Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday - T3 {DONE!!!}

It's time for a Happy Dance.  Would you care to join me???  Come on... You KNOW you want to!!

Here's me, sewing on the binding:

Sew to the BACK, flip to the FRONT for machine sewn binding.

This shows the binding sewn down and a (little) closer view of the quilting:

You can't see the wobble from this angle.

Ta-da!!!  The 44" x 60" T3 is now a completed quilt:

If ONLY there is a solution to the wavy borders (that doesn't include removing the binding!!)

NOTE:  I'll be adding some quilting in the border to (hopefully) tame the wave.  If that doesn't work... perhaps, blocking will do the trick.

Until next time...
Celebrate accomplishments!!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

{No Mail Monday, but I'm...} On Pins and Needles

One day last week, I came home from work (via the grocery store) to realize that the next step in the process for T3 to become a "real" quilt was my task for the afternoon.

What was that, Joyful???


It's got to be my LEAST favorite part of the process of this craft that we all love so much.

Why, Joyful???

Well, I'll tell you why....

The short answer:

It's BACK BREAKING work!!!

It's also because, for this 44 x 60" quilt, it took 200 pins and an hour and a half!!  That's three and one-third minutes PER pin (considering the process start to finish.)

The long answer:

Let's start by clearing my sewing table (BIG pain!) and continue from there...

Look closely, because you won't likely see the table this clear for QUITE. SOME. TIME!!!  :P

Between clamping the backing fabric to the table and coming away with a layer quilt there are some fairly undesirable (even dangerous) tasks to complete:

Aligning the batting over the backing (not so bad & only takes a second.)

Smoothing the quilt top over the batting (can be tricky, if you're not careful!)

Inserting the pins into the quilt sandwich (dangerous and leaves your finger THROBBING in pain for an hour or more!!)

Closing the pins (more dangerous because, if your finger slips off your KwikClip, you get cut.  :o((

And then...

If you haven't performed the above tasks correctly, you get the privilage of taking any number of pins (anywhere from a few to all of them!) out of your sandwich and repeating the process.

It's looking GOOD!! No do-over required.

Fortunately, I did a fairly good job with this quilt... especially considering that I haven't basted a quilt in nearly a year!!  :o))

Next comes the FUN part...


However, it's a process of its own...

Here are the steps that must be completed:

Clearing my quilting table so that I can stitch the 3 layers of T3 into a (nearly) completed quilt (sans binding and a hanging sleeve.)

Cleaning the machine (oiling, if necessary)

Insert a FRESH NEEDLE, if your old one is thumping through the fabric (this will make the quilting less likely to have skipped stitches.)

Choosing just the right thread for the project (Lucky thing I have a BIG collection.)

Loading (at least) a couple of bobbins (you'll be glad you did this when the bobbin runs out!)

Determining the best quilt pattern for the project (in this case an overall meander with a hint of custom quilting around the main shirt designs.)

Threading the machine.  That's normally the easy part.  However, after so long NOT quilting, I got it wrong the first several times!

Try to remember to put on your quilting gloves - they make the process easier on your hands - and take frequent breaks.

Depending on the size of your quilt and the pattern you choose, this part can take between 15 minutes and 15 hours (or MORE!!)


**  If your quilt needs one, DON'T FORGET to pin on your hanging sleeve BEFORE you sew the binding onto the quilt!!!

Cut enough strips to go around the outside of your quilt.

Trim the ends (so they are straight.)

Sew them end to end.  (This can be done straight across the strip or at a 45* angle.)

Press in half, lengthwise.

**  The GOOD NEWS (in my case) is that the binding for T3 has already been made and prepared for application.  Again, depending on the size of your quilt and the speed at which you sew, binding your quilt can take from 3 minutes to 3 hours (or MORE if you are sewing it down by hand!)

Attach raw edges to the quilt.


That last task can be done one of two ways depending on how you hope to stitch it down.  (Although, you may want to do the basting trick, if your quilt will be a wall hanging... it's worth the effort!!)

WHY am I going into such detail???

I'm not sure!

It's just what came out of my fingers when I sat down to write this post.

Sorry, if I bored you.

