Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blitz Day 2

Here we are - Day 2.  I might as well make some progress here, since the work project is STUCK.  Like we can't do a darned thing.  It's rather comical at this point.  I can say that because I am not under the gun.  The ones that are do fantastic work.  I just wish they wouldn't hit every bump in the road.  I digress.

Anyway, sections 5 and 6.  Yesterday I spent an hour.  Today I gave 2 hours to the cause.  The first hour, I finished piecing section 5 and all of section 6.  The second hour, I worked on the backing.  My red piece is woefully too small to use for the back at all, so I am winging it.

Anyway, I got the backing prepared and started to sandwich.  I got section 6 sandwiched and realized the that backing that I had prepared for section 5 was a bit short on one side.  So I chose to start quilting section 6 with the remainder of the hour.  I couldn't help myself.

Tomorrow's goals (I have an industry dinner at 6):

Sandwich section 5

Bonus:  Quilt anything

I am happy to report that Thursday and Friday have no after-work commitments, but if the project picks up, then I'm working.  It happens.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blitz Blitz Blitz - Day 1

My life right now is all about the word blitz.  If one project has a blitz, then 2 more must also have them.  At some point we numbered the blitzes, but then they overlapped and it got all messy.

Anyway, I have blitz on the brain.  And a desperate need for a new quilt on my bed for the spring.  So I have decided to blitz one of my king-sized WIPs.

Here are my stashbuster winnings from earlier this year.

So I decided that I would use all of these FQs in one project.  I am making a YBR for my bed.  A king YBR requires 48 FQs and I got about 30 in the winnings.  So I went through my stash and pulled from every milk crate and added.

If possible, I cut one yard.  Half a yard was placed aside to help piece a back.  The remaining half yard was cut into 2 FWs.  One FQ was added to the pile.  The other FQ was cut into 2 9.5 strips and one remaining 2.5 strip.

The YBR will be an oversized king.  A king has 12 blocks per row and 12 rows, so 144 blocks.  However, you make 160 blocks and have leftovers.  So I decided to make the rows 13 blocks long.  OK, that leaves me with 4 blocks left and I'll use those in the corners.

I then found a red fabric for the inner border, binding and backing.  I'll make the rows and columns to piece the top, add a 3.5 border all the way around, and then make the outer border the 9.5 strips from above.  The 4 leftover blocks will be the 4 corners.

The quilt is going to be huge - 141 by 132.  Yes it's wider than it is long; that's what I need.

So I had 48 FQs.  I sorted them on the color spectrum.  And then grouped them into groups of 4.  Each group made 40 blocks (lap sized on the pattern).

I then copied the pattern, spliced in an additional column and made a copy.

And that leads us to today.  Today I broke the quilt into 10 pieces.

Then I cut it apart.

Next up is starting the sections.  The first goal is the center: sections 5 and 6.  These 2 sections have no borders.  I can use leftover backing fabric to start cutting borders for other sections.

I went through the blocks and made a pile for section 5 and another pile for section 6.  I was able to start sewing section 5 together.

Tomorrow's goals:

Finish sewing sections 5 and 6
Prep backings for 5 and 6
Sandwich backings for 5 and 6

Bonus:  Start quilting

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Finish...and how MQIS works for me

OK, the last post was my fail.  A rather epic fail, I think.  It was the idea that I could hopefully post this finish, except it decided to break my washing machine.

Well folks, here is the finish.

It's 58 inches square.  And it's done.  I donated it to my Relay for Life team for a relaxation basket.  Hopefully it will fetch our team some serious cash.  Yes, I do my own quilting.

Now on to the MQIS part.  Machine Quilting in Sections is a book by Marti Michell and it illustrates the technique of quilting quilts in sections so that more of us home sewists can use the machines we have.  I have decided that I just need to get on board with this and learn this technique.  I have dedicated this year for this purpose.

