The little things

I do believe it’s the little things that make life fun.  Hubby and I took a ride to Philadelphia last week.  On our drive, once we broke free from the rain, we had a chance to see a fantastic double rainbow.  I was not driving so chanced a few shots thru the wet glass.

Double rainbow

And just when I thought we wouldn’t see it any longer, we went around a bend and I got this –

RAINBOW

The rest of the drive was without rain, for which I was thankful. I called this shot God’s Promise!  It did help me to find a bit of calm to get through the next few days. (Boring medical stuff ….insert sigh here). (No you can’t see those pictures!)

Once back home, we got ready for the arrival of the grandkids along with their parents for the weekend. Coming home from an outing on Saturday, we had a visitor in the driveway. My observant daughter saw the visitor, and I was able to encourage him into the lawn to avoid being run over.

Yard art

Since the kids were visiting on the first day of fall, I decided to put my Autumn Jubilee placemats out on the table. Early one morning the 6 year old was playing with legos at the table, and making a little vignette. I reached into the china closet and pulled out some extra “goodies” to help decorate her lego village.

Autumn has arrived

These little pumpkin candles and cornucopias were favorites of my husband while he was growing up, and he cherishes them. Vintage bordering on antique! His mother carefully packed them away every season into a “cheese box” and into the china cabinet they went. My 6 year old granddaughter loved the little girl witches and the pumpkin salt and pepper shakers. They are fun to take out and have on the table for a little while!

Vintage candles

I wouldn’t be surprised to find a 29 cent price sticker on the bottom of one from the  5&10 store! (Circa 1950).

My 6 year old granddaughter needed a little extra grandma time on Sunday morning, and asked to go to my quilt room.  Once there, she decided she just LOVED a block on my design wall.  Well, she loved 2 blocks, but narrowed her choices to one. In no time at all, we had a little 15″ envelope style pillow case made and stuffed with a pillow form.  She did all my pinning, while I chatted with her about what I was doing. She wanted to make a gift for her big sister, and in under an hour, we were finished!

quick Pillow project with granddaughter

We got the pillow form stuffed in and into a gift bag just in time for departure!  (No the pillow didn’t get quilted, but I think the recipient didn’t mind or notice!)  The funny thing is, she was drawn to the colors of the blocks that my friend had “handed off” to me as UFO’s.  Thanks for the blocks Pam!! The block went to good use!  The little things…

Before you knew it, the weekend was over and the house settled into quiet again. I miss the little voices when they leave. It was wonderful to have both daughters and all 4 grandkids and 2 son-in-laws around the dinner table on Friday night and to listen to the laughter and the chatter and the stories.

I have continued to play with my embroidery machine as time permits.  I had fun working on dish towels – 

Start with Coffee

Espresso design

These 2 designs are from Oh My Crafty Supplies website.  I have a special person in mind for these.  I did two other designs, but won’t show them quite yet…because I forgot to photograph them!

I did a little more quilting on the never ending placemats —

Batik placemats

This is the end of the line with 18 placemats. These need trimmed and they all need squaring up and binding.  I did all the quilting with ONE of my favorite Superior Threads –

Superior Batik Blue #5021

Batik Blue #5021

Superior Batik Blue Fantastico

It’s the little things…..I finished my machine quilting with thread left on the spool and 1/2 a bobbin full. I usually shop for thread at quilt shows, and will have to keep my eyes open for someone vending Superior Thread in the next month or 2! Otherwise, an order will have to go out.  This is the 2nd spool of this thread that I have used and I just love how it blends!

I brought home a quilt to bind, from the assisted living facility where I have volunteered for the last 9 months. I made the binding 2 weeks ago, and this afternoon got it trimmed and bound. I think the “first time” quilter, Trish, did a fine job.  I will deliver it on Thursday to her when I go to volunteer.  I used “Susie’s Magic Binding” and love the little pop of color the flange gives the edge of the quilt. This method is done all by machine, no handwork, which is why I love it.  It’s the little things…

Trish's baby quilt

I’m feeling grateful for the new members of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild who have come the last 2 Monday’s  to help me with 2nd Time Around prep for the Quilt Show. And for my co-chair who keeps taking home large quantities of fabric to prep!  I love that people are so willing to volunteer.  And I love that people in the guild are willing to donate their “scraps” and unwanted fabrics. We had the most BEAUTIFUL batiks come through the donations!!  (No – my placemat batiks did not come through the guild…they came from a friend at my church!)

The rest of this week is busy busy busy, with the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday, and hopefully a bike ride on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning!  I missed riding in the last 3 weeks!  Another fabric donation pick up on Wednesday morning, a few appointments scattered in, and more 2nd Time Around prep for the guild meeting next Monday.

