Thursday, January 31, 2019

Quilt retreat at sea

To answer the question about whether or not we actually quilted on this cruise - yes we did. Days 1 & 2 were "at sea" and we sewed from 8:30-4:00 those days. And Days 9 & 10 were also "at sea" so we sewed those days too. For each of the days in port, our sewing room was open from 8:00-10:00 PM for optional sewing. 

Our first project was this Judy Niemeyer paper-pieced wall hanging called Waterwheel.  We chose a colorway before the cruise and our kit was waiting for us upon arrival.  Carol Bonetti from Sew-ciety quilt shop in Colorado was our very fun instructor.  I've done some paper piecing before but was a bit afraid of Judy Niemeyer's patterns because they always look so complicated. But after Carol guidance I'm not afraid of tackling a more difficult pattern in the future.

Our second project was a surprise. We chose the kit from a wide selection and dove in with guidance from one of the other gals helping with instruction. It's called Diamond Wedding Ring and is my first real project with curved seams. We all shared the Creative Grids template sets to do the cutting. Some of the gals only got as far as cutting on this one, but it's easy to put together so they can work on it at home.     

Our hostess and travel agent was Michelle Jackson and she did a wonderful job organizing everything. Check out her web site for future cruises available. I would definitely do this again. 

UPDATE: I should have mentioned that we were provided high-end Janome machines to use for the retreat. And we could purchase them at the end. Several people did purchase them, and I would have been tempted except I just bought a new machine 2 years ago. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Coming home to a deep freeze

My “girls trip” cruise is over and we returned late Monday night to shocking cold. BRRRR!

I’ll share some memories of this wonderful trip over the next few days. Tuesday I unpacked, went through 2 weeks of mail, and took a nap. Today I need to get back to real life. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

More binding to do

This morning I picked up a big quilt and 2 small wall hanging/table toppers from the quilter. It's so nice to have a quilter that you trust to pick great thread and designs when you have no idea what you want.  The quilt above is a previous Saturday Sampler and it's very large with lots of black, white and bright colors. She used a variegated thread with bright colors and it's perfect.

And on my Simple Whatknots project she chose an oatmeal colored thread that just pops on the dark colors of this piece.

Since I still haven't finished binding the last project, these will have to wait. But it's nice to have some things ready to do when I'm ready.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


While the Midwest is preparing for another winter storm arriving Thursday night, I am preparing for something totally different.  Those flip flops in my suitcase won't be useful during a winter storm but they will be appropriate on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

I am going on a cruise with 6 other girlfriends and it's a "quilting cruise".  Notice the t-shirts we had made for our little group, although you can't see the whole design yet.  Really it's just a normal cruise but with a group on board doing a quilting class/experience while sailing.  We signed up for this about 9 months ago and it seemed so far off.  Finally, the departure week has arrived and we fly to Florida on Thursday morning - just in time to miss the next round of snow and bitter cold. Yay!!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday Sampler 

Last month we added the shorter rectangle pieces and ended up with these odd looking units. I suspected that the triangles would come into play but they didn’t seem to fit. Still was a mystery until this morning. 

The triangles do line up nicely once you know where to place them, and then stitch and flip. If they look okay then we can trim off the dog ears. I did one unit from each set so I would remember how I did them. Now I’m in the car - again - headed to college basketball doubleheader. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

One solution 

Maybe the hand embroidery on the leaves will distract the eye so the missing blanket stitching isn’t missed. 

Time to add a bit of hand quilting and binding. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

An hour to sew

When you have about an hour to sew, what do you do?  I spent some time trying to decide what I might want to sew for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year.  Looking through some pattern books can turn into a much longer activity than an hour could allow. But I did go back to the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt for a couple of ideas. That book has so many fun blocks, including this little flower block that I did in red (January color).  I had a little trouble with the leaf and stem sections on this 6" block.  

I also looked at the extra FGV blocks that I purchased and downloaded while working on that quilt - such as the cat, cow, and pig blocks.  The blocks below are from my original Farm Girl Vintage project but they would be so cute done in a rainbow of colors.  

The barn cat was missing his eyes and whiskers embroidered when I took this photo. But I can picture colorful cat blocks making up a child's quilt.

The cow and the pig blocks were also adorable.  Although looking at the pig I am wondering why I took that picture without pressing better.  Yikes!!  The 12" versions of all of these FGV blocks are still waiting to be set into a quilt top.  I put all of the smaller 6" blocks into a quilt that is finished. 

