In betweens

Do you have those days where you are just uncertain of what to do?  I had “free time” last Wednesday in my sewing space!  I FINALLY finished putting the backing together for Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt and was at a loss for “what’s next”. (No, no photo yet……) (The backing is so huge, I just can’t find a place to lay it out for a photo!)

I have LOTS of projects but wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on. Some of the hesitation comes from the fact that I am leaving on a big trip this week, and I am not sure I want to dig into something new.  (I have LOTS of UFO’s I could work on….)  I could “load” Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt and prepare it for quilting on my frame.  I could get one or 2 of the scrap quilts off of hangers and order some backing and batting and ship them to OneBlockWonderWoman to practice on when I visit at the end of April.  Or, I could play with something new. Or…I could pack up Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt and backing and mail it off to One Block Wonder Woman and quilt it when I visit.  (She actually approved of the idea today, so I think we have plan!)

Anyway, during my “free time” on Wednesday, I finally made a decision when the never filed stack of embroidery designs fell off the heap on my desk. Since my big table was clear, I took the papers there and sorted them for filing in my  4 embroidery design binders. Once that was done, I pulled out a couple that I loved, and grabbed some pre-washed towels that I keep at hand and got busy playing with the embroidery machine.   These were fun to stitch out, and I played around with different methods for stabilizing, so it was educational along the way!  Definitely a fan of hooping tear-away stabilizer, the SPRITZING it lightly with 505  spray, and pressing with my fingers, the towels towels to the now sticky stabilizer. I learned from experiments that plush towel or towels with nap need denser designs.  I am pretty pleased with how these turned out. 

Fun stitching on Kitchen towels

The design with the spoon is heavy enough to go on a terry towel, but the word KITCHEN on the dark towel is not dense enough.  I still need to give them a wash, but I think they turned out well overall. The white towels are from the craft section at Walmart – they are called Aunt Martha’s Vintage towels  and come in a package of 3 for a reasonable price. I like them because they are sturdy and have great hanging loops in the corner.  The are LARGE too, 18×28 and wear quite nicely. Periodically I stitch them up and use them for gifts.  They are meant to be used, and I think with using just tear away stabilizer on the back, they are very usable.  The black dishtowel I purchased in a bundle, specifically to embroider on. It is a loop terry, and I won’t buy that kind again.  I have a whole box of red terry kitchen towels to play with.  I think they will get Christmas motifs. I’ve been saving them for a day just like this!

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to take another class from Cheryl Lynch (www.cheryllynchquilts.com)  This class was held at Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro DE, and was the MINI-Mosaic Class. (More about that class in a minute).

This is the 3rd time I have had the chance to take a class with Cheryl.

In 2014 I did a project in her class called Sensational Silk, when she taught at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes De.  I was happy to take that project and “show it off” when she lectured in March at Helping Hands Quilt Guild in Dover DE.

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

This small wall hanging is made from dupioni silk and batik.  When I learned how to stabilize the silk for cutting into half square triangles, I had one of those “ah-ha” moments.  I was later able to transfer the method to other “non-quilt fabric” when I made this baptism banner for my granddaughter. That shiny gold fabric was just “perfect” for the cross, but would have been a bear to handle without that stabilizing lesson I learned with Cheryl.

Lori’s Baptism Banner, created by Grandma Mary

Then, of course, if you have read my blog for any bit of time, you might remember it was Cheryl who taught me the method for making my Pet Mosaic Quilt “Mittens“.  (I wrote about this project ALOT in 2016 & 2017…)

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

(Mittens is about 56×56″ and hangs in my living room. It was fun to take him “off the wall” and to the Helping Hands Guild meeting too, so Cheryl could see him “finally finished”)

When I had a chance to take another class from Cheryl, I jumped at the opportunity.  The mini-mosaic is a “much smaller” project than either the silk or the pet mosaic. We used 3/8″ squares for the project!  When I left the “all day class” – I came home and continued to work on the project after dinner.

Building the Mosaic

I was so engrossed that I kept at it until I had the entire mosaic completed!  Let’s just say midnight was a surprise to me!  I have more to do to “finish”, but this is where I have left off for now –

Mini Mosaic Project

The finish size is somewhere around 11″ x 14″ after quilting, borders and binding. But for now, it is still a “work in progress.  There are lots of steps to be taken yet, but Cheryl’s pattern is very clearly written, and I don’t think finishing it is going to be too hard.  She was right, it is a bit addictive.  In the project container Cheryl gave us everything we need to finish except our borders and backing. She even gave tips in class for hanging.

