Productivity at a snails pace

microphotography of orange and blue house miniature on brown snail s back
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I am guessing you are thinking I have a quilt with snails on it.  NOPE.  I seem to be a snail of late.  I like to think of myself as a “speedy-macfeely”.  I suppose at work, I am, but when I get home, the mundane has gotten to me.  Tired of the rut of dishes, diapers, laundry, cooking, bathing, my hobby becomes slow to a stop.  A snails pace.

Saturday, amongst the mundane, I did manage to get my outer border strips sewn for the Good Fortune quilt.  I also made the last 4 blocks for the 4 corners.  Two more strips ready to be sewn to the remaining sides.  This quilt chapter is coming to a close.

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Setting my goals for the week, Good Fortune will probably become a complete flimsy!  A baby boy is coming into the world in June (friends baby that is), so I will be taking baby steps to start on this.  The fabric has not arrived.  The brick road quilt blocks are calling my name, so I would love to sew a few more of these together.

My mom has a bow tie quilt she found at a sale.  It will be next on the longarm.  I will start quilting on that tomorrow.  It is 120 inches…a biggie and will take me awhile.  I am planning a couple of different techniques for this.  One of which concerns my bobbins.  I only have 8.  All but one have a different color on them.  I am going to quilt this in all different colors.  I did this on my Just Smurfy quilt and it played beautifully together.  I am also going to try a different pantograph technique.

I am not as rehearsed as I would like to be with feathers.  I had mastered feathers on my DSM, but it was because I could turn the fabric in the correct direction to get the feather right.  My eyes play tricks on me at cerain angles so I will need to refine my feather skills.  In the meantime, I will be using a feather medallion out of a hand quilting book my mother has and audition this in the negative space of the quilt.  I look forward to time with this quilting feat pantograph style!

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I managed to find the proper backing for Good Fortune as well as backing for my tumblers quilt (now I am in the poorhouse, LOL!). Those will follow on the longarm after the bowtie.  Not sure how I will quilt good fortune, but the tumbler I am leaning toward an fleur-de-lis of sorts in each tumbler.  I am needing to fill all of my bobbins for this, hence the multi color choice on the bowtie to assist my thread predicament.  More bobbins will be coming soon, which will prevent this from happening for a while.

Work has been an alghorythum of crazy.  Drama and a bizzare schedule zap my sewing batteries, another barricade preventing a happy hobby.

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For most of america, you have snow!  Here, the daffodils are blooming!  Spring is coming,  I know all of your snow shovels are needing a respite.  My sympathies to your bundle ups of socks, boots, scarves, muffs….break out the hot chocolate, as everything is easier with chocolate.

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Goals are set, Lets see if I can maintain them properly in the coming weeks.  And thank you for reading my blog!

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Quilt design software for free!

In my normal readings of all things quilt related I come across a freebie!  At first glance I was a bit intimidated.  Software sometimes boggles my mind, but all software has an undo button.  Undo buttons magically take you back one move….two moves….as many times as you want to go back to what satisfies.

I came across this tidbit in this youtube video called “sew up your stash, by Karen Brown” of Just Get it Done Quilts.  For those of you who have tremendous stashes, she gives very good advice.  I was using this advice before the youtube video as I figured it out along the way.  My motto….When there is a will, there is a way.  Click here for Karen’s youtube video.

In the very last part of the video she kindly gives info for a beta software run of a quilt design program.

I played with this and was astounded in just 10 minutes I came up with this:

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Reminds me of bats and could easily be done in halloween colors.  With a click of the mouse I changed the drunkards path blocks the opposite direction and then flip flopped the colors.  Butterflies is what I was seeing.  They also have free patterns to start with a template, and then you can audition a quilt in different colors, or you can rotate a block and audition the difference before one piece of fabric is cut or sewn.

Interested in learning more?  Click here or type in prequilt.com in your browser’s address bar.  This software is user friendly all you have to do is watch some of the tutorials they give by clicking the learn button.  Amazing!  Easy!  Fun! Free!  Couldn’t be better!

