A bit of sewing

It’s been quite a while where I felt like I have done any sewing at all.  Thank goodness for the Scrap Dance Two Step for March!!  This mystery quilt run by Carole at https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/scrap-dance-two-step-march/   got me busy!  I put my half square triangles together on Friday afternoon, and finished squaring them all up today.  I did have to send Carole an email and ask if I was “counting” properly.  I either have extra, or I am short!   That quilter’s math on an empty stomach….

It was fun working out of the scrap bins.  Most of my fabrics for this project were already “cut to size” when I started, coming from my scrap storage system.

Step 3 of the Two Step

Scrap Dance Two Step mystery Scrap HST

Last weekend my youngest granddaughter turned a year old.   I swore I would not be the “plastic toy grandma” but she needed a dump truck and a cell phone to call me!  I feel a bit better about the plastic toys because I also gave her a handmade fabric book.  I had some ” animal prints” from a panel that were just right. Especially since her mom had posted pictures of a paper book that had been mutilated ! Those pop up books just don’t hold up to the eager fingers of a little one.  I had fun putting this together –

20170318_183203

20170318_183218

20170318_183225

20170318_183231

20170318_183236

20170319_094952

20170318_183211

Yesterday I got together with another quilter and we laid out our blocks for a couple of senior quilts at church.  This is the look mine will take on –

Senior Quilt 2017

These are 8.5″ squares, and I got about 1/3 of it assembled yesterday during our workshop.  It was fun sewing on my little featherweight.  I did decide it is time to order that new belt the hubby suggested.  I used it on Wednesday at a sit & sew with the Material Girls, and we had a few moments of “hesitation”.

What have you been up to??

Embroidery resources

Welcome to my new “readers & followers”.  I don’t say that often enough, but I am glad you found my blog and hope you will find something helpful, amusing, interesting or motivating in my posts.  I started this blog over 3 years ago, and use it as a “journal of sorts” of my hobbies – which continue to expand.  I originally wrote about quilting and sewing for the grand children; and have expanded to paper crafting, card making / stamping; and machine embroidery.  (Note – I flunked out of knitting 101, so you don’t have to listen to that story unravelling). Occasionally, I will chat about other things, like domestic life, my pets and travel.  Mostly, I am a stitching grandma!

I had a lot of fun on Monday, meeting ladies from Ocean Pines MD at the Embroidery Club they have established.  They have been meeting for over a year, and this was my FIRST chance to go.  I went immediately after the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting and it was a 45 minute trip.  Thank goodness I had so many helper to “pack up” the Second Time Around shopping and help me “get out the door” quickly.  My wonderful husband came over to the church with my car, and swapped out for the loaded SUV, and took it home. Next month, there is a luncheon at OWQG, so I will be able to “grab my dish” and head out on time.

What I enjoyed about the meeting with the Ocean Pines Embroidery Club was the willingness to share SKILLS that the experienced stitchers had acquired.  We learned about various stabilizers they like, design sources, and techniques for “in the hoop” designs.  They have been creating some wonderful projects.  Of course, I have terrible “machine envy” right now.  My little Brother PE500 can only accommodate a 4×4 design, and they were showing some projects that needed a 5×7 or larger frame.  I’m not investing in a new machine any time soon, so I will just “admire” and learn from the “bigger machine operators”.  I want to learn all I can, so when I eventually take the leap to something bigger, I will have “proof of use” of the little machine to satisfy the hubby……     😉

I mentioned to several ladies at the Embroidery Club that I had a blog, and had recently written about “transferring designs” between the computer and the embroidery machine.  If you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/moving-files-to-the-embroidery-machine-tutorial/  .

A few years ago I wrote a detailed post on resources for embroidery machines.  I shared lots of websites for free designs etc, places to buy designs, and supplies you might want to consider.  Again, if you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/machine-embroidery-resources/

I spent yesterday attending to normal domestic life stuff, with NO sewing/stitching. (Have I ever mentioned that I would rather sew than clean house or grocery shop???)  I deserved a nice cold glass of wine after the “stuff” was taken care of, and sat out in a rocker on the front porch and watched the traffic go by!  Can you believe it was 70 degrees yesterday?

