Stinky donated fabric

Regular readers know that I do the Second Time Around for my quilt guild. We take in donations, and preparing it to be resold to guild members at our monthly meetings.  I’m in my 3rd year of this activity, and I have run into a BIG problem!

I want / need ADVICE  —  Backstory – I picked up a giant container of fabric donated to the guild.  A SMOKER donated it to the church, who donated to the guild. Thankfully, the secretary at the church warned me it was smelly.  The container was so big and heavy, it took two of us and a cart to get it to the car, and then we split it into 3 containers, so we could lift them. We got our first whiff while we were standing in the parking lot.  I made sure to close the containers tightly when we put them in the back of the SUV.

When I got home, I had to get it out of my car and out of the garage due to the stench.  I opened the containers outside and further split the piles of fabric to get some fresh air around the fabrics.   It made my eyes water, and started me sneezing and coughing. I let it sit outside my garage for 4 hours in the fresh air.  Those boxes are going outside again this morning for another round of fresh air.

I did a little google research and discovered that VINEGAR is the trick, if the item is washable.  The recommendation was 1 cup of vinegar to a load.  (My hubby has lots of vinegar in the garage because he makes weed spray with it..another Google research project).

I sorted out one color, GREEN, and brought it in the house to wash. I soaked it for 2 hours in the washer with hot water, and 4 cups of vinegar.  I increased the quantity of vinegar because the stench was terrible.  After it soaked, and rinsed, I washed it with hot water and laundry soap, and softener.  I also put in 4 color catchers during the 1st soak. (Good thing too!!).   After the 2nd wash it did not smell, so I put it in the dryer, on the anti-bacterial setting, and added about 4 dryer sheets.  That setting is very hot and runs for about 1 1/2 hours.

I have to report it no longer smells like anything at all!   No smoke smell, and no smell from the liquid fabric softener or the dryer sheets.  I had to do some “fluffing and folding” because some of the really big pieces got twisted up. There were some 3 & 4 yard pieces, and they got a little tangled and the expected strings, but really, not to bad considering I had the washer on heavy duty/deep water wash.   There must have been 25 yards of fabric in just this one load. I considered the method a success, and since there was so much fabric, I think it was worth saving.

Down side to my new washer (Maytag top loader with no agitator) is that it doesn’t “fill up” above the fabric. It “senses” how much water needs to go in.   I cheated the machine, and added 3 “buckets” of extra water, to make sure everything was covered. I’m sure I confused the brain of the washer, but I feel like it needed that extra depth.

Green fabric

I decided to finish this pile up by putting the pieces outside on the porch, in the shade to continue to air.

Airing of the greens

There really were some very pretty pieces!

Pretty greens

I know it doesn’t look like much now, but this is a lovely batik!

3 or more yards of batik

Several yards of that batik, so WORTH the effort I think!

I’ve started the next “SOAK” load.  The pile of reds is in the washer, with the 4 cups of vinegar and a little OXYCLEAN. (I put that it, because 3 or 4 pieces had a bit of “stain” at the fold line.) Not as large a volume of fabric, but some good piece, worth the effort to save from the “stinky smoke”..

Now the question —-  HOW do I get the stench of smoke out of the small pieces??  From what I could see, on the first dig through the bins, there are squares, and blocks and strips .  I’ve got lingerie bags, but I wonder if there is a way to get the stink out WITHOUT washing those small pieces, and without really “touching them”.   I’m afraid that doing the heavy soak and heavy wash that I am doing with the large pieces will just leave me with a bag of strings and fuzz.  I am highly allergic to the smell, and don’t want to over handle the pieces if possible until they are neutralized.  So, share your wisdom and experience, please!!  

My volunteers will be steam pressing, trimming, measuring and folding the first 25 yards or more and getting it ready to sell at the September guild meeting in the next few weeks.

My daughter & I chatted about the Pros & cons of washing all this fabric. It is worth it, IF the ends justify the means.  Well, I think it was worth the washing, in spite of the the wrinkles, the cost of the washing machine wear and tear, hot water, drying, and laundry products.  Our Second Time Around sales at the guild meetings average over $400 at each meeting, so the effort pays off.  The members LOVE to shop our tables, where we are selling fabric for $2/yard.

