Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Life Lesson

Irons are Hot!

Ask me how I know? I touched the metal cylinder part of this one with several fingers today.

Grrrrr. I've owned this iron for quite a while, but rarely have I used it. Normally, I want a lot of steam and don't need precision, so I just use my regular iron. Today, I started putting the blocks together of Funky Box Baby Quilt and realized that this is the perfect opportunity to use the little pen shaped iron. Here are the seams that I was trying to press open.

It's been 30 minutes since the "incident" and my hand is doing better. The ice was hurting just as much as the burn. I think I'm going to have a blister on the pad of my middle finger and the inside part of my thumb. ='( I think I'll make it.

On a brighter note: The funky boxes are looking cool and it's not taking very long to put them together. Right before the "incident", I remarked to myself, "Huh, it's only been about 45 minutes and I've gotten this much done?!?!!!". I have more done than this photo, but this section was feeling the most photogenic.

In other Wisconsin news, we had some prett strong flurries yesterday. I tried to capture them in a picture. The spots you see here are the flakes, not your eyes playing tricks on you.

My Christmas Cactus seems to be ready for winter, because it's already blooming!
One last quilty note: Instead of working on all the other projects I have going on right now, I decided to start the wallhanging Nancy gave me. It's pretty simple, but I still managed to make some boo-boos. Despite those (which will remain un-named) it's going together well. All I have left to do is one seam (top 1/3 to bottom 2/3) and the borders. It calls for mitered borders and I don't like those, so I'm dragging my feet a little bit.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Putty has been very instrumental with the end of the funxy box blocks. Right here he is studying my design wall to make sure that the blocks are laid out in a good arrangement. His opinion? Purr-fect, of course! (sorry, I couldn't resist)

Friday, October 24, 2008


I had a wonderful surpise in the mail this week-- A Squishy from my Aunt Nancy in Seattle.

Rumor has it that it's my birthday this week (but I'm trying not to notice that I'm another year older). Anyway, Nancy is of the quilty persuasion. While visiting Seattle many moons ago, she took me to In The Beginning. I was brand new to quilting and had only shopped at Joann's. This place was totally overwhelming to me. Quilts were hanging everywhere, bolts and bolts of quilting fabric (no apparel fabric to confuse me), bins of fat quarters and a roomful of women taking a class with only Featherweights. Yeah-- I didn't know what fat quarters were., I had never seen a featherweight before and I had never been to a quilt show, so this was the biggest collection of quilts I had seen in one place.
Boy how things have changed! I swear by my featherweight, I have my share of fat quarters and I've visited lots of quilt shows and seen so many amazing quilts. What will the next 10 years bring?
Here is the contents of my squishy:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

100% !!!

All 157 of the blocks for "Funky Boxes" are done! Hurray! Yippee! Woot!

That's the good news--there is bad news. Somehow there is a problem with the C blocks. Yesterday I sewed the 2 largest blocks (F blocks) and was all set to trim them today, when I thought it would be a good idea to check what size they should be trimmed to. Why-oh-why didn't I do that for the C blocks? Hindsight.

I had some problems when I originally scanned the foundation templates from the book. The scan was enlarging the picture some crazy, non-logical amount and I did some calculations to re-size the scan and then print enough blocks out on the foundation papers. Well, the printouts weren't super precise and on occasion I had to trim the block a little (1/8th of an inch) different than the pattern. On the C blocks, I rounded down 1/8th inch on all sides and I really should have rounded up! So now they are off by 1/4 inch! Grrrrrr. There are 18 C blocks in all. The solution that I'm considering is to remove 2 of the outer edges and re-sew new strips and trim them to the correct size. Unfortunately, the seam ripping is going to be a bear, because I used teeny-tiny stitches to perforate the paper (that makes paper removal easier).

This isn't any fun, so I'm just going to focus on the good news right now. ALL BLOCKS ARE DONE!

Here is a picture of all the blocks stacked up next to my iron:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Star BOM #6

Well, block 6 is done, but it was a bit of a struggle. I don't know what was going on today, but nothing was working out. My rotary cutter was well past due for a new blade and I swapped it out this morning. The new blade cut like a breeze, but I kept making mistakes with cutting for the BOM. Wrong size, swerved away from the ruler, not square/trim again/still not square/trim again...what's going on??!!?? With all the problems I had cutting my pieces, I was ready to put to old one back in!

It took ages, but I finally I had everything cut out. The sewing went fine and the block turned out ok-- not my best work, but ok. Maybe I'll join the group that is going to remake this block? Actually, I don't think I want to revisit that cutting twilight zone again. To quote the UFO Club, "Done is good."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So Sew Busy!

I've had a million gazillion things going on this week that I didn't manage to find time to post as they were happening, so I'll do a re-cap of the last week (or so).

Last Tuesday was my monthly guild meeting. I'm chairing the community service project this year and I made a presentation about it. I'll post all about it another time.

