Sewing for others

I had the opportunity this last week to work on making a few gifts for other people. I also spent some time with my quilt guild neighbor, working on a few masks. She was making those masks to gift to a great grandson.

We sewed wearing masks, which is not a lot of fun. I know people are wearing masks all day at work and it amazes me how they stand it.

Thank goodness for being retired. I’m sure if I had to go to work every day and wear one, I would suck it up and carry on, but honestly, if I have to wear one to go out & have a little fun, I’d rather stay home for now. (And if you have been following me for any bit of 2020, you KNOW how many darn masks in varying styles I have made).

I did recently purchase some mask inserts that were suggested to me that help keep you a bit cooler in the mask, pushing the fabric out away from your nostrils. (Look on Amazon for a “face mask bracket” or “3D mask bracket” and you will find silicone open frames.)

I inserted them into the pocket of the masks on the style I made with pockets. On the most recent style (see my post https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/trying-out-a-new-mask-design/ ) I slipped the 3D mask bracket inside the layers before I stitched across the end closing it up. Those masked I marked an UP arrow with a sharpie on the inside of the mask, as the bracket definitely has an up and down.

3 d mask frame
3 d mask insert

They do really push the mask out from your nostrils and mouth, but you need to still have a snug fit over the bridge of your nose and under your chin, and that will happen with a good fitting mask like the one in the link I previously wrote about. You can also slip this frame BEHIND a ready made mask without a pocket, but the silicone touches your face, and you should be aware of that if you have an allergy. I did that with an older style mask and it was not uncomfortable. I think that is where you get the most benefit of holding the fabric away from your nostrils. The pack I bought had ten, and so I have played with various options. They even make them in kids sizes.

I can say that the mask frames that are inserted loosely inside my masks go through the washer and dryer without a problem. I just straighten them out when I take the mask out of the mesh bag from the clothes dryer. (REMEMBER your mask should be washed EVERY TIME you wear it, in HOT soapy water, and machine dried to kill any germs. DON’T wear the same mask over and over without washing!!!)

Other fun sewing….I want to go visit my friends, Walt & June at assisted living this week, and promised last time we talked that I would bring her “fall” placemats. I made two this weekend using a block pattern from Carole’s Autumn Jubilee 2017, Stars on Autumn Lane (pattern still available for A block and B block –https://frommycarolinahome.com/2017/10/13/stars-on-autumn-lane-block-a/ https://frommycarolinahome.com/2017/10/20/autumn-lane-block-b/ )

(You know me, I love the patterns from Carole’s blog – FROM MY CAROLINA HOME. Go take a look!)

I added a 3″ border and corner stones, then trimmed them to 2.5″ after the quilting. I used Pellon fusible fleece for the batting. The border fabric is right out of my friend June’s boxes of fabric I have stored. It is very “1980’s” but the colors were perfect, and I hope she recognizes it as “something from home”. I cleared out her sewing room (it took me 3 days with my hubby packing along side me) when she moved to assisted living 3 years ago. I often take her pieces of fabric from her boxes I have stored, to use, but she isn’t sewing too much anymore. When I was able to volunteer there to sew with the ladies as a group, we primarily used June’s fabrics and that made her very happy!

placemats for Walt & June

I decided to “turn” these placemats instead of bind them to get them finished a little faster. It is NOT my favorite method, but they are DONE. ( I can never get a good closure even trimming away the batting at the opening. Anybody got a secret method? )

Another fun project — One of my daughter’s is having a birthday, and we all got together yesterday for a fun party, where she cooked for US, including the best carrot cake in the world for her own birthday cake. (She loves to cook and to entertain.)

I made her a new apron from fabric I bought a few years ago. (So nice to have it in my stash waiting). It is a very durable twill fabric with a delightful print. I am certain it came from Hobby Lobby. The “last” apron I made for her I wrote about here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/a-sense-of-accomplishment/

I wish I had made a note in that blog post of “which” pattern I had made for her. I dug through my file drawer and pulled out my patterns and thought I would try this one. I’ve made it before, but honestly can’t remember which modifications I made. After she wore that apron (2017 edition) she made some comments about fit…which I intended to save and have lost. SIGH………

Apron pattern
vintage pattern

I did like the pockets, but of course, I had to slightly modify them. In the B view of the pattern the pockets bloused out too much, so I made it into 2 pockets by running a stitch down the middle. The inverted pleat gives you extra “room” if you need it.

big pockets on the bottom

There is also a top pocket, and I left it as a single pocket. I tested, and my phone fit right in.

