Thursday, December 14, 2017

Not much piecing or cutting done

My kids and grand-kids are on holiday already, even though I would still have to go to the office until 21 December but fortunately, with the office being closed, I just have to stay until I’m done with whatever needs to be done.  So for most days I can easily leave the office at 9 am (after having started at 7) but then it is family time.  I want to be home to have my grandkids over, pop something in the oven for us all to snack on or just order a meal to enjoy together, so until next year, I don’t believe I’ll do much quilting.

I do however need to seriously practise using a long arm.  At this stage (and I am female, I am allowed to change my mind after a while) I can spray baste and pin a quilt sandwich faster than I can load a quilt on a frame.  I can check my tension on a domestic machine immediately (after about an inch of 2 of stitching) unlike on the frame where I can only check this after 11 or more inches.  However….. if only I watched Jamie Wallen’s video’s on tension when I used my domestic sewing machine, I would have had far less struggles with tension.  I adjusted my tension on the fame tremendously, thinking I am taking a huge risk, no way…. Jamie Wallen knows it all.  Go bonkers and have fun. This video can be watched HERE. Now if he mentions Longarm and you are a domestic machine user, just ignore one word, guaranteed, this works for every machine when doing free motion.

I think I now belong to every long arm, mid-arm and free motion group on FB and if I spend less time reading all the hints and tips on these or watch You Tube videos I could have had heaps op tops quilted but heck,  some of these people are simply walking encyclopaedias.  I need to listen to them al!  In this photo I am not showing off my fabric or quilting motif but check the tension, especially on the black backing.  I used black thread on the top and gold on the bottom….. not a single speck of either coming over to the other side.  This is my idea of perfect tension.
I finished the practise piece and I think I like the back side better than the front.
I also finally figured out that in order to have the quilting show up on a photo, I need to have the flash switched off in daylight and take the photo indoors.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 5

Phew, what a quilt workout I had! Finished joining my blocks before going to bed at 11 pm (extremely late for me) on Friday, got up at 04:30 this morning (normal wake-up time) and started joining blocks and rows into a quilt top.

Got the whole top done before granddaughter came over for a sleep-over.
This mystery can be found over HERE.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 4

Having 2 sewing rooms is turning out to be somewhat complicating my rather organised life.  At 04:30 Thursday morning I still cut a practise quilt top to get another go on my Qnique 14 quilting machine, while watching You Tube videos and making notes like crazy and then after work, what would I find?  The new clue to this mystery!

Total confusion for this little brain of mine, should I finish what I started this morning or simply abandon project 1 and get going with the mystery?  I then decided to have a nice big glass of wine while contemplating my choices.

While enjoying my wine my daughter came over so none of my plans realised, maybe it was time for a break.

Today after work I worked a little on my notes (loading, advancing and rolling a quilt on the Qnique and the frame) as well as putting the blocks of this mystery together.
Quilting friend Karin would have loved these blocks as she likes big block quilts and these ended up being 21” x 21” each.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

On Ringo Lake, a Bonny Hunter mystery -2

After the grand-kids left Saturday morning, I got multi-tasking like crazy with my old trusted 15-minute-at-a-time routine.  Quilt, load laundry, quilt, do dishes, quilt, vacuum, quilt and before long I had every little hand- and finger mark off the furniture and a sparkling house and clean laundry.

Knowing that hubby had a golf game on Sunday I started cutting strips and units for the second clue so that I, apart from having to run a couple of errands, have nothing other than piecing to do.

The amount of cutting in the clue was monstrous and I wondered if it would ever end!

Being up early I got all the bedding done and even started piecing before a single shop opened. As much as I tried it was just one of those laid back lazy days and I couldn’t bring myself to quilt as much as I hoped and this is how far I got before calling it a day.
Finally got clue 2 done on Tuesday but first had to visit quilting friend Karin, who had a thumb operation and will be out of action for the next 6 weeks, poor soul!

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Exploring the possibilities on my Q’nique 14+ on the Cadence frame – 3

As said in my previous post, there is no easy way out….. Patience, practise and persistence must lead to some kind of success.  I’ve spend hours on You Tube watching videos, all about long arm machines and of all I’ve seen, Jamie Wallen spoke to me and made so much sense.  I got confident in adjusting the bobbin tension so I only had the top guy to fight with, oiled my machine as if it was a crane but instead of waxing my rails and wheels (I know the damage wax build up can cause) I returned to my trusted Wurth silicone spray and buffed the hell of my frame, rails, wheels and anything that needed moving.  And then it happened…… perfect tension, smooth gliding and me feeling in control. My backing rail is also belly height; I suppose that is why Lori calls it a belly rail instead of the suggested higher setting.  I guess different settings works for different people.

