Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Sad Day!

I so looked forward to yesterday! I always love learning new things and this class promised that. I went to the class and was literally bowled over! A member of our Guild, Dorothy, had received a horrible medical diagnosis. We as a Guild decided to make her a quilt---a heart quilt---to cover her with our love as she went through treatment. She had a wonderful positive outlook on life---was retired but still very busy. Loved her family, her Guild, the Zoo and the Predators (a hockey team in Nashville). As a nurse, I can't tell you how important positive outlooks are and the energy that results. As a result, I too was very positive and refused to allow negativity to exist for very long, feeling I was going to stimulate as much positive energy as possible. Anyway, when I got to the class, we were talking about the quilt and someone mentioned putting the quilt in her casket. I of course said, "NO, she isn't dead yet, lets not think that way"----well, I was wrong---she had died suddenly and although my friends had notified me by e-mail, in my rush to get ready for the class I hadn't read it. It was as if the wind had been knocked out of me---I don't know why I reacted so, since although we were Guild sisters, there are other members I am more closely aligned----the only thing I can think of is I was so very focused on being positive. I admired Dorothy's energy and cheerfulness, and so felt what her daughter's and son must have been going through. As a nurse, I certainly have had a front seat to human tragedy---more than I would like to remember, but I guess I don't handle it as well as I think...particularly when there is a personal relationship. I got home and listened to the services for Sen. Kennedy---I don't talk much about my political views--simply because I don't always like what they generate, but lets just say, Sen. Kennedy and I shared more than a few viewpoints. I however looked at his family and from personal experiences (including what I had just had with Dorothy), felt so sad!

I woke up today with a migraine and know that the sun will rise and another day will begin. I hope I will be able to incorporate some of Dorothy's positive energy and some of Sen. Kennedy's push for fairness and be a better person.

Nothing about quilting----but something I had to say!

Have a great day! Hugs!

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's Been A While!

I can't believe it has been over a week since I last posted! I have been really, really, REALLY busy, but I think things are going to settle down a bit. Tomorrow my Guild is having a class and I will be there all day. I am really looking forward to that--it is always so nice to get together with friends and sew a bit. I remembered too late that I am suppose to bring a dessert so this time it will have to be "store bought"! I'll stop at a bakery on my way to class and see what strikes my fancy.

I finished a quilt today. Last year I participated in a "buck block", the block kits were $1.00. I did it in both 30's and civil war prints. I really liked the finishing kits so although I had never purchased a kit before, I bought one for each (the center of each star is the "buck block"). I have been working on the 30's kit for a week so I finished it today. I really like the border I did. The quilt is scrappy and the border finishes it off---at least I think so. I think I will call it "Everything but the Kitchen Sink".

This the quilt without borders. As is, it is a "girly quilt" don't you think?

This is the quilt with the borders added (the quilt is folded in half). Now it doesn't look so "girly". I really like the borders! and the "unexpected" scrappiness.

I also did some dyeing---some greys, cobalt blue (wet, it looks sort of like blue jeans) and some layered dyeing. I really have quite a stash and really think this might be my last dyeing of the season. I don't want to stock pile a lot of fabric, but will use some of it before I dye more.

That is about all for today! Hopefully, I will have pictures to post of our class tomorrow!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Checking In!

School has started, at least for faculty, and I have been very busy!!! Meetings, meetings, and more meetings. I am going to try something new this year---podcast my lectures. Hope it works---:-) My DH purchased me a digital voice recorder so we'll see.

Quilt wise, I have decided to really try to finish up some of these UFO's before I start something new. As a result, I am working on several quilts at the same time----my Depression block (I have 9 blocks out of 56 done). This quilt is a little slow in coming together since it is all half-triangles (16 per block for a total of 896 for the entire quilt). As I write this, I don't think this will be finished BEFORE I start a project---maybe a more realistic goal should be to work on it weekly if not daily.

I am also working on the 9-patch a day; and a art quilt made up of my handdyes. Oh yea, I am also working on the Bonnie Hunter Mystery. Well after re-reading this, I can in fact start another project since everything I am working on (except the art quilt) is BOM-like. When I finish this post, I guess I will go up to my "closet" and get a kit down (I have two). I already have the blocks made so all I need to do is put it together!!!! Actually, this would qualify as a UFO (right) so I am keeping to my plan :-)

If the weather holds (it has been raining), I am going to discharge and do a little dyeing this week-end. I also have to review my lectures and edit my syllabus. Well, looks like I am going to be pretty busy, since I am also scheduled to work on Saturday---WHEW--I am tired already.

