Gardens,Quilt show and Talkin’ Turkey

I spent 3 days in the garden this past week, working on 9 months of weeds! Yes, it is true, I gave up sewing time for working in the garden.  I made multiple trips to our compost pile in back in our woods to empty the trailer of the debris.  I still have “many” days worth of work in the yard.  I decided that I like quilting better than gardening.  I should be outside right now with a tool and a bucket working on some of that stuff, but then, who would write my blog post, or read yours?  Seriously, I have had to force myself to “schedule” yard work time on my google calendar!  But at least now, I can see the remaining tulips blooming, and know that the hostas are emerging from their winter sleep, and the sad looking azaleas will bloom once more.  The sedum have all been dead headed, and I started to split them for transplant in to other areas of the garden.

If you know a trick to rid my flowerbeds of the “mums gone wild”, let me know. Backstory – I planted several pots of “mums” one fall and they have turned into weeds, taking over the beds.  I have dug and dug and dug until I am crazy.  They never bloomed again after that first fall, and I just want them “out” of the garden.  The other thing I want out is the lighting system and soaker hose system, until at least I get the weeding done.  Over the years the lights have been damaged and the hose has felt the edge of the shovel when I was attacking some wild thing that sprung up.  Perhaps it was a great idea “way back when” but not today.   I’ve been ruthless removing sections, as I come to them, and will put the hubby back to work “laying fresh hose” once I have the mulch down.

More work to be done

There is still more weeding and mulching to be done!!  And, I have some time “blocked out” on my calendar!  

Meanwhile, between all the garden work, I went and picked up “more” donations for the quilt guild “Second Time Around”. Two trips, and two vehicles, and just when I saw light at the end of the tunnel, I have more “stuff’ to weed though.  I have had several workdays this month and lots of great helpers getting things pressed and trimmed and folded and priced to resell at the quilt guild and at our quilt show in July.  Gosh – if you are on the East coast in July you should plan a visit – details here – Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show – in Lewes Delaware.  Last show we had over 200 quilts on display, and lots of vendors.  Of course, you can stop and say hi to me at the Second Time Around tables and get some great bargains!!

I did get a couple of opportunities to work on my Talkin’ Turkey project since my post about making those Flying Geese. This quilt pattern, is by Bonnie Hunter, in her String Fling Book.  By Friday of last week – I had a few blocks on the wall. — Do you recognize those flying geese from my last post?

Talking Turkey 19 to go

(Do you see the blocks all stacked up under the ones pinned to the wall?  Those are 4.5″ squares that were donated, and they are being sorted into “pretty stacks” for sale at the Second Time Around Table at the show!)

I got a bit of time on both Saturday and Sunday evening to sew, and I did LOTS of assembly!    There are 21 blocks up on the wall now, and lots of pieces “ready to sew” for the last 9.  I have all the units prepped and pinned on the blocks, and when I get an extra hour, I can zip right through them.  

21 done Talkin Turkey

Of course, at this point my brain has moved on to “other things”, like the next step in the assembly process.  (There are LOTS more steps to go in this project, with multiple pieced borders.  I saw a “finished” Talkin’ Turkey for sale on Etsy for $1200…… ) Anyway, I had to count out how many more neutral  and red squares I will have to cut, and check if I have the next neutral sashing cut yet or not.  I won’t start that step until all the blocks are assembled and I have a chance to really “arrange them” on my design wall so I get a nice balance of the “scrappy”.  I have several blocks that have “bright bits” that I want to spread out; like stripes in the center of the nine patch or polka dots (both black and white) that do jump out at me.  So, a bit of “design layout will be in order, and I will have to “clear my wall” to make room for the entire project. It is very satisfying to see it come to this point.  

A busy week ahead for me with a Quilt show meeting, 3 mornings with 2nd Time Around helpers coming over, an all day quilt bee and two days where I have ladies coming up to church to help “tie” quilts for our graduates.  (Hmmmm….when will that garden work happen or any more of my own sewing happen…..)

I hope you are having fun with your projects!

A bit of sewing

It’s been quite a while where I felt like I have done any sewing at all.  Thank goodness for the Scrap Dance Two Step for March!!  This mystery quilt run by Carole at https://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/scrap-dance-two-step-march/   got me busy!  I put my half square triangles together on Friday afternoon, and finished squaring them all up today.  I did have to send Carole an email and ask if I was “counting” properly.  I either have extra, or I am short!   That quilter’s math on an empty stomach….

It was fun working out of the scrap bins.  Most of my fabrics for this project were already “cut to size” when I started, coming from my scrap storage system.

