#400 and more fun stuff

Wow; I am reminded as I logged in to write this blog post that this is the 400th post I have written to share.  I started out back in November of 2012 just writing about my projects, and am happy to now have 511 people who follow through WordPress, Blogger and Facebook.  Some folks have been with me since the very beginning, and I am honored they have hung in for this long.

Recently, I had a great time working with 2 ladies in my “Queen Bees” quilting bee.  They are both owners of new embroidery machines, and we spent a bit of time talking about how to “organize” all those fantastic designs they have been purchasing.  I shared my methods, using the computer and a “notebook”.

Whenever I download a design, I make sure I give the stitch file, and the thread change pdf/doc similar names, incorporating the names the designer has used along with a name that makes some kind of sense, months down the road.  I encouraged them to also print out the pdf/doc file, and put them in folders or behind dividers that mirror the “file folder” they used on the computer. The goal overall is to make it easy to find the file you are looking for.

I have several thousand designs “stored” on my computer, and I use file categories like Animals, Holidays, Flowers etc.  Inside those file categories are sub-folders.  So for instance; if I am looking for a Christmas design of “Jingle bells”.  I am going to open the HOLIDAY file, and look for the sub-folder called Christmas. Inside the Christmas folder will be my JingleBells.pdf (the thread change document) and the JingleBells.pes file (the stitch file).  In the 3 ring binder I keep the printed stitch file pdf, I will have similar tabs or dividers, so I can flip through and make some design choices.  (I am on my 4th big 3 ring binder!) Recently I printed out the file directory, and went through my binders, rearranging slightly, and putting names on the tabs that really reflected what was in the computer. Big improvement!

About 2 years ago, I wrote a blog post Machine Embroidery Resources, and did a refresher recently with a bunch of new links Updated Machine Embroidery Resources  .  In both of those posts, I talk about all the free designs available from various sources.  I also mention stabilizers, thread etc.  I have also written about “moving files” Moving files between the computer and the machine .  If you are new to machine embroidery, you may find all 3 of those blog posts of interest.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a Material Girls Bee on Wednesday. It is always fun to catch up and just sew for a while and visit and share projects.  Of course, I forgot to bring my show & tell.  I was the hostess, so I was fussing about getting the fresh fruit in the car, and happy to know that I didn’t forget any vital sewing items.  I love walking around and seeing what others are working on.  My table mate Barbara was working on a Quilts of Valor project. We got to ooh and ahh over Cindy’s wonderful “under the sea” applique project she is doing. There was another applique project going on by Kathi, and it was her “quilts around the bay” beauty!  Jean was working on stitch & flip rectangles for her husbands patriotic quilt. She had a few hundred of them to sew.  Judy was basting a beautiful quilt that was all applique done with asian prints. It just shimmered with those lovely metallic shots of gold. Francie finished a mug rug and was starting on a baby quilt. Gayle was cutting for a new quilt, and I am certain I looked at what Cheryl was doing, but now have forgotten completely! We have been privileged this year to use the fellowship hall at an area church and have great space and great light.  The ladies arrive and help set up, bringing irons, extension cords, pressing mats/boards; pvc pipes cut “just right” to raise the tables for ironing and cutting etc. So, my job as host is really just bring a few snacks and cart home the leftovers.  Clean up is just as easy as set up.

Wednesdays are fun too, as the hubby has his train club and I can sew as “long” as I can stay up!  I’ve been working on sorting scraps into color waves, and have been through about 5 boxes so far.

In between the scraps, I managed to do my next block in the Grandma’s Kitchen project by Pat Sloan.  Block #8 of 25 is called Grandma’s Apron.  I was able to get the stitching done on my little Brother machine, but will have to wait for the big Janome to come back from repairs to do the blanket stitching.

Block 8 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen

My Grandma Bessie always had an apron on. She was a bit rounder in the waistline than this dress would imply! I remember they were always floral dresses or floral aprons.  I am enjoying finding various 1930’s reproduction fabrics that go nicely together and can carry over from one block to the next.   If you have been following, you know that I used yellow and green in block # 1.  As I have done since the beginning of the project, I converted the photo to black & white to make sure I captured the “light/medium/dark” the pattern was suggesting. I upload my photos to FLICKR from my cell phone, and the B&W option easily available during the upload process. It does help me see if I am getting “close” on the contrasting colors.

Block 8 of 25 Grandma's Apron block

If you want to “stitch along” do go check out Pat Sloan’s website and join in –Grandma’s Kitchen Free pattern

I will be linking this post up on her page too!

Other fun stuff — Hubby and I went and previewed an estate auction on Monday evening. An former co-worker, Ed, let me know about the auction, as it was full of model railroad stuff.  He thought my hubby might have an interest and other friends who might also.  One man’s treasure might be something we would treasure was the thought process I think.

Turns out, my hubby had known the owner of the home and was familiar with the things he collected.  What he didn’t know was that the gentleman’s wife was quite the crafter, and had an entire crafting room that was ONE lot .

We had previewed the listing on-line, and there were things that caught my hubby’s eye, and we took a ride and spent a few hours browsing about checking lot numbers against the listing, and making sure we understood what the lot looked like and were able to make some value determination.  Now, in case you  missed it,  I said it was an estate auction.  I am keeping my eye open for a vintage dining room table for 12!  So, I studied the listing carefully.

