Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More Cutting, cutting . . .

This is the progress on cutting for the raffle quilt:

How do you like my organisational skills? Or am I just 'anal' as my friend Jo would say? She says I am "that adjective" about my pins. I like my sewing pins to be all the same, the long and thin type (but not the quilting pins with yellow or white or flower heads) and I like them to be in their little round plastic container which has a little pin cushion on the lid, with NO OTHER OBJECTS in it, like stray needles or safety pins!! If they are bent they get biffed. The little plastic container is one I have had for a long time, at least 30 years. It used to have a foam rubber pin cushion of the lid but this has long disintegrated and I made a new little cloth and batting one and glued it to the lid. I'm gonna cry when it dies!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cutting, cutting . . . and a little hand sewing

I am in charge of the construction of our club's next raffle quilt for our biennial exhibition in April of next year. We are making a quilt designed by Kim Diehl from her book Simple Traditions (used with permission.) I decided I would make up little packets of fabric, already cut, for people to take away and make into the blocks and to prepare some applique shapes for the border. Since I work much better to deadlines I decided I would have these packets ready for our next club meeting which is this coming Saturday. This is a really great idea (I thought), especially if a quilt is using a limited number of fabrics. But this one is a scrappy style of 100 plus blocks, each block has 25 pieces cut from 2 fabrics plus the background, and we are making no more than 2 blocks with the same fabric. Slows things down somewhat! I have done 20 of them, I will get there, I will get there, I will get there . . .

While I watched Close Up after dinner I did hand sew one side of binding down on the community quilt I quilted using Janice's Juki and Swiftquilter frame. 3 sides down and one to go. Then I was a good girl and started the cutting. So I can feel virtuous, but I'm sorry, no photo today.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

One Sick Puppy

My Elna is really sick.This is what it says when I turn it on (along with a really horrible noise that lasts for 5 seconds before the error message comes up):

I kind of feel pleased that it is such an important error, being #1 and all, but I am not happy that to fix it might cost $625 for the part plus labour plus freight if it is the circuit board. The better scenario is that it is the stepper motor which will cost $145 plus labour plus freight. And we all know how expensive labour is. The machine is only 5 years old and cost $1900 new. I don't feel like spending almost half its value again to fix it. To find out which one it is I have to spend the freight and labour anyway. At first the fault was intermittent but now it appears that it has succumbed full time to this debilitating illness. At least I can sew a straight seam with my trusty Singer. What is a girl to do with such a sick pup?

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Dragonfly Has Landed

I got it finished!
(wahoo, it is NOT another UFO!)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Standing up to Quilt

Another perfect day in the country was had by me today. I went out to Janice's house to do some quilting on a community quilt and I was allowed to use her new Juki on the Swiftquilter frame! Boy oh boy was that fun! Janice sneakily took photos of me. She probably will put them on her blog sometime soon, so look here to see if they are up.

I had already pin-basted the quilt and I thought I was just going to free motion using her Juki on the sewing table. In my ignorance I hadn't realised that you could put an already basted quilt on the frame. So after a few false starts (including forgetting to put the presser foot down - 3! times) I was away (and I won't mention the fact that I quilted the top edge of the quilt to the leader fabric.) I wasn't too good at doing the sides so after a couple of winds of the quilt I gave up on that and just quilted the top and bottom border and the centre. I'll finish the side borders on my Singer. Actually now that I think about it we put the quilt on sideways so it is the top and bottom borders that didn't get done.

It took a while to get used to the somewhat limited quilting space. I kept reaching the limit of forwards/backwards movement and ended up with a definite line going across, but hey, not bad for a first attempt (moving the machine a little helped increase the available space and I got better at not doing it as I went along.)

I could really get used to this!

This quilt was pieced by Rosie from the pattern I taught at our half-nighter last year. It is the second one she had made and she decided she didn't want to quilt it so she donated it to our club's community quilts project.

I haven't quite finished the dragonfly wall hanging but all I have to do now is put the eyes on and sew the body to to the quilt. I might get more than one post done this week!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Intermittent Fault

I know I promised you I would finish my dragonfly quilt and get a picture posted for you, but my Elna was sick again yesterday. I got the binding sewn on 2 sides on Saturday night. When I went to sew the other 2 sides on last night my machine made the same funny noise and tried to push the needle as far left as it would go before coming up with "error #1" on the screen. Ggggrrrrrrr!! An intermittent fault. The worst kind because they only happen when the mechanic is not around to see it. And guess what? I tried my machine tonight and it turned on perfectly well and behaved itself, of course!