Looking forward to hearing any and all advice.

ps…I’m sure most smokers don’t even realise how the smoke in the air clings to their fabrics.  I was married to a smoker for nearly 30 years, and he had no idea how bad the smell was, and didn’t believe what it did to his body. His death from Kidney cancer was attributed to smoking at age 53.  If you need help stopping, talk to a medical professional.  For your sake first and foremost, and for the sake of those who love you.

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The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

Retreat and UFO

Every year, since I have been a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, there has been a retreat in early February.  I’ve attended many of these retreats and always enjoy the time spent with so many creative, talented people. As in the past, we meet at a lovely beach front hotel in Ocean City Maryland, where we are greeted most mornings with spectacular sunrises in our ocean front rooms. 

640 Dawn's early light - Ocean City MD Sunrise

There are 9 more photo’s in this sunrise series you can see hereOcean City Sunrise photo’s

It is inspiring to wake up early at this retreat, so you don’t miss the glorious sunrise.  Breakfast is at 7:30, and we are sewing by 9 am !

I took with me many items to work on at the retreat.  Turns out, only ONE project captured most of my time and energy.  I dug out one of my oldest UFO’s and brought it along, with the intent of quilting.  Just how old is it?   You can read about it back in 2012 here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

and here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/crossroads-pattern/

and here-  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/playing-with-borders/

About a year ago, I came across a bit of fabric that was in the same deep red/brown tones and I tucked it into the box for backing of this project.  So, when I pulled it out to take to retreat, I just needed a bit of batting.  This project was about 44″ square.  I am happy to say I finished all the quilting during the retreat. I cut the backing and batting and pin basted in our hotel suite on Tuesday night, so I was ready to start stitching when the classroom opened on Wednesday morning.  I worked two solid days quilting this, and thought it is small, there were TONS of starts and stops, and turning constantly. I decided right away I was going to “pull up” the bobbin thread, and use my lock stitch on my Janome for my start & stops, and not burying all those threads. It’s a wall hanging and a 6 year old UFO !  (I’m not putting it in a show, so hush you quilt police)  (Oh, and by the way, I KNOW there are a few crappy HST and a few geese that lost their points in this project….they jumped out at me while quilting….hey it was before I knew what I was doing…..)

Quilted and bound

 

I did most of the quilting using my walking foot. The exception is in the wide border of hearts, I used a stitch that is connected hearts, and in the narrow red border I did the same stitch.  On the outer red heart border I did some wavy stitching.  I like to use these built in to the machine stitches if possible.  They make quilting a lot easier.  If you want to see close-ups of the various quilting that I did, look at the photo’s here – UFO Finish  .  (There is also a photo of the back where the techniques I used really show). 

Yesterday,  I trimmed it down to about 40″ square, as I felt the final borders were TOO wide.  I used up a bunch of left over bits of the red to make a scrappy binding, and did the Susie’s Magic Binding technique. (Some call it binding with a flange or piping) If you have never tried this method, check out the tutorial here – Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial(Watch the video’s too…)

I used the same fabric that is in the area around the flying geese in the flange for the binding. I love that little pop of color along the edge. I added a hanging sleeve while I was doing the binding, and the last thing that needs to be finished is to hand stitch the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve and make a label!

Since this was the “big deal” for me at the retreat, I will stop here and ask – what is the OLDEST UFO you have sitting around, and WHY didn’t you finish what you started?  

I will tell you why this went “in the box”.  We were doing a new project every week in the class and I was overwhelmed.  I also could not figure out how to “finish”.  Our instructor had scaled the pattern in Pat Sloan’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” down to just a 1 block project instead of a whole quilt, and I didn’t “know” what to do at the time.  Of course, a few years of experience were needed under my belt before I could say, enough is enough and a wall hanging is just “fine”.  🙂

More about the retreat in the next post!

 

Small projects for gifts

I finally found my sewing room again at the end of last week.  Yes, just a few days before Christmas, I managed to steal some time for myself and just play around a little.

You might remember in a previous post I mentioned having the Queen Bees for a holiday luncheon and a card making session.  Well, one of those lovely Queen Bee members left a little gift behind for me.  I was delighted to find a pretty set of coasters.

