Embroidery resources

Welcome to my new “readers & followers”.  I don’t say that often enough, but I am glad you found my blog and hope you will find something helpful, amusing, interesting or motivating in my posts.  I started this blog over 3 years ago, and use it as a “journal of sorts” of my hobbies – which continue to expand.  I originally wrote about quilting and sewing for the grand children; and have expanded to paper crafting, card making / stamping; and machine embroidery.  (Note – I flunked out of knitting 101, so you don’t have to listen to that story unravelling). Occasionally, I will chat about other things, like domestic life, my pets and travel.  Mostly, I am a stitching grandma!

I had a lot of fun on Monday, meeting ladies from Ocean Pines MD at the Embroidery Club they have established.  They have been meeting for over a year, and this was my FIRST chance to go.  I went immediately after the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting and it was a 45 minute trip.  Thank goodness I had so many helper to “pack up” the Second Time Around shopping and help me “get out the door” quickly.  My wonderful husband came over to the church with my car, and swapped out for the loaded SUV, and took it home. Next month, there is a luncheon at OWQG, so I will be able to “grab my dish” and head out on time.

What I enjoyed about the meeting with the Ocean Pines Embroidery Club was the willingness to share SKILLS that the experienced stitchers had acquired.  We learned about various stabilizers they like, design sources, and techniques for “in the hoop” designs.  They have been creating some wonderful projects.  Of course, I have terrible “machine envy” right now.  My little Brother PE500 can only accommodate a 4×4 design, and they were showing some projects that needed a 5×7 or larger frame.  I’m not investing in a new machine any time soon, so I will just “admire” and learn from the “bigger machine operators”.  I want to learn all I can, so when I eventually take the leap to something bigger, I will have “proof of use” of the little machine to satisfy the hubby……     😉

I mentioned to several ladies at the Embroidery Club that I had a blog, and had recently written about “transferring designs” between the computer and the embroidery machine.  If you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/moving-files-to-the-embroidery-machine-tutorial/  .

A few years ago I wrote a detailed post on resources for embroidery machines.  I shared lots of websites for free designs etc, places to buy designs, and supplies you might want to consider.  Again, if you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/machine-embroidery-resources/

I spent yesterday attending to normal domestic life stuff, with NO sewing/stitching. (Have I ever mentioned that I would rather sew than clean house or grocery shop???)  I deserved a nice cold glass of wine after the “stuff” was taken care of, and sat out in a rocker on the front porch and watched the traffic go by!  Can you believe it was 70 degrees yesterday?

After dinner, I had some time to “surf” on the computer.  I did find some interesting new “sources” for free designs and spent several hours   downloading things. I joined a group a few months ago on Facebook – Resources for Free Machine Embroidery Designs, Sales, Tutorials, Networking . https://www.facebook.com/groups/624604440941908/  Those members share links to FREE designs.

Following some of those links that had been posted on the Facebook group, I ended up at http://www.krisrhoades.com/  and picked up the cutest little elephant.  (Of course, I ended up window shopping for other designs too).

I also dropped by http://www.thebikestore.com/starling/index.html and picked up the mug rug pattern for March.  Once I downloaded the design, I was disappointed to find it was a 5×7, too big for my machine. Oh well, I have it saved now.

Then I popped over to http://missmarysembroidery.com/free-stuff-sales/  and picked up a “Luck of the Irish” free monthly design and an SVG cutting file too.

While I was browsing around on the Resources for Free Machine Embroidery….. group, I saw a link for Janome.  I don’t have a Janome EMBROIDERY machine, but I popped over to Janome’s website to see what they had, and was surprised to find FREE designs in multiple formats.  I need to subscribe and start downloading.  There were over 70 that would work for me, and I think I will be a little selective about what I download.   http://www.janome-embroidery.com/c-132-free-embroidery-designs.aspx

Another place on Facebook that I have found free designs is StitchDelight . https://www.facebook.com/groups/StitchDelight.FREEBIES/   I’ve collected some great alphabet  designs in the last month; new letter daily.   This is also a group you have to “join” to be able to download.

I am subscribed to a mailing list from Artistic Thread Works and get lots of freebies there every week.  You have to “subscribe” to the email list to get the free stuff – http://www.artisticthreadworks.com/public/main.cfm

As I mentioned, I am working with a Brother PE500; which is an embroidery only machine, with a 4×4 (100mm x 100mm) capability.  My machine has a “cable connection” to my computer, and uses PES files.

