Star Row Quilt-along Autumn Jubilee

Are you following along with #AutumnJubilee2020 on the blog – https://frommycarolinahome.com// ?? Each Friday in October there will be a “new” row to make for the Autumn Jubilee quilt-along.

Warning; lots of photo’s and a video ahead.

Many times in the years since I started following Carole at From My Carolina home, I have indicated that I keep a container of “Autumn Jubilee” fabrics/parts/pieces to take along to my quilt bees. It was quite easy to get started on Friday when the details were posted. My bin contains lots of big scraps, all the way up to fat quarters, plus some baskets of squares in Autumn colors and neutrals in various sizes used in previous years.

This week the STARS rows were quite easy to begin as my bin had a basket full of squares, already cut to size.

2.5 inch squares from the Autumn Jubilee tote.
Ready to go! 2 1/2″ squares and some 2 1/2″ HST
Sorting colors for 4 patches
Sorting colors for 4 patches

Do you have some favorite tools when working on small blocks? I do!

I like the wool pressing mat. This one is great for small units, 8″ square.

Wool mat
Stack of blocks ready to sew
Sets ready to be made into 4 patches.

The Gizmo and the wool mat are great when working with chain piecing and chain pressing. The Gizmo has a razor blade for separating your blocks. It is free standing and quick to use when you have a big chain. I received the GIZMO as a gift. I don’t know that I would have gone out to buy the GIZMO, but I think it is a pretty clever thing, and handy when you have a lot to cut apart. Faster that finding the snips.

Snipping the chain pieces

Having the squares already cut and ready to stitch made making the centers of the blocks quite easy, and in no time I had the number I need ready.

4 patches for the star centers

The pattern gives you specifics on the number of 4 patches and half square triangles(HST) you will need. I had about 1/3 of the HST already in the basket that were needed. In the same bin, I had another basket with the size I needed to make the remaining HST.

My favorite method is using the June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square triangle ruler. Rather than try to explain the use, check out this great video on You Tube –

June Tailor Perfect Half-Square and Quarter Square Triangle Ruler

Using this ruler, I never hesitate when the pattern calls for lots of HST. I’ve used this ruler for about 10 years and it is one of my FAVORITE tools in my quilt room.

June Tailor Perfect HST QST Ruler
These two slots are for marking your stitching lines

The tape on the underside of the ruler is “medical tape” from the drugstore. It has little ridges on it and that really keeps my ruler from slipping around on the fabric.

Ready to cut
Another tool I use is my rotating Fiskars cutting mat

My 2nd favorite tool in my sewing room is the 12″ rotating Fiskars Mat. I have worn out the middle and it may be time to replace it soon. The slot with the dash lines is used to line up your stitches and cut the block in half.

Cutting the HST
quickly cut
Fast straight cuts using the cutting guide
Ready to square up

The slots in the center help you line up your HST for trimming and making them “PERFECT”. This is where I “wear out” my ruler, because I always seem to work in the same spot.

Perfect HST

It doesn’t take long to make a big stack of HST.

Ready to piece
Ready to sew

I stack up the pieces on my little rotating mat, making certain the points are all heading in the proper directing. This keeps me from having a wonky pointed star! As I shuffled the HST around, I kept reminding myself, “pointy part to the outside corner”. It does help to have the blog post up on the computer screen with a bigger view of the star too.

Seeing stars

It didn’t take long on Saturday afternoon to make the stars into blocks.

This afternoon I will add the sashing to the blocks and make the two rows.

Are you following along with #AutumnJubilee2020 ??

What are your favorite tools in your sewing room?

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?

FAST Mask With TIES

My Quilt Guild got a 3rd request for 1000 more masks (3000 total) from a local chicken processing plant. In order to keep the workers safe, the company purchased fabric from 2 local quilt shops, who were more than happy to sell it and make kits for people to pick up, cut, stitch and return as soon as possible.

I coordinated a pick up and brought 8 kits home yesterday for local distribution. Friends came by and picked them up in a bin I set up in my carport.

