Tag Archives: to-do list

Progress on All Those Projects

All of ’em! Yes, four projects actively in process, at least two more than I usually have, and I’m making progress on all fronts. Here’s where we started the other day:

    1. Untied. I’ve been hand-quilting this with a hoop for the center, and no hoop for the rest, which I can reach more easily. It’s been on hold for a couple of weeks, but the center is almost done and soon I’ll move to the outer borders. They should go a little more quickly. Update: the center is done and I’m working on outer borders. 20160328_092719
    2. Moonlight Waltz. The top is beautiful. I loaded it onto the frame with a back and wool batting. My longarm machine has had unreliable tension, but after testing extensively, I plunged ahead. It was awful. Rather than baby the project along, a few inches at a time, I stopped. I took my machine to the factory. Last week I picked it up. They installed a new tension assembly and a new shaft for the bobbin assembly. The price of repairs was very modest. Jim re-installed the machine. I removed the whole project from the frame and picked out the quilting I’d done. I’ll need to add a big test strip to the back before loading it on the frame again. Update: It’s back on the frame. I switched to a polyester batting, and I’ve completed one pass of quilting. So far so good… 20160701_092747
    3. Diamonds. I don’t have a good name for this yet, but it’s my most recent start. The top is done and the back is ready. I need to cut batting and make a binding. I will quilt this one before getting back to Moonlight Waltz. Update: it’s DONE! Quilted and bound, though I’ll admit, not labeled. (Ugh, the colors are so strong, I cannot get them to show right in photos! This looks really dull compared to the real thing.) OH! And the name — “More Precious Than Diamonds.”2016_0630Diamond (1)
    4. Testing. This actually is my highest current priority, and it is what I’m working on today. I put plain muslin on as backing and top fabric and used a scrap of polyester batting between. To evaluate the tension, I am using a different color of thread in the bobbin than on the top. I think it’s adjusted pretty well now, but the batting scrap is a different loft than I usually use. After a few more squiggles, I’ll switch to my usual brand and test some more. Update: testing went fine. I’ll continue to create test strips before starting quilts. But I’m hopeful now that my tension problems are much improved. 
    5. Local guild challenge. This year’s guild challenge is to create a quilt inspired by Iowa. “What does Iowa mean to you? Corn and prairie grass? The Old Capitol Building? Family and friends? In 2016, Iowa will be 170 years old and we thought we should show everyone what Iowa means to us through our quilts. There is no size or technique limit to this quilt.” This is a hard project for me because I can’t easily distill my thoughts and emotions into a design concept. However, while instant-chatting with my son one evening, he described the Iowa in his mind as he flew over early this year. I’m still working on how to incorporate his words. The challenge meeting is in July, so time is running out! Update: my concept is developing. I’ve chosen words, roughed out a wind turbine, stitched highway I-80 across the state, and determined how to paint fields. It’s moving along. 20160621_115949

While I’m not sure of timeline on all this, I’m making good progress and feeling like it WILL all get done! 🙂

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Too Many In Process

Right now I have too many projects in process. It is a tiny bit stressful for me, as I usually only work on one or two at a time. In addition to there being a lot (for me,) they are all very different from each other. Redirecting and refocusing takes some effort.

    1. Untied. I’ve been hand-quilting this with a hoop for the center, and no hoop for the rest, which I can reach more easily. It’s been on hold for a couple of weeks, but the center is almost done and soon I’ll move to the outer borders. They should go a little more quickly. 20160328_092719
    2. Moonlight Waltz. The top is beautiful. I loaded it onto the frame with a back and wool batting. My longarm machine has had unreliable tension, but after testing extensively, I plunged ahead. It was awful. Rather than baby the project along, a few inches at a time, I stopped. I took my machine to the factory. Last week I picked it up. They installed a new tension assembly and a new shaft for the bobbin assembly. The price of repairs was very modest. Jim re-installed the machine. I removed the whole project from the frame and picked out the quilting I’d done. I’ll need to add a big test strip to the back before loading it on the frame again.20160615_182518_resized
    3. Diamonds. I don’t have a good name for this yet, but it’s my most recent start. The top is done and the back is ready. I need to cut batting and make a binding. I will quilt this one before getting back to Moonlight Waltz.Harlequin Diamonds
    4. Testing. This actually is my highest current priority, and it is what I’m working on today. I put plain muslin on as backing and top fabric and used a scrap of polyester batting between. To evaluate the tension, I am using a different color of thread in the bobbin than on the top. I think it’s adjusted pretty well now, but the batting scrap is a different loft than I usually use. After a few more squiggles, I’ll switch to my usual brand and test some more. 20160621_120133
    5. Local guild challenge. This year’s guild challenge is to create a quilt inspired by Iowa. “What does Iowa mean to you? Corn and prairie grass? The Old Capitol Building? Family and friends? In 2016, Iowa will be 170 years old and we thought we should show everyone what Iowa means to us through our quilts. There is no size or technique limit to this quilt.” This is a hard project for me because I can’t easily distill my thoughts and emotions into a design concept. However, while instant-chatting with my son one evening, he described the Iowa in his mind as he flew over early this year. I’m still working on how to incorporate his words. The challenge meeting is in July, so time is running out! 20160621_115949

