Trip to Quilt Odyssey Show – Hershey PA and a week of fun

Last Sunday, I made an early start, with 2 friends along for the ride and journeyed up to Hershey PA for the Quilt Odyssey Show.  My purpose in going was to see the Bonnie Hunter quilts on display!  A lot of “Bonnie” Quilts, all in one place, up close where you can study the detail, the fabrics, the piecing, the colors at leisure.  My friend Nancy said to me before that Bonnie’s quilts had “too many little pieces”.  I love working with scraps so seeing how she selects her neutrals (from white to brown paper bag), and putting them to work was inspiring.  Bonnie wrote a blog post about the exhibition here —http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2017/07/while-quilters-away.html

I didn’t take any photo’s of her quilts, as she asked others to  ONLY take for personal use, and you can easily see the photo’s on her blog.  I am familiar with several from the exposition, as I have worked from Bonnie Hunter’s wonderful patterns.

We also got to see the award winning quilt by Bethanne Nemesh – Into the Westward Sun – where Bethanne got a FIRST PLACE Blue Ribbon for Wall Quilt/predominately pieced.  I linked to the page on Bethanne’s website that shows this beautiful quilt. My photo’s don’t do it justice.  I did zoom in on one section of the quilt to show some detail —

Into the Westward Sun (2016) Bethanne Nemesh

I saw this quilt this Spring at the Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting, in person, and enjoyed the talk that Bethanne gave about her artistic approach to the quilting.

One other quilt, worthy of a photo was this one —

The Greeter by Diane L Campbell

He is called “The Greeter, by Dian L. Campbell.  (I am currently in love with cat quilts).

Really, there were terrific quilts in the show, and many just to breathtaking to do more than study the piecing, the quilting and the overall design.  Of course, what would a quilt show be without shopping?   I did a “little” more shopping for 30’s reproduction fabrics at the.  I needed just a few more, and added 19 more fat quarters to the collection.  I can honestly say, now I have enough!

Monday brought an afternoon class at Helping Hands Quilt Guild, Dover DE with Heather Kojan!  I had taken a class with Heather 3 years ago at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, and still had a “project” in the box.  So, I signed up and went and loved the opportunity to sew again using her improv methods.  I will include some details and photos in a future blog post (meaning, I haven’t got around to taking any photo’s yet…)

Tuesday was the Queen Bees gathering and we worked on some little Santa ornaments for our Christmas in July project.  For some reason, my brain wasn’t connecting the dots, and I had a challenge getting going.  But now that the bee is finished, I have been slightly productive with the project. (Again, details and photo’s to come in a future blog post…)  (Can you sense 2 more UFO’s???)

Wednesday means the release of another block in the Grandma’s Kitchen Pattern, published by Pat Sloan.  Block 5 was fairly simple.  I spent more time deciding on which fabrics to use I think than sewing!  I was working with the camera to ensure I had the light, dark, and medium contrast, so I used another B&W photo.

Black and white for contrast  block 5

Block 5 of Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

This block went together very easily.  We are up to Block 5, and I am trying to keep a variety happening in the fabrics.

First 5 blocks for the Grandma's Kitchen pattern  by Pat Sloan

Of course, over a week ago there was the release of a mystery quilt final setting, by Carole – From My Carolina Home, and I haven’t touched it yet.   Time will present itself!  Sooner than later.

Meanwhile, I tackled bamboo with the hubby in the yard, along the driveway.  This was step 1 this summer in bamboo containment.  (CURSES to the idiot who planted this stuff 25 years ago…………..) Every year we are fighting the spread.  Of course, the hubby chose the hottest day of the week to get busy…..and when he is willing I dare not say NO!)  I cut the bamboo that was growing in our forsythia and lilacs and  Crape-myrtle .  The only solution we have is to cut it out, and try to abate the regrowth by constant cutting.  It has gotten away from us in the last year.  (My garden looks WAY worse, but just weeds, no bamboo). I might try to do a little work in it in the mornings this week if it is cool enough.

Bamboo battles 2017

Sewing and gardening early in the week were followed by visits from the grandkids along with their parents.  Family photo’s were scheduled this weekend, and we all got dressed up in new outfits and paraded around in a local B&B’s outdoor area and barn while the lovely photographer took hundreds of carefully arranged shots, and some candid ones as well.  We dodged the rain by being flexible with our day, and in the end, it was all terrific. The family looked wonderful in their finery, the children were bribed with ice cream, and all seemed very happy at the end!  The rest of the weekend was ours to play and have fun.  Grandpa had the oldest out in the garage hammering on a “kid’s project from Lowes”, and they put together a corn-hole game set.  The girls came out to the sewing studio and got to play in the scraps that were donated for their entertainment.  They also helped me “sew” a bowl cozy for their mom as a surprise.  They each picked out a fat quarter, I squared the piece up, and cut batting, then they did the quilting, one at a time, and they helped stitch the darts on “their piece”.  I finished up the sewing and they were able to give it to the mommy before they had to head back home this afternoon.   All and all a great weekend!

This stitchinggrandma is headed to the freezer to find the ice cream they left behind, and to put her feet up!  How was your weekend?

Show update

I wanted to share with you that the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild show 2017 was a huge success!  My little corner of the show was busy and we made lots of sales at the 2nd Time Around Booth.  Quilters loved the bargains and bags we filled at check out reflected that!  Lot of merchandise moved on to someone else!

My transfer of inventory has taken place, and my fellow guild member Lois is taking over following the quilt show.  I am “moving on” to another job in the guild.  (I truly believe that 2 years in any volunteer position is long enough.)  My next job is membership chairman , and I admire Melissa for doing it for longer than I have been a member of the guild.

As we wrapped up the show, I thought a lot about the more than 40 volunteers who worked with me in the lead up this week to the show.  Beyond that, in the last year and 1/2, probably another 40 have worked tirelessly preparing fabric for sale at the show and the guild meetings.  It has been fun, and a lot of work, and lots of friendships were made in the process.  My apologies to any & all if I was a tad short tempered by the end of the day today.  By 3 pm today, I just KNEW I needed some time alone and away from the booth, and I spent an hour walking the quilts on display; and admiring the talent and art that was exhibited by the show participants.

I spent a bit of time talking with the representative of the Fiber Arts Center in Denton Maryland after enjoying the 300+ quilts on display.  What an interesting organization!  They are creating a great directory of artists, teachers etc on the DelMarVa peninsula, and we had a wonderful conversation.   Their purpose stated is this:  “The Delmarva region is home to a thriving fiber arts scene! The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) was founded in 2011 to preserve and nurture all forms of fiber arts. From the pre-Colonial era through the Civil War, to today’s modern and fast-paced world, fiber artists have created works that reflect Delmarva’s culture. At FACES, we’re working to preserve this tradition.

We’re also working to build a vibrant community of fiber artists and enthusiasts. Perhaps more than any other visual art form, fiber arts are often social in nature. For centuries, women have joined together for quilting bees, sewing circles, and “stich ‘n bitch” groups. As more and more of our communication moves online, the face-to-face sharing of talent and ideas has become more important than ever.

We invite you to join our community. Become a FACES member, subscribe to our e-newsletter, join our regional directory, or check out an upcoming exhibit or class on our regional event calendar. Happy stitching!  ”  Check out their website – http://www.fiberartscenter.com

I got pulled “away” from that conversation by the chairs of the show; and was delighted to be told, that my quilt “MITTENS” had won the VIEWER’S CHOICE award.   I was stunned, and overjoyed.  My thanks go out to all who voted for this art quilt. I’m so glad you took 6 steps back from the quilt and looked at it, as it was meant to be viewed.

Mittens wins Viewer's Choice at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show

Additionally – I received a 3rd place ribbon for “Addison’s Quilt“.  Now, I am sad to say, I never took a photo while it was hanging at the show with the ribbon beside it! (Insert shamed face here.)  I do have a few photo’s take at the time the quilt was made though —

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Addison’s Quilt” has an interesting reverse side, and I think that is what got it into a prize winning category!

Addison's Quilt back

So, that’s it for my show update.  I spent most of the show behind the cash register, while coordinating volunteers who helped customers during their shopping.

If you want to see more about the Pet Mosaic Project – “MITTENS”, I have a FLICKR album with a ton of photos –Pet Mosaic Project . I also have an album full of photo’s on the  construction   of Addison’s quilt — https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157666492829803

I’ve made multiple posts here on the blog in the last year on both of these quilts, and you can read more about them if you back track through the older posts.  🙂

Taking a little time off in the morning to head to Hershey PA for the quilt show there and looking for Bonnie Hunter’s exhibit. My reward to myself for hard work (and the hard work of my two friends riding along).

