Sunday, February 28, 2010

Officially Sick

I'm officially sick of the Stars & Stripes quilt projects again. Here's where I left off yesterday. The wallhanging borders are sewn on, and I've spray- and pin-basted it into the "sandwich" ready to be quilted. I've rolled it up and set it aside and that's where it's going to stay for another 7 years a while.

Life stuff and the Olympics took most of my free time and attention this weekend but I did manage to eek out and almost finish an actual garment sewing project tonight. Yes, you read that correctly - garment sewing!

This is McCall's 5713, a "Quick & Easy" cardigan, and it really is both Quick and Easy.

I made no alterations to the pattern because flat measurements told me it has a lot of ease and I was lazy. Mostly, I was lazy.

I wanted something quick (and easy) that I could finish fast to just throw on around the house and yard while we have our last week or two of winter (below 60s in Fla-speak). I'm so tired of my one sweatshirt and few long-sleeved tops. We never have this much winter during winter. I do not have the clothes for endless weeks of cold.

The photo is horrible and does not show the sweater knit as it looks in real life. It looks shiny in this pic and it's not at all. It's a very soft, matte olive-y green with a pretty vertical stripe knitted in. I turned the stripe sideways for the top yokes, front and back. I started from uncut tissue and (nearly) finished in a couple of hours tonight.

It's quite long in both the overall length and sleeves and I'll be cutting the extra off. I quit tonight before hemming, but I'll do that tomorrow and have already threaded the coverstitch machine with green so it should only take 20 minutes or so to finish it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stars & Stripes Update

I finished the two appliqued eagle blocks this weekend and the two paper-pieced Blazing Star blocks, which meant I could put together the wall hanging blocks. I still need to add the borders before I can start quilting it. I'm hoping to do that during the week. We'll see.

Here's the Blazing Star block. It looks nice but I hated the paper piecing. Well, at least for this block because you have to leave the paper in place until it's all sewn together to stop the bias of all the triangle pieces from stretching. By the time you get to the intersection of all the points in the middle, that's a LOT of layers. So I cheated and ripped off the paper at the points before sewing them. And then spent another hour removing the rest of the paper from the finished blocks.

Here's the wallhanging on my cutting table to give you an idea of its size. (And yes, the mending pile is still there. ;-) It's minus DS's jeans but only because he took them back unmended. LOL!)

Here's the original Fons & Porter version, for comparison. You can see I took some liberties in block placement and colors.

Here's a refresher of what the big quilt will one day (sorta) look like.

And here's my progress. Only 4 more (BIG) blocks to go.

This thing is killing me though. I will never, ever, EVER do a sampler quilt that has so many different blocks and techniques. Each block is a major production because you have to totally switch brain gears like you're starting a new project for each block, because … well, you are. It's not the kind of tediousness that I enjoy. Instead of just knocking it out, I found myself wasting far too much time this weekend in the time-suck that is the PR message board. So for the time-waster reason and a few other things about the board that have gotten under my skin, I've decided to take a break from participating on it for an indefinite period.

I just re-read this and I sound pretty grumpy for this Monday morning, don't I? Complaining about a quilt I hate making and message boards that are ticking me off. LOL! I'm not really grumpy, I promise. I am enjoying the process with the quilt. I just never thought it would take so long and I'm impatient by nature. And since I've decided I want it done and off my to-do list forever, I can't move forward with anything else, so OK … maybe that part is making me a leeeeetle grumpy. ;-) But it's nice to see real progress, even if all these quilting posts are probably making your eyes glaze over.

Have a great week!

ETA: Just so it's clear - it's not the PR message board participants who are ticking me off, just some policies and other admin stuff. I enjoy a spirited discussion which includes all opinions and responses and do not become offended if someone is abrupt or disagrees with me. But because I do enjoy these discussions, I find myself losing a lot of time that I didn't necessarily want to spend on the computer. So, while I'm taking a break for a while, I'll be back arguing participating again at some point.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Back to Stars & Stripes

Who is this quilter and what has she done with Debbie's garment sewing? ;-)

I promise, garment sewing will be returning soon but I'm still in quilt-mode. I started the Stars & Stripes quilt (and wallhanging) piecing SEVEN YEARS AGO and it's really been bugging me that it's not done. Besides, I want the finished quilt - which is why I started it in the first place - and there's only one way for that to happen. Not including these eagles, I only have 6 more blocks to go on the quilt and 1 more for the wallhanging. Light at the end of the tunnel.