This project has flannel and cotton fabric for 6×9 masks.  Two yards were for ties, one yard for the front of the mask in quilters cotton, and one yard of flannel for inside of the mask (4 yards for 28 masks).  When I picked up the kits, Nancy, the owner of the quilt shop,  Church Street Fabrics, Selbyville DE  , and I had a chat about making all those ties and methods that would make them go faster.  We also chatted about how she did her mask vs Jenny Doan’s method.  Church Street owner, Nancy, said STITCH the pleats down BEFORE you put the ties on.  See Mod 1.   Kudo’s to Nancy for that modification!

Now, I would much rather make the masks on the embroidery machine using the pattern from Creative Appliques,  but for this request, 6×9 masks, pleated with ties, were requested, using the “Jenny Doan / Missouri Star Quilt Company” style.

Modifications – Creative Appliques had a “PLEATING TEMPLATE” they show you how to use on You Tube.  https://youtu.be/jtw8DJktzS0 

If you go to the Creative Appliques website, you can download the machine embroidery pattern (free but donation requested) and the Pleating Template is part of the pattern.

Pleating template

I have made over 30 of these masks using the embroidery pattern.

Creative Applique masks

I was VERY familiar with the pleating template by Creative Applique,  and decided to use it to pleat the “Jenny Doan style” were were being asked to make.

Chain piecing makes sittching the sides of the mask go quickly.

Ready to chain piece.

 

TIES – phew….I don’t have (or can’t find) the right size bias tape maker and I hate burning my fingers.  There are COUNTLESS ways to eat this elephant, but I saw a method on Making ties without an iron video last week and thought “GENIUS”.  Great concept except I have to enclose the top and bottom of the mask in the fold of the bias tape.  SO….look at my 3rd modification.

So; three modifications from Jenny’s method.

MOD 1 (Credit to Nancy) – Do your pleats BEFORE you put the ties on, that way you don’t have to fight the ties.  Use the method in MOD 2 to get PERFECT pleats.

Quick, even pleats

MOD 2 (Credit to that great Pleating Template at Creative Appliques.) – Once you have your front and back sewn together and you take it to the iron, press your seam, turn right side out, press again, then use the LINE C FOLD on the pleating guide to make your pleats; using steam & wonder clips.

Ready to pleat

Using the pleating template

Press while still on the pleating template

Ready to stitch

Again, chain piecing makes this part go very fast!

Set up to chain piece those pleats

MOD 3 – TIES —  (Credit to a DIY video from Lemon Mint Studio in link above) –After multiple trials,  I altered the card stock to work for me as follows —

  • 2″ ties  – cut card stock 2″ x 8 “.   Mark in at 1” down the length of the card stock, score and fold
  • Mark in at 3/8″ down the length of the card stock, score and fold.Bias tape template
  • Lay our 2″ strips right side toward the cardstock, and fold the edges over catching the edge of your strip in the folds of the card stock.

Lay end of strip on top of cardstock template

  • Fold in the top

Fold the top of the cardstock over

  • Fold up the bottom

Fold the bottom of the card stock in toward center

  • Use the tip of the iron to push against the card stock pushing it toward your other hand which is guiding the pieces into the folds of the card stock template.

Press and push with the tip of the iron

  • This can be a little fussy, but you just hold the left hand taught and keep the fabric lined up as you push the cardstock with the iron to the left.

Edges folded toward center of the strip

  • In the time it takes to type this sentence you are nearly to the end. Don’t be afraid to put your iron right on the card stock as you get to the end and have no tail left to hold on to.
  • Turn your finished strip back to the right, and fold that template cardstock in half on the center line and use your iron again.

Fold Strip in half using template

  • You may find that you can’t really “push” the cardstock, as it is a little tight, so give it a slight pull with your left hand, drawing it the length of your strip while you press.

Press and pull the template away from the tip of the iron

  • In less than two minutes, you have your strip done.

Ties are finished

  • Find the center of your tie and pin in the center of the mask, encasing the opening.  Use pins or clips.

Find the center and pin or clip in place

Stitch from the end of the tie, and across the top of the mask, removing clips or pins before they get to your needle, and to the other end of the tie.  Repeat for the bottom tie.

Before you know it you will have a big stack done!!

Half way done

What are you working on?  Any secrets to faster sewing?

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.

 

Sewing with the Seniors

Monday was my first day back “sewing with the seniors” at the assisted living facility. I have not been there on a regular basis since last fall due to physical limitations on my part.

