDonald, Hugh MacLennan and Bernice Morgan are so wonderful. I do not like David Adams Richards. I have tried. I can't get past the half way mark. I'm sure I'll try again, because I know I'm supposed to like him, but I don't so far. But the best has been 'Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant. Of course I'm only part way through Two Solitudes, and it is really meaty in a good way. It may top her, but I may start a new category instead. That book stands on its own.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Lucille Learns to Quilt

I'm putting blocks together now for this quilt, and things are becoming apparent. Don't things start to make sense, a few steps after you needed to know?

This quilt had rectangles with little triangles on one end. You do this by marking a square with a diagonal line from corner to corner and sewing along that line at the end of the rectangle. Then you trim off the extra bits and press. Voila!

But you are marking a line along the bias. It pulls and stretches as you mark. You are sewing on the bias. It pulls and stretches as you sew. I used Jelly Rolls. These are rolls of 2 1/2" strips that are pre-cut to make your life easier. They are cut with a pinked edge. The pinking does not seem to be part of the 2 1/2" measurement. Therefore you don't count that as you look for where to draw that diagonal line.

Do you see the potential here for errors?

Then when you join seamed pieces to make blocks it works better of those seams are pressed in opposite directions. Then they can but up against each other and you get a lovely match - with the help of my favourite forked pins, of course. I didn't realize this until about 500 seams too late. This isn't a fatal problem, but again, potential for error. Look here where the little triangles meet. I was fine for the centre match but not for the side matches. Those seams had to go with seams in the same direction and not butting. This, combined with bias issues led to less than ideal situations.

 Bubbling is not intentional, nor is it desirable. The long arm quilting lady will sigh when she quilts this part.
Here you see that I wasn't always great with my diagonal line drawing and sewing.  That top triangle ends below the 1/4" seam, methinks.
Now here was a discovery! The Great P introduced me to a better 1/4" foot! My old foot on the right was fine, but my new foot on the left has a little metal edge that lines up fabric much better, and does so before it hits the needle. Love it!

These are the bits left over from all those triangles. It's a bag full of cute I should throw out, but probably won't be able to for a bit. Letting go take time.

Now these clippers are what I use as seam rippers. I like them just fine. They slip in between stitches nicely and don't stab holes anywhere.  Lee Valley doesn't carry them anymore, but I think there were $4 for a pack of 10.

In my hunt for the perfect machine must haves, I noted this. My new CV has this feature where the pressure foot drops into place when you touch the foot pedal. Love it! One less thing to do when you are sewing small bits. You can hold onto the fabric and drop the foot down to hold it in place without letting it go. Now I believe I also have a knee lever that will lift the foot for me. I may have to try that out too. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Life on the Urban Farm

The pox seem to be gone and DH is back to work. (Girls, know what I mean?) I have been working on a quilt I had tucked away in the midst of cutting. I wanted to cut out this other quilt but I think I left the notes for it at work.

I really need to stick with a project. This is what the quilt in question looked like when I dumped it out of the bag. How was I supposed to know which way was up? My notes gave 5 or 6 possibilities, and the final solution was not indicated. I am difficult to work with, it seems.

So I spent many hours yesterday and today working on it, and the beast seems to be taming. I will need more fabric and a few more blocks made, but it will start going together soon. I think I like it.

I also have pulled out a quilt top I made many years ago from a quilt top embroidered by DH's grandmother. Her work is lovely, but not square, straight and the embroidered squares needed to be supported with a lining. I took it apart and used butterfly material for sashing and such. She was a butterfly girl. Now I need to figure out how to quilt it, so it goes to work with me Thursday for opinions. 

So along with the quilt that needs to cut out from scratch, I have 3 quilts on the go. I'm a starter, that's for sure.

