Sunday, February 23, 2014

I really need to stay home

Once again Ray and I are back home from two weeks of travel. We spent a week near Mobile then a week in Houma LA. I have had a sore throat, itchy ears, watery eyes and a headache for over a week. It's just allergies from being in areas with more moisture (mold) and trees (pollen). It is already looking like Spring in south Louisiana. Tulip trees all pretty and purple were everywhere, and trees with new leaves. The only problem was I forgot that mold and pollen from that area of the world hates me.
Since I have a pounding head and my rear refuses to get back inside of a vehicle just yet, I have become a slug to beat all slugs. I have created a nest here in my chair. I have my computer, iPhone on silent, Coke, knitting, new quilt books (to me) all around me. My dogs and I are under my quilt and I am staring daggers at anyone who speaks louder than a whisper.

I had a sock knitted about 4 inches and decided it would only fit a 3 year old or a very small 5 year old boy I know. Since I was making them to fit me, I had no choice. I hate ripping out that much. :(
Now I can't figure out just how many stitches I need to cast on.

Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up to no more headache and everyone off to work.

I have been working on a special quilt design for a special person. Maybe I will be able to post a picture.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Lighting and a visitor

I was over at Sister's Choice blog and Nichole was asking about lighting. I told her I had the same issues with lighting. There are days in my life that there just isn't enough. No matter how bright and sunny or how many lights are on. Times like these you sure could use a friend. Ikea is your friend!
As you can see in the picture on the right of my machine I have not one but TWO Ikea lights. Some days it is just a two light day. One is a goose neck lamp and one is a clip on goose neck lamp.
 On the left attached to the top of my machine is one of those bright bendy lights. I have heard friends say they don't love their bendy lights because they bounce up and down when they sew. I don't normally have that problem. Maybe I sew slower than they do. I do know if I am doing something I hate (hemming pants for a child) I can get the speed up on my machine where it's kind of bouncy, but
not very often. That bendy light is very bright and I can really see my needle so I love it.
What you don't see is the large OTT light. I removed it. The OTT light was an old large weighted desk ones with one of the long arms that only had a join in the middle so it didn't adjust easily but once you did get it adjusted, it was good.  I noticed I was having lots of issues with my Rosacea when I spent a lot of time in my sewing room. I would come out with two huge red cheeks that were hot to the touch and tender. I decided to try the Ikea light instead for a while to see if the light was causing this. As soon as the lights were switched my face cleared up.  Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I put the OTT light back and back came the red face. So my unscientific results are...out goes the OTT light.

I had a visitor. Can you see him?

Can you see him now?
He sat there for a very long time just watching me. He didn't even move when I removed the stuff in
the window to get a better picture.


Friday, February 7, 2014

My first sock!!

I finished my very first sock last night!! I was so excited. It fits and everything! Ray even tried it on.  This was made from worsted weight yarn and they say it knits up quickly but when you are learning... not so much. It took many nights to complete. I cast on the second sock last night but was so sleepy I messed it up and said I would start over in the morning. I will do that just as soon as I finish this post.

Thank you Judy. This was the whole reason I wanted to learn to knit. I wanted to make socks.


New items, old items and chocolate

Hob-E-Lube Premium Lite Oil HL662 by Woodland Scenics

While at retreat (am I ever going to stop talking about the retreat?) my friend Lynn G had a really nifty tube of machine oil with a precision tip on it. I thought I needed to own it so I Googled it immediately and found it on Amazon and ordered it. Isn't technology great? Remind me I said that the next time I'm ranting about this stupid computer or cell phone acting all crazy. Anyway I order it and it arrived today. Ok sing with me "I love technology...." Quick name the movie that little ditty is from!**

Crazy cool tip!
You can get right into the tight spots on the vintage machines. I have one of those squeeze bottles of oil with the zoom tip on it, but sometimes I squeeze out too much oil then I have to clean it out. Too much oil is as bad or worse than not enough oil. 
While browsing on Amazon I found this book. I am a big fan of all of the quilt books from the states and own several. I shop the used book section and have found many for anywhere between $.01 to $12.

Some of the ones I have marked in the book already. Do you notice a pattern here? Maybe a Bazillion pieces? I have lost my mind. Although the first one isn't nearly as bad as the last one.
One last retreat item. OMG! Have you had these? Since I quit eating chocolate for the most part a while back I never look on the candy aisle. One of the retreaters got his as their candy gift and I traded her for the ultra dark chocolate I got as my gift. We both were happy. I thought I would bring it home for Ray and Joseph. I opened it on the drive home as I was getting a bit sleepy and wanted a pick me up. Just suffice it to say, Ray and Joseph never saw that bag and the one pictured above was not the first bag purchased since getting home. I will have to put the brakes on this though. I really shouldn't be eating it. No more candy aisle for me. I promise. But I do have this whole bag. :)


**Answer to the question above:
Napoleon Dynamite   Go ahead click know you want to. :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Carrying on with the tote idea

Yesterday was a whole day of appointments at Dr.'s offices, medical tests and waiting on these things.  Fortunately every visit and test came back good so I am happy.  Unfortunately the very first visit was with the Opthamologist. At 9am. In the fog. So instead of being able to leave my house at 8:30, I had to leave at 8:10 and pray and white knuckle it all the way and just made it with less than 10 minutes to spare. There I had a full field of vision test that I have annually. Not a problem except my eyes are dilated. So Once again I white knuckle it just down the street about a mile (straight shot, no turns and several lights so I only got up to 30mph) to a shopping center so I can walk around and shop until I can see well enough to drive to the yarn store down the freeway. 

