Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hexie #8

Here is the hexagon block I finished for this week. I really like the tan fabric in this block, and I know I'll be sorry later that I didn't buy more of it.

I didn't get much sewing done this week, other than some handpiecing. I did finish my son's mittens though and got them felted, just have to sew the cuffs inside.

I'm still waiting for my encoders to arrive. Hopefully this week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Mittens

It turns out that getting the Pinwheel quilt quilted this week wasn't in the cards. I got the backing washed on Sunday, cut and pieced it Monday, and got it loaded on the frame. Even though my little practice piece turned out beautifully, the encoders that govern the stitch regulator started goofing up, so now I'm waiting for the company to ship a new set plus a new cable.

The folks at Tin Lizzie are just the nicest people, and they must be incredibly patient to help people troubleshoot their problems over the phone. They are a shining example of outstanding customer service, right up there with the Electric Quilt company. Don't you wish the tv and cell phone companies operated like that?

So anyway, the mittens. I got this pattern for felted mittens in November from my knitting class and finally finished this pair several weeks ago. The cuff is knit separately after the mittens are felted, then sewn into the mitten. I've got a second pair knitted up for my other boy. Haven't felted them yet, and the second cuff is on the needles still with about six more rows to go. I may have to make a pair of these for myself.

Last winter my younger son complained that the wind went right through his mittens (that someone else gave him), so I hoped these would be thick enough to block the wind. The day after I finished them, he drove down the interstate with his mittened hand stuck out the window and said he couldn't feel any wind through the mitten. What a testament, huh? I told him it was a darn good thing the mitten didn't blow off his hand, because I would have been plenty mad!

I'm still not done with mittens. My good friend Sherry hasn't taught me how to make the sweater mittens yet, and I want to try a pair of glomitts--those fingerless mittens with the flap you pull over your fingers. The pattern is free at Halcyon Yarn. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you'll find it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hexies #6 and #7

I never even got my Pinwheel quilt loaded on the longarm today. I forgot I hadn't prepared a backing yet, and there were just too many other interruptions. Hopefully tomorrow.

I finished a hexagon block Friday night, and another late this evening, so there's two for the week. I'm liking these more and more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Who doesn't love quilted feathers? I've long admired anyone who can quilt them, and some day I hope to learn to do them freehand. In the meantime, a pantograph will work just fine for me.

I played on my Lizzie today and practiced this pantograph called Plumage by Willow Leaf Studio. I'm feeling comfortable with the design and would like to use it on my Pinwheel Party quilt tomorrow. My practice piece isn't perfect, so I'm hoping a busy quilt and matching thread will hide any imperfections.

Kris at Tag Along Teddies is continuing on with the One Project a Month Challenge again this year. I didn't sign up for it, but I am playing along as a personal challenge. Sign ups are closed now, but Kris maintains a list of particpants on her blog, if you're interested in following along. I cleaned up my list from last year, and so far I have.....nothing finished!

I also cleaned up my Power of Ten list. I didn't do very well last year, but I'm doggedly pursuing it again this year. Anything motivational is bound to be a help. I also mean for the list to reflect my goals for the year, to include every month one oldie but goodie (a UFO); 4 hexagon blocks (one a week); and an RTQ quilt (ready-to-quilt quilt--I have at least a dozen of these, large and small, still sitting around). So far I've got a good start on January.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Persistence Pays Off

I really struggled with this star block for my September Sun quilt last time I worked on it, which was several months ago. I lost some seam allowances, so I knew I'd have to rip part of it out to fix it.

Have I mentioned how much I detest ripping? It's been sitting in the closet since last fall...right next to the Pinwheel Party quilt. However, having achieved success with the Pinwheel quilt, I decided I was ready to tackle the star block again.

This time I printed out freezer paper templates for the corner squares, setting triangles, and the eight big diamonds, ironed them to the backs of all my pieces, then used them as guides to piece the block. It worked perfectly-- my points all match up, and the block finished to the correct size. Yay!

