Archive for February, 2016

Rescue Mission

February 29, 2016

Took a long walk the other week when we had a nice, warm day. I was surprised to see ice on the pond given how warm, relatively speaking, the winter has been. I thought the shadows of the branches made interesting patterns.


I’ve been in a slump since coming home after Christmas. Some days I don’t even go down to the sewing room at all. Am I hibernating because it’s cold? Or am I avoiding the sewing room because there are too many have-to-dos before I can return to want-to-dos?

What are my have-to-dos?

  1. Allietare – I want to get the top done so I don’t add another UFO to the pile. I’m at the bordering point. The back is designed and partially completed. Can’t continue with the back until the front is done.
  2. Bindings and labels and sleeves, oh my! – My guild’s quilt show is in April. I have to bind, label and sleeve my entries. My quilter returned five quilts to me last year that I was saving for binding until winter. Three of the bindings are finished. One side is left for the fourth quilt. One quilt for the show has a sleeve. Part of the problem with sleeves is that I don’t know how many of my entries will get into the show. Too many large quilts are being entered and we only have so much room for large quilts. I don’t want to sleeve the quilts that aren’t going into the show.
  3. Twin quilts #1 – I never got into the position where I was expected to gift quilts to every co-worker for whatever occasion like some people I know. Only one of my direct co-workers got a quilt because she is special. The co-worker who had twins is also special to me so when I heard he was having twins, I immediately picked a pattern and fabric. The twins for these quilts turned two in November. The quilts have been sitting waiting for the quilting. Time for me to get on it so I can give them.
  4. Twin quilts #2 – I used Jo Kramer’s Pinky Swear pattern to use the bonus triangles from Bonnie Hunter’s 2014 mystery, Grand Illusion. I had two colorways of triangles so made two quilts – pink and brown and blue and brown. When I showed the tops at guild, I said it was too bad I didn’t know anyone having boy and girl twins. A few weeks later I got a Christmas card from my oldest friend with the news that her daughter was expecting boy and girl twins. The grandmother-to-be bought the backing fabric for the quilts and now I need to quilt them.
  5. Mimi’s grad school BOM. I want to keep up this year. My January block bird still needs an eye and feet. I’ve got a week to get February’s block done.
  6. Jinny Beyer BOM – I’ve got the border fabric and the background but haven’t made any blocks yet. I’d like to keep up with this one also.
  7. 365 block challenge – This is a free block of the day. So far I’m only collecting the patterns. Can’t decide what color to do. Today’s choice is rust and orange. This is more of a want-to-do than a have-to-do.
  8. Town and Country block a day – This is a purchased pattern. Haven’t started it either. Linda and I were going to work on it together. She’s mostly been out of town since Thanksgiving dealing with family issues. I don’t expect her to be back home for good until summer. I’m holding off until she gets back. It’s also more of a want-to-do.

Last week while I was working on the one sleeve I’ve done, I broke my Bernina 1230. The sleeve was all sewn except for the basting for the ease. I tried to use the long stitch and the basting stitch on the Bernina but it just stitched normal stitch. I tried all the things like pressing the clear button and turning the machine off and on with same results. I wondered what would happen if I changed the stitch length. When I did that I heard a clunk and the needle didn’t move any longer. The take-up lever moved, the feed dogs fed but the needle didn’t go up and down.

Packed it up to go to the repair shop. Took off the next day after guild, not knowing that the shop is closed on Thursdays. It’s an hour or more drive depending on traffic. Sigh. Decided to wait until Patty could go with me. We went up last Friday. Having a companion makes the ride seem shorter. I talked to a technician the day before. His analysis of the problem is that the needle bullet is stuck. What is a needle bullet, you ask? The way I understand his explanation, there’s a piece that moves in and out of a hole to keep the needle up to skip stitches to make the long and basting stitches – the difference between the two stitches is the number of stitches to skip. The bullet wasn’t moving during my first trials so it stitched normally. When I changed the stitch length the bullet moved but got stuck so kept the needle from moving to make stitches. If that’s what’s wrong, it’s a $5 fix.

She’s overdue for regular maintenance – like a horse that’s been “rode hard and put away wet” as the saying goes – which is probably why the bullet got stuck. So she’s going to get her checkup and some new light bulbs and probably a new light switch. I didn’t even know there was a light switch on the back of the machine. Perhaps I knew when I first bought the machine but forgot. The lights come on when I turn on the machine and they go off when I turn it off so who needs a switch. The technician said that on this machine that switch has to be changed out periodically. Who knew? He also said that the bulbs rarely burn out, they just get dimmer over time. They’re so dim right now they’re pretty much useless.

Patty and I came home via Patches in Mt. Airy, MD. I finally found my gift card which is why I wanted to go there. I had no intention of buying a bunch of fabric because I’ve got more than plenty at home. As we walked in the door, we saw the sign for a sale where you get 20% off anything you could fit in your bag. We turned around and went back to the car to get bags. I’m sure you can figure out what’s coming. I had to rescue a few things from the store.

