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Monday, January 17, 2011

Days off go so way too fast

Good morning! I wanted to start off by saying … look look what we’ve been doing.

We had been putting together the little parts and then we put some of the pieces together to get a sense of what was happening. I’m soooo excited. I don’t know how long the pieces will hold out so this might be like the middle of a quilt that will use larger pieces on the outside. I’m really sure that a scrap quilt should be made of pieces that are just “Sitting around.” I’m so excited by the project.

This quilt is going to be a Linus blanket. We’re trying to make it twin bed size so that it can go to an older child. I think people tend to make things more for babies, because they are so cute and adorable, but I think the older kids being more conscious of their difficulties. They deserve time and energy too. Linus blankets go to kids who have gone through hospitals, police or social services. At least that’s my understanding. There is just so many things to do in life, I so wish I’d have time off like this every day. It is Martin Luther King Day and I knew going into it that I’d like to be doing something of a service project and the quilt fits the bill.

I also ran into Julie this morning and we’re going to get her quilt started too. I asked her if she would gather some of the kids’ old clothes and then I could do a quilt similar to the above for her as a memory quilt. I know the quilt would be loved to pieces. I’m excited for that project, because it’s within my interest level right now. I know that I will go back to the other kind of quilt where it is more planned out, but for now we just love this idea of making something from nothing … A LOT. I’m figuring that especially because of clothing that there is always going to be something to make from.

I’m thinking now that I might make it a goal to always have a scrap quilt in the making. I’m thinking now too of Rich’s old shirts. I know he’s thrown some of them out already, but we’re thinking that maybe we can collect some and maybe make a quilt of them for Jillian. That be pretty cool I think – especially because she’s given some of those shirts to her Dad. I could make it for Rich, but I don’t think he’d appreciate it as much. Yup yup … maybe that one will be toward Christmas.

I haven’t forgotten that I’ve been thinking of Nikki and Cari. They have some priority this year too. Hehehe there’s some beauty in working for the women. I think in general, they appreciate things more. BUT, then we can’t forget that the fishes were appreciated, especially by Bob. I think the deal will be on most of the quilting to keep it simple enough so that we can do the tying of the corners instead of the machine quilting. Ahh, I forgot if we can keep it simple enough we got a new foot for the girls sewing machine that should do some of the machine quilting. WooHOO!!! I forgot! Ok, that will be exciting!

We’re going to need taking out that machine sooner or later to see how it is going to work. It’s kind of funny FINALLY having a use for it. I’m looking forward.

Just not enough time now.

This morning we’re going to be going to Rich’s Mom and he expects us to leave about 2-2:30 P.M. I’m back to wondering if we shouldn’t take a blanket in to show her … Again, just nee d to get it out to the car first. I want to show her how well loved her son is and even though we’re not cooking for him BUT eggs … we are still looking after him. I really too want her and Bud to know what kinds of things I do in my spare time. It might include giving them a book. I don’t think Bud reads, and I know that Mom doesn’t read, but it’s just the act of giving something from me to them.

I would like the idea of checking into making an audio edition to the book. That be a good deal. We might have to look up how that happens. I still don’t think that Mom would be real interested in the material, but I want her to be proud of me. Hmm, we’re thinking that maybe when we use the girls’ machine we can use it out on the kitchen table. That’s a nice space too. I can’t thank Thom enough for having commented on his way out the door that our place was really homey. That just makes me feel like a million dollars. He says that it gets better every time he comes home. Good Thom!

It’s a good thing that your boys or children in general know that you are cozy AND happy.

We started the dishwasher a little bit ago after having an omelet breakfast. I love the sound of it in the background. I don’t know if people appreciate enough the sounds it makes and the knowledge of how wonderful it feels that the dishes are getting really clean. Oh my … are we just in a sentimental mood? I think you could make us kiss a barracuda and we’d think it nice at this point. Snap out of it girl?

Ok, maybe we should talk about what happened yesterday other than the quilt?

Another picture you say, you want another picture of the quilt? YAY!

Isn’t she a beaut! I’m sort of hoping that CS is going to sign on one day and she could see that the quilt is in progress. I think she might like seeing the pieces being used and I’m sure that it would remind her of some of the quilts she had worked on with the fabric.

Ok … back to the spur shopping trip. It was an accident really.

