Scrap Happy and Allietare Updates

Fair warning – lots of photos!  

Just a few years ago, I dug in the scrap storage boxes and put together about 30 blocks using Pat Sloan’s pattern Scrap Happy Little Wishes Star Challenge. (See Pat’s post – Scrap Happy Stars for the free pattern)

I wrote about the project once or twice at the time and showed off my blocks, joined together with black sashing here – Just a border or two.

Well, if you have been following me for any time at all, you know you sometimes never see the end result…or maybe I left you wondering “what did she decide?”…..

Well, let me tell you….NOTHING for almost 5 years!  Honestly, I have told others that I am a “top maker’ not a quilter at times.  I have a LOT of tops made, hanging on hangers on my storage shelves that get forgotten because something ‘new and exciting’ comes along.  In fact, some are hanging so long I had to put them on NEW hangers because the hook of the hanger was stretched out due to the weight.

I get tempted by shiny new fun patters.  Why, just the other day, Pat Sloan started another “new sew along” and I was really feeling tempted.   And then, our local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro Delaware announced a new sew along.  The pattern, Serendipity House in the Pumpkin patch, calls to me. Check it out here – House in the Pumpkin Patch.  You know if you follow me that I always have a container of “autumn colors” just waiting on another opportunity! Now I have TWO fun sew alongs to think about.

Before I could l do anything else though, I needed to fold up the massive (111″ x 120″) backing  for my Allietare quilt and get the backing and top in the mail to California for quilting by my wonderful sister in law, the One Block Wonder Woman .

Remember the fabrics I was using?  (Some of this may be a repeat of a previous post/photos…but I just love this fabric group!)

Border fabric choices

Top fabric (wine labels) is the border fabric. The herringbone gold and the grape fabric are on the back, along with this wonderful Bella Toscana fabric I was inspired by last month –

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

My plan was pretty simple for the backing – scribbled out quickly.  (The quilt will be WIDE because of the drop on our king size bed. I like a quilt to hang over the sides and get to the bottom of the thick top  mattress.)  My quilt top is 111″ wide by 99 ” long.

Planning the backing

Careful planning…no, what I call “quilt math”, but careful measurements of the actual project, careful cutting etc and I fairly quickly had a quilt back ready. What really slowed me down was ironing those massive pieces before cutting, and after stitching.

Backing ready to stitch Allietare

Carolyn was kind enough to advise me she needed 4 inches on the sides for the long arm clamps; and to remember to do 1/2″ seams, pressed open. I did leave the selvedge on the edges of the final pieces, as they will be where the clamps are and they will get trimmed off after the quilting. I’d forgotten to take a photo of the backing before I shipped it, but Carolyn, the One Block Wonder Woman was kind enough to snap a picture of it on her design wall.  She said it was so big it took over her sewing room! The backing is about 120″ wide by 110″ long.

Quilt backing for Allietare

Remember the front?

Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

I’m so glad it arrived by mail without TOO many wrinkles.  Hanging up for a bit will help them to shake out I hope.  I hate to see her have to iron that beast, enough that she is loading it on the long arm and doing all the quilting.  If you quilt for others and they mail you tops/backings, how do you manage the inevitable winkling from the shipping?  Does a steamer work or do you have to iron the whole thing??   Allietare is a pattern by the queen of scraps, Bonnie Hunter and the pattern is available on her online store.

Anyway; now that Allietare is ‘under control’ and OFF my table, back to my Pat Sloan  Scrap Happy Little Wishes story!  I went to the sewing room and looked at one of my cutting tables, buried in STUFF.  A disaster zone for sure!  I went up with the intent of “cleaning it up” but to be honest, it looks like this 4 days later STILL.

Disaster zone

Last week I was making “string blocks” for borders, so there are bins of stings, baskets of scraps and so much more on that table.  I had one basket of string blocks made, and decided to join them together into a “string border”.  (I wanted to sew, not clean….at least, that is what I told myself when I picked up the baskets).  Sewing string blocks uses scraps, which I needed to clear up, right?  I use phone book paper as a foundation for my string blocks.  At one time, I had my strings sorted by width, then as I was digging for the right color, I resorted by color. Sometimes I have to get in the scrap aver boxes to find the perfect strip.  Anyway, working on string blocks is what I do when I have no sewing “plan”, and I hadn’t quite gotten to the Scrap Happy Little Wishes quilt.  (I’ve had vertigo for a week now, so mindless sewing of string blocks was about all I could manage) . Honestly, cleaning up from multiple projects was more than my wobbly head could manage last week.

