New Cutting Mats

I won a set of ecopeco cutting mats in the Quetzal Blue color way from Elm Street Quilts' May One Monthly Goal.  The mats arrived this week and they are just beautiful.  And they do not have a smell.  I'll update once I use them more.  I have the larger one on my cutting table right now.
I have done very little sewing over the past week.  Here's my total.
The big project that I tackled this week is to finally sort my fabric stash into the bins I bought with my Christmas money (in December).  My hope is that by having the fabrics in smaller containers that I will be able to see and use what I have.

Anyway, I somehow thought that sorting all this would make my fabric closet more tidy. However, I do not have shelving in the closet yet and I don't feel comfortable making huge stacks with the new bins.  So they are now stacked under the long arm until I can get shelving installed.  I also had to order more bins since I didn't have quite enough to finish.  I did find that I had a large tote's worth of scraps. Those will still need to be sorted by color.
I finally tried out my long arm yesterday.  My husband couldn't believe I waited that long before I tried it.  I had to get over my fear of the unknown, I guess. It was really easy to thread and quite easy to set the tension.  So I think I'm ready to attempt an actual quilt now.  Good thing, because I have a pile of them here.
We've replaced two more windows.  That makes six down, seven to go.

We have had one meal of purple green beans from the garden. The lettuce is done now.  The cucumbers, tomato, and green beans are growing like crazy. We harvested our beets. One of them was easily the size of a softball.  
I'm hoping to get much more quilting and sewing done over the next week.  I really haven't accomplished much in the past few weeks. I need to get several client quilts done, order fabric for the Meadow Mist Mystery quilt (the fabric requirements are out now--will you be joining us?), and try to get more of my For the love of geese quilt done.  And maybe get some shelving!

What are you working on?

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation. One Monthly Goal

Well friends, we've survived another month of this strange 2020.  I saw this the other day and had to laugh.
2020 has been a lot of things we didn't expect or want, but some things about it have been good.  Spending more time with family, getting house projects done, reorganizing priorities, having hope when it seems foolish to have hope.

Just when it felt like I would never sell my long arm, I was able to make a connection through Longarm League to get the robotics sold.  Then it seemed like I would never find a serious buyer for the long arm itself. "I really want this, but I don't have any money."  Umm...okay, thanks?  Yeah, heard that one way too many times.  And seriously, how do you even answer that? Then, seemingly out of nowhere, and really quickly, literally overnight, Jenny is the new owner of my Juki.  

My sewing room looks so huge without the Juki.
Jenny and her husband picked up the machine yesterday afternoon.  I swept and mopped the floor and my husband and I built the new machine, an APQS Lucey, last night.  We took our time and stayed up way too late to get it put together.  Start to finish was under 2.5 hours.  Seriously, it was so easy and straightforward. The directions were easy to understand.  The parts went together well.  I had a case of the giggles over these cone bumper parts.  I've never seen anything like them.

The room looks so different.

I'm a bit scared to plug everything in, turn on the machine, and use it.  I'm super pumped that I got the automatic quilt advance!  Can't wait to try that out. Side note--I am ordering the robotics this week, so hopefully everything will be business as usual soon.  I still have a big pile of quilts waiting on me and am so thankful that my clients have been so understanding and patient as I work through this transition.
I did finish two of the quilts in my queue over the weekend. Here's a sneak peek of one, made by Nancy. This is part of a sampler quilt she did with one of the guilds she belongs to.  I quilted an overall pattern called Zest on it.

Nancy had me do custom quilting on this one.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Here are the rulers I used to complete Nancy's quilt.  Top is the 12" ruler from The Quilted Pineapple.  Next is the HQ Mini Scallop ruler.  I love the notched straight edge on it.  I used the cute snowman ruler from Julia Quiltoff and the 4-N-1 from Natalia Bonner.
I did not finish my June OMG, though I did make progress.  My goal was to have the green ring done along with the center parts.  As you can see, I only got the green ring done.
I'm going to shift my focus for July's OMG and go back to my Frolic quilt.  It just needs the borders finished, so that is my goal for the month.

The Morewood Mystery quilt along hosted by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs starts tomorrow.  Will you be joining in?

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation and For the love of geese.

Morewood Mystery & Lots of Changes

Have you ever sewn a mystery quilt?  I've done several and my next one will be the Morewood Mystery Quilt.  It starts next week with fabric selection and then runs through April 2021.  This is the sixth annual, free quilt along hosted by Cheryl Brickey of Meadow Mist Designs.  Instructions are posted to the Meadow Mist Designs blog on the first Thursday of each month with a reveal parade with over $1,000 worth of prizes in the spring.  There is an active Facebook group to quilt along with and even a sneak peek option for those who would rather the design not be a mystery (umm...that would be me this time!). Visit the Morewood Mystery page for more information about the quilt along, schedule, sponsors and prizes, Facebook group, and sneak peek option.