So, no fancy photo’s today because I have stitched not a thing!  Maybe later.  Grandbaby # 4 is having a birthday and I saw something tempting…..

DISCLAIMER – With most of these websites & Facebook groups, you need to “subscribe” or “join” or “set up an account”.  Be careful about what information you chose to share when doing this.  Honestly, one of these sites wanted my “birthday”….but I was not giving up the year….too much identity information!  And of course, Be careful about clicking on unknown links etc.  Make sure your “virus software” is up to date and running, and scans your downloads BEFORE you open them.   FYI – I have not had any problems with ANY of the links or the websites I am sharing, so if you ‘know and trust me’ you know that I won’t ever knowingly steer you wrong, but there are “evil doers” in the world who like to trick people; so be cautious when clicking on links in emails; on websites etc.  

Have fun with what ever you are working on today!

A tad bit of sewing

Greetings friends. Previous post indicates it was a busy week.  It continues.  I did squeeze in a little sewing and stuffing Saturday though, as I had a spare moment to play.  Remember the little bear?  Well, he is stitched, stuffed and ready to gift to a newborn.  This was a “test stitch out” of a pattern that I downloaded last week for some “charity” bears.  I loved the look of the muzzle, even though it took nearly 10,000 stitches.  The charity bears won’t have the muzzle, just the eyes, nose and smile.  The pattern source for the stitching is Embroidery Library . com pattern 3994.

test of the bear

The week has flown by. We “flew” home from Texas on Monday, getting in after 10 p m; then Tuesday I had a nice visit with my little granddaughter and her mommy for a couple of hours, then I was off to the “Queen Bees”.

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and I “car pooled” with a bee/church member to pick up our sewing machines from the local sewing machine service folks, went to church for the service, and out to lunch. Home for a few hours, then off to the model railroad club annual dinner meeting. (More about that soon).

Thursday was a venture north to visit our dentist for our routine cleanings (& discussion of a wisdom tooth that is acting very unwise).  Friday morning was “Second Time Around” prep day, with 3 helpers.  We plowed thru another stack of donated fabric, pressing into submission, measuring and pricing and getting ready for Monday.  I have set aside Thursdays and Fridays all month (mostly) to work on getting the donations under control.

Friday afternoon I took everything off the cutting table, cleaned the lint and dust and turned my cutting mat around. It was getting quite worn in one area.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess I had made!  The back of my table tends to get piled up with scraps and things.  Took me all afternoon, but I sliced and diced and took control of the scraps.  I try to cut those scraps into manageable pieces, starting with the largest possible.  I cut 5″ squares; 3.5″ squares, 2.5″ squares, 1.5″ squares and lots of 2.5, 2, 1.5 strips.  Amazingly they all got stored away!

If you are “new” to my blog, let me tell you that my scrap storage system is a combination of Bonnie Hunter http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html and Joan Ford https://hummingbird-highway.com/do-you-need-scraptherapy/. It works for me!  I have lots of pieces ready to go into the next scrap quilt. My overflow of 2″ and 2.5″ is telling me it is time to start making 9 patches!   I am going to “resist” temptation and NOT start another thing until I knock out a few UFO’s.   I do have a “running list” and have made a real goal for March.  Not telling…will let you know how it goes!  And no, not sharing my UFO list this year….too depressing to post it publically and NOT get it all checked off.  My goal is to enjoy each FINISH, not to feel guilty!

This coming week is “quilt guild week” for me. Meeting on Monday, which means the SUV is already loaded to the roof, with containers of fabrics and other odd bits to sell prior to the meeting.  Fingers crossed we have just as good a day in sales.  After the meeting, I hope to swap vehicles with the hubby, and take off for points south in Maryland, and an “embroidery club” that has formed. An informational meeting will take place and I want to give my input on the who/what/when etc.  I look forward to meeting the members of that club and sharing info about this hobby.  Thursday and Friday coming up will be more “Second Time Around” workdays with guild members coming over to give me a hand; a guild board meeting squeezed in there too.  Hoping I will get to do some sewing of my own on Tuesday & Wednesday.   Wishing I had something finished beside the little bear to show, but that will happen as I am able.

Hope you have had a great week and are ready to start all over again tomorrow!

Happy stitching!

