Friday, March 30, 2012

You would think after getting a brand spankin new machine a week ago that I would have had lots to say this week. Instead, it's been crickets around here. We got some news last week that I've been absorbing. Apparently, I can't sew and absorb at the same time.

I have spent a little bit of time with the machine. Wouldn't want it to think it got all boxed up and shipped for nothing, would we? Mostly on the granny squares out of shirts project:

I have 3 of each block represented, so 30 in all. According to my calculations, I'm a third of the way done with block construction. My plan is to sash them with a light or medium gray. Given the whole nature of this upcycled project, I'd love to find a sheet to do this with, but if not, I'll just pre-wash some Kona. I am really loving this project. I love finding two shirts that complement each other, I love, love, love the way the completed blocks look, individually and with each other.

My favorite so far is this one:

But I plan to hit the thrift stores again this afternoon & see if I can outdo even this.

And, despite my overwhelming list of WIPs, I've cut into Strawberry Fields.

I realize I'm about a year late on the Strawberry Fields craze, but at least I didn't miss it entirely.

I'm making it in this style:

from a tutorial by Don't Call Me Betsy, only I'm using 4" squares rather than 2. It's going to end up a wonderful lap size at about 64" square. My goal is to get all the HSTs made and trimmed this weekend. It should be a quick and easy assembly from there. Except school is out for spring break next week, so that will throw a wrench in everything!

But it sure is a beautiful wrench:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

You might be...

According to Jeff Foxworthy, you might be a redneck if your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.

Reckon that applies to sewing machines too?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More stripes

I'm basically piddling in the sewing department, not wanting to do anything serious until my new machine gets here. I had basted the double hourglass, with hopes of quilting it this week, but when I tried I started experiencing tension issues again. So I'm not working on anything important until I get my new machine. Which should be Friday. UPS promises me Friday. I feel sorry for them if they're wrong.

In the meantime, I made some more of the granny squares, but not out of new fabrics, so they's no point in even showing them, and I've been working on this stripe quilt some. Here's the fabric I worked with today:

I mention in my first post about these that they were easier than expected, and that is so true. This intimidated me to start, but it hasn't been hard at all.

It's true some don't line up well at all:

These will most probably not make it to the final quilt, but the vast majority line up very well, even in the tiny little centers:

This quilt has been very fun to work on and it's really nice to have a project to pull out whenever I want to with no sense of urgency to finish.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I found some more stripe fabric

I'm finding that I like doing this when the fabric has at least some wide stripes. It creates a very different look for each block you do. I almost think I could do the whole quilt out of this one fabric because the blocks look so varied.

It's also a nice weight of fabric which makes lining up the pattern so much easier, even on the little pin stripes.

Ok. Uncle.

Attempt number 2. Or 4. Who's counting?

Better, but still so off. I just can't seem to get any consistency in how those triangles line up. Between the process of making them being so unpleasant, and the end result not being near as asthetically pleasing as it was in my head, I'm making the executive decision to abandon this project. Luckily, I did not cut too much of my fabric to try.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Not perfect

but not just ruined either.

I also see now that I didn't line my triangles up correctly - I have no seam allowance on top of the green triangles, so my points would all get cut off. Oh well, that's what practice blocks are for, right?

Ho, Ho, Ho

I finally cut into the fabrics I received for Christmas.

On Friday, I was looking through Crazy Mom Friday's links & ran across this one. I loved the design and rushed to send a copy to my friend. While doing that, I ran across this image:

I captured it at some point (I don't remember from where), and despite having looked at it pretty frequently, I didn't realize imediately that it was the same design - the fact that one triangle is a solid gives it a completely different look. I decided I really liked that aspect, and I also decided that the tarragon from the Mystery Project worked really well with my Christmas fabrics.

What do you think?

Now if I can put all those tiny triangles together without ruining the whole thing. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


That's how many pieces are in EACH block of the mystery project.

Trudging along...

Monday, March 12, 2012

More agonizing

If you haven't noticed, I agonize over decisions, even the minor ones. Well, I've been agonizing over sewing machines since I began this hobby. I have a bottom-of-the-line, 1987 Singer. Which in some aspects is fine - a quilter only needs basic stitches, and that year had a decent throat size, much larger than current models. But in other aspects, not so good. Apparently, Singer made crappy machines that year. That decade, among others. Lots of plastic inner parts to wear out. Where this is evident for me is with my tension. Not long after I started quilting, my tension started giving me fits & in fact, the whole tension knob would just fall off with the vibration of the machine. So I took it to a repairman who assured me he could fix it, and he did $109 later. So me and my machine hummed along just fine until about a month ago when I noticed my tension was getting off again. It would start looking like the top thread was perfectly straight - laying on top of the fabric. I turned the knob all the way down to 2, the stitches looked just fine, and I decided to play Scarlett O'Hara & just worry about that tomorrow - I can't think about that today.

