Holy shit, I didn't realize it's been a year and a half since I last posted anything here. I guess I just got burnt out on the fat activism front - I can only write so many times about all the shit that happens to fat people, and it doesn't seem to change opinions about fat people very much (not to mention it's the same old shit all the damned time).
So anyway, I've been helping a friend make a scrap quilt. She's been cutting all the pieces and pinning them together, while I've done the sewing and most of the ironing. Now, I've made quilts in the past, but never actually quilted them, just tied them with yarn. I'm not doing any quilting on the friend's quilt - I just don't have the patience for it, nor do I have any experience at it.
My husband has a quilt that his grandmother's grandmother made, and his ex-wife tried to fix it. In the process, she fucked it up royally. The top and the back were both hand-pieced hexagons - the back is gone, no one knows where. There were hexes missing in the front, and instead of replacing them with hexagons, the ex just laid a big piece of fabric in place and sloppily stitched it down. Mike asked me if I could fix it, and after looking at it, I figured it wouldn't be that hard to do, just time-consuming. So I have that quilt all taken apart, all the hexes are pressed, and I'm ready to trim all the raveled edges off the hexes before I sew them back together. I bought some extra fabric so I can replace all the missing hexes and all the hexes that are too thin and worn (or torn) to be reused.
When I told Mike that I had entered a contest to win a quilting sewing machine, and that the value of it was $499, he said we should go out and look at sewing machines to see if we could find a suitable one. So we did, and we found the Brother SQ9185 (and it was only $199). It has 130 stitches, monograms, came with 11 presser feet (one of which is a walking foot), and can be run without the foot control. It's a breeze to thread, the bobbin is easy to wind and load into the machine (much easier than in my Singer), it will thread the needle for me, and I can move a lever to control the speed of it. All in all, it's an awesome machine and I love it.
Since I'm fixing his quilt, he had a suggestion for me. He asked me what I thought about making quilts for the veterans at the Eagle's Healing Nest here in our town (it's a place for veterans to go for help when they're homeless and in need of help - mental, medical, whatever). Well, hell yes, I'd be happy to do that. But cutting out strips/squares/triangles/whatever shape for quilts, even with a rotary cutter, is time-consuming. Well, I found a little machine that has dies that will cut 6 layers of cotton fabric, and the dies come in all shapes and sizes. I ordered the machine (Accuquilt GO! Baby) and several different dies. I spent one day pressing all my fabric scraps (and I have a lot, I've been sewing for a lot of years and I very seldom throw scraps of fabric away). I spent the rest of the day cutting all the scraps into 5" squares to run through the cutter on the tumbler die. I cut out over 500 tumblers in less than 6 hours - would have taken 4 times as long (or longer) to cut them out with a template and rotary cutter. It took me two days to sew 440 of those tumblers into strips. I'm getting ready to press the seams flat so I can sew the strips together, then I'll press those seams flat, put batting under the tumbler top, put a backing on it, and then decide if I'm going to try quilting it (very basic, if I do) or tie it with yarn. Then I'll bind it, and it will be ready to go to a veteran. I have ideas for several other quilts I want to make - it's just a matter of drawing the block design out on graph paper and then figuring out what fabrics I want to use and how much of each one I'll need to make the quilt top.
I haven't enjoyed sewing this much in years, and it's just what I needed to get me off the computer all the time. I was getting rather bored with it, and I can't read as much as I used to (my vision gets all blurry if I read for more than a couple of hours at a time). Even with cable, there isn't that much on television that I like to watch, so making these quilts is going to give me something to do, and it's for a good cause. And that friend that I'm helping with her quilt? She has friends who quilt and they're going to save their scraps for me so I can use them in the quilts for the vets - that will save us some money on fabric.
Between quilting, bingo (yeah, Mike and I go to bingo every week), and baseball games and the drive-in movies in the summer, life is pretty damned good, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.