Another small project done

I decided to replace a very worn out small handbag that I have been using daily for at least 3 years. The bag is tattered on the corners, and has gone through the washer and dryer many times. I bought it for travel use at the local Eddie Bauer Outlet, on a whim, for less than $10. I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it for certain.

With a trip coming up this weekend, I decided I could “MAKE” a new bag, but make it slightly LONGER than the original bag. One thing about the original I love was the outside pocket on the back that my big fat cell phone could slide into. I loved the 3 zipper pockets, but I know my sewing talents don’t go that far, and I am thrilled I got one zipper in, and made it work.

I’ve made quite a few things like this, only smaller, in the embroidery hoop. I’m limited on the length though, so I took the skills I learned from machine embroidery and came up with this bag.

New bag
front of the bag

I finally used one of those lace zippers I had on hand. (More than a year ago, my friend Nancy & I split an Amazon order). The zipper goes across the top. I made the bag substantially longer so my bigger wallet would fit in. I bought the wallet, handmade, from one of the ladies at the Assisted living facility where I used to volunteer and I just love it. I was always jamming it in the old bag.

Again, while making this project, I dug into the “leftover half square triangles” that I have sitting in a basket.

I decided that the pocket on the back of this bag could be divided, and my phone will fit on either side, and still have room for a pen or a mask or my ear buds.

pockets on the back

I ended up using the same woven strap from the old bag, as it is in pretty good shape. I can always make a fabric strap later if I choose. With so much white on the bag, I imagine it will be in the washer on a regular basis. The rings are “key ring overlap” style, so taking off the strap and replacing it should be easy.

When I was working on this, I was thinking “proto-type” for a bag done using some wonderful vinyl that I have. It looks and feels like suede, but I wanted to be sure I had worked out the process…when to attach the zipper, where to leave the opening for turning, how to attach the bits for the handle, how I wanted the pocket to work etc.

Overall, without a pattern I am quite pleased with the outcome.

I used Pellon 973 Fusible fleece on the back side of the main fabric, nothing on the back of the lining.

fusible fleece for the bag

Turning the bag thru the opening on the side of the lining was fairly easy, as the Pellon fleece is very soft and easy to work with. There are no “raw edges” on the bag to be bothersome. I quilted thru the outside bag fabric using one of the special stitches on my Janome 8900, and I think that helps give it some character too. It will certainly keep the fleece from shifting when it gets washed. (All the white means it will need washing on a regular basis!!)

close up of the quilting
Close up of the stitching

I still want to make another bag using the wonderful vinyl product, and have to “think through” the process of adding all those extra zipper pockets etc. But for now, my new purse kind of matches my sister’s bag I made yesterday.

The picture below is my old bag on top of the new one, and you can see how much bigger I made it.

Replacing the old bag

So, there you have it, a one day project! (Really just an afternoon of creating and having fun!)

What are you working on this week?? Any suggestions for adding multiple zippers in outside pockets?? I’m sure I can figure it out, but will spend my evening hunting through videos on you-tube looking at suggestions!

Another finish!!

I spent my afternoon on Sunday finishing up the bag for my sister. Yesterday’s post was about using the scraps. I have to report that this one used scraps in the finish too.

Where yesterday’s post left off, the outer part of the bag was quilted. Adding the boxed corners, using a 2″ square felt right. It makes the bag “wider” and will accommodate more than just her tablet. Not knowing the size of her device, I went for bigger.

2" box corner
Before the lining goes in.

I made nice wide handles and used the same Bosal In-R-Form in them.

Handles attached
handles attached

I like using the Bosal In-R-Form for bags as they have good shape.

I decided to put two pockets inside with the lining, one of which is divided. It is big enough to hold my cell phone and the other pockets might be useful for cords, power devices etc. I also added magnetic closure at the top as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Inside pockets Anne's bag
Pockets are so important

The bag came together fairly easily, and I wish now that I had made MY bag in this fashion!!

Finished bag

It turns out to be a very room bag. I put my tablet down inside and there is plenty of room to toss in a paperback book or a deck of cards, along with your wallet and other necessities. If she decides it is “too big” for her tablet, then she can use it as a tote bag or a big purse.

Plenty of room
Plenty of room for chargers and your wallet and other girly stuff.

This was fun to make for my sister and I told her if she doesn’t find it useful, then to pass it on to someone else!

The only yardage use in this project was 1/2 yard from my stash for the handles and the lining. Everything else was from the scrap storage. (The pocket fabric was leftover from my bag lining from yesterday!)

Do you enjoy sewing bags?? I learn something every time I make them. Yesterday’s lessons were to slow down and think the plan through. It was a good lesson for today, as it all came together nicely.

Small Town Charm project completed

NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.

I wanted to share my completed Small Town Charm project with you. The blocks I have shared in previous posts have been incorporated into a tote bag for my friend June. The bag was made with short straps to go over her walker handles, and buttons to hold them in place. It also has ties on the side to keep the bag from swinging while the walker is in ‘motion’.

Before I made this project I took a look at her existing bag and measured it.

Those measurements were important as I created the new bag, since I didn’t have a walker handy to test the fit.