So the quilt is still "in progress". I got the remaining 2 bindings sewn on tonight. Now I need to hand stitch the binding down, sew the paua pieces down the tail and the eyes onto the body, then finish off the ends of the antennae, then attach the body to the quilt. Since it is now way past when I should be going to bed before a work day I won't be finishing it tonight. I have 50 odd school reports to write before Friday so the progress won't be hotting up any time soon this week. Here is a detail piccy for you:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dragonflies On The Wing

Today our club hosted a workshop by Jacqui Karl making a dragonfly wall hanging. Mine isn't quite finished - but it is not far off (I promise!) I have to sew on the binding and stitch the dragonfly to the background and attach small pieces of paua shell to the tail pieces and take a picture of it. Since I haven't blogged for a week I thought I would make you my priority tonight, vbg! (Actually I forgot to recharge my camera batteries so I only got a few pictures. The batteries are charging as "we speak" and I'm promising myself I will finish it tomorrow and get a picture posted.)

We used Angelina fibres , which most of us had not used before, for the wings and the tail. We stitched nappy liners onto the background of the quilt, used a hot gun to melt parts of it and then used Jacquard Luminere paints on the crispy edges. It was great fun. We had such a relaxing day that Colleen stitched her set of class notes to the back of her quilt and Rae stitched her non slip mat to hers!

Here is Colleen showing us how well she can stitch:

She was heard to say aloud she was wondering why her thread was breaking! More photos of the workshop can be seen on our club blog here.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Tote & Gloat

Had a great day today at Tote & Gloat and I am really tired now. Both Frances and I won a spot prize. This is mine, a fat quarter of fabric. The fabric is called Folk Art Cats by The Primitive Trimmer from Red Rooster Fabrics. I haven't seen this fabric before or heard of the designer, but I love the funky cats.

And this what I got at the merchant mall:

Clockwise from left, some fat quarters from Susan Claire at Toad Hall, a dinky key ring with a 2 inch square ruler from Cherry Pie quilt Patch, a pack of hand dyed 10 inch squares from Parklee, a one metre piece of batik also (I think) from Parklee, a bag of silk and satin scraps for crazy patchwork, from Cherry Pie and in the middle 2 one metre pieces fo fabric from Susan Claire and in the cellophane packet a pair of wee scissors with a pull-off guard. The blades are only 1 and 1/4 inches long and they cut right to the tips. Very cute. I can't remember which stall had the scissors.

The crowd was entertained at the start by two "quilt doctors" performing an autopsy on a 'recently deceased quilter' to see what had caused her 'demise'. Was it the badly sewn bits of fabrics thrown away or the the orphan blocks choking her system, or was it bulging fabric and batting stash or the 'badly digested' NZ Quilter magazine?

The funniest part was when one of the "doctors" had to have a wee operation herself:

Can you guess what 'operation she needed?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Short Post

Just logging in to say hello. Frances, Janice, Jo and I are off to Tote & Gloat in Palmerston North tomorrow. This is run by Rose City Quilters and is like a big regional show & tell, with a guest speaker and merchant malls. There is a new sewing machine to be one*. I wonder if tomorrow will be my lucky day?? I might have a photo or two to post.

Update: oops, I mean won! (and no I didn't)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

My "Baby" is Back! (and other things)

Wouldn't you know it. My Elna gets to our friendly sewing machine mechanic and it GOES! Can you believe it? Didn't need to be sent away, didn't cost me any money and, darn it, I have no justification for buying a new Juki sewing machine with a Swiftquilter frame! (Not that I have the room to have one in the first place you understand.)
Thank you, every one, for your commiserations at the thought of having no sewing machine. I forgot to say that I do have another machine, a 1963 Singer 201. This is a great little machine that sews just a straight stitch, but stitches a much better seam than my Elna. I use it mostly for free motion machine quilting (when I actually have something to quilt, which doesn't seem to be as often as I would like - my machine quilting skills keep getting rusty.)

I only bought it for the table it is in and it didn't go when it arrived home. My friendly machine mechanic was around at my place one day, returning my Elna after a regular check up, and I proudly showed him my table (and the machine in it which I hadn't given much thought to, I thought it was going to be too awkward to get the table with the machine in it to him to have a look at.) Hugh very quickly unclipped it from the table and took it away! I was amazed. I never thought about the machine unclipping from the table (well, doh!). It was just seized up from lack of use and needed gentle coaxing and lots of lubrication to make it a very useful addition to my sewing room. Hugh found me a free motion foot* to fit and "Bob's your uncle"! It has twice as much space under the arm as my Elna and the only thing I really miss on it is needle up/needle down.

Speaking of sewing rooms and quilting machines, Frances, Donna and I went out to my friend Janice's place on Sunday to help her reorganise her sewing space so she can fit her new Juki machine and Swiftquilter frame into the space. The four of us pulled everything out, cleaned all the walls (and cobwebs) and put everything back in the position Janice wanted it. Janice has now finished tidying and you can see some great pictures here. I am (still) green. As our reward Janice cooked a very yummy lunch of smoked salmon omelette and salad. We had a wonderful day.

*actually I broke the first one, but Hugh found me another, much better one. Isn't he great?