I promise I wouldn’t have succumbed if it weren’t for the magic word, “SALE”. I couldn’t resist. What is it about that word that dissolves all self-restraint? I picked up a few fat quarters of bird fabrics to add to the ones I already have for the back of the grad school BOM. I didn’t find any fat quarters of them in the bin but the cutter offered to cut them. Nice!


I had to get a half yard of the pirate parrots to have some for the back and some for stash. If I ever need a P novelty for alphabet or name quilts I’ll have it. I won’t be able to find it but I’ll have it. Also got some male and female cardinals.


The color and feel of this flannel grabbed me. I kept going back to pet it so finally agreed to get enough for a back. There was a paisley in the same color next to it from a different company but it didn’t feel anywhere near as nice. I left the paisley on the shelf. The color doesn’t show very well in the photo.


I love making quilts where you stack a bunch of fabrics, cut them up, shuffle them, sew them together then trim the resulting blocks. This book of holiday designs from the now defunct Buggy Barn has several that appeal to me.


The gift card has been a problem since it was purchased. I received it in a class where we each brought something to give to another member of the class. I got a call that there was some problem with the system when the card was bought. I called back and it was supposed to have been fixed. I wanted to use the card when I was at the shop in November but I couldn’t find it. They were too busy to look it up at the time. I found the card recently so gave it to Jackie as part of my payment. She looked at me and said, “There’s nothing on this.” I told her it had never been used and reminded her of the problem when it was bought. She grumbled about people not following through but took off the $10 that was supposed to be on the card and said she’d figure it out later. Thank you, Jackie.

The real rescue mission was at guild on Thursday. I’ve been doing pretty well at avoiding picking up fabric from the freebie table. No one wanted this box of homespuns. The powers that be were going to throw them out if no one took them. Well, we can’t have that. Homespuns for me are like civil war fabrics – I like the resulting quilts but I don’t often buy the fabrics off the bolt which makes it hard to make the quilts. Just before we left Margaret M. said she was glad I took them because if I hadn’t, she’d have had to take them and she didn’t need them.


I’ve washed and dried the homespuns and folded them. I always try to wash fabrics from a non-store source as soon as I bring them home because I never know what kind of conditions they’ve been stored in. They need ironing but I won’t do that until I’m ready to cut them.

After I got them all folded, I trimmed the edges on the fifth quilt waiting to be bound. I could set up my Janome Gem Gold but I think I’ll wait until the Bernina returns. I’ve got enough hand work and prep work to do before then to keep me busy.

State of the Stash 2016

February 6, 2016

Today is my 65th birthday. My mother had to take to her bed, horrified at the thought that she is old enough to have a child my age. I belong to the Yahoo! group Stashbuster. Every year during our birthday month, we’re encouraged to write about the state of our stash.

The last two years I claimed that I was going to start tracking yardage in and out but that didn’t last long. I’m going to make another stab at it this year, hoping the third time is the charm.

I’ve definitely bought less fabric locally since my home quilt shop closed in 2014. I have monthly meetings at two area quilt shops but hardly ever visit the very small shop a couple of miles from my house. But, the Row by Row experience made up for less local shopping. In 2015 the Row by Row frenzy found me visiting at least 53 shops in 7 states. Of course I had to buy something at each shop to support them. I wish I could say that I haven’t bought any fabric so far in 2016 but that would be a lie.

I fell off the wagon pretty quickly and bought these Doctor Who prints online from Missouri Star Quilt Company. That’s 2.5 yards plus a panel. JoAnn’s had some different prints. I don’t often buy fabric from JoAnn’s any more but the Doctor Who prints are enticing. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.


I bought 4 yards of background fabric for the Jinny Beyer 2016 BOM. Nothing in my stash went with the focus border print I’m using so Jinny picked out this pale green print to go with it.


My team bought 7 yards of fabric to make kits for our bird for Mimi’s grad school BOM but since that most of that doesn’t go into my stash, it doesn’t count. Yeah!

On the outgoing side, I’ve been more prolific since I retired than before. My quilter returned 5 quilts last year. Although I didn’t get around to binding them until this year, I’m not counting them as outgoing stash for this year. I suppose I could count the bindings that hadn’t already been made as being used this year. Then there are labels and hanging sleeves to make.

That’s why I have so much trouble accounting for things. What counts, what doesn’t, how do you count it, etc. If I weigh it, what conversion equivalent should I use – 4 yards per pound, 3 yards per pound, split the difference? It’s hard to believe that a 5 pound bag of trimmings that fits in a plastic grocery bag is 20 yards of fabric. What about kits that I’ve added fabric to? It’s very easy to forget to include the stuff off the freebie table at guild.

I hope to complete more projects this year. I’ve been spinning my wheels. Is it because it’s winter or because I have things I have to work on instead of the things I want to work on?