This and That and a little bit more

I just realised that my blog has gone silent, while I have been busy with This and That and a little bit more!

I better catch up~!~    April was a busy time and I feel happy that I managed to “finish” a few things!  I finished my 5″ charm square bag! (Thanks to Pam not letting me go home with it unfinished!). Pictures and details here – Chubby Charmer bag .

I finished a project at the Queen Bee’s gathering – a pop up container that is “just right” for taking along with your sewing supplies.  We had LOTS of finishers at the bee!

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I finished the binding on 4 Senior quilts for graduates at church. I had a 3 day “sit & sew”, and made the bindings ahead of time.  Love the walking foot for applying bindings.

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(Note the binding containment -Binding is  rolled on a thread spool and threaded up and over the thread stand arm)

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The accu-feed “ditch foot” on the walking foot really helps me stay in the ditch when I top stitch the binding. It is a little blade that travels right along the seam.  I slow the machine down just a little, and adjust the needle until it is perfectly in the ditch. I color match the thread to the piping/flange color.

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I just love how easy it is to attach Susie’s Magic Binding, all done by machine!  That little flange pops!  For directions – go to 52Quilts in 52 Weeks — 

Earlier in April, I finished some Easter cards too.  I went with a butterfly theme on these cards.  I have a “few” stamps, but nothing else really was suitable for SPRING and EASTER.

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I can see more stamps in my future!  I had a good time making these little cards.

Hubby and I spent last Saturday morning in class together.  We attended a class at a local quilt store on how to maintain the Singer Featherweight sewing machines.  I am not “mechanical” minded, and I told the hubby he had to come along so he could remember everything I forgot.  We oiled all kinds of places, cleaned out the gook from other places, and greased the motor and the gears.  I found a whole lot of thread wrapped up behind the bobbin case and managed to pick it all out with the help of tweezers.  My sweet hubby was helpful to 2 ladies who wanted to install LED lights in their machines.  He now knows how to remove the light assembly, and the instructor, George, showed him where all the screws are hiding.  Interestingly enough, George told us that when we take our Featherweights to classes etc, to GUARD our bobbin cases! I can’t imagine anyone I know would steal my bobbin case, but I will be watchful.

1948 Singer Featherweight

Bessie is now “well oiled” and no longer skipping stitches.  She is looking pretty good for being born in 1948.  She has a new LED light, (purchased on Ebay –Featherweight LED Lightbulb ) and a new  Featherweight belt, and she hums along nicely.  Bessie is all ready for another sit & sew or quilt bee gathering.

All in all, not a bad month of finishing!  As I look forward in May, I have grand hopes of finishing my Pet Mosaic project.  I was inspired at the sit & sew and have ordered the backing fabric. I would love to put the quilt in our guild show in July, so I better get busy and get it layered and basted so I can start quilting!  Deadline for entries is a week from Monday, so we shall see what happens. I have an “open calendar” for a few days.  I gave myself 10 days for “recovery” from oral surgery, and it is day 3; and I am chomping at the bit to get out of the house and out to the sewing room!

Do you have any May projects started???

 

Part 4 of Scrap Dance Mystery 2 Step

Say that 3 times – Part 4 of Scrap Dance Mystery 2 Step….Big title for a fun project.  I love a mystery, so I am having FUN with this little  project.  Little for me, as I decided to do a “twin size”.  Lately everything I have made has been double or king!

I am enjoying each month an hour or two of sewing something totally different than anything else I am working on.  Carole has great directions. If you are interested in playing catch up – check out the instructions on her blog here – Scrap Dance 2 Step – April info  . Carole releases the directions once a month and I “schedule” some time on my calendar so I can play along.  Carole has a great blog.  She writes about a lot of things besides quilting at From My Carolina Home on WordPress.

The directions for April have me using the hourglass (quarter square triangle) blocks and join them with a scrappy square –

Part 4 of Scrap Dance Mystery 2 Step

Of course there are 2 Steps, joining “bar units” and scrappy squares –

Scrap Dance 2 Step April Units

Now, I am second guessing my scrappy square choices……………I’m not sure I love them like I should…..but I am going to leave things alone and wait and see what happens next month.

