Traveling sewing kit

I am leaving in less than 36 hours for a trip to California, and a cruise to Alaska. My bags are packed, twice now…and I think I have the essentials.

One thing I enjoy while traveling is working on English Paper Piecing. Bonnie Hunter, Quiltville.blogspot.com, does this when she travels to teaching locations around the world. I started the year I went to Nevada when my Lil sister was recovering from knee surgery. The only time I sit and hand stitch is when I travel. (ūüźą in lap at home preventing hand stitching).

Anyway, I sorted out my never ending Double Diamonds project, and got things kitted and organized and all set to travel…..or so I thought. Today I attended a lovely gathering of the Material Girls Quilt bee, and Irene, our hostess, shared a hand sewing kit given to her as a gift by a dear friend.

Her friend used some wonderful Tula Link fabric.

There is a place to keep needles stored on the green wool, pockets for scissors and the awesome Vivilux light, and even a zip pocket and a holder for her Aurifil thread. I loved the idea and got permission to to get a couple of pictures.

After dinner tonight I decided to go PLAY for a bit in my sewing room. I got out 2 fat quarters and a scrap of contrasting fabric and some batting and got busy cutting, sewing, quilting and creating.

I made my travel sewing kit with 3 pockets, and also used a bit of wool for the needles and pins.

Travel fabric for the outside.

Transportation (blue) fabric inside. I fussy cut the fabric for the pockets.

Wide open it is about 8″x 20″.

On the left I have a spool of thread being held on with a tab and a button with elastic. Below is a pocket with 3 sections. In the center is the wool pin holder (with a bit of batting behind it). Below the pins is a larger pocket. On the right is another pocket with the opening on the side towards the center.

I managed to load an Altoid tin with bobbins (for lots of thread variety), another spool of Aurifil thread and my new lighted Needle threader in the pocket sections.

The center pocket has those clover clips that are like spare hands, my Vivilux LED light and a floss container. ( I fly with this, and use the cutter on the floss for my thread.)

This side opening pocket has my Double Diamonds directions along with a 1qt zip bag full of pieces and parts for 1 Double Diamond EPP block.

Now I am really packed and ready to go! Thanks Irene for sharing your kit and inspiring me to make one for myself.

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Up-cycling a sofa cover

Strange title for a post but I have a funny upcycling story. ¬†My daughter had a sofa cover that was due for replacement and she saved the old one. ¬†Together she and I made a “big” draft dodger for her front door in her home in Texas. ¬†That was several years ago. ¬†For some reason I cut up the rest of the fabric and brought a large chunk of it home. It is heavy durable twill; not the prettiest green I have ever seen but sturdy stuff. ¬†I have used bits of it repairing a dog bed for my other daughter. ¬†Last week, in a moment of tidying up (aka searching for something in the sewing room); I came across the fabric. ¬†I also came across an insulated grocery bag that had a zipper problem.

Well, once I found the thing I was searching for (that delightful orange fabric for the bike bag) and got it made, I decided to take that insulated grocery bag off the bottom shelf and see about fixing it. I quickly determined it was NOT repairable. ¬†It was made of that cheap open weave fabric that felt almost like paper and it littered my sewing room floor with little bits of stuff as I carried it to the sewing machine. It was disintegrating in my hands. ¬†SO…..I thought about the bag; and what I could do to make a replacement. ¬†(These 90 degree days make you think insulated bag to get the butter home from the store!).

I decided that sofa cover fabric was sturdy enough to make a shopping bag from. ¬†I made a “test run” and immediately decided it was too SMALL. ¬†(I forgot to account for the inches in height you lose when you box the corners. ) So, that one got set aside and I decided on new measurements and cut out a much larger bag. I cut the lining out of a bolt of muslin that I had and then I disassembled the OLD bag and harvested the insulation. ¬†I had some Insul-Bright that you use in pot holders, but not enough for a whole bag. I cobbled together enough pieces of the old stuff and the new stuff to cut out pieces for a new bag. ¬†I also cobbled together batting scraps to add additional insulation to the bag. (I call it franken-batting…..because it is reminds me of Frankenstein). ¬† I used some 505 spray basting to hold the batting; the insulation and the front of the bag together before stitching the side seams. ¬†It worked pretty well. ¬†Putting those seams together with 6 layers total required a heavy duty needle and my walking foot! ¬†(The lining in muslin was a breeze).

I designed as I went and my biggest challenge was the lid. ¬†I added a “hinged” flap and 2 sections of velcro to keep it closed.

It finished at 20″ long by 9″ wide and 11 1/2 ” high. ¬†Hubby said the handle was long enough and sturdy enough. It is NOT pretty; but it IS functional and I love that I was able to recycle a bunch of odds and ends and come up with a durable bag.

Maiden voyage of insulated grocery bag

We usually do a big shopping trip at BJ’s Warehouse once a month. Hubby throws a cooler in the back of the SUV and a couple huge totes to contain all the small stuff. ¬†The cooler is never big enough. ¬†So; the bag DID come in handy to get frozen food home on a sweltering hot evening. ¬†It held a couple of boxes of ice cream bars; a container of lunch meat and a few other bulky items that were frozen. ¬†The only thing is it wasn’t tall enough for the pizza box. ¬†Since we “pack from the cart into the car” it was easy for him to load it full.

The test run indicated that the top needs something at the sides to ensure it stays closed; and I think I will add 2 small tabs with velcro.

Of course; it had a 2nd test last night……Smokey decided it made a really nice bed on the kitchen table….and the hubby caught him ! ¬†He is only climbing down because he got scolded! ¬†Hubby said he was snuggled in and settled for the night~~!~~

Apparently the cat liked it too

Hindsight …If I make another bag I will use the “inner form” foam to give the bag a little shape. ¬†And I will remember to hang it on the hook to keep the cat from making it into a bed!

Fun to up-cycle stuff and make it usable as something different.  And nice to get that old bag off the shelf in the sewing room.

What are you working on?

Where did July go?

Just thought I would pop in and say hello! ¬†Where DID July go? ¬†I don’t know about you but 31 days buzzed by in record time! ¬†We had the grandkids for a week over the 4th of July and enjoyed the holiday together! We got out “finally” to see fireworks at a local park and celebrate all together. ¬†There was a lot of ooohing and aawing…and ice cream eating happening!

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The youngest held on up to the grand finale!  So much fun~!!~

There was some porch sitting – but only on the cooler days!

Morning on the porch

and pool time with all the grandkids and some quiet time too in the pool.

Pool Time

Hubby and I took a long weekend to go to the Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle PA where he won 2 prizes for his truck! ¬†His “celebrity pick” was a great honor~!!!

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The first place for his category was nice, but that “celebrity pick” was icing on the cake! ¬†Lots more photo’s of cool cars in my album here –¬†Chrysler Nationals at Carlisle¬† .

We met a US Navy man at our lodging at Carlisle Barracks with a pretty nice car and had lots of conversation.  He headed back home to his duty station on the day after the show finished. His route took him right past our house. He and my hubby had exchanged contact information and when he texted my hubby that his car broke down; we realised he was just 10 minutes away.

Hubby had all the tools; and they spent a couple of hours chasing parts to do the repair. ¬†We knew that if they couldn’t get it fixed, then we would put it on the car trailer and tow him home to Norfolk.

His beautiful Dodge Charger was something to see on the hoist in our garage! I have to report I was of no help other than feeding them both supper! 

on our hoist
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Oh; and for making sure they had plenty of approach shoring to back off the lift without dragging something on the ground.

7 hours later the repairs were done and he was on his way home to Virginia.

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We have been out a couple of times to listen to music at the local state park and enjoy the company of our other grand daughter and her parents.

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There have been a few bike rides, but less than usual due to the heat and humidity.

Raindeer going for a ride

 

Two granddaughters spent a week with us, and we had lots of activity — Magic shows at the library with the granddaughters with a fellow that had some great entertainment.

best magic ever

A trip to the Delaware State Fair with 3 granddaughters & one daughter. ¬†Yes, that is me at the “welcome” sign!

