Friday, November 28, 2014

There is so much to be thankful for

  Thanksgiving has come and gone. During the day I found myself reflecting on what I am thankful for. Of course I am thankful for my family, a warm home, a job, and quilting. But there are also a lot of other people and things to be thankful for.
   When I moved to Massachusetts in 1986 I left my family behind in Idaho. I have never spent another Thanksgiving with them and it is hard. But I was welcomed to join the Campbell family back when Mitch and I were dating. All these years later, Emma has been born, Mitch is married to Linda, and I am still a part of that family for holidays and birthdays and it helps me miss my "real" family less. Thank you, Campbells.
     For 8 years I was a nanny for a wonderful family, the Rokoffs. They welcomed me as a part of their family and I still consider them family. I have great memories of my time with them. Thank you, Rokoffs.
    I have been working at the pharmacy for 13 years with a great group of people (most of the time). There is Cheryl who would do anything for anyone, including picking up at the airport, and taking me whale watching for my first time. Thank you, Cheryl.
    There is also Rose, who gave me a wonderful gift this weekend. She is a former quilter (I didn't know those existed, but apparently they do). She went on a cleaning binge and gave me 2 boxes of fabrics. I am enjoying slowly sorting and adding to my project boxes. New fabric just makes me happy! Thanks, Rose.
   Then there's Amanda, who drove me to my surgery, waited for hours at the hospital, and was my "person".  (She's also letting me "borrow" her daughter to take Emma's place Christmas tree shopping next week.)Thanks, Amanda.
    Then there are my online "friends". Keeping in touch with family and old friends via Facebook has been such a blessing. I miss everyone but I feel a bit like I am still a part of their lives. I love seeing the pictures of new baby great nieces and nephews and cousins. I love seeing my high school classmates reconnecting and when I got to join them it was so much fun. I enjoy seeing pictures of Coeur d'Alene--old and new. I love sending birthday wishes and reaching out with a message to old friends. And when I am in Cd'A I am already caught up on what people are doing. Thanks, Facebook.
     Recently I met a new bunch of online "friends" via the Hay Day game. I am in a great "neighborhood" with wonderful people who chat and share and help each other out in the game. We give encouragement if someone is having a bad day and instant help if needed. Thanks, Lindy, Belle, Kalimae, PowPow, Wolf, Crap, Paris, and the rest.
    Of course I am also thankful for quilting. I have always done handwork, knitting, crochet, embroidery, macrame, sewing. I love putting colors together and creating something from nothing. I love looking around and seeing beautiful things that I've made. (I only hope Emma appreciates them when I am gone! )Thank you to all the quilters who have taught and inspired me.
     I also love visiting quilt shops. There is always someone wonderful to chat with and share ideas and each shop has its own personality and ideas to inspire. Sometimes I go in for no particular reason, just for a chat. Thanks, quilt shops.
    I am also thankful for technology and the enjoyment I get from my tech toys. I love my I Pod full of the music I love. I listen when I am going to sleep, while I am sewing, cooking or driving long trips. I would be very sad coming back from Emma's college without my playlist of "songs to sing in the car". I love my Kindle Fire, full of books and the easy access to Facebook and the internet. Of course I love my phone, mostly because of Hay Day, and the feeling of security it gives me. My latest love is a renewed love of my laptop which I use mostly for watching movies and TV shows. Thanks, PrimeWire and Coke and Popcorn.
     And of course I would be a bad mother if I did not mention how thankful I am for my beautiful, smart, creative and unique daughter. Without her I would be incomplete. Thank you, Emma, for being my Pumpkin.
   I call myself the Lone Quilter, but I am not really alone. I have a lot of wonderful people and things to be thankful for who are all a part of me. Thanks to you all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Flashback Sunday" --Think it will catch on?

