Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Not Spooky But Cute!

It's amazing how color can make a big difference in a quilt block.  My latest quilt was designed around black, gray and orange. I liked the design so much I decided to make it in a brighter, more me, colorway.

The difference is night and day.  Not that I don't like the black version, I do.  But the one above makes me a little happier.   

The orange and yellow fabrics I'm using in the blocks above are scraps leftover from my Autumn Memories Quilt.  I designed my Autumn Memories quilt pattern for the fabric line Autumn Love by Lori Holt for Riley Blake. 

I loved Autumn Love line so much I had buy more it and make a second quilt called Podunk Plaid.  Both of these quilts are available in my pattern shop.

Speaking of plaid, have you seen her newest line called Bee Plaid?  Oh my goodness!  This line was made just for me!  You all know how much I love plaids and ginghams.  Wonder how much it would cost for a bolt of each?  I suppose I'll need to settle for just a little of a few(one or two) of them.    

For now I need to stay focused on the project at hand.  The internet with all it's pretty pictures can be so distracting.  I stumbled upon the Bee Plaids while going down a rabbit hole looking for the name of the block in my current project.  

I've searched the internet high and low for days and  looked in four different quilt block encyclopedia books I own. Not one of them has this block in it.  Do you know the name?  I know I've seen it somewhere but for the life of me I can't remember where.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Spooky Cute Quilt Block

 If you can't beat them, join them.  Sometimes you just need to embrace the facts.  The fact is, darker fabric and muted colors are a trend right now.  I've tried my best to resist the change.  Protesting to anyone who would listen but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.  Oh I don't completely dislike the new style and fads.  The black and white farmhouse look I absolutely love.  It's only because I can add pops of bright happy colors and make it work for me.  That's what I'm attempting to do with the quilt block below.  A farmhouse look with a pop of color.  Someone asked asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had any black fabric in my stash.  HAHA!  Yes, but very little.  Probably not enough to make a bed sized quilt but I do have a few.

The little calico-ish print is a Halloween fabric but it's dainty and doesn't read as a novelty print.  I'm not a big fan of novelty prints but this one caught my eye.  You don't notice the spiders and bats at first glance, it just looks like a cute little calico.  But upon closer examination it's kind of creepy cute. 

Adding the plaid to this project is hopefully going to give it a farmhouse feel.  Now to decide on straight plaid sashing.....

.....or on point plaid sashing.  The plaid was printed straight.  Cutting on the bias makes the fabric harder to deal with but a little starch can reduce the stretching effect of bias cuts.   And then there's the scraps that will be made from cutting on the bias.  Do I want to deal with more scraps?  I do like the plaid on point.  So it's settle, I'll starch it to death and cut on the bias. 

As much as I'm enjoying the farmhouse colorway I can't help but wonder how it would look without black.  It's going happen.   This is my first fabric pull for a brighter version. I was going for a fall feel but I could do any color pallet, it doesn't need to be fall colors.  This is a very versatile block.   

Here I go!  

Down the rabbit hole of pulling fabric!  See you tomorrow!

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Monday, August 23, 2021

Fabric, Deboning and Cleaning

 This bundle of Cheeky by Moda is going to be the prettiest thing you see in today's blog post.  Purchased online from someone destashing on Instagram.  I just can't pass up a good deal.  There's no plan or need for this fabric, it was just too good of a deal to pass up.

I can't even let go of old blue jeans.  Mr. Podunk cleaned out his closet this weekend so he could paint it and put in a new closet shelf.  In the process he also decided to get rid of clothing he could no longer wear.  He knows my obsession with fabric does not stop at quilting cotton.  Anything made of fabric can't be sent to Goodwill until it has been approved by me to leave the house.  He brought me several pair of blue jeans to inspect.  Jeans are the perfect fabric for making very durable camping quilts. these can't go to Goodwill.

An hour later I had them deboned and ready to be cut into usable squares.   This will be a project for another day.  There's too many other projects in the works right now.  And I would also like to purge our flannel shirts to add to the blue jean camp quilt.  

Making a jean quilt is not going to happen anytime soon.  I've worked really hard the last couple of weeks to get thing done.  I was making great progress until Friday.

