Another New Project?

I've been super busy and somewhat productive! I worked on assembling my dress form pattern pieces. It went together much more quickly than I had expected it to. I had to trim the right side of each piece of paper, assemble a row, trim the top of the row, repeat. 

Of course cutting out all the pieces took some time. I had watched several videos and read several reviews that mentioned different areas where you should double check the measurements. Mine seem to be correct so far, though I did stress out for several days that the neck seemed too small. I finally realized that I was measuring the top of the piece instead of the curved bottom piece. It's within 1/4", so I think I can just add extra stuffing there to stretch it that little bit. I will need to get the base figured out before I start sewing since the inner support is dependent on the base measurements.

Meanwhile, I was reviewing my in-progress quilting projects that were the highest priority for me. I was unenthused about most and just decided to start a new project and do some brainless sewing. I worked on a baby quilt made from charm packs (using a free pattern by Jessica Dayon). I quickly remembered why I don't really like working with charms or other precuts. None of them are the same size!

I made all the nine patch units and then realized I should have laid out the squares ahead of time because I spent quite a while rearranging the pieces to get a layout where similar patterns or colors were more evenly distributed, or as evenly as it was going to get with my willy-nilly assembly process. I have fabrics to make one more using the same pattern and I will know to plan ahead and also check the size of the charms prior to starting. I feel like having to trim all of them to the proper size ahead of time really misses the point of using precuts.  πŸ™„ My brainless project became much less so with trying to square up the blocks and dealing with my lack of foresight. I made all the blocks in one day though.

I'm hoping to get the sashing and borders on later today and then this will go in to the to-be-quilted-when-I-get-a-minute pile.

I worked on more lovely quilts over the past week. The first one belongs to Legene. She selected Calder for the quilting and a dark, bluish-gray thread. 

Next up is Ann's log cabin quilt, quilted with Malachite and Glide Cloud (light aqua) for the thread. I attached binding to the front of this one.

Then I worked on Ann's Prismatic quilt. I had quilted the coordinating pillow shams back in March, so it was interesting to see what the actual quilt looked like. Windswept is the pattern and I used a variegated thread she had selected previously. This one also was a partial binding job.

Finally, another of Ann's, quilted with Briar Rose and adding the binding to the front again. I have one more of hers to go, and it is a BIG, somewhat complex one.

Outside of this, Henry the rooster has continued to get himself up into the coop at night. His technique is improving so that it's not so painful to watch. We haven't had any further  animal rescue adventures. πŸ˜„

Our fridge died last week. It's been limping along for quite some time, making weird noises and not always working quite as expected, but I noticed it was 42 degrees inside, then 50+, and ending up holding at 60. The freezer portion was fine. I was concerned first of all about getting the food moved. Of course we had gotten groceries the previous day. We have a mini fridge in our basement, so we moved the most critical things first. We asked our neighbor if we could use her garage fridge and got the okay, but I decided to send my husband out to buy an additional mini fridge instead so that our food was much closer to the kitchen. Also, mini fridges are plentiful right now with back to college, and we can move it out to his workshop later on. 

In the meantime, I was looking at fridges online to see what was available that would fit the opening in the cabinets. Not much, as it turns out. Plus everything is over $2000 and most had mediocre reviews. Ugh! One of my friends came over to drop off her quilt during this and told us about a repair man she has used with good results. My husband gave him a call and while waiting for a call back was Googling and found a YouTube video that described the same issue with a very similar fridge. So he ordered some refrigerator fans from Amazon and also consulted with the nice repair guy when he returned the call. 

Long story short, we had to defrost the back of the refrigerator using my clothes steamer and my hair dryer to get a cover part off, and the $30 fan took care of the issue. The fridge got a really nice cleaning, we avoided having to buy a new fridge for a while, and we also learned from the repair guy that most appliances now are only lasting about six years. That is depressing. What a total waste of resources. Our fridge is around 11 years old right now. We got 10 years each from our washing machine and our dishwasher. I guess we're doing okay, but six years? Really?

The September One Monthly Goal link up will open on Friday. Will you be joining in?

Linking with For the Love of Geese, My Quilt Infatuation, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

August One Monthly Goal Finish Link Up

Have you finished your August goal? It's time to link up. 

