Making Labels for Quilts

In the last couple of weeks I got motivated to make labels for projects that are “nearing” completion or are completed.  If you have been reading my blog in the last month or so, you know that I finished TWO of my Pat Sloan projects (Get to the Point and Mama’s Garden) that were started in classes several years ago.  I am also working toward completion of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Allietare.

I like to make a label for my quilt as the “final step” in the project. I use my embroidery machine to make a simple label, and fuse & stitch it on.  (More about the embroidery machine in a minute.) Often times I will use part of the backing fabric as a border on the label so it kind of “floats” on the backing. I learned a trick years ago for “making perfect circles for applique” and use the method when I add the fusing product to my label.  Basically, I lay the fusible product on top of my label with the fusing facing the wording and stitch all the way around, then I slit the fusing in the middle with my snips, and turn the whole thing “right side out” . This way there is a nice neat “edge” on the label turned under, and I have the added benefit of a “hard to remove” label. I do stitch around the label by hand, avoiding going into the front of the quilt, much the way you stitch binding. I will put a link to a video at the bottom of the page that gives you a better “visual” than my explanation.

If I am “efficient” I have the label ready, so when the binding goes on, two edges of the label are stitched down by machine. Like I said, “IF I AM EFFICIENT“.  That means in my life that I better make the label BEFORE I bind the quilt, and that doesn’t always happen, so SOME have to be hand stitched on all 4 sides.  When I hand stitch, I use a matching thread so my sloppy hand sewing doesn’t show.  

Let’s talk about making machine embroidery labels.  If you followed me for anytime you know that I have two embroidery machines. I have the Brother PE500 with the 4×4 hoop and the Janome 11000 with lots of hoops, including an adjustable hoop up to 6×12 or so.  For years I made my labels on the Brother machine, using the available fonts in the machine, typing one line at a time on the tiny screen.   The example below is one done on the Brother machine, one line at a time.  Around 2017 I was given a hoop that can be repositioned on the machine, so making a bigger label could be done with out “re-hooping”. Using it for the label below I could get a longer label, and still keep everything lined up straight.  I got “pretty good” at the alignment thing and figuring out where to start the next line using the plastic grid that came with the hoops.  

Banner label

The yellow label was applied on the back of this project BEFORE the binding went on.  The beauty of using fusible on the back is that it will stay in place while you are working on the binding. 

When I made my label for the Mama’s Garden quilt, I was using a fabric piece that Pat Sloan had signed for me several years ago, either when I took her class or went to a guild lecture she gave.  I had to try to line up the wording on my Janome 11000 (again one line at a time), using built in fonts.  I had fun with this label as it is the first attempt at making a label on my Janome, and I got to use some larger fonts.  I wish I had pushed the words pattern by a little farther to the left, but, I can live with the final result.

Quilt label with signature

This label was stitched on after the binding went on. I used green of the backing fabric for the edge of the label, but set it opposite of the backing so it does not completely disappear.

I have a couple of “free software” programs for embroidery, and decided I would try one of them to make my next label, using the software on the computer.  The program I chose to use was called Embrilliance Express and I used the fonts in the program.  I was really pleased with the result on the screen and with the stitch out.

Get to the Point label

I haven’t figured out how to tell the software to cut the jump stitches between letters, but I can live with them.  If you use Embrilliance Express and know the secret, do share!

  I hooped this fabric in my 8×8 hoop and got a nice size label.  I did the fusible trick and got nice edges and corners when I turned the label out right. I fused it on and hand stitched it down on all four sides.

I had such good success with the creation of the label in the Embrilliance Express software on the computer that I got busy and made another label and stitched it out for my Allietare quilt.

Allietare label

For this label I used my inspiration fabric on the edges of the top and bottom.  I will add the fusible after I get the quilt ready to bind.  I still need to get busy and make that backing and ship it all off to my favorite sister-in-law, One Block Wonder Woman

She has graciously offered to quilt it for me on her big long arm machine, Greta the Gammill.  Go take a look at her blog I linked and check out her adventures. 

