Category Archives: Sewing

Loaner

I took my machine to the dealer today, they were pretty cool about it. The main clerk looked at it, said that terrible noise was normal (it isn’t) but then saw how it got stuck in that loop trying to calibrate the embroidery unit. She tried out another embroidery unit, which worked… so she sent me home with that unit as a loaner. The owner of the shop is supposed to look at it when he comes in tomorrow, and they may just replace it. Who knows. In the meantime I have a functioning machine again, so I am happy.

So far I have only quilted a 16″ square of my quilt, because I had to rip out a couple segments and re-do them on account of having my tension set wrong (resulting in loose stitches on top, and tight on bottom). Now I am tired and ready to sleep before I start making stupid mistakes, even though I really wish I could stay up and play all night. I already made one stupid mistake and picked a bit of a real stitch when I was trying to remove a placement line… hopefully I can repair that without having to rip the whole thing out and do it a third time.

Maybe I will be able to finish it this weekend. I can’t wait to see how it comes out! It might be hard to find the time though. This weekend we have to get the tree down and try to get the house in order again. I am so sick of having this huge tree taking up space in the house, and there are various things that have piled up as a result of Christmas, being busy, and general laziness. Not to mention the never-ending pile of laundry, and the probability of mom needing help getting settled into her new apartment. Not that I mind helping, just means less time to finish my quilt. And not only am I eager to finish this one, but I am eager to start the next! I have problems.

The next quilt is going to be for mom. Although I suppose I should probably go back to that Flower Patch quilt I was piecing before getting interrupted by life… but that is just a project for the sake of experience, and I am not that eager to get back to it. The quilt for mom will be the first thing I have actually made to give someone… and it is a pattern and fabric that I really like. So, since it is something someone is waiting for, it takes priority over my other projects. The only reason I have put this baby quilt before it is that it was small and quick, and Anna needs a good blanket to play on. But I guess I really should finish that Yellow Brick Road quilt before starting a whole new one. So, scratch that… the next thing is to finish the Yellow Brick Road quilt, then I’ll start the one for mom. All I have to do there is add the border and do the quilting, the top has already been pieced otherwise.

Sad Now

I was working on quilting my latest quilt when my embroidery machine seemingly died! Something must have happened when I re-inserted the hoop after repositioning the fabric. It started telling me to put in the correct hoop size, which I had. I tried re-inserting a few times to no avail, so I turned it off and back on. When you turn the machine on with the embroidery unit attached it calibrates the arm, first instructing you to clear the area around the unit (so it doesn’t hit anything) and remove the hoop. Then the arm/carriage moves up and down the unit. However before it completes the calibration cycle it makes an awful noise as though it is jamming or something, then gives that same pop up message telling me to remove the hoop and stuff to calibrate the arm. Damn it! I don’t think I have even had the machine two weeks. Anger! Sadness! Frustration! But mostly I just want to finish my quilt.

So, tomorrow I get to take it to the shop and hope it is something they can fix quickly/easily and that it isn’t something I did that means it isn’t covered under warranty. I didn’t force or abuse it though, so it shouldn’t be my fault unless this thing is a hell of a lot more fragile than I think.

Quilting in Progress
Quilting in Progress

 

 

This is a photo of my quilting just before the machine died. The straight line is just a marking for alignment and will be removed after it is finished.

 

 

 

 

In other news… tomorrow is the day mom moves up to Raleigh. So in the midst of dealing with my embroidery machine issues I will also be helping her out. In the morning I will have to go over and get the keys for her unit, and meet the movers at her apartment since she will still be in Greenville cleaning up the old apartment. We also need to get our old washer and dryer moved to her place, as well as a couch we have in our storage unit for her. Should be a fun day.

And for the Anna update. She is about 13lbs now, and has begun rolling over from her back to tummy. The problem is that she doesn’t know how to get back onto her back. And she doesn’t seem to be aware she is rolling over to her tummy until she ends up there either, which means she suddenly finds herself stuck on her belly and is quite disturbed by it. Now that she has been doing this a week or so she is starting to be a little less upset by being on her tummy, but at first she would wake up screaming after rolling onto her belly. So we had a few rough nights there. Plus a few nights ago she ended up face down in her mattress, and when I went to roll her over it looked like her color was off. Not sure she was really blue, but she definitely wasn’t right. So that was scary.

Last night though she seemed to finally be okay with sleeping on her stomach, as she fell asleep around 10pm and slept straight through until around 7am this morning. That is the longest she has ever slept, and the majority of it was spent not moving… to the point where I woke up several times and had to stare at the monitor screen to make sure she was breathing. They claim that babies start sleeping 10-12 hours a night at some point, waking up during the night only once a week or so… maybe this is the beginnings of that trend!

