Paper and Embroidery time and more

A step “away” from my usual sewing/quilting posts.

Last week I spent some “embroidery time” with two friends from my quilt bee – the Queen Bees.  One lady had just gotten an embroidery machine, so I was pleased to share tips and techniques to alleviate some of the frustration NEWBIES have with these machines, just out of the box.  We talked A LOT about stabilizers and what to use and when.  Also about how to move designs from the computer to the machine etc.  There is a lot to KNOW about these machines, right out of the box, and I wrote a blog post full of resource info about the subject — Embroidery resources

We worked on “hooping” which I always struggle with, due to arthritis in my hands. And we helped her set up and stitch out a design with 12 thread changes.  By the time the design stitched out, she was becoming the expert at threading her machine.    After the ladies left, I realised I still had a tea towel in the hoop on my machine, so the next afternoon, I picked a design for a quick stitch out.

Coffee cup close up

I picked this design because it was a fast, light stitchout.  I love watching the machine work – This is a Brother PE500 that I won in 2013 from Brother Sews in a contest on Facebook.  The machine has a capable hoop size of 4×4 (100 mm x 100 mm).  This often limits what you can do design wise.  In my dreams I would have a big giant machine with a big giant hoop, with digitizing capability built in the machine……but the truth is, I would not get my “monies worth” from such a machine. 

Embroidery machine fun

After the dishtowel was finished, I moved along to doing the Bible Verses that will be included in the quilts we make at church for our graduates.

There is a designer who has made a mission of digitizing many verses; and offers them for free.  Take a look at her website Designs by JuJu .   The verses are under the FREEBIES tab.  She digitizes both 4×4 and 5×7 sizes, but my machine is limited to 4×4. That means, not all the verses are usable for my purposes.  This makes me contemplate obtaining digitizing software, and learning how to make it work!  (Yikes, another new thing to learn).

Anyway; the point is….if I am trying to do something that is not digitized already, I have to load the design in, one character at a time. Not an easy feat, and with my built in font choices, not a lot of choices. Alignment is the hardest part when you go to the next line of words, as you are manually setting where the line will stitch.  I use the ruler, but gosh it is challenging….more things to learn.  In the photo below is a verse that was not available, but the mother really wanted this on her son’s quilt.  So, I bit the bullet and worked it out. My spacing isn’t perfect, but I decided it was acceptable.  The photo shows the project before the jump stitches were trimmed and while it still had water soluble stabilizer (WSS) on top.  NOTE: It is EASIER to trim jump stitches BEFORE you remove the WSS.   

Senior Quilts 2017 embroidery block

This took me about an hour to load, line by line and stitch out, one line at a time.  The photo below (sorry it is fuzzy) was one of the designs by Designs by JuJu. It stitched out in about 15 minutes.

Verses for senior quilts

This next one, in script stitched out very quickly as well.  The thread stitch count  on this is very lightly laid down on the project, while the 1Peter 5:7 was a much “heavier” stitch.

Verses for Senior Quilts 2017

These were all stitched on muslin with the same brown thread. I used fusible no show mesh stabilizer on the back, floated a piece of medium weight tear away under the hoop, and as previously mentioned WSS on top.  I learned a lot from a Floriani event I went to (see blog post above) about stabilizer, and KNOW that it makes all the difference in the project.  The 1 Peter 5:7 is “PULLING” at the stitches.  Because of the heavier stitch count, I probably should have added 1 more layer of stabilizer UNDER the hoop. It would have made all the difference.  My friend who came to visit “accidently” slipped two pieces of medium tear away under her hoop and it made a WORLD of difference on her project with 20,000+ stitches.

While these blocks don’t look too exciting here, the messages from scripture are meaningful, and were chosen for each of the young men who are graduating by their parents.

Other fun things — Paper crafting…..I went to the local library on Saturday to participate with Jan and another lady in a “card making” class.  We bring in what we have, with ideas, and work together. Jan is an expert card maker (she sells the cards at local events); and has a volume of tools and materials and wisdom.  I will be the self-proclaimed novice, but I am having fun.  I used her die cutter and dies, and one of her “sparkly” pink papers. She is generous to share her materials and tools with others.

