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!

A week away…………Ready for Santa!

We are just 1 week away from the celebration of Christmas.  I had a special project I have been working on.  Now that it has been delivered, I can tell you about it.

For years, my family has had lovely green velvet stockings. Years ago, my oldest sister made stockings for each of her sibling’s families; and as the family grew, she added stockings.   My children loved their  stockings made by their aunt, and when they started their own married lives, they took their stockings to their new homes. One daughter decided that the new brother-in-law law / husbands in the family deserved hand-made stockings.  She worked with her talented friends and made 3.  Then, the babies started to arrive; and I gifted my  Mom & Dad stockings to the first daughter,  and I have been making the stockings for the grandchildren as they come along. I didn’t put any names on those stockings when I made them, as I don’t hand embroider.   A couple of years ago, my daughter sent me the kids stockings back, and I was able to embroider their names on the stockings with my embroidery machine, and send them back in time for Christmas

This year, the newest granddaughter needed a stocking.   I decided on deep red velvet for the “cuffs” of the stocking and dug through my supplies of cording etc.  I matched my embroidery thread to the gold cording for the names.  

I had “just enough” of the dark green velvet to cut out 3 new stockings – so the NEW Mom & Dad are getting new stockings to match. 

stockings

 

I did a production line sewing marathon yesterday, stitching out the names on the red velvet; putting the cording in for the bottom of the cuff.  

I referred back to a blog post I had read recently about making a LINED stocking with a cuff, and “no raw edges  – tutorial for a stocking by Cluck Cluck Sew   (Gosh I love people who write great tutorials.)  My cuffs are a little different that the tutorial because of the cording and the name.  (Test fitted with pins, name was upside down…duh moment……)

Anyway, the tutorial worked out well.  I used muslin for the lining. Nothing fancy, but won’t be bothered if a little chocolate melts in them.  The lining can be pulled out far enough to spot wash if needed.  I made my own paper pattern years ago for the size/shape of the stocking boot.

I think these are the best of the stockings I have made over the years.  The new parents were surprised too!  Now, a week away from Santa doing his duty!  stockings-for-fitz

This is a fun family tradition, and I do have other green and gold velvet on hand.  Since I gave away my “MOM” stocking 8 years ago; maybe I should make a Grandma stocking ………  Wondering if Santa would start to stop by again and fill it?

What ever your projects are, I hope you are having a good time with making them. Merry Christmas!

A package delivered

I mailed a package off last week and have been WAITING for it to be delivered and OPENED.  I sent 2 gifts in the box; one for my son-in-law who must WAIT for Christmas. The other was for my daughter, and I gave her “permission” to open on arrival!  (Selfish me wanted to post photo’s and blog about it!). Seriously, it was something she could use NOW for her holiday table.  (That’s my story anyway!)

You remember the Autumn Jubilee pumpkin/autumn leaves table runners I have been making ?    I asked her if she was interested in one, and she said yes.  Then, she tossed a design idea at me.  She asked for a “double sided” table runner. A “two season, I don’t want to store a bunch of stuff” request.  I thought that seemed like a good idea (and this is why I consult her frequently).   I  played around with the pumpkins and leaves and came up with this for the Autumn Jubilee side —

Autumn Jubilee Table Runner Number 3

I picked that border fabric on the Autumn side because I thought it had a more “modern” feel….not too “country” looking.

The “flip side”  is for Christmas —

Reverse side of Autumn Jubilee tablerunner

I believe the table runner finished out at  17″ x 51″

Three star table runner

It looks much better on her dining table than on my little workshop table.

Double sided table runner
I used the same fabric and star pattern for this table runner as I did for her Christmas Pillow covers I made last year.  I wrote a detailed post about them here – Star Pillows .

Thanks to all the great people who blog and write patterns and share them.  The Autumn Jubilee is inspired by Carole  on her blog- From My Carolina Home .  The Star Pillow is from a pattern by Melissa Mortenson http://www.polkadotchair.com/2014/02/patchwork-quilted-pillows.html/

The soft gold binding in my “Susie’s Magic Binding” was inspired by my hubby! I was struggling to find a binding that would work for both sides; and he suggested the soft gold that is prevalent in the star and on the background fabric.  Of course it worked well on the Autumn Jubilee side too!  (I’ve written previous posts about Susie’s Magic Binding  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/binding-and-other-projects/  if you want more info.)

