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.

 

Paper (Thread) dolls

Greetings from winter hibernation! I’m certain I have been in “blog” hibernation for several months.  Maybe I can crawl out of the den and write a few words.  Honestly, I have been busy every day for months and the blog has taken a back seat. Thanks for sticking around and still popping in to read when I finally set words on the page.

What have I been up to?  Well, that embroidery machine and I have had fun.  I shared the Christmas gifts last post.  I left out one particular project.  I found a sale one day at one of my favorite embroidery websites, and bought some designs that I had my eye on for more than a year. The price was amazing for the sale, and I knew exactly who was getting this particular gift.  In fact, if you are reading this today, Jan 17, 2020, you will find a very similar sale – Julia’s Needle Design

I purchased both sets, Patty I and Patty II for a “paper doll” done in embroidery thread.

Fun creating Small doll

I wanted the doll to have some “stiffness” and used a pellon craft product called peltex in the hoop.  After the doll stitched out, I fused the back of the doll to some “In-r-form” by Bosal, and then trimmed around the entire doll.

I was so excited when this doll turned out so well, I brought it in the house to show the hubby. We had fun checking the “size of the doll” compared to other toys we have around the house.

Paper doll with friends

I decided a doll needs some outfits.

More outfits

This outfit included a shirt & shorts, a tummy, legs and shoes.

Fun dress

The pink dress also included legs and shoes. I was able to do the stitchout of both outfits in one hooping and that saved me a lot of stabilizer.

Maximizing the stabilizer

If you are familiar with machine embroidery, you will see I have a little “bobble” going on near the foot of the design on the right.  I had my challenges with this!  I might have been able to do a 3rd design in that hoop if I hadn’t had a stabilizer problem.  Do you see the pins on the edge of the hoop?  The idea is to help keep your stabilizer from being pulled too much in the hoop. The pins go between the inner and out hoop.  For the most part, it works. In the case of the “bobble”, I had a bobbin problem and made a mess with that one show, and it pulled the stabilizer.  I was able to fix the design, but knew I wasn’t adding a 3rd design to that hooping.

I decided to make a little “sleeping bag” for the doll, similar to the one I posted about in November in  Practicing with the new machine

Doll and sleeping bag

I decided the clothing was fairly stiff, but I wanted to “cover” the back where all the bobbin stitches show, so I used so light weight fusible pellon interfacing.

I added some more outfits to the machine and had fun stitching out some pants.

Pants for the doll

More outfits; more stabilizer and LOTS of thread, and pretty soon the doll had a wardrobe.

These were stitched out on my Janome 11000 and all done with wash away stabilizer. These had very heavy stitch counts.

The wardrobe

You will notice that the doll has a velcro dot in the center.  I found “velcro for fabric” stick on dots at Michaels in just the right size. These are way to “thick” to use sew on, and I figure if the dot comes off, Grandma has an extra package.  It was recommended to adhere the dots and then let them sit for 24 hours before using them.  All the clothing has the “soft side” of the velcro on the back.  The logic is velcro sticks to everything (the sofa, the rug etc), and only have one with the hook and loop side reduces the number of “stuck objects” to the rug!

These doll clothes and the doll are each very heavy thread/stitch count, but I don’t have a shortage of thread yet.  75% of that thread on the rack was a gift from my daughters one Christmas, and stitching out things for their kids is a lot of fun!  I really feel confident now with the embroidery machines.  I am FINALLY using the embroidery machine(s) and all that thread!

just a few spools

My 3 year old granddaughter was the recipient of the project, and I will plan to make her one or 2 more “doll friends” and a few more outfits. She has a birthday coming in a couple of months. Then, when she has a human friend over to play, they can each have a doll friend to dress.  I’m still working my way through Paper Doll Patty I set.  I wanted to make certain she liked them before overwhelming her with “more” outfits.  This is a real “portable” toy for a child who may have a trip coming up, fun in the carry on baggage for a long airplane ride or time away from home.

These were SO much fun to make, and I loved the results.  I gave my granddaughter the clothes in a little vinyl zip bag, upcycled from some other product. It was just the right size to slip in the sleeping bag with the doll.  I can see a “carry bag” down the road.  This Stitching Grandma has been having fun. 

Next up on my agenda is a departure from the embroidery machine.  I am going to get out to the sewing room today, and tackle some scraps, with PURPOSE.  My friend Carole Carter  is starting a new mystery quilt today on her blog, From My Carolina Home!  Go take a look!  Scrap Dance Twist Mystery Quilt 2020

The mystery quilt will use charm packs, fat quarters, yardage or SCRAPS…..so you know, it is right up my lane.  Look for a future post with my fabric choices!

