Another small project done

I decided to replace a very worn out small handbag that I have been using daily for at least 3 years. The bag is tattered on the corners, and has gone through the washer and dryer many times. I bought it for travel use at the local Eddie Bauer Outlet, on a whim, for less than $10. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it for certain.

With a trip coming up this weekend, I decided I could “MAKE” a new bag, but make it slightly LONGER than the original bag. One thing about the original I love was the outside pocket on the back that my big fat cell phone could slide into. I loved the 3 zipper pockets, but I know my sewing talents don’t go that far, and I am thrilled I got one zipper in, and made it work.

I’ve made quite a few things like this, only smaller, in the embroidery hoop. I’m limited on the length though, so I took the skills I learned from machine embroidery and came up with this bag.

New bag
front of the bag

I finally used one of those lace zippers I had on hand. (More than a year ago, my friend Nancy & I split an Amazon order). The zipper goes across the top. I made the bag substantially longer so my bigger wallet would fit in. I bought the wallet, handmade, from one of the ladies at the Assisted living facility where I used to volunteer and I just love it. I was always jamming it in the old bag.

Again, while making this project, I dug into the “leftover half square triangles” that I have sitting in a basket.

I decided that the pocket on the back of this bag could be divided, and my phone will fit on either side, and still have room for a pen or a mask or my ear buds.

pockets on the back

I ended up using the same woven strap from the old bag, as it is in pretty good shape. I can always make a fabric strap later if I choose. With so much white on the bag, I imagine it will be in the washer on a regular basis. The rings are “key ring overlap” style, so taking off the strap and replacing it should be easy.

When I was working on this, I was thinking “proto-type” for a bag done using some wonderful vinyl that I have. It looks and feels like suede, but I wanted to be sure I had worked out the process…when to attach the zipper, where to leave the opening for turning, how to attach the bits for the handle, how I wanted the pocket to work etc.

Overall, without a pattern I am quite pleased with the outcome.

I used Pellon 973 Fusible fleece on the back side of the main fabric, nothing on the back of the lining.

fusible fleece for the bag

Turning the bag thru the opening on the side of the lining was fairly easy, as the Pellon fleece is very soft and easy to work with. There are no “raw edges” on the bag to be bothersome. I quilted thru the outside bag fabric using one of the special stitches on my Janome 8900, and I think that helps give it some character too. It will certainly keep the fleece from shifting when it gets washed. (All the white means it will need washing on a regular basis!!)

close up of the quilting
Close up of the stitching

I still want to make another bag using the wonderful vinyl product, and have to “think through” the process of adding all those extra zipper pockets etc. But for now, my new purse kind of matches my sister’s bag I made yesterday.

The picture below is my old bag on top of the new one, and you can see how much bigger I made it.

Replacing the old bag

So, there you have it, a one day project! (Really just an afternoon of creating and having fun!)

What are you working on this week?? Any suggestions for adding multiple zippers in outside pockets?? I’m sure I can figure it out, but will spend my evening hunting through videos on you-tube looking at suggestions!

Busy week wrap up

It HAS been a most busy week or two. I don’t feel like I have gotten much done but I have had my hands in the middle of a lot of “stuff”. Hubby had a train sale for his club and we spent several days getting things ready to go. We had to put cello sleeves on the boxes with small parts and he had to figure out pricing on every single item. I can “stick stickers” but didn’t have a clue about value without his explanation. They had a very large collection of HO trains that had been donated this year to DelMarVa Model Railroad Club.

pricing trains for sale

We had to be up early last Saturday morning and at the show by 7:30 to set up all the merchandise.

Train sale

Because we had all our items prices and sorted by types it was fairly easy to set up. The only problem was, not enough room on the table, and NOT enough customers. The sale was poorly attended and as a “vendor” highly disappointing. We had enough merchandise to fill 8 tables, but only had 2 reserved. In hindsight that was probably best. Attendance was dismal at best. We can only guess why….beautiful weather, advertising or people still afraid to spend a dime or go out out in public?

Anyway…I did have some fun this past week in spite of the weekend full of work. I had a gathering of the Queen Bees and we got to meet again at the local library for a day of sewing. FIRST time in 18 months that we could sit and sew together. We were a small but mighty group in a large space and just to hear the hum of the machines and the chatter was wonderful. It felt like old times.

For the bee, I took my squares to work on the blocks that Carole Carter requested for the SAFELIGHT QUILTS. I got a few blocks made to go along with the ones I already have finished. I think I should have enough done to stitch a top together fairly soon and get it in the mail to her. From Carole’s blog post – “This project is going to be ongoing for at least a few months, so if you have time to send a few blocks between now and December, we can use them. If you haven’t seen this project until now, my local guild area is making 60×84″ quilts for the beds at the Safelight Domestic Violence Shelter. We have just a dozen or so quilters, and we need 700 blocks. If you can help with making a few blocks, here’s a pdf of what we need for you to download – Safelight Quilt Blocks. ” The block I am making was originally called the Perkiomen Valley, and I have been making some of these off and on in the last few months. I tripped over a pile of half square triangles, already made, that will go in this block after they are trimmed. The rest is simple squares, and it does go together quickly. I cut the background neutral squares I needed when I was cutting a similar size for the class Carole is teaching at my guild on Tuesday. Having everything cut and in a basket, ready to sew means I can knock a few out at a time with out having to do a lot of planning. Our bee used this pattern a couple of years ago when Carole was collecting quilts for hurricane victims.