Top pocket

No need to divide that top pocket for a pen.

A new apron

I used the Medium size, but am annoyed at how “long waisted” it seems. It doesn’t look it laying on the table, but the minute it was finished and I tried it on, I was annoyed. It’s just FINE for my 5’11” tall husband (I made him one a long time ago from this pattern). My daughter is about 5’5″, so it will fit her better than me! First thing I did after trying it on was to pull it up at the apron ties and insert a little fold. I guess it will have to do. It’s done, and gifted! I pre-washed the fabric, so I can’t hope for much shrinkage. It does have a good “wrap” so your lower half is protected.

I was happy that I left a note in the pattern to not try to “turn” those apron ties. I modified how I made them an did them like “double fold bias binding”, folding down the center and then folding in the edges and pressing and top stitching. Maybe a little narrower than the original design of the pattern, but functional. I did leave a note in the pattern this time about how long waisted it is !

My hubby laughs at my angst, because he said “IT’s an APRON, not a designer dress”.… and I know my daughter will splash and wipe her hands in a hurry like she does with all the other aprons I’ve made over the years. She puts an apron on every time she works in the kitchen at her house and mine, so I know it will get used ! Functional!

My last little project was for one of the grand kids. She is going to dress up like ROSIE THE RIVETER for Halloween.

During dinner last week we chatted about her costume, and I had shared a red bandana I had. Her mommy said I could help with the costume by making a mask that she could wear while she was out in her costume. This is the idea we came up with –

Halloween mask

I used Superior cotton GLOW IN THE DARK white thread when stitching it out on my embroidery machine. It kind of glows green in the dark which she just loved.

GLOWING

Don’t panic about all the holes that machine embroidery does…..the back of the mask is TWO layers, with a filter pocket. Her mom can add a piece of cut away stabilizer in the pocket for a filter. That will keep her safe….

I did the whole mask “in the hoop” on my embroidery machine. I had a pattern for the mask from Smart Needle.com that I used. I did the placement and tack down stitch, then switched over to the wording in another file that I had done up on Embrilliance using the built in block lettering.

Set up to stitch

I adjusted the wording to fit in the mask and loaded that glow in the dark thread. (LOTS of thread breaks with that cotton thread).

Mask making

Once the front was finished, I added the elastic, making sure there were knots at the ends and taped them down. Then I added the two backing pieces on the TOP of the mask, returned to the original “smart needle” pattern in the machine, and ran the placement stitch and the tack down stitch again (twice). I didn’t want a lot of top stitching on the mask, so I removed it from the hoop, tore away the stabilizer and trimmed the mask and turned it . I’m so happy with my machine and all the little tricks I have learned over the course of the year where I can interrupt the machine and easily modify to suit my needs. It took me about an hour to make, including the test mask. The test I did as a child size and it was VERY small. 🙂

Test run

I have “one more” small project to work on for the same granddaughter . Can you guess what I am doing with this?

Can you guess

I went in search of this fabric on Friday and ended up on a 63 mile round trip ride! Any advice for a rolled hem would be appreciated! I’ll practice on muslin first!

What is happening in YOUR sewing room? Any Halloween costumes? Christmas stitching? Do tell.

Another Row for Autumn Jubilee 2020

It is fun to get up on Friday morning and find a new “row” for the Autumn Jubilee 2020 quilt along happening at the blog – From My Carolina Home – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/16/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-3/

I had fun after dinner on Friday night pulling the fabrics for each of the 5 blocks. It really doesn’t take very much and I was able to get what I needed out of some small pieces, partially used fat quarters and a few strips left in my containers. I even used up some of those background blocks left over from my “indecision” last week with the trees.

My first block finished is my “feature fabric” from the row of trees that were row # 2.