Fun at the State Fair

We enjoyed looking at the animals –

Speckled Goat

and interesting vehicles on display too.

Natural Resources Police Vehicles on display

and to see the button crafts made by kids on display –

Button crafts Delaware State Fair

(I was inspired!)

A favorite activity was the “touch a truck” where the kids could climb up and inside various vehicles; like tractors and ambulances and even a police vehicle!

Harrington Police

We did lots of walking and eating and walking and then there were the rides for the big girls! ¬†They had “wrist bands” and could ride as long as they wanted! ¬†Three hours later they were running on “low battery” and we went home! ¬†Perfect timing to get home, cool off in the pool before dinner.

After the girls went home, Grandpa asked for help with some yard work. ¬†UGH…..¬† He had me working hard one afternoon loading the trimming from things he cut into his garden trailer. ¬†It was fine until I saw this snake skin in one of the limbs we were cutting. ¬† EWWWW…..

Snake in the tree branches

After the worst of the trimming was done I escaped to my sewing room for a few days.

It took me 2 quilt bees and a couple days at home to finally finish all the blocks and ¬†assembly of the king size “Scrap Dance Minuet” . (Pattern by Carole – From My Carolina Home¬†) ¬† This was a mystery quilt we started in January or February; and the final instructions were given in mid June.

King size Scrap Dance Minuet

I’m going to let it hang on the wall for a while; and decide about borders and ironing and such.

I cleared some space and did a little repair work on this bike seat. It goes on the frame at the back of my daughter’s bike to haul the youngest granddaughter. ¬†The stitching had come out on the seat belt guide on the right side. She had gotten a replacement from the manufacturer, but I decided to do the repair. ¬†I actually had the seat so I could make a carry bag for the back of it. In the picture below you see the straps (orange) and elastic for the carry bag. ¬†Once I got the carry bag made, I took the binding off the red nylon seat cover and tacked down the seat belt guides. ¬†I put a little stiff pellon stabilizer under neath to give the stitches some durability.

attachment points

Not sure if you can see the guide hanging loose on the right side. That is due to the stitching on seat belt guide pulling loose.

Repair complete

Both guides reinforced with stabilizer under neath the nylon seat cover. ¬†Had to reassemble the interior of the seat and put the binding back on. ¬†Stitching on the nylon is tricky as it wants to slip and slide and fray. ¬†I did some “stay stitching” before I reassembled it. ¬†It is definitely an improvement.

A promised project finally made! ¬†My daughter I ride with asked if I could make a tote bag for the back of the baby seat. ¬†It could not be “sewn” or clipped on the nylon; as it wasn’t strong enough to support the weight of the bag. I decided on adding a “band” like you see in the photo above that wraps around the inside of the seatback and goes “under” the shoulder straps. I was glad to have her “extra seat” here to help me think through the process. ¬†I can’t wait to see this “on the bike”. ¬†I may have to adjust the elastic band you see in the top picture. ¬†This bag slips on the back of the bike seat with that band in the first photo.

Bike bag attached to the seat

I added snaps at the top so she could close it and keep the “stuff” from bouncing out. ¬†The odd shape is due to the place it goes on the back of the baby seat and in front of the fender. ¬†I might have to shorten it and make it even with the bottom of the seat.

Bag opening

I made the bag out of ¬†“outdoor fabric” leftover from a project I made a few years ago. It is fully lined with the same fabric and should do the job.

Another month gone by with 5 more placemats made by the lovely ladies at the assisted living. I think they have enjoyed making them.    The stack is growing.  I am off to sew with them later today.

Hoping the rest of the summer is as busy and fun!  Enjoy !

Quilt as you go placemats and holiday sewing

It’s been a “few” weeks since I posted. Summer is a busy time. ¬†I continue to volunteer ¬†once a week with the ladies at the assisted living facility ¬†and they are gradually completing placemats. ¬†They are using the “quilt as you go” method to piece the placemat tops. ¬†One lady did two placemats in last weeks session; while another has worked on her’s for two weeks. ¬†It’s not a race; but I don’t want them to grow bored with the project. ¬†These placemats will be donated at Serendipity Quilt Shop for their “Meals on Wheels” campaign.