Baby Quilt no. 2

Decided Anna needed a blanket for tummy time that her little feet wouldn’t slip on, like they do with the store-bought mats we have. What a wonderful excuse to make a cute quilt! I picked up the fabric yesterday and started cutting tonight (12/29/13)…

It is really late now so the piecing will start tomorrow. I plan to knock this one out quickly, then finally get back to the Yellow Brick Road quilt. I just need to get the border on that one, then actually quilt it. I have been waiting on my QuiltDesign Creator software before going back to that one though, it is taking forever to get here. It was one of the quilts I did as a learning experience, so I don’t mind experimenting on it.

After that I have two planned to make for Mom, the Flower Patch that is also currently in progress, and one other that I have just because I liked it. So many quilts, so little time. And once I finish all of those, I have a whole binder full of patterns just begging to be next.

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(Posted this from the iPad, I will add this to the projects page later)

Busy Busy

I have been keeping pretty busy lately. Between the baby, Christmas shopping, visiting family, and various other mundane things I haven’t had as much time to work on projects as I would like. It seems I have been up until 1:00am way too many nights lately just working on things.

I have nearly completed the gift bags I am making for Christmas (yes I know Christmas is already past, but the family gathering isn’t until the 29th) and I finished the laptop bag I was making. Well, almost. I still haven’t done the binding to pretty up the inside seams, but I will get around to it. I did try to do the binding, but it turned out that the bias tape I picked up was the wrong size and I didn’t feel like cutting my own. I got some larger bias tape yesterday though, so hopefully that will work. Finishing it isn’t a very high priority, the bag looks good from the outside at least. I have been meaning to post photos, but haven’t had time. I will get around to it soon, probably when I post photos of the completed gift bags. And those bags really are nearly complete! I just need to run to Cary Quilting tomorrow (Saturday, 28th) to pick up a little extra fabric because I miscalculated on the drawstrings for a couple bags. Then I will have to finish them since the family gathering is Sunday!

Christmas was pretty awesome this year. I got cool toys, my sister was able to come up, and Anna got to open her first presents. By “open” I really just mean we aimed her at the tissue paper in some gift bags and let her grab hold. I took some photos, but I haven’t even looked at them yet… so add one more thing to my “I need to post that” list.

I would like to report that Anna loved her first Christmas, but unfortunately she was pretty cranky. We did Christmas in three rounds. The first was with Sean’s family on the 22nd, and that went smoothly since we opened all the gifts for her and she was well rested. The second round was near her bedtime on Christmas Eve. She had fun ripping the tissue out of the first couple gift bags, and loved the crinkly soft book my mom gave her… but she quickly melted down and we saved the second half of her gifts for the next day. We again had bad timing and she was getting hungry and tired when we started opening her gifts, and by the end we rushed through the last couple boxes because she was fed up with anything that wasn’t food. She got several new outfits, a few toys, some Christmas ornaments, and a used iPod so that we can play music for her with our old Sound Dock. I think she made out pretty well! Next year should be more fun though, since she should be able to open stuff for real then. She will only be 16 months-ish at that point though, so the real fun probably won’t come until Christmas 2015.

New Page & Sewing & Anna

I added a new page today, or pages really. I decided to post photos of my sewing projects, so you will now see a “Sewing Projects” page in the menu, with subpages for my projects. The photos there now aren’t that great since they were pretty much all taken as snapshots with my phone just as a means to post a photo. I will have to try to get the good camera out and at least take photos of my finished projects. I don’t have too many completed right now, so it won’t be that hard to catch up photos if I ever find the time to do it when the sun is up… and that will definitely be a challenge this time of year.

Since I posted last I have made some drawstring bags and a Christmas stocking. You’ll find pictures on the new page :) I think the stocking came out pretty good, and it was a great way to play with the new sewing machine I got as an early Christmas gift. The new sewing machine is completely awesome and I am so excited about it! I have been playing with it every spare moment I can find. I also got some quilting software for Christmas, but it hasn’t come in yet. Once that arrives I will finally finish that Yellow Brick Road quilt I started in October… so excited for that! Stay tuned for pictures.

And now for the Anna update. She is growing bigger and bigger every day. All of her 3-months clothes are nearly too small for her, and the 6-month clothing is only a little big… so probably by the end of January I will be packing away all her 3-month stuff. I have no idea what she weighs, but it has to be about 13 pounds. She doesn’t have another doctors visit until January 10, so it will be a few weeks before we find out exactly how much she has grown.

Her Nana reported that she has rolled from her back to her stomach twice today, which is a first for her. Anna doesn’t really like tummy time, so it scared her. Just a few days ago she rolled from her tummy to her back by herself for the first time. So any day now she will officially be in the “able to roll over” category, and will have to get over not liking tummy time. But if she is able to rollover at will she probably won’t mind tummy time so much anymore I guess.

Anna has also graduated to her stroller seat; part of the time anyway. Until recently we always just left her in the carrier, popping it onto the stroller frame, when we went out. She is starting to get cranky with it after long periods of time though. I think it is partly because she wants to be sitting up now (or propped up at least) and she is also about to outgrow the infant insert in the car seat. So the car seat is kind of a snug fit, but she is still a little too small to take it out.