Until next time...
Be thorough!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ScrapHappy Saturday - RSC15 - Week 17

Welcome to Week 17 of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!!  It's a lucky thing for me that there's ONE MORE week of PURPLE because I haven't been very productive up to this point.  Projects with looming deadlines took precedent over RSC sewing.  I had hoped that THIS week would be the turning point...

Here's how Week 17 panned out:

On Sunday, Rebecca's Iris bloomed by my front door.  (Not the name of the flower... the name of the friend who let me dig a plant from her garden!)  I love these because they remind me of the ones I grew in my childhood garden.  Here's a photo for you iris lovers to admire:

Monday was Quilt Guild.  I took my 2 newly completed T-shirt quilts for Show and Tell.  Here's a LINK, in case you'd like to see photos and/or read about them.

Tuesday was a productive day for sewing PURPLE blocks for the RSC.  I completed THREE Tiny Nines, TWO String blocks, and prepped some others to sew later on:

Tiny Nines measure 2" UNFINISHED!!!

The bottom String block has some pieces of my latest commission quilt.

The 2 Maverick Stars are ready to sew into blocks.

These chain-pieced 1" squares will soon be transformed into 4 more Tiny Nines.

Wednesday brought more blooming irises!  This one appears to be the same variety as the ones by my front door, but they are from the garden at work and bloomed several days later than mine:

Speaking of my garden...  You iris lover will be pleased to know that there are FOUR MORE varieties of iris ready to bloom in the coming days.  :o)

On the quilting front...  T3 is pin basted!!!  The middle finger on my right hand is throbbing from inserting about 200 pins in the ~ 45" x 60" quilt sandwich.  The next step... the process of actually quilting it.  (Yippee!!  Remember... I used PURPLE scraps for the sashing!!)

Yes! It's another stellar side view shot.  :P

On Thursday... The first of those iris bloomed.  Alas, it's not PURPLE:

I went to Quilt Bee and worked an evening shift.  That didn't leave much time for RSC sewing. (Besides that, I've got a quilt to finish!!)

Friday, I've STILL got a quilt to finish, but I chaperoned a field trip for DS2 and went off on a knitting adventure with Threebagsfulled.  This is a new-to-us fiber festival and promises to be interesting.  I'll have to let you know how it goes...

On Saturday, I finished this post, LINKed-up with Angela and the other RSC quilters, and ate my way through the Powhatan Fiber Festival.  Thank YOU for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment, if you'd like.  (It makes me happy... LOVE getting comments!)

That's it for this week.  Oh!  You'll find me at link number 9 on today's Link Party.  Does that tell you anything about how EARLY the (internal) alarm went off this morning??  LOL

Until next time...
Just keep quilting!!!

The Forget-me-nots bloomed:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Design Floor Friday - T3 {Layered}

I'm off to chaperone DS2's Jazz Band field trip today.  They are headed to the Jazz MPAs and then I'm headed out of town for the weekend, but here's what's on the design floor this week:

What is it, Joyful???

It's T3 all pinned up and ready to be quilted!!!  Hooray!!

I'll start out with some "ditch quilting", just to stabilize the layers and then I'll need to take some time to figure out what ELSE should be done with it...

I'm hoping that maybe if I stare at it long enough, it will speak to me.

Until next time...
Listen carefully... and let me know, if YOU hear it!!!  :o))

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday - T1 + T2 = DONE!!!

If you are on Ravelry's Quilting Knitters group, you may have already heard the GOOD news...


Four months late or two weeks early, depending how you look at it.  :P

What ARE you talking about, Joyful??

Well, T1 and T2 are FINALLY finished!!!  (On the same day... since they ARE for twins!)

When I accepted this commission, I had other projects in the works.  The original goal for these two quilts was Christmas, but nothing was set in stone.  (And, a lucky thing, too!!)  Those other projects took WAY more time than expected.  The revised goal was in time for a May birthday.

Whew!!  Mission accomplished!!!

