347,514 stitches

Do you gasp at that number? I did!! My wonderful sister-in-law, Carolyn, (AKA https://OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com//) did the custom long arm quilting on my Allietare quilt.  She messaged me after the quilting was complete and told me how many stitches went into the quilting, 347,514.  That is overwhelming really. The quilt is 111″ wide by 99″ long.   I wanted the extra width for the sides of the bed. Those thick mattresses add to that width. 

I’ve posted about this quilt project in the past, but I would like to report now that the quilt is finished, ready for show & tell and for the bedroom!  To catch up, here is what has been going on this summer.

I mailed the quilt top and the backing fabric to her in July and I got it back last week.  I ordered  Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Select Mid Loft batting from the Fat Quarter Shop, and that took a while to arrive.  I usually use Warm & Natural, but I do like the feel of this mid-loft batting.  Quilters Dream is the batting that Carolyn prefers. She knows what her machine likes best!

Carolyn did an amazing job on the quilting and you can see some little peaks of it here and there in the photos that accompany this post. 

While I was waiting for the quilt to come back to me from California, I made the binding and some pillow cases from left over fabric.

Ready to use

4 queens and 2 standard

I had enough fabric to make 4 queen size and 2 standard pillow cases.  

Want a peek at the quilting?

Back of the quilt

The texture of the quilting really shows on the gold on the back of the quilt.

Carolyn did a beautiful job quilting, free motion on her long arm, Greta the Gammill.  Each area of the quilt was custom quilted freehand.  I think she did an amazing job.  

a peak at the back

Custom quilting freehand

I spent one afternoon trimming the quilt.  Then I made a hanging sleeve from the leftover backing fabric.  I attached the hanging sleeve at the same time as I put the binding on the quilt.

Ripping the stitching

For some reason, I put the hanging sleeve too low, and it didn’t get caught in the first round of binding stitches, so I did a second run…..and those stitches were too wide, so out came my trusty seam ripper.   Took the binding off, moved the sleeve all the way up and reattached it to the back of the quilt. I got in too big of a hurry I think.  I needed to take a break and try again.

Stitching the binding on the back

The burgundy is “flange/piping” part of the binding, and gets stitched to the back of the quilt first.  

Over 400 inches of binding going on.  I love those handy little clips.  I had enough clips to go 3/4 of the way around a king size quilt, which is fantastic.  That meant I didn’t have to stop stitching very often, and drag it all back to my big table very often.   

attaching the binding

This binding is what I call “Susie’s Magic Binding” and is my GO – TO style of binding.  I love the pop of color you get when you have that little flange showing. I also love that you can stitch it down entirely by machine.  Check out the tutorial at the link above.  I use my walking foot when attaching the binding and on this machine, I have an extra help with a special “ditch” foot for the walking foot, that keeps my stitching “in the ditch” of the burgundy fabric.

Manhandling a big quilt to put the binding on is no easy job. The “shipping weight” was 10 pounds, and I can attest to that fact that it is heavy! I had to set up my ironing board next to me to help hold the weight of the quilt.  I also had a table behind my machine table to support the weight.  I am so glad my machine is set in the table and I didn’t have to ‘lift’ the quilt. 

manhandling a large quilt

Stitching the binding

I did the “final” hand stitching yesterday, making certain the label was stitched down and that the sides and bottom of the hanging sleeve were attached.  I put some fusible behind the label to make it extra tough for someone to “remove it”.  Two edges are encased in the binding too.  

Ready to see it?  Here is the back — where you can really see the texture. (Note – those pillowcases were made using some of these backing fabrics)

Can you “see” my hanging sleeve at the top??  It matches the backing and pretty much disappears.  

back of the quilt

And this is what I told Carolyn was the “beauty shot”…..

king size allietare

Five years in the making and finally finished!!!  This is a Bonnie Hunter /Quiltville mystery quilt pattern and was presented in 2015.  The pattern is currently available at Bonnie’s store as a digital pattern – https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

Want more details on my version?  Just use the search function for “ALLIETARE”  on my blog, and you will find all the previous posts. Be sure and check out this post and see why I chose the colors I did.  You will see a hint if you take a closer look at the label on the back of the quilt too. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/progress-on-a-ufo-allietare-mystery-quilt-circa-2015-16/ 

What’s going on in your stitching life?  Any random acts of  quilting? 

