Sunday, December 18, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree (Quilt)...

Well...I put up our Christmas tree took me about 2 minutes...

Yeah...this is the extent of my Christmas decorating this year!  

Neither of the kids are coming in for Christmas this year, so when that happens we don't bother decorating.  Decorating takes time away from quilting...and Andy doesn't mind not having to bring down all the boxes from the attic.  

I do get sad when there are no kids or grandchildren here for the holidays, but thankfully, it doesn't happen that often.  Our good friends (just happen to be our neighbors, too!) have invited us over for Christmas so we'll be there!  :)

In other news...the countdown is underway...Andy retires in THREE WEEKS!!!   It's a little scary but we both are looking forward to it!  Him...for obvious reasons.  Me...because he has agreed to be my "houseboy" and take care of, cooking, shopping, etc!!!  :D

It will be nice to finally get some projects done around the house and property that have been on hold because he hasn't had the time.   (Shhhh...don't tell him that I plan on keeping him busier after he retires than he was when working!  LOL  Our little secret!!!)


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Gift to Myself...

Guess what Mrs. Claus bought for herself this year???

A sit-down long-arm quilting machine!!!!  I am over the moon about it!!!  I've wanted a sit-down long-arm ever since I first saw Ricky Tims use one a quilting show on TV!!!  I don't have the room, the money, or the ability to stand for long periods of time at a traditional long-arm machine, so I've had my eye on a sit-down one for a few years now.  

I finally decided that my free-motion quilting was good enough to invest the money.  I had been seriously looking at them online for about the last 6 months and had mentioned to Andy that it was getting closer and closer to me having one.  

Then on Black Friday, the same company that I had purchased my Juki TL 2000Qi machine that I had been doing my FMQing on put the very machine that I had been eye-balling ON SALE... the TinLizzie18" forward facing sit-down machine. 

Well...what was I to do but order one!!!  It took 12 days to get here, but it finally arrived yesterday.  However, the table didn't come till today.  Tonight Andy and I put it together.  (Well, mostly Andy...but I supervised!)  It was kind of a pain-in-the-arse to put together....and there is still one cover that doesn't fit where it is supposed to, so I need to call tomorrow to get that straightened out...but it is together and running!!!

The table has two extensions that flip up with swing-out legs to make the table bigger for larger quilts.

I couldn't wait to try it out so I made a little quilt sandwiched and tried it!  It is so FAST and so SMOOTH!!!   I had read some reviews that said it was "loud", but I think it is fairly quiet.  In fact, I think it is quieter than the Juki was!  I can't wait to do a "real" quilt on it!!!

They also have a "front-facing" one that come in a table, too, but that table extends out the back and not out the sides like mine does.  That one would cause the table to stick out too far into my sewing room....and it's tight enough in there now with the new machine!  :)  


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Stars Quilt...

When Paul & Trinity were here for Thanksgiving, I gifted them with the Christmas quilt that she had "hinted" for last year!  :D

I named it "Christmas Stars".  I designed it myself on EQ7, made it scrappy, and free-motion quilted it on my Juki TL 2000Qi...

99" x 99"

in the making...

The middle border was done with 4 different free-handed Christmas tree designs...but for some reason, I don't have a picture of the 4th design.  

The outer border was done in free-handed first ever without using a stencil!!!  I'm pretty happy with them!!  :)

I had fun making it and they were quite pleased with went well!!!  


Thanksgiving Update...

Quote for the Day:
"You’ll never be as lazy as whoever named the fireplace."
~author unknown

Our son, Paul, and his wife, Trinity, and sons, Andrew & Alex came in for the week of Thanksgiving!!!  We had a GREAT visit!  Lots of laughter, conversations, games played, food eaten, and general all-around FUN was had by all!!!

The boys think Grandpa is their own special playmate because he gets down on the floor and romps around with them!  They love to climb on his back and go for piggy-back rides!

Thank God we have a great chiropractor who can fix Grandpa up after this abuse!!!  LOL

Trinity is such a great cook and loves to do it, so she made most of our meals during the week and all of the desserts for Thanksgiving!   

