Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life is an ongoing lesson; Split 9-Patch

Life certainly is an ongoing series of learning opportunities.  We learn from friends, family and possibly most often through our mistakes and experiences!  My phone batteries are getting bad... whenever I put it on speaker, the line will go dead almost immediately.  Evidently, it must take more power to use the hands-free option.  My youngest son replaced one dead battery for me a few months ago, and another phone was completely dead now, so I hobbled over to Radio Shack to get a new one.  I'd noticed a few weeks ago they had a sale... four AT&T phones for $59.99.  That sale was done.  Batteries are around $20 each, plus tax.   The cheapest phone they have right now is $79.99 for a pack of 4 V-Tech phones.  They do everything my old phones do, plus the screen is easier to read, so I got them.  Three new batteries would have cost $60, so I figured it was a good buy.  Plus... they told me if I buy a warranty for $10.99, I can bring all 4 phones in before the year is up and they will install all new batteries in them.  Hmmm... $11 versus $80 for 4 new batteries... my mother didn't raise a fool, so I got the warranty.

The clerk told me NOT to leave the phone on the base, as that runs the battery out.  Apparently, I need to leave them off  the base and hang them up only when they need recharging.  I didn't know that.  I always leave my phones on the base so I know where they are and I don't have to run all over trying to find the phone.  That, my friends, is one of the perks of living alone.  You can always find the phone... or have only yourself to blame if you can't!  Since the whole point of having multiple phones is to have one nearby wherever I am, I don't plan to trek up and down to the upstairs and basement to hang my phones up, so I will disregard that piece of advice and leave them on the base, and bring them in at the end of a year to get new batteries.  My daughter, Tricia, asked me why my phones are going dead (I've had them almost 4 years) and hers aren't... and that is the reason.  Mine are always on the base.  When I call her, the answering machine picks it up before she can find a phone to answer.  I'd think maybe she just checks the caller ID and doesn't answer when she sees it's me, but she always calls me back when she finds a phone.

A beautiful brand new Viking Mega Quilter has been sitting in my basement since I moved.  I have never set the frame up yet, although I bought the machine before I moved to Ohio.  I didn't realize that the machine can be used on its own, as well as a long-arm quilter.  Several people on my quilt list have them and love them.  It has a knee lift for the presser foot, needle up/down positions, a big quilting surface with an extension tray, and it quilts in the ditch without a walking foot.  I searched for a week, and found three boxes of parts for the machine, but not the foot pedal or power cord.  My children came two years ago and organized all the boxes in my garage (from the move) and put most of the sewing-related things in my basement rec room which will be my "studio"... someday.  But not the box with the foot pedal and power cord.  They wrote: QUILTING MACHINE on the little box with a black marker and then hid it between a bunch of bins and boxes... not in my sewing room and not on a shelf in the garage, where they neatly organized a lot of other things.  I think it was a trap to see if I would finish sorting through the boxes!  I was ready to order new parts, and gave it one last shot... and about 4:30 in the morning, I found the box!  I was ecstatic!!!  Now all I had to do was haul that heavy monster up to my family room, where I am set up to sew.  One step at a time... but I finally got it up.

Next lesson... basting spray.  Another thing I learned from fellow quilters.  I'd been pin-basting the tops to the batting and backing, which is a very time-consuming process.  Then the top is quilted and the pins have to be taken out.  505 basting spray was on sale online at JoAnn's with free shipping, so I bought some.  It works like a dream!!!  I laid down some sheets to protect the carpet and furniture from overspray... I didn't want to sit on a chair and be glued down... and clamped the backing to my cutting table and sprayed.  There was very little offensive odor, as there is with some brands of spray.  The first quilt I did was a baby quilt... Split 9-Patch... that I had sewn last year.

A photo of the block is on the right.  At the top of the photo is an example of the middle row.  I used the same fabric in the center of all the blocks to provide some unity.  There is a light on one side of the center square and a dark on the other side.  Below that you see a complete block.  The top row consists of two dark prints plus a half-square triangle, half light and half dark.  The bottom row consists of two lights with a half-square triangle.  Care needs to be taken to position the half-square triangles so that the dark is touching the dark squares and the light is touching the light squares, which forms the pattern.  It is a 9-patch with two split squares, hence it is a Split 9-Patch.  The squares are all 2-1/2", finishing at 2", and to cut the half-square triangles, you need to add 7/8" to the finished size, so 2-7/8" squares, cut in half diagonally.  I prefer to use 3" squares, and then trim them to size after sewing.  The block is pieced with 1/4" seams, and results in a
6-1/2" block, which finishes to 6".
The photo on the left shows the finished baby quilt, and this measures about 44 inches square.  The blocks are set togther in a "barn-raising" pattern, like log cabin blocks can be set.  I've made this pattern in a queen size and also in a full-bed size.  The latter is done with lots of reds, and is for my grandson, Charles, but I haven't quilted it yet.  Perhaps he will get it for Christmas this year, if I get the quilts made for his sisters, too.  The baby quilt was made with leftovers from the queen sized quilt, and I still have a few more blocks for "starter" for another one. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me, and I'll be happy to help you, if I can.

I also learned a new method of binding... I joined the strips (I didn't use bias strips), pressed the strips in half, wrong sides together, sewed it to the back side of the quilt, then flipped it to the front and top-stitched. No hand sewing.  And it makes a doubled binding, which is always the first thing to wear out on a quilt, it seems.

And now, I'm going to go and spray another flimsie!  Oh... flimsie is a word I learned from my quilt groups... it means an unquilted top.  Quilters have a language all their own, I'm finding out.  UFOs are unfinished objects, not alien spaceships.  I certainly have a lot of those... unfinished objects, that is.

I hope your batteries are full and your fabric stash is, also!  And, in the words of an old friend, remember... just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you!

1 comment:

  1. Love your split 9 patch! Great idea to use the same fabric for all the centers too!