The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

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Other small projects…continued and bike rides

Did you read my last post Embroidery Machine Fun and other small projects and wonder what the “other small projects” were?  I got distracted posting and had a deadline to leave, so I left you hanging !  Sorry about that!  I had another (3rd one this week) bike ride to take!  So, let me begin with that story!

Bike Rides — My Wednesday nights used to be strictly for sewing while the hubby had his train club nights, but they have turned into bike rides with the LifeCycle Community Slow Cruise group in Milford Delaware. Our ride on Wednesday night was not quite a full hour  covering 5.4 miles and looked like this –

LifeCycle Community ride Sept 5

There were 30 or more riders, and we all had on bright neon yellow shirts – great SWAG from LIFECYCLE.

My third ride this week was on Thursday morning.  I dashed out the door following my post, which is why I forgot to get to the small projects!   I met up with a small group again for another ride around town.  This one is led by my daughter and took us a little bit further, but similar amount of time.  We had 4 riders, and one passenger, my 2 year old granddaughter. She rides along in her trailer, munching on her banana or strawberries, etc and enjoying the view.  She loves seeing the trash trucks as we ride by!  She cheers her mother and the rest of us on as pedal.  We covered about 7.5 miles on Thursday morning.  I’ve told my friends I keep trying to encourage to join the ride, that since we are essentially going in a big circle, it is easy to “return to center” if you were not up for the mileage.

Thursday morning slow cruise

The informal Thursday morning ride pace is set based on rider ability, and since my daughter is pulling that trailer, we are not really road racing about town.  I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the road bikes that you might see in their bike costumes around.  I like the name “slow cruise” and staying under 10 mph is just my speed.  The rides are open to anyone who would like to take part, meeting at LifeCycle across from the Public Library. For Wednesday night rides, lights, front and rear, are necessary, as it was getting dark at our halfway point, and totally dark by 7:49 pm when we stopped.  Ride With US as the logo on the back of the neon yellow shirt says!  (If your bike needs any work, see Ben at LifeCycle and he will get you tuned up, tires sorted out etc!)

And now –Small projects – I made another project on my Embroidery machine this week.  Actually, have done the same project twice  THREE times.  You will notice in 2 of the photographs that I numbered which run the project is from.  The design is from Embroidery Library and is called a Pin Cushion Magnet. The idea is to hot glue a magnet on the back and use it on the fridge, but our Embroidery Club made them for name tags.  I missed the meeting where they worked on theirs, and I decided to finally make my own.  I had to “check in” with the leaders to see if I was correct in taking the right steps to stop the program and insert my name.

Making a Pin Cushion name tag

This is my “first run”.  I hooped vilene wash away stabilizer , floated a piece of tear away under the hoop and have no show fusible mesh on the back of my applique piece (the tomato), front and back. I always use a water soluble topper (WSS), which is the shiny stuff on top.

I stopped the machine after thread change 9, exited the design, and used built-in fonts on my machine for my name. I played around a bit with the placement. Then I reloaded the design software, jumped ahead to thread change 10 and restarted the stitchout. In the photo it is doing the “tack down” stitches to secure the back piece.  The point of stopping the software is to get your name on the front stitched out before putting on the back piece.  Since you have to remove your hoop and change your bobbin color to match the last 2 colors it seems like the perfect time.

