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!

 

Scrap Dance Two Step – part 2

Had a little “dancing” today in the sewing room!  The 3rd Friday of the month is when Carole releases the “next step” in the dance….Scrap Dance Two Step  I have my calendar marked for the release of the pattern each month, so I set aside some time to “dance”.

Are you “dancing” ???  There is STILL time to play along.

What size are you making?

You might remember I was only doing the throw size, but I am now “up to” a twin.  I like the way Carole sets this pattern up with all the cutting done at the beginning.    I did cut into yardage for the neutral portions, but the color bits all came from the scrap bins.

Step 2 of the Scrap Dance Two step

Step Two of the Two step

Here is a quick picture of what I have gotten done so far-Step One and Step Two

Scrap Dance Two Step

This went really quickly today!

I finished attaching the last of the string “triangles” on my Bonnie Hunter – Talkin’ Turkey blocks today.  Laid them out on the work table and counted 31 blocks. Oh well, now I have an extra.  Still need to get busy and trim the blocks to 9.5″.   Feel like I got quite a bit done today!  (These were all done “after” I spent 3 hours sorting and ironing and folding 2nd Time around donations!)

31 Talkin' Turkey Blocks

More to follow for sure!

 

 

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.

A little fun!

I managed to sneak into my sewing room and have a little fun.  Thanks for putting up with my rant the other day.

I added another finish to the stack with 1 more placemat 12″ x 21″.  I like that size a bit better. I like the finish too, so I will probably make some more similar. Quite likely the borders/backing/binding will all be slightly different.  I have enough leaves sewn together to make 8 total.

Placemat Autumn Jubilee

Today, I showed this runner as a flimsy at my Material Girls Bee, along with the previous runner.  I  was able to work on it this evening and now have another finished table runner

2nd Table Runner

This runner is just a bit bigger (14×48)than the last one (15×42).  I added an extra row to fit my table a bit better. I didn’t use as wide a border either; so that it isn’t “in the way” if I put placemats on the table.  Did some matchstick quilting with variegated thread (Cashmere by Superior Threads).  I used that same thread in the stitching in the border. It is one of 300 stitches on my machine, and up close it looks like leaves.  The binding is the same fabric as the backing.  If you “zoom in” you can see I used Susie’s Magic binding on both the placemat and the runner.

Tomorrow morning is another “work day” with the guild stuff, but I hope I can play a bit in the afternoon and finish up 2 more placemats.

Note – the Autumn Jubilee pattern for both of these projects was inspired by Carole Carter – From My Carolina Home

What are you working on in your crafty space??

Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along with Carole

REVISED **

Like I NEED another project…………..but I just can’t resist a “scrappy project”.   Yesterday morning, Carole – From My Carolina Home on WordPress posted her Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along .   Of course,  I was hooked as soon as I read her blog post!  If you comment on her blog post you might win a prize!  Carole has Aurifil Thread as a sponsor!

I went out to my sewing room over the garage, and I diverted my time from Mittens!  ( I swore I wasn’t going to let anything interrupt me…..)

I pulled out the bins from the cabinet that hold my “scrap storage system” .  (Thanks Bonnie Hunter  and Joan Ford ); collected some already cut 3″ and 2.5″ squares in the Autumn colors.  I even had the neutrals, already cut, in those sizes.

(note – Bonnie and Joan have similar approaches; both have books and blogs.  My system is a combination of both, which I have previously written about.  Links at the bottom of the post to both Bonnie & Joan, and my previous post about scrap storage.)

I laid out a block; dug in my scrap baskets (sorted by color) for pieces to use for the stems, and got busy.  While I was digging in the scrap basket, I pulled some other pieces that could be cut into squares and starched, ironed and cut them too.

Autumn Jubilee block

I got these blocks together before dinner.  They all need squared up to 6″.    

**Carole just sent me a note –  the blocks finish as 6 inches, at this stage you square them to 6-1/2 inches to allow seam allowance.

Leaf blocks for Autumn Jubilee

I went “back out to the garage” after dinner. (The dishwasher was running and I left dishes in the sink, but hey, I was on a mission and dinner really interrupts my flow……)

I decided I wanted more blocks.  Carole said –  “If you want to make all the projects in the quilt along, you’ll need 24. “

So, I got busy!   Since I pretty much pulled out of my scrap storage box all of the colors, I dug into the scrap bags for the oranges, golds and browns.  I did a little more starching, pressing and cutting.  While I was at it, I cut some other sizes to go into my scrap storage boxes; things that were too small for this project, like 1.5 & 2″ strips and squares. (I always cut the biggest size I want first, in this case 3″, then I cut the remaining into the next usable size).

I built a few more stems, sewed some more half square triangles (HST)  and looked at the clock. It was nearly 10:30 pm.  ( I swear I was only going out for half an hour!)  Time flies when you are having fun!  I brought my small cutting mat and trimming tools into the house with me and will do a little squaring up of the HST’s this morning.

HST for Autumn Jubilee Quiltalong

I think these will give a bit more variety to the leaves.  I might have to dig in my boxes again for greens for another round……. I really don’t know how many I will get made.  At least another 6.

I don’t know what the project will turn into.  That is part of the fun of the Quilt Along that Carole does.  Next block won’t come out until next Friday, and I am leaving for Texas at the crack of dawn the next morning, but I will at least have a start. It will be nearly Halloween when I get home, and I won’t be able to keep up, but I will follow along while I am away.   I think these alone will make cute place mats or a nice fall table runner (which I need), or 4 together for a table topper.  I will have to “wait and see” for now.

What are you working on?

NOTE:  NO YARDAGE WAS USED IN THIS PROJECT……all scraps!   

Bonnie Hunter – Scrap Users System –  http://quiltville.blogspot.com/2005/06/scrap-users-system.html

Joan Ford  – http://hummingbird-highway.com/do-you-need-scraptherapy/

My scrap storage posts –  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/scrap-storage-containment-system/

Linking up today – Show off Saturday

 

 

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.