Little project

Recently, I have been working on little things and enjoying a bit more time in my sewing room now that September has brought in some cooler temperatures. Hot summer days in the sewing room over the garage can be a bit much, and the pool is always enticing me to goof off. The last few nights have been in the 60’s (F) and really chilled things off from those hot humid summer days.

I had a project “sitting around” for a while (only a year I think). The blocks I had were a result of some ‘pattern testing’ for my friend Carole (https://frommycarolinahome.com//) a while back. It is easiest for me to test a pattern by actually making a few blocks. I decided at the time to sew them together and make a table runner. That has been sitting by for at least 18 months I believe. Anyway, I decided to add some narrow white borders to frame it, and finish it up with straight line walking foot quilting. I did a little fun stitching on the border using a pattern built into my Janome 8900 sewing machine.

The pattern is from the Scrap Dance series, and this is the Scrap Dance Minuet. The pattern is available for purchase on Carole’s blog – https://frommycarolinahome.com/my-patterns/

Scrap Dance Minuet pattern

My setting isn’t one of the pattern options. I made 3 block A and 3 block B’s. Dimensions before the white borders were 12.5″ x 72.25″. I added 2″ wide borders and made 198″ of binding. Of course I used my favorite Susie’s Magic binding, and you can see the little pop of blue with daisies on the edge of the binding.

You may wonder about that dark binding. I just wanted something a little darker to ground the table runner. Besides…it matches the back of the table runner. You may think it is an “odd” fabric, but there was a point to it.

Label for table runner

This will be an anniversary gift for a couple we know. When I presented the idea to my husband he thought it was a great plan! The fella is a “train buddy” of my husband. He always jokes about the great locomotives he gifts his lovely bride for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. She is quite an artist, and I hope she enjoys the “floral” side. I can just picture him flipping it over to the “train track” side to tease her a little.

I had an interesting time making the label for the back on my Janome 11000 embroidery/sewing machine. I used a program on the computer called Embrilliance in Express Mode to do the wording. I couldn’t merge the art into that program because it is copy right protected. BUT, I was able to merge it on the screen of my embroidery machine. I am fairly excited that I was able to do that!

The little video below is about 7 seconds. At the very end you can see a snippet of the machine screen. It shows the time for stitching as about 62 minutes, 27000(+) stitches. For some reason, it took me considerably longer, as I fought thread breaks all the way through. But, I persevered and finished. Note, I changed to a metallic thread needle with a slightly bigger eye, added more stabilizer under the hoop, changed to different brand of thread and much more to try to get it to stitch out nicely.

Once this was finished stitching, I attached the label to the back of the quilt and got busy finishing the binding and hand stitching two edges of the label. I use a light weight fusible pellon when I make the label putting the fusible on the FRONT of the label with the fusing side towards the pretty side of the label. I stitch all around the label, then slit an X to make hole in the center of the fusing and “turn” the label. It gives the label a nice finished turned edge and I can press it on the back of the project. I like to catch two edges in the binding to minimize how much hand sewing I have to do. Having the fusing on the back makes for a neat edge on the label and helps to prevent removal of a label. (I learned that trick from Pat Sloan when she was making circles for applique. It works for lots of things I have found.) In hindsight, I should have left the cut-away stabilizer on the back of the label, as the backing fabric shows through the white fabric. Note to self for a future label project! Oh I always learn the hard way. Not turning back on this one though!

It felt good to finish this off and the timing to give it as an anniversary gift was perfect.

Are you clearing up any UFO’s??

Making Labels for Quilts

In the last couple of weeks I got motivated to make labels for projects that are “nearing” completion or are completed.  If you have been reading my blog in the last month or so, you know that I finished TWO of my Pat Sloan projects (Get to the Point and Mama’s Garden) that were started in classes several years ago.  I am also working toward completion of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Allietare.