Now, why a first run…well…..2 reasons.  Thread breaks at the very end, last 500 stitches or so, and ill fitting back. I cut out the applique using the dieline file I printed out, and it gapped in a couple of areas around the top.  I felt like I cut on the lines, but that was “too close”. So, I made a 2nd run on Thursday.  This time, I stitched out the die line files on tear away stabilizer and cut them out around the edges, leaving about 1/4″ all around on the stabilizer.  AND..I think when I made the first one, I put the dieline pattern on the BACK of the fabric.  (I’m not certain).  So, once I had new dieline patterns, I made sure to cut on the FRONT of the fabric.  (Right sides made a difference).    For the 2nd run, I prepared the fabric again with no show fusible mesh on the back of the applique fabric, cut out the shapes, hooped 2 layers of Vilene wash away (running in opposite directions in case of stretch) and did not float a tear away underneath.  The reason….I don’t want to see the little white bits of tear away poking out along the edges of the final stitches around the outside edges.  Once I had stitched out completely, I removed the design from the hoop, cut away the vilene, and removed as much of the WSS as possible with tweezers.  On the first project, I used a wet q-tip and dabbed at the remaining WSS and along the edges of the vilene.  On the 2nd project, I got impatient, brought it in to the kitchen sink and turned on the hot water and soaked it completely.  PROS / CONS — The double layer of Vilene was awesome. Gave good stability to the stitchout.  Soaking it made everything get “wrinkled” and I am hoping a good press from the iron will improve the look.

My third try, I used the dieline template to cut out my red fabric and I cut it 1/2″ larger all around than the dieline. I also put a piece of batting, cut just a bit smaller than the dieline for the front piece. I used the same stabilizers and laid the batting on under the front fabric, and got busy stitching.  I went though the entire process, and after the tack down stitch for the back, I removed the hoop from the machine, and used my tiny scissors to trim away the excess fabric on the front and the back of the name tag.  This make sure I got all the edges caught under the stitches.  After it finished, I removed the stabilizer and “melted” the vilene with a cotton swap and water.  All looked great…..until I hit it with the iron, which still had steam going….and the whole nametag started to curl up.  The vilene was MELTING inside the project because of the steam.  Evil thoughts went through my head, and then I decided I was going to be smarter than the name tag.  Since it was already curling and looking melted, I got a piece of flannel out, and laid the tag on it.  I sprayed the tag until it was soaking wet.  Then I used the flannel as a “sandwich” and just kept ironing the tag until it laid flat.  It took about 10 minutes of pressing, with a large piece of flannel that was soaking up the moisture, changing positions every minute or so, but FINALLY, I have a flat project that does not look like it shrunk!  The front looks good but the back has some wrinkles.  I can live with that!  Time to get out the bar pins and get one hot glued on the back of the tag.

Three name tags

I used 3 different fabrics, and they were all from the scrap bin.  Fabric for run # 2 was really thin, which I assumed accounted for all the wrinkles.  Fabric # 1 & 3 were of equal weight and quality.  #1 & # 2 contained no batting.  #1 was never completely wetted.  You can see in the photo below of the backs of # 1 & 2 (near the arrows) where the fabric didn’t quite get caught under the edge stitching.  I am now convinced it is worth cutting “bigger than the dieline” and using the sharp applique and pointy scissors to trim the oversized piece.  # 3 has great edges.  In hindsight, a piece of batting on the back would have been a good idea.  In the photo’s # 3 is still a bit “wet” from all that spraying and ironing.

Back of all 3

3 of my fellow embroidery friends were here on Friday, and wondered why I was still “trying”.  I considered this little project a good learning experience!  As one said, “third times the charm”, though I was doubting that for a few minutes this afternoon.

I’ll never be a “pro” at this embroidery gig, but I learn with each project.

Other small  projects – I recovered my ironing station this past week.  My original board cover was four years old and just recently started to show terrible wear.  I ordered another Bo-Nash cover for my big board several months ago.  I had to add extra width to the cover so it would completely cover my station, which is an old butcher block kitchen island.  The previous cover I had added about an 8 inch “skirt”.  This time, I decided to go much longer, with the goal of hiding some of the clutter than lives under the ironing station.  I have bolts of decorator fabric I was given years ago, and chose one that wasn’t totally hideous.  I do like the extra length. Nobody needs to see my gallons of water, cans of spray starch etc.  Plus, it might prevent me from arbitrarily tossing stuff on the shelf underneath.  If I am going to put something there, it will be with definite purpose!

New Ironing board cover

I have 2 more placemats that are pin basted and ready to quilt, and since the feed dogs are down, I intend to work on them next.  Once they are all quilted, I will trim them all to final size and set to making binding.