What are  you having fun working on this month?

More fun with Machine Embroidery

I’ve been giving the Janome 11000 a real workout.  I LOVE that I now have twice the hoop size as my Brother PE500.  Going from a 4×4 to the 8×8 is HUGE!  So many things to do.  Last week I saw a pattern on a Facebook group for an “in the hoop” design that I wanted to try.   (In the hoop means the entire project is done without removing it from the hoop) .

The designer was asking what other sizes people would like and so I responded to her with my desire for something just a bit bigger than 5×7; that would fit my 8×8 hoop.  Now, silly me, I should have given her millimeters, not inches. Turns out my 8×8 hoop is NOT 8×8….it is 200 mm which converts to 7.87402 inches.  She added several more sizes of the design and I purchased and downloaded the one for the 8×8 hoop. It would NOT work in my machine!  I was getting this horrible message –

error message

I could not figure out what was wrong.    I tried changing the machine settings to the SQ hoop (8×8) but that didn’t work either. I deleted and reloaded multiple times and finally notified the designer that I was unable to use the product I had purchased.  After a few text messages, and my realization that 8×8 didn’t really mean 8×8 (open user manual and read!!) …she resized the product to fit!

wave pattern

You can see now on the screen that she resized the design to 6.7 x 7.5″ and I was up and running!  I had so much fun making the design and wanted the bigger size to accommodate my big cell phone.

Wave bag

Room to spare.  The phone is 6 1/2 ” long and this has “room to spare” on the finished bag.   I really liked the “wave” on the bag too!

Wave bag

If I made another one of these, I would probably put a tab on both edges so I could make a carry strap.  The pattern source – SunshineStitchesCA Custom Digitizing/Embroidery .  Dawn was a big help to me in resizing adjustments.  I appreciated her customer service!

I’ve made several other items on the embroidery machine this week, and a few of them have to “wait” for gifting before I can share them.

I can share with you some fun ornaments I made.  The design is from Kreative Kiwi, in the FREE section of their website.

In the hoop snow globe

There are about 10 steps to the snow globe, and the very last step includes laying down vinyl to keep the little sparkles inside –

adding the glitter

Did you see those pins on the outside of the hoop?  I learned that trick on one of the videos that Kay on Kreative Kiwi does.  It helps to keep the stabilizer from pulling into the hoop.  This project took 2 layers of Vilene wash away stabilizer.

Finished snow globe

My hubby said, after I did the first ornament, that it would be “nice” to put names and year on them.  So, I figured out a way to do that, using BOTH of my embroider machines. What I did was hoop “tear away” stabilizer in my Brother machine; and run the first two steps, then exit the program and use the Brother fonts and stitch out the name & year.  Meanwhile, the Janome was going on the other table with the first several steps of the front of the snow globe.  When it came time to add the backing, I trimmed up the part with the name, used a glue stick to apply it to the back side of the hoop and continue with the stitching.  I think it worked well.  (Note I chose this photo with the date showing but not the name for privacy).

When I get the hubby’s or mine done I will show you a better back!

Names and dates on the back

The project calls for vinyl over the top as part of the last step.  I have a big roll of heavy vinyl and I made a couple ornaments, but it felt really “stiff”.  I was reading online, people were talking about “upcycling” the vinyl bags that sheets and linens come in from the department store.  Well, I have a few of those in the sewing room and cut 5″ squares out of that vinyl.  I had also read that wiping a little Static Guard on the vinyl would help the sparkly stuff to move around better.   I had fun too digging in the crafty drawers for little sparkly things to put in the snow globes.

Here are some close up shots.

Fun with snow globes

Santa and crystals and glitter

Snowman and hearts

More snow globes

My daughter thought they would make fun “place cards” at the Thanksgiving table. I got 8 out of 10 finished before I ran out out the stabilizer I need.  Hopefully my order will arrive early this week.  The last 2 are for myself and my husband, and I may have to “stitch together” pieces of stabilizer to get the project finished!

fun with snow globes

These were SO much fun to make!! Kind of “addictive” digging through the fabrics and the craft drawers.  They really don’t take much material and it was fun to personalize them just a bit.

What are you working on???

