Sunday, April 27, 2014

BZB Quilt Show 2014

The quilt show was a success!  While I didn't get photos of all the pieces hung, I was very pleased to see that the last quilt I finished was a winner in the Large Pieced category--I got a 2nd place ribbon!  Very exciting!  This is the first time I ever won a ribbon for a guild show, and the first time our guild decided to vote for winners for all the categories with the guild members only, rather than have the public vote.  We had a potluck preview party on Friday after the show was hung and got ballots to vote.  The only voting that was done by the visitors was a Popular Vote--they could vote for their favorite.  While there were several really nice pieces, I didn't see any that were really *WOW* worthy.  You know the ones--the drop-dead-gorgeous one that everyone loves.  The winner of that vote is anyone's guess.

Just to recap, this is the Scrap Bag Jewel Box quilt--108" square.

This one I called Civil War Unchained because it's Civil War fabrics and it's a chain quilt.  I was playing with words and thought of slaves being unchained.  

This one is Purple Pinwheels, half-square triangles made from swapped charm squares.

Japanese One-block Wonder - Emma can now put it back on her bed. :)

The Children's Hospital Quilt for me to use the next time we need to have an overnight stay.

Pineapple Party!  Wheee!

So I was not at the show yesterday due to the SOUNDERS WINNING 4-1, but today I went out to the county fairgrounds where they were having a "Spring Festival". It wasn't heavily attended, at least on Sunday, but had rides, musicians, traveling entertainers (clowns, balloon animal makers), and some kind of car racing.  It was $5 for a car load to park, and all the activities (except for the carnival rides) were free.  We couldn't charge a fee to get in for the quilt show, but they had items for sale in the Boutique, sold vendor space in the hall, and sold raffle tickets for multiple items.  The guild calls it a "Fishbowl" raffle, where a number of items are offered and a fish bowl with a corresponding number is set out for each item or grouping.  Contestants put tickets in the bowls for the things you want to win.  They also have a Guppie Prize, which is everyone's non-winning tickets dumped into a large fish bowl and all the things that didn't get any takers are given to that person.  Kind of a boobie prize, really.

I was working in the charity quilts area where we had set up our machines to sew 9-patches together.

 We had pre-cut hundreds of 4 1/2" squares for our visitors to lay out on flannel-covered boards, and we would sew them together.  Some of them were well-thought out combinations.  Some of them were more...eclectic.  Those blocks will be sorted into piles and used to make quilts for patients at Children's Hospital.  This was a great activity for children and adults!  I hope that it made them feel like they were a part of the charity project.

We also had a pile of fabric squares set aside for children to color on, and those would be incorporated into quilt tops for the charity quilts, too.  They could trace photocopied drawings onto the fabric and then color it and add extras.  KayLee even took part and made a few blocks--adding tennis shoes to butterflies.

One thing I found an excellent idea was bagging all the quilts in clear plastic bags for transport back to their owners.  This helps lessen the accidental misplacing of a quilt, especially smaller ones.  We had an incident at the last Moonlighter's quilt show where a small quilt got sandwiched between two others and it took a few days to recover it.

Back to the grind tomorrow.  Three more days to finish the guild newsletter and snag 95 more points for the Munzee clan war.  I'm the last one to achieve the 600 needed for the month.  Sigh.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Photo Finish

I spent the last few days banging out the quilts for the show.  Today was the due date, so I got them all finished, labeled, and delivered to the venue.  Six quilts were quilted, bound, and sleeved, and just in the nick of time.  Tomorrow they'll get hung and the members of the guild will vote on their favorites in each category.  The show will be Saturday & Sunday.

Sadly, this particular quilt, which I worked on and agonized over when the long arm broke twice, is not going to be featured in the show. Not because it isn't done, but apparently, I didn't get the paperwork done on it.  Sigh.

I have a few more quilt tops that are waiting to be sewn up, but five quilts from customers that have priority.  Lauri's quilt for her step-daughter's baby shower is up first.  I guess that's what I'll be doing tomorrow after a few catch-up chores.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Too Much Pressure!

