Hello March!

I just could not wait for February to disappear. It always feels like the longest month at the end of Winter. It’s still cold here in Southern Delaware, but at least the sun is shining. Next week things are warming up and we will be out of the “below freezing” at night! Hoping for just one last winter delivery of home heating oil in the week ahead.

Now that the weather is better, I have been venturing out more often to my sewing room. I did a project in February for a birthday gift, but couldn’t really post about it until the package was delivered. Sent it out via USPS priority mail on Feb 19 and it FINALLY got delivered on March 3. So much for 2 business day service! At the time I delivered it to my local postal clerk, I was told it will be there on Tuesday….My package got “lost in transit” between Philadelphia PA and Santa Barbara CA between Feb 24 and March 3. I finally entered a “lost package query” on the USPS website, complete with photos. I did that on March 2nd, when the package was a full one week overdue. Magically, it arrived and delivered to the residence on March 3. So; I can quit wondering what happened and be happy it arrived. The recipient and I chatted about bandits holding up the stagecoach and wishing the pony express was carrying this precious package!

Here are the contents of the very travel weary parcel-

tea time placemats
Two “Tea Time” placemats (Embroidery design by Sew Sweetly . com )
"Tea Towels"
3 Tea towels with machine embroidery design by designs by JuJu Tea Time Applique DBJJ313
Tea Time coasters
2 Tea Time Coasters – machine embroidery design by Sher’s Creative Space

Each of these projects was a lot of fun to make and my recipient is a “known” tea only drinker, and I thought she would enjoy them for her birthday. All of the designs were done in the 5×7 hoop.

I’m sure if they never showed up I could “redo” them, but I would have to dive into the fabric bin and find something else almost as cute as these fabrics. Most of the applique bits came from my never ending bin of scraps that I save specifically for embroidery machine applique. I had just a small piece of the “chicken wire and chicken fabric” and could not repeat that if I had to. I am SO glad the package finally showed up.

The tea towels were “Aunt Martha’s Retro towels” that I purchased last year from Oh My Crafty Supplies . They are available in other places, and are currently out of stock at this vendor. These are my favorite dish towel to embroider on. I have found them at WalMart in the craft section in the store & on line, and on Amazon. They start out at 18×28, and I ALWAYS prewash in hot water for maximum shrinkage. Boy do they shrink, but they are a nice “usable” towel for drying glassware and china. They are durable and will last for many years, unlike a lot of the “flour sack” towels others like to use. I like the size and the loop in the corner, and even though they look so cute with the embroidery, they are usable and functional. The more you wash them the softer they get.

While I was having fun with machine embroidery, I got busy with the verses that go on my church quilts for the high school graduates. I send all the parents to Designs by JuJu website and have them select verses for their graduating student. So far, these are the ones I have stitched out. Special thanks to Designs by JuJu for digitizing so many Bible verses and offering them for free. I am always pleased with the quality of the stitch out and Designs by JuJu’s gift helps me with this ministry at my church. This year, there will be “more than one” verse on each students quilt.

verse for senior quilt
Verse Christopher's Senior Quilt
Emily's quilt verse
Christopher's Quilt

These verses will go in the corners of the quilts we are making along with a photo of the church, which I print out every year on fabric. I am working on assembling one of the quilts, while there is a group working on another.

I have all the blocks made, the quilt top laid out on the design wall to my satisfaction and have started putting it together. I was so blessed to participate in two day long ZOOM quilting days last week and got a lot of stitching done. I have half of the quilt “webbed” together and just need to stitch the 10 rows together, then join it with the right side which is all ready assembled.

Emily's quilt partially assembled
Emily’s quilt

I used the Jodi Barrows Square in a Square ruler, option 2 for the alternate blocks. I like the way the corners make star points if you squint one eye. All the fabric for this particular quilt was donated by one of the church members when she cleared out her sewing room.

Blocks in Emily's quilt

The student likes blue, and I am planning on a blue border, using the same fabric as the wide backing.

The quilt for the other student is very striking as well. His grandmother purchased all the fabric, including the wide backing and is participating in the construction. One volunteer stitched all the half square triangle blocks, and we got together to starch, press, cut, starch, open and press and trim last Saturday. The previous Saturday we worked on cutting out the strips and squares needed for the project.

Blocks for Christopher's Quilt
Christopher’s quilt

This two color quilt will also be quite striking and we are planning on using the same red as the backing for the borders. Both quilts are using 8.5″ squares. With half square triangle blocks you have endless ways to layout the quilt and one of the volunteeres liked this particular pattern. It made her think of the marching band going across the football field in formation. Perfect for this musician.

I’ve ordered wide backing for both quilts and it will be nice to work with. We won’t be quite ready for another week or two so I’m hoping the USPS does a better job with the shipment of that fabric. These two color quilts are very fun to work with and are so different from what we did for the last 12 years. When there are only a couple of grads, it gives us more time to be creative. Normally we alternate a print block and a plain block and allow for space for the congregation to sign the quilt. But, this year, like last year; that isn’t possible, so we really wanted them to stand out. I will make a nice label for the back of the quilt on my embroidery machine as well to let the student know that the quilt was made especially for them.

I did one little embroidery project for my quilt guild. In December we all received a piece of fabric in the mail, and the project was launched. It was called “Ask” to Reconnect Us Project”. Each member was provided an 8″ square piece of fabric with which to create a finished block that reflects you as a quilt maker. I left my square pinned to my design wall for almost 2 months, and then, at the eleventh hour, I got busy and came up with a plan. I found one of my favorite embroidery designs, called Sewing Friends available at Kreative Kiwi. It is a free set and has several adorable Sewing designs. I used scrap fabric for the embroidery and the provided turquoise for the strips around the center square. I don’t really have a name for this block because it didn’t come out exactly like I had planned, and I had to adapt and regroup. I do like how it finished and I think it reflects my enjoyment of machine embroidery along with quilting. That pink came right out of the scraps that were used in the quilt I made in January for Stella. (More about that project on https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2021/01/31/a-finished-small-project/ )

Block for OWQG
Ask to Reconnect us project.

