Friday, April 27, 2012

A bag full of ties

When I was thinking of a name for this post, I had a few ideas.  The first was titled "Not my husband's tie."  Then I would tell you all how my husband  has maybe one tie.  I have seen him in a tie four, five, maybe, six times in over thirty years.  He wore a tie on our wedding, our daughters wedding, our son's wedding, and his grandma's funeral.  Other that those times there was not much tie wearing going on around here.  Ties are not something we deal with, so I don't have much appreciation for them.  Well, I appreciate them more now, ever since...

My brother brought me a bag.....

a bag full of ties.

Beautiful, beautiful ties.  

See where this one was made?
These ties are gorgeous,  Loving fabric and colors as I do, just touching and looking at this assortment of beautiful makes me happy.  I am in awe.  They are handmade, made in far away places, and some with great names.

So, why did my brother give me a bag full of ties, and what am I going to do with them?  Make a quilt of course.  I will post my progress.  

Thanks for visiting, I appreciate it.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cute little quilt

I am currently working on this little quilt and having fun.  The last quilt I finished was complicated and seemed to take forever, so it is refreshing to have something quick and easy.   The variety of quilts and the quilting I get to do is one of the many things I love about longarm quilting.  When I am involved with a heavily quilted piece I totally enjoy that process. The challenge, concentration and focus, and just sticking with it for the long haul.  Then I am so very happy when it is finished.  In contrast, it is just plain good fun to have a relatively simple quilt that doesn't hold so much pressure.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This is my longarm

Please meet AnaSofia, my longarm.  I have had some inquiries about my machine so I will try to cover that topic now.  I bought an Innova in June of 2010, and I love it.  I have a stitch regulator, and I use it most of the time.  My machine has a 26" head on a 12' frame.  I can operate my machine from the front or back, and can do pantographs.  I do not have the automated computer guided extras, but do all the guiding of the machine myself.

There are several great choices of machines, and my suggestion to anyone looking to buy one is to go to a large quilt show, and try them all out.  Find the one that works best for you,  then figure in the price, what you can afford, dealer support (which I think is very important) and any classes or training that is offered.  My other suggestion is to buy as good and as large a machine as you can afford.

Now I will tell you the story of my longarm purchase.  Once I decided I needed wanted a longarm, I started saving my money, and researching machines.   I decided on the Innova because it just felt right to me, and I felt a good connection with the dealer and the price was near my budget.  I had to continue to save and wait, but for me that was the best way to go.  I hate finance charges, and I also did not want the pressure of having to start making money with my longarm right away.  Yes, I did buy it with the intent of making it into a business, but having the pressure of a monthly payment on my machine, especially early on was more than I wanted.  There is a large learning curve for operating a longarm, and it takes awhile to establish a customer base.

I also purchased my longarm for my own enjoyment, and if I always had the pressure of making money for the loan or finance fees, it would take the enjoyment out of my sewing.  For me it is a matter of balance and I am often out of balance, but ideally, I have enough quilting to make some money, enough time to spend with my family, and time to do sewing other than quilting.  It is a constant adjustment in scheduling and priorities, but for the most part it works well for me.

I hope I answered some questions, and if you have more please ask.  Thanks for reading, I appreciate it.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Chick adoption (not quilting related)

baby chicks in box in house
I know it is sideways, I tried!
Well, I mentioned yesterday that I we had gotten several baby chicks, and were planning on what we call a chicken adoption.  Let me explain.  We have chickens, laying hens.  We also do not have a rooster, so none of our eggs are fertile, but that does not stop some of the hens from going "broody"  Going broody is when a hen decides to go all maternal, lay a clutch of eggs, sit on them for three weeks to hatch them out, and then raise a clutch of chicks.  All fine except if the eggs are not fertile, the poor hen sits in vain.

Solution.  There are a few.  Last year we traded out the infertile eggs for fertile eggs, and out Goldie Hen hatched out a clutch of assorted chicks.  Easy peasy.  The only draw back from this method is that you end up with half roosters, which I didn't want.  This year we bought day old chicks from the feed store, kept them warm and happy until after dark.  Then we went out with baby chicks, and a flashlight, a pair of gloves, and gently moved the broody hen, took her eggs, and put the baby chicks in her box with her.  We had done this whole process last week with three baby chicks, and the momma hen was so accepting of her new chicks.  She pushed them under her to keep warm and settled right down for the rest of the night.  Next morning, mamma and chicks had bonded well, and all is good.