Up-cycling a sofa cover

Strange title for a post but I have a funny upcycling story.  My daughter had a sofa cover that was due for replacement and she saved the old one.  Together she and I made a “big” draft dodger for her front door in her home in Texas.  That was several years ago.  For some reason I cut up the rest of the fabric and brought a large chunk of it home. It is heavy durable twill; not the prettiest green I have ever seen but sturdy stuff.  I have used bits of it repairing a dog bed for my other daughter.  Last week, in a moment of tidying up (aka searching for something in the sewing room); I came across the fabric.  I also came across an insulated grocery bag that had a zipper problem.

Well, once I found the thing I was searching for (that delightful orange fabric for the bike bag) and got it made, I decided to take that insulated grocery bag off the bottom shelf and see about fixing it. I quickly determined it was NOT repairable.  It was made of that cheap open weave fabric that felt almost like paper and it littered my sewing room floor with little bits of stuff as I carried it to the sewing machine. It was disintegrating in my hands.  SO…..I thought about the bag; and what I could do to make a replacement.  (These 90 degree days make you think insulated bag to get the butter home from the store!).

I decided that sofa cover fabric was sturdy enough to make a shopping bag from.  I made a “test run” and immediately decided it was too SMALL.  (I forgot to account for the inches in height you lose when you box the corners. ) So, that one got set aside and I decided on new measurements and cut out a much larger bag. I cut the lining out of a bolt of muslin that I had and then I disassembled the OLD bag and harvested the insulation.  I had some Insul-Bright that you use in pot holders, but not enough for a whole bag. I cobbled together enough pieces of the old stuff and the new stuff to cut out pieces for a new bag.  I also cobbled together batting scraps to add additional insulation to the bag. (I call it franken-batting…..because it is reminds me of Frankenstein).   I used some 505 spray basting to hold the batting; the insulation and the front of the bag together before stitching the side seams.  It worked pretty well.  Putting those seams together with 6 layers total required a heavy duty needle and my walking foot!  (The lining in muslin was a breeze).

I designed as I went and my biggest challenge was the lid.  I added a “hinged” flap and 2 sections of velcro to keep it closed.

It finished at 20″ long by 9″ wide and 11 1/2 ” high.  Hubby said the handle was long enough and sturdy enough. It is NOT pretty; but it IS functional and I love that I was able to recycle a bunch of odds and ends and come up with a durable bag.

Maiden voyage of insulated grocery bag

We usually do a big shopping trip at BJ’s Warehouse once a month. Hubby throws a cooler in the back of the SUV and a couple huge totes to contain all the small stuff.  The cooler is never big enough.  So; the bag DID come in handy to get frozen food home on a sweltering hot evening.  It held a couple of boxes of ice cream bars; a container of lunch meat and a few other bulky items that were frozen.  The only thing is it wasn’t tall enough for the pizza box.  Since we “pack from the cart into the car” it was easy for him to load it full.

The test run indicated that the top needs something at the sides to ensure it stays closed; and I think I will add 2 small tabs with velcro.

Of course; it had a 2nd test last night……Smokey decided it made a really nice bed on the kitchen table….and the hubby caught him !  He is only climbing down because he got scolded!  Hubby said he was snuggled in and settled for the night~~!~~

Apparently the cat liked it too

Hindsight …If I make another bag I will use the “inner form” foam to give the bag a little shape.  And I will remember to hang it on the hook to keep the cat from making it into a bed!

Fun to up-cycle stuff and make it usable as something different.  And nice to get that old bag off the shelf in the sewing room.

What are you working on?

Where did July go?

Just thought I would pop in and say hello!  Where DID July go?  I don’t know about you but 31 days buzzed by in record time!  We had the grandkids for a week over the 4th of July and enjoyed the holiday together! We got out “finally” to see fireworks at a local park and celebrate all together.  There was a lot of ooohing and aawing…and ice cream eating happening!

The youngest held on up to the grand finale!  So much fun~!!~

There was some porch sitting – but only on the cooler days!

Morning on the porch

and pool time with all the grandkids and some quiet time too in the pool.

Pool Time

Hubby and I took a long weekend to go to the Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle PA where he won 2 prizes for his truck!  His “celebrity pick” was a great honor~!!!

IMG_20190713_133910383_HDR

IMG_20190714_132124275_HDR (1)

The first place for his category was nice, but that “celebrity pick” was icing on the cake!  Lots more photo’s of cool cars in my album here – Chrysler Nationals at Carlisle  .

