A Good week for quilting

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

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

Quilts of Love baby quilt

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

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

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

Janome 8900 bobbin area

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

My Janome 8900 not working!

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

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

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

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

Block 7 Grandma's Kitchen, pattern by Pat Sloan

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

Black and White Version –

B&W of block 7

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

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

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

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

Block #6 - Wash Day

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

B&W block 6

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

Here they all are:

Seven blocks Grandma's Kitchen pattern by Pat Sloan

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Time to sort some scraps!  Happy stitching.  




Quilt Show Today & Tomorrow

Ohio Stars and Rails

Ohio Stars and Rails

It is FINALLY here! A years worth of work, and so wonderful to see the quilts go up yesterday afternoon.  We worked from 2:15 to 8 pm getting over 250 quilts hung at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes DE getting every thing ready!

I had to take a photo of MY quilts that were hanging…My Ohio Stars and rails for Quilts of Valor hangs pretty nicely.

This Boxy Stars quilt that my bee, The Material Girls,  worked on together turned out well.  Our challenge was to make a Red White and Blue Quilt for Quilts of Valor.  One member , Judy B.,  really got us organized. My part was to work on paper piecing some of the blocks and helping with the layout. Other members sashed and joined the blocks, made the binding and hand stitched it on.  The custom quilting was done by Pat Kost.    This is the first time I have seen it since we made the blocks in January.

Boxy Stars made by the Material Girls

Boxy Stars made by the Material Girls

Both of these quilts will be donated to Quilts of Valor after the show.

The very first quilt hung was one of mine and I got to hang it.  After looking at this photo, I realized it needs to be on shorter hooks.  Oh well, maybe one of our many “quality control checks” caught that.  This picture was taken about 10 minutes after it went up….so I am hoping in the next 4 or 5 hours somebody adjusted it!.

Tshirt Quilt in Honor of Edward Mahoney for Karen Rupp

Tshirt Quilt in Honor of Edward Mahoney for Karen Rupp

So; take a road trip and come to see the show!  The vendors were working just as hard as our guild members getting ready!

click on the link to get       Ocean Waves Quilt Show Info

Ocean Waves Show logo

I promise to take lots of pictures today and tomorrow!  I have lots of jobs at the show, including a BARN QUILT demo.  So, if you are coming to the show; look for me on Saturday at 11:30 .  I will be the one painting back in the corner!

I spent  part of the week getting my sample boards prepared –  here is a peek at those too:

Time for me to “get busy” !

Quilts of Valor project

Our guild (Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes DE) is having a quilt show this summer – July 17 & 18, 2015 – and the theme is Paying It Forward. (http://oceanwavesquiltguild.org/qs15.html) All of the members are challenged to put quilts in the show and make a quilt for the Quilts of Valor Foundation (QOVF). Background — to date, over 115,000 quilts have been donated to QOVF since the beginning in 2003. These quilts have come from around the world. QOVF was founded right here in Seaford, Delaware and many in our Guild were actively involved in the grassroots beginning.
DO take a minute to read about Quilts of Valor Foundation, and their beginnings…. http://www.qovf.org/
The mission is to “cover all our warriors and veterans who have been touched by war with our healing and comforting Quilts of Valor

So, I am starting my first ever QOV quilt and will enter it in our Quilt Show. The challenge is In keeping with the show’s theme, Quilts- Paying it Forward, we are encouraging quilters to create a quilt that would be donated to the Quilts of Valor program with some hopefully distributed to participants in Operation SEAs the Day Warrior Week event. This event, to be held in September 2015 at Bethany Beach, provides a week’s vacation for some 35 recovering wounded soldiers and their families. For more information on the project visit: http://www.operationseastheday.org.

I decided I would select my fabric when I went to the AQS quilt show in Lancaster early in the month. I had a couple of patterns in mind, and so I shopped!

MODA fabric

MODA fabric

I finally decided to do Bonnie Hunter’s Ohio Stars and Rails (available for free on her blog – http://www.quiltville.blogspot.com/p/free-patterns.html )
I started on Saturday and built all my “rail” blocks; and yesterday I worked on my star blocks. The blocks all finish at 6.5″, with the pieces as small as 2.5″. The most challenging/time consuming part is making those “stars”. I deviated (of course) from Bonnie Hunters method and am using my June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square Triangle Ruler (JT) . Bonnie’s method has you cutting the triangles using the EZ Angle ruler and stitching; but I am not a fan of the “bias” and never seem to make the block properly. So, my tried and true method is with my JT ruler.  Using it, I start with a stack of 3.5″ squares, and make half – square triangles of blue and neutral; and then turn those into quarter squares before doing any trimming down.  There is not much left to “sliver trim” away, but they always come out as perfect as I can hope for.

First pair of blocks

First pair of blocks

There are 41 star blocks in the pattern. There are 40 rail blocks. Somehow I miscounted and made over 70 rail blocks. I seem to do that when I make things, miss count and have extra. Perhaps a 2nd quilt – a rail fence or something! Having the extra will help me balance the “neutral colors” as some are darker than others. In this picture below, they are just on the design wall for “concept”. This is the general layout and I have a LOT more work to do before I put the top together!

Ohio Star and Rails

Ohio Star and Rails

I love the piecework and the process of building the intricate blocks. I’m sure it will come together quickly now that I got started. I have a busy few days, not sure what I can get done between now and Friday, but I have set aside Friday for sewing!

What are you working on ? What ever it is, have fun with the project!

Quilt that honors

I have seen some lovely quilts this year, honoring the service of US Military men and women. On this day in America, we honor our Veterans. Many have been honored with Quilts of Valor, a program that started here in Delaware, making quilts to give to families of fallen service men and women.

Three of the quilts below were seen at quilt shows; one is my own.

There are many ways to honor the service to our country, and this is my way. Thank you from the heart of America.

In honor of a US Air Force husband – this quilt was made by DeAnna McMurry.

Air Force

This US Air Force quilt was seen at the Quilters Unlimited Show, 2014. Made by DeAnna McMurry of Springfield.   (Note – this is NOT my quilt / pattern)

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In honor of a US Navy man –

Honoring a US Navy serviceman. Spotted at AQS Lancaster PA March 2014

Honoring a US Navy serviceman. Spotted at AQS Lancaster PA March 2014

Below, this quilt honors an entire family!

Spotted at the Mid Atlantic Quilt show. Honoring all the family members who had served.

Spotted at the Mid Atlantic Quilt show. Honoring all the family members who had served.

I really liked this quilt; telling the story of so many family members. Below is the sign associated with the quilt from the show.
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And lastly – this is my effort to honor a fallen US Air Force airman. I made this last year for his little boy as a tribute to his daddy:

Not show quilt, but one I made to honor a fallen service man.

Not a show quilt, but one I made to honor a fallen service man.