So, that is my adventure in making quilt labels this month, and over the years. I need to learn how to import fonts into the Embrilliance program, and hope I can do that without buying something else.  I am so tickled with how the last two worked out and am writing about it to encourage you to use your embroidery machines if you have them.  Even if you just have a 4×4 hoop, you can make a multi line label!  Embrilliance is free in the “express mode”, and it is not to hard to navigate, which is perfect in my life!

Do you label your quilts?  What information do you like to include on the label?  How do you make your labels and apply them?  Love to hear what your methods are, as I like to continue to learn new tricks.

Here is the link Making perfect circles for applique  for the method I use for adding the fusible to my label and getting a nice clean edge.  The not only works for circles, it also is useful for rectangles or squares.  I tend to get a more “rounded” corner instead of a sharp 90 degree turn, which is fine for a quilt label in my life.

 

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?

Bits and pieces and more masks

Last week was a struggle to have any fun. I had “two emergency” visits to the dentist and another set for today.  Seems an old woman with an old root canal and crown must say goodbye to the tooth instead of getting it repaired. Getting in to the dentist, endodontist and the  oral surgeon are all tricky escapades during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The bright side is that once the antibiotics started to work, I could reduce all the pain relief medications; but it did take through the weekend.  Slowed me down on having fun.

I was able to do a little stitch out on a couple of dish towels, one for each daughter.

Home in Delaware

The towel above was fun to do. I’ve found that the secret to doing applique on the embroidery machine is using Wonder under or Heat n’ Bond light on the back of the fabric before you place it. Then when you trim after the tack down stitch you get a nicer cut. That said, I should have used some water soluble stabilizer on top of the towel before the applique. It would have made close trimming easier, without fighting with the nap of the towel.  I chose this design for my daughter who moved “home” to Delaware recently, after moving around the country and world for the last 12 years with the US Military.  (Years ago, while in Texas, she and I were shopping and saw “TEXAS” state towels and discussed how they were made and could be done for every state, and if they would be “marketable” .  When I saw this design I scooped it up!)

Heather's towel

This towel, for my youngest daughter, was a LONG stitch out. Over 30,000 stitches, and I forgot to take a photo before I gifted it. My daughter was sweet to send me a picture back for the blog.  This towel has more of a woven weave and I had to use a LOT of tear away stabilizer, plus water soluble on top.  I have a couple of “oops” moments and can see them in the picture, one being an orange thread dangling above the back wheel, and one being a “skip” of stitches on the front wheel.  Why is it you don’t see those things until after it comes out of the hoop??? Snipping the loose thread can be done now, but fixing that front wheel is never going to happen. You can only hope the rider doesn’t feel the bump in the road! (Oh, and don’t get me started on the beak of the bird…..it’s not there….).  Anyway, both towels were fun to do and I tried to pick a design that suited each daughter. My youngest daughter loves to ride, and her “cruiser” is orange and white.  Both embroidery designs came from Oh My Crafty Supplies

In the midst of my dental emergency, I was committed to pick up kits from the local quilt shop for another batch of masks.  This batch was quilters cotton and batik fabric with ELASTIC !! YAY, no ties. No flannel.  So, I picked them up on Wednesday and was able to hand them off on Sunday afternoon.  My friend Pam offered to deliver this batch to the local hospital.

Batik for masks

I told my hubby that this batik looked like a virus. When I cut these I layered the two fabrics  right sides together and made short work of matching pieces together.  I thought I was being efficient.  After doing the first one, I changed my method a bit.  I marked a dot where the elastic was to go on all the pieces, and tack stitched the elastic in place. I did this rather than trying to pin in place and hope it didn’t wiggle out while I was stitching the two pieces of fabric together with the elastic inside. It was taking a lot of time to “pin” the elastic and fabric.  So, marking the placement gave me consistent placement of the elastic, and I could just “hold” the elastic in place while I tacked it down on the edges of the mask.

More masks production

Once the elastic was managed it was easy to put the fabric pieces right sides together and just sew around the edges, leaving a gap for turning.
I used my pleating template and clips again and lots of steam to pleat the masks.  The walking foot is the best foot for me when top stitching to secure the pleats.

28 completed masks

Did you know with careful cutting you can get 28 masks out of 2 yards of fabric? (These are cut 6×9″) I was happy the quilt shop was able to provide elastic.

