Do you love buttons?

I can’t bring myself to get rid of all these containers of buttons that are donated to the quilt guild.  Shoe boxes, metal tins, ziplock bags, all full of buttons.  Hundreds and hundreds!    I am guessing I have over 20,000 buttons around, waiting for someone to love them!

They are HARD TO SELL at the meetings, because everyone seems to have a bin “just like it” at home. I’ve had “notion” sales at the guild meeting and the buttons sell here and there, but not a lot at a time.

And not all Quilters are crafters!  (I am the first to raise my hand and pronounce I am ‘not crafty’)

I was in Old Town Alexandria Virginia in January and saw “VINTAGE BUTTONS” for sale.

Vintage buttons for sale

There were many on cards, and I thought hmmm…..maybe I am underpricing my carded buttons.  I can’t give them away for 50 cents for 6 buttons or 10 cents for 3 buttons. Maybe I should RAISE the price…..

I’ve sorted and bagged matching buttons. I’ve got 4 cupcake tins full of sorted buttons right now to bag up.  Talk about labor intensive.  The more I sort, the more I love the buttons!  Should I raise the price and rebrand them as “vintage”.  Surely they are!  The metal buttons are my favorite!

  What to do???

My 2nd Time Around Co-chair and I have been pondering the question!  How to get people excited about buttons and ways to use them, beyond your typical garment sewing. How to sell them?   We are getting ready for the  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show   on April 26 & April 27, 2019.  My 2nd Time Around committee is going to have a huge booth with lots of fabric for sale.  We are also going to SELL these buttons!  But before they sell, we have to INSPIRE people to buy them!

We’ve been looking at ideas  for crafting with buttons on Pinterest – and I have a “few pins” – Button Fun!

We made a few projects and I wrote about them here Feeling a little crafty   and here Fun with buttons and More!

Carole at  From My Carolina Home  has a great blog post today called Buttonmania Strikes Again !!  Over the years she has posted some very clever projects using buttons.  Oh, yes, she has a Pinterest board too and gives you “fair warning” about going down that rabbit hole!  (I have to set a 20 minute timer when I start on Pinterest).

So, all that said, there is no lack of creative ways to USE these buttons!

We have decided to sell the loose buttons at the show in a “fill a bag” manner.  A big bin of buttons to look through and square snack bags to load up with your treasures for $1.  We are going to display our “sewing room wreaths” to inspire others, and between now and then perhaps make a few more “button crafts”.

The other fun thing we are going to do is make “wreath kits”. Quart size bag full of assorted threads and notions, buttons and lace so you can build your “own” wreath.  We will make just a limited number and see if there is an interest.

Do you have a button box?  What do you save them for?  Have you done any button crafting?  Would you share your ideas?

Don’t forget to hop over to Carole’s blog post and when you comment, tell her I sent you there!

Happy crafting with buttons!

Be sure to check out the  OWQG SHOW  page.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe  is coming and has a special exhibit and lecture and trunk show! She is a spectacular quilter and teacher!  Check out her website –  https://vfwquilts.com/                                     

 

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Quilting in the 21st Century

I went to a “newcomers” orientation with Ocean Waves Quilt Guild on Monday. I’m a “member of the board” and was asked to come and talk about 3 or 4 different activities within the guild, including “Second Time Around”.  If you are a new follower, let me explain — My committee receives fabric and quilting notions from donors and we “make it pretty again” by pressing, trimming, folding and “selling” back to the members of the guild the day of our monthly meeting.  Funds we raise support our guild and enable us to have speakers from around the country.

When I get donations, sometimes I have to ask others “what” an item is or how it is used.  This is because I didn’t have an association with the hobby in the “previous” century, and I am aware that the hobby has changed dramatically since the 1970’s, the 1930’s and centuries prior.   My quilting “journey” began in 2008, and I learned to cut with a rotary cutter, learned how to cut strips with the June Tailor slotted ruler.  Some tools I see, I honestly haven’t experienced, yet my long departed grandmother would know exactly how to use them.  There is a resurgence in the quilting world to use vintage sewing machines, and to do hand work.  I learned at my grandmother’s knee how to thread her black Singer sewing machine, and she taught me the basics of sewing buttons on etc.  I learned this year how to sew a button on using my Janome.  Guess which way I like to attach buttons??

