Friday, March 30, 2018

Catching up

In my last post I mentioned problems with my laptop. It's been in and out of repair, three times now. The new battery has been installed and the old one, in danger of exploding, is at the service place for safe disposal. My laptop is working fine for now, and running faster. But I'm still getting the error message for which I originally took it in. Grrrrr

The problem, so I'm told, is that since it's a Sony laptop and Sony is out of the PC business, they're not supporting it with software updates, so it can't accommodate Microsoft's big updates. The service people tell me it can still receive the small security patches that Microsoft periodically sends out, but it can't accommodate the big Windows 10 update. They tell me that since I have anti-virus software installed I'm protected. I can still use the laptop and just dismiss the Microsoft update failure notices when they appear, which is several times a day.

My laptop has plenty of memory - It's at 126 of 900 something, whatever that means. I have all my quilting stuff, book and pattern stuff, graphics software, photos and household stuff on this laptop. I really don't want to get a new one, and a new one is not in the budget. I will continue to use this one for now.
Technology. Very much a love-hate thing. 

So I've been playing in the sewing room while the laptop was in the shop. Previously I had assembled the top for another Nurses for Newborns quilt. Now it's quilted and bound, awaiting a run through the washer and dryer. These little N4Nb quilts are 24" x 36" which is a fun size to play with.

I participated in Libby's Magical Mystery Blocks and used some juvenile prints with yellow. Libby cautioned about the need for value contrast, and boy, was she right. My blocks will go into another N4Nb quilt. I'm disappointed in my fabric choices, but at least these blocks won't go to waste.

It seems like I've been making a lot of very varied blocks lately. Bee blocks for Kerry, 5" finished Economy blocks with fussy cut centers:

Piecing Group (bee) block for Carolyn, hand pieced and not pressed per group rules.

My turn to hand out at Piecing Group is in June. My WIVSP that they've been working on forever is now in too few pieces to be able to hand out again. That means I have to have a new project. I have to have a test block complete and 17 kits ready, which means all pieces cut and seams marked for hand piecing. I saw a cool antique quilt on Pinterest that I thought might work. It's known as Friendship Ring or Grecian Star. Curves and inset seams, great for hand piecing.

I drafted templates and started hand piecing a test block.

The points are actually cranberry red, but they look too dark in the photos.

A 16" block with 29 pieces. This is way too complicated and there's no way I can cut and mark that many pieces in time. Plus, it's too much to ask of Piecing Group. Sometimes people hand out half-blocks when it's a complicated block, but this one doesn't lend itself to splitting in half. I'll finish this test block, make a pillow cover out of it, and move on to Plan B for Piecing Group.

Plan B is Winding Ways blocks cut with my die cutter. I machine pieced some test blocks. I'm in the process of hand piecing a block, and I can already tell, the center will come together much better with hand piecing. I can definitely get enough Winding Ways block kits prepped by June.

Last but not least, my Pickle Dish project. I've finished two more blocks, bringing the total up to 30 of 36 complete.

Whew, a long post, but I guess that's what happens after more than a week of no blogging.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Computer Woes

I am so not tech savvy.

I've been getting an error message on my laptop for weeks. I can't comprehend the instructions for fixing the error, let alone find wherever in the system these things are located. So I took the laptop to the Geek Squad.

They couldn't work on it. They showed me the battery, which is bulging and could explode. What????
Yes, it's a lithium ion battery, the kind you can't check in your luggage on planes due to the likelihood of it exploding or catching fire. The Geek Squad can't work on the laptop's software issues until the battery issue is resolved. They gave me the customer service number for the laptop maker and told me to order a battery.

Meanwhile I've been using the laptop, battery removed, just plugged into the wall outlet for power. I'm still getting the error message. Plus, I was travelling recently and even with the laptop plugged into the outlets at hotels, I couldn't connect to any WIFI.  Strange; the home WIFI connects just fine.

Now that I'm home, I've ordered the battery and it has arrived, so I can take the laptop and new battery back to the Geek Squad and hopefully they can fix the problem. Which means I'll be without my laptop for however long it takes them to fix it. I really hope they can get it fixed. It's a powerful PC and has lots of memory and everything I need for graphics, photos, EQ7, etc.

I have an old laptop that I can use to get online, but it doesn't have any of my quilting or photo editing stuff on it. So, no new blog posts with photos for awhile.

Wish me luck with the Geek Squad!

Since no post would be complete without a photo, I'll share this one of the Nurses for Newborns top I pieced in February, which is up for quilting now. Since I'll be spending less time on the computer, maybe I can get this little quilt finished soon.

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 19, 2018

Miscellaneous Monday

A quick update today...

First, Clue 4 of Libby's Magical Mystery Blocks:

Next, my block for the color of the month at STLMQG, green. Not citron, not aqua; green. I think this qualifies. For each month I participate, I get an entry into a prize drawing at the end of the year plus eligibility for bonus prizes. I can always find a use for a block in any color. This one goes with my other propeller blocks from my last turn as queen bee at Sew Bee It.

And finally, progress on my Pickle Dish project. 28 blocks (of 36) are done. You can see the rings better now. (Sorry about the skewed photo - my cutting table is in the way when I take photos of my full design wall from across the room so I stand on a ladder and the camera's angled down a bit.)

Link Ups:
Libby at Life on the Hill
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Finish: March Rocking Chair Quilt

Still keeping up with my goal of piecing and/or quilting one donation quilt each month. I scored these Aztec-inspired prints at a fat quarter sale in January and put them to good use immediately. The top was pieced in February and now it's quilted with a fleece backing and finished.