At the bee, one of our members was working on the cutest pattern from APQS. I have to say I was so enamored, I looked the pattern up on my phone and saved it right then! I can’t wait to see how hers turns out!

Free pattern

This free pattern is available at the APQS website.

I loved it so much that I got busy the next day and cut out all the applique pieces.

Wash your hands

My hubby and I debated about that faucet and I found some sparkly fabric to overlay on the faucet. Once everything was fused down on the background, I layered the piece with a bit of warm and natural batting and started the top stitching.

blanket stitching

It took a while to get around all those curvy hands but I had a great time doing it.

I managed to get around 3 hands before I gave up for the night. Doing the rest of the stitching took a bit of time on Friday afternoon. I find this a very fun project!

Now that I am finished with the top stitching around the fusible applique, I need to figure out a backing, do a bit of quilting to anchor everything and figure out a plan for hanging it. Considering using few hanging loops for a different look, or maybe put a rod pocket on the back. Not quite sure if I am giving it away or keeping it, but it is fun to make! I’m calling it the “reminder” banner.

Do you ever just see a project you jump into making? The only yardage used on this one is the 1/2 yard for the background. All the other pieces came out of my drawers of scraps. What the heck, I needed another project!!

Coming up this weekend is another Wings and Wheels airplane/car show. This time, the show is in our own community. My hubby has been waxing and polishing his shiny truck to enter in the car show, and I was asked again to help with the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation booth. We will be up bright and early for that, but no airplane ride for me this time. They asked me to consider to consider becoming a long term volunteer. They are such nice people and I had lots of fun when I flew in Panchito to the show in Hagerstown Maryland earlier in the month. I’ll be interested in seeing what their schedule is for next year and how it fits around my cruise schedule. I know this year they still have 2 other fall shows to do, and my cruise schedule conflicts. But, I am available on Saturday and was already planning to be at the airfield. This show is familiar to me as we have gone several times. Watch for some pictures (from the ground) next week!

Any fall festivals or community events in your area this weekend? Happy October!

Small Town Charm – Machine Embroidery project

I happened to “trip over” a post on a Facebook group I belong to that directed me to the cutest group of machine embroidery blocks being offered for FREE. Of course, I had to go look!! And register….and then go watch you tube videos…and now…figure out HOW in the world I am going to make them and put them into something useable. The collection I am loving on is the SMALL TOWN CHARM group. It seems a new block comes out once a month, and of course, I have downloaded all of the available ones from January – September.

My friend in assisted living asked me to make her a “new” bag for her walker, and I decided I would incorporate a couple of these fun blocks in the bag. I picked out four to stitch out and have ONE finished.

Scoops block
SCOOPS Ice Cream shop block

This is a 12″ background block. The embroidery was designed for the 5×7 hoop. took quite a long time to do, and I have done quite a few “machine embroidery/applique” blocks in the past. It’s a good thing I have a “general idea” of how these work, as the printed instructions were not nearly the same quality as those you get with some patterns. Now, truth be told, I didn’t read all 6 or 8 pages of the PDF instructions BEFORE I started, so that could be part of the problem. AND, I did NOT watch the YOU TUBE video I linked below for this particular block until I was ready to “put the awning on”. It took me about 3 – 5 hours to do this one. LOTS of thread changes, tack down stitches, flip & sew , and TWO hooping’s.

What I plan to do differently…next block… is WATCH the video all the way through first, then print out the accompanying templates for placement before I start stitching. I’ll share that block as it gets going and time how long it takes to do.

One thing I did for this SCOOPS block was use my 5×7 hoop. I really should have started with my 8×8, and shifted the entire project to the bottom of the hoop, and then I would NOT have had to rehoop to attach the awning section. Sigh…lesson learned. To be honest, I watch the You Tube Video on how to make the September block and got overly excited.

First – here is where you go to get the free blocks , free on DIME Designs and Projects website – https://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/designs-projects/designs-projects_free-designs

Then, off to YOU TUBE – https://youtu.be/uvw1g_wtTtM to watch OML Embroidery (Sue is the presenter) show her methods in this stitch along. Hat’s off to Sue for the lively conversation and tips. Sue does a video for each month’s block.