15 Minute Coaster

The coasters were made following a pattern found at Cool Cottons  .  The pattern was familiar, because the Queen Bees had done this for a project at one of the bees in 2016, and during our guild luncheon in early December, everyone was given a little “kit” of fabric squares and the directions.  My friend Dee, was so sweet to sew a set and give them to me.  How did she know that I never “got around” to making some for myself.  (I might have said something about that during the luncheon, as we were seated next to each other!)  I remember that bee pretty well.  We had a new member who was “learning” to use a rotary cutter and ruler, and I spent my time assisting her.  I think my “test coaster” is still in the bottom of a busy box somewhere.  Anyway, I love these bright cheery colors, and they inspired me to get busy and make some for gifts.  I did another “test coaster” with the kit we got at the luncheon, and now the hubby  has a cheery coaster on his hobby desk.

I deviated slightly from the pattern.  I used 5″ squares.  I also top stitched.  (I like that they lay a bit flatter when they are top stitched).  I used a charm pack of 5″ Christmas fabric squares, and then I went diving into my “scrap storage system” for more 5″ squares.  I also dug into the scrap bin for more holiday fabrics.    All said and done, I made 8 sets of 4 for gifts.

Six sets of coasters to gift

Two sets were already gifted before I got this photo taken!  I love all the fun fabrics!  I did 2 sets in spring fabrics.  Check out the backs –

Back of the coasters

The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but if you are like me, sometimes a visual tutorial is handy.  Today, I was browsing around on you-tube and found multiple “methods” for these type of coasters. Some use 1 additional piece of fabric, and they vary in size from 4 to 5″ squares as the basis for the coasters. Some don’t include batting, but I like a nice piece of batting inside to help with any moisture that might be on your glass.

One of the BEST tutorials on you – tube is with the Gourmet Quilter – Gourmet Quilter Tips and Techniques 002 

Susan Claire gives such good instructions, and if you are a “visual” learner, this is a good one to watch.

I found another tutorial on you tube that had some variety in the way the coasters were made, so take a look at this video if you want to up your “style” a little – Craft Genie Folded fabric coasters  . She starts you out with the style I made, but without batting.  Then she ventures off onto other “shapes” that are quite fun.  I hope you find her tutorial easy to follow also.

Post Christmas I was able to spend some time working with a panel that I was given.  My dear friend Nancy B. picked out a panel for me when she was on a shopping expedition in Lancaster PA.  I got busy and got it all cut up and made into a little story book for my youngest granddaughter.  I used my embroidery machine to make a cover for the book.

Around the world fabric book

A is for Amsterdam

Barcelona and Cairo

Back cover

and so forth.  There were a lot of pages!  Such cute designs for cities around the world.  More pictures can be found in my FLICKR album – Sewing for the Grandkids

As I was working with this panel, I was challenged by the “stamping” of the fabric.  Nothing on panels is ever square, so no matter how you “size” the piece, you might end up with a bit of white showing through. I didn’t want to cut off too much of the color so I went with the best possible size, and have touches of white peeking through.  I don’t think the not nearly 2 child will care too much.  This panel wasn’t designed to be made into a book, but that is what I chose to do with it.  I was challenged by “how to assemble” it, and decided today to make buttonholes on each page and thread ribbon thru the buttonholes.  I think the ribbon is securely knotted, and should hold up to the rigors of childhood.  If not, I can always “thread new ribbon”.  (I doubled it through the button holes so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  The pages are assembled with a square of quilt batting in between the pages.  It is completely washable, which I have learned, is a priority to my daughters!

I have several other panels out of the bins, waiting for me to get busy with them, and I think I might sew tomorrow afternoon too.  I get to babysit for the recipient of this book tomorrow for a bit, and will send the book home with her.

I am enjoying these little projects that have been set to the side for a very long time. In the back of my mind my list of UFO’s is sitting, waiting for me to tackle them…..one at a time.  Meanwhile, I have re-acquired the Second Time Around for the quilt guild, and have spent some time sorting through the donations. I think most of that is in good shape to take to guild on Jan 8th.

Of course, I still have over 40 boxes of stuff from my friend who moved to assisted living.  I have been taking bits and pieces to her at her new apartment, and know that she is wishing she had it all.  I’ve inventoried a dozen boxes, and labeled them.  We are trying to figure out a way to get together at the assisted living facility and sew.  I imagine making kits, already cut, for her will satisfy her for a bit. I tried to get the activities director to call me, as I would be willing to lead a small group at the facility.  Perhaps after the first of the year, she will call so we can come up with a plan!  If you have ever led a quilting group with “senior” senior citizens, please let me know what type of projects you worked on.