 

A quieter week

I’ve had a couple of quiet days, and time to play a bit more with my Brother PE500 embroidery machine.   I made a few more bibs for the littlest grandchild and delivered them on Thursday when I went to babysit.  As I worked on these I was reminded how important it is (to me) to have an organized filing system.  I say this because I was having trouble “finding” the design that I was looking for.

When I download designs from a website, I try to print out the “color change sheet” at the same time. My intention is to always name the file something that is “close” to what it was called by the designer, and to include any “file code” names as part of the name. I have an embroidery download folder on my computer, and many, many, sub folders. I  break those sub folders down by “type”; for example, Holidays-Valentines Day/Christmas/Easter/St Patrick’s Day; or Animals; Food; Verses etc.  I place the color change sheet in a 3 ring binder in a similar way, using page dividers.  I am up to 4 – three ring binders!

Well – wouldn’t you know, I have a HEARTS folder and a Valentines folder.  Many of the HEARTS are NOT specific to Valentines day.  Darn if the file I was searching for didn’t land in the HEARTS folder, not the Valentines Day Folder.  I wasted a good deal of “stitching time” looking for the file.  (Like 3 days wasted….)

At one point, I gave up and I started with a St Patrick’s Day design, while I “looked” for the elusive Valentine/Heart file.  I did a little stitching and searching.  Finally I selected an alternate Valentine design and set it up to run.  Well in my haste, I had not “removed” the St Patrick’s Day design from the machine before I started the stitch out on the 2nd design.  1/2 way through the first color, I realised it was stitching out my St Patrick’s Day design all over again.  Well, you decide if you like it in pinks and purples instead of the greens!

February Bib Fun for Addy

I decided to just keep on stitching and while it was busy stitching; get the fabric prepped for an alternate Valentine!  So, 3 new bibs completed and that will be it for a while.  The littlest grandchild will be a year old next month and has quite a collection of “StitchingGrandma” bibs.  (Somewhere in the bib process in the last couple of weeks, I lost the great “Bandana” pattern, so she got traditional shaped bibs.  Clean up was in order at the end of this project; and again, the lost pattern was found and stored away properly!)

I took the new Singer Featherweight 221 for a spin on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – Material Girls – had an all day sit & sew; and that new little machine had a great debut.  Tuesday night we got her oiled up (must be 90 oiling / lube  points). She is clean as a whistle.  Had a few challenges “winding” a bobbin, and had to engage the hubby to help.  Got 3 bobbins ready with his help and determined what was causing the trouble.  He adjusted the belt a tad and it worked much better.  (Nice to have a guy with a mechanical mind helping out).

Today, the LED light I ordered arrived (Thank you EBay!).  I installed it and am pleased with the brightness and lower temperature.  The Ebay seller I purchased from had a few photo’s showing the difference in temperature on the light- from 172 degrees on the incandescent  bulb to 74 degrees with the LED bulb.  That will save an accidental burn on a wrist!  The difference in the light was significant – from 139 lumens to 205 lumens.  Hubby said the bulbs look similar to automotive tail lights. He thinks that the new bulb will last a long time, and because it is LED, will be less likely to break due to the handling of the machine transport case.  I will be ordering 2 belts soon, just to have one on hand and to replace the current belt which is at it’s limit of adjustment.   All in all, I am most pleased with this little machine, which was made in January of 1948. She stitches well and should be a fun travel machine!

I have assembled a tote ready to “travel” with the Autumn Jubilee project material.  I can just “grab & go” to a sit and sew, and not have to “think” about what project I am going to take to work on, or worry over what to assemble ahead of time.  (One of the Bee members said this is how she operates and the only time the project gets worked on is at a bee)  I did manage to get 6 more blocks made on Wednesday using the Autumn Jubilee pattern.  I have lots of pieces cut and ready to assemble. My intention is to make 6 – 8 placemats with the lovely leaf pattern. Once I get a “few” more leaves made I can start building the placemats.  At this rate, it will be August before I can set the table; but the timing will be just about right for this project.  I like the idea of “no stress” on which project to take.  The fun of a going to a sit & sew or quilters bee is the company.  I like being able to dedicate a whole day (or 2 or 3) and not have any other tasks taking me away from the fun!  (Note – the Autumn Jubilee project is from a pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home)

I worked on my Talkin’ Turkey blocks again Wednesday night and again this afternoon.  I have 4 left to add the corner string blocks to. They are “pinned” and ready to stitch.  The Talkin’ Turkey pattern is by Bonnie Hunter and can be found in the String Fling Book. Bonnie Hunter’s blog

I will need to  square up the blocks next.  I am thinking about how I am going to tackle the  “next round” which will include a LOT of flying geese (8 per block x 30 blocks= 240 flying geese units.)  The pattern by Bonnie Hunter suggests you use the Easy Angle and Companion Angle ruler for the Flying Geese or your “favorite method” .

