Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Light it up!

A few weeks ago after struggling for the umpteenth time to inspect the back of my quilt on the longarm I had a real light bulb moment.  I was tired of the time and effort it took to crawl under the table with a flashlight every time I wanted to check stitching, backing etc.
How wonderful it would be if I could light the entire area on the table so the mirror I use on the table would reflect the condition of the backing stitching perfectly.
Hmmm, now how could that be accomplished? Then I remembered the LED lighting I bought by the roll on the internet when we renovated the kitchen, that was an aha moment! For any other Longarmer who may be interested in this process I will show the necessary parts, the very simple installation-and the wonderful results!
 It is less than 1/2" wide and has a sticky back
 Here it is installed on the table under the clear vinyl sheet.
 Of course I first went to my "fix-it" guy, AKA, DH to find out what it would take to make it happen!
 We needed a connector and fortunately had one left from the kitchen lighting………...
and a power adapter, we also had one of those extra. All of this can be purchased very inexpensively on the internet, I used eBay.
With DH's help I decided on the optimal position for the light strip and measured the distance across the table, then he peeled off the backing and stuck it down, attached the connector and transformer and plugged it in- let there be light!  It is positioned so that on the rare occasion I use a pantograph it will clear the lighting strip.
 Here is how it looks from the front of the machine with a quilt loaded………..
and now from the back with the mirror that I use, a cheap discount store door mirror. 
 This is the illuminated backing, I love it!
Thanks to my handy DH for another successful project, this one makes my quilting life easier. Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions about the process, it took literally only minutes.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Quilt Of Valor

Linking up with "Needlework Tuesday"
Beginning the week on a high note with one of three QOV's I have to quilt for VHPA, Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's Assoc. DH is a member and the wives of members who quilt, began last year to make QOV's for the members.
Most Vietnam vets had no real welcome home at least not an official welcome, and often abuse and criticism from the general public. More than 58,000 courageous US service members gave their lives for this cause and thousands more were wounded. The percentage of returning Vietnam vets with PTSD is extremely high and at that time there was no place for them to get help.
We wives decided we would honor them all by presenting QOV's, last year we began the project with two quilts, this year many blocks have been donated by the VHPA wives and four quilts constructed to be presented at the annual reunion this year in Washington DC.
So here is number one of the three I will be quilting.
 Quilted with a neutral thread and a Stars and Stripes design.
Most of the blocks are pieced……. 
and two are embroidered.
I think that the veteran who receives this patriotic quilt will be delighted with it, don't you?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Grand Illusion, Nearly there!

Some how this week was very busy and although I plugged away at GI, I ended up doing a lot of  very frustrating unsewing - finally about midnight last night the blocks were all sashed.……….
 the stop border cut and final border constructed.
I noticed after I looked at the photo of my top that I did not pay close attention to the block orientation so the center 4 patches are not all in the identical configuration, see how some have the yellow on the right upper corner and others on the left?
So then I went to Bonnie's blog and checked and her 4 patches are as random as mine, too funny! She said that she wanted them to look as if they were all doing their own thing while mine happened totally by accident!
Bonnie's pattern does show them all matching so it is kudos to Angela that hers all go in the same direction, she was paying attention to detail and decided she liked them all to match! It will be fun to see how all the other quilters handled it. If I had thought about it I could have simply rotated the large blocks to make the centers the same but I am not very worried about it and certainly will not be unsewing anymore on this top, it's such a busy, scrappy quilt pattern I think it will never be noticed.
The final two borders should go fast I hope and after that I want to move along and get some tops quilted.
This week I have The Boy, and tomorrow is a holiday so we have him all day, not sure I will get much else done. No doubt we will have to make banana-date bread- almost every day when he comes here he asks me " can we make banana bread Grandnanna?" Now what's a Grandmother to do?? He loves to measure out all the ingredients and can tell me what goes in and when, how to break the eggs, turn the mixer on and off, funny little chap. It's a good learning experience apart from the baking knowledge, at 5 he is becoming familiar with weights and measures and fractions.
But I still haven't made him an apron, I keep forgetting.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We Do Family……...

