Embroidery Machine Projects

I figured out last week after attending the embroidery club gathering that I could hoop stabilizer, and so this week I have been working on long sleeve tee shirts for my youngest granddaughter.  I order 2 packages of shirts from WalMart.com and washed them to “pre-shrink” when they arrived.  She is just growing into a 4T and these might last her through the winter. I’ve enjoyed going through my various notebooks of designs and picking things that would suit her.

The first one I decided to make was called Trick or Treat Kitty —

Trick or Treat Kity

I used variegated thread for the cat and the bat on the hat. (Say that fast!)  Pleased with how we got a great striped cat, but not so much for the bat on top of the hat.  I didn’t want to make a black bat on a black shirt, so I thought it would stand out with the variegated thread….a little disappointing. (Hindsight I should have used silver!)

The second shirt was called Garden Sketch Kitty –

Garden Sketch kitty

This “sketch” design seemed a little light on the pumpkins and squash, and I ran the stitching a second time.  I should have run it again on the yellow flower or chosen a bolder brighter yellow.

Next up were pink pumpkins on a blue shirt….

Pumpkin sketch design

This “sketch” design put down a LOT of thread…and that’s good…because this thread by Superior Threads, GLOWS in the dark!  (Not that a 2 year old will be “in the dark” very often…but it is fun.  )

The next package of t-shirts were pastels, and I searched for “non-seasonal” designs in my notebooks.

Stitching out the cat face

This was the most challenging design of all with 3 pieces of applique and MANY thread changes.  Can you tell what it is?

(This was the FAVORITE of this group of 4 shirts)  She was very excited when her mother was showing her the shirts.  I think it turned out well, in spite of me letting get a sleeve under the hoop and having to spend an HOUR unstitching 1  flower to release the sleeve…sigh…

Cat Face

Hooping those little t-shirts is a challenge, trying to keep all the stuff “out of the way” while it stitches.

The next two shirts I finished up this afternoon.

Carousal Unicorn

Who doesn’t want to ride on a pegasus unicorn on the carousel??

And the final one…I couldn’t resist!

I love Cats Tshirt

All of these designs were for a 4×4 hoop, stitched out on my Brother PE500 machine. The designs were from Oh My Crafty Supplies.

I used Floriani Sticky back stabilizer in the hoop, and Floriani no show fusible mesh on the back of the shirt, and Floriani water soluble stabilizer  on top. I also backed the shirt after removing from the hoop and clearing jump stitches with a soft product called Cloud Cover (brand unknown) that would keep the thread and stabilizers from scratching a small child.  I used primarily Embroidex thread. (That variegated thread I was sent for free one year at Christmas from Embroidex).

These fun projects kept me busy this week!

What are YOU working on?

 

 

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The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

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Dish towels and Embroidery fun

I love to use my Brother PE500 embroidery machine to stitch designs on dish towels.  My favorite towels are called Retro Stripe Towels, under the brand name Aunt Martha’s Stitch ‘ Em Up blank goods.  The towels are made in India and distributed in the US by Colonial Patterns Inc, of Kansas City MO.  I have seen them on Amazon, but I buy mine from Walmart.com.  I used to find them in the store, but now have to order them thru the website.  They come in a package of 3, and measure out 18×28. They are 100% cotton, and are hemmed, with a loop in the upper left corner for hanging if desired.  I have used these since 2013 for embroidery projects, and my daughters tell me they hold up well to washing.  Before I embroider with the machine, I launder these towels in hot water, and put in a hot dryer.  I want to maximize the shrinkage before I do the stitching.  I think you lose about an inch in both directions after washing.  Yes, they need to be ironed after the first wash.  I use a mist of water combined with spray starch and give them a good pressing, right before I embroider.

My quilt guild, Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes Delaware is having a quilt show on April 26 & 27 2019.  One thing that happens at our shows is Raffle Baskets.  One of my bees, the Queen Bees, decided to choose the garden basket to contribute to the show.  We did the garden basket at our last show, so it was an easy choice.  I contributed a garden apron last time, but someone already signed up to make one this time, so I thought dish towels with something from the garden would work.

