Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm So Excited!

I finally got a new sewing machine!!  Yay, me!  I got a Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 & I love it!
I have obsessively been sewing since it crossed the treshold of my home!
My second project was to free motion my Vintage Christmas Quilt.  If you don't want to see tons of pictures, I advise that you leave now.  I'm like a proud new momma.

First, all the inner borders.  I did a ribbon candy stitch.  Loved it, super easy.  You make U's and then go around a second time with off-set U's and it looks like a 3D ribbon.  I went around all of the applique with monofilament.

For the house block, I did a meander with roof shingles.  I LOVE the shingles!

 The outer borders, I did these cute bows.  Super easy!  Just small figure 8, large figure 8 but square it up.  Then, move to the next bow.  Love it!

The bell flower got big loops all around.   Not the most original but I was running out of ideas at this point.  I followed the plaid fabric on the bells with straightish lines.  Should have used the walking foot.

The bird got some feathers.  The background on that block got meandering holly leaves.  I liked this one, too.

The church got snow flurries.  It's a line from top to bottom with a spiral every few inches.  Then, the next row over, I alternated spaces.  I like this one, too.  Very simple.  Then, I beaded the tree.  That took several hours of my recent Mascoutah retreat.

Mr. Sheepy got loops in the background and swirls on his wool.  Not original but the Mr. Sheepy is the cutest.  The grass just got some up and down tight squiggles.

Large interlocking loops for the strips above another Christmas tree.  The background is as tiny as I could make, loops.  I kind of feel like the frame needs something more but I can't figure out what.  I beaded pearls to decorate this tree.  And, decorated the floor of the Mascoutah Community Center.  Oopsies.

Buttons for the strips in a couple differnt places.  I'm considering more buttons in other places but I wanted to 'live' with it first.  I followed the snowflakes for the partidge.  Don't love this.  It's messy.  I thinkI need to go back in and give the leaves some veins, maybe a few feathers on the bird.

Giant U's for the prestent.  Again, ran out of ideas.

The small ornament was the first one I did.  I used the walking foot to follow the plaid fabric.  It was much more successful than the free motion plaid.  The candy canes were my first free motion block.  I had to rip it out and do over.  I started off with a simple meander.

The strips above the snowman got teardrops inside teardrops.  I like it.  I'm considering some buttons in the middle row.  The snowman got meandering hearts.  Ahhh.  See how he's reaching out to give you a hug?

The ice skate background got swirls.  This was my second free motion block and I had trouble remembering what shape I was supposed to be doing.  So, the consistancy is pretty bad.  But, not bad enough to rip out.

For the applique border on top, I just went around the applique and did a spiral in each star.  I was afraid of overpowering it with too much background work.

A picture of the whole thing, pre-quilted.  In case you forgot what it looked like...

So, now that I've got my first quilting project done on the machine, I can return to normal life.  I know, that made me laugh before the sentence was even typed...

Happy Sewing!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Happiest Room in the House

I've been sewing like a demon today!  It's the first time in about 8 weeks since I've had 2 days in a row off.  And, it was beautiful.  Yesterday was nothing but errands and Bethany's prom.  (Pictures of that are on Facebook)  Today was me and my sewing room.  Glorious.  Sierra told me the room was happy again because I was in it.  I think it's been about a month since I'd sat down at my machine.  Sad times.
Any who, this is the current month's Round Robin.  I really had a tough time being inspired by this one.  Last month, I knew on the way home from our meeting.  This month, I didn't know until I started sewing.  To make things worse, this is Cindy Hagen's quilt.  She's a friend and I REALLY didn't want to jack it up!  I was going for something that looked like the sun shining on her garden.  And, couldn't come up with anything that wasn't too literal and cheesetastic.  Not sure I accomplished what I intended but I really like how it turned out anyway.

The green fabric was a companion that I bought with the weird brown one I used for my sunflower centers,  It's really, just so ugly, as a large piece.  At first, I felt guilty using ugly fabric on a friend's quilt but now that it's cut up in little pieces, it's not so ugly.  In fact, it's kind of great.  I think this may have been the real reason I bought it in the first place.


Another problem I had is that I hate Flying Geese.  I don't know why everybody thinks they're so great.  You have to make tons of them before you get something interesting.  Maybe that's the problem, I don't care for the monotony of them.  The green blocks took 3.5 hours.  The yellow, half hour.  If I'd known that from the beginning, she'd have more big ones and less little ones...  Just kidding, I would feel horrible if I didn't do my best for a friend.

We've got more grandbabies at Jim's Formal Wear.  She was born just this week.  Of course, I was upset not having done a little something before she was born, but that's how it goes sometimes.  I don't care for my color choises on the flower but I think it'll do.  I liked the apple much better.  These are fun little projects that whip up fairly quickly.  I'm trying not to bring up the elephant in the room, which is,  Rich's neice was born in April and her quilt isn't done yet.  But, that was going to take WAY longer than these little bibs.

