Friday, October 13, 2017

Paisley Is Here!

Wouldn't you know that Paisley waited until the morning I left town to make her appearance! She was born Thursday Oct. 5th. as we were driving to Lakeside AZ for our quilting retreat, so I did not meet her until Tuesday.
Such a pretty little doll of a baby, already doted on by everyone in her circle of family and friends, we could not be more proud of her parents for producing a beautiful child for our first great grandchild. I think they look pretty pleased with themselves!
Yesterday we met the little family at the Great Australian Bakery for lunch and spent a couple of hours with them.
She looks so tiny, and GGF thinks she is pretty special too!
 I see a lot of quilts in her future, I have plans!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Summer Has gone, Yipppeeeee!

That is what most of us say here in Arizona especially in the Phoenix area where in August summer seems never to end. But finally daytime temps in the 90's and even 80's and evenings and mornings are lovely. We can at last take a deep breath of Fall air and begin to live fully again rather than from one air conditioned place to the next!
Where has the year gone? Second week in October already and the holiday times are fast approaching beginning with halloween.
The past month or two I have been getting acquainted with my Prodigy Quilter, a bit of a transition from the A-1 but as I quilt with it more I am surer than ever I made a very wise decision. We have had a few challenges, we added a new encoder to get the stitch regulator -SR- working beautifully and a new hook has helped with tension.
Last night I finished quilting the Giant Star quilt and it's ready for binding.
Quilted with Baptist Fan design, always a great choice for traditional piecing.
 Neutral thread and Quilter's Dream Angel in the Request.
 The backing was not long enough so I inserted some leftover blocks from a previous project.
My latest acquisition is an older Pfaff 1222E. When I was visiting my friend in Colorado Springs I sewed on her 40 + year old Pfaff 1222 and loved the sturdiness and quiet operation from the solid German engineering. As I began to look around for one I discovered that they are quite coveted and can bring $400-$500 even in less than working operation. I managed to win one from eBay for $56, shipping for this venerable old lady was $60! But the machine is in excellent condition it looks as if it was barely used.
It had case and accessories, but no foot pedal/power cord. The accessories include a few different feet, bobbins, vintage thread I will not use, and even oil and some original Pfaff machine needles.
Missing also is the extended plate, I will look around and see if I can find one but it doesn't stop me sewing! It also needed a new on/off switch, $15 on eBay, the cord etc I purchased locally. My friend, a vintage sewing machine collector came over to check out the 1222E and declared it a great buy, insides are pristine barely used. We pulled it apart and oiled every moving part, I wish I had taken photos of that process with parts spread all over!
So now for under $200 I have a fine machine that will probably sew for decades-did I really need it? Well, probably not, I think I have nine machines, four antique/vintage, a serger, a 1961 Featherweight made in Edinburgh, Scotland, an 1889 treadle plus a more modern Pfaff and Bernina [both about 15 years old] and the longarm among the number! I am wondering if they have twelve step programs for sewing machine addicts, but it is still cheaper than therapy!
 Last weekend was the four day quilting retreat with my MeetUp group. We stayed in the same retreat house as last year in Lakeside.
It is perfectly set up for quilters and especially caters to a woman's needs. This is the workroom, very large open and airy and bright. Comfortable chairs, tea and coffee facility and homemade gourmet snacks! There is room for eight but again this year we were six in number and that was fine.
I made quite good progress, finishing piecing the CW quilt which was a fairly big job
The odd blocks below turned into a nice baby quilt, originally there were seven from a block drawing at quilt guild meeting, and I added five more and a scrappy little border. I plan to quilt it "modern" because it looks modern to me.
At last year's retreat I had some help to find a way to make some sense of these mistakenly pieced blocks and they stayed that way in need of setting triangles because I could not decide what fabric to use. On route to the retreat last week we stopped at a couple pf quilt shops-I know how that must be a shock to everyone- and found some cute deer fabric which I purchased and now this one is ready for the longarm, it too may get some modern quilting designs.
I pulled out a group of Australian fabrics I had kitted up a couple of years ago and managed to sew some of them up into this little lap quilt, another in line for modern quilting.
The final morning I decided to start on an apron, it's almost finished, probably will not take more than an hour to be done.
We played a dice game with fabrics as the prize, no surprise! This year I won and ended up with 20 FQ's of batiks, a nice addition to my stash.
We were pampered by our amazing hostess with her gourmet food offerings.
Frances is the consummate hostess making us all feel welcome and comfortable
Dinner our final evening was chicken and artichoke lasagne
Salted caramel ice cream pie for dessert, yum!
We enjoyed it all so much that some of us will be returning twice next year.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Our MeetUp Group

We have a group here in Phoenix of Fiber Artists! Most of us quilt but also  sew other things, knit, embroider etc. They are a lovely group of ladies always respectful of others and very generous with their time and talents. We meet every third Saturday of the month and also take a four day retreat in the White Mountains the first weekend in October.
Ten of us met at Linda's spacious home today and began the day with her gourmet Belgian waffles, such a treat.
I did not really have a chance to sew, but I did press about 290 HST's and when I came home managed to get some up on the design wall ready to sew. 
These are mostly Civil War reproduction fabrics with a few others thrown in to make up the necessary number. They are about 5" square and I plan to to have 16 across and 18 down a total of 288. I made them the the fast way, four at a time. Using 8" squares I sew two, right sides together with a fourth inch seam all around the outer edges. 
Then when I cut them twice on the diagonal corner to corner I have four HST's.
A very fast way to make them, I use this method all the time. Using a directional fabric means they will not have the design running the same way but this is a scrappy type quilt so it isn't of any consequence.
I may begin to sew the rows together tomorrow after church, I will have a couple of hours free in the afternoon.This will be the second of the two quilts for our Pastor, the first is going on the longarm this week. I plan to quilt it with Baptist fans.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pajama Quilter!