This one's suitable for a bigger boy. It's 42" x 54" and not juvenile. It'll go to Little Lambs, one of this year's charities in Hands2Help run by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. They provide comfort backpacks to kids transitioning into foster care, so this fleece-backed quilt can go to one of their older boy clients.

Even if the recipient is too big to cuddle in someone's arms in a rocking chair, I'm still counting this as one of my Rocking Chair Quilts.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Quilty Orphan Adoption

Cynthia Brunz over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework is hosting a spring Quilty Orphan Adoption event, and I have some blocks that need adopting.
Quilting is more fun than Housework

Criteria: You can use them for any purpose. All I ask is that the blocks get made into something, not just stashed in a  drawer. I would love it if you'd send me a photo of the finished project.

Shipping: I will mail them to you within the continental U.S. at my cost.

How and when Adoptions will be awarded: If more than one person wants one of these items, I'll draw names for them. Adoptive parents will be notified on Thursday March 22.

Instructions:  Each item is named in the photo. Leave a comment mentioning the name of the item you want to adopt and be sure to include your first name and email address in your comment.

Chinese New Year pattern with templates and sample block 
(no need to use my sample block unless it works for you)

Maple Leaf Star Blocks, two blocks, finish 12",
leftover from a shop BOM

Autumn Alternate Blocks, 5 blocks, finish 12"
leftover from the same shop BOM.
Might be interesting to cut them up and 
reconfigure them.

Black, White, and Bright blocks, two blocks, finish 12"
Tote bag?

Pastel Plus Dash Blocks, 4 blocks, finish 14"

Batik Star Blocks, two blocks, finish 12"

I'm looking forward to sending these to new homes. For other Quilty Orphan Adoption items offered by other quilters, check out the links at Quilting is More Fun than Housework

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Quilting the March Rocking Chair Quilt

Remember this top from back in February? It's part of my goal to piece and/or quilt one donation quilt per month this year. It's time to get it quilted. 

Since I learned with the February Rocking Chair Quilt that my machine doesn't like to FMQ on just a fleece-backed top, I'm using the dual feed (walking foot option) for some straight line quilting.

Simple SID and diagonal lines. No marking, just eyeball it. And here's how the back turned out.

I hope to get the binding done by Friday so I can have a finish this week.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, March 12, 2018

Late to Libby's Mystery...

...but all caught up with Clue 3.

I'm actually making two sets, planning to combine the blocks later. I'm a little concerned that there's not enough value contrast between the yellow and the elephant print. Oh, well, it'll probably all work out fine.

The elephant print and the pencil print were bits leftover from other projects. The yellow prints were fat quarters, so I think there's enough left of each for one more block. I'll wait until the mystery reveal to make more blocks to go with these.

It'll be interesting to see how these directional prints work in Libby's blocks. I took a chance and cut and pieced them so the prints could - maybe - end up going all the same direction in each block. Or not. We'll just have to wait and see what her blocks look like at the end.

In other quilty news, I have two thirds of the Pickle Dish blocks done, 24 of them. Here's how they look on my design wall today. Only 12 more to go.

Link ups:
Life on the Hill Mystery Link-up
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, March 9, 2018

N4Nb Update

STLMQG's charitable project this year is small quilts for Nurses for Newborns. The nurses take the quilts to the first visit with a new mom and leave it for the family. They've requested a size of two feet by three feet.

My first one's finished, quilted and bound. I chose high-contrast black & white with bright colors. The quilting is simple wavy lines done with a walking foot. I used black thread but maybe grey would have been a better choice. Oh well, it's done, I'm not changing it now. Here it is all washed and crinkly.
March N4Nb quilt

The backing is the bright print, dark enough and busy enough to not show dirt. The binding is scrappy black & white prints.

Since these are so small, they're quick to make. I can play with fabrics, and make something productive, and move on to the next fabric pull.

I forgot to take photos of the fabric pull or the blocks in process for this one. It's already a flimsy! I still have a lot of these fabrics in my stash - it seems like they'll never be used up. But I still love this color combination. Maybe a little sophisticated for a baby, but who cares, it's pretty.
April N4Nb flimsy

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Monday, March 5, 2018

Fabric Pull for Grandson's Quilt

Grandson C.J. Just turned three, and he has a new big boy twin bed at dad's house. When he was here for a visit recently we looked at pictures on the screen together, and he picked out fabric for a new big bed quilt.  He picked out the Construction Zone print, and I ordered it and the blue rivets print to go with it. The yellow and grey are from my stash.

Friends gave me a couple more similar prints at the fabric swap. I'm not sure how I'll use them yet. I'm planning to use my Big Print Beauty pattern which was designed to feature large scale prints, but I need for C.J.'s dad to verify the dimensions of the bed first. I think I'll need to make the quilt narrower because the bed doesn't have a box spring, it has storage drawers, so we don't want the sides of the quilt to hang down too long.

I'd like to find two more companion prints in lighter blues to go with these, so I'll have five prints as shown in the pattern. Or the pattern can be made with just one big print, and I ordered enough of the Construction Zone fabric to do so.

So until I get the bed measurements, I'll keep looking for companion fabrics and get these pre-washed. What are you planning for your next project?

Linking up with
Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Em's Scrapbag
Love Laugh Quilt

Friday, March 2, 2018

March First Saturday Blocks

Unfortunately I won't be able to go to my First Saturday get-together with friends, but I do have my blocks done. I'll miss seeing their progress on their projects and hearing about what they've been up to.

I put the blocks up on the wall, and I like how they're coming along so far. Actually I made two checkerboard blocks this month as well as a Dresden. I need four more of each block. I will snowball the corners of the Dresden blocks and make the centers for them later.

I am having some problems with my computer, so it's going in for a clean-up and I won't have it for a few days. If I seem to be MIA, that's why.

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict