Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Home Again

Since April 15, we've been away, driving to and from Kansas City to visit family. We kept busy while there, taking care of grandsons while their mom was away, and visiting various family members - my dad, my sister, and nephews and their families. I also had a lovely catch-up over coffee at Starbucks with (no longer blogging)-quilter-friend Carla. I also appreciated worshipping in a Lutheran church, and the following Sunday, worshipping at Methodist Church of the Resurrection - a church that feels much like Lutheran Church of Hope (West Des Moines) that I miss so very much. They're both led by dynamic, inspirational pastors.

We traveled to KC to help our daughter celebrate her April 20, 40th birthday. I find is simply amazing that we have a 40 year-old! She didn't want her picture taken because she was feeling a little under-the-weather, but here's the Twinkie cake I baked and decorated... if you want to call that decorating! A candle for every five years.

Aesa (age 5) and Tay (age 6) practiced riding their bikes without training wheels. This is the day both of them mastered it. 

Dan and I spent a day with each grandson, pulling them out of school/pre-school to play board games, eat lunch out, and visit Uncle Evan's pet store. Last week, Evan celebrated five years in business. If you're ever in Olathe, Kansas, be sure to stop at Olathe Pet Shop. He sells all sorts of birds, reptiles, and fish, and pet paraphernalia. No dogs or cats.

Hedgehogs may be a quilt design craze, but have you ever seen one in person? Or considered it for a house pet? Evan took a hedgehog out of the cage for Aesa to touch. 

When Tay was at the pet shop, he wanted to hold the critters... 

...including handling the live bug he fed to the hedgehog!

Tay with a baby lizard...

... a snake...

 ... and a baby tortoise. As well, Tay fed a live worm to a sting ray. Maybe there's a pet shop job in Tay's future!

Our activities with Celina were tame by comparison. We took her out of school for a long lunch, and delivered her back to school after a stop for Caribou coffee. Bapa played some of his favorite oldies music for her on his iPad.

After the boys' Saturday morning's soccer and football games, we took them to Louisburg's (Kansas) Cedar Cove Feline Sanctuary.

It's another worthwhile place to visit, and especially entertaining if you're there during the 4 pm feeding time. 

I need to include this family picture of my dad when he was recently in Austin, Texas, visiting our son, DIL, and two grandsons. Austin and LJ are only two of Dad's nine great-grandchildren.  

Though I did a little sewing at Jill's house - shortening Tay's football jersey, and mending a seam in a favorite stuffed dinosaur - during two days of car time each way, I occupied myself with English paper piecing. Six more Spinning Wheels are pieced to add to the 11 previously pieced.

On the way to KC, we spent the night in Paducah (a week before AQS QuiltWeek), so I had a chance to go to Hancock's of Paducah. I looked for and found most of the Kaufman Kona solid colors needed in the 2017 QuiltCon Charity Quilt Challenge. I hand-washed the blues - Ocean, Hyacinth, and Ultra Marine - and I'm glad I did! The color catcher on the left shows the bleed. Same goes for the yellow picked up by the color catcher when I washed Citrus by itself. Yarrow, Pink, White, and Silver didn't appear to bleed. 

A must-stop in KC is KC Modern Makers. I love Elizabeth's shop! She stocks a wonderful assortment of modern quilting cottons, as well as other fabric types - denims, jerseys, bottom weight, home dec. These knits will be sewn into tops. I was delighted to find that she sells Superior needles. This is the brand that's been recommended to me, to see if it keeps my Pfaff from skipping stitches while quilting with a double batt. 

It's nice to be home again... in the heat... 90-degrees today. While it's always wonderful to share life with family, there's something to be said for sleeping in your own (king-sized) bed, and selfishly managing your own time. But... I truly miss this family very much... a grandmother's perpetual conundrum. Linda

Friday, April 22, 2016

Quilters, and The Villages Views

These are some of the students who were in my March "Beyond First Time Quiltmaking" class. They learned machine appliqué to make a "Candy Pop" quilt from Christa Watson's book Machine Quilting With Style. 
After Beyond classes, I taught another Free Motion Quilting workshop.

For students'  first free motion quilting, I suggest they write their name and date on their fat quarter-sized quilt sandwich. 

That information is good for documenting improvements in the future.

I'll teach at the Lifelong Learning College again in September. For more information, click on the "Teaching Schedule" tab at the top of this blog.

A recent finish is this 11-1/2" X 13" mini. It's improv, hand-appliqué, domestic machine quilted. 
The shapes were scissor-cut from solid fabrics - no drawing. Then needle-turn appliquéd to the Kona Ash background. Oval spiral quilting is a nice change from circles.

For the first time, I faced a quilt. It makes a nice finish for the right quilt top. I like that I could leave openings for hanging with a wooden dowel. Backing fabric is "Good Neighbors" by Amanda Jean of CrazyMomQuilts, purchased at Connecting Threads.

