Friday, January 6, 2017

More Friday Sewing...

We took two weeks off for the holidays.  Since my aunty saw the quilts I did while she was gone, she vowed to stay home for a while and make me finish up her diamonds!  We shall see whether she keeps her promise or if I get to finish more of my own UFOs.  LOL!!

Sometimes the most complicated patterns are nothing more than small chunks of simple things, combined in a way that fools the eye.

So it went with the combination snail's trail/storm at sea quilts my aunt and cousins are making.

The snail's trail block starts with a small four patch, which turns into an extended square in a square.

We are going from here...
The storm at sea pieces are diamonds that finish about 4 inches by 8 inches if my memory is correct.  Neither cousin nor aunt enjoyed making those diamonds but I think it was due to the cutting instructions.  In order to conserve fabric (batiks are expensive!) the directions said to cut a rectangle of a certain size into two long triangles (scalene if I remember right from geometry class).  Then you put them on all four sides of the diamond.

But if they're too small, or your seam is slightly larger than 1/4 inch, you get into trouble!  Ask me how I know this.

I sewed a lot of diamond block, and sadly rejected a lot of the too small triangles.  Because, you know, it COULDN'T be my seam allowance, I was using the dang 1/4 inch foot!

See, mostly simple blocks, put together into something spectacular.   Here's Amy's finished top:

Where we're trying to go...
Sew on...

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Coincidence or Blessing?

I saw this somewhere, not sure if it was Pinterest or somewhere else, but I thought I would share it...

Coincidence Is God's Way of Remaining Anonymous -- Albert Einstein

I'm not sure I agree.  I think it's more like we choose to see God in our lives or we don't. 

Recently Suzi and I were discussing the things we're trying to do at our church quilt guild with our very limited budget.  It's hard to stretch a few hundred dollars into the needs we find for our finished quilts.  People will continue to go into hospitals and nursing homes, we will continue to have more babies in the congregation (thank God for that!), and more comfort is needed all around.
We found sources for the rolled batting we like, but our budget only covers about one and a half rolls per year.  We usually use three or more.  We try to find free shipping, sales, and do everything we can to economize.  We were wondering how we were going to buy another roll before the next fiscal year comes.

The next thing we knew, someone gave a monetary donation dedicated toward the quilt ministry!  It's happened a few times, and often it's from a completely unexpected source.

Our private joke is that it's Loaves and Fishes.  You know the story to which I'm referring, don't you?  In the Bible, Jesus is preaching to a huge crowd, around 5000 men plus all the accompanying women and children.  They don't leave, and it's time to eat.  You can read it for yourself in Matthew Chapter 14 or in John Chapter 6.  Five loaves of bread and two fish feed everyone and the leftovers fill many baskets.

If you read crime novels or watch CSI type shows, you know that most law enforcement types don't believe in coincidence either.  It's never a coincidence when they find the victim's blood in the back seat of someone's car... or that two guys just happened to hate each other and one guy disappears.

Years ago, more than I will admit to -- I had a temporary job downtown.  The kids were in elementary school, and went to a neighbor's house after school each day until my DH got home.  It was easy work but it got difficult mentally and emotionally.  I needed to work to make ends meet, but I couldn't stay at that place any longer.  I took a week off during Easter break because the kids were home, glad of the time off, dreading having to go back.

That week I saw an ad in the local paper for a receptionist at a business less than two miles from my house.  I interviewed for it and at the end of the week I had a full time job that allowed me to go home for lunch or emergencies.  It eliminated two hours of commuting time.  I stayed there for seven years, very happily.

Coincidence?  Maybe not.

A couple of years ago, I was driving downtown to my current job.  I was on the busy freeway in the middle of a morning rush hour.  I was in the left lane, facing the southbound traffic across concrete dividers.  I was humming Amazing Grace... I think we had sung it in church the day before. 

About 45-50 feet up and maybe 500 yards ahead I saw what might have been a huge bird flying through the air.  On second glance it was no bird.  It was the wheel and tire from a car or small truck!  And it looked like it was headed in my direction...

Imagine this flying at you!
Queue shark music from Jaws!!

In rush hour there is normally be no slowing down, and if you do slow down, there is no shortage of people zipping around to fill the gap, plus horn blowing and maybe finger waving.  You know which finger.

That morning, everyone slowed almost as one vehicle.  Nobody flew around the left or the right.  The tire hit the lane I was in, about ten feet from my front bumper.  By then we'd come to a complete stop.  If that tire bounced again though, it looked like it would hit my windshield.

I held my breath and prayed hard and fast.  And then -- da da daaahhh! Instead of bouncing up to hit anyone, the tire stopped, wobbled and very gently fell to the left, into the hazard lane and out of traffic.