(Note – my extra ironing board right now has 600 or more 4.5″ scrappy squares stacked up on it……waiting to be bundled up for the quilt show….so it must be scrap fabric envy!)

Overall, I am happy to say that all the fabric used for this project except the background neutral came from my “scrap box” and my scrap storage system.  I like scrappy quilts and I like the way each of Carole’s patterns have turned out; so I just need to practice a little patience today!  My units for this step are complete, and filed away in big zip locks and on the tray on the shelf to wait for the next part of the Scrap Dance  Two Step in May!

 Don’t tell anybody I spent time with the vacuum this weekend !  I thought when we bought that cute little Dyson Animal Stick Vac last week that the HUBBY would be the only one using it.  Honestly I would rather be quilting too, but the windows & doors have been open and the pollen has been coming in the house, and the darn cats refuse to operate the vacuum or the swiffer or even the dusting cloths.  It is “almost” time to set up our free standing a/c units, and the one for our bedroom needed a good cleaning before the season starts….(because we didn’t do it at the end of the season last year).  Hubby helped me get the entire cover off so we could get the vacuum in on the coils. We have 5 of these units, between the house & the garage sewing room,  and the filters are easy to remove and wash; but there are “intakes” that get covered in dust, lint, cat hair etc that you can’t easily get to, in order to clean.  It was like major surgery yesterday. And of course, all this took time away from any progress in the sewing room until evening!  Hubby agrees that the other 4 need to come apart, one at a time for thorough cleaning.

I was lucky to squeeze building these units in on Saturday night after I made binding for 2 quilts.  I did manage to get the binding made for 2 more quilts, and got 3 of the quilts trimmed and ready to attach the binding after dinner on Sunday night.  One more quilt on the table ready to trim, and then it will be time to get busy sewing the binding on those 4 quilts.

I am saving the binding attachment for my 3 day “sit & sew camp” later this week.  The good thing about “going to a sit & sew camp” is I won’t see the dust bunnies rolling down my hallway, or the laundry piling up all week!  Out of sight…..golly I need a housekeeper to follow around and pick up threads that I drop!

Since Downton Abbey is off the air, do you suppose the staff is looking for a new position?  I could give a few of them room and board!  I suppose they would require a paycheck beyond my meager means, so I guess I will have to continue “scheduling” the domestic chores…..My sister-in-law, Carolyn, who writes the great blog – One Block Wonder Woman reminded me that BALANCE is the key; and her formula is 2.5 mins housework, 2 hours in the garden and 8-10 hour s for quilting!  My schedule is Monday laundry – Tuesday toilets-Quilting the rest the week.  (I keep forgetting about those floors…..which is why I bought the hubby that cute Dyson….)

My projects are stacking up.  How about in your sewing room?  Do you have “more than one” going at a time?  How do you keep it all straight?

Note – linking up this post to Oh Scrap !!  Check out the button on the sidebar on this blog or use the link in this paragraph!  (I love the full name of that blog by the way, because I believe it!)

Binding containment

I knew it was going to be one of those weeks, but golly, I need a day of rest!  I had 3 mornings where ladies came to work on Second Time Around fabrics; and while they helped press, trim, measure, fold and price fabrics, I was able to sort through the stuff that was “not fabric”.  I sorted out thread spools; separating the old wooden spools from the modern plastic. I tossed the really yucky old thread, set aside other threads to be donated, sorted boxes of embellishments, lace; rickrack and seam binding. I feel like I made some headway, but come Friday afternoon, I could not see any empty flat surface in my sewing space.  I gathered up the boxes I was sorting into, and stacked them all up, and now I can see my cutting table, and my big work table again!  I needed my “space” to work on Senior Quilts.

Two days this week I worked on our Senior Quilt project at church, and we managed to get 5 quilts tied.  We use crochet cotton, and tie at the intersections of the 8.5″ squares.

