Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cocoa Quilts Debut

I originally set up this blog to keep family up to date on our build and move.  That happened 5 years ago.

Last year I started quilting and fell in love with the whole process.  So I started to blog about it to keep track for myself of what I was doing and what I had done.

So I've decided to use the M&JAltomare blog for family stuff and start a new blog to keep track of my quilting fun.

So I have started Cocoa Quilts  If you would like to follow along, please head over there and start to follow me.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Quilt #18

I picked up my new machine just in time to do a quick quilt to take to Charleston this weekend.

I picked up some fat quarters at AQS on Saturday, when I picked up my machine.  I had the yellow and white left over.  So I wanted something quick and decided on Bijou Lovely Color Block pattern, I used this pattern for my first and second quilts.

Spent Sunday cutting and piecing.

Spent Monday quilting, straight line 1/2" apart.

Tuesday did the binding and washed. Here is the finish.  

I decided to get some labels and start labeling my quilts.  Once I decided that I wanted to label my quilts I knew I needed a name.  So I looked at my daily shadow and thought Cocoa Quilts.  So here is Cocoa, she is a senior, 14 years old in November, Hungarian Vizsla.  Now that I have started to use Cocoa Quilts, I need to figure out how to change my blog name.  That is for another day.

I ordered labels from lillalotta  she was very helpful and quick.  Although she is in the Netherlands, I received them in less than a week.

 I had several quilts and labeled the all.  Here they are in a fun pile.

Four of them are headed with me to Charleston, SC this weekend.  

Quilt #5 is going to my Aunt for her 90th Birthday.
Quilt #10 is going to my sister.
Quilt #16 is going to my niece
Quilt #18 is going to another niece as she graduates as a Physician Assistant.

It will be a great weekend.  Hubby and I are flying out Friday morning and won't be back until Wednesday next week.

Monday, August 15, 2016

I have a new Baby

I've been missing for a bit.  Got back from vacation and did the binding on one of my unfinished quilts.

Before I headed out on vacation, I returned my (not really mine, it was on loan) Viking Platinum 930 to my sister.  She had loaned it to me last winter.

I've known I wanted to get a new machine, but just couldn't decide.  So AQS was coming to Grand Rapids, MI, which is about an hour from home.  So I decided that would be the best time to get a new machine.

You all know how tough deciding on a new machine can be.  Of course, you can't check the pricing on line, other than how much others have said they paid through internet searches, which takes a lot of time.  The local shops that sell machines I was interested in are about an hour from home, so it was  plan to go check them out.

I narrowed the choices down to the Viking Platinum 960 or 965Q, BabyLock Crescendo or the Janome 9400QCP.  I really wanted the 10" plus for the throat, also wanted the thread cutter, stitch lock, foot down.  Wasn't as sure on the mass amount of stitches, but would be great to try them out.  So I made a day and drove to the two shops that carried these brands, luckily they were about 1/2 mile from each other.

Went to first and checked out the Janome and talked with Becky.  Really liked this machine, the auto threader was great.  The pull out LED light was very nice.  But if any one knows me, they know I am cheap, so price did not make me happy.  I knew an approximate price before going to visit, but as one of my former CFO favorite money phrases was "My pocket is better than yours".

Then it was on to and met with Carol.  She walked me through the Platinum 960Q and the BabyLock Crescendo.  As we all know the price on the Vikings are less than the both the BabyLock and the Janome.  Carol even unboxed a new Platinum 965Q, which is replacing the 960Q, and we walked through that machine (couldn't really find any difference between the two machines).  The BabyLock laser pen was very interesting.

Both of these ladies and both dealers were great!

So got the AQS show prices on each of the machines and spent about two weeks scouring the net for reviews and problems on each of the machines.  At this point I was leaning toward the Janome, but that little voice kept saying "My pocket is better than yours".

Hubby knew I was looking at machines, but had no idea of their price.  So as I was fairly sure I was going with the Janome, we started talking about me seriously getting a new machine.  When he asked the cost, I told him it was about the same as three hunting guns.  How can he question that?  When he asks to get a new gun, I always say if you will use it and it will make you happy, go ahead.  You know what goes around comes around, so he said if you'll use and it will make you happy, go ahead.

I was signed up for a FMQ class (my first) at AQS and the machines we would be using were the Janome 9400, so I was excited to work on this machine.

Once we finished the class, I went down and bought one of the classroom machines,

So here is a pic of my new baby, what shall we name her?

Well we are off to Charleston, SC to visit family, celebrate my Aunt's 90th birthday and my 60th this week, so until next week.  I'll be a sewing fool once I'm back.

Friday, July 29, 2016

So now that we are back from vacation, it was time to get back onto my works in progress.  First up is Quilt #16 that I started at the Quilt Retreat I went to just before vacation.

I did the jelly roll race 2 from Missouri Star Quilt Company for a quick top.  Once I got home and before we headed out on vacation, I got everything but the binding done.  So one evening this week I finished up the binding.

So now that I've taken care of the Christmas in July, it is on to other things.

Alaska Vacation

I've been away from quilting for a bit, as we headed out on vacation.  It was a trip of a lifetime to Alaska.  So I thought I would share some of the highlights with each of you.  We flew from Detroit to Anchorage and stayed the night before heading out for our Denali land tour.

This is probably my favorite shot of Denali.  It was breathtaking and right out our rooms window.

We took an ATV tour near Denali.This was a blast, they provided the outfits.

Then we were off to the cruise ship and here are some picture of the glaciers and beautiful scenery.