Okay being a small test quilt, I had the top floating and another hint I got from Loading Lori’s way, was not to have my layers too tight, one of my initial mistakes.  I am SO satisfied with this. Using Cruise Mode 14 SPI I am rather chuffed.

Monday, December 04, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 6

My quilt top is done and I am so impressed, not only with the pattern but with myself for getting it right.  I had to do corrections on 3 blocks, one had a strip in the wrong width and the other two had the wrong colours in certain spots but once I’ve finished the 42 blocks, checking them was a breeze for I knew the colours by heart then.

Once I popped the top over a bed I realised that I will easily make this exact same pattern again.  Obviously in a different colour but I am sure I will still enjoy the process.
Now I am waiting for my ordered fabric to add borders and get this little bugger quilted.

This pattern can be purchased over HERE.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Another fabric purchase on my behalf

A friend of mine, living near Johannesburg, went shopping right in the (dangerous) city centre and came across a fabric shop.  She immediately phoned me telling me about the bargains and offered to buy some fabric.  The only drawback with this shop is that you could only get it at a real bargain, if you bought at least 3 metres at a time.  She went ahead and bought me a couple of pieces which she believed I could use.
Well I am not complaining and her daughter who brought the fabric to me, said she hoped I didn’t think it was ugly.  I nearly laughed telling her that quilters hardly ever find any fabric ugly.  Somewhere, sometime that unused piece of fabric will work perfectly in whatever you may plan next.

She even invited me and a couple of local quilting friends to come through one Friday morning (the shop is not open on weekends) and do fabric shopping and spend the rest of the weekend just visiting the centre of the city.  She, a well-travelled girl, says the sights, sounds and people you encounter there, makes it seem like travelling to a foreign city.  I am so tempted but I wonder which of my quilting friends would be brave enough to do this with me.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

On Ringo Lake, a Bonny Hunter mystery -1

Not so long ago I vowed not to do any mystery quilts as I have, in the past, not been too chuffed with these, however when I saw completed En Provence mystery quilts, also by Bonny Hunter. I regretted my decision.

Then for months on end now I’ve been complaining about my blue remnant drawer being filled to the brim.  I don’t even recall ever buying this much blue fabric but the scraps in the drawer shows the contradiction.
So when I read about On Ringo Lake, Bonny’s latest mystery, and it had teal/aqua in, I thought what the heck shades of blue will have to do.  So I got started with major sorting and cutting of my blue fabric.  If it so turned out that it had a little teal/aqua in it, good as well but I aimed for medium blues.

It took me a whole afternoon just to sort and cut a couple of blueish strips and I do believe that what I have won’t be remotely enough but at least my blue drawer was thinned out and neat again.

I only finished clue 1 on the day that clue 2 came out and just before the grand-kids came over to visit.  So I guess I’ll always be somewhat behind.
This mystery can be found HERE.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Almost an early Christmas

My younger (only) sister was so kind to go fabric shopping for me the city where she lives at half the price I can get fabric locally and I am actually so chuffed with her for she was given instructions to shop for a Bargello and not being a quilter herself, I think she did very well.  This was what I found when I opened the parcel.
I then added one fabric from my stash, eliminated a couple of other colours and I think the Bargello I’d like to start in the New Year is kind of sorted with this selection.
We have both grandchildren for a sleepover tonight, so no quilting will be done, our young gent still cannot walk, so one of us will constantly have this little man in the arms.

I decided to make a bacon pasta for this evening and had the whole do going, pasta cooked, bacon friend with onion, chopped ham for a little extra texture, melted the butter, stirred in the flour to make rich white cheese sauce when I opened the fridge and the a hit song from 1966 immediately came to me…… the song by Herman’s Hermits “no milk today”.  I didn’t have a single drop of milk in the house!