I have to say, I could not have managed without the participation of my husband. He was my “saving grace” getting the ladies machines plugged in; machines “reassembled” etc. Honestly; only one lady had the ability to thread her machine and needle on her own. The rest needed assistance with getting the thread through the guides and tension discs; and through the needle; winding bobbins etc.  Two ladies “brought” their machines to our workshop. The other two ladies were using machines that were “donated” to the facility.  Sadly the facility did not set up enough machines, so some ladies just got to “watch” and talk.  I know there are other machines in a closet somewhere, but…..no staff to go find them.  (This is a $15K/month facility and some things just make me scratch my head.)

I decided the project for the next few sessions will be “Quilt as you go” placemats. I chose this project because our local quilt shop has a charity drive going on. Here are the details from Serendipity Quilt Shop, https://www.serendipityquiltshop.com/ Dagsboro DE website —” Studies have shown that persons receiving home bound meals (similar to Meals on Wheel) feel motivated to eat meals on a more regular basis if they have an attractive place setting.

CHEER has been serving Sussex County since 1971 and provides over 230,000 meals annually to eligible home bound seniors in Sussex County. This vital service ensures that no senior in Sussex County goes hungry. 

As quilters, we can support the meal program and these seniors. Use up your scraps or other fabrics that you often wondered why you purchased and make placemats!   Perhaps you’d like to attend a free Sit & Sew and make placemats!  60% of home bound meals are delivered to men so please keep this in mind while sewing the placemats.

Our goal is to provide 1200 placemats this year. Please join us in our effort to make our seniors feel remembered and cared for by making placemats that are approximately 12” x 16” or 14” x 18”.  

To prep for the day of sewing with the seniors, I cut backing fabric 15″ x 19″ and prepared batting of the same size. My batting was what I called “Frankenbatting”….scraps of batting cut and fused together with Pellon easy-knit tape (EK150), looking a bit like a mad scientist creation when done, but highly functional. I use this often and had to order a new  package this week.

I really like this product; quick and easy to use. Just straighten the edge and butt the join together and press the tape down. I have BAGS of cut-off scraps of batting that are just “too big” to cut up for dog bed filler!  This is a great way to use them.  Anyway….once I had my fabric and batting ready; I used a bit of ODIF 505 spray baste and affixed the backing to the batting.  I gave it a little press with the iron and in no time had 10 placemat sets ready for sewing.

The ladies were given direction and assistance as they sewed the precut strips I provided to the batting and backing.  We assisted with finger pressing in between strips.

Working on placemats

 

Over the course of an hour and 1/2 we played with a lot of strips.  Trish got one finished and started a second one.  The other ladies will no doubt finish next week!

I trimmed down the only finished placemat when I got home and added the binding.  Trish had picked the placemat intended for a man. It has bold colorful stripes on the back and she worked with “non” floral fabrics.

Quilt as you go placemat by Trish

Off & on all week I have been trimming my friend June’s stash of blue & green fabric and setting aside “more strips” for next week; and selecting other fabrics that will make pretty placemat backs.  Since I have all her fabric, and she is part of the group, I thought it was a great way to use her fabric. She enjoyed seeing “familiar” pieces. I enjoy that she is back to sewing after almost 2 years.

The ladies seemed to enjoy the project, doing something for someone else.  They just “want to sew” and I hope that sewing for someone else will give them some personal satisfaction too.  Honestly, the residents at this facility live in 1 or 2 room apartments and don’t have room for any “stuff”; so anything they make gets given away.

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.

Safelight Project – 5 Sets Finished plus a bonus etc.

I finished up 5 sets of sunglasses cases & makeup bags for the Safelight Project 2018 . Info on a previous post – Safelight Project 2018

Each set used 2 fat quarters , with fabric left over.   I had fun with the quilting too.  I am a much better “straight-line” quilter than a free motion quilter!  My little featherweight was great for the straight-line quilting.  It also powered through that hook & loop tape.  I put a heavy duty needle in when I started this project because I battle with the hook & loop tape if I don’t.

Safelight Project 2018

BONUS : This was a great Fat Quarter project. In fact, I realized I had some “extra” fabric after making the sets, so I decided to make Tissue Holders to match.  I found a good tutorial on You-Tube  Mini-Tissue Holder Instructional Video

These were quick and easy additions to the project.  In fact, they were so easy, I ended up making another 4 out of some scrap fabric I had sitting on my cutting table. I will send them all along to Carole (http://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com//)for her to use as she see fit.  (They hold one of those little purse packs of tissues).  These will go out in the mail on Monday.

