BOMBOGENESIS and Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks 18-22

I did some “power sewing” yesterday ahead of the snow – or as the Weather Channel calls it the Winter Storm Grayson to Undergo Bombogenesis 

I was not sure what was going to happen overnight, as they have been hyping the storm all day on Wednesday. Honestly, the effort to “scare you to death” is something. Anything to make noise….I mean news.  I just know I am glad I am retired, and not making the 40+ mile commute to work!  Not to bore you with snow photo’s but thought you might appreciate a bit of my morning.

It snowed all night, and the cats were not sure about what was happening as they looked out their window perch. It was pretty early and so I had to use a flash….and got the eerie photo of Smokey with the glowing eyes…..Mittens is busy looking at the birds that are hanging out under the house eaves.  (This is the 1st time I have seen him up that high on the climber!!)

While the were peering out the window, I had to see what was up, and caught site of the oil tank which is only 1/4 full.  (I have “auto-delivery”, and did not like to see it that low with the days of extreme cold that are forecast between now and next week! Our low today is 12, and for Friday it will be 7 with a high of 17 both Friday and Saturday!)  A quick call to the oil company and they put me on the schedule for tomorrow!  (Keeping my fingers crossed….at least they “JUST” filled the propane for the heater in the garage……)

CHUCKY CAT!

There didn’t seem to be much snow piling up out front, and I noticed the winds were whipping from North to South…so I went out to the laundry room for a peak out back.

A little snow

I think that is about 6″ of snow in the foreground on top of the hot tub.  The roof of the porch along the garage has some interesting swirling snow. Note….my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage….I think I am staying in today!

Needless to say, I am VERY glad I power sewed last night!  Since I had ALL the fabric out in stacks on the work table for Grandma’s Kitchen (pattern by Pat Sloan), I dug in and worked on blocks 18 – 22. Hubby went to the train club yesterday afternoon and I sewed from 4 pm until after 11pm when he got back home!  It was funny when he came upstairs in the garage all covered with snow, and asked me if I realized how much had already fallen.  I didn’t have a clue.  I couldn’t really “see out” the window with all the sewing room lights on, but we had already gotten about 3 “.  I’d skipped supper and was oblivious to the weather.  (At least until one daughter decided to send me severe weather warnings!)

I set aside the fabric for Block 18 the last time I was out working in my sewing room.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do for this block with 4.5” corner squares.

Block 18 Pattern by Pat Sloan Grandmas Kitchen

I had fun with block 18, fussy cutting the yellow fabric.  I have used the pink and the yellow in other blocks previously.

I knew I wanted a stripe with block 19 –

Block 19 Grandma's Kitchen

Block 20 just had to be made with reds!

Block 20 Grandma's Kitchen

For Block 21, I dug in to a bag of scraps for the gray fabric, and actually in the leftovers from Addison’s quilt for the biggest part of the phone.  (Ok, so they are not 30’s reproduction fabrics, but I needed gray!) The dial circles were cut from a piece of “very modern” dot fabric.  Those dots were hard to applique stitch down.

Block 21 Grandma's kitchen

Block 22 wasn’t one that I felt excited about until I pulled the fabric.  Now I am rather pleased.

Block 22 Grandma's Kitchen

Just 3 more “feature blocks” and TONS of filler blocks to make.  A fun project.  I feel like I am catching up a little!  More color balancing to do as I proceed.

Are you on the East Coast of the USA getting hit with the storm?  Don’t you think these silly names they give the storms “over hype” what is just a snow storm???

Working on anything fun today?

edit – note – pattern for Grandma’s Kitchen is by Pat Sloan, and can be found at Grandma’s Kitchen Sew Along

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Final sewing of 2017

My last “sewing” for 2017 has been done!  I spent a few hours “cleaning up” and “putting away” a lot of mess in my sewing room. I cleaned off my cutting table and put a lot of stuff away.  I cleared off my “work table” and made room for a project.

Once that was done, I pulled out my pattern book and box of fabric and basket of blocks for Grandma’s Kitchen – by Pat Sloan.

