Cat bites the hand that fed it… and Secret projects

I have been very quiet on my blog lately, because it is time for SECRET PROJECTS!!   I am writing this on Thanksgiving morning (Nov 22, 2018) in the USA, but will schedule it to post for “after dinner”.  Thanksgiving Day feasting will take place at my daughter’s home and we have a bit of a drive to get there today.  My SECRET PROJECTS are being delivered there today, which is why the delay in the post going live.  I like to gift before I show them on the blog!

I’ve been playing with my embroidery machine a lot lately.  It seems that I can manage the embroidery machine and changing threads pretty well, 6 weeks post-op. My fingers are still pretty stiff, but moveable, and the surgery site is now healed nicely.

I have done some sewing, webbing together the quilt top for the My Carolina Home Hurricane Quilt Drive. Now I need to clean up the embroidery supplies, pack away the box of stabilizers and make room at my sewing machine to get the rows on that webbed top stitched.  My motivation will be delivering it with the backing fabric and the batting at my Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday!

Before I show you my SECRET PROJECTS, I want to share another story.

 We have 3 cats, one outside and 2 inside.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know about my cat Mittens….of the pet mosaic quilt.

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                           Sweet face Mittens

That sweet innocent face inspired the quilt below –

 (If you do a search on my blog you will find many posts about that project.  Here is just one –  Pet Mosaic piecing complete  )  

Mittens wins Viewer's Choice at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show

Mittens has chosen my husband to be “his person”, while Smokey has chosen me to be “his person”.  Our outdoor cat is their mother, and she has chosen us both.  She really like my husband “better” than me.  

 Anyway, here is the story.  Hubby does floor exercises daily for his back, and Mittens likes to help him.  While he is on the floor stretching, Mittens loves to chase his shadow, get petted etc.  

Well, one day a little over 2 weeks ago, hubby stopped petting Mittens while he stretched, and had his head turned away. Mittens decided he wanted more attention and pounced, as cats will do.  Along with the pounce came a “love bite”…only this time, it was a BITE that broke the skin and punctured into his hand,  4 canines! Got the hubby’s attention, got Mittens some negative attention as a result! Hubby washed it off, and didn’t think much about it until 72 hours later when his hand got swollen, and red marks appeared.

 A trip to the doctor was already on the calendar, so he showed it to the doc at the appointment and was immediately put on antibiotics, and scheduled to return the following day.  By the next day, the swelling was worse, a red streak up the arm and the doctor took one look at it and sent him to the Emergency room for IV antibiotics.  Long story short, he spent 3 nights in the hospital, with IV antibiotics, the surgeon checking periodically to see if he might have to do his bit to clean out the hand etc. The hospital stay was followed by another 15 days of antibiotics.  Fortunately, he did not need the surgeon, and is on the mend!

 Moral of the story according to our family doctor – a cat bite is the WORST bite you can get.  He told us that we must come in to see him if it ever happens again, and get on antibiotics immediately!  Turns out, cats have bacteria on their teeth that gets “sealed in under the skin” when the teeth retract from the bite. The wound is considered a puncture wound, and no amount of washing & application of antibacterial cream will reach the bacteria.  Web MD has some really good information.  I read that before the visit to the doctor the first time, so I knew what was coming. 

So between recovery from my own surgery and dealing with hospitals for hubby, I have been able to spend time in my sewing room.  I do feel like I have given the embroidery machine a good workout.  Some secret projects will wait for after Christmas for the reveal, but others, you can see now.

I am enjoying what they call “in the hoop” projects.  With my little Brother PE500 and it’s maximum 4″x 4″ design space, I have found countless designs to stitch!  I love these little Gingerbread boys and girls –

Ginger boy and girl

I stitched them out on vinyl that I picked up on Sunday.  I also stitched out some on craft felt and I like them too! They were so much fun to stitch, and I thought they would be fun Christmas ornaments for this year for each of the grandkids.

A collection

I also had some fun stitching out other ornaments on white vinyl –

Ornaments on White

This is a first working with vinyl on the embroidery machine, and each time I played a bit with the stabilizers, toppers etc.  Overall, I had fun and I am pleased with the outcome.

I also thought I would take the Thanksgiving host a few dishtowels.