I had fun figuring out which fabrics I wanted to use for the bag, making my choices from that one box of fabric I had dumped out and sorted. I really wanted to make the bag for June using her OWN fabric. My hope is the fabrics will be ones she remembers having. While they don’t have the same elegance as the beautiful blues and golds in the bag picture above, they do remind me of things she likes. And, when I agreed to make the new bag, June didn’t make any color requests. Well…you know that I like things scrappy!

sorting options
Trying out possibilities

I played around with lots of color combinations, and thought about how I wanted to “construct” the bag. Once the decisions were made, the extra bits of fabric came down off the wall, and the construction was pretty simple.

After the front and back of the bag was made, I layered it with Pellon 973F (Fusible Fleece) and did some quilting. I made the straps, and put the bag together.

SMT Tote bag
Waiting for lining

Once the outside of the bag was made, I chose one of those pretty pink fabrics and made the lining. I added pockets for both sides of the lining. I used the fusible fleece in the pockets too, so it has some body.

Construction is similar to lining any tote bag. Once your lining is ready, you slide the main bag inside the lining, with pretty sides (right sides touching). You have to make sure you leave an opening for turning. My opening was on the side, just above the edge of the pockets.

STC Lining
Right sides together

Those little clips are great for holding the edges of the bag together and keeping everything lined up during the sewing process. You can see the stitching of the pockets on the back side of that lining in the photo above.

Below, is the inside of the bag showing the pockets.

INSIDE STC lots of pockets

Once the bag was pulled through the opening and turned “right side out, a quick press along that top seam, and of the lining before top stitching around the upper edges. I use my clips then as well to make sure there is no shifting.

Button holes in the straps for two closing positions, and some bright shiny buttons on the Flower Shop side of the bag.

STC Tote bag
Small town charm bag

The blue bag she had previously had a bit of velcro tab to keep the bag closed. I added a 3″ strip of velcro near the top edge of the new bag, skipping the tab. I also added two pockets on the sides of the bag, where she can keep a packet of tissues if she likes. The ties for the walker on the bottom are made from June’s stash of bias tape binding.

The bag has a “scrappy quilter” look to it I think. My husband, who knows her so well, thinks she is going to “LOVE” the new bag. I had fun making the Small Town Charm embroidery blocks, and building a bag that will be functional for her. I’m glad I have had a little experience making bags in the past few years, or I would never have tackled this without a specific pattern in hand.

If I was making this into a tote / purse for myself, I would not have used the dimensional awning on the flower shop, but I knew the bag would be stationary once attached to the walker, and I think the flower shop will face out, so it won’t get mashed during use. For myself, I would use a magnetic closure, and put a couple of key ring loops inside the bag to have a spot for hooking my car keys. (Hate hunting in the bottom of a bag for keys!) Because of where / how June lives, she really doesn’t use keys.

Do you enjoy bag making? Any tips? Do you have a favorite pattern that you make frequently?

EDIT — bag delivered and installed!

Tote bag installed

#DimeSewAlong

Inspiration – At Just the RIGHT time

I want to share a post that I read at “just the right time” in my life.

BACKSTORY – Last week somehow ripped the top cuff on my bedsheet in the middle of the night. Looking it over the next morning, I recognized that the cuff was attached using an heirloom stitch which essentially was an “invitation to perforation”. Nothing like a set of pretty stitches that is akin to having perforations across the width of the sheet. I suggested to my husband that perhaps I could do better than “mend” a perfectly fine set of sheets. (Make do and repair before you buy new was my thought). Really, the rest of the sheet was in fine shape, no pilling, no wear.

(Am I turning into my grandma here…..mending sheets ??? )

You know the price of king size sheets is quite high, and as the sheets were washing, I did give some thought to how a quilter might repair the sheets. I thought about that as I was shopping on line for new sheets and placing an order.

Not long after ordering the new set, I tripped over the blog post below from Moda Fabrics. DIVINE INSPIRATION STRUCK!!! Pretty-fied sheets. Thanks Moda Fabrics ! Do go look, but come back for the rest of my story! https://modafabrics.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/pretty-fied-sheet-set/

A couple of days later, out in my quilt room, I was pondering borders for an autumn quilt, and had my baskets of 2″, 2 1/2″ squares out, plus a container of four-patches made from 2″ squares. While I was looking through those baskets, the hubby came up to the sewing room and matter of factly stated that those 4 patches look like they came from our Allietare quilt.

Clue 3 complete
I always seem to make “extra” when working on a mystery quilt.

When I emptied my Allietare project box the leftover 4 patches got stored in my 4 patch box! I had about 12 left from that quilt and LOTS of other autumn colored 4 patches. I just needed enough to span the width of the sheet, 104″.

New cuff on the sheets

In the Moda Fabric blog post, the writer used charm squares and yardage. I had a piece of yardage that had the greys of the sheet and the burgundy in my strip and prints, so I thought it would work well. It was a nice feeling fabric too. The burgundy was a piece of wide backing in the scrap pile.

The “end” of the project didn’t turn out quite like I had intended, but it did turn out ok. I had intended to do something quite different with that burgundy strip, but my execution was slightly off. Oh well….no sheet inspectors in my bedroom!!! I wouldn’t say it is “wedding gift quality” but it turned out well enough to be functionally pretty, and much better looking than a mending job on the edge of the original sheet cuff.

Making the sheets pretty

If you have ever done one of those pillow cases where you turn it “burrito style”, you will know how much fun it was to do the same to the king size sheet.

(check out the Missouri Star Pillow case tutorial )

Really, wasn’t too hard to turn it out. And now, the sheet can go back in rotation, and will last a bit longer.