I hope you are able to stay warm where ever you are this night.  Our temps were down to 14 deg fahrenheit last night, and never got above 25 deg today.  Keeping my sewing room warm enough to work in out over the garage is tricky at best.

Happy stitching!

Busy December days

I know…when are you ever going to get back to the sewing room???  I keep asking myself that question! Have no fear, the weather is above 40 degrees today, and I might brave the winter temp and wander out.  It’s been downright cold around here, and I have had plenty to keep me busy!  (Note – this post is FULL of photos!!)  Grab a cup of your favorite warm beverage!

Snow on Dec 9 2017 Delaware

Two weeks of what I call “Quilt Guild Time”.  First Monday of the month was the guild meeting, and there was a board meeting on Thursday. The snow came on Friday.  (Thank goodness).

The program for the meeting was our annual holiday luncheon and show & tell.  Frankly, I had nothing “ready” to show, that I could wrap my head around. You see, we were coming off 2 weekends in a row of “model rail road club open house”, and I just could not think what to bring. Between an ear infection for me, and hubby coming down with a cold, and long days at the train club, I was just not ready.  Late Sunday evening I remembered that  I had to bring a dish of food to share, and was NOT ready for that either.  An early morning run to the local super market provided some wonderful frozen meatballs, and a few jars of marina sauce.  I popped those meatballs in the oven to heat, the marinara sauce in the microwave, heated up the crock pot, and in under an hour, had them ready to go, and I got out the door by 9 am.  (Note to self….keep those meatballs/sauce on hand for the next food crisis!).  Really, my own fault, as I took the hubby out to dinner on Sunday night with some friends for his birthday, and failed to prepare.   Anyway…the meatballs were a hit, only a few left at the bottom of a very empty crock pot, and nobody cared that I didn’t have a show & tell.  (PHEW….).  I did get to relax and have a little fun at the luncheon, and enjoyed visiting and conversations with members I don’t often get a chance to speak with at meetings.

The feeding continued following our monthly board meeting, where our host provided a delightful brunch.  This is a group of about 20, and again a delight to sit and visit during this busy month.  The snow arrived on Friday, and pretty much kept us at home through the weekend.  Somebody said we got 6″ of snow, heavy and wet.  Luckily the roads were still warm, and it did not stick around long.  Hubby and I spent the weekend finishing up decorating for Christmas.

2017 Christmas Tree

Took me all week to get the tree up and the lights on and the decorations on.  Hubby suffered quietly with a cold and emerged long enough to get the angel on top and some of the highest ornaments on.  Every year we decorate a little differently, and this year, the lights seem “dim” to me.  I realised after I was finished,  I only used half as many lights as last year.  (I think I was burnt out).  The LED bulbs are not as bright as the old fashion type either.

Tuesday I hosted the Queen Bees for a luncheon/Christmas party.   I decided that I would ask them to help with a card making project that Carole / From My Carolina Home    asked for help with.  On her Dec 8th post, she invited others to take part in making cards for a woman’s shelter.  So, when I asked my Queen Bee’s, they all agreed.  I put some supplies on the table, and they got busy!

An artistic group

Crafting and creating Queen Bees

They created 12 cards in just under an hour!  They used cardstock, punches, old greeting cards, stamps, pens, tape runners etc to create these cards.

Fun creations

Special cards made by the Queen Bees

More special cars

Holiday greeting cards

Greeting cards made by bee

Some of these women had never done any “paper crafting” of this sort before, but were eager to prepare cards with heartfelt messages inside.

Sentiment inside

We have so many talented women in this group, and I love the way this card was done inside.    We got the dozen cards out in the mail to Carole to meet her deadline.  I think the Queen Bees enjoyed the project, although it wasn’t quilting, it went for a very good purpose.  Two of the women in the Queen Bees knew about Carole’s project, because they follow her blog.

I got to follow-up a great lunch on Tuesday with the Queen Bees by attending another lunch with the Material Girls Bee on Wednesday.  It was hard to remember to take “small portions” but I did!!

The Queen Bees inspired me and I spent the rest of the week with my own card crafting. I had a birthday card to make and Christmas cards I wanted to do.  I was so inspired I made a trip to Michael’s Craft Store and purchased more “card blanks & envelopes” and treated myself to a heat gun and embossing powder.  I picked up a BUNCH more stamps at Tuesday Morning too.  More about those cards “next time”…as I want to give the recipients a chance to receive them before I spoil the surprise.  

