Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scraps of Life

I appreciate everyone's comments, and a few suggestions about the edge of the Janome throat plate being a deterrent to smooth quilting using a ruler. Thanks to a long-time quilter, and new(er) friend, Judi, I have a fix! 

It was as easy as removing the thick throat plate, and putting back on the regular throat plate! 

The thickness that caused the lip is no longer there.  

And, by dialing down the stitch length to zero, there is no interference from the feed dogs while quilting with or without a ruler!

Here's my test quilting - straight lines with a ruler, and then without a ruler. It doesn't look like much, but it quilted very well. An easy fix. If only all of life were that simple.

After many weeks of working on and off on a pattern for Florida, I had it printed over the weekend.   

I spent quite a while machine-sewing the pages into a booklet (rather than use staples), and putting each into a plastic bag.

My best intentions for a perfect pattern went awry when it was brought to my attention that I'd neglected to include binding yardage on the back cover. Sigh. Well, at least the information is there, even if it doesn't look very pretty.

On a happier note... Even though I had to miss the Central Florida MQG annual quilt retreat (we were in Kansas City), I have some wonderful friends who let me know I was missed. A friend, Karen T., gave a little presentation telling me that I am appreciated, have taught them a lot, and I was missed at retreat. She then handed me a bag of goodies:
  • a green cupcake that I am assured has "fiber"
  • MQG koozie that snuggles around a glass of Lutheran "juice," permitted at the retreat center
  • an iPad or iPhone holder made with Central Florida MQG fabric from Spoonflower
  • Cbubbles Soaps awesome homemade soap with lemongrass, spearmint, coconut, palm, and soy
  • Velcro-backed pin cushion, for the sewing machine, made with Central Florida MQG fabric
  • a pin, a chocolate, and microwave popcorn
Thank you, Karen, Cindy, and Dee for making these things! You know how to make a quilter feel special!

I've added to our place settings of Fiestaware through another Macy's sale - 50 percent off! We have ten fruit bowls now. I put one to use right away with vanilla yogurt and fresh Florida blueberries.

"Urban Trek" at 62" X 77" is a quilt top. The design is by Heather Black (Quiltachusetts on IG) from the March/April issue of Modern Patchwork magazine. I'm very happy with the Kona solids I picked: Iron, Cerise, Glacier, Pond, and Sunflower. Quilting design options should be fun!

With Urban Trek ready for quilting, I now have four quilt tops to finish into quilts. My summer resolution is to get all four quilt tops quilted before beginning any new pieced project. Though I will take WIP pieced projects with me when I'm away from home - like when I'm with Big Cypress Quilters, or Central Florida MQGers at Sew-Ins - at home sewing room time is this.

I don't particularly like this quilt which has a sort of space-y, orbit-y feel to it. I'm quilting blob-ish designs that really mean "anything goes." When this quilt is done, it's going directly to Project Linus. I'm hoping some teen will think it's great.

Recently, I've been communicating with two different quilt guilds to give a domestic machine quilting presentation and workshop in August and September. (See "Teaching Schedule" above, if you'd like to know more.) Surprisingly, both guilds have already filled a 20-person workshop, and both guilds are trying to make arrangements for workshop number two! I'm honored, and thrilled, especially as I've missing teaching lately.

My ukulele is still my go-to pick-up toy for engaging in something different. Perhaps I'm playing it too much though as I've developed soreness in my left wrist from trying to make my fingers form difficult chords like D, E, and B-flat. Maybe practicing for an hour or more at a time isn't the best way to go about learning. Shorter practices with FMQ in between is my new plan. Linda

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ruler work Revelation

I wanted to talk about something I recently discovered, and perhaps hear from others whether you've had a similar experience.

With ruler work being the newest domestic machine quilting trend, I've been exploring it more. Now that I have a ruler work foot (purchased in March) for both my Bernina 440, and Janome 1600P (for more than a year), I've been able to do a little comparison quilting. 

What I've learned is that ruler work on one machine may not be the same as ruler work on another machine. This revelation has added to my concerns about teaching ruler work quilting - as I have been asked several times to do.

You see, the ability to successfully accomplish ruler work quilting depends so much on the sewing machine! Not only is having a properly-fitting ruler work foot a necessity, but another concern is how the feed dogs are disengaged or covered. The sewing machine bed must be flat!

Let me show you.