The new set I had ordered, arrived on Friday as I was finishing this up. They are washed and dried and folded.

Note; not an advertisement or a negative to any company. The repaired sheet is about 6 years old, purchased at BJ’s warehouse store and was 1200 thread count Egyptian Cotton. The added trim is all from my quilting scrap box.

The new sheets I ordered I got at a reasonable price from My Pillow.Com, using every discount and coupon offer. They are also Egyptian cotton, and feel rather nice. The only negative I can say is that they are only 400 thread count, and I am disappointed, because I had expected them to be much higher. They feel REALLY good, even after washing. I am now concerned about how they will do over time. They came with a 10 year warranty and the following was proclaimed on the website –

  • Made with the world’s best cotton called Giza. Grown only in a region between the Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Nile River. Its long staple cotton makes it ultra-soft and breathable.
  • Its sateen weave gives them a luxurious finish.
  • Available in multiple colors, styles, and sizes.
  • Machine washable and durable – 10-year warranty
  • 60-day money back guarantee

So, watch for a report in a month or so after the new sheets make the rotation and the newly repaired sheet has it’s week on the bed. In all the advertising Mike says ““The first night you sleep on my sheets, you’ll never want to sleep on anything else.” Mike Lindell. I’ll let you know! I’m pretty good with warranty claims, as you may remember in my recent post about my FISKARS rotating mat!

I will also report back if the hubby has any complaints about the 4 patches on the cuff of the sheet.

Are you a “mender” or a “make do” or would you toss the old sheets in the rag bag or trash can?

Edit – updated to include a link back to http://quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com/ OH SCRAP !

Another Row for Autumn Jubilee 2020

It is fun to get up on Friday morning and find a new “row” for the Autumn Jubilee 2020 quilt along happening at the blog – From My Carolina Home – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/16/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-3/

I had fun after dinner on Friday night pulling the fabrics for each of the 5 blocks. It really doesn’t take very much and I was able to get what I needed out of some small pieces, partially used fat quarters and a few strips left in my containers. I even used up some of those background blocks left over from my “indecision” last week with the trees.

My first block finished is my “feature fabric” from the row of trees that were row # 2.

Leaf block for AJ 2020
Small print leaf fabric

I mixed up the background fabrics in this group of blocks since I was using the “same” fabrics for the actual leaf. (Gotta get my scrappy look!)

The second block was a much larger print fabric.

getting the leaves made

Sewing progressed pretty well. I chose an orange that is a bit of a tone on tone, and in hind sight, wish I had chosen a print. It just doesn’t pop like the other fabrics. Could just be the crummy lighting .

Green and orange

Up close it does look a bit better, as does the red with the gold print.

Red Yellow and brown

Overall, it didn’t take long to get the pieces cut and stitched and into a nice looking row.

Row # 3

Row three is complete for the Autumn Jubilee Quilt Along.

Ready for the next project. I was just thinking that I have 4 rows made (2 stars, 1 tree, 1 leaves) for the quilt along. I also have the embroidery blocks made for the Autumn Jubilee wall hanging, and the strip unit made for the bag. It will soon be time to start finishing some of these up. It’s not to late to start if you want to pop over to Carole’s blog and choose a project.

Are you quilting along with #AutumnJubilee2020? Or maybe you are stitching one of the wool projects or making pillow cases? Be sure to share on the Friends of From My Carolina Home facebook page.

Labels for old projects and Autumn Jubilee

As I was changing out a table runner this summer, I remembered that the project didn’t have a label on it. If I make something I usually put some sort of label on it to remind me later of “when” I made it and “what” I referred to it by on my blog posts, in my photo collections etc. I was also moving a wall hanging his summer and when I looked at the back of it I discovered it was lacking a label. I made a mental note to “make labels” and immediately carried on doing other things.

While I was out in my sewing room, working on the never ending scrap clean up (oh…do I have a mess…..) I took a break from cutting things up and grabbed a piece of fabric and made a couple of labels on my embroidery machine.

I have to tell you I haven’t totally figured out the Janome 11000 that I have been using now for a solid year. I can’t figure out how to get more than one line of text on the screen, so I sat down at the computer to work it out. I am using the software called Embrilliance, in EXPRESS MODE, which is FREE.

I’m learning more and more all the time about how to use it. When I started with this set of labels, I found a “frame” built in to the software options. I tripped over it while poking around in the program, and can’t tell you where I found it. (Don’t you just hate when you find something cool and can’t repeat it!) Anyway, I had this green and yellow variegated thread already on the machine, and thought it would make a fun stitch out.

Variegated thread frame
fun with variegated thread
Blue bird label with frame
Finished label

I am having a little “bobbin thread” issue, with the bobbin thread showing on top with this blue thread for the words, but I’m not going to sweat the little stuff…the label is finished, stitched on.

My Little bluebird

I use the same method all the time when making a label to have a nice “finished” edge. I mentioned before that I learned the technique from Pat Sloan https://www.patsloan.com/ when she taught how to make a nice ‘circle’ for an applique project.