I like to make a label for my quilt as the “final step” in the project. I use my embroidery machine to make a simple label, and fuse & stitch it on.  (More about the embroidery machine in a minute.) Often times I will use part of the backing fabric as a border on the label so it kind of “floats” on the backing. I learned a trick years ago for “making perfect circles for applique” and use the method when I add the fusing product to my label.  Basically, I lay the fusible product on top of my label with the fusing facing the wording and stitch all the way around, then I slit the fusing in the middle with my snips, and turn the whole thing “right side out” . This way there is a nice neat “edge” on the label turned under, and I have the added benefit of a “hard to remove” label. I do stitch around the label by hand, avoiding going into the front of the quilt, much the way you stitch binding. I will put a link to a video at the bottom of the page that gives you a better “visual” than my explanation.

If I am “efficient” I have the label ready, so when the binding goes on, two edges of the label are stitched down by machine. Like I said, “IF I AM EFFICIENT“.  That means in my life that I better make the label BEFORE I bind the quilt, and that doesn’t always happen, so SOME have to be hand stitched on all 4 sides.  When I hand stitch, I use a matching thread so my sloppy hand sewing doesn’t show.  

Let’s talk about making machine embroidery labels.  If you followed me for anytime you know that I have two embroidery machines. I have the Brother PE500 with the 4×4 hoop and the Janome 11000 with lots of hoops, including an adjustable hoop up to 6×12 or so.  For years I made my labels on the Brother machine, using the available fonts in the machine, typing one line at a time on the tiny screen.   The example below is one done on the Brother machine, one line at a time.  Around 2017 I was given a hoop that can be repositioned on the machine, so making a bigger label could be done with out “re-hooping”. Using it for the label below I could get a longer label, and still keep everything lined up straight.  I got “pretty good” at the alignment thing and figuring out where to start the next line using the plastic grid that came with the hoops.  

Banner label

The yellow label was applied on the back of this project BEFORE the binding went on.  The beauty of using fusible on the back is that it will stay in place while you are working on the binding. 

When I made my label for the Mama’s Garden quilt, I was using a fabric piece that Pat Sloan had signed for me several years ago, either when I took her class or went to a guild lecture she gave.  I had to try to line up the wording on my Janome 11000 (again one line at a time), using built in fonts.  I had fun with this label as it is the first attempt at making a label on my Janome, and I got to use some larger fonts.  I wish I had pushed the words pattern by a little farther to the left, but, I can live with the final result.

Quilt label with signature

This label was stitched on after the binding went on. I used green of the backing fabric for the edge of the label, but set it opposite of the backing so it does not completely disappear.

I have a couple of “free software” programs for embroidery, and decided I would try one of them to make my next label, using the software on the computer.  The program I chose to use was called Embrilliance Express and I used the fonts in the program.  I was really pleased with the result on the screen and with the stitch out.

Get to the Point label

I haven’t figured out how to tell the software to cut the jump stitches between letters, but I can live with them.  If you use Embrilliance Express and know the secret, do share!

  I hooped this fabric in my 8×8 hoop and got a nice size label.  I did the fusible trick and got nice edges and corners when I turned the label out right. I fused it on and hand stitched it down on all four sides.

I had such good success with the creation of the label in the Embrilliance Express software on the computer that I got busy and made another label and stitched it out for my Allietare quilt.

Allietare label

For this label I used my inspiration fabric on the edges of the top and bottom.  I will add the fusible after I get the quilt ready to bind.  I still need to get busy and make that backing and ship it all off to my favorite sister-in-law, One Block Wonder Woman

She has graciously offered to quilt it for me on her big long arm machine, Greta the Gammill.  Go take a look at her blog I linked and check out her adventures. 

So, that is my adventure in making quilt labels this month, and over the years. I need to learn how to import fonts into the Embrilliance program, and hope I can do that without buying something else.  I am so tickled with how the last two worked out and am writing about it to encourage you to use your embroidery machines if you have them.  Even if you just have a 4×4 hoop, you can make a multi line label!  Embrilliance is free in the “express mode”, and it is not to hard to navigate, which is perfect in my life!

