Saturday, September 20, 2008

Getting friendly with the seam ripper

A long time ago... 3 years? I was in a 9-patch swap. Kona black, with batiks and hand dyes. I have all the blocks I need to make a quilt top... but with one problem.

One of the swappers (I have no idea who, as this was a central swap) didn't really grasp "seam allowance" and "pressing" when it came to her blocks.

On the left is her block, on the right is one of mine. There's obvious size difference, and no matter how much I could stretch and "make it fit", I'd still end up with boob-like humps in my quilt.

The back side is even worse.

Almost looks like I edited the photo with some twist distortion. :P

So I'm gonna spend some time seam ripping 6 blocks apart. I just really hope that the swapper could at least cut 2.5" squares correctly! :D

Is it really that hard to get a good seam allowance? Is taking an extra 2 minutes to properly press too painful? I consider myself to be somewhat of a "careless" quilter. I don't focus on making sure the points match perfectly. Any long time reader of my blog knows that I have a HUGE dislike for pinning. I'm not going to try to sell myself as perfect, but three things really make quilting easier - proper cutting, proper seam allowance and pressing.

At least this means I'm joining in Judy's quiltathon! ;)


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Butterfly Twist Quilt

Just finished the binding on this butterfly and green quilt this afternoon.

Whew... talk about vibrant! And I used orange thread this time, because there's a wee bit of orange in the butterfly wings. That's the downside about using Essential Threads, there aren't a TON of color options; only about 60 or 65 to select from. Hopefully there will be more colors down the road... but in the meantime it's make do! I love the thread too much to switch to a different brand that might have more options. :)

Can I moan for a long arm machine again? Cuz this wouldn't have happened if I had one!

Towards the bottom you can see a bit of the backing fabric that got pinched. Not a big deal, right? Well... when I was quilting that part, it started bunching on the top too. Instead of taking a moment to figure out if something was wrong, I just smashed the top relatively flat and hoped for the best. Nope, that's not how it works. :P

The quilting was just loops this time. I was running out of steam after free-motioning the ferns on the green zig zag quilt. So I picked something easier and wouldn't use a lot of thought. And if I accidentally crossed thread over, one would just assume it was another loop. :)

Still needs to be washed for "optimal usage", but I've moved onto the binding of the last trio of quilts.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Green Zig Zag done

The first of the trio is completed! I tackled this one with a lot of energy and interest for something new, which I can't say the same for the other two.

I love how crinkly it came out after washing. Just the kind of quilt you want to pull up on yourself and cuddle with. :)

And in a move that makes no sense at all... I used dyed orange backing fabric. That's one way to make the quilting pop!

Selective shot, of course. I'm not perfect, I'm not going to delude myself that I am, but I don't have to photograph it! :D I had a boo-boo where the backing folded over and I quilted on it. Then when I was trying to seam rip it apart, I accidentally snagged the wrong thread. So there's a certain section that's looking a little chewed up and thread heavy from re-sewing... I wish I could say live and learn, but I've lived through this several times now! Just one of those moments where I lament and wish for a long arm machine. ;)

My inspiration for the "endless cornstalk leaves" came from Suzanne Earley's Meandering Magic. You can get both books at her shop.

Well worth the money in my opinion, even though I don't have a frame set up for quilting. Somehow certain designs really started to click and make sense after I read through her books. Best of all, it makes me want to go beyond meandering and looping. :)

Here's the pattern I was planning to do:

But I just couldn't get comfortable back tracking. I know, practice, practice, practice. I'm happy enough that I branched out, period! ;) The result's pretty stunning, and nobody's looking for the mistakes.

I've also been keeping busy with other stuff. Last week I felt like I was trying to play superwoman! Some cooking for the Labor Day gathering at the in-laws, went to Tucson last Tuesday and spent $51 on gas and $51 on olive oil!! I think I got a better deal with the gas for once. ;)

Wednesday was my quilt guild's garage sale... ugh, didn't do as well as I hoped. I priced out over 100 yards of fabric, but only sold about 15 and made $37. But there's a noticeable dent in my stash, cuz 100 yards is still in my car! :D I really thought it'd sell better, cuz everything was $2/yard, including a bunch of Thimbleberries plaid and Christmas fabric.

Thursday the internet went out and it was kinda boring, but we got the living room super cleaned and I finished the binding on the zig zag quilt. We also went out to dinner, dipping into the grocery funds.

Friday the cable people came over, and I cleaned the kitchen too. Made for a nice relaxing weekend. And they better not charge us for that visit, as it wasn't our fault! :P

Saturday I did the weekly grocery shopping, and spent only $33.69!! Whoo. :D See, we're planning to buy a gaming laptop for my husband, cuz his won't cooperate, no matter how many times we've taken it into the shop, and the fact that we've replaced almost everything except the computer box and hard drives. We've reached the "enough" point, we just can't keep thowing money at it. Apparently it works fine with web browsing, so it'll become my computer. You know, as soon as I can cut the 5 year comfort I have with my current computer... augh. :)

My only request for the laptop was that we pay for it with cash. We've bought my husband 2 computers on credit... I'm done doing that! The credit card is paid off, it's staying that way. So, major budget time. $297/month for food, eating out and any stuff we need. Once we're out of money, we're out! We do have a 50 pound bag of rice, and 25 pounds of pinto beans, so we won't be starving any time soon. :P

And if you made it this far, have a cookie. ;)

Part of the menu planning includes a weekly sweet so we're not tempted to get a shake or run to the store for some ice cream.

And of course, I still have plenty of fabric, I can make hundreds of quilts. :D I am going to run out of batting at this rate, and would love to buy a roll... but I'm counting on the fact that my birthday is just 2 months away! ;)


Friday, September 05, 2008


Bad connector on the outside cable box? Equals no internet connection.

It also equals a very clean living room, a tidy kitchen and one quilt binding done. :D

Off to catch up some more on my blog list.