Then this happened.  If you watched my last YouTube video you might have noticed I was having some issues with my machine.  I didn't mention it in the video but my machine was having a hard time pulling the fabric through.  Going over a seam was a real chore.  I had to assist it almost every time.   Taking it to the shop is out of the question.  The turn around time is 2 or 3 weeks.  Maybe I can fix myself.

Well my goodness!  All this lint might be the problem.  Shame on me for letting it get so bad. What can is say, I was having fun and the last thing on my mind was lint.  Surprisingly there isn't much lint on the feed dogs.  And to be honest it's been much worse in the past.  The red arrow is pointing at the thingamabob that I think might be the issue.  But before dealing with it I need to remove the lint.  

I had some new to me products just for cleaning sewing machine lint.  They came in a couple Fat Quarter Shop Sew Sampler subscription boxes.  

The first one I tried using was Oh Sew Clean by It's Sew Emma.  They did nothing.  The little brushes just moved lint around.  The lint wouldn't even stick to the brushes.  I tossed the brushes in the trash and kept the plastic box they came in.  The microfiber cloth was also kept for cleaning my glasses.

Next was the Sewing Machine Cleaning Brushes by the Fat Quarter Shop.  They did a pretty good job at getting into some smaller areas.  I would give them a thumb up only because the lint did stick to them.  Would I buy them?  No, I just don't think they can do anything special that other cheaper tools can do.  But I have them and I'll use them.

One of the best lint grabbing tools is  my old dollar store paint brush with plastic bristles.  I've been using this thing for about 15 yrs.  They came in a package of 5 different sizes. I keep one at my sewing machine and one at my longarm.

The next best lint grabber is a plain ole Q-tip.  Cotton holds onto cotton.  Almost all quilters have a flannel(cotton) design wall because it holds our blocks so well.   Sure the other two gadgets look pretty but they can't get the job done.  I don't need pretty cleaning tools, I need effective cleaning tools.  But if I really wanted cute little colorful Q-tips for my Studio the Dollar tree has them in a rainbow of colors at $1 for 100 generic Q-tips. 

After removing the lint it was time to tackle the feed dog issue.  Let's go back to this picture.  I removed the feed dogs to get to the thingamabob(red arrow)  Adjusting it solved the problem.  The problem was my feed dogs had fallen and were not coming above the plate.  This has been an on going issue for a couple of years.  This isn't the first time I've had to fix it.  My version of fixing it before lasted about a year and the part I added eventually failed.  When I tried to do the same thing this time it didn't work.  So I had to call in an expert, Mr. Podunk.  He's a airplane mechanic/car mechanic/maintenance man/repair guy.  Oh how I dislike asking for his help but this one was over my head.  I knew where the issue was but I was afraid to actually try to move the thingamabob.   He looked over, manually turned the flywheel then left without saying a word.  Upon his return he had the tools I needed to move the thingamabob.  He showed me how to adjust it.  It took 3 tries but I finally fixed it.  Oh happy day!  I can sew again with ease!

The tools needed to fix it were a crescent wrench and an allen wrench(red arrows).  But the best thing was he also gave me a few really nice wooden handled Q-tips(yellow arrow).  They are one ended and much longer than real Q-tips.  Funny how the smallest of things can make me so happy. 

This weekend I also took a little time out to update my social media photo.   My old social media picture was about 5 yrs old and was due for a change.   Is this the real me?  No not really.  It's rare for me to do my hair and makeup.  I even go to the store with my hair pulled up in a bun and no makeup.  I wear makeup 4 or 5 times a year.  Holidays or special occasions is about it.  So I guess it was a picture worthy moment.   Hurry take a picture!  Lea Anne's hair is out of the bun and she put makeup on!  HA!

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Monday, August 16, 2021

Relax and Sew

 Hi-Diddily-Ho Quilting Friends!  Today is going to be a yippy skippy day!  The little me time/sew time yesterday evening has recharged my quilty soul.  It was a much needed break.  The last two or three weeks has been spent running around chasing my tail but somehow I was barely moving.  So I put on the brakes, dropped everything, went into my happy place and asked myself "What do you really want to do this evening?"  The reply was...Mindlessly sew and watch/listen to something quilting related.  There's a ton of projects to be finished, imagine that, a quilter with more than one UFO.  In the spirit of keeping it simple I chose the jar of triangles sitting beside the sewing machine.