That should catch you up on my cold February sewing and embroidery work. I did work on my clue for Scrap Dance Pachanga, but the units need to be pressed, so I will save them for the next post.

What is happening in your sewing room?

December 2020 wrap up

Well; thank goodness 2020 is gone. I have always said don’t wish time away, but this is ONE year that has been so full of upheaval in our everyday lives that I don’t want to repeat it ever again. We are blessed that our grandchildren are “IN” our safety bubble and get to see them on a regular basis! In order to be “IN” the safety bubble, we do very little “outside of the bubble” and report in if there is cause to do something that might be “risky”. This means no hanging out with anybody outside the bubble; no dinners out with others in restaurants, no quilt bees or extended visits of friends indoors, no travelling to shop for fabric in Lancaster PA, no parties or social gatherings outside the circle. This has worked very well for all 10 of us, since June; and we are all staying safe because of the trust in behavior we have with each other. It meant we have had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas together with no risk of infecting one another. We are blessed to be retired, and that the kids are doing their best with school via remote learning and limited in person contact when school is in session. My grandkids have adapted to “outdoor play” no matter the weather with their neighborhood friends. We did one day “out” to shop in a local community for Christmas and used all the recommended methods for keeping safe. The bulk of our Christmas shopping was online.

I’m sorry that my blog has been silent in December. I was busy getting ready for Christmas. Along the way I took a LOT of photos. This year was “odd” because my husband wasn’t tied up with his annual train club open house events, and that meant he spent a LOT of time decorating at home.

Decorating 2020 Christmas

Tree decorating at our house started Thanksgiving week and took around a week to get “done”. We set a card table up in the living room and unboxed ornaments, and set aside a lot to have the grandkids give us a hand. They really enjoyed looking at the ornaments and helping us decorate the tree.

It was a lot of fun looking at the ornaments through the eyes of the kids. I had fun looking at the ones we had collected over the years during our travels. The 3 in the slideshow below are just a sample of our travel collection.

Once that train track goes down under the tree, I am finished!

Under the tree
G scale train under the Christmas tree

If you are interested in seeing the train “run” pop over to this link –https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mc17HTuFJFG1uzhd7

Hubby has a large collection of Star Trek ornaments by Hallmark that he hangs on garland on our stair railing. Unboxing and putting in batteries etc is often a 2-3 day project. He had some help from our grandson this year.

Unboxing the ornaments
Unboxing of the Star Trek ornaments

The two youngest grand girls had a “sleepover” at grandma’s one night in December, and they worked hard helping us “arrange” the Christmas village.

To see a little “train action” in the Christmas village, pop over to this link – https://photos.app.goo.gl/bZeRf5Zf6atLEVdU7

I did some sewing in December. My blogging friend Carole ( https://FrommyCarolina Home.com// ) had a couple of ZOOM retreats in December and I really enjoyed participating.

During the first retreat, I worked on 3 blocks for the Vintage Christmas Quilt (book / pattern by Lori Holt). I did the 12″ blocks and the last 3 I finished were the candy canes, the cup and the stocking. I admire anybody who did the 6″ blocks with those much smaller pieces. My favorite block so far is the train, because my hubby encouraged me to put a Santa face in the block.

Vintage Christmas Quilt

This completes the sew along that Carole inspired just before Christmas in 2019. (She was done in July!) I had made kits up for all the blocks, and have now learned to “not cut fabric after drinking wine” with the last 3 blocks! 🙂 During the Zoom retreat I discovered several “miss cuts” in the kits I had prepared months ago! I was able to overcome that problem because I had all the fabric for the project still binned together and quickly recut what I needed. I decided that there are a few more blocks I want to make in that book, so this will hang on the design wall a bit longer. Thinking about how to sash the blocks, which blocks to “make” for another few rows or column is fun, and may be a January project for me.

The second Zoom retreat I chose to work on Christmas gifts. I had decided in October that I was making “pajama pants” for the grandkids, and it took me a while to get around to it. I had all the flannel fabric prewashed, and the day before the Zoom retreat, I copied my pattern into the 3 sizes I needed on butcher paper, and got all the pieces cut out. During the zoom call I got 3 sets of pajama pants made. I was worried about flannel “raveling” during the washing and someone suggested zigzagging the raw edge of the seams. I did that on the first pair, but during the 2nd & 3rd pair I found the “overcast stitch” on my Janome 8900 and that speed up the process of constructing. Following the second Zoom retreat I got a fourth pair of pajama pants made, and thanks to quick shipping from Amazon, I got the elastic and twill tape for ties that I needed. It did this Stitching Grandma’s heart good when the grandkids were EXCITED about the pj’s. It was funny to watch really. The oldest (12 year old boy) was the first to open his package and jumped off the sofa, ran to change. Throughout the afternoon of unwrapping, as each subsequent child opened their package, they ran to change. They all spent the day in their “cozy pajamas”. I included long sleeve cotton t-shirts for them, as I wasn’t sewing tops.

PJs for Christmas!

I also did some machine embroidery. I’ve been trying to give everybody in the family an “ornament” every year. This year, I joined a group on Facebook with John Deer https://www.facebook.com/JohnDeerEmbroidery and he gifted the cutest little gingerbread ornament. These are done as “free standing lace” (FSL) using matching top & bobbin thread on water soluble stabilizer. As you will see as you look through the photos, I put a little bit of tulle in my hoop with the stabilizer to add some extra “structure” to the ornament. There is so much waste of stabilizer, I find that I can reduce the waste by putting more than one design in the hoop, and also by “stitching together” bits of stabilizer that might get thrown away. I use 2 layers for FSL, so one layer often contains some of that “Frankenstein stabilizer”. It works well and doesn’t really matter that I used grey thread to join the bits together. I did have one little gingerbread man who was kinda naughty….He ran away and forgot to get all his frosting and eyes, so I “repaired him” with some sparkly eyes glued on and kept him for myself…as he was particularly acting like he was a 2020 oops.