I had some fun the last couple of days stitching out designs from Embroidery Library.  They have high quality design that stitch very well.  I have a series of “baskets” and thought the designs would be right.  They are very dense designs and take about an hour or more to stitch out.  Most had between 10-12 thread changes.

Autumn Bounty Basket

Autumn Bounty Basket – Embroidery Library # H7481; 14584 stitches 3.88 x 2.44

Blooming Autumn Basket

Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library H7479; 20,427 stitches

Spring Fling Flower Basket

Spring Fling Flower Basket – Embroidery Library Design – K9637  22563 stitches 3.86×3.36″, 11 color changes

Here is the full set. The bottom basket I forgot to take an individual photo.

Four basket designs on dishtowels

The bottom basket with the apples is also called Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library # L5107, has 22,366 stitches.

All of these designs are still available on Embroidery Library.  If you are shopping, use the Embroidery # that I referenced in your search. I have stitched out 2 of them before, one on a   and one on a fall tee-shirt.  Too heavy for a thin tee-shirt, but perfect on a sturdy towel.

For the dish towels, I hooped a piece of medium weight cutaway stabilizer.  I used 505 spray on my stabilizer and pressed the towel on the stabilizer, in the hoop, adding a couple of pins around the edge of the frame for stability.  I floated an extra piece of medium weight cutaway under the hoop.  I topped with a piece of water soluble stabilizer.  During my stitchouts, I realised that the daffodils were too “tan”, even though the color I had chosen was a  .  I went back over those petals and “re-stitched” with a lighter yellow. The shading ended up great.  I also had to – over the leaves in the basket with the daffodils, as the color was just “too blue” for my taste.  The last 2 baskets were giving me fits with thread breaks and I did a lot of “backing up” and restarting. I finally changed my needle, twice, before my machine was happy again.  I don’t know if it was the 505 spray that was still to “wet” or if it was that the needle was just tired!  Same needle has been in my machine for the last 3 weeks, so perhaps it was over-due.    I went through 2 bobbins during the stitch out, which surprised me. I’m glad I have that large spool of bobbin thread from thread art, and that I can wind them easily on my Janome machine while the embroidery machine stitches across the room.  One lesson I learned on winding bobbins is to not -. The other is, my machine does not like a “low bobbin”.  It throws the tension off, and the machine will stop and give you an “out of bobbin” warning.  I save those last few feet of bobbin thread for hand stitching my English paper piecing projects.

All 4 dish towels are finished, ready to bag up and deliver to the next Queen Bees gathering.

Side note – I got finished with these stitch outs, and my dear husband tells me……..they are too heavy for using to dry dishes.  So, maybe whoever wins the raffle basket will just use them to decorate with.  I might go back and find some “lighter” designs for the next round of towels!  I considered the size of the design; less than 4″x4″ and the overall size of the towel (18×28″) and decided there is plenty of room to dry!  These designs do soften up with multiple washings over time, but he is right in that they feel heavy. One reason I did not like them on a t-shirt was it felt much like having an armor plate on your chest with all those stitches.  Hindsight….. off to check out lighter designs at Embroidery Library

PS…no, I don’t work for Embroidery Library, and no, I get no compensation.  I pay them for my designs!  😉

Do you have a “favorite” embroidery design source?  Do tell……

More small projects and storms

BUSY WEEK !!  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting, so that meant an afternoon of loading containers in the SUV, and a 7 am departure to unload and set up for sales before the meeting began, then pack up, store some boxes and bring the empty containers home.  (We sold 85% of the fabric we took to the meeting!)  I am grateful to be able to store at the church where we meet, and only have to bring home empty containers and new donations.

As the week has unfolded, we have had rain coming down in bucket loads. We got most of our unloading and reloading done between rain showers. Our area on the mid-Atlantic coast has been beaten with a Nor’easter storm.  Amazing amounts of rain in some areas, with flash floods.  Fortunately, I am not on a waterway, or a known flood zone.  I have a friend whose parked car flooded in a shopping center lot, where she had parked to carpool for the day.  While that particular storm raged for a short time, I was miles away stitching at Embroidery Club. A couple of the husbands called their wives at the club to report on the rains. Yet where we were, 30 miles away, the skies were just grey and gloomy.  Early in the week the discussion about Hurricane Florence in the news made us wonder if it was going to come this far North.  This morning, the maps look like North Carolina is going to take the worst of the weather.  We will be lucky in that case. We are already so saturated after nearly 2 weeks of rain!  I can not imagine having to pick and choose what to pack up and take with me in the event of evacuation. We are fortunate!