Rejoice! A groundhog has returned. I was on the phone yesterday when - what to my wondering eyes should appear? Yes, a little groundhog in the window taking a drink from a scuzzy bucket of rainwater and gutter parts. He headed to the pile of rotting wood behind the garage. I think he lives there. That pile hase been a groundhog fav for years, so we hesitate to move it. Good thing!

Night time has been exciting lately, and no - I'm not talking about that. I could, but I'm not.This is just not that kind of blog.

The highway directly behind us is closed every night and construction crews move in from 7 pm to 5 am.  They are paving and widening and things - it will take weeks. What this means to us is that as we go off to bed the trees behind us are lit up like aliens have landed, and the sounds indicate that indeed they have. Generators, trucks, back up indicators - it's a general voiceless hum. We have the windows open and we don't find it unpleasant, just different. There are enough trees buffering the sound so it could be thought of as rather soothing background noise. That changes at about 4:30 am when they start to pack up. This seems to involve a lot of banging and thumping. Aliens on the move, so to speak. 

Tonight I think we may use the air conditioning to keep us cool. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Pox on My House!

My DH has the chicken pox. He didn't go though this as a child. I feel a bit deceived. Wasn't this supposed to be all done before his mom turned him over? Is there a backsies clause? I think I'll give her a call.

Actually he is holding up rather well. The only real problem is that he did scratch, and that wasn't a good idea. He also has the cutest pox right on his upper lip. It looks just like an egg tooth on a duckling. Trust me, NO kissing at all. He should be better soon. It's been raining constantly. I don't know if that's been a blessing for him or not. Not for me. I miss my power walks in the park.

This is why. So much to see.

I'm sewing lately. The BIL got new cushions for his fav chair. The nephew's children have quilts for Christmas (Yes, next Christmas). My dress form cover is almost finished. I need to sew for me.

The next part is for sewers. The rest of you wander off now. Get a snack or something.

Remember I was thinking about what features I might like in a new sewing machine? The quest for the perfect machine will probably be a long one, but I got a big help recently. My boss at Sew With Vision lent me a Creative Vision by Pfaff. It's her sneaky way of getting me trained on more machines.  If it wasn't stuff I didn't want to know, I'd ignore this opportunity. But I do want to know. And I can't imagine not staying with Pfaff. The IDT that acts as a built in walking foot is something I really depend on.

So now I have ready access to features I wanted to try out and evaluate with regards to my needs. Hmmm.... This machine also embroiders. That will be a whole other kettle of fish I think. I don't know that I will ever be an embroiderer. I am a sometimes quilter though, and the larger area between the machine needle and the machine arm on the CV is just as useful as I thought it would be. I slid the baby quilts in there easily and could move the quilt around easily as needed. Larger quilts will be bound up a bit I assume, but still with more room to manoeuvre than I have now.

There are a LOT of options on the CV. This means I have to make choices, and many of these choices are accessed via a touch screen. It's not my mothers treadle. I have to read the manual and grope around to do almost anything. Love the infinite choices available. Not keen on this learning curve. I was having trouble finding stitches I like because there are so darn many of them to scroll through. The divine P (my co worker) showed me how to save my favs in a folder. This is an extra step but I think I'll like it. It also saves the width and length of the stitch too, and I used to have little yellow stickies everywhere with that info.

Now I wanted to use this machine to free motion quilt the baby quilts. I couldn't get a stitch to form. P wondered if I had remembered to lower the presser foot. Home I went (I couldn't remember if I had) but that didn't work either. I'll check with her on Thursday. Operator error is the usual cause. But I do have my faithful Pfaff 2048 and I quilted on that. It was lovely. However, my foot gets tired with all that action. The CV has a start/stop button that would make his much easier I think.

So, as I get to know the CV I will review my likes and dislikes.  The CV features are available on most upper end Pfaff machines in different combinations. Getting to know this machine should help me sort through what I need in a machine.  By the way, no one at Pfaff has any influence or knowledge of my blogging and if they did my opinions would continue to be my own.

So what's on your perfect machine list?