Scrap Happy and Allietare Updates

Fair warning – lots of photos!  

Just a few years ago, I dug in the scrap storage boxes and put together about 30 blocks using Pat Sloan’s pattern Scrap Happy Little Wishes Star Challenge. (See Pat’s post – Scrap Happy Stars for the free pattern)

I wrote about the project once or twice at the time and showed off my blocks, joined together with black sashing here – Just a border or two.

Well, if you have been following me for any time at all, you know you sometimes never see the end result…or maybe I left you wondering “what did she decide?”…..

Well, let me tell you….NOTHING for almost 5 years!  Honestly, I have told others that I am a “top maker’ not a quilter at times.  I have a LOT of tops made, hanging on hangers on my storage shelves that get forgotten because something ‘new and exciting’ comes along.  In fact, some are hanging so long I had to put them on NEW hangers because the hook of the hanger was stretched out due to the weight.

I get tempted by shiny new fun patters.  Why, just the other day, Pat Sloan started another “new sew along” and I was really feeling tempted.   And then, our local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro Delaware announced a new sew along.  The pattern, Serendipity House in the Pumpkin patch, calls to me. Check it out here – House in the Pumpkin Patch.  You know if you follow me that I always have a container of “autumn colors” just waiting on another opportunity! Now I have TWO fun sew alongs to think about.

Before I could l do anything else though, I needed to fold up the massive (111″ x 120″) backing  for my Allietare quilt and get the backing and top in the mail to California for quilting by my wonderful sister in law, the One Block Wonder Woman .

Remember the fabrics I was using?  (Some of this may be a repeat of a previous post/photos…but I just love this fabric group!)

Border fabric choices

Top fabric (wine labels) is the border fabric. The herringbone gold and the grape fabric are on the back, along with this wonderful Bella Toscana fabric I was inspired by last month –

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

My plan was pretty simple for the backing – scribbled out quickly.  (The quilt will be WIDE because of the drop on our king size bed. I like a quilt to hang over the sides and get to the bottom of the thick top  mattress.)  My quilt top is 111″ wide by 99 ” long.

Planning the backing

Careful planning…no, what I call “quilt math”, but careful measurements of the actual project, careful cutting etc and I fairly quickly had a quilt back ready. What really slowed me down was ironing those massive pieces before cutting, and after stitching.

Backing ready to stitch Allietare

Carolyn was kind enough to advise me she needed 4 inches on the sides for the long arm clamps; and to remember to do 1/2″ seams, pressed open. I did leave the selvedge on the edges of the final pieces, as they will be where the clamps are and they will get trimmed off after the quilting. I’d forgotten to take a photo of the backing before I shipped it, but Carolyn, the One Block Wonder Woman was kind enough to snap a picture of it on her design wall.  She said it was so big it took over her sewing room! The backing is about 120″ wide by 110″ long.

Quilt backing for Allietare

Remember the front?

Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

I’m so glad it arrived by mail without TOO many wrinkles.  Hanging up for a bit will help them to shake out I hope.  I hate to see her have to iron that beast, enough that she is loading it on the long arm and doing all the quilting.  If you quilt for others and they mail you tops/backings, how do you manage the inevitable winkling from the shipping?  Does a steamer work or do you have to iron the whole thing??   Allietare is a pattern by the queen of scraps, Bonnie Hunter and the pattern is available on her online store.

Anyway; now that Allietare is ‘under control’ and OFF my table, back to my Pat Sloan  Scrap Happy Little Wishes story!  I went to the sewing room and looked at one of my cutting tables, buried in STUFF.  A disaster zone for sure!  I went up with the intent of “cleaning it up” but to be honest, it looks like this 4 days later STILL.

Disaster zone

Last week I was making “string blocks” for borders, so there are bins of stings, baskets of scraps and so much more on that table.  I had one basket of string blocks made, and decided to join them together into a “string border”.  (I wanted to sew, not clean….at least, that is what I told myself when I picked up the baskets).  Sewing string blocks uses scraps, which I needed to clear up, right?  I use phone book paper as a foundation for my string blocks.  At one time, I had my strings sorted by width, then as I was digging for the right color, I resorted by color. Sometimes I have to get in the scrap aver boxes to find the perfect strip.  Anyway, working on string blocks is what I do when I have no sewing “plan”, and I hadn’t quite gotten to the Scrap Happy Little Wishes quilt.  (I’ve had vertigo for a week now, so mindless sewing of string blocks was about all I could manage) . Honestly, cleaning up from multiple projects was more than my wobbly head could manage last week.