As you can see in this close-up photo of my Janome sewing bed set up for quilting, this machine requires a special quilting plate that replaces the regular sewing plate. This one is thicker. See the area circled in red? The thickness of the quilting plate creates a small lip; there's a difference in heights. This thicker plate is meant to cover the feed dogs. The teeth of the feed dogs are engaged and moving, but they're "deep" enough below the surface that they cannot grab the fabric.

Even with a Supreme Slider on top of the sewing machine bed, the edge of the quilting plate is still slightly visible.

Very easily, when trying to slide the ruler and the quilt under the needle, the ruler can bumpily move along, or can even get hung up on the lip.

This was an accidental discovery when I was ruler work quilting a small piece with a thinner-than-usual batting - Warm 'n Natural. Sometimes the ruler would catch on that lip and I couldn't move the quilt at all. Grrr.

I'm surmising that I previously haven't had a problem with rulers because I most often use Quilter's Dream battings which are more dense. Sometimes I even use double batting (Quilter's Dream Wool on top of Quilter's Dream Cotton). Could quilting on a thicker quilt give more of a cushion that compensates for the lip underneath?

All this thoughts came together when I was ruler work quilting on the Bernina. It has feed dogs that can be lowered, meaning that the Bernina sewing machine bed is completely flat. There's no lip for a ruler to catch on.

However, I will continue to quilt on my Janome. For one thing, it stitches faster than a Bernina. And for another, it has a 9" harp (1/12" more space than the Bernina) for quilting big quilts.

My take-away from this is to simply be aware that any quilt on which I do Janome ruler work should have a substantial batting. Linda

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Work of My Palms

Quilting-wise, only a little bit happened while away from home. And now that I've had a few days to get back to stuff, I have several updates to share.

When traveling by car I never drive, so passenger seat time is spent on handwork, or practicing the ukulele - now that I have that new form of entertainment. My long-term, on-going, will-take-years-to-finish handwork project is making these 8" English paper-pieced hexagons. I put together three of them while riding from Florida to Kansas and back again.

The design is called Spinning Wheel, and I think it makes into a pretty cool quilt. Though pre-cut papers are available for purchase, I drafted this shape in EQ7 and printed my own card stock papers that I cut out with a rotary cutter. The paper's aren't quite as accurate as purchased papers, but I've found that as I remove the card stock, if something is puckery, when it's fabric-only it eases out. 

I'm 23 hexagons into this project, and will work on them again when traveling or when I can't take my sewing machine with me to a quilting activity. I'm out of pre-prepared fabric pieces, so I need to spend time doing some cutting. 

My scrappy Slopes quilt is getting attention. I've now sewn blue blocks and purple blocks, and continued to use my 18"-long Strip Stick to press seams open. I don't know how us quilters managed to press nice, tuck-free seam allowances before this gadget was invented!

After pressing, I cut the pieced strips into 6-1/2" X 6-1/2" blocks. This picture is of the smallest remaining trimmings. They're the ones I toss into a bag sewn from upholstery fabric. When the bag is full, I'll sew it closed and donate it to a pet rescue facility to be used as a bed. These beds are one of several charity projects by Big Cypress Quilters.

This is how Slopes looks on my design wall. I love it! But I don't have enough scraps to repeat every one of the colors. Right now it measures 60" wide by 48" high.

I've wondered if I should go ahead and put it together, rotate the design, and call it done as a kid's quilt. It looks good this way too.

More than anything, I've been itching to quilt again. An in-progress quilt has been languishing on the Janome for too long. So, here I go a-FMQing! Linda

Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day Revisited

Many things make it attractive to visit Kansas City, not the least of which is spending time with family. But another treat is getting to worship at Methodist Church of the Resurrection. It's even more special to me now as we continue to live in our Florida community without a church home. Though we worship every week, and lately it's most often Baptist, no church is "home." During the past five years we've attended 12 different churches of a variety of denominations, and mostly because each of them has "rules" for membership we haven't joined any. I deeply miss my Lutheran heritage, and in particular, Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines, Iowa. Since both Hope and Resurrection are considered mega-churches, being able to attend Methodist Church of the Resurrection felt almost like home. 

Since April 1, the congregation in Leawood, Kansas, has been worshipping in a new sanctuary that is absolutely stunning. The stained glass above the altar, music and choir loft, is breathtaking, and has the notable distinction of being the world's largest stained glass window. You can see more pictures here. And here's a great video of it. 

Pastor Adam Hamilton's current sermon series is real, and so relevant to our current culture! I wish I could attend next week to hear more. 

