Another small project done

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

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

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

New bag
front of the bag

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

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

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

pockets on the back

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

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

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

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

fusible fleece for the bag

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

close up of the quilting
Close up of the stitching

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

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

Replacing the old bag

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

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

Another finish!!

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

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

2" box corner
Before the lining goes in.

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

Handles attached
handles attached

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

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

Inside pockets Anne's bag
Pockets are so important

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

Finished bag

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

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

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

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

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

Using up some scraps

Last week I posted about my class project, the To the Nines pattern, where I had a “fat seam allowance”. Those discarded blocks have been turned into something useful! I decided to use them as the basis for my new “tablet sleeve” for my upcoming cruise. Hubby thinks the cover / added keyboard give it protection, but I wanted to make a cover / sleeve for the device.

Since I only had 4 orphan/discarded blocks, I knew I would have to make a few more. The tablet is about 8 x 12 and I was using 2.5″ squares. I ended up with 8 squares x 5 squares for the front of the bag, and the same for the back. I quilted it using Bosal In-R-Form for the batting.

Here is the result –

leftover 9 patches

I used a light fabric for the lining.

Snug fit

It is a fairly snug fit with my tablet. It isn’t going to fall out. There is some extra space along the top. Originally I was going to roll the top edge down to make a cuff, but then I decided the cord needed to go in too.

My husband suggested I add a velcro closure and handles, which I did AFTER the sleeve was made. Now, I guess it is a bag not a sleeve!

Handles added

Boy adding the velcro and handles after the bag / sleeve was already made was a pain in the neck!! Lesson to self….think the project all the way through before rushing through the creative process. I probably should have unstitched the top edge of the bag where the lining joins the outside and opened up the side seam….but that would have been too easy. Instead I fought with the narrow opening and my open arm on the sewing machine. I got it done…but I should have thought that through better.

Anyway, I think the colors of the bag go nicely with my lavender tablet.

new tablet
Lavender Tablet with keyboard

I showed my sister the bag I was making and it reminded her of the bag I made for her Kindle years ago. She gave the kindle away to one of the grandkids but still has the little bag. She has a tablet she will be bringing on our trip in a week, and I asked her if it had a sleeve or a bag. It does not, so I offered to make her one. When she sent me a photo of it, it looks like it is the same one I have and similar size. She asked for it to open on the long side like the Kindle bag. She also liked the short handles.

I went to work on her bag, last night after dinner, and pulled some left over half square triangles, and this is what the front panel of the bag will look like.

starting another sleeve

Those half square triangles were the abundance from Addison’s Quilt I made 5 years ago ! (I could have made two quilts with all those leftover blocks!)

I decided to “start bigger” with this bag, box the corners, and add a pocket inside for the charging cables and other “stuff” she might want to carry with it. Her device has the same detachable keyboard, but without having exact measurements, I am erring on the side of caution for size. My bag/sleeve could have been a bit bigger in hindsight.

I started by making two panels for the front and back of the project then stitched them together at what will be the bottom of the bag, then quilted it onto the Bosal In-R-Form. I used the same serpentine stitch with my walking foot for both bags. At the center bottom seam, I did straight stitch in the ditch and 1/4″ on either side of the seam.

my sister's tablet case in progress

When the sides are stitched together it will look something like this —

another tablet case

Of course, there will be handles, and lining and the bottom will be boxed . I think I will add a magnet purse style closure on the bag. It seems that magnetics and electronics aren’t a problem anymore, as the keyboard to my tablet attaches “magnetically”. (My husband loves that connection concept).

I hope to finish this second bag up today. I’ve picked out a print turquoise to go inside for the lining and the handles. She doesn’t want long handles, just something to slip over her arm, not her shoulder.

95% percent scraps used for both bags, just a little additional fabric from the stash for silly things like straps and pockets and lining. Between them both I only used one package of the In-R-Form that I had on hand. Very convenient.

I will take the bag for her tablet with me on my flight to California next Sunday. There simply is not enough time to mail it and ensure she has it before she travels to the port.

Tablet vs phone
Size matters!

I took a picture of my phone next to the tablet to show her how it would be so much easier to see.