On Tuesday afternoon, while the rain came down, we were busy stitching.  I took 2 projects with me to work on at the Embroidery Club.  I purchased a design from Embroidery Library and one from Oh My Crafty Supplies.  I stitched both designs out on cream colored craft felt.

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine  – Embroidery Library X14180  -3.86″ x 3.19″

Embroidery Library calls this design a “stuffie”, done “in the hoop”.  I chose to use my applique scissors and cut out after the stitch-out.  I will try again cutting the shape first, using the dieline template and see which look I like better.  It was suggested to me not to use a Water Soluble Topper (WSS) on top of the felt, as it would be too hard to remove, pull stitches or cause problem with the felt.  I used a tweezers to remove most of it, and lightly misted the remaining, blotting with a paper towel.  I had to use tweezers to stuff the filling in.  The stitch out left an opening on the bottom for filling and I used my regular sewing machine and matching thread to stitch it closed .

The key fob below is the perfect thing to hold onto my flash drive full of embroidery designs!

Sewing machine key fob

ITH Sewing Machine Key Fob Embroidery Design by Oh My Crafty Supplies Sketch design 2.9″ x 3.8″
This stitchout did not give you “placement lines” or “dielines” for placements, so I ran the first color “twice”.  First run to create a dieline on my stabilizer, then the second run tacked down the felt with those read stitches on the stabilizer. Right before the final outline stitch, I placed a piece of felt on the back of the hoop so I could have a nice finished backing.  Rather than use a snap, I used my sewing machine to close the loop around the keyring.  Thoughts –  I felt the “fill” on the 2nd one (blue machine) was too thin.  I should have gone back in and run the fill a 2nd time.  I posted this picture on the Facebook group for Oh My Crafty Supplies and someone said the “SKETCH” design was why the stitching was so light.  Hindsight!  I am going to try this stitchout on a different fabric and see if I like it better.  I haven’t removed the WSS on this one yet, so you still see “shiny bits”.  This one I also “trimmed” after the stitchout.  It is small, only 4628 stitches, so I think I will try again.  LEARNING CURVE….

I’ve been working on my batik placemats.  There are 18 of them and more in the works!  I took about 6 and used a different backing fabric.  I decided to not do free motion quilting on this group, instead, switched out to my walking foot.  I have 4 done and 2 to go.  I do a much better job with the walking foot I think!

Walking foot quilting Batik placemats

Batol placemats quilted with walking foot

quilting detail batik placemats

here is a peak at the back!

back of placemats

I love the way this worked out.  I did measure out those triangles and mark the front with a chalk where the points of the triangles were to land.  I decided to do all the ones with this backing in the same manner, so they look like a set!  (I like them better than the ones I did the free motion quilting on…..)  Somebody (more than 1) will get placemats for Christmas, I just have know idea who that will be quite yet!  We use placemats everyday, throw them in the washer etc, but there are too many here to keep.  I just love making them.  

It’s a busy week with meetings, and I am off to the 3rd one of the week in a few minutes. Hoping for time to have a little fun later today!  Stay safe, stay dry!  

note – Embroidery is done on my Brother PE500, which has a 4×4 capability.  Quilting was done on my Janome 8900.

Other small projects…continued and bike rides

Did you read my last post Embroidery Machine Fun and other small projects and wonder what the “other small projects” were?  I got distracted posting and had a deadline to leave, so I left you hanging !  Sorry about that!  I had another (3rd one this week) bike ride to take!  So, let me begin with that story!

Bike Rides — My Wednesday nights used to be strictly for sewing while the hubby had his train club nights, but they have turned into bike rides with the LifeCycle Community Slow Cruise group in Milford Delaware. Our ride on Wednesday night was not quite a full hour  covering 5.4 miles and looked like this –

LifeCycle Community ride Sept 5

There were 30 or more riders, and we all had on bright neon yellow shirts – great SWAG from LIFECYCLE.