Because we worshipped on Mother's Day, we were treated to a beautiful vocal duet by this mother-daughter team. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a dry eye in the sanctuary. 

When worship is a joy, it's almost like a drug... I crave more of the Lord and that his goodness will permeate my life. That's the kind of spirit-filling church experience that continues to elude me living here in Florida.

Mother's Day afternoon found Jill and me shopping at an Overland Park Bed, Bath and Beyond store. She found these seasonings and gifted them to me. I'm the biggest fan of popcorn (often for dinner), and like it best with spray almost-butter, salt, and white cheddar seasoning. Our local BBandB doesn't stock the seasoning year 'round, but the store in KC does! Yay!

Through Instagram I received a message from @Macys asking if I would give permission for the Fiestaware photo in my IG feed to possibly be used in a Macy's ad or marketing material. No compensation. Heck. Why not? I did buy all the pieces from Macy's. If you ever come across this picture in Macy's marketing material, please let me know!

A happy announcement popped up in email while I was away. Three on-staff quilters in the Modern Quilt Guild have put together a picture book (no patterns) of modern quilts made by 236 quilters.

My "Lime 'n Luxe" quilt is in the book. (I signed a contract in January.) This quilt was my one accepted entry into QuiltCon 2017 in Savannah.

35" X 35"
There's no compensation for being included in the book...  except for the honor (and it is) and being able to buy the book at half price! Ha! "Modern Quilts: Designs of the New Century" can be preordered, and will be released in December. Linda

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Graduation in Kansas City - Part 2

On May 13 at 8:30 pm, Celina officially graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School during Commencement exercises at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.

Of course, we took pre-graduation photos. The blue and white cords she's wearing mean that she was a DECA International Association of Marketing Student.

We were tickled that our Texas son, Brent and grandson Austin were there to help celebrate, but missed our sweet DIL and littlest grandson, Luke.

It's a high school tradition to decorate one's graduation cap: Colorado State University, Rams.

Milson is still a puppy at age two.

It's tough to get a good picture of the whole family, especially when one member makes it known that he doesn't want to be included.

Though Celina was the seventh student to walk across the stage, it took a long time to graduate somewhere around 430 students. We didn't get home until 10:30 pm, with two of the three little boys asleep.

Celina opened graduation gifts the next day. Among them was the hedgehog pillow I made for her. She's still a big fan of hedgehogs, and wants one from her Uncle Evan's awesome pet store: Olathe Pet Shop. However, a live hedgehog isn't in Celina's future. So hopefully this Colorado State-colored hedgehog will be a nice substitute on her dorm room bed.
Isn't Celina's Bapa a cutie? That face!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Graduation in Kansas City

Preface: As most of you know, I keep my blog - and have for more than nine years - as a means of journaling about everything, including family. So, if you read my blog for quilt-y reasons only, you won't find it here today.

Yesterday I returned home from ten days away, driving to/from Kansas City and spending time with family. On Saturday, May 13, our 18 year-old granddaughter, Celina, graduated from Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, and we were there for the festivities.

Her open house/reception was Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, and I was very happy to see many family members who came from the area, from Iowa, and from Texas to help celebrate.

Our son flew in from Texas with the older of his two sons, and it was fun to see the little cousins together. Tay (left) and Austin (middle) are seven, and in first grade. Aesa is in kindergarten. You can imagine the activity and noise they generated for three days!

Celina helped decorate for the open house, including putting balloons in several places. Indoors were Colorado State University colors - green and white.

Outside were Blue Valley Northwest colors - purple and gold. 

Once family started trickling in, the kitchen was the natural gathering spot. That's my baby brother in the center, in the gray shirt.

Food was submarine sandwiches from Goodcents. Very good! I made two big salads - artichoke rice salad, and corn tomato salad.

Colorado State decorated cookies were homemade, and fabulous!

It was a gorgeous day to spend outdoors. These four are second cousins from three families.

Our Dad with us three "kids." I'm the oldest, then Susan, followed by Alan.

Dad with five of his seven grandchildren. Our son and daughter are on the right.

Graduate Celina with her parents.

Graduate Celina with her maternal grandparents - Dan and me!

Those "CSU" balloons were helium, and one managed to break away from it's tether.

We were entertained for a long time, watching it float away as it glinted off the sun until it couldn't be seen anymore!

Following the open house was commencement which didn't start until 8:30 pm! Blue Valley Northwest was the fifth commencement ceremony that day at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.

More about that to come. Linda


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin