Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Quilt progress & a little knitting

Since unpacking my new Bernina, I've been very busy.  The first thing I needed to figure out was how to wind a bobbin.  I found a YouTube video for that, and wound a few bobbins.

I finished cutting all the pieces for the sashes and borders for the Bear's Paw sampler quilt.  I was also ruminating on a couple of possible Christmas gifts.  With that in mind, I contacted a niece and asked about favorite colors, favorite characters/ books/ movies, etc.  I had recently ordered an I Spy fabric pack from Missouri Star Quilt Company (it was on sale for a very good price!), followed by a package of 5" square pre-cuts from an Etsy seller.  With the information from my niece, I picked out sashing and corner square fabrics from stash and got busy cutting.

The quilts will look similar to this - in style, at least.  Colors will vary.

I now have four baggies with fabrics in them.  I cut the I Spy 10" packet into four sets of 5" squares.  Then I sorted the pre-cuts into four sets and added one of those to each bag.  I'm waiting on another set of I Spy fabrics from Keepsake Quilting to add to the total.  These will be simple squares, set off with sashes and cornerstones.  The borders and backings will be more personalized.  I have 3 sets of sashes and cornerstones cut already, and have the cornerstones cut for the 4th set.  I can't wait to get started!

While I wait for the rest of the I Spy fabrics to show up, I'm working on assembling the Bear's Paw top.  Yesterday hubby and I set the blocks out and worked on the block placement.  I took a picture with my phone, then picked them up in order.  I'm hoping to get the blocks assembled into a top today, and then that will be put aside while I work on Christmas quilts.  All the piano key fabrics are already cut as well, so it should be easy to pick up again later.

There is a little knitting progress as well.  I was working on the Gina House shawl last Friday while waiting for my car at the dealership.  I am so close to the second set of 25-stitch markers!  I'll be taking it with me to a doctor's appointment today.  Maybe I'll finally reach that milestone!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bernina videos, and spinning wheel book.

I have found that the instruction book included with the Bernina is adequate, but not exactly comprehensive.  As we are now in the digital age, I decided to look for videos online and see if I could find something more inclusive.

It wasn't hard to find!  Heirloom Creations has an entire video series with this machine on YouTube, covering every aspect!  I watched the Alphabets video first - that was what initially attracted me to this model.  (Other models have more alphabet features available, but were far less affordable for us.)  I will be going back and watching the rest of the videos soon.

In other news, I had at one point found out about a book called "New Zealand Spinning Wheels and Their Makers".  I located the author and asked about the book, but it had been a small publishing run and was no longer available. 

This morning I received an email from the author, informing me that the book is now available online, as downloadable PDF files, for free!  The website for the book files is at https://nzspinningwheels.wordpress.com/ and the original website is http://www.nzspinningwheels.info/.

I hope this is of interest to some of you.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Christmas in... September!

Hubby scored lots of points today, with an outstanding surprise!  We went to the Portsmouth Farmer's Market, picked up a few groceries, then went to the Portsmouth Fabric Company.  I was looking for the fabric panel that has a town & roads on it.  I wanted to use it as backing for a quilt for my grandson.  They did not have any.  I was talking to the clerk, however, about the Bernina machines (I have wanted one since I found out they have all-metal gears!) and hubby let me get one!  It's not the lower-end model, either - this one has an alphabet, and can store up to 30 characters.  I'm thinking quilt labels!  And it was on sale!

They also sold me a few extra bobbins, and a quarter-inch quilting foot, at a discount with the machine.   The feet for this one are expensive, but it came with half a dozen standard feet, and the Special Edition includes a walking foot and a free-motion quilting foot.

My other modern machine (not counting the vintage "portables" in bentwood cases, and the treadle machines that I adore) is an Elna 3007 that is probably 15 or 18 years old.  It is still a wonderful machine and I will hold onto that until some family member needs an actual good-working sewing machine (as opposed to the crap machines from the big box stores).  That one was $500 when we bought it all those years ago, and it has proven itself to be a workhorse.

I set out all the blocks for the Bear's Paw sampler on the floor to see them all together.  I have not yet done any arranging.  I will probably move a few blocks around before putting them all together.  I started cutting the fabrics for the sashings and borders, but have not yet finished that.  Can't wait to start sewing them together on my new machine!

AND I finished the Irish Chain quilt!  It is off the quilting machine, and bound, and has been washed and dried!  Some faint stains remain, but may come out in time.  They are not terribly noticeable at this point.

I have started putting another quilt on the machine.  It is made of a variety of green squares, all set on point, almost a trip-around-the-world design.  It was a Freecycle find at one point.  This one (and another I put together to try out a design) will be lap quilts for another family member.  Hopefully it will go rather quick, now that I'm finding time to quilt again.  Eventually the grandson's crib will be moved out of our bedroom and into another room, and I'll have a little more quilting time at the machine, but I'm not ready to leave him to sleep alone just yet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Colored bobbins

Bonney left a comment, asking who makes colored bobbins.  I ordered the bobbins when I ordered the shuttle, from DS 9 Designs.  These are used in the GR-8 tatting shuttles.  The bobbins have an "H" on them, though.  I suspect they are Husqvarna sewing machine bobbins.  In fact, having just looked them up, I found similar looking bobbins - Husqvarna Viking bobbins, indeed!

More progress!

I have finished a few more things - steps, really.

I finished blocks 11 & 12 for the Bear's Paw sampler!  That's all the blocks.  Next up will be completing the sashing (connecting all the blocks together) and doing the piano key border, as in the picture.

I also made tremendous progress on the Susan's Folly quilt!  I got all the sashing attached, put the blocks together into rows, and sewed the rows together.

I still need to add the triangles to the four corners, and add 4 borders.  One of those is a pieced border made up of little squares - no surprise there!

I've been working on quilting the Irish Chain that's on the frame.  I'm so close to being finished!  I have about a foot and a half of the bottom left corner remaining.  Hopefully I will be able to finish that this week, and get started on a binding.  Then I need to work very hard to try to remove stains that have been setting on this one for literally years.  I may try an all-fabric bleach, or an ox-clean product, and I will be bringing it to a commercial laundromat to wash in a big machine and very hot water.  Hoping it gets clean enough to gift to its original intended recipient.

I've made some progress on my Gina House shawl as well.  I'm almost ready to place the next set of markers, which will be at 25 stitches on either side of the original 25 for each quadrant of the shawl.  Then I need to do another 25 on each side before starting the lace portion.  I really like the construction of this shawl.

I also got a new tatting shuttle, for the first time in years.  This is a shuttle that uses a bobbin.  It's called a GR-8 shuttle.  I've known about the GR-8 wooden shuttles for a long time, but they were always too expensive for me to justify.  This one is acrylic.  It's also a lot smaller than I thought it would be!  That should not affect the functionality, however, and it is purple after all!  I took a couple of pictures to show the size.  In one, it is pictured next to my purple Aerlit shuttle (same size as a Pony or Aero shuttle, for tatters familiar with those).

I have a couple of baby quilts ready to go on the quilting machine next, and I have two other BOMs (started, but little progress made) ready to work on when Susan's Folly and Bear's Paw tops are done. I'm also still continuing to backstitch the Christmas applique blocks that I'm prepping.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2 Blocks Finished

I finished two more of the Bear's Paw Sampler blocks today!  Blocks 9 & 10 are done.  I have blocks 11 & 12 cut out, and I may get to them later, but I think I'm going to try to do some work on the quilt that's on the frame in the bedroom while the grandson is visiting his mom.