I was able to get 2 cards made under her guidance –

January card class

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and

Card Class Jan 2017

Inside card from class Jan 2017

During the class, I got a call and a request for some other paper crafted items – this time for my grandson’s birthday party decorations.  Can you guess the party theme????

Movie Reels for Party deco

This required a trip to Michaels to get silver cardstock.  I had a terrible time getting a crisp silhouette to scan into the machine and cut.  Again, this is where software ( and working knowledge) would come in handy.  I need to take more time with this machine, and learn about .SVG files (Cutting files) that are available created by other crafters.

Oh; do you remember the last post about the  Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt Along ?  I was going “throw size”, right….well….Bonnie Hunter had Quilt-Cam one night last week, and I didn’t have a project ready to work on, so I started getting more “scraps” out and ended up pulling enough to go twin size! Yes, I did the stitching on those blocks from Step/Clue 1 too.  More on that project next time!   It was inspiring to watch Bonnie Hunter as she worked on string piecing blocks. Watching  Quilt Cam Jan 2017 is like being in a room full of quilters.    Even better when I saw those blocks in the border on the quilt she was working on.  Check out her blog and see what she was up to on Sunday – Bonnie Hunter’s blog – String pieced border

For now,   I am headed to my sewing room for a full evening of fun & clean up. Tomorrow the ladies are coming to iron, measure and fold fabric for the 2nd Time around at the guild.  We picked up a lot of fabric yesterday from a church member who is “downsizing her sewing room”.  Just when we thought we were getting ahead of the stacks, a new pile of fabrics to “process” for sale!

Happy stitching or crafting today.

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Scrap Dance Tango Pattern is published

Do you remember my “Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt”?? My last post about it was Sticking to a project .

Here is a picture to remind you of the project.

Scrap Dance Tango is Assembled

Well, Carole at From My Carolina Home on WordPress has PUBLISHED the pattern!!  Go check out her blog!!!!  From My Carolina Home

Details in her blog post today about purchasing the pattern.  And remember, just because I made it king sized, doesn’t mean you have to.  The directions were great, everything from a table topper on up to king!  She writes great instructions and she helps you take on a big project by breaking it down into manageable bites.  This is the 3rd pattern I have done with Carole’s great  patterns and I can tell you they are EASY to follow!

Enjoy and check out the great stuff going on over at Carole’s page.

Project # 3 – CHECK it off the list

Hello again, for the 3rd time in as many days!  I must report that I got the last bit taken care of for Project # 3 – June’s Quilt.

The back story – my dear friend June started this project from a kit 10 or 15  years ago.  She was given the kit as a gift by her daughter.  3 years ago, after her daughter died suddenly, June pulled this partially completed project out of the closet and showed it to me.  The center panel and the 9 patches were assembled. The fabric line had a lovely border available way back when, but she didn’t get it 10 or 15 years ago.  When she found it, she was unable to get the “green” color way, and for some reason ended up with the border fabric in blue.  She asked me to help her “pick out” new border fabric.  At the time, (2013), we shopped and she chose a green fabric that reminded me of “hospital scrubs”.  It was “really flat” in my opinion.  She wanted something to go with the center panel, and it was the best she could find.  It was what she wanted, and that was that.  Every once in a while, I would ask how she was making out on the project, and she would say, she was still “thinking about it”.

Last fall (Sept 2015), she handed me the entire project in a bag and asked me if I could please “finish it for her”.  At 82, and still full of grief, June didn’t think she could manage it on her own.  So I took on the project.  I’ve been working on it, in and around other projects.  Once I got the first two rounds of borders on, (purple and fuschia) I had to sit down with her, and get a better idea of what she wanted.  In October, I was in Lancaster Co. PA and I had swatches of her fabrics with me and picked up a “different” green for the border.  I bought P & B BELLA SUEDE LEAF TEXTURE – MINT; as it had some depth and texture to the pattern vs the “flat green” that looked like scrubs.

