Already enjoying the Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along

Friday last week the #AutumnJubilee2022 quilt along started. The quilt along is run on Carole Carter’s blog From My Carolina Home. If you would like to participate in this quilt along, the “first step” is to hop over to her blog, and check out the instructions – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2022/10/07/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-begins/ . It’s helpful to subscribe and follow Carole’s blog if you don’t want to miss anything. I don’t post sizes or amounts of what I am cutting, as the pattern belongs to Carole. Go check it out after you see what I am up to.

The first thing I did on Friday is pull my bin of Autumn Jubilee fabrics.

Autumn Jubilee bin at the ready
It must be time to update the label

I’ve obviously been following along with Carole & Autumn Jubilee for a few years! Time to update the label. I keep all the fun fall fabrics I acquire in this bin, adding to it when I find a fat quarter that meets the criteria. I used to take the bin to all of my quilt bees and work on projects like table runners and placemats all year long. I have made at least 3 table runners and 18 placemats, and a fall quilt out of that container.

Here is what was hiding inside to work with for this year’s quilt along.

What is in the Autumn Jubilee bin
Contents of the Autumn Jubilee container

Inside the container, are also some small baskets, with squares already cut in useful sizes, left from previous years, or put there as I was trimming down scraps and found them to be appropriate colors for fall.

All ready to use

There is even leftover binding ready to use on a placemat and bits and pieces for leaves and stems if the pattern called for it. Often times I will cut up scraps in fall colors to these very useful sizes.

Scrap opportunities

I even keep a basket of autumn colored scraps in the tote with the squares and folded fabric. This gives me the opportunity to have a real mix, lots of choices and some continuity year to year, when a fabric will “reappear” in something new.

I printed out the pattern PDF file that Carole thoughtfully included on her post, and got busy, pulling, cutting, stitching and making ready the first of the units for the quilt along.

Half Square triangles colors
My favorite quilt unit

I love making half square triangle (HST) units. Years ago, I purchased the June Tailor Perfect Half Square / Quarter Square ruler. This helps me to mark and trim and always have the “perfect” unit.

June Tailor perfect Half Square Triangles
the block on the left needs trimmed, the one on the right is finished.

The ruler has great markings and uses slots for your pencil and your rotary cutter. If your curious about HOW to use this tool, check this video – https://youtu.be/gexINKyOzl4 on You Tube.

If you are in the market to buy one, shop around, as the prices vary considerably, running around $22 on Amazon and as high as $30+ at some national quilting retailers. Hopefully your local quilt shop has it in stock. A quick google search will give you an idea where the best prices are. I’ve gotten at least 10 years worth of use out of this particular ruler. And, I have made several thousand HST’s in that time frame.

I recently treated this ruler and several of my other rulers with a shot of ODIF GRIPPY non-slip coating spray on the back. You can buy it at local quilt & sewing stores and online. Previously I had used those little sand dots and followed Bonnie Hunter’s suggestion for NEXCARE Medical tape. When I sprayed my ruler, I left the tape on where it was between a couple of slots. After the spray dried, in less than a minute, I peeled the tape off the ruler. The result of the spray is your ruler has a slightly frosted look, but it is still very transparent. One of my friends introduced me to this spray at a quilt bee, and a little goes a very long way. I have sprayed nearly every ruler I own and it’s like magic. I tripped over a you tube video where another quilter shows demo of how “grippy” her ruler is – https://youtu.be/tWnFtD2H9lk .

Well, my units are all trimmed, and I have a little more cutting to do before next week. Hopefully you are following along with #AutumnJubilee2022 and enjoying the variety of projects Carole is sharing. I loved the book list last week and the recipe she shared today, and can’t wait to see what is coming next.

I love sharing my methods and tools and tips that others have shared with me. Do you have a favorite unit or tool for making a particular unit? I’d love to hear about it and why it goes to the top of the list. (We quilters love a gadget, don’t we?)

Linking up this week to OH SCRAP – Quilting is more fun that housework.

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Introducing a new blogger

I would love to share with you a new blogger, DULCE QUILTS, which I think you may find interesting. The writer of the blog is Trisha, and she is a member of my guild, and a member of my small group QUEEN BEE’S. She has just started this journey of blogging, and it is fascinating to me to get to know her better through her lovely posts. As I have seen some of these projects she writes about, up close, I can tell you she is an amazing artist!

Do go take a look, and subscribe.

https://dulcequilts.com/blog/my-favorite-subjects

Be sure to leave her a comment and introduce yourself as well. Tell her I sent you to visit!

Happy stitching everyone.

Quilting Fun New and Old projects and Stashbusting

Hello to everyone who regularly reads my posts. I’ve been busy with travel and planning travel, and I promise an update soon on my recent trip. I have managed to get back into my sewing room and want to share a bit of what has been “under my needle”.

I did a project in February, start to finish. If you followed me for long you know some projects will “linger” a bit. This project was called a MONDO Bag. The pattern is by Quiltsmart. The pattern (and some 2 1/2″ squares) was a thank you gift my dear friend Nancy gave me. It was just what I needed to boost my behind back into the sewing room.

I studied the pattern, then took out the squares, and considered them all, and also dug out my box of 2 1/2″ squares, and pulled out some more. I think the pattern called for almost 200 squares. I decided on bright cheery colors. The basics of the pattern require you to “fuse” your squares onto pre printed fusible interfacing. The printed interfacing has a grid plus lots of other information.

I used glass head pins to pin my pieces in place so they didn’t “move” while I was artfully arranging them. I was trying to make sure that I didn’t have the same piece in the next panel. Once you fuse the pieces to the interfacing you do the stitching of the seams. You can see how the panels decrease in size once the stitching is done.

Fused and stitched

This was the fun phase of construction. Once all my panels were designed, pressed, and stitched, I really had to study the directions again. I even emailed a friend who “taught” this bag at a guild sit & sew for advice. And, to make certain I understood, I resorted to You Tube, where I found the actual company, Quiltsmart, with videos along with others.

I got the outer bag panels assembled, and to my dismay I had “matching” pieces touching. Sigh…..

Assembly of the outer bag

Next up was the lining, pockets the handles and a key strap. The vote went to the bright fabric for this project. I decided to go with much wider handles that finished at about 2 1/2 ” wide. I hate to turn tubes, so I made them the way I would normally make a bag handle, putting some fusible fleece inside the handle, and top stitching. I also did two pockets inside. One is in a contrasting color.

Pockets on an angle
Finished Mondo Bag

So, all in all I enjoyed making this bag, and when I took it to my quilt bee in February, it inspired several friends to dig out their patterns and to work on theirs. I used fusible fleece inside of mine, as I had a bolt of it. Quick reminder was to change to a heavy duty needle (a 16 or 18) for the top stitching. It makes it so much easier!

I am counting fabric in & out of my sewing space and I will count this as 3 yards out, along with 1/2 yard in for those gifted squares.

My next project has become a “vintage” project, gathering dust on the shelf. I took a class called  Usin’ Fusin’ to Express Yourself!  in 2016 with Michelle Scott, The Pieceful Quilter after she lectured at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild. I wrote about that class here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/another-fun-speaker-and-class/

At the end of the class, this is what I brought home –

Mary's underwater project OWQG class
circa 2016

I promptly “rolled it up” onto a cardboard tube wrapped in muslin and forgot about it because I was super busy with other projects.

Well….last week, I was finishing up some guild fabrics for Second Time Around and I tripped over a piece of pebbles fabric. Inspiration struck me and I need that 1/8th of a yard strip and pulled this project back out. I bought the piece of pebbles fabric and pushed aside what I was doing and added it to my panel from 2016.

Hidden away inside the panel roll was a packet of beachy buttons I had purchased at a show way back then. And, in amongst the goodies I received from Trish’s sewing room were packages of trims that got incorporated into the panel. I spent the last few days working on it and it is FINISHED and hanging in my living room. It took me 6 years to get around to finishing it, but only 3 or 4 days to actually finish it.

IMG_20220304_085559335

One thing I learned from Michelle Scott was that JUDGES hate messy quilt backs, and her trick was to “hide” all the messiness of the construction/quilting by “adding” another layer to the quilt after “most” of the quilting is finished. Well, adding all those couching threads and embellishments is messy work and I did just that. I finished the back with the same fabric as I had used when I made the sky. It was absolutely amazing to me that when I opened my bin of blues that fabric was there and had enough left to finish this project and squeeze out a binding too. Had to dig in stash for the contrasting piping color for the binding. So, for this project, 1/8 yard in, and 2 yards out!

Carole Carter has a “stashbuster” challenge going on at her blog this year – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2022/03/04/stashbusters-challenge-march/

I am working on blocks for a QOV for the Queen Bees, and counting my 10″ squares as ONE yard. The blocks are done, and ready to go for our March bee.

March Fabric IN = 3/4 yard
March Fabric OUT = 6
March Total = 5 1/4
Year to Date = 7 out

NOTE – I “inherited” a whole lot of stuff from a friend in assisted living who passed away (Trish’s trims) early in February and am still sifting through it all. From the standpoint of fabric, most never entered my sewing room upstairs in my garage. 98% is in boxes, waiting to be delivered to a Mennonite group next week. I have 2 smaller totes that I took up to my sewing room and have not sorted through them yet. Once I do, I will add to my “IN” fabric .