Since my BIG cutting table was cleared off, I could lay out all the string blocks and arrange them so there were not similar fabrics too close together.

More string border blocks

Anyway, at some point I measured what I had sewn together and discovered I had enough to go around something that was hanging on a hanger waiting on borders.  I had made 268″ of a 6″ wide border, and while getting down my Scrap Happy Quilt, I found 336″ of  4″ borders all done too.

String borders

I laid out my Scrap Happy Stars on the table and immediately decided I didn’t want to put either of those string borders “next to the black sashing”.

Scrap Happy Stars on the table

There JUST wasn’t enough space between the busy scrappy stars and the scrap borders.  So, I executed plan B.  I got out a bin of reds and oranges and yellows, did some more quilt math, and decided a 4″ border was what would work.  I have a tone on tone ORANGE (shown at the top of the photo above) that was also used in the sashing stones, and I decided it was perfect.  At this point, the quilt top was feeling rather “dark” to me, but the orange really brightened  it up.  I cut the sashing into 4″ strips, sewed it all together and then sub cut to length for the sizes I needed.  I added some cornerstones from my 4″ scrap storage, and in no time at all I had the borders attached.

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge

At this point, I think I am going to leave “well enough alone” and figure out a backing and start quilting it.  My brain this morning was running along the line of putting it on my quilting machine frame (the one with the 9″ throat and the Janome 1500).  I need to learn how to use that machine, loading etc, and it is high time.  I am glad I bought some wide backing last winter from Marshall’s Dry Goods, but not sure if grey paisley is what I want to use.  I have some purple wide backing, but have to check and see if there is “enough”.  If not, I may order something else.  Did you know they sell 108″ wide back for $7.99 a yard, and you can get a 15 yard BOLT for under $80.  Great choices and I am thinking I have some shopping to do.

Sidenote Serendipity Quilt Shop is a small business in a very small town, and since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns, they have converted to totally online sales until it is safe for everyone to shop in person in their store. If you need something, new fabric is arriving daily, and they have $5 flat rate shipping or porch pick-up. Their amazing online shopping website is running well and this week (through July 12) there is 20% off on Moda Grunge.  So, if you need some fabric or notions, try to support the small business so they will be there after COVID-19 is history.  Serendipity is where I ordered that fabulous Bella Toscana fabric, catching it on sale.  I think I bought 7 or 8 yards, so I have enough for matching pillowcases.  The facebook post by Serendipity inspired me to get my Bonnie Hunter Allietare off the hanger!!  

It is a very nice feeling to move two projects forward that have been “hanging around” for so long.  No worries though, I have lots more UFO’s to tackle.  All but one of the series of Scrap Dance Mystery Quilts I have done over the years are still “on hangers” . Well, except the last one, it is still on the design wall.  Carole is publishing the TWIST soon.  When I was looking through photos yesterday I realised I had ONE of the Scrap Dance series finished.  I had to go back to my blog and find the post about it.  Turns out, I finished it around September 2015, about the same time I was making the blocks for the Scrap Happy Stars!

Scrap Dance Quilt Along Finish!

Seems I like those scrappy projects!!!I was busy that year.  (You may see some of the same fabrics in BOTH projects!)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I appreciate all of your comments when you take the time to post them.  I often say I am slow to blog anymore because I don’t have much to say, or I don’t have any photos to support the post. Today it seems like I might be overwhelming you with photos and narrative.   So, I am glad you took the time to get this far, and hope you enjoyed the post.

What are you doing on this hot July day for fun???

Making Labels for Quilts

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

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

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

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

Banner label

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

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

Quilt label with signature

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

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

Get to the Point label

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

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

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

Allietare label

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

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

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

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

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

 

Fun with kids and a final finish

Had some fun this week with a grandchild. My very youngest granddaughter  (age 4)  and her mom invited me for a bike ride around our favorite trail. The weather was perfect for getting out and getting some fresh air.  The state parks require you to still bring a mask and wear it whenever you are near other park users.  It gets a little tricky to pull the mask up over your mouth and nose when riding, but we managed. Sadly, not another person we saw had masks, around their neck, on their face at all. The park has big signs when you enter, but virtually ignored. We try to do the right thing, and that’s the best we can do.  My daughter and I feel like we don’t want to hear about people complaining about those “bike riders”, so we follow the rules.  Anyway, we had a great mid day ride, and then treated ourselves to a “take out lunch”.