June wanted a quilt that would have a 20″ drop down the side of the bed.  She currently has a “stack & whack” quilt that was hand quilted by an Amish lady. It has a tuck under for the pillow and a pleated corner.  Given my limited skills, I told her I could make it with borders to giver her the drop she was after, but I wasn’t going to attempt the pleated corner.  I had to do some convincing to get her to agree that it needed the same border on all 4 sides.  That border at the top will tuck under and over the pillows.  I took it to her last week, showed her how it would look without that top border.  I also made 3 pillowcases for her with that “flat green” fabric and some extra bits and pieces of the leftover fabrics.  I’m glad she agreed to the border for the top, as I had already ordered the additional fabric that I needed!!  I gave her the pillowcases, made with her fabric, for her 83rd birthday.  I made her promise she would use them and NOT hide them in the cupboard. (She has a way of doing that with things that are new…saving them…)

The new fabric arrived the middle of the week, and once I got Project # 1  and project # 2 done, I got busy with this one.  The final border is on,  and I will be sending it out to my dear sister-in-law, Carolyn for long arm quilting.  But first I need to order some batting (king size); and 4 yards of 108″ wide backing. Another trip to Lancaster Co. PA is planned in 2 weeks, so I hope I can find something that will suit me at Weaver’s Dry Goods in Lititz PA.  When I was there in May I was “window shopping” backing fabric, but didn’t buy any.    I did find something I liked on Marshall Dry Goods website.  They have an extensive selection of wide backing for under $10/yard.  I need to get backing for Project # 1 also while I am there, along with border fabric for my  Allietare .  (I figured out that I don’t L O V E the border fabric I bought, so will try again while I am at Weaver’s.)

June's Quilt

The dimensions are 99″ wide x 118″ long.

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It seems huge, but when we put it on the queen sized bed in our guest room, it works.  June’s bed isn’t as high as ours, and once it is quilted and bound, it will not hit the floor.  Those pieces inset on the sides are “extra blocks” that June had made.  I had a little fun working them into the project. She was really pleased with the way they came out.  And while it is off to Carolyn’s for quilting, I can make the binding.  I have enough of the fuschia and green to do some “binding with a flange”  also known as “Susie’s Magic binding”.

And, speaking of binding, while I am at it, I will be making the binding for Addison’s quilt (Project # 2).   I spent a little time “playing” with EQ7 today, watching the video tutorials once I got it installed in my quilt room computer.  I want to do a pieced backing for Addison’s quilt, and am hoping to get busy with that project later this week.  Once Addison’s backing is made, it will be time to “layer & quilt”.  Hoping to get the backing done this week, so I can get it layered up on the 13th when my Sit N Sew group meets at church.

So, soon, very soon, I can get on to my Pet Mosaic Project from my retreat last month.  It is a “slow mover”, as there is a huge amount of design work to do, but I really want to “get back to it”.  It will live on the design wall for a while!  You can “check out” the photo album here –  Pet Mosaic Photos on FLICKR

It feels like I have made significant progress this past week on several LARGE projects.  Too bad not one of them is on either “UFO list” that I have!  Oh heck, I will have to dig one of those other PIGS out of the sack in the next few days too.  🙂

Have a great Independance Day!

 

Sticking to a project~!!~

Well….I did it….I stuck to the # 1 project and got it completely assembled.  Next up is borders; backing; quilting etc etc etc….But, the hard part is done, and now I can move on to Project # 2….
For your view pleasure, I present my version of Scrap Dance Tango; a quilt designed by Carole –  From My Carolina Home blog  .  My project is going to finish as a KING SIZE QUILT.   Currently the quilt is 88 x 104″ set with the blocks 11 across and 13 down.  I chose the “a/b” setting.  Carole finished her quilt with a 2″ background fabric and a 3 ” green print border.  I know I better do a little “measuring” with the quilt on my bed so I can check out the drop etc before I make a final decision on borders etc.  

Scrap Dance Tango is Assembled

Thanks Carole for a FUN mystery quilt.  For those “new readers” a little back story —- we started this in January with cutting instructions and construction of half square triangles.  In my case, it was 1430 half square triangles, finishing at 2.5″.  Once a month, Carole presented the next “step” in the dance (I mean pattern); with the final step revealed on June 10th.  If you are interested in this pattern, it will soon be available for sale.  Check Carole’s blog post for more details.  