While in this shopping center I was able to go into Joann. They had all kinds of cute fabric on sale between 30% and 50% off.  I didn't go crazy, but I did buy a few pieces to make some zip bags for toiletries or sewing/knitting notions or whatever I need them for. I will make my daughter a couple since she has had a habit for the past 10 years to basically live out of her car. She can never find what she needs unless she tunnels through the trunk or back seat. I thought if she had some bright bags she could find the smaller items easier.
Valentine fabric 50% off

Cute girlie fabrics 30% off

Cute monster and dino fabrics 30% off

Then I went into the quilt shop. Remember the tote bag I was discussing the last time? Well I found this pattern and thought this might be something that would work. I think it would also be nice for my daughter. She is in a band and they travel all over in a bus. She could fill it with all sorts of stuff and it would still fit inside of her huge suitcase of a purse.  Or it might be good for college. Lots of possibilities.
$10 @ quilt shop
I guess this time they gave me larger dose of eye dilate because I was still at the shopping center at 3:30pm and I was just starting to see well enough that I felt comfortable driving on the freeway. But...I had my next appointment in less than an hour. GRR! No time to go to the yarn store.

So I came home and knitted after dinner. Is it starting to look like a sock? It's going to be a short house sock. The cuff is on top. The heel is on the right side with my fingers inside the gusset part. I tell you, working with 4 needles is a challenge.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Last day and a rant

***EDIT*** This post is from a long time back. I have no idea why Blogger moved it and put it back in play but here it is.*** Weird Blogger!

This is hopefully the last full day of Ray being gone. I have enjoyed the free time to play as I wish, but I'm ready for him to be home. I need sleep!
Last night once again, no sleep until after 4am. Grrr!

I didn't get to play in the sewing room until after 9:30 last night as the daughter came over or some Mommy time. She does that occasionally. It makes me happy.

I have started another stack of pineapples. The hardest and most annoying part is the first round as it has such tiny pieces and I can't do it if my hand are stiff. Normally on good days I will make a stack of them so I can just mindlessly piece rounds. So last night after Kari left I made a small stack. Today since I am bleary eyed but my hands are working I have added to the stack. I have about 30 and want to make about 50 before I quit. I think I can do that tonight.

I need to fuss for a minute so if you're in no mood for it stop here.

I have a Brother Innov'-is QC-1000. I got it about a year before leaving Alabama. I HATE it!! Every time I have to clean out the bobbin area it is a fight to get it back to sewing. I am in the habit of cleaning after each bobbin. I have done that on all of my machines. I also give them one drop of oil in the bobbin area after dusting. The Brother machine takes between 20 and 30 minutes each time because I have to play around and keep adjusting everything so it will sew again. There is something about the way it fits together, which in my opinion, isn't a good tight fit, that makes it temperamental. I know a lady who as the same machine bought just a few months before mine that has the same issues. It s aggravating!
I have taken it to be serviced and spoke to them bout it, thinking it was something I was doing wrong. Nope, I'm told it is a finicky machine. HOGWASH!  Why didn't anyone tell me this before I paid too much money for it?
So now this expensive machine is left for paper piecing and machine quilting. Because beside the fact the bobbin area is a pain I can't get a good 1/4" seam without cuss words. For a very long time I left it in the box. I felt guilty so I pulled it out, but it sure makes me

Ok rant over...back to my regularly sunny disposition. Ha ha! :)

I'm typing on my iPad so the pictures are at the bottom.
Doesn't that look like a mess? You should see the floor!

See Boo? He has a thread on his chin. He was helping me again. :)

What a find

While I was at the retreat and having so much fun I had the chance to watch Bonnie Hunter demo her hexie project. She makes it look so fun and easy! :) I on the other hand don't find it fun or easy; but I want to. I really do!
Anyway as she was demoing it the second time to the second group of ladies I was noticing her tote bag for her travelling hexie's. (Is that correct? Do I put an apostrophe there? Does the tote bag belong to the hexies? I don't know.)  The tote is from Timeless Totes and it looks to be the perfect tote for travelling and keeping everything together in tight spaces such as planes and buses. The only thing that wasn't perfect was the price. Not that it isn't totally worth the price, but if I am not going to LOVE making hexies or any other hand work for that matter it is too expensive. I just need to make sure I love the hexies or other hand work first. I'm just trying to be's not easy.
closed tote...CUTE!

opened up...very useful!

