a sense of accomplishment

I feel like I have accomplished something today.  I started off the day with a meeting and was home before noon!! I decided to spend the afternoon in my sewing room, and I managed to get one of the Senior Quilts put together.

We have a total of 5 graduates this year at church, and I am only obligated to make one top.  I currently have 3 completed tops in my car to take back to church. The ladies have been busy getting these ready. When I left off on Saturday, I had 5 rows sewn together I think.  The rest of the 8.5″ blocks got put together and the whole thing has been pressed and is “ready to delivery”.   I had to print out some more pictures of the church on fabric and get them stitched onto blocks for the quilt I was working on and one other.

We will start signing them at church this weekend!  The other 2 tops should be done very soon.  Once the congregation has had a chance to sign and write messages of hope and faith and love, then we will get together and tie them and send them home with a quilter for binding.  Perhaps I should think about what binding I will be doing and get that ready tomorrow!!  Then I will know it is “DONE”.  At some point I will try to get a photo of the one I did, along with all the rest!

I also finished an apron that I started last week.  It is made from twill, which is a sturdier fabric than quilters cotton. One of my daughters home schools, and she “wears an apron” all day, and asked for a replacement. She also asked for something that was a busy print, so splashes and spots were not terribly noticeable.  I added an extra pocket to the apron, and made the pockets a little more substantial than called for in the pattern. I did that by just cutting an extra “piece and stitching and turning the pocket”.  I’ve made this pattern twice before, for a little girl and her dolly…..but it has been a few years. I plan to put this one in the mail tomorrow, and await feedback on the length, and the overall sizing.  I was asked to size it “generously” so that less splatters landed on the clothing of the wearer.  I tried it on and found it to be satisfactory, but I will wait to hear that feedback before cutting out the fabric I have for the 2nd one.

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Meanwhile, I have a garden apron to make for a “raffle basket” donation.  I need to have it done in the next couple of days.

It is nice to get a few things checked off my to do list.
Oh, by the way, my quilters math yesterday was correct and I have 10 EXTRA half square scrappy triangles. Thanks Carole!

 

A bit of sewing

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

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

Step 3 of the Two Step

Scrap Dance Two Step mystery Scrap HST

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

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

Senior Quilt 2017

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

What have you been up to??

Embroidery resources

Welcome to my new “readers & followers”.  I don’t say that often enough, but I am glad you found my blog and hope you will find something helpful, amusing, interesting or motivating in my posts.  I started this blog over 3 years ago, and use it as a “journal of sorts” of my hobbies – which continue to expand.  I originally wrote about quilting and sewing for the grand children; and have expanded to paper crafting, card making / stamping; and machine embroidery.  (Note – I flunked out of knitting 101, so you don’t have to listen to that story unravelling). Occasionally, I will chat about other things, like domestic life, my pets and travel.  Mostly, I am a stitching grandma!

I had a lot of fun on Monday, meeting ladies from Ocean Pines MD at the Embroidery Club they have established.  They have been meeting for over a year, and this was my FIRST chance to go.  I went immediately after the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting and it was a 45 minute trip.  Thank goodness I had so many helper to “pack up” the Second Time Around shopping and help me “get out the door” quickly.  My wonderful husband came over to the church with my car, and swapped out for the loaded SUV, and took it home. Next month, there is a luncheon at OWQG, so I will be able to “grab my dish” and head out on time.

What I enjoyed about the meeting with the Ocean Pines Embroidery Club was the willingness to share SKILLS that the experienced stitchers had acquired.  We learned about various stabilizers they like, design sources, and techniques for “in the hoop” designs.  They have been creating some wonderful projects.  Of course, I have terrible “machine envy” right now.  My little Brother PE500 can only accommodate a 4×4 design, and they were showing some projects that needed a 5×7 or larger frame.  I’m not investing in a new machine any time soon, so I will just “admire” and learn from the “bigger machine operators”.  I want to learn all I can, so when I eventually take the leap to something bigger, I will have “proof of use” of the little machine to satisfy the hubby……     😉

I mentioned to several ladies at the Embroidery Club that I had a blog, and had recently written about “transferring designs” between the computer and the embroidery machine.  If you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/moving-files-to-the-embroidery-machine-tutorial/  .