What was neat at the newcomers orientation is the WIDE variety of methods members are using in quiltmaking.  Some are employing centuries old methods, like “needle turn applique”  and “English Paper Piecing” while others are happy to work on t-shirt quilts and use those modern quilt kits that come with jelly rolls, and fat quarters and pre-cut 5 and 10 inch squares.  It was wonderful to see an entirely hand pieced project, and beautifully long armed projects too.  It was also wonderful to see a “first quilt”, recently made.  We all encouraged that new quilter to enter her project in our April 2019 quilt show.

My blog post yesterday about “machine binding” may have made a long time quilter gasp in horror that I would dare to enter a quilt in a show with a machine binding.  I’m sure much the same way as the quilter who had always made her own templates out of paper or cardstock when they stores started to carry that plastic template material, or when “gasp” rotary cutters and rulers came into being, or when the Accu Quilt Die cutting machines hit the markets.  Today, you can buy kits with everything pre-cut, with applique pieces digitally cut with “fusible” (gasp) on the back.  

Yes, quilting is here, in the second decade of the 21st century, with more technology that some might want, and technology that some of us crave.  I am the first to try a new gadget or tool.  I am also the one who says “my brain is not ready for another computer program to learn”.

My husband and I have two very different hobbies, yet they both are growing in leaps and bounds in the 21st century. He was dismayed yesterday when he read a comment on a group he belongs to about model railroading. The comment was very negative to the person who posted about finding a way to “cut out his building parts” using a Brother Scan N Cut machine.  The person writing the comment berated the man for not being a “real modeler” and that he “should be cutting those window out with an exacto blade etc…   My reaction was something akin to “B.S.”…..”that’s like telling a quilter that she didn’t make a “real” quilt, because she sent it out to be long armed, or because she didn’t “hand quilt” the quilt. Maybe others think the same of me because I use machine binding.

Personally, I think there is enough “room” in the hobby for all methods, and all tools and all INTERESTS.  My interests lie more in getting “finished” than languishing over a project for years and years.  I like “machine binding” and “machine embroidery” and “rotary cutting” and “fusible, machine applique”.  No, I don’t “quilt by check” but I do machine quilt.  And I learned to quilt free hand on a long arm…1 quilt down, but not award winning quilting like some who quilt professionally. But, it’s done!  And I did it, and I take pride it what I have learned along the way.

I think there is room for all levels of interest in this diverse hobby.   I’m sure you have heard some speak negatively about a quilter who doesn’t do a particular task “the right way” etc .  Is your “right way” the “only way”?

Is there room in the hobby for that attitude?  I don’t think so.  I think we need to be kind, to be helpful when someone asks a questions and wants to learn and also that we learn to not be our own worst critics.

Try to remember, a hobby, defined by Merriam-Webster  is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation”. Other definitions include – A hobby is an activity that you do in your spare time for fun . Retirement brings lots of spare time, and this grandma is having fun!

I’d love to know if you have been active in the hobby for a long time about the changes that have been made that you embrace, and those changes that you chose not to embrace and why not?  No judgements from me.   Just tell me how the hobby has changed during the time you have been part of it, and what you like or dislike.

Thanks for reading along!

The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

.

 

More small projects and storms

BUSY WEEK !!  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting, so that meant an afternoon of loading containers in the SUV, and a 7 am departure to unload and set up for sales before the meeting began, then pack up, store some boxes and bring the empty containers home.  (We sold 85% of the fabric we took to the meeting!)  I am grateful to be able to store at the church where we meet, and only have to bring home empty containers and new donations.

As the week has unfolded, we have had rain coming down in bucket loads. We got most of our unloading and reloading done between rain showers. Our area on the mid-Atlantic coast has been beaten with a Nor’easter storm.  Amazing amounts of rain in some areas, with flash floods.  Fortunately, I am not on a waterway, or a known flood zone.  I have a friend whose parked car flooded in a shopping center lot, where she had parked to carpool for the day.  While that particular storm raged for a short time, I was miles away stitching at Embroidery Club. A couple of the husbands called their wives at the club to report on the rains. Yet where we were, 30 miles away, the skies were just grey and gloomy.  Early in the week the discussion about Hurricane Florence in the news made us wonder if it was going to come this far North.  This morning, the maps look like North Carolina is going to take the worst of the weather.  We will be lucky in that case. We are already so saturated after nearly 2 weeks of rain!  I can not imagine having to pick and choose what to pack up and take with me in the event of evacuation. We are fortunate!