I thought and thought the whole 9 hour drive home from Mobile what I could use in the interim. That is when the light bulb lit. Bass Pro Shops! Worm bag to be precise. My husband used to fish ALOT. We have old worm bags that would be perfect except they now smell like old worms. Not the wriggly kind, but the purple with fuchsia tail, or green with the white curly tail.  I waited to go to BPS until Ray finally came home so he could go with me. I'm nice like that. Really I wanted him to drive so I could knit, but I didn't tell him that. Shh.

They no longer make the worm bags as well as they used to. :( Now they make them with what looks like expensive, but not better, zip top bags that you store leftovers in. The refills were $5.99 for something like 20 bags. They weren't even as thick mil wise as freezer type zip top bags. No way. I was looking for better priced bag,  not a cheaply made bag. 

I was kind of sad that my great idea was not panning out. I thought I would just check out and treat myself to a hot fudge sundae at Culver's to help me deal with my grief.  Good idea. Then I rounded a corner and there they were.

 They fit perfect!
They have tons of grip/stick/hold on area.
These will be perfect for machine quilting. 
They are pink.
How cute!
The best part??
And they are a sponsor of American Breast Cancer Foundation. How cool is that?
That made the trip so worth it! But I did still go get the hot fudge sundae. Hey it was Culver's. No way am I passing up Culver's.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thank you Bonnie Hunter, I had fun

Me and Bonnie holding my Pineapple Crazy top

I was one of the retreaters in Mobile, AL that got to spend time with Bonnie Hunter and learn from her.
I was also one of the ones that said to myself and out loud (but not rudely) that I wasn't sure I would learn much from her. I've been piecing quilts for well over 20 years. I am pretty accurate with my points and 1/4" seams. My tops lay pretty flat and square. What could she teach me since her designs are traditional and not curved piecing.
Well let me tell you some of what I learned.
1. Just because someone told you that you can cut 8,10, or 12 layers of fabric with a good rotary blade (and you can) doesn't mean you should. You will lose accuracy with larger numbers.  Bonnie recommended 4 layer max, and with the rulers she uses I totally agree. There is no way you can get a tiny nub of a point cut off at the same depth if you have lots of layers. The Tri Rec ruler and the Easy Angle ruler both all for cutting off tiny nubs. I have always had trouble with the Tri Rec ruler, but not any more.   Thanks Bonnie!

2. Stop flip flopping those rulers! Read the instructions that came with them and do what it says. Imagine hinges, it really works. Thanks Bonnie!

3. Take the time to check out your machine for proper settings.  Bonnie was brought a Singer 301 to sew with. (That is a blog post in itself! LOL) She sat down and started sewing and it had beautiful, straight, even stitches. After a short but she said, "this machine sounds dry, it needs oil". She oils the machine (all the while a crew is over her shoulders getting instructions on how to properly oil these old beauties). She puts the machine back together and starts to sew, but all she got was thread nests on the underside of the fabric. She rethreaded, pulled out the bobbin and replaced, looked for a loose thread in the bobbin area, rethreaded again, checked the bobbin again. After a good bit of time passed we heard her hooraying. She had touched the tension while oiling and showing everyone about how it worked and didn't realize it. Once she readjusted the tension it was back to perfect. Lesson: Recheck everything!!  Thanks Bonnie!

4. Use your machines! I have several. Eight to be exact. Eight working machines and one that my Moma wore smooth out; it's just for memories. I do play on three of my machines pretty regularly, but that leaves five that are being snubbed.  I don't mean to, I'm just lazy I guess.  Well today I decided I wanted to play on my Singer treadle. It worked perfectly the last time I used it, but today the belt snapped. I remembered that Bonnie was talking at the retreat about her treadle and she kept telling us to check out her block that she had tons of info there (you could spend a whole day there learning from her!) under Tips and Techniques. So I went looking about where she bought her treadle belts. She uses a clear tubing and a connector. I looked up the website and was about to place the order but couldn't get the shipping charges to show. I emailed them and asked. The response was , "we don't know the shipping charges until you place the order and UPS picks it up, but we estimate between $7 and $15,  WHAT? No way am I not going to know the price of shipping before I click buy and no way am I paying $15 for shipping me something that would take up no more room that a 4"x4x1" box on a bad day. I understand that is still less than me getting in my car and buying it from them....or is it?
Ace Hardware...My hero! 6ft tubing $1.14 + Tubing Fastener $.89 = $2.16 with tax
And Ace is only 2 miles down the road. Happy Happy Happy!  I am now playing on my 1928 Treadle.  Thanks Bonnie!
Ace Hardware tubing and connector
I really need to put everything back in place in my sewing room, but I just keep stepping over it.