Leaf block for AJ 2020
Small print leaf fabric

I mixed up the background fabrics in this group of blocks since I was using the “same” fabrics for the actual leaf. (Gotta get my scrappy look!)

The second block was a much larger print fabric.

getting the leaves made

Sewing progressed pretty well. I chose an orange that is a bit of a tone on tone, and in hind sight, wish I had chosen a print. It just doesn’t pop like the other fabrics. Could just be the crummy lighting .

Green and orange

Up close it does look a bit better, as does the red with the gold print.

Red Yellow and brown

Overall, it didn’t take long to get the pieces cut and stitched and into a nice looking row.

Row # 3

Row three is complete for the Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along.

Ready for the next project. I was just thinking that I have 4 rows made (2 stars, 1 tree, 1 leaves) for the quilt along. I also have the embroidery blocks made for the Autumn Jubilee wall hanging, and the strip unit made for the bag. It will soon be time to start finishing some of these up. It’s not to late to start if you want to pop over to Carole’s blog and choose a project.

Are you quilting along with #AutumnJubilee2020? Or maybe you are stitching one of the wool projects or making pillow cases? Be sure to share on the Friends of From My Carolina Home facebook page.

Trees and Leaves Autumn Jubilee 2020

It is week 2 of the quilt along for Autumn Jubilee 2020. This week we worked on row # 2.

This was fairly fun and fast to make using a small leaf print and a variety of background fabrics. It took me longer to decide on background bits than cutting out all the leaf fabric. I bought this leaf fabric a few weeks ago, specifically for this project. I like all the variety of colors in the print.

ready to sew
fun with trees

I bet I rearranged the few background pieces 10 times, and cut lots of extras! I do like the way this came together. Pattern is located at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/09/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-2/

Another project for Autumn Jubilee 2020 this week is the Machine Embroidery Wall hanging.

Details at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/12/embroidery-wall-hanging/

When Carole announced that she was incorporating some machine embroidery into this years Autumn Jubilee, I got very excited. I have SO many designs saved on my computer, and they are sorted by categories like Seasons, or Holidays, and sub-sorted by specifics, like FALL or Thanksgiving etc. For two or three weeks I have been going through those folders and looking at all the Fall / Autumn designs I have, along with continuing to download ‘free’ designs from lots of places. I narrowed it down into 8 designs.

I decided to use some interesting stitch patterns from a digitizer called Sew Sweetly. I get a freebie every day, and of course, I can’t help but window shop. They have a series of fall designs that I liked, and have some great prices. Rather than order the complete set (Fall/Autumn Bean/Vintage Stitch Embroidery Design bundle) https://www.sewsweetly.com/embroidery-and-applique-design-bundles/3408-fall-autumn-bean-vintage-stitch-embroidery-design-bundle , I picked just 4 of the designs since Carole recommended stitching out 4 blocks. (Don’t tell, I have all those designs, but bought a few more….)

I decided to use one fabric for all 4 blocks, and my 8″ x 8″ hoop on my Janome 11000. Since I don’t know what the “assembly” or “finished piece” is supposed to look like, I felt like the “one fabric” would give my blocks some continuity. I have a couple of other prints set aside to use for possible borders. (I am keeping out my fall fabric container, and my Autumn Jubilee bin in close reach for the “next set of instructions”.)

As I matched threads to the design worksheet for the first block, I decided to keep those threads out and try to use them in each of the 4 blocks.
My first design really defines the grouping –

first block

I find it fascinating to watch the machine do the work. Don’t kid yourself, machine embroidery has a huge learning curve, and I am continually learning. I’ve learned a lot about stabilizers, hooping, basting boxes, floating fabric, floating stabilizer under my hoop, tension adjustments and more. The most important thing I have learned is to LISTEN to the machine. I can tell if something is going wrong simply by the change in sound. It may have sounded like noise to you, but to me, the sound in the video below was the sound of everything running right.