Linking with Wordless Wednesday
And we do loud really well!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The NASA Space Quilt

I had all but forgotten about this until Angela posted how she had seen all 28 quilts on Cindy's  website with blocks from around the world. Cindy took the pics at the International Quilt Show in Houston in November.
I looked through all  28 and was getting discouraged about finding my block then I got all the way back up to the second picture and there it was, one of only two Talking Turkey blocks I found, the other was Angela's.
You can see my block, second row from the bottom, fourth block from the right! Thanks Cindy for posting these so we can all see how the blocks went together.
It looks a lot different when it's sewn into a quilt, doesn't it? This is a fun block to make one of Bonnie's best I think and very patriotic in these colors.

Catching Up

We are home and getting back into the routine, yesterday was my first day back in the gym and I thought I would be sore from the cardio blitz but am thankful I was not and got through another one today. I find it interesting that I would miss the gym so much but when it is a long term habit I feel almost deprived without it and so good to be back!
Last night was also Button's first time back at agility training after her three week break and I could tell that she was happy! At almost ten she is considered a "veteran" in agility terms and I am a "grand veteran" LOL! What that means is that in competition we adhere to a slightly different set of protocols, for example her jumping height is lower, even though she is able to she is not required and I agree that we need to protect our pets joints as we do our own. Especially for dogs with long backs and short legs as the "Aussies" have, the extra strain of landing could do serious damage.
I will try to get someone to take a video of her in the next few weeks so I can show what she does. We need to focus on "weaving" right now, that is the only obstacle she does not do well.
 I have begun to get back to Grand Illusion, 
 all complete through unit 4 as of last night……………..
and only twenty five four patches from unit 5 to finish this afternoon and I will be ready to put it all together. I have seen a few of the completed tops and some have more contrast than others, I hope mine has nice contrast because otherwise they tend to look "muddy" when the design does not stand out and the colors seem to mush together. Below is Bonnie's version,
From what I saw it helps to have a strong black to show up the block pattern and I think that most of the blacks I used are fairly constant in hue. Perhaps tomorrow I may have a completed top to show!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

 From Boston we watched the ball drop in Times Square last night, even the kids managed to stay up to see it!
We are hoping for a better year ahead with good news for our country and more peace and goodwill around the world.
After a glass of champagne we all went off to bed.
When I am here in Boston I sew on this older Kenmore, a jewel of a machine, beautiful stitch quality and it never eats the fabric! It is probably 20 yrs. old, came from a relative who only sewed on it once or twice and is happy to know that her great niece and nephew have learned to sew on it. This lady has recently retired from a lifetime as an OR nurse and I am hoping she will take up quilting and be around to help great niece when I am not!
I have been working a bit on clue #3 of the Grand Illusion mystery, I think I am only about 20+ short of the necessary 120 blocks. I sewed up all I brought with me and there are a couple of strip sets left at home which may finish up this clue.
Today I worked on clue#4, yesterday I made the new HST's but when I packed up at home I missed including the pink HST's we set aside from clue #1, so I am unable to complete this step but I am halfway there with 40 of the black + HST/s and 40 of the yellow. 
 Clue #5 is only 29 blocks and I brought along enough for these 4 patches which I suspect might be part of the corner blocks, as there are only four of them. 
That's all I prepped for so I will be quite far behind when I return home, with the balance of clues #3 and #4 to complete plus all of tomorrow's clue and the new one to be released the day after I return.
There's nothing pressing due then so I should be able to get going on a catch up, we have tentative plans for a meet-up in January with the group that did the first clue together Thanksgiving weekend and I want to be ready for it.
Meantime we are enjoying family time here in chilly Boston, hanging out around the fire and playing dominoes. I think the guys are taking the kids skiing tomorrow so the "grown up" girls will go shopping and perhaps take in a movie, woohoo a girl/adults only day! The attorney hates to shop but needs a couple of basic pieces of apparel so I will be cheering her on-I am also not a fan of shopping unless it is from my desk chair in front of the laptop in my jammies!