ETC…….

Lots of ETC this week.  Our ONE and only Senior Quilt top is stitched and halves are joined and it is set up at the church for the members to sign and offer good wishes. It will be set out for several weeks for signing. I still haven’t managed a photo!  Maybe after the service on Easter!

Sewing with the Seniors — I went to sew with my friend June at the Assisted Living facility again on Friday.  I took my bin of 5″ squares and a stack of 5″ batting squares and the 2 ladies got busy!  They each made 3 coasters, and I did lots of turning, pressing, needle threading etc. We used a simple pattern with 6 squares total for each coaster.  If you are looking for directions, check out my favorite quilt instructor video – Gourmet Quilter tutorial

They had fun with this simple project, and with the use of a few pins and a bit wider seam allowance (1/2″) we had great success.

Sewing with Seniors

I set June up to sew with my featherweight, because I knew it would power through the layers.  Both ladies had fun and want to make more next week!  They also saw my bags for the Safelight project and are interested in making that style bag during another sewing session.  I think the fun was in the choosing of the fabrics from my box of 5″ squares!  We also have plans for making some of those tissue holders.  I love these scrap friendly projects.

That’s it for now! Happy Easter everyone!

Are you SQUARE DANCING with Carole?

Another mystery quilt is beginning today!

This one is called “Square Dance” – A Scrap Dance Mystery Quilt From My Carolina Home .

Carole has just released the cutting instructions for sizes from a table topper to a king size!  All the details are on Carole’s blog!  If you have never done one of Carole’s mystery project, you will find they are VERY easy to follow along.  She usually has you do all of your cutting in the first month, and this month there is one exception to that, so be sure and read carefully, both her blog post and the PDF cutting instructions.  No sewing this month, just prep work.

Because I am a scrappy person, my “fabric choices” are going to be led by the colors I have cut and stored in my “scrap users storage system” for 2 1/2 inch squares. (The 2 1/2 inch squares are considered fabric D & E in this pattern)  Which size project I will make is also going to be driven by the quantity on hand of  2 1/2 inch squares!

Today, I will pull out those bins and take a look and separate into dark/medium (Fabric D) and light (Fabric E) stacks.  Yes, these are the ones she said not to cut from your strips if you are using pre-cuts/jelly rolls yet, as she has an efficient method for you.  But, because I have 2 1/2 inch squares already, I am using what I have!

Next, I will pull the scrap bins of “scraps waiting to be loved” (ahhhem…those are the scraps still needing some pressing, trimming etc from the scrap heap baskets), and pick out my fabrics for fabrics B & C.  Those are the larger pieces in the dark and medium colors. *My scrap storage system doesn’t have all the sizes in this pattern – ready cut, but I do have strips in those sizes already*.

Before I could begin, I had to run out and pick up my machine from the repair place, and when I got back, I got busy!!  (More about that repair story on another day….)

CAUTION —- GRAPHIC PHOTO’S BELOW …..don’t be afraid, you are about to enter the scrap crazed sewing room of the Stitching Grandma……

(Oh my…let’s see…so many choices.   I have a laundry hamper full of gifted scraps  totally unsorted,

unsorted scraps

I have another,  yellow basket stacker,  sorted by color waiting to be “loved”….  (notice the empty section!)

Scraps by color waiting to be ironed and cut

and I have totes, six of them,

Sorted by color

of neatly trimmed and folded and pressed sorted by color….which direction should I head in???)

(Ok…my sister in law Carolyn – the ONE BLOCK  WONDER WOMAN – had been bragging on my efficiency in keeping up with scraps…hahahaha...she lives 3000 miles away and she has NO idea how backlogged I have gotten!) (You have to go read about her efficiencyScrap Overload  oh, and how she bragged about my system…….) 

(In anticipation of Carole’s new mystery, I have been working on my scraps off and on for 2 weeks, around being sick…..oh…phew….there is the excuse why I am not finished yet!) (Hey, these well behaved scraps are ready to be put into storage.!)  Since this photo, they have been properly stored.

well behaved scraps

(Are you distracted yet ?    …Let’s get back to the project)

(It IS a good thing there is an entire month to pull this fabric, get it ironed, cut and ready !)