Are you working on any new projects or keeping up with something that has been aging for a while? What about keeping track of “fabric in and fabric out” ? It certainly feels good to get a UFO off the list!

Bits and pieces and more masks

Last week was a struggle to have any fun. I had “two emergency” visits to the dentist and another set for today.  Seems an old woman with an old root canal and crown must say goodbye to the tooth instead of getting it repaired. Getting in to the dentist, endodontist and the  oral surgeon are all tricky escapades during the global pandemic of Covid-19. The bright side is that once the antibiotics started to work, I could reduce all the pain relief medications; but it did take through the weekend.  Slowed me down on having fun.

I was able to do a little stitch out on a couple of dish towels, one for each daughter.

Home in Delaware

The towel above was fun to do. I’ve found that the secret to doing applique on the embroidery machine is using Wonder under or Heat n’ Bond light on the back of the fabric before you place it. Then when you trim after the tack down stitch you get a nicer cut. That said, I should have used some water soluble stabilizer on top of the towel before the applique. It would have made close trimming easier, without fighting with the nap of the towel.  I chose this design for my daughter who moved “home” to Delaware recently, after moving around the country and world for the last 12 years with the US Military.  (Years ago, while in Texas, she and I were shopping and saw “TEXAS” state towels and discussed how they were made and could be done for every state, and if they would be “marketable” .  When I saw this design I scooped it up!)

Heather's towel

This towel, for my youngest daughter, was a LONG stitch out. Over 30,000 stitches, and I forgot to take a photo before I gifted it. My daughter was sweet to send me a picture back for the blog.  This towel has more of a woven weave and I had to use a LOT of tear away stabilizer, plus water soluble on top.  I have a couple of “oops” moments and can see them in the picture, one being an orange thread dangling above the back wheel, and one being a “skip” of stitches on the front wheel.  Why is it you don’t see those things until after it comes out of the hoop??? Snipping the loose thread can be done now, but fixing that front wheel is never going to happen. You can only hope the rider doesn’t feel the bump in the road! (Oh, and don’t get me started on the beak of the bird…..it’s not there….).  Anyway, both towels were fun to do and I tried to pick a design that suited each daughter. My youngest daughter loves to ride, and her “cruiser” is orange and white.  Both embroidery designs came from Oh My Crafty Supplies

In the midst of my dental emergency, I was committed to pick up kits from the local quilt shop for another batch of masks.  This batch was quilters cotton and batik fabric with ELASTIC !! YAY, no ties. No flannel.  So, I picked them up on Wednesday and was able to hand them off on Sunday afternoon.  My friend Pam offered to deliver this batch to the local hospital.

Batik for masks

I told my hubby that this batik looked like a virus. When I cut these I layered the two fabrics  right sides together and made short work of matching pieces together.  I thought I was being efficient.  After doing the first one, I changed my method a bit.  I marked a dot where the elastic was to go on all the pieces, and tack stitched the elastic in place. I did this rather than trying to pin in place and hope it didn’t wiggle out while I was stitching the two pieces of fabric together with the elastic inside. It was taking a lot of time to “pin” the elastic and fabric.  So, marking the placement gave me consistent placement of the elastic, and I could just “hold” the elastic in place while I tacked it down on the edges of the mask.

More masks production

Once the elastic was managed it was easy to put the fabric pieces right sides together and just sew around the edges, leaving a gap for turning.
I used my pleating template and clips again and lots of steam to pleat the masks.  The walking foot is the best foot for me when top stitching to secure the pleats.

28 completed masks

Did you know with careful cutting you can get 28 masks out of 2 yards of fabric? (These are cut 6×9″) I was happy the quilt shop was able to provide elastic.

I just got an order in on Monday of some nice soft elastic and used it for masks for my son-in-law. He has to go daily out for his work, all day wearing a mask, and I made him 4 new masks yesterday. I much prefer making the masks on the embroidery machine using the Creative Appliques pattern . I was able to get 4 mask “fronts” and ear flaps from one fat quarter, and using two other batik fat quarters the pieces for the inside. I tried to “mix up” the insides a bit when I assembled so he could distinguish from one to another, though they look similar.

Creative Appliques style mask size large

I have a bunch more mask parts cut out and pre-pleated and ready to stitch out.  I took a break though and made some “ear saver mask extenders” using another pattern from Creative Appliques.