Enjoy life one slice at a time

Save room for Dessert

Bake the world a better place

These terry towels I picked up last winter, and have been “waiting” for the right time.  I have now run through about half of my supply, but have a few left waiting to be used for other projects.

Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and for taking the time to comment.

I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!

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Quilting in the 21st Century

I went to a “newcomers” orientation with Ocean Waves Quilt Guild on Monday. I’m a “member of the board” and was asked to come and talk about 3 or 4 different activities within the guild, including “Second Time Around”.  If you are a new follower, let me explain — My committee receives fabric and quilting notions from donors and we “make it pretty again” by pressing, trimming, folding and “selling” back to the members of the guild the day of our monthly meeting.  Funds we raise support our guild and enable us to have speakers from around the country.

When I get donations, sometimes I have to ask others “what” an item is or how it is used.  This is because I didn’t have an association with the hobby in the “previous” century, and I am aware that the hobby has changed dramatically since the 1970’s, the 1930’s and centuries prior.   My quilting “journey” began in 2008, and I learned to cut with a rotary cutter, learned how to cut strips with the June Tailor slotted ruler.  Some tools I see, I honestly haven’t experienced, yet my long departed grandmother would know exactly how to use them.  There is a resurgence in the quilting world to use vintage sewing machines, and to do hand work.  I learned at my grandmother’s knee how to thread her black Singer sewing machine, and she taught me the basics of sewing buttons on etc.  I learned this year how to sew a button on using my Janome.  Guess which way I like to attach buttons??

What was neat at the newcomers orientation is the WIDE variety of methods members are using in quiltmaking.  Some are employing centuries old methods, like “needle turn applique”  and “English Paper Piecing” while others are happy to work on t-shirt quilts and use those modern quilt kits that come with jelly rolls, and fat quarters and pre-cut 5 and 10 inch squares.  It was wonderful to see an entirely hand pieced project, and beautifully long armed projects too.  It was also wonderful to see a “first quilt”, recently made.  We all encouraged that new quilter to enter her project in our April 2019 quilt show.

My blog post yesterday about “machine binding” may have made a long time quilter gasp in horror that I would dare to enter a quilt in a show with a machine binding.  I’m sure much the same way as the quilter who had always made her own templates out of paper or cardstock when they stores started to carry that plastic template material, or when “gasp” rotary cutters and rulers came into being, or when the Accu Quilt Die cutting machines hit the markets.  Today, you can buy kits with everything pre-cut, with applique pieces digitally cut with “fusible” (gasp) on the back.  

Yes, quilting is here, in the second decade of the 21st century, with more technology that some might want, and technology that some of us crave.  I am the first to try a new gadget or tool.  I am also the one who says “my brain is not ready for another computer program to learn”.

My husband and I have two very different hobbies, yet they both are growing in leaps and bounds in the 21st century. He was dismayed yesterday when he read a comment on a group he belongs to about model railroading. The comment was very negative to the person who posted about finding a way to “cut out his building parts” using a Brother Scan N Cut machine.  The person writing the comment berated the man for not being a “real modeler” and that he “should be cutting those window out with an exacto blade etc…   My reaction was something akin to “B.S.”…..”that’s like telling a quilter that she didn’t make a “real” quilt, because she sent it out to be long armed, or because she didn’t “hand quilt” the quilt. Maybe others think the same of me because I use machine binding.

Personally, I think there is enough “room” in the hobby for all methods, and all tools and all INTERESTS.  My interests lie more in getting “finished” than languishing over a project for years and years.  I like “machine binding” and “machine embroidery” and “rotary cutting” and “fusible, machine applique”.  No, I don’t “quilt by check” but I do machine quilt.  And I learned to quilt free hand on a long arm…1 quilt down, but not award winning quilting like some who quilt professionally. But, it’s done!  And I did it, and I take pride it what I have learned along the way.

I think there is room for all levels of interest in this diverse hobby.   I’m sure you have heard some speak negatively about a quilter who doesn’t do a particular task “the right way” etc .  Is your “right way” the “only way”?

Is there room in the hobby for that attitude?  I don’t think so.  I think we need to be kind, to be helpful when someone asks a questions and wants to learn and also that we learn to not be our own worst critics.