My second block was one I called a “swirl” of leaves. I did a little rotating of the design on the screen and some slight increasing of the size.

swirling leaves
Swirl of leaves

My third block tells the story of what happens when the wind blows.

tree loosing leaves
When the wind blows

The last block I played with quite a bit in my machine options. I had the colors from the previous 3 blocks lined up on the ironing board next to the embroidery machine. When I brought the design in to the machine, I decided to “duplicate it” for a total of 3 designs. I rotated the designs and positioned them in a way that I felt was fairly balanced. I did some minor increasing on each of the 3 designs, and when it looked good on the screen, I decided I was happy with it. This really filled the space in the block and made it more interesting .

machine set up
15 colors, 22,443 stitches, 7.4 x 7.9 inches
In the hoop
starting the final grouping of 5 leaves

As each group of 5 leaves stitched out, I adjusted the colors to keep them balanced with the previous group.

leaves
Autumn leaves come in all colors

When the “next” round of directions come out for this wall hanging, I will make the choices on other fabrics that will compliment the blocks I have made.

It’s been fun to do these 4 blocks and I can’t wait to see what Carole has planned next on her blog https://frommycarolinahome.com/

Are you stitching along with #AutumnJubilee2020 ??

Stars and Strips Autumn Jubilee

Last post I talked about the construction of my star units for the #AutumnJubilee2020 Quilt Along being run on the blog From My Carolina Home. (There are links throughout the post or choose the button on the side of this blog to access the page)

On my last post I shared how I make half square triangles. These units are often found, in varying sizes, in many quilt patterns. There are as many ways to create them as there are patterns. I happened to find a method that I really like, but you might be doing yours using another method. Do tell what your favorite method is, and if you use a special ruler or tool when making it.

Now, on to the updates. My two star rows for the Quilt Along are completed.

Two Star Rows
Rows 1 and 5 are ready

I choose a little darker leaf print for the sashing, but I think it blends nicely with the other scrappy background fabrics I used. The sashing went on fairly quickly.

The pattern for the stars is at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/02/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-1/

Oh, did I mention that Carole has LOTS of sponsors and prizes on each post during the Autumn Jubilee 2020? Don’t miss out!!

The instructions for the next “project” that I wanted to work on were posted on Sunday. https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/04/autumn-jubilee-sew-along/

I had a fairly easy time choosing fabrics for this sew along.

lined up to stitch
Strips all lined up

I opened my bountiful tote of Autumn Jubilee fabrics, and my “other” tote of fall fabrics and pulled out these pieces. Not all my pieces came from yardage, so I had to join a couple to get the length I needed.

It didn’t take much time to get them all stitched together.

Stitching is completed
Can you find the “join” ?

I don’t often see purple in Autumn fabrics, but I really liked the two in this project, and that helped me pull in the fabric on the outside rows.

Carole suggested using the built in stitches on our sewing machines to “quilt” along the seam line. I chose one of the “long” stitches on my Janome 8900 which looks a bit like a leaf. I used Superior Fantastico thread, in my favorite “CASHMERE” color.

Fun leaf stitches
Top Stitching

I decided to use fusible fleece for the batting as I have a whole bolt. I like that it didn’t need pinned while I did all this top stitching. I also found after I did the first row that I was tired of pushing the foot pedal of my machine, so I unplugged it. It was great to use just the “start/stop” button and only focus on guiding the fabric straight. This rather long stitch does a lot of back and forth so it is time consuming.

Next up is deciding on the inset panel and how I am going to embellish it. I have a piece of fabric set out, and I am thinking about what to machine embroider on it. I may switch colors as the contrast feels a little ‘stark’ to me.

Strip piecing for bag

I might look for a deeper gold or a green. The background fabric will determine the thread colors for the embroidery. Too dark of fabric and the embroidery will disappear. I am going to think about it a bit and see what I stumble over in my bins.

There are other projects beside quilting in the Autumn Jubilee posts. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Carole has planned. One project she posted over the weekend was a wool hand stitching project. I decided to limit what I was doing so I don’t get overwhelmed. I know from previous years there are lots of fun activities ahead.

