Teal Dragon Quilts

A world of Quilts and Dragons!

FFF Perfection

Perfection is a flawless state where everything is exactly right. It can also be the action of making something perfect.  Since perfect things are without fault or flaw, perfection is a perfect condition — everything is 100% great. Of course, perfection is hard to find. People often use this word as a compliment for something that just couldn’t be better, as in “That red dress matches your red hair to perfection!” Also, if a musician is getting a song down pat, you could say she’s working on the perfection of the song: she’s learning to play it flawlessly.

The above is from the definition found at Vocabulary.com.

I strive for perfection in my violin playing, knowing I will never achieve it.  Playing something in tune, rhythmically correct AND with dynamics, perfect?  When you are so nervous your hands are shaky and sweaty?  Not happening. I want my performance to be the best I have played it.  Concentration is a big part.  Being in the “Now”.  When you are there, it is heaven.  Nothing but what you are doing right now, no “little voices” saying “WRONG”, no husbands wondering what’s for dinner, no worrying about the audience, no future thinking and no past thinking.  Does that make sense?  I don’t even realize I am “there” until after the performance.

Don’t know if I have achieved this with sewing.  Maybe once or twice, when I look up and go, wow, it’s time for dinner!

During this high focus on the “now” I don’t worry about how perfect it is.  It just “is”.  I’ve never known it to be bad.  So instead of perfection, I’m looking for the focus on the present.  I would like to experience it more with sewing, and then I can look at my accuracy after and see if it’s better, same or worse.  I’ve said this before I’m not hung up on my accuracy in quilting, tho, I am working on it.  Especially when I do only one block, like for the birthday blocks in my bee.  I do sew a little straighter than I used to, so my quilts lay a little flatter.  I do tend to rip out and redo more than I used to.  But I really like riding a galloping horse.  Everything looks lovely from the back of a galloping horse!

God Bless!

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TaB Time Management

This week I have tried to time myself on the computer.  I’ve tried to stick to the task at hand, and not get pulled into FB posts.  It is a challenge.  I love FB, I love the games on FB, I love reading my friends posts, commenting and writing my own status updates….But sometimes I just need to go in post on the Guild group or page and get out, move on to the next task….Something inside me screams, WAIT, check the notifications, you have 50!  If I listen to this little voice, then 2 hours later, I am wondering where my time went, ha!

Isn’t it said somewhere that knowing is half the battle?  I have been able to post and get out of Facebook with out getting bogged down.  My secret?  Set up a time to check FB and the notifications.  Usually while I’m eating lunch or breakfast.

I did search time management tips.  I found one new thought.  The reason time management systems don’t work is because there is Real time…60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day….and there is the time you feel…sometimes it goes fast and others it goes slow.  I’m not sure I understand the significance of this.  When I am focused on the now and my task, time flies, but I’m able to get my task done in the allotted time or sooner.

Personally, I think time management systems fail, because they are geared toward a particular type of person.  If you fit that type, it works, if you don’t, you stop following the program and of course it stops working….The best thing for me is knowing where I spend my time.  Then deciding to keep spending it there or choose to something else.  My personality, likes breaks.  I get more done in 15 minute segments than I ever could in a 3 hour time slot.  I figured this out when I was practicing 6 to 8 hours a day.  I could practice for about 20 minutes, then I would need a break for a cigarette.  Yep, back in the day, I was a chain smoker.  I had to time myself between cigs and 20 minutes was about all I could last.  I had it bad.  Quitting was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I still miss them after having quit longer than I smoked.

Flylady.net opened a whole new world to me.  Declutter and clean your house in 15 minute intervals.  It worked.  Again, here is that small amount of time and accomplishing a lot in that small amount of time.  The key is focus and NO distractions.

Focus is easy, no distractions seems impossible with a husband who is home and a dog that doesn’t have his own door.  We are working on it!

God Bless!

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WAYWO Charity Quilts

12 String Pieced blocks for a Charity Quilt

12 String Pieced blocks for a Charity Quilt

Last week, my husband and I took a mini vacation.  2 nights and 3 days on a goat farm.  People who know me are going, Really?  You, on a farm?  Well, my husband SAID I would not have to “do” anything.  I could take my machine and puppy and sew while he did whatever.  He went to shoot a deer so we would have meat for the year.  We still have some from last kill, but not much.  I’m not happy with him doing this, but I am a carnivore and when I think about it,(I try not to) this is better than a slaughter house.  So I accept it.