In the coming weeks, I am not going to be going at my normal pace.  I need to have 2 surgeries on my right hand; so my involvement will be limited to doing what I can with the “other” hand.  For a 2 handed typist, my blog posts will be scarce, projects limited etc. For 2nd time around, I will be restricted to folding and pressing with “the other hand”.  I guess I can sort and price buttons!!   And boy, do we have some awesome buttons!   Like I said, it’s the little things.

As you go through your day, look for the little things to find joy!   

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Dish towels and Embroidery fun

I love to use my Brother PE500 embroidery machine to stitch designs on dish towels.  My favorite towels are called Retro Stripe Towels, under the brand name Aunt Martha’s Stitch ‘ Em Up blank goods.  The towels are made in India and distributed in the US by Colonial Patterns Inc, of Kansas City MO.  I have seen them on Amazon, but I buy mine from Walmart.com.  I used to find them in the store, but now have to order them thru the website.  They come in a package of 3, and measure out 18×28. They are 100% cotton, and are hemmed, with a loop in the upper left corner for hanging if desired.  I have used these since 2013 for embroidery projects, and my daughters tell me they hold up well to washing.  Before I embroider with the machine, I launder these towels in hot water, and put in a hot dryer.  I want to maximize the shrinkage before I do the stitching.  I think you lose about an inch in both directions after washing.  Yes, they need to be ironed after the first wash.  I use a mist of water combined with spray starch and give them a good pressing, right before I embroider.

My quilt guild, Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes Delaware is having a quilt show on April 26 & 27 2019.  One thing that happens at our shows is Raffle Baskets.  One of my bees, the Queen Bees, decided to choose the garden basket to contribute to the show.  We did the garden basket at our last show, so it was an easy choice.  I contributed a garden apron last time, but someone already signed up to make one this time, so I thought dish towels with something from the garden would work.

I had some fun the last couple of days stitching out designs from Embroidery Library.  They have high quality design that stitch very well.  I have a series of “baskets” and thought the designs would be right.  They are very dense designs and take about an hour or more to stitch out.  Most had between 10-12 thread changes.

Autumn Bounty Basket

Autumn Bounty Basket – Embroidery Library # H7481; 14584 stitches 3.88 x 2.44

Blooming Autumn Basket

Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library H7479; 20,427 stitches

Spring Fling Flower Basket

Spring Fling Flower Basket – Embroidery Library Design – K9637  22563 stitches 3.86×3.36″, 11 color changes

Here is the full set. The bottom basket I forgot to take an individual photo.

Four basket designs on dishtowels

The bottom basket with the apples is also called Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library # L5107, has 22,366 stitches.

All of these designs are still available on Embroidery Library.  If you are shopping, use the Embroidery # that I referenced in your search. I have stitched out 2 of them before, one on a   and one on a fall tee-shirt.  Too heavy for a thin tee-shirt, but perfect on a sturdy towel.

For the dish towels, I hooped a piece of medium weight cutaway stabilizer.  I used 505 spray on my stabilizer and pressed the towel on the stabilizer, in the hoop, adding a couple of pins around the edge of the frame for stability.  I floated an extra piece of medium weight cutaway under the hoop.  I topped with a piece of water soluble stabilizer.  During my stitchouts, I realised that the daffodils were too “tan”, even though the color I had chosen was a  .  I went back over those petals and “re-stitched” with a lighter yellow. The shading ended up great.  I also had to – over the leaves in the basket with the daffodils, as the color was just “too blue” for my taste.  The last 2 baskets were giving me fits with thread breaks and I did a lot of “backing up” and restarting. I finally changed my needle, twice, before my machine was happy again.  I don’t know if it was the 505 spray that was still to “wet” or if it was that the needle was just tired!  Same needle has been in my machine for the last 3 weeks, so perhaps it was over-due.    I went through 2 bobbins during the stitch out, which surprised me. I’m glad I have that large spool of bobbin thread from thread art, and that I can wind them easily on my Janome machine while the embroidery machine stitches across the room.  One lesson I learned on winding bobbins is to not -. The other is, my machine does not like a “low bobbin”.  It throws the tension off, and the machine will stop and give you an “out of bobbin” warning.  I save those last few feet of bobbin thread for hand stitching my English paper piecing projects.

All 4 dish towels are finished, ready to bag up and deliver to the next Queen Bees gathering.