       Since I live alone at the moment I find myself looking for ways to amuse myself so I came up with the idea of "Flashback Sunday". Now I know it doesn't have the ring of Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday would be catchier, but Sunday is my only day off so I am going with it. I decided that one Sunday a month would be a Flashback day. I dug deep into the UFO bins to find projects that had been there for years. I carried it a bit further by watching movies from the 80's and 90's and listening to old music. I even made the ultimate flashback dinner--mac and cheese. I would love to get my ziploc bag projects out of the UFO box and into the UFO Tops box! In the process of digging I found quite a bit of fabric just sitting there waiting to be used on a project. Those are the projects I went for because I want to be able to use that leftover fabric for something else!
       Anyone who has followed this blog knows there is one thing I really don't enjoy doing and that is putting on borders. Yuck. I have one top that is thousands of half-square triangles and all it needs is this pieced border and another plain border. Most of the border pieces were already cut and even started piecing. I got the pieced border on and it is going to get a plain border next Flashback Sunday.
       Another quickie project was a small quilt made from 6 southwest color palate leftover log cabin blocks. (That word "palate" looks wrong but for the life of me I can't figure out what is right)
Southwest colors 
I found those blocks the same day I hit the pile of peach fabric in the bottom of the tote, which went with it. I kept staring at those peach fabrics and they didn't really look familiar. Some of them were quite sharply creased! It occurred to me that I hadn't thought of the color peach in ages. It is a nice size pile from a long ago peach trend and I hope peach comes back some day!
Leftover sample blocks
       The other project is a real trip down memory lane for me. I used to teach beginner and intermediate quilting classes at the Fabric Place and had decided to make all my sample blocks from the same color palate-bright purples, pink, blue, and green and black with lots of florals. I pulled out the blocks and couldn't believe how much fabric was in the bag. The blocks are a few sizes so I am doing a scattered setting. I have 2  small tops done and the 3rd is on the design wall and every day I walk by and put together a bit of the units. I really want that leftover fabric in the stash!
       Speaking of the stash--for the last month or so I have touched every piece of fabric in my stash. My totes are a thing of beauty which I would gladly show off to anyone who wanted to see! I cut a 6" square piece off every fabric which will eventually be made into
Flashback pic of myself, Emma, and the charm quilt
a charm quilt. One of the first quilts I learned about when I first started quilting was the charm quilt. I have made a bed sized apple core style, and Emma's baby quilt was a hexagon. I've also done a couple wallhangings. A charm quilt is made with just one shape and no two fabrics the same. A real challenge. This time I am doing a tumbler and every day I cut a few tumblers from the pile of pieces. I keep getting the itch to start sewing some together but I don't have enough colors cut yet. It is a real flashback project.
Emma's baby quilt. She called it Tweety because Tweety
was on the border.It's a hexagon charm.
So shall we rally around the idea of Flashback Sunday? Sounds like fun to me!

Friday, November 7, 2014

When are you finished?

        I definitely have a type of ADD when it comes to doing any project. I like to do one project for a while and then switch to another one and maybe another and then go back and repeat. I really can't just do one project from beginning to end without sometime going nuts, which I realized when I have done commissions. As a result I have an unbelievable number of UFO's.  BUT the thing I love about my method is that week when things all get finished. YAY! Big payoff.
        But are they really finished? What criteria should we use to determine when a quilt is finished and ready to move on? Is it when the binding is finished? Or is there something else we should do? I think there are a couple more steps after the binding is done.
    1. Final inspection
It is important to put the quilt under bright lights and go over it carefully checking for any puckers, skipped stitches, toe-catchers, hanging threads,  loopy stitching, missed areas. 
I have mentioned the pucker problem previously and that is something that needs to be checked out as you go along. Nothing worse than getting all done and then having to tear out!
The skipped stitches problem may only be my machine but for some reason it occasionally will start sewing and then skip an inch or two then keep going. HUH? You need to really look for this because you don't want the next problem.
Toe-catchers--These are loops of thread. I don't know if this is just quilting Urban Legend or what but I was told a story when I first started out about a baby getting a toe caught in one of these loops and he ended up losing a toe because it got caught and circulation was cut off. I don't know if it is true, but it could happen! So I go over the top with my hand going every direction looking for any loops that could be dangerous.
Hanging threads--They all have to be cut off at the end. No more needs to be said about this!
Loopy stitching-- Sometimes the tension gets messed up and when I look at the back entire areas are loopy and have to be torn out. Another reason to check as you go along
Missing areas--I've had this happen a couple times but the worst was the quilt I made for Kristi and Sam that I took to Cd'A as a gift. I had to finish the binding there and as I was binding I realized there was an area that still had basting pins! CRAP! I had to go to my sister-in-law's and borrow her machine, thread, and walking foot to finish it.
       2. Label it
Every quilt should have a label. You don't want your work to go out into the world without any identification. It may be just your initials in Pigma Pen hidden on a charity quilt or a beautiful sewn on label. I've embroidered on the quilt, embroidered a label to sew on later, made the label one of the blocks, but usually I print the label on muslin from my computer. I make my own "fabric paper" by pressing the fabric very smooth, then pressing to the waxy side of freezer paper, and cutting 8 1/2" x 11". After printing, I press again to set the ink and let it set a day before sewing onto the quilt. As far as I know these labels have survived!
I feel that each label should include: Name of the Quilt, who it was made for, if it is a gift, who made it and when and where. Then any other important info like maybe the birth weight and length if for a baby, or wedding date if a wedding gift. I make a lot of I Spy quilts so the I Spy poem is part of the label. The one I did for Jackson is a bug quilt and includes a cute poem about bugs. 
        3. Clean up
After I am completely finished, I run it over with a lint brush to remove all batting fuzz, and loose threads.

After all these things are done, THEN IT IS FINISHED!