My other “big embroidery/sewing” project was a gift for my daughter. I purchased a pattern in Dec 2019 for the Sweet Pea casserole carrier . The project includes 10 different blocks to stitch out on the embroidery machine, then join on the sewing machine. You need to do a few “repeat blocks” and it didn’t take me long to figure out some of these blocks took upwards of 30 mins to stitch. I used fabric from my never ending scraps for the blocks, and African Wax fabric for the handles, lining, bottom. I like the continuity to the project the African Wax fabric gives in contrast to the scrappiness of the embroidered blocks. I also added extra wool batting and peltex (http://www.pellonprojects.com/products/70-peltex-sew-in-ultra-firm-stabilizer/) in the bottom of the carrier for added warmth and stability. I also quilted the end panels and the bottom panel . The hardest part of this project was turning it “right side out” with peltex inside, but I think it turned out really well. The pattern directions are a bit ambiguous about sizes for the end panels, and I had to do some “adjusting” because of it.


Each block is done “in the hoop” with batting and Insulbrite under the fabric. The pattern gives you a choice of a 4×4 block or a 5×5 block. I did the 5×5. The hoop is taken off the machine for “trimming” of the batting and Insulbrite, and on the blocks with more than one fabric, for trimming of the seam allowances.

Once all the blocks are made, the carrier is completed at the sewing machine. I had fun picking the fabrics and the threads for the various blocks. The African Wax fabric (the lime green and brown) was gifted to me by my other daughter when she lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I thought it was a special way to keep the fabric “in the family”. I got right down to December 23rd before I finished, but was quite pleased with the results.

Christmas eve and Christmas day were fantastic with the family. We “partied” like rock stars with the 4-12 year old’s and parents on Christmas Eve, playing lots of games my daughter presented. Even ol’ grumpy played along and had fun. (Hubby NEVER plays games….) Christmas Day was relaxed and fun, and my daughters each took part in creating a fabulous Christmas dinner. Hubby helped set the “new table” and I even thought to take a photo, though somewhat fuzzy. The “new table” is our big gift this year. I have been looking for 2 or 3 years for a table we could all fit at, and this one easily seats all 10 of us. One of my daughters found it for sale on Facebook Market place and we took a drive to Maryland to purchase it on Thanksgiving weekend.

Hubby and I celebrate our anniversary on New Years eve, and actually “went out” for dinner to a local place that we haven’t been in since March. It was good to be “out” and behaving like normal people, except for the much hated masks. What was strange is to walk in, seat ourselves in an empty restaurant, where 1/2 the tables are removed, and the workforce diminished to just a couple of people. What was good is the server “remembers” my husband and his very particular ordering habits, eating food that I enjoy, but didn’t have to cook and clean up. We had a quiet “rest of the evening” at home, enjoying our “binge watching” of the program “Heartland” on Amazon prime. We managed to make it to midnight, but I was asleep by 1230!!

The big “sigh” for me is the heartbreak of not seeing our beloved friends who are “locked away” in an assisted living facility who can’t even see their own family, much less friends from “outside” or even down the hall. We also have friends who lost loved ones this year due to poor health and COVID, and others that are living at home, alone, with no family near by. I hope to do better in this new year by calling more often to those who are alone, and staying in touch with distant family members.

I pray that in 2021 you will enjoy good health. I hope that 2021 is a year that will bring renewed health and improved economic situation to not only our friends, but those around the world who have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic. I pray that with the release of 3 vaccines in the last month in England and North America, the distribution will be done fairly and quickly. I pray that those who wish to be vaccinated will suffer no ill effects and that we will soon build to that “herd immunity” we have been waiting for. I will be “in line” for a vaccine so that I can “resume” more of a normal life, including travel and recreation with friends. I’ve still got a “cruise on the books” for 2021, and am hoping it will turn into a reality.

Thanks for following along with my rambles. Happy New Year.

Machine Embroidery Fall Fun

Off and on I show machine embroidery projects I have been working on. The month of October has been fun working on the Autumn Jubilee projects that Carole on From My Carolina Home blog has posted. She inspired me to do some stitching out of “leaves” on my machine which I showed in a previous blog post. When I was searching some of my favorite digitizing websites in September for inspiration, I came across this fun pattern for an ACORN Table Runner. I wasn’t certain how the leaves would be used in the Autumn Jubilee in October, but I thought I would possibly find a use for this pattern.

Since I was “all caught up” with #AutumnJubilee2020 with my quilt along row blocks and my sew along tote back, I decided to work on a few blocks.

Acorn Table Runner
pattern from https://swpea.com//

I started working on it Saturday. I had my choice on block sizes and choose the 150 mm block, which I stitched out using my 8×8 hoop.

Working on the acorns
Set up to run on my Janome 11000
Acorn patch first
First block waiting to be trimmed.

The fun of these patterns is choosing fabrics and threads. I used the same gold fabric for all the tops of the acorns. The block design had a meander stitch for quilting and I made the error of choosing a variegated thread. No fixing it after I took it out of the hoop. I even tried doing my own meander on the sewing machine ‘after the fact’ and it looked so bad I ripped it all out. The variegated threads looked great on those open leaves in the corners though. Oh well, lesson learnt. Thread choice is as important as fabric choice.

After I got the second block done, I decided I better be serious about my fabric and thread choices. I chose 2 fabrics for background and a wide variety for the acorns and leaves.

Of course, on Sunday, the instructions came out for the Autumn Jubilee wall hanging that has the leaves. I played around with those leaf blocks and the first couple of acorn blocks, and decided NOT to intermix them. The scale was so different, I decided I would carry on making acorn blocks, make the table runner, and work on the wall hanging later.

Now that I have all 10 blocks embroidered, I have found a layout with them that I think works for me.

Ten blocks completed
ready to put together

The fun of working on these blocks is that ALL of the fabrics for the acorns and leaves came from my “scraps”. Ever since I did that Knitting bag last fall, I have kept 8 small baskets with fabrics sorted by color, just for embroidery machine applique projects. It was handy to reach in and pull out little bits of fabrics for these machine applique pieces.

Next up is to stitch the rows together and figure out what to use as a backing. Pattern calls for you to “turn” this project and top stitch to finish it off. It should finish quickly as there is no binding required. Sweet Pea designs has a Facebook group, and I chatted with someone this week who had just finished her table runner and asked about how easily it turned. The secret is leaving a good opening, clipping the corners and chopsticks for poking out the corners after turning. I usually employ a long knitting needle for that job so keep your fingers crossed. I’ll post a finished picture in a few days.

