Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Colour Challenge

This month's colour challenge - the one I wasn't going to do - is complete!  So much for making a small quilt though - I think this one ended at 60x80".  I went to the LQS this past weekend to buy some fabric for the background, since I didn't have enough of anything in my stash (and some extra pink & yellow because I'd run out).

My plan was to get something in cream for the background, but when I showed it to someone there, she immediately said "Black.  Or something dark".  Being stubborn :) I headed over the creams anyway, but when I tried some out it looked insipid.  Just blah.  I should know better - the quilt ladies are always right :)

It took me a while, but I got my head turned around and into the "dark" zone, and came home with this purple fabric.  Which, of course, the lady at the quilt shop had picked out immediately (once I unburied myself from the cream fabrics).

And the bonus feature is, the dark purple was the one colour I was missing from the palette - I really should have known what colour I needed, shouldn't I?

Check out more challenge quilts on Judy's blog

Monday, July 30, 2012

Design Wall Monday - July 30

Wow, it's the end of July already.  I wasn't going to participate in this month's colour challenge, because I had enough on my plate.  Camp Loopy (project 2 done, project 3 started).  New long arm machine (4 quilts done, 1 more practice quilt loaded). Plenty of Block of the Month to keep me busy.  But one day last week I decided to see what I could pull from my stash for the challenge this month, and I came up with these fabrics.  Then, I figured I'd make an easy, small quilt.  It would after all be nice to hit the end of the year able to say I'd done every colour challenge.

So I designed a quilt, and cut all my pieces.  Put it together, and the "small" quilt was 50" across!  Well, at that point, I decided I might as well make it a full twin size quilt. So here is the current progress of my "small" colour challenge this month.  A few border strips to sew, and I should be able to call it done, before the end of the month tomorrow.  The colours are a bit brighter in person - it was pretty dark when I took this photo.

Hop over to Patchwork Times to see more design walls today.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stash report - July 29

This was a really good week for, in stash usage.  It was also a good week for stash enhancement :)  I did use every scrap of fabric I bought for baby quilts - so much so, that I had to head back out and buy some additional fabric for bindings.  I guess I forgot to calculate that into my plans.  I was reasonably well-restrained at my fabric shop yesterday, but I did also pick up some additional fabric for the colour challenge quilt - background and a couple quarters to add a border to the quilt.  5 1/2 yards came home in total.

Stash used this week
4 3/4 yards - backing for baby quilts
4 yards - practice quilts (is this cheating?  Four 1 yard strips, put together to make 2 "quilts" for long arm practice.)
4 1/2 - colour challenge star
Total used this week: 13 1/4 yards

Stash usage this year:
102 yards out

Now, back to watching the Olympics and knitting (since I don't have a TV in the sewing room)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday musings


Another quilt done on my long arm.  I still have a ways to go, but I'm really enjoying this.  2 hours, loaded to off the machine.  No more crawling around on the floor for an hour, pinning the heck out of a quilt.  And no more stuffing oodles of fabric and batting through a little 7" throat on my Husqvarna.  I can see what I'm doing, things don't shift, and the machine (mostly) plays nice with me :)

I tried a couple different things this time.  I did a border design.  I thought I'd try taking the quilt off and turning it, to complete the side borders rather than stopping and starting my way down the length.  Neat idea, but I quilted a small crease into the backing by doing this - I didn't stretch it quite enough when attaching back to the frame.  At least I know what to be careful of for next time.

In the main area, I did a small stipple in the focus blocks, around the animals to make them stand out.   Then a  simple meander in the brown background, and a wave along the striped border sections.

And then, because I needed a break, I did some work on my colour challenge quilt for this month.  I had not planned to do one - the palette did not really speak to me, and I had so much to do with the new long arm.  But I pulled some fabric a week ago, and decided to do a quick small quilt.  Quick I still agree with, even if the ladies at the LQS laughed when I showed them my definition of quick :) 

However, I did not manage the "small" part.  This star is 50" square (once I add the background blocks it will be square, anyway). So, since it is so big already, I'm going to add a top/bottom border about 10" each, and then another border all around, to make it about 60x80 - which should be about right for a twin bed.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Success!

