Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finished Projects.

Last weekend I worked on a few projects, and actually finished 3 of them (2 UFOs, one started and finished last weekend).

First, I finished this UFO. I'm embarrassed to say that I posted a picture of this quilt, only lacking a binding on Sept. 6, 2007. Yes, it took me more than a year and half to get the binding on it. But it is now finished, and donated to my guild's community service project.

Then I finished this UFO, someone gave me the panel, then I found matching backing fabric when a local shop was going out of buinsess, and on another trip to another store, I found the ruffled binding. I quilted it a while ago, but finishing the end of that ruffled binding perplexed me. Last weekend I decided to just do it, and technically, the close of the two binding edges is not right, but it IS finished. This one went to the NICU at UConn Health Center.

Finally, I did my crayon challenge for guild. The two colors of crayons that I had were cerulean blue and sepia. We were able to add one color (I interpreted as one fabric, some people used multiple fabrics in the third color family, but whatever). I used the split nine patch pattern that I've seen all over blogland for a while, and I made this:

Tomorrow, I go to my quilters weekend in Vermont with my non-guild group. Woo Hoo!
We get to stay in the shop as late as we want to sew, then we get yummy meals at the restaurant in the inn next door, a nice bed to sleep in and lots of laughs with our friends! Just perfect! I need to toss some clothes in a bag, choose some projects to work on and head out to Vermont after my Med Certification class tomorrow morning.
Have a great weekend everyone, I'm probably bringing my laptop, so I might share whats going on during my weekend of peace away from DH and the kids, if I'm not too busy sewing like a madwoman!!

Please go donate some blood!

I've not gotten too much sewing done lately because my dad has been in the hospital for the last 10 days. It took them a while, but they finally determined that he has an enzyme deficiency which is relatively uncommon. To treat him, he has to have a 1-8 week long treatment of plasma pherisis, where all the plasma in his blood is exchanged for donor plasma. Anyway, this daily treatment uses 16 or 17 pints of blood plasma every day (plus he's still having a pint tranfused nearly every day). He's getting much better, but not well enough to go home yet. The sheer amount of blood that is required for this treatment is just astounding to today I am going to ask each and every one of you to please consider donating a pint of blood if at all possible. It has been years since I donated blood, but now I am planning to start doing so on a regular basis (the next bloodmobile here in town is next week, and DH and I will both be there) I am so grateful to everyone who has donated blood so that my father can have this treatment which will hopefully be life-saving for him that I now feel I need to return the favor. If you have never donated blood, or if it has been a while, please consider it. If for some reason you can't donate, please consider asking your loved ones to do so. And if you do donate blood, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

Here is a link for the American Red Cross if you need to find out the guidelines for becoming a blood donor, or to locate a bloodmobile in your area.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Swap

May Kristin sent me an email yesterday that the Spring Swap package I sent to her has arrived! She hasn't posted on her blog yet, probably because she is about to go on a trip, but thats okay, I can finally share what I made for her!! I sent a tote bag, a little wall quilt, a pincushion and some sugary goodness: Peeps and Pez.

This little wall quilt pattern was in the most recent Australian Homespun Magazine (those of you in Australia probably have had a couple of issues since this one, because we seem to get them with a delay). I decided not to use the little alphabet border that was part of the pattern.

This pincushion was from a tutorial that I saw on a blog somewhere a while ago (sorry, I don't remember where) and I used a DVD as the template for the circle.

And the totebag was one of those patterns that I recently ordered from Australia. The pattern is from the Rivendale collection. This was VERY hard to give away, I really wanted to keep it for myself!!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring Swap

Yesterday while I was at work, my DH sent me a picture of the pile of mail! Why in the world did he do that? I wondered to myself, until I realized that he was showing me that my Spring Swap package had arrived! I was so happy. Well, that was at about 1PM, and after work I had to go directly to my daughters dance recital dress rehearsal, so I didn't get home to see my goodies until almost 10 PM!

My package came from Marit in Norway. Inside, there were several adorable springy things:

This is a little birdhouse and bird on a stick. I'm going to stick this in the soil of a plant on my dining room table. That sounds like a good excuse to go and get a hyacinth of daffodil plant for myself, right?

Next is this beautiful bucket/bag has a gorgeous stitchery design on the front and an adorable springy fabric on the inside. Marit did such a nice job on the stitchery! Maybe I'll put a vase of flowers inside of it?

And then there is the chicken! Is this knitted chicken not the cutest thing ever? This is one of those things that I am going to sit on my shelf in my sewing room and smile every time I see it. It looks to me like Marit knitted it and then felted it because it has that fuzzy felted look. So cute.

Marit also included a beautiful postcard and some yummy chocolates, which I have already eaten! Thank you so much for the wonderful goodies, Marit! I love them all.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Not sewing

Sigh. No sewing to report on. Remember my plan to bind and wash that quilt and give it to the little girl on Monday or Tuesday? Forget it...that went out the window. I have to go to three days of training for 8 hours this week (Mon-Tuesday-Wed) this week and next. No problem I figure. HA! I went for my training yesterday, and I was wiped out by the end of the day! I had such a headache from eye strain that it wasn't even funny. When I went to the eye doctor a bit more than a year ago, he suggested that I might want to consider bi-focals now that I am (ahem) over 40. Ha ha, very funny I thought. But it is becoming more and more obvious, espcially when I do embroidery while watching TV, that I need to go get the bifocals. Yesterday in training, trying to look back and forth between the powerpoint presentation, and the handouts (and coupled with the sitting down all day, which I never do) really did me in. When I got home, I made dinner, straightened up a bit, and fell asleep almost immediately. So none of that binding on the quilt got done.

