Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Irish Chain Variation Scrap Quilt Finished!

Block A's were completed and I arranged them on the design board to start getting a feel for how they should be arranged.
 And then started with the Block B's, the Chains..First was the 9 patches, then sides attached:
 This is the back side. I fanned the seams at the intersections and pressed all other seams to one side.
 Then, attached a top strip.
This is on the design board, ready to be sewn together. It's fairly close to what the end top will look like. I think that after I brought the picture disk down to the computer and switched it to black and white, I will move a couple more blocks to even out the top part that appears more dark.

Well, that's it!  The projects are all finished and now I start the last class of the book where I go back and add borders and then quilt all of these projects! 

Then I take the final exam. Woo HOO.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Irish Chain Block A finished

Block A's are completed!
These were fun. I enjoyed the whole process and I'm going to like the results too.
I cut all the strips to the sizes needed from the various fabrics I chose as shown in previous post.
And, after Carolyn posted about the handy tool of using B&W to determine the values, I saw this:
Thank You Carolyn! I didn't have a Ruby Beholder, but this was simple and works perfectly, maybe even way better?? My color pairs looked good except there were two I thought were too close in value.  Both on the bottom row. The first one on left and the 5th. I decided I liked the color combo on the first one, but the second one I swapped with the one next to it. 
So, here is the final color combinations selected.
 And, just a check with the Value checker:
 Looks good to go!
I didn't want to make each block individually. It makes for too much stopping and starting.
I decided to make all the row 1/5 together. That way I was able to chain sew a background piece to a colored strip 17 times before stopping to press and measure and then run the other background piece onto the 17 block pieces.
These were all cut into the two 2" strips.
Then, I sewed all 17 of the row 2/4's
 And then cut them into the following pieces.
 This is what I ended up with. I kept them all in the same order so that I could easily pair up rows.
 Next thing I knew... I had all 17 blocks completed!
I'll have to work on placement next. In the mean time, I'll be starting Block B, the Chain block.
I was very happy to get a true scrappy quilt accomplished on this project.  I only used a couple of fabrics a couple of times but was careful to change them from a dark value to a lighter value.
Well... do they work?  What do ya think? Scrappy is harder than it seems. I'm not sure where to look for help and suggestions as to how to pick the pairs.
Anyway,  I'm headed back to the sewing room to get going on the B block.

As always, I'm happy to get your comments, suggestions and encouragement.  What a FUN journey!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Irish Chain Variation Quilt Project

This is the LAST project before the quilting stage and then the Final Exam! I've almost made it through the entire first year of Quilter's Academy.

I'm very excited to get to do this one. I've been wanting to do a fun scrappy quilt and now, it's here! This is the quilt as shown as the assignment.
Harriet's Irish Chain Variation Quilt

I spent a whole evening going through my scrap bins hunting for anything that looked like it would work. You must remember that I didn't have a stash when we started this book. I was pleased to find that my newly acquired stash provided me almost enough pieces to do each block with a different fabric! The assignment said there could be up to 36 different fabrics, if desired.  I came up with about 32!  I bought 1/4 yard on sale last weekend of 4 different fabrics anticipating the need.  If I had only taken the time to plan I could have ended up with all I needed, but I was working on something else at the time.

Here the fabrics are laid out together in a way I thought I would pair them up. I'm not sure how to go about scrappy.  There were no instructions as to how to match fabrics. Do we pick fabrics that obviously go together by color, or can we mix things as odd as a total scrappy?  These fabrics just pulled at me, so I didn't give it a whole lot of thought after I chose what I liked.

What do YOU think? Will they work?

I decided to do one test block before I cut up all my pieces.  I found more errors in the book!
Row 2 & 4 need 2 square 2x2's (not just 1) and Row 3 needs one 2x2 of dark (not mentioned).  Here is my test block. Believe it or not, I'm STILL dealing with finding my 1/4" seam guide line.  Now that I've moved my ruler over, I can move over my guide. I like that, because it is further away from the needle, but it's been a battle.  I hope I won't have to battle in the next book.

This was using fabric I had plenty of, in case it didn't turn out. But, I think it turned out just fine :)

Now, I think I will start cutting all the pieces for all the blocks. If I were to do the pressing, prepping, cutting and then piecing one block at a time it would take weeks.  Some of the scraps are not straight grain cut, so I'm not sure how I'm going to align the fabric before cutting. It will take some thought!

Anyway, this step will take a while. I'll update when I get there!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt Blocks A & B

Block A's completed and pictured on the design board:

I did decide to recut new strips and reassemble strips for rows 1 and 5. I just couldn't use them and get them to butt seams with the other strips that I had used different measurements for. I'm glad that I bought extra fabric. I was hoping to add it to my stash, but I ended up having to use almost 1/4 yard for the extra strips of pink alone.

I started to sew rows together and after the 3rd row, I pressed and set them on the cutting table and left them for the next time.

The next day I arrived, grabbed the stack and row 4 set and started sewing. After I pressed and starched, I measured and noticed... it was not measuring to an accurate number?  Sure enough, I didn't measure row 3 addition last night and it needed a bit of trimming. So, I ripped all 17 block's 4th row and started over.  The tricky part was that I had fanned the seams on the back, which pulls the threads away from the edges of the block and the strip being sewed. All turned out OK after I trimmed and pressed again, and then sewed them back on.  Does anyone actually restitch those pulled threads?  I'm hoping they are not vulnerable to falling apart.

Block B was more simple.  These were the two strip sets.  I'm still not sure what the real benefit to having pieced the first set.  Wouldn't it have worked fine to just have one strip the full length?
 Block B cut and ready to assemble.
 Block B completed.

And, here are the blocks placed on the board, ready to be sewn together!
This has been the most complicated piecing so far.  There were so many seams to butt together, various strips to keep straight in my mind, and measurements that went wrong.

However, I think this turned out perfect for a unknown gender baby at a shower, or women's shelter! This one will definitely find a home other than staying here. And, I went and picked up more of the fabric on sale because I really liked it. Even after all that went wrong, I'd love to make more of this type of quilt to donate.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Upgrading the Sewing Space

It is time to rearrange the room now that I've had a few months to discover how I like things.
Previously, my sewing room was arranged this way:
  1. My cutting table was up against the wall, and it really needed to be out in the middle like the pressing table. 
  2. Cutting table a was still a bit too short.
  3. My Arrow Gidget I sewing table needed to be bigger to catch the piecing, and later the quilting.
  4. No storage for fabric
  5. Closet full of other junk!
  6. Ott light on sewing table is behind the sewing space and I need it in front, but there is no space.
  7. Ott light on long stand is trapped behind cutting table and doesn't light the cutting space.

Here is the new arrangement:
I really wanted to get a new cutting table.  This current one, as noted in a previous post, is a folding table, with the middle having a hump, and then gap. I hunted all over the web and stores and then decided that spending a bunch of money on another table, even $100 on a Lifetime adjustable height folding table that didn't fold in the middle was foolish. I'd rather spend it on fabric for now.

I turned my sewing table to the side and added a small 4'x2' $35 Lifetime adjustable height table from Costco. It sits at the same height as my sewing table and gives me that extra room for fabric. Now, the fabric doesn't pull from behind my needle. At the beginning of the book our projects were simple piecing and they didn't pull as they fell behind the table.  I think the extra table makes a big difference now that we've gotten to chain sewing larger strips. 

I moved the ironing table to the space my cutting table was.  I didn't need access all the way around an ironing table. Since the ironing board is adjustable in its height, I can move it to the left of the sewing tables once I start quilting and it will make for a nice space to my left.  I think I'd rather have the ironing board behind my sewing table, but I didn't quite have room on the wall without moving the design board.

I did want space to walk around the cutting table.  Sometimes the light is better if I stand on the closet side of the table and look toward the window. My shadow doesn't obstruct the natural light that way. But if I'm just doing quick things, it is easy to approach from the ironing board or sewing table on this side.

I cleaned out the closet and have some storage space for things inside, and I even have room for a few scrap and fabric bins under the cutting table. They are on wheels, so I can move them around easily. There are more inside the closet.

I turned the wooden blocks up to the tallest side under the table, and now it is at the perfect height for me!  I'm 5'7" and needed it at about 36" high. I just make sure that my cutting mat is on the left side of the hump and my fabric and books are on the right side.  Since I don't feel squished against the wall, I haven't had any problems with my "issue" of the gap. I just need to be careful not to bump the table, as I'm a little worried it will fall off the boards or the blocks will get knocked over.

The long bendable Ott light used to be stuck behind the cutting table and I really didn't feel it was doing much. Now, I have it right next to the cutting table when cutting, and then wheel it over next to the sewing machine when sewing!  It will even reach the ironing table from the same plug in!  I was trying to figure out the best lighting for my machine and all the lighting seemed too expensive for what it was.  Turns out I had the best solution right here all the time. I just needed to rearrange to discover it.

The only problem I've had with this arrangement is getting pictures of projects on my design board. I have to stand off to the side, and can't get a good straight on picture.  I wish the table was more moveable! Some day, I'll get that adjustable height table so I won't need blocks any more :) Until then, you'll know why my design board shots do not include the bottom row or are from the side with a table corner in the shot :)

Just by rearranging the room and adding a small table I think the space is much better suited to the use of the room. I have to be more careful moving around because it is a bit tight, but I LIKE it! And, it is still easily converted back to a guest room when needed :)

Just for fun, I found a picture of my dh making the ironing table for me! This was last summer when it was warm and the grass was green! 

I really didn't like the shape of the regular one with the pointy nose. It was hard to press a yard of fabric without having to constantly move it around.
This was the stage where he used my real ironing board to measure for the boards underneath in order to keep the quilting board from sliding around or falling off. Three sides of the board are nice and tight. It easily lifts off if I want to store it, or use my regular board.  I covered the plywood with the Bonash cover, and I had a wonderful custom quilting ironing board!

Friday, March 15, 2013

My Struggle with the Double Irish Chain Baby Quilt

First, I was so happy to find that Joann's had a 40% off sale on their fabric when I dropped in this week!  I ended up getting all the fabric for this quilt project that I needed, plus extra for my stash building for just $17!

Here is my fabric. I wasn't picky. I was just happy to get something that was inexpensive and fit the project.  But, as I have been working with them, I'm really happy with how they are working together.

Second step was to press and align the fabric as usual.  I had to be patient and careful, as I found some needed much realigning even on the second fold.  I'm feeling so much more comfortable with the process of prepping the fabric.  It takes a while, but I know it is on grain and crisp when I finish it.

I cut my fabric strips for Row 1 & 5 and proceeded to sew them together.

I must say that I'm glad I only cut enough for this one row in the block because after I sewed the blue to the pink for outer edges and measured, I was fine at 1 1/4" between my seam and the edge. So, I sewed the white strip to the pink and again measured from edge to seam. OK. I sewed the 2 pieces together and I think I stood there for 1/2 hour just looking at the ruler.  I was sure my ruler went senile!
I moved my ruler sideways and measured. It was the same vertical as it was horizontal.

How can my measurements be fine from seam to outer edge each time, but if I measure seam to seam after having 4 of them, I lose 1/4" overall? My block was supposed to be 5 1/2"  I was at 5 1/4" and no seam touched the lines on my ruler.
I was stumped. Foul language was running through my head. I seriously could not figure out what could have been wrong. I pressed with more starch and tried to make them work. But, my pressing has gotten good enough that I couldn't get any more space.

So, I used my seam ripper and took out all the seams, pressed and starched them flat again, and started over. I ended up moving my seam guide over just to be sure I could find that extra space. But, I was seriously wanting to take off my throat plate and move my needle over instead.  The further I go towards the needle, the harder it is to keep the fabric running over the feed dogs properly. 
After re-sewing, I found myself battling to press new creases and get the full measurements. I was still off a scant when finished resewing. Almost 1/8". I believe I will just cut new strips next time because that was more work than it was worth. And, it still isn't perfect. Those ridges from old needle holes and pressing won't lay as flat as I would like them.