Try to remember, a hobby, defined by Merriam-Webster  is “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation”. Other definitions include – A hobby is an activity that you do in your spare time for fun . Retirement brings lots of spare time, and this grandma is having fun!

I’d love to know if you have been active in the hobby for a long time about the changes that have been made that you embrace, and those changes that you chose not to embrace and why not?  No judgements from me.   Just tell me how the hobby has changed during the time you have been part of it, and what you like or dislike.

Thanks for reading along!

Machine Binding methods and tutorials

Yesterday, a friend of mine from church called with some “quilt questions”.  She has worked with me on our Senior Quilt project in the past and is an excellent seamstress.  She is getting ready to “bind” her quilt, and wanted to chat before she got started.  She had been at the fabric store and looked at the price of the premade double fold binding packets and knew that I could give her a better method.  I answered the questions on the phone as much as I could, then offered to share some resources that I have unearthed online.  By the time I got finished sharing all of it with her in an email, I felt like I’d just written a blog post.  I thought others who read this blog might find it useful too.

DISCLOSURE — none of these methods are my own, they are all resources I have come across in the 10 years that I have been quilting.

My absolute lazy self wants to machine bind quilts. I don’t have enough time in my life to sit and hand sew binding.  My brain has already started another quilt by the time I get to binding. I know many people find sitting and binding while enjoying a football game or a movie is relaxing.  I have 2 cats that would be in the middle of things, so it is out of the question in my life. Besides…I already told you, I am lazy.  (Really I want to get it done and move on!!)
Let’s start with my favorite
Susie’s Magic Binding” , also known as “binding with a flange”.  My hubby thinks it really adds a “pop” to the quilts.
                                                     This is MY preferred method for binding quilts 
I discovered this binding method on a blog called 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks. Tuesday Tutorial: Susie’s Magic Binding

 The directions are well written, easy to follow.

The video gives great instructions to follow along with the written instructions from her blog.

Susie’s Magic Binding Video Tutorial

Take note at around 8 minutes into the video of the method that is used for joining the ends and lining up the “flange/piping”.   This is the only “tricky thing” about this style of binding, and that is joining the ends and making the flange line up.

MY TIPS — In any method you use, I find that once you attach the binding to the BACK of the quilt, you get a better result by taking the quilt to the ironing board, and pressing that binding, against the seam, towards the raw edge of the quilt.  That way it is sharp and crisp when you roll it to the front.  I also take the time to bring it around to the front and PIN or use clips to hold the binding in place, so I have less fiddling around while I sew.  I use my WALKING FOOT when doing binding, because you are going through SO many layers.  I also use the TQM ” The Binding Tool” to join my ends, and I often BASTE the join until I have the piping lined up perfectly. I don’t always get my join perfect first try, and I find that basting the join works for me.  There are many ways to join the ends of binding and you-tube is a great resource.  I have never mastered the “pin trick” in the video above.  Near the end of this post I put a link to a video I used when I first got the TQM Binding Tool. That video is from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company.
OTHER TYPES OF MACHINE BINDING –All of these videos and links are from EXPERIENCED quilters who are great teachers.  There a LOTS more out on youtube, but I am sharing some of my favorites.
SINGLE COLOR BINDING
I love Susan – “the Gourmet Quilter ” and her methods and instructions.  In the first video, she tells you how to measure and make your binding, —  How to measure, cut and make a binding strip – Quilting Tips & techniques 093  
The 2nd video is her method for attaching and making the “finish” where the ends come together – How to Bind a Quilt by machine – Quilting Tips & Techniques 094

Susan joins the ends of the binding in a different method to the one that is done in Susie’s Magic Binding.  I learned this method that Susan shows in a quilting class at a local quilt shop.  (Like I said, many ways to achieve similar results!)

Pat Sloan  – a well known instructor – has a great tutorial on her web page for machine binding.  (I prefer double fold binding, but her final result for attaching is worth looking at) Pat Sloan Machine Binding tutorial
I haven’t looked for a video done by Pat, but her website may have something if you search around.
Jenny Doan – Missouri Star quilt Co has some great videos, and does one on “machine binding” using 2.5″ strips.  She is fun to watch too — https://youtu.be/-GVA05MxXTU

NOTE – Jenny mentions near the beginning of the video about The Binding Tool” and has a video on HOW to use the binding tool.