a little exercise

Our take out lunch was from a little restaurant downtown (Cafe on the Circle, Georgetown DE). I phoned ahead and ordered the special for the day. It was a wonderful grilled chicken with avocado, bacon and ranch on a soft kaiser roll. My daughter chose potato salad and I chose coleslaw. The sides were both delicious. The Cafe on the Circle has lovely outdoor seating behind the restaurant.  Highly recommend if you are looking for a take out lunch. I’m planning to pick up lunch again later this week. (We have only done take out twice since March, and I am SO ready to not be cooking every day!) 

After lunch, my granddaughter and I went up to my sewing room to see about repairs to a much loved “unicorn backpack”.  It seems that the poor unicorn had lost a leg, in what her mother referred to as a “shark attack”. (Kid shark, baby shark, doggie shark???) The bag also had a critical “loop” come undone that helped hold the straps in place.  My granddaughter helped me with the sewing while her mommy took pictures. 

Sewing with a 4 year old

  It only took me two tries to get it right….Goofy Moofie!  I forgot the first time thru to loop the plastic bit over the strap, so we did a little unsewing and re-sewing. She loved the pink thread I used to close up the lining.  I did do a little reinforcement stitching on the other straps attachments. (Makes you wonder why they weren’t tacked down better!)

Then, we had to figure out what to do for the poor unicorn who had lost it’s leg in that “shark attack”.  Did we want to make a new leg, remove the remaining leg, or perhaps we could learn about differently abled bodied unicorns…..Mommy and child discussed and we repaired where the leg had come off, and she has a great tale to tell of her one legged unicorn!

A little hand sewing

We learned how to use a needle threader and she and I stitched together, sewing up the wounded parts, just like a doctor would. Four years old and wanting to sew. Those little fingers did a great job holding on to the needle and thread. She got the concept pretty quickly of pushing the needle through. 

All and all a great kind of Stitching Grandma day!  (Don’t judge the messy sewing room….)

Finished the binding on Mama’s Garden and hand stitched the label and hanging sleeve too! I did the “binding with the flange” also known as Susie’s Magic Binding.  

Binding on Mama's Garden

Just love the way that little pop of color looks.  

mama's garden completed

Mama’s Garden is officially complete!

  Just in time to take to the Material Girls Quilt bee on Wednesday morning!  We are having an “outside” / “in the garage in case of rain” quilt bee with appropriate social distancing and wearing our wonderful hand made masks!  It will be fun to have “something finished” to show !  It will be nice to catch up in person with conversations, and see how others are coping. 

It is fun teaching a young person to do something you love!  Last week I babysat and taught two grandchildren how to play backgammon. (They both beat me!).  A year and a half ago I taught my husband to play while we were on a cruise.  I love the game, and it is very fun to play.  Next time I play with the grandkids, I am not going to give them all my “favorite moves”….but while they were learning the ins and outs, they learned all my secrets!

We are keeping our family circles pretty tight for a while, when things are starting to “open back up”.  None of us want to be the guinea pig for the COVID-19 virus, so we are taking steps to ease back into community life very carefully, and not put the rest of the family at unnecessary risk. This way, we can spend time together, which we desperately missed in the months of March, April and May.  We are “bouncing contact situations” off of each other to make certain none of us do anything the others are not comfortable with. It is MUCH more fun to see them in person than over a video chat!  Social distancing from friends is not fun, but as long as we can see “each other” in the family, it is tolerable.  We will “avoid” restaurants and hair salons, and such for just a little longer to see how the area responds to things opening up. My enjoyment of food is getting kicked up a notch with the take out lunch following the bike ride, and family dinner with pizza made by someone else, and NOT out of the freezer!!!  

 How are you doing with the “distancing”??  Have you had any fun with a project lately?  Taught a youngster a thing or two??  

Mama’s Garden nearly finished

Last week, we left off with the applique pieces all fused on, and ready to stitch. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/2015-was-a-good-year/

stitching around

Fun with blanket stitching

thread fun

Playing with variegated threads

applique stitched down

Top stitching completed

Once all the applique was stitched down, I had to start thinking about borders. I re-read all the instructions, and I looked at lots of “other quilters projects” that had been made, including Pat Sloan’s. I decided to dig out my container of Pat Sloan “Bobbins and Bits” fabric by Moda and lay it all out around this project. In doing so, I shared photos on Facebook and got input from some friends.

more choices

Each of the potential border fabrics was in the background

Fun fabrics

Decision time

fabric to chose from

Tough decision for a 4-5″ border

The favorite by far was the red background sunflower. However, I listened to the advice of three people, one non-quilter and two quilters, and decided to follow their suggestions.