Another interesting project I did this month was to stitch using my embroidery machine on card stock. Embroidery Library has lots of designs, especially digitized for card stock. I read though the tutorials and purchased one design. The design I selected has just over 8500 stitches of a 5×7 card.

EL for cardstock
First card
inside
I used a package of “quilting papers” I had to cover the inside back of the card, and my stamps to add a message of care to the inside the card. This was a fun card to stitch out, and I think I would another card again. The designs are specially digitized for cardstock and Embroidery Library has quite a few.

I have enjoyed really getting to know my embroidery machine in the last year. I have to say this is so much more fun than making COVID-19 masks!

What is happening this week in your sewing room? Do you have a favorite place to download designs? Do you like projects that incorporate machine embroidery with your quilting projects?

Autumn Jubilee Tote bag

I’ve been following along with the From My Carolina Home #AutumnJubilee2020 this month, and this week was time to finish the tote bag in the sew along. Directions for the finish can be found on the blog here – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/18/autumn-jubilee-sew-along-finishing-the-bag/

When I read through the instructions, I decided for I did not want to do a Velcro closure on my bag, so I ordered some “magnetic” purse closures on Amazon. I was “waiting” for that delivery on Tuesday so I could finish this project. (Note...local friends…I have extra magnetic closures if you need them….they came in a pack of 20 and it will take me that many years to use them.)

I showed details on my chosen fabrics and progress recently on a post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/stars-and-strips-autumn-jubilee/

Stitching is completed
Strip set sewn together and quilted with deco stitch

I waited a while to come up with my “panel” for embellishment. I was supposed to insert it before quilting, but I could not decide on the fabric for a few days. I chose the linen multi color block fabric that is in the middle of the strip set for my panel and got the embroidery done a couple of weeks ago.

Panel for inset on bag
In hind site I should have stabilized better because I had a lot of pulling of the linen fabric with the embroidery.

Yesterday I sat down to follow those “bag finishing instructions” (linked at the top of the page).

I had to first add fusible fleece to the back of my embroidered piece and then insert it in the strip set. Once it was in, I decided it needed quilting. I did some straight line quilting using the same thread as the ‘fancy stitches” on the strips, using Superior Threads Fantastico “CASHMERE” thread. (My all time favorite color!) The quilting and the fusible fleece helped make the wrinkles around the edges of my embroidery disappear.

panel inserted and quilted
Panel inserted and quilted

Once that was done it was time to trim up the piece. I just could not bring myself to cutting it down to the “pattern size”, so I squared it up, trimmed and measured and went with a bigger size bag. I ended up with about 16 1/4″ by 44″.

IMG_20201020_162449746
The fusible fleece and boxed corners help the bag to stand up nicely

I dug into my Autumn Jubilee bin of fabric and chose my bag lining and handle fabric.

As I was deciding on which fabrics to use, I decided that the bag NEEDED pockets inside. I had enough fabric of either color to make pockets. I used the fabric that was left after making straps and made two pockets for inside.

pocket for the lining
The pockets are attached to the lining before the lining is inserted into the bag.

I added the magnetic closure to the lining before putting the lining in the bag. I put a small square of fusible fleece behind the lining fabric where the magnet prongs go through the fabric to keep it from pulling out.

Inside the bag magnetic closure
small disk is the magnetic closure, one above each pocket
IMG_20201020_171901327
Bag finished and ready to be used
IMG_20201020_172019675
Ready to be used

I was very happy with this project and my modifications along the way. One thing I would have changed is the width of the straps and the method for doing them. These straps are about 1 1/4″ wide finished, which is ok for a bag this size, but I like a thicker strap. I know the idea was to use those 2 1/2″ strips from jelly rolls, but I cut from yardage and could have done bigger. They do have fusible fleece inside the handles, so they are going to be comfortable to hold. You might remember my story of the puny strap bag last year https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/taking-care-of-some-odds-and-ends/

I am dashing off to an outdoor quilt bee and will be taking this bag for show & tell. This evening I am going to practice on muslin for hem-stitching / rolled hem for a scarf. Wish me luck, and tell me your tips!

What is on your sewing table today?

Sewing for others

I had the opportunity this last week to work on making a few gifts for other people. I also spent some time with my quilt guild neighbor, working on a few masks. She was making those masks to gift to a great grandson.

We sewed wearing masks, which is not a lot of fun. I know people are wearing masks all day at work and it amazes me how they stand it.

Thank goodness for being retired. I’m sure if I had to go to work every day and wear one, I would suck it up and carry on, but honestly, if I have to wear one to go out & have a little fun, I’d rather stay home for now. (And if you have been following me for any bit of 2020, you KNOW how many darn masks in varying styles I have made).

I did recently purchase some mask inserts that were suggested to me that help keep you a bit cooler in the mask, pushing the fabric out away from your nostrils. (Look on Amazon for a “face mask bracket” or “3D mask bracket” and you will find silicone open frames.)

I inserted them into the pocket of the masks on the style I made with pockets. On the most recent style (see my post https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/trying-out-a-new-mask-design/ ) I slipped the 3D mask bracket inside the layers before I stitched across the end closing it up. Those masked I marked an UP arrow with a sharpie on the inside of the mask, as the bracket definitely has an up and down.

3 d mask frame
3 d mask insert

They do really push the mask out from your nostrils and mouth, but you need to still have a snug fit over the bridge of your nose and under your chin, and that will happen with a good fitting mask like the one in the link I previously wrote about. You can also slip this frame BEHIND a ready made mask without a pocket, but the silicone touches your face, and you should be aware of that if you have an allergy. I did that with an older style mask and it was not uncomfortable. I think that is where you get the most benefit of holding the fabric away from your nostrils. The pack I bought had ten, and so I have played with various options. They even make them in kids sizes.