I just got an order in on Monday of some nice soft elastic and used it for masks for my son-in-law. He has to go daily out for his work, all day wearing a mask, and I made him 4 new masks yesterday. I much prefer making the masks on the embroidery machine using the Creative Appliques pattern . I was able to get 4 mask “fronts” and ear flaps from one fat quarter, and using two other batik fat quarters the pieces for the inside. I tried to “mix up” the insides a bit when I assembled so he could distinguish from one to another, though they look similar.

Creative Appliques style mask size large

I have a bunch more mask parts cut out and pre-pleated and ready to stitch out.  I took a break though and made some “ear saver mask extenders” using another pattern from Creative Appliques.

Extenders

I used black vinyl on top and black felt on the bottom with medium tear away for stabilizer. The idea here is to keep the elastic off the ears which can be a problem for wearing for long periods of time. I used 9″ elastic and knotted it into a loop.  The loop goes into the mask flaps and gets snapped into the extender.  The Creative Appliques pattern is a fast stitch out.  A couple of weeks ago I tried another pattern and it was way more stitches than necessary, but pretty!  The tan ones were the original ones I made and I used buttons and snaps.  (Of course I sewed the buttons on using my sewing machine.  The tan ones are only about 4″ long, and the black ones from Creative Appliques are 7″. They come in a variety of lengths at C.A., the pattern gives you lots to choose from.

various extenders

Of course, I had to “test drive” the mask with extender. 

Creative applique mask

The good thing about a mask is it hides all the wrinkles, and you can blame the mask for COVID-19 bad hair! 

I really like this mask because it fits close on the nose with a wire, and the part I called ear flaps (where the elastic goes through) hold it close to the sides of your face. Because of the shape it is a much nicer fit.  Making them on the embroidery machine uses a lot of stabilizer, but I have said before how I manage that with the “windowing technique” I use.  If I was more efficient I could probably “mass produce” them like I did the ones for the hospital, but I am only doing this style for “special requests” as they take me longer, but give you a better mask.   Creative Appliques sells this style pattern for the home sewing machine also.Creative Appliques sewing machine mask pattern

I’ve seen masks for sale all over the place from $8 to $15 or more.  I don’t think I could “earn a living” making them.  I might make some to sell to help recover the expense of all the elastic, twill tape, stabilizer I have used in the last 2 months.  Are you selling masks?  What style?  How much?

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?

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?  

 

 

Keeping busy at home with masks

I’ve been keeping busy at home for the last month, though I don’t feel like I have much to show for the time. We have had some Spring-like weather some days and some winter-like weather other days. A fickle time of year is early April.  I’ve adjusted to my husband’s “late night” schedule a bit, but find myself getting up close to my normal time, so I am NOT getting enough sleep.  We have been spending time nearly every evening out in the garage, upstairs in the “hobby” room. He has his end with his model railroad work desk and I have the rest of the space for my work tables, fabric, machines, etc.

It seems now that the recommendation is for “everyone” to wear some kind of covering when they are unable to “stay at home”. Our state has published guidance, but it is not as strongly worded as the CDC.  See for yourself – Delaware “Guidance” for Face Coverings .   The CDC has changed their “mind” about face coverings “CDC continues to study the spread and effects of the novel coronavirus across the United States.  We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.  This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.  In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. (Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html )

I wondered why, early at the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, everyone didn’t opt for a mask, not knowing if they had the virus or not, and not trying to “keep” the spread down?  Honestly, you might be carrying germs to other people, so the mask would at least keep your germs to yourself.  In Asian cultures, it is common to see people wearing masks.  The reasons are often  ” social courtesy, by cough-and-cold victims seeking to avoid transmitting their germs to others, rather than healthy people looking to prevent the onset of illness.” (source -https://qz.com/299003/a-quick-history-of-why-asians-wear-surgical-masks-in-public/)  When we got the notification that 1 person in our little state tested positive, I started my mask making, long before it be “the thing”. So, here is what’s going on in my sewing room.

Honestly, I got burnt out after making more than 50, and stopped for a week.  I have given all of those away to family , friends, and to the healthcare groups that are collecting them.  I started up again this week, but on a slower pace.   Besides the pattern I shared last time, I made some for Beebe Hospital using their Beebe mask pattern.  This is a 3 layer mask, 2 cotton and 1 tshirt layer.