Ready to trim

I bring them home after they finish stitching and do the trimming; top stitching and binding.

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Some of the stitching is a little shaky so I figured top stitching the seams helps them to “hold together” and be a little more durable. I chose some of the pretty variegated Superior thread and fun machine stitches.

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It is fun to help them along and see the pieces they have chosen from my 3 boxes of strips that I have been taking.  I keep cutting and adding to the strip boxes during the week to get more variety!

Close up of 3 placemats

Sometimes the strips end up on a bit of a wonky angle like the center one in this picture; other times they are intentionally put on the diagonal. When they do that, I know their creativity is showing!

So far 8 of the 10 I had planned are completed. ¬†I asked the activities director if she would consider a “field trip” to the quilt shop this month so the ladies can “drop off their donation” to the Meals on Wheels placemat drive. ¬†Waiting on an answer!

8 placemats finished

This afternoon is time to go again and show off their work to them; and hopefully get the last two ready to trim. ¬†I made sure to do “my bit” right away last week when we got home from volunteering. ¬†Again thank goodness for my hubby and his willingness to go and help with machines etc.. ¬†(I might leave him home today as the grandkids are coming over “from across the bridge” for the holiday week and are arriving mid day. )

Speaking of grandkids and holiday week…..I can’t believe it is July already!! ¬†We made plans with my daughter and her family to come for the holiday week. Hard to find a week where they can get away from all the activities a young family has scheduled. This is the perfect week! ¬†I came up with a “plan” for the celebration on the 4th of July involving fireworks and a park and a car show, so something for everyone, I hope, to enjoy.

On Saturday while I was scrolling through my email; I saw a cute project on the Bernina newsletter, “We All Sew” ” page. ¬†The pattern is called Star Bean Bag Toss and is intended to “go outside” to play, take along to a picnic etc.

I thought it would be perfect for the coming holiday and had to “get busy” to get it made. ¬†I got the background cut out and stitched together on Saturday and some of the stars cut out.

10 points

30 points

After dinner on Sunday I finished making the rest of the elements and layered them up to attach to the background. ¬†Some fast raw edge applique stitching with Superior threads Red-white-blue variegated thread ¬†(Yes, I know the points aren’t’ perfect…but its done….before the holiday!)¬† I decided to skip the whole binding thing and do a turn, so I put the three layers together, sewed around the outside edge, and turned it right side out. I stitched completely around the edge 1/4″ away to close the opening and give it a finished edge. ¬† I quilted it using a wavy stitch on my machine and echoed around the stars.¬†

Stars and lots of points

It needs a good press before we play; and I need to get busy to make the bean bags.  I think I will get the grandkids involved with that tomorrow!

This was a fun fast project. ¬†Hubby will tell you that I disappeared into the sewing room around 7 last night and did not reappear until 1:30 am….hey….I was having FUN!!!

I’ve done a little other sewing too on my Scrap Dance Minuet project. ¬†The “final step” was revealed the 2nd Friday in June. ¬†I’ve been “assembling units” so I can make the blocks. ¬†(Pattern info on¬†From My Carolina Home¬† )

Blocks for Scrap Dance Minuete

I’ve had 2 quilt bees in June and got some of the blocks made during both bees. ¬†I think I have about 20 made now, just haven’t put them all back up on the wall for a photo. ¬†I have 56 to make so am about 1/3 of the way there!

In between this sewing has been lots of bike riding and pool time. My “Strava fitness app” indicated that I rode my bike for a little over 8 hours and 63 miles in June! ¬†WOW….won’t bore you with the maps but just know that I am getting a lot of use out of my bicycle; and enjoying the company of my husband along the rides. ¬†We have gone to listen to “music at the pond” and bands on the rooftop and are planning for a car show in July. ¬†I am also working out details for ¬†my next cruise coming up at the end of August. ¬†I guess that is why the blog has been so quiet!