Extenders

I used black vinyl on top and black felt on the bottom with medium tear away for stabilizer. The idea here is to keep the elastic off the ears which can be a problem for wearing for long periods of time. I used 9″ elastic and knotted it into a loop.  The loop goes into the mask flaps and gets snapped into the extender.  The Creative Appliques pattern is a fast stitch out.  A couple of weeks ago I tried another pattern and it was way more stitches than necessary, but pretty!  The tan ones were the original ones I made and I used buttons and snaps.  (Of course I sewed the buttons on using my sewing machine.  The tan ones are only about 4″ long, and the black ones from Creative Appliques are 7″. They come in a variety of lengths at C.A., the pattern gives you lots to choose from.

various extenders

Of course, I had to “test drive” the mask with extender. 

Creative applique mask

The good thing about a mask is it hides all the wrinkles, and you can blame the mask for COVID-19 bad hair! 

I really like this mask because it fits close on the nose with a wire, and the part I called ear flaps (where the elastic goes through) hold it close to the sides of your face. Because of the shape it is a much nicer fit.  Making them on the embroidery machine uses a lot of stabilizer, but I have said before how I manage that with the “windowing technique” I use.  If I was more efficient I could probably “mass produce” them like I did the ones for the hospital, but I am only doing this style for “special requests” as they take me longer, but give you a better mask.   Creative Appliques sells this style pattern for the home sewing machine also.Creative Appliques sewing machine mask pattern

I’ve seen masks for sale all over the place from $8 to $15 or more.  I don’t think I could “earn a living” making them.  I might make some to sell to help recover the expense of all the elastic, twill tape, stabilizer I have used in the last 2 months.  Are you selling masks?  What style?  How much?

Senior Quilt 2020 (A peak)

Every year I coordinate a project for my church which involves making quilts for our graduating high school seniors.

I started my quilting journey in 2008 when the Pastor handed me a ziplock bag full of 8.5″ squares, gave me some basic instructions and sent me on my way. (I was NOT a quilter, and had only “bound” quilted panels with the help of You Tube and Google).

One thing led to another and at the end of that Spring, I had made 5 quilt tops, and learned to layer and tie the quilts too.  Then Pastor John retired and I was asked to coordinate for the coming year.

Thankfully, with the guidance of an experienced quilter, Kristin S.,  I learned all about cutting and chain piecing and much much more.  My first official quilt shop class didn’t come until 4 years later.

Over the years we have made a lot of those “senior quilts” with a team of willing volunteers.  One year we had as many as 15 students graduating.  The next year, I took a year “off” from coordinating and Kristin stepped up to manage everything that year. (Burnt out?  Probably).  Sometimes you need a new perspective, and new energy and new leadership.

This year, is quite different, with just ONE senior.  When I gathered together with my quilt making volunteers in February, we had a great time selecting fabric from “accumulated stash”.  One church member had donated her entire sewing room of fabric and we had a lot to choose from.  A feature fabric was chosen, and the quilters chose companion fabrics, picked out two blocks that they wanted to make.  This was the first year we didn’t do a basic 8.5″ block for our quilt.  One graduate, and lots of sewers, and big ideas.  A little work on EQ8 and we had a pattern.  (I was tickled to get to use those skills I learned in my January class).

Fabric selection

More fabric choices

In the process of working with the fabrics, I discovered that one of the colors was bleeding all over my ironing table as I was steaming the fabric. I stopped what I was doing, took the strips into the kitchen and soaked them in Retayne and rinsed them clear.

Bleeding blue

I was thankful I had a small bottle of Retayne that came in January with an order, and was amazed how it worked. The picture above is just after I put the strips in a glass bowl of warm water.  The picture below is after the recommended soaking time and after I rinsed with clear water.  I threw a color catcher in the bowl for “good luck”.

After the soaking

Thankfully they were only strips, not pieced into the blocks with the white fabric adjacent.  Did you know that your salad spinner is a great place to wash and “spin” pre-cuts and small pieces like fat quarters.  This experience has made me a big believer in pre-washing.  I put the larger piece of yardage in the washer and did a similar process with the Retayne too.

We got together two more times to cut and sew as a group.   And, as anyone who has ever worked on a group project, sometimes there are other problems.  Working with the “same 1/4” can cause construction challenges, so I made sure to mark with tape and a seam guide everyone’s machine. Several people worked on making half square triangles and others cut various fabric units.   Our feature fabric got cut the wrong size for the pattern and in desperation to replace it, I went in a frantic search online. I finally found it for sale on ETSY and bought all they had, just in case.  A little recutting and reconstructing, and all was well again. The “miss-cut” will get used somewhere else along the line and working together, we adapted and overcame the challenge.

Quilters working at Reformation

Then in mid March, the concern about COVID-19 stopped us from meeting and sewing together. Our last group sewing day was a very productive day.  Luckily most of the blocks were either finished or near completion.  I finished up the last few blocks and one willing quilter took the blocks, and a photo of the layout, and put the top together.  Thanks to Judy M.G. for that big job! She did that in between making masks for the local nursing home and her family, while waiting on the outcome of her own COVID-19 test results. (Negative thank goodness!)