I got myself out of the sewing room and slept on it. What was I doing that would create a measurement that seemed fine, but when multiplying it by 5 was no longer good?


I had previously realized that I needed to cut using the outside of the lines, rather than the inside of the lines.  But now I realize that if I give myself a thread or two extra on the outside of the line, I end up giving myself room for seam allowances pressed over. I was cheating myself by cutting the strips too narrow. Yes, after one seam they were ok. They were touching the line when measuring. But, one quickly loses 1/8" when you have 3 seams added up, and then it multiplies as the strip gets wider.  And, I now can move my seam guide back over where it should be so I don't run crooked when the feed dogs want to grab my fabric over all rather than half the dogs.

After doing all three strips, I have Block A ready to assemble.  And, I am pleased to tell you that the measurements were absolutely beautiful when I laid my big ruler over each of the new strips.  ALL the lines were exactly matching all the seams at 1" intervals, and the entire length was exactly 5 1/2".

SO, the lesson here is check your cutting. You may be cutting fine for one seam. But be truthful with yourself. Are you cutting to the outside of the line when you cut, then find that you are fine with the measurement on the inside of the line after you have pieced and pressed?  It won't work if you start sewing strips like these above. Give yourself some pressing space! It is easier to cut more and then trim if needed than mess with scant measurements or moving seam guides over so far things don't run smoothly.

And, don't be surprised when you find an error in the instructions for Block A.  Instructions for both Row 2 and 3 are incorrect, but you won't end up doing anything more than cutting too much fabric. It will just make you question yourself in how to assemble that strip or how many strips you should be making. I was happy there was no seam ripping involved :)  I have acquired a real distaste for seam ripping.

Now, I must decide whether I will settle for almost there rows 1 & 5, or just do them over for the 3rd time with newly cut fabric.

I must say, even after this drag out fight with my ruler, THIS is why I'm doing this book and "class" in quilting.  I really want my piecing to fit together like it should.  I want to progress to doing triangles and more complicated blocks, but I know it would just be frustrating if it didn't measure up right. After all, I have 2 of those blocks on my design board, reminding me why I'm doing this.   They don't fit together. So, I'm dedicated to working out these problems and will not be deterred.

I must include a picture of my new Presencia Thread!
I ordered them direct from the Presencia web site and they arrived in 3 days!  Do you remember me saying I only paid $4.95 in shipping?  I was thrilled.  I think I have enough thread now for a nice long time.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Carrie's Inlaid Tile Table Runner Finished

Well, after looking at the blocks and different layouts for two days I made the decision to make the blocks into a table runner and 3 place mats.

The table runner ended up a 3x10 block layout which left me enough blocks to make 3 place mats 3x2 which look about right for size.

I have one left over block that I'll use for a practice piece before quilting this project.

I've been racing against time.  It's looking very spring like outside, and the calls are coming in for bids and work.  Looks like my winter time quilting is quickly coming to a slow down.  I'm happy with what I was able to accomplish through this winter and will be very grateful if I can just get the last 2 projects done.  Then, I'm thinking I will have to work on the quilting on the weekends.

Working with my dh is very physical (painting) and I end up as tired as he is at the end of the day. I always wondered how he could come home and fall asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down.  I'm lucky to just keep up with food and shelter needs before I'm heading to bed.

My goal is to finish the final and thus complete Vol. 1  by the end of July. Since I bought QA in August last year, that will make my freshman year 12 months!  Too bad I didn't get started right away, I spent too much time putting together the space and reading.  I don't have Sophmore year vol.2 yet. I plan on purchasing the next year's book when I get to the final exam quilt so that I can start the next volume immediately.

I am very pleased with what I've learned this year out of a book!

Monday, March 11, 2013

170:Lesson 4 Project

Carrie's Inlaid Tile Table Runner

I had plenty of time to catch up on all sorts of other things while my machine was away. I read most of my 4th ed. Harriet Hargrave's Heirloom Machine Quilting. I'm taking notes and highlighting and am hoping I've got myself prepared to finish up these projects I've been working on.