Hugs and have a great remainder of the day/night! xoxo

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Truly Finished Finished Product

The picture is a bit off because it is at night and taken by lamp light. I am now doing what I hate most about quilting---binding! Since I really don't like sewing on binding, I have decided to put it on and sew it down as soon as I am finished quilting a quilt (I also finished 2 baby quilts--but the binding is already on one, I just need to hand stitch it down and then move on to the next one). The binding is chocolate polka dots---I really think it adds to the quilt.

This quilt was made with about 4 charm packs. I don't remember the names of them, they were purchased in Puducah doing at least 2 quilt shows. As I remember, a couple of them were only $3 so I purchased several.

I didn't show the backing, but it is old fashioned ticking. All in all, I like this quilt---as I said it is truly utility. It just seems so spontaneous to me. The quilting is simple meandering--it was too busy for anything else.

Well I have to work tomorrow and I am sleepy. I'm gonna go and iron a uniform and then crawl into bed. Happy dreams!


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Busy Day!

I menitoned in an earlier post my challenges with my Longarm. I also mentioned it in a post for one of the groups I belong to, and got a wonderful offer from an experienced longarmer, and a neighbor! She doesn't live in the neighborhood per se, but about 5 minutes away. At any rate, her offer was to come over and give me a little remediation! Of course I accepted!!! She came over yesterday and guess what----I was threading my machine all wrong. Now before you fall over with laughter, mind you, I have been following closely the instructions in the manuels. The problem is I have a Gammill Premier and most of the instructions are geared toward the larger machines. In addition, I sorta improvished in my quest to figure out what was wrong-at any rate, once we got it threaded correctly, she taught me a couple of her "secrets of success", I was on my way. Since her visit I have quilted two baby quilts and am 50% finished with the Nine Patch and haven't had one broken thread!!! I have also found that my machine likes Gutterman serger thread and Coats/Clark in the bobbin. With this combination the stitches on the back look as good as the stitches on the front! I am one "happy camper".

Last night my Anti-clorox stuff came from Dhrama and in addition, I went to the pet store and got the chlorine removal. I "practiced" discharging with some stencils and some stamps. The black Kona discharged really well---the result is almost metallic in color -- I really like it. I also had some dark green that looked like Kona, but clearly wasn't---it didn't discharge at all! Tomorrow or this week-end, I will dye more and discharge some more. I used dishwasher gel as my "discharge" and it worked great. Hopefully the "anti" stuff worked---there really is no way to tell. I really liked working with the stencils best but I have a lot of stamps so hopefully I will get better with practice.

(I don't know why the pictures are turned this way but hopefully you get the idea---the first picture are stencils, the second are stamps.

Now to answer some questions: Zlaty, my mystery quilt will be very scrappy---I am only using one type of fabric consistenly---a red. The other colors (in different fabrics and hues) are black, beige/cream, green and gold. I got the magazine and am now putting the blocks together and I am liking my combination. I love scrappy quilts---in fact in all the years I have been quilting I have only made 2 planned color quilts.

My Disappearing Nine Patch is also very, very scrappy! It is truly a "utility" quilt, the back is old fashioned ticking. I was a little worried about quilting through the back since it has a very "stiff" hand, like polished cotton, but it is quilting pretty good! This is a picture of it on the frame. When I finish I will post a better


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TA DA---Another Finish!!!

I finished the "Disappearing Nine Patch" a couple of minutes ago!!!!!! I also cut out and ironed the binding, so all I need to do is quilt it! I get such a "high" when I have finished a quilt! I did however add another one to the "in progress" list---the Quiltville Mystery in Quiltmaker Mag. but I have finished all of Clue 1 so I am right on time. Although those people who subscribe have already gotten the magazine, it still wasn't out at Joanne's this week-end. I will go by today and see if it is out. If so, then I will complete Clue 2. I just gotta tell you---that girl does like LOTS of blocks. Clue 1 resulted in 188 blocks!!!!!!!! I know the quilt will be wonderful, but gosh---good thing a month was provided between clues :-)
I am really proud of myself because I did complete it---of course mine is going to be bigger. I did participate in a Guild Exchange of fabric for it, but I simply can't work with 2 inch squares results in 2 inch blocks---can't do it---so I worked with 2.5 inch squares that resulted in 4 inch blocks---not a lot of difference I know, but to me a tremendous difference. I had to do some conversions but it looks like mine are all consistent in size--so I am more than half way there.