I did make it to the garage on Sunday afternoon for a few hours.  I managed to help the hubby “move” a table back into “my area”, and do a little “cleaning up”  of patterns and files, and stuff.  I actually turned on my machine, and repaired the velcro and snaps on some baby items for my daughter. I wasted 30 minutes fighting with 1″ sticky back loop velcro before I threw it away, and got out the 3/4″ sew in loop velcro I had on hand. Not as wide as I wanted, but it will have to do.  I ended up throwing away a heavy-duty needle that was immediately gummed up too with that sticky back velcro.  GRRRR……..hate that stuff……

So, I am “ready to sew” my own stuff again after nearly 2 months out of my sewing room.  What to work on today?  ?  ?

What are you doing to get ready for Christmas?

 

 

Block 12 and other bits and pieces

Welcome to new readers! I have had several new followers this week, and I haven’t written anything. It’s that busy Quilt Guild meeting week syndrome.  We had our “first meeting” of the fiscal year on Monday at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes DE where the new officers were “sworn in”, and it was membership renewal time.  Guess who is one of the co-chairs?  Yes…..(hard word to stop saying)…..At least I am sharing the job, and I don’t have a lot of “STUFF” to cart home!  We have 250+ members and over 1/2 renewed during the hour before the meeting began. Thank goodness for great volunteers, who worked the tables and who accepted checks, handed out membership cards and checked details for the roster. They did all the work while my co-chair and I helped 7 new members !  So exciting to see the guild continuing to grow.  If you are in our little part of the world, and you are looking for a guild, find our website Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Lewes DE.

Of course, along with the membership rosters to update, I had to “balance the books” with the receipts for the day, and spent Tuesday afternoon with the Treasurer getting checks ready for deposit. We got together at a local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro DE, and filled out deposit slips etc.  Before she arrived, I did manage a little shopping.  I have a class coming up in Dover with Sandi Blackwell.  The workshop is called “Spiral Out Workshop” .  The pattern in the workshop instructions showed Christmas colors, and I decided that is what I would use as well.  I managed to get everything pre-washed, ironed, and pre-cut as instructed. It is all in a basket, and ready for Tuesday, a week from now.  Watch for that project in an upcoming blog post!  (This class is sponsored by Helping Hands Quilt Guild, Dover DE. )

Wednesday is the release for Pat Sloan’s block of the week, Grandma’s Kitchen.  This week she talked about the kitchen door leading outside from Grandma’s kitchen. Sorry, not  1 kitchen door story comes to mind.  My Grandma Bessie lived in an old fashioned trailer with a few rooms attached, and the door from the kitchen area led right out into the living room. Pat talked about setting out all your blocks and looking for colors that needed more representation if you were using more than 2 or 3 colors.  I did that before I chose my colors, but I pretty well decided after block 11 what would be next, regardless of the pattern.  I knew I wanted more yellow and more orange.

12 out of 25 Grandma's kitchen

I think there is a fair amount of red, pink blue green and purple already in the project. That yellow from block one, upper left corner, needed to be used again, and I played a bit with “which orange” to use. I wanted it to show as the “dark color”, so I chose the deeper orange.  I liked this one in particular because it had a touch of blue, and there is a lot of blue elements showing in the yellow patterns.  I used a tone on tone white floral again for the background, the same one as the “apron” block.

Block 12 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen

 

I also was able to get my applique stitching done on block 11 and block 8, since my JANOME  8900 is finally home from the repair. (She is purring like a kitten!!)  I am happy to be caught up again!

I got a chance to go on a bus trip on Thursday, with the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, to the Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza. It was held at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks PA.  Huge place!  Lots of quilts and lots of shopping opportunity.  Since I had a “big day” shopping for fabric on Tuesday, I restrained myself.  I did pick up 3 more red 1930’s reproduction pieces.  I am saving those for another block!

