Monday, July 31, 2017

Row by Row: Golden State Quilting

While in California to see family, I convinced Darling Husband he should take me to a couple quilt shops. The Row by Row Experience is a fun way to learn about new shops and support small businesses all around the country and the world. Their map works with the application (I am a Google phone user) on your phone to help you plan your shopping trip. I added each one as a stop in a logical order to get us around to the shops I wanted to stop at.
It is possible I got carried away with the shopping. I'll share each of the rows as I go through them and share a link (when available) to each of the shops. I had a great time looking around these shops and I intend to make a quilt with the rows to commemorate the trip to California.
I started the sewing journey with this fun row from Golden State Quilting. I purchased kits at each shop I visited and sometimes a little more. This kind of shop hop is great to get people to try new shops and I like to support small shops when I can.
The row is all raw-edge applique and I really enjoyed putting the row together. There is so much detail in this block that I'm not going to stitch around all those shapes before quilting. I don't think the finished quilt will get so much use and washing to worry about it. I'm certain the fusible and the quilting will be enough to hold it all together.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Sewing Machine Repair

The one of the lamps on my favorite Pfaff has been flickering, again. I had taken it in to the shop to have this fixed a year or so ago and the tech said it wasn't the bulb but the fixture. The tech note also stated it had been tightened up.
Until recently I wasn't able to perform my own maintenance on this machine because I didn't have the right tools to open it up. I recently purchased a Hex Key Wrench set so I could reach the screws and get into the workings of this machine. When I did, I found the wire was holding on by only a couple strands and broke from the top of the fixture when I touched it.
I had to borrow the soldering iron from a friend as I couldn't find mine. I grabbed my wire strippers, brand new wrench and my needle nose pliers and got to work.
See that glob of solder? Yep, that's what that wire should be connected to. The other lead connects to another glob on the other side of the lamp. I'm somewhat appalled by this poor design, but it has served me well for almost ten years and thousands of hours of sewing so I guess sometimes cheap gets the job done.
I stripped back the wires, removed the old solder, and soldered the leads onto the top of that fixture. It is by far not my best soldering job. I also tightened up the clamps for the lamp which is what was causing my flicker. Next time I open up the machine, I'll skip to that step and not fiddle around with wires.

Don't be afraid to learn about your tools and how they work. I often question why people that know their sewing machines so well they give them first names are unwilling to open them up and see what makes them tick. This is especially puzzling when it comes to mechanical only machines such as vintage sewing machines. There is so much to learn and really, it's pretty difficult to mess them up.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Pieced Love

The June 2017 UFO Challenge was number 1. Spring Water Designs was trying to keep me on-track to finish so many things this year. I made great progress until June when I was invited to a wedding and couldn't resist designing and making a quilt just to celebrate the occasion. Of course this means I didn't get the June quilt finished.  
I did manage to get back into the swing of things with July. July is number 6, the heart quilt that I have been working on for what seems like forever. The heart blocks can be made in several sizes using a free tutorial by Cluck Cluck Sew! Big blocks (mine are 10" by 10") make up quickly and are a great group project for a quick quilt. These were made with some scraps I hadn't yet gotten to trimming down.
I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt this one, but as if by magic the machine quilted swirls and loved it.
To keep with the many fabrics of the hearts I pulled some lengths of leftover binding from my bin of leftovers and pieced several together. This is so much faster than making binding from a single piece of fabric. And I love scrappy.
I attached and finished the binding by machine for a quick finish.

Monday, July 24, 2017

In the Mail Monday

I finally used up the last of the Heat'n Bond featherweight I ordered by accident a couple years ago to make t-shirt quilts. It worked really well for interfacing bag linings so I decided it was time to order some more. Once I decide I like a product, I no longer buy it by the yard. I buy the bolt so I always have it on hand.
I didn't want to have an basket with only on thing in it, so I grabbed a couple other things. The New Quick & Easy Block Tool! because I like new books and block options. And a Star Hex Key Wrench set because I hate not being able to open up my sewing machine and I didn't have a set that could reach into those recessed openings and reach the screws.

At some point I should spend some time reviewing some of these books I get, because I do seem to get so many and never tell you what I think about them.
I also received my latest collection of thread from Superior Threads.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Aunt Betty is a Knitter

I wanted to share at least one more project made with some of the yarn from Aunt Betty If you don't know who Aunt Betty is, you should totally go check out this great video by Professor Pincushion. It is worth the four or five minutes of your time.
Look at all this awesome yarn!
I've been letting some modifications to the basic shape of the Wingspan design bump around in my head. This is what finally fell out. If you have some ombre yarn and want to try out this fun shape, I recommend you check out the Wingspan e-Book on Ravelry. The e-book includes four patterns and loads of information on how to design your own shawl with the information you find inside the e-Book. Easy short rows and garter stitch make for a fast and fun project.
This is more of a shawlette made with two skeins of worsted weight wool/silk blend. I should have used larger needles but the blocking opened it up nicely. I think I need to make another, or two. I wonder how it would be to add some lace to the long edge. Oh, the wheels keep turning.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Travel Knitting