I’ve enjoyed Carole’s patterns and posts for over 5 years. She has so much variety and I’m sure you will find something you like. If you comment on her blog, tell her I sent you . Be sure to follow to get notified when there is a new blog post, and share your projects inspired by her blog on the Friends of the From My Carolina Home Blog on Facebook, where I am one of the moderators. The friends on that group share their photos of projects inspired by the blog. I find it helpful to look through the photos when I am looking for alternative color, value, saturation on these quilt/sew-alongs.

What are you working on?

Star Row Quilt-along Autumn Jubilee

Are you following along with #AutumnJubilee2020 on the blog – https://frommycarolinahome.com// ?? Each Friday in October there will be a “new” row to make for the Autumn Jubilee quilt-along.

Warning; lots of photo’s and a video ahead.

Many times in the years since I started following Carole at From My Carolina home, I have indicated that I keep a container of “Autumn Jubilee” fabrics/parts/pieces to take along to my quilt bees. It was quite easy to get started on Friday when the details were posted. My bin contains lots of big scraps, all the way up to fat quarters, plus some baskets of squares in Autumn colors and neutrals in various sizes used in previous years.

This week the STARS rows were quite easy to begin as my bin had a basket full of squares, already cut to size.

2.5 inch squares from the Autumn Jubilee tote.
Ready to go! 2 1/2″ squares and some 2 1/2″ HST
Sorting colors for 4 patches
Sorting colors for 4 patches

Do you have some favorite tools when working on small blocks? I do!

I like the wool pressing mat. This one is great for small units, 8″ square.

Wool mat
Stack of blocks ready to sew
Sets ready to be made into 4 patches.

The Gizmo and the wool mat are great when working with chain piecing and chain pressing. The Gizmo has a razor blade for separating your blocks. It is free standing and quick to use when you have a big chain. I received the GIZMO as a gift. I don’t know that I would have gone out to buy the GIZMO, but I think it is a pretty clever thing, and handy when you have a lot to cut apart. Faster that finding the snips.

Snipping the chain pieces

Having the squares already cut and ready to stitch made making the centers of the blocks quite easy, and in no time I had the number I need ready.

4 patches for the star centers

The pattern gives you specifics on the number of 4 patches and half square triangles(HST) you will need. I had about 1/3 of the HST already in the basket that were needed. In the same bin, I had another basket with the size I needed to make the remaining HST.

My favorite method is using the June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square triangle ruler. Rather than try to explain the use, check out this great video on You Tube –

June Tailor Perfect Half-Square and Quarter Square Triangle Ruler

Using this ruler, I never hesitate when the pattern calls for lots of HST. I’ve used this ruler for about 10 years and it is one of my FAVORITE tools in my quilt room.

June Tailor Perfect HST QST Ruler
These two slots are for marking your stitching lines

The tape on the underside of the ruler is “medical tape” from the drugstore. It has little ridges on it and that really keeps my ruler from slipping around on the fabric.

Ready to cut
Another tool I use is my rotating Fiskars cutting mat

My 2nd favorite tool in my sewing room is the 12″ rotating Fiskars Mat. I have worn out the middle and it may be time to replace it soon. The slot with the dash lines is used to line up your stitches and cut the block in half.

Cutting the HST
quickly cut
Fast straight cuts using the cutting guide
Ready to square up

The slots in the center help you line up your HST for trimming and making them “PERFECT”. This is where I “wear out” my ruler, because I always seem to work in the same spot.

Perfect HST

It doesn’t take long to make a big stack of HST.

Ready to piece
Ready to sew

I stack up the pieces on my little rotating mat, making certain the points are all heading in the proper directing. This keeps me from having a wonky pointed star! As I shuffled the HST around, I kept reminding myself, “pointy part to the outside corner”. It does help to have the blog post up on the computer screen with a bigger view of the star too.

Seeing stars

It didn’t take long on Saturday afternoon to make the stars into blocks.

This afternoon I will add the sashing to the blocks and make the two rows.

Are you following along with #AutumnJubilee2020 ??

What are your favorite tools in your sewing room?

Time for Autumn Jubilee

Autumn is arriving around the USA. We are having periods of rain and much cooler temperatures in Delaware. Harvest decorations are going up, and I see pumpkins for sale at the local farm stands along with potted mums.