I stopped working on these in mid October before I left on a trip for a month. These are the first 16 blocks(not in pattern order).

Sixteen blocks completed

I needed to pick up at block 17 and hopefully finish up at block 25; plus make all the setting blocks.  (That is going to take a week or two).

But before I could even begin to sew I had to figure out the layout with the various size blocks and how I was going to “balance” the colors throughout the rest of the quilt. What I decided to do is lay the blocks out, as the pattern indicated, and do a little “coloring” so I could plan the future blocks.  (LOTS OF PLANNING still needs to happen!)

Making sense of the layout

Once the planning for the next 2 blocks was done, I got busy and made block 16, and pulled the fabrics for block 17.  I think it did help to do a bit of coloring, because I could better understand as I colored in the blocks, where there needed to be more of a particular color.  I know I need to get a little more pink and purple and orange into the quilt.  I am trying to decide how to do those filler blocks and make sense of them too. I made a decision on the fabric for the “spool block” too.  I want to use one of the stripe fabrics I have for the middle of the spool.  (While I was sorting piles of fabric, my husband was watching, and figured out what I was up to and provided a bit of his color sense to what I was doing. I find his opinion most helpful).

Meanwhile, my design wall has been full for the last 6 months and I need to get going to get the borders on my Talkin’ Turkey!

1 row to go

That is all it needs. (The blocks and rows and columns are all sewn together, and the borders are made, ready to attach!)  I need to free up my design wall!!

I decided that I will “stop again” after block 17, and clear the work table and get those borders on, so I can get the Grandma’s Kitchen blocks up on the design wall!  Priorities.  🙂 (It is so much easier to sit back and ponder the layout on the wall than on a flat surface) (I told the hubby I need another design wall…..capable of holding a king size quilt! I just don’t have a spot for it.  Wondering if anybody “layers” their design wall and puts more that one quilt on it at a time??  Hmmmmm)

Following all that contemplation and coloring, I did finally do a little sewing – the last for 2017.

I present block 16 for now…..more to follow in 2018!

Block 17 Grandma's Kitchen

Happy New Year everyone!

Class project and Block 13 & 14 and Fabric Acquisition

I am only a week behind, but I am blaming it on  taking another class!  This post was to be short and sweet, as I am leaving in under an hour for a “fabric acquisition road trip” with my friend Nancy, but I got to wordy, and never got it posted! I acquired LOTS of nice stuff on that f.a.r.t……………. We went to shop at The Dusty Attic, in Fruitland MD.  The shop is closing out all merchandise in the next 2 weeks, and we concentrated our purchases in the 50% off room.  I picked up several 1 yard pre-cut neutrals for the stash, and 4.5 yards of a fantastic brown that has a wood grain feel to it.  I also purchased several “book” panels and plan on more story books for the littlest grandchild.  They were cutting Insul-Brite from a 56″ wide bolt, and I got a yard of it; which will be awesome for pot holders or a casserole carrier in the near future.  All the books were going for $5, and I picked up one about machine quilting.   We got some great deals, but it is sad to see a business you have dealt with over the years have to close up for any reason.

I got distracted last week and had to play catch up with the Pat Sloan’s quilt along.  Grandma’s Kitchen is currently on Block 14.  I finished Block 13 on Friday.  I thought it was time to work with the purple and the orange. I love the way this worked out.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/37369062122/in/album-72157677599103171/

This afternoon I was able to finish up Block 14.  Pat called it Salt & Pepper, and I thought about that when I picked my fabrics. I had this black & white Scottie Dogs fabric and think it depicts the pepper quite nicely!

Block 14 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen

My collection of blocks so far look like this:

Grandma's Kitchen 1-14

Going to need more yellow, orange and black in the coming weeks for the blocks.  I still have lots of the 1930’s reproduction fabrics I haven’t used.  (Today I was tempted by another yellow fabric, but decided that the print was just too big for this project!)

Are you working on the Grandma’s Kitchen quilt along too?  Pattern is by Pat Sloan and can be found here – Sew Along Pattern  

Beyond Block 13 & 14, it was Quilt Guild week in Dover for me.  Monday evening was the meeting and lecture.  Three of us from “lower slower Delaware” drove up together and attended the meeting.  I drove up and back on Monday evening.  I had signed up months ago for the class on Tuesday.