Do you have any fun plans for the holiday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A week of finishes and fun

I’ve had a fairly busy week. ¬†Mid-week I was going to post something and then FLICKR had an outage while they did a platform migration; so I had to patiently wait…..in order to share my photos on the blog post. The downtime was much longer than I anticipated!

Wrapping up the never ending placemat project ¬†—¬†The final batch of batik placemats has binding on them! ¬†Happy to get them finished! ¬†Now; what to do with them???? ¬†(Started these last summer, and they turned out to be a fun project for free motion quilting practice) Time to put the basket of batik strips away for a while. Total made – 18.

Finally finished

I attended a “sit & sew” on Thursday and Friday and got something “finished” during that dedicated sewing time. ¬†Funny thing is; I honestly didn’t know what I was going to work on until it came time to load the car on Thursday morning to leave. I walked into my sewing room; saw my 2 unfinished Cardinal blocks on the design wall and made a fast decision. ¬†Another started these LAST year….had 1 completed and 2 unfinished.

My 3rd bird is not finished; but I have big plans for it on Tuesday at my Queen Bees gathering!

Two Cardinals

The bird on the right is “last year’s” model. ¬†The one on the left is the one I finished on Thursday.

When I was leaving to go to the sit & sew, I forgot to grab the finished one to bring as a “reminder” of how I did the quilting etc. I also failed to bring all the thread colors I might need. ¬†I was “saved by my friend Cheryl” who had an array of choices and shared!

It wasn’t until I sat these 2 together to take this photo that I realised what I had done differently to the bird. ¬†Bird on the right (Bird 1) is really standing out. ¬†He has an extra layer of wool batting JUST under the bird portion and bird on the right is just one layer of batting. ¬†Other than “fabric choices” for borders; bird on the right also has more quilting surrounding him and in the borders. ¬†Bird on the right was quilted on my Janome 8900; bird on the left (Bird #2) on my Singer Featherweight. ¬†Bird # 3 is also being quilted with the Singer Featherweight. When I started to quilt Bird #3, I had Bird 1 & 2 nearby so I could “remember” what I was supposed to do.

Bird # 3 will fly into the blog after Queen Bees! ¬†The quilting is about half complete and then I need to put it together into an envelope style pillow. These take about an 18″ pillow form with the borders I added. ¬† ¬†The pattern I used came from¬†Mom and Pop Quilt Shop

I am headed over to the assisted living facility where my friend June lives this morning. This will be my 3rd trip in a week. She has been inspired to begin sewing again; and I have been “on call” for sewing assistance.

Hubby did some “tension” adjustments and general maintenance to one of her machines this week, repairing some broken latches on the bobbin access door and getting it “sewing right”. He inserted a nice LED bayonet style bulb that I had ordered, and it “lights up” the sewing area so much better than the old bulb. (Another back story….June’s machine was having serious tension trouble and I spent 3 hours trying to get things right last Saturday. Her hubby tried too; and in the processes the light bulb went out and removing it was a mess! ¬†Those old bulbs rust in their housings and break between the brass and the bulb when you try to remove them. So; ordering new LED bulbs from E-bay was an absolute necessity. I got great price and service and from http://singer-featherweights-revived.com/index.html. ¬†The store name on EBAY is “old times sew in stuff”. ¬†The machine is not a featherweight but takes the same size bayonet ¬†bulb. ) Thank goodness she had a 2nd machine to sew on, so I could bring the other one home to get fixed.

Anyway; June is making some gifts for her daughter in law and is on “deadline” for an anniversary mid June, and so I am providing “tech/sewing” support. ¬† ūüėČ ¬†She is finally feeling well enough to WANT to sew; and that is good news and makes me want to help her get going. She saw a pattern in a magazine for a sunflower mug rug 2 months ago. After she first showed it to me, ¬†I assembled a container of her fabrics from my sewing room.

Well, like sewers and quilters everywhere, she has “grown the project” into something more and now she is making 4 placemats! ¬†(Sound familiar??) I am taking “more” background fabric and batting today so she has enough! ¬†(Originally I took her enough supplies for the “one” mug rug).

