More fun with Scraps

I’m still “dancing” with the Scrap Dance Pachanga mystery quilt by blogger Carole at From My Carolina Home. Last week was Step 7 in the mystery. We got the instructions (still available on the blog) for Block A. It was fun to put some of the bits and pieces from previous steps together. Here are my blocks.

Block A Scrap Dance Pachanga 2021
Block A Scrap Dance Pachanga Mystery Quilt

This block used some of the 4 patches, 2 patch rectangle units and some of the half square triangle units. It was fun to play around with the colors and try to balance them out a little bit. These blocks went together quickly. I am doing the throw size this year. (In the past I have done the king size for most of the Scrap Dance mystery quilts).

Next step comes out on May 14th and I am looking forward to what we do with the other units left in my project basket.

I was inspired by my friend Nancy to do a bit of “cleanup” in my sewing room. She & I were working through some donations for the quilt guild, sorting and organizing. Alright….Nancy was doing all the sorting and organizing and I was playing with the scraps, trying to save as many as possible. One donation I picked up in March came with a bunch of plastic drawer units. These units had been stacked up all over the place in my garage, and needed to be emptied of the contents. As we did the emptying, I realized these drawers would fit just under one of my cutting tables, and might help me better contain my own scraps.

New scrap storage plan

Since the guild is not currently meeting, and storage space is at a premium here, I sold those drawer units…..to me. We usually sell this type of thing for at the guild, at a “fair price”. Because they are bulky to transport and store, I often sell them for considerably less than what you would pay for them new. (If I have to drag them to a meeting to sell, I don’t want to drag them back home !) We probably won’t meet until the fall at the guild to sell anything, and I decided I “needed” those draws! I guess I can always “donate” them back later if the system doesn’t work for me. But, for now….I am happy~!

I took all the scraps that have accumulated for sorting/trimming and sorted them by color into the drawers. Previously, these were piling up in an open basket stacked sorting system and it was starting to overwhelm me. In the process, I also emptied out a “laundry hamper” of scraps, and cleaned my cutting table.

Cleaning up the cutting table
Cutting table is cleaned!

My cutting table has been buried in stuff for a while, but now, the big baskets are projects, and the smaller ones are things I still need to trim. I unearthed several things I set aside for later and gave them their own big basket. A couple of bits ended back up on the design wall for inspiration.

leftover blocks
Inspiration pieces

I really am inspired to turn that big block with the checkerboard border into a pillow. The house blocks are leftover from a class at the guild, and I want to keep making some.

During the “scrap sorting” I set aside a basket full of “leftover block/units” for crumb quilts.

I busied myself for a couple of days, inspired by Pat Sloan, making crumb blocks. You might recognize some of the pieces in the crumb blocks below from the big block above. That center house block may come out and end up on the wall with the other houses too.

I never “got to the bottom” of the crumb block basket. Really I just skimmed the surface and have made about 25 blocks. I will have to find a cohesive way to put them together and turn them into a quilt at some point. Meanwhile, they have been assigned to their own project basket and I moved along to something else.

I had lots of scraps to work on for the guild, things that were donated. I set a timer and worked on them for one hour, and got them all ironed.

Now that these small pieces are ironed and sorted by color and general size, I will trim them up. If they are of a size that I can price and sell at the guild meeting then they will get folded and priced. There were a lot of “fall colors” and I think I see a nice “bundle” coming together.

Speaking of fall colors, you might recall back in November I mentioned I was “Stuck in the Middle” of quilting my Autumn Jubilee quilt. This is another pattern by Carole/From My Carolina Home. Thanks to my friend Nancy, this past week I was able to FINALLY finish the quilting. It has languished on the frame for 5 months, all while I picked out poor stitching. The quilting is now DONE! The quilt is off the frame, trimmed and ready for the addition of the label and binding.

making binding
Binding for Autumn Jubilee

The binding will go on fairly quickly, as it is all done by machine. The main color of the binding is the stripe, with just that little green flange showing on the face of the quilt. The method I love is called Susie’s Magic Binding. I love sharing the link to Aunt Marti’s 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks blog. It is where I first saw this type of binding and the directions are so well written, along with a subsequent video. I was a fairly new quilter when I learned this method and love to share with others. The “hardest part” of the method is joining the two ends, and I just recommend you take your time, use a basting stitch to make sure you have a nice alignment. I know with a stripe pattern, some may not be happy with diagonal stripes not aligning, but personally, I am not worried at all. Time to go make my label and next blog you will see the finished quilt top!