 

When I got the assembled top back from Judy M.G.,  I added the borders, the embroidery blocks and photo of the church.  Using our best “social distancing (across the width of three banquet tables), two of us got together in the empty church fellowship hall to layer and tie the quilt.

Tying the Senior Quilt 2020

Usually we have 4 or 5 people doing this, and can tie a quilt in an hour, but in order to “be safe” we had to limit how many and stay on “opposite” sides of the banquet table.  It took the two of us nearly 3 hours.  But, we got it done!

I brought it back home, and did some machine quilting on the borders to anchor them, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on.

Big wide white borders

The quilt is ready, 2 weeks ahead of my “scheduled deadline”.  (Yes, that is Susie’s Magic Binding that I always do, completely by machine!)

verses on the quilt

There are 3 verses on the quilt this year. Again, we only had one quilt to make, and thought this would make it extra special.  This students parents picked the verses back in January.  Many thanks to Designs by JuJu embroidery company for their wonderful ministry , making these digitized verses available for free.

And now, we have to wait again.  Ordinarily it would have been out in church on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and the remaining Sunday’s in April for the members of the congregation to sign and write messages of love and inspiration. Just as soon as we are able to gather again for services, we will have the quilt out to have the members sign.  I hope they fill those big wide white borders with wonderful messages.

Our time line has turned upside down, but we are going to make certain our one graduate knows how special she is and that she is loved by her church family.

Presentation normally would have happened in mid May, but that timeline is a bit fractured too.  Our Pastor will work with the family and determine an appropriate time to present the quilt.

The service where this is done is always very moving.  Parents wrap the quilt around the shoulders of the student, just like they did when they were young. Prayers are said asking God to guide the young graduate in the coming years, and to help them know that the church family is always with them as they go off to college and start new lives.  The quilt has a photo on it of the church, and the parents picked a verse that they felt was important to be remembered. It is our hope that the student will always feel wrapped in the loving arms of Christ, and when they may need a boost of faith, they can wrap up in the quilt which is covered in prayer and messages of inspiration.  Many prayers get sent heavenward during the creation of the quilt, and I always want the graduate to know that their church wraps them in God’s love as they go onward in life.

Once our graduate has a chance to see the quilt I will post more photo’s so you can really see it.  The quilters who have gathered together every year to work on this ministry vary from year to year and new quilters have joined in this year. All together there was Judy M.G.; Judy S., Kristin S., MaryLu W., Karolyn H., and Lydia P. and myself working on this project.  It was fun to do something very different than any quilt we had done in previous years.

Do you do a special project or have a tradition at your church for graduates to honor them as they move ahead in life?

Catching up on The Twist

Many who read my blog know that I follow a blog by Carole, called From My Carolina Home  .  Carole creates fun patterns and is running a “mystery” quilt this winter/spring.  The pattern is called The Twist, A Scrap Dance Mystery.  You can find the link to the pattern on Carole’s blog above, using the buttons on the right had side of the screen.  It’s NOT too late to start. Because of the “stay at home” order many of us are complying with, Carole decided to “speed things up” on the mystery, so hurry over and get the pattern.

You might remember back in January I started with some squares (sizes in the pattern at the above blog) –

Fun with  4.5inch squares

in two different sizes –

5 inch squares

In steps 2 , 3 we did some sewing, and now I have this –(and a bunch more!)

variety of 4 patches Scrap Dance TWIST

and then came my favorite blocks to make – Step 4 had Half Square Triangles —

Squaring things up

In the picture above you see my stack to square up on the left, and the one lonely trimmed one on the right.  Using the June Tailor Perfect Half Square Quarter Square triangle ruler, I trimmed them quite easily and quickly.

Step 3 Scrap Dance Twist

Everything is “back in the box” until the next clue, on the 3rd Friday of the month! That’s April 17, and I am ready!

Steps 1-4 Twist Mystery quilt

Don’t miss out on this fun project!  Hurry over to Carole’s blog and get busy with your scraps!  She provides PDF’s that you can print and take to the sewing room for easy reference. I tuck my printed copy in the plastic bin with the project so I can keep track.   I use those handy little clips to keep units together in bunches of 10 when I need to keep track of the count.  How do you stay organized?

People are posting their finished units on the Friends of From My Carolina Home blog Facebook page too.  If you follow Carole’s blog, join in and follow on Facebook to see all the variety of fabrics people are using!

What are you doing for fun in your sewing room?

No yardage was used for this project except for background fabrics, and there are a variety of white on whites used.

