Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Free Motion Quilting

August 14, 2018

I used to be pretty good at FMQ, but my oh my, did that recent Comfort Quilt test my patience.  I lost my FMQ mojo.  That’s what happens when you don’t practice – often.

I was so upset that I was considering purchasing a new sewing machine – the Juki straight stitch only one – the mini version.  Came to my senses and realized, no, it wasn’t the sewing machine’s fault, it was little old me.

Determined to get better, I watched FMQ shows on YouTube and old Craftsy classes I had purchased, and practiced, practiced, practiced.  After 2 weeks of almost daily practice, this is what I sewed out today:

FMQ

Yes!!!  Now that’s more like it.  Not perfect, but I’m happy with the improvement.

I will now practice FMQ a few times a week, or I’ll lose my mojo again, and can’t let that happen.  😉

Hugs..

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Bee Sewcial

August 8, 2018

I’m a member of a small group of quilt artists called Fiberistas, and we were looking for a small monthly project to try recently.  Beth sent us links to a concept new to all of us.  It’s called BeeSewcial.  Seems there is a thriving group on Instagram and on the internet, where members select a Queen Bee monthly.  The Queen Bee chooses a theme.  It can be a particular block, a thought, a word, a song, etc…  The members all make a block and gift it to the Queen Bee, who then makes a quilt out of the blocks, and gets to keep it for herself.

We all thought that was a great idea as our last group project – a Round Robin ended halfway through.  Some of the pieces were getting rather large, and interest waned. One block a month is very doable, and still lets us try all sorts of new techniques, and we get to make a quilt for ourselves.  The best part?  We each receive a block made by someone we all love.  Doesn’t get any better than that.

We decided to have all the block sizes be divisible by 3.   A block can be as small as 3″x3″ or 3″x12″ or anything between, but none larger than 12″x12″.  This will be fun and possibly challenging to put together 13 variously sized blocks, and should result with lots of great varied arrangements.

Jess chose Square in a Square, and I finished mine already.  It is 9″x9″.  Yes, good old procrastinator me, finished it a full month ahead of time.  Here it is:

Jess

She mentioned she liked batiks, so batiks she got, and I had oodles of fun playing with the design section in my Pfaff sewing machine.

That center embroidery started out life as a single scallop.  I multiplied it, tapered it, rotated it, and had the best time ever creating those squares, within squares in the center.  Sense a theme here?  More squares in a square for Jess.

This is the first time in years, and I mean years, that I used the embroidery module on my sewing machine.   It was so much fun.  That module is staying on my sewing machine, and I have big plans for it – in between finishing up the Santa quilt.

Hugs…

 

Surprise, Surprise

June 24, 2018

The day after my birthday, I ended up in the ER traveling by ambulance no less.  Quite a shock.  Was there for hours, had a gazillion tests, and sent home with orders to see a cardiologist the next day.

Have you ever tried to get an appointment with a cardiologist in one day?  Ain’t going to happen.  Didn’t matter because I ended up in the ER again, 24 hours after my last trip.  At least this time, my husband drove me, and we went to a different hospital.

This ER visit was 6.5 hours in the waiting room followed by being put in a room with a guy coughing so badly, I was worried about my husband getting sick.  I was admitted for observation, wore a heart monitor, and got sent home with BP meds, and an appointment to see a cardiologist.  Nice of them to make it for me.

Two days later I realized I caught an infection while in the hospital, so got to take antibiotics, and the next day realized I’m the one who caught what the guy in the bed next to me had.  Such joy – not.

I’m feeling much, much better now, and am looking forward to working on my Santa quilt again.  I’m also hopeful the rest of the year will be happy and healthy for me,  my loved ones, and all of you.

Hugs…

 

It’s My Birthday

May 29, 2018

Another year, another birthday, but as I age, I realize another birthday is not guaranteed to me.  Of course, another birthday has never been a given, but the reality of my mortality hit hard this year, when my best friend from high school, passed away this Spring.

All of us who knew her, knew this was coming, but it didn’t make it any easier for us when it happened.  This was a release from all the chemo, radation, fatigue and clinical trials she endured, but I still miss hearing from her.

My friend stayed positive till the end.  She stayed hopeful, kind to her friends, and as her husband said, “Everybody who knew her, loved her.”  True that.

With this birthday, I’m now a year older than my friend was when she passed away.  What will I do with my time on this earth?

Take it day by day.  That sounds simple, but how many of us live in the present?  We make bucket lists, we have our calendars filled with meetings and appointmets, and then what?  We get stressed  filling up our lives with “To-Do” lists.

Today, the sun is shining.  That gives me joy.  I love seeing the sun.  Watching how the landscape changes colors as the sun moves across the sky – the highlights, the secret, shady areas – it’s all quite spectacular.

Last night we had a full moon.  It never fails to awe me when I can walk around my house in the middle of the night without a light on, and have it illuminated by the glowing moon.  There is something magical about moonlight.

Do I have future plans?  Not a lot of them.  Am I bored?  No.  I have a gazillion projects I can be making – or maybe not making, but am working on them one at a time.  It’s a lot more fun for me to work on more complicated projects now, and take my time with them.