Oh. My. Lord.

I've been working on this blog update for the past HOUR and with a simple graze of my hand over the touch pad while I typed caused it to highlight and disappear all my work.  Gone.  Now I have to start all over and I don't know if it'll measure up.  Gaaah!!

OK.  Deep breath.  Try again.

There have been a lot of deadlines that I've been trying to meet and the pressure to get things done on time has been that a bunch of those deadlines are rapidly approaching and things are coming together as they should, things will calm down...but not until probably mid-May...or June.

Add to that the new pains I've been experiencing in my feet--that plantar fasciitis has developed into heel spurs.  Yey.  This is basically a calcium deposit on the underside of the heel, and are caused by strains on the muscles and ligaments and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone.  The doctor calls it a "baby bone spur".  If that's the baby, I don't want to meet its daddy.  First it was the left foot, but since I've been favoring it, now my right hurts, too.  Sigh.  Week after next, new orthotics and cortisone shots.  I need to wear my night boot and do stretches and take anti-inflammatory meds.  I'm trying, but the boot sucks.

I have been working on a pile of quilts--six of them--for a quilt show coming up next week.  Things seemed to be going along well enough, but over the past few months, my long arm machine started having speed issues.  Either it would go a zillion miles an hour or go painfully slow, and this became a big problem recently.  I milked it along for a while and took it in for servicing after I finished the Civil War quilt.  It went in on a Thursday and I got it back on Tuesday.  Besides the usual lube-oil-filter deal and replacing a couple of encoders, they had tethered the cables down so that moving the handles from one end to the other, as it was designed to do, was impossible.  I snipped four of the zip-ties and moved the handles to the aft end so I could drive it following a printed pattern with the laser light.  I loaded up and started working on the Modern Jelly Roll Race quilt.  The machine worked for all of 30 minutes before it started going glacially slow again.  Nothing I could do would fix it.  I also had issues with tension--first too tight, then too loose--so I called the shop again.  I took it in on Thursday and got it back the next week, on Good Friday.  It turns out there was a long hair (human) caught in the motor sensor.  Hmmm.  Where would that come from?  Sigh.  Tara suggested I wear hair nets while quilting. :)  At least I can get back to work now!

I finished up the Modern Jelly Roll Race quilt.  I just need to put a binding on it and it'll be ready for the show!  There are a couple more quilts that need to be bound and one that needs to be quilted and bound, but now that the machine is working again, I think I'll be able to meet the deadline by Thursday.

This weekend, besides being Easter, is the annual Sakura Con at the Seattle Convention center.  This is a celebration of anime and Japanese culture.  This is our third (or fourth?) year attending, this time as a whole family, although we only had four badges, so I wasn't allowed to go into the restricted areas, like the merchants' room and the panel discussions.  Not a problem--we figured we could take turns going around with the kids.  I wanted to find a place to sit down for just a few minutes, so I wandered about looking...not a lot of options.  I decided to go into one room where they were having a demonstration of how to wear a kimono.

It just so happened that I was WEARING a kimono-like garment!  I was happy to see that of the 60 or so chairs in the room, almost all of them were unoccupied, there was no fee to sit and watch, they encouraged taking photos, but if you wanted to try on a kimono, there was a $5 fee.  Since I was already dressed, I opted to sit in the back and enjoy the show.  A few minutes later, Heide came and joined me and we chatted for a bit and caught up.  Eventually, we headed out to enjoy some of the convention and catch up with Brian and Ash, who was dressed as one of the Dr. Who characters.

We weren't able to get the special teeth Emma needed for her costume (or one of her costumes--I don't know if it was this one); she is a character from the show "Free! Iwatobi Swim Club", as is Miss E, on the left.  They ran into several other members of the Swim Club at the convention, greeting each other like old friends, as is the tradition at these conventions--high fiving or hugging perfect strangers.  They got photos of one of their members...a young man dressed in only a Speedo.  (Maybe he was European?)  A very confident young man.