After dinner, I had some time to “surf” on the computer.  I did find some interesting new “sources” for free designs and spent several hours   downloading things. I joined a group a few months ago on Facebook – Resources for Free Machine Embroidery Designs, Sales, Tutorials, Networking . https://www.facebook.com/groups/624604440941908/  Those members share links to FREE designs.

Following some of those links that had been posted on the Facebook group, I ended up at http://www.krisrhoades.com/  and picked up the cutest little elephant.  (Of course, I ended up window shopping for other designs too).

I also dropped by http://www.thebikestore.com/starling/index.html and picked up the mug rug pattern for March.  Once I downloaded the design, I was disappointed to find it was a 5×7, too big for my machine. Oh well, I have it saved now.

Then I popped over to http://missmarysembroidery.com/free-stuff-sales/  and picked up a “Luck of the Irish” free monthly design and an SVG cutting file too.

While I was browsing around on the Resources for Free Machine Embroidery….. group, I saw a link for Janome.  I don’t have a Janome EMBROIDERY machine, but I popped over to Janome’s website to see what they had, and was surprised to find FREE designs in multiple formats.  I need to subscribe and start downloading.  There were over 70 that would work for me, and I think I will be a little selective about what I download.   http://www.janome-embroidery.com/c-132-free-embroidery-designs.aspx

Another place on Facebook that I have found free designs is StitchDelight . https://www.facebook.com/groups/StitchDelight.FREEBIES/   I’ve collected some great alphabet  designs in the last month; new letter daily.   This is also a group you have to “join” to be able to download.

I am subscribed to a mailing list from Artistic Thread Works and get lots of freebies there every week.  You have to “subscribe” to the email list to get the free stuff – http://www.artisticthreadworks.com/public/main.cfm

As I mentioned, I am working with a Brother PE500; which is an embroidery only machine, with a 4×4 (100mm x 100mm) capability.  My machine has a “cable connection” to my computer, and uses PES files.

So, no fancy photo’s today because I have stitched not a thing!  Maybe later.  Grandbaby # 4 is having a birthday and I saw something tempting…..

DISCLAIMER – With most of these websites & Facebook groups, you need to “subscribe” or “join” or “set up an account”.  Be careful about what information you chose to share when doing this.  Honestly, one of these sites wanted my “birthday”….but I was not giving up the year….too much identity information!  And of course, Be careful about clicking on unknown links etc.  Make sure your “virus software” is up to date and running, and scans your downloads BEFORE you open them.   FYI – I have not had any problems with ANY of the links or the websites I am sharing, so if you ‘know and trust me’ you know that I won’t ever knowingly steer you wrong, but there are “evil doers” in the world who like to trick people; so be cautious when clicking on links in emails; on websites etc.  

Have fun with what ever you are working on today!

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………………

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??

 

Baby Fun

Last Sunday I stopped in after church to see my granddaughter and her parents.  I delivered the “leftovers” from a crockpot meal I had taken to church; and arrived in time to see the granddaughter up and about and playing.  I had SO much fun with her for 20 minutes or so, before it was time for her nap.  She is 10 1/2 months old and laughs and giggles so much. I hadn’t seen her in a few weeks, because she was “vacationing”.  On the way out to go home, my daughter asked me for a little sewing repair job.  I got that done yesterday, and along with the quick repair, I made a few more bibs.  I had been in the store  called Tuesday Morning on Monday, and tripped over a package of Babyville PUL fabric. The price was terrific – 3 fat quarters for $3.99.  I purchased BOTH packages that were on the shelf.  This product usually sells for about $9.99. I couldn’t wait to turn out a few new bibs.