I also have another binding project, but it is not for my own quilt.   I brought home a quilt that Trish has been working on at the assisted living place where I volunteer.  She did all the machine quilting, and I offered to trim it and bind it for her.  She is anxious to gift it to a young mother who works at the facility whose baby had just been born this past week.  Trish is  a resident who does a lot of sewing for other residents and staff members.  She was tickled to learn how to make a quilt.  I think she did a fine job.

Trish with her baby quilt

This past week when I went to volunteer, Trish was finishing her quilting, and there were 4 other ladies working on projects.  Two new to the group are hand piecing 4 patches, and another was working on pinning a blouse for alteration.  It is so fun to see my favorite resident, 101 year old Elsa come to sew. She had fabric cut to size to make sachet bags.  She did all of her own pinning and machine sewing, and I employed my assistant (aka husband) to press for her.  One of my hand pieces, Dotty is 99!  I believe they were having fun, and am convinced that IS the secret to a long life!

Any projects going on in your sewing room this weekend???

Embroidery machine fun and other small projects

I got in the mood last week to play with my embroidery machine a bit.  Last post, Summer Winding Down I shared a small zip bag made with my machine.  I also decided to make a “name tag” to wear when I go to my Queen Bee’s gatherings.

I was inspired last Tuesday by my friend Nancy’s hand made tag.  She designed and hand appliqued her bee skep (bee hive) , and used her embroidery machine just for her name.  Isn’t the little bee made from beads and a flower petal sweet?

Nancy's name tag

Since I loath sewing by hand, I thought I would keep a watchful eye out for something I could use my embroidery machine to make the tag.  I found the perfect design at SewSweetly.com  .

Beehive pattern

I do like to keep track of what I used in the various color changes on the color sheet, just in case I want to duplicate or change something on the “next run”.  I stitched out the 3.5″ design.  The 4″ would not open on my Brother PE500.  I am guessing it was bigger than 100 mm, even though it was labeled as a 4×4.

Playing with variegated thread

I decided to use that wonderful Embroidex variegated thread I was given 2 years ago!

Beehive name tag

Did have to do a little hand stitching after I put a back on the design and close it up at the bottom, but overall I am happy with the outcome.  I didn’t have any clasps on hand so I hand stitched a big safety pin on the back to allow me to pin this to my shirt at my next bee.

I’m keep my eye open for the perfect bumble bee to attach to this hive!

NOTE – I am not affiliated with this website!  But have to tell you everything is on sale today.  I paid $3 for the design last week, and you can get it today for $0.75.

Happy stitching….off for another bike ride!

Summer winding down

I can’t believe August has left us and summer has wound down so quickly!  August has been a hot humid month, and September is much the same.

Our local kids went back to school on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day in the US.  Some areas of the country school has been in session for several weeks.  We live in an area that is a summer tourist destination.  A few years ago, citizens complained to the state government about schools starting in the middle of the August and not long after the legislators set a “state-wide” start date for schools.

So, as the children started back for their “First day” in Delaware, my youngest daughter, my youngest granddaughter and I ventured over to the formerly busy beach area for a bike ride! What a change a week makes in the volume of people on the trail, walking and running.  All summer it has been filled with families and young children and yesterday, it was the older crowd. A few moms with strollers around the library and right in town, but once out on the longer trail, my granddaughter in her trailer, was the only child around!  We rode a surprising 12.24 miles !

12.24 mile bike ride

I was stunned to realize how far we had gone. Up to this point, my longest ride has been about 8.5 miles.  I started riding with my daughter in early July, sometimes 2-3 times in one week. I need exercise and this is certainly a fun way to get it.  Haven’t lost one pound, but I have found my calves!  Now, I am finding myself scheduling bike rides on my calendar into October. I want to make sure I schedule the time so other things don’t get in the way of an opportunity to ride together.  I haven’t done much in the way of exercise since I retired six years ago, unless you count climbing the stairs to my sewing room multiple times a day as exercise!  So, this is GOOD.  As I approach my mid 60’s, those looming health issues we all face demand I do something, and I love to ride.