I loaded up the truck, took along my charity quilt box

Strips, bobbins, paper and completed blocks, phone book

Strips, bobbins, paper and completed blocks, phone book

and sewing machine.  We drove up the drive and there were deer and antelope  running wild!  They were beautiful and I was sad.  We get to the house and there are cats everywhere.  You have to understand, my 70 pound puppy kills cats.  I am so worried, but the hosts and Don assure me the cats are tough and I need to worry more about Freckles getting hurt.  No cats were harmed this trip and Freckles escaped unscathed.  The owners had 2 dogs, a lab and a basset hound.  Both sweet as could be.  Freckles was a little afraid, but we managed fine.

Phone Book Pages cut to 8 and a quarter Empty Bobbins

Paper and bobbins

Paper, bobbins and strips is all you need.

Don got up and went hunting the next day.  I sewed blocks for my charity quilt.  They are string pieced blocks which require no brain power.  Just have to be sure the paper is covered and make sure the strips are pressed flat. Between going outside with Freckles to watch the goats…the baby goats were so cute!  There was one that was less than a day old…I got 12 blocks done. I had 11 done already.  6 more and I will have enough for a top.

On charity quilts, I empty bobbins, using partially filled bobbins for top and bottom thread.  I emptied SIX bobbins!  yea!  I’m not buying anymore bobbins.  I have plenty.

We came back home on the next day, all of us having wonderful memories of the goat farm.  This weekend, besides catching up on blog posts, I plan to quilt the Batik Challenge.  I need it for MQM when I show spirals.  Speaking of quilting, before we left I set up my basting table and basted the Batik challenge.Basting Table Batik Challenge Divided bating  I cut a king size bat into 4 equal parts.  Works great for smaller tops.  Also, the leftover batting from the Batik challenge I’ve set aside to measure and eventually use the basting tape to put together to use in a charity quilt.

This will be published on Wednesday, the day I go to bee.  I will have the Disappearing 4 patch done by then.  Hoping to have completed the Batik Challenge by then, too….A month early!

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?!

God bless!

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TFK Bernina Buttons

Moving right along, we are in Workbook 2.  Does anyone else feel like, uh?  I feel like I’m missing an important element with these workbooks.  Anyways….

Decorative Stitching.  If you have a sewing machine, chances are you at least have a zig zag stitch.  Zig Zag stitch is considered a decorative stitch.  Most of us have several decorative stitches that NEVER get used.  I have an idea, well a friend had an idea that she shared at one retreat.  Click HERE for her website.  It’s been so long ago, she probably does not remember she shared.  On a baby quilt, sew the binding onto the back of the quilt instead of the front.  Bring the binding to the front and use a decorative stitch to sew it down.  Baby Quilt, DONE and you get to try out a decorative stitch!  Just make sure you are using the correct foot!

When I was working on the next assignment, Securing Function, I realized I don’t know what all the buttons do on the front of my machine…

Function Buttons Start_Stop_Reverse Functions Right Side Speed Control Page 3

 

 

 

I started playing with my buttons.  The speed control is the slide button (pictured above, 4th pic).  Move it left and speed slows to a crawl.  Move it right and speed gets faster.  All the way to the right? ummm, not me.

The first picture above shows the black buttons on the left side of the machine.  They are below the speed control.

6 buttons on left side of machine

6 buttons on left side of machine

The top button on the left is the needle threader. (great little gadget).  Top right is pattern end.(more on this one later).  Center Left is the needle up/down.(It moves the needle into the up, out of fabric or down into fabric position.)  Center right, there it is the securing function button!(we’ll get to it in a minute.)  Bottom left is the presser foot up/down.  And last, on bottom right, is the button that will cut the threads.  I love this button when I’m doing a binding and making that corner…

Start/Stop and reverse

Start/Stop and reverse

To the right of the black buttons are these two buttons.  The one that is back lit green is what I called the no foot pedal button.  Bernina calls it the Start/Stop Button.  Press and hold, machine starts sewing.  Press again and machine stops.  Below it is the reverse button.  I think it does something else, but haven’t run across it yet….Hold this button while pressing the foot pedal and machine sews in reverse.