Guess what this is.  It is my very first quilt completed on my Handi Quilter Avante!!  The machine arrived on Friday, and after I set it up I've spent a few days doing some practice quilts.  And finally I couldn't stand the suspense any longer (I've never claimed to be a patient person :) ), so I loaded one of my recent charity quilts to have a go at it.  I decided to use a pantograph for this one - it seemed a bit easier, and would give me a good view of my driving skills.

Overall, not too bad in my opinion.  A bit wobbly in places, but I hope that will improve with more practice. The machine performed wonderfully.  And I have now figured out where/how to oil it, so hopefully I didn't do any damage running it for 3 days without basic maintenance.

Here are some of my practice sections, for posterity :)  Some more sad feathers.  Although they do seem a bit improved over the last set, so maybe there is still hope for me.


A random selection of filler options.  I really like the way the flames came out.  And how easy they were.  With a bit of practice, the one beside that (clamshells?) may turn into a reasonable option too.  I'm thinking I will save this sampler, and run the same patterns again in about a month.  Hopefully there will be some marked improvement at that point :)

 And just for fun, my name again. This time with a dot over the i, and a much better job of tracing the lines where I needed to backtrack.




Monday, July 23, 2012

Design Wall Monday - July 23


There's lots going on today. Even some actually sewing on my design wall (well, table, since my wall is still full of quilts).  This is my colour challenge quilt. for July.  I needed a break from long arming, so I put this together last night.

I got my long arm running yesterday, so that occupied most of my day.  I had a great time playing with it, and finsihed my first "quilt".  Just a practice piece, to see how bad I am at this :)

I wrote my name.

Made some really bad feathers.

And some leaves.  I'm pretty happy with how these came out, but I do seem to have a problem.  The machine *really* likes to go left/right, so a lot of my stems are straight horizontal.  I'm not sure if that's typical and I just need practice, if I'm doing something wrong, or if there's an issue with my setup.  I should be able to find out this week from the distributor (I'm betting on #1 or 2).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Stash Report - July 27

Finally, a positive stash report.  Of course, it falls the week Judy isn't doing a link-up, because her blog is moving, but I'm posting my success anyway :)  I have 7 yards out this week.  4 yards for 2 baby quilt tops.  And 3 yards for my first "quilt" loaded on my long arm!!!

Stash usage this year:
88 3/4 yards out



I loaded 2 pieces of flat fabric, just for practice. And I've been playing most of the afternoon.  I'm going to go find all the Free Motion Quilting challenges from past months, and try some of them out next.  I'm having a ton of fun!  Here it is, all set to start pass #3.

I also went digging this month, and picked some fabric for the colour challenge.  I have a design in mind - not sure it'll happen before the end of the week, with this new toy in my basement, but the option is there if I need a break from standing up quilting.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Finally!!


It's here!  UPS finally delivered today, a friend nicely took the time to drive me to the store to pick it up, and I have my new long arm machine! Oh my goodness, all the boxes!  Eight boxes in total, stacked in my basement.  I couldn't wait to open them. Right after dinner, I got started.

Three and a half hours, and this is how far I've gotten in the setup.  I could probably finish tonight (I told the owner of the LQS that I would have it fully assembled by midnight - that's still 2 hours away :) ).  But the next steps look complicated, and the last thing I want to do is make a mistake in the middle of this. So I think I'm going to rest my poor back, and finish another day (which means Sunday, since tomorrow is fully booked already).  The machine makes me nervous, sitting up there with no protection, however.  I may find myself back down there again sooner than I think.

I forgot to buy a surge protector, so that purchase needs to be done before I can turn the machine on, anyway.

