Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I think, I hope, I think it's fixed!

I spent the day yesterday sewing with friends, so when I got home I was anxious to try to fix the tension spring on my quilting machine. The next step to fixing the spring was to unscrew that little screw on the left so that the two pieces could come apart. The spring is in the back half of the tension knob. 

It didn't want to pop apart at first, but I eventually got it apart. The old spring was easy to get out, and I worked the new spring into the space.
Perfect! I put it back together, following the directions they had sent me and reinserted it in the machine at the right angle (I hope!)

I rethreaded, practiced-stitched and adjusted a few times until I got it sewing well.
I hope to get some quilting time on my daughter's quilt later, but I have some painting to do first! The sun is shining and I need to get back at it. I have the second coat of primer to put on the rest of the porch and then get out the taller ladder so I can scrape and paint the trim board above the windows.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stubborn old machine!

I talked to someone at APQS in Carroll yesterday about getting this tension knob out. They had told me to take out the screw "around the corner and to the right", and I did, but couldn't get it out. I was afraid to mess with it too much, I didn't want to break anything, so I left it until I could call them.

 They said that was the only screw and that I should spray some WD40 on it, as it might be a bit rusted in. It probably has never been out of the machine. So I did, several times. I sprayed into the screw-hole too. I waited til evening to try again and it still wouldn't come out. So this morning, when it still didn't pull out, I put the screw driver into the slit where the spring comes out and put just a bit of pressure on it and it popped out!
Here it is in all its glory. Can you see the broken spring-hook in the slit?  The next step is to take out that tiny screw on the left end, without losing the pin sticking out, and take it apart. I have picture directions for the next step.
I have to take out the old spring and put in this new one. I don't have time to do it this morning, but will give it a try when I get home later.
 Wish me luck!
 P.S. She told me to take pictures so I knew which direction the tension knob was in so I get it in correctly when I put it back. I'm anxious to get it fixed and running again. I know I will have to adjust and test the tension before I try to quilt as I have been turning it in trying to get it off. So it might be a process!

Monday, July 29, 2013

It's all in a name..

 I spent a good part of yesterday painting the front porch. After hanging like a monkey to reach some of it, I was ready for a letter break. I had made the letters last week and had sewed several different strip sets together to see how they would look with it. First I needed to surround it with background fabric.
 I had thought I would use the blue and grey uneven check below the name and the colorful checks above, but that didn't look right. (I forgot to take a picture)
 So I tried the colorful checks all around, and that looked great! Then I tried a couple of different versions of the blue/grey checks.....
 It just didn't do what I had hoped it would. So I ended up with a blue border surrounding it all. I like that the best so far. It isn't sewn together yet, I am still eyeing it as I go by.
It's sprinkling this morning, so I won't be painting for a little while. I want to give the porch a second coat of primer, so unless it rains a lot, I will probably be able to do it later.

I tried to replace my tension spring on my quilting machine yesterday but I couldn't get the tension unit out of the machine. They told me what to unscrew, but I must've forgotten something. I am going to call them later and see if they can walk me through it again. They sent me directions on putting the spring in the unit, but because my machine is an old model they didn't have pictures showing how to take the unit out of the machine. They are very helpful, so hopefully I can get it figured out. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A little Sunday eye candy...

Pictures are loading just fine this morning. Here is some more show and tell from my group meeting the other night. Cindy made this cute hexie quilt!
 Jo brought this twister quilt...I love the tiny twisters!
 Debbie is making this quilt for her and her husband's bedroom. She has 22 blocks to go!

 Cindy made this quilt for a friend's soon to be born son.
It's going to be another gorgeous day outside, so I will be out there painting. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Round Robin 2011 finish

I have been part of the same sewing group for many years. We meet every other month. Sometimes we actually sew, but we always eat and chat. Back in 2011, we decided to do a round robin. We each made a block and passed it on. The next person could do whatever they wanted...we didn't have any rules. This post shows four of them after we each did some final work on our own after we got them back. Jo asked Cindy to quilt hers, being creative with her free motion quilting skills. Cindy loved the chance to practice some pebbles as well as other fun techniques.

 She used several different color threads as well.

 It turned out so pretty and it's so much fun to look back at it and remember your own part in the quilt. I had it first, so the blue border with the slashes and and green extensions from the center lightening bolt is mine.

 I took pictures of some other show and tell that the others brought, but I had so much trouble loading pictures this morning (blogger issue?) that I will wait until tomorrow. At our meeting Thursday night, I gave them a challenge for next time....more about that later!
I'm still scraping and painting. I am working on the first floor window trim (basically what I can reach standing on the 6 ft ladder) and have 2 sides primed twice and the third side primed once. I am going to scrape and prime the front windows later and prime the 2nd coat on the west side. I want to do this other bit of trim this weekend too...I can't quite reach it on the 6 ft ladder, but I don't want to use the longer ladder without some help. We'll see how far I get. It's been gorgeous weather to work outside the past few days and I want to keep going while that lasts.

