Sunday, March 11, 2012

So, What's New?

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. Time just sort of got away from me. I'm always busy during the holiday season, and I don't usually find too much time for quilting or knitting, and I don't think that you all want to see every row I've knitted on an afghan, or every single almost identical block on a quilt, so I limit my posts during the holiday season. However, I really have no excuse for January and February. It's not like I was out shoveling snow every day, or even one day for that matter. We've barely HAD any snow, and certainly not enough to shovel. Not like last year, when we all started to wonder if perhaps we had been moved to Greenland when we weren't looking. So,I guess I just sort of lost my mojo. January was uneventful to say the least. I did a lot of knitting and crocheting, but not much in the way of quilting.

In February I sort of got back into quilting. I have a couple of queen size quilts that are finished, and at least one of them has been done since 1985. I'd really like to be getting around to quilting it, but I don't really have the room to lay it out and baste it, and needless to say, I'd probably spend more time than it's worth kicking cats off it. So, what to do, what to do? My not-so-local quilt shop has several long arm machines for rent (no - not to pack up and bring home with me - once again, room is an issue!), and I thought I might take their basic lessons and learn how to operate them, and rent time on them. It sounds like something I'd at least like to try. I was supposed to go down there on February 14; being that that was Valentines day, they had a few openings in the schedule. However, as does happen sometimes, fate had other ideas for me. My younger sister had been bothered by pain in her back for a day or two. Turns out she was having a heart attack. I wound up at the hospital with her that day, and for the rest of the week, too. What we thought was a minor attack turned out to be a major attack. Her doctor said only 1% of people survive the kind of heart attack she had. That's right - 1%. She is home recovering right now, and feels fine. As for me, it put the fear of God in me. I've had a lousy diet for years, and I work nights, which doesn't help. Those damn vending machines always call to me around 3 in the morning. So, I have cleaned up my diet, and started eating some fruits and vegetables, and I've lost six pounds without even trying.

But I digress. The weekend before Valentines day, I was surfing some quilt blogs and saw a cute quilted table topper made from Valentines fabric. So I knew I had some heart fabrics in my stash, and thought maybe I'd make a quick run out to Joann fabrics and see what else they had. Then I started thinking wait, what if I do this in two days? What if I DON'T go to Joanns - just make this completely from stash stuff? Since I have enough fabric in my closet to rival Joann's, that part was easy.
I had some cute white fabric with tiny red hearts on it that I used for the back, and the white sashing was leftovers from my 1930's quilt, while the nine-patch blocks were leftover charm packs. Even the batting was from my stash. I sorted and cut all the fabrics on Saturday night, sewed it together on Sunday, and decided to do my first ever machine quilting on Monday. Heh. That's where the problems started. Turns out my $129 Singer from Target is not up to the job. Crossing seam lines while maintaining a decent stitch length proved next to impossible for this machine. At that point, I decided that I really needed to invest in a new machine, but that will be the subject of another post. I laid out backing, batting, and quilt top on my dining room table, and pink basted it. Pretty handy, but closing those pins was a pain in the knee. Instructions say to use a special tool or a grapefruit spoon to help close the pins. I don't have the special gadget to close the pins, and have no real desire to go out and buy one. I have enough gadgets in this house already. I don't have grapefruit spoons either. We're not grapefruit people here. So I improvised with a regular teaspoon. After a few issues, it went along rather well, and I got all the pins closed without stabbing myself even once.

I did get this little project quilted and bound, and I stayed on schedule with it, too! It's really cute, and it looked nice on my table with a vase of pink and red tulips, and the requisite cat.


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