Friday, July 31, 2015

Feeling Frustrated...

I miss my Baby Lock Serenade...  It went in for a tune-up/cleaning six weeks ago!  Turns out it needs some special part... that coupled with the fact that they have discontinued the Serenade model means that I am still waiting.  

When we called on Monday to the inquire the status of the order of said part we were informed that it would likely be another six weeks!  A phone call to HQ soon followed..."This is unacceptable!" was the statement made by my husband to someone at Baby Lock.

Phones started ringing and conversations started... Between us and the repair shop, and between the repair shop and HQ and the Sales Rep. They quickly wanted to correct the situation by offering me a new machine (Melody model) to replace my Serenade.  Sounded like a great deal! Until I started looking up the cost of the Melody... Turns out I can purchase the Melody for 60% less than what I paid for my Serenade 4 years ago!

How is this fair?!?  I already passed over the Melody when I was machine shopping.  And since the problem is likely an issue with the mother board of the machine (yep, there is a chance that the part that is on back order is not really the solution at all) it is still under warranty and they MUST replace it.

Ugh!  Feeling frustrated. Has anyone else had such serious issues with their Baby Lock machines?  The Serenade specifically?

In the mean time, I have been busy in my studio creating 12 inch blocks... I have 27 out of 40 done and have a plan for a few more specific blocks... and then I will be hitting my block patterns digging a little deeper.  

I also got the additional borders on one of the quilts that needed to be made larger.

I chose to use some very special fabric from Indonesia that had been given to me on this very special MS quilt (the orange flowers and dark green leaves are a great complement to the original top) as well as the perfect orange batik style to accent the oranges used in the quilt.  I am thinking that a forest green binding will tie everything together just perfectly.

All in all, it was a pretty good week!  Productive, despite the fact that I am sewing on my back up machine!  When I do get my machine back or get an upgrade I will be spending lots and lots of time quilting... Current count of tops ready? Three.  By the time we get the machine situation straightened out? Hopefully seven!

Have a pleasant weekend!  And remember, let me know if you have had a bad experience with BL and how you resolved it.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Tisket, A Tasket, I Found A Basket!

I have done all I can on the Broken Star Quilt at this point... I am waiting on the final section of the star to arrive as well as the backing.

Today I get to work on a different project... Last year I had made and donated several blocks for QuiltBlocks for MS.  Never Forget... The blocks had been made in memory of the daughter of a dear friend.  Sadly she lost her battle at an age far too young and left behind her husband and four girls.  My friend had the opportunity to purchase two of the quilts that had Tracy's picture on them.


The request has been to make the two throw-size quilts larger and to make two more in a similar fashion - scrappy/sampler style.

In one of the recent "feedings" from a retired quilter I acquired some partially finished blocks.  

There was one citrus fruit basket complete...

And three pieced baskets...

and all of the additional applique pieces to finish the baskets...

These blocks are the perfect start to the two additional orange/green MS quilts!  While I am not a real fan of applique (especially hand applique), I did enjoy finishing one of the blocks last night (and it didn't take nearly as long as I had thought it would!).  I'll be prepping the two additional blocks for some hand applique... something to do while relaxing in the evening.


In addition to the basket blocks, each quilt will have a photo block of Tracy...  

I have to come up with 20 blocks for each quilt... two fruit baskets and a photo block... only 17 more each.  I don't feel the quilts can have the same blocks since the original tops are so different from each other... 

I guess I will be digging through my block of the month patterns. Fun!

Help me pick out blocks... What blocks would you include?

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Feeding Quilters

Recently I have received an assortment of items... 

Some notions and thread arrived in the mail last week.

I can certainly use the seam binding for the purses that I make and the hem tape/lace and ribbon can be used on the hanky bonnets that I make... Nothing will be wasted!

Yesterday... Ah!  What a wonderful and peaceful day it was!  While I didn't get to spend a great deal of time in my sewing room yesterday, it was a day spent getting to know some new friends, enjoying a massage and then a yummy lunch while catching up with a long-time friend.  

And when it was all done I had unexpectedly inherited a large bin about half full of 1-1/2 inch strips of scraps!

and an assortment of larger cuts... mostly in a new color pallet than I would typically choose for myself (I tend to veer away from the reds/oranges).

Near the end of the conversation I had mentioned that I love a good challenge in taking others UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) and making them a blend of their work and mine... And this is what I got!

I am super excited about this one!

This practice of passing along the no longer wanted UFOs and fabrics is what I refer to as "Feeding the Quilter".  For those of us that love to sew or make quilts often have what could be seen as a real problem...

As much as I loved looking at the variety of fabric styles and prints while dreaming of the quilts that could be made with them I exercised some self-control and packed them away and went back to the Rainbow Broken Star quilt...

It is progressing quite well!

I need one more section of diamonds (near the top) and the remaining setting blocks.  The backing fabric has been ordered and is on its way.  I will then be ready to quilt it... However, my Babylock has not yet received the pulse motor that is required to regulate the tension.  (this makes me quite sad!)

So when I have done all of the piecing I can do on this one with my Brother Boutique I will move on to working on another quilt... (Have I mentioned that I am never comfortable with projects left undone?) I Have a Problem!

Happy sewing!

See what other quilters are talking about at

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lovin' a Good Challenge!

When I started the Broken Star Quilt I had no idea that I would encounter challenge after challenge...

It all started with the pre-cut pieces being various sizes.  Kits are supposed to be helpful

After deciding to not be overly attentive to making sure that I had precise points (because the puckers were worse than the mis-matched points) that brought me the challenge of getting the center to lay flat.  How to fix a broken star

Problem solved!