Honestly she had forgotten she had it, so yesterday she charged it up and her daughter helped her get some things connected and running. I’m really glad she is bringing her tablet, and my mission is to help her learn to use it, to use her phone as a hot spot, and get all her a favorite websites loaded. She has a serious vision issue due to her stroke last year, and the size of the screen on the phone has been making things challenging for her this year. I hope using it daily on the cruise will reinforce the simplicity of using it when she is at home.

That’s it for today! Are you working with scraps? Have you ever gone full steam ahead like me, only to realize later how you “should have” done something differently?

Linking up to Oh Scrap – Quilting is More fun than housework!

Meeting a fellow blogger

This week I had the pleasure to meet in person a fellow blogger – Carole Carter, who writes the blog called From My Carolina Home. If you have followed me for long you know that I love her projects and often share links to what is happening on Carole’s blog.

Carole agreed to be a speaker at Ocean Waves Quilt Guild in Lewes Delaware and to teach a class. Normally she doesn’t travel this far, but she was able to tie it in with some other activities, so she made the exception.

Her presentation at the guild was delightful, inspiring and interesting. She made lots of sense in her methods for storing scraps, or what she calls “Scrap Dancing”. She really is a dynamic speaker and if your guild is looking for speakers, I would highly recommend Carole. Her personality bubbles, and her projects are so much fun. To help cut down on how much she had to pack, several of us brought projects that we had made using Carole’s patterns. It was fun to see them on the stage along with her projects.

Carole at the guild
During the guild meeting

We had the joy of going out to dinner with Carole and her husband on Monday night, and were joined by fellow blogger Pat and her husband. Pat’s blog is called Sunlight Through My Windows . I hope we didn’t bore the men while we talked blogging and quilting and other hobbies. It was fun getting to know the husbands. Pat & I are moderators for Carole on her facebook group, so we had lots to talk about.

On Tuesday, Carole taught a class for the guild, which I signed up for. It was a joy to be back “in a quilting class” after so long. Carole provided her pattern called “TO THE NINES” to the students, along with a special tool from Studio 180 for marking 1/4″ lines. We used it when we were making those flying geese. We also received several brands of batting samples in very nice booklets that we can refer back to the next time we are shopping or ordering.

We learned lots of techniques in the class, a speedy way to make flying geese, some fast methods for piecing 9 patches called webbing. Of course, only those speedy sewers and those that don’t talk in class get everything done, so I did come home with some unfinished sewing. Truth is, my 1/4 inch seam allowance got fat, and rather than ‘rip’ out seams, I decided to just make a bunch more at home so I could assemble my project. I was using my featherweight and my magnetic seam guide and I were not getting along. I finished up my sewing today. My first block looked pretty darn good!

Stars block
To The Nines pattern 36x36

These blocks went together pretty quickly using Carole’s methods for chain piecing and webbing. The top at this point is 36×36. A small inner border and a bit wider boarder will finish it off nicely. All the fabrics except the background came out of my scrap storage system. I have the sizes this pattern uses already cut and on hand, so once I decided on a focus fabric, I pulled things that I thought would blend prettily. My focus fabric had purple, lavender, and multiple shades of blue and greens.

This was pretty fun to do, and I needed a day where my brain could just focus on sewing and nothing else for a few hours.

Have you had a chance to take a class from a quilter you follow on line? What do you suppose I will do with those “9 patches” that came up just a little “short” ?? I think they are perfect size for pot holders!!!

Busy week wrap up

It HAS been a most busy week or two. I don’t feel like I have gotten much done but I have had my hands in the middle of a lot of “stuff”. Hubby had a train sale for his club and we spent several days getting things ready to go. We had to put cello sleeves on the boxes with small parts and he had to figure out pricing on every single item. I can “stick stickers” but didn’t have a clue about value without his explanation. They had a very large collection of HO trains that had been donated this year to DelMarVa Model Railroad Club.

pricing trains for sale

We had to be up early last Saturday morning and at the show by 7:30 to set up all the merchandise.

Train sale

Because we had all our items prices and sorted by types it was fairly easy to set up. The only problem was, not enough room on the table, and NOT enough customers. The sale was poorly attended and as a “vendor” highly disappointing. We had enough merchandise to fill 8 tables, but only had 2 reserved. In hindsight that was probably best. Attendance was dismal at best. We can only guess why….beautiful weather, advertising or people still afraid to spend a dime or go out out in public?