The class this month at Helping Hands Quilt Guild in Dover Delaware was with Sandi Blackwell.  The guild meeting and lecture was on Monday evening, and the class on Tuesday .  (Next time I decide to do a class the day after the meeting, I am getting a hotel room! It is an hour drive each way to Dover, and I had to hit the road very early for the class.)  Anyway, Sandi lectured on her Square-agonals technique and showed a lot of her different quilts during the trunk show. (Take a look at Sandi’s website).

The premise of Square-Agonals is to learn a special construction method and not have to cut any setting or corner triangles.  It was a fun project. I did my pre – cutting last week, and I was ready to sew!  We started out making a basic square in a square block, and sashing it.  We then constructed some interesting blocks made with rectangles that we cut on the diagonal and reassembled.

Spiral Out workshop

She showed a technique for aligning the points of the triangle when reassembling those blocks.  (Tips & techniques are explained in her many books). I did my stitching using my trusty Featherweight Bessie!

Bessie is working hard

I thought I set my 1/4″ and seam guide, but I goofed it up, and I had FAT quarter inches on my basic block, and they turned out “too small.  Sandi gave a quick solution which did not include ripping out the seam, and I was able to “repair the damage”.  I also rechecked and reset my 1/4″ and seam guide.  I think I had it up “too close” to the needle, but once it was checked and adjusted, all went well.  I assembled my pieces according to the pattern, and then Sandi showed us how to “mark” with her special tape, and get it ready to cut apart.marked and ready Spiral Out

This view is from the “other” side of the table.

marked and ready Spiral Out

 

squareagonals

My project was in 3 pieces when I left for the day, and I came home, had supper, and got busy doing some reassembly. (Look for more photos on Facebook…     Helping Hands Quilt Guild on Facebook

(The classes are held in a church with GREAT lighting, and great organization by the current VP – Mary Dawn.  I enjoy going up to take classes, but can’t do it very often.    )

Once I sewed the 3 sections together, it looked like this –

Square-agonals project

See how the tape on it was now on the “outside edges” ? The premise is to stabilize those cut edges because they are all on the bias and might stretch.  It got removed after the 1st round of borders went on.

1st round of borders on

At this point I realized I left my pattern instructions at the guild, on the cutting table; so a quick email to the guild vice-president and the instructions were sent to me in the mail.  Since we had done the pre-cutting, and I still had that worksheet, I had a photo, and could piece it together.  (One advantage to having everything cut ahead of time I suppose!!)

Got the pattern in the mail yesterday and here is the final result –

3 borders on

The project measures out at 32×52.  This afternoon I got it layered and have started some very “basic” quilting.

What are you working on this weekend?

Block 12 and other bits and pieces

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

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

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

12 out of 25 Grandma's kitchen

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

Block 12 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen

 

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

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

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

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

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

Log Cabin Cross

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

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

Grandma’s Kitchen – Block 11

Block 11 for Grandma’s Kitchen is called Peppermint Swirls.  Pattern is by Pat Sloan and can be found at http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/2017/09/free-block-1125-grandmas-kitchen-sew-along-a-weekly-deal.html

Grandma's Kitchen Block 11

My peppermint swirl pieces still need the applique top stitching done.  They are “just fused” to the background piece.  When I get my Janome back, then I can do that stitching. I think I will color match the threads when I do the top stitching.

With each block, Pat tells stories of her memories of both of her grandmothers.  They are sweet stories, and really make me ponder on my own grandmothers. Pat’s grandma always had peppermints.  My Grandma Bessie always had lifesavers in her pocketbook.  I decided to go with the “peppermint swirl” after I thought about the block for a while.  Grandma Bessie always made ice cream with the leftover peppermint candy canes.

Grandma Bessie was the one that I knew the best. She lived about 150 miles away, and we saw her frequently.  I know that when I was really little she lived much closer and my older siblings say she really took care of all of us.  My mother was recovering from cancer following the birth of my youngest sister, and I was just too little to know much of what was going on. I was only 1 1/2 when my sister was born, and I presume my grandmother kept the ship afloat while mother had surgeries and radiation.  I have scant memories of toddler times.  I am told that my mother and grandmother took the 5 children on a trip to Wyoming, and along the way I contracted scarlet fever. I must have been about 3 years old at that time.  When we got home, all the children went to stay with my grandmother, while my mother cared for me in our home that had been quarantined by the health department.  I know that my grandmother made silk nightgowns for me, from my father’s WWII parachute.  I also know that the garments, linens and so forth all went into the incinerator in the back yard.  I remember lying on the sofa in the living room, under the big picture window in those silky nightgowns.  Grandma would dye them yellow, because it was my favorite color.

My best memories begin when I was probably elementary school age, and got to spend more one on one time with her.  By then, she lived in the Mojave desert, care taker of a ranch. It was a place where the “wealthy” people came on the weekends.  I don’t really know what work she did; but I do remember hiking in the hills, picking up arrowheads, and learning about rattle snakes and the like.  Grandma always carried a shovel with a sharp edge in the trunk of the car. She was a feisty woman, and there was not much she would not try to do on her own.  She was a “rock hound” and a collector of those pretty bottles that changed colors in the hot sun.  Her window sills were lined with the bottles she had gathered around the desert.

This photo was taken of her in 1973 or 1974. I remember she was excited to see my “new” car.  I was 17 or 18, and she was approaching 80.

And this photo was from the late 50’s, near her “new car”.  It’s funny, I think she had that same car until she quit driving! I look so tall next to my baby sister!

We had some lovely adventures in that old car, driving trips out in the desert to lava fields and dry lake beds, and to the base of Mount Whitney, and out to old abandoned gold mining towns. Why, as school age youngsters, we even went to the Senior Citizens center with her, and learned to play cards.  She really made each of the 5 children feel special in their own right. She was the typical grandma in an apron, cooking something wonderful for dinner, dishing up scoops of ice cream and tucking you in at night!

This is a fun project and brings up lots of lovely memories.

What’s happening in your sewing room this week?

 

#400 and more fun stuff

Wow; I am reminded as I logged in to write this blog post that this is the 400th post I have written to share.  I started out back in November of 2012 just writing about my projects, and am happy to now have 511 people who follow through WordPress, Blogger and Facebook.  Some folks have been with me since the very beginning, and I am honored they have hung in for this long.

Recently, I had a great time working with 2 ladies in my “Queen Bees” quilting bee.  They are both owners of new embroidery machines, and we spent a bit of time talking about how to “organize” all those fantastic designs they have been purchasing.  I shared my methods, using the computer and a “notebook”.

Whenever I download a design, I make sure I give the stitch file, and the thread change pdf/doc similar names, incorporating the names the designer has used along with a name that makes some kind of sense, months down the road.  I encouraged them to also print out the pdf/doc file, and put them in folders or behind dividers that mirror the “file folder” they used on the computer. The goal overall is to make it easy to find the file you are looking for.

I have several thousand designs “stored” on my computer, and I use file categories like Animals, Holidays, Flowers etc.  Inside those file categories are sub-folders.  So for instance; if I am looking for a Christmas design of “Jingle bells”.  I am going to open the HOLIDAY file, and look for the sub-folder called Christmas. Inside the Christmas folder will be my JingleBells.pdf (the thread change document) and the JingleBells.pes file (the stitch file).  In the 3 ring binder I keep the printed stitch file pdf, I will have similar tabs or dividers, so I can flip through and make some design choices.  (I am on my 4th big 3 ring binder!) Recently I printed out the file directory, and went through my binders, rearranging slightly, and putting names on the tabs that really reflected what was in the computer. Big improvement!