Essentially, you lay a piece of fusible pellon over your label, with the glue side facing the RIGHT side of your label. You stitch all around the edges, then cut a slit in the pellon and turn it “right side out. You smooth the edge where the pellon is stitched to your fabric with your finger tip and you have a nice finished edge. I iron the label to the project, then hand stitch around the edges. Most of the time two edges are enclosed in the binding, but since this was adhered after the project was made, I had to hand stitch all the way around. The beauty of the fusing is it holds your label in place while you stitch; no pins! Also, it is an extra security to keeping your label on the project. Not quite so easy to remove, depending on the type of pellon you choose to use.

circles on bluebird
Circles for applique
Close up blue bird
Lots of circles with this machine applique project

The circle turning method was used on the wall hanging the label went on. So, after 5 years of hanging around with no label, it is “FINISHED”. I did this project in a class with Pat Sloan and wrote about it several times https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/wild-and-free-and-bluebirds/ while it was “in progress”.

The second label I made was for my FIRE AND ICE table runner. I used the same green fabric, but switched to bright orange thread to complement the “fire’ on the runner. It’s a funny name for a project, but the ice blue and the bright oranges were the inspiration for the name.

Fire and Ice label
label ready to stitch on

I had pins in it all around because I thought I would bring it in the house, pin to the back of the runner and hand stitch on last night. I decided to wait, and get the runner out of the closet and bring it to the sewing room to press on first. I hate to battle pins! And, I think the edge will be much sharper and crisper when I press it on first.

Note, this time I had NO problem with the bobbin thread peaking through. Sometimes those machines can be a bit finicky.

Batik table runner Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice table runner
Back of the table runner
Back of the runner

To see more about this runner, look for my previous post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fire-and-ice-batik-table-runner/

It’s been fun looking back on older projects, and getting the labels done.

Batik placemats
2018 batik placemats

I just love the different bright colors in batiks. Some can feel really dark, so they have to be used “sparingly” I think.

More placemat fun
Placemats in 2018

I can’t remember if I made 12 or more of these placemats back in 2018. I think I had given them all away to my daughters. When I was looking for a piece of fabric to use for the 2 labels I tripped over a basket of “partially made” placemats. That basket has been sitting around since 2018, so I must have thought about making more. I need a dozen for my “summer” table. I think they will all be a bit different from these I made early on. Something else to go out and work on I think. I really have to get rid of these baskets of partial projects in my next “effort” in my never ending clean up.

I am lucky to have the space, but the “clutter” is bogging me down. I am trying to spend a few hours every day this week to clear up and clean up a bit. I am on a self imposed deadline. Next week starts “Autumn Jubilee on the FROM MY CAROLINA HOME ” blog, and I always look forward to working with fall colors. Carole Carter did a Facebook Live Chat on the Friends of From My Carolina Home page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/591941124470566 ) last week and gave us a hint at what she has planned for October. She mentioned we might want to get a small “leaf” print, at least 1/2 yard in fall colors. I was able to pick up a piece this week that I hope will work. When the shop was unrolling it from the bolt, I realized it was the “end of the bolt” and took what was left. I got about 1 3/4 yard, so I will have plenty.

fabric for Autumn Jubilee 2020
Small print leaves for Autumn Jubilee

Since Carole has been doing Autumn Jubilee, I have kept a container with fall fabrics, and her patterns. It was always my “go box” when I had a quilt bee. I worked on bits and pieces for fall projects for years, and have made plenty of table runners and placemats. This week I took the bin out, sorted things, refolded and assessed what I had on hand. I have another similar sized tote with fall colors that were not “specifically” for Autumn Jubilee. I know I have used up my favorites over the years. Next blog post will be a compilation of my Autumn Jubilee projects from previous years, while I wait for the 2020 edition. I heard there will be opportunity for “machine embroidery” to be included, and I am excited to start something new. Meanwhile, I best get busy cutting up scraps and finishing up another old project left lying around.

What is happening in your sewing room this week?

 

347,514 stitches

Do you gasp at that number? I did!! My wonderful sister-in-law, Carolyn, (AKA https://OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com//) did the custom long arm quilting on my Allietare quilt.  She messaged me after the quilting was complete and told me how many stitches went into the quilting, 347,514.  That is overwhelming really. The quilt is 111″ wide by 99″ long.   I wanted the extra width for the sides of the bed. Those thick mattresses add to that width. 

I’ve posted about this quilt project in the past, but I would like to report now that the quilt is finished, ready for show & tell and for the bedroom!  To catch up, here is what has been going on this summer.

I mailed the quilt top and the backing fabric to her in July and I got it back last week.  I ordered  Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Select Mid Loft batting from the Fat Quarter Shop, and that took a while to arrive.  I usually use Warm & Natural, but I do like the feel of this mid-loft batting.  Quilters Dream is the batting that Carolyn prefers. She knows what her machine likes best!

Carolyn did an amazing job on the quilting and you can see some little peaks of it here and there in the photos that accompany this post. 

While I was waiting for the quilt to come back to me from California, I made the binding and some pillow cases from left over fabric.

Ready to use

4 queens and 2 standard

I had enough fabric to make 4 queen size and 2 standard pillow cases.  

Want a peek at the quilting?

Back of the quilt

The texture of the quilting really shows on the gold on the back of the quilt.

Carolyn did a beautiful job quilting, free motion on her long arm, Greta the Gammill.  Each area of the quilt was custom quilted freehand.  I think she did an amazing job.  

a peak at the back

Custom quilting freehand

I spent one afternoon trimming the quilt.  Then I made a hanging sleeve from the leftover backing fabric.  I attached the hanging sleeve at the same time as I put the binding on the quilt.