Anyway…I did have some fun this past week in spite of the weekend full of work. I had a gathering of the Queen Bees and we got to meet again at the local library for a day of sewing. FIRST time in 18 months that we could sit and sew together. We were a small but mighty group in a large space and just to hear the hum of the machines and the chatter was wonderful. It felt like old times.

For the bee, I took my squares to work on the blocks that Carole Carter requested for the SAFELIGHT QUILTS. I got a few blocks made to go along with the ones I already have finished. I think I should have enough done to stitch a top together fairly soon and get it in the mail to her. From Carole’s blog post – “This project is going to be ongoing for at least a few months, so if you have time to send a few blocks between now and December, we can use them. If you haven’t seen this project until now, my local guild area is making 60×84″ quilts for the beds at the Safelight Domestic Violence Shelter. We have just a dozen or so quilters, and we need 700 blocks. If you can help with making a few blocks, here’s a pdf of what we need for you to download – Safelight Quilt Blocks. ” The block I am making was originally called the Perkiomen Valley, and I have been making some of these off and on in the last few months. I tripped over a pile of half square triangles, already made, that will go in this block after they are trimmed. The rest is simple squares, and it does go together quickly. I cut the background neutral squares I needed when I was cutting a similar size for the class Carole is teaching at my guild on Tuesday. Having everything cut and in a basket, ready to sew means I can knock a few out at a time with out having to do a lot of planning. Our bee used this pattern a couple of years ago when Carole was collecting quilts for hurricane victims.

At the bee, one of our members was working on the cutest pattern from APQS. I have to say I was so enamored, I looked the pattern up on my phone and saved it right then! I can’t wait to see how hers turns out!

Free pattern

This free pattern is available at the APQS website.

I loved it so much that I got busy the next day and cut out all the applique pieces.

Wash your hands

My hubby and I debated about that faucet and I found some sparkly fabric to overlay on the faucet. Once everything was fused down on the background, I layered the piece with a bit of warm and natural batting and started the top stitching.

blanket stitching

It took a while to get around all those curvy hands but I had a great time doing it.

I managed to get around 3 hands before I gave up for the night. Doing the rest of the stitching took a bit of time on Friday afternoon. I find this a very fun project!

Now that I am finished with the top stitching around the fusible applique, I need to figure out a backing, do a bit of quilting to anchor everything and figure out a plan for hanging it. Considering using few hanging loops for a different look, or maybe put a rod pocket on the back. Not quite sure if I am giving it away or keeping it, but it is fun to make! I’m calling it the “reminder” banner.

Do you ever just see a project you jump into making? The only yardage used on this one is the 1/2 yard for the background. All the other pieces came out of my drawers of scraps. What the heck, I needed another project!!

Coming up this weekend is another Wings and Wheels airplane/car show. This time, the show is in our own community. My hubby has been waxing and polishing his shiny truck to enter in the car show, and I was asked again to help with the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation booth. We will be up bright and early for that, but no airplane ride for me this time. They asked me to consider to consider becoming a long term volunteer. They are such nice people and I had lots of fun when I flew in Panchito to the show in Hagerstown Maryland earlier in the month. I’ll be interested in seeing what their schedule is for next year and how it fits around my cruise schedule. I know this year they still have 2 other fall shows to do, and my cruise schedule conflicts. But, I am available on Saturday and was already planning to be at the airfield. This show is familiar to me as we have gone several times. Watch for some pictures (from the ground) next week!

Any fall festivals or community events in your area this weekend? Happy October!

Small Town Charm project completed

NOTE — Edited to share the “last” photo.

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

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

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

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

sorting options
Trying out possibilities

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

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

SMT Tote bag
Waiting for lining

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

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

STC Lining
Right sides together

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

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

INSIDE STC lots of pockets

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

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

STC Tote bag
Small town charm bag

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

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

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

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

EDIT — bag delivered and installed!

Tote bag installed

#DimeSewAlong

Small Town Charm – Machine Embroidery project

I happened to “trip over” a post on a Facebook group I belong to that directed me to the cutest group of machine embroidery blocks being offered for FREE. Of course, I had to go look!! And register….and then go watch you tube videos…and now…figure out HOW in the world I am going to make them and put them into something useable. The collection I am loving on is the SMALL TOWN CHARM group. It seems a new block comes out once a month, and of course, I have downloaded all of the available ones from January – September.