Beebe Healthcare Mask Pattern

Cutting the shaped mask

I liked the curved front, no pleats, and no center seam on the Beebe Healthcare mask pattern. It had a “side pocket” for insertion of a filter.  The directions are very good, and I broke down for my own brain what kind of strips to cut to speed up the cutting. The curve on the front is done with a “dart”, essentially sewing along the curve edge and trimming away the excess fabric.

The problem with this pattern is I ran out of t shirts.  I don’t want to donate something they won’t be able to use, so I moved on to making other types.

I made 10 on Thursday for a “group collection” and had to make a specific style and size for that organization. That group wanted 3 layer cotton fabric 6×9, pleated.  It made me remember right away sewing those pleats to switch to a #16/denim needle in the sewing machine and put the walking foot on.  They sew up quickly, and using my iron to “press the pleats into submission” does help.   They use

I found an In the Hoop  embroidery machine pattern for masks that I really like and I made a dozen or so that way.  Mine have ties because elastic is scare.  I’m using 1/4″ woven cotton twill tape that I found online.

The In the Hoop mask pattern I used comes from Do Dare to be Different embroidery design company.  What I liked about this designer is that they created multiple  sizes, so there is a mask size to fit everyone.  I’ve made the large, the regular and the small, which were the options when I bought the pattern last week.  Today I see there are even more sizes offered.

Mask with ties in the hoop

My method to keep the ties in place is scotch tape!  I’m also using tape to keep my machine foot from getting hung up in places where the fabric over laps – along the line of pleats . In the picture above I took the tape on the pleats off before this photo.  The next step is to lay the two back pieces on.

MA Hoop Janome 11000 8x12 TAPE

They also overlap, so in the circle area above, I used some scotch tape on both sides.  I must have taken it off before this picture, but you can see that the foot could easily jam there.  And you can see at the top of the above photo how the machine will easily stitch thru the tape.

Once I remove the mask from the hoop, I try to remove as much of the stabilizer as I can.  This pattern has a small “pocket” for the nose wire to slide in .  I slide it in BEFORE I turn the mask right side out.

Pocket for wire inside of mask

This photo shows the inside of the mask.  I used the pattern with the pleats done “in the hoop” vs “pre-pleating“.  I’m going to “try” the pre-pleated method next. Reasoning is the pleats done “in the hoop”have stitches across the face of the mask, and maybe those extra holes from the needle could be a problem. My friend Nancy switched to the “pre-pleated” method for that reason.

I am using tear away stabilizer (medium weight), and in the above photo you can see little bits of it left in the stitch line. That bit of tearaway will be on the “inside of the mask” and will not matter. (Glad I bought that big roll back in January!)

I was able to use my large adjustable hoop(MA/8×12)  on the Janome 11000 to make 2 regular/medium size in one hooping   I went into the edit function on the machine, chose the MA hoop, rotated the design on the screen, the duplicated it, and pulled it all the way to the bottom of the screen, and “dropped it” in place. The original one that I had rotated, I pulled all the way to the “top” of the screen, and it left plenty of room for both to stitch out nicely.

In the hoop MASKS

I liked doing them 2 at a time, and it helped to have a stack of fabric cut and ready to stitch.  I am using a lot of tape, as there are spots where my machine foot could get caught, pocket overlaps, nose wire holder etc. Once they come out of the hoop and the stabilizer is “torn away, I trim the seam allowance, turn the mask right sides out.  I give them a press with the iron, then go to the sewing machine.  I top stitch where the wire is located on the top of the mask to keep it from slipping out of place.

Front of mask made in the hoop

And while I have it at the sewing machine, I  go ahead and run a top stitch around the 2 sides and across the bottom.  I figure it is extra reinforcement for the twill tape ties too.

Back of mask made in the hoop

The back is done as an “envelope” style so you can easily insert a filter of your choice. Without a filter it is still 3 layers of fabric because each back piece is folded in half. I’ve been giving my friends and family  4″x 8″ pieces of “cutaway” stabilizer to use as filters. It is medium weight, non woven product and easy to wash right in the mask.  Note that the twill tape ties have been knotted tightly on the ends to stop any fraying.  Some of my knots came out when I washed a stack of mask, and I learned to “tie them tighter.”