Side note – I got finished with these stitch outs, and my dear husband tells me……..they are too heavy for using to dry dishes.  So, maybe whoever wins the raffle basket will just use them to decorate with.  I might go back and find some “lighter” designs for the next round of towels!  I considered the size of the design; less than 4″x4″ and the overall size of the towel (18×28″) and decided there is plenty of room to dry!  These designs do soften up with multiple washings over time, but he is right in that they feel heavy. One reason I did not like them on a t-shirt was it felt much like having an armor plate on your chest with all those stitches.  Hindsight….. off to check out lighter designs at Embroidery Library

PS…no, I don’t work for Embroidery Library, and no, I get no compensation.  I pay them for my designs!  😉

Do you have a “favorite” embroidery design source?  Do tell……

More small projects and storms

BUSY WEEK !!  Monday was Ocean Waves Quilt Guild meeting, so that meant an afternoon of loading containers in the SUV, and a 7 am departure to unload and set up for sales before the meeting began, then pack up, store some boxes and bring the empty containers home.  (We sold 85% of the fabric we took to the meeting!)  I am grateful to be able to store at the church where we meet, and only have to bring home empty containers and new donations.

As the week has unfolded, we have had rain coming down in bucket loads. We got most of our unloading and reloading done between rain showers. Our area on the mid-Atlantic coast has been beaten with a Nor’easter storm.  Amazing amounts of rain in some areas, with flash floods.  Fortunately, I am not on a waterway, or a known flood zone.  I have a friend whose parked car flooded in a shopping center lot, where she had parked to carpool for the day.  While that particular storm raged for a short time, I was miles away stitching at Embroidery Club. A couple of the husbands called their wives at the club to report on the rains. Yet where we were, 30 miles away, the skies were just grey and gloomy.  Early in the week the discussion about Hurricane Florence in the news made us wonder if it was going to come this far North.  This morning, the maps look like North Carolina is going to take the worst of the weather.  We will be lucky in that case. We are already so saturated after nearly 2 weeks of rain!  I can not imagine having to pick and choose what to pack up and take with me in the event of evacuation. We are fortunate!

On Tuesday afternoon, while the rain came down, we were busy stitching.  I took 2 projects with me to work on at the Embroidery Club.  I purchased a design from Embroidery Library and one from Oh My Crafty Supplies.  I stitched both designs out on cream colored craft felt.

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine

Crafty Christmas Sewing Machine  – Embroidery Library X14180  -3.86″ x 3.19″

Embroidery Library calls this design a “stuffie”, done “in the hoop”.  I chose to use my applique scissors and cut out after the stitch-out.  I will try again cutting the shape first, using the dieline template and see which look I like better.  It was suggested to me not to use a Water Soluble Topper (WSS) on top of the felt, as it would be too hard to remove, pull stitches or cause problem with the felt.  I used a tweezers to remove most of it, and lightly misted the remaining, blotting with a paper towel.  I had to use tweezers to stuff the filling in.  The stitch out left an opening on the bottom for filling and I used my regular sewing machine and matching thread to stitch it closed .

The key fob below is the perfect thing to hold onto my flash drive full of embroidery designs!

Sewing machine key fob

ITH Sewing Machine Key Fob Embroidery Design by Oh My Crafty Supplies Sketch design 2.9″ x 3.8″
This stitchout did not give you “placement lines” or “dielines” for placements, so I ran the first color “twice”.  First run to create a dieline on my stabilizer, then the second run tacked down the felt with those read stitches on the stabilizer. Right before the final outline stitch, I placed a piece of felt on the back of the hoop so I could have a nice finished backing.  Rather than use a snap, I used my sewing machine to close the loop around the keyring.  Thoughts –  I felt the “fill” on the 2nd one (blue machine) was too thin.  I should have gone back in and run the fill a 2nd time.  I posted this picture on the Facebook group for Oh My Crafty Supplies and someone said the “SKETCH” design was why the stitching was so light.  Hindsight!  I am going to try this stitchout on a different fabric and see if I like it better.  I haven’t removed the WSS on this one yet, so you still see “shiny bits”.  This one I also “trimmed” after the stitchout.  It is small, only 4628 stitches, so I think I will try again.  LEARNING CURVE….

I’ve been working on my batik placemats.  There are 18 of them and more in the works!  I took about 6 and used a different backing fabric.  I decided to not do free motion quilting on this group, instead, switched out to my walking foot.  I have 4 done and 2 to go.  I do a much better job with the walking foot I think!

Walking foot quilting Batik placemats

Batol placemats quilted with walking foot

quilting detail batik placemats

here is a peak at the back!

back of placemats

I love the way this worked out.  I did measure out those triangles and mark the front with a chalk where the points of the triangles were to land.  I decided to do all the ones with this backing in the same manner, so they look like a set!  (I like them better than the ones I did the free motion quilting on…..)  Somebody (more than 1) will get placemats for Christmas, I just have know idea who that will be quite yet!  We use placemats everyday, throw them in the washer etc, but there are too many here to keep.  I just love making them.  