My friend in assisted living asked me to make her a “new” bag for her walker, and I decided I would incorporate a couple of these fun blocks in the bag. I picked out four to stitch out and have ONE finished.

Scoops block
SCOOPS Ice Cream shop block

This is a 12″ background block. The embroidery was designed for the 5×7 hoop. took quite a long time to do, and I have done quite a few “machine embroidery/applique” blocks in the past. It’s a good thing I have a “general idea” of how these work, as the printed instructions were not nearly the same quality as those you get with some patterns. Now, truth be told, I didn’t read all 6 or 8 pages of the PDF instructions BEFORE I started, so that could be part of the problem. AND, I did NOT watch the YOU TUBE video I linked below for this particular block until I was ready to “put the awning on”. It took me about 3 – 5 hours to do this one. LOTS of thread changes, tack down stitches, flip & sew , and TWO hooping’s.

What I plan to do differently…next block… is WATCH the video all the way through first, then print out the accompanying templates for placement before I start stitching. I’ll share that block as it gets going and time how long it takes to do.

One thing I did for this SCOOPS block was use my 5×7 hoop. I really should have started with my 8×8, and shifted the entire project to the bottom of the hoop, and then I would NOT have had to rehoop to attach the awning section. Sigh…lesson learned. To be honest, I watch the You Tube Video on how to make the September block and got overly excited.

First – here is where you go to get the free blocks , free on DIME Designs and Projects website – https://www.shop.dzgns.com/collections/designs-projects/designs-projects_free-designs

Then, off to YOU TUBE – https://youtu.be/uvw1g_wtTtM to watch OML Embroidery (Sue is the presenter) show her methods in this stitch along. Hat’s off to Sue for the lively conversation and tips. Sue does a video for each month’s block.

I did prep my fabric for the applique by using Wonder Under on the back of the pieces. This gives you a cleaner cut (in my opinion) as you are trimming following the tack down stitch. I still need to go back and do a little “clean up” trimming, so I will catch those little bits that show when you zoom in. I also put a layer of quilt batting (Warm and Natural) under my block fabric, on top of the cut away stabilizer. This gives the heavy stitching something to bite into and a little dimension to the design. I float my background block fabric (the pink multi color) in the hoop and do a basting stitch to anchor it. I also follow Kay’s suggestions at Kreative Kiwi, and use pins on my stabilizer at the edges of the hoop. Those pins make a huge difference when stitching out something with a lot of heavy stitching.

I think this block and a couple of others will make a fun addition to a tote bag for my friend June’s walker. Maybe it will catch the eye of another resident, and facilitate a conversation and a new friendship too. Who knows? The bag this will replace was beautifully made by another resident, but is starting to show some wear. I think it might just need a good washing. June has given me her requirements for pockets etc, and I took lots of pix of the existing bag so I can meet her size requirements and attachment needs for the walker.

What’s under your needle this week??

#omlembroidery #machineembroidery#embroidery#DIME#designsinmachineembroidery

#DIMESewAlong

A finished small project

Last week I worked on some blocks that I picked up off my “pile” on the corner of the cutting table. I mentioned them here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2021/01/24/little-between-projects/ .

I would like to report a FINISH for that pile of blocks! The disappearing 4 patches have been completed, and joined up and turned into a nice size throw the lady that started them 2 years ago.

Backstory, in case you missed it…..I ‘used to‘ volunteer at an assisted living facility where my friend June is in residence. I would take boxes of squares that had been donated to the quilt guild, and let the ladies choose their own colors and fabrics. This was easier than trying to work with shaking hands and rotary cutters, and a bit safer.