Ripping the stitching

For some reason, I put the hanging sleeve too low, and it didn’t get caught in the first round of binding stitches, so I did a second run…..and those stitches were too wide, so out came my trusty seam ripper.   Took the binding off, moved the sleeve all the way up and reattached it to the back of the quilt. I got in too big of a hurry I think.  I needed to take a break and try again.

Stitching the binding on the back

The burgundy is “flange/piping” part of the binding, and gets stitched to the back of the quilt first.  

Over 400 inches of binding going on.  I love those handy little clips.  I had enough clips to go 3/4 of the way around a king size quilt, which is fantastic.  That meant I didn’t have to stop stitching very often, and drag it all back to my big table very often.   

attaching the binding

This binding is what I call “Susie’s Magic Binding” and is my GO – TO style of binding.  I love the pop of color you get when you have that little flange showing. I also love that you can stitch it down entirely by machine.  Check out the tutorial at the link above.  I use my walking foot when attaching the binding and on this machine, I have an extra help with a special “ditch” foot for the walking foot, that keeps my stitching “in the ditch” of the burgundy fabric.

Manhandling a big quilt to put the binding on is no easy job. The “shipping weight” was 10 pounds, and I can attest to that fact that it is heavy! I had to set up my ironing board next to me to help hold the weight of the quilt.  I also had a table behind my machine table to support the weight.  I am so glad my machine is set in the table and I didn’t have to ‘lift’ the quilt. 

manhandling a large quilt

Stitching the binding

I did the “final” hand stitching yesterday, making certain the label was stitched down and that the sides and bottom of the hanging sleeve were attached.  I put some fusible behind the label to make it extra tough for someone to “remove it”.  Two edges are encased in the binding too.  

Ready to see it?  Here is the back — where you can really see the texture. (Note – those pillowcases were made using some of these backing fabrics)

Can you “see” my hanging sleeve at the top??  It matches the backing and pretty much disappears.  

back of the quilt

And this is what I told Carolyn was the “beauty shot”…..

king size allietare

Five years in the making and finally finished!!!  This is a Bonnie Hunter /Quiltville mystery quilt pattern and was presented in 2015.  The pattern is currently available at Bonnie’s store as a digital pattern – https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

Want more details on my version?  Just use the search function for “ALLIETARE”  on my blog, and you will find all the previous posts. Be sure and check out this post and see why I chose the colors I did.  You will see a hint if you take a closer look at the label on the back of the quilt too. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/progress-on-a-ufo-allietare-mystery-quilt-circa-2015-16/ 

What’s going on in your stitching life?  Any random acts of  quilting? 

A HOT time making masks

A Hot Time making masks – Having a heatwave in Delaware this past week, where outside temps are in the nineties every day. The humidity has been over 80% most days as well. I have a freestanding Haier air conditioner in my sewing room and it isn’t keeping up with the heat. Temps have been over 80 in my studio space all week. We live in a 117 year old house without central air and this morning, my kitchen a/c said it was 80 when I got up. Trying to sleep last night in the bedroom at 80 degrees was miserable. Our pool was 95 last night and I am ever so grateful for the brief downpour we had this morning, to add cool water to the pool, bring up the water level and cool off the surfaces, decking, roof and more. The morning temp dropped from 81 to 77 so that was quite nice. So, time spent in my sewing room studio above the garage is “weather dependent” right now.

I was creating a few masks for my granddaughters last weekend and posted some photos on Facebook. The 3 below are size small, and took me about 3 hours from start to finish. This is my absolute favorite style of mask to make, and although very time intensive is the best style for fit I have made.

small masks for little people

The ones in the photo below I made on “speculation” a few would be purchased. I spent Sunday and Monday making 10 masks in my sewing room where the temperature was nearing 85 degrees.

Medium masks
amazing cats
Laurel Burch fabric
mint with teal green purple

Medium turquoise

My grand kids don’t know yet if they are going back to school “physically” in the fall, but if they do, they will need to be wearing masks all the time for the foreseeable future. One of the granddaughters liked some of the “speculation” masks I made and I made the elastic adjustment to fit her face properly.

Since I was having the kids for a pool time one day this week, they all came up to the sewing room (85 degrees in the late afternoon) and picked out 5 fabrics each from the “quilters resource center” (aka – stash). The are elementary and middle school age and the fabric choices were so interesting.

Masks for a middle school boy
Middle school boy…(middle fabric is more maroon than pink)

The fabric on the far right is official Boy Scout fabric with words.

Masks choices
Artsy middle school girl picked fabric with a vine theme
Second grader masks
Elementary school child choices

The nearly 8 year old elementary child came over yesterday morning and she learned to iron. She loves the OLISO iron with the pop up feet. Close supervision kept her from burning any fingers. She mastered spritzing the fabric with the spray bottle and loved watching the steam roll up off the fabric when she press it. She also learned about proper rotary cutting. Once the pieces were cut for 4 masks, she pressed the pleats using the pleating guide and enjoyed working with all my little binding clips to keep them in place. She also did the stitching on the ear channel (where the elastic goes) on my Janome 8900. She could sit on my stool, and I could sit behind her. It was easier for her to sew with the stop/start button. I made sure the plastic guide was set up, and she learned to chain piece. She really likes my little snips.