I've been dragging my heels over these two appliqued eagle blocks for months but I finally got the pattern pieces traced, cut, and fused onto the backgrounds this weekend. Now that they're ready for machine applique stitching, they'll go much faster. I actually like that part. I'll still have one more applique block for the quilt remaining but it's got a lot fewer pieces so hopefully I won't stall on that one as long as I have on these. I just have to remember to get more fusible web.

Once these two eagle blocks are done, I can assemble the wallhanging, add borders and machine quilt it. I'm not going to quilt the actual quilt myself as it will be too big for me so I'll be sending that out whenever I finish it and find a local long-arm quilter. But to get the wallhanging done will feel great and hopefully will be the motivation I need to finally finish the big quilt.

As you can see in the upper left of the photo, I have a few things in the mending pile - three of my tops that need to be re-coverstitched on a hem because I stupidly caught threads on something or other, and one pair of DS's jeans that had a beltloop blow-out. No progress on any of that this weekend though. Mending is only just above cutting out applique quilt pieces in my book and I couldn't possibly do both dreaded tasks so close together. ;-) But I'll get to this pile very soon because two of my favorite tops are in it and I won't want to be without them for long.

I didn't take my D1 to the repair shop yet because I was juggling vehicles with my sons and ended up just giving up mine and staying put all weekend long. Next Sunday it's going in no matter what. I hope.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time for a Nap

It's bound and done, washed, dried and puckery. Perfect for snuggling up in.

And good timing as our temps are dropping into the 30s again tonight. Brrrr.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bound and Determined

I have actually finished quilting this thing. Up next, binding the edges. Well, first cutting and piecing the binding strips and then the actual binding. I'm determined to get this done before the weekend. Famous last words ......

It's hard to see any detail in this pic, but I pretty much straight-line quilted it by outlining all the piecing, except for the border strips where I used a curvy built-in stitch from my machine. I don't think my walking foot knew what hit it. Until now, it had never been used much.

I'm going to bind the quilt with the gold fabric in the narrow border. After that, I'm taking my machine back to the repair shop. It's still squeaking. And it's breaking threads way too often - even after needle, thread, and bobbin changes. In short, it's driving me crazy, something it's never done before. It did fine with the walking foot, but once I started the curvy stitching, I was pulling my hair out. Even with the problems that were recently fixed, it always sewed perfectly. Now I'm fighting it. I was going to free-motion quilt the borders but I couldn't go more than a 2 minutes on my practice pieces without the top thread breaking. And while I'm not the best FMQer, I know it's not me - something else is definitely going on. Sigh.

I'm still not completely in the mood to sew clothing, although I would like something new to wear. Which is to say, I have no idea what will be up next. I'm still feeling a bit quilty so I may work on a block or two for Stars & Stripes. It would be really nice to get that off my UFO list before Spring rolls around, and I can piece on my Featherweight while the D1 is at the hospital.

Or I may just curl up in my new quilt and nap all weekend. ;-) I can't wait to see it after it's been washed and dried.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Drive-By Post

Still alive, yes. Not much sewing or quilting going on since work has been busy. It's calming down now but I need to find the mojo.

Just got this text from DS#2:

"stop sending me message's with a bunch of questions. No more than two"

Does that crack anyone else up as much as it does me? I think that's got to be a male thing. He can't handle more than 2 questions at a time. (We definitely need to work on punctuation, I see.)

And yes, I'm a bad mother … texting my son while he's at school. But hey, it's not like he doesn't already spend half the day texting his girlfriend, right?

Yeah, I know. But I've always been a rule-breaker. ;-)

Oh, and for the record — the text he was replying to had 3 questions. One over his limit, I guess.