You can subscribe to their service, and a saving feature is being designed currently to save your electronic works of art to retain and reuse again and again.  Neat stuff all free.

I would like to take the time to thank Barbara for passing the links to me, and therefore passing it on to all you quilters out there.  She is a long time M* forum member and I enjoy what she shares, shows, or has to say.  Grammababs you are awesome, and  I am paying this freebie forward to other quilters.  Thank you!

Enjoy!

Stages Of Gladness

This morning while waking up the girls, I realized how glad I am to wake them up while I am at my freshest and while they are at freshness.  As a mother at the end of the night you are glad to put the children to bed, so you can sigh in peace, lol.

Quilting has this property.  We all have a project that becomes a chore and you “put it to bed” and are glad to silence the nag on your sewing table.  You are glad to move onto another project whether it is brand new, or a nag of a project from another time.  You are glad to gaze upon each day until you are no longer glad, then you become glad to ignore it, shuffle, not look at it, hide it, and ultimately to finish it.

We are glad for all of our projects regardless of the gremlins within the actual chore of the project, even the pleasurable quilt experiences……all Gladness!

I am glad to have a finish this week!  The last stitches were accomplished last night.  A new technique acquired!

A couple of years ago I started stitching my strings onto telephine book pages.

I put this project away until I had just a bit more variety.  My tote became a dumping ground of laziness.  All scraps started finding there way to this bin.  It was impossible to find strings.

At the end of 2018 I decided to straighten my bin of strings, eliminating all but the strings.  A bunch of ironing and sorting happened.  My string bin in now tamed.

As a result another quilt was gladly started in the fever of organization!  Brick road will be seen soon.

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I finally got the strings quilt backing and got it loaded onto the machine.  I had a hiccup of tension finding a warped bobbin.  Those two rows were ripped out and I was glad to move onto finish of the quilting.  While ripping out the stitches I gave much thought to applying the binding while it was loaded on the frame.  For you longarmers who do not apply the binding at this step, you are missing out on a marvelous shortcut.  Curious how this goes?  I found a lovely tutorial on youtube.  Click here to see how it is done.

After stitching with my longarm, closing out the binding, and pinning the scrappy binding to the back and running a top stitch with the featherweight had flawless results in a recod time (the featherweight does NOT need a walking foot).  I am glad I tried this binding technique.  I will be glad to do it again.

Butterflies are now part of this $10 quilt.  Yup that is all the money I have in it.  The strings you keep equals a free quilt top in the future.  The white sashing was a gift from my mother, and the backing of 4 1/2 yds at $2 per yard is a glad way to invest your fabric stash.  A little stash investment with a big return.  Here is the finished quilt.  Diamonds on a Shoestring budget so fondly named will be hugging a loved one in no time.

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I am glad I am done and I get to work on another project.  I only have two more tops ready for quilting and another top almost done.  These tops are yards and yards of fabric which is trimming the fat of my stash freeing up much real estate in my corners of the house.  Fabric purchases, here we come, glad for the plentiful, glad for their usefulness, glad for a fabric update!

This is a post of gladness!  Perhaps a little shift in how you think about projects will bring you much gladness!  Perhaps a positive encouragement and a different way to look at the mundane will change you forever because you were ignoring all the gladness in your heart!

May you be glad to start, finish, or be somewhere in the middle of your project!  And thank you for reading my blog!

A milestone

A milestone is a measurement.  Reflection on where you started and where you are now. You could be a month into a project.  You could be halfway done or even complete.  In quilting lingo, you are either in a new project, or somewhere in the middle of a project.  You could nearly be done with a project.  A milestone is something to celebrate.  You are no longer at the start, nor at the end but somewhere always in between.

When we conquer, milestones are greatly celebrated.  I have had a couple milestones this week.  One of which is a pleasant birthday.  It comes every year, and as we age it is just another day.  This years birthday came to be as a plesantry.  A gathering that usually never happens did!  A splendid milestone as I have been in existence one more year and I got to be surrounded by family.