Since my BIG cutting table was cleared off, I could lay out all the string blocks and arrange them so there were not similar fabrics too close together.

More string border blocks

Anyway, at some point I measured what I had sewn together and discovered I had enough to go around something that was hanging on a hanger waiting on borders.  I had made 268″ of a 6″ wide border, and while getting down my Scrap Happy Quilt, I found 336″ of  4″ borders all done too.

String borders

I laid out my Scrap Happy Stars on the table and immediately decided I didn’t want to put either of those string borders “next to the black sashing”.

Scrap Happy Stars on the table

There JUST wasn’t enough space between the busy scrappy stars and the scrap borders.  So, I executed plan B.  I got out a bin of reds and oranges and yellows, did some more quilt math, and decided a 4″ border was what would work.  I have a tone on tone ORANGE (shown at the top of the photo above) that was also used in the sashing stones, and I decided it was perfect.  At this point, the quilt top was feeling rather “dark” to me, but the orange really brightened  it up.  I cut the sashing into 4″ strips, sewed it all together and then sub cut to length for the sizes I needed.  I added some cornerstones from my 4″ scrap storage, and in no time at all I had the borders attached.

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge

At this point, I think I am going to leave “well enough alone” and figure out a backing and start quilting it.  My brain this morning was running along the line of putting it on my quilting machine frame (the one with the 9″ throat and the Janome 1500).  I need to learn how to use that machine, loading etc, and it is high time.  I am glad I bought some wide backing last winter from Marshall’s Dry Goods, but not sure if grey paisley is what I want to use.  I have some purple wide backing, but have to check and see if there is “enough”.  If not, I may order something else.  Did you know they sell 108″ wide back for $7.99 a yard, and you can get a 15 yard BOLT for under $80.  Great choices and I am thinking I have some shopping to do.

Sidenote Serendipity Quilt Shop is a small business in a very small town, and since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns, they have converted to totally online sales until it is safe for everyone to shop in person in their store. If you need something, new fabric is arriving daily, and they have $5 flat rate shipping or porch pick-up. Their amazing online shopping website is running well and this week (through July 12) there is 20% off on Moda Grunge.  So, if you need some fabric or notions, try to support the small business so they will be there after COVID-19 is history.  Serendipity is where I ordered that fabulous Bella Toscana fabric, catching it on sale.  I think I bought 7 or 8 yards, so I have enough for matching pillowcases.  The facebook post by Serendipity inspired me to get my Bonnie Hunter Allietare off the hanger!!  

It is a very nice feeling to move two projects forward that have been “hanging around” for so long.  No worries though, I have lots more UFO’s to tackle.  All but one of the series of Scrap Dance Mystery Quilts I have done over the years are still “on hangers” . Well, except the last one, it is still on the design wall.  Carole is publishing the TWIST soon.  When I was looking through photos yesterday I realised I had ONE of the Scrap Dance series finished.  I had to go back to my blog and find the post about it.  Turns out, I finished it around September 2015, about the same time I was making the blocks for the Scrap Happy Stars!

Scrap Dance Quilt Along Finish!

Seems I like those scrappy projects!!!I was busy that year.  (You may see some of the same fabrics in BOTH projects!)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I appreciate all of your comments when you take the time to post them.  I often say I am slow to blog anymore because I don’t have much to say, or I don’t have any photos to support the post. Today it seems like I might be overwhelming you with photos and narrative.   So, I am glad you took the time to get this far, and hope you enjoyed the post.

What are you doing on this hot July day for fun???

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.

 

Progress on a UFO – Allietare Mystery Quilt Circa 2015-16

This month seems to have motivated me a little bit to work on some projects that have been “fermenting” on the shelf or on hangers! Last blog post I talked a little about getting stalled when it came to putting borders on quilts.

One project that has been quietly hanging in my quilting room is a Bonnie Hunter pattern. It was the Winter 2015/16 mystery quilt she called Allietare. The pattern was inspired by one of Bonnie’s trips to Europe and the Tuscan countryside.