Last Thursday I took pictures of the quilts that hung in the Mad City Quilt Guild's booth at Quilt Expo last month. The pictures are posted on our website. It was an all day affair, between photographing, cropping/resizing and then uploading them.
Friday/Saturday/Sunday: work, work, work.
Monday- recuperate and continue with the blocks for Funky Boxes. I'm almost done with the blocks!!! Hurrah! I have all but 8 done and tonight I ripped all the paper off, so I can get to piecing the blocks together soon.

Tuesday I helped a little with Project Linus' Make a Blanket Day. The focus for the day was to make fleece throws and NICU flannel blankets. The group managed to make nearly 100 blankets that day! Amazing!

Wednesday was the monthly meeting of the UFO Club at Millhouse Quilts in Waunakee. I didn't have anything to register (nothing completed, nothing new), but took some of the funky boxes along and started tearing the paper off of them. Afterwards, I did a little shopping. For the first time ever, their sale room was open while I was there. It had lots of tempting things. My favorite was a shelf full of 'scrap packages'. When a bolt is done and there isn't a usable amount to sell as yardage, they save the scraps and sell them discounted. The top part of the picture is the package and the second is what was inside. Lots of great stuff! And I was able to use some of the bits in my funky boxes. The last picture is some cool fabric that I got at 30% off. It's very yummy.

Thursday: My day to volunteer at the children's hospital. It was a pretty quiet session. That's good for the kids because they aren't in the hospital, but not as much fun for the volunteers.

Non-quilty: Thursday was my final tennis match for the fall season and I'm very happy to report that I ended the season with a win!!! Just like George Costanza says, "End on a high note."

Friday/Saturday: I headed to my parent's house to use my mom's longarm and get some tops quilted. My time was limited. I managed to quilt two small baby/kid sized quilts. First up was my flip-flops quilt that I'm giving to my friend's daughter Ella. She just turned 4 a few months ago. I kept the quilting simple -- loop-de-loo's and the top finished quick.

Next up was the pink and brown baby quilt that I made for Ella's new sister, Emilie. I wanted to quick and simple quilting on this one, too, but it didn't go nearly as smooth as the flip-flops. =/

Normally, I practice and refine my design on muslin before I start the real deal. Because I thought this was a simple pattern, I went straight for the actual quilting. Yeah, I should have taken the time to load the muslin!! After 4 blocks, I realized that I hated my thread choice (dark brown) and design. It took forever to rip that area out. Even after I switched thread, I still wasn't totally happy with my second choice. I ended up using a pink variegated thread, but would rather have used a plain light pink. Overall, the quilt looks nice, but it made me realize how rusty my longarm skills got over the summer. I'll post final pictures of the quilts once I get the binding done.

Last, but not least, today was Jessica's baby shower! My friends Kimberly and Jean hosted and the theme was retro/50's era. Guests were encouraged to wear pearls and twinsets. I had fun with it and wore a scarf over my hair and under my chin when I arrived. I had an old apron for when I was in the kitchen and brought cucumber sandwiches and a dish of mixed nuts. If only I had some cat-eye glasses!! Drat. Of course for a present I'm giving her a baby quilt. For today, I gave her a shoe box full of the Funky Box blocks.

(L-R) Jean, Kimberly displaying a jello mold, Jessica and me

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

80 Percent!

I've had my needle to the grindstone trying to make progress on the Funky Boxes. The official count is 82% of the blocks are done. According to the pattern, there are 157 blocks total. I'm starting to doubt the accuracy of the pattern, because I think it calls for more of the individual blocks than what I see that are left to do. But trying to count the blocks on the wall is dizzying! Thank goodness I've been keeping a running tally.

Block A measures 2": I have 60 done and need 8 more.
Block B measures 3.5": I have 48 done and need 10 more.
Block C measures 5": I have 14 done and need 4 more.
Block D measures 6.5": I have 6 done and need 3 more.
Block E measures 8": I have 2 done and need NO more!
Block F measures ?": I have 0 done and need 2 more.

Jessica's shower is on October 19th and it would be fantastic if I had the top put together, but right now, I'd be ok with a shoebox full of all the blocks. =)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Star BOM #5

I finished my fifth Star Block of the Month today. It's a perfect day for sewing: rainy and cold! Overall, the block turned out great. I would have liked a different inner background color, but everything I auditioned didn't look right and I figured that it wouldn't hurt to use this fabric here, because it was in Block #1. It'll probably be fine when the entire quilt is done and I'm just being a little to picky right now.

Here is a picture of the corner trimmer that I've been using on this project. It has been a fantastic help lining the pieces up. Also in the picture is a little cutter tool that I got a few weeks ago at a fabric estate sale. It was brand new/in package and was only a quarter! It cuts the little snips off the corners a lot easier than the rotary cutter and I'm thrilled to have it in my toolbox.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


In the spirit of LOLcats, I'm posting a cat on Saturday = Caturday!

Here is my cat, Putty, helping out with the Funky Boxes. He's very paws on with sewing.