My bike is a TREX, era 1990’s, with good tires, though heavy and a bit squeaky and with it’s quirks.  My oldest daughter rode this bike in middle school and high school during that decade, and I rode it off & on in the years following. I put a “new bike” on my Christmas / Spring birthday wish list for myself, determined not to buy one until I have at least 6 months of riding  regularly. I really love the local bike shop, LifeCycle in Milford DE. My daughter introduced me to the owners, Ben and Jenn, during a community ride they organize.  I’ve done several with a big group, 40 or more riders, and some with smaller groups that my daughter has organized and I am having fun!   All in all, a positive direction to move in.

Yes, I am still sewing, and I managed to get a few projects done last week.  Those batik placemats are coming along. I found a nice 3 yard piece of batik in my “blues” bin and think I can get just about all of my placemats backed with it.  I layered and pin basted them and started quilting them over the last week.

half way done with placemats

I have 9 quilted, trimmed and ready to bind.  If you click the photo, it will take you to my FLICKR album. Give the picture a second to focus, then you can zoom in and see the free motion quilting (FMQ) on the placemats.  It has been good practice.  The quilting has been done on my domestic sewing machine using Superior Fantastico # 5021, a variegated blue turquoise and purple 40 weight on top and in the bobbin. Thankfully you can’t really “see” the quilting on those busy batiks on the front of the placemats, but boy can you see it on the back.  I will show a photo of the backs ‘next time’.   Let’s just leave it as “good practice” for my FMQ and I am getting better bit by bit.

Next up for projects is a quick one I did on Labor Day afternoon.  I made two bibs to include in a “baby basket” that will be raffled off at our spring quilt show.  Since I made so many for my youngest granddaughter, I feel comfortable making these for that event. I tried to pick fabrics that looked modern and might appeal to a young parent.

Bandana bib

I love this bandana style.  I did minimal quilting in a graphic manner, just enough to hold the batting firmly in place that is between the layers.  I made a second bib in a more traditional shape with 2 contrasting fabrics.  I just love this bright green leaf print.

Flip side of the black bib

I think it makes a nice reversible to this dot fabric in bright colors.

Traditional bib

I did a bit more quilting on this bib in a wide graphic shape. They are bagged up and ready for delivery!

While I had my “bib making supply box” out, I sorted out all the fabrics I had stored in it, and returned most to my stash, leaving just the basics in the box, like patterns and PUL laminated fabric for waterproofing.

I found a great pattern and instructions for a free “in the hoop” zip bag last week through a group on Facebook.  I was happy to find one that would work with the 4×4 hoop on my Brother PE500.

Pattern Paw Print Zipper bag

The instructions are so well written, and it was worth the 12-14 pages I had to print out, to follow along.  I downloaded the design and got busy!

Paw Print zipper bag

This little pouch finished at 3.5″ square.  I did use some 505 spray, for temporary adhesive while construction was underway, along with my narrow masking tape.  The instructions have you pinning fabric edges, but I found that I liked the masking tape. I am now on the hunt for short zippers that I can use on some future projects!  I have a bunch of 18″ ones I purchased at a quilt shop a couple of years ago, but they are really too big for this project and would be wasteful.  I’ve dug in my sewing box and come up with a few short ones.  I have a similar in the hoop pattern from another designer that puts the loop on the left side of the zipper, and I am going to try it next. Bother patterns use the same size pieces for the pouch.  I have 3 pouches “cut out” and kitted up for my next embroidery club gathering.

I do like these quick projects that I can finish in a day or two.  I keep working on my placemats, in between, some of these other fun projects.  It’s nice to have some “finishes” once in a while.

