Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quilting up a storm!

I've been busy with my new machine.

This is the start of a new top I'm doing. It's a combination of star blocks and log cabin blocks. The log cabin blocks are fun - the star blocks are a bear.

Yesterday was the last of my long arm classes. Initially, I did not think I was going to like it - but yesterday I got to spend over an hour working on a small quilt I put together just to practice on - and it was really fun!

The machine was an APQS Millennium with stitch regulator - which keeps the stitches the same size as you move along, speeding up when you go faster and slowing down when you do. I hated it. In talking to my sister, she said she did not like the stitch regulator either - so I turned it OFF and found the machine MUCH easier to use. Once I relaxed my shoulders, and moved at a consistent speed, I found it was actually fun! I did a simple meander and almost finished the center during class. I'm going to try some patterns along the border - but may not get to it right away because... Today, my daughter and newest grandson arrive for a week and I can't wait!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My new playmate.

Okay, okay, okay. I know I've been really bad about not blogging on a regular basis - but I've got some great excuses - really I do! First, we've had a miserable heat wave so we've not hiked as much as usual - some days we couldn't even sit outside. Second, I've been spending way too much time sewing and since I've been working on quilts that are gifts, I've not wanted to post pictures. Third, I have a new playmate.

This is my Janome Horizon Memorycraft 7700 QCP - and she's every bit as wonderful as her impressive name. I still love my original Janome - but she's a toy next to this sweet baby!

After selling some old gold jewelry (at ridiculous prices!)the hunt was on for a machine with a wider throat - the measurement from needle to base. My small Janome measures 6 1/2 inches. Most full size machines measure 8 to 10 inches. I even looked at mid-arm machines. Then I found my Horizon. The throat measures a full 11+ inches! My goal is to learn to machine quilt so I can save the money I'm now spending to send my quilts out to be done on a long arm. The cost runs $150-$225 for each quilt so I figure if I make 10 quilts - my new machine pays for its self.

This is the "Lucky Stars" quilt I made for Bill's granddaughter Sidney. I really enjoyed making this pattern and it was wonderful working with girl colors - since all my grandchildren are boys.

I thought this pattern for a French Braid sampler would be easy - but I was wrong. I enlarged the size of the quilt and putting it all together was much more difficult than it would have been otherwise. I do love the colors and had a really good time selecting the fabric for this one. Parts of this quilt come from states from Florida to Colorado. We may have eaten our way through Louisiana, but I quilt shopped my way through the other states! This quilt was a gift for Bill's grandson, Camron - Sidney's brother.

This close-up of the machine quilting shows the cool pattern - aptly named "Fireworks."

Even though we have three hummingbird feeders hanging around the patio - the birds still enjoy the organic sweet treats at our hanging baskets.

We've had a few Black-capped Grosbeaks at the feeders.

This House Finch family was comical. The new fledglings (the ones with the bad hair) would sit on, and even in, the feeders and yell for papa to feed them! He did.

Check out this cloud! It was right over our patio. We watched it swirl for about 20 minutes.

Bill's sister moved to a beautiful new home in Littleton - so we went to visit. The first time I walked by the dinning room table I noticed this silly centerpiece - it was all smashed down and lopsided. I thought it was really strange that she kept it on the table looking so sad -- until I noticed this scene a little later. Her one-eyed kitty used the centerpiece as a bed!

Monday, August 8, 2011