Isn't she cute in my vintage apron???  If it hadn't have been for her...we may have all STARVED!  LOL  ;)

Andrew is 8 and is reading so well now!  He loves to pick up anything and read it...books, flyers, advertisements, etc!  Trinity says he especially loves to read directions or anything with "steps" to it, e.g. Step 1, Step 2, etc.  She says he reads the directions off of boxes to her when she is baking something.

Alex is 3 and does EVERYTHING Andrew does...even repeats everything he says after he says it!  

But...being 3 is hard work and he passed out shortly after we started watching "Finding Dory" on Thanksgiving evening...

Paul brought his new 357 Magnum with him and took me to do some target practice...

All in all...I think everybody had a fun week!  I know I did!!  :D  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, too!


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Just This and That...

A friendly reminder that this Tuesday, November 8th, is Election Day here in the USA!  I don't know if the election is "rigged" and our "votes don't count" as some people claim, but I refuse to be deterred and will be at the polling place exercising my "right to vote" this Tuesday...and hope you will, too!

For those of you who have Netflix, The Crown came out this past Friday.  I've been looking forward to it since I first saw the trailer for it!  

I watched all 10 episodes this weekend while quilting, and boy, oh boy, IT IS GOOD!!!  Well acted, excellent scenery/props, and powerful story line!!!  

I would recommend watching The King's Speech beforehand, if you haven't already seen it, because it gives the history of events that lead up to Queen Elizabeth even being in line for succession to the Throne and the family dynamics will make more sense to you then.  (Great history lesson for those of us Yanks that aren't privy to that history.)

So what was I working on while watching this...???...

...twenty more blocks for the West Virginia Chapter of Quilts of Valor...

Sewing/quilting went a little slower for me while watching The Crown because I had to have subtitles on.   I can't always understand their English I would listen when I could, but there were times I had to rely on subtitles...hence, slowing down the rate I was able to quilt.  Just be forewarned that the show is VERY interesting, so be prepared to devote some time to actually "watching" it and not just having it on for background noise!

Oh  least the time wasn't completely wasted!  Twenty blocks is twenty blocks!  They will get mailed out to the chapter's coordinator this week.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Sewing Room Changes...

Quote for the Day:
"I'm creative. You can't expect me to be neat too."
~author unknown

In September we took a trip to the closest IKEA...which happens to be in Pittsburgh...90 miles away.  I needed some things for my sewing room...

For about 12 years or so I've had one of the standard cutting tables from JoAnns.  Since I'm short, it was always a little taller than it should have been to be ergonomic for me.  I used to be 4'11.5" tall, but in the last couple of years I have shrunk...lucky me!  (The last time I was measured they told me I was just a little over 4'10"...THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT!!!)   I do know that I was having a lot of pain and issues when I would cut out a new quilt, so I decided to get a new, lower table...

This one is actually one of IKEA's kitchen tables and is standard table height.  With both sides extended out like they are in the picture, the table top is 30" x 60".  When the sides are down, it is nice and compact which is great because when we have more than 2 people stay the night I do have to use this room as a temporary guest room. 

The other item I purchased from IKEA was this small metal filing cabinet that I turned into my thread storage cabinet.  

The drawers are shallow so it neatly holds spools of thread and makes them easy to find.  It is on wheels, too, making it easy to move around when needed.

top three drawers...

bottom three drawers...

all drawers nicely labeled...

The thread stays neat, is easily found, and the cabinet tucks away nicely under the end of my ironing board!!!  The way my sewing room is set up, all I have to do is turn around in my sewing chair and the thread cabinet is right there!  Handy!

Though this next item doesn't have anything to do with IKEA, it is a change-up in my sewing room...

The cover to my ironing "board"...(a piece of plyboard that Andy made for me that fits snugly over my traditional ironing board)...anyway...the cover was looking NASTY!!!  Every few years I need to re-cover it, and the time was NOW.  I can't remember the last time I did it, but I know it's been more than 3 years ago.  