So if we know we will be out for a while, or if she is awake when the car stops, she gets to sit in the real stroller seat now. For short trips she still stays in the carrier though, or if she is asleep and we don’t want to wake her. At first we put the “baby cocoon” thing on the seat for her that is designed for small infants to use like a bassinet when the stroller seat is fully reclined… it zips up around them to keep them warm and has a cushy head holder thingie. It is just lies on the seat, and you pull the straps through it to secure the baby. Yesterday she rode around sitting up (slightly reclined) directly in the seat though and was perfectly happy. Now I am happy too because I don’t have to carry the cocoon around in the car anymore, and I don’t have to put it on the stroller every time we use it without the carrier (the seat doesn’t fold with it on). Soon I won’t have to carry the carseat stroller adapter anymore either!

Fabric Part 2

This is a follow up from the post on Nov 9.

I finally finished all those flying geese. All 136 of them. What a pain! I got better at them by the end, but there are plenty of wonky ones in there that I will have to fix by trimming or hiding the wonkiness in seams. Apparently I am not the only one that has trouble with them, as I found a thread on the quilting forum I frequent where people were talking about it. Turns out there are lots of methods to make them, and the one detailed in the pattern I am working with is one of the least favorites. Next time I need to make them I will know better! Oh well, another lesson learned.

The method I was using is also pretty wasteful of the fabric, as I end up clipping corners off all the fabric pieces. This made me start wondering about what people do with scraps. I know lots of people on the forum talk about scrap quilts, but I wasn’t really sure what scraps were too small to keep. Today I stumbled on the perfect thread to answer that question, and learned of “crumb” quilts. They use little bits of fabric stitched together to create larger blocks of fabric. So this Flower Patch quilt has lead to multiple lessons learned. From now own I will have a scrap bin and a bag of “crumbs” in my stash.

My next step will be to lay out my fabric combinations for the different flowers and make sure I like what I had planned out now that I can see all four fabrics together more easily. Then it is more flying geese (of a sort) for me. The next piecing I have to do will be for the inner petals, which aren’t true flying geese as it is a square rather than a rectangle. Same technique though.

There won’t be much picture worthy with it for a while still. Any picture I took now would look just like the last ones I posted on Nov 9. Once I get the flower blocks pieced I will get some photos up, but at this rate it will be a while! Between the baby, life in general, and working part time I don’t have much time these days. And I only have a week left before I am back at work full time.

Fabric!

The fabric a kind lady from the Quilting Board forum sent me arrived a few days ago. I snapped a photo of the fabric and the patterns she sent, you can see it laid out on the table in the photos below. Some of the fabric will work well for her quilt I think, but others aren’t really going to fit. I can still add it to my stash for future projects though. There are a few fabrics in there that will be good for the “I Spy” quilt I have started collecting charms (5″ squares) for. The quality of the fabric isn’t the best, but it will be fine for projects that aren’t going to have a lot of wear. Anything I make this early in my quilting hobby isn’t going to be great anyway. It was really awesome of her, a perfect stranger, to send all this to us.

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It will be a while before I start on mom’s quilt. Next time she comes up to visit we will plan out what to make for her. I have some fabric in my stash that might work with what was sent, so we can look through all the fabric options and pick a pattern. Should be fun!

In the meantime, I have started on my Flower Patch quilt. This one is going to be pretty tedious I think, just because of all the flying geese in it. There are 17 flowers in the quilt, with 8 flying geese each… so that is 136 total. Plus the inner petals are done with the same sort of method, so you might as well add another 34 to that number. I am getting faster at them as I go, but they are a little demanding just because you have to get everything lined up right and press them as you go. So the process is: (view flying geese link so this makes more sense)

1. draw a diagonal line on the square from corner to corner, this is the stitch line
2. line up a square on the left and stitch it
(potentially add a step here to rip the seams and do it over if it isn’t lined up right)
3. Trim off excess material
4. press to set stitches
5. fold seam toward rectangle and press it
6. repeat 2-5 for right side of rectangle, only pressing seam toward square
7. spray with starch and press the whole thing
8. repeat 170 times…

Below is a photo of the fabric cut and ready for piecing. I have them grouped in a bundle for each flower. I will go through and sew all the components for the flowers, then lay them out to make sure I like the colors I have put together before I sew the whole block (that makes the flower) together, in case I want to swap some colors around. This also means that I haven’t chosen the blocks for the flower centers yet, I am waiting until I see all the flowers mocked up before I decide what to use for the centers.

Although it is dim, the first photo is fairly accurate for colors, but the second is not. The solid fabric in the second picture is a light cream color, but it looks more yellowish in the picture. You can actually see the cream fabric in the first picture up top, folded on the table under a ruler. The color still isn’t exactly right in that photo, but it is a heck of a lot closer than the photo below.

The second pic below shows the first flower components I pieced. For the rest of the flowers I am not piecing the inner petals yet (the large square) because I want to make sure I like my color choices while I can still easily swap the outer petals around. I just did the first one so I could see how things were going to fit together. If I regret sewing those together later I can always rip the seams and swap the fabric.

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