I did prep my fabric for the applique by using Wonder Under on the back of the pieces. This gives you a cleaner cut (in my opinion) as you are trimming following the tack down stitch. I still need to go back and do a little “clean up” trimming, so I will catch those little bits that show when you zoom in. I also put a layer of quilt batting (Warm and Natural) under my block fabric, on top of the cut away stabilizer. This gives the heavy stitching something to bite into and a little dimension to the design. I float my background block fabric (the pink multi color) in the hoop and do a basting stitch to anchor it. I also follow Kay’s suggestions at Kreative Kiwi, and use pins on my stabilizer at the edges of the hoop. Those pins make a huge difference when stitching out something with a lot of heavy stitching.

I think this block and a couple of others will make a fun addition to a tote bag for my friend June’s walker. Maybe it will catch the eye of another resident, and facilitate a conversation and a new friendship too. Who knows? The bag this will replace was beautifully made by another resident, but is starting to show some wear. I think it might just need a good washing. June has given me her requirements for pockets etc, and I took lots of pix of the existing bag so I can meet her size requirements and attachment needs for the walker.

What’s under your needle this week??

#omlembroidery #machineembroidery#embroidery#DIME#designsinmachineembroidery

#DIMESewAlong

Fun with my embroidery machine

While I procrastinated on “other” projects this summer, I played around a little bit with my Janome 11000 embroidery machine. (Hey Skip….I love that machine!).

I got a free pattern from Kreative Kiwi for DOMINOS. These can be made in a 4×4 hoop. There is a great video on the page I linked and several different options. IF I were going to make another set, I might do the outline color in a different color and the BACKING color in something DARK. I had to add extra cut away to hide the pips from showing through on the back. After I got finished with the first round, I told myself I was crazy! The full set is 28 dominos. I decided to do them in a bigger hoop and spaced them out accordingly so I didn’t have to change the thread to often. I managed to get 6 in my 8×8 hoop. I used all white fabric and purple thread for the pips. The backing fabric is also white. It all came out of my scrap drawer.

six at once
Travel dominos
Full set of 28 dominos
Thread  chicken
Thread chicken

I did “almost” use up the whole spool of white thread in this project.

I made this little bag about a year or two ago and the dominos fit just right into it. And, they weigh next to nothing, so they are perfect to take on my next cruise!

Travel bag for dominos
zip bag made on the embroidery machine

I also made a few FOX hair clips. They were popular with 2 granddaughters and I think I made about 6 in total.

Rainbow foxes
Rainbow vinyl hair clips

The fox hair clips led to a request for “masquerade masks” by another granddaughter who was having a birthday party. I think I made 9 sets.

Started with sparkle blue vinyl
stitching on glitter vinyl
coppery vinyl

And then I moved on to solid blue vinyl

blue vinyl stitchout
Solid blue vinyl

The last round of stitching I put felt on the back, and then cut them all out. The felt got two slits in the back for the hair clip to slide in. A little dap of super glue / E6000 or hot glue keeps the clip from coming out.

standard size hair clips
Sparkly blue

Tiny little masquerade masks
solid blue vinyl and coppery vinyl
Hair clips
Blue sparkle vinyl masks

My youngest granddaughter called one day and asked for TRACTOR hair clips. She came over to spend the night and we worked on this rather LARGE set of tractors. She picked all the colors.

Tractor hair clips
Tractor hair clips

That same granddaughter told me she had a loose tooth, so I worked on this little design for her to hang on her door knob when the timing is right. The “tooth” goes in the vinyl tooth pocket, and the tooth fairy leaves a coin in the little purse on the right. I chose the fabric to match the quilt I made for her when she was much younger that is still on her bed.

Tooth collection!
Door hanger for the tooth fairy

I made this set of dish towels as a hostess gift. We were supposed to go to some friends for the 4th of July fireworks party, and we got rained out. They are wrapped up and ready for “next year”.

Fun machine embroidery
Hostess gift dish towels

My next embroidery machine project is a quilt label for my “Grandma’s Kitchen” quilt, pattern by Pat Sloan. It is a project I finish a couple of years ago, but forgot to put a label on.

Are you doing any machine embroidery??

Scrap Happy and Allietare Updates

Fair warning – lots of photos!  

Just a few years ago, I dug in the scrap storage boxes and put together about 30 blocks using Pat Sloan’s pattern Scrap Happy Little Wishes Star Challenge. (See Pat’s post – Scrap Happy Stars for the free pattern)

I wrote about the project once or twice at the time and showed off my blocks, joined together with black sashing here – Just a border or two.

Well, if you have been following me for any time at all, you know you sometimes never see the end result…or maybe I left you wondering “what did she decide?”…..

Well, let me tell you….NOTHING for almost 5 years!  Honestly, I have told others that I am a “top maker’ not a quilter at times.  I have a LOT of tops made, hanging on hangers on my storage shelves that get forgotten because something ‘new and exciting’ comes along.  In fact, some are hanging so long I had to put them on NEW hangers because the hook of the hanger was stretched out due to the weight.