I had to laugh with my husband about all of my quilt tops that are on hangers, patiently waiting for me to finish them.  I have to go in search for a heavy duty hanger for one, which was too weighty for the hanger and broke it this week.  It is a queen size that is in a state of “limbo”, just hanging around waiting for my next move.  I believe it is my Scrap Dance Tango in king size. (Pattern is from Carole – From My Carolina Home.  (Follow the above link for pattern information). The one with 1400 or so half square triangles.  It is a beauty, and one that I must get busy and quilt.  I seem to remember I wanted to add a 2.5″ border all around. Must be time to spread it out on the bed and see if the size is as I wanted it to be and move forward from it’s status.  Our quilt show registration is opening next week, and I think I want to show this one, so I must get busy.  I need to make a “finish it list” to move it along!  Carole – From My Carolina Home always has fun projects and great posts.

I also follow some rather “famous in the quilt world” people.  Bonnie Hunter has been a favorite for a long time, and I have done a couple of her mystery quilts and taken 2 of her classes.  .   Those that have followed my blog know that I love her scrappy style and I have written about her scrap storage system, string piecing and linked to her blog many times.  This week she is mourning the loss of her brother and I know that the tens of thousands that are her fans feel her grief and offer their sympathy.  She has a worldwide following and I hope she can find strength from the “quilty hugs” many of us are sending her way.  I pray for peace in her heart and comfort for her entire family.  

Many quilters find peace during their sewing time, and comfort in the quiet time they spend in their sewing rooms.  I’ve read about quilters who work through their grief while stitching in the wee hours of the night. I enjoy the solitude sometimes in my sewing room, and yet, I find great joy in the times I can sew with my friends at a bee.  I hope you have a wonderful day working on your special projects.

 

 

 

Fire and Ice Batik Table Runner

My sewing room has visitors off and on all last week.  We had 4 helpers for 2nd Time Around prep on Friday working hard for the benefit of the guild.  One member, Arlene, took home a partially made project that she found in the donations and came back on Saturday to lay it out on my big table and get it pin basted. She had taken something that someone else discarded, added a little time and effort and borders, and now has a baby quilt ready to donate to one of the many charity groups Ocean Waves Quilt Guild supports.

Another friend, Karen, came over and laid her languishing quilt top on my big table, and we measured the dimension, and then measured her available fabric for the back.  We tossed around ideas for increasing the size of her backing with some pieced blocks and extra bits.  I can’t wait to see how she proceeds. She had 5 wonderful paper pieced blocks she wanted to incorporate on the back, and we worked through how she could do that.   Of course, we needed my design wall blank, so before she arrived I cleared my design wall of those batiks that have been hanging around since the end of July.

Batiks hanging out

I wrote about them here – small-projects-and-small-bits and here Batik Fun .

I can’t share what she is working on, but after she finishes and the gift is received, I will.  

Anyway, I had stacked up all those pieces from the design wall onto my sewing machine while we worked on her project.  After she left, I decide it was time to do something with the table runner.  I dug in my bin of greens and blues and found a nice batik that I had “just enough” of a piece for backing and binding.  I also dug in my bin of scrap batting and pulled out a chunk that was “just enough” for a table runner.

I layered up the table runner, batting and backing, pinned it and put on my walking foot again for machine quilting.  (Most of you know that I am still terrified of free motion quilting (FMQ) but have had good success with straight line walking foot quilting!)  (All right, I debated FMQ, but quickly shook my head no.  I think I will get some practice in on those placemats….later).  I previewed 2 threads and chose Superior Fantastico thread #5025, which is a variegated, pink, blue, yellow, and green thread.  I used it in the bobbin as well as on top.  It actually shows more on the back than I like, and now I wished I had stuck to silver for the bobbin!

I stitched across each block and though the cornerstones making and X.  Then I did some channel quilting in the sashing.  Honestly, the quilting in the sashing took me the longest, because I had to stop at every cornerstone.  I also stitched in the ditch between the blocks and the sashing.  There is “enough”  quilting to keep the table runner nice and flat, but it is not heavily quilted.  I kept debating going back and doing something in the “triangles” on each section with either straight lines or the hopper foot. By the time the channel quilting was finished, so was I.  My “go make dinner” alarm went off, and I shut off the machine.  

