Showing posts with label 2017. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2017. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

On another Note....

I am still trying to figure things out over here at I Have a Notion.... mostly a schedule... or at least a general idea of a plan... but since my life has never really had a schedule, with the exception of when I worked I had to at least show up on time and stay until quitting time! Beyond that I fit housekeeping, cooking, laundry, and/or computer issues in as needed or required. I still do that now and I try to remain flexible. About the only "regular" schedule I have these days is sleep and feeding the dogs on a fairly regular basis. After that all bets are off...

I also seem to have many once in awhile obligations that make me shift back and forth.... almost weekly. This week is no different. There is a mini retreat later this week (basically a one day sewing event) where you are fed. I am the organizer, so I have to come up with the plan and the food for the day. I plan to cook for the ladies... (the last 2 times we had a delicious sandwich and salad bar) so something different will be required this time!!! I was hoping the weather would cooperate so I could make soup and have it simmer on the stove all morning, but we are not yet that cool in Kentucky, so plan B will be implemented. Homemade Pizza.

As you see by the last post... I was thinking about talking about some of the tools of the trade, (I don't have the regular Chrome needles yet, but I will, Please please please be patient... with me), especially some of the newer innovations that make our time spent creating so much more effective...  Speaking of creating, I finally got back into my creative space.... the last couple of days. Usually when I have had to change gears.... and step away from the daily opportunity to make a mess, I mean create, I start by doing a bit of cleaning or reorganizing and then dive in. I cleared off the table of things I didn't need or generally has its own place in the Creative Space, and then I got busy. I had 2 baby quilt to get done. ONE is late!!! and the other still has a few months before it will be needed.

I got out the box of Baby Quilt Fabrics, it sounds like so much more, but it is just a plastic shoe box and only contains a few bright tone on tone prints and some scraps of black and white fabrics. I try to keep all the black, white and bright stuff together and in the box I also found some quarter blocks I started in Virginia (before spring of 2015!) and a stack of leftover Disappearing 9 -Patch blocks. Now fair warning these may make your eyes hurt... I generally make black and white quilts for babies these days, because their brains are still forming and connections are still being made.... and this colorway is very stimulating. So without further warning... bright is next.

Baby Quilt for Baby D!



and

Baby Quilt for Baby N!


I plan to quilt them on the Longarm with a flannel back for warmth and softness, and that will be next week?????

What are you creating.... this week.

More Later- Beth

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tuesday Tool- Machine Needles

I think we should talk about tools. Not the workbench kind, but the type that help us ‘craft’ better. I have often taken something I heard to heart and continue along my merry way, only to discover that it is or was an old wives tale, the information was based on a completely false interpretation of information or that technology has improved so much the past information or beliefs have been made obsolete.

Let’s take needles for instance, technology has made so many changes and advancements that they are almost new again.

There was a time…. When Singer was the ‘standard to meet or beat’ when it came to sewing machines, and then in the 70’s Bernina came to the fore… and depending on your favorite machine, may still be for you. But it doesn’t matter which machine you choose to use, if you are not using a -pick one- “good”  “correct” “right” “sharp” needle for your project; your machine stitches will not be great!

Depending on what you are sewing you may need a specialty needle and there are plenty of those out there, but I think we need to start at the beginning with what I call my “daily driver”… the needle most often found in my machine. But before we get specific, maybe a little needle anatomy should come first.
Needle Anatomy courtesy of Sew Essentials.co.uk

There are 4 major parts to a needle… that we as stitchers need to consider. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Shank –the part that fits up into your machine, if you are using a domestic sewing machine it will have a flat side, that most often placed in the machine with the flat side at the back to make fitting and centering the needle fool-proof. If you are using a longarm or industrial sewing machine the shank is round and you have to center the eye of the needle visually. In all machines the needle should be inserted all the way in/up and well tightened, (but not ‘man’ tight).

The Shaft of the needle, which is between the Shank and ‘eye’ and has the Groove, that runs up and down on the front of the needle. The groove helps guide the thread from the machine to the eye of the needle to make a stitch. Sometimes specialty threads need a larger groove to flow freely and without difficulty. This is also the area that determines the size of the hole the needle leaves behind. The size of a needle is also important, as it makes the hole and carries the thread through the fabric. A rule of thumb for needle size, the bigger the number the bigger the needle 100/16 is a big needle and will make a big hole, the 70/10 is much finer. A note about the numbers the smaller number is the US needle size and the larger number is the European size, which number is listed first is not important.