I get tempted by shiny new fun patters.  Why, just the other day, Pat Sloan started another “new sew along” and I was really feeling tempted.   And then, our local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro Delaware announced a new sew along.  The pattern, Serendipity House in the Pumpkin patch, calls to me. Check it out here – House in the Pumpkin Patch.  You know if you follow me that I always have a container of “autumn colors” just waiting on another opportunity! Now I have TWO fun sew alongs to think about.

Before I could l do anything else though, I needed to fold up the massive (111″ x 120″) backing  for my Allietare quilt and get the backing and top in the mail to California for quilting by my wonderful sister in law, the One Block Wonder Woman .

Remember the fabrics I was using?  (Some of this may be a repeat of a previous post/photos…but I just love this fabric group!)

Border fabric choices

Top fabric (wine labels) is the border fabric. The herringbone gold and the grape fabric are on the back, along with this wonderful Bella Toscana fabric I was inspired by last month –

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

My plan was pretty simple for the backing – scribbled out quickly.  (The quilt will be WIDE because of the drop on our king size bed. I like a quilt to hang over the sides and get to the bottom of the thick top  mattress.)  My quilt top is 111″ wide by 99 ” long.

Planning the backing

Careful planning…no, what I call “quilt math”, but careful measurements of the actual project, careful cutting etc and I fairly quickly had a quilt back ready. What really slowed me down was ironing those massive pieces before cutting, and after stitching.

Backing ready to stitch Allietare

Carolyn was kind enough to advise me she needed 4 inches on the sides for the long arm clamps; and to remember to do 1/2″ seams, pressed open. I did leave the selvedge on the edges of the final pieces, as they will be where the clamps are and they will get trimmed off after the quilting. I’d forgotten to take a photo of the backing before I shipped it, but Carolyn, the One Block Wonder Woman was kind enough to snap a picture of it on her design wall.  She said it was so big it took over her sewing room! The backing is about 120″ wide by 110″ long.

Quilt backing for Allietare

Remember the front?

Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

I’m so glad it arrived by mail without TOO many wrinkles.  Hanging up for a bit will help them to shake out I hope.  I hate to see her have to iron that beast, enough that she is loading it on the long arm and doing all the quilting.  If you quilt for others and they mail you tops/backings, how do you manage the inevitable winkling from the shipping?  Does a steamer work or do you have to iron the whole thing??   Allietare is a pattern by the queen of scraps, Bonnie Hunter and the pattern is available on her online store.

Anyway; now that Allietare is ‘under control’ and OFF my table, back to my Pat Sloan  Scrap Happy Little Wishes story!  I went to the sewing room and looked at one of my cutting tables, buried in STUFF.  A disaster zone for sure!  I went up with the intent of “cleaning it up” but to be honest, it looks like this 4 days later STILL.

Disaster zone

Last week I was making “string blocks” for borders, so there are bins of stings, baskets of scraps and so much more on that table.  I had one basket of string blocks made, and decided to join them together into a “string border”.  (I wanted to sew, not clean….at least, that is what I told myself when I picked up the baskets).  Sewing string blocks uses scraps, which I needed to clear up, right?  I use phone book paper as a foundation for my string blocks.  At one time, I had my strings sorted by width, then as I was digging for the right color, I resorted by color. Sometimes I have to get in the scrap aver boxes to find the perfect strip.  Anyway, working on string blocks is what I do when I have no sewing “plan”, and I hadn’t quite gotten to the Scrap Happy Little Wishes quilt.  (I’ve had vertigo for a week now, so mindless sewing of string blocks was about all I could manage) . Honestly, cleaning up from multiple projects was more than my wobbly head could manage last week.

Since my BIG cutting table was cleared off, I could lay out all the string blocks and arrange them so there were not similar fabrics too close together.

More string border blocks

Anyway, at some point I measured what I had sewn together and discovered I had enough to go around something that was hanging on a hanger waiting on borders.  I had made 268″ of a 6″ wide border, and while getting down my Scrap Happy Quilt, I found 336″ of  4″ borders all done too.

String borders

I laid out my Scrap Happy Stars on the table and immediately decided I didn’t want to put either of those string borders “next to the black sashing”.

Scrap Happy Stars on the table

There JUST wasn’t enough space between the busy scrappy stars and the scrap borders.  So, I executed plan B.  I got out a bin of reds and oranges and yellows, did some more quilt math, and decided a 4″ border was what would work.  I have a tone on tone ORANGE (shown at the top of the photo above) that was also used in the sashing stones, and I decided it was perfect.  At this point, the quilt top was feeling rather “dark” to me, but the orange really brightened  it up.  I cut the sashing into 4″ strips, sewed it all together and then sub cut to length for the sizes I needed.  I added some cornerstones from my 4″ scrap storage, and in no time at all I had the borders attached.