It’s a busy week with meetings, and I am off to the 3rd one of the week in a few minutes. Hoping for time to have a little fun later today!  Stay safe, stay dry!  

note – Embroidery is done on my Brother PE500, which has a 4×4 capability.  Quilting was done on my Janome 8900.

Other small projects…continued and bike rides

Did you read my last post Embroidery Machine Fun and other small projects and wonder what the “other small projects” were?  I got distracted posting and had a deadline to leave, so I left you hanging !  Sorry about that!  I had another (3rd one this week) bike ride to take!  So, let me begin with that story!

Bike Rides — My Wednesday nights used to be strictly for sewing while the hubby had his train club nights, but they have turned into bike rides with the LifeCycle Community Slow Cruise group in Milford Delaware. Our ride on Wednesday night was not quite a full hour  covering 5.4 miles and looked like this –

LifeCycle Community ride Sept 5

There were 30 or more riders, and we all had on bright neon yellow shirts – great SWAG from LIFECYCLE.

My third ride this week was on Thursday morning.  I dashed out the door following my post, which is why I forgot to get to the small projects!   I met up with a small group again for another ride around town.  This one is led by my daughter and took us a little bit further, but similar amount of time.  We had 4 riders, and one passenger, my 2 year old granddaughter. She rides along in her trailer, munching on her banana or strawberries, etc and enjoying the view.  She loves seeing the trash trucks as we ride by!  She cheers her mother and the rest of us on as pedal.  We covered about 7.5 miles on Thursday morning.  I’ve told my friends I keep trying to encourage to join the ride, that since we are essentially going in a big circle, it is easy to “return to center” if you were not up for the mileage.

Thursday morning slow cruise

The informal Thursday morning ride pace is set based on rider ability, and since my daughter is pulling that trailer, we are not really road racing about town.  I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the road bikes that you might see in their bike costumes around.  I like the name “slow cruise” and staying under 10 mph is just my speed.  The rides are open to anyone who would like to take part, meeting at LifeCycle across from the Public Library. For Wednesday night rides, lights, front and rear, are necessary, as it was getting dark at our halfway point, and totally dark by 7:49 pm when we stopped.  Ride With US as the logo on the back of the neon yellow shirt says!  (If your bike needs any work, see Ben at LifeCycle and he will get you tuned up, tires sorted out etc!)

And now –Small projects – I made another project on my Embroidery machine this week.  Actually, have done the same project twice  THREE times.  You will notice in 2 of the photographs that I numbered which run the project is from.  The design is from Embroidery Library and is called a Pin Cushion Magnet. The idea is to hot glue a magnet on the back and use it on the fridge, but our Embroidery Club made them for name tags.  I missed the meeting where they worked on theirs, and I decided to finally make my own.  I had to “check in” with the leaders to see if I was correct in taking the right steps to stop the program and insert my name.

Making a Pin Cushion name tag

This is my “first run”.  I hooped vilene wash away stabilizer , floated a piece of tear away under the hoop and have no show fusible mesh on the back of my applique piece (the tomato), front and back. I always use a water soluble topper (WSS), which is the shiny stuff on top.

I stopped the machine after thread change 9, exited the design, and used built-in fonts on my machine for my name. I played around a bit with the placement. Then I reloaded the design software, jumped ahead to thread change 10 and restarted the stitchout. In the photo it is doing the “tack down” stitches to secure the back piece.  The point of stopping the software is to get your name on the front stitched out before putting on the back piece.  Since you have to remove your hoop and change your bobbin color to match the last 2 colors it seems like the perfect time.

Now, why a first run…well…..2 reasons.  Thread breaks at the very end, last 500 stitches or so, and ill fitting back. I cut out the applique using the dieline file I printed out, and it gapped in a couple of areas around the top.  I felt like I cut on the lines, but that was “too close”. So, I made a 2nd run on Thursday.  This time, I stitched out the die line files on tear away stabilizer and cut them out around the edges, leaving about 1/4″ all around on the stabilizer.  AND..I think when I made the first one, I put the dieline pattern on the BACK of the fabric.  (I’m not certain).  So, once I had new dieline patterns, I made sure to cut on the FRONT of the fabric.  (Right sides made a difference).    For the 2nd run, I prepared the fabric again with no show fusible mesh on the back of the applique fabric, cut out the shapes, hooped 2 layers of Vilene wash away (running in opposite directions in case of stretch) and did not float a tear away underneath.  The reason….I don’t want to see the little white bits of tear away poking out along the edges of the final stitches around the outside edges.  Once I had stitched out completely, I removed the design from the hoop, cut away the vilene, and removed as much of the WSS as possible with tweezers.  On the first project, I used a wet q-tip and dabbed at the remaining WSS and along the edges of the vilene.  On the 2nd project, I got impatient, brought it in to the kitchen sink and turned on the hot water and soaked it completely.  PROS / CONS — The double layer of Vilene was awesome. Gave good stability to the stitchout.  Soaking it made everything get “wrinkled” and I am hoping a good press from the iron will improve the look.