Also...I am sponsoring one of the prizes--a voucher to use toward long arm quilting done by me!  

Speaking of quilting, my 18" throat Juki long arm is for sale.  My asking price is $6250 and we will deliver within 100 miles of Bloomington, Indiana. Shipping is a possibility as well; the buyer would be responsible for all shipping charges. Not gonna lie, that would be a pretty expensive option. I do have the original machine head box.  It is a fantastic machine for hand-guided quilting and has rear handlebars for pantographs and also a ruler base.  It is in excellent condition, has been well-maintained, and has no issues. The frame can be set up as 5, 7, 10, or 12 feet.  Lots of extras included, some are pictured. Total retail value of everything is $12,000. Send me a message if you are interested, or pass along the info if you know anyone who may be interested. All sales final.

In other news, look what came yesterday!  I am upgrading my business equipment by moving to a 26" throat machine.  It is torture not being able to set up the new machine!  😅

I have also updated my quilting business website. It's a work in progress, but I'd love to have you take a look.  All feedback welcomed.  You may notice I've updated my logos as well.

Besides building a new website, I've been busy painting in the basement.  That's not very exciting to look at though. ha.

I did squeeze in a bit of sewing time and made more progress on my For the love of geese quilt.  I have six more days to try to reach my One Monthly Goal of finishing the current green ring and also sewing the center parts.  I'm not sure I'll make it this month; I have a ton of customer quilts to work on. I'm very thankful for all the work and totally willing to sacrifice my OMG for work.  😄
I was really near the end of my cone of Aurifil the other day and it came off the cone like this. I've never had that happen before.  I was able to use part of it before it became a knotted nest.  My Bernina handled it like a champ with no change in tension.  But I found it really strange!

Finally, a mom daughter was awarded a $1000 scholarship from NF Midwest this week.  We all are thrilled.  Find out more about NF here.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.

Mostly Gardening

Not a lot of sewing has been going on here.  We now have four windows replaced.  When the last two were removed, there was a small amount of water damage to address.  I suppose it could have been a lot worse. The big chore for me was dividing all the irises that formerly occupied the garden under three of the four replaced windows. Luckily my husband pulled all the plants out and my kids helped me to separate and bag all the irises. I think there were well over 300 rhizomes by the end. I gave some to some of my quilting friends and we put the rest at the end of the driveway with a "free" sign. It took a while, but we did end up giving away every single one.

I replaced some of the irises with new plants. I would like to add in a bunch of spring bulbs, but of course that needs to wait until fall. Plus, my husband will be digging through that garden again in the not too distant future, so I went really light on the replacement plants and completely avoided that area. Oh, and I have more plants in my front gardens to divide, so some of those will help fill in as well.
One day last week was super windy. We went outside and found that one of the trellises had flipped right over on top of my little tree. I did not know that those green garden stakes could bend at a 45 degree angle like that. My little tree is still a bit worse for wear.  Fingers crossed that it has a full recovery.

Our veggie garden is going strong--at least in the greenery department. The lettuce is just about done. The peas are ready for harvesting right now. The beans are getting blossoms.  I think I saw a blossom on the tomato. The peppers are finally starting to grow.  The few beets that came up have put on a lot of greenery. The cucumbers are finally starting to grow--the first few didn't make it and we had to re-sow. I have two dill plants starting.  None of the chives came up. Our surprise sunflower is setting a blossom.
Here is a view of my front yard. My lower garden looks really lush. In reality, it really needs to be weeded, the spearmint is still out of control, and there is a ton of milkweed.  And still very few butterflies to be seen.
I went to the dentist last week. I was glad to see that the flowers at a house along my route were still blooming. This place is simply stunning every single year. I figured I had missed their display what with staying home all spring, so I really appreciated seeing it.
A quick check of the nesting box yesterday showed three of four baby house wrens. This morning they were all gone.
I finished a few more units on the For the love of geese quilt. I need to get a move on--this ring and the inner portion are my June OMG and time's almost up.
I also quilted a king size quilt made by Amber.  
We've removed the robotics from my Juki and I quilted Amber's quilt free hand yesterday.  I had forgotten how wonderful the Juki on its own (minus the robotics equipment) is. It was so light and responsive. I guided the quilting with just one hand.  :)  

My Juki is still for sale. It is a fantastic FMQ machine with a beautiful stitch.  

Meanwhile, my new, bigger machine has made its way from Iowa to Indianapolis over the last week. And I get to wait another week before the delivery company can bring it.  