I got out my fall wreath and put it on the door last week. I purchased this handmade wreath at a fall festival in 2017 and I just love it. I added the little Halloween bat last fall.

Fall wreath

I inventoried my fall placemats and table runners. Turns out I have 15 fall placemats. (If you followed my blog for any period of time, you KNOW that I’ve had an ongoing bin of “Autumn” and I take it to my quilt bee when I don’t have a project to work on and I can pick up and carry on with these.)

Autumn Jubilee on the table
Autumn Jubilee placemats and table runner

Autumn Jubilee on the blog https://frommycarolinahome.com// is something I follow each year. Carole writes great quilt patterns that are easy to follow and shares fall recipes, decorating, wool projects and much more. There are going to be different projects and it looks like starting today a “quilt along”. I’m excited to get started.

If you follow along with Autumn Jubilee on Carole’s blog, be sure to enter to win some of those great prizes. She has some BIG sponsors and they have been generous! Use the link above or the button on the side of my blog. If you follow Carole, let her know how you found her page! She reads ALL the comments, and usually replies to each one, except during Autumn Jubilee when the volume is just too much. Join in on the conversations on the Facebook group she has linked too, where I am one of the moderators. And most of all…..share your photo’s of Autumn Jubilee inspired projects and tag the blogs. 🙂

Do let me know what your favorite part of Autumn is?

Labels for old projects and Autumn Jubilee

As I was changing out a table runner this summer, I remembered that the project didn’t have a label on it. If I make something I usually put some sort of label on it to remind me later of “when” I made it and “what” I referred to it by on my blog posts, in my photo collections etc. I was also moving a wall hanging his summer and when I looked at the back of it I discovered it was lacking a label. I made a mental note to “make labels” and immediately carried on doing other things.

While I was out in my sewing room, working on the never ending scrap clean up (oh…do I have a mess…..) I took a break from cutting things up and grabbed a piece of fabric and made a couple of labels on my embroidery machine.

I have to tell you I haven’t totally figured out the Janome 11000 that I have been using now for a solid year. I can’t figure out how to get more than one line of text on the screen, so I sat down at the computer to work it out. I am using the software called Embrilliance, in EXPRESS MODE, which is FREE.

I’m learning more and more all the time about how to use it. When I started with this set of labels, I found a “frame” built in to the software options. I tripped over it while poking around in the program, and can’t tell you where I found it. (Don’t you just hate when you find something cool and can’t repeat it!) Anyway, I had this green and yellow variegated thread already on the machine, and thought it would make a fun stitch out.

Variegated thread frame
fun with variegated thread
Blue bird label with frame
Finished label

I am having a little “bobbin thread” issue, with the bobbin thread showing on top with this blue thread for the words, but I’m not going to sweat the little stuff…the label is finished, stitched on.

My Little bluebird

I use the same method all the time when making a label to have a nice “finished” edge. I mentioned before that I learned the technique from Pat Sloan https://www.patsloan.com/ when she taught how to make a nice ‘circle’ for an applique project.

Essentially, you lay a piece of fusible pellon over your label, with the glue side facing the RIGHT side of your label. You stitch all around the edges, then cut a slit in the pellon and turn it “right side out. You smooth the edge where the pellon is stitched to your fabric with your finger tip and you have a nice finished edge. I iron the label to the project, then hand stitch around the edges. Most of the time two edges are enclosed in the binding, but since this was adhered after the project was made, I had to hand stitch all the way around. The beauty of the fusing is it holds your label in place while you stitch; no pins! Also, it is an extra security to keeping your label on the project. Not quite so easy to remove, depending on the type of pellon you choose to use.

circles on bluebird
Circles for applique
Close up blue bird
Lots of circles with this machine applique project

The circle turning method was used on the wall hanging the label went on. So, after 5 years of hanging around with no label, it is “FINISHED”. I did this project in a class with Pat Sloan and wrote about it several times https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/wild-and-free-and-bluebirds/ while it was “in progress”.

The second label I made was for my FIRE AND ICE table runner. I used the same green fabric, but switched to bright orange thread to complement the “fire’ on the runner. It’s a funny name for a project, but the ice blue and the bright oranges were the inspiration for the name.