There are LOTS of ways to join your ends, and using The Binding Tool is MY preferred method.

Donna Jordan of Jordan Fabrics has great tutorials on You Tube. In the video below, she is giving you a “fast method” for machine binding and has used “butt joints” not a 45 degree angle when she is making her binding.  She has great tips for turning corners etc.  Her method is sewing the binding to the front, and stitching in the ditch on the front.  She is a very technical sewer and gives great explanations.    Jordan Fabrics Quick Method for Binding

I enjoy making the binding and machine attaching to my quilts.  Often times I bring home the quilts from church that our group has made and bind 3-6 of them.  I started doing that when my husband said to me once that it wouldn’t be fair to all the kids if the one I bound looked so “cool” and the others had “traditional binding”.  I try to pull colors from the quilts so the binding is a feature.  Here are a few peaks of what I have made over the years.  If you click on the photo’s below you will go to the folders they are in on my FLICKR page and you can zoom in a little.

Susies Magic Binding Dakota quilt

2 spools of binding

Binding set up on my machine

Binding a Senior Quilt

I just love the way the piping shows against a quilt –

Stripe binding

Below is a picture of a project I finished at a retreat this year and it has Susie’s magic binding.  The little piping really pops along the edge. Contrast is important when choosing what to use. In this case, I had plenty of that fabric, but made the main fabric “scrappy”.

Quilted and bound

QUICK EDIT FOR 2 more photo’s……because my hubby said you might want to see “MORE” and “CLOSER” etc…..

Binding for Addison's quilt

This grey and coral binding is on my youngest granddaughters quilt.  It got a 2nd place ribbon at the Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show in 2017.

Quilting on Addison's

Hubby said to “give you a close up” so here you go — 

Addisons quilt

**looking back at this quilt I think the judges were right….it needed more quilting in the border…**

So, that’s it.  I hope you enjoyed this little binding journey!

 

On the design wall

After I came home from church on Sunday, I spent about 3 hours in my sewing room. I cleared off “most” of the stuff that was on my design wall, and started playing with the Carolina Hurricane blocks. Some of these blocks were made on Tuesday by my friends in the Queen Bees.  One of our members sent her blocks in by mail, since she could not attend the bee, and others have promised additional blocks. Queen Bees is associated with Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes DE.

The blocks are all 12.5″x12.5″.

I set them on a 6 x 8 grid, and played around until I had a pleasing arrangement.  I currently have 41 of the 48 needed blocks.  I have 7 more sets ready to sew.  Those promised blocks are coming in this week and will add additional variety to this scrappy project.    This layout will produce a 72×96 quilt.  Getting “close” to that queen size.

Carolina Hurricane Quilts

Carole – From My Carolina Home commented on my post on Sunday, she indicated 42 (6×7 grid) blocks would make a full size, and 56 (7×8 grid) would be enough for a queen.

Making a 7×8 grid, I think a new “pattern” for the layout will be needed.  I will leave it “as is” for now and work on the rest of the blocks that I have “ready to sew” this week.

On Friday, 3 Queen Bee members will be at my house and maybe they can help “re-arrange” to make that 7×8 grid.  Maybe we will have enough blocks in by then to go for the BIGGER quilt.

I looked back at the previous quilts that Carole had assembled last fall in response to the California Fires to see those various layouts.  It turns out, she didn’t use this one at all.  So, I kind of like that it is different and unique.

Are you working on blocks in support of the Carolina Hurricane quilt project?  I know some of my readers are, and have them ready to mail in November when Carole posts the address.  Fingers crossed, maybe this quilt top will be sewn together!

Go check out Carole’s blog, link above, and enjoy the other things she has going on during her “Autumn Jubilee”.  Be sure to “tune in” on Monday on Pat Sloan’s afternoon http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast at 4 pm (ET) and listen for Carole’s interview!  SO cool that Carole has gained recognition from such a famous quilter!

Let me know if you tuned in!

