Tuesday, August 31, 2010

BIZY BIZY BIZY.............

Wow, I've been BIZY!  I don't know where the time goes.....unfortunately, it's not bizy with sewing or crafting - yes, I've done some.....photos to follow.  But just busy in general.

So, here are my latest creations:

This is just a flannel blanket - a receiving blanket.  Its soft, and large, so it will last a long time, and it should be useful.  Jenn liked it.  She wanted to steal it for herself.  I won't be surprised if I see her with it then!  

These are the diaper burp cloths I made.  I did a lot of searching online, and just did it from what I read.  One FQ will make 3 covers for the center of the diaper.  I didn't want to cover the entire diaper.  Only 3 of them are flannel - I told Jenn to see if the flannel ones work better flipped over as I've read that the diapers can be slippery and come slip off the clothing.  We'll see.  If you flip the flannel ones, and use the flannel against your body, and use the absorbent part of the diaper facing the baby, it can work too.  I told her if she finds that works, then I will put flannel on the backs of all of them.

Remember this blanket I made?  It has an applique in the corner.  The applique is one I printed on my new printer - the Epson Stylus NX125.  Theordora asked me if I have done anything with the printer - so far, I've done this applique, and I've done 3 quilt labels.  I haven't used any of the quilt labels yet....silly me didn't put anything on these little baby blankies. 

It's kind of difficult to tell from these photos (I'm usually taking them as I'm running out the door to deliver the stuff), but this applique came out beautiful.  It was easy to use.  I can't wait to see if it washes up ok.  I used a really HOT iron to set the colors, per the directions on the sheet I used.  Then, instead of running it under cold water, I used a cold water, wet washcloth, and I set that on it, removed it after it was damp, then ironed again to dry.  Hopefully, that worked!

SO...........the answer is YES, I love my new printer, and I can't wait to do some more on it.  When I'm just printing out regular stuff, I use my Kodak printer.  So I can't answer the questions about the ink quite yet - I don't know how fast I'll go thru the ink.  I do know that it says to use it often enough that the ink doesn't dry up and some people have had problems with the print heads on them.  But I've had that problem with my Kodak printer also.  So we'll see!

Here is the back of the blanket which I didn't take photos of before.  Again, I did it before running out the door to deliver it to Jenn.  I just did straight lines for the quilting, following the stripes on the front, and then folding the flannel over and doing the binding that way.  It was SEW easy.  :-)

I also worked on some invites for the baby shower, and then Jenn decided she didn't like them (for reasons I won't state here).  Just chalk it up to hormones. LOL  So I tried a few other designs and but they also didn't work.  She found some online that she likes.........I found some in the Hallmark store that I like better.  I will decide whether I will use the ones I want, or the ones she wants.  Heck, she shouldn't even be getting involved! LOL.  
Lets see........oh right - I spent hours and hours on the ripping out of the pinwheel quilt.  Since I'd used the machine and my machine quilting isn't that consistent, there were many tiny stitches.  I ended up buying 2 new rippers. The first one I bought, the metal ripping part was too large for the tiny stitches.  I went back and found a nice, ergonomic one, that really IS nice to use, and it has a much smaller ripper part, and that worked really well.  Yesterday, I was having some trouble with my foot, and I just wanted to sit with it up - and I finished the ripping - finally!  YIPPPEEE!  I had to wash the fleece I was using for backing because of all the threads sticking to it - because I had used spray baste and the threads were all sticking.  I haven't taken the fleece out of the dryer yet - when I took it out of the washer, it still had tons of tiny threads stuck to it.  I'm praying that they came off in the dryer.  If not, I'll have to pick those off.  So keep your fingers crossed for me!
OkHere is a link to her page.  There are five books in this series, and I've read three all ready!  I will be sad when there aren't any more....Sisters Choice; Endless Chain, and Touching Stars are the three I've read already - but I didn't read them in order.  LOL.  It's ok tho - you can pick any of them up and the books all refer to different characters, but, each book is about a different set of characters.  So you CAN read them out of order.  The other two books in the series are: Lovers Knot and Wedding Ring.

Besides all of this stuff, and my regular stuff like volunteering with Evan at the hospital a couple of times a month, I have been crocheting a baby blanket (of course), I'm starting to knit a sweater for myself (in beautiful purple cotton), and working on my Mystery Quilt from Kelly Ann's Quilt shop who also had a blog (gotta figure out how to get the link here....).