My third try, I used the dieline template to cut out my red fabric and I cut it 1/2″ larger all around than the dieline. I also put a piece of batting, cut just a bit smaller than the dieline for the front piece. I used the same stabilizers and laid the batting on under the front fabric, and got busy stitching.  I went though the entire process, and after the tack down stitch for the back, I removed the hoop from the machine, and used my tiny scissors to trim away the excess fabric on the front and the back of the name tag.  This make sure I got all the edges caught under the stitches.  After it finished, I removed the stabilizer and “melted” the vilene with a cotton swap and water.  All looked great…..until I hit it with the iron, which still had steam going….and the whole nametag started to curl up.  The vilene was MELTING inside the project because of the steam.  Evil thoughts went through my head, and then I decided I was going to be smarter than the name tag.  Since it was already curling and looking melted, I got a piece of flannel out, and laid the tag on it.  I sprayed the tag until it was soaking wet.  Then I used the flannel as a “sandwich” and just kept ironing the tag until it laid flat.  It took about 10 minutes of pressing, with a large piece of flannel that was soaking up the moisture, changing positions every minute or so, but FINALLY, I have a flat project that does not look like it shrunk!  The front looks good but the back has some wrinkles.  I can live with that!  Time to get out the bar pins and get one hot glued on the back of the tag.

Three name tags

I used 3 different fabrics, and they were all from the scrap bin.  Fabric for run # 2 was really thin, which I assumed accounted for all the wrinkles.  Fabric # 1 & 3 were of equal weight and quality.  #1 & # 2 contained no batting.  #1 was never completely wetted.  You can see in the photo below of the backs of # 1 & 2 (near the arrows) where the fabric didn’t quite get caught under the edge stitching.  I am now convinced it is worth cutting “bigger than the dieline” and using the sharp applique and pointy scissors to trim the oversized piece.  # 3 has great edges.  In hindsight, a piece of batting on the back would have been a good idea.  In the photo’s # 3 is still a bit “wet” from all that spraying and ironing.

Back of all 3

3 of my fellow embroidery friends were here on Friday, and wondered why I was still “trying”.  I considered this little project a good learning experience!  As one said, “third times the charm”, though I was doubting that for a few minutes this afternoon.

I’ll never be a “pro” at this embroidery gig, but I learn with each project.

Other small  projects – I recovered my ironing station this past week.  My original board cover was four years old and just recently started to show terrible wear.  I ordered another Bo-Nash cover for my big board several months ago.  I had to add extra width to the cover so it would completely cover my station, which is an old butcher block kitchen island.  The previous cover I had added about an 8 inch “skirt”.  This time, I decided to go much longer, with the goal of hiding some of the clutter than lives under the ironing station.  I have bolts of decorator fabric I was given years ago, and chose one that wasn’t totally hideous.  I do like the extra length. Nobody needs to see my gallons of water, cans of spray starch etc.  Plus, it might prevent me from arbitrarily tossing stuff on the shelf underneath.  If I am going to put something there, it will be with definite purpose!

New Ironing board cover

I have 2 more placemats that are pin basted and ready to quilt, and since the feed dogs are down, I intend to work on them next.  Once they are all quilted, I will trim them all to final size and set to making binding.

I also have another binding project, but it is not for my own quilt.   I brought home a quilt that Trish has been working on at the assisted living place where I volunteer.  She did all the machine quilting, and I offered to trim it and bind it for her.  She is anxious to gift it to a young mother who works at the facility whose baby had just been born this past week.  Trish is  a resident who does a lot of sewing for other residents and staff members.  She was tickled to learn how to make a quilt.  I think she did a fine job.

Trish with her baby quilt

This past week when I went to volunteer, Trish was finishing her quilting, and there were 4 other ladies working on projects.  Two new to the group are hand piecing 4 patches, and another was working on pinning a blouse for alteration.  It is so fun to see my favorite resident, 101 year old Elsa come to sew. She had fabric cut to size to make sachet bags.  She did all of her own pinning and machine sewing, and I employed my assistant (aka husband) to press for her.  One of my hand pieces, Dotty is 99!  I believe they were having fun, and am convinced that IS the secret to a long life!

Any projects going on in your sewing room this weekend???