Masks made In the Hoop

I like being able to make them in lots of colors and sizes.  I made “kid sized” for my grandchildren, medium size for the parents.  The kids are not going anywhere, but if there was an emergency, they have them ready to use.  You can see in the photo below that the large mask is just too big for me, but it fits my husband fine.

Test fitting mask size large ITH

The nice thing about ties is they fit “everyone”.

Remember, once you wear a mask, the front (outside facing the world)  is considered contaminated. I asked my friends to keep a bag in the car, and to place their mask in the bag to avoid touching the outside, then dump the mask straight into the washing machine for a HOT soapy water wash.   I tell them to remove the filter from the mask before they put the mask in the dryer.  If you are washing more than one at a time, the ties can get tangled up, so a lingerie mesh bag is helpful.

DO NOT MICROWAVE YOUR MASKS!!!!  It is a terrible fire hazard.  Fabric WILL catch on fire, and if you have a metal piece in the nose, it will create sparks.  WASH your masks.

Remember, these masks won’t stop COVID-19 , but might SLOW DOWN you exhaling germs on other people, and might slow down you inhaling other peoples exhalations

I keep looking at you-tube videos and finding other styles of masks to make, whether they are in the hoop on the embroidery machine or on the sewing machine. There are many creative people writing patterns, sharing knowledge and more.  Find something that you can work with and make a mask for yourself and for loved ones.  Just this morning I found another one done in the hoop, but it is shaped and has a different style for the back.  If you are interested check out Creative Appliques mask  .  It has several pieces as well, but I think I like the shape of it a bit better.  Each of the links I gave you has a video associated with the mask, so take some time and watch the videos before you commit to purchasing or downloading.

While I am at it, I am going to give you some unsolicited advice.  Stay home if you can avoid going out, and you won’t need to wear a mask. If you do have to get groceries, wear a mask, use your wipes to clean the handle of the cart and clean your items when you bring them home.  Keep some antibacterial wipes handy in the car to clean your hands after removing the mask and putting it in a bag. Wipe your hands, keys, steering wheel etc. If you sew or have an embroidery machine, maybe you too can make some masks for friends and family.  Use up some of that stash.  Give the masks, don’t charge people. If someone offers to pay, ask them to pay it forward somewhere else.  Try not to get burnt out making masks. You are ONE person, and you need to take care of yourself first, then your family.  I’m reading online about quilters sewing non-stop, and I know they are wanting to help others and the demands are HUGE.  Practice some self care, and practice saying no, and work on something fun “in between” to recharge your creative spirit. I am following my own advice, so besides making masks, I have started to catch up on some fun things and I will share those with you in another post soon.

Stay well, stay home, and know that this too shall end!

 

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?

Happy New Year – Christmas Gifts revealed

Wow, it’s been over a month since I have written a blog post.  Sometimes I have “gaps” because I have not been making much or travelling. The past two months I was “getting ready” for Christmas.

Show & Tell – since all the gifts have been given, I can share now.  Most of what I have done in November and December has been with my embroidery machine I bought LAST January. I got it back from the service center in late October and have enjoyed learning to use it. It is a Janome 11000 and has an 8×8 hoop along with a bunch of others. There is a mega hoop, but I still need to learn how to play with software to “split” designs, and my brain isn’t ready for that yet.

My # 1 “big gift” that I made was from a pattern I purchased from Sweet Pea Designs . In September, Sweet Pea had a stitch along in their Facebook group, and I fell in love with the design.  I think this is what got me moving to get my big embroidery machine serviced.  I bought the pattern while it was on special for the stitch along, and it was the FIRST thing I made when I got the machine back in October.

It is an “In the Hoop” project. All 12 blocks were made on the embroidery machine, then I used my sewing machine for making the handles, inside pockets, and putting the bag together. There is batting in each block.  Picking the fabrics and thread colors was fun.  I made the bag using the 6×6 block.  The pattern includes 5×5 and 4×4.