Step 3 of the Two Step

Scrap Dance Two Step mystery Scrap HST

Last weekend my youngest granddaughter turned a year old.   I swore I would not be the “plastic toy grandma” but she needed a dump truck and a cell phone to call me!  I feel a bit better about the plastic toys because I also gave her a handmade fabric book.  I had some ” animal prints” from a panel that were just right. Especially since her mom had posted pictures of a paper book that had been mutilated ! Those pop up books just don’t hold up to the eager fingers of a little one.  I had fun putting this together –

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Yesterday I got together with another quilter and we laid out our blocks for a couple of senior quilts at church.  This is the look mine will take on –

Senior Quilt 2017

These are 8.5″ squares, and I got about 1/3 of it assembled yesterday during our workshop.  It was fun sewing on my little featherweight.  I did decide it is time to order that new belt the hubby suggested.  I used it on Wednesday at a sit & sew with the Material Girls, and we had a few moments of “hesitation”.

What have you been up to??

A tad bit of sewing

Greetings friends. Previous post indicates it was a busy week.  It continues.  I did squeeze in a little sewing and stuffing Saturday though, as I had a spare moment to play.  Remember the little bear?  Well, he is stitched, stuffed and ready to gift to a newborn.  This was a “test stitch out” of a pattern that I downloaded last week for some “charity” bears.  I loved the look of the muzzle, even though it took nearly 10,000 stitches.  The charity bears won’t have the muzzle, just the eyes, nose and smile.  The pattern source for the stitching is Embroidery Library . com pattern 3994.

test of the bear

The week has flown by. We “flew” home from Texas on Monday, getting in after 10 p m; then Tuesday I had a nice visit with my little granddaughter and her mommy for a couple of hours, then I was off to the “Queen Bees”.

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, and I “car pooled” with a bee/church member to pick up our sewing machines from the local sewing machine service folks, went to church for the service, and out to lunch. Home for a few hours, then off to the model railroad club annual dinner meeting. (More about that soon).

Thursday was a venture north to visit our dentist for our routine cleanings (& discussion of a wisdom tooth that is acting very unwise).  Friday morning was “Second Time Around” prep day, with 3 helpers.  We plowed thru another stack of donated fabric, pressing into submission, measuring and pricing and getting ready for Monday.  I have set aside Thursdays and Fridays all month (mostly) to work on getting the donations under control.

Friday afternoon I took everything off the cutting table, cleaned the lint and dust and turned my cutting mat around. It was getting quite worn in one area.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess I had made!  The back of my table tends to get piled up with scraps and things.  Took me all afternoon, but I sliced and diced and took control of the scraps.  I try to cut those scraps into manageable pieces, starting with the largest possible.  I cut 5″ squares; 3.5″ squares, 2.5″ squares, 1.5″ squares and lots of 2.5, 2, 1.5 strips.  Amazingly they all got stored away!

If you are “new” to my blog, let me tell you that my scrap storage system is a combination of Bonnie Hunter http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html and Joan Ford https://hummingbird-highway.com/do-you-need-scraptherapy/. It works for me!  I have lots of pieces ready to go into the next scrap quilt. My overflow of 2″ and 2.5″ is telling me it is time to start making 9 patches!   I am going to “resist” temptation and NOT start another thing until I knock out a few UFO’s.   I do have a “running list” and have made a real goal for March.  Not telling…will let you know how it goes!  And no, not sharing my UFO list this year….too depressing to post it publically and NOT get it all checked off.  My goal is to enjoy each FINISH, not to feel guilty!

This coming week is “quilt guild week” for me. Meeting on Monday, which means the SUV is already loaded to the roof, with containers of fabrics and other odd bits to sell prior to the meeting.  Fingers crossed we have just as good a day in sales.  After the meeting, I hope to swap vehicles with the hubby, and take off for points south in Maryland, and an “embroidery club” that has formed. An informational meeting will take place and I want to give my input on the who/what/when etc.  I look forward to meeting the members of that club and sharing info about this hobby.  Thursday and Friday coming up will be more “Second Time Around” workdays with guild members coming over to give me a hand; a guild board meeting squeezed in there too.  Hoping I will get to do some sewing of my own on Tuesday & Wednesday.   Wishing I had something finished beside the little bear to show, but that will happen as I am able.

Hope you have had a great week and are ready to start all over again tomorrow!

Happy stitching!

 

A quieter week

I’ve had a couple of quiet days, and time to play a bit more with my Brother PE500 embroidery machine.   I made a few more bibs for the littlest grandchild and delivered them on Thursday when I went to babysit.  As I worked on these I was reminded how important it is (to me) to have an organized filing system.  I say this because I was having trouble “finding” the design that I was looking for.