This week we had two broody hens, so we bought a lot of chicks.  We thought it went so well the first time, and with two hens, and several people who wanted chicks, we bought seventeen.  Long story needing to end, one hen did not want the new chicks.  She was down right mean and nasty to the sweet little chicks, so we went with plan B, which was not a plan at all, but an act of desperation, and gave all seventeen chicks to our big grey hen, and hoped for success.  She seemed to settle down, all chicks were quiet so we called it a night.  Checked on mamma and chicks this morning and all seem to be bonding well.
See the little chick peeking out?  There are 17 chicks under her!

see the tiny legs under the hen.?
Mamma hen and chicks doing well
Well, that's the story of our baby chicks, now I need to get quilting.  Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for visiting.  I appreciate it.   


Thursday, April 19, 2012


Bummer!  Can you see what I did wrong?   The points are suppose to be going towards the outside of the border, and I have this one going towards the center of the quilt.  Thankfully I noticed before I did too much of it, and was able to pick it out without problems.  Just a setback in time.  Bummer!
This is something fun I made for my grandson Ethan.  Fusible applique, with a zig-zag outline.  It makes me smile.

I am listening to the peep peep of baby chickens here in my living room.  Sooo cute.  Hopefully our broody hens will adopt them tonight.  I will give you all the updates and details, and pictures tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting, I appreciate it.  Esther

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good intentions

Well, I didn't get it all done, I rarely do.  I made this list Sunday night, and I very likely could have completed it, except, well I didn't. There were other things not on the list that I did get done, but sadly, many of the things I needed to do today were left undone.
Something that I have worked on for years, is scheduling  my work at home days trying to get everything done.  There is always more to do than time to do it.  I know that this is such a common thread (great use of words there) with those of us who have a home business and family.  My biggest struggle is sticking to a schedule.  I think part of the difficulty is that because I work from home and my schedule is flexible, it is often too flexible.  I make concessions that I couldn't make if I worked outside of the home. This is a positive and negative aspect of working from your home.  I always think there will be time later, time tonight, time early in the morning, and often I am working during those odd hours. All in all, I love having a home business.  For my family it was the answer we needed, and it worked well.
But, back to where I started this post, with a list not completed.  Today actually was a very productive day, and I got several hours of quilting in, and a wonderful walk through the orchards with the dogs.  That alone made the day a great success.  I needed to get groceries, a chore I am not liking as much as I used to, and as you can see, that did not get done.  Alas, we just had to go to Applebee's for $5.00 burger night.  I think it was a great day all the way around.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Swoon quilt, and a tip

I quilted this beautiful  Swoon quilt for a customer who requested an all over design.  I choose Feather Swirl, and I think it looks wonderful on this quilt.   The Swoon blocks are so large, and if you make the quilt as instructed it is 80" x  80".  A wonderful large quilt.  I know many people are making single blocks, and smaller blocks, and smaller quilts.  It is a beautiful design, and so many possibilities.

Well, here is a simple tip for dividing a border into equal sections.  This tip is not new, but maybe there is someone who hasn't used it for quilting, or for borders, and it is helpful, and easy.

 It is all about dividing a border.  I really struggle with math, always have, and always will.  Okay, so I compensate.  I wanted to divide this border into even sections to do a quilting design,  Sort of a cathedral window thing that I will show in next post.  The actual size of each design did not have to be exact, they just all had to be the same.  So, the border was 43" long,  For me, that doesn't divide well.  Say I wanted eight divisions, well that comes out to 5.37"  Way too confusing, what is .37"  I have no idea.  So, I took a strip of adding machine paper, cut it the length of the border, folded in half, half again, and again, until the size looked about right.  Unfolded it, placed it on the border to check it out, and each fold defined the distance between designs.

folds in paper define areas for each design
I marked the folds with pen, then ironed the strip of paper so it would lay flat, and marked the divisions in my border.  I use this method all the time to find the center of a space, just lay a paper the width of the area, fold in half, and there you go.
Paper strip divided , marked and ironed to lay flat
I am working on the quilt in the example, and having so much fun with it.  It is a great afternoon for quilting, listening to my audio book, and enjoying the day.  Have a great weekend, and happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What to post?