And, I spent time attaching #1 nickle plated steel curved safety pins into these handy Quilter's Delight pin covers.

I was able to purchase the pins at Wal-Mart. The pin covers and the Kwik Klips tool I purchased at Joann's with 50% coupons. I think it took well over an hour to attach all these. I believe I have about 300 pins here and hope that will baste any project I've got plans for quilting.

But, on Friday my sewing machine called to me, "Let's sew!"  After taking last week off I was anxious to get back to my next quilt project that I was ready to start. 

This is the Table Runner as pictured:
We're learning combined grids with this quilt. Combined grids simply means that some pieces are not the same size as others. We had strips to sew together and some strips were 1 3/4" and some were 3".

I wanted to stick as close as possible to the color scheme as the layout given. It just makes it alot easier when following the instructions and the color coding in the book.
Here are my fabric selections:
First shown on left will be the border print. I could not find any "border" print suitable. Then, my yellow, green, light blue and dark blue. All are from Kate of Spain line. The bright colors just make me happy. I picture them on my kitchen table and smile.

Here are my strips sewn.  And, here I have to tell you my happiness. I have a new needle in my machine, and new thread on top and in my bobbin.  The thread is pewter and it blends wonderfully. But, that isn't all.  It is NOT making a mess in my bobbin case and there is no lint by my needle either.  I was using Signature 50/3 and matching pre-wound bobbin and I had a mess that I was regularly having to clean off. This new Presencia Thread is wonderful. It is 60/3 mercerized cotton, imported from Spain, so it is thinner.

Which means that when I measured after sewing and pressing, my seams to outer edge were over the line a smidge rather than on the short side! So, I ordered more thread. I'm convinced it is worth the extra couple of dollars per cone. However, after adding a couple different colors to my cart at Harriet's Treadle, I found that the shipping was based on $ rather than weight or what could fit in a priority shipping box. So, I googled and found Presencia Thread here.  And, their shipping was a flat $4.95.  Sorry Harriet.  Didn't figure I wanted to pay $19 shipping when I could get more thread for that.

All strips get cut at the same 1 3/4". This time I cut my entire strips rather than only the specified number required. I will plan to use them for placemats or practice squares in the quilting process. I realized after the last project that I've got partial strips from all my projects and wonder why I didn't make extra squares.  Scrap strip sets are just odd.

The first two sewn together are the middles of the block because they have the most seams. I fanned the seams where intersections met.
And, this is what I got after attaching the first row to the previous 2. All chained together ready to press. I realized though, that this is the first time we have pressed a seam OPEN. In all our other piecing, we have pressed all seams to one side or fanned the intersections. 

My process had to change for this, and I think we probably could have used a little explaination as to how to press a seam open. Now, that may sound a little obvious to some, but really, how to you get the seam on the front to lay flat if you are not using the iron to guide along the 1/4" seams on the back?  I decided to lay the pieces back side up, use my finger to finger press the seams open, then press that side, then turn them over and press flat. Then, starch.  Please comment below if you have a preferred way of pressing open seams.

Each time I add a strip to the block I recheck my measurements to be sure I'm still accurate.
After adding 4th strip to block I came up with this.
Seam side: outside rows are pressed open and the middle seam is pressed to one side with fan at the intersection. 

Now, reading the directions for assembly, I find a picture of a 6x6 layout!  My first questions was, "WHAT?" that's not a Table Runner!  Then as I read, I see that we are given an option as to how we want to assemble this one.  So, here are my choices:
This is the table runner layout.  Blocks in 3x10 layout, with left overs for place-mats?  This ends up about 50" long where as the layout suggestion is 60". I don's care for my table runner to be that long, as it would fall over the edges of my table.  My dilemma is the place-mats are square and I'm not sure they would look right after an equal sided border added? What would you do with the place-mats? Maybe have only 2 and have another row?

Then here is another layout choice:
Another lap quilt. I like the inlaid tile design, but I think I was looking forward to something fun and nice on my table.

Feel free to leave your comments!
Happy Days,

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sewing Machine Maintenance

I'm happy to report my machine has been returned. I was thankful that when I took it in on Monday they were willing to get it back to me on Thursday before the service man took his vacation.