I’m taking daily walks again.  It’s good for my body, and it makes me happy.  After breaking my femur this past January, I really appreciate the ability to walk.

Lest you think I’m withdrawing from life, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m eliminating activities that keep me busy.  I don’t need to be busy.  I want to be engaged in what life brings my way.  Spontaneity and reflection will be welcomed with open arms.

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delilah on the Design Wall

May 8, 2018

Finally, all the large and small blocks are completed – including the 31 small pinwheels, and they are up on my design wall under review:

My Delilah on the design wallThe lighting is terrible, but I am so proud of myself for getting this far.  I have remade a couple of blocks, and am thinking about remaking one of the pinwheels, but assembly has commenced.

There is still one large block that I think should be remade, but it was one stinker of a block to make.  You can probably tell which one I’m talking about – the grey and weird yellow green block a little left of center.

I was determined to use all the fabric I received in my fabric kit.  This was supposed to stretch my use of color, and it did.  Most of the fabric was great, but I seriously disliked some of the fabric.   That weird yellow green was in the fabric kit, but I’m the one responsible for using it, and for pairing it with the grey.  I think it would look a lot better if I removed the fabric around the 8 pointed star, and replaced it.  Sheesh, I just talked myself into it.

Aaargh, this quilt will never be completed.  It’s been a looooooong 12 months, and I learned I will never, ever enroll for a block of the month, or a template of the month again.  Just as I got in the swing of the quilt, I’d finish the month, then have to wait for the next shipment to arrive.

I like focusing on one quilt project at a time, and simply couldn’t get my brain wrapped around working on another challenging project that was in the works.  I solved the problem by shelving the other challenging project, and making a Comfort quilt with very easy piecing so I could happily sew with my quilt group while in Tucson, but really wanted to wrap up work on Delilah so I could go back to my Santa quilt – the other challenging project.  How about that for a run-on sentence?

Now this one-project-at-a-time person, is working on Delilah, wanting to work on the Santa quilt, and has a pin basted Comfort quilt that needs to be quilted.  This causes me stress.  I don’t like stress.  Neither does my blood pressure, and I didn’t have high blood pressure – till now.

It’s all rather silly.  I’m in control of whether I say yes or no to a project.  I just recently had to back out of participating with my friends on a solid fabric quilting challenge that was due in May.  It would have been great fun to display all the quilts together, but I would prefer to survive Spring.  It is awfully pretty in Upstate New York in Spring.  Who wants to be inside sewing all the time when they could be outside in the sunshine, listening to the birds, and seeing what blooms next?

Hugs…

 

 

An Ending and a Beginning

March 10, 2018

After nearly 40 years of being in business, I closed Dimity down officially yesterday. Filed my last NYS sales tax forms and will complete my last federal paperwork later this month.

It is a bittersweet time for me. I truly thought I’d stay in business till the day I died. You know what made the decision for me?  I’m sick of filing the forms when I’m on vacation in Tucson every Spring. Such a little irritation, but one I didn’t want to bother doing anymore.

It will be nice having simplified tax forms next year too. The less forms I have to fill out, the happier I am.

My business experienced a lot of change over the years, and I enjoyed each and every challenge.  From selling knitting machines, writing patterns and teaching across the USA and Canada, to hand dyeing yarn, purchasing beads from Tucson’s great shows and reselling them, to exhibiting art quilts and selling some.  When one revenue source died, another was explored.  Life was never boring.

While my business is closed, I still have lots to explore.  Not sure if I’ll be starting a new blog or not, but there will definitely be different subject matter discussed now.

Garment making will most likely be pursued, and I doubt I could give up quilt making.  So stayed tuned, folks.  There is more to come.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Sprinkled Delights and Year End Review

January 12, 2018

Just like I said in the last post, I couldn’t wait to start the next set of blocks for Delilah. I didn’t even wait for the templates and fabric kit to arrive, so these two blocks are variations of The Spinkled Delights Block.

I definitely prefer the more complex look of the second block.

This is the first time I’m creating a post on my iPhone and I can not figure out how to add text after I’ve inserted the photos, so here goes with my year end wrap up.

I have successfully purged 4,001 pounds of stuff out of my house.  Neither my husband nor I can see one bit of difference.  What the heck is up with that?

Seems we’re both guilty of still purchasing way too many items.  My downfall is fabric.  I won’t comment on what he buys because it covers a wide range of items.

There will be a different approach taken in 2018 because relocating is becoming more of a reality, and we need to get serious about downsizing.

Happy New Year to all and as always,

Hugs…

 

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Delilah Turbine Blocks Completed

December 22, 2017

Month 8 blocks have been completed.  Now this was an easy block to piece – technique wise – but for some reason, I kept on reversing the large triangle when I was sewing the strips together.  Guess my geometrically challenged brain did not like that piece.

Here are the four blocks:

Mine 1

Mine 2

Mine 3

Mine 4

I love the first one, the second one is very different from all the others, the third one is okay, and the last one looks great when placed in the quilt layout, but doesn’t make my heart sing.  Only the first block makes my heart sing.