I also have had to deal with fleas.  Yeah.  I am not real good about using the Frontline on the dogs, and have NEVER used it on my cat, indoor cat that he is.  Well, I guess it's the heat this summer, but the fleas (along with the huge horse flies, the mosquitoes and whatever else you can think of) are out of control!  I found ONE flea on Evan.  I put the Frontline on him and haven't seen anything since.  That was 2 weeks ago.  I put some Frontline on little Gabbi too, and found one little tiny flea walking on her 2 days ago.  I took Leo to the vet because he has been vomiting more than normal, huge hairballs coming up, and he started having diarrhea.  So we get to the vet, and I take him out of his carrier, and what do I see?  Flea dirt (eggs) all over him!  I was embarrassed and devastated!  OMG.  I couldn't stop picking the eggs off him and I even got a couple of fleas off him.  I was SOOOOOOOO upset!  I got some Frontline for him too and a flea comb.  We came home and stripped the bedding and washed what could be, and vacuumed everything in the house.  I also spent a lot of time combing Leo out and getting everything off him I could.  I'm keeping him combed as that will help the hairball situation also.  I was given meds, one to settle his tummy, and another one to give him for the hairballs.  They are helping.  No more runny poo and no hairballs in a few days.  Thank goodness!  No sign of live fleas, and no eggs either.  I'm praying I got it all.  But I tell ya - we go outside to potty and when I get the dogs back in, I do a sweep of their bodies!

So other than that......life is good.  I'm going to have a few days where there is nothing coming up - and I'm grateful.  I'll try not to make it so long in between blog posts next time.  I have lots to work on up in the sewing room.  I want to get busy on the Mystery Quilt - I'm running a month behind right now.  Once Sept arrives I need to go to KA's and get the Sept clue, then make it.

Thanks for reading my blog and as usual, comments are welcome.  Spammers, not so much!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better sewing days....

Sunday and Monday were much better sewing (and ripping) days for me.
I started ripping out my pinwheel fmq and it's going along.  It strains my eyes - so I do an hour or 2 at night in front of t.v.  That's the only time I sit that still anyway.

I finished a baby blanket, and a receiving blanket.  They both turned out well.  So far, this is what I have:
This is just a piece of striped fabric that is a companion fabric to the Noahs Ark Precious Moments fabric I'm making the main quilt out of.  Jenn wanted a Precious Moments clip art applique on it.  After buying my new Epson printer from Target for $25.00 last week (a special deal they had), I can now print fabric on my printer.  
This is another blanket I made (both the above blanket and the one below are backed with flannel.  This one I quilted using FMQ and it came out pretty well. 

Hearts of course! 

Then there is just the flannel receiving blanket - its large, but that's ok - I think you get more use out of it the larger it is - the longer it lasts.

I still haven't attempted to learn how to thread or use the serger, so I just hemmed this and sewed it with a blind hem stitch. 

Now, I have 2 panels left to work with.  One, the main Noah's Ark panel, is the one I'm having a really difficult time deciding how I want to quilt the back to the front.  Jenn wants it to be backed in fleece - I don't know - I think that limits the use of the blanket for all year round.  I may use a very light weight batting, and just cotton for the backing.  Then, the quilting dilemma that I have with it - how do I quilt a panel with a picture on it?  Its too hard to follow the outline of the shapes on the panel.  Maybe, I'll just tie it.

I have another panel that I won't have a problem quilting I don't think.  I'm not as worried about that one, and I think I"ll use the fleece on that one.  Trying to go with my gut here on the right thing to do for the fabric and for the outcome I'm looking for - longevity and usefulness of the 2 main blankets.  The others are all just "extras."

I also got my mystery quilt started - I did the cutting on Saturday - the not so good karma day.  Yesterday I sewed month 1 of the instructions.  I'm hoping that today, and if not today, then tomorrow, I'll get month 2 done, because in another week, I'll have the month 3 instructions!  Yikes.  So I do want to get it done.  It's all those little 2 inch squares that are scaring me!  I don't like tiny - too easy to mess up.

Well, it's really dark out and I am pretty sure it is going to start raining any time now.  I am going to a movie with a friend today to see "Eat, Pray, Love" with Julia Roberts.  We are also going to the fabric store (yay!) so I will be finding the cotton or flannel I want for this other panel - and for the light weight batting....and any other good deals that I happen to find.  My friend isn't a sewer, but she is interested in felting and wants to find the wool felt to make a panel on.  Hopefully she'll find what she wants.

Also hoping to find time to go to Hancocks - only because I need more Best Press.  If they don't have any more of the unscented, I'll just use regular spray starch I guess.

Off for now, but I'll be back!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bad Sewing Karma

Do you ever have a bad sewing day?  I had a bad sewing day today, and a bad cutting day also.
I should have just stayed out of my sewing room!  No, instead, I continue on a path of unfortunate and ugly mistakes....

I am now going to spend hours ripping stitches out of my pinwheel quilt (tried to FMQ it and hated it - but kept going - duh).

I also did a bunch of cutting for my mystery quilt........ugly!  My rotary cutter blade needed changing, then I messed up the order in which it should have gone back together, could NOT seem to get it right, kept trying to cut but knew it wasn't right....kept messing up fabric.  Boy, if I get that thing put together, it'll be a miracle.  We'll see how sewing the uneven edges of 2" squares goes.  Oye.