That was me yesterday, I spent the day with my new BF, the Prodigy Quilter. I am getting to know Lady Prodigy and finding new things I like about her and figuring out the ins and outs of a new-to-me machine.
It was the Labor Day holiday, DH is out of town and I had no other place I needed to be so I stayed in my PJ's until bedtime, shower and another pair of PJ's!
Of course a little wine helps the quilting go even better, only a little though do not want to quilt any body parts!
This simple baby boy quilt is for another new child at church, Wyatt was baptised last month as well as a little girl-her quilt is on the longarm next.
Freehand peacock feathers in Superior King Tut Blue Nile, just needs binding now.
I finished piecing this full size quilt last week, 84"x112", it is a Missouri Quilt Company Youtube video and it's called "The Big Star Quilt"!  I enjoyed this fast and easy pattern and am happy with the way it turned out. No borders since it's already the perfect size.
It is one of two I am making for our Pastor who needs to replace two old quilts his Grandma made decades ago that are falling apart.
I want to use Quilter's Dream Angel batting in the lightest version and as I have no appropriate size batts in QD Angel I had to place an order - it probably will not be here for a week but there are always plenty of projects in line never fear!
Meantime, it's off to the gym for me!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My New Longarm Quilting Machine

Our fast turn-around trip to Tehachapi, CA. Monday and Tuesday has resulted in the transportation of my almost new Prodigy quilting machine to it's new home in Phoenix.
The trip involved two days of nine hours each on the road, very tiring in itself. Add in dismantling of the set up and careful packing and loading onto the rented trailer. It took about two hours to tear down the machine and table Monday evening and another hour and a half to load it up for transit next morning, not bad overall!
The friendly couple from whom I purchased this machine were hospitable and helpful, the previous owner a brilliant quilter, Molly Hamilton McNally and her husband could not have been kinder.
Her we are in the process of dismantling the machine in Molly's beautiful studio in the hills about an hour north of Los Angeles. More about this talented lady in another post.
They have two small dogs and as Molly said "I am a dog person" we were very thankful since we had our little Aussie Terrier with us and she was allowed to wander a bit on their spacious property after being in the truck all day. We spent the night at the pet friendly La Quinta in Tehachapi and then loaded up next morning for the trip home.
The machine head was strapped into the back seat of the Avalanche
but table and components went on the trailer.
It was an uneventful drive if you discount the horrible CA. Traffic. I could not live there, truly, it is crazy and we went nowhere near Los Angeles or any other major city. Nine hours each way for what would be less than seven with reasonable traffic.
Introducing the Prodigy to its new environment was relatively easy compared to the relocation of the A-1 with its one piece 14 ft. table weighing over 300 lbs!
Prodigy breaks down into manageable pieces, the rear rail is the heaviest, housing all the mechanics for the table processes and was too heavy for me to help up the stairs. We called on a friend for assistance meanwhile it sat overnight in the garage.
 We took some pics that helped in rebuilding the set up, and all went pretty smoothly. DH did a stellar job all kudos to him and my friend Gale a long time Prodigy owner and heirloom quilter was also helpful Via iPhone.
Almost there, only a few more pieces to attach including the third pole and batting access and I will be able to test Prodigy. 
 We discovered in the process that I appear to have a faulty encoder for the stitch regulator which should be simply replaced. We have spoken with the design engineer of this machine, we can have no better guide and he has the encoder and will mail it to me. I also discovered that I had equipment belonging to Molly's Innova and in turn the hopping feet for Prodigy had been left behind in her studio so we exchanged these by mail!
Otherwise I made a few minor adjustments and Prodigy is running nicely in manual mode, and with a new encoder will run just as well in auto! I hope we are happy together in the new space, and there are no adjustment issues from sunny California to the Valley of The Sun!
There will be a few adjustments for me with this new machine after ten years with A-1,  and much like adjusting to a new automobile I will soon embrace the benefits. I will miss the extra two feet of the 14 ft. table which allowed plenty of room for "parking" the machine head for maintenance and to keep a small practice piece on the side for testing tension etc. But there are other conveniences that I will enjoy and adjust to the shorter 12 ft. table quickly I expect.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Great Granddaughter's Quilt

As stated earlier we will welcome our first great grandchild in early October. Oldest grandson Daniel and wife Ashlee are expecting a baby girl, Paisley Nichole. Daniel is in the Navy and awaiting deployment for extra training so we hope it will not coincide with the birth of their little one!
This cute young couple requested cowboy theme in patriotic colors which was so much fun to make. Of course I decided it must include some paisley fabrics and a paisley quilting design LOL!
The design I used is called"Chopsticks" from Jaybird Quilts. I think it is a more feminine version of a cowboy theme with the addition of the red star fabric on white background to lighten it up.
I had one FQ of this very cute vintage cowboy/girl fabric and managed to get two blocks from it.
 Red thread shows just enough of the freehand E-E paisley quilting.
There are three paisley fabrics including the backing
Baby quilts are so much fun to make, there is no stress, the baby will love whatever you make.
It is almost instant gratification! I used Quilter's Dream Angel, a genetically engineered flame retardant batting, so no nasty chemicals. It is very soft and fine just perfect for cuddling a little one.
The big news for me is that I am acquiring a new long arm machine! When I purchased the A-1 machine about ten years ago I was almost convinced to buy a Prodigy but the larger bobbin on the A-1 swayed my decision. It's been a great machine allowing a lot of artistic freedom that I did not feel I had with my original Gammill. A decade later and my body has succumbed to some very serious arthritis issues and the design of the Prodigy will ease the discomfort of some of the movements associated with longarm quilting.
This is the new machine, Prodigy 2412, we will be picking it up next week and I am very excited!