Mercy comes in different forms and having a vegan daughter, I remembered I had a box of soy milk in the pantry.  So tonight we are eating a very vegan meaty dish. How’s that for a contradiction?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Exploring the possibilities on my Q’nique 14+ on the Cadence frame – 2

I had all my eggs in one basket with all my children and the 2 grand-babies over of Friday and then princess slept over as usual.  She is such a special one, happy being all by herself as long as she can be with the old folks getting the occasional treat.

Today I have an aching earlobe that drives me up the walls and I couldn’t help smiling remembering my last doctors’ (she, in the meantime left the practise) words.  Whenever it happens again, just pop in so that I can take a look…. Well hell yeah, Sunday afternoon at 3 pm and she would be where now?  Furthermore I can’t even touch my ear, let alone allow a doctor check it out.

I am still going through major learning curves with my attempts to do long arm quilting, lowered the machine to its lowest level and hubby nearly got impaled underneath it during this process.  Then we raised the idler bar so it would glide smoothly over the machine bed.  I cut and prepared another practise piece.  Step by step and extremely slowly I am trying to get myself to feel comfortable behind and while using the machine.  I am unfortunately a very impatient person.  By no means perfect but I guess just as I had to practise to get FM quilting done on a domestic machine, I will have to do it here.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 5

We had no water (at all) in our city for days and often times my being so terribly organised gets to me.  I often feel if I organise less I will have more time to simply socialise and take a day as it comes BUT when crap like a water shortage hits your city, you so appreciate not only being organised yourself but also being married to another organisational freak.

I felt terribly sorry to listen to everyone’s complaints about not being able to shower, cook, do laundry and get the little ones sorted while I was able to pitch up at the office perfectly pampered, cleaned and dressed to the T.

I had a stack of bottled water hidden in every nook and cranny of this house (just for in case, seeing that we do have a water filtration system) and dearest hubby made sure our outside water tanks are kept at a level to get us through a couple of days.  So we survived this ordeal just fine.

As for my quilt I am halfway, hallelujah!  I love this process of adding a block at a time and seeing the progress.
At this stage I spotted even more mistakes.  I think sharing my quilt table with 2 cats, a parrot and a dove caused this.  Once done I’ll compare every block with the pattern and make the necessary corrections.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Exploring the possibilities on my Q’nique 14+ on the Cadence frame – 1

I got my new machine on Monday, 6 November 2017 and it was all set up and I had my first lesson on Monday the 13th of November. 

Suddenly I turned from a confident FM quilter on a domestic machine to a blob of mush.  Nothing worked, nothing turned out as planned.  Worst of all I gave hubster and my daughter a go on the machine and they seemed to do just fine, not understanding why I panicked or couldn’t do it.  Now as said previously, E2E quilting was not my problem but I am quite convinced I don’t want to ONLY do that always.  What about the beautiful quilting as described in Karen Mc Tavishs’ book “Quilting for Show”?  I wanted to try that.

So setting a whole weekend aside, no inviting family or friends, I did major shopping for (cheap) fabric to start practising.  Sheet, poly-cotton, canvas and polyester batting and my fabric had straight lines on it (at this stage, my biggest obstacle).
I bought myself a fairly good mix of different colour thread to make the look at least interesting, even if screwed up.  Friday was spent washing fabric and at 06:15 Saturday morning I had my first test quilt loaded. I’m quite convinced that I didn’t do it quite right but the 3 layers are up, so I’ll just wait and see.
I had to phone another South African (in Hermanus) owner of this machine/set-up for help and I think I did something wrong with the initial layering but I did well.  Again, the E2E went smoothly but I tried my hand at different modes as well as detailed stitching.  Also did straight line stitching but only successful on shorter lines. I hope once my ruler base arrives I will be able to do better.  Realised I was way too short for the height the machine was set up, so hubster had to lower it which was a mission itself with the weight of the machine on the frame but it is done.  Just some finer details still bothering, so I’d call the dealer again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 4

With hubster out of town on a business trip and I quite satisfied with left-overs from the previous nights’ supper I got quilting.

Completed the next row of blocks (14 blocks done) but something is not quite right, somehow the two lights curving on the far edges seem to be different but what the hell, I’ll just keep it as is and if it really bugs me when the quilt is completed, I might just fix it.
I now have a new activity to focus on, my Q’niqe quilter on the frame and I realise when everybody said that there will be a learning curve, they did not lie.  As comfortable as I felt doing free motion quilting on my domestic machine I now am lost, feeling like a total beginner again.