Speaking of labels, I finished and attached two more for the Senior Quilt project I was working on. The volunteers at church got together and tied the quilt two weeks ago.

Emily's quilt
Tied and ready to trim
Senior Quilt labels Emily
Modified a label from Kreative Kiwi

I used a label from Kreative Kiwi and eliminated the line where you might hand write the name. I inserted the names using fonts from my software.

Senior quilt labels 2021

The verse on the back of the quilt was digitized by Designs by JUJU. I’m not happy with the stitch out on this label, too many puckers but I figure it will have to do on a deadline. I am certain I had stabilizer pulling in the hoop as the stitch-out took place. I think once the quilt is washed and all that stabilizer “softens up” and the quilt crinkles it will not be so noticeable. I guess if you aren’t a machine embroiderer it wouldn’t matter, but it makes me a little nuts when I see that puckering.

I had to do a little bit of machine quilting on that quilt before putting the labels on the back. Our group tied the quilt, but the borders needed more “anchoring”.

adding some quilting
Stitching in the ditch and in the borders on Emily’s quilt

I used my walking foot and did a serpentine stitch, stretched to it’s maximum length on the yellow and blue borders, along with some basic straight stitching in the ditch along the borders. The wide backing came from Marshall’s Dry Goods (Batesville AR). If you are ever shopping for wide back, they are my preferred location, with quick service, and great prices.

Time to get busy and make that label for the Autumn Jubilee quilt and get the binding on. It is going to be a hot sunny day, and the pollen count is very high, so I think hanging out in the sewing room with the A/C running will keep my allergies in check.

What’s happening in your sewing room this week?

Playing with Scraps

This has been a lovely relaxing sewing week, playing with two scrap projects.

I worked on Step 7 of the Scrap Dance Pachanga Mystery quilt from Carole’s blog, From My Carolina Home. Steps come out on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month, so I was a few days late getting mine done. This was an easy step for me as I love making half-square triangles. Some people don’t but I do. I like that they are sized enough to “trim” easily. I use the June Tailor Perfect Quarter Square/Half Square triangle ruler when I make mine.

small half square triangles PACHANGA

We now have quite a collection of elements for this mystery quilt, but still have many pieces left for future “steps”.

Steps 1-7 Scrap Dance Pachanga

I am resisting the urge to play with the elements. Banished to the basket to await the next step coming at the end of this week!

I continued to play with the scrap basket that I took on vacation. I have made quite a few more “Traffic Jam” blocks. This time I picked the 2.5″ squares out of my never ending basket and put together lots of combinations. I’m up to 24 blocks made. I had to “trim” these blocks to 12″ as some of the ones done on vacation were a tad “wonky”. I think some of that had to do with 2.5″ squares that didn’t quite measure up, or fat seam allowances.

Traffic Jam blocks
Traffic Jam blocks

The pattern is available on Pat Sloan’s website for free. I love doing scrappy quilts. I also like to see what others have done with the sashing and borders on Pat’s website. If you take a look you will see all different ways this block is finished off into a quilt. I haven’t quite decided how I am going to sash it, but I am gathering ideas.

I am using a bit of the Bonnie Hunter scrap saver system for my bits and pieces. I seem to have a lot of scraps that need to be “cut up” into that system, but I am lazy about doing it. My sewing space has gotten cluttered and it is time for a bit of “clean up”. Do you save scraps for projects? How do you collect and store them?

Edit — forgot to add this — Linking up to OH SCRAP! If you like to work with scraps, check out all the fun things others are sharing there!

A New View for a while….

This past week I went on a little trip with my husband, and two daughters and their families. After being confined to our homes for the last year, we all needed a new window to look out of. The daughters came up with the idea of a “safe” vacation, using a vacation rental home. They researched and located a wonderful lakeside home in Littleton North Carolina on Lake Gaston. All ten of us went, and with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms and lots of extra spaces, there was room for everyone.

One thing I packed for the trip was my featherweight sewing machine and a few “essential” sewing items. I picked out a basket of 2.5″ squares from my scrap saver system, added in a bag full of 4.5″ squares, and a Pat Sloan pattern called Traffic Jam. It is free on her website as a PDF pattern download. It is a perfect project for scraps.

I set up my sewing machine on a covered patio, with a view of the lake.

Sewing on the patio
color choices

It didn’t take too long for some helpers to appear. They liked matching up squares in pairs for me to sew.