I went with a fabric that was NOT in the project, and did so to give a frame to the busy piece. The recommendation to NOT use a piece already in the project was strong and the logic was it would draw your eye directly to it’s matching bit instead of framing the project. I think the advice was exactly what I needed, so I changed direction entirely. My non-quilting daughter suggested finding a color that was in the project but not overwhelmingly so. That was also great advice. My other quilting buddy said pick a fabric that will give your eye a “resting spot”.

Borders are on

Border is on – ready to quilt

The green was a good choice, and I was quite happy to fold up the remaining fabric for another project.

I had fun with the quilting and thread choices on my domestic sewing machine. I did mostly “walking foot” but some free motion.

Quilting on my domestic machine

Fun with flowers

 
fun with the quilting

Hanging sleeve ready

The back of the project – hanging sleeve

I used the same fabric on the back of the project as I did for the borders and had “just enough”. It is a neat fabric and I love the way the quilting shows on the back. I made color choices for the front with the thread, but stuck with Superior bottom line silver in the bobbin.

When I put the binding on, I will stitch down the hanging sleeve by machine along the top edge, and hand stitch the bottom and sides of the sleeve. I even have the label finished. I did it on my embroidery machine, and still have some “alignment learning curve” to get past, but I had to try and do the label and preserve the signature that was already on the fabric.

Quilt label

Pat Sloan signed this fabric 5 years ago!

When I made this label, I added a strip of the backing fabric to the white on the top and the bottom, so it would fit in my embroidery machine hoop. I trimmed off the excess when I was finished with the stitching. Then, I used a technique I learned from Pat Sloan years ago for making circles. I laid a piece of fusible interfacing with the sticky side facing the label stitching, and stitched all around the edges of the label. I slit the fusing and turned it around to the back of the piece. Now, I had a nice finished edge along my label, and I could press the label to the back of the project. I will add some hand stitching to the label after the binding is finished.

Trimmed and ready to bind

Ready to bind

Overall I am very pleased with the project. The binding will be put on today, using my favorite Susie’s Magic Binding technique. This has been a fun project.

What have you been working on?

UFO Complete — Get to the Point!

Not too long after I retired, I signed up for a series of “beginner quilt classes” at the local quilt shop.  We used two books by Pat Sloan, and made several patterns from “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” and the advanced book .  One project has been “fermenting” on my shelf. The pattern was called Get To The Point, and  I originally wrote about it in an early 2013 post- A Good Sewing Week.

A few weeks went by and it got mentioned – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/on-point-with-borders-wip-still/  . 

Later in 2013 I started to feel a little bugged by “unfinished class projects”  – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

That doesn’t mean I finished them all, because a few years later I mentioned this quilt again again – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/such-a-follower/   and then again early the next year –https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/on-point-and-setting-triangles/

Looking back at all those blog posts (do that later), I realized I had multiple projects going on, and a lot of indecision about how to proceed with many of these projects. I’ve learned a lot with those projects, and one thing I learned about me is l love to piece quilt tops, but get stuck with the borders and the “finishing”.   

With this project, I decided to try my hand at “free motion quilting” not long after I put the top together and I hated the result, so the project got folded up and put on the shelf.  A few years later, it was one of my UFO challenge projects, and I took it off the shelf and worked at removing all of the free motion quilting. Oh, my seam ripper and I became very good friends.  Back on to the shelf it went to continue the fermentation process.  

This past week, I went out to my sewing room thinking I would work on my Vintage Christmas blocks, but somehow, that project caught my eye and I pulled it off the shelf and unfolded it to have a look.  I’d done some basic “stitch in a ditch” after removing the free motion quilting (or maybe that was before the free motion, I don’t remember). Anyway, I decided I could tackle this top and clear it off the shelf for good. 

Machine quilting

Because the quilt had been well anchored with the “stitch in the ditch”, I started with the borders. After the borders I moved into all the setting triangles, while thinking about how to quilt the sashing blocks.