Do you label your quilts?  What information do you like to include on the label?  How do you make your labels and apply them?  Love to hear what your methods are, as I like to continue to learn new tricks.

Here is the link Making perfect circles for applique  for the method I use for adding the fusible to my label and getting a nice clean edge.  The not only works for circles, it also is useful for rectangles or squares.  I tend to get a more “rounded” corner instead of a sharp 90 degree turn, which is fine for a quilt label in my life.

 

Embroidery machine fun with Space Guy’s

I have really been enjoying the bigger hoop size of the Janome 11000. I have had the machine for over a year and the last 6 months have been seeing lots of hours put on the machine. I am always “window shopping designs” and trying to find appropriate uses for what I find.

Recently, my granddaughter had a birthday party that had some “space guy’s” for a theme.  Pictured below is a decoration that was in the bathroom the day of her 4th birthday party.  Can you guess the character’s name?

Who is this space guy

Not to long after her birthday, while video chatting, this now 4 year old  got out a “Little Golden Book” that featured these characters and told me all about the good guys, and the bad guys, and named each one as she “told me” the story.  She and her daddy are big fans of the characters!

So, one day, while taking a break from making masks, I tripped over some cute little “space guy’s” on an embroidery website.  I just KNEW that those designs were destined for my collection.

The whole family

They came in full thread stitch outs and applique stitch outs, and I purchased both sets.  There was a large variety of sizes, so I got out my 8×8 hoop and got busy stitching.  I decided to use the “applique” designs because the stitch count on the full thread was VERY dense.

8 inch stitch out

I stitched on white vinyl, and didn’t really have a plan for what I was going to do with the end result.  My daughter suggested it would be great on “next years” school bag.  I decided to go MUCH smaller with the next design, and turn the stitch out into dolls for playing.

Smaller size stitch out

That fuzzy guy turned out so cute!

That fuzzy guy

The next two I stitched represent lightness and darkness.  Again, these are stitched out on vinyl.

darkness and light

And of course, you have to have a princess in the crowd.

The "good guys"

The first group of 4 finished – mounted to peltex and bosal innerform foam for substance.  Kind of like “paper dolls”.  My granddaughter came by one day with her mom to deliver groceries, and we were able to play together at the car window with our little Space Guys characters.

First round of space characters

Last week I worked on another batch and created  4 more.  My favorite is the green guy.  Hubby liked the glittery green vinyl.

Having fun with vinyl

I got the group layered up and they are now “ready to gift” .   More “good guys” than bad guys in the collection!!

Space dudes

These were fun to make with things that were already in my stash.  I was gifted a big container of vinyl from a friend, and used several of her pieces as the colors were just perfect.  Thanks Nancy B.

Hubby thinks that a “smaller sized” one of these characters on a neck tie will suit the son-in-law on his next birthday!  🙂  I might just have to do that! He would wear it I am sure!  So much for the “big hoop” when going small seemed like the perfect solution!!

Have you had any fun with machine embroidery lately?

Windowing stabilizer, The Twist and more

I’ve been doing masks on my embroidery machine and was going through large amounts of tear away stabilizer. I realized I had gone thru about 20 yards of my 12″ stabilizer and I had a stack of 100 sheets of 8×8 tear away in my bin.  After doing about 20 hoopings, I had a light bulb moment!  My storage retrieval system (aka quarantine brain) suddenly remembered a video I had seen through a blog post LAST year!  Lisa Capen Quilts shared a video about windowing stabilizer when doing the same pattern over and over. Some call it “framing” the stabilizer and others called it “windowing”.  Lisa’s video was exactly what I needed to use!

I’ve been using my reposition-able hoop for the Janome 11000, called the MA hoop. It is essentially an 8″ x 12″ hoop so I can do two masks at a time.

So, now I hoop a piece of tear-away stabilizer and do the first stitch out.