Fire and Ice Batik Table Runner

My sewing room has visitors off and on all last week.  We had 4 helpers for 2nd Time Around prep on Friday working hard for the benefit of the guild.  One member, Arlene, took home a partially made project that she found in the donations and came back on Saturday to lay it out on my big table and get it pin basted. She had taken something that someone else discarded, added a little time and effort and borders, and now has a baby quilt ready to donate to one of the many charity groups Ocean Waves Quilt Guild supports.

Another friend, Karen, came over and laid her languishing quilt top on my big table, and we measured the dimension, and then measured her available fabric for the back.  We tossed around ideas for increasing the size of her backing with some pieced blocks and extra bits.  I can’t wait to see how she proceeds. She had 5 wonderful paper pieced blocks she wanted to incorporate on the back, and we worked through how she could do that.   Of course, we needed my design wall blank, so before she arrived I cleared my design wall of those batiks that have been hanging around since the end of July.

Batiks hanging out

I wrote about them here – small-projects-and-small-bits and here Batik Fun .

I can’t share what she is working on, but after she finishes and the gift is received, I will.  

Anyway, I had stacked up all those pieces from the design wall onto my sewing machine while we worked on her project.  After she left, I decide it was time to do something with the table runner.  I dug in my bin of greens and blues and found a nice batik that I had “just enough” of a piece for backing and binding.  I also dug in my bin of scrap batting and pulled out a chunk that was “just enough” for a table runner.

I layered up the table runner, batting and backing, pinned it and put on my walking foot again for machine quilting.  (Most of you know that I am still terrified of free motion quilting (FMQ) but have had good success with straight line walking foot quilting!)  (All right, I debated FMQ, but quickly shook my head no.  I think I will get some practice in on those placemats….later).  I previewed 2 threads and chose Superior Fantastico thread #5025, which is a variegated, pink, blue, yellow, and green thread.  I used it in the bobbin as well as on top.  It actually shows more on the back than I like, and now I wished I had stuck to silver for the bobbin!

I stitched across each block and though the cornerstones making and X.  Then I did some channel quilting in the sashing.  Honestly, the quilting in the sashing took me the longest, because I had to stop at every cornerstone.  I also stitched in the ditch between the blocks and the sashing.  There is “enough”  quilting to keep the table runner nice and flat, but it is not heavily quilted.  I kept debating going back and doing something in the “triangles” on each section with either straight lines or the hopper foot. By the time the channel quilting was finished, so was I.  My “go make dinner” alarm went off, and I shut off the machine.  

After dinner, I was re energized and  hubby and I went back out to the garage. I was just going to cut and make the binding.   He is working on building a “test track” on a shelf for “speed matching” his locomotives……(He needs a blog!)  I might take a picture or two when he gives me the ok!  I had a great audio book going and time ran on, as it often does.

I made up my binding using my favorite “Susie’s Magic Binding” method,.  I continued to sew while listening to the book, and got it the binding on the runner.  I like the way it turned out.  Hubby always tells me he likes the added “pop” of color the binding adds.  I used the smaller of the TQM Binding tools to join the ends and I got the “BEST” join ever on this project.  (Note, because of the piping/flange, I baste the join, check to see if it lines up and adjust if need be.  I made one slight adjustment and it is perfect!)  I think using the smaller binding tool helped.  Or, I had more patience and lots of practice from all those placemats!   If you have trouble with the join, try basting it first.  The link for the binding method shows written directions and a video!

Table runner bound

The fabric from the back of the runner is the same fabric I used in the “flange” on the binding.

Back of the table runner

I mentioned in a comment to a reader this weekend that this binding is a joy to make, not a chore.  I love it because there is NO hand sewing!

I was trying to remember where I had used that batik for the back of the runner before, and it just occurred to me…my Sensational Silk wall hanging, borders and backing (more about it here – In Betweens  ).  There is just about enough left to use for the back of one of those placemats in the stack.

Hubby said to me after the table runner was bound, looking at it in the sewing room, that he thought it was “too small”.  It measures about 19″ x 35″.

I had to bring it in the house and put it on the dining room table to get a look.  (That meant I took all those Autumn Jubilee placemats off for a while!) The dining room table is 40″ x 80″ so I think it floats well in the center.  I like the finished size.  I have made longer runners, but this works for me for now.

Fire and Ice table runner on the table

I decided to call it “Fire and Ice” because it feels HOT with all the orange and cool with all the turquoise and green and purple.

Time for me to get busy labeling projects!  Do you put labels on “everything” ?  I didn’t on my placemats, but will on the runner.  I need to make a label for my Grandma’s Kitchen quilt too.  Time for me to tackle the reset of the stack of batik placemats.  I had wondered what others thought of using muslin for the back of placemats in a previous post.  My friend Nancy has a couple of nice batik pieces she is going to share, and I am digging around in my bins for more batik yardage and fat quarters.   (I do think I will practice some FMQ on those….wish me luck!)