Fire and Ice label
label ready to stitch on

I had pins in it all around because I thought I would bring it in the house, pin to the back of the runner and hand stitch on last night. I decided to wait, and get the runner out of the closet and bring it to the sewing room to press on first. I hate to battle pins! And, I think the edge will be much sharper and crisper when I press it on first.

Note, this time I had NO problem with the bobbin thread peaking through. Sometimes those machines can be a bit finicky.

Batik table runner Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice table runner
Back of the table runner
Back of the runner

To see more about this runner, look for my previous post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fire-and-ice-batik-table-runner/

It’s been fun looking back on older projects, and getting the labels done.

Batik placemats
2018 batik placemats

I just love the different bright colors in batiks. Some can feel really dark, so they have to be used “sparingly” I think.

More placemat fun
Placemats in 2018

I can’t remember if I made 12 or more of these placemats back in 2018. I think I had given them all away to my daughters. When I was looking for a piece of fabric to use for the 2 labels I tripped over a basket of “partially made” placemats. That basket has been sitting around since 2018, so I must have thought about making more. I need a dozen for my “summer” table. I think they will all be a bit different from these I made early on. Something else to go out and work on I think. I really have to get rid of these baskets of partial projects in my next “effort” in my never ending clean up.

I am lucky to have the space, but the “clutter” is bogging me down. I am trying to spend a few hours every day this week to clear up and clean up a bit. I am on a self imposed deadline. Next week starts “Autumn Jubilee on the FROM MY CAROLINA HOME ” blog, and I always look forward to working with fall colors. Carole Carter did a Facebook Live Chat on the Friends of From My Carolina Home page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/591941124470566 ) last week and gave us a hint at what she has planned for October. She mentioned we might want to get a small “leaf” print, at least 1/2 yard in fall colors. I was able to pick up a piece this week that I hope will work. When the shop was unrolling it from the bolt, I realized it was the “end of the bolt” and took what was left. I got about 1 3/4 yard, so I will have plenty.

fabric for Autumn Jubilee 2020
Small print leaves for Autumn Jubilee

Since Carole has been doing Autumn Jubilee, I have kept a container with fall fabrics, and her patterns. It was always my “go box” when I had a quilt bee. I worked on bits and pieces for fall projects for years, and have made plenty of table runners and placemats. This week I took the bin out, sorted things, refolded and assessed what I had on hand. I have another similar sized tote with fall colors that were not “specifically” for Autumn Jubilee. I know I have used up my favorites over the years. Next blog post will be a compilation of my Autumn Jubilee projects from previous years, while I wait for the 2020 edition. I heard there will be opportunity for “machine embroidery” to be included, and I am excited to start something new. Meanwhile, I best get busy cutting up scraps and finishing up another old project left lying around.

What is happening in your sewing room this week?

 

Trying out a new mask design

A couple of months ago I saw a new mask design that claims to be “more breathable – The mask that doesn’t touch your mouth or nose, easier to breathe”. I shared that video in a comment with one of my blog readers, and decided today to try and make the mask. I will post a link to the video at the end of this post. Note, this is NOT my design, but merely a reference to someone else hard work and creativity.

I’ve watched the video multiple times and like the simplicity of the mask. I start with a piece of computer paper (8.5″ x 11″) and a ruler and pen. I stopped the video each time the designer made reference to a measurement, so I could make those “marks” on my paper. I have to admit, it took me a minute to find a ruler with centimeter markings. (Dear hubby had one on his train table in the garage.) The conversions to inches were a pain as not many American rulers have the inches broken down in 1.8″ or 1.18″. It was much easier to just go with the centimeter ruler. The “hardest part” of making the mask was making the template, and that took under five minutes. It really is quite simple.

After I cut out the mask “shape” I went off to my sewing room. I had about 35 minutes before my dinner timer was to go off with chicken in the oven. I spent those 35 minutes locating some nice fabric, pressing, cutting, marking, stitching, pressing and finally adding the elastic for the ears. AFTER dinner, I went back to the sewing room, ripped out the stitching by the elastic, shortened it and re-stitched to secure the now shorter elastic in place. Note, for me, I started with a 9″ piece, and shortened it to 7″. For the hubby, I made his with a 9″ piece of elastic for each ear loop. NOTE: Be sure to put a knot at the end of your elastic, and stitch just to the side of the knot. That might help you keep the elastic from pulling out of the seam.