When I picked it up, I got the chance to speak with the actual service man a bit.
The Good News:
  • Even though I did not bring my zig zag throat plate along, he found one on another machine in for service so that he could adjust the timing. Note to self: next time take off the single hole plate and replace it with the standard. Turns out they just didn't sell many of these special plates, and so they don't have spare regulars laying around.
  • He described my Pfaff 2040 as "bullet proof". Nothing was wrong, broken, or needed fixing.
  • When I plugged it in and got it running, it sounds nice, quiet and smooth :)
Bad News:
  • The guy on the phone that told me they could "calibrate my needle to the single hole throat plate was blowing out empty words.  No such adjustment. They use a zig zag plate to adjust things. At least I don't have to figure out if my seam line needs adjusting again.
  •  I spent $100 just for peace of mind. The service man said that as long as this machine is running, I don't really need to have it in. As long as I'm oiling it properly and using it, it should work fine. That's why he called it "bullet proof". When it is broke, he can fix it... I suppose that after 12ish years of having the machine, I shouldn't complain that I just took it in for no particular reason. $100 allocated to 12 years is cheap maintenance expense. Maybe I can get another 12 years? hehehe
The bobbin case is nice and clean again. My thread was shedding too much so I put in my new Presencia 60/3 thread I recently got. I wound my bobbin with the same thread. I even replaced my needle.  I'm sorry to say, I have been neglectful in this aspect.  I almost completed the entire first volume of Quilter's Academy and about 10 projects without ever changing my needle. A nice new one should make a difference, you think?

Here it is. I've got my purple Qtools seam line in front. I moved my piece of masking tape chunk to the back. New thread, needle, and bobbin and now I'm ready to sew again!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Little Reminiscing While Awaiting

I should be able to pick up my machine today. I've had 4 days to spend doing other things and my house is happy for that. 

I spent some time yesterday putting pins and holders together. Yes, I'm getting anxious for the quilting to begin.

I decided to take a trip back in time to figure out where I started all this quilting, so take a step back in time with me..

I found a receipt dated 9/97 for Beginner's Patchwork class. $30 for 5 classes. I had got some bee in my bonnet that I was going to learn to quilt, and I talked my sister into taking classes with me! We were young, stay at home moms with little toddlers. WHY I thought I needed this hobby I have no idea. It just appealed to me at the time.
I can't find a picture of the sampler blocks we made. I wasn't very happy with it as it was UGLY.  I believe I borrowed a class loaner machine to use since I didn't even own my own machine.

We finished that class and I signed up for a Beg. Hand Quilting class in 11/97.  This time I couldn't talk my sister into it. This receipt was also stuck in the folder with my quilting class notes.  This was just a one evening class.

A year later, in the winter of 1998 I took a Machine Quilting Class.  I have the hand out but no receipt. It is amazing to look back at the handout and see how many similarities there were to what I've been reading this week in my Heirloom Machine Quilting Book by Harriet Hargrave.  Well, no wonder... the reference at the end of the notes is to Heirloom Machine Quilting 2nd edition!
I believe I also borrowed a class machine for this class.

In order to start sewing, I needed a sewing machine, and MIL generously offered hers since she didn't seem to use it any more. We lived across the street, so I think she figured she could come use it if she ever needed to.

My first project was ambitious. I wanted to make my son a train quilt for his new twin sized bed. His favorite thing was trains, and so I found a pattern in a kids quilt book and went to work.
Here it is finished.

 And, he loved it!
I didn't really have a plan for the quilting aspect. I machine quilted stitch in the ditch as much as I could on straight lines. I hand quilted all the curves around the hearts and wheels because my free motion skills were severely lacking. I did try, but it just wasn't going to work. Turns out my hand quilting wasn't particularly better. I did find a cute continuous heart pattern for the border that I thought I could do.
And, so began the free motion quilting. I was fairly pleased with the results here, but as you can see when looking closely, I wasn't very good at it. My attitude by this time was, "It's my first try, I didn't have any practice, and I JUST WANT To GET IT DONE".