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge

At this point, I think I am going to leave “well enough alone” and figure out a backing and start quilting it.  My brain this morning was running along the line of putting it on my quilting machine frame (the one with the 9″ throat and the Janome 1500).  I need to learn how to use that machine, loading etc, and it is high time.  I am glad I bought some wide backing last winter from Marshall’s Dry Goods, but not sure if grey paisley is what I want to use.  I have some purple wide backing, but have to check and see if there is “enough”.  If not, I may order something else.  Did you know they sell 108″ wide back for $7.99 a yard, and you can get a 15 yard BOLT for under $80.  Great choices and I am thinking I have some shopping to do.

Sidenote Serendipity Quilt Shop is a small business in a very small town, and since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns, they have converted to totally online sales until it is safe for everyone to shop in person in their store. If you need something, new fabric is arriving daily, and they have $5 flat rate shipping or porch pick-up. Their amazing online shopping website is running well and this week (through July 12) there is 20% off on Moda Grunge.  So, if you need some fabric or notions, try to support the small business so they will be there after COVID-19 is history.  Serendipity is where I ordered that fabulous Bella Toscana fabric, catching it on sale.  I think I bought 7 or 8 yards, so I have enough for matching pillowcases.  The facebook post by Serendipity inspired me to get my Bonnie Hunter Allietare off the hanger!!  

It is a very nice feeling to move two projects forward that have been “hanging around” for so long.  No worries though, I have lots more UFO’s to tackle.  All but one of the series of Scrap Dance Mystery Quilts I have done over the years are still “on hangers” . Well, except the last one, it is still on the design wall.  Carole is publishing the TWIST soon.  When I was looking through photos yesterday I realised I had ONE of the Scrap Dance series finished.  I had to go back to my blog and find the post about it.  Turns out, I finished it around September 2015, about the same time I was making the blocks for the Scrap Happy Stars!

Scrap Dance Quilt Along Finish!

Seems I like those scrappy projects!!!I was busy that year.  (You may see some of the same fabrics in BOTH projects!)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I appreciate all of your comments when you take the time to post them.  I often say I am slow to blog anymore because I don’t have much to say, or I don’t have any photos to support the post. Today it seems like I might be overwhelming you with photos and narrative.   So, I am glad you took the time to get this far, and hope you enjoyed the post.

What are you doing on this hot July day for fun???

Fun with kids and a final finish

Had some fun this week with a grandchild. My very youngest granddaughter  (age 4)  and her mom invited me for a bike ride around our favorite trail. The weather was perfect for getting out and getting some fresh air.  The state parks require you to still bring a mask and wear it whenever you are near other park users.  It gets a little tricky to pull the mask up over your mouth and nose when riding, but we managed. Sadly, not another person we saw had masks, around their neck, on their face at all. The park has big signs when you enter, but virtually ignored. We try to do the right thing, and that’s the best we can do.  My daughter and I feel like we don’t want to hear about people complaining about those “bike riders”, so we follow the rules.  Anyway, we had a great mid day ride, and then treated ourselves to a “take out lunch”.

a little exercise

Our take out lunch was from a little restaurant downtown (Cafe on the Circle, Georgetown DE). I phoned ahead and ordered the special for the day. It was a wonderful grilled chicken with avocado, bacon and ranch on a soft kaiser roll. My daughter chose potato salad and I chose coleslaw. The sides were both delicious. The Cafe on the Circle has lovely outdoor seating behind the restaurant.  Highly recommend if you are looking for a take out lunch. I’m planning to pick up lunch again later this week. (We have only done take out twice since March, and I am SO ready to not be cooking every day!) 

After lunch, my granddaughter and I went up to my sewing room to see about repairs to a much loved “unicorn backpack”.  It seems that the poor unicorn had lost a leg, in what her mother referred to as a “shark attack”. (Kid shark, baby shark, doggie shark???) The bag also had a critical “loop” come undone that helped hold the straps in place.  My granddaughter helped me with the sewing while her mommy took pictures. 

Sewing with a 4 year old

  It only took me two tries to get it right….Goofy Moofie!  I forgot the first time thru to loop the plastic bit over the strap, so we did a little unsewing and re-sewing. She loved the pink thread I used to close up the lining.  I did do a little reinforcement stitching on the other straps attachments. (Makes you wonder why they weren’t tacked down better!)

Then, we had to figure out what to do for the poor unicorn who had lost it’s leg in that “shark attack”.  Did we want to make a new leg, remove the remaining leg, or perhaps we could learn about differently abled bodied unicorns…..Mommy and child discussed and we repaired where the leg had come off, and she has a great tale to tell of her one legged unicorn!

A little hand sewing

We learned how to use a needle threader and she and I stitched together, sewing up the wounded parts, just like a doctor would. Four years old and wanting to sew. Those little fingers did a great job holding on to the needle and thread. She got the concept pretty quickly of pushing the needle through. 

All and all a great kind of Stitching Grandma day!  (Don’t judge the messy sewing room….)

Finished the binding on Mama’s Garden and hand stitched the label and hanging sleeve too! I did the “binding with the flange” also known as Susie’s Magic Binding.  

Binding on Mama's Garden

Just love the way that little pop of color looks.  

mama's garden completed

Mama’s Garden is officially complete!

  Just in time to take to the Material Girls Quilt bee on Wednesday morning!  We are having an “outside” / “in the garage in case of rain” quilt bee with appropriate social distancing and wearing our wonderful hand made masks!  It will be fun to have “something finished” to show !  It will be nice to catch up in person with conversations, and see how others are coping. 

It is fun teaching a young person to do something you love!  Last week I babysat and taught two grandchildren how to play backgammon. (They both beat me!).  A year and a half ago I taught my husband to play while we were on a cruise.  I love the game, and it is very fun to play.  Next time I play with the grandkids, I am not going to give them all my “favorite moves”….but while they were learning the ins and outs, they learned all my secrets!

We are keeping our family circles pretty tight for a while, when things are starting to “open back up”.  None of us want to be the guinea pig for the COVID-19 virus, so we are taking steps to ease back into community life very carefully, and not put the rest of the family at unnecessary risk. This way, we can spend time together, which we desperately missed in the months of March, April and May.  We are “bouncing contact situations” off of each other to make certain none of us do anything the others are not comfortable with. It is MUCH more fun to see them in person than over a video chat!  Social distancing from friends is not fun, but as long as we can see “each other” in the family, it is tolerable.  We will “avoid” restaurants and hair salons, and such for just a little longer to see how the area responds to things opening up. My enjoyment of food is getting kicked up a notch with the take out lunch following the bike ride, and family dinner with pizza made by someone else, and NOT out of the freezer!!!  

 How are you doing with the “distancing”??  Have you had any fun with a project lately?  Taught a youngster a thing or two??  

Mama’s Garden nearly finished

Last week, we left off with the applique pieces all fused on, and ready to stitch. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/2015-was-a-good-year/

stitching around

Fun with blanket stitching

thread fun

Playing with variegated threads

applique stitched down

Top stitching completed

Once all the applique was stitched down, I had to start thinking about borders. I re-read all the instructions, and I looked at lots of “other quilters projects” that had been made, including Pat Sloan’s. I decided to dig out my container of Pat Sloan “Bobbins and Bits” fabric by Moda and lay it all out around this project. In doing so, I shared photos on Facebook and got input from some friends.

more choices

Each of the potential border fabrics was in the background

Fun fabrics

Decision time

fabric to chose from

Tough decision for a 4-5″ border

The favorite by far was the red background sunflower. However, I listened to the advice of three people, one non-quilter and two quilters, and decided to follow their suggestions.

I went with a fabric that was NOT in the project, and did so to give a frame to the busy piece. The recommendation to NOT use a piece already in the project was strong and the logic was it would draw your eye directly to it’s matching bit instead of framing the project. I think the advice was exactly what I needed, so I changed direction entirely. My non-quilting daughter suggested finding a color that was in the project but not overwhelmingly so. That was also great advice. My other quilting buddy said pick a fabric that will give your eye a “resting spot”.

Borders are on

Border is on – ready to quilt

The green was a good choice, and I was quite happy to fold up the remaining fabric for another project.

I had fun with the quilting and thread choices on my domestic sewing machine. I did mostly “walking foot” but some free motion.

Quilting on my domestic machine

Fun with flowers

 
fun with the quilting

Hanging sleeve ready

The back of the project – hanging sleeve

I used the same fabric on the back of the project as I did for the borders and had “just enough”. It is a neat fabric and I love the way the quilting shows on the back. I made color choices for the front with the thread, but stuck with Superior bottom line silver in the bobbin.

When I put the binding on, I will stitch down the hanging sleeve by machine along the top edge, and hand stitch the bottom and sides of the sleeve. I even have the label finished. I did it on my embroidery machine, and still have some “alignment learning curve” to get past, but I had to try and do the label and preserve the signature that was already on the fabric.

Quilt label

Pat Sloan signed this fabric 5 years ago!

When I made this label, I added a strip of the backing fabric to the white on the top and the bottom, so it would fit in my embroidery machine hoop. I trimmed off the excess when I was finished with the stitching. Then, I used a technique I learned from Pat Sloan years ago for making circles. I laid a piece of fusible interfacing with the sticky side facing the label stitching, and stitched all around the edges of the label. I slit the fusing and turned it around to the back of the piece. Now, I had a nice finished edge along my label, and I could press the label to the back of the project. I will add some hand stitching to the label after the binding is finished.

Trimmed and ready to bind

Ready to bind

Overall I am very pleased with the project. The binding will be put on today, using my favorite Susie’s Magic Binding technique. This has been a fun project.

What have you been working on?

Embroidery machine fun with Space Guy’s

I have really been enjoying the bigger hoop size of the Janome 11000. I have had the machine for over a year and the last 6 months have been seeing lots of hours put on the machine. I am always “window shopping designs” and trying to find appropriate uses for what I find.