Google has made more changes to the Blogger platform. I still do not like it. My font does not display properly. The labels part is finicky.  Also, I HATE the way the photo upload is currently working. I can do one at a time or place all photos in at once, only I cannot change the order of the pictures with that option. Also, I seem to not be able to view the HTML anymore. Viewing and editing the HTML is necessary for photo quality, amongst other things. UGH.  #fixblogger

Speaking of Google, I did an image search for a pantograph yesterday and every so often a picture from my blog was interspersed. How weird is that? This screen shot shows the first few results. My son's frog mini is in the bottom center. As I scrolled, more and more of my photos came up, and they were not related to my search. SO. WEIRD.

Things to Consider

Here's something a bit random that non-long arm quilters might not have though about.  Recently I was cleaning my machine after a quilting job and had to laugh at the amount of paint dust there was in my machine.  Any time you use a cotton that has a stamped on, more raised design, usually a white on white, especially if used for the backing, there is going to be a lot of paint dust to clean up.  I'm not saying it's good or bad, just that it is a thing.  
Paint dust on the bottom side of the throat plate.

Paint dust crusted in the screw holes.
Paint dust inside the bobbin area of the machine.

I also want to remind you that I wrote a thesis of sorts about how to properly apply quilt borders.  If you think it's acceptable to just sew and trim without measuring, think again. I will admit that I used to be guilty of this. I have a free download explaining the process in both mathematical and non-math ways.  Be sure to check it out.  Your long arm quilter will thank you for properly applying the borders and you will be happier with your finished quilt too.

We have begun the job of replacing all our main floor windows.  We had some faulty windows that are still under warranty, so we got upgraded replacements with the caveat that we were responsible for the install. This is a pretty big job because not only does the siding and trim outside have to be removed, but so does all the interior trim.  We have two switched out and 11 to go.  It may be a year before I have trim around the windows indoors again.  At least we won't have any further water damage.  

One upside to this is that the irises in my side garden desperately needed to be divided and now that process has begun.  There will probably be several hundred pieces once they are all out.  I've given bunches to three people so far.  I will have more to give soon.  Nothing like a window replacement to force your gardening hand.
Meanwhile we are still trying to finish off the last of the basement.  I will be priming and painting soon because that is something I can do to help with forward movement on our house projects--I'm not a ton of help on the windows other than handing things to my husband as he works.  But if I can knock out the painting, then my husband can alternate working on the trim and working on the windows.  

I forgot to share before, but we have some wrens nesting in our bluebird house.  We thought they were Carolina wrens, but after seeing mama up close, I think that they are actually house wrens.  I believe there are four babies in there and one unhatched egg.  The earlier picture is from June 1 and the later one is June 8.  

We had a hot air balloon fly past our house the other night.  That was fun to watch. 

I have gotten a bit more sewn on my For the love of geese quilt.
I quilted my friend Denise's quilt over the weekend.  I was so surprised when I looked at the backing and saw that she had written my name on her label as the quilter!  My photos do not do justice to her quilt.

Finally, 2020 continues to be a doozy.  We witnessed another unnecessary death of a black person, this time due to police brutality.  How many more needless deaths do we have to experience before we finally can change for the better? Sandra at mmm quilts has written a much more eloquent post than I am able to at the moment. I urge you to take the time to read it.  Here is another interesting article with a little different perspective.

There is much work to be done in the name of equality, including within the quilting world. As I have mentioned before, please take the time to get to know people who are different than you.  Maybe we can never fully understand someone else's life or their experiences.  But we can listen and have an open mind and loving heart.  We can all do better.  

June One Monthly Goal

You might have seen my post Sunday on pulling off my May OMG in the final hours.  I got it done with four hours remaining before the link up closed.  I hemmed and hawed over whether I wanted to even try to finish it.  I might have even said that I never win anything, though that isn't the reason for setting the goal.  My husband urged me to spend the time to get it done, I got it linked up, and I actually won a prize! 

In case you missed it, here is the current progress on my For the love of geese quilt.  Each of those little units takes me about 15 minutes to sew.  I like sewing it because there is a lot of up and down and constantly doing different things instead of just sitting, so it keeps me engaged.  
My June goal is to get the next ring sewn, along with the center units.  Here are the fabrics I will be using for the next ring.  I'm trying to use all the colors!

I quilted another king sized quilt this week for my client Nakeetah.  The quilt pattern is from Missouri Star and I quilted a loopy meander all over it.  

I feel like we could use more beauty in the world, so I'm sharing lots more pictures from my yard.  I don't have much blooming right now.  Weirdly, almost everything that is blooming is purple.  I've lost so many plants since last year.  I guess the rodents don't like the purple ones?  I do have a lot of catmint in the lower garden, but I didn't walk down there to get a picture. Also, my lilac didn't bloom this year.  Anyone else have that happen?

Here are my clematis in bloom.

The one non-purple plant is this Stella de Oro daylily.  
I am looking for a buyer for my long arm machine.  I am very motivated to sell since I have a new machine on order.  If you or someone you know is interested, please contact me for more details.

Linking with For the love of geese and My Quilt Infatuation.