 

Paper (Thread) dolls

Greetings from winter hibernation! I’m certain I have been in “blog” hibernation for several months.  Maybe I can crawl out of the den and write a few words.  Honestly, I have been busy every day for months and the blog has taken a back seat. Thanks for sticking around and still popping in to read when I finally set words on the page.

What have I been up to?  Well, that embroidery machine and I have had fun.  I shared the Christmas gifts last post.  I left out one particular project.  I found a sale one day at one of my favorite embroidery websites, and bought some designs that I had my eye on for more than a year. The price was amazing for the sale, and I knew exactly who was getting this particular gift.  In fact, if you are reading this today, Jan 17, 2020, you will find a very similar sale – Julia’s Needle Design

I purchased both sets, Patty I and Patty II for a “paper doll” done in embroidery thread.

Fun creating Small doll

I wanted the doll to have some “stiffness” and used a pellon craft product called peltex in the hoop.  After the doll stitched out, I fused the back of the doll to some “In-r-form” by Bosal, and then trimmed around the entire doll.

I was so excited when this doll turned out so well, I brought it in the house to show the hubby. We had fun checking the “size of the doll” compared to other toys we have around the house.

Paper doll with friends

I decided a doll needs some outfits.

More outfits

This outfit included a shirt & shorts, a tummy, legs and shoes.

Fun dress

The pink dress also included legs and shoes. I was able to do the stitchout of both outfits in one hooping and that saved me a lot of stabilizer.

Maximizing the stabilizer

If you are familiar with machine embroidery, you will see I have a little “bobble” going on near the foot of the design on the right.  I had my challenges with this!  I might have been able to do a 3rd design in that hoop if I hadn’t had a stabilizer problem.  Do you see the pins on the edge of the hoop?  The idea is to help keep your stabilizer from being pulled too much in the hoop. The pins go between the inner and out hoop.  For the most part, it works. In the case of the “bobble”, I had a bobbin problem and made a mess with that one show, and it pulled the stabilizer.  I was able to fix the design, but knew I wasn’t adding a 3rd design to that hooping.

I decided to make a little “sleeping bag” for the doll, similar to the one I posted about in November in  Practicing with the new machine

Doll and sleeping bag

I decided the clothing was fairly stiff, but I wanted to “cover” the back where all the bobbin stitches show, so I used so light weight fusible pellon interfacing.

I added some more outfits to the machine and had fun stitching out some pants.

Pants for the doll

More outfits; more stabilizer and LOTS of thread, and pretty soon the doll had a wardrobe.

These were stitched out on my Janome 11000 and all done with wash away stabilizer. These had very heavy stitch counts.

The wardrobe

You will notice that the doll has a velcro dot in the center.  I found “velcro for fabric” stick on dots at Michaels in just the right size. These are way to “thick” to use sew on, and I figure if the dot comes off, Grandma has an extra package.  It was recommended to adhere the dots and then let them sit for 24 hours before using them.  All the clothing has the “soft side” of the velcro on the back.  The logic is velcro sticks to everything (the sofa, the rug etc), and only have one with the hook and loop side reduces the number of “stuck objects” to the rug!

These doll clothes and the doll are each very heavy thread/stitch count, but I don’t have a shortage of thread yet.  75% of that thread on the rack was a gift from my daughters one Christmas, and stitching out things for their kids is a lot of fun!  I really feel confident now with the embroidery machines.  I am FINALLY using the embroidery machine(s) and all that thread!

just a few spools

My 3 year old granddaughter was the recipient of the project, and I will plan to make her one or 2 more “doll friends” and a few more outfits. She has a birthday coming in a couple of months. Then, when she has a human friend over to play, they can each have a doll friend to dress.  I’m still working my way through Paper Doll Patty I set.  I wanted to make certain she liked them before overwhelming her with “more” outfits.  This is a real “portable” toy for a child who may have a trip coming up, fun in the carry on baggage for a long airplane ride or time away from home.

These were SO much fun to make, and I loved the results.  I gave my granddaughter the clothes in a little vinyl zip bag, upcycled from some other product. It was just the right size to slip in the sleeping bag with the doll.  I can see a “carry bag” down the road.  This Stitching Grandma has been having fun. 

Next up on my agenda is a departure from the embroidery machine.  I am going to get out to the sewing room today, and tackle some scraps, with PURPOSE.  My friend Carole Carter  is starting a new mystery quilt today on her blog, From My Carolina Home!  Go take a look!  Scrap Dance Twist Mystery Quilt 2020

The mystery quilt will use charm packs, fat quarters, yardage or SCRAPS…..so you know, it is right up my lane.  Look for a future post with my fabric choices!

What are  you having fun working on this month?

On the design wall

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

The blocks are all 12.5″x12.5″.

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

Carolina Hurricane Quilts

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know if you tuned in!