I haven't done any sewing since Tuesday, but I got the tension spring to fix the longarm in the mail the other day. I'm trying to decide if I should try to fix it before I go outside. I really want to get it fixed but the beautiful weather outside is calling my name. And if I fix it, I will have to test it and I could end up messing around with it all morning, so I guess I've made my decision! Outside I go! Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 26, 2013

An oldie, but a goodie....

A friend gave Dianne some log cabin blocks that were given to her to finish by another friend. The quilter  had originally given them away because she grew tired of the project and didn't want to finish it. She didn't want it back, just wanted the quilt finished after she had done so much work. The bundle included the pattern, strips and a lot of finished and unfinished blocks. We guesstimate that it was started in the early 90s because of the fabric choices. Her seams were impeccable and everything pressed well!  So Dianne set to work choosing a layout. After we counted the the blocks and organized them by types and colors, we determined that there were still blocks that hadn't been made, and blocks that weren't completely finished. She decided to finish some of the blocks that were started and go from there. She got this much sewn together on Tuesday. She still has some pink blocks that need one more strip so she is going to finish those next for a top and bottom border.

It would be fun to know who the original quilter was, but there is no name on the bundle, and the original giftee didn't really know the lady, just worked at a shop where she shopped. So I guess it will remain a mystery.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tuesday sewing fun

I spent a lot of time working on the new free pieced letter quilt on Tuesday when I sewed with the ladies. It takes some figuring and additions of background fabric to get the words lined up how you want them. And straight. After I got it to this point, I carefully lined it up on a big cutting mat so I could make sure that it was straight and had corners that were right angles.
After I added a border, I wanted to take a final picture....hmmmm...funny, funny Diana!
Second try!
Third try...I got her, so that was a success!
It's ready to quilt.

Diana is almost finished with her Wonky Stars quilt. She is adding a piano key border, with stars in the corners.

I also taught the first session of a new sampler group that night. Barb brought her finished Snake Dance quilt top to show off. It is so pretty made out of these soft prints. I love it!

I started scraping the trim on the outside of the house yesterday. I got one side scraped as far as I can reach on a 6 ft. ladder. I started priming some of it later in the day. The weather has cooled off a bit here and it was really pretty nice to be outside. Today I am going to finish priming the rest of what I scraped yesterday, so not sure if I will get any sewing done. I am also going to my stitching group tonight... I have a little surprise challenge for them. Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Love getting quilty mail!

 I was excited to see a box in the mail yesterday...what is it about a pkg that is so exciting? Maybe it's the mystery of what might be inside, maybe it's the excitement of getting something that isn't a bill... I knew something was coming since I had won Kerstin's end of the month giveaway last month. She lives in Germany, so it had to travel a long way to get to me.  First off, there was a new quilty book to read. Kerstin's read this series and recommends it, so I am excited to start reading it. There were also two happy pieces of fabric...hmmm...what to do with them?
 Last, but not least, this great ironing pad that will be great for taking on retreats as well as using at home. I use a tabletop ironing board most of the time because I don't usually need my big board up and I worry about the cats knocking it over. This is a bit larger that that plus rectangular in shape so that it will be better to use for larger pressing as well.
 You could also set your machine on it for ironing as you sew and there are handy pockets along a drop down edge for scissors, seam ripper and other goodies. I will be going on retreat in a few weeks, so will be excited to have this to take along with me. Thanks Kerstin!
 There was something for everyone in this mail delivery...
 the cats are always happy to investigate a new box and spent some time sniffing it and trying to make it into a bed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A good quilty start....came to a screeching halt.

 I loaded my daughter's quilt top this morning. I decided on teal variegated thread for this quilt and am using the panto I have been using for the last few quilts. I really like it.

 I  wound a bunch of bobbins and after about 4 passes, the thread messed up and broke. In rechecking the threading when I was ready to start quilting again, I noticed that the spring on the upper tension unit was broken off. No quilting happening now!
 I called APQS in Carroll IA to see if they had the part and could send it to me...they did and it's on its way, so that's good. But no quilting until it gets here and then we find out whether I can put it in or not. They are sending me directions on how to install it. Yikes! Will keep you posted on how that goes.
 Awhile back I made a tray to ride on the rails while I pin. It works pretty well. It's just a plastic tub lid and some hooks on the back to keep it from sliding off.

 I worked on the the letter quilt yesterday and have the letters made into words and partial rows now. I hope to finish it today at Tuesday Sewing.