I plan to use my new Square in a Square tool/method –OPTION 3…by Jodi Barrows.  Using the Square in a Square tool by Jodi Barrows,  flying geese will be done with strips and squares; and if I do the math right; it is done with 120 squares and LOTS of strips!! I just have to sit down with Bonnie Hunters pattern and find the “finished unit size) and then check my Square in a Square book and the chart and figure out what size squares and strips I need to start!  More to follow! I like the “methodical” building of units for a big quilt.  240 Flying Geese doesn’t scare me after I did that quilt last winter with 1400+ half square triangles.  I will be making about 4 “test units” just to make sure I have them sized properly before I begin!

Check out the video on you – tube if you have never seen this ruler or method.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekwRp8_cGU     and    www.squareinasquare.com 

What fun things are you working on??   What is your favorite method for flying geese ?  Do you have any “new tools” or “toys” ??  Do tell………………

A week of loading and unloading

I have had a MOST busy week.  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild day, so that meant on Sunday evening, I loaded up the SUV with all the stuff we have to “sell” at our Second Time Around tables.

On Monday morning, I arrived at the meeting location at 8 am to unload and start setting up. I have such willing helpers who work quickly to lay out all the fabrics and baskets of notions and fat quarters while I find a place to set up our “for sale by you” bulletin board, and to set up a “check out” station, etc.

This month was our first time using the new Casio cash register I purchased, and did it make my life easier once I got the knack of using it. No time for mistakes when these ladies are shopping.

Thanks to the cash register I could determine I had over 60 customers, sold 176 Fat Quarters, 50 half yard pieces of fabric; 38 full yard pieces of fabric, and $493.92 of “other yardage/notions” etc. Not too bad for 1 hour and 20 minutes…. Proceeds to the guild were over $780. It is a great payoff, since EVERYTHING is donated to the guild, and we iron, trim, square up, fold and price those donated things and make them look pleasing. And as is the typical day, I get JUST as much in donations to “repeat and resell” at future meetings.  In this photo, from the Guild facebook page, you can see the line of tables along the windows where the ladies are all “shopping” . 16601919_649817651858068_3251816470784442006_or

And of course, it all has to be repacked tidily and reloaded to come back home, and unloaded and shelved. All the donations go up stairs in the garage for that “repeat process”. Everytime I see light at the end of the tunnel with the donations, another load comes in. I set up a couple of days each week to work on this; and ask members of the guild to come over for 3 hours, a few at a time. It seems to work, and the guild benefits.

The rest of my week involved our annual guild retreat in Ocean City Maryland. On Tuesday, I had to pack up the car (sounds like a lot of that in my life….) and check in at 4 pm. Because of the way my crazy busy life is, I decided NOT to work on the 2 projects at the retreat. Instead I loaded up my 3 bins of Bonnie Hunter class UFO’s.

I had checked in, had my suitcase in the room, the sewing machine and associated gear set up in the Quilt Room, and was “ready for dinner” at 5:30 pm.

I spent the 3 days working on my Talkin’ Turkey project and made considerable progress, once I finished “unstitching” all those blocks I had the “wrong” seam allowance on! All is well now, and I completed the 30 nine patches I needed; and started adding the string blocks to them. By the time I departed at noon on Friday, I had 17 blocks “ready” for the next round. I need to build some more string blocks before the last batch are ready for the next round. (I love String blocks).  Note – Talkin’ Turkey is a Bonnie Hunter design and can be found in her book STRING FLING. The book is available for purchase on Bonnie’s website – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com  .

17 Talkin' Turkey blocks

There really is nothing quite like a few days at the beach in February. Our first day was almost 70 degrees and at lunch time many took long walks on the boardwalk, and others just enjoyed the rocking chairs on the deck and the view of the crashing surf. The second day a storm blew in and the temps dropped into the 30’s with gale force winds and churning waves. So fun to watch from the big windows in the Quilt Room while we sewed.

Crashing waves during Nor'easter

 

We woke up to beautiful a beautiful sunrise on the last day, and frigid weather.