Fire and Ice Batik Table Runner

My sewing room has visitors off and on all last week.  We had 4 helpers for 2nd Time Around prep on Friday working hard for the benefit of the guild.  One member, Arlene, took home a partially made project that she found in the donations and came back on Saturday to lay it out on my big table and get it pin basted. She had taken something that someone else discarded, added a little time and effort and borders, and now has a baby quilt ready to donate to one of the many charity groups Ocean Waves Quilt Guild supports.

Another friend, Karen, came over and laid her languishing quilt top on my big table, and we measured the dimension, and then measured her available fabric for the back.  We tossed around ideas for increasing the size of her backing with some pieced blocks and extra bits.  I can’t wait to see how she proceeds. She had 5 wonderful paper pieced blocks she wanted to incorporate on the back, and we worked through how she could do that.   Of course, we needed my design wall blank, so before she arrived I cleared my design wall of those batiks that have been hanging around since the end of July.

Batiks hanging out

I wrote about them here – small-projects-and-small-bits and here Batik Fun .

I can’t share what she is working on, but after she finishes and the gift is received, I will.  

Anyway, I had stacked up all those pieces from the design wall onto my sewing machine while we worked on her project.  After she left, I decide it was time to do something with the table runner.  I dug in my bin of greens and blues and found a nice batik that I had “just enough” of a piece for backing and binding.  I also dug in my bin of scrap batting and pulled out a chunk that was “just enough” for a table runner.

I layered up the table runner, batting and backing, pinned it and put on my walking foot again for machine quilting.  (Most of you know that I am still terrified of free motion quilting (FMQ) but have had good success with straight line walking foot quilting!)  (All right, I debated FMQ, but quickly shook my head no.  I think I will get some practice in on those placemats….later).  I previewed 2 threads and chose Superior Fantastico thread #5025, which is a variegated, pink, blue, yellow, and green thread.  I used it in the bobbin as well as on top.  It actually shows more on the back than I like, and now I wished I had stuck to silver for the bobbin!

I stitched across each block and though the cornerstones making and X.  Then I did some channel quilting in the sashing.  Honestly, the quilting in the sashing took me the longest, because I had to stop at every cornerstone.  I also stitched in the ditch between the blocks and the sashing.  There is “enough”  quilting to keep the table runner nice and flat, but it is not heavily quilted.  I kept debating going back and doing something in the “triangles” on each section with either straight lines or the hopper foot. By the time the channel quilting was finished, so was I.  My “go make dinner” alarm went off, and I shut off the machine.  

After dinner, I was re energized and  hubby and I went back out to the garage. I was just going to cut and make the binding.   He is working on building a “test track” on a shelf for “speed matching” his locomotives……(He needs a blog!)  I might take a picture or two when he gives me the ok!  I had a great audio book going and time ran on, as it often does.

I made up my binding using my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding” method,.  I continued to sew while listening to the book, and got it the binding on the runner.  I like the way it turned out.  Hubby always tells me he likes the added “pop” of color the binding adds.  I used the smaller of the TQM Binding tools to join the ends and I got the “BEST” join ever on this project.  (Note, because of the piping/flange, I baste the join, check to see if it lines up and adjust if need be.  I made one slight adjustment and it is perfect!)  I think using the smaller binding tool helped.  Or, I had more patience and lots of practice from all those placemats!   If you have trouble with the join, try basting it first.  The link for the binding method shows written directions and a video!

Table runner bound

The fabric from the back of the runner is the same fabric I used in the “flange” on the binding.

Back of the table runner

I mentioned in a comment to a reader this weekend that this binding is a joy to make, not a chore.  I love it because there is NO hand sewing!

I was trying to remember where I had used that batik for the back of the runner before, and it just occurred to me…my Sensational Silk wall hanging, borders and backing (more about it here – In Betweens  ).  There is just about enough left to use for the back of one of those placemats in the stack.

Hubby said to me after the table runner was bound, looking at it in the sewing room, that he thought it was “too small”.  It measures about 19″ x 35″.

I had to bring it in the house and put it on the dining room table to get a look.  (That meant I took all those Autumn Jubilee placemats off for a while!) The dining room table is 40″ x 80″ so I think it floats well in the center.  I like the finished size.  I have made longer runners, but this works for me for now.

Fire and Ice table runner on the table

I decided to call it “Fire and Ice” because it feels HOT with all the orange and cool with all the turquoise and green and purple.

Time for me to get busy labeling projects!  Do you put labels on “everything” ?  I didn’t on my placemats, but will on the runner.  I need to make a label for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt too.  Time for me to tackle the reset of the stack of batik placemats.  I had wondered what others thought of using muslin for the back of placemats in a previous post.  My friend Nancy has a couple of nice batik pieces she is going to share, and I am digging around in my bins for more batik yardage and fat quarters.   (I do think I will practice some FMQ on those….wish me luck!)

