Monday, August 22, 2016

Show + Tell :: Going On A Trip II

August 22 2016,

It's finally done. Ta dah - way ahead of schedule.I just had to put my feet to the pedal.

"Going On A Trip II"

Detail of "Going On A Trip II"

This one is call "Going On A Trip II". Remember the other one "Going On A Trip"? This one is even more dizzier. This quilt again uses Kathleen Loomis "fine line piecing method". I used three fabrics. This line of fabric is from Robert Kaufman Artisan Batik Model Geoscapes 4, and the other two are the Hoffman 1895 batik fabrics.

The quilting is straight line quilting with 50 weight cotton Aurifil thread - quilted 1/2" apart. With so many seams, I had to switch needle twice. The first needle I used was a "quilting needle" size 90/14. The quilt wasn't too happy with it, and it skipped stitches here and there. Then I tried the "Topstitch 90/14" and that seemed to fair better, but it did skip stitches, but much less. I may try the "Topstitch needle 100/16" to see how that fairs.

In the mean time, I am getting ready a quilt that is going to be hand quilted, and then I have a small auction quilt I have to do for my guild, and then a graduation quilt for next June, and then another graduation quilt for our nephew.

I still have another color using the same fabric pattern, Geoscapes 4, I may just whip out another one.

Title: Going On A Trip II
Dimension: 73" x 84"
Materials: Cotton Batik, Dream Cotton Batting
Method: Machine Pieced + Machine Quilted
Date completed: 09.2016
Quilt & Bitch

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Stupid of Frugal?

August 17 2016,

Ok - so I have been quilting. I wound a bunch of bobbins, and when I get to the end of a column (straight quilting) I replace the bobbin if I think that there is not enough thread left on the bobbin to finish another row.

So, instead of unspooling the unused thread, I used whatever is left of it on another project. Sometimes there is barely any left - but I still use it.

Do you do the same or do you just unwound whatever is left and throw it out?

The question is, is it worth the effort to change the foot of the machine from a walking foot to a regular foot and stopping and sewing other stuff, or throw away the thread so that you can wound the bobbin.

Quilt & Bitch

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

What Motivation?

August 10 2016,

Summer's almost over, and what have I accomplished?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing, oh wait, we did finish fixing / painting the two guest bedroom at the end of June. After that, it's all been downhill.

It's hard when one does not feel motivated or want to do anything. It's hard to get up and do stuff. This summer, in comparison to last summer, it has mostly been spent hanging out at home, watching t.v., surfing, specifically stalking Craig's List and cooking. Yes, I have been a bum. But hey, I've found at least three new recipes that I can add to my list of favorites.

This quilt was suppose to be done ages ago. I think I'm about 40% done with the quilting. It's straight line quilting - approximately 1/2" between each column.

I've set a goal for myself to sew at least one line a day. At this rate, I think I'll be done by next summer? I hope it does not come to that. Stay tuned for the next quilt.

Speaking of next quilt. Do you only work on one quilt at a time or do you have multiple projects going on at the same time?

I tend to work on one quilt at a time. But if I was working on another one, it would most likely be an applique piece or a hand quilting quilt where it is done by hand. I can't seem to handle the madness and chaos of having multiple quilts at one time. Yes I do have UFO's, but that's mostly because I take classes and lose interest in that class and don't finish it the project.

Well, hopefully I'll kick myself into gear soon, if I don't, the bitching will continue.

Quilt & Bitch

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

'Nuf Said :: "That's the Worse Place You Could Have Parked."

July 19 2016,

Last week was not a good week, specifically on Tuesday.

That day I started worrying about my quilt that had gone to VQF. It had been two weeks and the quilt was still not on my doorstep. I got the pertinent information from VQF and contacted the people who should have delivered it (the one with the purple and gray logo).

Next I needed to go to two houses that our mail sometimes gets delivered to.

The first one normally gets our missing mail and packages, but they weren't home. I peaked into their foyer, and saw mail strewn all over the floor and one white box. It wasn't my box so I dismissed it.

I then went over to the other house with a similar address. I parked and rang the doorbell. I waited and rang again. I turned around and saw that the house across the street was backing up of the driveway slowly.

He must see the car I said to myself. I turned back towards the doorbell and rang again.