T1 is Jacob's quilt.  There are shirts from preschool to present.  It includes items from elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.  Sports, activities, and honors are well represented.  It even includes a shirt from his first "real" job.  Have a look:

70" x 99"

The same with T2 (Kennedy's quilt)...  Shirts dating back to preschool have been included in her quilt, too.  School sports and extracurricular activities along the way are showcased, along with shirts baring meaningful phrases and personal accomplishments.  I used a different setting for this quilt:

72" x  91"

Four years ago, I made a quilt for Jacob and Kennedy's older brother, Michael.  Here is a LINK to his quilt so (if you're new to my blog or can't recall seeing his quilt) you can see that one, too.

Thank you, Jackie, for trusting me with MORE of you family memories!! I hope that I have captured those memories in a pleasing manner, in quilts that you can be proud of and that the "kids" will enjoy for years to come.  Each quilt is as different from one another as your offspring are completely different individuals.

Until next time...
 Vive la difference!!!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mail Call Monday - Sew Caroline

At my CCLQ meeting last week, my friend Linda brought the current Quiltmaker magazine.  I nabbed it from her to peruse the pages and found a couple of things that I wanted to have another look at.  Namely, a Sew Caroline T-shirt and tote bag.

So enamored with these items that I actually got on the computer when I got home.  Not only did I take another look...

I placed an order!!!

Caroline has SPEEDY DELIVERY and my goodies arrived in just over a week.  Thanks, Caroline!

Would you like to see what I couldn't resist???

THIS adorable tote bag:

Quilt Guild is tonight... the new bag is sure to be a BIG hit!!!

And THIS coordinating T-shirt:

When I ordered the shirt, I thought it was a charcoal gray. It turns out that it's actually a heathered grape color.  Not a bad thing... just not what I was expecting. All in all, not a bad surprise, as I didin't own anything in this color.

Until next time...
Shop happy!!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ScrapHappy Saturday - RSC15 - Week 16

Welcome to Week 16 of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge!!!  Each week I share with you the progress I've made on my sewing for the RSC and we join the Link Party to see what all the other RSC Quilters have been up to during the week.

This week has been as hectic (and less productive) as some of my more recent weeks.  Since you're here, I suppose you'd like to have a look.  Week 16 went something like this:

Sunday...  Not only did I manage to finish the fusing on T3, I also made TWO Slab Blocks:

Monday...  I worked on T3.  The RSC will have to wait!

Tuesday...  Evening work shift and progress on T3.  Again, no RSC sewing, but I found something PURPLE from my garden (planted in my neighbor's yard):

These Bearded Iris (a shorter variety, as opposed to Tall Bearded) came from my aunt's old house in North Georgia. Mine aren't blooming yet, but the ones that I planted in the neighbor's yard get the morning sun and just bloomed today. Hooray!!

Wednesday...  Small bits of PURPLE were added to T3 and a string of Tiny Nines were sewn.  The rows are now waiting to be pressed and stitched into small quilt blocks:

Thursday... I attended Quilt Bee, worked a late shift, and selected additional strips of PURPLE for the borders on my T3 quilt.

Friday...  Today's PURPLE scrap sewing yielded the following:

A trash can filled with T-shirt parts and PURPLE trimmings.  (Trimmings, scraps that I actually DO NOT save!)

And a completed quilt top!!  Read more about the T3 saga HERE.

Saturday...  My friend Needleb came over to sew.  I needed someone to keep me on task!  :o))  Before she arrived, I put the finishing touches on this post and joined Angela's LINK PARTY.  You'll find me at link #16 and TONS of inspiration from all of the RSC Quilters.  Go LOOK!!

Until next time...
Get scrappy!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Design Floor Friday - T x 3 {And Counting}

This week was devoted to working on T3.  It's a special quilt for a special person and I want it to turn out especially nice!

If you don't care to see the entire process... You may want to SKIP to the BOTTOM of the page NOW.  (You've been warned.)    :o))

Here's what the design floor looked like earlier this week:

Layout #1

The quilt layout needs an overhaul, but that's nothing unusual:

Layout #2

And yet another option:

Layout #3 (with only subtle differences from #2)

Unfortunately, it also needs be one-and-a-half shirts SMALLER!!!  I think that's going to require the shirts to be trimmed further AND will also require me to combine a few of the shirts (and leave some out completely.)  Not such a BIG deal, but it's a job that will have to wait for another day... even though "other days" are running short.

