Saturday, April 26, 2014

Blitzing Days 3, 4 and 5

So yeah, on Wednesday, which was Day 3 of the Blitz, I had an industry dinner.  I did take about 30 minutes before going and quilted on section 6.  I was so proud of myself.  I made progress, even on a busy day.

Pride goeth before a fall.

I left the dinner feeling horrible.  I tried to throw up when I got home, not once but twice and couldn't because a horrible cough was choking off my windpipe.  I had a fever.  It was bad.

And it was bad on Thursday.  I worked a total of 1 hour from home from my bed.  ("Kathleen has joined the call.  No, I am not sharing my PC, as I am not near one."  Dude, I'm lying in bed on my cell phone.)

On Friday, it was worse.  My temp kept rising and the congestion was progressing.  Each day, I had emailed work very early in the morning with my meeting schedule, my thoughts and how I thought things could play out.  I have 2 primary backups and in a pinch my boss can fill in.  On Thursday, one backup got it done.  She ROCKED.  On Friday, due to serious problems on the project, I was asked to join various meetings via conference call.

Forget it.  I got dressed and went in for 4 hours.  It took every ounce of energy I had, but it was a judicious use of time.  One of the meetings was with my VP.  How can you say no?  Anyway, the project remains stalled and so we made plans to work the weekend.

Yeah, we need a file to review and the file hasn't been generated.  Yup, still at home.

So the point is, no sewing has happened the last 3 days.  If I can sew, I should be at work.  I couldn't do either.

Today is Day 6.  The fever has broken and I am off to the Walgreens for the Rxs that the doctor assures me will make me human again.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Blitz Day 2

Here we are - Day 2.  I might as well make some progress here, since the work project is STUCK.  Like we can't do a darned thing.  It's rather comical at this point.  I can say that because I am not under the gun.  The ones that are do fantastic work.  I just wish they wouldn't hit every bump in the road.  I digress.

Anyway, sections 5 and 6.  Yesterday I spent an hour.  Today I gave 2 hours to the cause.  The first hour, I finished piecing section 5 and all of section 6.  The second hour, I worked on the backing.  My red piece is woefully too small to use for the back at all, so I am winging it.

Anyway, I got the backing prepared and started to sandwich.  I got section 6 sandwiched and realized the that backing that I had prepared for section 5 was a bit short on one side.  So I chose to start quilting section 6 with the remainder of the hour.  I couldn't help myself.

Tomorrow's goals (I have an industry dinner at 6):

Sandwich section 5

Bonus:  Quilt anything

I am happy to report that Thursday and Friday have no after-work commitments, but if the project picks up, then I'm working.  It happens.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blitz Blitz Blitz - Day 1

My life right now is all about the word blitz.  If one project has a blitz, then 2 more must also have them.  At some point we numbered the blitzes, but then they overlapped and it got all messy.

Anyway, I have blitz on the brain.  And a desperate need for a new quilt on my bed for the spring.  So I have decided to blitz one of my king-sized WIPs.

Here are my stashbuster winnings from earlier this year.

So I decided that I would use all of these FQs in one project.  I am making a YBR for my bed.  A king YBR requires 48 FQs and I got about 30 in the winnings.  So I went through my stash and pulled from every milk crate and added.

If possible, I cut one yard.  Half a yard was placed aside to help piece a back.  The remaining half yard was cut into 2 FWs.  One FQ was added to the pile.  The other FQ was cut into 2 9.5 strips and one remaining 2.5 strip.

The YBR will be an oversized king.  A king has 12 blocks per row and 12 rows, so 144 blocks.  However, you make 160 blocks and have leftovers.  So I decided to make the rows 13 blocks long.  OK, that leaves me with 4 blocks left and I'll use those in the corners.

I then found a red fabric for the inner border, binding and backing.  I'll make the rows and columns to piece the top, add a 3.5 border all the way around, and then make the outer border the 9.5 strips from above.  The 4 leftover blocks will be the 4 corners.