My quilt top has been assembled since about March, 2016, all but the last border. Apparently, I had shopped for border fabric, because I had a box, with 4 different fabrics.

Looking back through my project notebook, I had receipts from Hancock Fabrics (RIP) and Hobby Lobby for various pieces in the quilt. I also had the “color chips” from the original pattern, where Bonnie recommended, 5 color groups for the project. I remember when I started to shop for fabric that the colors on Bonnie’s graphic were not the same colors in the “suggested” colors. I had a scrap of fabric that really “matched” the graphic.

Colors

(Note…the “spelling changed from Allietore to Allietare” about the 2nd week of the project. I never made a new book cover.)

I really felt like the choice of black was too harsh for these colors, so I opted for a brown. And Bonnie suggested just one constant color and that was a GREY. Again, I felt like I need to use the green, like in my inspiration fabric.

Bits and pieces from the project
Inspiration fabric
inspiration fabric with “leftover blocks”

I was really happy with my fabric choices for the quilt top, but when it came to the border fabric, I stopped. I have to say I had 4 & 5 yard pieces of three different fabrics, and at the time, they just didn’t click with me for the project.

One more round if borders to go

Early this week, my local quilt shop posted a sale and some photos of fabric and one of them caught my eye. In fact, I got so excited, I had to go out to my quilt room, get the quilt top off the hanger and spread it out on the table to measure for borders.

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

I debated and debated ordering this fabric for the borders. Because we still can’t enter the store, I didn’t have a good feel for it and how the width and the height of the repeat (12″) would work for my border. And in the long run, I thought it might be to light alongside that chocolate brown border.

So, I decided against ordering it for the border. What made my decision easier was pulling the box of fabric that I had originally purchased.

Border fabric choices
border fabric choices

As I set out the 3 fabrics on top of the quilt top, I knew why the grapes wouldn’t work, and why the gold wouldn’t work. But, I didn’t know why that top fabric had been previously thought “unworthy”. It was perfect.

So, I did my measuring and decided to cut 8.5″ strips of the wine label fabric for the borders. Lots of discussion with my husband about how to best show the labels. Yesterday after lunch I got busy, did the cutting and got the borders on, and the quilt top is now READY to be quilted.

on the work table
on the work table
border fabric choices

Now that the borders are on, the quilt top is 99 x 111″, perfect for our king size bed.

Borders are finally on
99″ long x 111″ wide King Size Allietare
Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

So, now, what about that Bella Toscana? I think it is going on the back of the quilt. I just loved that fabric, and have to do some quilt math in order to use it. The quilt is 99″ long. So, I think I will order 4 yards, and build the backing with that piece of Bella Toscana down the center. Because the quilt is very wide (111″), I need to build it up with something else. I initially thought to use the GRAPES fabric, but there is not enough to get the width I need on both sides of the center. I think that gold herringbone will come into play in the process, so, yes, a pieced back, with several sections. It will be fantastic, and I can’t wait to place my order today!

The big debate then is the quilting. As soon as my sister-in-law, Carolyn (aka OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) saw the photo, she volunteered to quilt it for me. We had lots of fun discussion about mailing it to her, or arriving with my suitcases full of quilts to long arm at her house on Greta the Gammil. That debate is still underway. In any event, I am really pleased with the outcome of the border.

If you are interested in the pattern, you can find it on Bonnie Hunter’s digital store https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

For more about my adventures making this quilt top, just put Allietare in the search block on this page.

Are you catching up on anything this week?

Traveling sewing kit

I am leaving in less than 36 hours for a trip to California, and a cruise to Alaska. My bags are packed, twice now…and I think I have the essentials.

One thing I enjoy while traveling is working on English Paper Piecing. Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville.blogspot.com, does this when she travels to teaching locations around the world. I started the year I went to Nevada when my Lil sister was recovering from knee surgery. The only time I sit and hand stitch is when I travel. (🐈 in lap at home preventing hand stitching).

Anyway, I sorted out my never ending Double Diamonds project, and got things kitted and organized and all set to travel…..or so I thought. Today I attended a lovely gathering of the Material Girls Quilt bee, and Irene, our hostess, shared a hand sewing kit given to her as a gift by a dear friend.

Her friend used some wonderful Tula Link fabric.

There is a place to keep needles stored on the green wool, pockets for scissors and the awesome Vivilux light, and even a zip pocket and a holder for her Aurifil thread. I loved the idea and got permission to to get a couple of pictures.

After dinner tonight I decided to go PLAY for a bit in my sewing room. I got out 2 fat quarters and a scrap of contrasting fabric and some batting and got busy cutting, sewing, quilting and creating.

I made my travel sewing kit with 3 pockets, and also used a bit of wool for the needles and pins.

Travel fabric for the outside.

Transportation (blue) fabric inside. I fussy cut the fabric for the pockets.

Wide open it is about 8″x 20″.

On the left I have a spool of thread being held on with a tab and a button with elastic. Below is a pocket with 3 sections. In the center is the wool pin holder (with a bit of batting behind it). Below the pins is a larger pocket. On the right is another pocket with the opening on the side towards the center.

I managed to load an Altoid tin with bobbins (for lots of thread variety), another spool of Aurifil thread and my new lighted Needle threader in the pocket sections.

The center pocket has those clover clips that are like spare hands, my Vivilux LED light and a floss container. ( I fly with this, and use the cutter on the floss for my thread.)

This side opening pocket has my Double Diamonds directions along with a 1qt zip bag full of pieces and parts for 1 Double Diamond EPP block.

Now I am really packed and ready to go! Thanks Irene for sharing your kit and inspiring me to make one for myself.

Carolina Hurricane Quilts and Scraps

I mentioned in a post in late September ( Carolina Hurricane Quilts )  about the Carolina Hurricane Quilts project being spearheaded by Carole  Carter on her blog – From My Carolina Home  

I made a few blocks right after that post, and gathered up supplies and made up “kits” to make more blocks.  I have a few scraps and squares and leftover half-square triangles, so it was quick to assemble those kits.  I usually don’t “save’ 4.5″ blocks, but I had LOTS of 5” squares in my Scrap storage system.  More about that in a minute…..

My wonderful bee – the Queen Bee’s took on the challenge of making blocks during our bee gathering last Tuesday.  They came armed with scraps and sewed for about 3 hours.

Queen Bees Carolina Hurricane Blocks

During the bee gathering I snapped some photos and sent them off to Carole!  It was fun to get a group photo.  Here are a couple of pictures of the members, hard at work.

Sharon Oct 2018

Marta and Nancy Oct 2018

(Sorry for the blur ladies….)

Tracy and Mary Oct 2018

(Imagine…I am actually there in a photo….that usually never happens.  Thanks Marta!)

I came home from the bee with a stack of blocks, and still a handful of the kits I made for myself.  I didn’t seem to get as much sewing done there as I had planned, so I spent the week working on more blocks.  My method for working on these has been to make “2 at a time”.  I use those  great little foam core design boards to lay out 2 blocks and move them to the iron and back to the machine, and I can “keep the angles” right fairly easily.  Look back at my blog here – Foam Core Design Boards to get info on the boards and how to construct them.

I keep making blocks, as my hand is continuing to improve following surgery.  Carole asked me if I wanted to put the blocks together into a top, and at the time, I wasn’t sure if I could manage. I think I have about 20  blocks done, and the bee had about 15 done, with more promised.  I planned to “send” them to Carole the 2nd week of November. My Queen Bees who are still making blocks are planning to bring them to me the first Monday of November.  We have such a great variety of fabrics in these blocks.  This afternoon, when the light is better I will put them all up on the design wall for a photo.  Now I am wondering if I am “able” to assemble them.  I will have to get specifics from Carole on size if I decide to do the assembly. (She reads my blog, so I am sure she will write! )

During this bee, it was fun to chat with my “bee mates”, and to learn which ones are following along with Carole on her “Autumn Jubilee 2018”, and who have enjoyed making her mystery quilts. I love that they found her through my blog posts.  I also love that Carole linked to my blog post last week.  The day she did that, I had 82 new visitors.  So, if you are a new reader, and came to find my blog because of Carole, I thank you for reading and coming back for another visit. Be sure to “follow” in your favorite method.  I love reading everyone’s comments too.

At my “next Queen Bee” gathering, I plan to work with one member  and help her come up with a plan for controlling & managing her scraps.  Bonnie Hunter   is one of my FAVORITE well known quilters and in her blog post today she talks about having “variety” in your scrappy quilts and about how to achieve that variety.  (Every January I tend to “clean up” my sewing room and cut my scraps into predetermined sizes. )  Thanks to the lessons I have learned from other bloggers, like Bonnie, and others, such as Joan Ford who has written books about working with scraps too.  I attribute my “scrap storage system” to the inspiration I have found on Bonnie’s blog.  My sizes I save, and my method for storage are unique to me, as it must be for everyone.  I will, no doubt, write about my methods in a future post.  If your curious, you can check out this post- Scrap Storage Containment System

My sister-in-law, Carolyn, wrote about her method on her blog here  One Block Wonder Woman and Scrap Overload .  If you are a “scrappy quilter” how do you “contain” the chaos of scraps?

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.

 

 

 

Grandma’s Kitchen Update and Scrap Management

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!  More about scraps in a bit.

I’ve been working on a pattern by Pat Sloan called Grandma’s Kitchen.  This project was a “weekly” block beginning last June and concluding in December.  I’ve been posting periodic updates as my blocks were made.  I am primarily using 30’s reproduction fabrics, but have used some more modern fabrics for the neutrals.

I am now starting to build those blocks up into “rows”.  The pattern has lots of “filler” pieces that were not part of the original block construction.  About October the layout was released and when I saw those “filler” pieces, I decided to wait until all 25 blocks were made and I could make better choices of fabrics.

You might remember if you have been reading my posts that I spent a little time with the printed pattern and my felt tips markers planning.  My choices were made, and even the hubby got involved in the fabric decisions. (He really is a smart guy when it comes to this planning !)

Once I got all those “scraps” put away, I felt free to sew again!

I also have finally beaten the bronchitis that has laid me low for 3 weeks, so hanging out for hours in the sewing room has been a joy!  I worked on Row A on Friday.

Row A Grandma's Kitchen

The yellow strips are those “filler strips”.  I am using the yellow where ever the pattern called for a dark strip.  The white strips around the 2nd block (the candy dish as Pat called it) are a coordinating print.  I chose it for where ever the pattern called for a light strip. I used this white in several blocks during .

The friendship stars (4th block from the left) were “filler blocks”.  I used a bit of that red in another block near the end of the process, so I thought it would be nice to bring it near the top of the quilt. Balancing all these fabrics is kind of fun.  I want the colors not to appear to heavy in one area.

The next photo will show Rows A – C made.  I worked on Rows B & C late Saturday.

Rows A - C Grandma's Kitchen

Row B has more “friendship stars” in the first block, and I was glad the red was spaced out a bit, and glad I did not use the same fabrics for the filler blocks.   Row B has filler blocks (orange and purple checkerboard made with 2″ squares) and strips of white and yellow, and a “repeat” of the last block in the row that I had to create.

Row C had a much larger “checkerboard” that was a full block.  These were made with 2.5″ squares. Following the pattern, it was interesting to work this one, because the bottom row was to be all the “dark” (red)checkers, and it continued on, under the next block as a filler.  I went with it, and find it is interesting. I was surprised, because I would have thought making them the light (yellow) checkers would be more logical. Who am I to argue with the designer!

I’m having fun putting this part of the project together.  There are a lot of decisions yet to be made on fabrics as I approach the remaining stack of blocks.  I know which “colors” I want to use for the upcoming filler blocks, but not which fabric yet. I’ll get there & give you another look as I make further progress.  While I am making these filler blocks, there are scraps being generated! I’m keeping everything together so far, as I don’t know which bits & pieces I may work into the project.

Scrap Storage System – more info!

Speaking of scraps…here are some pictures from my last round!  It never ceases to amaze me how much “good stuff” is left at the end of a quilting project!

Ready to put away

This is the “last” of the pieces out of my yellow stacker.  They are cut and ready to put away!

Someone asked me how I “store” my scraps once they are cut to size.  I like “uniform” containers and am trying to get similar containers for all my scraps.  I like to size the container based on the size of the cut piece. Too big of a container means the little pieces get bounced around and messy.  I’ve already ironed these, and don’t want to do it again. I want to reach in the container and USE the pieces without going back to the iron.  I need to “invest” again in containers and house my 2.5″ squares and my 2″ squares. I have an over abundance of both and have resorted to cardboard boxes and plastic baskets.  (I also have a container the size of the one on the bottom left FULL of 2″ squares in ziplocks…leftover from 2 of those “watercolor” classes. UFO!!!)

Scrap Management Storage containers

I am using “shoeboxes” for strings.  Generally I consider a string anything that is 2″ or smaller.  These tend to be pieces that are not “width of fabric” and are the first thing I grab when I feel like making string blocks.  Mostly they are sorted by color family. The reds and oranges and yellows are together, the blues and purples are together and the neutrals are together. The boxes aren’t labeled yet, but are easy to figure out. I like them in color families because I like my string blocks more “orderly”.  I do have a container of 1.5″ strips in the previous photo and that box gets full rather fast, and when it does, the remainder end up in the string box. String pieces may not be as carefully trimmed to size, as I don’t care if the piece is 1 3/4″ or 1 5/8″…the precision is not necessary.

Shoeboxes for strings

In my previous post, Scrap Decisions , I included a chart with the range of sizes that I cut and store.  Someone commented about the “bricks”…those are the rectangles.  I don’t cut a lot of them, but I do use them from time to time, and find them handy to have on hand.

If you are just starting out with “saving your scraps” – you might not want to keep as many sizes etc as I do.  You have to figure out what you are going to use!  Because I follow Bonnie Hunter, I mirrored my system along the lines of hers, using sizes she typically includes in her patterns.  On her blog, she has a tab called Tips & Techniques, and on it you will find a blog post about her Scrap User’s system – Bonnie Hunter’s Scrap User’s System

The link to Bonnie’s system is very lengthy, so get a cup of coffee, and read (after you finished reading my post of course)!  And bookmark her blog, and LOOK AROUND at the wealth of free information she willingly shares with her readers!  She has a tab for FREE PATTERNS and at the top of that page is a handy chart which sorts her patterns by “strip size and block and brick size”.  This might help you chose what to store!  And it might help you decide “how” you want to store your scraps.

I also follow other quilters, like Pat Sloan who offers lots of sew-alongs that include free patterns. (Fore example Grandma’s Kitchen!)  On her website http://www.patsloan.com/  you have to “work a little harder” to find her free patterns.  She has a ton of stuff, so spend some time there as well.

Lastly, I mentioned in other posts, that I used information from Joan Ford as I developed my “Scrap Storage System“.   Joan’s website https://hummingbird-highway.com/ will give you links to books she has written on the topic, and why she saves what she saves as well as freebies and fun stuff.

What ever system you follow or develop for yourself, make sure it is one that will work for you and that you will find yourself USING your scraps!  I also have fun posting my scrap projects periodically and sharing the post with OH SCRAP!  

I find lots of other “like minded” scrap quilters projects on the weekly link-up and enjoy perusing their blog posts!  (In fact…I am linking up today!)  (You might have noticed a button to OH SCRAP on the sidebar!)

I have had a great time making projects using patterns that Carole – https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/ has come up with, and I have USED those scraps from my Scrap Storage System in every one of her “Scrap Dance” projects.  My scrap boxes are full right now, and I am looking forward to the Scrap Dance Square Dance project she has on her blog.  This is a monthly project.  I may “increase” my size from twin to something larger if the mood (and the overflowing boxes) call to me.  (There is a button on my sidebar to Carole’s blog)

Do you save your scraps?  How do you do it? Do you follow other scrap quilters?  Who ??

Scrap Decisions

I have mastered the scraps!  I have battled and won!  They are contained!  I have trimmed and cut and put order to some of the chaos and declare victory! Phew….that’s enough for now!  Yesterday I declared victory over the basket of blues, and since then I have gone through the red & oranges and basket of browns & blacks.  The yellow stacker is EMPTY!  (Ok; I haven’t tackled the laundry hamper and those zip lock bags, but I have met my goal!!!)

I was getting a little anxious because nearly a week has gone by and I had not “pulled” my fabric for Carole’s Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery Quilt!  Are you dancing too???  Info on the mystery is here – Square Dance Begins

As I was taming the scraps, I was setting aside pieces cut to size for the Square Dance Mystery.

Step One is to cut those fabrics.

Today, I gathered up those pieces and counted out what was required and determined I had plenty set out for a Twin Sized project.  All is ready except my fabric A which needs to be cut.

Scrap Dance Square Dance Fabric pull

(Do you see Elvis?)  (Notice the Superman fabric?)  (How about those wonderful fish?) (and Cats?) (hiding in among these lovelies are llamas too!)

Selections for Scrap Dance Square Dance

 

Everything came directly from the scraps in the “yellow stacker” that I have mentioned in the last few blog posts except Fabric A.  I (gasp) took it out of my neutral box that was set aside for my Bonnie Hunter project that is a UFO. It was “just the right size”.  I went with it because Carole had suggested a tone on tone would be favorable for this constant Fabric A.

Fabric A - the ONE constant

So, many thanks to the friends who have gifted me their scraps in the last year!  I look forward to including them all in this Square Dance mystery!

When you are out “shopping” for fabrics, I strongly encourage you to pick up a few yards of those great neutrals that work for background fabrics and stash them away.  A few days ago a friend of mine came in search of “low volume” neutrals for background fabrics. Sometimes they are not easy to find, and we went “digging” in the scrap bins for her bits and pieces.

I am heading “back” to the sewing room to cut “Fabric A” and put all those lovely scraps that I have cut and sorted for this project into a nice basket to await Step 2 in February!  And, perhaps, between now and then I will get back to one of those other projects that has been hanging around for a while!

Happy scrapping!

PS – One of my readers asked “what sizes” do I cut and save – Here is “MY” list – which, as I have mentioned is a combination of Bonnie Hunter and Joan Ford.  I have this list on the wall by my cutting table, and it is a good reminder. It helps me to look at the fabric and get the best use from a raggedy mess!  Remember – press and CUT THE SCRAPS!

CUT THE SCRAPS
SQUARES BRICKS
1.5 2 x 3
2 2 x 3.5
2.5 2.5 x 3.5
3 2.5 x 6
3.5 2.5 x 6.5
4.5 3 x 5
5 3.5 x 6
STRIPS
1.5
2
2.5
3.5
4
5
6

Final sewing of 2017

My last “sewing” for 2017 has been done!  I spent a few hours “cleaning up” and “putting away” a lot of mess in my sewing room. I cleaned off my cutting table and put a lot of stuff away.  I cleared off my “work table” and made room for a project.

Once that was done, I pulled out my pattern book and box of fabric and basket of blocks for Grandma’s Kitchen – by Pat Sloan.

I stopped working on these in mid October before I left on a trip for a month. These are the first 16 blocks(not in pattern order).

Sixteen blocks completed

I needed to pick up at block 17 and hopefully finish up at block 25; plus make all the setting blocks.  (That is going to take a week or two).

But before I could even begin to sew I had to figure out the layout with the various size blocks and how I was going to “balance” the colors throughout the rest of the quilt. What I decided to do is lay the blocks out, as the pattern indicated, and do a little “coloring” so I could plan the future blocks.  (LOTS OF PLANNING still needs to happen!)

Making sense of the layout

Once the planning for the next 2 blocks was done, I got busy and made block 16, and pulled the fabrics for block 17.  I think it did help to do a bit of coloring, because I could better understand as I colored in the blocks, where there needed to be more of a particular color.  I know I need to get a little more pink and purple and orange into the quilt.  I am trying to decide how to do those filler blocks and make sense of them too. I made a decision on the fabric for the “spool block” too.  I want to use one of the stripe fabrics I have for the middle of the spool.  (While I was sorting piles of fabric, my husband was watching, and figured out what I was up to and provided a bit of his color sense to what I was doing. I find his opinion most helpful).

Meanwhile, my design wall has been full for the last 6 months and I need to get going to get the borders on my Talkin’ Turkey!

1 row to go

That is all it needs. (The blocks and rows and columns are all sewn together, and the borders are made, ready to attach!)  I need to free up my design wall!!

I decided that I will “stop again” after block 17, and clear the work table and get those borders on, so I can get the Grandma’s Kitchen blocks up on the design wall!  Priorities.  🙂 (It is so much easier to sit back and ponder the layout on the wall than on a flat surface) (I told the hubby I need another design wall…..capable of holding a king size quilt! I just don’t have a spot for it.  Wondering if anybody “layers” their design wall and puts more that one quilt on it at a time??  Hmmmmm)

Following all that contemplation and coloring, I did finally do a little sewing – the last for 2017.

I present block 16 for now…..more to follow in 2018!

Block 17 Grandma's Kitchen

Happy New Year everyone!