I have finished my first practise piece and this will be utilised to catch the sand and dust carried in by the cats on my cutting mats.  It will at least serve a purpose.  I don’t have a problem with E2E quilting, I will however still have to practise days and nights doing finer detailed work.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 3

I have house cleaners coming in once a week and hell or high water; I make sure that nothing in my sewing room is out of place or causing them not to be able to clean properly.  So I worked liked crazy to at least get the first row done before they pitch up tomorrow. Only then could I pack away all these strip sets not having to fear that someone would distort their order.
Tuesdays are my favourite day of the week.  I have to lock my dogs in a small courtyard when I leave for work because the cleaners are scared of them but that also mean I can leave the office at around 10 am to rescue our poor pups from captivity.  Nothing is as special as walking into an impeccable clean house.

In the mean while I had my first lesson on my Qnique quilter and I am so impressed with myself apart from the fact that the moment my tutor left and I continued stitching, I couldn’t remember how to roll the quilt up any further….. Darn!  This is however what I’ve accomplished.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Another new toy

We had the grandkids (of the human kind) over last Friday evening.  Granddad is clever in that a swim/splash in the tiny pool counts as a bath after dinner, so cleansed they were and loved it being done.
Then on SaturdayI got word that my latest new toy arrived and we desperately needed to make space for this but first I had to go shopping. Our local quilting guild (I am not affiliated) has a quarterly meeting and I do support one of the vendors from another city.  So I placed my order for Best Press and quickly went to fetch it and while there got some serrated scissors by Apliquick too.
Back home hubby and my son, who just came to fetch the grand kids, moved furniture from one guestroom to another (or totally out of the house) like crazy and I had to start washing all the bedding.  Then ripping the carpet from the floor followed and it was interesting to see the manufactured date on the back of the carpet. 19 July 1983.  This carpet is 8 years older than my daughter and it wore well.
After discovering a huge crack in the sub-floor hubby fixed it and smoothed it with self-levelling screed.  Ha! I sound so intelligent using daily technical terms used in our flooring business.
Then he fitted luxury vinyl tiles in a colour I absolutely adore.  A mix of greys and brown so anything goes.
Time to put my quilt art up the wall.
Finally home but still boxed and the dealer was rather strict and we were told not to even attempt to set it up ourselves, but after convincing him that my hubby is really good, we got the go-ahead.

A week later and I have my new toy assembled in a newly created play-area and I am ready for my first lesson on Monday.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Magnolia Mystery – 3

Some days are diamonds and some just plain hectic.Yesterday was one of those hectic ones.  I knew I had to take MIL to get her monthly prescription, so parrot had to go to the office with hubby but I also bought MIL groceries with some stuff in the refrigerator and these needed to be packed before I left. So we got up and most went according to plan, got back to the office and started my routine which was somewhat disrupted in that hubby planned to leave on a business trip and then the days start slightly more uncontrolled than others but we got going, organized, planned, divided monies due to temporary workers and what not and just as things calmed down slightly, it hit me!.... poor Struis, a rescue dove, was all forgotten in the cupboard where he sleeps at night, alone in the dark without food or water.  There and then packed up, I knew MIL too would soon phone for me to fetch her again, so I called it a day and simply came home to rescue Struis from the cupboard and then got going with my quilting. (I didn’t have to cook dinner seeing that hubby was out of town!)

Even though I had way too much wine when I started this part of the mystery I managed to finish it.  I now have 32 full flower units, 4 left facing partial flower units and 4 right facing partial flower units.  This keeps me guessing.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Eye of the Storm – 2

I continued with this baby and it kept me rather busy.

At this stage I had no clue to where I was supposed to be going but figured I am not that good a cook but if I followed a recipe to the T, it usually works, so I might as well do it with a quilt pattern.  This was not even half way through cross cutting my strip sets.
I often read about quilters referring to their time in the sewing room as “mindless stitching” but heck for this quilt I had to have my wits about me all the time….. nothing mindless about this one and the cat did not help much. This is only block 1 of 42 with this one only packed, not even sewn.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

How much wine is too much?

