Help for Victims of Thomas Fire – Other ways to help

As you may recall, in December Carole – From My Carolina Home put out a call for help asking for blocks for Victims of the Thomas Fire.   I shared her post and worked up 16 blocks and sent them to her last week.

16 Thomas Fire blocks done

Carole received my blocks and 16 other envelopes !!  It is exciting to know that quilters DO love to help when there is a big need.

I was reading through my email today and saw that AQS (American Quilting Society) is also trying to get the word out for assistance for the Ventura Modern Quilt Guild.  There are lots of ways that you might be able to help too. Perhaps making blocks and sending them to Carole wasn’t something you were able to do, but you have a finished top of another pattern on a hanger, or have an excess of blocks from a different style?   Without repeating the entire list, I will “redirect” you to the AQS post –http://www.aqsblog.com/help-the-thomas-fire-victims

Perhaps something on the AQS post will be just the right fit for you!

Today is a “scrap attack” day for me!  I want to dig through 1 container of greens and get them “ready” for the next scrappy project that Carole has planned on her blog!

Stay warm and happy sewing.  I am thankful every day for the sunshine, the warmth of my heaters and my ability to create! I think quilts are really a blessing in my life!  What about in yours?

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The final 3 blocks for Grandma’s Kitchen

I had a lot of fun picking and choosing from my stack of fabrics for the final 3 blocks of the Grandma’s Kitchen pattern.  I mentioned previously that I did a little “balancing” of colors, as I have a big variety with my 1930’s reproduction fabrics.

Block 23 –

Block 23 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 24 –

Block 24 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 25 –

Block 25 Grandma's Kitchen

Now that all 25 blocks are made, I am considering all those filler blocks the pattern has called for.  There are 3 more units of “friendship stars”, several sets of “checkerboard blocks”, and lots of what I would call “filler strips”.  These filler strips are giving me something to think about.  I am trying to decide if I am just going with one of my white background fabrics; or maybe pull in another yellow, with some very tiny print.  If you haven’t seen the final layout, take a look at Pat’s post here – The final layout plan

Here are my thoughts….I have a lot of very “different” prints and colors going on.  I put them all in an album together on flicker if you want to take a look – Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks album

I think the blocks need something to “calm them down” and “give your eye a place to rest” or “a bit of space”.  This is what leads me to the white.  I have been doodling and coloring – Thank goodness for lots of fine tip markers and lots of copies of the pattern.

Making sense of the layout

I’ve set aside fabrics for some of those filler blocks, made one of the checkerboard sections for row 3(using the same fabrics as block 25), and decided what fabrics those extra friendship stars will use.

Next time you see it, I will have it stitched together as a full top…but that will be a while.

I’m in slow down mode as of this afternoon!  I had to deliver my beloved Janome 8900 to the sewing center for service. Long & short of it – my machine does NOT like the thread painting class I took today. Sadly, I paid for a class that I only managed to sew for about half of, and then spent the rest of the class battling the machine.  I went straight from class to take the machine for repair.  Tomorrow, out will come my beloved Featherweight, and I will “begin again”.

Meanwhile, there are lots of scraps to be sorted and trimmed and put away, so I might get busy with that job.  I have LOTS to get squared away!   I am going to try and get some cleared up before Carole puts out the first edition of Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery QuiltWill you be sewing along?  Carole said she is going to have us “use up leftovers, precuts,  charm squares, jelly roll strips ” etc.  I tend to cut my scraps to the “largest size” for my storage system, so I should have plenty of 5″ squares, lots of 2.5″ strips.  I don’t buy pre-cuts usually, but I do have a big collection of fat quarters (which are NOT scraps….)  I think I will start with the overflowing basket of GREENS!

What’s on your project list??

Some Assembly Required

Thank goodness for great heaters! Our lows are in the teens and highs in the mid 20’s for the next few days and the last few days. (Some weather person fibbed about it getting into the 30’s yesterday….NEVER happened!) (In case you are a new reader, my sewing space is above our detached garage. I share the space with my husband and his model train workshop area). Hubby has a massive propane heater downstairs and I cranked it up to 60 yesterday for a few hours just after lunch, and it really heated up the “floor” upstairs.