I was running out of time after all that, plus 8 loads of laundry and chili pie for dinner but, I couldn't stop while I was on a roll.  So, I made myself a new bag.  I bought the fabric about a month ago thinking I'd have time before now.  The handles on my old one were completely thread bare.  I used the same pattern as the old one but tweeked it here and there.  I think it turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself.  And, I do say so.

Talk at you soon friends!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I Must Be Crazy

Things make me crazy.  I'm not even joking.  For years I could free motion quilt on my sewing machine.  Then, one day, I couldn't.  It's been to the machine doctor 5 or 6 times and every time it comes back not working the way it used to.  I'm good for maybe 5 minutes, which is probably how long the doctor samples it, and then it starts skipping stitches.  I don't get it.  Crazy.I can, however quilt using my machine's stitches without ANY problem.  This leads me to believe the problem is user error.  Adapt and overcome is what we always say.   I decided I could use my fancy machine stitches that I've never used  before to quilt Rabbits Prefer Chocolate.  I've got a LOT of clean up to do.  It's hard to know where to start & stop to avoid sewing over your applique because the stitches all go forward and backward at unpredictble rates.

I guess  I don't hate it.  I don't love it yet, but I don't hate it.  I'm convincing myself that it has a lacy feel to it.  Yes, I'm aware Easter is this Sunday.  And, yes, the President's Challange deadline is the May meeting.  Yes, yes, I know.   I'm working on it.  Get off my back:)

I've been working a lot on my Quilty Stitches project.  There's a lot of white filler happening here.  We watched Gone With The Wind last night & I got a lot of progress done while listening to Rich's Mammie impression.  Yeah, the kids had their very own Mammie for an evening.  Lucky them.  He's a special kind of crazy that I won't claim is my fault.

 Most of the last month was working on the Round Robin.  This little old lady (the one on the quilt) told me she wanted roses for her applique, almost as soon as we met.  And, who am I to deny a little old lady?  So, I ordered a super amazing, awesome and wonderful, Japanese applique book.  That took a week & half to get here.  Then, I stitched my little heart out for 2 & half weeks to meet the deadline.  Now, why in God's name would I choose something SO ambitious with such a tight time frame when I'm working 55 hours a week?  My own decisions make me crazy, too.

 Then, there's this picture that I couldn't make go up with it's friends.  Makes me crazy.

Now  if you're not familiar with hand applique, let me explain.  Each rose took roughly 1 - 2 hours.  That's about 4 -5 hours per corner on the quilt.  I was stitching every free moment.  I was even in dark theatres watching Bethany's dance competitions on both Sundays (my only day offf) in a row stitching those roses.  I've bled for these roses.  My finger's were, indeed, raw.  All because the little old lady said she wanted roses.  And, let's not dwell on how the green shadows though the pink in spots.  That would make me crazy, if I let it.  I don't think it was that obvious in real life anyway.

Rich always says, "If all you meet, all day long, are assholes.  Maybe, you're the asshole."  So, with that logic, I must be the crazy.  Hmmmm.

Monday, March 31, 2014

What Do You Mean, It's Not For Me?

Okay, so I'm totally ready to admit paper piecing is not my thing.  And, I've go a WHOLE quilt to go still!This little bugger took almost 2 hours to do.  Those glasses were intense!  I kept putting the fabric down on the paper backwards or not making sure the fabric is long enough.  And, now that I see the picture, forgetting pieces all together!  Yeah, that left botttom frame isn't supposed to be that long.  Jeez, now that's got to be fixed.

It's been a long couple of weeks.  My hours are long and my family doesn't seem to stop needing me just because I'm busy.  Rich's mother died this week and that's a whole other thing.  He was estranged  from her up until about a month ago when she found out she was dying and wanted to make amends. The kids have never met her.  He isn't taking it well.  He's been a Crab-asaurus Rex from the planet Crab-atron.  I think mourning would be easier on him (and the rest of us) but he's just really angry right now.  It really makes you reflect on what's important in life.  What do you want people to feel when you're gone.  Do you want them to be sad to see you go or just pissed at who you chose to be.  God willing, my kids will just be sad.  All four of that woman's kids are pissed off.  And, I guess that is one of the stages of mourning.  It's pretty terrible.

Any who, enough of the depressing stuff.  I did manage to get a couple of my Christmas blocks done.  I think it's turning out cute.  However, I do keep forgetting that I wanted it to be blues and greens.  Pink seems to be creeping in on a regular basis.  I love how the pear fabric photographed!  It doesn't seem that intense in real life.

I told Rich, "Look honey, I get the present!"  He gave me the dead pan stare and said, "You get ALL the presents."  Ha!  At least we've got that established!  If you're keeping track, March's gift was tickets to Celtic Woman.  It was so good!  I took Sierra because Rich said he would just make fun of it and ruin my night.  Another thing we agree on.

