Plot Twist #2

Things have been busy.  I haven't been in my sewing room since Friday.  Speaking of Friday, I did finish another Quilts for Kids quilt.  I quilted it with Modern Drift.

I have enough set aside to make two more.  Probably if I go through my stash I could make tons more.  I just may as soon as I get more hours in my day.

I also acquired another guild project to quilt.  Hopefully that will happen this week or next. Here's a little sneak peek.

I have made no more blocks for the Summer Book Club QAL.  I have fabric pulled to make a ton more, but just haven't gotten to it.

I made a very small batch of sweet pickle relish.  The recipe said it would make four half pints, but I was really stretching to make it to three.  They are probably a bit under-filled.  Also, you may notice in my picture that it looks like there is something all over the lids.  There is not; it seems as if the lids etched during processing.  Strange.
I forgot to share this picture last week.  It is a series of muslin gowns through history.  I found it really interesting and inspiring and I wish I would have taken pictures of each individual plaque, but I didn't. It makes me want to go sew doll clothes.
Finally, you may be wondering where is the plot twist in this post?  I mentioned last week that I am officially in the long arm quilting business now, licensed by the state and county.  I was frustrated that I couldn't come up with a business name that wasn't already taken, so I finally went with Quilting by Anne-Marie and I was going to just incorporate it into this blog.  However, I found out that the domain was actually available, so soon my little business will have its own website dedicated solely to machine quilting.  I'll be adding a new brand of batting as well, which I'm pretty excited about.

These next few weeks are looking to be pretty busy what with finishing up the final week of camp, lots of appointments, and getting the kids ready for back to school, not to mention finalizing all the little details to launch the business web presence.  Hopefully I can squeeze in some sewing time here and there too.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts and Put Your Foot Down at For the Love of Geese.

Plot Twist

I purchased a NASA quilt kit from Riley Blake via Jo-Ann for my space-loving son.  It arrived Friday and I planned to sew and quilt it this week.  We are changing the layout slightly and adding some additional yardage that I already had.  Since the previous fabric was already washed, I washed all the new yardage as well.  As soon as it was out of the dryer, I took it to the sewing room to start ironing.  Then I noticed that the central panel had a sizable flaw that runs in two directions right through the center of the panel.  I was so disappointed!  And a little at loose ends since I'd already planned on working on it during my sewing time this week.

So I sulked for a while and then decided to make another Quilts for Kids project.  It's loaded on the frame and I think I have the quilting plan programmed and ready to go.  I have exactly two free hours today, so not sure when I'll get to this, but hopefully tomorrow I'll have a bit more time.  I don't anticipate this one taking very long.
As a side note, I generally do not float my quilt tops.  However, I used the very end of a bolt of batting for this and it is super wrinkly, so I felt that I needed to be able to access it and make sure everything goes well.

We also finally hung these pictures that my sister gave me several years ago.
The only other thing I have to mention is that I am officially in business.  I filed all the paperwork and got approved from the county last week.  I'm working on designing some business cards and then I'll be super-official!  I'm waiting to hear from the state on a sales tax permit.  Assuming they approve (paperwork is showing up today), then I'm planning to add some nice batting choices to my repertoire.  Send some quilting my way!  :)

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the Love of Geese.


This past week has been a bit off.  We had unexpected schedule changes and sometimes the kids just need you more than usual.  

I did manage to finish quilting the quilt that's been on the frame for several weeks.  I was trying out a new pattern on it and the computer program just didn't like it.  Not only was it super slow, it crashed continually and I had to keep reprogramming the pattern.  Thankfully I had thought to write down the settings so that it wasn't too bad to reprogram.  Each row took 30-40 minutes to stitch out and had over 12,000 stitches.  I lost track at the end of just how many rows I did, but I am confident in saying that it has over 180,000 stitches. Next up will be making and attaching the binding.
I have since learned that I could have tried a different file format to import the design and it would have then perhaps had a smaller file and wouldn't have been so prone to crashing the program.  While I generally prefer a tighter, smaller pattern, I think I should have gone much larger with this one.  I'll try again another day.

I sewed four more book blocks while the long arm was stitching.
I finished painting the room we are working on.  Next up is to replace the windows.  The originals leaked at the corner seams and we got new ones under warranty.
I've mentioned before that we've had a very wet summer and how it seems to have affected things.  We've had very few butterflies--still no monarch sightings.  We have had a lot of birds stay longer than usual, especially the orioles.  The orioles do stay all summer, but don't usually come in to the feeders after a few weeks. We also have at least one pair of rose breasted grosbeak that have stayed--those generally come through in May and stay only a week or two.  We have very few goldfinches this year.  Those we generally have in abundance all year.  We have a much smaller amount of hummingbirds as well.  Anyway, the point of all this is that we are also seeing juveniles of many of the birds.  Some are easy to identify and some are a bit more challenging.