I was able to rotate this design on the screen in my machine. The pattern was purchased from Creative Appliques

The pleating template is part of the pattern, and there are multiple sizes in the pattern, so chose carefully based on your own machine hoop limitations. There is a 4×4 hoop option at Creative Appliques, along with other mask styles.

Using my Janome 11000 and the MA hoop(8×12 adjustable), I could get 4 of the small masks in one hooping. I like to conserve stabilizer by maximizing the number in the hoop. Mediums can be stitched 3 in a hoop with careful adjustments to mask placement on the screen and in the machine. I’ve mentioned “windowing stabilizer” on other blog posts. Link to that post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/windowing-stabilizer-the-twist-and-more/

I also have a video on removing items from the hoop for windowing – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/49789624736/in/album-72157712813350817/

Mediums in the hoop
3 mediums in my MA hoop

When I make this particular style mask, my husband creates nose wires for me from copper electric wire he has. He strips the plastic coating off the wire, pulls out the copper wire and strips it bare, cuts it to my desired length and curls the ends.

Cutting and prepping the fabric for these masks is much more time consuming than the donation masks I made back in March, April and May. They take longer because each mask has 5 pieces of fabric, and every piece is a different size. Each piece is prepared a differently before they are stitched, pleating folding, pressing etc.

Beyond the directions provided by Creative Applique, I add machine stitching on the ear channels so nothing “ravels” in the wash, and I add extra stitches to hold the nose wire “in place”. I also have been cutting into my $14/yard fabric for these masks. So, they are time consuming and rather expensive to make when you consider all the stabilizer, thread, and extra stitching I do. These masks have such a nicer fit than a typical 6×9 rectangular mask. There are 5 different pieces that go into the one mask, all cut to various sizes.

prepped and ready
Taped and stitching

When I am working on these masks, you can’t take your eyes off the machine for a minute, and there is a lot of taping things in place so the foot of the machine doesn’t get caught.

My daughter and I think it is important for the children to be “invested” in the process of making masks. Their labor and efforts will be remembered, and help them to have a better understanding of what actually goes into what “grandma” made. The “big” kids will get their turn, individually, to come over and spend some time making their masks.

I stopped making masks in May because I was burnt out and depressed. I am ONLY making masks for my family now. When asked by friends, I will sell them masks, because it is a lot of work. The idea of “selling to friends or strangers” can be a contentious subject. Believe me, I am not profiteering on COVID-19. If you are new here, understand that I have made and donated nearly 200, and many went to friends when you couldn’t BUY a mask anywhere back in early April. I stopped making donation masks in May because I was burnt out! I have invested a lot of money since the outbreak of COVID-19 in supplies, and charging people now is a way to recover the costs and enable me to continue to move forward and to supply masks to charitable groups. There are still groups asking for mask donations.

I set my price for these masks based on the time it takes me to make a high quality product and to offset the costs of fabric, elastic, stabilizer. You can buy a cheaper mask online and if money is your issue, then buy a box of disposable masks. You will get something made in a factory and it will go in the landfill.

masculine fabric for masks
Medium size masked prepped for stitching

Scrap Happy and Allietare Updates

Fair warning – lots of photos!  

Just a few years ago, I dug in the scrap storage boxes and put together about 30 blocks using Pat Sloan’s pattern Scrap Happy Little Wishes Star Challenge. (See Pat’s post – Scrap Happy Stars for the free pattern)

I wrote about the project once or twice at the time and showed off my blocks, joined together with black sashing here – Just a border or two.

Well, if you have been following me for any time at all, you know you sometimes never see the end result…or maybe I left you wondering “what did she decide?”…..

Well, let me tell you….NOTHING for almost 5 years!  Honestly, I have told others that I am a “top maker’ not a quilter at times.  I have a LOT of tops made, hanging on hangers on my storage shelves that get forgotten because something ‘new and exciting’ comes along.  In fact, some are hanging so long I had to put them on NEW hangers because the hook of the hanger was stretched out due to the weight.

I get tempted by shiny new fun patters.  Why, just the other day, Pat Sloan started another “new sew along” and I was really feeling tempted.   And then, our local quilt shop, Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro Delaware announced a new sew along.  The pattern, Serendipity House in the Pumpkin patch, calls to me. Check it out here – House in the Pumpkin Patch.  You know if you follow me that I always have a container of “autumn colors” just waiting on another opportunity! Now I have TWO fun sew alongs to think about.

Before I could l do anything else though, I needed to fold up the massive (111″ x 120″) backing  for my Allietare quilt and get the backing and top in the mail to California for quilting by my wonderful sister in law, the One Block Wonder Woman .

Remember the fabrics I was using?  (Some of this may be a repeat of a previous post/photos…but I just love this fabric group!)

Border fabric choices

Top fabric (wine labels) is the border fabric. The herringbone gold and the grape fabric are on the back, along with this wonderful Bella Toscana fabric I was inspired by last month –

Bella Toscana by Windham Fabrics

My plan was pretty simple for the backing – scribbled out quickly.  (The quilt will be WIDE because of the drop on our king size bed. I like a quilt to hang over the sides and get to the bottom of the thick top  mattress.)  My quilt top is 111″ wide by 99 ” long.

Planning the backing

Careful planning…no, what I call “quilt math”, but careful measurements of the actual project, careful cutting etc and I fairly quickly had a quilt back ready. What really slowed me down was ironing those massive pieces before cutting, and after stitching.