Stitch Width, Stitch Length and needle position.

Stitch Width, Stitch Length and needle position.

 

On the right side of the machine are the nobs.  The top one is the stitch width and the bottom one is the stitch length.  The two buttons below with a left arrow and a right arrow are the buttons that control the needle position.  Left button move needle left, right button move needle right.

To the left of those nobs are the screen buttons.  These buttons control what you see on the screen.  The ones to the right of the screen, the black ones, I haven’t looked into very much.  The ones ON the screen and blue are the stitches.  We’ve talked about these a little.  Families of stitches, straight, the wiggly is the decorative, the “A” is the alphabet, below that is the button hole, the heart is where you can store your FAVORITE stitches, and below that is the history of stitches.  It keeps the last different 24 stitches.

Now that we’ve covered the buttons on the machine, next time we will start with the securing function and take those buttons for a spin!

God Bless!

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MQM Waves

[sigh], I’ve decided to not do the videos anymore.  I struggle to get them to be natural.  I will use my music goals to help me be more comfy with video.  I will use drawings and arrows to show you how to do the quilting motifs.

Waves are a great border motif.  They can be big, small, varying sizes and they can be all one way, which makes it a great border motif.  It’s easy.  Trust me.  One tip, is to start the motif at the bottom of the wave.

Start at bottom left, curve up and to the left, come back around, curve in and then out to the right for the next wave.

Start at bottom left, curve up and to the left, come back around, curve in and then out to the right for the next wave.

Easy.  Take a breath and do the next wave.  You could start from the right and make the crest of the wave in the other direction.  You can make the depth of the wave larger.  The possibilities are numerous for this motif.  Below is a continuation of the border waves and my Tiki Dreaming wall hanging which uses this motif in the borders.

Tiki Dreaming Side Border

Tiki Dreaming Side Border

Continue motif along the border.

Continue motif along the border.

On the right is my Tiki Island Dreaming wall hanging.  I used the wave motif in the border and in reverse appliqué beneath the star fish “sun”.

Close up of the waves. I used metallic thread! It was so fun.

Close up of the waves. I used metallic thread! It was so fun.

Here is the FINISHED work!

Tiki Dreaming!

Tiki Dreaming!

Hope this format works for you.  I will be happy to answer any questions that may come up when you try this motif.  Happy Quilting!

God Bless!

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FFF Technology

The word for today is TECHNOLOGY.  Why, because I was struggling with it today.  grrrrr.  Technology is grand when it works and not so much when it doesn’t.  Music was my first love, computers were my second.  I do have an Associate Degree in Computer Tech.  The teachers taught us how to read and understand the manuals.  I think this is why I’m a “learn on my own” type.

I remember being so afraid I would break something, or crash the system.  Over time that fear went away.  I have crashed several systems in my day, but I’ve also been able to bring them back up to where they were.  I miss being a computer operator, it was one of my favorite jobs.  It was a lot of processes and that is why I loved it so much.

Today my printer would not talk with my laptop.  I just wanted one little document to print.  And then to connect to a different network, it was so archaic.  Scroll thru the letters to pick each one?  Give me a break.  Well, with my husband’s help we got it figured out.  Technology requires a lot of patience!  I think more than any other field, except maybe parenting.  I get frustrated with practice, I get aggravated with sewing, but Technology, I get just plain angry.  I mean, you know what you want it to do.  You think you know how to make it happen and wham, nope that doesn’t work.  So back to the drawing board.  Repeat, repeat, and repeat.  Come to find out, it’s some little switch that needed to be in a certain position.

So, if I had read all the details, and looked at every part, I would have seen this and avoided ALL the hassle.  To me that is what is so frustrating.  It’s my error.  User Error.  Computers rarely mess up with out the aid of humans.  That’s why I love them.  They do exactly what you say, when you say.  The problem is saying EXACTLY what you want done and when.

Have you had any computer issues, lately?

God Bless!

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TaB One Month In

One month in and I’m feeling fantastic!  I’m learning my Bernina 880, I’m helping my guild, I’m enjoying the challenges of my bee, I’m more limber, my skin is no longer dry and cracked, I have a quartet scheduled to come play at my house one Sunday, well 3 people plus me, and the habits I need to keep my house clean and tidy are working.  I played a fantastic concert earlier this month and am still high from the performance.  I am so looking forward to the quartet playing.