I quilted using a walking foot and did variable widths of straight line quilting. I used Superior Thread 40 weight – CASHMERE – Fantastico 5035  .  Nobody is paying me to say this – I LOVE THAT THREAD.  I just opened my second spool.  That is, the 2nd  2000 yard spool!  The colors in this variegated thread blend with so many things. I highly recommend it. It was my bobbin thread as well.   The transitions in the colors are subtle, and it really is a pleasure to use that thread.  Anyway, with the quilting being rather dense, I think it gives “weight” to the runner and helps it lay flat on the table. (Even in the last photo, after it had been folded up for several days in the mail.)

I am very pleased with the outcome of this project.  Of course, I have more “pumpkin/leaf & star  parts” available, so I may make myself a Christmas runner at some point. I still have some more placemats to work on as well…but those are for autumn and Christmas is coming!

What are you working on ??  Any secret projects you can reveal yet?  Happy Stitching!  Don’t let the deadlines spoil your joy!

 

Update — Linked up to Oh Scrap!!   The Oh Scrap  button is also on the side of my blog!

What’s on your plate today?

I’m up early, making lists in my head while I get through my first cup of coffee.

My plate is full this week, and will be for several more.  So many things going on and very little sewing again!  I am working on the “two sided” table runner, need to add borders to the Autumn side so it is equal in width to the Christmas side. That should be fairly easy to get finished if I get a few hours to work.  Maybe by Friday I can sneak some time for sewing in to my schedule!

I am coordinating a meal at church for Sunday for the congregation and need to put the list to paper.  It is a simple meal of hearty soups, salads, bread/rolls, drinks and desserts.

I have a soup to prepare (Chicken and dumplings) and all the salad.  There is an early morning grocery shopping trip planned for me today.  I am operating on faith that the sign up sheet was filled in by church members.  I haven’t been able to get back to the church and take a look.

I have to make a list of what needs “done” tomorrow.  It will all work out, but if I have a list, the little stuff doesn’t get forgotten.

I have a group here on Tuesday for a “quilt bee” and have to figure out what I am serving and make that shopping list too.  (And clean the house………). Then a meeting at church on Tuesday night.

Wednesday will be another “cooking day” prepping for the Thanksgiving meal….my job is the Cosmopolitan Cranberry Sauce, the Stuffing, and Apple pie.  Must check the recipes, ingredients on hand and make that shopping list too.  That will probably be an early morning trip on Wednesday. My stuffing has mushrooms and sausage in it, and I want them as fresh as possible.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house, with this little fun one! She is in the taste everything stage, and has just started to crawl.  I got to babysit yesterday and had fun on the floor with her.

Tasty rainbow

Friday is the big “Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt” day.  And, I am not doing it this year.  I’m sure it will be fabulous, beautiful and fun, but I just can’t.  I have too many projects underway, to many quilt tops on hangers to quilt to start anything else.  It is a let down for sure after the excitement in the past 2 years. I will follow Bonnie and the  mystery quilt  on her blog and on Facebook and enjoy it from a distance.  There is another “quilt-along” that I am watching from a distance too –  Carole at From My Carolina Home has one called Scrap Dance Waltz Quilt along underway.  I’m tempted to do just a table runner.  Speaking of lists….I need to really put together a priority list for things I want to finish in the sewing room.  Poor Mittens the Cat still hangs on the design wall; with his last 9 rows waiting to be stitched.  Haven’t touched him since before I went to Texas to visit the grandkids a month ago. And then there are the 2 Bonnie Hunter projects from the classes in September; bins on the floor in front of the design wall.  Like I said….I am not starting any more mystery or quilt along projects!  (I think I will save the patterns for “down the road”).  My time in my sewing room has been mostly directed to the guild donations, sorting, ironing, folding, pricing etc. It is very time consuming and distracting to say the least. Hoping to make some headway there in the next few weeks with volunteers coming on various days.

The next 2 weekends I spend with my hubby and his model railroad club.  Last year I made a bunch of pillowcases to sell and they did well.  I have the fabric to do more “Thomas” ones, but haven’t gotten there yet either.  If you know anyone in the mid-Atlantic area who loves trains – share this flier  with them!  2016-train-club-flyer

I will be keeping the line moving in the door, with raffle tickets and scavenger hunt information!

So, the lists in my head are long, and woke me up before 5 today. (I was asleep early yesterday, as I was worn out from grandma duty ) I need another cup of coffee to get in gear as 6 am approaches.  I need a pen and paper to get those random thoughts written down before they escape my sleepy head.

What’s on your plate this weekend?