Back to it……Once B & C & D & E are determined, then I will pull yardage for the Fabric A, which is NOT SCRAPPY!  Yes, yardage….1 light single print, maybe a tone on tone that will unify the entire scrappy project. But that fabric is going to be my last choice, as it is going to be driven by all the other choices I make.

I did a little “extra math” to what was presented with the pattern pdf file that Carole published today.  I figured that Fabric A yardage as follows —

1/4 yard for a table topper

7/8 for a lap quilt

1 1/8 yard for a twin

1 1/4 yard for a full

1 1/2 yard for a queen

2 yards for a king size.

Thank you Robert Kaufmann app on my phone. (That is such a cool app where you can calculate “pieces to yardage” quite easily).  Of course, I ALWAYS count on a little extra….so I don’t run out or have a problem in the event of a miss-cut.

Well…all those scraps made me a little nuts today!  I put everything in their proper container that was trimmed and cut to size but I could not find my 2 and 1/2″ bin!!!!!!!!!!!

NO………just the one I need for this project……..more cleaning….embarrassing photo’s shared with a friend in the process, and the discovery of 3 baskets “on the floor” (You know those ones I keep tossing off the desk Nancy B???  You saw me toss it there….) (Ya, piled up under the design wall…..).

Guess what I found inside????   130 – 4 patches made from 2 ” squares…out they came from a basket, into a bin, labeled and into the cabinet.

Oh, and a stack of  9 patches made from 2.5″ squares, out they came from the basket, into a ziplock, and into the cabinet!

And, underneath the layers, was my basket of 2.5 ” squares.  BLISS…..I seem to remember I was using them for leaders and enders a few months ago and this is where all the 9 patches came from, and then I got “distracted”. Obviously they were in the way on my desk and got flung to the floor and ignored for 3 months!

Well anyway, a little color sorting and counting turned this pile

dark and medium 2.5 inch squares

into a well behaved group of squares.

counted and bundled

I will be continuing some scrap management, pressing and cutting to size, and along the way, cutting for the Square Dance project too.  I like having the month to get this done.  I’ve added the sizes for the project to the list of things I cut and save, and I will continue to clear up and put away scraps.  Now, not saying I will get through all those totes…but at least get through the “unsorted and unloved scraps”.

Are you going to Square Dance?  Are you on Scrap Overload?  It seems to be the theme this month.  I saw a post earlier today by Lori Kennedy asking about How do you organize your scraps 

I have to stop back over at Lori’s blog and read some of the various comments~!!!~

January is a good time for cleaning up and making plans to use those scraps you are sorting and organizing, that you are “overloaded with” I think !

 

Autumn Jubilee – circa 2016

In my last post I mentioned I was would be working on my Autumn Jubilee 2016 placemats during my sewing time at the Material Girls Quilt Bee.  I am HAPPY to report that I have completed 4 placemats in this project.  But not, AT the bee.  

Doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment really, since I have been piddling with them since January or February.  Once a month this Material Girls Quilt Bee gathers, and we sew.  I decided to keep a ‘project in a box’ ready to grab and go.  Every month I would make 2 or 3 more leaves.  In August, I had enough leaves together for 4, and made some choices about the border fabrics when I came home, I got the borders on.  I wrote about it on this post –  Still play with Autumn Jubilee

Since our last gathering in August I just needed to assemble the backs and quilt. We didn’t sew in September, so the box has been languishing on the floor under my design wall.  And I had totally forgotten what was and wasn’t done!  (I really should read my own blog!)

As I went to “pack up my gear” for the bee, I had to look at what was in the box, where I was at on the project etc, since I hadn’t touched  it in 2 months.  So,  Tuesday (after I finished my Grandma’s kitchen blocks)  I got the box off the floor and took a hard look.  I re-discovered the backs were made and pinned to the front with so I didn’t have to even think about which back went with which top. (They are all unique).  I just needed to dig out the batting and QUILT.  I used batting pieces that were wide scraps, some of it pieced with that great Pellon tape.   I even managed to quilt one before I packed the car!  The remaining ones were all pined, and I left all four at home to finish “after” the bee.  (Disclaimer – one has been completely finished for MONTHS)

So, what did I work on during the bee?  I took my Autumn Jubilee box (now neatly sorted and organized) and made some more stems, and half square triangles, and built 2 more leaves.  I do have enough parts in that box for at least another 4 placemats.  (This should keep me going at the bees for another few months!)  I do like to have a project that doesn’t require great amounts of concentration while all the conversation is going on all around.  I’ve got all those parts, so why not!

