Small Town Charm project completed

NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.

I wanted to share my completed Small Town Charm project with you. The blocks I have shared in previous posts have been incorporated into a tote bag for my friend June. The bag was made with short straps to go over her walker handles, and buttons to hold them in place. It also has ties on the side to keep the bag from swinging while the walker is in ‘motion’.

Before I made this project I took a look at her existing bag and measured it.

Those measurements were important as I created the new bag, since I didn’t have a walker handy to test the fit.

I had fun figuring out which fabrics I wanted to use for the bag, making my choices from that one box of fabric I had dumped out and sorted. I really wanted to make the bag for June using her OWN fabric. My hope is the fabrics will be ones she remembers having. While they don’t have the same elegance as the beautiful blues and golds in the bag picture above, they do remind me of things she likes. And, when I agreed to make the new bag, June didn’t make any color requests. Well…you know that I like things scrappy!

sorting options
Trying out possibilities

I played around with lots of color combinations, and thought about how I wanted to “construct” the bag. Once the decisions were made, the extra bits of fabric came down off the wall, and the construction was pretty simple.

After the front and back of the bag was made, I layered it with Pellon 973F (Fusible Fleece) and did some quilting. I made the straps, and put the bag together.

SMT Tote bag
Waiting for lining

Once the outside of the bag was made, I chose one of those pretty pink fabrics and made the lining. I added pockets for both sides of the lining. I used the fusible fleece in the pockets too, so it has some body.

Construction is similar to lining any tote bag. Once your lining is ready, you slide the main bag inside the lining, with pretty sides (right sides touching). You have to make sure you leave an opening for turning. My opening was on the side, just above the edge of the pockets.

STC Lining
Right sides together

Those little clips are great for holding the edges of the bag together and keeping everything lined up during the sewing process. You can see the stitching of the pockets on the back side of that lining in the photo above.

Below, is the inside of the bag showing the pockets.

INSIDE STC lots of pockets

Once the bag was pulled through the opening and turned “right side out, a quick press along that top seam, and of the lining before top stitching around the upper edges. I use my clips then as well to make sure there is no shifting.

Button holes in the straps for two closing positions, and some bright shiny buttons on the Flower Shop side of the bag.

STC Tote bag
Small town charm bag

The blue bag she had previously had a bit of velcro tab to keep the bag closed. I added a 3″ strip of velcro near the top edge of the new bag, skipping the tab. I also added two pockets on the sides of the bag, where she can keep a packet of tissues if she likes. The ties for the walker on the bottom are made from June’s stash of bias tape binding.

The bag has a “scrappy quilter” look to it I think. My husband, who knows her so well, thinks she is going to “LOVE” the new bag. I had fun making the Small Town Charm embroidery blocks, and building a bag that will be functional for her. I’m glad I have had a little experience making bags in the past few years, or I would never have tackled this without a specific pattern in hand.

If I was making this into a tote / purse for myself, I would not have used the dimensional awning on the flower shop, but I knew the bag would be stationary once attached to the walker, and I think the flower shop will face out, so it won’t get mashed during use. For myself, I would use a magnetic closure, and put a couple of key ring loops inside the bag to have a spot for hooking my car keys. (Hate hunting in the bottom of a bag for keys!) Because of where / how June lives, she really doesn’t use keys.

Do you enjoy bag making? Any tips? Do you have a favorite pattern that you make frequently?

EDIT — bag delivered and installed!

Tote bag installed

#DimeSewAlong

Butterflies dancing across the quilt

I decided to use the inspiration of the butterfly landing on my Scrap Dance Pachanga quilt when I was taking photos recently. I took the quilt back out to the sewing room and knew exactly which fabric I would use. Perhaps you remember the senior quilt I made and posted about here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2021/03/31/senior-quilts-circa-2021/ .

I pulled a few “leftover” blocks out of the fabric storage bin, and applied Heat & Bond Light to the back. I simply cut the butterflies out with scissors and fused them to the quilt.

Prepping for fusible applique

If you are wondering why, do go back and read about the SAGA of this quilt I shared a few days ago. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2021/08/17/scrap-dance-pachanga-saga/

I carefully placed the first seven around the quilt, trying to make them look as though they were “pre planned” instead of an effort to hide those problems left over from the SAGA.