I took my “list” of Superior Threads on hand/needed, and only bought 1 cone of thread, and two packs of needles at their booth.  Usually I buy in bundles of 3, to save about $3-5 per cone. I had stocked up at the Hershey show in July, so I just needed 1 color.  (Talk about restraint, I wanted one of EVERYTHING).  I did treat myself to some “1 yard cuts” of fabric from a vendor who is “getting out of the cotton and going to wool” business.  You can’t pass up $5 / yard quilt fabric.  He was also selling his fat quarters for $1.25 which is about 1/3 of the price everyone else was charging.  I did pick up a few from him.  I was shopping for floral though, and he really did not have what I wanted in fat quarters.  I did find a vendor that had just what I was looking for, and I got 8 or 10. I then found another “bundle” at that same dealer, that had a lovely collection, and I couldn’t resist. No self restraint there.

My plan for the floral fabric is another log cabin cross wall hanging. I did all the cutting on Friday.  On Saturday, I managed to get 2 rectangular sections made. Then, I realized I had done 2 identical units, and they needed to be opposing units.  BIG SIGH.  The pattern I am following is one I have made twice before. You would have thought I would know better. I guess, since it was 2 years ago, I can forgive myself.  Last time I made this pattern, I wrote about it here –  New Log Cabin Cross Banner .

Oh well, I cut more fabric, and made different fabric choices too.  Before I started cutting more fabric, I decided to eliminate the pinks, and went with yellows.  By the end of the evening Sunday, I have the top ready to layer and quilt.  I’m much happier with the fabric choices too.

Log Cabin Cross

Course, I still have those 2 blue & pink rectangle log cabin blocks that I have to come up with “a plan” for.  Hubby said I should figure out how to use them on the back of this project!  Not sure about that idea, but I am sure I can ind a way to use them for something.

What did you work on this past week?  Anything exciting in the coming week???

A Good week for quilting

Last week was a very quilty kind of week!  Monday was the monthly Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting.  Instead of a speaker & trunk show, we had a full morning of sewing for our various Community Service Projects.   Community Service Sew In is something we do every year.  Some years every Community Service Group we sponsor is represented, and other years the chairman of the Community Service Committee picks 3 or 4 groups that could use a massive boost!  This year we focused on just 3 groups.  Don’t worry, we are still supporting the other groups all year long!!  This was a great day to pick a project and sit and sew. First I worked on blocks for Quilts of Valor (QOV).  When QOV ran out of kits, I picked up a kit from the Quilts of Love table and set to work on it.  Silly me, I forgot to take any photo’s of the QOV blocks.

Before you knew it, time was up, and I hadn’t finished my little baby quilt.   (I must have been chattering too much!)  I took the kit home and finished it up last week.  I love the organization involved with preparing all the kits for the guild members to work on.  This was a cute and fun project to work on!

Quilts of Love baby quilt

I chose to do a simple straight line quilting across the quilt instead of tying the quilt with floss.  I also chose to make my own binding, using Susie’s Magic Binding method.  I pulled some bright gold yardage out of my stash, but had plenty of the blue backing to get the needed strips for the binding.  The backs were oversized  for a “no binding” style quilt, but I much prefer making my own.

While I was working at home, on this little quilt, my Janome 8900 started skipping stitches.  I did everything I could to fix the problem, and finally gave up and switched to my “little” Brother CS6000i, to finish the binding. I took the Janome into the shop on Saturday morning for servicing, when my efforts were unsuccessful. I had “re-threaded”; “cleaned the bobbin case”; “installed a new needle” ; “wound new bobbins,” “re-threaded again” etc.  The top thread was getting hung up in the race, and I could see where it was catching, but couldn’t figure out why.  No amount of head banging was going to fix the poor ol’ girl.

While at the shop, I took a photo of the inside of the bobbin case on the floor model.  The first picture is the shop’s floor model (which needs some cleaning I think!).  See that area I circled in red.  Well look at the little red arrow, and then to the left of it.  That’s what it SHOULD look like.

Janome 8900 bobbin area

The picture below is MY machine, and now look at that strange thing next to the red arrow!

My Janome 8900 not working!

That little hook near the arrow I drew was catching everything.  How in the world did it get up above the bobbin case ???  Definitely what my thread was hanging up on!  Because I couldn’t find any “close up photo’s” of how it “SHOULD BE”, I couldn’t explain to the hubby what was wrong.  He would have dissected the machine and attempted a repair.

Now, here is a question for you………….How often do you clean your bobbin area?  Do you always take out the bobbin case and clean underneath? Do you use a brush or canned air or a mini-vac?