Carolina Hurricane Quilts and Scraps

I mentioned in a post in late September ( Carolina Hurricane Quilts )  about the Carolina Hurricane Quilts project being spearheaded by Carole  Carter on her blog – From My Carolina Home  

I made a few blocks right after that post, and gathered up supplies and made up “kits” to make more blocks.  I have a few scraps and squares and leftover half-square triangles, so it was quick to assemble those kits.  I usually don’t “save’ 4.5″ blocks, but I had LOTS of 5” squares in my Scrap storage system.  More about that in a minute…..

My wonderful bee – the Queen Bee’s took on the challenge of making blocks during our bee gathering last Tuesday.  They came armed with scraps and sewed for about 3 hours.

Queen Bees Carolina Hurricane Blocks

During the bee gathering I snapped some photos and sent them off to Carole!  It was fun to get a group photo.  Here are a couple of pictures of the members, hard at work.

Sharon Oct 2018

Marta and Nancy Oct 2018

(Sorry for the blur ladies….)

Tracy and Mary Oct 2018

(Imagine…I am actually there in a photo….that usually never happens.  Thanks Marta!)

I came home from the bee with a stack of blocks, and still a handful of the kits I made for myself.  I didn’t seem to get as much sewing done there as I had planned, so I spent the week working on more blocks.  My method for working on these has been to make “2 at a time”.  I use those  great little foam core design boards to lay out 2 blocks and move them to the iron and back to the machine, and I can “keep the angles” right fairly easily.  Look back at my blog here – Foam Core Design Boards to get info on the boards and how to construct them.

I keep making blocks, as my hand is continuing to improve following surgery.  Carole asked me if I wanted to put the blocks together into a top, and at the time, I wasn’t sure if I could manage. I think I have about 20  blocks done, and the bee had about 15 done, with more promised.  I planned to “send” them to Carole the 2nd week of November. My Queen Bees who are still making blocks are planning to bring them to me the first Monday of November.  We have such a great variety of fabrics in these blocks.  This afternoon, when the light is better I will put them all up on the design wall for a photo.  Now I am wondering if I am “able” to assemble them.  I will have to get specifics from Carole on size if I decide to do the assembly. (She reads my blog, so I am sure she will write! )

During this bee, it was fun to chat with my “bee mates”, and to learn which ones are following along with Carole on her “Autumn Jubilee 2018”, and who have enjoyed making her mystery quilts. I love that they found her through my blog posts.  I also love that Carole linked to my blog post last week.  The day she did that, I had 82 new visitors.  So, if you are a new reader, and came to find my blog because of Carole, I thank you for reading and coming back for another visit. Be sure to “follow” in your favorite method.  I love reading everyone’s comments too.

At my “next Queen Bee” gathering, I plan to work with one member  and help her come up with a plan for controlling & managing her scraps.  Bonnie Hunter   is one of my FAVORITE well known quilters and in her blog post today she talks about having “variety” in your scrappy quilts and about how to achieve that variety.  (Every January I tend to “clean up” my sewing room and cut my scraps into predetermined sizes. )  Thanks to the lessons I have learned from other bloggers, like Bonnie, and others, such as Joan Ford who has written books about working with scraps too.  I attribute my “scrap storage system” to the inspiration I have found on Bonnie’s blog.  My sizes I save, and my method for storage are unique to me, as it must be for everyone.  I will, no doubt, write about my methods in a future post.  If your curious, you can check out this post- Scrap Storage Containment System

My sister-in-law, Carolyn, wrote about her method on her blog here  One Block Wonder Woman and Scrap Overload .  If you are a “scrappy quilter” how do you “contain” the chaos of scraps?

Are you having fun yet?

Fall is a time to get “ready” for winter, and those cold cozy nights ahead.  Of course, that means QUILTS. Or table runners or placemats or Christmas projects.

I love the colors of fall fabrics.  When the fabric colors are inspired by nature, how can you go wrong putting them together in a project.

Fall color perfection

  My maple tree in the fall of 2016 was glorious! 

 

My husband and I were in the local quilt shop earlier in the month and I had to stop and touch every bolt of those beautiful fall fabrics.  I used great restraint not to bring home more fabric than what I went into the shop for specifically!