The driver of the car continued backing out and hit my car.

Ouch, no it was really a crunch, not an ouch.

He got out of the car and said, "That's the worse place you could have parked." I bawled. I started crying on the spot. I was so frustrated at the whole situation.  He was taken aback and said sorry. I said it wasn't him, I was just having a really bad day.

On top of that, I had not brought my wallet or phone with me, because it was just down the street, less than 1/2 mile away. I asked him if he could follow me back to the house, and he kindly did.

What a day that was.

As for the quilt, two days later I went over to the other house where the white box was and noticed another car had appeared. I rang the doorbell, and a sleepy 40 year old guy answered it. I said my address and told him I was missing a package and asked if he had seen it. He looked down by his foot and grabbed the white box and gave it to me.

WTF?!?!?!?! He had had the package for freakin' two weeks. No "sorry", no apologies, no nothing. Just a "umph". I wanted to strangle him on the spot and give him my two cents.

Fortunately for this guy, his packages don't get sent to our place by accident. I look forward to the day that one of his worldly possession end up on my doorstep.

"Oh, is this yours?"

One more thing, the people whom I had wanted to do the body work with still hasn't returned my call since Friday afternoon. I guess my money is just not worth their time. 

Quilt & Bitch

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Sitting Pretty :: Postcards from Lancaster, PA

July 5 2016,

We took a few days off and drove to Lancaster, PA. We did the tourist thing. After much research, we ended at some of the usual tourist traps.

We detoured to Philadelphia and stopped at an Indonesian restaurant call Sky Cafe. The food was good. In Boston, there is a pop-up Indonesian restaurant, but no restaurant. So it is always a treat to get Indonesian food. We ordered four dishes between the two of us, and it was delicious.




Mie Bakso
The first place we visited was "The Amish Village". We took a 20 minute tour. It gave us a good start to Amish life.

We then drove around "getting lost" through the back roads looking at farms, fields and live stocks.

We also took a buggy ride on Ed's Buggy Ride. It was drawn by a young lady who was very engaging and informative. The ride was approximately 3.5 miles, up the road and down the road.

We then ended the day at Shady Maple Smorgasbord. It is basically an oversized buffet. I did not have much of an appetite, but it was prime rib night, so we ate. There was bread, salad, soup, meatballs, chicken wings, prime rib, ham, all sorts of vegetables, and desserts. It was a little bit overwhelming, but we managed.

We visited Lititz, PA and did the Julius Sturgis tour. For $3.50 we toured place where pretzel was first made. It is no longer a factory, but a "museum."

Lititz, PA is a cute town.

We also went to the Ephrata Cloister. It was an interesting place. It wasn't that busy, but the tour guide was great in explaining what this place was.

Of course we stopped at a quilt shop. We stopped at Riehl's Quilts and Crafts store that was located on an Amish farm.

Because it was Friday, the Lancaster Farmer's Market was open. We bought gifts for friends here. It's your typical farmer's market where there are vegetables, meats, cookies, fudge, sandwich and salad shop. It wasn't anything exciting for us, because we could not buy produce because we were on the road.

We ended our trip in a town that used to be known for antiques. According to one owner, he said that it is no longer what it was. Here's an "Al Capone" bar. It's only $195,000.

Quilt & Bitch

Friday, July 1, 2016

'Nuf Said :: 20/20 Hindsight

July 1 2015,

We took a trip to Lancaster, PA and stayed at someone's house through that website that connects empty rooms with travelers.

The house and the room looked fantastic on the website. It really looked good, like it was from a magazine. But underneath everything, there were hidden issues which irked both of us. I soon realized that we should have done more research and asked more question. When we arrived and went up to the room, we were greeted by a well made bed with decorative pillows on it. I moved the 3 pillows onto the floor, because they took a lot of space and were particularly useless to us. We plopped ourselves on the bed after a long day of driving, and low and behold, the bed was subpar. It creaked when we shifted. It was an older bed with one of those yellow foam pads that you buy from Joann's. Ugh. It was a full size bed, which I knew ahead of time and warned hubby about it.