While the hobby space warmed up we had a little “project” to assemble in the house.  Fed Ex delivered the present I got our cats….and hubby had to figure out which part went where!

Some assembly required

At some point, our cat inspector Smokey got involved in the activity –

Cat Inspector at work

He is the most curious cat of all and wants to be “in the middle” of anything you are doing! (He thinks he is helpful when I am trying to decorate the Christmas tree or dust the shelves).  Once the assembly was complete…I spritzed a little catnip spray on the new cat climber, and both cats were quick to climb around….and roll around…and like the fuzzy fabric….

Smokey's turn

There are 4 of those dangling white mice hanging from the new unit on elastic cording. We are expecting them all to be pulled off in the next week or so.  So far, only Smokey has been brave enough to climb to one of the higher perches.

On his perch

Once the cats figured out the new gift was for them, then we both ventured out to the garage to play.  The temperature went from  55 degrees when I started the all the heaters,  and before I was finished sewing for the evening it was 73, and I took off my sweatshirt!  We hate to “stop” out in our hobby area once it warms up, so dinner was not until 8 pm last night. Hubby was working on a “turn table” for the model railroad at his train club, and I was having fun  assembling the blocks to send to Carole.

In my last post, California Thomas Fire Quilts Help Wanted  , I shared with you information about making blocks for the victims of the fires out in California.

I had 6 blocks finished in that post. I spent some “quality time” in my sewing room yesterday, and I now have 16 finished.

Blocks for Thomas Fire quilts

I will be getting those out in the mail on Tuesday to Carole – From My Carolina Home

All of the fabric came out of my scrap storage system. Many were already cut into 5″ squares.   I did have to dig in the scrap bin of blues for those wonderful batiks, and in my neutral scrap box for the creams and off whites. So, there was some cutting involved as I prepped these blocks.  Truth be told, I now have about 15 or 20 MORE batik and neutral half square triangles made, so I might see if I can put a few more together before these go out in the mail.  I have some pretty floral fabrics that were part of a 5″ square collection that I made those coasters out of in my last post.

What are your plans for “making” things this weekend?

Busy December days

I know…when are you ever going to get back to the sewing room???  I keep asking myself that question! Have no fear, the weather is above 40 degrees today, and I might brave the winter temp and wander out.  It’s been downright cold around here, and I have had plenty to keep me busy!  (Note – this post is FULL of photos!!)  Grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage!

Snow on Dec 9 2017 Delaware

Two weeks of what I call “Quilt Guild Time”.  First Monday of the month was the guild meeting, and there was a board meeting on Thursday. The snow came on Friday.  (Thank goodness).

The program for the meeting was our annual holiday luncheon and show & tell.  Frankly, I had nothing “ready” to show, that I could wrap my head around. You see, we were coming off 2 weekends in a row of “model rail road club open house”, and I just could not think what to bring. Between an ear infection for me, and hubby coming down with a cold, and long days at the train club, I was just not ready.  Late Sunday evening I remembered that  I had to bring a dish of food to share, and was NOT ready for that either.  An early morning run to the local super market provided some wonderful frozen meatballs, and a few jars of marina sauce.  I popped those meatballs in the oven to heat, the marinara sauce in the microwave, heated up the crock pot, and in under an hour, had them ready to go, and I got out the door by 9 am.  (Note to self….keep those meatballs/sauce on hand for the next food crisis!).  Really, my own fault, as I took the hubby out to dinner on Sunday night with some friends for his birthday, and failed to prepare.   Anyway…the meatballs were a hit, only a few left at the bottom of a very empty crock pot, and nobody cared that I didn’t have a show & tell.  (PHEW….).  I did get to relax and have a little fun at the luncheon, and enjoyed visiting and conversations with members I don’t often get a chance to speak with at meetings.

The feeding continued following our monthly board meeting, where our host provided a delightful brunch.  This is a group of about 20, and again a delight to sit and visit during this busy month.  The snow arrived on Friday, and pretty much kept us at home through the weekend.  Somebody said we got 6″ of snow, heavy and wet.  Luckily the roads were still warm, and it did not stick around long.  Hubby and I spent the weekend finishing up decorating for Christmas.

