Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Made it through March!

Whew... so far the first quarter of the year has flown by.  We've spent 2/3's of it being sick or getting over being sick, another part in California when Kevin's dad passed away, and now it looks like the calendar for April is pretty packed with appointments and whatnots as well.  Hopefully no illness or funerals.

I am looking forward to seeing what QM's Bitty Block pattern will be for April too!  I'm hoping it will be divulged tomorrow :)

I have been trying so hard to work on my hexagons.  I am really close to being finished with my 75 flower blocks, only 7.5 to go.  I have been working on them more in the evenings, but my eyes aren't what they once were I am finding.  I've never needed glasses before, but I do have reading glasses that probably need to be upgraded (I think I got that prescription 5 yrs ago).
Only 7.5 more to go!

When Kevin and Daniel got home on Sunday from camping, it was time to celebrate my birthday. We didn't have anything really planned, it was a laid back day that involved mattress window shopping :) Doesn't everyone do that for their birthday? We did pick up a carrot cake (my favorite!) and Kevin even added some decorations:
birthdays.... Birthdays....

Poor Mr Loki is having his "operation" next Thursday.  I'm hoping he'll mellow out even more, but I'm thinking I shouldn't count on it.  Yesterday I was in the living room when I heard something fall on the ground in the kitchen.  I was imagining the roses Kevin bought me for my birthday on the ground and water all over...  oh no, not that... instead he knocked over a planter that had three cactus in it.  That was not fun.

So I tried shooing him out the kitchen twice, and he still came back.  The cat does not scare off at all!  After sweeping up the soil, this was the pose I found him in:

Both back legs were straight out on either side of his tail like this, Superman pose! ugh. And that look on his face too: "That looks like fun to race in Mom! Just leave the dirt!"  He is a pretty funny cat, somewhat mellow, does not scare at all, and will give you a look like "what the heck?" if you squirt him to get off tables.  I've never had a cat quite like him, he definitely fits right in.  He's not quite 6 months old yet, and he is already a big kitty.  I'm looking forward to seeing how much he weighs next week--he's not a light cat!

I'm thinking this ends the potpourri post to end March.  I'm hoping I'll have stuff to blog about that is interesting as the next month moves forward :) I've noticed my goal of finishing one UFO a month hasn't been happening, maybe this will be a notice to myself to get busy on that goal.  Finished quilts, regardless of perfection are always best!  Time to get to it.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

WORLDWIDE Quilting Day

edit:  I had to change the title to worldwide instead of national. Oops! :)
And I actually did some quilting!  I'm on a roll with sewing for three days in a row this week.

Today I worked on March's QM Bitty Blocks.  I'm really glad it was a simple block after the basket blocks, I was able to finish them within a couple of hours.  Before working on them, I went back to double check the various suggested layouts.  I think I am going to go with the 66x75" suggested size which means now I know for certain how many blocks to make.  At this point I have five extra basket blocks, but maybe I can work them in somewhere.

QM March Bitty Blocks
All ready to sew. I decided to do the no-waste method for flying geese. I think I prefer to do that on my Juki because I have an extended table, the blocks to be sewn can then lay flat while I am sewing. I'm glad to not have lost any placement squares in the process, they stuck pretty well.

QM March Bitty Blocks

QM March Bitty Blocks
I love the open toe 1/4" foot. I don't really like the regular 1/4" feet because I would have to change it more often when sewing pieces like the flying geese above (since the outside part of the foot hangs down). I just received the foot yesterday from April1930's, I have been looking forward to trying this foot for over a month but they were out of stock until this week.  (btw, yes, I did match up the edges after taking the picture :) ).  I am also planning to polish up the featherweight to get a nice shine.  Kevin laughs at me when I talk about it, I think it seems silly too, but the polished up machines look so nice :)

QM March Bitty Blocks
Finished. I should probably trim the dog ears...

Finally, last night I hemmed a couple of pairs of pants for Kevin. I knew the featherweight came with an adjustable hemmer, but I decided it would be best to practice first on something other than his pants. I hemmed them my normal two-step way on my Juki (rolled hem and then pinned and measured for the correct length to sew again). If I could figure out the adjustable hemmer, I could eliminate having to do a rolled hem first since it does it all together.
Featherweight Adjustable Hemmer
I had to pull up youtube to try to figure it out. The manual was ok with the instructions, but I am a visual learner. I couldn't get the edge to continue with the rolled hem, that tiny hook was pretty hit and miss. I took the foot off to see exactly how it looks when it is working as it should, which if I put it back on the machine with that slight start, I could keep it going for the most part. I think the rolled hook part should be longer or more pronounced in order for it to work better. I finally gave up after many attempts with strips of fabric. I'm really glad I didn't practice on Kevin's pants! Now, if I didn't mind an unfinished edge, it did make a nice and even hem. I think I am going to stick with my tried and true method with the Juki's foot.

I also pulled out the binding foot.  I think you are suppose to use pre-made bias binding, I had a hard time keeping it even with my strips.

Between the hemmer and the binding feet, I thought about the episode of the The Great British Sewing Bee when the contestants had to sew on featherweights.  I think only one of the contestants used the adjustable hemmer.  Kudos to him!  If the video doesn't show up on the blog post, here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN3BOkfHixs  I'm not sure why the video is so small in the screen.  I wonder if it can be watched at the BBC site.
That's about it for today.  Next up is to watch a movie and sew another flower garden block.  I am down to only 11 more to go.  So close to my 75 GFG goal for this quilt!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

February QM Bitty Blocks

Wow!  It's been a while.  Between life in general and a recurrence of illness, the last thing I have really wanted to do was.... anything.  It's been rough!  And I know a lot of people have had this same thing.  I think I am almost done shaking off the coughing and sinus infection, but now we are rounding into allergy season so telling the difference between the two isn't so easy--but I am feeling much better.  Hot water with lemon and honey is so soothing!  I am still drinking it daily but I need to cut back on it and just do straight water.  But it really helps when that tickle in the throat occurs.

Today I played catch up on my Bitty Blocks.  I already had all my half square triangles made, I just hadn't sewn any full blocks yet.  Today I decided to give the featherweight a go....

February QM Bitty Blocks

and now I have ten blocks finished (still had two on the machine as I was taking pics):

February QM Bitty Blocks

The little 4" blocks are very cute I will admit.  Now I wonder if I can get March's blocks finished before the 31st.  Since that one is an easier one, I may, plus now that I am feeling much better I have the desire to do something other than nothing :)