This is how T3 looked on Wednesday morning, being auditioned in its shrunken state:

The blocks have been set out on a quilt of the desired size.

HERE it is on Wednesday evening, on the design floor, freshly assembled:

Did you notice that it's turning a bit PURPLE???  It's not RSC sewing, but in a way... it is.  I'm using scraps AND the Rainbow Scrap Challenge Color of the Month!  I think that should mean BONUS POINTS... if Angela suddenly implemented a point system.  :P

In the photo above, the quilt is looking good, but it's STILL not big enough.  HOW does a quilter make a SQUARE quilt into a RECTANGLE?!?!?!

The next photo shows which direction I headed on Thursday afternoon:

Enjoy the lovely (sideways) shot of me auditioning sashing and cornerstones. (I took one WITHOUT the cornerstones, but that photo was too blurry to post.  Sorry! You'll just have to use you imagination.) 

Which brings us to FRIDAY.

I stared at the quilt and stared at the quilt.  I thought about flying geese or piano keys.  I thought about bordered squares, but finally settled on using bordered rectangles.  I believe that will be the perfect solution for the challenge of how to expand the now square quilt into a rectangular quilt.

Wish me luck!!

Oh, about that looming deadline...  Never fear!  The Joyful Quilter has found a way to make it work and will find a way to get it done... hopefully ON TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I give you the mock up of the "extension panels":

Yippee!!  Another sideways shot!  :P

 Here it is with the "extension panels" prepared for attachment to the body of the quilt:

Oh! That's going to look AWESOME. Now to apply the borders.

This side looks good:

Hey!!!  Did YOU forget to wish me luck???

Just LOOK what happened while I applied the "extension panels"!  SOMETHING went TERRIBLY WRONG!!  See the tell tale ripple:

It took some close inspection to figure out what I did wrong! Scroll back to the photo of the other side and then take another look at this side of the quilt.  Do you see it???

I broke the Quilter's Cardinal Rule!!

What's THAT, Joyful???

I began sewing the borders WITHOUT pinning.  NEVER a good idea!!!  Consequently, I got the "match points" off by a half inch.

Silly, Joyful!!  Somewhere between the design floor and the sewing machine, I forgot that the purple matched up to white... NOT more purple.  (Causing that unsightly ripple.)  :o((

So.  There you have it!  The design floor this week was SUPPOSED to have a completed quilt top for your viewing pleasure.  Alas, it has a rumpled mess that needs a border panel ripped off and reapplied....

A job for another day.  Or at least after dinner!!!  :P

OK... fortified by a good dinner and armed with my trusty seam ripper, I took out the offending seam and PINNED it in the correct position, then proceeded to sew it the RIGHT way this time!!  Bolstered by my success, I applied the final borders.

I present T3, ready for layering:

Until next time...
Match TWICE, sew ONCE!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wonderful Wednesday - {Weekend in Review}

This past weekend started early with a trip to Carolina Fiber Fest in Sanford, North Carolina:

Yes, this is a repeat of  a photo shown in another post, but wouldn't it make an adorable T-shirt?!?!
Alas, all the T-shirts were plain and boring BEIGE.  :o((

We started the morning with a sample from the LaFarm Truck.  An absolutely FABULOUS bread company out of Cary, North Carolina.  If you see this truck... don't pass up a sample!!!

Also new to the festival this year... The YARN Truck!!!  (And the BEST part??  It's air conditioned!!)

Trombone Festival {At the Quilt Shop}

WAIT, Joyful!!!  What did you buy at the Fiber Fest?!?!?

Oops!!  Sorrrrrry.  I forgot to mention my purchases.  I bought some gifts and ONE skein of yarn.

That's it... Oh!  And ALL the bread that I could cart away from the bread truck!  LOL

Now, back to Trombone Festival {At the Quilt Shop}

 OK... So I dropped DS2 at UNCG and headed HERE:

THIS is the sign that I saw... as I drove by! Ugh!! How could I have missed it?! (The shop is actually only a block or two off I-85 in Greensboro, North Carolina.) If YOU are in the area, it's DEFINITELY worth stopping by!