Hmm, not sure if we should say … WOW! Or Man! Wow is for excitement for all we got … and Man is for did we spend so much money on so little. The total came to $306 with tax and shipping. One thing that’s kind of cranky making is that there was nothing pretty cloth fun in the bunch. For the record we did save 37% on the products spent

Looking at it now it seems like there is a lot of little stuff that added up to a lot! Linda … maybe we’re going to need your advice here. How do you know when you go over the top. This all seems a bit expensive, but part of it is knowing that CS is not around so we have to be a little more independent. Some of the items were more too. Each of the lamps were $50, the thread totaled $50, the hand and elbow things were about $35, and the scissors, rotary blade, appliqué paper, design wall and wood block for the rulers were each about $15 … the other eight products averaged about $5. When they totaled things up they had said we saved about $180.

That would seem good, but I know this store has to discount a lot.

I have to get over my nervousness for spending so much money. I’ve gone over the list and now the pictures so many times that I’m starting to get an idea of why things cost so much. I’ve only had to for example buy a few threads on two separate occasions. I had to fill in my black and off-white and we had gotten a sample box of ten thimbleberries. We are starting to get a collection. It was a big deal getting the box of threads. It’s only like 110 yards, but that is something too in that there are enough colors to really fill in what I don’t have.

So far CS had been giving me stuff one project at a time. Hmm, three times. We bought some thread at the retreat too. Really when you think of it it’s a pretty important something to have. Oh and did you notice … we have a light and dark invisible thread. I don’t know exactly how you can have dark invisible, but it’s happened.

Ok, here we go … we’re going to talk about some of the other purchases. As to the black and white thread … you just gotta know that’s a staple. The sixth finger stiletto is kind of something you might hold in your hand to press fabric down before it hits the feet pulling the fabric under the needle. I have seen both CS and Linda use one – though I think theirs is different. We’ll see what else it is good for as we go along. I’m not sure if we will love it or leave it. Right now we’re in the habit of pulling the pin out right before it goes under and we use the tip to smooth the seams so they don’t get clumpy. I like the part of having hands free to do this, but I wanted to check out what other women are using in case I was missing out on something.

The elbow relief and the hand massagers seem pretty practical. We’ve already been to the doctor because of overstress injuries. It’s been a while, but we’re trying to be careful. I’m afraid the gloves are going to be the wrong size though. I was going to get a different size and it took this size by default. Not so happy with that one. And, we weren’t sure what size machine needles we were going to need.

We should have a couple extra packs. Since now Linda has let me know that size 80/12 or 70/10 are good for the piecing kind of work we do.

Ok, we got lost here a bit looking for needles and batting and then messing with all that … we decided to wait nonetheless, but by now two things have happened … first the accountant forwarded us the paperwork we needed to start the business through the state. I had to write them a check for $2, so they are not getting rich off me, but I’m glad we took care of it proper. We let Kathy know we’d sent things out. From what I understand she is the accountant’s daughter also a CPA.

Now we’re hearing that the W-2’s might not be out until the end of the month so we might have to wait another week or two before going in.

The other thing that happened was that Rich came home. He’s on his computer now and is watching fishing shows, so I guess he had an ok day, because we didn’t hear about it and he seems pretty relaxed though busy. We should be leaving sometime within the hour to his Mom’s so we got a shower and dressed and all that formal stuff. He says we’ll only stay about four hours. Usually, we go through the parts where he’s helping her finish up the cooking and then we’ll eat and then we’ll have a nice slow dinner and dessert conversation at the table. Usually I will clear the dishes before dessert and Bud handles getting that ready.

Ok, that is that … we should get back to our shopping. The chock liners are two little snub nose pencil shaped devices that have a tiny little metal rolling wheel and as you press it lets go of a thin line of chalk. CS uses them so now we do too. We used it a lot on the fishy quilts. On our little squares we would draw a line from opposite corner to the other, and then we would sew a seam on either side of the chalk line, and then we’d cut the middle chalk line when we were done.

That’s the nicest way to make triangles. I figured we better replace them and we got a white and a blue for light or dark colored fabrics.

The udderly smooth stuff is supposed to be a special hand lotion that sewers like.

We just got a two ounce bottle to check it out … no grease! The rotary blades are another fill it in item. We’re not out, but we wouldn’t want to be either. It’s real important when you are sewing to change blades and machine needles. Just supposed to make your life easier – we needed to get this updated too.

