22 October 2015

Finish, finish, finish!

Pool Party for Heart Strings, NOT finished yet

While I'm still madly rushing to try to finish my next quilt, The Lizard has been plugging away. Four finishes in a row, one each week!

First came a yard each of Slate Stonehenge Gradations, which the Lizard picked out himself. (I've been in love with Blue Planet Gradations since they were first announced months ago.) He thought he was in love with his second quilt, made of lizard bandanna and quilt leftovers, but that's before he got his hands on the new fabric. He thinks this is his new favorite now.

This has been my favorite of his quilts to photograph so far. I just love how the fabrics harmonize with autumn colors. The quilt was not without heartaches, though. Halfway through the quilt, The Lizard had to take a break because my 33-year old sewing machine bit the dust while I was quilting a straight seam on Skins.

I was making good progress on my WIP when something inside the top of the machine, near the wheel, popped. LOUD. Everything instantly jammed. I didn't try to force it for fear of making it worse. I assumed my Viking Husqvarna was finished.

We took it in to the only authorized Viking Husqvarna shop in the Denver metro, and I explained what had happened. The sewing machine shop employee's eyes nearly popped out of her head.

"I don't think this can be fixed," she said softly.

I knew that. I had been trying to emotionally brace myself for that possibility. So the news didn't bowl me over. We spent the next few minutes looking at all the machines on the showroom floor, assuming I would have to start saving up for new machine. I've been saving for a long-arm for quite a while now. This would push the long-arm off even further.

We found a sewing machine with more embroidery stitches than my machine has that we liked, even though everything now is all computerized and automatic. One salesperson made me want to punch some lights out with an answer to, "Can I set the pressure on the presser foot manually, or do I have to use what setting the machine picks?"

"Why on earth would you want to do that?" the salesperson asked. "We haven't had to set the presser foot pressure for at least 20 years!"

I had been trying to teach The Lizard sewing basics so he can one day piece and free-motion quilt with me. He wants to learn how to long-arm, too, just like me. So of course my machine would break and leave both of us hanging, right in the middle of lessons!

We drove to the closest department store and picked up a $99 machine just so we could keep sewing, especially since it might be a year before I could buy another sewing machine.

Both of us LOVE the new drop-in bobbin you can see while you sew. Both of us have run out of bobbin thread on my old machine more times than we care to admit. However, the new machine has a very small throat. It wouldn't easily be able to quilt with it.

The Lizard quickly took to it and finished up his Stonehenge blanket, and I crocheted a bunch of baby dresses (and sewed the skirt for one on the new machine).

Four weeks later, I got the call to pick up my machine!!!!!!!!!! It wasn't the perfect fix; the wheel had broken, and replacements are not available. They epoxied it and warrantied everything but the wheel for a full year. My 33-year-old machine now has a new one-year warranty!!! Well, except for the wheel. And epoxy lasts, what, 10 years?!? Ha ha!

With my machine back, both of us are able to sew together, at the same time. I started working on Heart Strings, which could work its way onto the cover of my next book (which was successfully registered for copyright last week!!!!!), and The Lizard finished his Gradations and then made a baby rag quilt, too.

Isn't that backing fabulous?!?

His fourth quilt presented yet another challenge. He decided sashing was needed for the Kitschy Kawaii charm squares because without, the blanket wouldn't be big enough. Together we selected some periwinkle Kona leftover from when I was trying to decide which solid color would best set off all the green batiks in Welcome to the Jungle.

The periwinkle didn't win, even though it looks pretty awesome. Lavender won, and periwinkle now is a perfect match for Kitschy Kawaii! I then found THE perfect backing, also periwinkle. Flannel with stockinette stitch print! Super soft, wonderfully warm, and eye-catchingly elegant!

The Lizard is still new to using a sewing machine, as well as piecing, so I sashed the charm squares for him. I ran out of periwinkle with only two strips to go!!! I ordered another yard, hoping the dye lot would match, since I'd bought that first periwinkle in February of 2013.

I couldn't have asked for a better match. I love periwinkle, so it's good to have fresh leftovers!!!

The Lizard's fifth quilt cemented the difficulty tradition in each of his quilts by being the most difficult project he's done yet because... he now hates minky and never, ever wants to use it again.

We'd bought a package of rainbow precuts and a package of black precuts because, even though cutting squares myself would not only give us more fabric to work with and be less-expensive to boot, I didn't want minky fuzz all over the house for the next several months. Fuzzballs come out of hiding every time the doorbell rings, every time you think you've cleaned the house and every time you put the vacuum cleaner or packing tape away.

We had 20 rainbow blocks in 10 colors and 20 black blocks. The Lizard laid out two rag quilts and finished the first one Saturday and the second one Sunday. I pieced scraps to make the rainbow cotton blocks for the front of the first one and cut color-coordinating kid prints leftover from when my kids were small for the second. Together we cut 10 black Kona blocks for each of the two minky rag quilts.

The two minky quilts are so incredibly soft and cuddly, but NEVER again! Fleece or flannel from now on! NO MORE MINKY!

Minky Quilt 1 Back

Minky Quilt 1 Front

Minky Quilt 2 Back

Minky Quilt 2 Front

The two WIPs I've been focusing on are coming along, but the only things I've finished (besides snowflakes) in the last couple of months are baby dresses. The first one began with a pattern but quickly morphed into a border design of my own, and each of the dresses that followed were patternless. Once I knew the neck size, baby dresses quickly became addictive.

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


  1. haha you sure got him addicted now. Too funny abut the salesperson, machine was probably older than many people in the store hahaha but hey, semi-fixed isn't so bad with a warranty too.

    1. I think you're right, Pat. I think my machine has a ton of seniority that shop will never see! Ha ha ha ha!

  2. The little dresses are awesome!

    Nope, no more minky for me. Minky... messy... I should have known better, its name says it all. On the other hand, it is soft and cuddly; I'll give it that much credit.

    1. You were a trooper for sticking it out and finishing even though it was very frustrating, Lizard! You did GREAT! I really love your rag quilts!

  3. way to go, both of you! that's a lot of progress and finishes.

    1. Thank you, hydeeannsews. Christmas is coming just a little too fast! I've still got so many quilts to finish!

  4. My goodness, that's a LOT of quilts! :o And they're all so beautiful, though I think my fave might be the Stone one. Sounds like you're a real power-house team there. :) Boo at the sales person, though.

    1. Thank you, TheItinerantChemist! I do think we make a great team. He just finished another quilt for me because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish all the Christmas gifts alone. He's getting pretty darned speedy!

  5. You know they make minky out of Tribble fur ... that's why it gets all over the place. It multiplies when you're not looking.

    Woo hoo Lizard! Stonehenge looks awesome and very manly too. :)

    So glad you got your machine back, Deb. And I still manually adjust my presser foot! Of course my machine is about 20 years old (dang, where did the time go?).

    BEAUTIFUL baby dresses! :)

    1. Thanks, Sue!!! Tribble fur, eh? That explains so much!

      I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am to have my machine back!!!


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