2017 Christmas Tree

Took me all week to get the tree up and the lights on and the decorations on.  Hubby suffered quietly with a cold and emerged long enough to get the angel on top and some of the highest ornaments on.  Every year we decorate a little differently, and this year, the lights seem “dim” to me.  I realised after I was finished,  I only used half as many lights as last year.  (I think I was burnt out).  The LED bulbs are not as bright as the old fashion type either.

Tuesday I hosted the Queen Bees for a luncheon/Christmas party.   I decided that I would ask them to help with a card making project that Carole / From My Carolina Home    asked for help with.  On her Dec 8th post, she invited others to take part in making cards for a woman’s shelter.  So, when I asked my Queen Bee’s, they all agreed.  I put some supplies on the table, and they got busy!

An artistic group

Crafting and creating Queen Bees

They created 12 cards in just under an hour!  They used cardstock, punches, old greeting cards, stamps, pens, tape runners etc to create these cards.

Fun creations

Special cards made by the Queen Bees

More special cars

Holiday greeting cards

Greeting cards made by bee

Some of these women had never done any “paper crafting” of this sort before, but were eager to prepare cards with heartfelt messages inside.

Sentiment inside

We have so many talented women in this group, and I love the way this card was done inside.    We got the dozen cards out in the mail to Carole to meet her deadline.  I think the Queen Bees enjoyed the project, although it wasn’t quilting, it went for a very good purpose.  Two of the women in the Queen Bees knew about Carole’s project, because they follow her blog.

I got to follow-up a great lunch on Tuesday with the Queen Bees by attending another lunch with the Material Girls Bee on Wednesday.  It was hard to remember to take “small portions” but I did!!

The Queen Bees inspired me and I spent the rest of the week with my own card crafting. I had a birthday card to make and Christmas cards I wanted to do.  I was so inspired I made a trip to Michael’s Craft Store and purchased more “card blanks & envelopes” and treated myself to a heat gun and embossing powder.  I picked up a BUNCH more stamps at Tuesday Morning too.  More about those cards “next time”…as I want to give the recipients a chance to receive them before I spoil the surprise.  

I did make it to the garage on Sunday afternoon for a few hours.  I managed to help the hubby “move” a table back into “my area”, and do a little “cleaning up”  of patterns and files, and stuff.  I actually turned on my machine, and repaired the velcro and snaps on some baby items for my daughter. I wasted 30 minutes fighting with 1″ sticky back loop velcro before I threw it away, and got out the 3/4″ sew in loop velcro I had on hand. Not as wide as I wanted, but it will have to do.  I ended up throwing away a heavy-duty needle that was immediately gummed up too with that sticky back velcro.  GRRRR……..hate that stuff……

So, I am “ready to sew” my own stuff again after nearly 2 months out of my sewing room.  What to work on today?  ?  ?

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

 

 

Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 15 and 16

Catching up in my sewing room after nearly 2 weeks away.  I was behind on the Pat Sloan project called Grandma’s kitchen. I am using 1930’s reproduction fabrics.  They come from a variety of manufacturers and I want to hit as many different patterns & colors as I can.  (Note – my collection grew to a wild number…..)

I got “caught up” just in time for the next step.   Here is block 15.  I am trying to bring in some more yellow and black into the blocks.

Finished block 15 of 25

and here is block 16 — I wanted to carry through some more pink and green in this block.

Block 16 of 25

Today Pat released the layout for Grandma’s kitchen and the first 16 blocks can be assembled into rows.  There are lots of “filler blocks” and sashing bits, so I will have to really look at the layout.  I may “wait” and assemble the rows after the last 9 blocks are made.  I have such a variety of colors that the balance is going to be very important to me for the overall look.

Here are MY sixteen blocks arranged yesterday, before the layout was published. I keep “moving them around and every time I do, I end up with 2 blues side by side (or 4 in this case) or 2 yellows side by side, or 2 blacks side by side etc.