Helping June with a project

When I left her on Tuesday, this is how far we had gotten. One placemat ready to turn, and one sunflower ready to stitch down. Since then; she decided that the sunflower needs to be “removable” ; so I picked up some “sew on velcro” and will add it to the placemat and the flower. Will certainly make it “easier to wash”. And like anyone who has sewn, she has “re-invented the sunflower” as she progressed. Needless to say; it is FUN watching her making sewing and design decisions again! ¬†She has been “out of the game” for nearly 2 years and I am ready and willing to get her busy again. ¬†She needs a lot more help these days; but who doesn’t at their mid 80’s? ¬†I just love that she is inspired again!

Last weekend, after I spent time with June, I convinced the hubby to take a bike ride. We have such beautiful state parks; and there is one nearby with great tree covered trails and bridges where you can stop and enjoy the water view too.

Hubby rides

I might have not told him “exactly” how far it was to make the whole loop!

Nice ride at the State park

I did treat him to a nice dinner later, at the beach!

Reward for the ride

It was nice to get to the beach “one last time” before the start of the summer season. Memorial Day is the official start and the roads and beaches will be jammed. ¬†We enjoyed a quiet evening before the crowds take over.

Full moon on the rise

                       Summer season has begun in Rehoboth Beach!  

We buzzed the neighborhood across the road once during the week together on our bikes, ¬†so he could make more bike adjustments. ¬†(And to help work off the tacos….wasn’t enough exercise….)

Short ride after dinner

On  Wednesday night I rode with the #LIFECYCLE Community Bike Ride.

Wednesday night Community ride with Lifecycle

This month, in spite of that “road rash back on May 7th”; I have gotten 42 miles in.

Last night there was a “glow ride” in Milford. This was sponsored by #LIFECYCLE .

What is a glow ride? ¬†Check out the story about the glow ride from the local news ¬†and see what the “glow” is all about !!!) –¬†https://youtu.be/PjzY_6Ya-uw

I did one glow ride last year, but I didn’t want to fight the holiday weekend beach traffic to get home afterwards. ¬†Instead, we made a short trip to pick up some new “glow lights” for my bike and hubby installed them after dinner. They look so cool! And I am ready for the next Wednesday evening ride!

Adding wheel lights

The “still” photo below gives you a general idea –

Wheel lights

It is hard to explain how cool they look, so I have linked a video I filmed in our driveway –¬†Wheel lights in motion

I think when I suggested these lights he thought I was nuts; but after he took a spin around the driveway; he saw how much FUN it was. ¬†Next week is a rather long ride and I now need to work on getting the “right” combination of headlights on the bike! ¬†More about that later.

Go out and have some fun!

After dinner update — Look what we accomplished today – I think they look pretty darn good!

Sunflower placemats

She needs to “quilt” or “top stitch” the place mats and¬† tack the backing on the sunflowers.¬† The sunflowers will be removable from the place mat for washing.

Binding and more binding

When I do stuff; I often get carried away. I started these in July last year.  I had a lot of batik scraps and strips.  Making blocks that just seem to multiply.  Scrappy sewing fun!   Maybe I should have turned the blocks into a quilt as you go project; but then again; maybe not.  I did a table runner; but still had lots of blocks, so  I had a lot of fun making some wonderful placemats last September.

More placemat fun

Then, life got busy. ¬†A few months ago I managed to get the binding on enough to “set the table”. That was February I think. ¬†

I still had a stack of 12 to tackle. and they languished. Post quilt show; I have been trying to tackle some of these languishing projects. Mostly to get the baskets of projects off the floor under the design wall!!   My first 6 that I bound a few months ago had very scrappy binding. 

I made some binding for the placemats “a while back” but never got “round to putting it on”. And I quickly realized it wasn’t enough.¬†I realized I better just break down and cut some yardage to get more bound. I feel like I’ve¬†I’ve spent the last week making miles of Susie’s Magic Binding. ¬†) It is that wonderful 2 piece binding that you machine on and it looks terrific on most projects.) ¬†So, beginning last weekend, I used what was already made; and then got out some yardage to make more. Once I had a bunch made, ¬†I grabbed a placemat and the roll of binding and got started.