After dinner, I was re energized and  hubby and I went back out to the garage. I was just going to cut and make the binding.   He is working on building a “test track” on a shelf for “speed matching” his locomotives……(He needs a blog!)  I might take a picture or two when he gives me the ok!  I had a great audio book going and time ran on, as it often does.

I made up my binding using my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding” method,.  I continued to sew while listening to the book, and got it the binding on the runner.  I like the way it turned out.  Hubby always tells me he likes the added “pop” of color the binding adds.  I used the smaller of the TQM Binding tools to join the ends and I got the “BEST” join ever on this project.  (Note, because of the piping/flange, I baste the join, check to see if it lines up and adjust if need be.  I made one slight adjustment and it is perfect!)  I think using the smaller binding tool helped.  Or, I had more patience and lots of practice from all those placemats!   If you have trouble with the join, try basting it first.  The link for the binding method shows written directions and a video!

Table runner bound

The fabric from the back of the runner is the same fabric I used in the “flange” on the binding.

Back of the table runner

I mentioned in a comment to a reader this weekend that this binding is a joy to make, not a chore.  I love it because there is NO hand sewing!

I was trying to remember where I had used that batik for the back of the runner before, and it just occurred to me…my Sensational Silk wall hanging, borders and backing (more about it here – In Betweens  ).  There is just about enough left to use for the back of one of those placemats in the stack.

Hubby said to me after the table runner was bound, looking at it in the sewing room, that he thought it was “too small”.  It measures about 19″ x 35″.

I had to bring it in the house and put it on the dining room table to get a look.  (That meant I took all those Autumn Jubilee placemats off for a while!) The dining room table is 40″ x 80″ so I think it floats well in the center.  I like the finished size.  I have made longer runners, but this works for me for now.

Fire and Ice table runner on the table

I decided to call it “Fire and Ice” because it feels HOT with all the orange and cool with all the turquoise and green and purple.

Time for me to get busy labeling projects!  Do you put labels on “everything” ?  I didn’t on my placemats, but will on the runner.  I need to make a label for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt too.  Time for me to tackle the reset of the stack of batik placemats.  I had wondered what others thought of using muslin for the back of placemats in a previous post.  My friend Nancy has a couple of nice batik pieces she is going to share, and I am digging around in my bins for more batik yardage and fat quarters.   (I do think I will practice some FMQ on those….wish me luck!)

Do you name your projects? It is fun to “FINISH” some smaller projects.

Christmas Cardinal Block

Yesterday I showed you a peak of my Christmas Cardinal Block I was working on.  It was such a cheery block to work with, I just could not “stop” and wait until the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday.  My husband is still laughing because I was “working ahead” of the bee project!

Cardinals are said to mate for life, and I don’t want an odd number! I finished up the first block and cut enough fabric to make at least 2 or 3 more.  Those pieces will hold until Tuesday for our bee gathering.  

The FREE PATTERN source for the Cardinal block — Mom and Pop Quilt shop

The block was  designed for a Christmas 2017 quilt.  All the specifics are on the link above. Laura-Lynn of Mom & Pop Quilt Shop even wrote a nice comment on yesterday’s blog post and included a you-tube video link   She does videos all the time and has a 48 minute video talking about the construction of the block. Laura-Lynn’s videos make me feel like I am sitting in her sewing room with her, as she chats and laughs while she sews!

Anyway, I thought I would share a little bit more about my first cardinal block.  I decided the block would be incorporated into a pillow.  I sized everything for an 18″ pillow, and used the “envelope style” for ease of stuffing and unstuffing of the pillow form or one of my every day pillows.

Envelope style back

Since it will be a Christmas decoration, I want the ability to pack it away flat after the holiday.  I will probably slip my existing sofa pillows into the cushion cover.