This link up will remain open until August 31at 11:55 pm EST. Remember, you can link up from either my post or Patty's at Elm Street Quilts and your link will show up in the same link party. 

Want to see everyone's goals? Check out the August goal page

My goal for August was to complete half of the required border units for my Grassy Creek quilt. I am so pleased to report that I did finish them! I even removed all the papers.

Now it's your turn to share your progress. Link up your project and then visit others and make new friends and gain inspiration.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Meet Gina

Remember the pigeon I told you about last week? My daughter contacted multiple places and ended up getting connected with the owner, who lives in the same county as us. I found myself driving her and the pigeon to a meet-up at JoAnn Fabrics to do the exchange. Thankfully the bird was very quiet and did not escape her temporary cage while I drove the 10 miles. We lead a strange life! I never thought I'd be transporting a pigeon. 

The owner was very nice and I think that helped put my daughter's mind at ease about the pigeon's fate. We learned all about racing pigeons, how the owner cares for his flock of over 200 (hand fed!), some general care of the birds, and that the one she rescued had been on its own for several weeks after getting lost during a practice flight along with 10 - 15 more of its friends. He told us it was a female, had lost about half her weight since being lost, and had a respiratory infection (she had white spots on her beak? or face? that indicated this). We learned how to tell the difference between male and female pigeons, that this one was pure bred from Belgian stock, and that she won't be raced again until after she's back to a healthy weight and has recovered from her infection. My daughter got to name her. 

Meet Gina the racing pigeon. 

My daughter started school this week and found out that in Biology of Birds she will have to dissect.....a pigeon. She'll get to go on several bird-watching field trips. Fun! She also has a class about learning and AI where they discuss humans and animals. It sounds interesting.

In other news, I have done basically zero sewing in the last week. Actually in the last two weeks. Boo. I did finish up Vicki's custom quilt I was working on all of last week. 

Why does this polar bear look like Nick Jonas? πŸ˜†

I also quilted Jae's table runner with the Fall Foliage pattern.

And I found myself doing another custom quilt. This one also belongs to Jae (she called it Mexican Flowers) and she didn't want the cathedral window pieces quilted over. I went with a flower/bee type design. I wasn't able to use my ruler base on this, so I did a lot of very careful stitch in the ditch with some assistance from iQ where I could and I also recorded some of my motifs using iQ so that I could replicate and place them consistently. The rest was my freehand. I ended up working all weekend to get caught up. My body is very sore. I had over 12 hours of quilting time in a 34" quilt. It was a good learning experience, but custom is just not profitable for me.

Side note: I once had someone kinda complaining to me about how much Judi Madsen charged someone to quilt a project. It came out to like $30/hour. I thought that was a steal! Judi is amazing and that isn't near enough money for her skill level. 

I got back to my usual happy place late yesterday with Barbara's baby quilt. She selected the Ginger Heart pattern.

I was able to start my little Nessie cross stitch last night. Here's my progress from one evening of stitching. It's hard to stitch on the black fabric.

While I haven't been able to work on my own projects, I have been doing some planning. My small guild is doing a block of the month quilt next year using the pattern Sun & Sand by Lakeview Quilting. I purchased a PDF and printed my own pages, which was an adventure in itself due to my printer and my paper not liking each other. Like 100 pages later, I was realizing that my idea of using my Tula Pink fabrics wasn't the best. These pieces are tiny! Can you see the 1" square test box compared to the pieces? So I'm going with Tula basics and solids and might mix in a few fussy cut scraps here and there.  Month one you have to make 16 curved flying geese units. I think I may need to start early! 

I've been trying to challenge myself to do things outside of my comfort zone lately. I am planning to attend Quilt Con for the first time next February. Have I ever mentioned that I don't like crowds? 😬 I tried to sign up for classes that would challenge me, but I got waitlisted. My husband volunteered to drive me since it was only a bit longer than the time I would have had in flights (and I really dislike flying--see crowds). After two tries, I successfully booked an Airbnb place for us to stay, which will also be a first. 