I can say that the mask frames that are inserted loosely inside my masks go through the washer and dryer without a problem. I just straighten them out when I take the mask out of the mesh bag from the clothes dryer. (REMEMBER your mask should be washed EVERY TIME you wear it, in HOT soapy water, and machine dried to kill any germs. DON’T wear the same mask over and over without washing!!!)

Other fun sewing….I want to go visit my friends, Walt & June at assisted living this week, and promised last time we talked that I would bring her “fall” placemats. I made two this weekend using a block pattern from Carole’s Autumn Jubilee 2017, Stars on Autumn Lane (pattern still available for A block and B block –https://frommycarolinahome.com/2017/10/13/stars-on-autumn-lane-block-a/ https://frommycarolinahome.com/2017/10/20/autumn-lane-block-b/ )

(You know me, I love the patterns from Carole’s blog – FROM MY CAROLINA HOME. Go take a look!)

I added a 3″ border and corner stones, then trimmed them to 2.5″ after the quilting. I used Pellon fusible fleece for the batting. The border fabric is right out of my friend June’s boxes of fabric I have stored. It is very “1980’s” but the colors were perfect, and I hope she recognizes it as “something from home”. I cleared out her sewing room (it took me 3 days with my hubby packing along side me) when she moved to assisted living 3 years ago. I often take her pieces of fabric from her boxes I have stored, to use, but she isn’t sewing too much anymore. When I was able to volunteer there to sew with the ladies as a group, we primarily used June’s fabrics and that made her very happy!

placemats for Walt & June

I decided to “turn” these placemats instead of bind them to get them finished a little faster. It is NOT my favorite method, but they are DONE. ( I can never get a good closure even trimming away the batting at the opening. Anybody got a secret method? )

Another fun project — One of my daughter’s is having a birthday, and we all got together yesterday for a fun party, where she cooked for US, including the best carrot cake in the world for her own birthday cake. (She loves to cook and to entertain.)

I made her a new apron from fabric I bought a few years ago. (So nice to have it in my stash waiting). It is a very durable twill fabric with a delightful print. I am certain it came from Hobby Lobby. The “last” apron I made for her I wrote about here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/a-sense-of-accomplishment/

I wish I had made a note in that blog post of “which” pattern I had made for her. I dug through my file drawer and pulled out my patterns and thought I would try this one. I’ve made it before, but honestly can’t remember which modifications I made. After she wore that apron (2017 edition) she made some comments about fit…which I intended to save and have lost. SIGH………

Apron pattern
vintage pattern

I did like the pockets, but of course, I had to slightly modify them. In the B view of the pattern the pockets bloused out too much, so I made it into 2 pockets by running a stitch down the middle. The inverted pleat gives you extra “room” if you need it.

big pockets on the bottom

There is also a top pocket, and I left it as a single pocket. I tested, and my phone fit right in.

Top pocket

No need to divide that top pocket for a pen.

A new apron

I used the Medium size, but am annoyed at how “long waisted” it seems. It doesn’t look it laying on the table, but the minute it was finished and I tried it on, I was annoyed. It’s just FINE for my 5’11” tall husband (I made him one a long time ago from this pattern). My daughter is about 5’5″, so it will fit her better than me! First thing I did after trying it on was to pull it up at the apron ties and insert a little fold. I guess it will have to do. It’s done, and gifted! I pre-washed the fabric, so I can’t hope for much shrinkage. It does have a good “wrap” so your lower half is protected.

I was happy that I left a note in the pattern to not try to “turn” those apron ties. I modified how I made them an did them like “double fold bias binding”, folding down the center and then folding in the edges and pressing and top stitching. Maybe a little narrower than the original design of the pattern, but functional. I did leave a note in the pattern this time about how long waisted it is !

My hubby laughs at my angst, because he said “IT’s an APRON, not a designer dress”.… and I know my daughter will splash and wipe her hands in a hurry like she does with all the other aprons I’ve made over the years. She puts an apron on every time she works in the kitchen at her house and mine, so I know it will get used ! Functional!

My last little project was for one of the grand kids. She is going to dress up like ROSIE THE RIVETER for Halloween.

During dinner last week we chatted about her costume, and I had shared a red bandana I had. Her mommy said I could help with the costume by making a mask that she could wear while she was out in her costume. This is the idea we came up with –

Halloween mask

I used Superior cotton GLOW IN THE DARK white thread when stitching it out on my embroidery machine. It kind of glows green in the dark which she just loved.

GLOWING

Don’t panic about all the holes that machine embroidery does…..the back of the mask is TWO layers, with a filter pocket. Her mom can add a piece of cut away stabilizer in the pocket for a filter. That will keep her safe….

I did the whole mask “in the hoop” on my embroidery machine. I had a pattern for the mask from Smart Needle.com that I used. I did the placement and tack down stitch, then switched over to the wording in another file that I had done up on Embrilliance using the built in block lettering.

Set up to stitch

I adjusted the wording to fit in the mask and loaded that glow in the dark thread. (LOTS of thread breaks with that cotton thread).

Mask making

Once the front was finished, I added the elastic, making sure there were knots at the ends and taped them down. Then I added the two backing pieces on the TOP of the mask, returned to the original “smart needle” pattern in the machine, and ran the placement stitch and the tack down stitch again (twice). I didn’t want a lot of top stitching on the mask, so I removed it from the hoop, tore away the stabilizer and trimmed the mask and turned it . I’m so happy with my machine and all the little tricks I have learned over the course of the year where I can interrupt the machine and easily modify to suit my needs. It took me about an hour to make, including the test mask. The test I did as a child size and it was VERY small. 🙂

Test run

I have “one more” small project to work on for the same granddaughter . Can you guess what I am doing with this?

Can you guess

I went in search of this fabric on Friday and ended up on a 63 mile round trip ride! Any advice for a rolled hem would be appreciated! I’ll practice on muslin first!

What is happening in YOUR sewing room? Any Halloween costumes? Christmas stitching? Do tell.

Trees and Leaves Autumn Jubilee 2020

It is week 2 of the quilt along for Autumn Jubilee 2020. This week we worked on row # 2.