I decided on this goal this year after thinking long and hard about my life.  Although I am 25 years plus from retirement, my husband and I know that we want to have an RV.  We also have stuff.  So we need to start paring down now ever so slowly.  And since an RV is not a cheap thing, decisions and choices need to be made.  The decision that I have made (at least for now) is that I'd rather have money to retire and have an RV and not own a longarm.  (I also want a condo, but that is another post!)  So clearly I need to learn to quilt my stuff.  Plus I have college to pay for my DD in 5 years or so.  While Ted can get her half tuition, it still costs some serious cash.

Anyway, this was the first quilt I tried this on.  I sandwiched the first row and basically did SITD around most of the parts in each block.  This is FAR MORE quilting than I have ever done on a quilt.  Then I trimmed up the joining edge, and did a 6 layer seam, which from top to bottom, is wrong side up row 2, row 1 quilt sandwich, right side up backing and then the batting.  sew the whole thing together and then bring the row 2 pieces together and quilt that row.  I did that for rows 2 through 4.  By row 4, some of the quilt was being drug through the tiny harp of the machine (I sew on a Jem.  Yes, really.  It's all I could afford with daycare at the time.)

When all 4 rows were on, I quilted through the sashings in the rows and columns - just a quick stitch down the center.  Then I trimmed and attached the binding.  I used white thread on the top and brown thread on the back.

It worked flawlessly.  No puckers.  No tucks.  No requilting.  Some frustration, but beginner frustration.  I was worried about a bump where the rows were attached because it's two layers of batting sewn together.  You have to step on it to feel it and you have to really look to find the bump.

HEre are some random photos of the back.  See if you can find the bump.

You can see it here in this last picture if you find the horizontal center of the quilt and look for it.  Again, you and I would know to look for it, but I don't think others would care.

What I have learned from this quilt:

It might have been smarter to do two halves and then do a center join that has the strip down the back that needs to be hand sewn down.

I can now try more complex quilting per block because I can manage the quilt in the machine.

I was also able to not worry about time on this one.  I didn't care how long it took.  I normally do not look forward to quilting and want it done as quickly as possible.  For this one, I said each strip had to be done within a disc of the Lord of the Rings movie (each disc is between 1.5 and 2 hours).  This is a manageable way to quilt over several days.  I was done withe attaching the binding by the end of the first half of the Return of the King.

For my next MQIS quilt, it will be an oversized king in the Yellow Brick Road (YBR) pattern.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Quilter Fail

OK, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and this is no different.

I finally finished a BOM from Country Threads quilt shop.  Jo at Jo's Country Junction mentioned it last year and so I did it.  I used the colors from the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for the fabric selection.   (Got it?  January's block was pink because the Rainbow Scrap Challenge said to use hot pink.)  So I got the blocks all done in January.  Then I saw the layout and didn't like it.  At all.

So I've got 4 Fab 4's going at once.  Yes, I know.  Leave me alone.  Fab 1 are 4 quilts to finish.  The BOM is in here.  Fab 2 are all king sized quilts for our bed.  Fab 3 are all baby quilts.  Fab 4 are all string quilts.  So I've decided to only work on these 16 quilts.  (I have serious quilter's ADD.)  So one week I finish a quilt to the hand finishing point.  The other week I work one 1 quilt in each of the 4 Fabs and do one step.  It could be a small step or a large step.  Doesn't matter.

OK so week one, it was this BOM quilt.  Last weekend I laid out the blocks, made a few filler 9 patches, figured out sashings. cornerstones and the backing.  I decided to use the Machine Quilting in Pieces method by Marti Michell.  I took pictures of the process.  I paced myself during the Stashbusters retreat cruise through the Pacific (I got off in Australia and went to New Zealand and go to Middle Earth watching Lord of the Rings.) By the end of the first disc of Return of the King, the binding was on the quilt.  Hooray!

So I then did a quarter of the blocks for a quilt from Fab 2, and thus ended last weekend.

So this weekend, I sewed a quarter of the blocks for a quilt in Fab 4 and picked out 2 seams from Orca Bay (a row upside down right in the middle of that damned thing).  (I still have some FMQ to do on one from Fab 1.)  I hand sewed down the binding of the BOM quilt while watching TV with my DD on Friday night and Saturday nights.