On Tuesday afternoon, while the rain came down, we were busy stitching.  I took 2 projects with me to work on at the Embroidery Club.  I purchased a design from Embroidery Library and one from Oh My Crafty Supplies.  I stitched both designs out on cream colored craft felt.

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine  – Embroidery Library X14180  -3.86″ x 3.19″

Embroidery Library calls this design a “stuffie”, done “in the hoop”.  I chose to use my applique scissors and cut out after the stitch-out.  I will try again cutting the shape first, using the dieline template and see which look I like better.  It was suggested to me not to use a Water Soluble Topper (WSS) on top of the felt, as it would be too hard to remove, pull stitches or cause problem with the felt.  I used a tweezers to remove most of it, and lightly misted the remaining, blotting with a paper towel.  I had to use tweezers to stuff the filling in.  The stitch out left an opening on the bottom for filling and I used my regular sewing machine and matching thread to stitch it closed .

The key fob below is the perfect thing to hold onto my flash drive full of embroidery designs!

Sewing machine key fob

ITH Sewing Machine Key Fob Embroidery Design by Oh My Crafty Supplies Sketch design 2.9″ x 3.8″
This stitchout did not give you “placement lines” or “dielines” for placements, so I ran the first color “twice”.  First run to create a dieline on my stabilizer, then the second run tacked down the felt with those read stitches on the stabilizer. Right before the final outline stitch, I placed a piece of felt on the back of the hoop so I could have a nice finished backing.  Rather than use a snap, I used my sewing machine to close the loop around the keyring.  Thoughts –  I felt the “fill” on the 2nd one (blue machine) was too thin.  I should have gone back in and run the fill a 2nd time.  I posted this picture on the Facebook group for Oh My Crafty Supplies and someone said the “SKETCH” design was why the stitching was so light.  Hindsight!  I am going to try this stitchout on a different fabric and see if I like it better.  I haven’t removed the WSS on this one yet, so you still see “shiny bits”.  This one I also “trimmed” after the stitchout.  It is small, only 4628 stitches, so I think I will try again.  LEARNING CURVE….

I’ve been working on my batik placemats.  There are 18 of them and more in the works!  I took about 6 and used a different backing fabric.  I decided to not do free motion quilting on this group, instead, switched out to my walking foot.  I have 4 done and 2 to go.  I do a much better job with the walking foot I think!

Walking foot quilting Batik placemats

Batol placemats quilted with walking foot

quilting detail batik placemats

here is a peak at the back!

back of placemats

I love the way this worked out.  I did measure out those triangles and mark the front with a chalk where the points of the triangles were to land.  I decided to do all the ones with this backing in the same manner, so they look like a set!  (I like them better than the ones I did the free motion quilting on…..)  Somebody (more than 1) will get placemats for Christmas, I just have know idea who that will be quite yet!  We use placemats everyday, throw them in the washer etc, but there are too many here to keep.  I just love making them.  

It’s a busy week with meetings, and I am off to the 3rd one of the week in a few minutes. Hoping for time to have a little fun later today!  Stay safe, stay dry!  

note – Embroidery is done on my Brother PE500, which has a 4×4 capability.  Quilting was done on my Janome 8900.

Fire and Ice Batik Table Runner

My sewing room has visitors off and on all last week.  We had 4 helpers for 2nd Time Around prep on Friday working hard for the benefit of the guild.  One member, Arlene, took home a partially made project that she found in the donations and came back on Saturday to lay it out on my big table and get it pin basted. She had taken something that someone else discarded, added a little time and effort and borders, and now has a baby quilt ready to donate to one of the many charity groups Ocean Waves Quilt Guild supports.

Another friend, Karen, came over and laid her languishing quilt top on my big table, and we measured the dimension, and then measured her available fabric for the back.  We tossed around ideas for increasing the size of her backing with some pieced blocks and extra bits.  I can’t wait to see how she proceeds. She had 5 wonderful paper pieced blocks she wanted to incorporate on the back, and we worked through how she could do that.   Of course, we needed my design wall blank, so before she arrived I cleared my design wall of those batiks that have been hanging around since the end of July.