Fun with quilting big spaces

These big squares got a squared off spiral, starting on the outer edge of the block and working around to the middle.  The quilt had poly bat and I remember the disaster I had with “not enough quilting” on another project, so I went with a lot of stitching to really anchor this top.  (No I don’t use poly batting any longer, but I didn’t want to totally take this apart).

I spent a lot of hours at my machine this week, with the walking foot on, and did a lot of “straight line” quilting. I used at least 4 bobbins of Superior Bottom Line silver thread, as I worked my way across the quilt, down the borders and around and around the triangles points. I also used Silver (Masterpiece by Superior) on the top of the quilt.  I like the silver because it pretty much disappears into the quilt and you see the texture but not a lot of the stitching.

IMG_20200527_205054458_HDR

The back of the quilt really shows off the quilting. The original “stitch in the ditch” quilting was a different thread, so it tends to be more visible on the back, but I am ok with that. 

IMG_20200527_121907055_HDR

 I finished the last block, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on yesterday, too. 

lots of quilting

I am SO happy that I had tucked away fabric for binding inside the folded quilt to use for the binding.   I did my favorite “binding with a flange” also known as Susie’s Magic Binding.  (The purple for the flange came from a scrap leftover from the Senior Quilt 2020 backing).

Get to the point

It finished at  57×74 (who knows why? Not me).  It is a great throw size for snuggling under in the recliner or on the back of the couch.  In this photo it is on top of the queen size bed in the guest room which currently has (gasp) a comforter on it, not a quilt. (It made a nice neutral backdrop.)  Before the evening was over last night, I ran it through the washer and dryer, and was able to sleep under it !  Ok, still needs a label, and I will try to do that today. 

Oh, one more thing — I assembled the Scrap Dance TWIST and put on one narrow border.  It is now an official UFO/waiting on borders! The pattern is by Carole Carter on her blog From My Carolina Home

Twist assembled with one border

It is 86×98 and I plan to put a 6″ border of some kind all around, but it needs some thought (oh geez) and a good pressing! (Shooting for a generous king size of course).

If you are interested in the Scrap Dance Twist pattern, it is available on Carole’s blog for another week or so, before she takes it down and publishes it for sale. Honestly, if you like scrappy patterns, this is a great one to make.  

Speaking of UFO’s….I took down off of hangers in my sewing room a bunch of them yesterday, to do a little show and tell during a zoom quilter chat.  There are a bunch, and when my friend asked how many I didn’t count the ones in bins.  Borders seem to stop me. I don’t know why, searching for the perfect fabric to set things off?  Realizing I have been making KING SIZED quilt tops (at least 5 or 6), and the idea of quilting them maybe is what stops me.  I ordered some grey wide backing in February, and have enough to finish at least 2 king sized. Perhaps my next UFO will be one of the oldest tops .  I’ll have to get back to you on that. Don’t hold your breath!  

Disclaimer….if you go back to those old posts that I shared in the links at the top of this post, the CROSSROADS and the 9 patch CUPCAKES, Friendship Star table runner are really finished!  The Allietare is still “waiting on borders”, as are several other “Scrap Dance mystery quilts”. 

What are you working on this week?

Machine Binding methods and tutorials

Yesterday, a friend of mine from church called with some “quilt questions”.  She has worked with me on our Senior Quilt project in the past and is an excellent seamstress.  She is getting ready to “bind” her quilt, and wanted to chat before she got started.  She had been at the fabric store and looked at the price of the premade double fold binding packets and knew that I could give her a better method.  I answered the questions on the phone as much as I could, then offered to share some resources that I have unearthed online.  By the time I got finished sharing all of it with her in an email, I felt like I’d just written a blog post.  I thought others who read this blog might find it useful too.

DISCLOSURE — none of these methods are my own, they are all resources I have come across in the 10 years that I have been quilting.

My absolute lazy self wants to machine bind quilts. I don’t have enough time in my life to sit and hand sew binding.  My brain has already started another quilt by the time I get to binding. I know many people find sitting and binding while enjoying a football game or a movie is relaxing.  I have 2 cats that would be in the middle of things, so it is out of the question in my life. Besides…I already told you, I am lazy.  (Really I want to get it done and move on!!)
Let’s start with my favorite
Susie’s Magic Binding” , also known as “binding with a flange”.  My hubby thinks it really adds a “pop” to the quilts.
                                                     This is MY preferred method for binding quilts 
I discovered this binding method on a blog called 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. Tuesday Tutorial: Susie’s Magic Binding

 The directions are well written, easy to follow.