7 placemats bound

6 are the same and one is different……. ¬†¬†(Did I mention I needed a LOT of binding?) ¬†

I never really sat down and calculated just how much I needed until I ran out after the first 6 in the picture above. Then I started back in with the scrappy binding. (That is why the top one is different)  After all; I still had a LOT of strips to play with.

So; a few more feet of binding got made yesterday (34 feet I think) and I am ready for another few days of binding. ¬†It takes me about an hour start to finish each one. ¬†The join takes me longer than anything else honestly if I am not focused. ¬†I use the “binding tool” ¬†and have discovered it (or me) leaves too long of a tail, so I baste; fit; adjust; trim; baste etc. ¬†The ONLY hard thing with Susie’s Magic Binding is LINING up the flange at the join. ¬†I get lazy and forget to put a pin through both layers. After screwing around with 1 placemat on Thursday and messing up the join, my memory returned. ¬†I stick a pin right where I want the line of the flange to be and it works every time. That made the last 3 I stitched yesterday work well.

These 5 are ready and waiting for available sewing time!

Binding ready

That will be the “end” of this strip / scrap batik project. ¬†Afterwards; I think the remaining strips will go into a box with similar colors for string blocks, down the road.

What are you working on this weekend?

 

Back in the Saddle Again

It seems like months have gone by where I have had little to report in the “sewing and quilting” world on my blog. ¬†Many of you who have followed the blog for any length of time are aware I had surgery on my right hand in October for trigger release on 2 fingers. This was followed up by surgery on Valentines Day for the big problem with my long finger; where the arthritis was so bad that bone spurs were growing etc..

Last Tuesday (April 30) I had a follow up with the hand surgeon.

Last day in the splint

As I sat in the waiting room, with my fingers crossed (sort of) I wondered what he would say. 10 weeks in a splint was “enough for me…and I was getting impatient. First stop was the x-ray to check on bone growth –

Screw is working

The technician always puts the x-ray up on the computer screen and I can’t resist studying it while I wait for the doctor to come in. ¬†You can see that nice 28mm titanium screw that is now a permanent part of my life. ¬†When the doc zooms in on the x-ray he is looking for “new bone around the screw” and no hollow areas.

When he came in and checked both my hand and the x-ray, he threw the splint in the trash! ¬†I am SO happy! ¬†That long finger is now well on it’s way to healing! ¬†The “titanium” screw he placed in the finger thru the first joint is now bonding nicely with new bone growth and improving every day. This is great news as the splint got in the way of a lot of fun! ¬†AND he released me to go “live life”. ¬†Of course, I had to ask specifically – CAN I RIDE MY BIKE??? ¬†Permission was granted!! ¬†So; I am “back in the saddle” so to speak again. ¬†(You may be wondering what this has to do with quilting….I’m getting there…..patience).

My shiny new Christmas bike, a hybrid by LIV, has been calling my name in the garage. Every nice warm spring day I have heard her call, and I have been SO GOOD.  I finally got to get out on her (I call her Fancy FLO) and ride!  My first ride was on Wednesday night last week with #LifecycleDE in their Community Slow Cruise.  First time out and 6 1/2 miles.

1st ride post op

It was great to be in Milford DE and welcomed back by riders I got to know over the last year.

My next ride was the “next day” and I did the Thursday Morning Wake Up ride. ¬†My daughter leads that ride with her toddler in tow, and there were only 3 of us riding. ¬†She took us on a little bit long route around the neighborhoods of Milford.

Lifecycle morning ride

There is a fantastic video that LIFECYCLE posted of our “morning ride” on Instagram –¬†Thursday morning wake up ride

The bike trailer my daughter pulls has one of my granddaughters seated in it. She loves to be “out in the open”. ¬†(Yes, in that video I am the GEEK in the bright yellow vest—-I like to be visible to automobiles!)