When we started unpacking our things, we had no where to put our things. The tables were filled with knick-knacks, decorative plate, pictures of people we do not know (nor care to), a porcelain elephant, a few decorative vases and three table lamps. Basically all things that you find in a home goods store or what you see on HGTV. Pretty, but not practical for a couple who wanted to be able to unpack their things. There was a dresser, but it was filled with things. To clear up some space, we took some stuff off the table and put it in the corner so that we could at least put our necessities like glasses, toiletries, drinks on it. Interestingly, when I moved the things off the table, the knick-knacks stuck onto the paint slightly. Luckily no paint came off with it. I wiped the surface and there was just a thin layer of dust.

On the dresser was also a bowl of toiletries.  I was glad to have brought our own, we always do. There was a half used bottle of mouth wash and an almost finished tube of toothpaste. Um... would you use it?

The only real surface we had was an empty dining chair in the corner.

There was only one outlet easily available to us, and the rest of the outlet were hidden behind dressers and tables. We could move it, but the problem was we would have caused a temporary mark on the carpet. Luckily I had brought a power strip with us so that we could plug and charge all our electronic equipment. I had seen somebody do this, and it was such a brilliant idea that I adopted it.

Hubby reads at night before he goes to sleep. Turns out that there was no reading light. Yes, there were three table lamps, but in order to move it, we had to redecorate her room a bit. We took an excursion to Wal-Mart and bought us an LED clip on reading light for about $6.00. Ugh. Note to self, bring a reading light on trip.

The first night we were there, besides the bed sagging towards the middle, it was almost fine. Come 5:30 am, the sun in the room was so bright, that hubby had to turn the direction of the shade from one angle to another in order to continue sleeping. In addition, the a.c. in the house had been turned off, and we were hot and uncomfortable. I hate being hot.

The second night, when we came back from our excursion, as we were pulling in, hubby noticed that our host's bedroom windows were open. That was the first sign that we should have go to Walmart and buy ourselves a fan. She was not home when we got home, so we went straight up to the bedroom. The room was hot. We ended up opening the window. It was not a hot night, but it was still a little bit uncomfortable and stuffy. Hubby and I also concocted a way to block the sun in the morning with a dress I had worn the night before. Ta dah. Magic, no more sun in your face at 5:30 am.

Yes the room was priced reasonably, $59.00 per night, but as hubby said, we did pay in other ways. For three nights, we paid just under $200.00 (there was a $22.00 service charge). So if I were to do this again, would I? I think I would, but I would ask a few questions before staying - like, what kind of bed is it, is there a/c in the bedroom, can we control the thermostat. This is probably more important in the winter because both of us are always freezing in the winter. So going to a house where they set the house at 50 degrees at night will just not work for us.

The second morning, we came downstairs to get our caffeine fix for the day. Turns out that the Keurig was not working. It worked the morning before. Note that hubby gets really grumpy without coffee. Crap. I read the LED display, and it said "descale". I left a note with the host saying that I think it needed to be descale, and I hoped and prayed that we didn't break it. That evening when we came back, the gallon of vinegar was out and the Keurig manual was opened to "how to descale". The next morning, there was a note of the Keurig that said that the coffee machine should be working again. Yoo hoo.

So what happened on the third night? It was a bit better, but still uncomfortable. When we came back to the house, the a.c. was on and our host was not home. Again we went straight up to our room to unwind. As I was sleeping, our host came back probably around 11:00pm and after that, the a.c. was off. Crap. Another night with no a.c. Surprisingly at 5:30 am or so, I heard our host's door open, and the a.c. turned back on. I guess she was getting a little bit hot.

Well, there won't be a fourth night, thank god, our next stop is the traditional hotel. Good riddance.

This makes me think of our two guest bedroom in our house. No, we don't rent it out, but because we are just outside a metropolitan city, our place can be a hot commodity for friends, families and relatives to say, "Oh, can I crash at your place for a few days... for FREE?" I really don't mind having people over, but it can be a pain in the ass because I have to walk around on eggshells even in our own house. Everything needs to be tidied, cleaned, and presentable. I'm not saying that we live like slobs or anything, but sometimes I just don't clean because I don't want to.

