Thursday, September 16, 2010

Summer Replay – Part 2

In my last post I told you I had bought a new sewing machine, a Janome Horizon 7700. 
 And if ‘ya got a new machine,  ‘ya gotta test it out right?  Warranty and all that.  So what have I been testing my new baby on?

On the non-quilting front:

I made a summer top – the first clothing sewing I’ve done in about twenty years.  Even had to put in a zipper!

I recently ordered some more patterns – despite having three file cabinet drawers filled with patterns from the old days.  Unfortunately I’ve gotten a little more “mature” in size so many are no longer my size.  I hope to do more clothing sewing on a regular basis from now on.  
On the quilting front:
   I completed a donation quilt!

D     Dino Sports 2 began with the leftovers of the quilt I made for my cousin’s son from a kit last year (and blogged about here).  I saw the pattern for it in the Spring 2009 issue of Easy Quilts magazine and knew it was perfect for using up the leftovers (with a few additional purchases needed to round out the project).  Earlier this summer I had participated in Victoria's Bumble Beans Inc. Block Gather, where she collected house blocks from quilters to be made, by her, into quilts for donation to the Basics Promesa organization that helps homeless people get resettled which I blogged about here. (If you would like to see the quilts she made from all the donated blocks, you can see them here).

      After the Block Gather was so successful, she made arrangements with the organization to accept finished quilts from other quilters.  When I heard about this, I knew this was the perfect destination for the Dino Sports 2 quilt since I’d only made it to use up the fabrics and I didn’t have any more young relatives to gift it to.  I already had the quilt half way quilted when I bought my new machine so I got to finish the quilting, binding (attached by machine which is the way I bind all my quilts), a pillowcase and the best part, made a monogrammed label for the quilt and donated it in early August for the Basics Quilt Gather.

Please note: they are still accepting donations of quilts for this cause.  If you are interested, click the links in the above paragraph or the one on the sidebar.

I made my first Schnibble!

       Like many, I’ve long wanted to work on a charm pack project.  Last year, I started following the “Year of Schnibbles” group on Sinta's and Sherri's blogs and became enamored of the cute patterns Carrie Nelson designs for her company Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co.  Then earlier this year I heard that she was coming out with a new book, “Schnibbles Times Two”, and I decided to purchase it to see first hand what all the fuss was about.  Of course there were numerous designs in the book I wanted to try, figuring that they’d be small and therefore quick to piece and great for quilt stitch practice.  

        I came across some batik charm square packs that I really liked (Venetian and Atmosphere by Benartex which I got from and quickly realized they’d be great for a Schnibbles project and purchased them and some background fabric (Dots/ Batik Landscape from Keepsake Quilting).  I finished “Scratch” in late July and its now waiting layering and quilting.  The green brown batik on the side will be the backing and “turned to the front” binding (using the “Quick Easy Mitered-Binding Tool").

Update:  You can see the finished quilt here.
I also made my first jelly roll project! 

       A quilting friend had given me the book "Two From One Jelly Roll Quilts" by Pam and Nicky Linott (of The Quilt Room in the U.K.) earlier this year.  I felt about jelly rolls the same way I did about charm packs so plotted the chance to make one of the projects in the book.  The push was – as it often is – a fabric sale, this one by Connecting Threads.  They had the 2-1/2” strips and yardage of their “Sweet & Sour” line (and other fabrics) on clearance so I was able to pick up the fabric and backing for this project for a really low price.  After I finished the top (“Jigsaw”), I really felt that I wanted to add another border to it.
      I wanted to get more of the background fabric for the border but unfortunately, it was was no longer available.  But then I checked out some of the kits using this fabric line and found one for a lap quilt (also on clearance) that had enough of the same fabric I wanted for the border and the lap quilt's design was such that I figured I could find another fabric to substitute for what I'd take out and still be able to make the kit quilt.

Here's "Jigsaw" with the additional border added
        This one is also now ready for layering and quilting.

3.     As noted above, I purchased a lap quilt kit in order to use some of the fabric from it for the jelly roll project.  On Labor Day, I finished the top for that quilt, “Flowing Silk”, using a Hoffman fabric (the purple floral) I purchased from Hartsdale Fabrics to replace the Connecting Threads print I purloined from the kit and now lastly, this too is ready for layering and quilting.
       Update:  This quilt was finished in 2012 and donated to charity.  See this post.