I thought I would share with you a picture of just the basic  blocks – before the assembly began, so you can envision from where it all started: 

working on step 6 Scrap Dance Tango

Special thanks to my friends who continue to bless my life with little “scraps” of fabric, especially Cindy J. and Nancy B.   I welcome their contribution to this project.  The only fabric that I purchased was the  white background fabrics.  I made those “scrappy” also, so I could stay with the Scrap Dance Tango theme of things.  

Now, it is time to move on to Project # 2 – Addison’s Quilt – which is simply lacking 2 borders!!

This may be a finishing kind of weekend in terms of quilt tops!!  Stay tuned.  

 

Moving right along

Fair warning….more “Scrap Dance Tango”….hey….it is a HUGE project!

Do you work on more than one project at a time??   I do….currently I have 3 “highly active” projects underway…and many more just waiting in the wings at various stages of completion.  I am working hard to knock 3 out and get “finishes” soon.  It’s been a “busy” quilty 3 days, with very little sewing until today.  Monday was my Helping Hands Quilt Guild meeting in Dover, and that was a day away from home, with lots of errands to be run before going to the meeting with June.  Tuesday was my “Queen Bee’s ” quilting bee, and I did get a little sewing in after dinner. Today was my church group with our first weekly Sit N Sew for the summer.  I didn’t have a project “ready” to travel, so I grabbed my “string quilt bins” and foundation papers; and worked on string blocks.  Got 7 finished during our time together today. I take a travel machine to that group, and I hate to switch my projects “between machines”.  

 My “current 3 top at home projects” are Scrap Dance Tango, Addison’s Twin Quilt, and my friend June’s Quilt.  Last week one day I got to sew quite a bit and Scrap Dance Tango moved to # 1.  I was waiting on fabric for Addison’s quilt; which did arrive and has been washed and is ready to use.  On Sunday afternoon, I dug out June’s quilt (again) and worked on her borders, then ordered additional fabric too.  June’s quilt has borders on 3 out of 4 sides and I needed more!  Have to tell you how impressed I am with that fabric purchase! I was seeking a particular fabric – P&B Bella Suede Leaf Texture – Mint — to finish June’s borders. I found it online at Brooklyn Fabric Company in Brooklyn Iowa! I ordered it on Sunday afternoon, paid $5 for shipping, and it arrived on Wednesday in the morning mail. Now THAT is great service!! So; Check them out — http://brooklynfabric.com/  ….

So now the decision….do I keep going on Scrap Dance Tango, or stop, and get those other two finished with their borders????  Addison’s needs 2 borders cut and stitched on, then it will be ready for “layering and quilting”.  Of course, I have a pieced back to make, so there is that to work on too…..  And June’s Quilt just needs the top border put on, then it will be ready to “ship off” to my wonderful sister -in-law, Carolyn, for long arm quilting.  I still need to pick out the backing fabric for it. I plan to make a stop off at Weaver’s Dry Goods in Litiz PA in mid July to select the “perfect” backing fabric. Going for the  108″ wide !!  IF I get busy with Addison’s then maybe I can get it layered and pin basted at my next “sit  & sew”…..oh the decisions!

Here is a peak at Scrap Dance Tango – I have 8 rows x 11 on the design wall and the bottom 4 rows are completely joined.  The top 4 rows are joined in larger sections; and I should be able to get them together in a few hours.  I still have 5 more rows X 11 across to layout on the design wall.  I simply ran out of room to set them all out.  The final setting is 11 x 13 for a king size; and then it will need some borders too.  So, by 11 pm tonight – it looks like this:

A good days work

and those blocks on the ironing board on the right are stacked up waiting for their turn on the wall.  You can really see the secondary patters starting to form.

I look at this quilt and think, wow; a king size….and then I think about the OTHER UFO king size quilts I have to finish….my Summer in the Park (black & white & yellow) (circa Spring 2014); and my Allietare which is circa Spring 2016.  I guess once I get all 3 tops done, I am going to have to pack them up and fly out California, and get some time on my sister in laws “long arm”….or do them myself on my Janome 8900.  There is a constant theme with these UFO’s and that is borders……

The other theme is UFO……I don’t think I have a finish of any kind this year yet, but have been working like a crazy quilter all winter and spring, building blocks for 2 quilts.  Both of my quilt bees have a UFO challenge going and I have several items the same on both lists. Guess what…nothing on the UFO list is anything that we have seen in quite a while.  Maybe that is what happens when you decide to keep a few of the things you have been making vs giving everything away.  And then there is the problem of another bright shiny project/class/pattern comes along and distracts.