SIGH……It made me very sad to see that no one in this gentleman’s family wanted/had room for/ or an interest in his fantastic model railroad. The train layout was the 3rd stall of a 3 car garage. It was amazing, and done with expertise using the finest quality items.

Someone (my daughter….) recently told me to read an article that pretty much summed up the attitude “Your kids don’t want your old junk”.  Type that phrase into Google and you will come across article after article about Millennials not wanting Great Grandma’s antique breakfront or Seth Thomas mantle clock or those fabulous cut crystal dishes you worked so hard to collect.

As we walked through this home, that had been well loved, and admired the collectibles, the model railroad train layout room, we came across the “craft room”.  That room was 6×16, filled with shelving, a treadle sewing machine cabinet (no machine), a 1960’s heavy Kenmore sewing machine; and a work table filled with every kind of crafting implement known to be used up to the beginning of the 21st century. The shelves were filled with carefully labeled boxes indicating the contents, with holiday decor for every season. My friend, Ed, who told us about the auction ended up bidding on and winning the lot.

I spent this afternoon helping Ed, his wife, and four of his favorite co-workers (young strong fellas) pack up and load up this craft room.  Ed’s wife really wanted that craft room, and she has a big job ahead, sorting out the stuff we hurriedly packed.  I never in my life have seen so many individual bottles of craft acrylic paint, and every other type of craft paint known to exist.  There must have been 60 or more  aerosol  cans of spray paints along with every kind of adhesive known to exist.  I was amazed!  My hubby and I had been tempted to bid on the room because we knew there had to be some hidden treasures.  I think I found the one box that will pay them back for the investment they made on the room.  It was a box of cut crystal dishes, with an inventory price sheet inside.  It was tucked away under a desk with junk on top.  The heirs of the estate at this particular auction, could have made a lot more money if that craft room had been “sorted” into multiple lots.  Hindsight I am certain.

It was interesting to see the number of people coming and going with their prized “lot” they won during the on-line auction.  Seeing the happy faces of the winning bidders pick up their items, it affirms what I have told my kids….”don’t worry about our old junk – call the auction house and they will sell everything from the china and silverware to the collectibles and the old toys to the junk in the craft room(s).”  They won’t get rich, but someone else will do the hard stuff, like sorting things out.  And, it is a lot easier than trying to deal with it on their own. Seems the whole generation is  “on the move” and would rather keep it simple, keep it light, etc.  I get it, sorta.  Hey, I moved 7 times between 1974 and 1986. My one daughter has moved 4 times all locally in this millenium, while the other has moved around the country and world  at least 10 times in the last 14-15 years.

As we age, it is a good reminder that it is time to start using up what we have, and paring down what we no longer need, so the heirs don’t have to do too much when the time comes (down the road).  I’m glad I didn’t bid on the craft room, was happy to help my friend Ed & his wife get it packed up, and happy to know I didn’t bring any more stuff home with me.  I was VERY tempted, and if there had been more sewing stuff and less painting stuff, I might have succumbed to temptation.  After spending the last 2 years sorting through other peoples sewing room donations, I do know that I must think about what I am keeping, what I should be getting out of my house! And, to stop acquiring things at a rate faster than I can use them……like all those embroidery files I am never going to stitch out!  My dear Aunt Jean said there was a time in life when you learn to “Admire rather than Acquire” and I think I am at that point.

So, what’s your plan for your beloved treasures, that “junk” your kids don’t want?

In closing this 400th blog post, I want to tell you some of the things I learned by writing this blog.  I learned that the connections I make with the readers is through their great comments. The comments are conversation, and often times I “chat” back and forth with the reader. I’ve made some “virtual friends” I think with this blog, especially amongst those who have been following from the beginning.  I’ve exchanged email discussions and conversation with several readers, sharing information, and learning from them too.  I  love that readers are sharing my posts.    New readers continue to find their way here, and I welcome each of you!  When new readers are also bloggers, I try to find their blog right away and follow it too.  So, thank you for finding my page, and for taking the time to read along as I share my quilting and sewing projects, stories about domestic life, and sometimes travel, pets and other fun things that life throws my way!

All but binding……

I am nearly finished with Mittens, my pet mosaic project I started in May of 2016.  (If you click on that link you can go back to my FLICKR album and browse through all the photo’s).  I’ve written many times about Mittens on this blog, and wanted you to know I have FINALLY reached the end!

Mittens will be completed in the next day or two with a week to spare.  I entered him into the  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Quilt Show  which takes place on July 21 & 22, 2017 in Lewes Delaware.

I did a LOT of thread work on this project trying to give the idea of his fur, especially in his ear you see below-

Thread painting

All that heavy thread work caused the sides of the quilt to pull in and make a “bow” in the sides of the quilt near the ears.

I needed to block the quilt.  I went to the internet and read lots of posts on how to block the project, and compiled info from many sources for “my method”.

Can you see how wavy the sides are???

Quilting finished

I ended up on the floor with 2 of those old fashioned cardboard cutting mats, a carpenter’s square with a yardstick attached and about 500 pins, and two tape measures.  I just kept working and working until it was as square as I could get it. The pins went through the project, into the cardboard mats and then into the floor!  (Industrial carpeting!!!)  This took me nearly 3 hours as I worked to get rid of as much of the “curve” the heavy quilting caused.  If you have a tip on how to keep that from happening, let me know! The project & borders were straight before quilting!

I got the water bottle out and started spraying.  I let it “soak” in and waiting an hour or so, and plugged in the iron, and steamed and pressed the whole quilt.  After I was finished with the iron, I set a floor fan near it and walked away.

Blocking Mittens

I let him dry for about 18 hours and then I pulled out the pins, put him on the table and trimmed him up.

While he was drying I got busy with making the binding and the label and the hanging sleeve.

I did my label on my embroidery machine and edged it in some cute cat fabric.  There are pieces of this fabric scattered out in the project.

Label for my Pet Mosaic project

I stitched down 2 sides of the label in the edges of the binding, and fused to the back of the quilt. I still have to hand stitch around 2 sides of the label, and the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve.  Since Mittens is a wall hanging, the top of the sleeve is stitched in the edge of the binding.  Which binding?  Well….Susie’s Magic Binding of course. It is stitched to the back of the quilt and READY for me to roll to the front and take those final stitches in the area of the flange.

That is my project for this summer afternoon!  What are you working on??

 

NOTE – Cheryl Lynch taught the class where I began the project – check out her website Cheryl Lynch Quilts  .  If your guild is looking for a great teacher & speaker, she comes with my recommendation!

A couple of projects and FOOD

The last few days have been filled with good food and projects.  I won’t bore you with the details, just suffice to say that since Saturday, I have been to a luncheon tea, a church shrimp & rockfish dinner, a guild pot luck luncheon, lunch at a friends house while sewing, and soup supper at church!  I just love it when I get to eat different, interesting foods made by other people.  The tea sandwiches were so delicious, along with scones and cheesecakes; and the shrimp was gigantic at church.  Guild luncheons always bring out the best cooks, and the lunch at my friends house included a fresh baked bread, filled with ham & cheese along with strawberries and chocolate frosted brownies. Soup supper tonight at church included a wonderful Italian salad to complement the 3 soups.

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Tea Sandwiches – Starting from the top – meatloaf, bleu cheese and grapes, peas and carrots  egg salad flowers, and salmon with radish

Aren’t they pretty?  The egg salad was so delicious I used the recipe for the Guild luncheon on Monday.

In between these lovely meals I have been enjoying a few sewing projects.  Tuesday at my friend Pam’s house, 3 of us got together and made these fantastic bags using 5″ charm squares.  The pattern is by Penny Sturges and is called Chubby Charmer.

Chubby Charmer bag

I, of course, opened my Scrap Storage System boxes and pulled from the stack of already cut 5″ squares, and collected enough coordinating colors for the project, and opened my “blue bin” of stash yardage and pulled a piece of fabric, circa 2011. Yes, the tag was still on the piece from the purchase.  Well aged fabric and scraps are always the most fun.  The only thing I had to purchase for the project was the fusible fleece, and I needed nearly 3 yards following the pattern instructions.  It consists of 48  – 5″ charm squares, set in a 6×4 grid on each side of the bag. The bag measures 11.5″ deep; and 9×20 “inside”.  The pattern said you could put a “9×12 casserole pan” in the bottom of the bag.

The yardage was used for the handles, the lining, and the inside pockets.

Inside pockets

There are 2 LARGE pockets inside this bag, and I decided to divide them in half when I sewed them to the lining. This is a “substantial bag” with 2 layers of fusible fleece behind the charm squares; 1 layer behind the lining, 1 layer in the pocket and handles.  This project required a “denim needle” for the top stitching around the upper edge of the bag.  I was not happy with the way my standard sewing needle was behaving when I was going thru almost 9 layers.  As soon as I switched to a heavy duty (size 16) needle, it went right through all the layers along the edge where the handles are.

After we constructed the bags, my friend Pam made some notes on the pattern on changes for “next time”. I said I would skip the fusible fleece, and use the Bosal In-R-Form in just one layer.  You wouldn’t have to get the fusible type, as you are quilting it to the bag, and a few pins would keep it in place until your stitching secured it.  Pressing the fusible fleece in 2 layers to our panel of squares, and getting it to adhere nicely was challenging. The other thing I think I would do is make sure my fleece or the Bosal is 1/2″ smaller all around the panel; to give you a little less bulk in the seams.

This bag is big enough to take a quilt to the guild for show and tell, or a bunch of supplies to a sit & sew.  I had a great time with Pam & Nancy while we made our bags.  All 3 of us finished the project the same day we started. Pam teased me and said I could NOT leave her house until I finished. She finished about 15 minutes before me. We started at 9 am, and I finished at 6:30 pm.  We joked about making the “bag in a day” and were determined to finish.

My other projects this week were to work on my flying geese for the Bonnie Hunter Talkin’ Turkey.  I used my Square in a Square ruler, option 3 by Jodi Barrows.

Square in a Square option 3

(My strips are 2.5″ which is wider than need be, but what I had already cut). The first step for cutting is to  put the 90 degree mark in the corner of the square.  Then you do it on the opposite corner and this is what you get below.

Option 3

Then you do something Jodi calls the “Texas two step” – you SHIFT the ruler two lines over from the 90 degree point for the other two corners.

Texas 2 step Option 3

AFTER the Texas 2 step trim

and then you trim the opposite sides.

Texas 2 step for Option 3

and you get this –

After the Texas Two step

I am ready to “cut through the white square” to get 2 perfect flying geese units.

2 perfect flying geese

In summary, by putting the 90 degree in the corner of the white square, you end up with a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance for the top of the goose, and you won’t loose it’s point when you stitch it in the block of the quilt.  The Texas Two step on the other two points eliminates that seam allowance, because the side of the wings will be in the seam allowance.  I’ve put links in a previous post to Jodi’s website and you tube videos on how the ruler is used.  I just thought I would share some close up photo’s of the ones I am making.  I have about 20 left to trim and then I will have my 240 that I need for this part of the project.  My next round of flying geese is for the border of the quilt and they will be red geese with white wings, and there will be a couple of hundred in that round!

One last project is something I did on Monday.  I was “going” to the Embroidery Club in Ocean Pines Maryland.  At least, I intended to go……Our luncheon at Ocean Waves went longer than I expected, and I got stuck in road construction stop & go traffic. By the time I got through the traffic, my time was so short, I ended up coming home and working on the project.  I followed instructions by Embroidery Library and made this little cutie –

Chicken felt stuffie

I haven’t “stuffed” him yet, as I need to use tweezers to get the stuffing through the opening left by the embroidery machine.  I apparently used the “WRONG” type of spray adhesive, as I spent 3 hours making this little gem of a chicken.  Thread breaks, needle jams, broken needle etc because my machine HATED the spray adhesive.  The stuff NEVER dried in the course of the 3 hours.  Had I attended the Embroidery Club, I would have gotten those great tips they had to share about this type of problem.  I wrote to the gals who lead the group and got some good feedback the next day.  Maybe I will try again, but not until I get a different spray adhesive.

What are you up to this week?

 

 

A bit of sewing

It’s been quite a while where I felt like I have done any sewing at all.  Thank goodness for the Scrap Dance Two Step for March!!  This mystery quilt run by Carole at https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/scrap-dance-two-step-march/   got me busy!  I put my half square triangles together on Friday afternoon, and finished squaring them all up today.  I did have to send Carole an email and ask if I was “counting” properly.  I either have extra, or I am short!   That quilter’s math on an empty stomach….

It was fun working out of the scrap bins.  Most of my fabrics for this project were already “cut to size” when I started, coming from my scrap storage system.

Step 3 of the Two Step

Scrap Dance Two Step mystery Scrap HST

Last weekend my youngest granddaughter turned a year old.   I swore I would not be the “plastic toy grandma” but she needed a dump truck and a cell phone to call me!  I feel a bit better about the plastic toys because I also gave her a handmade fabric book.  I had some ” animal prints” from a panel that were just right. Especially since her mom had posted pictures of a paper book that had been mutilated ! Those pop up books just don’t hold up to the eager fingers of a little one.  I had fun putting this together –

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Yesterday I got together with another quilter and we laid out our blocks for a couple of senior quilts at church.  This is the look mine will take on –

Senior Quilt 2017

These are 8.5″ squares, and I got about 1/3 of it assembled yesterday during our workshop.  It was fun sewing on my little featherweight.  I did decide it is time to order that new belt the hubby suggested.  I used it on Wednesday at a sit & sew with the Material Girls, and we had a few moments of “hesitation”.

What have you been up to??

Embroidery resources

Welcome to my new “readers & followers”.  I don’t say that often enough, but I am glad you found my blog and hope you will find something helpful, amusing, interesting or motivating in my posts.  I started this blog over 3 years ago, and use it as a “journal of sorts” of my hobbies – which continue to expand.  I originally wrote about quilting and sewing for the grand children; and have expanded to paper crafting, card making / stamping; and machine embroidery.  (Note – I flunked out of knitting 101, so you don’t have to listen to that story unravelling). Occasionally, I will chat about other things, like domestic life, my pets and travel.  Mostly, I am a stitching grandma!

I had a lot of fun on Monday, meeting ladies from Ocean Pines MD at the Embroidery Club they have established.  They have been meeting for over a year, and this was my FIRST chance to go.  I went immediately after the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting and it was a 45 minute trip.  Thank goodness I had so many helper to “pack up” the Second Time Around shopping and help me “get out the door” quickly.  My wonderful husband came over to the church with my car, and swapped out for the loaded SUV, and took it home. Next month, there is a luncheon at OWQG, so I will be able to “grab my dish” and head out on time.

What I enjoyed about the meeting with the Ocean Pines Embroidery Club was the willingness to share SKILLS that the experienced stitchers had acquired.  We learned about various stabilizers they like, design sources, and techniques for “in the hoop” designs.  They have been creating some wonderful projects.  Of course, I have terrible “machine envy” right now.  My little Brother PE500 can only accommodate a 4×4 design, and they were showing some projects that needed a 5×7 or larger frame.  I’m not investing in a new machine any time soon, so I will just “admire” and learn from the “bigger machine operators”.  I want to learn all I can, so when I eventually take the leap to something bigger, I will have “proof of use” of the little machine to satisfy the hubby……     😉

I mentioned to several ladies at the Embroidery Club that I had a blog, and had recently written about “transferring designs” between the computer and the embroidery machine.  If you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/moving-files-to-the-embroidery-machine-tutorial/  .

A few years ago I wrote a detailed post on resources for embroidery machines.  I shared lots of websites for free designs etc, places to buy designs, and supplies you might want to consider.  Again, if you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/machine-embroidery-resources/

I spent yesterday attending to normal domestic life stuff, with NO sewing/stitching. (Have I ever mentioned that I would rather sew than clean house or grocery shop???)  I deserved a nice cold glass of wine after the “stuff” was taken care of, and sat out in a rocker on the front porch and watched the traffic go by!  Can you believe it was 70 degrees yesterday?

After dinner, I had some time to “surf” on the computer.  I did find some interesting new “sources” for free designs and spent several hours   downloading things. I joined a group a few months ago on Facebook – Resources for Free Machine Embroidery Designs, Sales, Tutorials, Networking . https://www.facebook.com/groups/624604440941908/  Those members share links to FREE designs.

Following some of those links that had been posted on the Facebook group, I ended up at http://www.krisrhoades.com/  and picked up the cutest little elephant.  (Of course, I ended up window shopping for other designs too).

I also dropped by http://www.thebikestore.com/starling/index.html and picked up the mug rug pattern for March.  Once I downloaded the design, I was disappointed to find it was a 5×7, too big for my machine. Oh well, I have it saved now.

Then I popped over to http://missmarysembroidery.com/free-stuff-sales/  and picked up a “Luck of the Irish” free monthly design and an SVG cutting file too.

While I was browsing around on the Resources for Free Machine Embroidery….. group, I saw a link for Janome.  I don’t have a Janome EMBROIDERY machine, but I popped over to Janome’s website to see what they had, and was surprised to find FREE designs in multiple formats.  I need to subscribe and start downloading.  There were over 70 that would work for me, and I think I will be a little selective about what I download.   http://www.janome-embroidery.com/c-132-free-embroidery-designs.aspx

Another place on Facebook that I have found free designs is StitchDelight . https://www.facebook.com/groups/StitchDelight.FREEBIES/   I’ve collected some great alphabet  designs in the last month; new letter daily.   This is also a group you have to “join” to be able to download.

I am subscribed to a mailing list from Artistic Thread Works and get lots of freebies there every week.  You have to “subscribe” to the email list to get the free stuff – http://www.artisticthreadworks.com/public/main.cfm

As I mentioned, I am working with a Brother PE500; which is an embroidery only machine, with a 4×4 (100mm x 100mm) capability.  My machine has a “cable connection” to my computer, and uses PES files.

So, no fancy photo’s today because I have stitched not a thing!  Maybe later.  Grandbaby # 4 is having a birthday and I saw something tempting…..

DISCLAIMER – With most of these websites & Facebook groups, you need to “subscribe” or “join” or “set up an account”.  Be careful about what information you chose to share when doing this.  Honestly, one of these sites wanted my “birthday”….but I was not giving up the year….too much identity information!  And of course, Be careful about clicking on unknown links etc.  Make sure your “virus software” is up to date and running, and scans your downloads BEFORE you open them.   FYI – I have not had any problems with ANY of the links or the websites I am sharing, so if you ‘know and trust me’ you know that I won’t ever knowingly steer you wrong, but there are “evil doers” in the world who like to trick people; so be cautious when clicking on links in emails; on websites etc.  

Have fun with what ever you are working on today!

A tad bit of sewing

Greetings friends. Previous post indicates it was a busy week.  It continues.  I did squeeze in a little sewing and stuffing Saturday though, as I had a spare moment to play.  Remember the little bear?  Well, he is stitched, stuffed and ready to gift to a newborn.  This was a “test stitch out” of a pattern that I downloaded last week for some “charity” bears.  I loved the look of the muzzle, even though it took nearly 10,000 stitches.  The charity bears won’t have the muzzle, just the eyes, nose and smile.  The pattern source for the stitching is Embroidery Library . com pattern 3994.

test of the bear

The week has flown by. We “flew” home from Texas on Monday, getting in after 10 p m; then Tuesday I had a nice visit with my little granddaughter and her mommy for a couple of hours, then I was off to the “Queen Bees”.

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and I “car pooled” with a bee/church member to pick up our sewing machines from the local sewing machine service folks, went to church for the service, and out to lunch. Home for a few hours, then off to the model railroad club annual dinner meeting. (More about that soon).

Thursday was a venture north to visit our dentist for our routine cleanings (& discussion of a wisdom tooth that is acting very unwise).  Friday morning was “Second Time Around” prep day, with 3 helpers.  We plowed thru another stack of donated fabric, pressing into submission, measuring and pricing and getting ready for Monday.  I have set aside Thursdays and Fridays all month (mostly) to work on getting the donations under control.

Friday afternoon I took everything off the cutting table, cleaned the lint and dust and turned my cutting mat around. It was getting quite worn in one area.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess I had made!  The back of my table tends to get piled up with scraps and things.  Took me all afternoon, but I sliced and diced and took control of the scraps.  I try to cut those scraps into manageable pieces, starting with the largest possible.  I cut 5″ squares; 3.5″ squares, 2.5″ squares, 1.5″ squares and lots of 2.5, 2, 1.5 strips.  Amazingly they all got stored away!

If you are “new” to my blog, let me tell you that my scrap storage system is a combination of Bonnie Hunter http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html and Joan Ford https://hummingbird-highway.com/do-you-need-scraptherapy/. It works for me!  I have lots of pieces ready to go into the next scrap quilt. My overflow of 2″ and 2.5″ is telling me it is time to start making 9 patches!   I am going to “resist” temptation and NOT start another thing until I knock out a few UFO’s.   I do have a “running list” and have made a real goal for March.  Not telling…will let you know how it goes!  And no, not sharing my UFO list this year….too depressing to post it publically and NOT get it all checked off.  My goal is to enjoy each FINISH, not to feel guilty!

This coming week is “quilt guild week” for me. Meeting on Monday, which means the SUV is already loaded to the roof, with containers of fabrics and other odd bits to sell prior to the meeting.  Fingers crossed we have just as good a day in sales.  After the meeting, I hope to swap vehicles with the hubby, and take off for points south in Maryland, and an “embroidery club” that has formed. An informational meeting will take place and I want to give my input on the who/what/when etc.  I look forward to meeting the members of that club and sharing info about this hobby.  Thursday and Friday coming up will be more “Second Time Around” workdays with guild members coming over to give me a hand; a guild board meeting squeezed in there too.  Hoping I will get to do some sewing of my own on Tuesday & Wednesday.   Wishing I had something finished beside the little bear to show, but that will happen as I am able.

Hope you have had a great week and are ready to start all over again tomorrow!

Happy stitching!

 

Moving files to the embroidery machine Tutorial

Hi all….I am  back home after a visit to the great state of Texas!  I had a great time with family, and even did a little “rotary cutting 101 training” . We did a little “re-engineering” of some fabric, and made 12 dinner napkins out of a thrift store table cloth.

It’s been a busy week since I returned.  On Tuesday, my “new bee”, the Queen Bees gathered for a few hours of sewing and info sharing.  We have a future project that I did a little “test stitching” on today.

Bear Face

This little Bear face came from Embroidery Library.com, design # M3994.  The “plan” for the future bee project will be bear faces on flannel (without the muzzle), and I needed to see how it went hooping, placement etc. I think I will assemble this bear for a new grandbaby of a church member!

Several of the ladies in the Queen Bees have Brother embroidery machines.  Today, I learned that there is a need for learning how to move files between the computer and the embroidery machine.   I wrote a tutorial, with photos,  to help guide in moving downloaded embroidery file designs from the computer to the embroidery machine.   If this is of interest to you, then “read on”.  Just as a heads up; this guide is specific to Brother embroidery machines.

I’ve put together a little guide and it is available on  my google drive!  Let me know if this link works for you and you find the info helpful.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8sXH35LAFkTZGlSNTRuQkd0WTA/view?usp=sharing

Happy stitching!

A quieter week

I’ve had a couple of quiet days, and time to play a bit more with my Brother PE500 embroidery machine.   I made a few more bibs for the littlest grandchild and delivered them on Thursday when I went to babysit.  As I worked on these I was reminded how important it is (to me) to have an organized filing system.  I say this because I was having trouble “finding” the design that I was looking for.

When I download designs from a website, I try to print out the “color change sheet” at the same time. My intention is to always name the file something that is “close” to what it was called by the designer, and to include any “file code” names as part of the name. I have an embroidery download folder on my computer, and many, many, sub folders. I  break those sub folders down by “type”; for example, Holidays-Valentines Day/Christmas/Easter/St Patrick’s Day; or Animals; Food; Verses etc.  I place the color change sheet in a 3 ring binder in a similar way, using page dividers.  I am up to 4 – three ring binders!

Well – wouldn’t you know, I have a HEARTS folder and a Valentines folder.  Many of the HEARTS are NOT specific to Valentines day.  Darn if the file I was searching for didn’t land in the HEARTS folder, not the Valentines Day Folder.  I wasted a good deal of “stitching time” looking for the file.  (Like 3 days wasted….)

At one point, I gave up and I started with a St Patrick’s Day design, while I “looked” for the elusive Valentine/Heart file.  I did a little stitching and searching.  Finally I selected an alternate Valentine design and set it up to run.  Well in my haste, I had not “removed” the St Patrick’s Day design from the machine before I started the stitch out on the 2nd design.  1/2 way through the first color, I realised it was stitching out my St Patrick’s Day design all over again.  Well, you decide if you like it in pinks and purples instead of the greens!

February Bib Fun for Addy

I decided to just keep on stitching and while it was busy stitching; get the fabric prepped for an alternate Valentine!  So, 3 new bibs completed and that will be it for a while.  The littlest grandchild will be a year old next month and has quite a collection of “StitchingGrandma” bibs.  (Somewhere in the bib process in the last couple of weeks, I lost the great “Bandana” pattern, so she got traditional shaped bibs.  Clean up was in order at the end of this project; and again, the lost pattern was found and stored away properly!)

I took the new Singer Featherweight 221 for a spin on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – Material Girls – had an all day sit & sew; and that new little machine had a great debut.  Tuesday night we got her oiled up (must be 90 oiling / lube  points). She is clean as a whistle.  Had a few challenges “winding” a bobbin, and had to engage the hubby to help.  Got 3 bobbins ready with his help and determined what was causing the trouble.  He adjusted the belt a tad and it worked much better.  (Nice to have a guy with a mechanical mind helping out).

Today, the LED light I ordered arrived (Thank you EBay!).  I installed it and am pleased with the brightness and lower temperature.  The Ebay seller I purchased from had a few photo’s showing the difference in temperature on the light- from 172 degrees on the incandescent  bulb to 74 degrees with the LED bulb.  That will save an accidental burn on a wrist!  The difference in the light was significant – from 139 lumens to 205 lumens.  Hubby said the bulbs look similar to automotive tail lights. He thinks that the new bulb will last a long time, and because it is LED, will be less likely to break due to the handling of the machine transport case.  I will be ordering 2 belts soon, just to have one on hand and to replace the current belt which is at it’s limit of adjustment.   All in all, I am most pleased with this little machine, which was made in January of 1948. She stitches well and should be a fun travel machine!

I have assembled a tote ready to “travel” with the Autumn Jubilee project material.  I can just “grab & go” to a sit and sew, and not have to “think” about what project I am going to take to work on, or worry over what to assemble ahead of time.  (One of the Bee members said this is how she operates and the only time the project gets worked on is at a bee)  I did manage to get 6 more blocks made on Wednesday using the Autumn Jubilee pattern.  I have lots of pieces cut and ready to assemble. My intention is to make 6 – 8 placemats with the lovely leaf pattern. Once I get a “few” more leaves made I can start building the placemats.  At this rate, it will be August before I can set the table; but the timing will be just about right for this project.  I like the idea of “no stress” on which project to take.  The fun of a going to a sit & sew or quilters bee is the company.  I like being able to dedicate a whole day (or 2 or 3) and not have any other tasks taking me away from the fun!  (Note – the Autumn Jubilee project is from a pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home)

I worked on my Talkin’ Turkey blocks again Wednesday night and again this afternoon.  I have 4 left to add the corner string blocks to. They are “pinned” and ready to stitch.  The Talkin’ Turkey pattern is by Bonnie Hunter and can be found in the String Fling Book. Bonnie Hunter’s blog

I will need to  square up the blocks next.  I am thinking about how I am going to tackle the  “next round” which will include a LOT of flying geese (8 per block x 30 blocks= 240 flying geese units.)  The pattern by Bonnie Hunter suggests you use the Easy Angle and Companion Angle ruler for the Flying Geese or your “favorite method” .

I plan to use my new Square in a Square tool/method –OPTION 3…by Jodi Barrows.  Using the Square in a Square tool by Jodi Barrows,  flying geese will be done with strips and squares; and if I do the math right; it is done with 120 squares and LOTS of strips!! I just have to sit down with Bonnie Hunters pattern and find the “finished unit size) and then check my Square in a Square book and the chart and figure out what size squares and strips I need to start!  More to follow! I like the “methodical” building of units for a big quilt.  240 Flying Geese doesn’t scare me after I did that quilt last winter with 1400+ half square triangles.  I will be making about 4 “test units” just to make sure I have them sized properly before I begin!

Check out the video on you – tube if you have never seen this ruler or method.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekwRp8_cGU     and    www.squareinasquare.com 

What fun things are you working on??   What is your favorite method for flying geese ?  Do you have any “new tools” or “toys” ??  Do tell………………

A week of loading and unloading

I have had a MOST busy week.  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild day, so that meant on Sunday evening, I loaded up the SUV with all the stuff we have to “sell” at our Second Time Around tables.

On Monday morning, I arrived at the meeting location at 8 am to unload and start setting up. I have such willing helpers who work quickly to lay out all the fabrics and baskets of notions and fat quarters while I find a place to set up our “for sale by you” bulletin board, and to set up a “check out” station, etc.

This month was our first time using the new Casio cash register I purchased, and did it make my life easier once I got the knack of using it. No time for mistakes when these ladies are shopping.

Thanks to the cash register I could determine I had over 60 customers, sold 176 Fat Quarters, 50 half yard pieces of fabric; 38 full yard pieces of fabric, and $493.92 of “other yardage/notions” etc. Not too bad for 1 hour and 20 minutes…. Proceeds to the guild were over $780. It is a great payoff, since EVERYTHING is donated to the guild, and we iron, trim, square up, fold and price those donated things and make them look pleasing. And as is the typical day, I get JUST as much in donations to “repeat and resell” at future meetings.  In this photo, from the Guild facebook page, you can see the line of tables along the windows where the ladies are all “shopping” . 16601919_649817651858068_3251816470784442006_or

And of course, it all has to be repacked tidily and reloaded to come back home, and unloaded and shelved. All the donations go up stairs in the garage for that “repeat process”. Everytime I see light at the end of the tunnel with the donations, another load comes in. I set up a couple of days each week to work on this; and ask members of the guild to come over for 3 hours, a few at a time. It seems to work, and the guild benefits.

The rest of my week involved our annual guild retreat in Ocean City Maryland. On Tuesday, I had to pack up the car (sounds like a lot of that in my life….) and check in at 4 pm. Because of the way my crazy busy life is, I decided NOT to work on the 2 projects at the retreat. Instead I loaded up my 3 bins of Bonnie Hunter class UFO’s.

I had checked in, had my suitcase in the room, the sewing machine and associated gear set up in the Quilt Room, and was “ready for dinner” at 5:30 pm.

I spent the 3 days working on my Talkin’ Turkey project and made considerable progress, once I finished “unstitching” all those blocks I had the “wrong” seam allowance on! All is well now, and I completed the 30 nine patches I needed; and started adding the string blocks to them. By the time I departed at noon on Friday, I had 17 blocks “ready” for the next round. I need to build some more string blocks before the last batch are ready for the next round. (I love String blocks).  Note – Talkin’ Turkey is a Bonnie Hunter design and can be found in her book STRING FLING. The book is available for purchase on Bonnie’s website – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com  .

17 Talkin' Turkey blocks

There really is nothing quite like a few days at the beach in February. Our first day was almost 70 degrees and at lunch time many took long walks on the boardwalk, and others just enjoyed the rocking chairs on the deck and the view of the crashing surf. The second day a storm blew in and the temps dropped into the 30’s with gale force winds and churning waves. So fun to watch from the big windows in the Quilt Room while we sewed.

 

We woke up to beautiful a beautiful sunrise on the last day, and frigid weather.

Sunrise in Ocean City

I stayed to the last hour, and did that packing up and loading up for the trip home, and the reverse once home. (Are you sensing a familiar theme here??)

After I got home, I had to do a bit of work getting photos printed on fabric for our Saturday morning at church.  We have 5 graduates getting quilts this year.  I am only sewing one of the quilts.  And of course, as it worked out, I only had enough printer-ready fabric for 4 photos; so I had to “order more” !  I will get the package later in the week, and print the last one for the quilt I am working on.

Church photo printed on fabric

So, of course, Saturday consisted of another pack up and load up to go to church to work on our Senior Quilts project. This was a little bit less stuff, starting out. 

But afterwards, when we were finished, I visited a church member who was “clearing out” her sewing things. She is over 90 and not sewing like she used to anymore. While I was there I loaded up the SUV for the 2nd time in 2 weeks with her donations. I also took her up on the purchase of her beautiful 221-1 Singer Featherweight – circa January 1948. 

1948 Singer Featherweight

When she first asked me 2 weeks ago if I was interested, I resisted. I knew going yesterday I was going to make the purchase, and I am SO happy I did. This little machine is pristine, with all her decals and beautiful paint, great case and all the feet, bobbins, extra needles, new container of oil, owners manual etc. She will be lovely for future “sit and sew” events. I have one scheduled for Wednesday, and I think I will take her along! (Yes, more loading of the car).

I finished off Saturday evening stitching out more Bible verses; 2 for the Senior Quilts and one for a baby quilt. This one is for the baby quilt.  The source is Designs by JuJu.com in the FREE section of her embroidery website.

Baby Quilt

So, that is my exciting week….the forearms have bruises from carrying and lifting and toting etc, but it has been wonderful !

What have you been up to??

 

Baby Fun

Last Sunday I stopped in after church to see my granddaughter and her parents.  I delivered the “leftovers” from a crockpot meal I had taken to church; and arrived in time to see the granddaughter up and about and playing.  I had SO much fun with her for 20 minutes or so, before it was time for her nap.  She is 10 1/2 months old and laughs and giggles so much. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, because she was “vacationing”.  On the way out to go home, my daughter asked me for a little sewing repair job.  I got that done yesterday, and along with the quick repair, I made a few more bibs.  I had been in the store  called Tuesday Morning on Monday, and tripped over a package of Babyville PUL fabric. The price was terrific – 3 fat quarters for $3.99.  I purchased BOTH packages that were on the shelf.  This product usually sells for about $9.99. I couldn’t wait to turn out a few new bibs.

Bibs for Addy

Reverse side of February bibs

My daughter picked out the cotton fabric from my fat quarter stash a while back, and I just had to pick from them something that these fun PUL pieces would work with!  This batch of bibs is quilted with the warm and natural cotton batting behind the cotton print. Then the bib is assembled and top stitched.  I don’t like to do a lot of stitching on the PUL fabric, as it reduces the waterproofing that is the primary feature.

Today, after my 2nd day of “Second Time Around” sorting, ironing, measuring folding was done, I thought I would play with an “applique embroidery pattern” I downloaded from Hatched In Africa.com  ( http://www.hatchedinafrica.com/detail.aspx?id=3804&c=49&sc= ).  This adorable FREE pattern – Easter Applique Medley,  was one of several I downloaded today.

So, I set to work on another bib – I decided to “not cut out the bib shape” until I was finished with the embroidery.  Less hassle hooping was my logic.

You can see yellow chalk where I marked the “center” of the bib.

First applique project

I’ve never done any Embroidery with applique before and this was so much fun.  The design has stops for you to add your fabrics as you go along.

Success with Applique

I was really pleased with the result.  After the embroidery applique was completed, I cut out the fabric, batting and backing for the bib.  I quilted this one too before assembly with the PUL fabric.

Flip side of the applique bib

I top stitched after it was assembled. Just need to add the snaps, and it is ready to wear!

Spring Chick Bib Feb 2017

Wait….Easter is a couple of months away….Time enough to wash the bib and get the yellow chalk marks off before she wears it.  This Stitching Grandma better figure out a Valentine and St Patrick’s Day and a 1st Birthday bib before she sports her SPRING CHICK !!

I will definitely be doing more applique work with the embroidery machine, as long as free patterns are available for me to download. This was really fun and I am happy with my “first time” !!   If you like machine embroidery, do go check out Hatched In Africa . com and the cute patterns they offer.  There are lots of “freebies” and once a week on Friday they offer a free design too.

My next “sewing for baby” project is to take the “brown paper pattern” I traced during my visit, and duplicate a “food bib” with pocket. The current “meal time bib” has long sleeves and goes on much like an artists apron.  Another learning opportunity!

Hope you are having fun with your projects!