I meant to take a "before" picture to show how bad it was, but alas...I forgot.  :(  But take my word for was YUCKY!  

But now it's so PRETTY!!!

(You can see the new thread cabinet tucked underneath the end in the first picture.)


Monday, September 26, 2016

Quilts of Valor...

Quote for the Day:
"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate 
our heroes and she-roes!"
~Maya Angelou

This past Saturday I was honored to be able to join a sew-in for the West Virginia chapter of Quilts of Valor.  

The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.

This sew-in was organized by Beverly of Quilter's Garage, a quilt shop in Jane Lew, WV, and was held at the Community Center/Senior Center in Jane Lew.  

This is Maribeth Shreve, the coordinator of the West Virginia chapter of Quilts of Valor, showing us a completed version of the quilt we would be making that day...

There were 8-10 sewists in attendance.  The room was spacious, had great lighting, and we didn't trip the circuit breaker once with all of our irons and sewing machines!  :)

I took my trusty $2.00 Singer 301A...named Byonce (because she is a light brown singer!)  I love this machine more than my Singer Featherweights...

We were divided up into two groups and each group worked together to complete a quilt top which will then be quilted by volunteer long-arm quilters.  

Top #1...

Top #2 (the one I worked on)...

The finished quilts will be gifted to West Virginia veterans.

It was a lot of fun getting together with other quilters and working on this project...none of whom I knew previously, except for Maribeth.  But I did make some new friends that day and we all had a great time laughing, joking, and sewing...and eating (we had a potluck lunch)...while working on this very important project.  

I'll definitely be more involved with Quilts of Valor from now on!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Quilt That Almost Wasn't...

This past weekend, I FINALLY decided what design I was going to quilt on the Christmas Stars quilt and started quilting it.  However, my thread kept breaking frequently.  ARGH!!!!  I re-threaded the machine till I was blue in the face and changed my needle 3-4 know...the basics of what to do when your upper thread breaks.  

I googled "upper thread breaking" for my particular machine and I saw where some people had to use a size 16 topstitch needle in this machine when using thicker thread.  (I'm using Sulky 30 wt. cotton...this is the first time I've used a thread this thick.)  I didn't have a "topstitch" needle, but I did have a 16 "jeans/denim" needle.  Tried that.  Still breakage.  :(

I also saw that you should loosen the tension with thicker thread, so tried that as far as I dared...still breakage! now I'm about to throw this quilt in the back of the cupboard and forget about it!  Double ARGH!!!  

Then today I received an email from Superior Threads and in it they mentioned that they had a troubleshooting guide.  I went to their site and pulled up this guide.   Before I discarded the idea of finishing this quilt...or running out to Walmart for topstitch needles...or abandoning this thread and buying something else to use...I decided to follow their suggestion and loosen the tension all the way to "0" and gradually tighten it back up from there.

GUESS WHAT???  It WORKED!!!  I usually sew on this machine with the tension around "3" on Juki's scale of 1-4.  But at 1.5 I was no longer seeing the top thread on the back of the quilt sandwich and my thread is NO LONGER BREAKING!!!   In my timidity, I just hadn't loosened the tension enough before!

It is a pleasure to machine quilt once more and this quilt WILL get done!!!  I had originally hoped to enter it into the quilt show next year (borrowing it back from its recipient after Christmas), but there are too many issues with the stitching from where I was having trouble with the thread/tension, so I'm just going to have to do another quilt to enter!  ;)

My machine quilting still isn't very good, but it is getting better and I'm glad I did take the time a few months ago to practice practice practice!  It definitely made a difference.

"Done is better than perfect!"  Though it's not "done" is well on it's way to being so!  :)

This past Monday was the grand opening of the new Hobby Lobby store in Morgantown, WV.  Guess who was in attendance?  My good friend (and neighbor), Kathy, joined me.  Though neither one of spent very much there that day, I know I WILL be going back in the future!  It's nice to finally have one in our area!

We spent the rest of the day together going to ACMoore and then out to eat and had a great time together!  It's always nice to spend some relaxed time with a good friend who "gets" you!