Bibs for Addy

Reverse side of February bibs

My daughter picked out the cotton fabric from my fat quarter stash a while back, and I just had to pick from them something that these fun PUL pieces would work with!  This batch of bibs is quilted with the warm and natural cotton batting behind the cotton print. Then the bib is assembled and top stitched.  I don’t like to do a lot of stitching on the PUL fabric, as it reduces the waterproofing that is the primary feature.

Today, after my 2nd day of “Second Time Around” sorting, ironing, measuring folding was done, I thought I would play with an “applique embroidery pattern” I downloaded from Hatched In Africa.com  ( http://www.hatchedinafrica.com/detail.aspx?id=3804&c=49&sc= ).  This adorable FREE pattern – Easter Applique Medley,  was one of several I downloaded today.

So, I set to work on another bib – I decided to “not cut out the bib shape” until I was finished with the embroidery.  Less hassle hooping was my logic.

You can see yellow chalk where I marked the “center” of the bib.

First applique project

I’ve never done any Embroidery with applique before and this was so much fun.  The design has stops for you to add your fabrics as you go along.

Success with Applique

I was really pleased with the result.  After the embroidery applique was completed, I cut out the fabric, batting and backing for the bib.  I quilted this one too before assembly with the PUL fabric.

Flip side of the applique bib

I top stitched after it was assembled. Just need to add the snaps, and it is ready to wear!

Spring Chick Bib Feb 2017

Wait….Easter is a couple of months away….Time enough to wash the bib and get the yellow chalk marks off before she wears it.  This Stitching Grandma better figure out a Valentine and St Patrick’s Day and a 1st Birthday bib before she sports her SPRING CHICK !!

I will definitely be doing more applique work with the embroidery machine, as long as free patterns are available for me to download. This was really fun and I am happy with my “first time” !!   If you like machine embroidery, do go check out Hatched In Africa . com and the cute patterns they offer.  There are lots of “freebies” and once a week on Friday they offer a free design too.

My next “sewing for baby” project is to take the “brown paper pattern” I traced during my visit, and duplicate a “food bib” with pocket. The current “meal time bib” has long sleeves and goes on much like an artists apron.  Another learning opportunity!

Hope you are having fun with your projects!

Paper and Embroidery time and more

A step “away” from my usual sewing/quilting posts.

Last week I spent some “embroidery time” with two friends from my quilt bee – the Queen Bees.  One lady had just gotten an embroidery machine, so I was pleased to share tips and techniques to alleviate some of the frustration NEWBIES have with these machines, just out of the box.  We talked A LOT about stabilizers and what to use and when.  Also about how to move designs from the computer to the machine etc.  There is a lot to KNOW about these machines, right out of the box, and I wrote a blog post full of resource info about the subject — Embroidery resources

We worked on “hooping” which I always struggle with, due to arthritis in my hands. And we helped her set up and stitch out a design with 12 thread changes.  By the time the design stitched out, she was becoming the expert at threading her machine.    After the ladies left, I realised I still had a tea towel in the hoop on my machine, so the next afternoon, I picked a design for a quick stitch out.

Coffee cup close up

I picked this design because it was a fast, light stitchout.  I love watching the machine work – This is a Brother PE500 that I won in 2013 from Brother Sews in a contest on Facebook.  The machine has a capable hoop size of 4×4 (100 mm x 100 mm).  This often limits what you can do design wise.  In my dreams I would have a big giant machine with a big giant hoop, with digitizing capability built in the machine……but the truth is, I would not get my “monies worth” from such a machine. 

Embroidery machine fun

After the dishtowel was finished, I moved along to doing the Bible Verses that will be included in the quilts we make at church for our graduates.

There is a designer who has made a mission of digitizing many verses; and offers them for free.  Take a look at her website Designs by JuJu .   The verses are under the FREEBIES tab.  She digitizes both 4×4 and 5×7 sizes, but my machine is limited to 4×4. That means, not all the verses are usable for my purposes.  This makes me contemplate obtaining digitizing software, and learning how to make it work!  (Yikes, another new thing to learn).