The oak ruler holder is a nice gift to self. We’ve got one already and it really works well … it’s just a wood block with grooves routed out. This one is like 8x19 with 9 grooves. The one we have is sufficient for our regular rulers, but we realized when working in the room that we have a whole wicker box full of different guides that we are not seeing. We want to pull them down to view. I’m hoping there will be enough room for all the pieces. I will keep it on the other side of the plexiglass table on the sewing machine and to the right of the cutting board.

Most of that space is clear for fabrics we are sewing on, but we can manage around the guide holder.

The EZ seams device is just a small plastic thing and it’s meant to measure regular lengths of stuff. That’s just a frill! Who said men are the only one that like to play with tools. The appliqué pins are different than the ones CS had me get used to. They have glass bead ends so you can pin them on your appliqué and iron right over them. I liked that idea. It’s just a small thing, but those things collected are what make it an interesting sport!

The curved needles I’ve seen before and I might have one or two with my grandma’s things, but I’m thinking these are the things you thread with yarn and pull through the corners to hold the quilting sandwich together. I’ll have to look that up.

AHA! This looks pretty simple …

“The fastest way to secure the layers of a quilt (top, batting, and backing) together is to tie them. Thread a needle with a long piece of embroidery floss, yarn, or pearl cotton. At regular intervals (every four inches, at most) take a single stitch through the three layers of quilt. Tie the thread in a double square knot and trim the thread to a consistent length, usually 1/2 or 1 inch.” (TLC – A Discovery Company on Tying Quilts)

This was also handy …

“Once you have made your quilt top, how do you finish it? Rather than the time consuming method of sewing the three layers of your quilt sandwich together with quilting stitches, tying quilts is a fast and easy way of finishing your quilt which gives you a give you a softer and puffier feel. In some cases (such as that of a quilt made with blue jeans), tying is the only way you will be able to finish it.

Start out by stretching out your backing face down on a table or floor, attaching it to the surface with masking tape at corners and around the edge. Spread the batting over it, smoothing out any wrinkles. Lay the quilt on top, face up.

You will be tying the quilt through all three layers at regular intervals. The batting you use will determine how far apart your ties should be - check the package. You will want to place your ties so they enhance the design of the quilt top. What should you use for tying? Try a 4 ply yarn, 4 to 12 strands of embroidery floss (the more, the less likely they are to break), #8 crochet cotton, #5 pearle cotton, corsheen cotton, or even ribbon. You don’t need to place your ties on the front. If you feel the ties will distract from the design, tie from the back.
Using a curved tapestry needle, make your first insertion down the center of the quilt. Try for a 1/4” gap between the insertion point and the return pass of the needle. A rubber thumb tip or jewelry pliers may be helpful to pull the needle through. Work your way down the center of the quilt BUT don’t cut your ties. Keep them all connected for now. Continue working down the center of the quilt and tie off when you get to the end. Then go back to the center and do the same in the other direction. This helps stabilize your quilt so you can work on one quarter at a time.

Now you can cut the string between your ties and make your ties using a square knot or surgeon's knot. A surgeons knot is a square knot with an extra twist. Or you might want to take two stitches for ties. The second one is just a back stitch over the first. If you would like, you can seal each knot with a tiny dot of fray check, a button or a piece of decorative yarn. Pull up each pair of ends and snip at 1 /2" to 3/4" above the surface. You will have your quilt finished in no time. Now bind it and enjoy!” ( – Tying a Quilt)

Shoot, we only have about ten minutes left. Rich has already given the warning. I don’t have to do anything before we go other than post. I’m not going to get done with this list before we go so we’ll finish after we get back. I’m not sure if that will be tonight yet or if tomorrow. We might want to get some sewing done when we get back. That be a good idea.

Well the light is the next object. Thinking through that … Basically, I decided that the office has enough lights, though we could get by with one more over by the steamer. With that you can always open the closet for light, so that’s really the preferred method. We have two floor lights in our living room and we ordered two more because I thought they were a good price. The two new and two old are all black the old with a white shade and the new with a long swooped over thing.

One of the old ones is over by my space on the couch and we’ll put the other one over by Rich’s chair so he can read at night. And, then the new one’s will go over my piano and the other will go over my cutting board. I’m real happy with that choice, because the two new ones seem to cover a width of distance and they are ott lights so they should be properly balancing the looks of things. They look pretty set as to hight, but that should be ok, they would have fixed them to shed light over the even table height tasks. Feeling really good about that choice and it made the whole trip concrete.

Ok, better post … bbs.

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