Time to catch up

Time to catch up

Boy, time goes fast, especially when you’re busy.  I just realized a week or two ago that I haven’t even started preparing for Christmas yet.  Yikes!

Here’s what I’ve been up to.

I finished Bethany’s quilt, and we gave it to her a few weeks ago.  She was very happy!  It’s fun to give something to someone who appreciates it.  Here are some photos of it.  That’s her and her boyfriend holding it up.

Bethany’s quilt

And the back.  I thought I’d had enough backing, but it turned out that I only had enough for a queen size quilt.  This one is king size.  So I had to dig into my stash and improvise.  I like how it turned out.

And stitching from the front and stitching from the back.

And here it is all set up on her bed.

Bethany’s Bed

Not long after it was done, Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.  Our local quilt shop set up a charity sew for making quilts to send to the folks down there.  So my friend Brenda and I gathered our favorite novelty prints together and went.  We stayed all day and had a blast!   It was a marathon, but we finished a twin-sized quilt top by 10:00 that night.  We were both pretty goofy by then.  Here we are, holding it up.

We left the top at the shop with a backing, and the owner donated the batting,  She had professional quilters who were donating their time, so I didn’t expect to see this quilt back until it needed a binding.

Brenda and I had brought our own fabric to make this, but when we got there, we saw that a lot of fabric had been donated, and we could make something out of that, too.  I saw this AMAZING panel and had to make something up.  I took it home and added a few borders.  It made up into a really nice lap quilt.

Nature lap quilt

I stitched it with maple leaves.

And I donated this next quilt, too.  I thought I had a photo of it finished, but I can’t find it.  A friend gave me these quilt blocks.  She acquired them from the daughter of a woman who had passed away.  She passed them along to me, and I put them together to make a lap-sized quilt.  I thought it would be good to send down to Texas as well.  Not my favorite quilt by any means, but it’ll keep someone warm.

After a while, Brenda and I realized we hadn’t heard back about the twin quilt.  It turns out that our backing was too small, so the quilter returned it to the store.  When I heard that, the next time I was in the shop I took it to finish on my own longarm.

I got it loaded, got the design set up, and started stitching.  Here’s the design I chose.  Since it was going to Texas, I wanted to quilt stars, and this was the closest thing that I had in my library.

I started the machine going and about halfway through the first row the machine started breaking the thread.  Over and over again!  I just couldn’t figure it out.  So I talked to our local tech, I talked to the manufacturer tech support, and I worked through what they suggested.  Nothing worked.  They finally just asked me to take it to the local tech so they could check it over.

Unfortunately, she was out of town for two weeks!  Argh!  So I waited.  Bruce will tell you how happy that made me.  Finally, she was able to take it.  She tested it, set the timing, and serviced and oiled it.  When I went to pick it up, it worked.  They also told me that my machine just didn’t like the thread I’d been using and that I needed a finer thread.  So I bought some.

Well, I got home, we got it set back up, and it still broke the thread, regardless of which thread I used.  I just didn’t know what to do!  So I sent an email to the tech (who was out of town again), asked a question on the manufacturer’s online forum, and turned to Google to see if I could find the service manual.  I couldn’t find a manual, but I did find a site that showed how to set the timing.

So finally yesterday Bruce and I worked together to see what could be done.  We took off the needle plate, and while I slowly turned the hand wheel, Bruce studied how it made stitches.  A time or two the thread got caught on the edge of a narrow slot.  Ah ha!  I knew it was breaking down by the bobbin!  So he carefully adjusted the size of the slot and the machine has been running perfect ever since!  Bruce was my hero this weekend!

I then spent the rest of my day quilting.  Darn it, I wanted to get that quilt done!  And I did.  I’ll post a picture of it as soon as I get one.  Unfortunately, it’s too late to send it to Texas now.  But it’ll go to a local shelter instead.  I know it will be just as appreciated there.

I’ve also discovered Jenny Doan and her YouTube videos.  Oh my, they’re addicting, and I just had to try one…or more.  Here’s my jelly roll race quilt top.  I plan on using this in a queen size quilt for my guest room.  I may or may not cut it up and make a star out of it.  The other things I’ve tried are going to be Christmas gifts.  I’ll post those when they’re done.

On top of all that, it was harvest time for the garden.  Since the tomatoes had stayed green all summer, they ripened almost all at once, and I had a lot of tomatoes to preserve.  I chopped them up and put them in a pot as they became ripe.  Then I pureed them and cooked and cooked and cooked them.  I’d put them in the refrigerator at night then cook them all evening after I got home from work.  Eventually, I canned them.

I also had a bunch of tomatillos from a local organic farm, made some green salsa out of them, and canned them.  I’m pretty sure this will last us for most of the next year.  Yay!

And with harvest time comes the leaves.  I tried using a barrel composter this summer, and it just didn’t go well.  What I did get out of it, I really couldn’t get out of it.  It has just one hole and the stuff doesn’t come out when dumped.  So I had to shovel it, and that didn’t go well, either.  So since it didn’t make great compost (surely it wasn’t user error LOL), and it was a pain to work with, I’ve decided to get rid of it.

Consequently, I spent some time researching how to make compost this summer.  I really don’t want to have to buy the stuff anymore.  In my search, I found this Ted talk by Mike McGrath, and it makes so much sense and seems so easy, I just had to try it.  So I bought myself a couple of Geobins, then collected leaves from my co-workers and neighbors, and of course from my own yard.  Since we don’t drink coffee at our house, I got some coffee grounds from Starbucks.  Then Bruce and I shredded the leaves and piled them with the coffee grounds into the bins.  It took a week or so, but here they are!  I stuck my hands into them the next day, and they’re good and warm inside.  Woohoo!  Here’s hoping I get compost by spring.

I’m still trying to convince Bruce that we should try worm composting, but he’s not going for it.  We’ll see.

So you can see, it’s been a bit difficult for me to get to my tatting.  And now it’s Christmas crafting season.  And I’m late.


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