Backing ready to stitch Allietare

Carolyn was kind enough to advise me she needed 4 inches on the sides for the long arm clamps; and to remember to do 1/2″ seams, pressed open. I did leave the selvedge on the edges of the final pieces, as they will be where the clamps are and they will get trimmed off after the quilting. I’d forgotten to take a photo of the backing before I shipped it, but Carolyn, the One Block Wonder Woman was kind enough to snap a picture of it on her design wall.  She said it was so big it took over her sewing room! The backing is about 120″ wide by 110″ long.

Quilt backing for Allietare

Remember the front?

Alllietare Winter Mystery Quilt outside

I’m so glad it arrived by mail without TOO many wrinkles.  Hanging up for a bit will help them to shake out I hope.  I hate to see her have to iron that beast, enough that she is loading it on the long arm and doing all the quilting.  If you quilt for others and they mail you tops/backings, how do you manage the inevitable winkling from the shipping?  Does a steamer work or do you have to iron the whole thing??   Allietare is a pattern by the queen of scraps, Bonnie Hunter and the pattern is available on her online store.

Anyway; now that Allietare is ‘under control’ and OFF my table, back to my Pat Sloan  Scrap Happy Little Wishes story!  I went to the sewing room and looked at one of my cutting tables, buried in STUFF.  A disaster zone for sure!  I went up with the intent of “cleaning it up” but to be honest, it looks like this 4 days later STILL.

Disaster zone

Last week I was making “string blocks” for borders, so there are bins of stings, baskets of scraps and so much more on that table.  I had one basket of string blocks made, and decided to join them together into a “string border”.  (I wanted to sew, not clean….at least, that is what I told myself when I picked up the baskets).  Sewing string blocks uses scraps, which I needed to clear up, right?  I use phone book paper as a foundation for my string blocks.  At one time, I had my strings sorted by width, then as I was digging for the right color, I resorted by color. Sometimes I have to get in the scrap aver boxes to find the perfect strip.  Anyway, working on string blocks is what I do when I have no sewing “plan”, and I hadn’t quite gotten to the Scrap Happy Little Wishes quilt.  (I’ve had vertigo for a week now, so mindless sewing of string blocks was about all I could manage) . Honestly, cleaning up from multiple projects was more than my wobbly head could manage last week.

Since my BIG cutting table was cleared off, I could lay out all the string blocks and arrange them so there were not similar fabrics too close together.

More string border blocks

Anyway, at some point I measured what I had sewn together and discovered I had enough to go around something that was hanging on a hanger waiting on borders.  I had made 268″ of a 6″ wide border, and while getting down my Scrap Happy Quilt, I found 336″ of  4″ borders all done too.

String borders

I laid out my Scrap Happy Stars on the table and immediately decided I didn’t want to put either of those string borders “next to the black sashing”.

Scrap Happy Stars on the table

There JUST wasn’t enough space between the busy scrappy stars and the scrap borders.  So, I executed plan B.  I got out a bin of reds and oranges and yellows, did some more quilt math, and decided a 4″ border was what would work.  I have a tone on tone ORANGE (shown at the top of the photo above) that was also used in the sashing stones, and I decided it was perfect.  At this point, the quilt top was feeling rather “dark” to me, but the orange really brightened  it up.  I cut the sashing into 4″ strips, sewed it all together and then sub cut to length for the sizes I needed.  I added some cornerstones from my 4″ scrap storage, and in no time at all I had the borders attached.

Scrap Happy Little Wishes Challenge

At this point, I think I am going to leave “well enough alone” and figure out a backing and start quilting it.  My brain this morning was running along the line of putting it on my quilting machine frame (the one with the 9″ throat and the Janome 1500).  I need to learn how to use that machine, loading etc, and it is high time.  I am glad I bought some wide backing last winter from Marshall’s Dry Goods, but not sure if grey paisley is what I want to use.  I have some purple wide backing, but have to check and see if there is “enough”.  If not, I may order something else.  Did you know they sell 108″ wide back for $7.99 a yard, and you can get a 15 yard BOLT for under $80.  Great choices and I am thinking I have some shopping to do.

Sidenote Serendipity Quilt Shop is a small business in a very small town, and since the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns, they have converted to totally online sales until it is safe for everyone to shop in person in their store. If you need something, new fabric is arriving daily, and they have $5 flat rate shipping or porch pick-up. Their amazing online shopping website is running well and this week (through July 12) there is 20% off on Moda Grunge.  So, if you need some fabric or notions, try to support the small business so they will be there after COVID-19 is history.  Serendipity is where I ordered that fabulous Bella Toscana fabric, catching it on sale.  I think I bought 7 or 8 yards, so I have enough for matching pillowcases.  The facebook post by Serendipity inspired me to get my Bonnie Hunter Allietare off the hanger!!  

It is a very nice feeling to move two projects forward that have been “hanging around” for so long.  No worries though, I have lots more UFO’s to tackle.  All but one of the series of Scrap Dance Mystery Quilts I have done over the years are still “on hangers” . Well, except the last one, it is still on the design wall.  Carole is publishing the TWIST soon.  When I was looking through photos yesterday I realised I had ONE of the Scrap Dance series finished.  I had to go back to my blog and find the post about it.  Turns out, I finished it around September 2015, about the same time I was making the blocks for the Scrap Happy Stars!