The next part is the ‘Eye’ of the needle and as you may have guessed by now if
Picture courtesy Schmetz Needle
I am pointing it out, also plays a huge role in thread progression from spool to stitch. Too small and it will shred or break the thread, causing headaches and frustration especially with some of the specialty threads. There are several needles that are the same circumference as any other, but the “eye” is where the difference is.  The Topstitch needle eye is larger to accommodate larger threads, an Embroidery needle has an extra-large eye to help keep thread from shredding and a Metallic needle often has a Teflon coating to help the metallic threads move through the eye. Basically if the eye is too small the thread will have a difficult time moving through the eye smoothly, causing all kinds of problems.

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia
Lastly the point of the needle, it is the part that pierces the fabric and carries the needle all the way through so that the needle can make a stitch. Too big and it may leave a large hole, too flat as in a ballpoint it may pull threads in the fabric… or a dull needle can also cause very similar difficulties. For a long while the Universal Needle was recommended, since the point was sharp for woven fabrics but not too pointy for knits or stretchy type fabrics and is generally a considered an all-purpose needle. These days for most of the thread use in the quilt making process a Sharp is most often recommended, it pierces the fabric layers easily and carries the thread through a well-made hole.

Another aspect that has changed the needle is technology. We used to only be able to get a hardened steel needle coated in chrome. When they come out of the package they are bright shiny and sharp, but after about 8 hours of stitching the point starts to dull and is recommended to be changed. But now we have Titanium coated needles, (which does make them a bit stronger), but more importantly it helps protect the point and does a much better job of dissipating the heat we may generate when stitching fast.  The strength it gives the point allows you to sew with the same needle up to 3 to 5 times longer than a chrome plated needle, it is smoother and is cooler to the touch after sewing. Which when you compare the cost is a much better value!

So what needle can you find in my machine most days? The Titanium Topstitch 80/12 or 90/14 for general sewing. I have found that the longer life of Titanium needle make them my go to needle for all sewing, whether Free Motion Quilting, Free Motion Embroidery, Decorative Stitches or general piecing or seaming, especially when combined with many of the newer specialty threads.
The correct needle, with the right point and eye will help your machine make the most beautiful stitches and the best needle will carry your threads with ease. For convenience, Titanium Needles in a 10 needle pack can now be found at IHAN and if you really prefer the ‘chrome plated steel’ needles you can find those as well at IHAN, also in a 10 needle pack. (edit.... chrome is not yet available, but will be soon!)

What is your favorite needle and why?

As Always More Later!  Beth



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Once again .... its a Time thing. What gets done and what doesn't is often less of a choice than there just isn't any more minutes in the day!!! Do you ever run into that?

I have still been having some computer issues, but finally I think I have it figured out. It was one or both of my Photo programs... both have been banished from the computer.... for the time being, but it also means that editing pictures is now a bigger difficulty other than just not liking to do it, it also means that getting the pictures off the camera... is not possible! (I hate the way Windows handle photographs.)

I had a great time in Paducah and had my first opportunity to explore the town since moving to Kentucky. Paducah was supposed to be our move destination in Kentucky, but for some reason we couldn't find a house that would work for us. Oh well, we're close.

To fill the time between Fall Paducah and now... one of the local quilt guilds I belong to held our annual quilt show. I have a large job and a major responsibility on the show committee, so I was a busy bee...helping to set up/hang, work and then of course the take down/clean up, and I also manned the "I Have a Notion" booth. It wasn't a big space. It was the debut...

While in Paducah I stumbled upon a quilt auction and brought home a quilt. Old and a bit worn, each piece was stitched with 1/8 in seams, so some weren't holding together very well. It is a bit brighter than the larger picture shows, as you can see but the photo above. I discovered that the batting was a threadbare blanket. Someone had at one time attempted to make some repairs and I continued with just enough stitches to hold the bits together, long enough to longarm it all together. It was also tied, so once loaded, I snipped the ties. The quilting I added was nothing special, I only paid $12 for the quilt and I had planned to use it as a table cover.... I love the 30's prints and that green that says vintage quilt...  The other table has one of my other fun finds... some flower basket blocks that I pulled together for a longarm practice quilt. But I have another vintage Grandmothers Flower Garden planned for larger booth needs. I think quilty things always look great with quilts on the table.

Yeah I know not too exciting and quite frankly I am looking forward to some quiet... time hanging around the house and not doing too much for a few days! HA!!! I'm going to keep dreaming.

More Later-Beth


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Visitors and Travel

Well I thought I had a post started.... about a week or so ago.... but alas... must have been snatched by that pesky computer gremlin, (which I hope has been excised by taking a very old copy of Photoshop off).