If you have been following me for any amount of time, you know that I enjoy sewing along with Carole and her blog – From My Carolina Home .    Carole is in full AUTUMN JUBILEE mode!  The link above is to the B Block of the current sew along.  Last week was pumpkins, but I am not telling you what this weeks are…you have to go look for yourself. 

Regular readers KNOW that I keep a “container” of fall fabrics to make projects for the Autumn Jubilee (AJ) sew along. I like making half square triangles and sewing with these fabrics all year long.  I take my container of AJ with me to many quilt bees, and keep working with the patterns and projects.  (I think I bore my bee mates working on the same thing every month, but I LOVE having a container, ready to go, that I don’t have to think about!  I just pack it in the car and keep working. )

HST for Autumn Jubilee Quiltalong

This is the 3rd season I have followed along with Carole, and I enjoy seeing the new patterns and projects she comes up with. Truth be told, I did not make the 2017 projects.  I am still sewing blocks from 2016.

I will leave you with a look back at my previous Autumn Jubilee projects and projects inspired by Carole’s patterns –

Autumn Jubilee Table Runner

Table runner from Autumn Jubilee 2016

4 finished Autumn Jubilee 2016 placemats

Placemats from Autumn Jubilee 2016

Then there was this great quilt inspired by Carole, made by my bee friend Joyce —

20161122_140504

And my Pumpkins from 2016 getting prepped!

Pumpkin prep

And a table runner or 2 or 3 – from the 2016 Autumn Jubilee

20161116_221659

Autumn Jubilee Table Runner Number 3

First Autumn Jubilee runner

So, since the first AJ that I followed in 2016, I have had fun with the pattern. I finished the 8th placemat this year, and will work on 9-12 next year!

All 8 placemats are finished Autumn Jubilee

Hoping for a bigger dining table some day!

Just think, it all started with Carole’s great patterns and this little bundle I picked up at Quilters By The Sea Quilt Show in the fall of 2016 –

Bundles of fabric

The blocks that are showing up inspired by 2018 Autumn Jubilee month look interesting….and I wish I was able to sew along.  I’m saving the patterns for now, along with the 2017 “Stars on Autumn Lane”.  I have a few of those  hanging on my design wall…..

Are you following along with Autumn Jubilee and From My Carolina Home  ?  Did you know you can share your projects inspired by Carole’s pattern on a special Facebook group?  It is From My Carolina Home Project Sharing Group

I had fun looking back at my projects and sewing along.  I hope you did too!

Stitches and more

I am still hanging out…waiting on the stitches in my hand to be taken OUT in another week!  Things have been quiet on my blog because I haven’t been doing too much.  (Stitches are from surgery, not rotary cutter injury!!!)  Anyway, I am healing and puttering about trying to find ways to entertain myself and not get totally bored.

Two days post surgery I had a morning gathering of quilters come work with me on “Second Time Around” fabrics.  I was pretty useless, so I did things like pretend to iron, and organize, teach and answer questions.  My helpers were great.

The next day I was able to remove the surgical bandages and wash my hair~!~  (If you have been restricted you must know how great that was!) There is really nothing worse than trying to shower with you hand in a plastic bag all taped up! I am now using small bandages which I can change myself and do so everytime I wash my hands.

By the time the next round of helpers came on Monday to work with the “Second Time Around”, I was in much better shape and able to do the ironing with no difficulty.  We got a lot of fabric worked in the last week, setting some aside for the April  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show.  I have a big booth to fill with fabric at the show for the guild, and there are going to be some beautiful pieces for sale!  One of my faithful helpers, Joyce, worked at home folding and sorting and arranging fat quarters.  I picked those up from her on Friday morning and I have to say, the arrangement is beautiful.  I think there were at least 75-100 that she folded in cute little triangles.  I am setting those all aside for the quilt show, along with those fantastic patriotic ones I got from another friend on Thursday! It’s hard to not put these all out at the OWQG meetings and to save them for the show, but I want to have the very BEST items at the show!!