I would go once a week to sew with whoever showed up in the activities room. One resident, Stella, only came to sew a few times and then just quit coming a couple of years ago. I kept bringing her bag of squares every week, hoping she would turn back up. She never did. Stella only sewed for 20-25 minutes and then would leave, even though I was there for 2+ hours. I don’t think she could concentrate for much longer, and other residents told me she was like that in every activity. So, when I came across her bag of squares, I pondered what to do with the blocks she had sewn. I probably am repeating myself, but here goes. I took Stella’s squares apart because her stitches were loose and very crooked. I’m certain her stitch length had been set on a basting stitch (5.0 stitches per inch) because she just could see those “tiny” stitches. Many times I would catch even my friend June, cranking the dial because she couldn’t see the stitches that were 2.5, and I had to “dial” her back. I always promised them all, if there were stitches to rip out, I would do it! Anyway, if you read the blog post about the little in between projects, you know I put Stella’s squares back together as 4 patches, then cut them up again.

More switching
Disappearing 4 patch

The method involves taking a squared up block, then cutting it apart and rearranging the pieces. I cut 1.5″ from the center line, 4 times. My previous blog post has information and links to better explain the method.

I took the pile of blocks I made during a zoom retreat with my blogger friend, Carole, (https://frommycarolinahome.com//) and arranged them on the design wall.

Disappearing 4 patches

Last Tuesday, I had a “ZOOM QUILT BEE” with the Queen Bees. During that bee, I added an “alternate block” in the layout, and worked on getting the blocks sewn together. Since I have all of June’s fabric, I dug in her boxes and found some pieces that I wanted to use up.

work in progress

Once the blocks were put together I decided I needed to break up some of that PINK with another color. Hubby suggested green and I thought that was perfect idea for the borders.

6x7 layout

I dug through June’s stash again, and found a nice green! Borders went on, backing was made, again from June’s stash, and the quilt top got pin basted and ready to machine quilt.

I spent Thursday on another Zoom Retreat with Carole and got the quilting done. (It’s amazing how much you can get done while chatting with others during a day of sewing and zooming!)

Disappearing 4 patch finished

For quilting, I used my walking foot. I went in the ditch down the rows working from the center out, and then went across each block on the diagonal, in both directions. For the border, I switched thread and used the wavy serpentine stitch with my walking foot.

quilting

It doesn’t take long to put on the binding because it is all done by machine, using the Susie’s Magic Binding technique http://www.52quilts.com/2012/05/tuesday-tutorial-susies-magic-binding.html . (Save that link, as it is my GO TO binding method and SEW EASY!!!).

Here is a close up of the binding if you haven’t seen it done before – my hubby tells me it is his favorite because it adds an unexpected pop of color!

close up of quilting and binding
Susie’s Magic binding method – also known as “binding with a flange”

Threads for quilting – Superior Fantastico , colors 5021 (40 wt) blue/purple/green varigated; and Superior Fantastico color 5025 (40 wt) pink green yellow blue varigated. On the back, the bobbin thread was also Superior Fantastico color 5031 ( 40 wt) varigated pink. The pink was also used top stitching the binding in the flange. I love how the thread has a bit of a shine, and on the back of the quilt it all but disappears in the pale pink fabric. When doing the patchwork, I usually sew with a grey or beige thread, Superior Masterpiece which is a cotton 50 weight.

As a side note; while zooming with Carole in December we were chatting about favorite threads. I really love my Superior threads and a favorite I use is Bottom Line Silver # 623. It is a 60 weight and my 3000 yard cone was nearly empty. I went shopping for thread and found it available at the Fat Quarter shop. (I usually buy my threads at quilt shows). It took a few weeks, but my thread arrived on Friday and I can adjust my “inventory” on my spreadsheet (what a geek). It’s true, I keep track of the thread I use and when and where I bought it and the price. Much nicer to buy in groups of 3 at quilt shows as there is a discount usually!

I plan to make a label using my embroidery machine in the next day or two and getting this quilt delivered. Won’t Stella be surprised when the staff takes it to her apartment! Before I head to the assisted living though, I think I will make a couple of placemats for June and her hubby, using the same method of “disappearing 4 patches”. I probably will do them out of reds and whites/creams so she can use them all of February.

RANT – warning….not for the weak of heart…….

I can only “drop off” in the lobby as the facility is still in lockdown for COVID-19. My dear friend June and her husband just tested positive, even after they had round one of the vaccine 3 weeks ago. Hoping that having had the vaccine means they won’t have as severe of a case. Over 53% of the deaths from COVID-19 in our state have been residents of Long Term Care facilities, and 911 out of 1090 deaths in Delaware were people over 65. Those are some frightening numbers and I get angry when I think about staff bringing the virus into the facilities. My friends have been in isolation from their family and friends since early March of 2020, yet now, they have COVID. Obviously , the precautions are not working, staff is not following proper protocol, and these dear old ones are at risk! Sigh…rant over, anger is steaming out my ears yet!