The video gives great instructions to follow along with the written instructions from her blog.

Susie’s Magic Binding Video Tutorial

Take note at around 8 minutes into the video of the method that is used for joining the ends and lining up the “flange/piping”.   This is the only “tricky thing” about this style of binding, and that is joining the ends and making the flange line up.

MY TIPS — In any method you use, I find that once you attach the binding to the BACK of the quilt, you get a better result by taking the quilt to the ironing board, and pressing that binding, against the seam, towards the raw edge of the quilt.  That way it is sharp and crisp when you roll it to the front.  I also take the time to bring it around to the front and PIN or use clips to hold the binding in place, so I have less fiddling around while I sew.  I use my WALKING FOOT when doing binding, because you are going through SO many layers.  I also use the TQM ” The Binding Tool” to join my ends, and I often BASTE the join until I have the piping lined up perfectly. I don’t always get my join perfect first try, and I find that basting the join works for me.  There are many ways to join the ends of binding and you-tube is a great resource.  I have never mastered the “pin trick” in the video above.  Near the end of this post I put a link to a video I used when I first got the TQM Binding Tool. That video is from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company.
OTHER TYPES OF MACHINE BINDING –All of these videos and links are from EXPERIENCED quilters who are great teachers.  There a LOTS more out on youtube, but I am sharing some of my favorites.
SINGLE COLOR BINDING
I love Susan – “the Gourmet Quilter ” and her methods and instructions.  In the first video, she tells you how to measure and make your binding, —  How to measure, cut and make a binding strip – Quilting Tips & techniques 093  
The 2nd video is her method for attaching and making the “finish” where the ends come together – How to Bind a Quilt by machine – Quilting Tips & Techniques 094

Susan joins the ends of the binding in a different method to the one that is done in Susie’s Magic Binding.  I learned this method that Susan shows in a quilting class at a local quilt shop.  (Like I said, many ways to achieve similar results!)

Pat Sloan  – a well known instructor – has a great tutorial on her web page for machine binding.  (I prefer double fold binding, but her final result for attaching is worth looking at) Pat Sloan Machine Binding tutorial
I haven’t looked for a video done by Pat, but her website may have something if you search around.
Jenny Doan – Missouri Star quilt Co has some great videos, and does one on “machine binding” using 2.5″ strips.  She is fun to watch too — https://youtu.be/-GVA05MxXTU

NOTE – Jenny mentions near the beginning of the video about The Binding Tool” and has a video on HOW to use the binding tool.

There are LOTS of ways to join your ends, and using The Binding Tool is MY preferred method.

Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics has great tutorials on You Tube. In the video below, she is giving you a “fast method” for machine binding and has used “butt joints” not a 45 degree angle when she is making her binding.  She has great tips for turning corners etc.  Her method is sewing the binding to the front, and stitching in the ditch on the front.  She is a very technical sewer and gives great explanations.    Jordan Fabrics Quick Method for Binding

I enjoy making the binding and machine attaching to my quilts.  Often times I bring home the quilts from church that our group has made and bind 3-6 of them.  I started doing that when my husband said to me once that it wouldn’t be fair to all the kids if the one I bound looked so “cool” and the others had “traditional binding”.  I try to pull colors from the quilts so the binding is a feature.  Here are a few peaks of what I have made over the years.  If you click on the photo’s below you will go to the folders they are in on my FLICKR page and you can zoom in a little.

Susies Magic Binding Dakota quilt

2 spools of binding

Binding set up on my machine

Binding a Senior Quilt

I just love the way the piping shows against a quilt –

Stripe binding

Below is a picture of a project I finished at a retreat this year and it has Susie’s magic binding.  The little piping really pops along the edge. Contrast is important when choosing what to use. In this case, I had plenty of that fabric, but made the main fabric “scrappy”.

Quilted and bound

QUICK EDIT FOR 2 more photo’s……because my hubby said you might want to see “MORE” and “CLOSER” etc…..

Binding for Addison's quilt

This grey and coral binding is on my youngest granddaughters quilt.  It got a 2nd place ribbon at the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show in 2017.

Quilting on Addison's

Hubby said to “give you a close up” so here you go — 

Addisons quilt

**looking back at this quilt I think the judges were right….it needed more quilting in the border…**

So, that’s it.  I hope you enjoyed this little binding journey!