Thinking about how many

Once those were balanced around the quilt and stitched down, I decided that MORE were necessary to make them seem “like an intentional design choice.” (Those words came from the One Block Wonder Woman, and I think she is right!) In all, there are 13 scattered around the quilt, dancing the Pachanga!

more butterflies

I used a creamy yellow thread, designed for the embroidery machine to blanket stitch them all down.

various size butterflies

I am a little fond of the smaller groupings of butterflies. Those small ones near the top border would have disappeared if they weren’t grouped I think.

When I took the quilt back outside to take a couple more pictures, there were 3 butterflies flitting around but I didn’t manage to catch one land on the quilt this time !

butterflies doing the Scrap Dance Pachanga

I’m quite pleased that Mother nature helped me solve my quilt troubles and the quilt is now “restored” and completely finished. This one is so full of memories and I will enjoy using it!

Scrap Dance Pachanga pattern was a “mystery quilt along” by Carole Carter, From My Carolina Home.

Now, I think it is time to clean off my desk in the sewing room again before I dig out another UFO to work on.

What’s on your agenda this week??

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?

UFO Complete — Get to the Point!

Not too long after I retired, I signed up for a series of “beginner quilt classes” at the local quilt shop.  We used two books by Pat Sloan, and made several patterns from “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” and the advanced book .  One project has been “fermenting” on my shelf. The pattern was called Get To The Point, and  I originally wrote about it in an early 2013 post- A Good Sewing Week.

A few weeks went by and it got mentioned – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/on-point-with-borders-wip-still/  . 

Later in 2013 I started to feel a little bugged by “unfinished class projects”  – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

That doesn’t mean I finished them all, because a few years later I mentioned this quilt again again – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/such-a-follower/   and then again early the next year –https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/on-point-and-setting-triangles/

Looking back at all those blog posts (do that later), I realized I had multiple projects going on, and a lot of indecision about how to proceed with many of these projects. I’ve learned a lot with those projects, and one thing I learned about me is l love to piece quilt tops, but get stuck with the borders and the “finishing”.   

With this project, I decided to try my hand at “free motion quilting” not long after I put the top together and I hated the result, so the project got folded up and put on the shelf.  A few years later, it was one of my UFO challenge projects, and I took it off the shelf and worked at removing all of the free motion quilting. Oh, my seam ripper and I became very good friends.  Back on to the shelf it went to continue the fermentation process.  

This past week, I went out to my sewing room thinking I would work on my Vintage Christmas blocks, but somehow, that project caught my eye and I pulled it off the shelf and unfolded it to have a look.  I’d done some basic “stitch in a ditch” after removing the free motion quilting (or maybe that was before the free motion, I don’t remember). Anyway, I decided I could tackle this top and clear it off the shelf for good. 

Machine quilting

Because the quilt had been well anchored with the “stitch in the ditch”, I started with the borders. After the borders I moved into all the setting triangles, while thinking about how to quilt the sashing blocks.

Fun with quilting big spaces

These big squares got a squared off spiral, starting on the outer edge of the block and working around to the middle.  The quilt had poly bat and I remember the disaster I had with “not enough quilting” on another project, so I went with a lot of stitching to really anchor this top.  (No I don’t use poly batting any longer, but I didn’t want to totally take this apart).

I spent a lot of hours at my machine this week, with the walking foot on, and did a lot of “straight line” quilting. I used at least 4 bobbins of Superior Bottom Line silver thread, as I worked my way across the quilt, down the borders and around and around the triangles points. I also used Silver (Masterpiece by Superior) on the top of the quilt.  I like the silver because it pretty much disappears into the quilt and you see the texture but not a lot of the stitching.

IMG_20200527_205054458_HDR

The back of the quilt really shows off the quilting. The original “stitch in the ditch” quilting was a different thread, so it tends to be more visible on the back, but I am ok with that. 

IMG_20200527_121907055_HDR

 I finished the last block, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on yesterday, too. 

lots of quilting

I am SO happy that I had tucked away fabric for binding inside the folded quilt to use for the binding.   I did my favorite “binding with a flange” also known as Susie’s Magic Binding.  (The purple for the flange came from a scrap leftover from the Senior Quilt 2020 backing).

Get to the point

It finished at  57×74 (who knows why? Not me).  It is a great throw size for snuggling under in the recliner or on the back of the couch.  In this photo it is on top of the queen size bed in the guest room which currently has (gasp) a comforter on it, not a quilt. (It made a nice neutral backdrop.)  Before the evening was over last night, I ran it through the washer and dryer, and was able to sleep under it !  Ok, still needs a label, and I will try to do that today. 