My third ride this week was on Thursday morning.  I dashed out the door following my post, which is why I forgot to get to the small projects!   I met up with a small group again for another ride around town.  This one is led by my daughter and took us a little bit further, but similar amount of time.  We had 4 riders, and one passenger, my 2 year old granddaughter. She rides along in her trailer, munching on her banana or strawberries, etc and enjoying the view.  She loves seeing the trash trucks as we ride by!  She cheers her mother and the rest of us on as pedal.  We covered about 7.5 miles on Thursday morning.  I’ve told my friends I keep trying to encourage to join the ride, that since we are essentially going in a big circle, it is easy to “return to center” if you were not up for the mileage.

Thursday morning slow cruise

The informal Thursday morning ride pace is set based on rider ability, and since my daughter is pulling that trailer, we are not really road racing about town.  I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the road bikes that you might see in their bike costumes around.  I like the name “slow cruise” and staying under 10 mph is just my speed.  The rides are open to anyone who would like to take part, meeting at LifeCycle across from the Public Library. For Wednesday night rides, lights, front and rear, are necessary, as it was getting dark at our halfway point, and totally dark by 7:49 pm when we stopped.  Ride With US as the logo on the back of the neon yellow shirt says!  (If your bike needs any work, see Ben at LifeCycle and he will get you tuned up, tires sorted out etc!)

And now –Small projects – I made another project on my Embroidery machine this week.  Actually, have done the same project twice  THREE times.  You will notice in 2 of the photographs that I numbered which run the project is from.  The design is from Embroidery Library and is called a Pin Cushion Magnet. The idea is to hot glue a magnet on the back and use it on the fridge, but our Embroidery Club made them for name tags.  I missed the meeting where they worked on theirs, and I decided to finally make my own.  I had to “check in” with the leaders to see if I was correct in taking the right steps to stop the program and insert my name.

Making a Pin Cushion name tag

This is my “first run”.  I hooped vilene wash away stabilizer , floated a piece of tear away under the hoop and have no show fusible mesh on the back of my applique piece (the tomato), front and back. I always use a water soluble topper (WSS), which is the shiny stuff on top.

I stopped the machine after thread change 9, exited the design, and used built-in fonts on my machine for my name. I played around a bit with the placement. Then I reloaded the design software, jumped ahead to thread change 10 and restarted the stitchout. In the photo it is doing the “tack down” stitches to secure the back piece.  The point of stopping the software is to get your name on the front stitched out before putting on the back piece.  Since you have to remove your hoop and change your bobbin color to match the last 2 colors it seems like the perfect time.

Now, why a first run…well…..2 reasons.  Thread breaks at the very end, last 500 stitches or so, and ill fitting back. I cut out the applique using the dieline file I printed out, and it gapped in a couple of areas around the top.  I felt like I cut on the lines, but that was “too close”. So, I made a 2nd run on Thursday.  This time, I stitched out the die line files on tear away stabilizer and cut them out around the edges, leaving about 1/4″ all around on the stabilizer.  AND..I think when I made the first one, I put the dieline pattern on the BACK of the fabric.  (I’m not certain).  So, once I had new dieline patterns, I made sure to cut on the FRONT of the fabric.  (Right sides made a difference).    For the 2nd run, I prepared the fabric again with no show fusible mesh on the back of the applique fabric, cut out the shapes, hooped 2 layers of Vilene wash away (running in opposite directions in case of stretch) and did not float a tear away underneath.  The reason….I don’t want to see the little white bits of tear away poking out along the edges of the final stitches around the outside edges.  Once I had stitched out completely, I removed the design from the hoop, cut away the vilene, and removed as much of the WSS as possible with tweezers.  On the first project, I used a wet q-tip and dabbed at the remaining WSS and along the edges of the vilene.  On the 2nd project, I got impatient, brought it in to the kitchen sink and turned on the hot water and soaked it completely.  PROS / CONS — The double layer of Vilene was awesome. Gave good stability to the stitchout.  Soaking it made everything get “wrinkled” and I am hoping a good press from the iron will improve the look.

