Summer winding down

I can’t believe August has left us and summer has wound down so quickly!  August has been a hot humid month, and September is much the same.

Our local kids went back to school on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day in the US.  Some areas of the country school has been in session for several weeks.  We live in an area that is a summer tourist destination.  A few years ago, citizens complained to the state government about schools starting in the middle of the August and not long after the legislators set a “state-wide” start date for schools.

So, as the children started back for their “First day” in Delaware, my youngest daughter, my youngest granddaughter and I ventured over to the formerly busy beach area for a bike ride! What a change a week makes in the volume of people on the trail, walking and running.  All summer it has been filled with families and young children and yesterday, it was the older crowd. A few moms with strollers around the library and right in town, but once out on the longer trail, my granddaughter in her trailer, was the only child around!  We rode a surprising 12.24 miles !

12.24 mile bike ride

I was stunned to realize how far we had gone. Up to this point, my longest ride has been about 8.5 miles.  I started riding with my daughter in early July, sometimes 2-3 times in one week. I need exercise and this is certainly a fun way to get it.  Haven’t lost one pound, but I have found my calves!  Now, I am finding myself scheduling bike rides on my calendar into October. I want to make sure I schedule the time so other things don’t get in the way of an opportunity to ride together.  I haven’t done much in the way of exercise since I retired six years ago, unless you count climbing the stairs to my sewing room multiple times a day as exercise!  So, this is GOOD.  As I approach my mid 60’s, those looming health issues we all face demand I do something, and I love to ride.

My bike is a TREX, era 1990’s, with good tires, though heavy and a bit squeaky and with it’s quirks.  My oldest daughter rode this bike in middle school and high school during that decade, and I rode it off & on in the years following. I put a “new bike” on my Christmas / Spring birthday wish list for myself, determined not to buy one until I have at least 6 months of riding  regularly. I really love the local bike shop, LifeCycle in Milford DE. My daughter introduced me to the owners, Ben and Jenn, during a community ride they organize.  I’ve done several with a big group, 40 or more riders, and some with smaller groups that my daughter has organized and I am having fun!   All in all, a positive direction to move in.

Yes, I am still sewing, and I managed to get a few projects done last week.  Those batik placemats are coming along. I found a nice 3 yard piece of batik in my “blues” bin and think I can get just about all of my placemats backed with it.  I layered and pin basted them and started quilting them over the last week.

half way done with placemats

I have 9 quilted, trimmed and ready to bind.  If you click the photo, it will take you to my FLICKR album. Give the picture a second to focus, then you can zoom in and see the free motion quilting (FMQ) on the placemats.  It has been good practice.  The quilting has been done on my domestic sewing machine using Superior Fantastico # 5021, a variegated blue turquoise and purple 40 weight on top and in the bobbin. Thankfully you can’t really “see” the quilting on those busy batiks on the front of the placemats, but boy can you see it on the back.  I will show a photo of the backs ‘next time’.   Let’s just leave it as “good practice” for my FMQ and I am getting better bit by bit.

Next up for projects is a quick one I did on Labor Day afternoon.  I made two bibs to include in a “baby basket” that will be raffled off at our spring quilt show.  Since I made so many for my youngest granddaughter, I feel comfortable making these for that event. I tried to pick fabrics that looked modern and might appeal to a young parent.

Bandana bib

I love this bandana style.  I did minimal quilting in a graphic manner, just enough to hold the batting firmly in place that is between the layers.  I made a second bib in a more traditional shape with 2 contrasting fabrics.  I just love this bright green leaf print.

Flip side of the black bib

I think it makes a nice reversible to this dot fabric in bright colors.

Traditional bib

I did a bit more quilting on this bib in a wide graphic shape. They are bagged up and ready for delivery!

While I had my “bib making supply box” out, I sorted out all the fabrics I had stored in it, and returned most to my stash, leaving just the basics in the box, like patterns and PUL laminated fabric for waterproofing.

I found a great pattern and instructions for a free “in the hoop” zip bag last week through a group on Facebook.  I was happy to find one that would work with the 4×4 hoop on my Brother PE500.

