It's cool enough to use the heat-producing light bar on my longarm without trouble!
First up, I decided last Thursday that it was a good day to work on my Summer Fun quilt along top. Last time I mentioned it, it was a finished top (with alternations made) and ready to be quilted. I dug through my stash of larger pieces (leftovers from other quilt backs) to find something suitable. I thought it would be harder, but this piece presented itself quickly!
(okay, okay, I just took this photo...after quilting)
I had only one seam to sew and found a piece of batting just a little bigger than the top - perfect!
I loaded it up and took stock. What to quilt?
OOOOHHHH! My brain said crosshatching in the checkerboards would be fun. It will be easy, my brain said. You'll get a little practice with your ruler, my brain said. Stupid brain.
About halfway through is where they are best, but they are messy at the beginning and sloppy at the end. And I'm not sure I'm any better. Also, they took FOR. EVER.
Next up, my brain said that wishbones in those white sashing strips would be good. It's a nice filler, the brain says. It will go fast, my brain tells me. So I do them.
Can you see them here? Neither can my EYES. My eyes now are mad at my brain. The rest of this quilt is going to be interesting...
But I did manage to finish it, even with some motifs I would not choose if I had it to do over again. But I'm not ripping it out, either. It's done. And will be donated, so hopefully whoever gets it won't be too critical.
I took my hubby outside this evening, but it turns out that semi-setting-sun light is not good for photographs. Also not good for getting close to said subject...
The colors, with much tweaking, are still way better in the inside shots. But whatever. You get the idea - it's a finished quilt. 36x36. Or so. I didn't measure after quilting.
Then, at guild Thursday night, there was a pile of quilt tops we made at a charity sew-in a few months back. I don't think I posted any photos, but I do remember sharing the pattern. But can I find that now? Nope. Anyways, the finishing part had stalled out because one of the gals coordinating had a family health issue that needed her full attention. (And thankfully is fully resolved now!) So the finishing came back and our guild president was asking for volunteers to longarm the 17 tops we made. I sewed two tops at the sew-in, so thought quilting two was a fair number. There are quite a few members with longarms and if we each do a few...
So Friday morning, I loaded up #1!
I didn't take many photos other than this one of it on the longarm. But you can see both the quilt motifs (kinda) and the backing fabric (aren't those jacks just perfectly cute!). It took a few hours, but not bad for an overall edge-to-edge hand-guided pattern. I had to load it "right-ways" - quilting top to bottom. I prefer to load them "sideways" which allows me to quilt longer passes, but fewer. But the size of the backing determined my direction and it really wasn't that bad.
I trimmed it and, by the time it was done, thanks to our guild facebook page, had a volunteer to complete the binding! I'm happy because that's something pretty much all of our members can do, thereby lightening the load on those of us with longarms!
(I've learned my lesson - no sunset shots...)
A few more days passed, but I decided I wanted to try to get the second top finished by the meeting tomorrow. I promised them by Christmas, but this way, maybe I can have a second volunteer to do the binding and not put them in a pinch! Today was the day!
After some procrastination and a trip to my local quilt shop (more on that soon), I started the quilting.
A use for that U.G.L.Y. mauve thread I bought years ago for the Motel 6 quilts.
And on the longarm. You can't really see the quilting in this photo because I took it right after rolling it, but again you can see the back fabric (I think it was a sheet...that wasn't nice to my tension) and I used the same motif as the other quilt.
Again, it took a few hours, but wasn't terrible. This one was loaded the harder way as well, but again, the back fabric makes that decision for us and it WAS bigger enough to work with, so I'm not complaining too loud!
And, as I posted a photo on the guild facebook page again while quilting, I had a taker for binding by the time it was done on the frame!
Outside with this one, too, for one more poorly-lit shot...
The colors, again, are far better in the indoor shots.
Between the two charity quilts, I did spend some time in the sewing room. I made a batch of tiny stars (I think 15?) and pulled the pile of binding leftovers from its place on a shelf to see if there were any fabrics I had not yet cut for tiny stars (sometimes you use the last bit of something for binding, right?!)...
This giant disaster is where I started. It seemed endless, but I tidied them as I went and managed to cut 14 new fabrics for tiny stars. And then, I ended up with this neat little stack...
...I'm not sure how long it will stay this way, but they're sorted by colors and rolled up neatly. I can now see what I have - at least in a color family if not easily what exactly it is - and maybe will be better about using them for scrappy quilts?