Ye Olde Forest Quilt Shop may not look like much from the OUTSIDE, but wait til you see the INSIDE:

As I said, I arrived early, after having driven PAST the shop once, turning around, and coming back.  Pretty typical for a first timer, according to owners Joanne and Kelley Jones.  :P

REALLY early!!  An hour early, to be exact.  NOT a problem, as I had brought my knitting and planned to have a good chunk of time to work on The Knitting Game MKAL 2015 from Hilary Latimer, Threebagsfulled on Ravelry.  The project is also known as the Mystery of the Traveling Scarf. It's a really FUN knit with "clues" given in small bits throughout the year.

As I sat and waited, the owners pulled up and went inside to prepare for their day.  I continued knitting, but not long after, I noticed the OPEN sign light up.  I finished up my round and decided that I better go in (to inquire.)

Upon inquiring, Joanne informed me that they had seen me sitting out in the parking lot and decided to open the shop early.  (How SWEET is that?!)  Thank you, Joanne!!!

She talked me through where to find everything in the shop and suggested that I feel free to have a look around.  I thanked her and...

THIS is the view that greeted me as I entered the shop:

LOTS of "eye candy" everywhere I looked!!

And just LOOK at all of the beautiful batiks:

It takes TWO walls to showcase all of them!!!

I asked about some Janome parts that I was interested in and Kelley showed me what was available. (Thanks, Kelley!)  He also pointed out the Layer Cakes and Charm Squares (but I explained that I wasn't in the market for a fabric purchase (thanks to the Austerity Challenge on Ravelry) to which Joanne quipped that we were trying to put quilt shops out of business.  I explained that we had heartily supported our local shops SO WELL that it was time to sew up what we had BEFORE going out to purchase MORE.

When I asked about a Coffee Shop and told Joanne that I was in Greensboro for the day, she readily offered me a space in the back to set up my computer and do the work that I had hoped to accomplish.  (MUCH more comfortable than that starry-eyed coffee goddess place!)

You will NEVER believe what's hiding in the back of the shop!!  Just LOOK at this Book Cart:

It gives a TOTALLY new meaning to the idea of a Book Mobile!!!

Oh!! Shiny!!!

What's that quilt above/behind the book cart??  Probably one of the shop's class offerings:


For their hospitality, I offered to pick up coffee for them when I went out to get some for myself. LOOK what I saw when I went to track down Kelley in the back:

They are selling their "work horse" to upgrade to a newer model.  Oh, how I wish I had the budget (and the space) to bring this home to my studio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (They also have a NEW sit-down mid-arm machine for ~ $3500... too bad I really want a stand-up long-arm!!  It's a SWEET "space-saver" deal.))

Here's the view from my "office"... the generous classroom space (with a bit more store, too):

They were so kind and generous, that I didn't even have to leave to go get lunch!!!

I even got to "audit" a class going on and chat with the students:

Not that I could keep up!!  No fabric. No pattern. No machine!! (Although, I probably COULD have remedied ANY of those challenges... considering where I was!!)  :o))

NOTE:  If you can't get to Greensboro, you can SHOP with Joanne and Kelly online!

And, then it was time to head over to the Trombone Festival for the performance:

Hang on, Joyful... you're forgetting about the purchases at the quilt shop!!!

Never fear!!  I bought ZERO fabrics!!!

(Along with some gifts, a couple of feet for my Janome, ONE magazine and a new book.)

Come on, or we're going to be late to the Trombone Festival:

This sign was posted so that you don't miss where to park...

There was a sign so that you would know which exit is closest to your destination...

And a sign so that I was able to find the performance location!

A (blurry) picture of one of the trombone players...

And a shot of the stage while the intermediate (?) band played.

Who KNEW that you could get such varied sounds out of ONE type of instrument?!?!  I really wish that I had been in a position to get a picture of ALL (approximately) SEVENTY performers up on stage during the finale!! It's QUITE a sight... and SOUND!!!

If you ever get the opportunity to attend this kind of event... GO!!!

Until next time...
Stay busy!!!