The quilt is going to be huge - 141 by 132.  Yes it's wider than it is long; that's what I need.

So I had 48 FQs.  I sorted them on the color spectrum.  And then grouped them into groups of 4.  Each group made 40 blocks (lap sized on the pattern).

I then copied the pattern, spliced in an additional column and made a copy.

And that leads us to today.  Today I broke the quilt into 10 pieces.

Then I cut it apart.

Next up is starting the sections.  The first goal is the center: sections 5 and 6.  These 2 sections have no borders.  I can use leftover backing fabric to start cutting borders for other sections.

I went through the blocks and made a pile for section 5 and another pile for section 6.  I was able to start sewing section 5 together.

Tomorrow's goals:

Finish sewing sections 5 and 6
Prep backings for 5 and 6
Sandwich backings for 5 and 6

Bonus:  Start quilting

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Finish...and how MQIS works for me

OK, the last post was my fail.  A rather epic fail, I think.  It was the idea that I could hopefully post this finish, except it decided to break my washing machine.

Well folks, here is the finish.

It's 58 inches square.  And it's done.  I donated it to my Relay for Life team for a relaxation basket.  Hopefully it will fetch our team some serious cash.  Yes, I do my own quilting.

Now on to the MQIS part.  Machine Quilting in Sections is a book by Marti Michell and it illustrates the technique of quilting quilts in sections so that more of us home sewists can use the machines we have.  I have decided that I just need to get on board with this and learn this technique.  I have dedicated this year for this purpose.

I decided on this goal this year after thinking long and hard about my life.  Although I am 25 years plus from retirement, my husband and I know that we want to have an RV.  We also have stuff.  So we need to start paring down now ever so slowly.  And since an RV is not a cheap thing, decisions and choices need to be made.  The decision that I have made (at least for now) is that I'd rather have money to retire and have an RV and not own a longarm.  (I also want a condo, but that is another post!)  So clearly I need to learn to quilt my stuff.  Plus I have college to pay for my DD in 5 years or so.  While Ted can get her half tuition, it still costs some serious cash.

Anyway, this was the first quilt I tried this on.  I sandwiched the first row and basically did SITD around most of the parts in each block.  This is FAR MORE quilting than I have ever done on a quilt.  Then I trimmed up the joining edge, and did a 6 layer seam, which from top to bottom, is wrong side up row 2, row 1 quilt sandwich, right side up backing and then the batting.  sew the whole thing together and then bring the row 2 pieces together and quilt that row.  I did that for rows 2 through 4.  By row 4, some of the quilt was being drug through the tiny harp of the machine (I sew on a Jem.  Yes, really.  It's all I could afford with daycare at the time.)

When all 4 rows were on, I quilted through the sashings in the rows and columns - just a quick stitch down the center.  Then I trimmed and attached the binding.  I used white thread on the top and brown thread on the back.

It worked flawlessly.  No puckers.  No tucks.  No requilting.  Some frustration, but beginner frustration.  I was worried about a bump where the rows were attached because it's two layers of batting sewn together.  You have to step on it to feel it and you have to really look to find the bump.

HEre are some random photos of the back.  See if you can find the bump.

You can see it here in this last picture if you find the horizontal center of the quilt and look for it.  Again, you and I would know to look for it, but I don't think others would care.

What I have learned from this quilt:

It might have been smarter to do two halves and then do a center join that has the strip down the back that needs to be hand sewn down.

I can now try more complex quilting per block because I can manage the quilt in the machine.

I was also able to not worry about time on this one.  I didn't care how long it took.  I normally do not look forward to quilting and want it done as quickly as possible.  For this one, I said each strip had to be done within a disc of the Lord of the Rings movie (each disc is between 1.5 and 2 hours).  This is a manageable way to quilt over several days.  I was done withe attaching the binding by the end of the first half of the Return of the King.

For my next MQIS quilt, it will be an oversized king in the Yellow Brick Road (YBR) pattern.  Stay tuned.