I’ve had one friend tell me the repair shop told her canned air is ok to use, yet on many websites, I read NOT to use it, as it could add moisture around electronics and / you can blow lint back into place you just can’t reach to extract it with a brush or tweezer or vacuum.  So, what’s the real answer???

Meanwhile, the machine is down and out for the count for at least a week or maybe two.  I had my 2 blocks to catch up on from Pat Sloan’s pattern – Grandma’s Kitchen.  Once I got over my machine repair angst and got the blocks cut out, I got busy sewing them.  For some reason, I did block 7 first.  I fussy cut the centers of the stars.  I’ve seen lots of these blocks done on-line this week, and lots of variations with color placement.

Block 7 Grandma's Kitchen, pattern by Pat Sloan

I stuck with just the light background, medium centers and dark star points, and tried to keep the block consistent.  Several posts I saw on Facebook showed different colors being used for each star, and some for each star point.  I tried to keep it simple.

Black and White Version –

B&W of block 7

Pat Sloan called this her “Oh My Stars” block.  Famous words from a grandmother.

Block 6 is called “Wash Day“.  This block gave me trouble, only because I chose not to read the directions; when sewing the half square triangles (HST) or assembling the block.  (NOTE to self; after fighting with the machine, and working LATE, give it up and stop for the night!)

I had a great “fat 8th” of laundry on the clothesline fabric in the 1930’s reproductions.  Well, let’s say this – I have now got a container of “WHOOPS” blocks.  I ended up going back to the red from block #7 for my dark, and was only able to use one square of my clothesline fabric as the center square.  (INSERT SAD FACE HERE).  I decided when all was said and done, you would not be able to tell what the fabric was representing, as the piecework is so small ! And, I used up what I had, so (INSERT SAD FACE HERE).  I was “hoarding’ that fat 8th since I bought it 3 years ago…………it was something I had not seen before, or since.

Anyway, back to the red for the inner star, those circles look like soap bubbles, right??  I had to recut to make those red and blue HST’s, and the red and white HST’s after I discovered I screwed up!  At that point, I decided to lay out the block and call it a night!

Block #6 - Wash Day

I was a little apprehensive using the blue for the medium, but in the B&W photo below it really works.

B&W block 6

So, I am caught up with the Pat Sloan – Grandma’s Kitchen for now, even using the back up machine.

Here they all are:

Seven blocks Grandma's Kitchen pattern by Pat Sloan

Thinking ahead to getting some more of that great yellow and green into one of the next few blocks!  Oh, and those black and whites I have pulled out with scottie dogs….

I went on an internet search today for the little bit of clothesline fabric!  First I searched at a place Bonnie Hunter had recently visited on a trip to Minnesota – Reproduction Fabrics – Northfield MN, but no luck.

So, I dug in the “dog bed stuffing pile” and pulled out the selvedges.  I tried a new search tactic. 

 I found it….and bought all I could get….not quite a full yard (like 31″) for $8.25.  I am thrilled.  What I love about this piece is it is all 1930’s reproduction fabrics hanging on the clothes line.

 So, THANKS to Two Bees Fabric of Texas for having the Sara Morgan Circa 1930 for Blue Hill Fabrics .

– 

“Two Bees Fabrics – you will find the traditional 1800s/Civil War reproduction fabrics along with the 30’s depression reproductions.  Look for the French influenced floral and toile fabrics too.  “

So now, I have this “snippet (30+ inches) of fabric” coming by mail and I will hoard it again until the “right block” presents itself.  I do hope Pat Sloan will give us a couple of blocks that will show off the larger prints in this pattern. If not, well, back to the 30’s bin it will go for future use.

There you have it, the drama of the (insert sad face) sick sewing machine, and the multiple attempts at building block 6, along with the JOY of knowing I could get another bit of the clothesline fabric.

 While I was at the Delaware Sewing Center store with my machine, I grew slightly overjoyed that I purchased my Janome 8900 when I did, as the price has gone up by $1000 since I purchased it in 2013.  (How does that happen??)  The sweet lady in the store did her best to sell me on one of the machines that had a feature “she” loved….but the throat of the machine was too small for me.  I just hope the cost to fix the machine is not too high. Keep your fingers crossed.  Meanwhile, I will slog away on the ol’ Brother CS6000i.  If it irritates me, I will bring my traveling Singer Featherweight up stairs to sew on.  

Time to sort some scraps!  Happy stitching.