My third try, I used the dieline template to cut out my red fabric and I cut it 1/2″ larger all around than the dieline. I also put a piece of batting, cut just a bit smaller than the dieline for the front piece. I used the same stabilizers and laid the batting on under the front fabric, and got busy stitching.  I went though the entire process, and after the tack down stitch for the back, I removed the hoop from the machine, and used my tiny scissors to trim away the excess fabric on the front and the back of the name tag.  This make sure I got all the edges caught under the stitches.  After it finished, I removed the stabilizer and “melted” the vilene with a cotton swap and water.  All looked great…..until I hit it with the iron, which still had steam going….and the whole nametag started to curl up.  The vilene was MELTING inside the project because of the steam.  Evil thoughts went through my head, and then I decided I was going to be smarter than the name tag.  Since it was already curling and looking melted, I got a piece of flannel out, and laid the tag on it.  I sprayed the tag until it was soaking wet.  Then I used the flannel as a “sandwich” and just kept ironing the tag until it laid flat.  It took about 10 minutes of pressing, with a large piece of flannel that was soaking up the moisture, changing positions every minute or so, but FINALLY, I have a flat project that does not look like it shrunk!  The front looks good but the back has some wrinkles.  I can live with that!  Time to get out the bar pins and get one hot glued on the back of the tag.

Three name tags

I used 3 different fabrics, and they were all from the scrap bin.  Fabric for run # 2 was really thin, which I assumed accounted for all the wrinkles.  Fabric # 1 & 3 were of equal weight and quality.  #1 & # 2 contained no batting.  #1 was never completely wetted.  You can see in the photo below of the backs of # 1 & 2 (near the arrows) where the fabric didn’t quite get caught under the edge stitching.  I am now convinced it is worth cutting “bigger than the dieline” and using the sharp applique and pointy scissors to trim the oversized piece.  # 3 has great edges.  In hindsight, a piece of batting on the back would have been a good idea.  In the photo’s # 3 is still a bit “wet” from all that spraying and ironing.

Back of all 3

3 of my fellow embroidery friends were here on Friday, and wondered why I was still “trying”.  I considered this little project a good learning experience!  As one said, “third times the charm”, though I was doubting that for a few minutes this afternoon.

I’ll never be a “pro” at this embroidery gig, but I learn with each project.

Other small  projects – I recovered my ironing station this past week.  My original board cover was four years old and just recently started to show terrible wear.  I ordered another Bo-Nash cover for my big board several months ago.  I had to add extra width to the cover so it would completely cover my station, which is an old butcher block kitchen island.  The previous cover I had added about an 8 inch “skirt”.  This time, I decided to go much longer, with the goal of hiding some of the clutter than lives under the ironing station.  I have bolts of decorator fabric I was given years ago, and chose one that wasn’t totally hideous.  I do like the extra length. Nobody needs to see my gallons of water, cans of spray starch etc.  Plus, it might prevent me from arbitrarily tossing stuff on the shelf underneath.  If I am going to put something there, it will be with definite purpose!

New Ironing board cover

I have 2 more placemats that are pin basted and ready to quilt, and since the feed dogs are down, I intend to work on them next.  Once they are all quilted, I will trim them all to final size and set to making binding.

I also have another binding project, but it is not for my own quilt.   I brought home a quilt that Trish has been working on at the assisted living place where I volunteer.  She did all the machine quilting, and I offered to trim it and bind it for her.  She is anxious to gift it to a young mother who works at the facility whose baby had just been born this past week.  Trish is  a resident who does a lot of sewing for other residents and staff members.  She was tickled to learn how to make a quilt.  I think she did a fine job.

Trish with her baby quilt

This past week when I went to volunteer, Trish was finishing her quilting, and there were 4 other ladies working on projects.  Two new to the group are hand piecing 4 patches, and another was working on pinning a blouse for alteration.  It is so fun to see my favorite resident, 101 year old Elsa come to sew. She had fabric cut to size to make sachet bags.  She did all of her own pinning and machine sewing, and I employed my assistant (aka husband) to press for her.  One of my hand pieces, Dotty is 99!  I believe they were having fun, and am convinced that IS the secret to a long life!

Any projects going on in your sewing room this weekend???