Cammie plays the younger sister to Emma's character.  I spent a day looking for pieces for her costume, which I was able to find at Goodwill for $20.  The wig was extra--I think we paid $30 for it online.

Ben dressed as Sgt. Frog, a Japanese cartoon for children.  I made this costume for him back in October for Halloween, but going to the carnival at school and door-to-door trick or treating led to cocked heads and quizzical looks; no one knew what he was dressed as.  At this event, however, more than a dozen people yelled "Sergeant Frog!" and a few took pictures of him.

One of the things that Ben wanted to do was meet Todd Haberkorn, the voice of Sgt. Frog, who was at the convention, doing panel discussions and signing autographs.  Kelly took him off to wait in line, and when he finally got his turn, Mr. Haberkorn signed his photo:  "Benjamin--Thank you for being my favorite Pekoponian!"

While Ben was off waiting in line, the older girls were off doing their thing, and Cammie was with me.  We went back to the kimono room to watch them getting dressed again.  I moved to the front row to get a better view and take pictures of the assembly process, and the Sensei (teacher) of the dance studio that was sponsoring the activity, saw my outfit and said that I had wrapped it wrong--it's supposed to be left over right.  I had it right over left, which is reserved only for the dead.  Yep.  I dressed like a corpse.  I started messing with the layers and eventually they said, "come here...we'll dress you up!"  It was rather slow at the moment, so they were happy to keep themselves busy fixing up my gear.  The Sensei came over to admire the fabric of my yukata and asked me where I got it.  "A quilt shop!" I said gleefully.  "Oooo...very nice!" she said, fondling the fabric.

Portrait: Finished the day with too much sushi.Went out for dinner afterwards at our favorite sushi place.  We ate too much and took a nap right on the bar...just kidding.

Tomorrow is Easter.  I have to hide eggs and pack baskets.  G'nite.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Long Arm of the Blah

I finished the quilting on the Pineapple quilt.  I love this quilt.  But what made me *really* happy was when I posted a picture of it, Judy asked if I would display it at the Sedro Woolley quilt show in June!  I need to have it done for the quilt show in 3 weeks, so I know time won't be a problem.  I wasn't sure if it would be OK for me to display it if I wasn't a member of the guild there (not sure if that is a restriction at all) or if it would be a problem if I displayed it at both shows.  She said that it wouldn't be a problem, so I guess it'll be at both shows!

I used a swirly, feathery pantograph design all over.  It took much longer than I thought it would, but it was densely quilted.  BUT IT'S DONE!!  I know that the edge is flipped up a bit there; it caught on the hopping foot as I drove off the edge, but it'll take just a couple of stitches snipped to unfold it and it'll be covered by the binding anyway.

I put the Civil War quilt on the frame yesterday and then proceeded to have a series of issues with the speed controls for the long arm.  The stitching was going very slow, and no fiddling of the knobs to control speed or stitch length would make any difference at all.  I was getting some toenail catchers on there and it was driving me crazy.

As an attempt to fix the problem, I swapped out the stitch regulator with a spare I had.  No change--or at least not fixed.  Initially, it was snail-slow until I fiddled with the plug, making sure that it was fully engaged.  Then it went warp speed.  I wiggled it a bit and eventually it went fast, but at least it was no longer going 10,000 stitches per second.  Unfortunately, the speed and stitch length knobs were still useless.  I think that it might be a problem with the cable that goes from the regulator to the machine.  Maybe there's a bent prong or something.

Anyway, this is done, too!  Now I have 3 quilts that need bindings.  I have a couple more to go!

Next up is the striped modern quilt...if I don't throw the long arm machine out the window first.  I think I'll quilt this pantograph pattern on it, which I got free from Urban Elementz:

It's much simpler than the last one I did, which was much denser.  It took friggin' forever (about 3 days), so I'm hoping I can get this one done faster and start working on the next (final) quilt that needs to go to the show, and get some bindings done.