Sixteen blocks completed

I may not “like” my color choices in the position that Pat gives, so there may be some “re-arranging” of those 12 1/2″ and 10 1/2″ blocks.  I have all my 10.5 in a row for no particular reason.  I know that the fabric choices for the future blocks will be guided by the layout Pat has given.  I have 1 other black fabric that I am “saving” – that great clothesline fabric I mentioned a while back.  I may use it in sashing, but will have to do some adapting to use it to it’s best effect, as the print is large. Most of the sashings are 2.5 or 1.5 or 2×2.  It is going to be interesting.

Check out Pat’s post today, and see what you think!  This is probably my “last” post on Grandma’s kitchen until December.  I won’t have time next Wednesday to make a block, as I leave bright and early on Thursday morning.  I am going to be away for a month, coming home late on the night before Thanksgiving. When I get home we will be in “full swing” with the DelMarVa Model Railroad Club Open House, and I will have a lot of catching up to do at home between weekends.  I still have my “Bonnie Hunter Talkin’ Turkey” hanging on the design wall.  (Pattern in Bonnie’s book STRING FLING(note – this is becoming a vintage project, as I started it in September 2016 when Bonnie was in Dover DE teaching a class….we won’t talk about the OTHER Bonnie project I still have in a tote…..)

1 row to go

It is 99% assembled, the borders are made and hanging there for MONTHS, just waiting to be sewn on!  That will have to happen when I get back BEFORE I can lay out Grandma’s Kitchen!

What’s on your design wall today?

Off to Material Girls Quilt Bee today….I am ‘late’, but going.  I’ll be working on my Autumn Jubilee (2016) placemats.  Carole   From My Carolina Home    had a great pumpkin and leaf pattern last year and I have made placemat tops.  Two are assembled and quilted, two are waiting for quilting, but today, I am going to build some more ‘leaves’ for 4 more placemats. 

Still playing with Autumn Jubilee

Last fall, Carole on the blog From My Carolina Home published a pattern called Autumn Jubilee.

EDIT — I’ve been asked where to find the pattern?  HERE is a link directly to Carole’s quilt along from last fall – Leaf pattern by Carole.  NOTE- you can also go to the left side of her blog and scroll down and look for categories and select Autumn Jubilee.  She had some really great projects over the fall and you might enjoy them all.  Be sure to FOLLOW her blog, as she has something new planned for this fall! I used Carole’s leaf pattern and added 2 different 3″ strips on either side of the leaves to make the placemat.

Over the course of Autumn, I completed 4 table runners using her pattern.  I had amassed a big quantity of appropriate fabrics, and done quite a bit of “pre-cutting” and building of “bits & pieces” for pumpkins and leaf blocks.  One table runner was gifted, and I ended up keeping the other 3.  One for the dining room table and one for each of the treadle machines in the dining room.

I still had lots of “bits & pieces” left over, so I thought I should make some placemats.  Somewhere along the line, Christmas happened, and the box got put away. I pulled it back out in January to take to a quilt bee.  A fellow member of the bee had said she keeps a tote “ready to go” for the bee, and only works on the project during the bee.  A long term project, since we only meet once a month.  This was a clever idea, and I decided a great way to work on these placemats, with no particular deadline.  Of course, everytime I open the container, I have to “rethink” the project.  “How many more half-square triangles do I need, etc?” Today was no exception.

I got busy building more blocks, and finally, by August I had enough done, that I could put together 4 placemats. This one you might have seen in a January post,

The "original" placemat

but here are the rest.

Placemat using my Autumn Jubilee leaves

Placemat#3

Placemat # 4

They still need to be layered, quilted and bound, but the “hard work” is finished.

I can’t quilt until I get my Janome back from the repair shop, so it will still be a while before they are finished.  Each placemat has the common theme of the leaf centers, but the border fabrics are all unique, and the backing fabric will match the outer border.

Long range, my goal is 8 placemats, so it will probably be next August before I bore you again with the last 4! These have been fun to make.

Thanks again to Carole – From My Carolina Home for the cute pattern !

In keeping with the overall scrappiness of the blocks, I just “had” to make the borders on each one a little different.  Would that drive you crazy?

A quieter week

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

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

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

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

February Bib Fun for Addy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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