Cutting table

The trick is to remove the mask “gently” from the hoop without tearing the surrounding stabilizer.  Then I replace the torn away piece with a “square of 8×8” over the top.  I use the Elmers glue stick to anchor it to the “frame” of the stabilizer remaining in the hoop.

windowing stabilizer

They don’t have to overlap, but I was too lazy to cut it perfectly and I vary the overlap. The glue stick takes a few minutes to dry, and I use the heat of my iron in the frame to speed it up. My big iron fits perfectly in the frame with room to move it around.  In my small 5×7 hoop I use my mini-iron to dry the glue.

This is what it looks like on the back of the hoop.  You can see the very first ones were rectangles, then I switched to a different pattern about the same size.  The stabilizer was starting to wear  on the left edge of the frame, so I glued on a patch!

back of the hoop

I did at least 7 set ups using this method before I ran out of Elmers Glue Stick!.  I tried liquid white glue and I had to let it dry overnight.  (Not expedient!)  I over applied and it wasn’t drying with the iron so I gave up for the night.

Creative Applique masks

The masks in the above photo are from Creative Appliques pattern https://creativeappliques.com/

I took a break for a few days from “in the hoop masks“, while I worked on the Community Mask Project for the local chicken processing plant. Got my 28 done for that request using the sewing machine and the information I shared about the pleating and ties – Fast Masks with Ties

28 masks completed

Can I tell you how I got excited with the things in the photo below?

PROJECTS

On the left are the directions for the mask project, and peaking out was Step 5 for the Scrap Dance Twist, which had to wait until my 28 masks were done. On the right, in the basket are two treasures!  My order of elastic arrived!  And I found another glue stick in the kitchen drawer!  (I’ve used 2 up so far windowing stabilizer, so I am pretty excited to find this one!).

I got busy with my Scrap Dance Twist Step 5 chain piecing the units for a king size quilt!  This is my FUN sewing time!

Chain piecing Step 5

The directions on Carole’s blog post From My Carolina Home – Scrap Dance Twist remind you to “try to make the units as scrappy as possible”.

Step 5 Scrap Dance Twist completed

This step went together quickly. If you haven’t started, it’s not too late. Go check out Carole’s blog and look for the Scrap Dance Twist button on the right side of her blog.

I’ve got everything back in the container, with the directions and the units, waiting for the next clue which comes out on May 1st.  If you are sewing along, be sure to go back to the blog and check for some corrections to units for a couple of the sizes.

Next up on my sewing schedule is working on the “senior quilt” for my church.  This is a group project that we started in February, and since the quarantine, it’s been a bit of a “round robin”. The group made most of the blocks in February –

Senior Quilt blocks

I finished up what didn’t get done during our group sewing and got it laid out on the design wall.

Senior Quilt on the design wall

One of the group members lives nearby and offered to assemble the quilt top.  I took pictures of the layout while it was on the design wall, and numbered the blocks /rows for her.  Once she got a break from “mask making” she assembled the top and delivered back to me. Now, it is time for me to “clear my cutting table” and do some measuring for the borders and get them sewn on.   One step at a time, but nice to be able to work on something fun.

Making masks has eaten up a lot of sewing time for many quilters, and taking a break to work on a couple of quilt projects has been fun. My sewing room is a full blown disaster (as evidenced in many of these pictures!) and some “clean up” time is also in order.

Stay well, keep stitching!

 

Paper (Thread) dolls

Greetings from winter hibernation! I’m certain I have been in “blog” hibernation for several months.  Maybe I can crawl out of the den and write a few words.  Honestly, I have been busy every day for months and the blog has taken a back seat. Thanks for sticking around and still popping in to read when I finally set words on the page.

What have I been up to?  Well, that embroidery machine and I have had fun.  I shared the Christmas gifts last post.  I left out one particular project.  I found a sale one day at one of my favorite embroidery websites, and bought some designs that I had my eye on for more than a year. The price was amazing for the sale, and I knew exactly who was getting this particular gift.  In fact, if you are reading this today, Jan 17, 2020, you will find a very similar sale – Julia’s Needle Design

I purchased both sets, Patty I and Patty II for a “paper doll” done in embroidery thread.