Do you name your projects? It is fun to “FINISH” some smaller projects.

Christmas Cardinal Block

Yesterday I showed you a peak of my Christmas Cardinal Block I was working on.  It was such a cheery block to work with, I just could not “stop” and wait until the Queen Bees gathering on Tuesday.  My husband is still laughing because I was “working ahead” of the bee project!

Cardinals are said to mate for life, and I don’t want an odd number! I finished up the first block and cut enough fabric to make at least 2 or 3 more.  Those pieces will hold until Tuesday for our bee gathering.  

The FREE PATTERN source for the Cardinal block — Mom and Pop Quilt shop

The block was  designed for a Christmas 2017 quilt.  All the specifics are on the link above. Laura-Lynn of Mom & Pop Quilt Shop even wrote a nice comment on yesterday’s blog post and included a you-tube video link   She does videos all the time and has a 48 minute video talking about the construction of the block. Laura-Lynn’s videos make me feel like I am sitting in her sewing room with her, as she chats and laughs while she sews!

Anyway, I thought I would share a little bit more about my first cardinal block.  I decided the block would be incorporated into a pillow.  I sized everything for an 18″ pillow, and used the “envelope style” for ease of stuffing and unstuffing of the pillow form or one of my every day pillows.

Envelope style back

Since it will be a Christmas decoration, I want the ability to pack it away flat after the holiday.  I will probably slip my existing sofa pillows into the cushion cover.

The block finished at 12″ and I added a borders before quilting.  I really wanted the bird to “pop”, so after I cut my muslin and cotton batting I slipped 2 more layers of wool batting under the area of the bird.  Once I did some outline quilting of the bird, I folded back the square and trimmed along the edges.  Then I smoothed out the square and did my quilting around the bird.  Once that was all done, I changed to a variegated red  Superior thread and did some quilting on the bird body.  For the beak I switched thread  again, and used some of my embroidery machine thread in gold and black.  Last but not least was  how to make the eye of the cardinal.  I don’t do hand embroidery, so  I dumped out the button box and dug for “just the right” button.  (Note….I am making more pillows, so I held out a “bunch” of those “just the right buttons”.  No, they won’t be the same.  Each will be unique!)   I looked online at a lot of photos of Cardinals to decide just where to place the eye, and to get a look at the way their feathers lay before I quilted!  Those photos led me to pick a button with gold around the edge.

quilted and ready to trim

Once the quilting was finished,  and the button sewn on for the eye, I trimmed off the excess batting and muslin.  (Note, I used the muslin so the inside of the pillow would be smooth)

Here is a close-up of the bird – You can see how I quilted his body.  The addition of the extra 2 layers of batting give the cardinal a plump look.

Cardinal Close-up

The pillow form was inserted and I think I got the look I was after.

Cardinal Pillow finished

I now have a pair of 18″ Christmas pillows from this line of Moda Christmas TOLE fabric.  I bought several yards of the coordinating fabric a few years ago to make 6 Star Christmas pillow slip covers for my daughter.  You might remember I had trouble with one pillow and the markings from a pencil, and had to “remake” her 6th pillow.  So, I ended up with 1 star pillow.   I can STILL see those faint lines from the silver quilt marking pencil, but from a galloping horse it blurs into the background.  The following Christmas I made her a table runner with the same star pattern.  (I linked to it yesterday).   Because I still have several yards left, I chose this fabric for the project.  The body of the cardinal is from red scraps of varying origins and vintages. The selvage was on the red holly leave and was from 1992! While looking at the Moda Tole fabric,  I looked at the sale ticket from the original Moda fabric purchase – 2016. 

Cardinal and Star

In one of the comments yesterday, Quilting Nurse asked if it was a hard pattern to make.  I must say I found it fun and easy!  I mentioned to her a couple of things.  I think the cutting instructions I had could be improved.  The pattern had us cut squares at 2 7/8 for the half square triangles (HST), and 3 1/4″ for the beak quarter square triangles (QST).  I don’t know about you but I like even 1/2 ” increments.    My suggestion is to cut for your favorite method of making a 2.5″ HST.  Some people like to make the 8 at a time method.  I like to cut my HST base pieces at 3″ and construct, and trim to 2.5″ with the June Tailor Perfect Half Square/Quarter Square Triangle ruler.  Others might be using Bonnie Hunter’s methods with strips and the easy angle or Deb Tucker’s method.  Which every way you do it, cut so you have a 2.5″ HST when it is done.   All the squares in the basic block are 2.5″ before being sewn into rows!  Bottom line, I would rather trim than come up short of HST & QST.   So, before you start cutting, decide your “best method” and adjust accordingly.