The video try was a bust, but I will continue to try that with my music.  My routines are going pretty good.  I haven’t really put sewing into the routine, the day seems to go too fast.  I REALLY love to sleep and getting out of bed before daylight is against my religion.(not really.)  But, now I’m of the age where early bedtime is more appealing.  But do I really NEED 9 to 10 hours sleep?  Maybe I do, because if I don’t get it, I usually end up taking a nap sometime during the day….So where do the other 14 hours go?

I do have a husband that prefers eating to starving.  Dinner seems to take up 1 to 3 hours, depending on what we are having.  Luckily, if it’s good he doesn’t mind leftovers.  Then there is the walk with my dog. It’s actually quite pleasant most days, if my feet aren’t hurting.  The good days are happening more than the bad days.  We spend about an hour walking, it is also part of my health goals.  That leaves at least 10 hours.  What am I doing that makes it disappear so fast?

Well practice can take up to 4 hours on a concert week, since I’ve only had one concert I would say I spend about 1 hour a day practicing.  I devote an hour every day to my blog/business.  Also, since more responsibilities with the guild, I’m spending an hour or more with guild business.

By my calculations, I should have at least 7 hours to do something else.  Oh yeah, email, FaceBook, getting lost on the computer…at least an hour a day, sometime 2 or 3…It’s hard to judge, because it gets combined into my blog/business/guild time.  Well, that should give me 4 to sew.  But then, there’s let the dog out, let the dog in, answer this call, call this person…yadda, yadda, yadda.

I know we all have 24 hours.  I know I could accomplish more with a little bit better time management.  I think the place to start is the rabbit hole called a computer.  When I am on the computer, I need to be doing a specific task, not just browsing, checking emails, playing games, WASTING TIME.  Down time is necessary, but I don’t need 3 HOURS of down time, do I?

February, I’m going to focus on improving my time management skills.  oooo, let me go look it up on the computer!  haha!  (I’m a geek at heart!)  Do you have any tips for improving Time Management?

God Bless!

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WAYWO Batik Challenge

Bee Challenge from a ripping party!

Bee Challenge from a ripping party!

This is a Batik Challenge that my bee did, or is doing.  It’s due in March.  I’m as pleased as punch it is this far along!  I’ve kind of nicknamed myself “Procrastinating Mary”.  Well, that is a-changing!

Last November, we each brought a yard of batik.  I went off and forgot mine, and my good friend, Jane came to the rescue!  God bless her.  Anyway, we fold in half, snip and then rip. Drop one half and pass the other to our right.  Then take the piece you get, fold in half, snip and rip.  Drop one piece and pass the other.  This goes on until you have just a small rectangle of fabric.

Our challenge is to make a baby quilt at least 36″ x 36″ with this fabric.  I went to Pinterest and looked at different quilts.  I was looking for simple blocks and I’m sorry I don’t remember what I searched.  But I saw this red and white “brick” quilt.  So I based my design on that picture.  Pinterest is a great place for ideas, but it’s a rabbit hole I try to avoid.  I get lost in the computer already.

This little top is 36 1/2″ x 36 1/2″.  I am happy it came out right!  Maybe my 1/4″ is FINALLY becoming consistant.  I had to focus on it, but it usually doesn’t come out so even….The top is also very flat, which hasn’t happened before.  My seams are straight!  My sewing is improving.  I’m hoping yours will too,(if you need it to).

Now all I need is a small border.  I’m thinking a finished 3″ purple border and yellow piping will work nicely.