I have been busy!!! Very, very busy. And I will be busy for the next week or so... and then I hope things start to settle down and I can begin a routine that has me focusing on "I Have a Notion" as my primary goal. So what has kept me from it?

On September 2 I collected 2


friends from South Africa at O'Hare International Terminal and then the fun began. We spent the next 3 days playing in the Chicagoland area. A ''quilt store" (only one of my friends was a quilter), and the rest of the stops were landmarks and traditional touristy things. We did not make it to Willis Tower, aka Sears Tower (birds eye view was not high on the list), but we did the North Shore south bound driving in, visited Navy Pier, took a 
Lake Cruise, the Chicago Cultural Center, Cloudgate, Buckingham Fountain, considered the Field Museum, walked along the waterfront, some of Michigan Avenue, and a bit of the downtown area streets as we walked everywhere after parking the car (about 6 miles). The following day we took it very easy and went to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a day of tranquility, (although many others thought to do the same thing as well).








On our way back to N Kentucky we stayed on the
smaller highways and avoided the Interstate. There is a small well established Amish town called Arthur, which we also stopped in. Once home we spent a few days.... visiting around town. Since I live on the Bourbon Trail of Kentucky, we made a trek over to the Makers Mark distillery for the the tour and to see the Chihuly Art Glass exhibit. We explored quilty things and some golf things... One of the quilty things was a visit to New Albany IN to see the "Form not Function" exhibit at the Carnegie Museum. One word Spectacular!!!

On September 12 we headed over to Paducah for the first annual Fall Show! We arrived after a meandering drive through the Land

Between the Lakes with enough time to beat the crowd at Hancocks of Paducah Fabrics!!! We spent a few hours looking and choosing just the right fabrics. I brought
some home too!!! We spent the next 3 days looking the quilts, visiting vendors and exploring Paducah. It was my first time with more than one day so I was able to see all the venues and antique stores, along with the Museum and the waterfront.

After Paducah we parted company, me for home and they were heading to O'Hare via the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. From the pictures they have posted, Mother Nature has given them a glimpse of fall color too.

I had a blast hosting and returning the favor to visitors that showed and shared so much of their South Africa with us. Can't wait to do it again...Travel home safely my friends I will miss you.

Next.... a few pictures of the Fall Paducah show. As Always, more later!  Beth

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Struggles....

Time!!! Do you have enough? Do you have times when you seem to have all the time in the world and other times where no matter how you.... rearrange the demands you don't have enough? Sometimes it is a big thing and other times it is many many small things. Sometimes at the end of the week do you wonder how you got it all done?

One of the fellows my husband used to work with called the small
things 'Time Thieves'. Little things that eat up lots of your time and attention in small almost unnoticeable chunks, that add up to hours at the end of the week.

We all experience the little ones... emptying the dishwasher, picking up a room, feeding the dog, answering a phone call that extends by 15 minutes.... giving some attention to a family member that just needs a little comfort or a sounding board. I bet you can name a few too and at the end of the week wonder where all you time went?

And there are the regular big ones... work for a paycheck and then there is housework, and family duties oh and let's not forget sleep. All suck up an enormous chunk of our available time, not to mention energy.

At my house we seem to be grappling with a few of the bigger ones. Bandit, the 10 month old puppy has needed a little adjustment. He is a dog bred to be aggressive, (not necessarily mean, but not a fraidy cat either). He was not understanding his place in the house and certainly forgetting what the word NO meant in regard to him. So off to the breeder, for some
more stringent training than the regular obedience that we already completed. This is taking about 17-20 hours a week, but in the end Bandit will be a better dog and we of course will people and all be on the same page.



Added to the dog woes... my computer has been acting up... regularly for months but I just couldn't figure out where the problem was. The computer was shutting down, or the program I was in (usually Google Chrome) would freeze and I would have to restart, or after restarting the computer the program would not start so restart the computer again. I think I have it worked out now. It appears to have been caused by an Anti-Virus/Internet Security update/upgrade that was loading a .dll or other startup directive... where it cause interference with another program, possibly even Windows 10. But my computer has behaved itself for 24 hours now, without a restart, which lately is a record.

So where was all this going you ask... well my time has either been used up or not allocated well enough, and I seem to be behind in all areas.... and for me it won't get too much better until the end of September. The for most of the month I get to play hostess...  a little time back in Chicagoland, some time showing off Kentucky and a trip to Paducah for the new Fall Show. I am so excited about this opportunity, and of course, I will post about that a bit later.