Off to bed - I can't even see straight from trying to rip stitches out.

Hopefully the new week will bring better sewing karma!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pinwheel quilt

HI!  Well, I am progressing on my pinwheel quilt, and I finally have time to post a few pics of my journey.  So here we go!
Here is how I came up with my pinwheels:
Take 2 charms - they should be light/dark combos.

Place the 2 squares face to face:

Sew around all four sides of the square:

Now, you want to cut the square, corner to corner - top left to bottom right, and top right to bottom left - cut an X

Now, iron the triangles open - always to the dark side!

So now we have our 4 half square triangles!

Place the squares in the proper order - I had to keep looking at the first one I did so that I could get it right!

Time to sew.............when I first started, I was doing one at a time

But then I got the hang of it, and more confidence, and I started chaining them:

This is my little pile of chained pieces.

Gotta snip all the little pieces apart:

So now, you have the left side and right side, which must now be matched up and sewn together.  Notice - the corners with the 1/4 inch difference - outside corners are pointed, inside corners do NOT match on corners - this is how you know which sides to attach.

Finished pinwheel!  :-)

Many finished pinwheels!!!

I've sewn them all together.  They now have 2 borders on them - no photos - will get those photographed and up tomorrow.  Hopefully, tomorrow I will be able to get it sandwiched and quilted.  :-)

Hope you enjoyed my journey of the pinwheels. 
Any comments welcomed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Time Flies!

Ok, so it's been awhile since I posted.  Oh, is that an understatement?  LOL

So here's what has been going on in my little world....I've been keeping super busy.  I have a daughter who's expecting her first (and maybe only) child.  I've been shopping (bargains at Ross) and I've been fabric hunting (for things like flannel, cottons, etc), and I've been trying to fit in sewing in between it all.  I've also worked a little on my pinwheels.  They are going very well!  I'm excited to get the rest of them done (squaring up right now) and then, decide on how I want to put them together.....

I also joined a swap on the quilting board forum.  Now, I'm having a really difficult time getting things together for my swap buddy - I have till the 25th, but was hoping to get something out sooner than that.....it's very frustrating because there is a $10 limit - and I thought, well, that'll be easy enough.  NOT!  :-(  It's very difficult to find a lot of little things and have it only add  up to $10.  I can use stash, but I don't really have THAT much stash....so I'm trying to figure out what I CAN (read want to) give up.  I have a couple of patterns someone else sent me that I won't use - but is it fair to send those onto someone else?  Then, I thought, I'll make her something.  So now I have to figure out WHAT to make her that I think she'll like.  Sigh.  I should never have entered this thing - it's too much for me right now with everything else I have going on in my head.  I did get one thing bought - something that I also needed so I bought 2!  I finally found a little expandable tape measure to carry with me in my purse.  I used to have one, have no idea where it went, so I found another that was inexpensive.  Yay! So that's a $2.00 part of the gift that I can send.  Hopefully, she doesn't already have one of those.....

So for my pinwheels.  This is what I have so far:
I used 2 charm packs - 2 different charm packs that is.  One had more lights in it, the other more darks, so I just blended them. I know that I usually see pinwheels with a color, and a solid light background.  I didn't feel like cutting that many squares (why should I when I have them already cut?) and I didn't want to order the Moda charms online - I wanted to use what I either could find in the LQS or use what I had.

Here is where I learned how to make these fast and easy pinwheels!

Now, I have another 2 charm packs left - same fabrics.  Debating - do I want to make it a larger quilt, do I want to use them as plain blocks mixed in, or do I want to save them for a separate quilt?  Hmmmm, decisions decisions.  LOL  I have to listen to what the fabric and the quilt are telling me and there hasn't been enough communication yet.  So, no decision for now.  The other option is that I have some strips of dark fabric that would match this very well....its something I got from Missouri Star Quilt Co on one of there daily specials......and I really love the colors.  So I could use those as sashing, or borders, and just make this a lap quilt.

The squares are coming out to 5.5 inches and they are 8 rows across and 5 down, 40 squares.  That makes it about lap size.  It would be a good size for the back of the couch during winter....or, a great size to make the dogs a little quilt or even a bed.  I just wanted to try these pinwheels, the method I learned from Missouri Star Quilt Co, and I want to have a chance to keep practicing my FMQ.  So this is just for fun, and again, I'll let it speak to me, as to what it will be used for.  I'm learning that if I listen carefully, I will make the right deicsions.  It just takes a bit longer than I'd like it to for the decisions to come across!

That's about all I can post about for today.  I'm busy busy again - going downtown to get a few things I need at the store, hit the thrift shop (never know when something good will come along) and going to 145 Art & Design Studio, to see if I can find anything good to send my secret pal.  If not, I'll come home and get busy and make her a chicken or something!  Everyone needs a chicken in their sewing room to keep 'em company, right?