Anyway; the point is….if I am trying to do something that is not digitized already, I have to load the design in, one character at a time. Not an easy feat, and with my built in font choices, not a lot of choices. Alignment is the hardest part when you go to the next line of words, as you are manually setting where the line will stitch.  I use the ruler, but gosh it is challenging….more things to learn.  In the photo below is a verse that was not available, but the mother really wanted this on her son’s quilt.  So, I bit the bullet and worked it out. My spacing isn’t perfect, but I decided it was acceptable.  The photo shows the project before the jump stitches were trimmed and while it still had water soluble stabilizer (WSS) on top.  NOTE: It is EASIER to trim jump stitches BEFORE you remove the WSS.   

Senior Quilts 2017 embroidery block

This took me about an hour to load, line by line and stitch out, one line at a time.  The photo below (sorry it is fuzzy) was one of the designs by Designs by JuJu. It stitched out in about 15 minutes.

Verses for senior quilts

This next one, in script stitched out very quickly as well.  The thread stitch count  on this is very lightly laid down on the project, while the 1Peter 5:7 was a much “heavier” stitch.

Verses for Senior Quilts 2017

These were all stitched on muslin with the same brown thread. I used fusible no show mesh stabilizer on the back, floated a piece of medium weight tear away under the hoop, and as previously mentioned WSS on top.  I learned a lot from a Floriani event I went to (see blog post above) about stabilizer, and KNOW that it makes all the difference in the project.  The 1 Peter 5:7 is “PULLING” at the stitches.  Because of the heavier stitch count, I probably should have added 1 more layer of stabilizer UNDER the hoop. It would have made all the difference.  My friend who came to visit “accidently” slipped two pieces of medium tear away under her hoop and it made a WORLD of difference on her project with 20,000+ stitches.

While these blocks don’t look too exciting here, the messages from scripture are meaningful, and were chosen for each of the young men who are graduating by their parents.

Other fun things — Paper crafting…..I went to the local library on Saturday to participate with Jan and another lady in a “card making” class.  We bring in what we have, with ideas, and work together. Jan is an expert card maker (she sells the cards at local events); and has a volume of tools and materials and wisdom.  I will be the self-proclaimed novice, but I am having fun.  I used her die cutter and dies, and one of her “sparkly” pink papers. She is generous to share her materials and tools with others.

I was able to get 2 cards made under her guidance –

January card class

20170201_081749

and

Card Class Jan 2017

Inside card from class Jan 2017

During the class, I got a call and a request for some other paper crafted items – this time for my grandson’s birthday party decorations.  Can you guess the party theme????

Movie Reels for Party deco

This required a trip to Michaels to get silver cardstock.  I had a terrible time getting a crisp silhouette to scan into the machine and cut.  Again, this is where software ( and working knowledge) would come in handy.  I need to take more time with this machine, and learn about .SVG files (Cutting files) that are available created by other crafters.

Oh; do you remember the last post about the  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along ?  I was going “throw size”, right….well….Bonnie Hunter had Quilt-Cam one night last week, and I didn’t have a project ready to work on, so I started getting more “scraps” out and ended up pulling enough to go twin size! Yes, I did the stitching on those blocks from Step/Clue 1 too.  More on that project next time!   It was inspiring to watch Bonnie Hunter as she worked on string piecing blocks. Watching  Quilt Cam Jan 2017 is like being in a room full of quilters.    Even better when I saw those blocks in the border on the quilt she was working on.  Check out her blog and see what she was up to on Sunday – Bonnie Hunter’s blog – String pieced border

For now,   I am headed to my sewing room for a full evening of fun & clean up. Tomorrow the ladies are coming to iron, measure and fold fabric for the 2nd Time around at the guild.  We picked up a lot of fabric yesterday from a church member who is “downsizing her sewing room”.  Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the stacks, a new pile of fabrics to “process” for sale!

Happy stitching or crafting today.

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.

20161222_002910

 

20161222_002853
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!