Well, tomorrow just came. Saturday I was innocently walking thru my Joann's store, heading toward the clearance fabric rack, when I was stopped dead in my tracks by this:

I commented on what a beautiful machine it was and the sales lady was all too happy to tell me that it was on sale for $450, down from $599. Wait, three digits? But it has a 7" throat - I didn't think you could get more than 5" unless you were willing to get into 4 digits. So I drug my husband in and forced him to look at it, and then I went home to agonize some more. I've spent a lot of time online researching it, and today I went to three different sewing machine stores - where I learned that one is going to be renting out time on their long arm for just $10 an hour!!!! But I digress. One confirmed what I already suspected, that my machine was going to continue to need repairs to keep the timing and tension in line and all three confirmed what I previously thought - that you can't get a throat over 5" without paying the big bucks. The internet gave me the assurance that this machine is solidly built with a metal frame, and allowed me to find it for $377 with free shipping. It also had a handy little field for entering my credit card number, which I did quickly.

I have a quilt all basted up and waiting on it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More shirt blocks

I'm loving these blocks, and I particularly like the fabric from these shirts. Not only do I really like the colors, but the striped one is so very soft.

I showed my progress to my husband last night & he really likes it. Which is good, because he's getting it whether he likes it or not. Remember, it's my bed too:)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What's a girl to do?

I know I want the granny square quilt to be super scrappy, as in, I don't want more than 4-6 blocks out of the same combination of fabrics. Which leaves me with a ton of 2 1/2" squares already cut out.

I do acknowledge that I don't need another project. I'm not in denial.

And yet, I have always liked hexagons arranged in a diamond format...

Monday, March 5, 2012

I blame the internet

I flitter from one project to the next, with about 10 more in my mind at all times, like someone with ADD.

Just to give you two examples, I saw this neat quilt out of men's shirts & I just HAD to do one too.  Then I saw some of the granny squares cropping up, like this one, and HAD to do that too. I figured the best I could do was combine the two ideas into one. I can't POSSIBLY make them all. By the time I started them all, some new ideas would be out there.

I went to my local thrift store & picked out about 20 shirts, then I did the math of what 20 shirts times $3 totalled and decided to just pick 2, plus a white one, to try it and see if I even liked it first.

See how very self-controlled and responsible I am?

These are the ones that came home with me.

I really liked the gray & rust plaid

I was not prepared for the extra cutting time. Think, over an hour per shirt! That got tedious. but you do get quite a few 2 1/2" squares out of a single shirt.

The actual blocks came together quite nicely.

Nice, huh?

I think it's time to hit that thrift store again!

This one is going to be for my husband. How does my husband feel about a quilt made out of used shirts you ask? Let me tell you a little something about my husband. When I was pregnant, I searched the thrift stores for clothes. I just was not going to pay full price for something I was only going to use for such a short period of time. As I was trying to brag about my $1 - $5 finds, his exact words were "I don't see why you're spending money on something you're only going to wear for a few months."

Blink. blink.

This is the guy who also wanted to know if I was going to use all of my 3 weeks vacation time for maternity leave. A whole three weeks?

Blink. blink. blink.

To say he is frugal is an understatement. He'll be even prouder for it's roots.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My new, old thread clippers

Decades ago, my husband worked for a yarn company here in town. One of the items he saved was this little thread clipper.

It fits in your hand nicely, and is spring loaded to re-open automatically, so it's quicker and more ergonomical than scissors. (Yes, I bite my nails.)

When he gave them to me, I crocheted for a hobby. A hobby wherein you cut your thread about once every 30 minutes, or even once a week if you're working on a thread crochet project. So I smiled nicely, stuck them in a drawer and forgot all about them.

Now that I'm looking at this:

"This" being 104 threads that need to be clipped, I'm pretty glad for them.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


A few years back I heard the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing and expecting different results. And I like that definition. It worked for me for years. But I have a new definition: Having an awesome quilt idea, but having work obligations that keep me from pursuing it right now. That's my new definition.