The block finished at 12″ and I added a borders before quilting.  I really wanted the bird to “pop”, so after I cut my muslin and cotton batting I slipped 2 more layers of wool batting under the area of the bird.  Once I did some outline quilting of the bird, I folded back the square and trimmed along the edges.  Then I smoothed out the square and did my quilting around the bird.  Once that was all done, I changed to a variegated red  Superior thread and did some quilting on the bird body.  For the beak I switched thread  again, and used some of my embroidery machine thread in gold and black.  Last but not least was  how to make the eye of the cardinal.  I don’t do hand embroidery, so  I dumped out the button box and dug for “just the right” button.  (Note….I am making more pillows, so I held out a “bunch” of those “just the right buttons”.  No, they won’t be the same.  Each will be unique!)   I looked online at a lot of photos of Cardinals to decide just where to place the eye, and to get a look at the way their feathers lay before I quilted!  Those photos led me to pick a button with gold around the edge.

quilted and ready to trim

Once the quilting was finished,  and the button sewn on for the eye, I trimmed off the excess batting and muslin.  (Note, I used the muslin so the inside of the pillow would be smooth)

Here is a close-up of the bird – You can see how I quilted his body.  The addition of the extra 2 layers of batting give the cardinal a plump look.

Cardinal Close-up

The pillow form was inserted and I think I got the look I was after.

Cardinal Pillow finished

I now have a pair of 18″ Christmas pillows from this line of Moda Christmas TOLE fabric.  I bought several yards of the coordinating fabric a few years ago to make 6 Star Christmas pillow slip covers for my daughter.  You might remember I had trouble with one pillow and the markings from a pencil, and had to “remake” her 6th pillow.  So, I ended up with 1 star pillow.   I can STILL see those faint lines from the silver quilt marking pencil, but from a galloping horse it blurs into the background.  The following Christmas I made her a table runner with the same star pattern.  (I linked to it yesterday).   Because I still have several yards left, I chose this fabric for the project.  The body of the cardinal is from red scraps of varying origins and vintages. The selvage was on the red holly leave and was from 1992! While looking at the Moda Tole fabric,  I looked at the sale ticket from the original Moda fabric purchase – 2016. 

Cardinal and Star

In one of the comments yesterday, Quilting Nurse asked if it was a hard pattern to make.  I must say I found it fun and easy!  I mentioned to her a couple of things.  I think the cutting instructions I had could be improved.  The pattern had us cut squares at 2 7/8 for the half square triangles (HST), and 3 1/4″ for the beak quarter square triangles (QST).  I don’t know about you but I like even 1/2 ” increments.    My suggestion is to cut for your favorite method of making a 2.5″ HST.  Some people like to make the 8 at a time method.  I like to cut my HST base pieces at 3″ and construct, and trim to 2.5″ with the June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square Triangle ruler.  Others might be using Bonnie Hunter’s methods with strips and the easy angle or Deb Tucker’s method.  Which every way you do it, cut so you have a 2.5″ HST when it is done.   All the squares in the basic block are 2.5″ before being sewn into rows!  Bottom line, I would rather trim than come up short of HST & QST.   So, before you start cutting, decide your “best method” and adjust accordingly.

I will be taking my first bird for show and tell, and doing some more construction during the Queen Bee’s gathering on Tuesday.    If you make one of these Cardinal blocks, tell me what you will do with it.  Wall hanging, table runner, quilt???   Share your photo’s.  Have fun stitching!

 

 

 

Bee Skep Pin Cushion FUN !!

A friend of mine sent me a link to the cutest pin cushion pattern she had come across, and thought that it would be a great project for the members of the Queen Bee’s quilt bee.  As the bee leader, she thought that I could entice the members into making something quite cute and fun.  The pattern is by Lea Anne Brummett , on a blog called Podunk Pretties – https://podunkpretties.blogspot.com/2018/07/bee-skep-pin-cushion.html  .