A few years ago I wrote a detailed post on resources for embroidery machines.  I shared lots of websites for free designs etc, places to buy designs, and supplies you might want to consider.  Again, if you are interested – that blog post can be found here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/machine-embroidery-resources/

I spent yesterday attending to normal domestic life stuff, with NO sewing/stitching. (Have I ever mentioned that I would rather sew than clean house or grocery shop???)  I deserved a nice cold glass of wine after the “stuff” was taken care of, and sat out in a rocker on the front porch and watched the traffic go by!  Can you believe it was 70 degrees yesterday?

After dinner, I had some time to “surf” on the computer.  I did find some interesting new “sources” for free designs and spent several hours   downloading things. I joined a group a few months ago on Facebook – Resources for Free Machine Embroidery Designs, Sales, Tutorials, Networking . https://www.facebook.com/groups/624604440941908/  Those members share links to FREE designs.

Following some of those links that had been posted on the Facebook group, I ended up at http://www.krisrhoades.com/  and picked up the cutest little elephant.  (Of course, I ended up window shopping for other designs too).

I also dropped by http://www.thebikestore.com/starling/index.html and picked up the mug rug pattern for March.  Once I downloaded the design, I was disappointed to find it was a 5×7, too big for my machine. Oh well, I have it saved now.

Then I popped over to http://missmarysembroidery.com/free-stuff-sales/  and picked up a “Luck of the Irish” free monthly design and an SVG cutting file too.

While I was browsing around on the Resources for Free Machine Embroidery….. group, I saw a link for Janome.  I don’t have a Janome EMBROIDERY machine, but I popped over to Janome’s website to see what they had, and was surprised to find FREE designs in multiple formats.  I need to subscribe and start downloading.  There were over 70 that would work for me, and I think I will be a little selective about what I download.   http://www.janome-embroidery.com/c-132-free-embroidery-designs.aspx

Another place on Facebook that I have found free designs is StitchDelight . https://www.facebook.com/groups/StitchDelight.FREEBIES/   I’ve collected some great alphabet  designs in the last month; new letter daily.   This is also a group you have to “join” to be able to download.

I am subscribed to a mailing list from Artistic Thread Works and get lots of freebies there every week.  You have to “subscribe” to the email list to get the free stuff – http://www.artisticthreadworks.com/public/main.cfm

As I mentioned, I am working with a Brother PE500; which is an embroidery only machine, with a 4×4 (100mm x 100mm) capability.  My machine has a “cable connection” to my computer, and uses PES files.

So, no fancy photo’s today because I have stitched not a thing!  Maybe later.  Grandbaby # 4 is having a birthday and I saw something tempting…..

DISCLAIMER – With most of these websites & Facebook groups, you need to “subscribe” or “join” or “set up an account”.  Be careful about what information you chose to share when doing this.  Honestly, one of these sites wanted my “birthday”….but I was not giving up the year….too much identity information!  And of course, Be careful about clicking on unknown links etc.  Make sure your “virus software” is up to date and running, and scans your downloads BEFORE you open them.   FYI – I have not had any problems with ANY of the links or the websites I am sharing, so if you ‘know and trust me’ you know that I won’t ever knowingly steer you wrong, but there are “evil doers” in the world who like to trick people; so be cautious when clicking on links in emails; on websites etc.  

Have fun with what ever you are working on today!

A tad bit of sewing

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

test of the bear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy stitching!

 

Moving files to the embroidery machine Tutorial

Hi all….I am  back home after a visit to the great state of Texas!  I had a great time with family, and even did a little “rotary cutting 101 training” . We did a little “re-engineering” of some fabric, and made 12 dinner napkins out of a thrift store table cloth.

It’s been a busy week since I returned.  On Tuesday, my “new bee”, the Queen Bees gathered for a few hours of sewing and info sharing.  We have a future project that I did a little “test stitching” on today.

Bear Face

This little Bear face came from Embroidery Library.com, design # M3994.  The “plan” for the future bee project will be bear faces on flannel (without the muzzle), and I needed to see how it went hooping, placement etc. I think I will assemble this bear for a new grandbaby of a church member!

Several of the ladies in the Queen Bees have Brother embroidery machines.  Today, I learned that there is a need for learning how to move files between the computer and the embroidery machine.   I wrote a tutorial, with photos,  to help guide in moving downloaded embroidery file designs from the computer to the embroidery machine.   If this is of interest to you, then “read on”.  Just as a heads up; this guide is specific to Brother embroidery machines.

I’ve put together a little guide and it is available on  my google drive!  Let me know if this link works for you and you find the info helpful.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8sXH35LAFkTZGlSNTRuQkd0WTA/view?usp=sharing

Happy stitching!