Meanwhile, the stack of tank tops I was going to embroider “before the trip” this week were left to sit, while my suitcase has been packed.  I have a busy week with various things before I head to California!  I’m looking forward to a 10 day Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez cruise leaving from California on Saturday! Snorkeling, sunshine, sea days await, as does some time with my favorite brother and One Block Wonder Woman(OBWW) after the cruise. Better get busy and pack up Grandma’s Kitchen and send it off to OBWW so it is waiting for me at her house!  (I can’t believe I get to quilt it on her new Gammill long arm!)

Just curious – do you ever take classes from the same teacher?  We are lucky to have so many venues in the mid Atlantic area where we can !

 

Note – each of the projects in this post have been written about previously. If you want more info on any of them, you can use the search function and the stated names to find those posts. 

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Safelight Project – 5 Sets Finished plus a bonus etc.

I finished up 5 sets of sunglasses cases & makeup bags for the Safelight Project 2018 . Info on a previous post – Safelight Project 2018

Each set used 2 fat quarters , with fabric left over.   I had fun with the quilting too.  I am a much better “straight-line” quilter than a free motion quilter!  My little featherweight was great for the straight-line quilting.  It also powered through that hook & loop tape.  I put a heavy duty needle in when I started this project because I battle with the hook & loop tape if I don’t.

Safelight Project 2018

BONUS : This was a great Fat Quarter project. In fact, I realized I had some “extra” fabric after making the sets, so I decided to make Tissue Holders to match.  I found a good tutorial on You-Tube  Mini-Tissue Holder Instructional Video

These were quick and easy additions to the project.  In fact, they were so easy, I ended up making another 4 out of some scrap fabric I had sitting on my cutting table. I will send them all along to Carole (http://frommycarolinahome.wordpress.com//)for her to use as she see fit.  (They hold one of those little purse packs of tissues).  These will go out in the mail on Monday.

ETC…….

Lots of ETC this week.  Our ONE and only Senior Quilt top is stitched and halves are joined and it is set up at the church for the members to sign and offer good wishes. It will be set out for several weeks for signing. I still haven’t managed a photo!  Maybe after the service on Easter!

Sewing with the Seniors — I went to sew with my friend June at the Assisted Living facility again on Friday.  I took my bin of 5″ squares and a stack of 5″ batting squares and the 2 ladies got busy!  They each made 3 coasters, and I did lots of turning, pressing, needle threading etc. We used a simple pattern with 6 squares total for each coaster.  If you are looking for directions, check out my favorite quilt instructor video – Gourmet Quilter tutorial

They had fun with this simple project, and with the use of a few pins and a bit wider seam allowance (1/2″) we had great success.

Sewing with Seniors

I set June up to sew with my featherweight, because I knew it would power through the layers.  Both ladies had fun and want to make more next week!  They also saw my bags for the Safelight project and are interested in making that style bag during another sewing session.  I think the fun was in the choosing of the fabrics from my box of 5″ squares!  We also have plans for making some of those tissue holders.  I love these scrap friendly projects.

That’s it for now! Happy Easter everyone!

The Safelight Project 2018

If you are a regular reader, you know I follow a blog written by Carole Carter called From My Carolina Home on WordPress.  Last Christmas, members of the Queen Bees participated in making Christmas cards for a project Carole had underway. These cards made their way to North Carolina and to  residents of a domestic violence  woman’s shelter. If you missed that post or are a new reader, you can check out our cardmaking here – Busy December Days

Carole has a new project underway called The Safelight Project 2018.  You can read the details about it on – From My Carolina Home blog

I decided I would participate again, and make the sunglasses cases and make-up bags she asked for.  I printed out the PDF instructions for making the make-up bag and the sunglasses case from Carole’s blog post.  I also went back and re-read her previous posts that she has linked for really thorough instructions and photo’s.

This is a FAT QUARTER FRIENDLY project.

It takes 2 Fat Quarters (FQ), some batting, and a little sew-in hook/loop fastener (aka Velcro or similar brand).  I have LOTS of fat quarters, plenty of batting scraps and velcro type products on hand.  I pulled out my bin(s) of FQ and spent more time selecting fabrics than I did making the first bag!

Safelight Project fabric choices

Fat Quarter pairs for Safelight project

I grabbed my batting “scraps” and my fusible tape and got busy too!

Batting and seam Tape by Pellon

I just opened my 2nd package of this Pellon EK150 Batting & Seam Tape.  I paid about $14.69 for 30 YARDS of this tape at Walmart . com recently.  The last package lasted me 3 or 4 years.  All you need to do to use it is to have a straight edge on both pieces you want to join, butt the edges together and press this on.  For a small project like this that I will do heavy quilting on, that fussy gap the arrow is pointing to won’t matter. If I was joining the pieces for a quilt, I would fuse a layer on both sides of the join to ensure there would be no shifting.  I love this stuff, and I use it on lots of small projects, like placemats, table runners, small quilts when I come up short with a bit of batting. No WASTE.  (I have a BIG tote full of batting “cut-off” pieces from quilts!) (I also love the lime green box which makes it “visable” in my cluttered sewing room…..my friend Nancy KNOWS how I lost the last roll…hiding in plain sight!)

I dug out my bag of hook and loop tape –

Velcro "STASH"

and I was set to go.

I stitched up the first make-up bag in about 20 minutes, including quilting.  I used a “swirly” stitch on my Janome for it.

Bag set for Project Safelight

It went together so easily, I thought this would be a great project to take with me to the Queen Bees gathering this week. Since I had it started, I wanted to keep going!  I packed it all up and took it along with me on Tuesday.  I did the quilting on the sunglasses case with my Singer Featherweight at the bee.  I put in a heavy duty needle (#16) for sewing the hook & loop tape.  My history with sewing that stuff is NOT good, and the secret is the #16 needle. The Featherweight powered through nicely. As you can see from the photo of the sunglasses case, it has a nice stitch for quilting too.

Of course, at a bee, I get to visiting and talking and never get as much done as expected.  So, I did more sewing last night at home. I set up an “assembly line” sewing arrangement and now have things moving along.

Assembly line sewing

Batting ready to go

I still have some corners to trim and pieces to turn and quilting to do!  It is a quick project, and doing more than one set is easy when you are doing the same step on multiple pieces. I’m please with the outcome so far, and once they are finished they will be easy to mail in a big envelope.

Do check out Carole’s post, The Safelight Project 2018 and see if you can help in one way or the other.  She has a big project, and her wonderful blog post is also full of PRIZES for participants.  The cause is so worthy too.  These bags will go to incoming residents on what must be one of the worst days of their life, when someone they love and trusted has hurt them physically and broken that trust.  The hope is to provide a positive caring message that they are worthy and valued women, and other women care deeply about the situation they are currently in. Won’t you help too as you are able?

My Border is Secure – Grandma’s Wrap-Up

My border is SECURELY attached to Grandma’s Kitchen that is! 

Since the bus company cancelled our trip to the AQS Show in Lancaster on Wednesday, I spent my “Toby – the big Nor’Easter ” afternoon and evening sewing.  (That storm was a belly-flop in my area where we got only an inch or so of snow…..)

 While we were getting buckets of rain, I sat in the kitchen and removed the papers from the back of the pieces I showed in my post yesterday (  Building Borders and Collaborating on Quilts  ).  They came off very easily because I had shortened the stitch length down from 2.0 to 1.5.

Sad daffodils

My daffodils are very sad, and it looks like I will be power washing and painting that fence this year!

I wandered out in the rain yesterday afternoon to the sewing room over the garage, and got busy with the border.  Hubby went to his train club so I had all afternoon and evening to sew.  (And it was after 3 in the afternoon before it really started to snow !) (I know….other people around the state got anywhere from 1″ to 8″….and Lancaster PA got a bunch!) 

Grandma’s Kitchen border is on, and this quilt is now massive!  91″ wide x 110″ long.  So long, that it won’t fit on the design wall or in one photo…..

Pieced border on Grandma's Kitchen

The Bottom Half

(I suppose I could have hung it sideways, but that wouldn’t be any fun…the flower and phone and heart would have been sideways)

I even remembered to stay stitch the edges before I called it “done”.   I stopped about 10:30 pm and took the picture.  The lighting wasn’t the greatest, but you have seen these blocks in better light in the past.  (I really should set a timer and come inside to eat dinner before 10:30 at night!)

Time to think about how to solve the backing issue.  You might remember I got excited and ordered the backing BEFORE I decided on just how much drop I needed and what my final border was going to be, so I only ordered 3 yards of wide backing. I did pre-wash it to, and have still got to press it with some starch and re-measure.  LESSON IN LIFE — wait until the last border is on BEFORE ordering the backing fabric!  Now I have to piece it anyway!