Finished Knitting bag

Button Side

This was a gift for my daughter who knits.  (You should see what she made for me!!! Another post….)

She shared a photo on her knitting group on Facebook and it got some great comments. She was even asked if her “mom would make one to sell”.  I said sure, for $500 and 30 day turn around!  (I’m actually working on a 2nd bag now, just to time out how long it takes to make…..). We joke all the time about the cost of crafting. You get a crafted item as a gift because you are loved.  I’m not “in the business” to sell things, so my price has to be “high enough to discourage”….basically saying “YOU CAN’T AFFORD ME”…  That is a topic for another blog on another day!

A friend of mine, also a quilter & knitter, knew I was making this and alerted me to a fabric at our favorite quilt shop. “Knit N’ Purl” by Whistler Studios from Windham Fabrics  . (If you are a knitter and are looking for some cute fabric, check the link out!)  I used the green cable knit and the animals…..

Now, all that said, I used all SCRAPS from my bins for the blocks, handles, bottom of the bag.  I put bosal-in-r-form in the inside of the bag. Beside the lining and pocket fabric, that was the only “new out of the package” product I used.  I picked a lot of batik and tone on tone prints for the bag. There are a few other prints just to brighten things up. The marching band fabric was something to make the bag “unique” to her without putting her name on the outside. I tried to repeat fabrics on both sides of the bag but baking each block different.

Once this bag was finished, it was on to In The Hoop (ITH) zip bags – I primarily used patterns from In the Hoop by Sher.  These bags are fully lined and were done in the 5×7 hoop.  (Note – Sher often offers a free pattern, so take a look!)

fully lined

This one went with the knitting bag! (Sorry for the upside down pix)

The next one went to my 9 year old granddaughter.

5x7 zip bag

A girl can always use a place to tuck away her money or her bits & pieces like tissue or chapstick.

One of the granddaughters is a Brownie Girl Scout, and just got her “First Aid Badge”. Mom reported she was a bit uneasy during the earning of the badge, and when I saw the next pattern (from Sher’s website), I thought that this might help her feel more confident with her band aid skills.  Of course, I filled it with band aides and an ace wrap!  Just what every 7 year old needs.  I did buy some FUN bandaids.

First Aid bag

I have a daughter who has been encouraging me to ride my bike, and I found this sweet fabric. Of course there was a great pattern by Sher and I used it for her zip bag.  The pattern called for a bike to be embroidered, but I thought the print was perfect.

Just me and my bike zip bag

This pattern was also a 5×7, but I used a bigger hoop and scaled it up to 116%, praying the whole time I didn’t screw it up; as I only had a “scrap” of this fabric.  It worked well.  Check out the size difference. The green is the backside of the first aid bag.

Comparing sizes

I am really pleased that I learned how to enlarge things “in the hoop”.  The 5×7 hoop size zip bag is just a little small for my big phone, but by increasing the size and using the next size hoop, my phone fits in perfectly.   My grandson got a phone for Christmas, and I was waiting to see how big it was before making him this – pattern by Sher too.

Techie Stuff

Of course he can use it for cords, USB’s, change, tissues or other gadgets, but I thought he would like the “techie stuff”.  I scaled this design from Sher up to 116% . My phone fit easily (3.5″ x 6.5″ phone), so i knew his would too.  I had a bit of fun with his Techie Stuff and used a scrap of Star Wars fabric on the inside lining.  That Wookie might make him smile!

Star Wars fabric inside

I had another pattern to try for techie stuff, which was a cord wrap, pattern by Embroidery Garden. This is a free pattern and comes in multiple sizes.  I used fabric fused to felt.  You can use vinyl if you have it.  I used the small design, and learned to “duplicate it” in my 8×8 hoop.  I was able to stitch out a bunch! I included one in his Techie Stuff bag, and kept the others for cord containment around the house. (Hubby is always complaining about the long phone cord in the car!)

I have to clean up the stabilizer on these, but they are functional and FAST to make. I have thoughts of making more.  (Next time I will read the directions too…..maybe use some vinyl…..)