Recently, my granddaughter had a birthday party that had some “space guy’s” for a theme.  Pictured below is a decoration that was in the bathroom the day of her 4th birthday party.  Can you guess the character’s name?

Who is this space guy

Not to long after her birthday, while video chatting, this now 4 year old  got out a “Little Golden Book” that featured these characters and told me all about the good guys, and the bad guys, and named each one as she “told me” the story.  She and her daddy are big fans of the characters!

So, one day, while taking a break from making masks, I tripped over some cute little “space guy’s” on an embroidery website.  I just KNEW that those designs were destined for my collection.

The whole family

They came in full thread stitch outs and applique stitch outs, and I purchased both sets.  There was a large variety of sizes, so I got out my 8×8 hoop and got busy stitching.  I decided to use the “applique” designs because the stitch count on the full thread was VERY dense.

8 inch stitch out

I stitched on white vinyl, and didn’t really have a plan for what I was going to do with the end result.  My daughter suggested it would be great on “next years” school bag.  I decided to go MUCH smaller with the next design, and turn the stitch out into dolls for playing.

Smaller size stitch out

That fuzzy guy turned out so cute!

That fuzzy guy

The next two I stitched represent lightness and darkness.  Again, these are stitched out on vinyl.

darkness and light

And of course, you have to have a princess in the crowd.

The "good guys"

The first group of 4 finished – mounted to peltex and bosal innerform foam for substance.  Kind of like “paper dolls”.  My granddaughter came by one day with her mom to deliver groceries, and we were able to play together at the car window with our little Space Guys characters.

First round of space characters

Last week I worked on another batch and created  4 more.  My favorite is the green guy.  Hubby liked the glittery green vinyl.

Having fun with vinyl

I got the group layered up and they are now “ready to gift” .   More “good guys” than bad guys in the collection!!

Space dudes

These were fun to make with things that were already in my stash.  I was gifted a big container of vinyl from a friend, and used several of her pieces as the colors were just perfect.  Thanks Nancy B.

Hubby thinks that a “smaller sized” one of these characters on a neck tie will suit the son-in-law on his next birthday!  🙂  I might just have to do that! He would wear it I am sure!  So much for the “big hoop” when going small seemed like the perfect solution!!

Have you had any fun with machine embroidery lately?

FAST Mask With TIES

My Quilt Guild got a 3rd request for 1000 more masks (3000 total) from a local chicken processing plant. In order to keep the workers safe, the company purchased fabric from 2 local quilt shops, who were more than happy to sell it and make kits for people to pick up, cut, stitch and return as soon as possible.

I coordinated a pick up and brought 8 kits home yesterday for local distribution. Friends came by and picked them up in a bin I set up in my carport.

This project has flannel and cotton fabric for 6×9 masks.  Two yards were for ties, one yard for the front of the mask in quilters cotton, and one yard of flannel for inside of the mask (4 yards for 28 masks).  When I picked up the kits, Nancy, the owner of the quilt shop,  Church Street Fabrics, Selbyville DE  , and I had a chat about making all those ties and methods that would make them go faster.  We also chatted about how she did her mask vs Jenny Doan’s method.  Church Street owner, Nancy, said STITCH the pleats down BEFORE you put the ties on.  See Mod 1.   Kudo’s to Nancy for that modification!

Now, I would much rather make the masks on the embroidery machine using the pattern from Creative Appliques,  but for this request, 6×9 masks, pleated with ties, were requested, using the “Jenny Doan / Missouri Star Quilt Company” style.

Modifications – Creative Appliques had a “PLEATING TEMPLATE” they show you how to use on You Tube.  https://youtu.be/jtw8DJktzS0 

If you go to the Creative Appliques website, you can download the machine embroidery pattern (free but donation requested) and the Pleating Template is part of the pattern.

Pleating template

I have made over 30 of these masks using the embroidery pattern.

Creative Applique masks

I was VERY familiar with the pleating template by Creative Applique,  and decided to use it to pleat the “Jenny Doan style” were were being asked to make.

Chain piecing makes sittching the sides of the mask go quickly.

Ready to chain piece.

 

TIES – phew….I don’t have (or can’t find) the right size bias tape maker and I hate burning my fingers.  There are COUNTLESS ways to eat this elephant, but I saw a method on Making ties without an iron video last week and thought “GENIUS”.  Great concept except I have to enclose the top and bottom of the mask in the fold of the bias tape.  SO….look at my 3rd modification.

So; three modifications from Jenny’s method.

MOD 1 (Credit to Nancy) – Do your pleats BEFORE you put the ties on, that way you don’t have to fight the ties.  Use the method in MOD 2 to get PERFECT pleats.

Quick, even pleats

MOD 2 (Credit to that great Pleating Template at Creative Appliques.) – Once you have your front and back sewn together and you take it to the iron, press your seam, turn right side out, press again, then use the LINE C FOLD on the pleating guide to make your pleats; using steam & wonder clips.

Ready to pleat

Using the pleating template

Press while still on the pleating template

Ready to stitch

Again, chain piecing makes this part go very fast!