Now when I look back at it, I see why it fell apart. My son absolutely loved this quilt. He took it everywhere he could and I was happy about that. I just didn't make it well enough for that kind of use. I now know that the quilting was way too far apart. I didn't bother to quilt the inside borders at all, I simply stitched in the ditch. Not so bad, but they could have used something. Everything else was simply stitched in ditches too, and there was too much open space. Take another look at the full quilt picture.  Do you see all that white space?  LOL.  No quilting there.   It probably would have not torn so much if I had given it some more quilting.  He had holes in it when we finally made it a doggie blanket. But, he got many years of use out of it anyway. I believe the quilt's life was 99-2011

My next project was even more ambitious. This was a twin quilt for my older son and when I started asking him what kind of "thing" he would like on his quilt, he decided on airplanes!
So, I decided I could design a rotary cut airplane pattern! On my 2nd quilt!
The large blocks were clouds. I free motion quilted a "pattern" that resembled free flowing clouds :)
I again stitched in the ditch and gave up on the hand quilting. The problem here was MIL's machine died on me in the quilting stage. It was from the early 70's and I'm not sure what happened to it. It just died a quick brutal death and the repair man said it wasn't worth fixing.

Once again I had no machine to use.

I talked my dh into letting me buy a new machine at the local sewing center. This is a current picture. At the time, I simply put this on the dining room table and once again started sewing. It's a Pfaff Tiptronic 2040. Does everything I could possible want it to and more.  This must be the year 2000ish. How I convinced him, I have no idea. We always bought everything used out of Craigslist.

So, I finished my son's airplane quilt and even stuck a tag on the back that I used my alphabet embroidery with and another quilt was done. This quilt is still residing on his bed.

Now that I had a fancy machine, I was up for something for Dh and I. I found a quilt kit that I thought even DH would enjoy by Thimbleberries. I started the blocks and got done with the 2nd and decided I did not have the skills. I put it away for another day. The Thimbleberry blocks are top left on design board.

So, I finally got smart and made a lap quilt for MIL for Mother's Day, 2002
And, she was overjoyed.  I used a rail fence pattern, and used a straight stitch pattern for the quilting. Sorry, I didn't get a picture of the finished quilt. But, you can see happy MIL!  I was happy with the piecing and the quilting on this one, even though I wouldn't consider it good by the standards I've been learning this year.  I was, however, making progress.

Next project:
I was set on making a queen sized quilt for the master bedroom.  I got a software program and designed an Ohio Star in a patriotic color scheme to fit the queen bed and went to work. I think it took me 3 years to finish the blocks. By this time, I was homeschooling both boys and had plenty of other things going on.  When I finished the blocks I put them away because I noticed they were not going to butt together nicely. They were not pieced precisely enough.
In 2007 we moved. Projects got moved with us, and they even got a room to themselves to be stored in.
Between 2007-2011 I finished homeschooling the boys and they went off to High School. I got a job due to the fact that starting an old business in a new location takes time in a bad economy. So, I was making sure there was food on the table. And, I made a plan to finish up projects that were hanging over my head.  I started with the photo albums.  I got both boys' and ours caught up. That was about 12 years worth of being behind! What a fantastic relief feeling.

So in 2011 I found my sewing room and that patriotic star quilt that I still wanted on my bed. I wanted THIS project to get finished and off my mind too.  I trimmed all the squares to be the same, finished them up with sashing and border and then went to the local quilt shop and got references for a long arm quilter.
And it got finished!  I was so ready for it to just be done. A completed project. But then I decided I really wanted to learn to quilt well. Not for doing all bed quilts, but for some fun things, like seasonal table mats and runners, wall hangings, lap quilts... That bee in my bonnet was still there.

And, so began my journey with Quilter's Academy.  I knew I would need some more expertise and training, but I didn't want to start with classes again.  In the Homeschooling mom tradition, I thought, "I can learn this from a book!"  And, the one that kept speaking to me was Quilter's Academy, so I ordered it and got started.

Ooh!  I'd love to hear your story of who or what got you on the quilting journey?