Sunrise in Ocean City

I stayed to the last hour, and did that packing up and loading up for the trip home, and the reverse once home. (Are you sensing a familiar theme here??)

After I got home, I had to do a bit of work getting photos printed on fabric for our Saturday morning at church.  We have 5 graduates getting quilts this year.  I am only sewing one of the quilts.  And of course, as it worked out, I only had enough printer-ready fabric for 4 photos; so I had to “order more” !  I will get the package later in the week, and print the last one for the quilt I am working on.

Church photo printed on fabric

So, of course, Saturday consisted of another pack up and load up to go to church to work on our Senior Quilts project. This was a little bit less stuff, starting out. 

But afterwards, when we were finished, I visited a church member who was “clearing out” her sewing things. She is over 90 and not sewing like she used to anymore. While I was there I loaded up the SUV for the 2nd time in 2 weeks with her donations. I also took her up on the purchase of her beautiful 221-1 Singer Featherweight – circa January 1948. 

1948 Singer Featherweight

When she first asked me 2 weeks ago if I was interested, I resisted. I knew going yesterday I was going to make the purchase, and I am SO happy I did. This little machine is pristine, with all her decals and beautiful paint, great case and all the feet, bobbins, extra needles, new container of oil, owners manual etc. She will be lovely for future “sit and sew” events. I have one scheduled for Wednesday, and I think I will take her along! (Yes, more loading of the car).

I finished off Saturday evening stitching out more Bible verses; 2 for the Senior Quilts and one for a baby quilt. This one is for the baby quilt.  The source is Designs by JuJu.com in the FREE section of her embroidery website.

Baby Quilt

So, that is my exciting week….the forearms have bruises from carrying and lifting and toting etc, but it has been wonderful !

What have you been up to??

 

Paper and Embroidery time and more

A step “away” from my usual sewing/quilting posts.

Last week I spent some “embroidery time” with two friends from my quilt bee – the Queen Bees.  One lady had just gotten an embroidery machine, so I was pleased to share tips and techniques to alleviate some of the frustration NEWBIES have with these machines, just out of the box.  We talked A LOT about stabilizers and what to use and when.  Also about how to move designs from the computer to the machine etc.  There is a lot to KNOW about these machines, right out of the box, and I wrote a blog post full of resource info about the subject — Embroidery resources

We worked on “hooping” which I always struggle with, due to arthritis in my hands. And we helped her set up and stitch out a design with 12 thread changes.  By the time the design stitched out, she was becoming the expert at threading her machine.    After the ladies left, I realised I still had a tea towel in the hoop on my machine, so the next afternoon, I picked a design for a quick stitch out.

Coffee cup close up

I picked this design because it was a fast, light stitchout.  I love watching the machine work – This is a Brother PE500 that I won in 2013 from Brother Sews in a contest on Facebook.  The machine has a capable hoop size of 4×4 (100 mm x 100 mm).  This often limits what you can do design wise.  In my dreams I would have a big giant machine with a big giant hoop, with digitizing capability built in the machine……but the truth is, I would not get my “monies worth” from such a machine. 

Embroidery machine fun

After the dishtowel was finished, I moved along to doing the Bible Verses that will be included in the quilts we make at church for our graduates.

There is a designer who has made a mission of digitizing many verses; and offers them for free.  Take a look at her website Designs by JuJu .   The verses are under the FREEBIES tab.  She digitizes both 4×4 and 5×7 sizes, but my machine is limited to 4×4. That means, not all the verses are usable for my purposes.  This makes me contemplate obtaining digitizing software, and learning how to make it work!  (Yikes, another new thing to learn).

Anyway; the point is….if I am trying to do something that is not digitized already, I have to load the design in, one character at a time. Not an easy feat, and with my built in font choices, not a lot of choices. Alignment is the hardest part when you go to the next line of words, as you are manually setting where the line will stitch.  I use the ruler, but gosh it is challenging….more things to learn.  In the photo below is a verse that was not available, but the mother really wanted this on her son’s quilt.  So, I bit the bullet and worked it out. My spacing isn’t perfect, but I decided it was acceptable.  The photo shows the project before the jump stitches were trimmed and while it still had water soluble stabilizer (WSS) on top.  NOTE: It is EASIER to trim jump stitches BEFORE you remove the WSS.   