Pattern Paw Print Zipper bag

The instructions are so well written, and it was worth the 12-14 pages I had to print out, to follow along.  I downloaded the design and got busy!

Paw Print zipper bag

This little pouch finished at 3.5″ square.  I did use some 505 spray, for temporary adhesive while construction was underway, along with my narrow masking tape.  The instructions have you pinning fabric edges, but I found that I liked the masking tape. I am now on the hunt for short zippers that I can use on some future projects!  I have a bunch of 18″ ones I purchased at a quilt shop a couple of years ago, but they are really too big for this project and would be wasteful.  I’ve dug in my sewing box and come up with a few short ones.  I have a similar in the hoop pattern from another designer that puts the loop on the left side of the zipper, and I am going to try it next. Bother patterns use the same size pieces for the pouch.  I have 3 pouches “cut out” and kitted up for my next embroidery club gathering.

I do like these quick projects that I can finish in a day or two.  I keep working on my placemats, in between, some of these other fun projects.  It’s nice to have some “finishes” once in a while.

I had to laugh with my husband about all of my quilt tops that are on hangers, patiently waiting for me to finish them.  I have to go in search for a heavy duty hanger for one, which was too weighty for the hanger and broke it this week.  It is a queen size that is in a state of “limbo”, just hanging around waiting for my next move.  I believe it is my Scrap Dance Tango in king size. (Pattern is from Carole – From My Carolina Home.  (Follow the above link for pattern information). The one with 1400 or so half square triangles.  It is a beauty, and one that I must get busy and quilt.  I seem to remember I wanted to add a 2.5″ border all around. Must be time to spread it out on the bed and see if the size is as I wanted it to be and move forward from it’s status.  Our quilt show registration is opening next week, and I think I want to show this one, so I must get busy.  I need to make a “finish it list” to move it along!  Carole – From My Carolina Home always has fun projects and great posts.

I also follow some rather “famous in the quilt world” people.  Bonnie Hunter has been a favorite for a long time, and I have done a couple of her mystery quilts and taken 2 of her classes.  .   Those that have followed my blog know that I love her scrappy style and I have written about her scrap storage system, string piecing and linked to her blog many times.  This week she is mourning the loss of her brother and I know that the tens of thousands that are her fans feel her grief and offer their sympathy.  She has a worldwide following and I hope she can find strength from the “quilty hugs” many of us are sending her way.  I pray for peace in her heart and comfort for her entire family.  

Many quilters find peace during their sewing time, and comfort in the quiet time they spend in their sewing rooms.  I’ve read about quilters who work through their grief while stitching in the wee hours of the night. I enjoy the solitude sometimes in my sewing room, and yet, I find great joy in the times I can sew with my friends at a bee.  I hope you have a wonderful day working on your special projects.

 

 

 

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B and B (Bags and bibs)

Well, that is what I have been doing….making bags and more bibs!  I managed 3 more bibs with the little bit of PUL fabric I had on hand for the granddaughter.  This time I made them from fabric my daughter chose from my stash Fabric Resource Center.  (Doesn’t that sound better than sounding like a fabric hoarding system?)

More baby bibs

Addison will be the “fancy girl” in her batik and floral bibs this Autumn.  I decided to alter the construction slightly. I went to my Resource Center, and retrieved some warm & natural cotton batting; and to container of stabilizers and got out a strip of “tear away”. I layered the fabric, the batting, and the stabilizer, and  did some straightline quilting of the bibs with the stabilizer on the back. Once the quilting was finished, I removed the “tear away” stabilizer.  I was happier doing that than digging out all the fuzz on my feed dogs that the batting would have left behind. Once it was all removed, I assembled with the PUL in the middle, and flannel on the back. I “mastered” the snap tool and now these 3 are ready for Addison to try on.  I am going to be able to get another bib out of each of these fat quarters, so will do some in the “bandana” shape next.