We met a US Navy man at our lodging at Carlisle Barracks with a pretty nice car and had lots of conversation.  He headed back home to his duty station on the day after the show finished. His route took him right past our house. He and my hubby had exchanged contact information and when he texted my hubby that his car broke down; we realised he was just 10 minutes away.

Hubby had all the tools; and they spent a couple of hours chasing parts to do the repair.  We knew that if they couldn’t get it fixed, then we would put it on the car trailer and tow him home to Norfolk.

His beautiful Dodge Charger was something to see on the hoist in our garage! I have to report I was of no help other than feeding them both supper! 

Oh; and for making sure they had plenty of approach shoring to back off the lift without dragging something on the ground.

7 hours later the repairs were done and he was on his way home to Virginia.

We have been out a couple of times to listen to music at the local state park and enjoy the company of our other grand daughter and her parents.

There have been a few bike rides, but less than usual due to the heat and humidity.

Raindeer going for a ride

 

Two granddaughters spent a week with us, and we had lots of activity — Magic shows at the library with the granddaughters with a fellow that had some great entertainment.

A trip to the Delaware State Fair with 3 granddaughters & one daughter.  Yes, that is me at the “welcome” sign!

Fun at the State Fair

We enjoyed looking at the animals –

Speckled Goat

and interesting vehicles on display too.

Natural Resources Police Vehicles on display

and to see the button crafts made by kids on display –

Button crafts Delaware State Fair

(I was inspired!)

A favorite activity was the “touch a truck” where the kids could climb up and inside various vehicles; like tractors and ambulances and even a police vehicle!

Harrington Police

We did lots of walking and eating and walking and then there were the rides for the big girls!  They had “wrist bands” and could ride as long as they wanted!  Three hours later they were running on “low battery” and we went home!  Perfect timing to get home, cool off in the pool before dinner.

After the girls went home, Grandpa asked for help with some yard work.  UGH…..  He had me working hard one afternoon loading the trimming from things he cut into his garden trailer.  It was fine until I saw this snake skin in one of the limbs we were cutting.   EWWWW…..

Snake in the tree branches

After the worst of the trimming was done I escaped to my sewing room for a few days.

It took me 2 quilt bees and a couple days at home to finally finish all the blocks and  assembly of the king size “Scrap Dance Minuet” . (Pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home )   This was a mystery quilt we started in January or February; and the final instructions were given in mid June.

King size Scrap Dance Minuet

I’m going to let it hang on the wall for a while; and decide about borders and ironing and such.

I cleared some space and did a little repair work on this bike seat. It goes on the frame at the back of my daughter’s bike to haul the youngest granddaughter.  The stitching had come out on the seat belt guide on the right side. She had gotten a replacement from the manufacturer, but I decided to do the repair.  I actually had the seat so I could make a carry bag for the back of it. In the picture below you see the straps (orange) and elastic for the carry bag.  Once I got the carry bag made, I took the binding off the red nylon seat cover and tacked down the seat belt guides.  I put a little stiff pellon stabilizer under neath to give the stitches some durability.

attachment points

Not sure if you can see the guide hanging loose on the right side. That is due to the stitching on seat belt guide pulling loose.

Repair complete

Both guides reinforced with stabilizer under neath the nylon seat cover.  Had to reassemble the interior of the seat and put the binding back on.  Stitching on the nylon is tricky as it wants to slip and slide and fray.  I did some “stay stitching” before I reassembled it.  It is definitely an improvement.

A promised project finally made!  My daughter I ride with asked if I could make a tote bag for the back of the baby seat.  It could not be “sewn” or clipped on the nylon; as it wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of the bag. I decided on adding a “band” like you see in the photo above that wraps around the inside of the seatback and goes “under” the shoulder straps. I was glad to have her “extra seat” here to help me think through the process.  I can’t wait to see this “on the bike”.  I may have to adjust the elastic band you see in the top picture.  This bag slips on the back of the bike seat with that band in the first photo.

Bike bag attached to the seat

I added snaps at the top so she could close it and keep the “stuff” from bouncing out.  The odd shape is due to the place it goes on the back of the baby seat and in front of the fender.  I might have to shorten it and make it even with the bottom of the seat.

Bag opening

I made the bag out of  “outdoor fabric” leftover from a project I made a few years ago. It is fully lined with the same fabric and should do the job.

Another month gone by with 5 more placemats made by the lovely ladies at the assisted living. I think they have enjoyed making them.    The stack is growing.  I am off to sew with them later today.

Hoping the rest of the summer is as busy and fun!  Enjoy !