Now I'm ready to start sewing the blocks into rows and add the four borders. I'm going to try to get the top finished by next weekend. Then I have to decide whether I can manage the quilting myself or if I should have my good friend Koleen do some custom quilting on it.

Hexie #5

Last year I blogged here, here and here about making a few hexagon blocks for the Mosaic Magic quilt shown on the Great Hexagon Quilt Along. If you'd like to see the original quilt, you can find it by taking a look at the posts above.

These are diamond-shaped blocks, and I am handpiecing them using the Inklingo software to generate the shapes. I love this method of printing the shapes right onto the fabric. When they come out of the printer, they're ready to cut and sew. I like handpiecing, but it is a slow enough process for me, and Inklingo lets me get to the fun stuff a lot faster.

The colors I'm using in the quilt are as close to the original colors as I can distinguish from the photograph, and they include tans, browns, creams, pink, red, and blue. I'm using mostly civil war prints, but I may throw in other fabrics if they appeal to me and suit my purpose.

There are 82 blocks in the quilt plus another 16 or so half blocks. I'm not in a hurry to get the quilt finished, and I won't work on it to the exclusion of everything else. So one of my goals for 2010 is to handpiece one hexagon block a week. I think that's doable for me; and if I can piece an extra one here and there, I expect I'll have about 60 by the end of the year.

I love looking at the backs of these blocks after they're pressed. I find those little hexagons at the intersections just fascinating.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top Finished

I finished the Pinwheel Party top late last night. I like how it turned out, and I'm really happy to get it done. I am hoping to quilt it on Sunday and get it bound next week.

I sew the crazy pieced blocks and borders on a foundation, and I usually use one of my light colored uglies as the foundation--good way to use some of them up. These borders take a long time for me to do, and they can be a little tedious. So I amused myself by adding a few selvages along with the scraps. I wish I'd thought to do it much earlier in the process. I would have added them to all the borders and the crazy pieced pinwheel blocks too. As it is, they're only in the top and bottom borders.

Credit where credit is due: quilt design by The Quilted Cardinal

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Computer Problems

As savvy computer users, we all know that it isn't a question of "if" your computer will fail, it's a question of "when". All computers will fail at some point in time, whether it be six months or five years. But there's never really a convenient time, is there? Two nights ago my keyboard was behaving as though it had a stuck key, and the computer kept beeping at me, but after a little while it fixed itself. I haven't backed up my files for a while, so do you think I took that as a hint? No!

Last night, the keyboard and computer continued their misbehaviour, so my people (I have people) switched out the keyboard, rebooted the computer, and it refused to boot. After reseating a few connections and a thorough cleaning, the computer rebooted and things were fine the rest of the evening. So do you think I took that as a hint? No!

This morning, she refused to boot up at all. My people spent all day messing with it, determined that the motherboard had bellied up, replaced it with a spare we had on hand, and now she works like a champ. Not only did I not lose any of my files or an EQ6 activation, which I was worried about, but we didn't even have to reload Windows. My people are good, and I'm so lucky to have them! Do you think I'm taking the hint NOW? Yes!

Oh, and the original keyboard still works too, so it's been reinstalled. My old keyboard is now 16 years old.

Tomorrow I"ll be backing up my files...and answering emails!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Pinwheel Party

This quilt was a pattern I tested for The Quilted Cardinal nearly two years ago. I never fully assembled the top because I didn't like the navy blue bits in it, and I knew it would take me considerable time to rip it all out; and as I've said, I hate ripping. So I stuck it in the cabinet, and it became a UFO.

Several days ago when I was considering what I might like to accomplish in my sewing room this year, I decided it was high time to get this quilt finished. This is what the quilt looked like before I removed the navy blue. While I was at it, I decided to take out the dark green too and a piece of red in one of the center pinwheels that seemed distracting.

Here is the quilt now with the first border attached, and I like it so much better. The last border will be a crazy pieced border, and then it will be ready for quilting.