Hello, and welcome to my post about nothing.  If I was Seinfeld, I'd have a hit on my hands.  Anyway, just checking in, but I do not have much quilting related items to post about.  My time has been well spent, family, Easter, birthdays, grand babies, and a nice cup of coffee with a friend.  All good, but not much to do with quilting.  The quilt I started a week ago is still on the rails, still needing to be quilted along with the others after that.  Having this blog, has been an interesting way for me to see when and how and why I quilt and sew.  There is the "pressure" of being productive, posting achievements and finishing projects, but that didn't happen this week, and that is okay, because my time was still well spent.   So, now I am off to quilt, looking forward to being productive and creative, and wishing you all the same.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hoppity Hop

I made these cute little bunny rabbit Easter baskets this week for my three grand babies.  I had made similar baskets for my children, but of course I no longer have the pattern.  I am not really good without patterns, it is just difficult for me to figure out all the shapes and sizes on my own.  I totally admire those of you that can see something, and then recreate it.  Not me.  I was able to deconstruct the original basket, and make a new pattern.  Of course the whole process, taking apart the original, making a new pattern and sewing three baskets, all took longer than I think it should have, or else I am just slow, or both, but it seemed like I worked on these for a long time.  It will be so fun watching the little ones hunt for eggs tomorrow with their new baskets.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.  He is risen!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Just a little bit of quilting

Hello, and happy Wednesday.  I do not have much to show for quilting, just one quilt for our guilds community service.  I did not piece this, and I don't know who did.  Our quilt guild members make quilts for various community needs.  There are those members who piece the beautiful tops, other members like me who will do the quilting, and then those members (bless them) who will do the binding.
I have had a great week so far, just busy with other life things besides quilting.  My brother brought his dog to my house to stay for three weeks while he, (my brother) is on vacation.  Our house already has five dogs in residence, so one more nice tempered and well behaved dog is a welcome addition.  Percy (the dog)  is a corgi, and maybe I will get some photos of him during his visit here.

Besides visiting with my brother for a few days, I also had to go today to the oral surgeon.  Just saying those words is scary, at least to me, a dentist phobic for no good reasons, I just am.  Anyway, I went today for a consultation for an implant that is long over due.  The doctor, or should I say, oral surgeon was as nice as could be, and while I am not looking forward to the procedure in a few weeks, at least the doctor and staff were really nice.

I do have a quilt on the frame currently, but there are three little Easter baskets that are needing to be finished this week, and cake and dinner making for my daughter's birthday.  I love it all, so this commentary is in no way a complaint, just ramblings from me to you.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Urban Nine Patch.....Finished

Yea!  I am so happy with this quilt, and so happy to be finished with it.  I love it.  Deciding what to quilt on this was very difficult for me, and all the ideas I first came up with just didn't seem to work.  I am so looking forward to seeing how others quilt their curved nine patch., or Urban Nine Patch as it is officially named.  Having finished this one, I now think I have ideas for another, but that will have to wait because I have to get back to work on customer quilts.
The quilt is 35 blocks, but I am a dork with my camera and didn't get the whole quilt in the picture.  You get the idea though.  I made it large enough to go on a twin bed in my sewing room.
I continued the block quilting into the solid white borders.  This part of the quilt, makes me so happy.   I loved watching the plain fabric take on an identity of it's own.  Now I want to make a quilt using solid colors even more than I did before.  The quilting is so rewarding on the solid colors, it shows up so well and makes me smile.
The back is a solid grey, and I love it too.  Again, I am not very good at the photo part of this, but hey, I can only get better right?  I just decided if I waited until I felt I could do it "right", I never would have started a blog.  I am definitely learning as I go.  Anyway, I used grey thread in the bobbin, and mostly white on the top.  I don't ever do this, and now I know why.  Overall it worked well, but it did take more fussing, and checking and re-checking the tension, and any little glitch just screams at you from the back side.  I'm glad I tried it out, and may do it again, but it won't be my standard.  That, and I think the quilting would have looked amazing in white thread on the grey backing.
Quilting close up.
So here's to you Jenny, it is finally finished.  Thanks for your great ruler, great tutorials, and inspiration.