I      I also did some work on some old projects (started last summer, blogged about here) .  I had my sons sew more strips for the string and denim tumbling block quilts I want to finish for them for the winter season.  I had planned for this to be one of the summer activities I did with them and while I did let them to sew on my new machine for a little while, there is still a lot of work to be done on this. 
I also finished all the pieced arcs I need for my Double Wedding Ring quilt project which was supposed to have been the project I focused on this summer.  Last summer, I had picked out all the fabrics I wanted to use for the ring centers and melons so now I have to do the appliqué for the centers and then cut the centers and melons and attach them to the arcs to create the rings.  I’d like to at least get this to the “completed top” stage by the end of this year but you know how that goes – only time will tell.

Well, that catches me up.  Hopefully with school started, I can try to post more regularly.  Hope your Summer was good and your Fall will be even better!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summer Replay – Part 1

Well, I am back. It has been another summer where I intended to post but didn’t. Partly it is because I have been dealing with a personal family crisis that has taken all summer to try to resolve. Since this blog is meant to focus on quilting, I won’t get into the details except to say it is now in its final stages and when completed will bring closure to an issue that had concerned me for some time.
But the summer wasn’t all gloom and doom. While my family didn’t make too many summer plans, we did get to travel to Virginia (to visit my aunt) and North Carolina where my mother-in-law and her husband recently retired to (and a few other family members on my husband’s side also decided to relocate in their wake). On the way back, we visited the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico, VA.
It’s a really interesting stop and I’d recommend it particularly if you have family that have served or are serving in the military. We also took our kids this summer to Medieval Times, the jousting dinner theater show, which my sons enjoyed immensely (sorry, it was pretty dark inside so I have no great pictures of the show).  I also finally took my sons to the Transit Museum in NYC. I think I enjoyed it more than they did since over the years I've ridden a number of the different types of subway cars they have on display. The rest of the summer was spent just relaxing (mostly in the house because it was so hot!) or going to the movies and keeping my youngest son on track to complete his summer reading and math packets.

The BIG NEWS on the sewing and quilting front is…..(wait for it)……I bought a new sewing machine!!! After quilting five quilts in row this year, I really believed that I was pushing my old sewing machine to its limits. My Euro-Pro 9106 has served me very well in the six years I’ve owned it.
In the process of quilting "Triangle Trips" earlier this year.
But I longed for a machine with a wider throat space and that could accommodate high-speed stitching (which I’ve done on my machine but was not sure that it was meant for it since towards the end it seemed to struggle a bit). Of course I’ve viewed and sampled long-arm machines at quilt shows but I live in an apartment and although we have plans to move to a bigger unit, I still won’t have the space to accommodate one. So I started looking into mid-arms and dedicated straight stitch machines, thinking I could buy one to supplement my Euro-Pro.
Then I saw an ad for IT that really peaked my interest. IT had all the features I wanted now, some I had always wished mine had and some that were things I always wanted. Then I remembered that there had been a dealer of ITs brand at the last quilt show I went to and found they weren’t too far from me and thought I’d go take look at IT. That look quickly turned into a purchase and I welcomed home my new……Janome Horizon 7700!
I can’t say that I had planned to make this big a purchase this soon but I am happy I did (and the decision was supported by my DH!). I got the throat space and the stitch speed I wanted but also got an extremely well lit sewing surface, automatic thread cutter, knee lift, a built-in even feed system, three different kinds of free motion/darning feet (closed, open and "big foot") and a full array of other accessory feet, more decorative stitches than in my old machine, and a monogramming function!
I’ve been able to spend time this summer getting to know it. There was no learning curve at all, in fact Joann, the owner of the Nimble Thimble in Port Chester, NY where I bought it, said I was entitled to in-store lessons on how to use the machine but I’ve got to tell you – after trying the machine at the store under the guidance of the store staff, watching some on-line videos just before I bought it, watching the same videos at home on the DVD that comes with the machine and then just sitting down with the manual and some projects and using it, additional lessons were really unnecessary. The machine is fairly intuitive to use (if you have been sewing for any amount of time and are familiar with computerized sewing machines).
Needless to say I am loving it and very happy with it and am now really excited about eventually getting what was originally planned to have been my next big equipment purchase – a Koala cabinet. Fortunately the Nimble Thimble is also a dealer for that so if we ever (ever, ever?) get called for the bigger unit we’ve applied for (the wait is three to six years and this year made three years), it will be the first (I’m not kidding!) furniture purchase I will make for the new space.

So what have I been testing my new baby on? I’ll take that up in the next post.

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