Pinning Senior Quilts

Senior quilt for Eagle Scout

I brought home 4 to bind, and I have a 3 day sit & sew camp this week, so that should go fairly easy!  Now that the work table is cleared off, I hope to get them trimmed this afternoon. 

3 quilts overloaded my bag

I have made the binding for 2 of the quilts; and of course, I use my favorite method, Susie’s Magic Binding  .  I love this binding as it is all stitched on by machine, which is great on quilts that will get heavy use.  Making it does take the “extra step” but it goes quickly. 

 I was inspired to “change methods” for storing the binding by a Facebook post I read today.  Usually I roll it onto a cardboard tube, then stand that tube on my thread rack on the back of my machine. These quilts take about 320″ of binding.

Susies Magic Binding Dakota quilt

 I read all kinds of methods, and tripped over one I which inspired me.  Anne Sidell – Confessions of a Serial Quilter posted about a method she uses – How to Tame your Binding  – on her blog.  I modified because I discovered her method and my machine were not compatible.  My adaptation was to use the empty “cone” from Superior Thread to store the binding.  The cone will fit on my thread rack, and I will run the binding up and over the thread stand guide of the machine.  (I will post a photo when I am at that step)

2 spools of binding

I’ve got 2 spools loaded with binding for 2 senior quilts.  This afternoon, I will layout the other 2 quilts, select the fabrics for the binding and get it made, and “wound” on the spools.  I think I will store each spool with the quilt in a ziplock bag to keep the fraying on the edges done until I can get it attached this week.  I KNEW there was a reason I didn’t throw those empty cones away.  Note, I tried to roll the binding on neatly, but it got to be too thick of a spool, so I “layered” it up and down the spindle as I wrapped.  Hard to make it look as pretty as the ones that Anne Sidell did using her method.  

How do you “wrangle” your binding???

 

 

Gardens,Quilt show and Talkin’ Turkey

I spent 3 days in the garden this past week, working on 9 months of weeds! Yes, it is true, I gave up sewing time for working in the garden.  I made multiple trips to our compost pile in back in our woods to empty the trailer of the debris.  I still have “many” days worth of work in the yard.  I decided that I like quilting better than gardening.  I should be outside right now with a tool and a bucket working on some of that stuff, but then, who would write my blog post, or read yours?  Seriously, I have had to force myself to “schedule” yard work time on my google calendar!  But at least now, I can see the remaining tulips blooming, and know that the hostas are emerging from their winter sleep, and the sad looking azaleas will bloom once more.  The sedum have all been dead headed, and I started to split them for transplant in to other areas of the garden.

If you know a trick to rid my flowerbeds of the “mums gone wild”, let me know. Backstory – I planted several pots of “mums” one fall and they have turned into weeds, taking over the beds.  I have dug and dug and dug until I am crazy.  They never bloomed again after that first fall, and I just want them “out” of the garden.  The other thing I want out is the lighting system and soaker hose system, until at least I get the weeding done.  Over the years the lights have been damaged and the hose has felt the edge of the shovel when I was attacking some wild thing that sprung up.  Perhaps it was a great idea “way back when” but not today.   I’ve been ruthless removing sections, as I come to them, and will put the hubby back to work “laying fresh hose” once I have the mulch down.

More work to be done

There is still more weeding and mulching to be done!!  And, I have some time “blocked out” on my calendar!  

Meanwhile, between all the garden work, I went and picked up “more” donations for the quilt guild “Second Time Around”. Two trips, and two vehicles, and just when I saw light at the end of the tunnel, I have more “stuff’ to weed though.  I have had several workdays this month and lots of great helpers getting things pressed and trimmed and folded and priced to resell at the quilt guild and at our quilt show in July.  Gosh – if you are on the East coast in July you should plan a visit – details here – Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show – in Lewes Delaware.  Last show we had over 200 quilts on display, and lots of vendors.  Of course, you can stop and say hi to me at the Second Time Around tables and get some great bargains!!

I did get a couple of opportunities to work on my Talkin’ Turkey project since my post about making those Flying Geese. This quilt pattern, is by Bonnie Hunter, in her String Fling Book.  By Friday of last week – I had a few blocks on the wall. — Do you recognize those flying geese from my last post?

Talking Turkey 19 to go

(Do you see the blocks all stacked up under the ones pinned to the wall?  Those are 4.5″ squares that were donated, and they are being sorted into “pretty stacks” for sale at the Second Time Around Table at the show!)

I got a bit of time on both Saturday and Sunday evening to sew, and I did LOTS of assembly!    There are 21 blocks up on the wall now, and lots of pieces “ready to sew” for the last 9.  I have all the units prepped and pinned on the blocks, and when I get an extra hour, I can zip right through them.  

21 done Talkin Turkey

Of course, at this point my brain has moved on to “other things”, like the next step in the assembly process.  (There are LOTS more steps to go in this project, with multiple pieced borders.  I saw a “finished” Talkin’ Turkey for sale on Etsy for $1200…… ) Anyway, I had to count out how many more neutral  and red squares I will have to cut, and check if I have the next neutral sashing cut yet or not.  I won’t start that step until all the blocks are assembled and I have a chance to really “arrange them” on my design wall so I get a nice balance of the “scrappy”.  I have several blocks that have “bright bits” that I want to spread out; like stripes in the center of the nine patch or polka dots (both black and white) that do jump out at me.  So, a bit of “design layout will be in order, and I will have to “clear my wall” to make room for the entire project. It is very satisfying to see it come to this point.  

A busy week ahead for me with a Quilt show meeting, 3 mornings with 2nd Time Around helpers coming over, an all day quilt bee and two days where I have ladies coming up to church to help “tie” quilts for our graduates.  (Hmmmm….when will that garden work happen or any more of my own sewing happen…..)

I hope you are having fun with your projects!

A couple of projects and FOOD

The last few days have been filled with good food and projects.  I won’t bore you with the details, just suffice to say that since Saturday, I have been to a luncheon tea, a church shrimp & rockfish dinner, a guild pot luck luncheon, lunch at a friends house while sewing, and soup supper at church!  I just love it when I get to eat different, interesting foods made by other people.  The tea sandwiches were so delicious, along with scones and cheesecakes; and the shrimp was gigantic at church.  Guild luncheons always bring out the best cooks, and the lunch at my friends house included a fresh baked bread, filled with ham & cheese along with strawberries and chocolate frosted brownies. Soup supper tonight at church included a wonderful Italian salad to complement the 3 soups.

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Tea Sandwiches – Starting from the top – meatloaf, bleu cheese and grapes, peas and carrots  egg salad flowers, and salmon with radish

Aren’t they pretty?  The egg salad was so delicious I used the recipe for the Guild luncheon on Monday.

In between these lovely meals I have been enjoying a few sewing projects.  Tuesday at my friend Pam’s house, 3 of us got together and made these fantastic bags using 5″ charm squares.  The pattern is by Penny Sturges and is called Chubby Charmer.

Chubby Charmer bag

I, of course, opened my Scrap Storage System boxes and pulled from the stack of already cut 5″ squares, and collected enough coordinating colors for the project, and opened my “blue bin” of stash yardage and pulled a piece of fabric, circa 2011. Yes, the tag was still on the piece from the purchase.  Well aged fabric and scraps are always the most fun.  The only thing I had to purchase for the project was the fusible fleece, and I needed nearly 3 yards following the pattern instructions.  It consists of 48  – 5″ charm squares, set in a 6×4 grid on each side of the bag. The bag measures 11.5″ deep; and 9×20 “inside”.  The pattern said you could put a “9×12 casserole pan” in the bottom of the bag.

The yardage was used for the handles, the lining, and the inside pockets.

Inside pockets

There are 2 LARGE pockets inside this bag, and I decided to divide them in half when I sewed them to the lining. This is a “substantial bag” with 2 layers of fusible fleece behind the charm squares; 1 layer behind the lining, 1 layer in the pocket and handles.  This project required a “denim needle” for the top stitching around the upper edge of the bag.  I was not happy with the way my standard sewing needle was behaving when I was going thru almost 9 layers.  As soon as I switched to a heavy duty (size 16) needle, it went right through all the layers along the edge where the handles are.

After we constructed the bags, my friend Pam made some notes on the pattern on changes for “next time”. I said I would skip the fusible fleece, and use the Bosal In-R-Form in just one layer.  You wouldn’t have to get the fusible type, as you are quilting it to the bag, and a few pins would keep it in place until your stitching secured it.  Pressing the fusible fleece in 2 layers to our panel of squares, and getting it to adhere nicely was challenging. The other thing I think I would do is make sure my fleece or the Bosal is 1/2″ smaller all around the panel; to give you a little less bulk in the seams.

This bag is big enough to take a quilt to the guild for show and tell, or a bunch of supplies to a sit & sew.  I had a great time with Pam & Nancy while we made our bags.  All 3 of us finished the project the same day we started. Pam teased me and said I could NOT leave her house until I finished. She finished about 15 minutes before me. We started at 9 am, and I finished at 6:30 pm.  We joked about making the “bag in a day” and were determined to finish.

My other projects this week were to work on my flying geese for the Bonnie Hunter Talkin’ Turkey.  I used my Square in a Square ruler, option 3 by Jodi Barrows.

Square in a Square option 3

(My strips are 2.5″ which is wider than need be, but what I had already cut). The first step for cutting is to  put the 90 degree mark in the corner of the square.  Then you do it on the opposite corner and this is what you get below.

Option 3

Then you do something Jodi calls the “Texas two step” – you SHIFT the ruler two lines over from the 90 degree point for the other two corners.

Texas 2 step Option 3

AFTER the Texas 2 step trim

and then you trim the opposite sides.

Texas 2 step for Option 3

and you get this –

After the Texas Two step

I am ready to “cut through the white square” to get 2 perfect flying geese units.

2 perfect flying geese

In summary, by putting the 90 degree in the corner of the white square, you end up with a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance for the top of the goose, and you won’t loose it’s point when you stitch it in the block of the quilt.  The Texas Two step on the other two points eliminates that seam allowance, because the side of the wings will be in the seam allowance.  I’ve put links in a previous post to Jodi’s website and you tube videos on how the ruler is used.  I just thought I would share some close up photo’s of the ones I am making.  I have about 20 left to trim and then I will have my 240 that I need for this part of the project.  My next round of flying geese is for the border of the quilt and they will be red geese with white wings, and there will be a couple of hundred in that round!

One last project is something I did on Monday.  I was “going” to the Embroidery Club in Ocean Pines Maryland.  At least, I intended to go……Our luncheon at Ocean Waves went longer than I expected, and I got stuck in road construction stop & go traffic. By the time I got through the traffic, my time was so short, I ended up coming home and working on the project.  I followed instructions by Embroidery Library and made this little cutie –

Chicken felt stuffie

I haven’t “stuffed” him yet, as I need to use tweezers to get the stuffing through the opening left by the embroidery machine.  I apparently used the “WRONG” type of spray adhesive, as I spent 3 hours making this little gem of a chicken.  Thread breaks, needle jams, broken needle etc because my machine HATED the spray adhesive.  The stuff NEVER dried in the course of the 3 hours.  Had I attended the Embroidery Club, I would have gotten those great tips they had to share about this type of problem.  I wrote to the gals who lead the group and got some good feedback the next day.  Maybe I will try again, but not until I get a different spray adhesive.

What are you up to this week?

 

 

Talkin’ Turkey – 2nd round

I have been working off and on over the last 2 weeks making Flying Geese for my Talkin’ Turkey quilt.  The pattern is by Bonnie Hunter (Quiltville) and can be found in her book “String Fling”.