 

On the design wall

After I came home from church on Sunday, I spent about 3 hours in my sewing room. I cleared off “most” of the stuff that was on my design wall, and started playing with the Carolina Hurricane blocks. Some of these blocks were made on Tuesday by my friends in the Queen Bees.  One of our members sent her blocks in by mail, since she could not attend the bee, and others have promised additional blocks. Queen Bees is associated with Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes DE.

The blocks are all 12.5″x12.5″.

I set them on a 6 x 8 grid, and played around until I had a pleasing arrangement.  I currently have 41 of the 48 needed blocks.  I have 7 more sets ready to sew.  Those promised blocks are coming in this week and will add additional variety to this scrappy project.    This layout will produce a 72×96 quilt.  Getting “close” to that queen size.

Carolina Hurricane Quilts

Carole – From My Carolina Home commented on my post on Sunday, she indicated 42 (6×7 grid) blocks would make a full size, and 56 (7×8 grid) would be enough for a queen.

Making a 7×8 grid, I think a new “pattern” for the layout will be needed.  I will leave it “as is” for now and work on the rest of the blocks that I have “ready to sew” this week.

On Friday, 3 Queen Bee members will be at my house and maybe they can help “re-arrange” to make that 7×8 grid.  Maybe we will have enough blocks in by then to go for the BIGGER quilt.

I looked back at the previous quilts that Carole had assembled last fall in response to the California Fires to see those various layouts.  It turns out, she didn’t use this one at all.  So, I kind of like that it is different and unique.

Are you working on blocks in support of the Carolina Hurricane quilt project?  I know some of my readers are, and have them ready to mail in November when Carole posts the address.  Fingers crossed, maybe this quilt top will be sewn together!

Go check out Carole’s blog, link above, and enjoy the other things she has going on during her “Autumn Jubilee”.  Be sure to “tune in” on Monday on Pat Sloan’s afternoon http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast at 4 pm (ET) and listen for Carole’s interview!  SO cool that Carole has gained recognition from such a famous quilter!

Let me know if you tuned in!

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?

My Border is Secure – Grandma’s Wrap-Up

My border is SECURELY attached to Grandma’s Kitchen that is! 

Since the bus company cancelled our trip to the AQS Show in Lancaster on Wednesday, I spent my “Toby – the big Nor’Easter ” afternoon and evening sewing.  (That storm was a belly-flop in my area where we got only an inch or so of snow…..)

 While we were getting buckets of rain, I sat in the kitchen and removed the papers from the back of the pieces I showed in my post yesterday (  Building Borders and Collaborating on Quilts  ).  They came off very easily because I had shortened the stitch length down from 2.0 to 1.5.

Sad daffodils

My daffodils are very sad, and it looks like I will be power washing and painting that fence this year!

I wandered out in the rain yesterday afternoon to the sewing room over the garage, and got busy with the border.  Hubby went to his train club so I had all afternoon and evening to sew.  (And it was after 3 in the afternoon before it really started to snow !) (I know….other people around the state got anywhere from 1″ to 8″….and Lancaster PA got a bunch!) 

Grandma’s Kitchen border is on, and this quilt is now massive!  91″ wide x 110″ long.  So long, that it won’t fit on the design wall or in one photo…..

Pieced border on Grandma's Kitchen

The Bottom Half

(I suppose I could have hung it sideways, but that wouldn’t be any fun…the flower and phone and heart would have been sideways)

I even remembered to stay stitch the edges before I called it “done”.   I stopped about 10:30 pm and took the picture.  The lighting wasn’t the greatest, but you have seen these blocks in better light in the past.  (I really should set a timer and come inside to eat dinner before 10:30 at night!)

Time to think about how to solve the backing issue.  You might remember I got excited and ordered the backing BEFORE I decided on just how much drop I needed and what my final border was going to be, so I only ordered 3 yards of wide backing. I did pre-wash it to, and have still got to press it with some starch and re-measure.  LESSON IN LIFE — wait until the last border is on BEFORE ordering the backing fabric!  Now I have to piece it anyway!

108″ wide backing for Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt project

I have a plan formulating, and I think it will incorporate some of the extra string blocks and a few of my OOPS blocks and that wonderful “clothesline” fabric that was just too large a print to cut up into any of the blocks for the front of the quilt.  ( I did use one piece of a fat eighth I had in Block # 6 – Wash Day for the very center of the block  below)

Block #6 - Wash Day

(If you want a better close up of any of the blocks in this project, I have an entire album dedicated to the Grandma’s Kitchen pattern – click Grandma’s Kitchen albumThis album is located on FLICKR.) 