I will be taking my first bird for show and tell, and doing some more construction during the Queen Bee’s gathering on Tuesday.    If you make one of these Cardinal blocks, tell me what you will do with it.  Wall hanging, table runner, quilt???   Share your photo’s.  Have fun stitching!

 

 

 

A week of Finishes and Starts

This has been a week of projects started and finished, like the little pin cushion in my last blog post – Bee Skep Pin Cushion .   

I also finished my Autumn Jubilee placemats.  I last wrote about my placemats here – Project Updates  .

In that post I mentioned I had 2 more to bind.  Well, here they are!  (Of course, I used the technique called Susie’s Magic Binding!  There are other names but this is where I first learned the technique – 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks  )

the LAST 2 finished

I like the back of these 2 – 

Each back is unique

And here is the 2018 group all together – 

Final 4 for 2018 Autumn Jubilee placemats

And the whole table covered in Autumn Jubilee 2017 & 2018 placemats – 

All 8 placemats are finished Autumn Jubilee

That one in the middle was the 1st one I made as a test.  It was determined to be “to small” by my husband.  So, it gets the centerpiece!

The back of each placemat is different.  I used fat quarters and used some of the fabric from the fat quarter on the borders of the front to unify the design.  Scrappy, but unified.  

the back of All 8 Autumn Jubilee place mats

 I really love the beauty of the fall fabrics, and the variety of colors!!

Most likely 2 will end up on the counter in the kitchen where we eat most days.  I have 2 or 3 Autumn Jubilee table runners and they will go on the treadle sewing machines that reside in the dining room this fall.  

I think I am finished with Autumn Jubilee table projects for now.  My bin of Autumn fabrics will sit quietly until Carole comes up with the “next” pattern.  I did make a few “Stars on Autumn Lane” last year, but haven’t done anything with them yet.  Carole is getting ready for the “next” Autumn Jubilee, and you can follow her at From My Carolina Home

I feel like I have been playing in the Autumn box for a very long time!  I’ve made a bunch of Autumn Jubilee projects in the last 2 years and posted the stories.  This post gives you a view of some of those projects – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/a-package-delivered/

I started a new project this week (Yes, I have lots of UFO’s……) to get ready for my Queen Bee’s gathering next week.  If you looked at the post I linked above, you might recognize some of the fabrics in the photo below!

When I was working on my Bee Skep pin cushion, my friend Nancy B. was doing some cutting.  I thought she said she was cutting the pieces for our bee project.  So, after the Bee Skep was finished, I went through the scrap bins, pulled out my Christmas fabric bin and started making fabric selections.  I have this wonderful container of “elegant” Christmas fabric that I have made table runners and cushion covers from in 2016 & 2017.  I decided to use some of that fabric for the “background” of the Bee project.  We had been given cutting instructions and I got busy.

Bits and pieces for August Bee project

After I had everything cut, I went ahead and made the Half Square Triangles (HST), and then set out the block to see if I liked it.  (The Bee is NEXT week…..)

Cardinal block for Christmas in August

Did you notice that I seem to gravitate to 2.5″ Half Square Triangles?  

The cardinal was a fun block to set up, and I had so much fun playing with the arrangement, I decided to stitch it together.  Well….now what have I done?  I won’t have a project for the bee!  I guess I will just have to make a 2nd cardinal block.  Turns out, I had “extra” pieces, because I made more HST’s than I needed.  So; today I am going to tally up what I need to cut for my 2nd cardinal and WAIT until Tuesday to stitch it.  

Are you curious what I am going to do with them?   Wait and see!  No, not going on the table!   When they are “further along” I will share the plan!

EDIT — FREE PATTERN–Source for the Cardinal block — Mom and Pop Quilt shop

Remember those batik placemats? Those are still hanging around on the wall just like there were in this post –  Summer Fun and Never Ending projects  .   I got “hung up” on them when I got busy with other things in August.  I was contemplating them yesterday, and thinking about how I would back them.  Fat quarters would work.  But, there are a LOT of them, and that will take some serious yardage or a BUNCH of fat quarters.  I want to use what I have, and I am not sure I have that many fat quarters of batik.  While I was digging in a bin I have of muslin,  that got me to thinking, why not?  I have 2 huge containers of muslin a lady at my church gave me, and it has all been washed and folded.  Why not use the muslin for the back of the placemats?  Thoughts?  Let me know if you use high quality muslin for backing table items.  

Are you ready to switch seasons yet?  Here we are at the last week of summer, enjoying a crisp fall morning, and I am working with Christmas fabrics!  I’ve put the fall fabrics away for now.  What are you working on?

 How MANY projects do you have going at once?  Personally, I like doing some of these smaller projects between things.  It is nice to finally FINISH something!