I got the next (number unknown…. I’ve worked really hard, it is hot, I am dead tired and sip wine to keep hydrated) clue to my mystery (name now eludes me…. wine the problem too?) and I started sewing what should be a flower block.   I got no less than 7 of these (not sure why I can remember this number though)
Now would you believe me, I unpicked all 7, re-stitched, scolded myself, vowed to not drink wine when quilting before it hit me…… simply swap or turn the bloomin sections you fool.  It should look like this.
So this post is directed to “dear me”…… this is what should be done when you had too much wine.  Maybe I should just continue tomorrow.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Owl – 4

With my painted bird done I tackled the Owl, another one of those projects that may never disappear from one of my design walls if I didn’t put serious effort into finishing it.  Chicken’s parent came to pick her up and it was absolutely wonderful knowing I could walk anywhere in my house without stepping into something unwanted.

I had a pretty busy day yesterday with me joining a friend for a back and neck massage which turned out rather mediocre.  A new beauty salon opened and we suspect we were used as guinea pigs for students but then it was so cheap, we should not complain.

Then another friend was in town after a trip to New Zealand and she popped in and gave me a lovely gift of fabric.  Nice to have friends thinking of you when they travel.
This is how far I got with my owl.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Permission to play -2 - Done

This weekend I babysat my daughters’ chicken and more spoilt you won’t find anywhere else.  Needless to say having huge dogs and cats simply leaving chicken to wander around is not the safest idea, so I literally did chicken-sitting.  Where chicken went I had to go to check that nothing goes wrong.  Very little quilting got done and this was one of the few times that I could actually be in my sewing room.  Chicken sleeps, yes, she is not dead, she really does sleep like this
I had to move my colouring project to the ironing board just to get a little more done but I must give chicken credit unlike our parrot the chicken did not show interest in or chew on my Inktense pencils.
I still didn’t like the colouring in part BUT it made me WANT to quilt again so I forbid myself to not finish this and have yet another half-finished project somewhere on a design wall or stuffed in a cupboard and early morning, still in my PJ’s, before chicken and the family got up, I would be colouring in.

On Saturday morning we fetched my daughters’ 2 pit bulls, so a rather busy, dirty and disrupted house with my 2 cats closed down in a guest bedroom. 
My own poor little rescue had very limited time with mom.
To make this very long story of living beings short, I finished my painting project!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I got myself a new toy

Many moons ago I made a rather expensive purchase and bought myself a Metalnova Vapor 2800 iron and because of this little tool I am one of a few people, I know, that doesn’t dislike ironing.  I’ve used my iron to its maximum capacity for all and everything, having it for quilting is simply an added (and wonderful) bonus.

So realising that I am not getting any younger, would soon be dependent on a mere pension I took another leap and bought myself a spare one and I got it this week, brand new, still in the box but to me this feels like an amazing investment made for my old age.  I don’t feel pretty, I feel rich or rather secure, knowing I will have stress free ironing days until I die.  Now watch Crimplene fabric make a come-back as I grow old, just to spite me! This is my new boxed iron.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Permission to play -1

I don’t quilt as much as the quilters in our area may believe and only have a small window of opportunity late afternoon and not necessarily every afternoon.  My other chance is over weekends if granddaughter doesn’t stay over but I have learnt to make the most of my quilting time. When I am done for the day I make very sure that my sewing room is neat and whatever would be next on my agenda would be prepared in order for me to just get going.

With this limited time however I would always be feverishly working on one of my next quilts.  I do work on more than one project as I tend to get bored with one technique, colour scheme or pattern rather fast.  So in trying to make yet another bed quilt and get it done, I hardly ever allow myself time to simply play with my hobby.

When I taught quilting classes, I did this (playing) much more as I had to experiment, test and make smaller projects to be able to accomplish this during a class.  For the last couple of years however I only make bed quilts.

I saw a post on a Facebook page (Sit down free motion quilters) by Sandra Pearson on how she coloured a quilted piece with Inktense pencils and although I have done this before, I couldn’t resist doing another.  So off to the copier I went, tracing the image onto fabric, and then started quilting on the lines. I used neutral thread on the background and can truly say I dislike this.  Even though with the free-motion foot, it felt like stitching heaps of straight line stitches.  Next time I’d rather go back to my old way of stitching quilt motifs with coloured thread and just enhance these with Inktense pencils.
It felt like it took forever and a day to get all the lines stitched but I did it.
Then I sprayed the piece with water to get rid of the blue lines.
I got the rest of my toys ready.
And it turned out to be nothing more than “colouring for adults” this time simply on fabric.  I am quite convinced I won’t do this again but I am this far, so I might just finish it up.