If you want the pattern, go to Lea Anne Brummett’s blog, and at the bottom of the page is a link to the whole pattern.  The link will take you to her CRAFTSY store.  This is a free pattern!

Once I got my pattern printed out, I debated about cutting those circles.  I messaged another guild member who has an accu-quilt dye cutting machine. She had 2, 3, and 5″ circles.  I needed more sizes than that. So, I bit the bullet, got out some carbon paper, and traced over the circles onto a manilla file folder. I cut those circles out and marked them with the sizes.

The pattern calls for assorted yellow prints.  I decided to use my yellow/gold/orange scrap box, and started pulling out pieces, and getting them starched and ironed.  I doubled the fabric so I could cut 2 pieces at once.  I used a fine point sharpie to outline my templates. I put a pin in the center of each circle to prevent shifting when I got ready to cut.  I had so much fun cutting out the first set, I decided to cut a few more.  I did all the cutting with my Fiskars scissors.  It went quickly!  (The secret is the heavy starch!)  (People who know me KNOW that I hate using scissors….I always look for a way to use a rotary cutter….)

3 Pin cushions ready to sew

Before long, I had 12 sets cut out, one for each member of my Queen Bees Quilt Bee.  I played around with the circles, and arranged them in pleasing groups and bagged them up.  Then, it was time to sew my Bea Skep!!

In no time at all, I had all 5 layers of the  pin cushion stitched, clipped, turned and stuffed. Took me longer to hand stitch all of them closed after they were stuffed!  I put ground English walnut shells in the largest circle to give weight to the Bee Skep.  The rest were filled with poly batting that I shredded into fine pieces as I stuffed.

Completed project Bee Skep Pin Cushion

I decided to use a metal shank button on the top instead of a yellow flat button. I like the dimension it gives.  I made 2 or 3 extra passes through the bottom cushion with my needle to make sure the knot doesn’t pull out. When I finished, I glued a circle of rubber shelf liner to the bottom of the pin cushion.  I used that thick Elmers craft glue, and made sure I had good coverage on the rubber shelf liner.  I used a plastic sandwich bag over my hand to press on the rubber circle to make sure it stuck well.  I let it rest on it’s side for a few minutes to dry, and made sure to only set it on the plastic bag until I was certain the glue was dry and would not stick to my table etc.

Rubber gripper on bottom of pin cushion

I like the way it turned out.  It is only about 3.5″ tall.

Bee Skep Pin Cushion

Looks cute with my flower headed pins and butterfly pin in it.  (I don’t have any of those fancy pins that Lea  Anne has….yet….)  It stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.

Take away – I would use a different needle next time when I am doing the stitching with the crochet thread.  The needle I used was too big to pass thru the holes in a standard button, and I wanted to put a flat button on the bottom to give extra security to the threads on the bottom.  Since the needle was too broad, I made those extra stitches.  Check the needle size through the holes in the buttons before you get started!

Cost – $0 — everything came from stash, scraps, the button box and items already on hand like crushed walnut shells, pieces of poly bat (from an old pillow), and crochet thread.  Thanks Lea Anne for the free pattern!

This is a fun fast project.  I hope you go to the blog “Podunk Pretties” and download your free pattern and make this cute Bee Skep pin cushion.

After I finished my own set, I decided to add some bits to the  kits I am gifting to my Bee buddies.  I opened up the sets I made for my Queen Bees and added 2 buttons, and a round circle of shelf gripper, and a length of yellow crochet thread.  Then I bagged up some ground English walnut shells for each of them to use in the bottom round or 2 of the cushion. They can use either poly bat or wool in the top sections.   I will take an extra bag of metal shank and flat buttons with me to the next Queen Bee gathering and they can select any additional buttons for their own projects.  All they need to do is download the pattern and start sewing!

Thanks LeeAnne of Podunk Pretties for the great fun, free project.  And thanks to my friend Pat for sharing the link to Lee Anne’s blog.  I had fun with this fast and easy project.

Have you found a quick and easy project that is worth sharing?