While reading blogs this week (probably procrastinating doing something like dishes...), I came across the Lori Holt Vintage Christmas quilt-along. I did her Vintage Farm Girl quilt along a few years ago and enjoyed it. Lori's blocks often have a LOT of pieces, but her instructions are very clear for every single block (no assuming you did the block on page 1 for instructions how to make something on page 34) and they're so cute! So I decided right then and there to do it. I dragged a friend into it with me and contacted my local quilt shop, asking if she had the book. (Because I'm too lazy to drive the 3 miles down there!) It was on backorder and due in this week, so I asked her to put my name on one when they arrived.
Today, after I loaded the mauve charity quilt, I decided to take a quick lunch break before starting stitching. And while I was eating, I got the call that my book was in! I wolfed down the rest of my lunch and scooted out the door to get my new treasure!
I also picked up this fabric, intending to use it as background for the blocks. And then realized it's Lori's fabric...and the one she used for sashing in the quilt I'm making! So, upon further evaluation, I have decided to use a solid white for background and this for sashing. I'll have a lot extra, but it's super cute and I'm sure will find a place in a quilt somewhere in the future.
The quilt-along started last Friday and they're doing 5 blocks a week. The last quilt-along we did 2 a week and I was able to keep up without a problem, but 5 is a lot...even for someone only partially employed! I'm sure this pace is to get it done before Christmas, but we'll see if I fall behind...okay, well, I am behind already...sorta...
While flipping through the book (Lori always provides a lot of options for her many blocks!), I sorta fell in love with this one...
(And I'm not getting any kickback from promoting this. I just love her colors and patterns and stuff!)
So, after that little bit of procrastinating, I started pulling fabrics, using the new fabric as a guide for color selection. Sometimes that is hard to narrow down a whole color spectrum to the hues you want, so having that fabric was super helpful.
I'm not sure if I'll need all of the colors (purple?), but I decided to pull all the ones that would play well together at once and isolate them in their own box so I don't have to go through this process again later. (But now that I look at this, those lighter blues...hmmm...)
And now, instead of starting the blocks (the first block has pieces labelled A through T!), I'm blogging about it. Tomorrow is a fresh day and other than the cleaning chores (vacuuming and the bathroom) and a quilt guild meeting in the evening, I have the day to myself. The last quilt-along, the blocks took an hour or so each to complete, so I expect the same here. Some will be easier, some will be harder, but it will all be good. And I'm going to have an AWESOME quilt in the end!
Also while reading blogs, I noted the Bonnie Hunter has released her colors for her mystery quilt. I'm on the fence about doing this quilt, but I guess I have about a month to make up my mind!
But just so you don't think I'm getting too far ahead on my holidays, I did bake these to take to work yesterday...
...I didn't work today (obviously, since I was longarming and making trips to the local quilt shop!), but they were appreciated yesterday. And I'm sure today, as they didn't all get eaten yesterday. Wednesdays they have a super early shift to get all the stuff that came in on the truck on Tuesday out onto the sales floor. I'm sure the guys appreciated a burst of sugar for an early-morning snack!
And last but not least, little Gabby with the shortened tail, is doing very well. She poked and licked at it some at the start, but about two days ago she seemed over it and was back to normal. I know she's fine now because last night, after we went to bed, she went stomping over the piano keys. I can't get a video of her doing it, but she seems fascinated with it making noise when she steps on it, so she walks up and down the keyboard happily. (She's the only cat I've ever known to LIKE toys that make lots of noise...jingle balls are her absolute favorite.) I'm glad she's healing and am confident she'll pass the follow-up exam early next week with flying colors. (Sorry for no photo, but it would probably just be blurry anyways because she's a spazzy cat!)
So that's what I've been up to. Among the other less-fun things like grocery shopping, washing laundry and cooking meals. But life, you know?!
No trick-or-treaters at our house tonight - our road is far too busy. So the hubby and I will settle in for a nice evening of movies here shortly. And this is the first year in over 20 that I didn't "dress up" at work as a "mad scientist"...it started out as a joke, since I've worked in many labs, that when I didn't dress up, I just claimed my lab coat made me a "mad" scientist. This year, I guess I dressed up as a quilter? I probably have a few threads hanging from me and earlier did have a needle stowed in my shirt! (But if I had been scheduled to work, I might have asked the hubby to borrow a lab coat from his work for me so I could continue the tradition...even if it was at a retail store!)