Such is life….I’m going to just continue to work on things…3 at a time!

 

Why I take photo’s along the journey

No, I am not taking a trip by plane, train or automobile….I am on my quilting journey.

The journey involves the building of 8 inch blocks and doing the “TANGO” with them. The Scrap Dance Tango that is!

A few days ago I posted my progress ( Scrap Dance Tango and other fun    ) , and yesterday I had a chance to join another 3 sections of blocks and took another photo.  Yes, the pictures all are starting to look alike to me too. I promise not to bore you to much more with this project until I get at least 50 more blocks joined!

I very proudly brought the photo to my hubby’s attention, showing off what I had accomplished after my “afternoon nap”.  Then I GASPED when I saw a block turned the wrong way!  I did that section a few days ago!  That mistake was glaring at me in the photo’s I took for the previous post,  but I didn’t see it.  Nope, not the first, second or third time I looked at it….  So, of course, I had to go back and look at the other photo’s and now it jumps out at me “BIG TIME” in every photo !!   I circled it, since nobody else saw or mentioned the error in my last post!

OOOPS

Do you take pictures as you work through a project?  More often, I see the mistake studying the photo.  It seems to present the error more easily than while I am looking  at the blocks while I have them on the wall, at the machine, at the ironing station.  I like to study them on the computer screen.  If you see an obvious error in somebody else’s work, do you tell them?  I know that I would appreciate you mentioning to me if you see something along the journey!

Time for some un-sewing!  Shouldn’t be too bad, but just a little annoying!

I’m sure this won’t be the only one I TWIST instead of TANGO.   I think the error was made during basic block building, so; I am going to go over my blocks looking for that particular error and see if I can find any more blocks that I TWISTED those “kissing fish”.

Guess I will go “rip”…..

Pattern is by Carole – From My Carolina Home –   link to (  pattern information  )

 

 

Progress on 2 projects

(Say that really fast, I dare you……..)  – Addison’s quilt is “off the design wall” and “on the work table”.  The main body of the quilt is together, and now it is time for borders!  I put up a post the other day on Facebook and asked my friends, and my daughter’s friends to comment on the “best border fabric”.  They chose #3

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And, as luck would have it, my fuzzy quilter brain did not calculate those extra inches that get taken up when you are joining wide pieces on the diagonal….and so, I came up short of fabric.  I cut 6 3/4″ wide borders and need “just 2 more strips” to finish.  After a mad dash to JoAnn Fabrics (50 miles away), and a giant “FAIL” on locating the fabric in stock in the store, I went on line, and ordered 2 yards! While I was ordering, I decided I might as well get some of that solid coral. I will be binding with the same fabric as the border, but will use Susie’s Magic Binding and put that pop of coral as the piping.  SEW….Addison’s quilt has two borders on, and I will await the arrival of the rest of the border fabric.  I have a shopping trip planned in July for wide backing for this quilt.

Meanwhile, since Addison’s quilt is “off the design wall”, I could proceed with Step 6 – the big reveal of Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt.  This mystery is designed by Carole – From My Carolina Home. Directions for Step 6 were posted last Friday.  I have been sewing like a wild woman since Wednesday morning.  There was a lot to do in terms of “block construction”; especially for my king sized quilt!

Here is a peek –

assembly line step 6

building the components of the “B” blocks

ready to sew the last group of blocks

lots to line up, so I am pinning!  I need to make 72 of these blocks – there are 60 in this photo below.

just 12 more

And I just need 10 more!!  Once I have the last 10 constructed, I can start laying out the pattern.

Note; yes – you HAVE seen this block before…..it was the same block we did in Step 2.  The blocks from Step 2 are being called the A blocks, and these block are identical.  We will however “ROTATE” them, and call them B Blocks.  Getting them on the design wall and making sure the blocks are properly rotated will be interesting. I will be using my pins with the marking beads ! These blocks will look very impressive when I get them up onto the design wall later this weekend!

There is still time to play along if you head over to Carole’s blog for the pattern.  Do it quickly, as it will be coming off the blog soon!