Here's a funny story about me and presents!  Rich had a seriously beautiful book shelf hand crafted by his former co-worker.  Seriously.  Beautiful.  Artistry.  So, he sends me a picture of  it while I'm at work and I love it.  So, I thought, this must be an early April present... I have it mentally filled and decorated before I get home.  I'm showing my co-workers how beautiful it is and they're telling me how spoiled I am.  You get the picture.  So, I get home and the darn thing is full already of war books!  I'm, like, what?!  It wasn't for me at all!!!  He had it made to house his war/ science/ philosophy book collection!  What the heck?  He wanted it for books??  He did leave me part of one shelf to put the family photo albums.  Reason # 4,567,396 that the world does not revolve around Heather Mantz.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Eleanor Is Back In Action

Well,  my machine was at the doctor's for the last 2 weeks and it was killing me!  Apparently the feed dog module was toast.  Eleanor's got plenty of pep in her step now!  It's like an episode of I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, how did I not know there was that big of a problem?  We're good now.  I haven't tried free motion yet but I'm hopeful!  

I put together the blocks for my baby quilt and got the first border on but then had to quit when I realized that I needed more fabric.  Ugh.  It'd be fun if I could plan ahead once in awhile.  I bought more of the yellow than I needed but I figure that can be the back.  I will NOT be doing the prairie points.  One more white border and I'll be done.  The baby will be here before I know it , I was hoping I'd finish it today.

So, I decided to start another project for myself.  I'm a super huge Harry Potter fan.  I saw this project a few years ago when the designer was doing it as a Block of the Week.  I wasn't really excited at first because it was just books.  Not really exciting but then I saw it at the end of the year!  So, great!   I just loved it!  It's paper pieced, which is weird for me.  

I kept thinking that as I went along it would get easier to do but that was not the case today.  I ripped out more than I sewed, or so it seemed.  It's so hard to make sure you've got a big enough piece of fabric, pointing in the right direction.  It seems simple but it's not.  Then, I kept ripping the paper off before I had the whole piece together.  Bleh.  Lots more to do.  By the time I'm done, I'm going to be an expert, I'm sure.

While the machine was in the shop, I worked on my cross stitch project.  I sucked at this, too.  The last block with the Flying Geese, kicked my butt!  I wrote in the pattern wrong twice.  Then, I was half way done stitching and realized I still had the pattern wrong.  I was 2 rows off.  I couldn't leave it like that because the block beneath it wouldn't line up.  So, I ripped out the stitches.  And, shredded the Aida cloth in the process.  2 weeks and much swearing later, I fixed it.  Only to realize that I now had it misaligned in a different direction.  Ugh.  Why do I bother?!  At least it will still line up with the one beneath it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is That A Tulip In Your Pants, or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

I'm back to work but I'm trying to stay a little creative.  Fred and Dorothy's quilt got finished.  It's more than she asked or paid for but she's really happy with it and that's cool.  When she mentioned she was going to want one for herself (this was a gift) I said it would cost double.  She voluntarily paid me extra for the extra work.  So, that was cool too.

I used Mountain Mist quilt batting for the first time and it was horrible!  You know that cotton that pulls apart in the medicine bottle and won't come out.  It's just like that.  When I was making the quilt sandwich my fingers would rip right through.  That is NOT the place to same money.

Rabbits Prefer Chocolate got the borders put on.  I did end up hand appliquing the scalloped border and I love the stripe fabric I found for it!  If you don't look too closely, it appears that my corners match up just fine.  And, if you do look too close, go away.  Nobody needs your negativity.  I'll have to wait until my machine comes back from getting a tune-up before I quilt it.  Hopefully in time for the guild's May meeting.

I finally got around to repainting my buttons.  Okay, so I bought the paint and asked Rich to do it for me... that should count for something.  They're so much cuter now!  Don't look too closely, or you'll see all the paint layers underneath and Rich's finger prints from when he brought them back in the house.  And, if you do look too closely, go away.  Nobody needs your negativity.

Just last night I finished another tulip block.  I was telling Rich that I didn't like it.  The spheres at the base of the large tulip really bothered me.  We looked at each other and said "They look like testicles."  Then he says, it wouldn't have been so bad if the center wasn't that shade of pink.  Yep.  I have a penis on my tulip.  You totally see it, right?!  Can you see the light shadowing?  So, he suggests I embroider some fuzz on the spheres to make the look complete.

During the Oscars I embroidered along the "tip" to disguise it a little.  Nope.  Now it looks diseased.  This one time I had a pair of sandals that had flowers on top that I decided looked like vaginas.  I never wore the shoes again.  So, as I see it, I have 2 options here.  One, get rid of the block and do something less phalic.  Or, two, put it in the quilt where it will always lay across Rich's crotch.