In Lori Holt's Spelling Bee book there was a very cute car block that would be fun in a rainbow of colors.  How about colorful pineapple blocks?  Or just simple string blocks done in one color?  And of course I've been looking at a lot of different traditional blocks that I could do for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2019.  I really want to use up more of those scraps and other stash this year.  

Of course all of this fun will probably have to wait until I return from a trip about Feb 1.  My sewing machine went to the repair shop yesterday, and I won't have a lot of time for sewing between now and leaving on the 17th.  Although there will be some sewing happening while on that trip. Stay tuned for more on that later. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Design Wall Monday: binding Hourglass 

Hourglass will hopefully be my first finish of 2019. It’s over 90" square so the binding will take me awhile to finish.  I managed to get around one side while watching college basketball on TV yesterday. 

This UFO from 2004 is a Thimbleberries Club pattern. Luckily I had enough of the green left in my Thimbleberries stash to do this binding. I love the quilting on this one. It has a floral feel to it.

Check out more Design Wall Monday posts:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Sewing spaces

Do you have a large sewing surface? I use a big old desk. It’s actually quite roomy except when attaching binding to very big quilts. 

My ironing board usually sits at a 90 degree angle so I can just rotate my chair to press something. But I pull it up into the space next to the desk to use like an extension table when I need to. This keeps the weight of the quilt from pulling it while I attach the binding. Today I forgot to lower it but that helps too. 

Not fancy but it works. 

Winding bobbins

I found my little bobbin winder and got a couple  wound so I’m trying to finish attaching the binding I was working on. 

I have a guild meeting this afternoon and then hopefully I can do a little more sewing. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Coming to a screaming halt

Just when I had some time and some motivation to sew, it all came to a screaming halt over the weekend.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my "good" machine has a problem with threading.  Yesterday, I worked on it again to see if I could clean out some lint or something that would solve the problem.  No success however.

So I pulled out my OLD Singer, which is my backup machine. It was ready to go, so I started to work on adding sashing to Squared Away.  Each block now has one sashing strip attached and most of the remaining sashing pieces have a colored cornerstone attached.  One step closer to finished.

Next up I was stitching along, sewing the binding onto Hourglass.  And partway around side #2, I ran out of bobbin thread.  No problem, I'll just fill a couple of new bobbins.  Guess again!!  The bobbin winder on this OLD machine won't engage and spin.  GRRRR!  Somewhere in one of my drawers is a small bobbin winder that I bought years ago - probably because I was having trouble winding bobbins on this machine. The irony is that I just unplugged it and put it away last week because it was in the way on my cutting board and not being used.  Now, where did I put it?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Working on my first UFO of 2019

The APQ 2019 UFO Challenge has begun and I have a couple of items identified for January that I plan to work on.  Squared Away was the Rainbow Scrap Challenge 2018 project and I kept up all year so I have 30 blocks all ready to set into a flimsy. 

My plan for Squared Away is a simple layout with sashing and cornerstones.  I had bought a white jelly roll this summer to cut into sashing for this project; what a time saver!!  And I dug through the box of 2.5" squares already cut from scraps to find enough pretty colors to go with the blocks.  It's ready to layout on the floor and arrange into rows for sewing.  I plan to have a finished flimsy soon, but probably not before the end of January as I'll be away from home for almost 2 weeks out of this month.

The Rainbow Scrap Challenge for 2019 has also begun. I've had a lot of fun with this over the years.  The host has a new plan for each year, and offers blocks to make using the color of the month if you want. Or you can work on anything else you want using the color.  This is my second of the RSC sampler quilts and I've chosen my own blocks for other years. 

Both challenges (UFO and RSC) are a fun way to sew along with others all across the country and also stay motivated to finish things.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!!  I'm beginning the new year very frustrated!  Nothing serious in terms of life events, but frustrating non-the-less.  It's a sewing machine problem - just when I'm feeling really motivated and had the time off work to sew.

Yesterday I was switching from brown thread to green to finish blanket stitching on the palm tree leaves - and now the thread won't "catch" in the slot needed for tension.  GRRRR!  I'm only partially done with this mug rug, and my backup (old) sewing machine doesn't have a blanket stitch at all.  This is a project for an exchange coming up in just 18 days.

Since I couldn't sew any more yesterday on this project I did some serious cutting for 2 other projects.  Once my Christmas decor is put away today I'll pull out my old machine and hopefully will still have some ambition to work on those.  And tomorrow I'll be making a call to a repair place in Sioux Falls to see if I can get my machine in for a quick fix.

So I'm reminding myself that at least I do have a backup machine to use for plain stitching, and it's not the end of the world as we know it.

I'm linking up with Linky Tuesday at Freemotion on the River: