Saturday, December 03, 2016

Scrappy Saturday Spools week #5

For the rest of the year, I am trying to finish my scrappy spools quilt.  You can read more about it in this post.
I really put a push on and forced myself to sew those long, unwieldy diagonal seams. There was a lot of matching to do, and lots of fabric to shove, push, and pull through the machine. It's hard to man-handle all these blocks and it is surprisingly heavy with all these seams!

This week I focused on the bottom right corner of the quilt top. I was making good progress until I noticed this. There are too many blocks made from the same purple with dots fabric. There are 3 of them in the same area. I had this problem when working on the left side of the quilt! I decided the block in the middle had be extracted.

There we go... see the spool block with the pin in it? It's a new import to replace the extracted purple dots block. Much better. I can live with that. 
Now to finish up the remaining long diagonal seams. I may need to bribe myself to get it done and chocolate will likely be involved!
To see more RSC finishes, hop over to SoScrappy.

Friday, December 02, 2016

More Machine Quilting

Since I decided my Circa 2016 quilt must be finished in the year 2016, it has really lit a fire under me to get going on machine quilting. I am also machine quilting my Votes for Women UFO, so I have two different projects on the go and I can switch back and forth depending on the type of quilting I feel like doing each time I sit down at the machine.
I am starting the quilting in the centre of the quilt as I always do. The quilting will just be stitch-in-the-ditch, which I don't do very often any more because it is boring. But there are so many seams on this quilt to quilt through, and I want it to be a quick finish, so I am tolerating the boringness :) And also it is a wonderful break from the intense machine quilting I am doing on my UFO of the month. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

UFO Report

I realized I had set a lofty UFO goal for November, and I didn't even come close to meeting it! However I did get started on it, so it's all good. I realized I was making this project into a very big challenge in my mind, and was therefore procrastinating getting started. Once I decided to look at this project as "only 48 miniature projects to quilt", it seemed more manageable to me, and I got the first panel pin basted to start the quilting.
I have the perfect recipe for enjoyable quilting with my Brother 1500, which is:
*Aurifil thread in the top and in the bobbin, 
*a Magic Bobbin Washer in the bobbin, 
*a Topstitching 90 needle (which reduces skipped stitches), and
*Machinger gloves.
It took me a long time to find this perfect formula and I spent a lot of money over the years on fancy threads that only made me 1) swear a lot, 2) waste valuable time on testing and adjusting terrible thread tension, and 3) struggle with machine quilting. But this combination is as smooth as silk, with perfect tension every time with my sewing machine.
For each block I put the walking foot on and stitch-in-the-ditch around the inside edge of the sashing.
But I only sew to where the screwdriver is pointing so that it will be easier to attach this panel to the others because there will be no quilting close to the edges where the seam allowances will be.
Once that is done, I put one of my free motion quilting feet on the sewing machine and get started on the block. This photo shows an open toe foot that works well when I want to see exactly where the line should start and stop.
And this free motion foot has a plastic disc that is good to use when the block does not lay flat. It seems to mash the quilt top a little flatter to quilt through, but it's less precise. I use this one when there are lots of bulky seams to quilt over/through. 
I am viewing each block as a miniature quilt, and try to think of a design to quilt that has as many continuous lines, and as few stops/starts as possible.
Right now I am more than half finished quilting the centre panel. 
My December goal will be to finish the machine quilting on all 3 of the panels of my Votes For Women quilt. It's another lofty goal, especially at this busy time of the year, but I will have some days off over the holidays and might have the opportunity to work on it then.
Hop over to One Monthly Goal and see what other quilters are going to work on in December.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Grandma's Toy Repair Shop

As most of my blog readers know, my granddog Max is quite a character and loves to chew things - like quilts and toys. He has a "toy graveyard" where his parents toss the toys needing repair. When the box is full, I bring it home to work on these damaged toys. I feel like I am an elf working on the island of misfit toys (reference to Rudolph movie).
Max likes to chew the faces and usually tries to remove the ears and eyes of the stuffed animals, and then tear out the stuffing.

Some of the holes can easily be sewn over. Sometimes I cut the head right off and sew it up at the neck and he will play with the body of the animal. Sometimes I remove all the stuffing and he carries around the fabric body until it's a scrap and goes in the trash. It's a "make work" project for me, and although it takes me away from the quilting that I'd rather be doing, I have to admit that I smile the whole time because Max has brought so much happiness and love into our lives!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Design Wall Monday

It's a boring looking design wall today. These are the neutral 4 patch blocks for step #1 of the Quiltville mystery. Bonnie recommended that if you want your finished quilt to be a smaller size (smaller than 87" square), it is a good idea to make half the blocks and that is what I'm going to do for this mystery project. So here are almost half of the recommended number of blocks. 
I sewed a big pile of blocks without any thread, so those had to go through the machine twice! Don't you just hate when that happens? I can usually tell by the sound of some machines that the bobbin has run out, but I can't notice a different sound on the Singer 301s.
I have enjoyed cutting and sewing these neutrals from the Good Neighbours fabric line, but am looking forward to cutting into all the other fabrics and get some contrast going in the next step.
Linking up to Patchwork Times and Quiltville's step 1 link up.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy National Pins and Needles Day

Did you know it was a special day today? Well, besides being Slow Sunday Stitching, and my baby sister's 46th birthday, today is also National Pins and Needles day
 My friend Debby recently bought a fascinating package of pins and needles from a Facebook auction. Just look at the size of these huge needles! The bottom needle is what I am using for my Life Is Beautiful embroidery threaded with 2 strands of DMC floss. These other needles are thick and long and amazingly sharp!! Would they have been used for darning socks? 
Some of the larger needles were wrapped in soft cloth and tied with string. I guess that was a way of keeping a treasured needle safe and sound if you didn't have a needle book to keep it in?

Any speaking of which, just look at these fascinating needle books!
I spent a long time looking at these needles and wondering who had used them in the past. I am particularly fascinated by the "Lady Gay" book at the top where she is carrying a needle as if it were a gun, and the military figures are lined up behind her, some with red flags and some with white! And look at the book with the native chief with bright red lipstick! Both of these needle books must have interesting stories, but how can I find out about them?

And just look at these topless thimbles!

Have you ever seen these before? What would you use these for? 
So many interesting finds and no background history to go with them. If you have any information about these types of needles or thimbles, please share it in the comment section.
Do you have interesting hand stitching needles that you use or collect? Link up your blog post below and tell us all about it!


    An InLinkz Link-up

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Scrappy Saturday Spools #4

For the rest of the year, I am really trying to finish my scrappy spools quilt. You can read more about it in my post from the beginning of the month here. The picture does not reflect the effort, but it was a lot of thinking to get those bottom blocks right!
Once I finished the bottom of the quilt and filled in the setting blocks with spools and neutral squares, I moved over to the grey and black spools on the top right of the quilt edge.
Major progress! 
Here it is so far. I am really happy with it! You can see how it is bigger than my biggest design wall! There is only the bottom right corner to sort out now!

It's hard to keep focused on this huge project and I am constantly distracted by other more fun projects I could be working on. 

Wow I am easily distracted! 
Must keep focused!
To see more RSC finishes, hop over to the weekly linky party.