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!  


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

More Quilting Going On...

I've been making more selvage blocks over the last couple of weeks, but instead of making them so scrappy as I had started out, I decided I wanted a more "controlled scrappy" look.  I decided to use a blue calico and a white-on-white for the star points and background.  The center of the stars are the scrappy blocks made with the selvages.  

The blue and white fabrics are from my stash, so no wallets were harmed in the making of these blocks!  :D

I have 27 blocks finished right now and many, many, many more selvage centers that still to have star points added to them.  The blocks are 8" finished.  I don't know how big the quilt will be...but basically, it will be as big as I have blocks for when I'm done!  I have used all the selvages with wording/number/dots from my selvage basket.  The only selvages I have left now are the ones that have no white at all or only plain white with fabric, but no words, numbers, or dots.  I plan on using all of those selvages to try my hand at fabric-covered clothesline bowls.  

My "Christmas Stars" quilt is sandwiched and ready for me to start machine quilting on it.  I have to figure out if I'm going to try some sort of design in the body of it or just do meandering in the body and then a design in the borders.  Still thinking on these things...waiting for the quilt to speak to me and tell me what it wants!  :D


2016 Grafton Beautification Project...

This past April, our little town of Grafton, WV, was pelted with lemons...I mean hail balls.  Grafton was instantly inundated with insurance adjusters from every company imaginable!  Next came the contractors...and finding someone to so body work on your car was impossible because of all the damage!  

Our house damage consisted of holes in the house siding on the north side (the direction the hail came from), broken shutters, dented gutters and downspouts, and dings in the roofing shingles.  As for our cars, both of Andy's cars look like someone took a ball-ping hammer to them...the Baja got totaled by the insurance company, but we didn't have full-coverage on his old Forester.  
The insurance company covered a lot of the damage...roof, gutters, downspouts, etc...but would only pay to replace the siding and shutters on the north side of the house that got damaged.   Unfortunately, both the siding and shutters were 16 years old and faded...and couldn't be "matched" we decided to throw in the extra money to have the entire house re-sided completely and all new shutters.  We also decided to go ahead and have the last 4 original-to-the-house windows and the front cement steps replaced while we were at it.

Last week the contractors finished up their part.  Now there are a couple of things we need to do to truly finish it off, but we can do those things over the next couple of weeks as the weather cools down a little and becomes a little more bearable!  

The new siding color is slightly darker and less "yellow" than the previous color.  The previous shutters were Wedgewood Blue and slatted...the new ones are black and solid.

The white area between the porch floor and the ground is where Andy & I are going to put up Airstone in the Autumn Mountain color.  That is the same color of Airstone that we put in our kitchen...

Continuing to the north side of the house...this is the side that got the majority of the damage...about 40 holes in the siding and all 4 sets of shutters were damaged as well as the metal wrap around the windows.  We also replace the stove pipe since it was grungy-looking!

This is the south and west sides of the house...the three windows across the upper back are 3 of the 4 new windows.  (I don't have a picture of the 4th window, but it is a crank-out "awning" window in the bathroom.)

Because of the extensive damage throughout Grafton, almost all of the houses are getting new roofs and many, many, many of them are also getting new siding...thus why I have been referring to it as the "2016 Grafton Beautification Project"!  LOL

I LOVE the way our house turned out!  I will post more pictures when we get the Airstone done in the front!