Senior Quilts 2017 embroidery block

This took me about an hour to load, line by line and stitch out, one line at a time.  The photo below (sorry it is fuzzy) was one of the designs by Designs by JuJu. It stitched out in about 15 minutes.

Verses for senior quilts

This next one, in script stitched out very quickly as well.  The thread stitch count  on this is very lightly laid down on the project, while the 1Peter 5:7 was a much “heavier” stitch.

Verses for Senior Quilts 2017

These were all stitched on muslin with the same brown thread. I used fusible no show mesh stabilizer on the back, floated a piece of medium weight tear away under the hoop, and as previously mentioned WSS on top.  I learned a lot from a Floriani event I went to (see blog post above) about stabilizer, and KNOW that it makes all the difference in the project.  The 1 Peter 5:7 is “PULLING” at the stitches.  Because of the heavier stitch count, I probably should have added 1 more layer of stabilizer UNDER the hoop. It would have made all the difference.  My friend who came to visit “accidently” slipped two pieces of medium tear away under her hoop and it made a WORLD of difference on her project with 20,000+ stitches.

While these blocks don’t look too exciting here, the messages from scripture are meaningful, and were chosen for each of the young men who are graduating by their parents.

Other fun things — Paper crafting…..I went to the local library on Saturday to participate with Jan and another lady in a “card making” class.  We bring in what we have, with ideas, and work together. Jan is an expert card maker (she sells the cards at local events); and has a volume of tools and materials and wisdom.  I will be the self-proclaimed novice, but I am having fun.  I used her die cutter and dies, and one of her “sparkly” pink papers. She is generous to share her materials and tools with others.

I was able to get 2 cards made under her guidance –

January card class

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and

Card Class Jan 2017

Inside card from class Jan 2017

During the class, I got a call and a request for some other paper crafted items – this time for my grandson’s birthday party decorations.  Can you guess the party theme????

Movie Reels for Party deco

This required a trip to Michaels to get silver cardstock.  I had a terrible time getting a crisp silhouette to scan into the machine and cut.  Again, this is where software ( and working knowledge) would come in handy.  I need to take more time with this machine, and learn about .SVG files (Cutting files) that are available created by other crafters.

Oh; do you remember the last post about the  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along ?  I was going “throw size”, right….well….Bonnie Hunter had Quilt-Cam one night last week, and I didn’t have a project ready to work on, so I started getting more “scraps” out and ended up pulling enough to go twin size! Yes, I did the stitching on those blocks from Step/Clue 1 too.  More on that project next time!   It was inspiring to watch Bonnie Hunter as she worked on string piecing blocks. Watching  Quilt Cam Jan 2017 is like being in a room full of quilters.    Even better when I saw those blocks in the border on the quilt she was working on.  Check out her blog and see what she was up to on Sunday – Bonnie Hunter’s blog – String pieced border

For now,   I am headed to my sewing room for a full evening of fun & clean up. Tomorrow the ladies are coming to iron, measure and fold fabric for the 2nd Time around at the guild.  We picked up a lot of fabric yesterday from a church member who is “downsizing her sewing room”.  Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the stacks, a new pile of fabrics to “process” for sale!

Happy stitching or crafting today.

Busy times and little stitching

Oh, it has been almost a month since I have put up a blog post. Busy times! My big sister, Cathi, came to visit for a few days! We had some fun visiting with the youngest grandchild and her mother during her time here.  Right after she departed, I hopped a plane (or 3) for a trip to Texas.

I spent two wonderful weeks in Texas with the grandchildren and their parents and have had SO much fun!  My 8 year old grandson was watching me as I was basting hexi’s , and wanted to do a “little sewing too”.

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Little hands

He did all the basting stitches,

basting stitches

and then joined all the hexi’s together.

whip stitching

check out his “whip stitches.  I’d say he is doing a pretty good job for his first time out!  He sure does have the concept down pat!

He worked on that hexi flower for 2 solid hours and got it done!  I asked him what he thought he wanted to do with it once it was all stitched together. He was uncertain, so I helped my self to a slightly worn kitchen towel from the drawer.  It had a few worn spots that we “covered” with the flower.  I helped with the “stitching down” to the hand towel , because his mom was due home “any minute” and he wanted to surprise her!  He told his mom that he made “something old new again“.  She appreciates re-purposing things!  I think he did a great job!  Surprising what you can do with a few bits of fabric that some people might just throw away.

flower fun

The youngest of the grands in Texas  is 4, and she wanted to “sew” also.  She picked out some hexi’s that I had already basted, and artfully arranged them into a flower.