Oh, one more thing — I assembled the Scrap Dance TWIST and put on one narrow border.  It is now an official UFO/waiting on borders! The pattern is by Carole Carter on her blog From My Carolina Home

Twist assembled with one border

It is 86×98 and I plan to put a 6″ border of some kind all around, but it needs some thought (oh geez) and a good pressing! (Shooting for a generous king size of course).

If you are interested in the Scrap Dance Twist pattern, it is available on Carole’s blog for another week or so, before she takes it down and publishes it for sale. Honestly, if you like scrappy patterns, this is a great one to make.  

Speaking of UFO’s….I took down off of hangers in my sewing room a bunch of them yesterday, to do a little show and tell during a zoom quilter chat.  There are a bunch, and when my friend asked how many I didn’t count the ones in bins.  Borders seem to stop me. I don’t know why, searching for the perfect fabric to set things off?  Realizing I have been making KING SIZED quilt tops (at least 5 or 6), and the idea of quilting them maybe is what stops me.  I ordered some grey wide backing in February, and have enough to finish at least 2 king sized. Perhaps my next UFO will be one of the oldest tops .  I’ll have to get back to you on that. Don’t hold your breath!  

Disclaimer….if you go back to those old posts that I shared in the links at the top of this post, the CROSSROADS and the 9 patch CUPCAKES, Friendship Star table runner are really finished!  The Allietare is still “waiting on borders”, as are several other “Scrap Dance mystery quilts”. 

What are you working on this week?

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?

Windowing stabilizer, The Twist and more

I’ve been doing masks on my embroidery machine and was going through large amounts of tear away stabilizer. I realized I had gone thru about 20 yards of my 12″ stabilizer and I had a stack of 100 sheets of 8×8 tear away in my bin.  After doing about 20 hoopings, I had a light bulb moment!  My storage retrieval system (aka quarantine brain) suddenly remembered a video I had seen through a blog post LAST year!  Lisa Capen Quilts shared a video about windowing stabilizer when doing the same pattern over and over. Some call it “framing” the stabilizer and others called it “windowing”.  Lisa’s video was exactly what I needed to use!

I’ve been using my reposition-able hoop for the Janome 11000, called the MA hoop. It is essentially an 8″ x 12″ hoop so I can do two masks at a time.

So, now I hoop a piece of tear-away stabilizer and do the first stitch out.

Cutting table

The trick is to remove the mask “gently” from the hoop without tearing the surrounding stabilizer.  Then I replace the torn away piece with a “square of 8×8” over the top.  I use the Elmers glue stick to anchor it to the “frame” of the stabilizer remaining in the hoop.

windowing stabilizer

They don’t have to overlap, but I was too lazy to cut it perfectly and I vary the overlap. The glue stick takes a few minutes to dry, and I use the heat of my iron in the frame to speed it up. My big iron fits perfectly in the frame with room to move it around.  In my small 5×7 hoop I use my mini-iron to dry the glue.

This is what it looks like on the back of the hoop.  You can see the very first ones were rectangles, then I switched to a different pattern about the same size.  The stabilizer was starting to wear  on the left edge of the frame, so I glued on a patch!

back of the hoop

I did at least 7 set ups using this method before I ran out of Elmers Glue Stick!.  I tried liquid white glue and I had to let it dry overnight.  (Not expedient!)  I over applied and it wasn’t drying with the iron so I gave up for the night.

Creative Applique masks

The masks in the above photo are from Creative Appliques pattern https://creativeappliques.com/

I took a break for a few days from “in the hoop masks“, while I worked on the Community Mask Project for the local chicken processing plant. Got my 28 done for that request using the sewing machine and the information I shared about the pleating and ties – Fast Masks with Ties

28 masks completed

Can I tell you how I got excited with the things in the photo below?

PROJECTS

On the left are the directions for the mask project, and peaking out was Step 5 for the Scrap Dance Twist, which had to wait until my 28 masks were done. On the right, in the basket are two treasures!  My order of elastic arrived!  And I found another glue stick in the kitchen drawer!  (I’ve used 2 up so far windowing stabilizer, so I am pretty excited to find this one!).

I got busy with my Scrap Dance Twist Step 5 chain piecing the units for a king size quilt!  This is my FUN sewing time!

Chain piecing Step 5

The directions on Carole’s blog post From My Carolina Home – Scrap Dance Twist remind you to “try to make the units as scrappy as possible”.