Set up to chain piece those pleats

MOD 3 – TIES —  (Credit to a DIY video from Lemon Mint Studio in link above) –After multiple trials,  I altered the card stock to work for me as follows —

  • 2″ ties  – cut card stock 2″ x 8 “.   Mark in at 1” down the length of the card stock, score and fold
  • Mark in at 3/8″ down the length of the card stock, score and fold.Bias tape template
  • Lay our 2″ strips right side toward the cardstock, and fold the edges over catching the edge of your strip in the folds of the card stock.

Lay end of strip on top of cardstock template

  • Fold in the top

Fold the top of the cardstock over

  • Fold up the bottom

Fold the bottom of the card stock in toward center

  • Use the tip of the iron to push against the card stock pushing it toward your other hand which is guiding the pieces into the folds of the card stock template.

Press and push with the tip of the iron

  • This can be a little fussy, but you just hold the left hand taught and keep the fabric lined up as you push the cardstock with the iron to the left.

Edges folded toward center of the strip

  • In the time it takes to type this sentence you are nearly to the end. Don’t be afraid to put your iron right on the card stock as you get to the end and have no tail left to hold on to.
  • Turn your finished strip back to the right, and fold that template cardstock in half on the center line and use your iron again.

Fold Strip in half using template

  • You may find that you can’t really “push” the cardstock, as it is a little tight, so give it a slight pull with your left hand, drawing it the length of your strip while you press.

Press and pull the template away from the tip of the iron

  • In less than two minutes, you have your strip done.

Ties are finished

  • Find the center of your tie and pin in the center of the mask, encasing the opening.  Use pins or clips.

Find the center and pin or clip in place

Stitch from the end of the tie, and across the top of the mask, removing clips or pins before they get to your needle, and to the other end of the tie.  Repeat for the bottom tie.

Before you know it you will have a big stack done!!

Half way done

What are you working on?  Any secrets to faster sewing?

Planning ahead

My husband belongs to a model railroad club.  I belong to a quilt guild.  We often get calls  from the grieving family members who have lost a beloved train hobbyist, or a quilter.  The family left behind is trying to figure out what to do with all that hobby “STUFF”. Most are so overwhelmed with grief they are at a loss for ideas of how to handle the train room or the craft room.  Some are convinced the stuff is worth millions, while others think the hobby stuff is just JUNK.  

In that light, perhaps you might want to “think ahead” and make things easier on YOUR family, for that eventual time when we all take our last “ride” on the caboose.

While you have some time at home, I want to encourage you to take “stock” of your  hobby gear. Take an inventory,  match up the equipment to the box, put together a listing of the age, date of purchase and price for what you own. List your tools, and what they are and where they are located.  Think about what the family is interested in and if you want a special piece of equipment to be given to a particular son, daughter, grandchild. Talk to them now, video chat and be clear about what they do and don’t want.

If you have equipment or tools at a club, think about what you have, where it is located, and what your plan is for it as well. Make certain your equipment is marked with your name, and  the club turns the property over to the appropriate family member, or helps get the donation to the club sorted out.

Over the years, this has been a challenge at the model railroad club, with members abandoning equipment, passing without written direction, etc.  A few years ago the club modified their “rules” and have a provision now to handle the situation. Something similar might work in your club.

From the “Club Rules” X. Personal Property: A. Responsibility: Members are responsible for their own personal property they bring into the Clubrooms. If any member departs from the club, or is no longer a member, they must take any and all of their personal property with them. The Club will appropriate property that is left behind by former members after a period of no less than 180 days.

Make a plan so your loved ones KNOW your intentions. Tell them how to sell the gear, or how to donate and where you want it donated. Check NOW with that place you want to donate to and make certain they are able to accept your donation in the future. Do some checking on your own on Ebay or Marketplace, craft stores etc.,  to determine recent value in the “second hand” marketplace. Let the family know which pieces you have that are very valuable so they don’t end up on a picnic table at a yard sale years from now.

Take that list, and put it in your “important papers” file, for the time “down the line” when it is needed. Let your loved ones know what you want “done” with your fabric, sewing machines, crafting items, or other hobby tools when you are no longer able to enjoy them.

To the quilters, I especially want to encourage you to label your project bins(Include the pattern, and who it was supposed to be given to, etc) finish up your UFO’s, use up your stash, donate what you know you will never use NOW.  Take this extended time at home to survey and sort and SEW!  Most often, we find peace and tranquility in our sewing rooms, so I encourage you to settle in to the space.

If your space is not tranquil, work on changing it a little. Consider organizing, adding some colors that inspire, hanging pictures that calm, you.  This is an especially challenging thing for me, because my space is full of “other people’s stuff”.  Bins, totes, shelves, cupboards make things more orderly.  The next time someone offers to help you organize, don’t say no. Maybe you can help in exchange someone else.

Until the next time, STITCH ON, stay safe, and make something that makes you happy.