I am now going to tackle cleaning up the house this morning and go back into my sewing room this afternoon. I just really want to sew only---I wish (oh how I wish) I could afford to have someone come and clean my house regularly!!!! But, if I did I wouldn't be able to get as much fabric, so for me it is a valid "trade-off".

Well, gotta go and shower and then tackle my morning! Hugs!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just Checking In!

This was a sorta quiet day. I spent the morning catching up on some BOM's and my "Nine Patch A Day". I now have a total of 30 blocks (I have been making two per day). I am not sure how many I should have but my plan is to make at least 140. I haven't figured out how many I will need for the quilt (I will play with EQ after posting).

Thanks Judi for the tip about purchasing Anti-Clorox stuff at the pet store or Walmart. Our Wally World doesn't have a "fish" department, but the pet store sure does. Tomorrow I will check it out. Isn't it amazing where you can find "stuff" we use for our fiber "art" at places other than LQS's. I don't know if any of you have a Harbor Freight near you, but if you do, take a stroll through there. The smell is yuk (smells like rubber tires), but I have found some great things there---I went Saturday and found some wonderful clamps that I will use in dyeing. They also have a nice digital scale for under $15 if you dye by weighting your fabric (I don't); they also had those gadgets that you can use to hold your rulers (a handle that attaches with a suction cup). I saw them at AQS for several dollars (I don't remember the cost exactly), but I got them at the Harbor for $.99 for the small one (they are orange, not the pretty pastel color, but I love orange). Those handle things that they sell to carry your plastic bags with were also $.99. Just wander down the aisle, you'd be surprised what you might find.

Have a great evening! Hugs!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Busy Saturday!

This week-end is tax-free shopping here so me, my DH and our GS went school shopping. The sales tax here is almost 10% so it was worth fighting the crowds. What was different however was there wasn't a lot of things in the stores. My GS wears uniforms to school and at each store there was no more than 2 of his sizes in the pants he wears. We had to go to three stores in order to get him 5 pair of pants. I was so tired I didn't even stop at Joanne's---I'll have to do that tomorrow. I need to pick up a magazine and see if they have some quilters cotton.

Above are the pictures of my fabs from yesterdays dyeing session. I also did some "artsy" ones, but they weren't all that great. I will use those to experiment in overdyeing. I have a order coming from Dhrama so I will not do anything else until then. I plan to do some discharging---that sounds interesting. I did it once, but didn't read about the stuff to STOP the discharge. I made this great dress and wore it once. I hung it up and when I took it down to wear again, it was literally in shreds. This time I ordered some discharge stop stuff---so we'll see how it goes. Then after that group, I think I will be done for the year. I now have a three drawn storage unit full!

Well, I have to take out my quilting from my quilt. As I removed the quilting, I think I will quilt it in a solid color----maybe yellow or a soft orange. I think the variegated thread is all wrong, even though the quilt blocks are very colorful. If I hadn't put on the black border it might work, but I think a solid color is better. The color I quilt with will depend on what I get for the backing. Maybe I can find a orange or yellow polka-dot---you know the really large dots. I'll look for it tomorrow.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Questions Answered!

I forgot to answer the questions Zarina and Zlaty asked----

1) I use Procion MX dye. You can order it from either Pro Chem or Dhrama (I have ordered from both). It is relatively easy to use.

2) I started out rinsing my fabric under the faucet, but that really uses a lot of water. What I do is do a light rinse under the faucet and then let it set in cold water for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. I then change that water and let it set in hot water for the same amount of time, change the water and let it set for another 45 minutes. I then wash it in the washer in hot water with synthrapol.

I am glad my novice attempts help others. I love both dyeing and sharing my "lessons".

Hugs (again)!

More Dyeing!

I did more dyeing today! I am becoming a bit obsessed :-) but I do love to see the beautiful colors! I washed out my colors from yesterday and was I surprised!!! This time I decided to use some clamps in holding the fabric together before I put it into the dye bath. These were just really small clamps and barely held the fat quarter together. I got some great fabrics!! I really am not an "art" quilter, but I honestly could actually see these fabrics in a small art piece. They are much too pretty to cut up and I really do believe if I did I would probably ruin them. I am going to just put them aside and decide what to do. I also did some browns and grey/brown. These really do look like batiks! I am not sure what I did to make them that way. I do really crunch them up in the container---it could also be the dye as well, grey may be "heavier"?.

Today I did some greens, purple and just plain grey. I used some clamps on a couple of these so I will see. These will be my "art" group.