Step 5 Scrap Dance Twist completed

This step went together quickly. If you haven’t started, it’s not too late. Go check out Carole’s blog and look for the Scrap Dance Twist button on the right side of her blog.

I’ve got everything back in the container, with the directions and the units, waiting for the next clue which comes out on May 1st.  If you are sewing along, be sure to go back to the blog and check for some corrections to units for a couple of the sizes.

Next up on my sewing schedule is working on the “senior quilt” for my church.  This is a group project that we started in February, and since the quarantine, it’s been a bit of a “round robin”. The group made most of the blocks in February –

Senior Quilt blocks

I finished up what didn’t get done during our group sewing and got it laid out on the design wall.

Senior Quilt on the design wall

One of the group members lives nearby and offered to assemble the quilt top.  I took pictures of the layout while it was on the design wall, and numbered the blocks /rows for her.  Once she got a break from “mask making” she assembled the top and delivered back to me. Now, it is time for me to “clear my cutting table” and do some measuring for the borders and get them sewn on.   One step at a time, but nice to be able to work on something fun.

Making masks has eaten up a lot of sewing time for many quilters, and taking a break to work on a couple of quilt projects has been fun. My sewing room is a full blown disaster (as evidenced in many of these pictures!) and some “clean up” time is also in order.

Stay well, keep stitching!

 

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?

Cruising plans crushed

I had been looking forward to a cruise with my favorite quilting sister in law – the One Block Wonder Woman in August to Alaska.   A quilting cruise, with 4 wonderful sea days, and two ports I have never been to, Sitka and Haines Alaska.

We were booked on the Princess Star out of San Francisco for August 21st, in an inside cabin.  We had excursions booked and paid for, our deposits in on the cruise and then the COVID-19 pandemic started hitting the world and the cruise industry.  We were not too worried because we both felt that things would be back to normal by August, even when Princess took a voluntary 60 day halt to their sailings.  I sailed out of San Francisco last summer on a 10 day trip to Alaska, and was quite looking forward to going again.  

IMG_20190824_130351507

My younger sister had 2 cruises cancelled in that 60 day window, including a much anticipated Trans-Atlantic trip to Copenhagen.

Two weeks ago, the chatter on Cruise Critic implied people were getting upgrades for the sailing, and our travel agent/quilting cruise organizer got us a wonderful balcony cabin.  We were feeling so hopeful.  We had picked out excursions in each port, had hotel reservations for the night before the cruise with the group we were traveling with, airport transfers, and much more.  

I ordered t-shirts to do some fun embroidery on for the trip, got them all washed and ready to stitch.  Suddenly, the mask making needs got into full swing, and the stack of freshly washed tshirts took a back seat.  All my fun sewing has pretty much stopped while I try to keep up with the demands for masks.

Another batch ready

Then – last week I saw the article linked below in USA Today, and I  KNEW our voyage for August was in jeopardy.    Go have a read of the article after my blog post and you will understand the sense of dread I was feeling.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/04/14/carnival-princess-cancel-cruises-through-june-amid-coronavirus-crisis/2991576001/

As a person with a logistics background, this article left me very concerned. How were cruise lines supposed to schedule with the crazy situation they were faced with? 

Last night I got the dreaded email, first from Princess CEO and then from the travel agent.  The Alaska cruise season for 2020 is not going to happen with my favorite cruise line.  My bright spot at the end of this crazy time has disappeared, leaving me feel so very sad.  Not just for me, and my sister in law, but for all those in the travel and hospitality industries, the people in Alaska that depend on these cruise ships coming and the families of all who depend on the person working in the travel industry.   

For myself, it feels a bit selfish to whine and carry on about a cancelled cruise when people in my state, mostly in long term care facilities, are losing their lives to COVID-19.  I am praying for the “herd immunity” to start working while the researchers and healthcare professionals try to find a  way to fight this pandemic.   I’m praying too that the Health and Human Services department in our little state can figure out why so many elderly people in our care facilities are dying. What is wrong with the workers coming in and why are they not protecting the residents who are most vulnerable?  So while I whine for a minute, I really worry for those who can’t protect themselves against the unseen virus and are being done in by the very people being paid to care for them. 

Think I will go wash my hands and make more masks in the mean time.  When this week is over, I am going to start sewing for fun again. I need some joy back.  Maybe I will go sort out that album of Alaska photos from the trip last year too……

IMG_20190824_130527184_PORTRAIT

While I do that, I can plan for 2021 I suppose.  What are you doing to muddle thru this crazy time?