This was fairly fun and fast to make using a small leaf print and a variety of background fabrics. It took me longer to decide on background bits than cutting out all the leaf fabric. I bought this leaf fabric a few weeks ago, specifically for this project. I like all the variety of colors in the print.

ready to sew
fun with trees

I bet I rearranged the few background pieces 10 times, and cut lots of extras! I do like the way this came together. Pattern is located at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/09/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-2/

Another project for Autumn Jubilee 2020 this week is the Machine Embroidery Wall hanging.

Details at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/12/embroidery-wall-hanging/

When Carole announced that she was incorporating some machine embroidery into this years Autumn Jubilee, I got very excited. I have SO many designs saved on my computer, and they are sorted by categories like Seasons, or Holidays, and sub-sorted by specifics, like FALL or Thanksgiving etc. For two or three weeks I have been going through those folders and looking at all the Fall / Autumn designs I have, along with continuing to download ‘free’ designs from lots of places. I narrowed it down into 8 designs.

I decided to use some interesting stitch patterns from a digitizer called Sew Sweetly. I get a freebie every day, and of course, I can’t help but window shop. They have a series of fall designs that I liked, and have some great prices. Rather than order the complete set (Fall/Autumn Bean/Vintage Stitch Embroidery Design bundle) https://www.sewsweetly.com/embroidery-and-applique-design-bundles/3408-fall-autumn-bean-vintage-stitch-embroidery-design-bundle , I picked just 4 of the designs since Carole recommended stitching out 4 blocks. (Don’t tell, I have all those designs, but bought a few more….)

I decided to use one fabric for all 4 blocks, and my 8″ x 8″ hoop on my Janome 11000. Since I don’t know what the “assembly” or “finished piece” is supposed to look like, I felt like the “one fabric” would give my blocks some continuity. I have a couple of other prints set aside to use for possible borders. (I am keeping out my fall fabric container, and my Autumn Jubilee bin in close reach for the “next set of instructions”.)

As I matched threads to the design worksheet for the first block, I decided to keep those threads out and try to use them in each of the 4 blocks.
My first design really defines the grouping –

first block

I find it fascinating to watch the machine do the work. Don’t kid yourself, machine embroidery has a huge learning curve, and I am continually learning. I’ve learned a lot about stabilizers, hooping, basting boxes, floating fabric, floating stabilizer under my hoop, tension adjustments and more. The most important thing I have learned is to LISTEN to the machine. I can tell if something is going wrong simply by the change in sound. It may have sounded like noise to you, but to me, the sound in the video below was the sound of everything running right.

My second block was one I called a “swirl” of leaves. I did a little rotating of the design on the screen and some slight increasing of the size.

swirling leaves
Swirl of leaves

My third block tells the story of what happens when the wind blows.

tree loosing leaves
When the wind blows

The last block I played with quite a bit in my machine options. I had the colors from the previous 3 blocks lined up on the ironing board next to the embroidery machine. When I brought the design in to the machine, I decided to “duplicate it” for a total of 3 designs. I rotated the designs and positioned them in a way that I felt was fairly balanced. I did some minor increasing on each of the 3 designs, and when it looked good on the screen, I decided I was happy with it. This really filled the space in the block and made it more interesting .

machine set up
15 colors, 22,443 stitches, 7.4 x 7.9 inches
In the hoop
starting the final grouping of 5 leaves

As each group of 5 leaves stitched out, I adjusted the colors to keep them balanced with the previous group.

leaves
Autumn leaves come in all colors

When the “next” round of directions come out for this wall hanging, I will make the choices on other fabrics that will compliment the blocks I have made.

It’s been fun to do these 4 blocks and I can’t wait to see what Carole has planned next on her blog https://frommycarolinahome.com/

Are you stitching along with #AutumnJubilee2020 ??

Labels for old projects and Autumn Jubilee

As I was changing out a table runner this summer, I remembered that the project didn’t have a label on it. If I make something I usually put some sort of label on it to remind me later of “when” I made it and “what” I referred to it by on my blog posts, in my photo collections etc. I was also moving a wall hanging his summer and when I looked at the back of it I discovered it was lacking a label. I made a mental note to “make labels” and immediately carried on doing other things.

While I was out in my sewing room, working on the never ending scrap clean up (oh…do I have a mess…..) I took a break from cutting things up and grabbed a piece of fabric and made a couple of labels on my embroidery machine.

I have to tell you I haven’t totally figured out the Janome 11000 that I have been using now for a solid year. I can’t figure out how to get more than one line of text on the screen, so I sat down at the computer to work it out. I am using the software called Embrilliance, in EXPRESS MODE, which is FREE.

I’m learning more and more all the time about how to use it. When I started with this set of labels, I found a “frame” built in to the software options. I tripped over it while poking around in the program, and can’t tell you where I found it. (Don’t you just hate when you find something cool and can’t repeat it!) Anyway, I had this green and yellow variegated thread already on the machine, and thought it would make a fun stitch out.

Variegated thread frame
fun with variegated thread
Blue bird label with frame
Finished label

I am having a little “bobbin thread” issue, with the bobbin thread showing on top with this blue thread for the words, but I’m not going to sweat the little stuff…the label is finished, stitched on.

My Little bluebird

I use the same method all the time when making a label to have a nice “finished” edge. I mentioned before that I learned the technique from Pat Sloan https://www.patsloan.com/ when she taught how to make a nice ‘circle’ for an applique project.

Essentially, you lay a piece of fusible pellon over your label, with the glue side facing the RIGHT side of your label. You stitch all around the edges, then cut a slit in the pellon and turn it “right side out. You smooth the edge where the pellon is stitched to your fabric with your finger tip and you have a nice finished edge. I iron the label to the project, then hand stitch around the edges. Most of the time two edges are enclosed in the binding, but since this was adhered after the project was made, I had to hand stitch all the way around. The beauty of the fusing is it holds your label in place while you stitch; no pins! Also, it is an extra security to keeping your label on the project. Not quite so easy to remove, depending on the type of pellon you choose to use.

circles on bluebird
Circles for applique
Close up blue bird
Lots of circles with this machine applique project

The circle turning method was used on the wall hanging the label went on. So, after 5 years of hanging around with no label, it is “FINISHED”. I did this project in a class with Pat Sloan and wrote about it several times https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/wild-and-free-and-bluebirds/ while it was “in progress”.