About 2 years ago, I wrote a blog post Machine Embroidery Resources, and did a refresher recently with a bunch of new links Updated Machine Embroidery Resources  .  In both of those posts, I talk about all the free designs available from various sources.  I also mention stabilizers, thread etc.  I have also written about “moving files” Moving files between the computer and the machine .  If you are new to machine embroidery, you may find all 3 of those blog posts of interest.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a Material Girls Bee on Wednesday. It is always fun to catch up and just sew for a while and visit and share projects.  Of course, I forgot to bring my show & tell.  I was the hostess, so I was fussing about getting the fresh fruit in the car, and happy to know that I didn’t forget any vital sewing items.  I love walking around and seeing what others are working on.  My table mate Barbara was working on a Quilts of Valor project. We got to ooh and ahh over Cindy’s wonderful “under the sea” applique project she is doing. There was another applique project going on by Kathi, and it was her “quilts around the bay” beauty!  Jean was working on stitch & flip rectangles for her husbands patriotic quilt. She had a few hundred of them to sew.  Judy was basting a beautiful quilt that was all applique done with asian prints. It just shimmered with those lovely metallic shots of gold. Francie finished a mug rug and was starting on a baby quilt. Gayle was cutting for a new quilt, and I am certain I looked at what Cheryl was doing, but now have forgotten completely! We have been privileged this year to use the fellowship hall at an area church and have great space and great light.  The ladies arrive and help set up, bringing irons, extension cords, pressing mats/boards; pvc pipes cut “just right” to raise the tables for ironing and cutting etc. So, my job as host is really just bring a few snacks and cart home the leftovers.  Clean up is just as easy as set up.

Wednesdays are fun too, as the hubby has his train club and I can sew as “long” as I can stay up!  I’ve been working on sorting scraps into color waves, and have been through about 5 boxes so far.

In between the scraps, I managed to do my next block in the Grandma’s Kitchen project by Pat Sloan.  Block #8 of 25 is called Grandma’s Apron.  I was able to get the stitching done on my little Brother machine, but will have to wait for the big Janome to come back from repairs to do the blanket stitching.

Block 8 of 25 Grandma's Kitchen

My Grandma Bessie always had an apron on. She was a bit rounder in the waistline than this dress would imply! I remember they were always floral dresses or floral aprons.  I am enjoying finding various 1930’s reproduction fabrics that go nicely together and can carry over from one block to the next.   If you have been following, you know that I used yellow and green in block # 1.  As I have done since the beginning of the project, I converted the photo to black & white to make sure I captured the “light/medium/dark” the pattern was suggesting. I upload my photos to FLICKR from my cell phone, and the B&W option easily available during the upload process. It does help me see if I am getting “close” on the contrasting colors.

Block 8 of 25 Grandma's Apron block

If you want to “stitch along” do go check out Pat Sloan’s website and join in –Grandma’s Kitchen Free pattern

I will be linking this post up on her page too!

Other fun stuff — Hubby and I went and previewed an estate auction on Monday evening. An former co-worker, Ed, let me know about the auction, as it was full of model railroad stuff.  He thought my hubby might have an interest and other friends who might also.  One man’s treasure might be something we would treasure was the thought process I think.

Turns out, my hubby had known the owner of the home and was familiar with the things he collected.  What he didn’t know was that the gentleman’s wife was quite the crafter, and had an entire crafting room that was ONE lot .

We had previewed the listing on-line, and there were things that caught my hubby’s eye, and we took a ride and spent a few hours browsing about checking lot numbers against the listing, and making sure we understood what the lot looked like and were able to make some value determination.  Now, in case you  missed it,  I said it was an estate auction.  I am keeping my eye open for a vintage dining room table for 12!  So, I studied the listing carefully.

SIGH……It made me very sad to see that no one in this gentleman’s family wanted/had room for/ or an interest in his fantastic model railroad. The train layout was the 3rd stall of a 3 car garage. It was amazing, and done with expertise using the finest quality items.

Someone (my daughter….) recently told me to read an article that pretty much summed up the attitude “Your kids don’t want your old junk”.  Type that phrase into Google and you will come across article after article about Millennials not wanting Great Grandma’s antique breakfront or Seth Thomas mantle clock or those fabulous cut crystal dishes you worked so hard to collect.