How is your weekend?  Tell me, if you enter a show and it is judge, what do you think about the report given to you????

 

Grandma’s Kitchen 1-2-3 and fabric shopping

Since I have “met the deadline” for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild quilt show next week,  with 2 quilts labeled, sleeved, tagged and bagged, I needed SOMETHING to do for a couple of days, just for me….for FUN….

I decided I would start and catch up with Pat Sloan’s latest sew-along “Grandma’s Kitchen”.  I decided that on Wednesday afternoon, and downloaded the patterns, and started pulling fabrics. I had a plan, a theme, but then I decided I needed more……fabric…….

So; you know how it goes….a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip!  Because you can never have too much fabric!

I decided to use my collection of 30’s reproduction fabrics, which was mostly fat quarters and fat eighths, but not enough variety as recommended in the pattern. The 30’s reproduction fabrics remind me of my Grandma Bessie, and the house dresses she would make, the aprons she would wear, and they just make me smile.  I pulled some “other”  fabrics too that would speak of grandchildren and childhood etc. 

There is a local long arm quilter that is pulling up stakes and moving South and she has advertised a big sale at her home. I made plans last week to stop over and see what she had to offer.  Everything was going for $4/yard; and she was cutting from the bolt in 1 yard increments. She also had some “off cuts” from long arm projects; wide backings I would guess; as well as selling wide backings, fat quarters etc.  All beautiful quilt store quality fabrics. She is trying to lighten the load for the move. She has an internet business and will resume online sales after her move is completed.

So, I kept my eyes open at the sale and found 3 different reproduction prints that I did not have and got 2 yards of each. I picked up a few other things too, including 3 yards of an off white batik with an overprint of gold swirls.    I had such a good time the FIRST time I shopped, I left with $1 in my pocket and a HUGE bag of fabric.  That was Thursday.

A friend of mine went on Friday, and told me the seller was still putting out “new” fabrics, and so we plotted and planned and made a 2nd trip over to shop.  Today, I was in the “market” for MORE 1930’s reproduction fabrics, and green fabrics that would work with the 30’s fabrics. I ended up with 2 more reproduction prints, a fat quarter of green, and a TON of white on white, off white, neutral fabrics of all types.

Between Thursday and today I’ve washed over 30 yards of fabric!  I like to prewash before I start a project. I hung most of the fabrics to dry after they spent a few minutes in the clothes dryer. My effort to keep the energy costs down!

Drying fabric

After the washing and drying; most of the reproduction prints went out to the sewing room.  I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon ironing with spray starch. Went through an entire can if you can imagine that. The 12 or 15 yards I washed today will need ironing as well; but since they are not going into a project immediately, I am going to ruler fold, label with the yardage, and indicate the fabrics are washed. I usually don’t starch stuff that is going to be stored for a long period of time.

Last evening, after the ironing, I cut the fabrics I needed for the first 3 blocks of Grandma’s Kitchen.  Today, after my “2nd” road trip for fabric, I got busy and put the blocks together.

Here is block 1 of 25 – The Kitchen Table –

Block One for Grandma's Kitchen.  Pattern by Pat Sloan

I photographed it in Black & White to see if I hit the mark with the light – medium – darks

Block 1 in black and white.  Really shows the light, medium and dark.

I think it works!

Here is block 2 of 25 – Sticky Buns –

Block 2 Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

Again, I did a black & white, because I thought I might have gone too dark with the medium.

Block 2 in B&W

And finally – block 3 of 25 “Keyholder”

Block 3 Grandma's Kitchen,  pattern by Pat Sloan

Block 3 in black and white

I think I made the light-medium-dark thing work, and will do some photos of the fabrics before I cut the next block just to be certain.

Now, I am caught up and the next block won’t come out until Wednesday – next week.  If you want to participate, check out Pat Sloan’s website for Grandma’s Kitchen Free pattern for more information. There is still plenty of time to get started, especially if you have a nice stash of fabric and don’t “NEED” to shop  (I know “crazy talk”….we need to shop for fabric!)  The pattern is released weekly, starting June 28, and will run through Nov 22.  Pat said in the intro that there will be 25 blocks and the finish project is “large lap sized”.  These three blocks measure up at 12.5″.

Are you doing any sew-alongs?  If you do them, how do you manage to “keep up” ???  I hope to stay on track with this project, as it goes along, but I remind myself it is not a race!  (Told my hubby I was crazy for starting ANOTHER project when I have so many UFO’s…..tomorrow I will tackle the next round of borders on Talkin’ Turkey!)

Wherever you are, enjoy your projects!

 Don’t forget – if you are in the Mid-Atlantic area, plan to visit the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild show – 

“Peach Blossom – Quilts in the Orchard” – July 21 – 22, 2017 at: Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes, DE.

10AM-5PM

Admission:  $8 per day; $14 for 2 day pass

Free Parking  along with,

Judged Quilt Displays, Challenge Quilts, Lectures, Workshops, Demonstrations

Merchant Mart, Raffle Baskets,

Second Time Around Shop,

Food Service on-site, and

Community Service Projects

Door Prizes too!

 

Quilt Show Lectures and Workshops Sign-up

Friday, July 21:

11 AM ♦ Terry Kramzar, Lecture and Trunk Show

1 PM ♦ Laurie Simpson Workshop, “Big Stitch Hand Quilting”.  Class is $50 and limited to 20 participants.

Saturday, July 22:

11 AM ♦ Laurie Simpson, Lecture and trunk show

“Pieced Quilting in Layers”.  1 PM ♦ Terry Kramzar Workshop, Class is $50 and limited to 25 participants.

To reserve a class (space is limited) contact:Ellie Hatch.

Entry fee for the lectures is $5.00 (at the door)

More show info at https://www.oceanwavesquiltguild.org/quilt-show

When you come, be sure to look for me at the Second Time Around booth!

 

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!

 

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.

Crashing waves during Nor'easter

 

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??

 

Embroidery Machine Fun

Wednesday was a “between day” for me.  Between entertaining, between holidays etc.  I got out to my sewing room EARLY and did a quick “clean up” from the last Christmas projects.  I got the velvet from the Christmas stockings put away, and all the associated lint cleaned up off the tables. I spent a couple of productive hours with another member of the guild sorting and pressing and folding “guild” fabric for the Second Time Around sales.  About 2 – 3 hours is as much as I can manage with it on any given day.

After the hubby left for his afternoon/evening fun at the Train club, I went back to the sewing room and played for a while with some “blanks” for the embroidery machine. I have been buying towels at Wal-Mart in the craft department which are fantastic for embroidery. I have “shopped” for these style towels elsewhere, including on the bolt where you have to do the hemming etc.  I keep “coming back” to the ones they sell at WalMart.  Our local store doesn’t carry them, so I pick them up when I am in a “big” store in other towns. Of course you can order them on-line, get free shipping for “store pick up” too.    100% cotton towels at Walmart  aunt-marthas-striped-dish-towel

These kitchen towels are BIG – 18×28; have a tight weave, and a loop in the upper left corner.  They are typically made in India.  I pre-wash/dry them before I embroider, so the cotton shrinkage doesn’t interfere with the embroidery design I put on the towels.  I’ve used these towels for a couple of years as “blanks”; and have gifted them to friends and family. My one daughter REALLY USES  them and in the wear and tear in her busy household, they are holding up to the job.   Much thicker than the “flour sack” towels people often buy for “blanks”.

Recently I downloaded a collection of “coffee” designs from Artistic ThreadWorks – called Jacobean Coffee and Tea.  These stitched out really well and are big “full” designs on a 4 x 4 ” frame.  I am really pleased.  I have another  3 towels all prepped to stitch and will finish up stitching out this collection. So far, I am very pleased with the results.  It has been fun using a similar design on all the towels.  I am trying to keep a couple of colors constant throughout so they do “tie together” as a set.

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I purchased recently some Terry Cloth dish towels to embroider and those are in the”pre-wash” stage tonight.  I haven’t done much with terry cloth in the past, but I am sure they will turn out nicely.  I will be looking thru my design books for interesting embroidery ideas. I can see that I need to put tear away stabilizer, along with no show mesh stabilizer and Water Soluble on my shopping list.

What kind of projects are you working on during this “between” week??

Fabric books for baby

Years and years ago, my mother used a product call Tri-Chem.  It was often referred to as “Liquid embroidery”.   It was a “paint in a tube” with a roller ball end. She would “hoop” items that had a stenciled design, and paint over the stencil.  I remember the hoops she used had blotting paper behind the hoop.  Gosh, Mom had containers of colors and accessories, and she made aprons, pot holders, placemats, toaster covers etc.  I still have an apron that she painted. ( I recall she may have been a demonstrator/dealer for the product back in the 60’s.)   One other thing she did was make fabric books for my children with Tri-Chem. Not long ago, I was visiting and my granddaughters still have the “doggy” book, that belonged to their mother. (Yes, Tri-Chem is still available). This particular book was made in 1979, on a pellon type product and is “highly washable”.  The doggy book has made it thru 2 generations of babies.  I think my Mom would love that!

Among other thing Mom would make for my children were fabric panel books and dolls. We have Christmas fabric dolls that come out every year.   When my grandchildren were coming along, I decided to make the fabric books too.  Yes, it feels nostalgic. My mom never got to meet these great-grandchildren.

Honestly, at the point I made the “fabric panel books”, the grandchildren were putting everything in their mouths, and books made of paper were at serious risk of damage.   So, when one daughter was decorating for Christmas this year, out came the Christmas fabric panel books.  Her children are beyond the age of these books for any reason other than nostalgia. It is fun, pulling out those things every year that remind us of years gone by.

I have continued to purchased book panels over the years because they are so fun to make. There have been some beautiful designs printed on children’s fabric book panels too.

This year, with a new granddaughter in the family, I decided to make her some fabric books.  She LOVES books, and has several commercially made books, that come with teethers and such.  For the first book, I decided I would use my embroidery machine and just make a random picture book.   I had fun finding  bright designs that I could stitch out on various solid color fabrics.  (Besides – her mother and aunt were the givers of all that embroidery thread last year!)

Addison's book

As I did the embroidery, you can see that I learned a few things along the way.  In the following photo, I learned that my fabric just kept pulling and pulling when I did the cat. It had a heavy stitch count, and I had 3 layers of stabilizers.  I am wondering if it was poor digitizing. (Every stitch of the fur kept going back to the edge of the design). So, the cat is the ONE page I am not excited about.

Turtle and cat

The turtle was a much better design, same stabilizer set up, and so smooth!  Like I said, a learning process.

Caterpiller and Train

I learned that the “source” where you obtain your designs makes a huge difference in the final outcome too.

Robin and Dog

Fawn and Ladybug

Guitar and Duck

Bear and Horse

Butterfly and Flower

The end…..back cover

Back cover Addy's book

I spent several weeks stitching out designs.  My limit was 2 per day.  I went though LOTS of stabilizer and thread doing these pages but it was SO much fun.

Last week, I bought a foam pellon product at the fabric store to use between the pages. Construction of the book with the foam left me some lessons learned. Next time I get this bright idea, I will remember to not make the foam as wide as the page, keep it out of the spine, and completely turn the pages rightside out and close the stitching on the spine edge. I used binding to cover the raw spine edges. I knew better…just didn’t think it through. The other reason is for ease of “STITCHING” the pages together into a book. I had all those layers PLUS the foam and my machine PROTESTED!! I had to go thru with the handwheel to join the pages into the book. OOPS. Then of course, that binding on top (blue) had to be hand stitched down as the machine was NOT going through 4 more layers. Lessons learned.

When I managed to get this book assembled, I got out those other wonderful panels I had purchased, and got busy putting them together.

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I used the foam in one of these books (the Christmas mouse) and fusible fleece in the other two books. I like the foam best, but the fleece worked! These were fun to put together.

My “book making” is complete for this Christmas, and I am sure there will be future projects where my lessons learned will be put to use.  I think back to the “liquid embroidery” my mother did, the hand embroidery my sister does, and the machine embroidery that I am doing.  Whatever your method, I think what is important is you are enjoying the process.  As I think back I know that I didn’t give proper appreciation at the time for those things my mother made.   As I have learned various crafts, I have figured out how hard she worked at her projects.  Those small things I have left from her I do appreciate now.   Life lessons to share I suppose.  I hope she is looking down from Heaven and seeing that I do now appreciate all her time and energy and crafty goodness.  A handmade gift is really a gift of LOVE.    

Wishing you a Christmas full of Joy and LOVE!

Merry Christmas!