I saw this group of orioles last week.  One of them was feeding jelly to the lighter one.
I also have been seeing this bird at the feeders often.  I'm fairly certain it is a juvenile red headed woodpecker.

I'm really hoping to get in more sewing time this week.  If not, school starts in five more weeks... I'm planning to do the binding for the quilt shown above, piece two more charity quilts, make more book blocks, and just try to be more productive than I've been lately.  I'm drowning in fabrics that I really would like to use up.

Also, I'm really not a fan of people shooting off fireworks at home, especially over a long period of time, like a week or more.  Some people, pets, and children do not handle the sounds well.  You think you're safe in your own home, asleep, and suddenly it sounds like you're under attack.  I'll be glad when this week is over.

Some Quilting

I managed to sneak in a little sewing time yesterday.  I've had the FQS 2013 BOM on my frame for a week.  I'd been having problems getting the pattern I wanted to quilt on it to actually load correctly.  It kept crashing the program.  I finally deleted it and reloaded it into the software and that seems to have helped.  I have finished three of 15 rows so far. Each individual row has over 12,000 stitches.

While the computer was stitching away on the quilt, I managed to get two more book blocks made.  I'm super far behind where I wanted to be on this project, but it will get there eventually.

Over the weekend I had lots of time in the car, so I finished binding the Charming Lucy baby quilt.  Now I just need someone I know to have a baby.  LOL.  This quilt was made using Stacy Iest Hsu's Best Friends Forever fabric for Moda.  The free pattern is by A Bright Corner.

Originally I thought maybe I'd bring the 365 Challenge quilt to bind, but once I picked it up and realized how heavy it is, I quickly decided on the baby quilt instead.  I was curious how much the 365 quilt actually weighs.  It's 90" x 90" and it weighs between eight and 10 pounds!!  I did the super-scientific thing of standing on the scale with and without the quilt.  :P   Right now this is the only quilt I have left to bind.
We have had so much rain lately and heavy storms too.  Most of our garden plants are super happy.  We have a bumper crop of milkweed this year and haven't seen a single monarch butterfly or caterpillar so far.  Go figure.
This bee balm is super happy, as is the spearmint that is taking over everything.  I need to thin it out a lot. The good thing about the spearmint is that the deer don't like it.
Our vegetables are starting to look a bit wild.  I bought a cucumber plant this year.  I think it's an English cucumber.  It all the sudden started growing like crazy and has pushed through the fence to the outside.  Of course the deer have eaten off most of what sticks out through the fence, but they apparently don't like the actual cucumbers since this one is still here.  And yes, I know I need to weed the vegetables.

When I was taking pictures in the sewing room this morning, I saw what appears to be a baby/juvenile blue jay sitting in my window well garden.  I had to zoom in a bunch, so the picture isn't the best quality, but I found it funny that a chipmunk photo-bombed.

I'm hoping to get in some more sewing time this week and I also have a room to paint.  What are you working on?

Linking with Sew Fresh Quilts and For the love of geese.

When It Rains, It Pours

We took the kids to their grandparents' over the weekend.  While we were there, I got 21 text messages from the county informing me of tornado warnings at home.  I think their system was going haywire, but it turns out that there were some tornados at home, just not in our immediate vicinity.  I guess it's a good thing we were far away.  We did have a bit of damage from the storms though.  My crabapple tree was snapped off.  I was sort of devastated by this.  Deer rubbed on it and damaged it right after we planted it (which was only three years ago; I thought it had been much longer), and this year it was finally starting to look really good. It did snap near the deer damage, so they really did ruin it.  Have I mentioned before how much I dislike deer?
While searching for a replacement tree online, I saw that Lowes had a bunch of crabapple varieties and many of them were on sale for half off.  We ended up buying three since they were only $44 each.  We also ordered more trunk protectors online.  We like the heavy duty black mesh type and haven't been able to find more locally.  We ordered from A.M. Leonard simply because they appear to be the manufacturer.
I always do a lot of cleaning while the kids are visiting their grandparents because it's just easier to do when no one is at home.  While I was in their bathroom I noticed a high-pitched whine.  I wondered about our radon fan since it is in the attic sort of above my son's room and the bathroom.  I meant to mention it to my husband, but forgot about it until we were downstairs looking at the drywall in the spare bedroom.

We are planning to finish the spare bedroom next, but are waiting on some replacement windows from Andersen.  We have two very large 100 series sliding windows in there that both leak from the corners.  The tech determined that the windows were faulty and luckily they were still under warranty.  Like I said, when it rains, it pours.  