Then yesterday; I got the dear husband out to ride in Lewes DE on the new section of the Georgetown Lewes Rails to Trails. The segment he and I rode on was all in the town, but you honestly felt like you were out in the country in some parts, as we saw horses and barns on the North side of the trail in some areas.

Exploring the new trail

Hubby rode for 3 miles and I got an extra “nearly” three miles in a loop at the end. I road down to the canal and looped back. ¬†The library in Lewes has a “trailhead” parking area with public restrooms; so it is a good starting point.

Last night my hubby helped me “bling” my bike rack.

Reflective tape

Last week, coming home in the dark from Milford with the bike on the rack, I felt like it was not being “seen” by vehicles approaching me on the highway. It sticks out past the hitch about 3 feet. I ordered some reflective “trailer” tape on E-Bay this weekend and it came in on Monday.

Rack in stowage position

Even with the rack in the stowed position; it should be a bit more “visible” to motorists driving behind me. ¬† This rack holds 2 bikes and with bikes on; or stowed I am a little more comfortable about being “seen”.

Now; about that “saddle” ¬†… the seat of the bike is often called a “saddle”….and I am most happy to be riding again. Having the splint off, I can now comfortably hold the hand grips and engage the rear brake on the bike. ¬†Also; having the splint off makes it much EASIER to work in my sewing room!

Post quilt show, I have spent the last week working on “small things” that have been building up. I got the binding on the Carolina Hurricane Quilt (yesterday’s post) and the “Senior Quilt” for our church presentation coming up next Sunday. (More details on this project –¬†Senior Quilts 2019

binding complete

Of course, I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” for it as well. ¬†(See yesterday’s post for link to this method of binding all by machine) (Yes, I can make it, apply it in a day!) (NO HAND STITCHING FOR ME)

I worked on those Flying Geese (yesterday’s post) and then I decided to tackle something that has been making me nuts for at least 8 years. In the picture below you will see a mat bag I made the first years I was quilting. ¬†I had found a free pattern on the internet and modified it to fit my needs. ¬†It is a great bag, but the handles were terrible. ¬†I really knew NOTHING about making bags or handles. ¬†I’ve been thinking about “fixing” them for years, but never got “around to it”.

New handles for mat bag

The NEW handles are on the bag; and below the bag are the puny little wrinkled up handles that I cut off. ¬†The problem with the old handles was they were “JUST fabric” with nothing inside. ¬†Ever since I made the “Chubby Charmer bag” last year, I knew how I was going to fix the handles. ¬†I know with the 2 layers of batting and the 4 layers of fabric and the heavy stitching they will do just fine. ¬†This bag is big enough to carry my cutting mat; rulers; shape cut etc. ¬†No longer will it be a pain in the hand or shoulder to carry!

While clearing things up in the sewing room; I discovered the “STACK” of fabric I put in a basket under my desk to make dog beds from. ¬†I use the trimmings from all the 2nd Time Around fabric and things I am trimming of my own to stuff the beds. ¬†Also scraps of batting too small to deal with get stuffed into dog beds. All that ugly, none quilt fabric got put to good use.

Dog beds for SPCA

We dropped these beds off and two BAGS of more ugly decorator fabric from the 80’s & 90’s to the “dog bed lady” in our guild on our way to ride bikes! ¬†I still have a small stack of fabrics for dog beds and will no doubt find more hanging around. ¬†I have a couple left here to “fill” with batting scraps and other trimmings as it comes available.

There is certainly more to do in the sewing room. ¬†Don’t faint Nancy B., I vacuumed up there on Sunday afternoon!!! ¬†(She would be so proud!!)

So, you see, I am truly back in the saddle again! ¬†As I wander around my sewing room, I am picking up projects half done, and starting to “chip away” at them. ¬†But wait, it is time to get moving this morning…there is another bike ride with my daughter and granddaughter and I need to pedal! ¬†Happy to be moving forward in the sewing room and moving forward on my bike! ¬†More old projects getting done tomorrow!