Fabric books for baby

Years and years ago, my mother used a product call Tri-Chem.  It was often referred to as “Liquid embroidery”.   It was a “paint in a tube” with a roller ball end. She would “hoop” items that had a stenciled design, and paint over the stencil.  I remember the hoops she used had blotting paper behind the hoop.  Gosh, Mom had containers of colors and accessories, and she made aprons, pot holders, placemats, toaster covers etc.  I still have an apron that she painted. ( I recall she may have been a demonstrator/dealer for the product back in the 60’s.)   One other thing she did was make fabric books for my children with Tri-Chem. Not long ago, I was visiting and my granddaughters still have the “doggy” book, that belonged to their mother. (Yes, Tri-Chem is still available). This particular book was made in 1979, on a pellon type product and is “highly washable”.  The doggy book has made it thru 2 generations of babies.  I think my Mom would love that!

Among other thing Mom would make for my children were fabric panel books and dolls. We have Christmas fabric dolls that come out every year.   When my grandchildren were coming along, I decided to make the fabric books too.  Yes, it feels nostalgic. My mom never got to meet these great-grandchildren.

Honestly, at the point I made the “fabric panel books”, the grandchildren were putting everything in their mouths, and books made of paper were at serious risk of damage.   So, when one daughter was decorating for Christmas this year, out came the Christmas fabric panel books.  Her children are beyond the age of these books for any reason other than nostalgia. It is fun, pulling out those things every year that remind us of years gone by.

I have continued to purchased book panels over the years because they are so fun to make. There have been some beautiful designs printed on children’s fabric book panels too.

This year, with a new granddaughter in the family, I decided to make her some fabric books.  She LOVES books, and has several commercially made books, that come with teethers and such.  For the first book, I decided I would use my embroidery machine and just make a random picture book.   I had fun finding  bright designs that I could stitch out on various solid color fabrics.  (Besides – her mother and aunt were the givers of all that embroidery thread last year!)

Addison's book

As I did the embroidery, you can see that I learned a few things along the way.  In the following photo, I learned that my fabric just kept pulling and pulling when I did the cat. It had a heavy stitch count, and I had 3 layers of stabilizers.  I am wondering if it was poor digitizing. (Every stitch of the fur kept going back to the edge of the design). So, the cat is the ONE page I am not excited about.

Turtle and cat

The turtle was a much better design, same stabilizer set up, and so smooth!  Like I said, a learning process.

Caterpiller and Train

I learned that the “source” where you obtain your designs makes a huge difference in the final outcome too.

Robin and Dog

Fawn and Ladybug

Guitar and Duck

Bear and Horse

Butterfly and Flower

The end…..back cover

Back cover Addy's book

I spent several weeks stitching out designs.  My limit was 2 per day.  I went though LOTS of stabilizer and thread doing these pages but it was SO much fun.

Last week, I bought a foam pellon product at the fabric store to use between the pages. Construction of the book with the foam left me some lessons learned. Next time I get this bright idea, I will remember to not make the foam as wide as the page, keep it out of the spine, and completely turn the pages rightside out and close the stitching on the spine edge. I used binding to cover the raw spine edges. I knew better…just didn’t think it through. The other reason is for ease of “STITCHING” the pages together into a book. I had all those layers PLUS the foam and my machine PROTESTED!! I had to go thru with the handwheel to join the pages into the book. OOPS. Then of course, that binding on top (blue) had to be hand stitched down as the machine was NOT going through 4 more layers. Lessons learned.

When I managed to get this book assembled, I got out those other wonderful panels I had purchased, and got busy putting them together.

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I used the foam in one of these books (the Christmas mouse) and fusible fleece in the other two books. I like the foam best, but the fleece worked! These were fun to put together.

My “book making” is complete for this Christmas, and I am sure there will be future projects where my lessons learned will be put to use.  I think back to the “liquid embroidery” my mother did, the hand embroidery my sister does, and the machine embroidery that I am doing.  Whatever your method, I think what is important is you are enjoying the process.  As I think back I know that I didn’t give proper appreciation at the time for those things my mother made.   As I have learned various crafts, I have figured out how hard she worked at her projects.  Those small things I have left from her I do appreciate now.   Life lessons to share I suppose.  I hope she is looking down from Heaven and seeing that I do now appreciate all her time and energy and crafty goodness.  A handmade gift is really a gift of LOVE.    

Wishing you a Christmas full of Joy and LOVE!

Merry Christmas!

Handmade Holiday Gifts — Maria Shell

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

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

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

Enjoy and Merry Christmas/Happy Chanukah