When I download designs from a website, I try to print out the “color change sheet” at the same time. My intention is to always name the file something that is “close” to what it was called by the designer, and to include any “file code” names as part of the name. I have an embroidery download folder on my computer, and many, many, sub folders. I  break those sub folders down by “type”; for example, Holidays-Valentines Day/Christmas/Easter/St Patrick’s Day; or Animals; Food; Verses etc.  I place the color change sheet in a 3 ring binder in a similar way, using page dividers.  I am up to 4 – three ring binders!

Well – wouldn’t you know, I have a HEARTS folder and a Valentines folder.  Many of the HEARTS are NOT specific to Valentines day.  Darn if the file I was searching for didn’t land in the HEARTS folder, not the Valentines Day Folder.  I wasted a good deal of “stitching time” looking for the file.  (Like 3 days wasted….)

At one point, I gave up and I started with a St Patrick’s Day design, while I “looked” for the elusive Valentine/Heart file.  I did a little stitching and searching.  Finally I selected an alternate Valentine design and set it up to run.  Well in my haste, I had not “removed” the St Patrick’s Day design from the machine before I started the stitch out on the 2nd design.  1/2 way through the first color, I realised it was stitching out my St Patrick’s Day design all over again.  Well, you decide if you like it in pinks and purples instead of the greens!

February Bib Fun for Addy

I decided to just keep on stitching and while it was busy stitching; get the fabric prepped for an alternate Valentine!  So, 3 new bibs completed and that will be it for a while.  The littlest grandchild will be a year old next month and has quite a collection of “StitchingGrandma” bibs.  (Somewhere in the bib process in the last couple of weeks, I lost the great “Bandana” pattern, so she got traditional shaped bibs.  Clean up was in order at the end of this project; and again, the lost pattern was found and stored away properly!)

I took the new Singer Featherweight 221 for a spin on Wednesday.  My quilt bee – Material Girls – had an all day sit & sew; and that new little machine had a great debut.  Tuesday night we got her oiled up (must be 90 oiling / lube  points). She is clean as a whistle.  Had a few challenges “winding” a bobbin, and had to engage the hubby to help.  Got 3 bobbins ready with his help and determined what was causing the trouble.  He adjusted the belt a tad and it worked much better.  (Nice to have a guy with a mechanical mind helping out).

Today, the LED light I ordered arrived (Thank you EBay!).  I installed it and am pleased with the brightness and lower temperature.  The Ebay seller I purchased from had a few photo’s showing the difference in temperature on the light- from 172 degrees on the incandescent  bulb to 74 degrees with the LED bulb.  That will save an accidental burn on a wrist!  The difference in the light was significant – from 139 lumens to 205 lumens.  Hubby said the bulbs look similar to automotive tail lights. He thinks that the new bulb will last a long time, and because it is LED, will be less likely to break due to the handling of the machine transport case.  I will be ordering 2 belts soon, just to have one on hand and to replace the current belt which is at it’s limit of adjustment.   All in all, I am most pleased with this little machine, which was made in January of 1948. She stitches well and should be a fun travel machine!

I have assembled a tote ready to “travel” with the Autumn Jubilee project material.  I can just “grab & go” to a sit and sew, and not have to “think” about what project I am going to take to work on, or worry over what to assemble ahead of time.  (One of the Bee members said this is how she operates and the only time the project gets worked on is at a bee)  I did manage to get 6 more blocks made on Wednesday using the Autumn Jubilee pattern.  I have lots of pieces cut and ready to assemble. My intention is to make 6 – 8 placemats with the lovely leaf pattern. Once I get a “few” more leaves made I can start building the placemats.  At this rate, it will be August before I can set the table; but the timing will be just about right for this project.  I like the idea of “no stress” on which project to take.  The fun of a going to a sit & sew or quilters bee is the company.  I like being able to dedicate a whole day (or 2 or 3) and not have any other tasks taking me away from the fun!  (Note – the Autumn Jubilee project is from a pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home)

I worked on my Talkin’ Turkey blocks again Wednesday night and again this afternoon.  I have 4 left to add the corner string blocks to. They are “pinned” and ready to stitch.  The Talkin’ Turkey pattern is by Bonnie Hunter and can be found in the String Fling Book. Bonnie Hunter’s blog

I will need to  square up the blocks next.  I am thinking about how I am going to tackle the  “next round” which will include a LOT of flying geese (8 per block x 30 blocks= 240 flying geese units.)  The pattern by Bonnie Hunter suggests you use the Easy Angle and Companion Angle ruler for the Flying Geese or your “favorite method” .