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A piece of cake pin cushion made by mom, with clever lace frosting!  And an organizer for stuff :), mom is always finding useful trinket quitly related items. I will use this to the inth degree!  pieceocake2

My second milestone is TENSION CONTROL.  I have finally figured out what had caused me so much greif on and off between Dec 1st till now.  I have a bad bobbin.  This bobbin has been used unsuccessfully in three quilts.  But this is the one I was able to narrow it down.  It winds weird and not in the entirety starting and stopping.

I was quilting this….

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And each time I loaded a bobbin, no adjustment was neccessary.  And then I loaded the one that would not wind right.  And humps in the tension on the top of the stitches happened.  Adjustments were tried and failed after one pass of the pantograph.

I have a whole row to rip out.  It happens, and will probably not happen again.

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When this happens it sews fine and then all of a sudden you have loop-de-loops on the back and some on the front.  These are pretty easily ripped out from the back side because the tension was so slack just a snip and a pull, and several inches come undone.  Incidentally, this is the backing I got a couple of weeks ago at hobby lobby for $2 per yard.  I did not have enough for overhang on all 4 sides.  So I stitched a 6 inch strip on one end.  As I neared the end I had about an inch before I would have stitched into unwanted fabric territory.

I wish I had worked on Good Fortune.  I have less than 15 blocks of that last border to make.  Working a 12 hour day adding a half hour for lunch and a hour commute both ways made for one very long day.  Wiped me out for three, enabled me to leave early on my Birthday and quilt at my machine.  One thing led to the good fortune of another, not exactly in a desirable sequence, this is life.

I am excited to see pictures of others good fortune quilts as it is the last link up.  Click here to visit the linky party at Quiltville.blogspot.com.  During one of these mystery quilts, one has something else to look forward to each week, whether it be the linkups, reading the instructions, or sewing the blocks.  After it is over I will have to wait for the next mystery quilt that builds sew much excitement for me and others.  Now that it is over, there is a feeling of let down.  Not sure why I have experienced this.   I am certain it is a very climactic event for me.

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This milestone is sew close!  Thank you Bonnie Hunter for gifting me the ability to make this quilt happen.  You have much on your plate and still take the time to share your gift!

During the EnProvence mystery I swore I would never let go of that quilt, and this Christmas I gifted it away.  Never is forever.  I think when one gifts a quilt as extreme as these mystery ones, it is yet another milestone in quilty life.  Learning to embrace the memory snd the process of how it came to be, at the same time letting go of material possessions.  That gift I will never regret. I know I did the right thing.

And thank you everyone for reading my blog!

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Daffodils Pantograph Style

I finally got time on the longarm.  I battled tension issues again but in retrospect, it was only worth a mention and not like in previous posts.

A couple years ago, a coworker who has received two baby quilts from me (gifts), gifted me her grandmother’s stash.  Her grandmother realized that she would never get to all of it, so she purged.  I was the recipient of that, and am forever grateful.  This made many quilts.  Here are just a few.

Quite a sampling.  A lot of the fabrics were 70s orange and browns, with lots of 90s burgundys/reds.  I made the most of this fabric.  I have kept a bit of it, and passed on to the Stitching group non-profit who may have already used it up.

In this stash of stuff were some lovely dresdens that are waiting to be sewn to cloth.  Some dresden’s that are blocks waiting to be sashed.  And then there was this humble baby quilt.  I quilted that today.  Will bind it during the week as time allows.  I will be gifting this back to my coworker as a surprise.  Something completed her grandmother made.  Something her grandmother can see completed.  I am going to recommend she either lets her girls use it now while they are little as a hug from their great-grandma.  Or to put up until my coworkers girls have children of their own and it will be a present from that child’s great-great grandma.  Either way it will be hers to do with as she pleases.