I also have been working on tote bags for my other Guild.  Helping Hands Quilt Guild, in Dover Delaware is supporting the local food bank project at the church where the meetings are held.  The food bank is in need of durable bags for holiday distribution of food. They need to be strong enough to hold a turkey. One of the members prepared take & make kits.  I took one kit, and 3 extra labels.  I have lots of upholsetery fabric, so I figured I could do a few more.  I have 3 finished, and will do one more this week to put that last label to work.

Food bank totes

Carole at From My Carolina Home is having an Autumn Jubilee  on her blog.  She is sharing photos, and asking for people to share their Autumn projects on a FLICKR page.  Take a peak at what has been done so far – Flickr Autumn Jubilee photos  .  I decided that I would share these photo’s with you all here too!  I know these don’t look much like Autumn, but it is the best I have today !  Do take time to check out Carole’s blog post. She is starting a quilt along on Friday!

I finally had a chance to sit down and get back to work on my “MITTENS” project, and am currently “webbing” another batch of 81 blocks.  I haven’t been able to work on this for 3 weeks, and I would really like to get “some assembly” done! I love the process of webbing to keep all the parts in the proper order!  Bonnie Hunter talks about that method sometimes on her blog.  If you recall, there was a section of “nose” that I needed to fix, but I haven’t gotten there yet.  I will once I get the next row in this batch of blocks!

Webbing  group 9

The projects are stacking up around my design wall, (3 bins for my Bonnie Hunter class), and on my cutting table are more fabrics for baby bibs, and I have a trip in less than 2 weeks; and I want to do Carole’s quilt along!  So I must say goodbye for now, turn off the computer and get back to stitching!

Sharing the fun and more

NOTE: REVISED POST –  Sometimes my links I enter “disappear” between the time I add them, and the time I finish.  In this post the link to Bonnie’s Show & Share dropped off.  It is now reposted!  Bonnie Hunter’s blog address is http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com .

Now, back to my post…………..

So, as you may have read – a few days with Bonnie Hunter – at a class; a lecture or a retreat can be a lot of fun!  My friend Judy commented that “You have more fun than the rest of us put together”.   Well, I do try! At this point in life, if it is not fun , then I am not doing it! PERIOD.  There are a lot of “levels” of what I would call fun.  From the blissful joy of holding a new grandchild for the first time, to the wonderful feeling you get when you serve meals at church, to the companionship and friendship, conversations and coffee while you sort and fold donated fabric, to the gathering of friends to sew together, or the peaceful quiet of the morning with your first cup of coffee.  Maybe fun is the wrong word….perhaps joy is a better choice.  I am trying very hard to have JOY in my life everyday; and to not allow the negative to seep in.  I am choosing to only work on those projects that give me  personal joy; or projects that will be bringing joy to someone else. I do look forward to sewing today, finishing up a few baby bibs, and then working on a pillowcase for one of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild  community service project, and a tote bag – big enough to carry a turkey, for Helping Hands Quilt Guild.  The pillowcases go to patients at local hospitals who getting chemo or are in patient and need cheering up. The tote bag will go to the food pantry that is held in the same church as Helping Hands Quilt Guild meets. I try to do my “best work” and pray that those who get these items feel a little joy during a difficult time in their life.

As I opened up my emails/blogs/Facebook etc., before coffee this morning, I saw another of Bonnie Hunter’s posts with photo’s of her trip to Dover DE.    Bonnie’s Show & Share in Dover DE   on her  blog post.  Quick, open it in another page then come back.

Are you back? Good, didn’t want you to miss the rest of my post.  Flip back and forth or split your screen!  Or, read this whole post and go visit Bonnie and then come back!

The  second thing I saw on the post,  was a picture of me helping Edna hold her Allietare quilt. (Edna and I were room-mates for our little get-away.)  Notice the lovely scalloped borders on hers! That means it is quilted, and bound.  The 3rd photo is me (in green) holding MY Allietare quilt.  I changed up the colors; and mine is still a work in progress.  (I went for greens and browns instead of the greys and blacks the pattern called for.) I want a final border so it fits my king size bed.  I showed the inspiration fabric with the quilt, but it doesn’t show in any of the photos.  I plan to use it somewhere on the quilt, but I am still “not there”.