Do you name your projects? It is fun to “FINISH” some smaller projects.

A week of Finishes and Starts

This has been a week of projects started and finished, like the little pin cushion in my last blog post – Bee Skep Pin Cushion .   

I also finished my Autumn Jubilee placemats.  I last wrote about my placemats here – Project Updates  .

In that post I mentioned I had 2 more to bind.  Well, here they are!  (Of course, I used the technique called Susie’s Magic Binding!  There are other names but this is where I first learned the technique – 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks  )

the LAST 2 finished

I like the back of these 2 – 

Each back is unique

And here is the 2018 group all together – 

Final 4 for 2018 Autumn Jubilee placemats

And the whole table covered in Autumn Jubilee 2017 & 2018 placemats – 

All 8 placemats are finished Autumn Jubilee

That one in the middle was the 1st one I made as a test.  It was determined to be “to small” by my husband.  So, it gets the centerpiece!

The back of each placemat is different.  I used fat quarters and used some of the fabric from the fat quarter on the borders of the front to unify the design.  Scrappy, but unified.  

the back of All 8 Autumn Jubilee place mats

 I really love the beauty of the fall fabrics, and the variety of colors!!

Most likely 2 will end up on the counter in the kitchen where we eat most days.  I have 2 or 3 Autumn Jubilee table runners and they will go on the treadle sewing machines that reside in the dining room this fall.  

I think I am finished with Autumn Jubilee table projects for now.  My bin of Autumn fabrics will sit quietly until Carole comes up with the “next” pattern.  I did make a few “Stars on Autumn Lane” last year, but haven’t done anything with them yet.  Carole is getting ready for the “next” Autumn Jubilee, and you can follow her at From My Carolina Home

I feel like I have been playing in the Autumn box for a very long time!  I’ve made a bunch of Autumn Jubilee projects in the last 2 years and posted the stories.  This post gives you a view of some of those projects – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-package-delivered/

I started a new project this week (Yes, I have lots of UFO’s……) to get ready for my Queen Bee’s gathering next week.  If you looked at the post I linked above, you might recognize some of the fabrics in the photo below!

When I was working on my Bee Skep pin cushion, my friend Nancy B. was doing some cutting.  I thought she said she was cutting the pieces for our bee project.  So, after the Bee Skep was finished, I went through the scrap bins, pulled out my Christmas fabric bin and started making fabric selections.  I have this wonderful container of “elegant” Christmas fabric that I have made table runners and cushion covers from in 2016 & 2017.  I decided to use some of that fabric for the “background” of the Bee project.  We had been given cutting instructions and I got busy.

Bits and pieces for August Bee project

After I had everything cut, I went ahead and made the Half Square Triangles (HST), and then set out the block to see if I liked it.  (The Bee is NEXT week…..)

Cardinal block for Christmas in August

Did you notice that I seem to gravitate to 2.5″ Half Square Triangles?  

The cardinal was a fun block to set up, and I had so much fun playing with the arrangement, I decided to stitch it together.  Well….now what have I done?  I won’t have a project for the bee!  I guess I will just have to make a 2nd cardinal block.  Turns out, I had “extra” pieces, because I made more HST’s than I needed.  So; today I am going to tally up what I need to cut for my 2nd cardinal and WAIT until Tuesday to stitch it.  

Are you curious what I am going to do with them?   Wait and see!  No, not going on the table!   When they are “further along” I will share the plan!

EDIT — FREE PATTERN–Source for the Cardinal block — Mom and Pop Quilt shop

Remember those batik placemats? Those are still hanging around on the wall just like there were in this post –  Summer Fun and Never Ending projects  .   I got “hung up” on them when I got busy with other things in August.  I was contemplating them yesterday, and thinking about how I would back them.  Fat quarters would work.  But, there are a LOT of them, and that will take some serious yardage or a BUNCH of fat quarters.  I want to use what I have, and I am not sure I have that many fat quarters of batik.  While I was digging in a bin I have of muslin,  that got me to thinking, why not?  I have 2 huge containers of muslin a lady at my church gave me, and it has all been washed and folded.  Why not use the muslin for the back of the placemats?  Thoughts?  Let me know if you use high quality muslin for backing table items.  

Are you ready to switch seasons yet?  Here we are at the last week of summer, enjoying a crisp fall morning, and I am working with Christmas fabrics!  I’ve put the fall fabrics away for now.  What are you working on?

 How MANY projects do you have going at once?  Personally, I like doing some of these smaller projects between things.  It is nice to finally FINISH something!