Sew Loving Life

My adventures in "making" – mostly sewing & quilting – and in traveling.

Catching Up…


Wow! Seven months, more or less, since the last post. What have I been doing all this time? Well, I’ll tell you, at least some of it, with some pictures to illustrate. Top of the list is this: I’m fully vaccinated, as is the Hubster, and soon the offspring will be fully vaccinated as well. I’m hoping all of you are doing well, and that we will all be putting Covid-19 behind us soon. Now, about what else I’ve been doing all this time…

NAS Update

For the few computer nerds or techno geeks in my readership: I purchased a Qnap TS-453D. No this isn’t either of the two models to which I’d narrowed the choice. This is a 4 bay NAS instead of a 2 bay NAS. Someone (not me) suggested that “cheaping out” on only 2 bays now might be more expensive in the long run, and who am I to argue? In any case, a chunk of my activity in the last few months has been setting this up and learning the how to make best use of it. Honestly, I think I’m still learning, but it seems pretty smooth lately. Of course, I’m not doing anything with the media server side of things, but that can wait.

As promised, images! Above you can see the unit all closed up and operational. It isn’t at all sexy, but that’s sort of the point in a NAS. On the right, I’ve taken off the shiny, reflective bay door cover, to reveal the loaded drive bays. Again, nothing sexy here. The bays each have a WD Red 2TB drive, and together they are setup in RAID-5. The primary purpose is backup of our two laptops. The NAS itself is also backed up to the cloud, so we have the 3-2-1 mantra covered.

Leaders & Enders Project

This is the quilt top I pieced while making something else.

For the non-quilters, some terminology:

  • Piecing:
    The sewing together of fabric shapes to make a quilt top;
  • Quilting:
    The sewing of a quilt top to a batting layer and a backing layer, thus creating the quilted blanket;
  • Leader:
    A piece of scrap fabric fed through the sewing machine and left in place before feeding through the “real” fabric of a project. The purpose is to catch any start up “thread tangles” that sometimes occur;
  • Ender:
    A piece of fabric fed through the sewing machine at the end of a seam sewn in the “real” project. It becomes the leader for the next seam sewn on the “real” project.

The Blue Jewels quilt was pieced together as leaders and enders for a different project. While scrap fabric can be used as a leader, so can pieces of fabric that will make the patches for a quilt.

Why this works:
The first couple of stitches a sewing machine makes will sometimes turn into a tangle under the fabric. This is because too much top thread is loose, and the extra gets pulled into the bottom and mixed up with the caught by the bobbin thread, creating a tangle of thread rather than a couple of neat stitches. The leader will grab the thread and any tangle while flowing under the presser foot. It is left connected to the threads and then the “real” seam is sewn. That piece is also left connected to the threads, and the ender is fed through the machine before clipping the main project piece loose. The ender is left in place to become the leader for the next “real” seam.

If a quilter does the leader and ender process reliably, after the first leader is fed through, the thread never has a chance to get too long, and can’t tangle underneath the fabric at all – not even under the scrap leaders and enders. Naturally, some bright, overly ambitious woman somewhere along the line realized that one could just as easily sew a couple pieces of fabrics together as “Leaders” or “Enders”, and the “leaders and enders quilt” was born.

Above left is a closeup of the basic block, known as the “Jewel Box” block. It is considered a four patch, due to the four smaller pieced units that join together to make the basic quilt block. Hopefully you’ll be able to identify two smaller four patch units which create a diagonal of blue squares, and two half square triangle units. The middle and right images are of the blocks being laid out on my “design board” – the spare bed in the guest room.

The multitude of colors and patterns are the result of using 2 identical packs of a collection of prints cut into 5 x 5 inch squares. Print collections are designed to be color and pattern compatible for just this purpose. I really, really needed to “just have fun” with quilting, so I matched my print packs with two packs of a solid almost white, and went to town, all while working on a different project.

Something Else…

This is the project I was “really” working on while I was making the Blue Jewels quilt.

It’s the Gateway by Studio Kat Designs. I really love the way the colors and patterns work together. I’m showing the front, right side and back views, respectively. The strap is hooked at the hip carry points. The two little bumps on the top of the front are clipping points for a shoulder bag carry.

There’s more…

But this is enough for one post. I’ve already got photos edited and set to upload, so I should be able to do a further update very soon. Besides, I accidentally burned out the steam pump on my iron, so I won’t be doing much sewing until a replacement arrives. Yes, one needs an iron to sew. The iron gets used just as much as the sewing machine. Well, except for quilting the top, and I do have a top set up on my long arm. I just need to get brave…

Author: sewlovinglife

I'm an "old retired lady" working hard at learning how to play. Fabric is my favorite toy, followed closely by food, and our RV.

4 thoughts on “Catching Up…

  1. It’s good to hear from you again – especially with vaccines!
    Such lovely work, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bryan, you are always such a booster. And having the vaccine is such a relief!


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