Be sure to read the lovely embroidered label that Edna has on her quilt!  Go one, go check out all the photo’s on Bonnies blog, run the slide show. Turn your speakers down a notch or two. Don’t forget to come back!

On other matters – I run the “Second Time Around” table at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild.  We get lots of donated items from members, and from people who find the guild through other means and have items to donate.  Last Friday I went to pick up an entire “sewing room” of donations.  I filled my trunk, back seat and front seat with those donations.  On Wednesday and Thursday this week, different guild members came over to help me sort, iron, measure, and price fabrics.  We support our Community Service projects with this donated fabrics.  My helpers were looking for things that would make great baby quilts and pillowcase; and while they were sorting they really helped me get through a few of these bags.  I have many more days of sorting and folding and pricing to do before I get this pile into nice neat little stacks of fabrics.  I am setting some items aside for the quilt show next summer, but also boxing up items to sell at the guild meeting in November and during the coming year.

 

DONATIONS to be sorted

Yes, everything on and under that brown table was donated!  And boy there were some treasures!

More fun/joy – My newest grandchild, Addison, stopped by yesterday with her mommy.  She got to visit with 2 of my quilting friends, Nancy and De, and arrived at JUST the right time.  We had been sorting and folding and ironing and pricing donated fabric for about 3 1/2 hours when she got here.  We were working on this big pile of donations!  (This was day 2 for me of the sorting and folding and ironing, so I was happy to be distracted).

It was a great stopping point and so much fun to sit and look at a sweet baby while her mommy went through my fat quarter baskets in search of fabric for “more bibs”.

Addison is 6 months old, and has 2 bottom teeth that just broke through.  She is drooling like a wet Rottweiler!  My friend Nancy, has been an expert “bib” maker, having a grandson who needed LOTS of bibs.  She gifted me her patterns and left over PUL**   fabric, and 4 bibs already cut out.  I had dug in my bins for flannel and for some other fabrics; ordered a snap-tool and set of snaps and got busy last week.  I picked up the snap tool on Wednesday. (Did you know you can order just about anything at Walmart.com and get free shipping for pick up at the store?)  The snap-tool I got was the Babyville brand, and I ordered a package of snaps.  It works very easily.   Grandpa did the first batch of snaps, and I did the second batch. They were ready to hand off to Addison when she came to visit.

Bandanna Bibs

Fish Fabric

Star Wars Flannel

Firetrucks and dino's

Fun Fabrics

I wish I had “snapped” a photo of her sitting on a quilt in my sewing room, playing with the stack of bibs!  I sent her home with 9, and have started another 3.

I just ordered another yard of PUL fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. It was on sale, and I got another 25% off, so I don’t mind paying their high shipping.  I am putting the bibs together with a layer of quilters cotton, a layer of PUL fabric in the middle, and a layer of nice flannel on the back.  These are quick and easy to sew.  My daughter pulled out some interesting fabrics for the next batch, and I have it all pre-washed and ready to cut.  Addison will be a fashionista in her batiks and small print florals!  These bibs are really fat quarter friendly.   I think I may modify the next pattern slightly so that the pattern can be cut on the fold, and I won’t have to worry about “right sides” when I cut the PUL fabric.  I also am waiting on a “review” of the bib to see how absorbent it is. I might put a layer of quilters cotton batting in there to “soak up”.  The PUL does help keep the “soaking thru”, but I am guessing a little extra thickness might be good.  I could practice a little free motion quilting on the bib before I finish the assembly.  Stitching through the PUL fabric defeats the purpose, but I could layer the quilters cotton and the batting; quilt it a bit to reduce the bulk with a tear away stabilizer behind it, then layer it with the PUL and the flannel.   Open to other ideas if you have one!

I hope what ever you are doing today brings joy to you and those around you.

**PUL fabric is Soft, Breathable, Waterproof “PUL” (Polyurethane Laminate) is a fabric laminated with waterproof polyurethane on the back. It is popular and effective for cloth diapers, diaper covers, bibs, diaper bags, wet bags, changing pads and more