108″ wide backing for Grandma’s Kitchen Quilt project

I have a plan formulating, and I think it will incorporate some of the extra string blocks and a few of my OOPS blocks and that wonderful “clothesline” fabric that was just too large a print to cut up into any of the blocks for the front of the quilt.  ( I did use one piece of a fat eighth I had in Block # 6 – Wash Day for the very center of the block  below)

Block #6 - Wash Day

(If you want a better close up of any of the blocks in this project, I have an entire album dedicated to the Grandma’s Kitchen pattern – click Grandma’s Kitchen albumThis album is located on FLICKR.) 

Of course, per the norm….my quilts tend to “hang around” waiting to be quilted, so this one won’t be any different. 

(Maybe after that trip to California and my visit to OneBlockWonderWoman I will be more inspired to finish a few things!)

Final note – Grandma’s Kitchen pattern is by Pat Sloan; and the free pattern information can be found here

How did you spend your day?  Do you leave quilt tops “hanging around” too?

Building borders and collaborating on quilts

I am building QUILT borders!  No politics here folks…sorry~~!!~~  If you came to read about a border between our country and another, you came to the WRONG place.

I have spent the last couple of afternoons working on border pieces for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt.

I decided to use a pieced “string” border after I saw a couple on Pat Sloan’s Facebook group Quilt Along with Pat Sloan  several months ago.  I am a confirmed scrappy quilter, and I have LOTS of leftover fabric from this project.  I planned out how much wider I needed the quilt to be and cut my “foundation pieces” (aka phone book pages).  I also did a little “quilt math” to figure out just how “many” of those phone book pages I would need.  The quilt is currently 73 1/2 wide x 92 1/2 long with the 2 borders that are currently on it. You probably remember this photo if you have been following for at least the last 3 months.

Borders on Grandma's Kitchen

I want to add about 18″ overall, so I cut my pages at 9.5 x 6.5.  I will attach them to make the 9.5 the width.  I need about 62 phone book pages, depending on what I do in the corners.  Before my quilt retreat in early February, I cut the pages and a lot of strips.  I had them all set out in big baskets and
I got busy with them the last few days.  My goal is to get a lot of variety as I select pieces to add to the block.  This turns into what I call “mindless sewing”, while I listen to an audio book, chain piece 6 or 8 blocks, press and chain piece some more.  (My hubby can not understand how I can pay attention to the sewing AND the murder mystery.  You will often find him sitting in a chair near my ironing station trying to solve the crime while I am stitching away!) (Current series is by J.A. Jance, featuring a detective working for the Washington State Attorney General on the Special Homicide Investigation Team.…aka the S.H.I.T. Squad) (Don’t take offense…imagine if that was on YOUR business card…..)

Back to sewing…..So far, I have about 50 units done, and I can’t wait to brave the current “nor-Easter – Toby” and get out to my sewing room over the garage this afternoon!

6.5 x 9.5 string border blocks

These border pieces are a bit “wider” than the last one I did –

Scrap Dance Two-Step Mystery Quilt  Along.

You might remember my Scrap Dance Two Step (Pattern by Carole at From My Carolina Home). This was a twin 58.5″ x 82.5″ – The pieced scrappy border was cut at 4″, finish at 3.5 once the quilt binding goes on.  (Still waiting to be quilted!)

Maybe I should send this one to California for my project in April?  I am going to visit One Block Wonder Woman  and play with her new long arm quilting machine!  (She is retrieving me from the ship when I dock in San Pedro and taking me home for a few days to her beautiful home in the central coast of California.  I bet she and my big brother will wine and dine me too…..)

One lesson I have learned about working with scrappy borders is they need to be “stay stitched” on the outer edge.  I will have to check the Scrap Dance Two Step before I put it in the mail to One Block Woman.

Seriously excited about my visit in April.  I enjoy having a family member who loves this hobby as much (or more) than I do, and we try to see each other every few years.  Last visit was when she came out from California to go to the retreat with Cheryl Lynch and we worked on our Pet Mosaic Projects. Go check out her Fannie – Pet Mosaic Project   She had the BEST viewing position in the show I think……

We have also gotten together here in Delaware when she taught me how to do a One Block Wonder (of course) back in 2012.  Mine is below .And then there was the first quilt show/classes I ever went to…at IQF Houston in 2013.  Gosh that was FUN!!  It really opened my eyes to the world of quilting.

Do you collaborate with a family member on your quilt projects???  I enjoy our conversations, cross – country!

