Today was truly awesome, even if I did finish it with a little 100.1 fever.
The past few days have been cold and rainy, which was especially miserable since we were teased with 70 and 80 degree days earlier in the week. Today’s forecast was 70! We took advantage of this and skipped our usual Tumble Gym class with our 18 month old daughter, and went to Pullen Park instead. On the way there we picked up some goodies at Caribou Coffee’s drive through for a picnic snack (well, for the adults it was breakfast really). It was a bit chilly at first, but it wasn’t long before the clouds had disappeared and we were shedding our jackets.
Pullen is a wonderful park that was completely overhauled a few years ago, so everything is still pretty shiny and new. They have a section for preschoolers, and the best thing about that is the play area surface is made of this spongy solid material. The playground in our neighborhood is covered in something akin to mulch, which is apparently quite tasty. So, it was nice to be able to let her run without worrying too much about what she would be putting in her mouth. Even though our daughter is still a bit young to really get the playground thing, she had fun running around and exploring everything. Well, except for the swings. She totally freaked out about the swings. Which surprised me since last time we tried them with her she seemed pretty indifferent to the experience. Maybe she was just tired or disliked being restrained when there were much more interesting things to do. Despite the swing incident though, it was a lovely way to start the day.
After our morning at the park, I was off to my 1:00 long arm class at Thread Waggle Quilting. I really enjoyed it! The way she does things is a bit different from what I was taught at My Sewing Shoppe when I did their long arm class. At MSS they attach both the quilt back and top to the frame with zippers, stretching everything taught. At TWQ only the back was attached with zippers, and the top was simply floated on top of the batting. The bars also were not keeping the fabric taught like when I was using the Gammill at MSS. TWQ said that keeping the fabric taught would lead to tension issues, and I must admit that the tension was way wonky with what I did last time. I also liked the APQS machines better than the Gammill. Even though the rental fee is $5 more an hour here, I think I will be doing all my future long arming at TWQ… aside from the free time I still have waiting for me at MSS of course. TWQ also includes the top thread in the rental price as long as you buy the pre-wound bobbins ($3 each) from them. So that is a pretty good deal I think. Plus, if you are willing to pay an extra $25, they have a “valet service” where you can simply drop off your quilt top, backing, and zippers and they will pin everything up for you and have the whole thing on the frame ready and waiting for you when you get there.
Another really awesome thing about TWQ is that the owner is part of a sewing guild that has tons of charity quilts in need of quilting. This means free practice time! In the class today there was one other student, and we each chose to practice on charity quilts rather than bringing our own in. The quilt you see in the photos was not pieced by me, and I honestly don’t know which charity it was going to since it wasn’t tagged. The other quilt was going to SAFEchild though, which is a charity that gives quilts to children in traumatic situations for comfort (for example, policemen or social workers might carry some around with them and they would let a child choose a quilt).
Since I am a complete newb I just went with a basic meander. I think the best approach at learning long arm will be for me to start out with meanders like this until I have a good grasp of the “path” the quilting needs to take. When you are free motion quilting on a long arm, it goes pretty quickly. You have to always be aware of where you are, where you have been, and where you are going with your stitches. If you aren’t aware of these things you could easily find your self stuck in a place you can’t escape without crossing stitches, and then of course there is spacing and everything else to consider. It feels like something my brain will have to get accustomed to. Perhaps I should pick up a sketchbook and just practice drawing meanders, and later other designs, to get a better feel for it.
My quilting is nothing special, just a huge meander. At least it isn’t awful though. I really hope I can find time to do more charity quilts soon. I would love to be there practicing a few times a week, but that just isn’t possible between work and family. I am going to shoot for once a month right now, preferably twice. Once I am a bit more comfortable I will brave quilting one of my own. The plan is to start with charity quilts, then do Japanese Water Garden, and eventually Elegance.
After all that I was feeling a bit wiped out, but thought it was just because I was lacking food and I had been on my feet all day and it was now 4:00. So, I headed home with a couple stops along the way to pick up something to eat and some cold meds for my husband. (yup, as it turns out, I caught his cold) When I got home there were a couple packages waiting for me in the mailbox. One was from Hancock’s of Paducah, which contained the Hiroshima needles I had ordered for myself and my Reddit gift exchange match. These included some appliqué and embroidery needles for myself, and some tapestry (cross stitch) needles for my match.
My Reddit match was in search of good needles and mentioned wanting Halloween patterns. So, hopefully she will be happy with what I chose. I really wish I could have gotten her all of the materials needed for the pattern, but $60 worth of thread and linen is simply not in the budget right now. I want to send it out as quickly as possible, but I also am still trying to decide if there is something more I can include with it. Tomorrow I need to pick up a mailer for it, and see if I can’t find something else fun to toss in. (Update: I also included a needle book I made)
The second package was from my Reddit Santa! My Santa’s name could be used for a male, but I am going to assume female and use that pronoun. Apologies if that is incorrect! This exchange could not have been better! I was totally not expecting to get half as many things, let alone for them all to be this awesome. Apparently Reddit had let them know that my first (and only) gift exchange ended up with me getting rematched because my original Santa didn’t send me a gift. My new Santa included a nice note that said she wanted to make this an extra special exchange because of that. She succeeded!
Not only did she send me a Primitive Gatherings mini quilt pattern and template that has been on my wish list for a while, but she also sent a cute little kit and pattern for a hand embroidered/appliqued mat that includes beads. It’s like she can read my mind. I have been wanting for a small hand work project lately, and have been wanting to try beadwork too. I am so happy to add this little quilt pattern to my stash, and I am also eager to get to work on that little mat. Bonus, the mat is the perfect way to try out my new needles! Unfortunately it will have to wait a bit though, I have taken a few nights off from sewing lately and now I have some catching up to do with Flower Patch and I still need to do my BOM blocks too. As soon as those are done though, I plan to rip open that kit!
In addition to that awesomeness, she also sent a few handmade gifts. Those included a set of three adorable zippered pouches made by her mom. They have the most darling floral print for the exterior, and cute kitties for the interior with a clear front panel. Lovely! These will be perfect for carrying around my little felt mat project. And as if all that wasn’t enough, she also included the cutest button bracelet and a watch with a wrap around band made from a measuring tape. I am honestly a bit stunned out how great this exchange turned out!! Santa, if you are reading this, thank you so much!! I really love every bit of it.