As we walked through this home, that had been well loved, and admired the collectibles, the model railroad train layout room, we came across the “craft room”.  That room was 6×16, filled with shelving, a treadle sewing machine cabinet (no machine), a 1960’s heavy Kenmore sewing machine; and a work table filled with every kind of crafting implement known to be used up to the beginning of the 21st century. The shelves were filled with carefully labeled boxes indicating the contents, with holiday decor for every season. My friend, Ed, who told us about the auction ended up bidding on and winning the lot.

I spent this afternoon helping Ed, his wife, and four of his favorite co-workers (young strong fellas) pack up and load up this craft room.  Ed’s wife really wanted that craft room, and she has a big job ahead, sorting out the stuff we hurriedly packed.  I never in my life have seen so many individual bottles of craft acrylic paint, and every other type of craft paint known to exist.  There must have been 60 or more  aerosol  cans of spray paints along with every kind of adhesive known to exist.  I was amazed!  My hubby and I had been tempted to bid on the room because we knew there had to be some hidden treasures.  I think I found the one box that will pay them back for the investment they made on the room.  It was a box of cut crystal dishes, with an inventory price sheet inside.  It was tucked away under a desk with junk on top.  The heirs of the estate at this particular auction, could have made a lot more money if that craft room had been “sorted” into multiple lots.  Hindsight I am certain.

It was interesting to see the number of people coming and going with their prized “lot” they won during the on-line auction.  Seeing the happy faces of the winning bidders pick up their items, it affirms what I have told my kids….”don’t worry about our old junk – call the auction house and they will sell everything from the china and silverware to the collectibles and the old toys to the junk in the craft room(s).”  They won’t get rich, but someone else will do the hard stuff, like sorting things out.  And, it is a lot easier than trying to deal with it on their own. Seems the whole generation is  “on the move” and would rather keep it simple, keep it light, etc.  I get it, sorta.  Hey, I moved 7 times between 1974 and 1986. My one daughter has moved 4 times all locally in this millenium, while the other has moved around the country and world  at least 10 times in the last 14-15 years.

As we age, it is a good reminder that it is time to start using up what we have, and paring down what we no longer need, so the heirs don’t have to do too much when the time comes (down the road).  I’m glad I didn’t bid on the craft room, was happy to help my friend Ed & his wife get it packed up, and happy to know I didn’t bring any more stuff home with me.  I was VERY tempted, and if there had been more sewing stuff and less painting stuff, I might have succumbed to temptation.  After spending the last 2 years sorting through other peoples sewing room donations, I do know that I must think about what I am keeping, what I should be getting out of my house! And, to stop acquiring things at a rate faster than I can use them……like all those embroidery files I am never going to stitch out!  My dear Aunt Jean said there was a time in life when you learn to “Admire rather than Acquire” and I think I am at that point.

So, what’s your plan for your beloved treasures, that “junk” your kids don’t want?

In closing this 400th blog post, I want to tell you some of the things I learned by writing this blog.  I learned that the connections I make with the readers is through their great comments. The comments are conversation, and often times I “chat” back and forth with the reader. I’ve made some “virtual friends” I think with this blog, especially amongst those who have been following from the beginning.  I’ve exchanged email discussions and conversation with several readers, sharing information, and learning from them too.  I  love that readers are sharing my posts.    New readers continue to find their way here, and I welcome each of you!  When new readers are also bloggers, I try to find their blog right away and follow it too.  So, thank you for finding my page, and for taking the time to read along as I share my quilting and sewing projects, stories about domestic life, and sometimes travel, pets and other fun things that life throws my way!

A Good week for quilting

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

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

Quilts of Love baby quilt

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

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

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

Janome 8900 bobbin area

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

My Janome 8900 not working!

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

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

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

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

Block 7 Grandma's Kitchen, pattern by Pat Sloan

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

Black and White Version –

B&W of block 7

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

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

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

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

Block #6 - Wash Day

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

B&W block 6

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

Here they all are:

Seven blocks Grandma's Kitchen pattern by Pat Sloan

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

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

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

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

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

– 

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

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

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

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

Time to sort some scraps!  Happy stitching.