Snowy day in So. Delaware
1-5″ forecasted for this storm

Do you have any weather coming in? You know, my sewing room is “out there” on the 2nd floor of the detached garage, so I will probably do some hand stitching of hexi’s in my recliner today! What’s under your needle today?

Autumn Jubilee Tote bag

I’ve been following along with the From My Carolina Home #AutumnJubilee2020 this month, and this week was time to finish the tote bag in the sew along. Directions for the finish can be found on the blog here – https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/18/autumn-jubilee-sew-along-finishing-the-bag/

When I read through the instructions, I decided for I did not want to do a Velcro closure on my bag, so I ordered some “magnetic” purse closures on Amazon. I was “waiting” for that delivery on Tuesday so I could finish this project. (Note...local friends…I have extra magnetic closures if you need them….they came in a pack of 20 and it will take me that many years to use them.)

I showed details on my chosen fabrics and progress recently on a post – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/10/06/stars-and-strips-autumn-jubilee/

Stitching is completed
Strip set sewn together and quilted with deco stitch

I waited a while to come up with my “panel” for embellishment. I was supposed to insert it before quilting, but I could not decide on the fabric for a few days. I chose the linen multi color block fabric that is in the middle of the strip set for my panel and got the embroidery done a couple of weeks ago.

Panel for inset on bag
In hind site I should have stabilized better because I had a lot of pulling of the linen fabric with the embroidery.

Yesterday I sat down to follow those “bag finishing instructions” (linked at the top of the page).

I had to first add fusible fleece to the back of my embroidered piece and then insert it in the strip set. Once it was in, I decided it needed quilting. I did some straight line quilting using the same thread as the ‘fancy stitches” on the strips, using Superior Threads Fantastico “CASHMERE” thread. (My all time favorite color!) The quilting and the fusible fleece helped make the wrinkles around the edges of my embroidery disappear.

panel inserted and quilted
Panel inserted and quilted

Once that was done it was time to trim up the piece. I just could not bring myself to cutting it down to the “pattern size”, so I squared it up, trimmed and measured and went with a bigger size bag. I ended up with about 16 1/4″ by 44″.

IMG_20201020_162449746
The fusible fleece and boxed corners help the bag to stand up nicely

I dug into my Autumn Jubilee bin of fabric and chose my bag lining and handle fabric.

As I was deciding on which fabrics to use, I decided that the bag NEEDED pockets inside. I had enough fabric of either color to make pockets. I used the fabric that was left after making straps and made two pockets for inside.

pocket for the lining
The pockets are attached to the lining before the lining is inserted into the bag.

I added the magnetic closure to the lining before putting the lining in the bag. I put a small square of fusible fleece behind the lining fabric where the magnet prongs go through the fabric to keep it from pulling out.

Inside the bag magnetic closure
small disk is the magnetic closure, one above each pocket
IMG_20201020_171901327
Bag finished and ready to be used
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Ready to be used

I was very happy with this project and my modifications along the way. One thing I would have changed is the width of the straps and the method for doing them. These straps are about 1 1/4″ wide finished, which is ok for a bag this size, but I like a thicker strap. I know the idea was to use those 2 1/2″ strips from jelly rolls, but I cut from yardage and could have done bigger. They do have fusible fleece inside the handles, so they are going to be comfortable to hold. You might remember my story of the puny strap bag last year https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/taking-care-of-some-odds-and-ends/

I am dashing off to an outdoor quilt bee and will be taking this bag for show & tell. This evening I am going to practice on muslin for hem-stitching / rolled hem for a scarf. Wish me luck, and tell me your tips!

What is on your sewing table today?

Labels for old projects and Autumn Jubilee

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Little bluebird

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

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

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

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

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

Fire and Ice label
label ready to stitch on

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

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

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

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

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

Batik placemats
2018 batik placemats

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

More placemat fun
Placemats in 2018

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

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

fabric for Autumn Jubilee 2020
Small print leaves for Autumn Jubilee

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

What is happening in your sewing room this week?