Purple border and yellow piping

Purple border and yellow piping

I’ve done piping before and I know a few tips.  Pin, Pin, Pin, did I say Pin?  It is so easy for the little piping to slide away from the needle.  I thought about mitering, but, nah.  I’m trying to be simple.  I used a yellow cornerstone, same as fabric as the piping, but I didn’t want the piping to cross.  I sewed the left and right borders with the piping, and pressed.  Looked good, sorry, no pic.  I lined up the purple border and the piping like I was going to sew on top, then added the corner stone and sewed a seam.  It worked!  Piping and seam on correct sides.  Now the other side,  Me and figuring, not so good.  Earlier, I had been working on Shoe Box Challenge and it was a challenge…nothing seemed to work, cut wrong fabric with wrong template….didn’t come out the right size….you get the idea.  Sure enough, I measured, I subtracted the cornerstones, I added the quarter inch, the other side did not match up with the top.  AARGH!  Well my handy dandy little ripper ripped that seam and I eye-balled it.  Lined the border up with the top.  Where cornerstone started, I cut border 1/4″ inch longer.  Lined up the piping, added the cornerstone and sewed the seam.  Right there at the machine.  Should have taken some pictures…Worked out PERFECT!

Top with cornerstone and piping

Top with cornerstone and piping

Yesterday, I also got the first Birthday Block done that is due February 3!  Today, I’m hoping to get this top and one other basted, and if I’m lucky the blocks for my bee’s 2017 Auction Quilt for our Guild’s Quilt show….Did someone say Procrastinate?  NOT ME!!!!

 

Don’t you just LOVE the process of quilting?

 

God Bless!

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TFK Zipper

Zipper Foot I used the Bernina 4D, 2, 4" x 8" rectangles of fabric, 7" zipper

Zipper Foot I used the Bernina 4D, 2 4 x 8 rectangles of fabric, 7″ zipper

Ooooo, I get frustrated with this workbook.  So I used my Bernina Manual along with the workbook.  I was able to understand a little better.  The manual by itself leaves a lot of questions for someone who knows nothing about sewing.  Just the preparation…close seam to the zipper beginning? uh?  OH!  They mean to sew a seam to where the zipper top will be.(got that from the workbook)  As well as, the 3/4″ seam allowance.

So here’s what you do.  Sew a 3/4″ seam about 2 inches, Secure the stitches, backtack or sew back over the stitches. (about 3 stitches).  Use the basting stitch (it’s a choice in the Straight Stitch Family) or increase the stitch length.  I did this because I was done with the project when I discovered the basting stitch. ha!  “Baste” the rest of the way down the fabric.  Press the seam open.

Sew 2" inches in then baste rest of way down fabric.

Sew 2″ inches in then baste rest of way down fabric.

Now here is where there is a big difference in instruction between the two books.  Align the zipper with the seam and pin or baste to seam allowances only.  The manual just says to pin or baste the zipper in place so that the fabric folded edges meet over the center of the zipper. uh?  The workbook doesn’t say anything about moving the needle position and when I tried to sew, my Brigetta, God bless her wouldn’t let me.  Good thing, I would have broken a needle.  So then I switched to the manual and dropped the workbook like a hot potato!

Press Seam open and align zipper to seam.

Press Seam open and align zipper to seam.

Move needle position to right.  ????  Took me forever to find the needle position control  I knew it was there.  It is on the right at the bottom.  Left and right arrows.

Left and right arrows move the needle either L or R.

Left and right arrows move the needle either L or R.

 

 

 

 

Start at top left position, sew down to base of zipper, needle down, lift foot turn project, sew across base of zipper, turn project, sew back up to top.

Wow! A zipper.  Once I knew the jargon and what they were trying to tell me, easy peasey.

Zipper!

Zipper!

Hope you enjoy this foreign language we are learning…Bernina, or Seamstress.

God Bless!

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MQM Ribbon Candy Quilted

Pencil practice on the Ribbon Candy motif

Pencil practice on the Ribbon Candy motif

I’ve been practicing my drawing of ribbon candy and now I’m ready to give it a go on the machine!  In drawing it I discovered a couple of things.  It looks better when I focus on bringing the line in and out, instead of trying to make the two sides match.  Also, the wide part does not need to be large, it looks better and is easier to make the effect if you don’t make it “fat”.  The biggest thing, I’ve learned, and I knew this, but take a step or two back from the work.  Look at the whole shape, in this case edge to edge.

I’m still nervous about making videos, so bare with me please.  I’ve learned when I show the design with my hand, I need to use my right hand.  I do these without rehearsing, so my lapses in speaking are my brain trying to figure out what I’m saying.  I’m hoping this gets easier over time.  If not, then, I guess I will have to Practice!

Click HERE to see the video.

Have you tried the ribbon candy?

God Bless!

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