I’ve been sorting through donated buttons too, bagging the sets up to prepare to sell.  My dilemma with buttons is how to make all the work of sorting and bagging pay off.  Buttons are a funny thing.  We all buy them, we save them in metal tins, and cute jars or funny boxes. We dig through the box looking for “just the right one”, and when we can’t find it, we go to the store, pay $2-12 for the PERFECT button, use one on the card and throw the rest in the button tin!  I’m looking for creative ways to “market” those buttons at the guild meeting and the quilt show. One of my daughters suggested some “button craft ideas” might help, so I started a Pinterest Button Fun page to gather ideas.

I figured out how to pad the palm of my hand successfully so I could go bike riding, 1 week post op. I have enough grip strength in my right hand to operate the back brake, and to hold on to the hand grips.  This week we got in 2 rides, so I  am happy!  (Last week I only got in the one ride on Sunday at the State Park, so I needed to get out!)

I rode on Wednesday night in the Lifecycle Community Slow Cruise with 25 or so folks.

bike ride milford wed 10 10 18

Headlights, tail lights, bright clothing are in order when you ride just after the sun sets.  I added a light to the back of my bike helmet that flashes red, along with the usual ones on the bike.  I also put on my bright yellow reflective safety vest that I picked up at the local WalMart.  I want to make sure drivers can see me at dusk and later.  Here is a picture of our group right before we set out for the ride.

Bike ride wed night 10 10 Milford

Our usual Thursday morning ride got “rained out”, so I asked my daughter if she would like to try for Friday morning. Hurricane Michael passed through our area on Thursday as a tropical storm, and the weather changed to FALL on Friday.  We got together at Lifecycle and 4 of us went for a ride.  Check out this great video & post. Burley babies  .My daughter led the ride, pulling her toddler a Burley trailer.  I am trying to keep up with those young parents, and do ok most of the time. Our Friday ride was wonderful, great crisp weather, though half way through I had to stop and take off my red windbreaker and stuff it in my backpack.  (Note to self…bring the thinner one next time or wear a long sleeve tee-shirt!)

My daughter leads this route and the only challenging thing is crossing one road near the fire station in Milford.  Took us about 5 minutes to get a break in traffic to get across.  There is a wonderful path in front of the shopping center along the highway, and around the corner…then it just “ends”.  No crosswalks etc.  And no real way to cross at the traffic light.  So we try to cross just down the road at the next corner, but it is tough, because there is so much traffic from the highway, and so much traffic coming out of town toward the highway.  Overall, Milford is a very bike friendly town.

bike ride Milford Friday 10 12 18     5 miles

For the most part, drivers in Milford are very respectful of the Delaware bike laws, which gives bikes “the lane”.  Delaware Bike Code is also very “bike friendly”, yet a lot of motorists are not aware of the latest changes.  A prominent citizen was hit and killed last year on a bike and the driver went to trial recently. The driver is awaiting sentencing later in the month.  Basically, the law requires that vehicles can pass a bike in a lane only when it is safe to do so, giving the bike at least 3 feet of space between the vehicle and the bike, or by going into the opposing lane.  There are not many shoulders that are safe to ride on (unpaved), and attitudes about bikes are all over the spectrum.  One reason I like riding in Milford is, for the most part, the streets in town are wide, all have 25 mph limits.  Bikes are allowed to ride 2 wide in the lane, and operate just like a motor vehicle.   The more I ride in group events the more I see drivers who are aware of the laws.  I observe the other riders giving friendly waves to motorists and see the friendly waves coming back.  So, being seen is good, being acknowledged by a motorist is better with a wave. Did you know, in Delaware, it is illegal to HONK at bike riders to facilitate them to get OUT of the motorist way.  We did have a friendly tractor trailer driver give our big group a nice air horn “toot” when he was traveling in the opposite direction the other night.  He was waving out the window too.  That type of honk was friendly & fun, not scary!

After riding, I did need to ice the hand a bit.  Keeping it in one position on the grips was challenging, so I did try to adjust periodically.   I am trying to follow orders, so I am keeping the ice on periodically through the day to prevent/reduce swelling.  This makes it tough to do any real sewing or spending long periods in the sewing room.