The second label I made was for my FIRE AND ICE table runner. I used the same green fabric, but switched to bright orange thread to complement the “fire’ on the runner. It’s a funny name for a project, but the ice blue and the bright oranges were the inspiration for the name.

Fire and Ice label
label ready to stitch on

I had pins in it all around because I thought I would bring it in the house, pin to the back of the runner and hand stitch on last night. I decided to wait, and get the runner out of the closet and bring it to the sewing room to press on first. I hate to battle pins! And, I think the edge will be much sharper and crisper when I press it on first.

Note, this time I had NO problem with the bobbin thread peaking through. Sometimes those machines can be a bit finicky.

Batik table runner Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice table runner
Back of the table runner
Back of the runner

To see more about this runner, look for my previous post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fire-and-ice-batik-table-runner/

It’s been fun looking back on older projects, and getting the labels done.

Batik placemats
2018 batik placemats

I just love the different bright colors in batiks. Some can feel really dark, so they have to be used “sparingly” I think.

More placemat fun
Placemats in 2018

I can’t remember if I made 12 or more of these placemats back in 2018. I think I had given them all away to my daughters. When I was looking for a piece of fabric to use for the 2 labels I tripped over a basket of “partially made” placemats. That basket has been sitting around since 2018, so I must have thought about making more. I need a dozen for my “summer” table. I think they will all be a bit different from these I made early on. Something else to go out and work on I think. I really have to get rid of these baskets of partial projects in my next “effort” in my never ending clean up.

I am lucky to have the space, but the “clutter” is bogging me down. I am trying to spend a few hours every day this week to clear up and clean up a bit. I am on a self imposed deadline. Next week starts “Autumn Jubilee on the FROM MY CAROLINA HOME ” blog, and I always look forward to working with fall colors. Carole Carter did a Facebook Live Chat on the Friends of From My Carolina Home page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/591941124470566 ) last week and gave us a hint at what she has planned for October. She mentioned we might want to get a small “leaf” print, at least 1/2 yard in fall colors. I was able to pick up a piece this week that I hope will work. When the shop was unrolling it from the bolt, I realized it was the “end of the bolt” and took what was left. I got about 1 3/4 yard, so I will have plenty.

fabric for Autumn Jubilee 2020
Small print leaves for Autumn Jubilee

Since Carole has been doing Autumn Jubilee, I have kept a container with fall fabrics, and her patterns. It was always my “go box” when I had a quilt bee. I worked on bits and pieces for fall projects for years, and have made plenty of table runners and placemats. This week I took the bin out, sorted things, refolded and assessed what I had on hand. I have another similar sized tote with fall colors that were not “specifically” for Autumn Jubilee. I know I have used up my favorites over the years. Next blog post will be a compilation of my Autumn Jubilee projects from previous years, while I wait for the 2020 edition. I heard there will be opportunity for “machine embroidery” to be included, and I am excited to start something new. Meanwhile, I best get busy cutting up scraps and finishing up another old project left lying around.

What is happening in your sewing room this week?

 

Little project

Recently, I have been working on little things and enjoying a bit more time in my sewing room now that September has brought in some cooler temperatures. Hot summer days in the sewing room over the garage can be a bit much, and the pool is always enticing me to goof off. The last few nights have been in the 60’s (F) and really chilled things off from those hot humid summer days.

I had a project “sitting around” for a while (only a year I think). The blocks I had were a result of some ‘pattern testing’ for my friend Carole (https://frommycarolinahome.com//) a while back. It is easiest for me to test a pattern by actually making a few blocks. I decided at the time to sew them together and make a table runner. That has been sitting by for at least 18 months I believe. Anyway, I decided to add some narrow white borders to frame it, and finish it up with straight line walking foot quilting. I did a little fun stitching on the border using a pattern built into my Janome 8900 sewing machine.

The pattern is from the Scrap Dance series, and this is the Scrap Dance Minuet. The pattern is available for purchase on Carole’s blog – https://frommycarolinahome.com/my-patterns/

Scrap Dance Minuet pattern

My setting isn’t one of the pattern options. I made 3 block A and 3 block B’s. Dimensions before the white borders were 12.5″ x 72.25″. I added 2″ wide borders and made 198″ of binding. Of course I used my favorite Susie’s Magic binding, and you can see the little pop of blue with daisies on the edge of the binding.

You may wonder about that dark binding. I just wanted something a little darker to ground the table runner. Besides…it matches the back of the table runner. You may think it is an “odd” fabric, but there was a point to it.

Label for table runner

This will be an anniversary gift for a couple we know. When I presented the idea to my husband he thought it was a great plan! The fella is a “train buddy” of my husband. He always jokes about the great locomotives he gifts his lovely bride for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. She is quite an artist, and I hope she enjoys the “floral” side. I can just picture him flipping it over to the “train track” side to tease her a little.

I had an interesting time making the label for the back on my Janome 11000 embroidery/sewing machine. I used a program on the computer called Embrilliance in Express Mode to do the wording. I couldn’t merge the art into that program because it is copy right protected. BUT, I was able to merge it on the screen of my embroidery machine. I am fairly excited that I was able to do that!

The little video below is about 7 seconds. At the very end you can see a snippet of the machine screen. It shows the time for stitching as about 62 minutes, 27000(+) stitches. For some reason, it took me considerably longer, as I fought thread breaks all the way through. But, I persevered and finished. Note, I changed to a metallic thread needle with a slightly bigger eye, added more stabilizer under the hoop, changed to different brand of thread and much more to try to get it to stitch out nicely.

Once this was finished stitching, I attached the label to the back of the quilt and got busy finishing the binding and hand stitching two edges of the label. I use a light weight fusible pellon when I make the label putting the fusible on the FRONT of the label with the fusing side towards the pretty side of the label. I stitch all around the label, then slit an X to make hole in the center of the fusing and “turn” the label. It gives the label a nice finished turned edge and I can press it on the back of the project. I like to catch two edges in the binding to minimize how much hand sewing I have to do. Having the fusing on the back makes for a neat edge on the label and helps to prevent removal of a label. (I learned that trick from Pat Sloan when she was making circles for applique. It works for lots of things I have found.) In hindsight, I should have left the cut-away stabilizer on the back of the label, as the backing fabric shows through the white fabric. Note to self for a future label project! Oh I always learn the hard way. Not turning back on this one though!