Today, training was a lot more physical: we learned about how to restrain someone having a violent outburst and how to protect ourselves. Let me just say that if one of these guys in my care ever decides to hurt me, I'm probably going to be in trouble! I'm exhausted. No sewing is going to happen tonight either.

I need to get Thing One's costumes together: Tomorrow I have to go straight from training to the first Dress Rehearsal for the dance recital (we have four shows, and each show has a separate Dress Rehearsal, plus there is a technical rehearsal for certain numbers that we also need to attend). There goes the next 11 days. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

An emergency Quilt.

Note: Don't read this post if you are a perfectionist, member of the quilt police, or prone to panicking about quilts that are not done 'properly'.

I am furiously working on an emergency quilt. Normally I keep several finished quilts on hand so that I can give one away if there is a quick need. But this weekend, I found out about a little girl in the neighborhood whose Mom died on Friday. This girl is almost 9 years old, and a friend of my children. All the quilts I have on hand are more baby/toddler size and style. So I had to come up with an idea, quick. I pulled out several unfinished tops and asked Thing One to pick a top that she thought the girl would like. She chose the Scrappy Bargello Quilt that I have been waiting to finish. My plan was to add some pieced words in the border, but fine, I'll finish this top in the next few days for the neighbor girl.

So I found some bright and cheerful backing for the top. I had put narrow lime green borders on it, but it still really needs a wider border. BUT, I need to quilt it quickly and on my quilting frame. But the frame is set up at only half width, and that means that if I add borders, it will be too wide to mount on the frame. Well okay, I can just leave it with the narrow lime green borders and call it good. That will still work. So I mounted the quilt on the frame and started quilting. Uh oh. Oops.

If you've quilted on a frame, you can see the problem I have: the quilt is still too wide for the size of the frame because the machine carriage is all the way to the end, and the needle doesn't reach to the edge of the quilt. I suppose that I would have realized that was going to happen had I actually MEASURED, which I didn't. Oh well. I can think of something right? So I quilted the center of the quilt and didn't quilt the borders at all. I'll do those later on the regular machine with the walking foot.

I finished quilting, found some binding fabric (hot pink, per Thing Ones specifications), ready to do some stitching in the borders with the walking foot. It was a great idea. The part that was NOT a great idea was when I put my thumb under the needles while the machine was running. I didn't realize I did it until I had searing pain in my thumb. At that point, I realized that the needle was in my fingernail and I couldn't pull my finger out from under it. After a small panic, I managed to get my thumb out without gushing blood all over the quilt. Eventually I got myself cleaned up, stopped hyperventilating and calmed down enoough to go near the machine again.

The quilt is quilted, the binding is on and waiting to be handstitched. Yes, the borders are a little bit wavy. If they were wider, I would have cut them narrower to minimize the waviness (like I said, don't read if you are squeamish about incorrect quilting procedure!) I know that solution works because, well, I've done it before. But I couldn't really make them narrower than the 1 1/2" they already are. So she's going to have a slightly wavy edge on her quilt. Somehow I doubt she'll notice.

Tonight I will finish the handstitching and wash the quilt. Then tomorrow after I go to the wake, I'll drop the quilt off at her house and come home and cry for this poor child, her Dad and her Grandma. Thank goodness that the family has Grandma living with them to help them out.

Spring Swap Sneak Peek

My Spring Swap package is in the mail, on its way to somewhere in Europe. I sure hope that my partner likes the things I sent to her! Here is what I put in the package:

You didn't think I was going to post a picture and ruin the surprise did you?
You'll have to wait.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Block of the Month Progress

I'm trying to get caught up on all the beautiful block of the month projects that are available in Blogland... and in the past few days, I caught up with two of them.

First, Verandah Views. I have January, February and March's blocks complete. Today I printed April's block and have it ready to stitch this weekend, hopefully. I'm not doing the sashing strips on these until I have a better idea of how the whole project is going to look. The pictures are not good because it was very cloudy and gray outside today, and if I waited for more sunshine, who knows how long it would be before I got another chance to post!

Next up, is Christmas Wish. Here are the first three blocks. When I shop hopped two weekends ago in Vermont I bought the fabrics for the strips. I'm very pleased with these fabrics, and they aren't normally 'my' colors. I'm looking forward to the next block sometime next week.

I'm also working on my Spring Swap package. I'll be mailing it on Friday, but I have some last minute tasks to complete before then. Maybe I'll post some sneak peeks over the weekend, but I can't show the whole thing until my partner receives her package. And I'm mailing it to a country that I've never mailed to before.

The next two weeks are going to be crazy busy here in the Quilting in Connecticut family. I start training for my job on Monday and Thing One, Thing Two and DH (aka The Big Thing) have dance recital the weekend of the 18th, so we have extra practices and five dress rehearsals between now and then. Oh, and Easter too. I hope I get some time to sew in there somewhere or I might go a little bit nuts. But I promise that once the recital is over, I will be here more often.