...and still waiting

Another day, still a big empty space in my basement.  I am starting to get frustrated with the delivery guys.  The package is in the city.  But seems to have sat in the warehouse, or on a truck, all day yesterday and was never delivered.  I'm sure the distributor is getting tired of hearing from me (is it there yet?  Any update?)  And my friend, who nicely agreed to help me pick it up is probably really tired of being on standby all week.

Ah well, in the meantime, no progress on my knitting.  It still looks much the same as yesterday.  I really do want to finish this - I have yarn for some socks sitting in my drawer, but I refuse to start those until this project is finished. And then, Project 3 for Camp Loopy will probably have started, so the socks are going to end up waiting again.  And (I hope) I'll be far too busy with my long arm to do much knitting :)


My quilting has made some good progress during these delays however.  Quilt on the right is complete, and the one of the left needs 2 more seams and it is done too.  Then what?  Another reason to hope things arrive today. 

Although I have completely ignored the colour challenge this month, so I could see if I can whip up something for that in the next few days. I'm not overly motivated for this one - I guess it's just not my style - neither the pictures nor the colours.  But that's the whole point of this challenge, so if I can find fabric in my stash, I'll see if I can make a small quilt this week.

I'm linking up with Judy today. Drop by to see what every has on their needles.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

...and waiting...

Sigh.  Despite being scheduled for delivery yesterday, UPS never showed up.  So no new toy yet :(

I did manage to make good use of the evening, since I didn't have to setup my long arm.  Two quilts almost done - just a bit of borders left.  I have a blue border for the one on the right.  And the one on the left will get top/bottom borders like what is in the picture (but just one row of the blue squares).  And I think I'll probably add one final brown border.


And, a knitting project about 1/2 done, while I wait for my next Camp Loopy project to start.  I started this one in June, to test out the pattern I was going to use for the second project.  It was going well, but I decided to do something different for that project, and this one has been sitting for 3 weeks waiting for me to get back to it.

This is my actual camp loopy project #2, all done.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting....

and waiting, and waiting.  UPS is supposed to deliver "today".  It's 4:00 and they haven't come yet.  I guess they still have an hour or two to get there.  And in the meantime, I was working today, so it wasn't entirely waiting time.  But now I'm ready to have my new toy.


I did manage to get productive. Last night, I headed back up to my sewing room, and just got to it (put on a DVD this time, which helped a lot).  It was 12:30am when I looked up and realized how long I'd been in there.  Quilt 1 still needs a border.  Quilt 2 just needs assembly, and I think I'll probably add a top/bottom border to make it a bit longer than it is wide.

Today, I cleared out the space in the basement.  So, anytime please, UPS!

linking up today at Freshly Pieced and The Needle and Thread Network.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It arrives tomorrow!

Well, my new long arm should arrive at the shop sometime tomorrow.  Then I have to figure out how to get it here.  I'm sure I can get a friend to help me, but depending on how late the distributor is willing to stay one evening, I might have to wait a week and a half for that to happen and I just don't think I can do it.  So I'm debating how many trips it would take in my little Corolla.

Lots to do to prepare for this.  I have to make room in the basement.  I have to finish some practice quilts.  I have to cook for the next week so my kids don't starve while I play :)  And what am I doing?  Reading quilting boards and knitting threads online, and posting this update. 

This is where the long arm will go.  I have to move the drums (that's going to require some negotiation with my son, to find a way to share this space). And move the treadmill - I'd like it to remain accessible and may actually get used occasionally.  Not sure yet where it will go. Maybe just to the right, under the window.  I think I have about 13 feet from the closet doors on the left, to the edge of the window, so that should be enough room.  The good news is, it is nice and cool down there.
I did make a tiny bit of progress on my current practice quilt today.  I cut all the pieces, and assembled two little bits.  But it is SO hot upstairs that I had to stop.  This would probably go faster if I wasn't trying to mitre all the corners on the striped fabric.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  And it does look cool - but it sure takes a lot of effort.