I plan to use my new Square in a Square tool/method –OPTION 3…by Jodi Barrows.  Using the Square in a Square tool by Jodi Barrows,  flying geese will be done with strips and squares; and if I do the math right; it is done with 120 squares and LOTS of strips!! I just have to sit down with Bonnie Hunters pattern and find the “finished unit size) and then check my Square in a Square book and the chart and figure out what size squares and strips I need to start!  More to follow! I like the “methodical” building of units for a big quilt.  240 Flying Geese doesn’t scare me after I did that quilt last winter with 1400+ half square triangles.  I will be making about 4 “test units” just to make sure I have them sized properly before I begin!

Check out the video on you – tube if you have never seen this ruler or method.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GekwRp8_cGU     and    www.squareinasquare.com 

What fun things are you working on??   What is your favorite method for flying geese ?  Do you have any “new tools” or “toys” ??  Do tell………………

Handmade Holiday Gifts — Maria Shell

Earlier this month, my blog friend Maria Shell, asked if I would share Christmas projects I had made.  I was inspired by her to write a little more and sent her two links.  

Maria has showcased many quilters / artists work on her blog today.  I am humbled that she has chosen my projects and blog to be featured. Fun to be in with people like Heather Kojan too!  

Check out Maria Shell’s Handmade Holiday Gifts posts -https://talesofastitcher.com/2016/12/22/handmade-holiday-gifts/ 

Enjoy and Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah 

Projects for Christmas

If you have been a reader for any part of the past four years, you may have seen some of these projects I have made as Christmas gifts.  I am compiling them all together to share because my friend Maria Shell – will be linking up. Maria is a fantastic fiber artist, living in Alaska.  Her blog – Tales of a Stitcher – is full of color and energy and ideas.  I find it interesting how our paths connected in the blog world, and have had the opportunity to meet her twice in person. The first year I had a blog, I went to Houston to the International Quilt Festival, and Maria made sure I knew where and how to find her. This past year, Maria was available to speak and teach at my guild (Ocean Waves Quilt Guild – Lewes DE). It was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect in person again.  So, when she asked me if I would share my holiday projects, I decided I would!

I went back through my previous posts, digging thru the photo’s stored looking for things I had made as Christmas gifts.

Back in 2012, I decided to make a “floor checkerboard” for the grandkids.

Marked a silver stitching line on the black border.

Marked a silver stitching line on the black border.

Top stitched around the outside of the checker so you could SEE it!! Helps it to stand out.

Top stitched around the outside of the checker so you could SEE it!! Helps it to stand out.

More details on that post   Floor Checkerboard    (Now it is time to make some chess pieces for that board –  I have some in mind from an embroidery website).

The following year, I updated the Christmas stockings using my embroidery machine.  These stockings were over the course of several years, as the family grew.  My sewing skill have improved somewhat since the first efforts.

Updated the big kids stockings and made a new one for the youngest!

Updated the big kids stockings and made a new one for the youngest!

More details on the   Stockings  post.     I have a stocking to make this Christmas for the newest family member.

Then, of course, are the wonderful Artful Oven Mitts that I made using the pattern that Maria had sent me.  They were SO fun.  (I really enjoyed looking at the scraps as I “made” fabric, remembering where each piece originated.)

Artful Oven Mitts

Artful Oven Mitts

Naturally, I wrote a blog post (or 2) about them – this link is to my Production Line post.

In 2014 I was a busy Grandma.  My grandchildren were living out of the area, and I wanted to make them something that I could “easily ship”.  I tracked down a panel by Moda, designed by Angela Yolston  for FLAT DOLLS.  I had SO much fun with this project.  Flats Dolls  post.  (Note – this panel was HARD to find!)

And of course – the dolls needed a house! Flats Doll House post.  Link to the pattern is in that post.  I imagine you could use it for any “flat doll” or paper doll. It is a great little storage container for those items too.

 

The living room panel

The living room panel

My favorite type of gift wrap for the grandkids –


I love to follow the pattern information that you can find on Missouri Star Quilt Company You Tube Video – Tube Pillow Case – Missouri Star video .

I also made quillows for the grandkids one year – I used fleece, and added a little “hood” and hand pockets on the end, so they could “wrap up” and stay warm ! Details on this post – Fleece Quillows

Last year for Christmas, I made “slip covers” for the sofa pillows as a gift – Star pillows post.

Star pillows

Star pillows

This year, I have been busy making bibs for the youngest-though not for Christmas.

