Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Heat Wave!

Wow, it's hot out there!  I'm not sure what the weather is doing in other parts of the country (and world), but it's been steady around 100F down here in Houston, with wicked humidity and a ridiculously large mosquito population.  All the more reason to stay inside and work on some quilts!!!  This month I have some finished projects, some in-work projects, and some lessons learned to share.

First, finished projects.  And, I have to clarify that by "finished" I mean I've finished quilting them, not that I've necessarily put the binding on!  Hehe.  The first quilt that I finished this month is that red, black, and white quilt that's going into the Lakeview Quilters Guild annual auction in a few weeks.  I had so much fun with this one!  I picked an edge-to-edge feather pattern, a new one that I had just gotten from Wildflower Quilting's July club called New Bountiful.  And, I used variegated black and white thread.  I just love how it turned out!

Corner of the quilt, showing the variegated feathers.

Back of the quilt, which is actually black and not grey.

Overall view of the quilt.

I finished a second quilt for the auction just Monday night, after picking it up Monday evening.  Talk about a busy night!  This one is a really pretty rail fence pattern with bright pastels (if that makes sense) and a buttery background color.  I used my very favorite E2E pattern, which I've used several times now, called Spiral Pano 001 by Kimberlee Diamond.

Close up view of the quilting.
Overall view of the quilt.  I love it!
There really will be some gorgeous quilts up for bid at the auction.  If you're in the area, make some time to come visit!  Let's see... I also finished quilting both of Sheila's quilts that I shared last month.  She's super happy with them, which means I'm super happy with them!

Close up of Myrtle's Broken Dishes with bubble quilt pattern.
Overall view of Myrtle's Broken Dishes.
Close up of Toile de Jouy, still on the machine being quilted.
Close up of Toile de Jouy.
Overall view of Toile de Jouy (kind of).  Beautiful!
The last quilt that I finished this month was actually started this month also... start to finish, design to quilted... a baby quilt for some very dear friends of mine who were finally blessed with a baby boy through adoption.  I'm so very happy for them, and happy with this quilt for their new son.  They both work at NASA, like me, so I picked some space themed fabrics to use, and Dad is from Ohio, so I added in some bright colored Ohio Stars.  I think they'll love it!  If you can see it in the pictures, the quilting pattern is even space themed with rockets, stars, and planets.

Close up of baby space quilt.
Overall view of baby space quilt.
The other project that I worked on this month is my Barbara Brackman Antebellum Album BOM.  I caught up on the monthly blocks, including even the July block!  And, I got ahead (at least in my opinion) by making all of the setting blocks as well.  Thank goodness for two day sewing bees where I sit and sew to my heart's content!

My version of Barbara Brackman's Antebellum Album Quilt BOM.
And, last but not least, I had several lessons learned this month.  Some were quite a bit more painful than others, but all were taken in stride!  At one point this month, I was sewing along on one of Sheila's quilts and Carol Ann (my Gammill's name) started screeching!  And I mean SCREECHING!  Every time she stitched, she screamed at me.  I'd post the video, but I don't want to scare any of you!  It scared me half to death, so I posted in a Statler group on Facebook and got multiple responses in minutes.  Apparently, this is a normal occurrence in SOME Statler machines, where grease gets into the oil lines and blocks them up, causing the machine to act like it's not getting oil.  There's a very easy fix, which I was able to take care of in a few minutes.  Now, I just need to remember to do it every 6 to 12 months.  Whew!

Next up, stitching on that same quilt of Sheila's, I rolled it and saw a HUGE rats nest of thread on the backside.   EEEEKKKK!  I'd never had that happen before.  Luckily, it was easy to clip out all of the threads from the back since they were so nested up, and I got some good practice in with restitching and matching up the pattern points.  From what I can tell, it got toward the end of the bobbin and went crazy on me, so maybe the end wasn't wound properly.  At least I was able to correct it before I unloaded it!

A crazy rats nest on the back of a quilt!
Next lesson learned was on that lovely red, black, and white quilt.  I forgot to baste down the sides of the quilt one time after I rolled it.  Trust me when I say that I will NEVER forget to baste the sides of a quilt down again.  And, I will probably never start my machine and walk away again.  Do you know how hard it is to pick stitches out of batting?!!!  HARD!  LOL!

Never forget to baste down the sides of your quilts before quilting.

Last lesson learned for the month (geez, there were a lot of lessons this month!) was on the beautiful baby quilt.  The stitches just weren't stitching out smoothly!  I wasn't too concerned since it's a baby quilt, but I knew I needed to fix it before I quilted an auction quilt or something that would be in a show.  I cleaned the heck out of Carol Ann, oiled her up, changed the needle, played with tension (the pic has really bad tension), played with the canting of the needle... everything I could think of.  Eventually, I posted on that Facebook group, which is really a lifesaver for me.  I called Statler support and learned how to tighten my belts.  Whew!  That seems to have fixed the issue, thank goodness.  I do think there were also some issues with the white "painted" fabric, and probably those printed space fabrics, too, that could have caused some of the non-smooth stitch lines.

Non smooth stitch line, and bad stitch tension, all in one shot!
That's all I've got for this month.  Stay cool, and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before the kiddos get back to school.  My baby is starting middle school!  Hard to believe!

See y'all next month.  Keep on quilting!