Traffic Jam
Fun with red white and blue

I sewed what ever the two girls handed to me. I managed to have “help” a couple of times when I set up my machine, and even got the five year old sewing a bit (or so she though). She and I did a little “pressing” using my light weight travel iron. I find it amazing how well she listens to instructions and concentrates on the task. The grandma kept fingers out of harms way during the sewing and the pressing.

I didn’t sew “every day” on the patio, but did manage to get 5 blocks made (with a little help from the 2 girls).

Making pairs
Vacation blocks
IMG_20210409_124603565_HDR

There were lots of other things to do, like walking and bike riding and sitting on the dock. The kids all had their turns in the kayaks, and on the fishing boat one of the guys brought along. There were nerf gun battles, campfires, and toasted marshmallows, and lots of sitting and enjoying the view. I did some English paper piecing with my 1 ” hexi’s and I saw some napping and knitting happening, along with card playing and a lot of wine drinking.

caboose La crosse
The Tobacco Heritage Trail

We took a 5 mile bike ride on The Tobacco Heritage Trail starting in LaCrosse VA. It was a beautiful paved trail and great for all age cyclist.

We also explored (by car) the Roanoke Canal area. We first went in Weldon to River Falls Park Trailhead and could honestly not figure out where in that park the trail began. But, if you need a good fishing spot, that would be a great one, along with a boat launch.

We then went back towards the Roanoke Canal Museum, and talked to a docent. He pointed us to the trail leading towards the Roanoke Rapids Dam. We hiked for about a mile and a half. Neither of us was prepared for much more than a cursory exploration of the trail. I was hoping to come back the next day with our bikes, but we decided it was more suited to a mountain bike than our hybrids. A hard pack dirt trail with lots of exposed roots, and very narrow in spots, just better suited to a mountain bike. In the process of exploring that river and trail, we got to do a little “railroad rail fanning”. We could never find a great place to stop for photos of the old trestles and bridges, but along our routes were some great old bridges and industries. Hubby is a train fan, so this exploration was suited to both of us.

We had fantastic weather all week. On Friday we got up to a pollen overload, but we hosed things off and were still able to use the outdoor spaces. As we sat out on Friday afternoon on the dock, we watched the pollen explode out of trees across the lake. If you click the link, you can see the clouds of pollen burst forth in the video –https://photos.app.goo.gl/E676RCSVpjEXgiQK9

Even with the pollen on the surface of the lake, the docks and the tables, the weather was too beautiful to stay inside the last day of our trip. We even enjoyed the thunderstorm that went through after dinner and all of Friday night. Hubby and I were glad that we had already done the bulk of our packing and loading for the trip home before the storm. We got up on Saturday to a beautiful day, and most of the pollen on things was washed away. I was amazed that my allergies didn’t go nuts, and I will attribute that to my daily dose of an antihistamine and liberal use of eye drops!

We had a wonderful time away from home, and enjoyed ourselves. This type of trip was perfect during this time of when we have all gotten a little weary of the restrictions. We were safely together, and didn’t really encounter a lot of strangers like you might in a hotel or resort property.

Have you ever done any sewing sitting “outside” ??

What’s going on in your part of the world with the vaccine? I’m going for my 2nd shot this week. Delaware just opened up to ages 16 and up, so it looks like everyone who wants a shot can sign up and get one.

Labels for old projects and Autumn Jubilee

As I was changing out a table runner this summer, I remembered that the project didn’t have a label on it. If I make something I usually put some sort of label on it to remind me later of “when” I made it and “what” I referred to it by on my blog posts, in my photo collections etc. I was also moving a wall hanging his summer and when I looked at the back of it I discovered it was lacking a label. I made a mental note to “make labels” and immediately carried on doing other things.

While I was out in my sewing room, working on the never ending scrap clean up (oh…do I have a mess…..) I took a break from cutting things up and grabbed a piece of fabric and made a couple of labels on my embroidery machine.

I have to tell you I haven’t totally figured out the Janome 11000 that I have been using now for a solid year. I can’t figure out how to get more than one line of text on the screen, so I sat down at the computer to work it out. I am using the software called Embrilliance, in EXPRESS MODE, which is FREE.

I’m learning more and more all the time about how to use it. When I started with this set of labels, I found a “frame” built in to the software options. I tripped over it while poking around in the program, and can’t tell you where I found it. (Don’t you just hate when you find something cool and can’t repeat it!) Anyway, I had this green and yellow variegated thread already on the machine, and thought it would make a fun stitch out.