I'm leaving you with views of a new area on the south side of The Villages. This is the Sharon Rose Wiechans Preserve where we can enjoy a lovely spring walk, and see wildlife - maybe even an alligator.

That's a wooden boardwalk across the wetlands.

Beyond the preserve, hundreds of new homes are being built.
The Villages continues to grow. The last count I heard was 110,000 people. Did you know there are more than 1,000 quilters in Quilting Guild of The Villages?! Central Florida MQG has 52 quilters.

Dan and I continue to agree that we made a good decision moving here... coming up on four years ago. Where does the time go?! Linda

Monday, April 18, 2016

Stash Builder Box

A quilty Instagram acquaintance, Amanda, recently invited me to take a look at her new venture, and provide a review. So today's post is about Stash Builder Box, a monthly subscription-based program for quilters. 

Amanda sent me a sample box.

Inside a stamped canvas bag...

...were these items: 60" tape measurer, pencil, seam ripper, straight pins, Gütermann thread, and a Stash Builder Box pin #IHEARTSBB.

As well, two patterns.

And wrapped inside this...

Fabric! Six fat eighths. For newer quilters who don't have much fabric, it's a good stash-building bundle. This is Fancy and Fabulous by Riley Blake. How do I know? Because a card in the box gave me a link to "what's inside" where I found that information. Good to know, in case I like the fabric so much I want to buy more.

Anxious to try the patterns, I began with the "Royal Squares Quilt," pulling out my own precut pile of 2-1/2" squares to choose fabrics for this 8" (finished) block. All these fabrics, including the Kona White, are from my stash.

Then I made the alternate block using my stash of Kona Silver, and 2-1/2" squares.

Two blocks! Good instructions, and fast to sew with scraps! I like them so much, I made a couple more.

Guess I found my next scrappy 2-1/2" squares project!

Using the other pattern which is a BOM, I made this 9" (finished) Greek Cross block using those Fancy and Fabulous fabrics from the Stash Builder Box. Pretty, isn't it?

All in all, the box contained a nice selection of products especially appropriate for newer quilters who are building a selection of tools and fabrics. A subscription is $23.99 per month, plus shipping.

You can learn more about Stash Builder Box here, including that there's a purpose behind the program. For each box sold, Amanda and her friends pull fabrics from their personal stash to make quilts for children. It's nice to know altruism is behind what Amanda's doing. Linda

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Sewing Room Flittering

Last Friday I spent four hours with a Pfaff dealer in Ocala. I trust the tech's 30 years of sewing machine experience, and believe she tried everything possible to fix the problem of my machine skipping stitches, but the problem still exists. When quilting from side to side the machine skips stitches... but not all the time.
Quilt sandwich is, from bottom to top:
Widescreen quilt backing; Quilter's Dream Poly Request loft; Quilter's Dream Wool; and Kaufman Kona
The tech even contacted Pfaff HQ and wasn't able to receive help. All the techs are newer than the Grand Quilter!

Even after a good servicing - set to factory standards - and different thread than Aurifil 50-weight, the problem continued. The tech believes my problem lies with quilting double-batting. Oddly enough, I didn't have problems when I double-batt quilted Ad Libbing.

An IG friend recommends that I try a Superior Titanium Top Stitch needle to see if that makes a difference. When I can get my hands on a package, I'll give them a try.

This is the quilt I've been attempting to quilt. It's my own quilt design - called "Make it Easier - used to teach how to sew a variety of quilt blocks.

Since bringing my Pfaff home, I was able to complete quilting one section. How did I do it?

I steam-pressed the quilt sandwich! It helps! Only a few stitches skipped. Still, unless the Superior needle works better, I will think long and hard before using double batting again.

I've completed 12 blocks of my "Spinning Wheel" English paper-piecing project. Time to print and cut more papers, and choose and cut more fabrics for more blocks. It's one of those, "Let's-see-where it-goes" projects.

I also cut out clothes. That's a new pair of yellow shorts for me, and another Dress a Girl Around the World dress. Those pockets are gonna be too cute! Mermaids.

With mod quilter-friends at our Central Florida MQG Saturday Sew-In, I worked on this "Rainbow Rounds" foundation paper piecing project. This quilt appeared in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, issue 24. What did we do before we had Wonder Clips to hold pieces together?!

Thought you'd like to see some of our modern quilters with our modern makes. Good picture, isn't it? Yep, that's me - lower right. Check out more about our chapter on our Central Florida MQG blog. I write that blog too. 

As I was FPPing, I also sewed 1-1/2" X 1-1/2" leaders and enders to make 4-1/2" X 4-1/2" 16-patch blocks... trying to use up that ever-full basket of tiny cut squares.

And here you have my flittering sewing life. Will I ever get enough of it? Linda


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