Cord Wraps Pattern by Embroidery Garden

Overall; I am thrilled with the purchase of the used Janome 11000.  I think I have learned a lot about enlarging, duplicating, reducing; repeating, skipping over sections etc.  I finally used some of those colorful snaps I bought last summer.  Other than my time, my costs were “minimal” making everything above. I have been digging through the fat quarters I have, and the scrap bins, the “felt stash” and the handful of zippers my friend Susan shared with me last spring. I did have to order stabilizer for the big hoop though and went for the 50 yard roll of cutaway and tearaway. I have ordered wash away too, so I am well supplied for a while.

So, that is it for now.  Next post I will share the “paper dolls” I made “in the hoop” for my youngest granddaughter.

Happy stitching and Happy New Year!

The “final” two Snow Globes

Machine Embroidery – In the hoop projects — Snow globes …maybe they are an obsession….They certainly have been fun AND easy to make. I got some more water soluble stabilizer on Saturday and got a bit of time tonight to play.  I needed to make the last two snow globes before Thanksgiving.  Because the names are on the back of the snow globes, we are using them as “place cards”‘ for the dinner table. I hope the kids like them.  I do like to make ornaments for them.  Last year I did Gingerbread ornaments.   

Back of the snow globes

The theme seems to be “vintage” for these last two, which suites the two of us perfectly, since we are too! Bill likes trains and I like old sewing machines.

Vintage machines for me

This one is mine!  Hearts because I love old machines.

Locomotive Snow Globe

I picked a steam locomotive for my honey  While I was stitching this, he was around the corner in his work area, repairing one of his favorite locomotives.  It is one that has “smoke” and he had “gingerbread” scent in the smoke. I love the sound of the train whistles and all the noises those model trains make.

My blogging friend Judy asked about how long these take.  I think I spent an hour on both of them, including doing the names on the back. (I do the names first).  It helped that I had all the items ready to go, next to the machine, so I could add the layers as I went.

The machine embroidery pattern is free, and available from Kreative Kiwi

The last couple of days I have had the opportunity to be a “pattern tester”.  Once I get the ok from the pattern designer, I will share what I have been stitching. I’ve made 6 blocks for the test and might make a few more and turn the test into a baby quilt or throw. Pictures coming after her pattern goes “live” for purchase, so I can share a link !

I was gathering table linens , placemats and table runners to take to my daughter tomorrow for her to use on Thanksgiving. She doesn’t have all her things yet at home, so I am filling in the gaps. I realized I need to make 4 more Autumn placemats.  I have 8 and we NEED 10.  I’ve been fiddling around with AUTUMN blocks for 3 or 4 years.  Last month I made a bunch of STARS blocks in fall colors, so maybe by Thursday  I can round out the table a bit. (No pressure …but I can’t believe I only have 8!)  If I don’t get finished I have two nice placemats to work in. This is the year of the placemat I think for me.

Any last minute sewing before the holiday for you??

 

 

Snow Globes “How to’s”

Yesterday I shared a post More fun with Machine Embroidery.  In that post I talked about and shared photos of my “Snow Globes”.  Today I saw that Kreative Kiwi has a new video up to accompany the free Snow Globe Pattern 

COMMENTSKreative Kiwi does GREAT instructions that accompany the patterns; and Kay (Kays Cutz) does great videos.  It helps somebody like me who has to be shown how to do “new things” a few times to learn!  Go check out the  Snow Globe video

There has been a ton of discussion and questions, of course, on the Kreative Kiwi Facebook group about the project, and lots of fun pictures too.  It’s a great group to check out for inspiration and ideas.

Here are some things I gathered while reading posts –

VINYL —

1)Vinyl comes on a roll at big box fabric stores (JoAnn’s; Hobby Lobby or Walmart); usually in an area near the cutting tables at Walmart. Comes in a variety of weights.  For the snow globes, get the thinner vs the thick. I used the thick vinyl for a project bag –  Taking Care of Odds and Ends.

2)Vinyl document sleeve protectors in the stationery section. One sleeve for an 8.5 x 11 paper would give you at least 4 – 5″ squares.

3)Vinyl shower curtain from the dollar store.  (You could get a BUNCH of 5″ squares out of one STRIP off the bottom.