Variegated thread frame
fun with variegated thread
Blue bird label with frame
Finished label

I am having a little “bobbin thread” issue, with the bobbin thread showing on top with this blue thread for the words, but I’m not going to sweat the little stuff…the label is finished, stitched on.

My Little bluebird

I use the same method all the time when making a label to have a nice “finished” edge. I mentioned before that I learned the technique from Pat Sloan https://www.patsloan.com/ when she taught how to make a nice ‘circle’ for an applique project.

Essentially, you lay a piece of fusible pellon over your label, with the glue side facing the RIGHT side of your label. You stitch all around the edges, then cut a slit in the pellon and turn it “right side out. You smooth the edge where the pellon is stitched to your fabric with your finger tip and you have a nice finished edge. I iron the label to the project, then hand stitch around the edges. Most of the time two edges are enclosed in the binding, but since this was adhered after the project was made, I had to hand stitch all the way around. The beauty of the fusing is it holds your label in place while you stitch; no pins! Also, it is an extra security to keeping your label on the project. Not quite so easy to remove, depending on the type of pellon you choose to use.

circles on bluebird
Circles for applique
Close up blue bird
Lots of circles with this machine applique project

The circle turning method was used on the wall hanging the label went on. So, after 5 years of hanging around with no label, it is “FINISHED”. I did this project in a class with Pat Sloan and wrote about it several times https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/wild-and-free-and-bluebirds/ while it was “in progress”.

The second label I made was for my FIRE AND ICE table runner. I used the same green fabric, but switched to bright orange thread to complement the “fire’ on the runner. It’s a funny name for a project, but the ice blue and the bright oranges were the inspiration for the name.

Fire and Ice label
label ready to stitch on

I had pins in it all around because I thought I would bring it in the house, pin to the back of the runner and hand stitch on last night. I decided to wait, and get the runner out of the closet and bring it to the sewing room to press on first. I hate to battle pins! And, I think the edge will be much sharper and crisper when I press it on first.

Note, this time I had NO problem with the bobbin thread peaking through. Sometimes those machines can be a bit finicky.

Batik table runner Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice table runner
Back of the table runner
Back of the runner

To see more about this runner, look for my previous post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fire-and-ice-batik-table-runner/

It’s been fun looking back on older projects, and getting the labels done.

Batik placemats
2018 batik placemats

I just love the different bright colors in batiks. Some can feel really dark, so they have to be used “sparingly” I think.

More placemat fun
Placemats in 2018

I can’t remember if I made 12 or more of these placemats back in 2018. I think I had given them all away to my daughters. When I was looking for a piece of fabric to use for the 2 labels I tripped over a basket of “partially made” placemats. That basket has been sitting around since 2018, so I must have thought about making more. I need a dozen for my “summer” table. I think they will all be a bit different from these I made early on. Something else to go out and work on I think. I really have to get rid of these baskets of partial projects in my next “effort” in my never ending clean up.

I am lucky to have the space, but the “clutter” is bogging me down. I am trying to spend a few hours every day this week to clear up and clean up a bit. I am on a self imposed deadline. Next week starts “Autumn Jubilee on the FROM MY CAROLINA HOME ” blog, and I always look forward to working with fall colors. Carole Carter did a Facebook Live Chat on the Friends of From My Carolina Home page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/591941124470566 ) last week and gave us a hint at what she has planned for October. She mentioned we might want to get a small “leaf” print, at least 1/2 yard in fall colors. I was able to pick up a piece this week that I hope will work. When the shop was unrolling it from the bolt, I realized it was the “end of the bolt” and took what was left. I got about 1 3/4 yard, so I will have plenty.

fabric for Autumn Jubilee 2020
Small print leaves for Autumn Jubilee

Since Carole has been doing Autumn Jubilee, I have kept a container with fall fabrics, and her patterns. It was always my “go box” when I had a quilt bee. I worked on bits and pieces for fall projects for years, and have made plenty of table runners and placemats. This week I took the bin out, sorted things, refolded and assessed what I had on hand. I have another similar sized tote with fall colors that were not “specifically” for Autumn Jubilee. I know I have used up my favorites over the years. Next blog post will be a compilation of my Autumn Jubilee projects from previous years, while I wait for the 2020 edition. I heard there will be opportunity for “machine embroidery” to be included, and I am excited to start something new. Meanwhile, I best get busy cutting up scraps and finishing up another old project left lying around.

What is happening in your sewing room this week?

 

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!