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Then she decided that Grandma should make her a bag.  Luckily, my daughter had a partial “fat quarter” in her sewing box, and I managed to put together this little bag – completed in an hour or so, under the constant supervision of said 4 year old!  (After it was done, she told me she wants me to teach her how to make a pair of shoes…….curious child)/

little tote

I did get a few more than this done in between working on the children’s sewing — I think I managed to get 4 double diamonds assembled.  Only managed 1 photo, but sometime soon I will put them all back up on the design wall again!  (Right after MITTENS is finished…….still a WIP on the wall!)

Double Diamonds

While visiting in San Antonio, I visited Las Colchas Quilt Shop.  Worthy of a visit if you find yourself in downtown San Antonio.  Small shop, but packed full of lovely items.  I brought home a few fat quarters as a reminder of my trip.  Of course, we did lots of eating of wonderful regional foods!  Time spent in San Antonio is fun; and one place we visited downtown was called The Pearl.  It is the best “urban renewal” effort I have seen in a long time.  I put up a bunch of photo’s in an album on FLICKR – The Pearl .(https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157672440816744 ) It is an old brewery location and there must be 6 or 8 city blocks that have been redeveloped along the San Antonio River. Free parking and pecan trees were a bonus.  We stopped in at La Gloria for chips, salsa and guacamole; and at Bakery Lorraine for a cookie. The pecan trees were all over the place and the grands loaded up a bag full of the wonderful nuts. They were quite the Urban scavengers!   We enjoyed doing a little shopping and a nice walk along the river too.  We poked into the lobby and bar of the Hotel Emma!  What a great  building.  The remnants of the brewery were embraced in the wonderful lobby and bar area. If I had a million dollars and an opportunity, I would move into one of the new condo’s at The Pearl.

I spent 2 solid days on my return home, working on the never ending stack of donated fabric for the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Second Time Around table. Thank goodness for the 4 ladies that came on Monday and Tuesday to help me dig through and sort, measure, iron, fold and price some of the items.

The rest of this week is dedicated to my time at Sit & Sew Camp, being held in a nearby church facility.  The members of several quilt bees, associated with Ocean Waves Quilt Guild are gathering to “sew together” on their own projects. We meet from 8:30 – 3:30 and visit, and sew, and laugh and catch up. So nice to spend the time with lovely women who  are so talented.

Today I worked on “pumpkin blocks” and some more “leaf blocks”.  I am hoping to have enough ready to make 3 Autumn Jubilee Table Runners.  Thanks Carole – From My Carolina Home for the great patterns and layouts.  I missed the last 3 weeks of Autumn Jubilee on Carole’s blog, so I am making up for lost time.  Today I made a batch of pumpkins

Pumpkin prep

They will go along nicely with those Autumn leaves I have been working on!

Maple leaves

I spent my last 2 evenings gathering fabric and getting ready to go.  I made a kit of the fabrics for the pumpkins, plus I cut more squares for Autumn leaves.  I am going to add a few greens, reds and a little more brown to the collection of leaves.  So, more 2.5″ and 3″ squares. At the Sit & Sew this morning I stitched and trimmed up a stack of half square triangles, so I am ready for “leaf assembly ” tomorrow morning!  Hope to have some “assembly” that looks like a table runner by the end of the fun on Thursday!  I’m sure I would be more productive at home, but it is great fun to gather together to sew.

Happy stitching!

 

 

Small Progress, small quilting machine, small child

So, I have made small progress with my Pet Mosaic Project – Mittens –  (really do wish I was sewing right now!).

I got his “cheek” put in on the right side.  And tried to show some of the “whiskers” in the fabric pieces I chose.

more design work

Then I spent a couple of days doing some stitching and pressing –

Webbing the sections

The method used is called “webbing”, so you keep your pieces in “order”. (Very useful when you have gone to so much effort to put “just” the right piece of fabric in a particular spot or when you have a square that is so much more than “square”.

One night I decided to sew, and watch Bonnie Hunter QUILT-CAM.  Bonnie was talking on her live video stream about webbing, so I sent her a picture of my “webbed” pieces and of the project.  She showed them on her video stream, and talked about it quite a bit.   If you want to see what she said – check out this You Tube link —   QUILT-CAM Sept 7 – Fast forward to about 58:42.  (Now, dear Mittens, don’t get a big head….)