4)Vinyl zip bags sheets and comforters come from the store in. If there are stickers, peel off and use some alcohol to remove any sticker residue.  I got a bunch of squares out of one zipper bag. Some of these were really wrinkled.  I cut the seams and zips off and made a flat piece, then used a warm iron, layed the plastic between two pieces of flannel and “warmed up” the vinyl to flatten it out.  It softened up; flattened, wrinkles went away. Be sure to let it cool completely before moving it to the cutting table. I like the thinner feel of this vinyl for the project.

STATIC – I recommended a spritz of Static Guard spray on a tissue and wipe both sides of the vinyl. Kay recommends in her video one of those clothes dryer static sheets (like bounce/snuggle).  I know the Static Guard works, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy it now if I didn’t have it on hand.

SPARKLES/SNOW –  When you watch the video I linked at the beginning of this post, Kay shows you how she inserted the beads and kept them out of the way during stitching of the final round #10, which is when you attach the vinyl.  I had read a couple of posts from other people who did something similar.  I used another method……

I started my first couple with a tube of glitter for the sparkles/snow.  When it was time for round #10, I had my hoop “on the machine, latched in”.  Then I simply poured some GLITTER in the center of the globe, and carefully laid the vinyl over the top.

adding the glitter

This first couple of globes I was using the thicker vinyl, and had not employed the Static Guard.  Yes, the stuff bounces around a bit, but I would stop and use the edge of my stylus to poke the glitter over near the area that had already stitched.  I did this on every globe, no matter what my “sparkles/snow” material was.  I just started and stopped, poked and moved the stuff away from where the needle was going. (Round #10 is just around the outside of the globe).  The bigger objects were actually easier to prod a little. And LESS is best! (That is the consensus on the Kreative Kiwi group too!)

Glitter Sequins beads sparkles

Glitter in the upper left, glass beads and sequins, and metal spacer beads and foil spoke sparkles.  I seriously just dug this stuff out of the drawers and boxes of paper crafting, and jewelry making stuff.

I dug deep into a bin of “inherited” crafty stuff and dug up some vintage bits (circa 1997) –

Crafty stuff

The tree and balls are a little big, but the snowflake mitten and stockings are good sizes for a single item plus glitter.

In that same inherited stuff I this -The bits at the top were in a bag in the jewelry making stuff; some kind of stone with tiny holes.  The red, green, blue & white was all in a plastic bottle together and were useful. There were even some clear pieces and all different sizes to choose from.

More sparkles

And in another bin I found shiny hearts and crystal looking bits.

Hearts and beads

 

Some of these items were kind of thick, but that didn’t seem to be a problem.  I just made sure to go slow, stop and push the stuff around as the vinyl stitched down.  I even used the edge of the stylus to hold the stuff off to one side during the process.

IF you have to shop, look in the craft aisle at your favorite store. Little bits go a LONG way. I was at Hobby Lobby just yesterday and found all kinds of fun stuff that would make great “snow” in the globes, but since I already have so much at home, I didn’t buy anything.  If you are at the dollar store, look for the “confetti” that goes into greeting cards.  Think about paper crafting stuff you may have around….you could punch out some stars or snowflakes out of glittery paper.   I pretty much made my snow globes with things I had on hand already!

HANGERS – I used a variety of things, from wide ribbon to narrow glittery rickrack. Again; use what you have around. You could also use cording, card crafting bakers twine. One person in the Facebook group was unhappy with the thickness of her cord….so, consider scale. I like the blue ribbon below and the rick rack better than the red plaid ribbon.

Snow Globe FUN

I mentioned yesterday that I had to “stop” making these as I ran out of water soluble VILENE stabilizer. Since I had the opportunity to pop into Hobby Lobby, I was able to pick up two yards of 20″ wide, so I will be back to these and finish up the last two for Thanksgiving.  (I ordered some from Amazon and Walmart.com and am “still waiting”…..glad I had an excuse to go to Hobby Lobby!),

USE what you have on hand. These really only take 2 – 5″squares of fabric, a 5″ square of batting & a 5” square of vinyl.  I used a bit of iron on interfacing on the back of the globe as suggested in the instructions. These were all things I had on hand. I have 2 globes that are not Christmas fabric, and those two were unique to the 2 son-in-laws and their special interests.  Go create and have fun!!