It felt good to finish this off and the timing to give it as an anniversary gift was perfect.

Are you clearing up any UFO’s??

A HOT time making masks

A Hot Time making masks – Having a heatwave in Delaware this past week, where outside temps are in the nineties every day. The humidity has been over 80% most days as well. I have a freestanding Haier air conditioner in my sewing room and it isn’t keeping up with the heat. Temps have been over 80 in my studio space all week. We live in a 117 year old house without central air and this morning, my kitchen a/c said it was 80 when I got up. Trying to sleep last night in the bedroom at 80 degrees was miserable. Our pool was 95 last night and I am ever so grateful for the brief downpour we had this morning, to add cool water to the pool, bring up the water level and cool off the surfaces, decking, roof and more. The morning temp dropped from 81 to 77 so that was quite nice. So, time spent in my sewing room studio above the garage is “weather dependent” right now.

I was creating a few masks for my granddaughters last weekend and posted some photos on Facebook. The 3 below are size small, and took me about 3 hours from start to finish. This is my absolute favorite style of mask to make, and although very time intensive is the best style for fit I have made.

small masks for little people

The ones in the photo below I made on “speculation” a few would be purchased. I spent Sunday and Monday making 10 masks in my sewing room where the temperature was nearing 85 degrees.

Medium masks
amazing cats
Laurel Burch fabric
mint with teal green purple

Medium turquoise

My grand kids don’t know yet if they are going back to school “physically” in the fall, but if they do, they will need to be wearing masks all the time for the foreseeable future. One of the granddaughters liked some of the “speculation” masks I made and I made the elastic adjustment to fit her face properly.

Since I was having the kids for a pool time one day this week, they all came up to the sewing room (85 degrees in the late afternoon) and picked out 5 fabrics each from the “quilters resource center” (aka – stash). The are elementary and middle school age and the fabric choices were so interesting.

Masks for a middle school boy
Middle school boy…(middle fabric is more maroon than pink)

The fabric on the far right is official Boy Scout fabric with words.

Masks choices
Artsy middle school girl picked fabric with a vine theme
Second grader masks
Elementary school child choices

The nearly 8 year old elementary child came over yesterday morning and she learned to iron. She loves the OLISO iron with the pop up feet. Close supervision kept her from burning any fingers. She mastered spritzing the fabric with the spray bottle and loved watching the steam roll up off the fabric when she press it. She also learned about proper rotary cutting. Once the pieces were cut for 4 masks, she pressed the pleats using the pleating guide and enjoyed working with all my little binding clips to keep them in place. She also did the stitching on the ear channel (where the elastic goes) on my Janome 8900. She could sit on my stool, and I could sit behind her. It was easier for her to sew with the stop/start button. I made sure the plastic guide was set up, and she learned to chain piece. She really likes my little snips.

I was able to rotate this design on the screen in my machine. The pattern was purchased from Creative Appliques

The pleating template is part of the pattern, and there are multiple sizes in the pattern, so chose carefully based on your own machine hoop limitations. There is a 4×4 hoop option at Creative Appliques, along with other mask styles.

Using my Janome 11000 and the MA hoop(8×12 adjustable), I could get 4 of the small masks in one hooping. I like to conserve stabilizer by maximizing the number in the hoop. Mediums can be stitched 3 in a hoop with careful adjustments to mask placement on the screen and in the machine. I’ve mentioned “windowing stabilizer” on other blog posts. Link to that post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/windowing-stabilizer-the-twist-and-more/

I also have a video on removing items from the hoop for windowing – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/49789624736/in/album-72157712813350817/

Mediums in the hoop
3 mediums in my MA hoop

When I make this particular style mask, my husband creates nose wires for me from copper electric wire he has. He strips the plastic coating off the wire, pulls out the copper wire and strips it bare, cuts it to my desired length and curls the ends.

Cutting and prepping the fabric for these masks is much more time consuming than the donation masks I made back in March, April and May. They take longer because each mask has 5 pieces of fabric, and every piece is a different size. Each piece is prepared a differently before they are stitched, pleating folding, pressing etc.

Beyond the directions provided by Creative Applique, I add machine stitching on the ear channels so nothing “ravels” in the wash, and I add extra stitches to hold the nose wire “in place”. I also have been cutting into my $14/yard fabric for these masks. So, they are time consuming and rather expensive to make when you consider all the stabilizer, thread, and extra stitching I do. These masks have such a nicer fit than a typical 6×9 rectangular mask. There are 5 different pieces that go into the one mask, all cut to various sizes.

prepped and ready
Taped and stitching

When I am working on these masks, you can’t take your eyes off the machine for a minute, and there is a lot of taping things in place so the foot of the machine doesn’t get caught.

My daughter and I think it is important for the children to be “invested” in the process of making masks. Their labor and efforts will be remembered, and help them to have a better understanding of what actually goes into what “grandma” made. The “big” kids will get their turn, individually, to come over and spend some time making their masks.

I stopped making masks in May because I was burnt out and depressed. I am ONLY making masks for my family now. When asked by friends, I will sell them masks, because it is a lot of work. The idea of “selling to friends or strangers” can be a contentious subject. Believe me, I am not profiteering on COVID-19. If you are new here, understand that I have made and donated nearly 200, and many went to friends when you couldn’t BUY a mask anywhere back in early April. I stopped making donation masks in May because I was burnt out! I have invested a lot of money since the outbreak of COVID-19 in supplies, and charging people now is a way to recover the costs and enable me to continue to move forward and to supply masks to charitable groups. There are still groups asking for mask donations.

I set my price for these masks based on the time it takes me to make a high quality product and to offset the costs of fabric, elastic, stabilizer. You can buy a cheaper mask online and if money is your issue, then buy a box of disposable masks. You will get something made in a factory and it will go in the landfill.

masculine fabric for masks
Medium size masked prepped for stitching

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.