So, we were looking at the drywall to see what needs to be patched before I can paint.  We remembered that the closet light outlet needed to be moved to the other side of the door.  That wall backs up to the utility room, so it is a fairly easy switch since everything is open on the utility side.  While in the utility room, I happened to remember about the whining noise and checked the radon pipe indicator.  It is supposed to look like a lopsided "U" with the right side being higher than the left.  Well, it was an even U.  Which means something is wrong with the system.  I tried to find pictures of how it should look and how it looks now.  I didn't have much luck, but you can see it a bit.  It's much harder to access now that the closet is in place and drywalled.  Maybe I need a little window in the closet so that it's easier to see?  
It's hard to see, but the pictures above show how the red lines should appear when everything is working properly.
When the red lines are even, you have a problem.
So we then had to unload and dismantle everything in my son's closet because that is where the attic access is.  The whining sound I heard was apparently the sound of the fan seizing up and dying.  The fan was three months past warranty, of course.  So we found the replacement on Amazon and it should be here tomorrow. There's something good about this situation, I suppose.  I mean really, what are the chances that I heard it right as it was dying?  I'm glad the kids weren't home since the contents of the closet take up the bed and the floor in his room. You may be wondering why this radon fan is a big deal.  Read more about why radon is a hazard and why you should test for it here.

I am also working at filling nail holes in the trim this week.  It's only been six years!  Some of it has been done previously, some needs to be redone, and some was never done.

With all this, I haven't had much chance to sew.  I did finish up replacing the borders on the FQS BOM quilt I mentioned last week. The top is still not very flat (due to the inner sashing strips not being applied properly) but it does measure the same all around the outside now. 
Can you see that the end cut of this border was totally out of square?
Here are the pieces I trimmed off of the borders to make them square.
I'm hoping to get a chance to quilt it this week.  The pattern I selected to quilt is Garland by My Creative Stitches.  The quilt top is Fat Quarter Shop's Mystery BOM from 2013 and I finished piecing the top the first time in 2016.

I also made a few more book blocks.
I'm really hoping the next few days are quieter than the previous few have been.

Oh, I forgot:  we are hosting a cardinal nest in one of our clematis vines.
Cardinal nest and eggs.
And speaking of raining, I can see and hear another storm moving in, so it's probably time to take a break from using anything computerized until it passes.

Linking with Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation.

Ripping Again

Before I begin, let me first say that I appreciate everyone who takes the time to leave a real comment.  I don't appreciate spam comments and generally remove the worst offenders, but I did receive one this week on my PEX plumbing post that I thought was absolutely hilarious.  Here is a word for word quote from one John Smith, minus the spam link:  "Extremely pleasant article, I appreciated perusing your post, exceptionally decent share, I need to twit this to my adherents. Much appreciated!."  Twit this to my adherents?  I laugh every time I think about this!!

Anyway, without further ado, let's get started.

Do you work on just one project start to finish or jump around?  I always have more than one project going. Some days I just can't face working on a project, or I'm frustrated and need to let it sit a bit until I'm calm about it.  Sometimes projects are just boring and working on something else at the same time breaks up the tedium.

So.  Here's what's going on in my sewing room at the moment.  I am participating in Kate Basti's Summertime Book Club QAL.  For this one you decide what your finished project will look like and just post progress photos on Instagram to match each week's task.  While I did purchase about 25% of the fabric for this project, I'm trying hard to do most out of what I already had.  Here are my book fabric selections.
Isn't this cat fabric the best?  It has serious glow-in-the-dark power too.
Here are the books I've made so far.
I thought it would be great to let the long arm quilt something while I am working on the books.  This Fat Quarter Shop BOM from 2013 seemed like a good choice.  It's been folded up waiting for quilting for a few years.  When I laid it out to measure for the backing it looked pretty bumpy and wavy.  I told myself it was just from being folded up for so long, but I knew.  I knew that I had not properly applied the borders because I had sewn it at a retreat and didn't take the time to do it right.
When I measured, one long side was over an inch longer than the other.  I knew there was a lot of seam ripping in my future.  I ripped off the outer borders--though the picture doesn't show it all, this quilt has four sets of borders.  Still way off.  I paid my son a dollar per border piece to remove the rest.  Totally worth the $12 I gave him.