I also signed up for a new-to-me retreat with a local quilt shop. I am not really a retreat person because I like sleeping in my own bed at night and I'm a creature of habit who is content to sew in my own sewing room with all my things handy. But this one is days-only and it is scheduled for three days in October. So I'm trying it. I only know a few people who are attending--also out of my comfort zone. I'll have my regular little guild retreat later in October. I'm usually a single day attendee at that since it falls around my son's birthday.

I haven't mentioned him much recently. He's doing fine. Robotics practices start Sunday, so that will start consuming more of my time since I'll be back to helping coaching by being the team mom/organizer.

I spent Friday night preserving more of our harvests. I prepped green beans for freezing (blanch, then ice bath, then freeze) and made a batch of freezer pickles. 

I had some tomatoes that were ripe. My neighbor also gave us some. I had my daughter go harvest what was ready Tuesday morning and we used them all to make a batch of spaghetti sauce for dinner. Here's the ones from my garden on Friday. My tomatoes always have weird yellow spots. My neighbor's don't. I wish I knew why.

In other news, we were super surprised that Henry the rooster put himself in the coop four of the last five nights. He couldn't make it up there one of the nights, so my daughter went out and took care of him. Instead of just walking up the ramp, he is basically throwing himself midway up, trying to fly--silkies aren't good fliers--and then hopping up the rest. 

The link up for this month's OMG finishes will open up on Friday.

Linking with For the Love of Geese, My Quilt Infatuation, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Strawberry Social Quilt

While waiting for my (futile) turn at registering for classes at Quilt Con, I finished binding my Strawberry  Social quilt. At least something good came out of my time. This quilt was originally meant for my daughter, who loves strawberries. She selected all the fabrics, I assembled it fairly quickly, and then it got set aside because she thought I should custom quilt it. It's been so many years that she's no longer interested. I picked an edge-to-edge design, and here we are. 

A few details: the pattern is called Strawberry Social and is by The Pattern Basket. I quilted the Van Gogh design by Anne Bright on it. It measures approximately 53" x 66". 

Now that this one is finished, I can start my tiny little Nessie cross stitch!

I haven't accomplished any personal sewing other than removing the papers from a few of the Grassy Creek border units. 

I did quilt several quilts for others. The first one belongs to Annie, but I can't share it publicly until after Christmas! It's a Chilhowie, quilted with Elkweed.

The next two belong to Deb. She picked Good Vibrations for her Stars & Stripes quilt (pattern by Missouri Star).

And Trace on her little baby quilt.

I've also been working on a custom quilt for Vicki. I'm hoping for a finish on that one later today. I have the center panel and the dark blue inner borders left.

Here's a few of the blocks in closer view. She wanted them to look like snowflakes. Hopefully she sees my vision. πŸ€ͺ

I blew a fuse and broke a needle in one of the thicker seam intersections. The bottom part of the needle stayed in the quilt and didn't do any damage, thankfully. I've never blown a fuse before (at least on the longarm, LOL), so got to find out where those are located.

In other news, we have a neighborhood pigeon. It has a red band on its leg, which typically indicates that it's being used for racing and has gotten lost or abandoned. My daughter is trying to rescue it since the racing pigeons typically can't survive on their own in the wild. She and the neighbor almost had it yesterday afternoon. They captured it in the evening and next thing I know, my daughter is walking up the driveway with a pigeon in her hands.

They put it in the tote with wire lid that we used when the chickens were chicks and gave it some seeds and water. They then could get a photo of the tag and enlarge it. The tag had a company name and an ID number. She contacted some pigeon federation and found out that the company is a supplier out of Pennsylvania. She will call them when they open this morning and hopefully find out who this bird belongs to. 

The barn shingles got delivered after lunch yesterday. By the time my husband got home from work several hours later, the roofer had come and gone and gotten the back of the roof done. I didn't even know he had been here!

The Rose of Sharon has tons of blossoms. 

There's a bee in this one (and some ants).

We've been finding all sorts of fun rock specimens, including fossils and pyrite, in the crushed limestone gravel by the barn. 

That's about all I have this week. 

Linking with My Quilt Infatuation, For the Love of Geese, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Alycia Quilts.

Baby Steps

We've survived a week of school, some allergy virus, more uncomfortable weather, and made baby steps on lots of projects. 