I may just clear off the other half of my design wall and cut the parts for the second practice quilt.  It is going to be an easier pattern which I can chain piece - maybe that will get my mojo moving and get something completed.  Of course, even it is not going to be simple - I'm still working with rectangles rather than squares which messes up all the calculations.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Design Wall Monday

I finally made it back into my sewing room this weekend.  All it took was a little pressure from a virtual quilt-a-long, and finishing my shawl.  Knitting complete, I could spend some quality time in the sewing room on Sunday.  I didn't get a lot done, but I think I did do enough to push myself over the block I've been having.  Two blocks from Dancing with the Stars are done (red/blue connecting blocks). 

And I started on a BQ quilt.  The original plan didn't work out, so I've made a slight revision and I hope it will go smoothly from here.  The focus blocks were originally 9" square.  But that left a border on the bottom which after assembly did not fit at all.  So, I'm going to shrink the squares to 9x7" rectangles, and work with that.  This will be a quick (I hope) baby quilt that I can use as one of my practice quilts for my long arm machine - which should be here mid-week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Stash Report - July 15

My poor sewing room has been sadly ignored for the past few weeks.  Oddly enough, that did not seem to keep me from visiting the fabric stores, and bringing home some lovely bundles of colour.  I don't want to know how much my stash just increased.  And given that it did not decrease at all this month, I am not going to count the incoming.  Maybe after I wash it. But probably not. I think I'm going to switch my stash reports to outgoing only.  I have a very minimal stash, and it needs some growth., but having to report every week makes me really reluctant to buy anything - so, no more yardage in reports.


Here is what has been keeping me out of my sewing room.  Progress is being made on the shawl - I'm on the final edging now, so I hope to have this finished and blocked by the end of the next week.  From what I've read, this should grow significantly when I block it - which is good, because it's not looking very shawl-like right now.

The other thing keeping me out of my sewing room is anticipation. My Handi-Quilter Avante should be here on Wednesday (well, at the shop - then I have to figure out how to get it home).  I can't wait to start playing with it, and I've been avoiding my sewing room partly for that reason. Every time I go in there, I want the long arm to arrive.  Staying out makes it easier to wait.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Design Wall

I'm a day late with my design wall post, but I do actually have a little progress to show.  I'm still focusing mostly on what I now refer to as my "pink blob" - the knitting project for camp loopy.  I'm sure it will be lovely when finished, but right now it doesn't spread out, and just looks like a big pink blob on the needles :)

On Sunday I took a break from knitting and headed up to my sewing room. I managed to get this month's block from the Blogger's Block of the Month finished, and cut the pieces for last month's Dancing with the Stars.  Not much progress, but it was nice to see my sewing room again :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

On the Needles

Judy asks us what's on our needles every Friday. It's a nice break from quilting sometimes, and given that I've been focussed on my Camp Loopy project this week, I have more to show here than on my design wall.  So I thought I'd share progress on my shawl.

It's kind of hard to see what this is going to look like.  It's laceweight knitting, and so far I've only had to rip once, to recover a couple lost stitches.  I figure I'm about 1/3 done now, but the project is slow going.  I learned to knit as a child, but it's been a long time since I did any real projects (other than hats/mitts for my kids).  So a bit slow going and this project has to be done by July 27 for Camp Loopy.  That's going to mean 2-3 hours knitting per day, on average, which is a bit tough to fit in when I work full time. But I'm pluggin away, and it's a weekend so I'm hoping for lots of progress over the next couple of days.

This is what it should look like when it's done. The pattern is from Ravelry.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's Ordered!

I spoke to the distributor yesterday, and she placed the order for my Handi Quilter Avante today!  I can't wait for it to arrive!  In the meantime, I haven't been into my sewing room in over a week.  I joined Camp Loopy this summer, and project 2 is a big one - 800 yards of laceweight to knit by the 27th of July.  I think I'll get it done, but it's going to require some dedicated knitting time.  On the good side, that will help distract me from the wait for the machine to arrive. And when it gets here, I should be in quilt-starvation mode and ready to jump back into it!