I am moving forward in piecing the additional 16 points needed only to discover another challenge... and sadly the only resolution to this problem is to do some un-stitching. **sigh**

The top diamond is one that came to me already assembled... the lower one is one that I completed...

The first one is substantially smaller... Below, the smaller one is placed on top of mine.

I have no choice but to un-sew the already assembled diamonds... I needed something to do this weekend, anyway. 

I have all of the colors spread out, in order (or so I thought), on my sewing table... I noticed that the dark purple stack was getting much smaller than some of the others... *Sigh* *Hangs head*  I had the light and dark purple positions mixed up!

More time with the seam ripper to correct the problem.  At least I only had two diamonds completely sewn together!  It was actually a really quick and easy correction and all is good.

I am just hopeful that, after 30 years of this kit moving from place to place and person to person, no pieces are missing.  THAT would just be the icing on the cake.

I do love a good challenge!  And this project has brought me several.  In the end I will be able to check off an item on my "Quilting Bucket List"!

What is on your bucket list?

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Run Back and Say Thank You!

Wednesday was a work day for me... For those that don't know... I am a receptionist for an oral surgeon that travels to Trinidad every other Wednesday... Many of the work days are packed with appointments with not much time for any of us (myself, the two assistants or the Dr.) to get a break even for lunch.  

Early this week I had spent some time in prayer for the "work day"- that it would run smoothly and that the patients would be calm.  And the day was just that, busy! But smooth and fairly calm...  I wrapped things up said my good-byes and went home.

While at worship team practice that night we were working on learning a new song - Forever Reign.  The leader uses a drum machine to add some depth to the song.  We were hammering out some harmonies and timings... and then we started again, at the top... we get going and the leader brings in the drum machine... at a much slower rhythm than all of us had expected and it brought the song to an almost slow motion kind of thing...  We all chuckled...

But in that moment, I saw my day, was reminded that I had asked for God's intervention on the day, to bring smooth and calm, and that I hadn't slowed down to acknowledge and thank Him for His hand in it...

And it made me think... How many times do I do this?  I daily try to have an attitude of gratitude, but do I remember to run back to Him and offer thanks and praise for His part in the situations I ask Him to help in?  

Another image flashes to mind... A small child receiving a toy, with great excitement.  They cannot wait to go play with it... they run off and then quickly come running back to the giver, with arms open, gives a big hug, says "thank you" and then runs off again.  

The words of the song we are learning speak of just that... "Oh, I'm running to Your arms, I'm running to Your arms. The riches of Your love will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace..."

So, for today, I will be saying "Thank you"... recalling the many requests that I have made, offering thanks and praise and asking for continued blessings as I work on an interesting "Rainbow Broken Star" quilt

Thursday, July 9, 2015

How To Fix A Broken Star

Ok, so on Sunday I posted about the Rainbow Broken Star kit... If you haven't read it, you can find it here...  Kits Are Supposed to be Helpful

After assembling the first two diamonds and working very carefully to match seams to get nice points, I was frustrated again.  I decided that the points that didn't match perfectly were better than the puckers that resulted by trying to force them to match. 

When I simply went with the 1/4" dog ears on each end of the diamonds, amazingly, they matched up quite well, better than I had anticipated and by the end of the day I had eight points done.  I was curious about how they were going to come together in the center since I knew the diamonds were a little wonky because of the kit pieces not all being a consistent size.

I trimmed them up a tad and then started joining them.  The person for whom I am finishing this quilt wanted black filler blocks.  I joined them all up and was stunned at the beauty!

I was also surprised that there was not a bigger problem in the center than there was... 

There was a pucker, 

but I knew how I would tame it.

On a flat surface, and looking at the backside of the top, I took inventory of the situation.  I removed the stitches from the vertical and the horizontal seams...

I adjusted the seam depth with long straight pins until it laid flat.  I did this with all four seams and then I flipped the top over to view it from the top...

It looked pretty good, but there was still a little pucker... I adjusted, re-pinned and pressed until I was satisfied...

My final result?

And that, my friend, is how you fix a Broken Star!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Kits... supposed to be helpful... Right?

Somebody recently sent me a kit for a Rainbow colored Broken Star Quilt that had been purchased and started 30 years ago...

This pattern is one that I have always admired and thought "someday I will do one... Someday..."

It has all of the pre-cut diamonds necessary... all 1,152 of them!  As I unpacked the kit I saw that there were already 8 diamond points assembled.  Cool!  Only 24 more needed...

I had also noticed that some of the assembled diamonds were "wonky". 

As I looked closely I thought it was simply a problem with inconsistent seams causing the points to not line up and make funky edges (like in the 2nd picture).

At first I had planned on using the original 8 points for the center of the quilt, thus allowing the original sewer to say that she had done the center star.  As I began to join them it became obvious that the wonkiness of the diamonds was going to be an issue. 

So I decided it would be better to sprinkle them through out the quilt top and began assembling the 24 additional diamonds.

I had all of the colors laid out in the proper order and started sewing... following the instructions provided I noticed that not all of the pieces lined up with 1/4" points over hanging, as shown in the directions...

If I flipped the piece it would fit better... up until the lavender, purple and blue.

When I placed one piece over the other it was evident that this was where the problem was!

I finished assembling rows and did a little trimming and I think it will be ok... but quite honestly... at this point I am just frustrated!

Kits... They are supposed to be helpful... as the one page of instructions (yes, JUST one page!) states - "save tedious time cutting"... One would expect that the pre-cut pieces are accurate!

Someday I will go back to this... Someday soon, (probably tomorrow) just not today!  I'm frustrated and not in the right frame of mind... I think I will go sit and watch some mindless tv.  I know that tomorrow will be a be a better day!

Have a blessed week!

See what other quilters are doing at Quilter Blogs