If you are a “regular reader”, you know I went to a workshop in September and started this project along with a second one.  As per my typical behavior, the project bin sat from September until February, when I dug in at a 3 day retreat and got the “first round” of the blocks completed.  Check out the post I wrote in February when the first round was completed here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/a-week-of-loading-and-unloading/

Before I could begin the “second” round on the blocks, I had to square them all up, and re-evaluate how I was going to make the Flying Geese (FG) for the 2nd round on the block.  I settled on the method from Jodi Barrows – using the Square in a Square ruler, option 3.  I have nearly 500 FG to make for this quilt, and I wanted to use the method that gave me the most accuracy.  Since I purchased the Square in a Square “system” last spring, I thought this would be the perfect time to use it.  If you are unfamiliar, check out this quick video where Jodi is demonstrating the ruler at Quilt Market — Option 3 Square in a Square demo .

Once I got about 100 FG finished, I wanted to see how the blocks were going to look, so I got two blocks up on the design wall late yesterday afternoon.

Next step

Hubby thinks “BUSY“, but that is ok….he doesn’t have a vision of the “next round” which is neutral sashing and 9 patches that separate the blocks. Take a look at that link for Bonnie Hunter I posted and you can see what the “end” result will be.  In this round with the FG, I am going scrappy with the FG, but the rectangle that separates them, and the cornerstones on the blocks are all “constant”.  I think having a few constant elements on a scrappy pattern help to “calm” it down somewhat.  I believe my sashing is all cut and it will be “constant” as well.

Each of these blocks takes 8 FG, so I will be back to the “chain piecing” that Jodi Barrows referred to in her short video, I posted above.  For a more detailed look at the method – check out this longer, more instructive video – Square in a Square introduction  .  What I like about this method for the FG is that I can sit at the machine and stitch up 8 or 10 geese, then get up, stretch, press, and go back to sewing. Less of a sweatshop, and if I have just an hour or two to stitch, I can make a lot of progress!  I often bring a stack into the house with me,  save the trimming and cutting for the kitchen, while dinner is cooking and I can chat with the hubby.  I probably won’t “assemble” any more blocks in the “second round” until I get all 280 FG made; but I do have all the neutral bricks and cornerstones cut out and ready to go.

What method do you prefer for Flying Geese?  Have you been working on a big project lately?

Time to go…..more Second Time Around sorting, trimming, pressing, measuring and pricing for the guild (day 2 this week).

a sense of accomplishment

I feel like I have accomplished something today.  I started off the day with a meeting and was home before noon!! I decided to spend the afternoon in my sewing room, and I managed to get one of the Senior Quilts put together.

We have a total of 5 graduates this year at church, and I am only obligated to make one top.  I currently have 3 completed tops in my car to take back to church. The ladies have been busy getting these ready. When I left off on Saturday, I had 5 rows sewn together I think.  The rest of the 8.5″ blocks got put together and the whole thing has been pressed and is “ready to delivery”.   I had to print out some more pictures of the church on fabric and get them stitched onto blocks for the quilt I was working on and one other.

We will start signing them at church this weekend!  The other 2 tops should be done very soon.  Once the congregation has had a chance to sign and write messages of hope and faith and love, then we will get together and tie them and send them home with a quilter for binding.  Perhaps I should think about what binding I will be doing and get that ready tomorrow!!  Then I will know it is “DONE”.  At some point I will try to get a photo of the one I did, along with all the rest!

I also finished an apron that I started last week.  It is made from twill, which is a sturdier fabric than quilters cotton. One of my daughters home schools, and she “wears an apron” all day, and asked for a replacement. She also asked for something that was a busy print, so splashes and spots were not terribly noticeable.  I added an extra pocket to the apron, and made the pockets a little more substantial than called for in the pattern. I did that by just cutting an extra “piece and stitching and turning the pocket”.  I’ve made this pattern twice before, for a little girl and her dolly…..but it has been a few years. I plan to put this one in the mail tomorrow, and await feedback on the length, and the overall sizing.  I was asked to size it “generously” so that less splatters landed on the clothing of the wearer.  I tried it on and found it to be satisfactory, but I will wait to hear that feedback before cutting out the fabric I have for the 2nd one.

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Meanwhile, I have a garden apron to make for a “raffle basket” donation.  I need to have it done in the next couple of days.

It is nice to get a few things checked off my to do list.
Oh, by the way, my quilters math yesterday was correct and I have 10 EXTRA half square scrappy triangles. Thanks Carole!