I made these blocks when I received some bad news, that was later discovered to be untrue – thank goodness.  Did have a miserable 30 hours or so, and those feelings influenced blocks 2-4.

I’m not going to remake them, as this quilt is a record of what I was making in the last year, and life is not always rosy.   It’s all good though.  It’s a true reflection of the year, and these blocks will remind me to be grateful everything turned out to be well after all.

Here is a picture of the quilt blocks made so far in the quilt layout:

Layout after block 8

Lots more  greyscale sections needed to be replaced by my pieced blocks, and I can not wait till my templates and fabric kit arrives for block 9.

Hugs…

 

 

 

 

Delilah 4 Patch Square Blocks

November 10, 2017

 

I’ve made two out of four blocks for this month’s Delilah TOM, and made one according to the pattern:

Mine 1

And one eliminating the center 4 patch, and placing a fussy cut piece of fabric there instead:

Mine 2

Both blocks contain fussy cut fabric squares – little birds in the first block, and roses and the center in the second block.  I had fun selecting fabric for these two interpretations, and have to admit, I like the first block much better than the second.  Why?  The 8 different border prints on the first block appeal to me more than the repetition of the blues and greens in the second block.  I’m slowly but surely morphing into the Jen Kingwell frame of mind – the more fabrics used, the better.  😉

Also, I made the second block the second day of catching a cold.  Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong.  Messed up the orientation of the fussy cut roses.  Took out the seams, realized I took out the incorrect seams, sewed them back together, ripped out the seams that needed to be removed, and jammed a pin in my sewing machine’s feed dogs.  Luckily, was able to remove it – intact.  It was a minor miracle.

Started putting the border fabrics on, and of course, tried to match areas that weren’t supposed to be sewn together.  Thought about forcing the seam, then thought, I’m not making great decisions today, and turned off the sewing machine.  Came downstairs, looked at the photo, and realized I had oriented the border pieces incorrectly.  They fit just fine.

The cold is still with me, and there are 2 more blocks to make for this month.  At one point, I had texted my friends and said I was only going to make one block from each month from now on, and make a much smaller quilt.  Then I thought, I’ve come so far.  It’d be a shame if I didn’t finish this, so am now all gung ho about it – for the first time in a long time.  You see, blocks of the month or templates of the month are not for me.  I don’t like working on multiple projects.  I like focusing on one project at a time and finishing it.  Finishing up a month, and then having to wait for the next shipment to arrive drives me bonkers.

Yes, I made the purse in between shipments, but I really want to work on the Santa quilt I started last year, and know I would just get into the Santa quilt, and then the Delilah templates would arrive, and I’d feel guilty about not working on them.  Seems I can only concentrate on one complicated design at a time.

It’s all good.  Santa can wait for December 2018, and Delilah will be completed on time, and I’m really hoping to squeeze a top or dress in between the Delilah blocks.  I sorely need some new clothes, and have a few parties to attend in December.  It’d be very nice if I had something new to wear to those parties.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Birdie Sling

November 1, 2017

I took a break from making the Delilah TOM, and made a much needed purse/tote for myself.  Now I’ve already made an Amy Butler Birdie Sling purse/tote, but wasn’t thrilled with some aspects of the purse.  I really like the design, so decided to customize it for my usage.

Here is a picture of the finished purse/tote

purse birdie sling

This suits me much better, and I think it still looks a lot like the original.  The changes?

1.  I altered the main panel so that it would fit on the fold of a 44″ wide piece of fabric.  This uses much, much less fabric, and I did it by folding the panel pattern piece  in 1″ on the edge that is supposed to be on the fold.

2.  Enlarged the small pockets so my cell phone would fit.  I made them a little wider and longer, and just made it when it came time to sew the gussets.

3.  Made 2 pleats across the top panel instead of 6.  This is a large purse/tote, but with 6 pleats, the top opening was pretty small.  It was hard to put large items inside.  Problem solved.

4.  The top band pattern had to be larger as the panel had less pleats.  I added 1″ on the band pattern piece at the fold, so got an additional 2″ for each piece.

5.  Removed 1″ in width for the base of the strap, and also added length to it.  I redrew the strap pattern piece, and the length is now 31″ + seam allowances.  I still think the base of the handle is too wide, and might change that the next time around.

6.  The handle was also made a lot wider at the shoulder.  I find a wider handle distributes the weight better on my shoulder.  Mine is now 4″ at the shoulder, and I fold it over for a 2″ doubled section that is nicely padded.

7.  I also eliminated the fusible fleece.  I don’t like a purse/tote that is too stiff and bulky.  This drapes nicely against my body,

Lots of changes, true?  And now comes the time of a big belly laugh. I happen to have a sewing machine with at timer on it.  It keeps track of how long the needle goes up and down.  It took me four 2-3 hour days to make this purse.  Fusing, redrafting pattern pieces, fusing, sewing, fusing, a little more sewing.  Can you tell most of the time was spent with fusing?  I would dearly and purely love a fusing fairy to move into my home when I make a project like this.

Back to time for the big belly laugh though.  It took a whole 41 minutes of actual sewing time to make this purse.  Yes, a mere 41 minutes.  Who would have thought?

Hugs…