Embroidery machine fun and other small projects

I got in the mood last week to play with my embroidery machine a bit.  Last post, Summer Winding Down I shared a small zip bag made with my machine.  I also decided to make a “name tag” to wear when I go to my Queen Bee’s gatherings.

I was inspired last Tuesday by my friend Nancy’s hand made tag.  She designed and hand appliqued her bee skep (bee hive) , and used her embroidery machine just for her name.  Isn’t the little bee made from beads and a flower petal sweet?

Nancy's name tag

Since I loath sewing by hand, I thought I would keep a watchful eye out for something I could use my embroidery machine to make the tag.  I found the perfect design at SewSweetly.com  .

Beehive pattern

I do like to keep track of what I used in the various color changes on the color sheet, just in case I want to duplicate or change something on the “next run”.  I stitched out the 3.5″ design.  The 4″ would not open on my Brother PE500.  I am guessing it was bigger than 100 mm, even though it was labeled as a 4×4.

Playing with variegated thread

I decided to use that wonderful Embroidex variegated thread I was given 2 years ago!

Beehive name tag

Did have to do a little hand stitching after I put a back on the design and close it up at the bottom, but overall I am happy with the outcome.  I didn’t have any clasps on hand so I hand stitched a big safety pin on the back to allow me to pin this to my shirt at my next bee.

I’m keep my eye open for the perfect bumble bee to attach to this hive!

NOTE – I am not affiliated with this website!  But have to tell you everything is on sale today.  I paid $3 for the design last week, and you can get it today for $0.75.

Happy stitching….off for another bike ride!

Summer winding down

I can’t believe August has left us and summer has wound down so quickly!  August has been a hot humid month, and September is much the same.

Our local kids went back to school on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day in the US.  Some areas of the country school has been in session for several weeks.  We live in an area that is a summer tourist destination.  A few years ago, citizens complained to the state government about schools starting in the middle of the August and not long after the legislators set a “state-wide” start date for schools.

So, as the children started back for their “First day” in Delaware, my youngest daughter, my youngest granddaughter and I ventured over to the formerly busy beach area for a bike ride! What a change a week makes in the volume of people on the trail, walking and running.  All summer it has been filled with families and young children and yesterday, it was the older crowd. A few moms with strollers around the library and right in town, but once out on the longer trail, my granddaughter in her trailer, was the only child around!  We rode a surprising 12.24 miles !

12.24 mile bike ride

I was stunned to realize how far we had gone. Up to this point, my longest ride has been about 8.5 miles.  I started riding with my daughter in early July, sometimes 2-3 times in one week. I need exercise and this is certainly a fun way to get it.  Haven’t lost one pound, but I have found my calves!  Now, I am finding myself scheduling bike rides on my calendar into October. I want to make sure I schedule the time so other things don’t get in the way of an opportunity to ride together.  I haven’t done much in the way of exercise since I retired six years ago, unless you count climbing the stairs to my sewing room multiple times a day as exercise!  So, this is GOOD.  As I approach my mid 60’s, those looming health issues we all face demand I do something, and I love to ride.

My bike is a TREX, era 1990’s, with good tires, though heavy and a bit squeaky and with it’s quirks.  My oldest daughter rode this bike in middle school and high school during that decade, and I rode it off & on in the years following. I put a “new bike” on my Christmas / Spring birthday wish list for myself, determined not to buy one until I have at least 6 months of riding  regularly. I really love the local bike shop, LifeCycle in Milford DE. My daughter introduced me to the owners, Ben and Jenn, during a community ride they organize.  I’ve done several with a big group, 40 or more riders, and some with smaller groups that my daughter has organized and I am having fun!   All in all, a positive direction to move in.

Yes, I am still sewing, and I managed to get a few projects done last week.  Those batik placemats are coming along. I found a nice 3 yard piece of batik in my “blues” bin and think I can get just about all of my placemats backed with it.  I layered and pin basted them and started quilting them over the last week.

half way done with placemats

I have 9 quilted, trimmed and ready to bind.  If you click the photo, it will take you to my FLICKR album. Give the picture a second to focus, then you can zoom in and see the free motion quilting (FMQ) on the placemats.  It has been good practice.  The quilting has been done on my domestic sewing machine using Superior Fantastico # 5021, a variegated blue turquoise and purple 40 weight on top and in the bobbin. Thankfully you can’t really “see” the quilting on those busy batiks on the front of the placemats, but boy can you see it on the back.  I will show a photo of the backs ‘next time’.   Let’s just leave it as “good practice” for my FMQ and I am getting better bit by bit.