Pretty new mask
Front side
Inverted pleat front of the mask
Reverse side
shaped away from your mouth and nose
The mask has a good shape, and if you “push out the center” before putting it on, it does not rest against the bottom of your nose or lips

The masks are essentially reversible.

I made a second one after dinner for my husband. It covers his mouth and nose as needed and does not push the fabric into his nose and mouth, which has been a big objection to his mask wearing.

We both wore masks the other day at a gathering and find that wearing for any time longer than 10 minutes they grow tiresome and hot and annoying. I’m hoping this style is one that we can endure for longer bits of time.

I think the shape allows for it to be snug over the bridge of your nose and snug on the sides too, without covering your entire face – just the parts that are necessary!

New style mask
Front of the mask for my husband
backside of mask
back of the mask
Mask has some dimension
shaped to put on

Note; hubby has a mustache and goatee, and this was fairly comfortable for him to wear.

I found the construction fast and easy, could cut everything with a rotary cutter and ruler once I made the basic pattern. I cut the fabric “on the fold’ of the pattern, which enhanced the rotary cutting. I cut 2 fabrics, 4 layers at once, using my smaller ruler and rotary. I think if you were going to make a lot of these, the cutting would go very quickly. (That has been my big objection with some of the other “shaped” masks). Overall, I give the pattern maker a big thumbs up. I do believe the designer (ART Thao162) has other styles of masks on you-tube, but I suggest if you are looking for a style that doesn’t make you feel claustrophobic, give this one a try.

Video below. Link to you-tube – https://youtu.be/U3nwb9ZTyyU

If you try this, let me know what you think and if you would do something differently.

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??

Small projects go quickly

Or so I thought when my group, Queen Bees, started this in January. Before we even knew what was happening in 2020, a couple of us came up with an idea to make fidget quilts for a local nursing home patients. Well….timing is everything they say.

Back in January we made a lot of blocks!

Fidget blocks
I think there were about 120 blocks made.

We used 5″ squares and a 4.5″ square of fusible fleece on the back. That gave some support to the various pieces that were being stitched on. It was so fun to see what people put together.

We had planned to do some “assembly” at our March bee, but 2020 took a left turn and everything got cancelled. Our bee has been meeting again, monthly since July, in a large gazebo at a town park where we can space out. Not doing any sewing at these gatherings, but we are doing a bit of show & tell and being “socially distant”. (Thanks Carole Carter, I like that turn of phrase so much better) Anyway…last month I hauled the bag of squares to the bee and we put them out on a picnic table and those that wanted to took a stack. I brought home the rest, and decided to work on them this week. I made two fidget quilts, each with 25 squares. It finished around 22″ square and will fit in a lap or table . I added a couple of ties to secure to a wheelchair if need be.

fidget quilt
Finished fidget quilt
making fidget quilts
fidget quilt with ties anchor

When we made the blocks the idea was to use texture, and add things that the fingers can stay busy with while it sits in the lap. There are bits of elastics, various pieces of lace, ribbons with beads, buckles on ribbon, bits of zipper ends and even a working zipper along with empty thread spools, fleece, corduroy, felt, satin,and tape measures. We anchored all the bits down on the blocks and by having fusible fleece underneath, they should be secure. Some attachment points are in the seam, and the items were stitched down as the blocks were assembled, and then once together, I top stitched using a wavy stitch over the seams to give a little more texture.

finished fidget quilt
finished fidget top with some quilting.

I used a zigzag stitch on some of the plain blocks to make certain there was some texture in the block.

I put these two together one evening after dinner, using a piece of flannel on the back. I enjoyed making these, and it was fun to put the various blocks together that the bee members had created so many months ago. I still have a bag full of “pieces and parts” and may have to arrange “another 25” for a bit more fun.

What are you doing to keep your fidgety fingers busy??