The small amenities such as a power strip may just make our guests feel more at home. Unfortunately the closets are mostly taken over by our clothes, so we have a wing chair (that is the bane of my existence + another story) and a dining room chair in the bedrooms so that our guests can use it to put their stuff on. Is it worth buying a dresser? Probably, if I can find a half dresser, that's what I would get. But hey, we're not charging our guests for the rooms, so what do they have to complain about right?

Quilt and Bitch

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Show + Tell :: Fox Run Nebula

May 10, 2016

This quilt is your my niece who is graduating this June from high school. This fabric is the Kaufman Effervescene fabric. The fabric included a border, but I decided not to use it. 

The pattern again is quarter square triangles, and each measures 2 3/4" finished. Originally I just had the quarter square triangles, and hubby said it was too small. I took the solid Kona fabrics and I added 6" to each side of the quilt. I did straight line quilting, for that's all I know how to do.

Front of quilt

Detail of quilt
The back of the quilt has somewhat of a story to it. So the start of the back of the quilt is that red square that's kind of in the middle. Then I worked around it adding to it like a log cabin. I had a few leftovers of the quarter square triangles that I smacked it onto the back. I also had a few inches of the "Effervescene" fabric that I incorporated into it. After I was done, with the back, unfortunately I found approximately a 3" x 8" piece of it left that I forgot to put in. Oh well, too late.

You see that weird orange and yellow panel fabric on the upper quarter of the back of the quilt? That came from my mother-in-law. The fabric is a Marimekko fabric that she bought a while back. The fabric is more of a upholstery fabric rather than a regular cotton fabric. I've washed it, and hopefully it won't shrink too much when the quilt gets washed. The original Marimekko fabric I got was double the size. Our niece also has an older brother, whom I did not give a high school graduation quilt to. So I cut this Marimekko fabric and will incorporate the other half into the back of his quilt. Cheesy I know... but I think it's a cool idea. From grandmother to grandson and granddaughter and a connection to their aunt and uncle.

On the bottom left hand corner of the quilt is where I had a lot of smaller pieces of fabric from the project. I took all of the small pieces and made a block. I think it turned out well.

Back of quilt

Detail of back of quilt

Marimekko fabric from mother-in-law

Detail of back of quilt

Marimekko copyright information from fabric

Detail of back of quilt, my favorite area of the quilt

Title: Fox Run Nebula
Dimension: 88" x 103"
Materials: Cotton Batik, Dream Cotton Batting
Method: Machine Pieced + Machine Quilted
Date completed: 05.2016

As I was piecing the quarter square triangles together and listening to my audio book, I accidentally tapped on the "search" button on my windows phone. To my surprise, the image below popped up. It reminded me so much of the quilt I was piecing, that I stopped to figure out what I was looking at. It turns out that it was call the "Fox Run Nebula", thus the title of the quilt.

Here's the detail information of the Marimekko fabric. It says "Maija Isola Design 'Joonas' ". I wonder how old this fabric is... it must have been in the 70's or 80's.

Below is the whole piece of fabric before I cut it into half.

Because I wanted our niece to have something that was fully created by me, I decided to machine quilt it myself. I have not machine quilted something this big in ages. So it was a huge deal. We expanded our dining room table, placed stuff underneath it to protect the table from getting poked with the pin. I am so anal and protective about the dining table, that I think we have two layers of protective things underneath.

Below is where I quilted the quilt. It is our living room. Hubby helped designed the area, because the purple bench (half finished from three years ago) was too low so he put wood underneath it to raise it to a better height. Then he found a good size table top that we put on top of the purple bench. Next I put the Rowenta mega ironing board (that I got for $1.00 from a yard sale) to the same height as the table.

Here's a picture of the quilt as I'm quilting it. Then hubby said, why don't you put the slippery plastic thing that you used to cover the table on the ironing board so that it's easier for the quilt to slide it on. We did that, and it made life easier. We make do with what we have. :)

The first few columns of the quilt was a pain in the ass, but as I worked on it, it got easier. I first went horizontal, then vertical. Once I got the quilt stabilized, I quilted it on a diagonal. It took a while, but I sucked it up and got it done, hey almost a month in advance.

So that's done. Now I have company for 1.5 days. Perfect timing.

Now all I have to do it clean the living room, and company is company in 8 hours. Plenty of time, plenty of time.

Quilt & Bitch