I have started reapplying the borders using the correct measurement process.  Click here for a free download on how to properly apply borders.  I actually think that the inner pieced sashing strips are a bit off too, but I don't like the quilt enough to put that much more effort into it.  Here's the trimmings from the first two sets of borders.  Quite a bit of variation.  You can see how the quilt got to be so out of square.
I am now reapplying the pieced borders.  The first one went right on, fitting exactly right.  The second one is way too big.  In this case, because there is too much to ease in, the way to fix this is to make some of the seams a little smaller so that the piece is the correct length.  This is the point where I got really frustrated and called it a day.  However, because I already have the backing loaded on the long arm, I need to keep at it and get this done so that I can move on to quilting other things.
I'm working on one more project at the moment.  If you've been reading along lately, you'll recall that I made a few Quilts for Kids quilts.  This is a great way to try out a new quilting design or just do a quick project that has a great purpose.  Anyway, years ago (like 20 years ago!) I received a bunch of fabrics to make a bug jar quilt.  I never did make the quilt, but still had all these pieces.  Quilts for Kids has a pattern for an I Spy quilt that I am modifying to accommodate having all the rectangles be different prints.  There were enough of these bug jar pieces to make two separate quilts.  I did have to trim them down slightly, but it's worth it to use up something from my stash.  My plan is to make a bigger effort to use what I have rather than buying new.
Finally, I still have three quilts that need binding.  One is the 365 Challenge.  One is this Coral Queen of the Sea.  It's a huge quilt and I have about half of one side left to do.
The last is this little Charming Lucy baby quilt that I talked about last week.
In garden news, we had our first lettuce harvest.  The lettuce is really struggling this year and isn't as tender as it's been in years past.  There is still some bok choy left.  My husband harvested like three strawberries this year and they look like they are done now.  The potatoes are growing like crazy.  Hopefully we'll get a better harvest from those than we did last year.  The green beans are coming along and starting to blossom. I have harvested 9 sugar snap peas so far.  They are delicious.  Those are a first time growing this year and I will for sure plant them again.  We are also growing some beets.  They look like they are finally starting to grow well.  We have one "Coolapeno" jalapeño plant and it looks great.  The lone cucumber plant is starting to get HUGE and has quite a few blossoms.  Do you grow any of your own food?

Do You Save the Corners?

Do you save your corner trimmings?  I know I've mentioned many times before that for the most part I do. The only exception is if something is much smaller than an inch.  Anyway, I wondered just how much yardage one would throw out just from the trimmings.  I am working on a small baby quilt and decided this would be a great time to figure out the answer.

The (free) pattern I am sewing is called Charming Lucy by A Bright Corner.  The fabric line I am using is Stacy Iest Hsu's Best Friends Forever, along with a Moda Bella background.  The pattern requires 36 charm squares and utilizes the stitch and flip corner triangle method.  

On this particular pattern, you would discard about a 2" square on two corners per charm, or two 2" squares per piece.  That would give you a discard rate of 72-2" squares, or just under a quarter yard of fabric that you'd just toss out.  {Figured at 40 usable inches of fabric across the width, 20-2" squares per width, 3.33 rows, so 4*2=8" of fabric.} My cheap? frugal? thrifty? self does not like the idea of just tossing out something usable.  Consider how much you'd toss out if you were making something larger than a baby quilt!

The solution to this is to simply take the time to sew an additional seam on each square before cutting.  You can use your favorite marking method here.  For this one I drew a light pencil line 1/2" away from my actual seam line.  Just make sure you're drawing your line in the trim area so you don't accidentally cut your working piece.

Sew on the extra lines, then go ahead and cut off your excess.

You now have a bunch of cute little half-square triangles.  In this case, the gleaned HST came out at 1.75", but you can certainly trim them to be 1.5" or whatever other measurement you like.  And, of course, size will vary based upon the pattern you are working with.
Here are my 72 cute little HST.  This block layout, if trimmed and then sewn together, would be a 10 x 11.25" block.  If I left off a row, it would be a nice 10" square.  You could also make little pinwheel blocks from the trimmings.  There are so many possibilities here.
The moral of my story is to save the corners!  Sew beauty from scraps.

This week I also finished up binding on three of the five quilts that needed it.  Of course when I thought to take pictures it is once again gloomy and rainy. The first is the Vintage Picnic mini by Primrose Cottage Quilts.  The fabrics are various Riley Blake lines and the quilting pattern is a free block design that I made into a pantograph layout.  The finished size is 24" square.

The next two are some I made for Quilts for Kids.  They both are approximately 38" x 44". The patterns are both free on the Quits for Kids website and the fabrics are all from JoAnn.  

Finally, we had our first garden harvest, albeit a bit later than it should have been due to my not going out to check sooner.  Here is some baby bok choy.  Probably this should be called teen baby bok choy.  This is our first year growing it.  It tastes good--we've tried it sautéed and as part of a stir fry so far.  We preferred the stir fry since the pieces were smaller and easier to chew.  I definitely need to harvest it younger and also stagger the plantings.  We'll try again in the fall since this is a cool weather harvest and the plants are bolting (going to seed).

Linking to Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation.