August is here!

I can’t believe we are already in August!  Where or where did July disappear too?  I haven’t been spending anytime reading blogs or posting. Doesn’t mean I have not been sitting at the computer…oh my have I ever.  I last posted when I gave away my little Blue Hen Chicken!  The week her new owner was chosen was a busy time.  I had a meeting of the guild’s Program Planning Committee, followed by the “Material Girls” quilt bee, both at my house, followed by another meeting about Program Planning.  In between, I spent countless hours writing and responding to people to come & speak & teach at our guild.  I feel like I went back to work at a full time job, with overtime.  The good news is; I have all of 2015 booked, and some of the contracts are finished; and I have started in on 2016.  The hard part is the budget, and finding instructors in the mid-Atlantic area that we can afford, who bring new and interesting lectures, trunk shows and workshops. (So far I have 3 out of 8 lined up for 2016). I need a break though!

In 2 weeks, I almost didn’t stitch a thing.  After our Material Girls bee, I did layer up and quilt a charity baby quilt in flannel; yet it sits on the table, waiting on binding.  Just as I write this, I decided I will uses some of my stash strips and make a scrappy binding!  I have also decided, I do NOT like to work with flannel….way too much lint in my machine after working up the blocks and quilting. The fabrics were donated for these quilts, but I did need to get more flannel for backing.  I have 3 more kits to put together before I take a trip in the middle of the month.  I decided to just quilt across the center of the blocks, and used one of the pretty stitches built into my machine.

 

I did sneak in a little fun on a bus trip to the Hershey Quilt Show. We got to see the lovely quilts (the lighting was terrible and did a dis-service to the quilts!); did some shopping at the various vendors.  I stocked up on thread from Superior Threads, and picked up more of that great bag lining product – SOFT & STABLE, along with some fun fat quarters and a new marking pen.  We also did a trip to Burkholders Fabrics on the way home.  If you are ever in the Hershey or Lancaster area, you need to set your GPS and go find Burkholders!  Out in the middle of NO-WHERE, surrounded by picturesque farms and rolling hills, you will be in fabric HEAVEN!!  Burkholders is at 2155 West RT 897,  Denver, PA   ( http://www.burkfabric.com/ )  Because we were there on a bus trip, and our guild stops there every year, we got some extra special deals. My favorite was the bundle of 20 fat quarters for $30.  Had I gone back in for 1 more, it would have gone down to $25 for the bundle…but by that point I was “shopped out”.

About Wednesday this past week I decided it was time to SEW.  I had fun working on projects that will get put in the mail in the next day or 2 to my grandaughter.  She will have a birthday next week, and will be a big 2 years old.  In order to make sure I don’t send her any plastic junk (aka toys), I decided it was time to get busy and make those things I have been intending to make for months and months.   So; with limited fanfare: here you have – Project # 1 – the hooded bath towel —

In case you want to make one of your own; these instructions are very helpful:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Hooded-Baby-Towel/
I did a few mod’s, but nothing much differently.  I got the embroidery machine going and got busy~!~  I have not done any work on bath towels before, but read quite a bit about the process.  I used a Floriani iron on mesh tearaway stabilizer on the back of the towel, floated a piece of medium tear-away under the hoop, and put water soluable on top.  I was very pleased with how well every thing stitched out. The cat face and the kitten topper come from Embroidery Designs . com; and when I downloaded them, they were part of the free collections.  I had trouble with the smiling kitten though. It was “too big” for my Brother PE500 embroidery machine. My hoop size is 4×4; and although it said 4×3.95; my machine would not recognize it.  I contacted Embroiderydesigns.com at their toll free number, and  Bonnie in customer service was a BIG help.  She looked up the specifics for my machine, and explained I really can not use a design bigger that 3.85″.  Then she offered to RE-SIZE the design and she emailed it to me in about 10 minutes.   I learned a little more about my machine and was tickled pink that she was so helpful.  Especially for somebody who mostly downloads the free stuff every week.   It stitched out beautifully.  I will remember them when I see a design that I have to pay for and not buy it somewhere else!

 

Project # 2 is a Super Hero Cape.

Patterns are plentiful on the internet. I can’t remember where I got this one, but it worked well. (All straight cuts with a ruler & rotary….no scissors were used in the prep of the fabric!)

Grandchild # 3 is familiar with the use of Super hero capes, as she often plays in her big brother & sisters capes I made last summer.  I picked out what I thought was fun fabric, and then put a contrasting fabric inside so it would “look cool”.  I used a piece of the contrasting and made a little super hero patch for the back, with a cute little ladybug design.  Again thanks to Embroidery designs. com.  There is bright yellow ric-rack around the gathering at the neckline, and along the bottom edge (in the second picture you can see it.)  (The goal was to not use licensed character fabric, and this fabric was so much fun with the butterflies, and worms and bumble bees.)  I used velcro for the closing; and the same pattern as big brother and big sister. Hopefully it is not too long, and won’t be a tripping hazard! (Grandma wants pictures……….)

 

Project # 3 – placemats and napkins for a tea party!

 

miniature place mats and napkins for a tiny tea party for a two year old

miniature place mats and napkins for a tiny tea party for a two year old

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using the fun stitches on my machine; boats and planes and elphants and lambs and cars

using the fun stitches on my machine; boats and planes and elphants and lambs and cars

I opened my ziplock bag of left over 4 patches; and left over 2 patches and put together these little placemats. The four patches and two patches are leftover from 2 quilts I made. One was a baby quilt for grandchild # 2, and one was a full size I made for my sister. I went crazy making those blocks, and I had lots left.   I had some big squares leftover, and they were combined to make the back of the placemats, and the napkins.  I had fun with some creative stitches on my machine for the quilting of the placemats, and the trimming of the napkins. I think these will work quite nicely with the tea party dishes her mommy is ordering!  If she needs more than 6 placemats, I have about 100 more 4 patches that could be made into placemats.  (I love my stash!!! I pulled strips from the stash that were used in other quilts; and 3 of them are strips that were in grandchild # 3’s one block wonder quilt.  )  I LOVE The fancy stitches on my macine. And I love that new pink varigated thread from superior. It is a 40wt  perfect for quilting.

I have one more little idea up my sleeve, and then I will get this birthday box in the mail.  🙂 It is a cloudy rainy day and I could either stay in the house and vacuum or go out to the garage to sew !!  Sewing it shall be!  (Someday I am getting one of those robo vacs!  Happy stitching.

 

 

Baptism Banner

It was about 2 years ago that my daughter asked for a “new” banner for one of the children.  I had to agree, the banner I was replacing was not going to ‘last a lifetime’.

The children celebrate their baptism birthday, and the banners hang in their home, usually in the bedroom.
As I started the year with a long list of projects, I hoped to get this done BEFORE the baptism birthday.  When I won the embroidery machine last year, I thought I would include embroidery on the banner.  I started to collect various designs that might find a place on the banner.  I have a collection of designs from Embroiderydesigns.com and from designsbyjuju.com.  (I love Designs by juju. She has digitized lots of Bible verses, and gives them away for free.)

Dear daughter drew a sketch on a notepad of what she had in mind for the finished project.

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Hubby and I went on a shopping trip where I collected a variety of fabrics last Wednesday. One of these fabrics is NOT quilting cotton~!~I am ever thankful for the Sewing with Silk class I took at the beginning of the month.  (Stabilizer is the secret!)

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As he was going to be busy on Wednesday evening, I decided I would sew.   I sat down and narrowed down my choices of fabric.

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I started with 5″ squares, making half square triangles, trimming to 4 1/2″.  Put those up on the design wall and decided TOO big. Trimmed the 1/2 square triangles down to 3 1/2″ and decided that was perfect.   I worked on it for 5 hours on Wednesday evening….and on Thursday, I put together the main part of the banner and then sat back to figure out the “what next”.

Baptism banner

Baptism banner

The what next involved me trying to decide how was I going to applique the name and date and searching for fonts that might work easily and be of the right side.  Why applique?  Well, it seems that my Brother 500PE embroidery machine was not working properly, and dear hubby had determined it was a “timing issue”. Perhaps it needed a new “bobbin case”….and of course, to take it in for service, we would need to take a 70+ mile road trip, along with $150 for the “walk in the door service charge”.  Last month, Hubby had tried and tried to get things working and it would not.

Well…after I contemplated my next step, I posted a question on a Facebook group – Brother PE Embroidery (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/388276124532366/?fref=nf) . One lovely lady suggested, I take the bobbin case out; clean it all again; replace the needle and try again.  I did and it WORKED.  My needle had been striking in the bobbin case and not catching the bobbin thread.  I am so “not mechanical”; and I don’t really “get” why the machine works, I just expect it to.  I thought I had given hubby a new needle when he was tinkering….Anyway, I am convinced, it was a GOD thing….He guided my efforts to get the machine working properly.  Let me just say I was thrilled.

So, embroidery machine running properly, I learned a little more about stabilizing and hooping….I have used medium tear away, mesh iron on, pellon fusible.  Turns out the mesh iron on is too light weight… the stitches pull the fabric. I read on that Facebook group about “floating stabilizer” and tried that! (Slide a sheet of tear away medium weight UNDER the hoop. The fabric in the hoop had iron on mesh stabilizer backing the cotton).  Wow; what a difference it made.

So; as the embroidery came off the machine, I started to play around with layouts.  Note; I had cut my main banner squares down to 3 1/2″ and my embroidery was stitching out at a 4×4″ …..so, I decided to work them in as a top and bottom “border”.  I always have fun with the designing, and made lots of changes along the way.

Once I had all my embroidery work completed I played around with the layout and came up with a balance that pleased the hubby and I.

Once all the design work was done, it was time to layer it up and get it quilted.  I added a hanging pocket on the back before I attached the binding.  I just need to add my “made by Grandma” label and cut a dowel, and it will be ready to pack up and mail.  Finished size is about 15″ x 30″.

Lori's Baptism Banner, created by Grandma Mary

Lori’s Baptism Banner, created by Grandma Mary