The guy to the right of me and I looked at each other and grinned, relief evident in both our faces.  Thank God it didn't hit anyone!  Or thank God that when that tire flew off, it didn't bounce anywhere?  Was I thinking about God at the moment I needed Him, or was He was thinking about me?  You can decide for yourself.  I know what I believe.  There's no such thing as coincidence.

Keep calm and carry on...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pet Peeves and Sewing Machines

Some friends and I were talking recently about pet peeves.  Do you have any?

I really do not like hearing people use bad grammar, or using words incorrectly.   I will admit that I don't always use the proper English or American grammar all the time but some things are like nails on the chalk board.

My least favorite usage error is when someone writes or says "please call Jim or myself..."  Mrs. Wright, my teacher in fourth grade always said take out the other person and see if it makes sense.  So take out Jim and you get "please call myself".

BZZZZ!  No!!  Only I can call myself -- names, or on the phone, whatever, it makes no sense.

Acronyms are another pet peeve of mine.  How many things can WRA stand for these days?  Well, there's the Water Reclamation Association,  Washington Radiology Association, Weapons of Removal and Abatement (I kid you not!), and on and on.   Go ahead, Google "WRA" and see for yourself.

Last on today's list is the Featherweight Sewing Machine.  It seems like everyone wants to get on the Featherweight bandwagon, so much so that you cannot buy a decent machine for under  $200 unless you're prepared to do a lot of restoration and/or repair.  Check out eBay or Google Featherweight.  many listings are as much as $500!
A machine like this is on eBay for $475

Granted they are nice machines for taking to class, they're small and light (thus the name).  But seriously, any other small machine should serve the purpose, right?  I have a Janome Jem that weighs 12 pounds and it works very well for classes.

So here's the peeve part:  There are people in blog-land who brag about how many Featherweight machines they own.  People will buy them in apparent bunches.  They buy one made in the year they were born, in the year their mother/father/sister/aunt/grandmother was born, one in black with decals, one in black with no decals, one in green, white or pink and one that works with a hand crank.

Pink FW

Basic black

Blue - did someone paint it?


Why do they need so many Featherweights*?  In my experience you can only sew on one at a time.  And if so many people are buying up two or six or twelve machines, what's left for the rest of us to buy?

<Sigh>  Whoever said life was fair? 

*Disclaimer, I do own more than one sewing machine, but they are all different. I have my main machine, a serger, an embroidery machine, the aforementioned Jem, and a treadle machine that was my husband's grandmother's first and only machine, and a small Babylock that technically belongs to my oldest Grand but it lives at my house.  When she's sewing, my youngest Grand calls the Jem "hers".  I'm good with that!

Sew on...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I Quilted!! But Not in A Big Way...

Yes, me, I did it! 

Well, before I get too carried away, I want you to know that I did it in a very small way.

Unlike my friend Suzi who can quilt a queen sized quilt before you can say it, I am definitely not that fast.  Or that good.

I started small... note the American Girl doll under this quilt.  It ended up as 18 inches by 24 inches.  I just did swirls back and forth.  I decided that this is the type of quilting I do best.  Relaxed, no pattern, just go with the flow.

This was quilt number two.  Also doll sized, maybe 20 inches square.  I made a small pillow of batting scraps, and made an equally small pillow case.  I did a kind of geometric pattern, tried to follow the lines in the striped fabric, but my corners kept getting rounder and rounder as I went.

I take NO credit for this one, it was a piece of already-quilted fabric, left over from another project.  However, I did make a matching pillow case.

And this last one was my very lame attempt at making feathers.   I decided that I need to mark those if I should ever do them again.  It's 16 inches by 18 inches.  I did a mangled version of a flower in the square blocks, then did a figure eight in the last border.  Both were more successful than my feathers.

I have to say that quilting with gloves works better than with bare hands, although my hands still ached after I was finished.  Maybe I'm still tensing up and gripping things too tightly.  I also need to consider clearing my table off before doing anything larger, and getting one of those extended tables for my machine.

After these were all finished, I needed a hot wax hand treatment and some pain relieving lotion.

On New Year's Eve day, Suzi and I went to our two favorite quilt shops and I bought some new gloves.  The ones I had only had grippies on the fingers, the new ones have gripper palms AND fingers.  Maybe things will go easier next time.

If I could just learn to relax at it maybe that would help too. 

I've got one larger quilt to finish for the Log Cabin Quilt Guild charity project, so I'm considering this my practice run(s).  Fingers crossed!  Ouch!  Or maybe not crossed so hard.

Happy New Year!  And sew on...