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There are daffodils amongst the stitches and I am very pleased with my first pantograph run,  This came to be as a trade of sorts.  I traded two one gallon ziplock baggies of scrap strings for a priority mail box full of pantographs.  There is a larger version of this pattern, but for this small quilt I did not think the large would do the scale justice.  I see I still need a bit of work between the pantos, but this is practice.  It is ultimately quilted.  With the mauve fabrics, I bet this was originally made for my coworker and never brought all the way to fruition.

This was my first pantograph experience.  Memorable!  I learned much.  For those of you starting out on your longarm, do not go directly to the pantographs.  Your eyes need to be on the quilt, listening to your machine.  You need to get lots of practice on quilt tops before moving to a simpler task.  This will give you the wisdom to move to the rear of the quilt.  You need to master the basics of tension and thread and loading, floating, batting before you can move to the rear of the machine.  If you do, you will miss out on much and potentially have a bit of rework every time.

I have gotten Good Fortune out on a non-rainy day to snap a photo of it so far.  Mind you it still needs ironing.

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I have the pieces for the outer border about 60% pieced, I still need to cut out a few more and stitch those.  I can’t wait for this one to get to the longarm.  Not sure how quickly I will get this one quilted as I do not have a backing.  I have stitched all my quilts up it has depleted the larger cuts of fabric.  I see a purchase of fabric in my near future.  🙂

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In all the good fortune quilts I have viewed I kept seeing the wavy border of and could not see it on mine until I hung it up on the clothes line and took a few steps back.  I could really see it then.  This quilt turned out better than all my expectations.  I really worried about all the loud black fabrics I chose, but it really blends and works!

No link up today, this gives me more time to get it to completion!

I am off in pursuit of a cleaner house LOL.  For those of you who cheered me on during the mystery, you were right!  It turned out fine!  Thank you for that positive encouragement.  Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.  And Thanks for reading my blog.

 

Workin’ for the Weekend

Ahhhhhhhhh.  The big W has finally arrived.  This plays thru my head as I write this post.  Cheesy 80s music is still pretty good music, but the title of the song fits perfectly for the weekend ahead of me.

As you may recall reading my last post, I worked all last weekend.  I accumulated 61 hours this week towards my paycheck.  Nice for the pocketbook, crappy for everyday things like cooking, bathing children, and laundry to name a few.

The speed of things domino-ing and changing at work was fast and for most of those working hours I was on my feet.  The next three weeks I will be faced with more work than usual.  This is hurting my hobby!

To tried to cook everyday, I raise my hand!  Cooking did not happen every night, but no one went hungry.  Laundry was lumped into the machine as I left everyday and/or the very last thing I did before I went to bed.  Some dishes got done, but I only touched the dishsoap to wash my hands.  Thank you mr reliable 24 year old dishwasher!  And thank you little 7 year old hands for helping mommy with chores.

Today’s agenda was supposed to be of the Jelly Roll Racing nature.  THAT did not happen as the schedule would not permit another activity that will happen for someone else in the household concerning Keto dieting.  My two bosses have been very successful with this diet.  50 lbs in 2 1/2 months….the holiday months at that.  So, I deem that pretty important for the household.

I have been reading of the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar.  Lowers cholesterol….that is certainly worth a try.  Not sure about the taste thing, but I recently saw on Shark tank there are now wonderful tasting versions of this.  I will get back to you about the cholesterol thing.

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Photo by Adonyi Gábor on Pexels.com

My goal of having a side done of my last border on good fortune just did not happen.  No stitches of any kind happened since last Sat.  I aim to longarm this weekend weather permitting.  A post about good fortune will be posted on Monday for the linkup.  Sorry blog you suffer greatly from the raise in working job hours.

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What’s that?  I think I hear Abacus (my so named machine because I can really count on him) calling my name!

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I would like to take the time to thank all of my subscribbers!.  That is creating a new milestone for the blog.  I appreciate all comments and likes, and hope I am helping you with your quilting.  Subscribbers, is there anything you would like to see more of?  Less of here?  Let me know how I can attract more like you!  You are the bestest!  And thanks for reading my blog!