I did make some pot holders on Sunday. My husband has been my assistant, taking things in and out of the oven and was complaining about our old thinning pot holders.  My friend Nancy tossed a scrap bit my way Saturday that was perfect for pot holders, and using my Fiskars 60mm stick style rotary cutter and a fresh blade, I was able to cut the pieces and some batting and Insul Bright thermal batting to size.  Sewing was easier than I thought, and since these were 8×10 pieces, they were easy to quilt. I quilting some warm and natural to each piece of fabric, then sandwiched the Insul-bright in the middle, and added just enough quilting to hold the layers together and keep the Insul Bright from shifting.   I had a terrible time binding them, as my fingers were just not “nimble enough” yet.  They are about 7.5×9.5 finished, and they work, but every time I look at that binding I cringe.  Not my best work, but I do have an excuse and they function.  I certainly won’t take the binding off to fix them at this point. He likes the Insul Bright layer, but said they were rather “stiff” .  I think washing will help to soften them up.

worlds worst binding

There was “just enough” of this cute fabric to get 3 pot holders.

I have played a bit with my embroidery machine this week.  I was able to get something hooped and stitched out.  The project turned out well. I took the embroidered piece and incorporated it into a project for a Christmas gift. No pictures until after Christmas. Secret stuff……  

My embroidery club had the monthly gathering on Tuesday, and I stitched out some free standing lace (FSL) ornaments.

Free standing lace ornaments

I got a little worried when the 2nd one was stitching, thinking I might just “run out” of the gold thread!

Close call

 I still need to put the item back in the hoop and get one or two more stitched.  I learned from one of the members to cut a “larger piece” so I could get more than one in the hoop.  This saves on the stabilizing products. The next ones I stitch out will require a different spool of thread I think!!

 I had a couple of Free Standing lace  (FSL) “FAILS” on Monday when I stitched up a couple of designs.  I don’t know if it was bad digitizing or poor efforts on my part, but the designs fell apart when the vilene was washed out. I was so disgusted, as one design was more than 20,000 stitches.  That was a lot of wasted thread!  I got so mad I deleted all the designs in that group from my computer !  They looked perfect until you washed away the vilene!  Keep your fingers crossed on these designs.  I have 3 friends doing LOTS of FSL to decorate a Christmas tree for a charity event, and I thought I would give it a try.  I am going to survey them to get info on the designs they had success with to order and add to my collection.  

I got a little “design crazy” with embroidery downloads this week, and have some plans for gifts.  I found myself overloaded with the “color charts” that I print when I download a design.  I added 3 new “notebooks” to my filing system, and spent an afternoon “filing” designs in them.  I broke out a couple of categories into their “own” notebook.  I belong to several Facebook groups that send you in search of free designs, so I didn’t spend much on the designs, other than ink and paper.

I read comments/questions from people in groups about how to organize your embroidery design downloads.  I feel like I have a good system.  I have a folder on the computer for all my embroidery design downloads.  Inside that folder are many subfolders, by category.   I have 53 MAIN categories, the rest of the folders are “sub” folders.  My categories are things like Animals, alphabet, verses, sewing designs, Christian, transportation, holidays, seasons etc.  Inside a category, like SEASONS, I have sub folders, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL.  Inside each of those sub folders are many ZIP folders with the designs.    I have 1.5 g b in files – 8007 files in 500 sub folders.  That is a LOT to contend with if they were not organized.  

Usually when you download a design it comes in a ZIP folder, so that accounts for the number of sub-folders!  When I print out the color change sheet, I try to file them in a notebook under a tab  that mirrors what is on the computer.  This helps me “find” the actual design on the computer when I want to use it.  I also try to “add” detail to the automatically assigned file name when I download, using what is printed on the color change sheet so I can make sense of it later when I want to stitch out the design.  All in all, this seems to work for me. Most of the designs I have were freebies.  I’ve posted previously about my “sources”.  I very rarely buy a design.  Hubby saw one the other day while I was working on the computer that he wanted for a gift project, so I did break my “no buying” rule.    I am curious how others organize their designs.  I have a friend who just keeps them in the “download” folder on the computer, but has challenges finding what she wants.    

I hope you have been taking the opportunity to follow along with Carole’s Autumn Jubilee posts.  Her post yesterday included an Autumn Jubilee Placemats Sew Along.  Be sure to follow her blog and sew along for a chance to win great prizes.  Are you “sewing along”?  I am following along this season due to my limitations, but enjoying all her posts!

Have a great weekend!