This is just how far I have gotten as of now – 8 sections stitched together.  I can do another 4 sections before I have to go back to the designing.

8 sections constructed

Life has interrupted though for a bit. – I would really like to get back to this project, but I had to get busy with the quilt guild responsibilities.  Maybe I mentioned I co-chair the Second Time Around Table at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes DE?  We “re-purpose” sewing items that members have “cleaned out” of their sewing room.  So, I spent nearly 6 days working with 3 other helpers, ironing, trimming, folding and pricing those donations for our Sept 12th meeting. I packed it all up in the hubby’s SUV the day before the meeting.

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We set this stuff up on tables starting at 8 am; and by 8:50 the members are shopping and finding great bargains.  We sold over $600 worth of items in just over an hour.  Then, following the meeting, I pack up all the leftovers, plus all the “new donations “ and load it “back up” in the SUV.  The new donations get carted upstairs into my sewing room for sorting/folding etc; while the items that have already been priced, stay in their containers on a shelving unit I have, for the next time.  I usually “fill” as many empty containers with donated items, as I sell.  It is really amazing what a little ironing and folding will do! It  takes a lot of time and effort, but is brings great results.

I’ve also had some fun setting up an Inspira Quilting Frame that I am “storing” for my friend Kathi. (Thank goodness for a hubby with a mechanical mind and a VHS video tape that came with it).

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She acquired it from her daughter in law, along with a stitch regulator earlier in the summer.  I spent a couple of days searching high and low for the “right” sewing machine to go along with the stitch regulator.  After my E-bay shopping did not pan out, I wrote to the company who made the stitch regulator, describing what I had, and asking about any other machine types that would work with the stitch regulator.  They gave me the info, and then, they also offered a machine for sale for a great price that was “gently used”. So, this week; the machine arrived.  It is a Janome 1600p; and it is all set up in the Inspira Quilting Frame.  It is a “small system”; with a small throat, but it will be a great starting point and something that I think, I can learn to work with.  I was really motivated when I visited a fellow guild member, Lana, and saw her using a similar set up.  She has been doing amazing work with this type of system, and I am going to try and follow her method for practicing and skill building.  Before I get too excited, I need to order some bobbins, and some spare needles!  I have lots of muslin that I can work with to practice.

Janome 1600 mid arm

Of course, the person who had this machine before only had 5 foot leaders, and silly me, when I set them up I set them all the way to the right. Now I have learned that they need to be centered!  Better new is I have had 2 different people offer me sets of leaders; and I am taking them BOTH up on their offers. The frame is set up in a 10 foot configuration, and the shelf on top where my “clutter” sits, is where you would set the panto’s for the laser light to “follow”.  I managed to get it threaded, and the bobbin thread pulled thru, but that is all I have had time for.  My wonderful sister-in-law sent me great instructions for loading the quilt top/bottom/batting.  She has a Tin Lizzy long arm and lots of experience, so I found her input invaluable.  Maybe once I get some “hours” under my belt with this system, I can “finish” some of those quilt tops I have on hangers!

The other quilt guild I belong to, Helping Hands Quilt Guild, in Dover DE is offering two classes with Bonnie Hunter at the end of the month.  I have pre-washed mountains of blues, reds, and neutral fabrics for the two classes, and have ironed all the red and blue.  3 cans of spray starch later, I still need to get my neutrals done. (My dear hubby did the shopping this week at the warehouse store, and brought me home 8 more cans of Niagara spray starch….talk about love and understanding!!!)   I also have some pre-cutting done for the 2nd class, but not for the first class.

In addition, I have spent two days with my darling littlest granddaughter……

6 months old Addison and Grandma M.

This sweet little one is teething, and Grandma needs to make some bibs that are more “absorbent” than the typical “commercial” bib.  I have spoken with my friend Nancy, who made LOTS for a grandchild and gotten great advice, and a great supply of fun fabrics to supplement my stash.  My daughter favors the “bandanna” shape like she is wearing in the photo with snaps.  I think I will work on some this afternoon following our church service.  Like I said, busy life has interrupted, and Mittens is taking the back seat for a while!    Not much progress, to report……..other than I have had a ton of fun playing on the floor with that sweet little one.  I finally gave her 2 quilts this week.  You might remember Addison’s Quilt  her double bed quilt and the much smaller “play pen sized” courthouse steps scrappy quilt.

Hope you are enjoying beautiful fall weather like we are!