Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Little More Fabric

I have been trying to bust stash, to buy fabric only when I need something. I was so proud of myself the other day. I had some black fabric with tiny hearts on it that I wanted to use for a background on a quilt that I am currently making. Well of course there wasn't enough and luckily when I went back to the store they had another bolt. Ok, since I wasn't following a pattern, how much to buy.? I decided to be "good" and to get just what I need so only bought a yard and felt very proud of myself. Well that feeling lasted for the evening until I found that I AGAIN still didn't have enough fabric and had to go buy one more yard. In this case I could have saved the gas by buying a little more than I thought I needed the first time.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I purchased the new "Pajama Quilter Reloaded" DVD at Christmas time as a present to myself and have been watching it and practicing drawing some of the patterns. This is the first one that I have actually tried on a quilt. It is called dwirling and it is fun and relaxing. I need to practice getting my rows a little more even but what fun. I finished this quilting last night. The quilt was pieced by Carol of our quilt guild and will be donated to charity once the binding is complete.

Friday, January 25, 2008

This Week

I try to make a mental list of what quilting projects I want to tackle each week. I am lucky that I didn't think to do that this week as I have not had any time to spend in my sewing room. I did manage to sneak in a few minutes here and there working on bindings so I did manage to get this airplane kids quilt done. It was nice to sit under it on these cool evenings sewing the binding while watching TV in the evenings.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Long Arm

The necessary parts are on order from Nolting and should have shipped today. Hopefully in a couple of days my new encoder will be here and I will be able to use the stitch regulator again. I am surprised to find that after I settled down a bit I actually am enjoying doing meander and swirls without the regulator. The machine seems to be quieter as the motor stays at a constant speed.

I finished piecing a quilt backing together tonight using a lot of various blues from my stash and have it loaded on the frame. I hope to load a patriotic charity quilt on the frame tomorrow night and start using The Pajama Quilter Reloaded DVD method of "dwirling" to quilt it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Long Arm Drama

Yesterday, I thought I was going to lose it! I went to warm up my longarm machine and, when I touched it, got a shock. After that, the machine would run, but the stitch regulator would not. I depend on the stitch regulator to give me those nice, even stitches, so I panicked. All I could think was that the Intellistitch unit got zapped by the static shock and I was going to have to box up the machine and send it back to Nolting for repairs, losing the use of it for weeks. Ed was an aircraft electrician in the Navy and he started troubleshooting in the hope of finding a quick and easy fix. We found that the stitch regulator worked forward and aft, but not left and right. There are two optical encoders on the carriage - one detects forward and back movement and the other senses left and right movement of the sewing head. Nothing was visibly wrong with either encoder, but Ed noticed that both were the same part number and swapped them to see if the problem would move with the encoder. When we next tried the machine, the stitch was regulated left and right, but not forward and back. The static shock had burned out one of the optical encoders, and not the Intellistitch "brain"! According to the U.S. Digital website, the optical encoders are still available and Ed can replace it right on the frame, so I plan to order TWO (one for a spare) tomorrow and should be back up and running by the end of the week.
In the meantime, I tried quilting a few small items without stitch regulation. The first, I just did an all-over meander and, to my surprise, it came out quite good. The next, I tried some more complicated loops, and that one came out pretty good, too. I still miss the stitch regulator and want it back as soon as possible, but I learned that it really is possible to quilt without it.
Prior to all the drama I was finishing up the bindings on a couple of spring table runners, here is a picture of one of them. I don’t know the name of the pattern but the sides remind me of chevrons.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stashbusting Success and Failure

I needed a backing for a quilt this weekend and had two pieces of blue fabric that would work great, the problem was that neither of them was big enough and I was determined not to go to the fabric store to buy backing. I decided to cut some of both fabrics into 10 ½ squares and piece a checkerboard backing alternating the two different blues. It turned out looking great (will post a picture after I finish the quilt) and I was very proud of myself for staying out of the fabric store.

Then I fell off the fabric buying wagon. I just “had” to go buy a really nice quilt shop on the way home from an errand just to look around. Well of course everyone knows how that goes, I ended up coming out of the store with several different fabrics. On the good side this was not fabric just to but to put into my stash. The fabrics are to make several table runners and hopefully I can do that in the next couple of weeks.

I guess success half the time is ok.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It was so nice to be able to go outside today to take this picture, we are having VERY warm weather for January, 71 degrees today!!

I love the stretched star pattern, so quick and easy and turns out looking more complicated than it is.

This also is an effort to stashbust and I was able to get rid of one of my PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) that I have had for about a year and a half.

Stretched Stars

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Time to Sew

These days with work, kids, home demands etc. everyone is constantly busy and many people say that they just don't have time to sew (or whatever their hobby or passion is). I feel that if you decide you deserve some time to yourself, that you make your hobby a priority, that you can find the time. The Stashbusters list I am on says try and quilt 15 minutes a day, other ladies say they try and quilt 7 hours a week. An average of one hour a day but making it a weekly amount takes into consideration days that you just can't get that hour in. Every one of us deserves one hour a day to do whatever we want.

To make the most of my time I have declared sunday's as crock pot sunday. Like this morning I already have chili in the crock pot to cook all day. I also reserve sunday afternoon for ME. This is uninterruped time to sew, to relax or do what I want. I can't say that it always works out that way but it is a goal I have.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Another Step

Took another step in trying to set up a quilting business today. I went to the bank and set up a business checking account and while there found out that I need to get a "Trade Name Certificate" from the State of Maryland. We were able to download the application off the internet so I will get that filled in and the fee sent off in the next couple of days.

With fighting one of those winter colds the last couple of days have not accomplished much in the quilting room the last few days but I did manage to spend some time at the long arm (named Barney because it is purple) today.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

First Finish

2008 started out the right way, with a project completion. My husband helps me with some of my craft show items and once or twice a year also makes a quilt top though he says he doesn’t get the point of cutting fabric into little pieces just to sew it all back together again. He made this baby animal quilt top out of left over fabric from other projects. I pieced the backing using 10 ½ squares, quilted it on the long arm with free hand swirls using variegated thread and finished the binding last night.