So this morning, I put the quilt, along with 2 color catchers, in the washing machine.

It unbalanced my machine.  I could just cry.

The sopping wet quilt is in my bathtub.  Another load of clothing has been run through the machine and it's fine, but it jostled loose the tube from the dryer.  I can't win for trying!

And so the story of how the machine quilting in pieces went is delayed.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Bronchitis FTW!

Yes, folks, I have bronchitis.  However, this is I think the first time I've had it since I outsourced my dog for her retirement.  So it's been a long time.  And it didn't feel quite the same way.

Monday started with me waking up at 5.30am going 'there is no way I can go to work.'  And so I didn't.  Things got moved, backups took over, etc.  Tuesday I felt better and by the time the day was done, I was climbing the walls.  I needed to go back to work.

And then at about 2.30 this morning I coughed the horrible cough of bronchitis.  The grip of death was on my windpipe.  I didn't exactly get much more sleep after that.  So I called in this morning.  Actually I don't call anywhere; I email.  It's not like I can talk or anything.

The doctor's office opened at 7 and they had no room at the inn.  They sent me to urgent care, who opened at 8,  By 9, I was home, diagnosis and McDonald's breakfast in hand.

Meanwhile I had been running a low grade fever.  But of course the batteries decided to die in the thermometer, so instead of going straight to Walgreens after the doctor, I went home, ate, fished out the dead batteries and then went to Walgreens.  I was home by 10am.

I took one hit on the inhaler, breathed deeply and took a nap.

I then went on a conference call, did some reading and grabbed my kid from school because her bus broke down.  She and I ran to the grocery store and now we are home.

Meanwhile I need to study for my hopefully very last insurance exam.  And take my steroids.

Friday, February 28, 2014

On the Needles 02/28/14

I'm still working on the first sock.  I'm not really impressed so once I cast off, I will try it on and I may just rip the whole damned thing out and start over top-down.  Toe-up sucks, man.

I do love the yarn and I am pretty sure I will love the sock.  The last time I knit socks was, ahem, 30 years ago.  That means I was in junior high.  Yes, that is accurate.  However, I was knitting with crappy acrylic yarn then and I could not stand the feeling on me feet.  My feet are super-sensitive; it took my DH 3 years to be able to touch my feet to rub them, only to find that the problem was that there was so much tension in my feet, it explained all the pain.  Now my feet are much happier and I am overall much less sensitive, so I decided to give socks a go again with way better yarn.

There's also something else on the needles, but that's super-secret.

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday Knitting Update

Here is the sock, Sunday evening.  I started it Saturday evening, so this is 24 hours later.  I am maybe 40% through the foot.  Everything after the first 1.5 inches was done 15 minutes here, 5 minutes there.  Stir the roasting veggies, knit for 14 minutes.  You get the idea.

My goal for this work week is to determine how long the foot part needs to be.  I need to stop making the foot part and make the heel, so I really need to know when to stop the foot part.

Knitting wise, the goal is finish the foot part.  Then I can do battle with the heel starting over the weekend.  

The yarn is called Tamara's Day Brightener and it was a Loopy Legend at the Loopy Ewe.  Needles size 2.  

Socks, an experiment

On Friday, I looked through my new Sock Knitting Companion book and determined I wanted to do toe-up socks with a plain toe, no wraps, etc.  I then saw I needed waste yarn for the provisional cast on, and thus ended Friday night.

On Saturday night, I cast on and got through the toe (badly) and started a few rounds.  However, whatever I did, I have to purl everything instead of knit.  Le sigh.

On Sunday morning, I put the sock next to my living room TV to be knit on when I have free moments.  This morning, it was watching This Week with George S.  I had 20 minutes and so I knit.  I watch the evening news most nights, so I hope to get in at least 15 minutes a day during the mindless part of the sock.

When it becomes time to pay attention again (the heel), I will dedicate time to the effort.  I am hoping that by using this found time, I will get 1 sock done per month.  Which means I should have new Easter socks I guess.