Scrap Dance Quilt Along Finish!

Seems I like those scrappy projects!!!I was busy that year.  (You may see some of the same fabrics in BOTH projects!)

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  I appreciate all of your comments when you take the time to post them.  I often say I am slow to blog anymore because I don’t have much to say, or I don’t have any photos to support the post. Today it seems like I might be overwhelming you with photos and narrative.   So, I am glad you took the time to get this far, and hope you enjoyed the post.

What are you doing on this hot July day for fun???

Making Labels for Quilts

In the last couple of weeks I got motivated to make labels for projects that are “nearing” completion or are completed.  If you have been reading my blog in the last month or so, you know that I finished TWO of my Pat Sloan projects (Get to the Point and Mama’s Garden) that were started in classes several years ago.  I am also working toward completion of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Allietare.

I like to make a label for my quilt as the “final step” in the project. I use my embroidery machine to make a simple label, and fuse & stitch it on.  (More about the embroidery machine in a minute.) Often times I will use part of the backing fabric as a border on the label so it kind of “floats” on the backing. I learned a trick years ago for “making perfect circles for applique” and use the method when I add the fusing product to my label.  Basically, I lay the fusible product on top of my label with the fusing facing the wording and stitch all the way around, then I slit the fusing in the middle with my snips, and turn the whole thing “right side out” . This way there is a nice neat “edge” on the label turned under, and I have the added benefit of a “hard to remove” label. I do stitch around the label by hand, avoiding going into the front of the quilt, much the way you stitch binding. I will put a link to a video at the bottom of the page that gives you a better “visual” than my explanation.

If I am “efficient” I have the label ready, so when the binding goes on, two edges of the label are stitched down by machine. Like I said, “IF I AM EFFICIENT“.  That means in my life that I better make the label BEFORE I bind the quilt, and that doesn’t always happen, so SOME have to be hand stitched on all 4 sides.  When I hand stitch, I use a matching thread so my sloppy hand sewing doesn’t show.  

Let’s talk about making machine embroidery labels.  If you followed me for anytime you know that I have two embroidery machines. I have the Brother PE500 with the 4×4 hoop and the Janome 11000 with lots of hoops, including an adjustable hoop up to 6×12 or so.  For years I made my labels on the Brother machine, using the available fonts in the machine, typing one line at a time on the tiny screen.   The example below is one done on the Brother machine, one line at a time.  Around 2017 I was given a hoop that can be repositioned on the machine, so making a bigger label could be done with out “re-hooping”. Using it for the label below I could get a longer label, and still keep everything lined up straight.  I got “pretty good” at the alignment thing and figuring out where to start the next line using the plastic grid that came with the hoops.  

Banner label

The yellow label was applied on the back of this project BEFORE the binding went on.  The beauty of using fusible on the back is that it will stay in place while you are working on the binding. 

When I made my label for the Mama’s Garden quilt, I was using a fabric piece that Pat Sloan had signed for me several years ago, either when I took her class or went to a guild lecture she gave.  I had to try to line up the wording on my Janome 11000 (again one line at a time), using built in fonts.  I had fun with this label as it is the first attempt at making a label on my Janome, and I got to use some larger fonts.  I wish I had pushed the words pattern by a little farther to the left, but, I can live with the final result.

Quilt label with signature

This label was stitched on after the binding went on. I used green of the backing fabric for the edge of the label, but set it opposite of the backing so it does not completely disappear.

I have a couple of “free software” programs for embroidery, and decided I would try one of them to make my next label, using the software on the computer.  The program I chose to use was called Embrilliance Express and I used the fonts in the program.  I was really pleased with the result on the screen and with the stitch out.

Get to the Point label

I haven’t figured out how to tell the software to cut the jump stitches between letters, but I can live with them.  If you use Embrilliance Express and know the secret, do share!

  I hooped this fabric in my 8×8 hoop and got a nice size label.  I did the fusible trick and got nice edges and corners when I turned the label out right. I fused it on and hand stitched it down on all four sides.

I had such good success with the creation of the label in the Embrilliance Express software on the computer that I got busy and made another label and stitched it out for my Allietare quilt.

Allietare label

For this label I used my inspiration fabric on the edges of the top and bottom.  I will add the fusible after I get the quilt ready to bind.  I still need to get busy and make that backing and ship it all off to my favorite sister-in-law, One Block Wonder Woman

She has graciously offered to quilt it for me on her big long arm machine, Greta the Gammill.  Go take a look at her blog I linked and check out her adventures. 

So, that is my adventure in making quilt labels this month, and over the years. I need to learn how to import fonts into the Embrilliance program, and hope I can do that without buying something else.  I am so tickled with how the last two worked out and am writing about it to encourage you to use your embroidery machines if you have them.  Even if you just have a 4×4 hoop, you can make a multi line label!  Embrilliance is free in the “express mode”, and it is not to hard to navigate, which is perfect in my life!

Do you label your quilts?  What information do you like to include on the label?  How do you make your labels and apply them?  Love to hear what your methods are, as I like to continue to learn new tricks.

Here is the link Making perfect circles for applique  for the method I use for adding the fusible to my label and getting a nice clean edge.  The not only works for circles, it also is useful for rectangles or squares.  I tend to get a more “rounded” corner instead of a sharp 90 degree turn, which is fine for a quilt label in my life.