Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Nightmares

Okay, so maybe not a nightmare exactly…but certainly not fun. I have an old Singer 6235 that is very tempermental. It's a beast (in a good way) when it comes to straight line quilting and piecing - I always forget because I tend to use my little Janome - it travels better and has a lighter touch. The Singer means business - the feed dogs pull that fabric along like no one's business and the thump of the needle up and down is intentional and nothing should stand in it's way. The "whir" is more like a growl where the Janome almost sounds like it is purring.

The biggest difference is the Singer has a free-motion quilting foot and my basic Janome does not. 

I want to free-motion quilt SO bad!! I've done it before and loved the way it turned out! This is my very first art quilt I started in 2003, I hand beaded the heart and the sun, traced Sophie and my hands, made ribbon roses out of hand dyed silk ribbons, and echo quilted the whole thing. I was in the process of making spirals on the 4 marbled yellow/pink small borders and ran out of thread after the first one was completed. Flash forward many years later and I have thread similar enough to the one used and really want to finish the sucker. 

The problem is the machine is really jaunty. I've taken it in numerous times over the past few years and the results are always the same. I can't get the smooth curves and spirals or even straight lines that I did years past. She's become a grouchy old lady. I will keep trying though - Maybe it is just me that is out of practice…the back is loopy but it stitches fine when using the feed dogs (still a little jaunty but not enough to mess up piecing. One stitch here and there is a little crooked). The quilts I am making lately are not for any competitions or anything so it has been fine for straight line quilting too. I'm just disappointed and a new machine is out of the question for the time being. Thanks for letting me vent.

So instead I have been working on this Ferris Wheel Quilt by don't call me betsy. I saw the zebra print Safari Moon fabric by the fabulous Frances Newcombe for Art Gallery Fabrics and fell in love with it! I knew it had to be the center of all of the blocks. I have the smaller print on the same blue that I am using in other blocks. I'm also using a lime-ish green solid with a metallic glint and a soft purple shade that is in the Safari Moon print. I do love these big 18" blocks and I think they will look great all put together.
Work has been crazy busy as it is "Season" for us Florida folks. Everyone is escaping their snowy Winter…and now Spring…and coming to sit by the sea shore in their bikinis and swim trunks. Good for our economy. Siesta Key was named the #3 beach by Mr. Beach this year and the 2 that beat us are in Hawaii. Stiff competition but we are nearly always in the top 5 - this year is the busiest year we've had according to the locals. I will be glad to have the quiet in a few months.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quilty Catch-up

Hidey ho neighbor! Well, it has been a busy few weeks. So I need to do a little bloggy blog catch-up. This should really be 2 blogs because there is so much to catch up on but…well…I'm lazy so you are stuck with one. 

Disclaimer: The first 5 quilts are not mine! Last weekend was the Venice Quilt Show and the Manatee Quilt Show. Ernie's mom and dad came down Saturday to spend the day with us. Ernie and his dad went off and his beautiful mom and I went show and shop hopping. We saw a few friends along the way and some amazing work done by local quilters. I typically take pictures of the cards so I can go back and read the stories of the artist/quilter and quilt but I also typically have a real camera and not my phone - plus the Venice show was so packed we were lucky to even get a picture at all! So, alas, the quilts below are uncredited but again I will say - they are not mine! They were just some of my favorites.

AMAZING quilting - makes it look like snow drifts
Background is silk and every flower is hand beaded in the center

Grumpy Cat!
Tokyo - made with the quilter's collection of Japanese fabrics
I just thought this was stunning - love the colors

I finally finished my Pinata pillow. It is getting much love - mostly from the cat. I just love the way it turned out and really love that I still have some of that fabric left so I can turn it into something else. Not sure what yet…side note: never ask a quilter what they plan on doing with the fabric when they buy it. Never.

Friday night was PMS night at one of the local quilt shops - Cotton Patch - It was from 6pm-midnight and boy was I pooped. It was sew much fun though! I love the new friends I have made and all of them are very talented, kind, and funny ladies. After lots of the picture below on Thursday night - I attempted to work on it Friday night and ended up with all of the fabric facing the correct way but I had reversed the colorway of the blocks…sigh.

Friday night sunlight and our organized mess

 A bit wonky but it won't matter once it's quilted :)

Saturday afternoon was my Modern Quilt Guild meeting and we made charity quilts for a few hours. I sat with a friend who was at PMS the night before and we were both a little zombie-ish. Show and Tell was amazing as usual. Saturday night, Elizabeth Dackson from don't call me betsy suggested a #paperpiecingparty on Instagram from 8pm-11pm and I have a pattern and fabric that have been dying to just be something. So I pulled out Elizabeth's Ferris Wheel Quilt pattern and begun cutting away!  

This is going to be fun! 

Off to do a little sewing before the world wakes up and catches me…

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Weekend Rewind

Sometimes things move so quickly - mornings turn into busy afternoons that turn into night skies. I scroll through Instagrams and blogs of complete projects and skiing trips and treasured moments and wonder how these people have the time to complete projects and take vacations. I find myself feeling frustrated and as if I am not living up to that standard of living but I realized that the only one who put that standard there is me. So, rather than get frustrated at lack of complete projects and no time for vacation - I need to just enjoy the process and enjoy the time spent with the people who matter most to me…and maybe detatch from social media every now and again.

Also, I live in Florida - HELLO! Every day is a vacation.

Myakka State Park
Alligator in Myakka - seen from our air boat ride

Saturday was an early day for us as Sophie had a choir thing and had to be on the bus at 7 am. So, by the time she came home at 2:30 it was nap time for everyone - except for me as I was fueled by my frustration of not having time to finish anything. I finished the February Lucky Stars BOM by my friend Elizabeth Dackson at Don't Call Me Betsy.This is my first attempt at paper piecing and I have found a new love! My middle got a little wonky but I don't think it will matter once it is all quilted. Everything else matched perfectly and I love this block.

Sunday we went to Myakka, explored a tiny bit and took the air boat ride. It was such a beautiful day. Sophie had to babysit so Ernie and I took walk on the beach for sunset. After living here for almost 3 years I still marvel at the clear waters and the sea life we find on our walks. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Just what I needed to calm my mind.

When we came home I started a new project. This one is a quick one and in honor of our Texas Family Easters. That is a whole other post altogether :) It will be a pillow for the couch - a Pinata pillow. This has been fun and relatively quick. It should be finished this week at the latest. Cute!