The only thing I have managed to finish is my round robin border for the month. My small group is doing a round robin again, and we’re on the third border. I made a border and was ready to attach it, but I wasn’t sure I liked it. Jim and I agreed that it was too spiky, so I modified it and turned the spikes inward, which helped soften the effect. I think it sets up the top well for a last border. 20160621_120408

I hope to be done with all these projects by mid-July. This very minute that seems both very doable and a little insane. No telling which one will win out! A lot will depend on how well my longarm machine works. Wish me luck!

On Our Way Back Home

We’ve been away from home for nearly three weeks. Over that time we’ve experienced highs and lows. While we were in Enid, OK a little more than two weeks ago, our son learned his next Air Force assignment. He will go to Joint Base Lewis-McChord to fly C-17s for the United States. It’s the assignment he and his fiancee hoped for, and we are thrilled for them.

After Assignment Night, Jim and I headed to Taos, NM for a vacation. If you’re interested, you can read about some of our time there. This post has a review of one of our hikes, as well as links to some other outings.

While we were in Taos, we also learned some personal news, actually three separate and important things. Grief, anger, and disappointment all played into our time there, as well as the exhilaration and excitement of the beautiful setting. It was a time of very mixed emotions.

Wednesday we drove back to Enid. Thursday we were joined by our two daughters. Our fabulous future daughter-in-law, her parents and sister arrived later in the day. The big occasion? Son’s graduation from undergraduate pilot training was Friday.

He was the deserving recipient of multiple awards, and humble enough he doesn’t want me to share that. Of course, the most important “award” is the opportunity to fly for the United States. To say we are proud of him is a tremendous understatement.

With ALL THAT going on, my mind has not been on quilting much, understandably. Finally last night the thoughts started to flow again. After no sewing for three weeks, it will feel wonderful to be back in my studio.

First things first: I’ll bind a quilt that is otherwise finished. And I plan to make a pile of 9″ shoofly blocks for my local guild’s donation projects. After that? I think I’ll make quilts for the local VA hospital. My guild donates around 200 quilts a year. Most of them go to the local hospitals, including the VA. Our VA wants quilts that are 48″ x 60″. (Yours may have different requests, so you should check with them directly.)  I’ve been working on some simple designs to meet that need, and will share them in a few days.

There are still twelve weeks left in the year. That is twelve weeks to enjoy the journey and try new things.

It will be good to be home.

Working on the New List

Progress report:

  1. Get dress hemmed for Son’s graduation dinner.
  2. Load and quilt project as a favor for someone; return it to them this week.
  3. Quilt and bind Ice Cream sample. Changed quilt name to Sherbet.
  4. Make top for Amish solids sample.
  5. Make top for black and red sample. Later…
  6. Review lesson plans. Soon…
  7. Assemble lesson packet. Soon…
  8. Make back, quilt, bind African Star.
  9. Develop new projects/designs.
  10. Write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite… Have been rewriting…

And a new one:

11. Quilt and bind Southwestern Sun.

Parts

Worse things have happened. I cut 34 squares the wrong size. Rather than 1 3/4″, I cut them 1 7/8″.

Oops!

Generally it’s better to cut things too large than too small, right? After all, if they are too large, you can trim them to size. But since they are already small, and the trimming would be only 1/8″, I decided to cut whole new squares. Trimming seemed just too fiddly. The lucky part was I had plenty of fabric to do so.

I’m making parts for a small class sample. I’ll be teaching a beginners’ medallion class, which starts in October. The class project will teach five different blocks, including the flying geese used in the variable star. It’s a change-up from the standard sampler that many beginners’ classes teach. Of course for a beginners’ class, my design is purposely very simple, using only six fabrics.

This is the design I’m using with solid fabrics.

The sample is another experiment. Generally, medallion quilts don’t use a background fabric, the way the grey serves in this. But modern quilts use a lot of negative space, and modern medallions tend to have more of a background feel to them. Take a look at the Aviatrix medallion here. The pale grey is used from center to outer borders, and I think it is effectively done.

Here are the parts I have so far.

The grey is a little dark for my taste. That merits a big “oh well.” I think it will be very pretty when done and certainly will serve well as a sample.

Up for tomorrow: make the half-square triangles and assemble the top. And other projects await, as well! But I’m making progress.