In the meantime, check out www.ihaveanotion.com... I have started to update the stock and some of the prices. So far Books, DVDs, Fabric/Kits and Stabilizers have been sorted. Check them out, some are pretty good bargains if it is something you need.

As always, there will be More Later-
Beth and Bandit

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Good Morning Quilters!

While you don’t see much happening at the I Have a Notion store, there is so much going…. I don’t know where to begin to tell you about it and I am more than sure you don't really want to hear about it. I have been on the Internet for a long time, but mostly from the finished front side (stores and blogs and information pages) but have never found the need to spend much time on the backside. What an education!!!

In addition, while attempting to scale the mountain of things I don’t know I have been visiting with a dentist. I have had so many experiences with dentist that were not so favorable, that I now go over the edge with anxiety, that it takes a day or two to get my equilibrium back. I will have a few more visits over the next year…. You know those pesky fillings from our childhood… I have a few that need to be replaced.

Speaking of Childhood, here in my neck of Kentucky the kids are back in school already. I grew up in California, and Labor Day was the marker that summer was over and we had to buckle down inside for the next 9 or so months (we never had snow days or conversely we didn't have any “too much sun” days either!!!)

I have a quilt that I titled "Childhood Memories". For me it depicts the freedom and wide open spaces of being a child in the summer.
Childhood Memories


I made it for a Guild Challenge in 2015. The challenge issued was to use the pinwheel block (already constructed by the challenge committee) on the front of the quilt, and we were not allowed to alter it. I knew the minute I saw it, that I wanted it to be a 3 dimensional “Pinwheel” that turned on my quilt like the little ones we had as children on a stick. As a child I saw them as pointless and requiring too much work to make them spin (running) if there wasn’t a strong breeze blowing. 

So what marks the end of summer for you? I am always interested to hear other perspectives… especially if you live where it is different than where I have lived.

Thanks for stopping by and checking in, as always More Later!!!

Beth

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hello Ladies, Gentlemen, Quilters, Sewists, Shoppers and Gadget Guru’s!!!

Thank you Kelly for the introduction. To say that things have not gone quite as planned is an understatement. The Internet in all of its confusing states has decided that what ‘was’ there is…. Not. I apologize if you are finding it to be inconvenient.

So…. While I try and scale the mountain of things I don’t know and file them among the little that I do know, let me tell you more about me and maybe some of my vision, and in return please comment and tell me some of the things that you love about Kelly and I Have A Notion!!!

Linzi and Bandit... the dogs
As you know my name is Beth Hunter. I currently live in Kentucky, and just passed the 2 year mark at this address. I have a husband and 2 dogs… and we have moved a lot. Quilting has been my connective tissue whenever and wherever I have moved. I know quilters around the world both in real life and online. Quilters are, by nature a warm friendly and sharing community and I want that at I Have A Notion. I want to share some of what I have learned, help other quilters find what they need to progress and create their vision, and create a community of joy and friendship.

My quilting endeavors began around the fall of 1986 when I joined a quilting guild. At that time I lived in the small community of Paradise, California. The guild had nearly 100 members and the average age of the members then was 60-65. I was considerably younger (by half), and I loved all those ladies like family. I learned to hand piece and quilt with cardboard templates and a pencil and the rotary cutter was just becoming the THING. The using a sewing machine came later for me.

My quilting took a short detour, when I was mistakenly diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, so I stopped almost all stitching for about 10 years. There were a few moves in California, and then we moved from Southern Cali to Nebraska in 2002. Once in Nebraska (Grand Island) I decided to take up quilting again! I had to let go of much of the handwork and use a machine more…. I of course joined a guild and had a fabulous time with those ladies too. I am still in contact with many of them these days. Since then I have moved many more times and made many many many many more friends, one of them is Kelly!

I first found Kelly and I Have A Notion via the blog and would read every installment, about the products, her guilds and friends, Mr. McSteamy, the kids and of course the flamingos. Kelly and I have kept in contact over the years via email. We have some shared experiences, I blogged about one here, from when I was living in South Africa. Feel free to poke about on that blog… if you want… I have shared much of my QUILTY life and connections there as well as my foray into photography, but for just pictures there is also a Flickr  page.

My quilting style is whatever interests me at the moment… although I have moved a little away from traditional quilts to more ART… I love to play with thread.

Until everything is sorted out… I can be reached at baquilter@live.com or by phone at 270-900-4564

Please stay tuned and be patient …. Because as I always say;




There will be more later!!!  Beth

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