Fun creating Small doll

I wanted the doll to have some “stiffness” and used a pellon craft product called peltex in the hoop.  After the doll stitched out, I fused the back of the doll to some “In-r-form” by Bosal, and then trimmed around the entire doll.

I was so excited when this doll turned out so well, I brought it in the house to show the hubby. We had fun checking the “size of the doll” compared to other toys we have around the house.

Paper doll with friends

I decided a doll needs some outfits.

More outfits

This outfit included a shirt & shorts, a tummy, legs and shoes.

Fun dress

The pink dress also included legs and shoes. I was able to do the stitchout of both outfits in one hooping and that saved me a lot of stabilizer.

Maximizing the stabilizer

If you are familiar with machine embroidery, you will see I have a little “bobble” going on near the foot of the design on the right.  I had my challenges with this!  I might have been able to do a 3rd design in that hoop if I hadn’t had a stabilizer problem.  Do you see the pins on the edge of the hoop?  The idea is to help keep your stabilizer from being pulled too much in the hoop. The pins go between the inner and out hoop.  For the most part, it works. In the case of the “bobble”, I had a bobbin problem and made a mess with that one show, and it pulled the stabilizer.  I was able to fix the design, but knew I wasn’t adding a 3rd design to that hooping.

I decided to make a little “sleeping bag” for the doll, similar to the one I posted about in November in  Practicing with the new machine

Doll and sleeping bag

I decided the clothing was fairly stiff, but I wanted to “cover” the back where all the bobbin stitches show, so I used so light weight fusible pellon interfacing.

I added some more outfits to the machine and had fun stitching out some pants.

Pants for the doll

More outfits; more stabilizer and LOTS of thread, and pretty soon the doll had a wardrobe.

These were stitched out on my Janome 11000 and all done with wash away stabilizer. These had very heavy stitch counts.

The wardrobe

You will notice that the doll has a velcro dot in the center.  I found “velcro for fabric” stick on dots at Michaels in just the right size. These are way to “thick” to use sew on, and I figure if the dot comes off, Grandma has an extra package.  It was recommended to adhere the dots and then let them sit for 24 hours before using them.  All the clothing has the “soft side” of the velcro on the back.  The logic is velcro sticks to everything (the sofa, the rug etc), and only have one with the hook and loop side reduces the number of “stuck objects” to the rug!

These doll clothes and the doll are each very heavy thread/stitch count, but I don’t have a shortage of thread yet.  75% of that thread on the rack was a gift from my daughters one Christmas, and stitching out things for their kids is a lot of fun!  I really feel confident now with the embroidery machines.  I am FINALLY using the embroidery machine(s) and all that thread!

just a few spools

My 3 year old granddaughter was the recipient of the project, and I will plan to make her one or 2 more “doll friends” and a few more outfits. She has a birthday coming in a couple of months. Then, when she has a human friend over to play, they can each have a doll friend to dress.  I’m still working my way through Paper Doll Patty I set.  I wanted to make certain she liked them before overwhelming her with “more” outfits.  This is a real “portable” toy for a child who may have a trip coming up, fun in the carry on baggage for a long airplane ride or time away from home.

These were SO much fun to make, and I loved the results.  I gave my granddaughter the clothes in a little vinyl zip bag, upcycled from some other product. It was just the right size to slip in the sleeping bag with the doll.  I can see a “carry bag” down the road.  This Stitching Grandma has been having fun. 

Next up on my agenda is a departure from the embroidery machine.  I am going to get out to the sewing room today, and tackle some scraps, with PURPOSE.  My friend Carole Carter  is starting a new mystery quilt today on her blog, From My Carolina Home!  Go take a look!  Scrap Dance Twist Mystery Quilt 2020

The mystery quilt will use charm packs, fat quarters, yardage or SCRAPS…..so you know, it is right up my lane.  Look for a future post with my fabric choices!

What are  you having fun working on this month?