Next up for projects is a quick one I did on Labor Day afternoon.  I made two bibs to include in a “baby basket” that will be raffled off at our spring quilt show.  Since I made so many for my youngest granddaughter, I feel comfortable making these for that event. I tried to pick fabrics that looked modern and might appeal to a young parent.

Bandana bib

I love this bandana style.  I did minimal quilting in a graphic manner, just enough to hold the batting firmly in place that is between the layers.  I made a second bib in a more traditional shape with 2 contrasting fabrics.  I just love this bright green leaf print.

Flip side of the black bib

I think it makes a nice reversible to this dot fabric in bright colors.

Traditional bib

I did a bit more quilting on this bib in a wide graphic shape. They are bagged up and ready for delivery!

While I had my “bib making supply box” out, I sorted out all the fabrics I had stored in it, and returned most to my stash, leaving just the basics in the box, like patterns and PUL laminated fabric for waterproofing.

I found a great pattern and instructions for a free “in the hoop” zip bag last week through a group on Facebook.  I was happy to find one that would work with the 4×4 hoop on my Brother PE500.

Pattern Paw Print Zipper bag

The instructions are so well written, and it was worth the 12-14 pages I had to print out, to follow along.  I downloaded the design and got busy!

Paw Print zipper bag

This little pouch finished at 3.5″ square.  I did use some 505 spray, for temporary adhesive while construction was underway, along with my narrow masking tape.  The instructions have you pinning fabric edges, but I found that I liked the masking tape. I am now on the hunt for short zippers that I can use on some future projects!  I have a bunch of 18″ ones I purchased at a quilt shop a couple of years ago, but they are really too big for this project and would be wasteful.  I’ve dug in my sewing box and come up with a few short ones.  I have a similar in the hoop pattern from another designer that puts the loop on the left side of the zipper, and I am going to try it next. Bother patterns use the same size pieces for the pouch.  I have 3 pouches “cut out” and kitted up for my next embroidery club gathering.

I do like these quick projects that I can finish in a day or two.  I keep working on my placemats, in between, some of these other fun projects.  It’s nice to have some “finishes” once in a while.

I had to laugh with my husband about all of my quilt tops that are on hangers, patiently waiting for me to finish them.  I have to go in search for a heavy duty hanger for one, which was too weighty for the hanger and broke it this week.  It is a queen size that is in a state of “limbo”, just hanging around waiting for my next move.  I believe it is my Scrap Dance Tango in king size. (Pattern is from Carole – From My Carolina Home.  (Follow the above link for pattern information). The one with 1400 or so half square triangles.  It is a beauty, and one that I must get busy and quilt.  I seem to remember I wanted to add a 2.5″ border all around. Must be time to spread it out on the bed and see if the size is as I wanted it to be and move forward from it’s status.  Our quilt show registration is opening next week, and I think I want to show this one, so I must get busy.  I need to make a “finish it list” to move it along!  Carole – From My Carolina Home always has fun projects and great posts.

I also follow some rather “famous in the quilt world” people.  Bonnie Hunter has been a favorite for a long time, and I have done a couple of her mystery quilts and taken 2 of her classes.  .   Those that have followed my blog know that I love her scrappy style and I have written about her scrap storage system, string piecing and linked to her blog many times.  This week she is mourning the loss of her brother and I know that the tens of thousands that are her fans feel her grief and offer their sympathy.  She has a worldwide following and I hope she can find strength from the “quilty hugs” many of us are sending her way.  I pray for peace in her heart and comfort for her entire family.  

Many quilters find peace during their sewing time, and comfort in the quiet time they spend in their sewing rooms.  I’ve read about quilters who work through their grief while stitching in the wee hours of the night. I enjoy the solitude sometimes in my sewing room, and yet, I find great joy in the times I can sew with my friends at a bee.  I hope you have a wonderful day working on your special projects.