Are you in the path of the current Nor-Easter – Toby?  We will either get 1″ of snow or a foot…depending on which way it tracks.  We are waiting to find out if our bus trip to the AQS show in Lancaster PA is on or off for tomorrow.  Fingers crossed BUMMER – Bus trip is cancelled.  The bus company has cancelled all it’s trips for Wednesday.  We better get a foot of snow!!!!!!

 

Scrap Dance Square Dance Mystery update

I am in month # 3 of the mystery quilt hosted by Carole – From My Carolina Home.  Check out this mystery at From My Carolina Home

So far, I am up to date and complete with my parts for a twin size quilt.  I have my 9 patches done.

9 patches are done

This step was called the Do-si-do, and the directions came out in February. I did most of the blocks in February and finished the last few up in March.

For the March step – “Coming Down the Middle” – we joined our 3 x 7.5″ strips – with our neutral.

3x7.5 rectangles joined

and our 2-1/2 x 6-1/2 rectangles –

Square Dance 2.5 x 6.5 pieces joined

My design wall is now FULL — (that is a sideways queen size flannel sheet on the wall that my pieces are pinned to.)

Scrap Dance Square Dance parts constructed

Did you see Superman and Elvis ???  There are also blocks with animals, cats dogs and llamas,  and lighthouse, and flowers.

Some fun fabric

Elvis is in the house!

It’s like an eye-spy quilt for grown-ups!  Superman fabric is well represented!!  All scraps, except the neutral!  It’s been fun so far!  April will be carried into May in my world, as I will be traveling when the next step comes out!  I will “catch up” in early May when I return from my journeys.  In the meantime, Elvis will keep an eye on things.  😉

Are you Square Dancing along on this mystery too?

A little bit of stitching

I spent 10 days away from home since my last post.  I went to visit my daughter and 3 of the grands, and got to enjoy the fun of a certain youngster’s birthday party.  Have you ever been to one of those “bounce” places?   WOW !!  Six kids from age 5-10, 3 adults to monitor among 300 or more other kids. My only “job” was to keep my eyes on the 5 year old, and I lost sight of her in the first 30 seconds.  When I spotted one of the bigger kids, then I spotted the 5 year old, and fortunately they stayed together for the better part of the hour.  Heart stopping moment, that lasted for only a few seconds.  That didn’t happen again, but golly!!!  (This grandma almost got fired!)

While I travel, I play with my English paper piecing project.  I managed to get a couple of my diamonds together.  I also realized looking at the photo below that I need to get two more pieces attached to the diamond in the second row on the right end.  🙂

EPP on the wall with houses

Every once in a while, I dig the diamonds out of the giant ziplock and give them a press and put them on the wall.  19 are complete.  I have LOTS more to go, so I need to take more trips.

Do you see the houses on the left side of the photo?  I took a class called LIBERATED HOUSES at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild a week ago with Barb Vedder and made these funky little houses.  I used scraps and enjoyed the process.  If your guild is looking for an energetic and fun speaker, I highly recommend her.  Check out her website for more info – Barb’s website

I took 5 or 6 bins of scraps to share with the class and the guild members had a great time !

My liberated houses

Here are a couple of blocks made by others in the class….

OWQG Liberated House block made by a member

3 favorites made by an OWQG member

This was a fun class and a great way to play in the scrap bin!

Speaking of funky houses – I visited the San Antonio Arboretum  Botanical Garden in February, and spotted these 2 in the new Children’s area.

Funky houses at San Antonio Arboretum

Off kilter house

I’ve played with my embroidery machine a little in the last week too, making 2 t-shirts for the youngest granddaughter. She just turned 2 and I had fun watching the wild antics of at least 10 kids under 5 at a birthday party last weekend.

Unicorn applique tshirt

Dino Shirt for 2 year old!

One project for the week was working on our Senior Quilts for church. I chair this project every year, and this year, we only have one graduate.  (What a change from the 10-15 in previous years).  Last Saturday we laid out the pattern, and then marked the rows, stacked it all up and I brought 1/2 of the rows home. Another quilter is working on the “other half”.  I had a Material Girls quilt bee on Wednesday, and took my half for the bee.  I used Bessie – my Featherweight to stitch the blocks.  I have my rows completed, and just need to give them a good press.  When the other quilter gets her half finished we will “join the rows” together!

Bottom half of Senior Quilt 2018

Don’t forget today is the day for the next step in From My Carolina Home’s mystery Quilt.  Go check out the block post and get your directions for Scrap Dance Square Dance !  Coming Down The Middle Step

I’ll be working on my pieces tonight!  I am all caught up with the last step!  Photo’s to come!