I was a binding machine over the last week. Besides machine binding my own Betty quilt, I also bound four quilts for clients and partially bound another. That, as you can imagine, left me little time for personal sewing and also a big need for rest. I've taken several rest days this week.

I did a tiny amount of personal sewing. I am making progress on the first half of the border pieces for Grassy Creek. Two thirds just need a final trim and 1/3 are in progress.

I started looking at my Buttercups mini quilt that I had cut up as a leader/ender project. It's not really suited for that due to the large amount of directional piecing and layout, so I organized it onto four design boards (one for each block) and one more board with all the border pieces. I forgot to take a picture.

I pulled out embroidery floss for a very tiny cross stitch project, but haven't trimmed and serged the Aida yet. I decided that I needed to finish hand-binding my strawberry quilt before starting yet another project. I am now half way on the binding.

And this is as far as I got on my dress form. I realized that we didn't have a tape dispenser or enough tape, so ordered one from Amazon.

I worked on a few quilts. This first one belongs to Jeri. It is all made from Essex linens. I love the coneflower prints in this range. We decided on the Cosmos design and Glide Peach thread paired with Glide Salmon on the back. I also bound this one. 

I quilted and bound Jodie's quilt. The quilting design is Persian and I used Glide Celery. I love that almost every quilt she makes, she gifts. I tend to be a quilt hoarder, myself.

I can't show you Annie's quilt right now, but I can tell you that she provided some double gauze for the backing. I hadn't used this before. Her quilt top was pieced with regular cotton fabrics. She was concerned that the batting would poke through. I tried samples of several battings--QD Blend (which has a scrim), Hobbs, a double layer using Blend on the bottom and Hobbs on the top, and QD Cotton Deluxe (thicker than normal, similar to using a double batting). 

The verdict, at least for my machine, is that none of the battings I sampled poked through. I preferred the thicker batting, or a double layer, for stitch quality, and 40 wt Glide on top (she picked Glide Raven, a purple) with 60 wt white (my pick) in the bobbin. I really wanted that thinner thread on the back since the gauze is so delicate. She wanted a cozy, squishy quilt, so we used the Cotton Deluxe since it was a bit more flexible than the Hobbs/Blend combo. Taking a bit of care since the gauze is stretchy, it quilted just fine. She requested the Intrigue quilting design.

I have her extended size Chilhowie quilt loaded to quilt today. 

The weather has cooled down a bit over the past few days, so it's somewhat reasonable outside. The crew we hired to put the sheeting on the roof came yesterday and now the barn is shedding water. The shingle person will hopefully come soon. 

I walked around the yard a bit to look at all the work that needs to be done since it was cooler out. Something out there is sending my allergies into overdrive. I also need to deep clean my sewing room since it, too, is bothering my allergies. Sometimes unwanted pet (or human) hair comes in with quilts and there is always a lot of dust due to all the fabric and batting fibers floating around. I spend so much time dusting and sweeping in there. It's time to vacuum every surface and mop the vinyl plank after I vacuum. And clean out the air filter. But I digress. 

The Rose of Sharon off the right of the barn driveway (it's at the lower right edge of the picture above) is covered in buds and a few blossoms. I think it's finally getting enough size that the deer won't eat all of it. We had to transplant the other one due to barn construction. It seems to be reestablishing itself, but no flowers right now.

We "harvested" these tomatoes that had fallen off the vines.

As you can see, there are lots of tomatoes on the vine that aren't yet ripe. Probably need to straighten up that hoop, too.

One zucchini plant has yellowed and shriveled. The other still has two zucchini on it. I'm not sure those will get to harvestable size. If not, the chickens get them.

The cucumbers are fizzling also and the peas died off a while ago. It is probably time to harvest the beets--those are behind the tomato plant in the picture above.

The green beans have a lot of beans waiting to be picked. 

The flower gardens are woefully neglected. The lower one is the worst, what with all the spearmint and the patch of Johnson grass. And the walnut trees that the squirrels plant.

I did find some zinnias hiding under all that spearmint.  That was a nice surprise because I didn't think any of the seeds we sowed germinated. The spearmint is pretty awful looking. 
Linking with My Quilt Infatuation, For the Love of Geese, Alycia Quilts, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.