When I got home, after the bee, I unpacked and decided I was going to finish the quilting on the remaining 2, and that went quickly.  I’m not sure you can see the quilting but I did a spiral from the center out over the leaves, then straight line walking foot in the borders.

I made the binding for all of them, and started putting it on.  Each placemat has different binding, to coordinate with one of the border fabrics.  I used my favorite method, Susie’s Magic Binding.

I ran into a snag.  I would get to the “corner” of my binding and my stitches were not “locking”.  I had a 1/2” or inch of space where the top thread and bobbin thread did not lock. I fussed, and fussed and fussed.  Thread changed, bobbin changed, needle changed, machine cleaned, bobbin race cleaned and still no stitches.  I must have tried 15 times and no luck. (Seam ripper engaged numerous times to take out the excess). I reverse sides, I changed tactics and started in the middle stitching to the corner etc. AGGRAVATED & getting cranky when things don’t go right!  (Does that happen to you??)   I knew it had to do with the thickness in the corner, but could not figure out a solution.  I gave up on Wednesday night and quit.

Chatting with my hubby on Thursday he suggested a different TYPE of needle.  I put in a heavy duty needle and sailed right through the corners!  (I love his fresh perspective and that he understands sewing!) This is what happens to me when you are TRYING so hard to finish something!  (FUN FACTOR GONE….you know!)

So, Thursday afternoon, I bound all of the placemats and declared DONE (for now).  We even used 2 of them at dinner last night!!

4 finished Autumn Jubilee 2016 placemats

Each one has different borders and backing.  Here is a peak at the back side.

Autumn Jubilee 2016 placements

I love fall fabric, and my favorite is the top left, as it has a shimmering gold through out.  Note, all of these fabrics for the backs, and the leaves on the front, the borders etc were “scraps”.  Amazing amount of variety.  No “new” fabric was used in the creation of this very scrappy project, and no “new batting” was used either!

The original pattern was by Carole – From My Carolina Home on her blog in 2016.  I’m not sure if it is still available, but she has a new pattern out for Autumn Jubilee 2017, so go check her out – https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/

Do you have any projects languishing?

One Monthly Goal (OMG) – a place to start

Are you a goal setter?   I am a “list maker” and sometimes I totally ignore the lists in favor of something new.  I call it the “LOOK-something shiny-Syndrome”.  I admit I am easily enticed and easily distracted. It’s after 9 am and I am still in PJ’s while I am distracted reading blogs with my coffee and toast, knowing full well that in 5 -10 minutes I MUST hit the shower before someone comes over at 10!  Oh well, better make this quick!

I was reading through blog posts and saw on Peggy Cooper Quilts her post about meeting her July goal.  She asked if readers were tired of hearing about the project. I replied that I enjoyed the process she used to meet the goal.  Peggy is following along with the One Monthly Goal (OMG) on Elm Street Quilts   .  I think of my lists and projects and decided this might be the perfect PUSH for me to get some projects FINISHED …. I know, what a concept!

So, officially, I am going to use the OMG as my motivation (there are prizes at the end…hahahaha).  (Shiny stuff)

I declare my OMG project for AUGUST to be “assembling the Scrap Dance Two Step ” top.   The blocks have been constructed over the last 6 months, using the pattern developed by Carole on her blog –  From My Carolina Home

Part 5 blocks

Scrap dance two step Part 5

Part 6 blocks

12 Scrap Dance Two Step Blocks - Part 6

 

The final layout came out over a week ago, and I was tied up with the quilt show.  Now, I have some time available for my own sewing and this is going to be the August 2017 goal.  Of course, I intend to have at least the first round of borders indicated in the pattern on by the end of August, so watch for progress notes.

Linking up to the August goal  setting at Elm Street Quilts for the One Monthly Goal (OMG) !  (If you are on a computer, check out their cool button on my sidebar on this blog page)

Are you setting any goals for August?  (My next goal is a shower…….)