We did fishing tour in the Chilkoot Lake.  It was gorgeous, as well as private.  We didn't see anyone else on the lake until a few kayakers showed up on a tour.  While I was the only one to catch a fish, I couldn't get it into the boat.  He broke the line first.

But the coolest fisherman on our trip was this Eagle.  His fish was too big for him to fly with so he had to swim to shore with his fish for lunch.  I didn't know that Eagles swam.  It was a great site.

One of our other ports we did a Whale Watching tour.  It was quite amazing.  We saw the whales bubble net feeding.  I had to look this up to really understand. Bubble Net Feeding is a unique feeding technique employed by Humpback Whales, in which a group of whales swim in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below the a school of fish.  This shrinking column of bubbles surrounds the fish forcing the upward.  The wales spontaneously swim upward through the bubble net, mouths wide open, catching thousands of fish in one gulp.

 At our last port, we did a zip-line tour.  It was a blast.

Once the cruise ended, we stayed a few days in Vancouver before heading home.  We went to the canyon for the suspension bridge walk.  It was a great morning.

So these are only a few of our pictures, but it is now back to finishing up some of the quilts I have going.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Coin Quilt #17

It's been a crazy week.  Hubby had some issues, but all is well now.  We are heading to Alaska this weekend for a land and cruise.  It is our first time there and can't wait to relax and enjoy the beauty of the land.

But before I go, I wanted to get this Coin Quilt top finished.  I didn't want any project left waiting.

I modified the pattern with extra sashing.  I also didn't add the small coins to the front.

I'm going to use the small coins on the back.  I have two choices for backing.

Backing #1

Backing #2

What do you think Backing #1 or #2?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Quilt Weekend

I went for my first Quilt Retreat this weekend.  One of my friends from high school (Class of '74) invited me and I don't get to see her very often so it was a great treat.  Thanks to my friend Donna for inviting me and her sister, Jan, who hosted this retreat.  It was a great time.

I started Quilts #16 and #17.  It is killing me to have three quilts in the making.  I like to do one at a time.  But here is #16.  I did Jelly Roll Race 2 over at Missouri Star Quilting Company.

NEW NEW Moda Precuts Jelly Roll #19700JR "HO HO HO" 100% cotton 2-1/2" Strips

It went quite quick.  I went straight off the roll and am not sure I'm crazy about how it came out.  There were several strips that ended up next to each other on the top.  But lessons learned, it will make a great gift.

That was Saturday morning's project.  I wasn't in the mood to iron and finish, so I started another.

Quilt #17 is born.

I used Layer Cake Coin Quilt from She Quilts Alot.  This is the same pattern I used for Quilt #8.

I used Flow Zen Chic by Moda.

Started cutting and sewing back together.

So now I have three in progress quilts.  Making me crazy.  My goal for the next two weeks is to get these done.  We head off to Alaska two weeks from today and I"d love to have all project done before I go.

I'm off to cut and iron.  No wait should I go make a sandwich for one of the Christmas quilts.  Oh, I'm not sure, but I do know I'm off to work on something.

Backwards to Quilt #5

So it has been awhile since I sent out my Quilt #5 to my longarmer.  Alice,  AMS Quilting called me Friday afternoon to say it was done.

Headed over and picked her up.

She did an awesome job.  I let her decide what to quilt, as my only idea is straight lines.

This will be going to Charleston, SC in August for my Aunt's 90th Birthday.  I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Merry Christmas Quilt #15

So today I ran into a few issues with Quilt #14.  My machine just didn't want to go over the seams.  So I fought with it and tried all kinds of things, even taking out my old Kenmore.  So in frustration, I decided to start a another quilt and put this one aside for now.

So here is my #15.  Merry Christmas.  I wanted something quick, so I pulled out some scrap Christmas charms that I got from somewhere.

So now I'm trying to decide sashing or no sashing.  You know I can't make a decision.  I think I'll sleep on it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Going Backwards Quilt #11 is Done

I have finished Quilt #11, its been almost a month since I finished the top.  I don't like to have things unfinished, so this one bugged me.

I have to get better at the pictures, just laying them out flat isn't very interesting.  So I will try to work on that, but this is a done project.

I had issue with blue fabric, Joann's didn't quite cut straight, so I ended up with about and inch shortage on one part of one of the pieces.  Of course, I didn't realize this until I had completed the quilting.  Beginner focus, focus on the one thing, quilting and don't notice the bigger issue of fabric not completely covering the batting.

So the solution was to make a binding that was wider on the back than the front.  I didn't turn out to bad.  I learned 2 things with this finish.  ALWAYS check twice on the fabric backing to be sure it is correct size and I don't like a wide binding.  It doesn't look bad, but just not my first choice.

But here is #11 done and waiting for a home.  Not sure who, but I will be giving this one a new home, which was my plan all along.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Quilt #14 is started

So I finally decided to cut into my first fat quarter bundle.  I bought this last winter and decided I was brave enough to open it up and pull out some fabric for my next quilt.

It is Kate Spain, Canyon.

I love HSTs and had been looking at a pattern that did something more than just line up the HSTs.  I decided on The Summertime Herringbone Quilt by Michael Ann Made.

The pattern calls for 6 1/2 yards, so I did 12 fatquarters.  Here are the ones I picked

Now that I have them all trimmed I started to layout the top.  Of course, I had to try out straight up HSTs, as well as a few other patterns.

#1 Straight up HSTS

#2 Diamond HSTs

#3 Chevron HSTs

Not sure which I like best.  I'm going to think on it for a day or so, than go for it.

If you have a preference, let me know.  Thanks!