I've shared a couple Aunt Betty posts before, but this time Betty is a knitter. If you don't know who Aunt Betty is, you should totally go check out this great video by Professor Pincushion. It is worth the four or five minutes of your time.
This particular Aunt Betty dropped off several trash bags of yarn. The claim was that it was crowding her creative space and blocking the creativity. I totally understand that! I pulled out all the awesome yarn to share. So many ideas in here.
I caked up a couple skeins for the trip to California. I like to start a project at BWI and see how far I can get before I get home. This little bit was my beginning. I'm not even sure this piece survived as I generally have to rip out my cast on about three times before I like the direction the project is going.
This started out looking like a shawl.
Then, I joined it to work in the round.
I worked through an entire cake before going crazy with the increases.
This gorgeous succulent, found outside Lolo's in Morro Bay California, could have been the color inspiration for this yarn.
Once I got through the first cake, I started to add texture. This lace is similar to that used on Bosc Pear, a free pattern on Ravelry. It is a variation of Slip Stitch Lace using three stitches.
I'm going to add an unknown number of lace repeats to the bottom edge of the tube. This type of cowl is similar to Viajante by Martina Behm, a paid pattern available through Ravelry. I started with my own triangle shape and am placing increases where I think they will work. This project is a complete experiment. The perfect thing when Aunt Betty gives you yarn.

Monday, July 17, 2017

In the Mail Monday

While we were traveling around sunny California (104 degrees of sunny in the San Joaquin Valley) several packages arrived at home.
I listen to Pseudopod regularly and when I found out they had a Kickstarter going I wanted in. If you enjoy short horror fiction, I recommend it. I would tell you that I don't back just any project, but you wouldn't believe me after reading through this post.

I have been participating in the Kickstarter projects from Dog Might Games for over a year. Each new project they come out with is my new favorite. If you have a single set of dice, or a pound of dice, they have some kick ass gaming gear for you to check out. This time, I couldn't resist the Dragon Tray. I didn't even know I needed a dice tray.
Lastly, is Bears vs Babies. I couldn't resist the fur-covered box. Not one bit. If you missed the Kickstarter, the game is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Winchester Mystery House

We decided to do some touristy things during our time in California.
We stopped by the Winchester Mystery House because I had never been (not that I can remember) and it seemed like a fun adventure.

Photos are only allowed outside the house so there isn't much to share. I'm glad we went, though.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Traveling across the country

We traveled across the country to attend a wedding and I took more than a couple photos along the way. I picked some of the highlights of the first half to share.
San Francisco International has some great art. I only come across about half of the amazing pieced to be found in American airports. 

Blogger was less than helpful on my tablet, so mostly photos will have to do for now.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Increased By - Quilting and Binding

I loaded up the backing (wide backing from Spring Water Designs), batting, and the top. I stared at the quilt for a little while on the frame, trying to come up with a plan. At first I used only a coordinating teal color to quilt in the background sections including the sashing and border.
I went back to quilt the plus shape in the center with orange thread. I like this blue and orange color combination.
On the back, you can see the quilting a little better. The quilt is densely quilting but I think it really works with this quilt. I think the piecing will outshine the quilting on this quilt.
I think it took almost all of a Saturday to quilt.
I used this bright batik for binding. I accordion fold my binding and never have problems with the binding becoming tangled.
I finished the binding by machine for a quick finish. You can read about how I attach and finish binding in this post. I've also got some other binding tips posted.
This quilt was made for a childhood friend for her wedding. Congratulations to the bride and groom! The label was embroidered directly onto the backing fabric prior to quilting.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Glittering Knit and Slide

It took me entirely too long to get the perfect three skeins of yarn for this project. These are all Ewe So Sparkly Sock from Tempting Ewe Yarns. A yummy fingering weight with a touch of sparkle.s
The pattern is another beauty from Stephen West called Knit 'n Slide. I caked the yarn and got stitching during the Wednesday game night.
Made almost entirely with the humble knit stitch it works up quickly until you get to the fancy border. Then, you go from hundreds of stitches to an almost impossible 1200+ stitches. I use Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Nickle-Plated Circular Needles. This lets me start with a shorter cable (the 40") and shift up to a longer cable (the 60") when the stitches start to feel crowded.
The picot bind off makes those 1200+ stitches seem an impossible task. The effect will be worth the time and effort, though.
Even before blocking it was a nice size and shape.
I started with blocking wires and then decided the Knit Blockers and pins would be just fine. I used every single t-pin I own for this blocking job. I didn't pin every picot point, but enough of them to open each of those loopy bits.
I knit the smaller size and it is just right. Not all shawls need to be super-sized.
I think I might knit the center of this one again. I'm not so certain about the edging even though it is pretty awesome after blocking. It did give me some ideas about using short rows to make interesting shapes. Some test knitting might be in order.