Fall fashion bibs
I’ve been posting off and on about them and other fall projects here – Bibs and more post.  Table runners have been a highlight for me this fall, and I have made 3, plus some placemats. One of the 3 will be a gift, so no pictures of it yet.  I am working on this year’s secret project for the youngest grandchild also. I told her mommy that there will be NO plastic toys from this Grandma this year.  It involves the embroidery machine and I won’t post pictures until AFTER Christmas. I gave her mommy a sneak peak but don’t want to spoil the surprise – especially if the embroidery machine jams up or breaks!  So far,  I have stitched out 5 of the elements, over 100,000 stitches and at least  100 thread changes!  (I am having fun with that great thread my kids gifted me last year!)

What are you working on that you can “whisper” about? What was your favorite “gift project” in the past ? I would LOVE to know.   Be sure to check out Maria’s blog Tales of a Stitcher- and follow.  She is going to link up lots of other gift projects from people who follow her.

Fun with Bonnie Hunter!

I have been waiting nearly 2 years to attend classes with Bonnie Hunter and have finally done so! I spent Monday and Tuesday in class.

Helping Hands Quilt Guild in Dover Delaware hosted the class. Several of my “other guild” friends from Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes, DE attended.  In fact, there were people from New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland and even a lady from Germany in attendance.  We were in a beautiful church facility in Wyoming Delaware with great lighting and LOTS of space.  That was a good thing as there were 50+ students each day.

Great Room for a Bonnie Hunter class

Day One was the TALKIN’ TURKEY class; from Bonnie’s book – STRING FLING .   Bonnie had her quilt hanging on the stage and it was nice to be able to go take a look at the elements that made up the quilt.

Talkin' Turkey by Bonnie Hunter

I was so busy I didn’t take many photo’s.  The block for the quilt had MANY elements, and we were using the Companion Angle ruler and the Easy Angle ruler for much of the cutting.  I took this class specifically to learn how to use those rulers.  Bonnie teaches you to use the Easy Angle ruler for half square triangles; and both of the rulers for making  flying geese.  The main focus was in getting your finished units to “measure up” properly.   Well, I spent a lot of time arguing with my sewing machine about “scant” quarter inch.  This is why I have NOT used those rulers for that type of unit in the past. (Remember those HEADLESS GEESE from the Allietare Mystery Quilt last winter…..I do!)  Of course, she offered the suggestion to make either unit in your favorite method, but she was teaching these specific rulers.  I found it very helpful and absorbed lots of tips & techniques.  Meanwhile….that scant quarter inch eluded me all day and my progress was SLOW. I did however get nearly all the string blocks completed.  One of the guild members, Kate Ruper,  was wandering around helping people, and  she sat and visited with me while she “de-papered” about 40 string blocks for me.  It was nice getting to know her a little bit. Visiting with her helped me become a little “less stressed” over that darn SCANT quarter inch!

The evening of Day one was the Helping Hands Guild meeting where Bonnie Hunter did a lecture & trunk show.  Rather than repost all the photo’s, hop on over to my Flickr page  – Bonnie Hunter class album.  The descriptions tell you which book the quilt pattern is from.

Day two was the MY BLUE HEAVEN class.  This pattern is available for free on  – Bonnie’s blog

My Blue Heaven - by Bonnie Hunter

I did SO much better with the specialty rulers on the second day!  I solved my “scant quarter inch” problem.   I removed my quarter inch foot, and put the standard foot on,  stopped using the default settings, used the little yellow seam guide ruler that you put your needle through, and set a “card” stop on my machine. PERFECT after that. (The lady to my right was fighting the same issue).  I also bought a 2nd seam guide ruler from Bonnie to “always” keep in my travel bag.   Anyway, the blocks we were making for MY BLUE HEAVEN used those 2 rulers again.  So, more tips & techniques and MUCH success.  I wasn’t fast, but I learned a lot.  I think I look happy here – 

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My Blue Heaven blocks

I got 4 blocks done…and I was thrilled!  My friend Edna was too!

Edna's blocks

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Bonnie has done a much better job describing and sharing pictures than I could possibly do, so I will share a link to her blog for each class I was in.  Be sure to check out her picture links!

Talkin-Turkey on Bonnie’s blog

My Blue Heaven on Bonnie’s blog

I was tickled to meet Bonnie Hunter.  I have made several of her quilt patterns.  Also pleased that she signed a square for me for my Allietare label.  She also signed every book ! She was energetic and gracious.  Check off one from the “bucket list” !  🙂  NOTE TO SELF – 2 days of classes in a row with 2 different projects is insanity. I now have 3 giant bins of project fabric to deal with…meanwhile the rest of my quilt life/real life goes on!  More tomorrow!  Happy stitching.