Of course, per the norm….my quilts tend to “hang around” waiting to be quilted, so this one won’t be any different. 

(Maybe after that trip to California and my visit to OneBlockWonderWoman I will be more inspired to finish a few things!)

Final note – Grandma’s Kitchen pattern is by Pat Sloan; and the free pattern information can be found here

How did you spend your day?  Do you leave quilt tops “hanging around” too?

Building borders and collaborating on quilts

I am building QUILT borders!  No politics here folks…sorry~~!!~~  If you came to read about a border between our country and another, you came to the WRONG place.

I have spent the last couple of afternoons working on border pieces for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt.

I decided to use a pieced “string” border after I saw a couple on Pat Sloan’s Facebook group Quilt Along with Pat Sloan  several months ago.  I am a confirmed scrappy quilter, and I have LOTS of leftover fabric from this project.  I planned out how much wider I needed the quilt to be and cut my “foundation pieces” (aka phone book pages).  I also did a little “quilt math” to figure out just how “many” of those phone book pages I would need.  The quilt is currently 73 1/2 wide x 92 1/2 long with the 2 borders that are currently on it. You probably remember this photo if you have been following for at least the last 3 months.

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

I want to add about 18″ overall, so I cut my pages at 9.5 x 6.5.  I will attach them to make the 9.5 the width.  I need about 62 phone book pages, depending on what I do in the corners.  Before my quilt retreat in early February, I cut the pages and a lot of strips.  I had them all set out in big baskets and
I got busy with them the last few days.  My goal is to get a lot of variety as I select pieces to add to the block.  This turns into what I call “mindless sewing”, while I listen to an audio book, chain piece 6 or 8 blocks, press and chain piece some more.  (My hubby can not understand how I can pay attention to the sewing AND the murder mystery.  You will often find him sitting in a chair near my ironing station trying to solve the crime while I am stitching away!) (Current series is by J.A. Jance, featuring a detective working for the Washington State Attorney General on the Special Homicide Investigation Team.…aka the S.H.I.T. Squad) (Don’t take offense…imagine if that was on YOUR business card…..)

Back to sewing…..So far, I have about 50 units done, and I can’t wait to brave the current “nor-Easter – Toby” and get out to my sewing room over the garage this afternoon!

6.5 x 9.5 string border blocks

These border pieces are a bit “wider” than the last one I did –

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt  Along.

You might remember my Scrap Dance Two Step (Pattern by Carole at From My Carolina Home). This was a twin 58.5″ x 82.5″ – The pieced scrappy border was cut at 4″, finish at 3.5 once the quilt binding goes on.  (Still waiting to be quilted!)

Maybe I should send this one to California for my project in April?  I am going to visit One Block Wonder Woman  and play with her new long arm quilting machine!  (She is retrieving me from the ship when I dock in San Pedro and taking me home for a few days to her beautiful home in the central coast of California.  I bet she and my big brother will wine and dine me too…..)

One lesson I have learned about working with scrappy borders is they need to be “stay stitched” on the outer edge.  I will have to check the Scrap Dance Two Step before I put it in the mail to One Block Woman.

Seriously excited about my visit in April.  I enjoy having a family member who loves this hobby as much (or more) than I do, and we try to see each other every few years.  Last visit was when she came out from California to go to the retreat with Cheryl Lynch and we worked on our Pet Mosaic Projects. Go check out her Fannie – Pet Mosaic Project   She had the BEST viewing position in the show I think……

We have also gotten together here in Delaware when she taught me how to do a One Block Wonder (of course) back in 2012.  Mine is below .And then there was the first quilt show/classes I ever went to…at IQF Houston in 2013.  Gosh that was FUN!!  It really opened my eyes to the world of quilting.

Do you collaborate with a family member on your quilt projects???  I enjoy our conversations, cross – country!

Are you in the path of the current Nor-Easter – Toby?  We will either get 1″ of snow or a foot…depending on which way it tracks.  We are waiting to find out if our bus trip to the AQS show in Lancaster PA is on or off for tomorrow.  Fingers crossed BUMMER – Bus trip is cancelled.  The bus company has cancelled all it’s trips for Wednesday.  We better get a foot of snow!!!!!!