I also had some not so good experience. As I might have mentioned, I have a Gammill Premier Longarm. I started quilting my 2-b-Square quilt and first the top thread kept breaking, then when I solved that, it started skipping stitches. I got out my book and read that if the fabric has paint on it, it might cause skipped stitches. The fabric that I used on the back was a batik with gold paint so I thought that was it. The quilt has black border and I was freehanding a swirly in variegated thread. I didn't really like the look and with all the skipped stitches, I decided to stop and take out what I had put in. I really get so tired of adjusting this machine. If I hadn't invested so much money in it I would get another. I want to just load my quilts and sew, it seems that it doesn't matter how good of a stitch I have in the previous quilt, it is NEVER that way with subsequent ones----I have to adjust, even if I use the exact same thread! I know, the "learning curve" is steep---the problem is no one tells you that when you purchase it and the nearest dealer is in Mississippi so I am sorta on my own. Okay, I feel better, thanks for allowing me to vent :-)!

Now, let's move on to something that I had some success in doing. Following are pictures of my fabric---what do you think?

Grey/brown--clamped and rolled--

This was clamped and rolled and I dropped a drop (literally) of yellow on it-----

Grey/brown clamped--

From brown--clamped and rolled---

Blue gradient--

I don't know why this one turned this way, but I hope you get the idea. These are grey/brown--

These are my browns--

Thanks for "dropping by"! Have a wonderful evening! We'll "talk" tomorrow!


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dyeing Thursday (and Wednesday)!

Now that my little ones are gone, I can get back to dyeing. Yesterday I dyed some brights. As with each session I learn something new. This time I learned that:
1. You can start with dry fabric. In fact, it appears if you start with dry fabric, the color appears more intense---there is less variegation. If you think about it, it makes sense. Water acts as a resistant, so if the fabric is dry, the dye would be absorbed better. What is interesting is I used some Egyptian cotton and it ended up with what appears to be a right side and a wrong side.
2. I rinsed in cold water first, and then followed with hot rinses. It appeared that I had to do less rinsing. The cold water appeared to "set" the color.
3. When you put the last bits of dye together, you get some great colors. My problem is I don't write it down since my hands are all yuky. Maybe I should have a little tape recorder.

Following are the pictures of the finished product. Aren't they pretty!! The pink reminds me of bazooka bubblegum. You could get it for a penny and it was in two pieces so you could share it with a friend or save a piece for later, not like the hard nuggets you get these days. They also had a little funny page in them---ahh but I digress.

The last three FQ's were a result of adding a bit of black to the dye bath. Nice deep rich colors. They make me think of Fall.

I also learned that the water should be pretty warm to dissolve red dye. You can see the undissolved specks on the yellow FQ. This is also the group that I dyed dry (see the number in the corner--1D).

Isn't it interesting that blue and orange will get you a grey? These colors don't seem related at all do they?

Today I dyed some browns; grey/brown and some blue. I got fancy and used some clamps on some so I am anxious to see what they look like in the morning. I am accumulating quite a "stash" of hand dyes. I should have plenty to keep me busy this winter.

I also started quilting the "B-Square" quilt. I am not sure I really like it---I am using varigated thread and the border is black. Hopefully it will look okay---I was thinking of submitting it for a show, we'll have to wait and see.

Well, gotta go!

Hugs! "See" you later!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I'm BACK!!!

We arrived back from Florida after dropping three of the grandbabies off at home (one at the airport to travel on to Miami) last night. The trip back was over 12 hours since we had a blow-out just as we crossed over into GA. We were blessed and no one was injured. We however had to find a place to purchase a tire and have it replaced. This all took about 2 hours and really put us behind schedule. Since I had taken my blood pressure meds, we had to stop a LOT, which made us even later. At any rate, we arrived safe and sound although a bit worn.

I didn't get a chance to really visit with Diane, but we did "manage" to go to Joanne's. I purchased some really great green Kona cotton, some ticking and a couple of black and white pieces plus a LOT of scrapbooking stuff. I had dyed her some special FQ's which I (of course) forgot, so I will have to put a little package in the mail. It was a really short visit, but I really enjoyed seeing my "sis".

I made a couple of nine patches and finished sewing on a border today, but other than that, I have been too tired to really sew. I plan to dye tomorrow, so hopefully I will have appropriate pictures.

The house is awfully quiet, but my vacation now begins! School starts in two weeks, but in the meantime, I am going to do some quilting!!!!!!

Hugs! "See you later"!