It has an accompanying little tin of low volume triangle-ish fabrics and another larger plastic bin(to left with blue handle) with solid white triangles.  This is just the tip of the triangle iceberg. 

I've been pretty good about sticking with the leaders and enders project but it feels like it's taking forever.  Patience is not my strong suit when it comes to long term quilt projects, hence the many UFO's.  Boredom kicks in due to the lack of pretty progress, you know, a design wall full of pretty blocks.  So I decided to dig up the original photograph(below) of what the triangle pile looked like in the at the beginning of the project.  You can read more about it here.  I'm making progress!  It may not seem like it when I see it on a day to day basis but now that I see the before and after I'm quite happy with what I've accomplished.  And let's not forget that I'm constantly adding to this jar.  This photo gave me the will to continue on with my triangle journey.  

My instinct is to just keep sewing until the jar is empty.  Forget the leaders and enders, just sew, sew, sew.  Restraint and limiting my time in the jar is a must.

Setting a time limit was easy.  Find a video to watch.  There's a couple of different YouTuber's I like to watch on Sunday evenings.  One is health related and I'm not in the mood to be educated on how unhealthy I am so I chose the other quilting related YouTuber, Tiffany's Quilting Life.  She does two or three LIVE videos a week.  They usually run for an hour or more.

Last night she was auctioning off some of her finished quilts.  Most of her quilts have a scrappy vibe.  They aren't something I would make but I love quilts and quilters.  She's just your average Joe and I like that about her and her channel.  Tiff's hubby runs the camera and will often jump in and help with pressing the units as she makes them.  A quilters dream is to have a little elf in the studio and she has it!  Lucky girl!  
 Many of her videos are her creating a quilt on the fly.  The total opposite of me.  My quilt designing and making process is a little more rigid and structured.  She inspires me to be not so uptight.  Inspires is the keyword.  I'm not sure I could ever learn to be as free with my process but I also was leery about the leaders and enders, so who knows what the future may bring.  Anyway, take a look at this scrappy string beauty she was selling last night.  I fell in love with it and if I had the money I would buy it.   This picture does not do the quilt justice.  The colors are not in my normal color pallet but for some reason it spoke to me.   Some of the quilts didn't sell so if you like buying quilts.... here' a link to the auction if interested.  Of course she doesn't try to sell something in all her videos.  Most of them are just her and her sewing machine stitching away at whatever suits her fancy for that day.  I find it oddly relaxing to sew while listening to her sew.  It's like I'm at a mini retreat without packing, traveling or with sleeping with strangers.

It was time to get back to the triangles.  They are odd sized and shaped.  I do my best to match up sizes but I really don't worry about it too much.  These will be squared up to the largest size possible using my newly homemade locking HST ruler.  

As the video auction ended I knew I had to call it a day, that was the deal I made with myself.  Sew until the video was over.   Like a child I protested.  Mindless sewing is so much fun in my world.  Rules are rules said the mom inside.  She's so annoying.  Being a little rebellious, I reminded myself that I said I could only sew while the video played.  I never said anything about pressing or cutting.   If I can't sew then I'll at least press and trim. 

Well I hate to say it but the mom in me was right.  It's late and I really should shut down the studio.  These will need to pressed on another day.   There was far to many to deal with last night.  

Obviously I was getting tired.  Somehow this happened.  Of course it could have happened because I was distracted by the quilt action.  Yep, that's it, I blame Tiffany!  It couldn't possibly be my fault. HA! It would make sense had I ran out of thread or had a thread break.  Strange things happen when you are tired. 

And then I found this one.  Yep, it's definitely time to shut down the studio.

Before shutting down for the night I wanted to try out my new seam ripper.  A gift from my youngest son, Trever.  He found it at a pop up farmers market on Friday.

I've seen these online for years and have considered buying one.  They are a little pricey so I would always talk myself out of the purchase.   Silly me, this is wonderful!  It feels really nice in my hand.  The larger size and weight makes it easier to use than the many different plastic ones I own.  The points on both ends are very pointy and easy to get under the threads to cut them.   And it's pretty!   Thanks Trever, you're the best!

My word of the year....Moo-ve.   Staying in motion, moving the body, mind or project.   In this blog post I was moving way to fast in some areas of my life.  Slowing down and moving this project along helped to move my mind into a better place.  Which reminded me I can only do so much.  Slow and steady wins the race.

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