Batiks hanging out

I wrote about them here – small-projects-and-small-bits and here Batik Fun .

I can’t share what she is working on, but after she finishes and the gift is received, I will.  

Anyway, I had stacked up all those pieces from the design wall onto my sewing machine while we worked on her project.  After she left, I decide it was time to do something with the table runner.  I dug in my bin of greens and blues and found a nice batik that I had “just enough” of a piece for backing and binding.  I also dug in my bin of scrap batting and pulled out a chunk that was “just enough” for a table runner.

I layered up the table runner, batting and backing, pinned it and put on my walking foot again for machine quilting.  (Most of you know that I am still terrified of free motion quilting (FMQ) but have had good success with straight line walking foot quilting!)  (All right, I debated FMQ, but quickly shook my head no.  I think I will get some practice in on those placemats….later).  I previewed 2 threads and chose Superior Fantastico thread #5025, which is a variegated, pink, blue, yellow, and green thread.  I used it in the bobbin as well as on top.  It actually shows more on the back than I like, and now I wished I had stuck to silver for the bobbin!

I stitched across each block and though the cornerstones making and X.  Then I did some channel quilting in the sashing.  Honestly, the quilting in the sashing took me the longest, because I had to stop at every cornerstone.  I also stitched in the ditch between the blocks and the sashing.  There is “enough”  quilting to keep the table runner nice and flat, but it is not heavily quilted.  I kept debating going back and doing something in the “triangles” on each section with either straight lines or the hopper foot. By the time the channel quilting was finished, so was I.  My “go make dinner” alarm went off, and I shut off the machine.  

After dinner, I was re energized and  hubby and I went back out to the garage. I was just going to cut and make the binding.   He is working on building a “test track” on a shelf for “speed matching” his locomotives……(He needs a blog!)  I might take a picture or two when he gives me the ok!  I had a great audio book going and time ran on, as it often does.

I made up my binding using my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding” method,.  I continued to sew while listening to the book, and got it the binding on the runner.  I like the way it turned out.  Hubby always tells me he likes the added “pop” of color the binding adds.  I used the smaller of the TQM Binding tools to join the ends and I got the “BEST” join ever on this project.  (Note, because of the piping/flange, I baste the join, check to see if it lines up and adjust if need be.  I made one slight adjustment and it is perfect!)  I think using the smaller binding tool helped.  Or, I had more patience and lots of practice from all those placemats!   If you have trouble with the join, try basting it first.  The link for the binding method shows written directions and a video!

Table runner bound

The fabric from the back of the runner is the same fabric I used in the “flange” on the binding.

Back of the table runner

I mentioned in a comment to a reader this weekend that this binding is a joy to make, not a chore.  I love it because there is NO hand sewing!

I was trying to remember where I had used that batik for the back of the runner before, and it just occurred to me…my Sensational Silk wall hanging, borders and backing (more about it here – In Betweens  ).  There is just about enough left to use for the back of one of those placemats in the stack.

Hubby said to me after the table runner was bound, looking at it in the sewing room, that he thought it was “too small”.  It measures about 19″ x 35″.

I had to bring it in the house and put it on the dining room table to get a look.  (That meant I took all those Autumn Jubilee placemats off for a while!) The dining room table is 40″ x 80″ so I think it floats well in the center.  I like the finished size.  I have made longer runners, but this works for me for now.

Fire and Ice table runner on the table

I decided to call it “Fire and Ice” because it feels HOT with all the orange and cool with all the turquoise and green and purple.

Time for me to get busy labeling projects!  Do you put labels on “everything” ?  I didn’t on my placemats, but will on the runner.  I need to make a label for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt too.  Time for me to tackle the reset of the stack of batik placemats.  I had wondered what others thought of using muslin for the back of placemats in a previous post.  My friend Nancy has a couple of nice batik pieces she is going to share, and I am digging around in my bins for more batik yardage and fat quarters.   (I do think I will practice some FMQ on those….wish me luck!)

Do you name your projects? It is fun to “FINISH” some smaller projects.

The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

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!