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?

More placemat fun

In my never ending “clean up” I tripped over those batik placemats a month or so ago while picking things up and putting things away. Rather then shuffle them off to a new stack of UFO’s I decided to FINISH them. (The clean up is NOT finished I must report!)

In between all the Autumn Jubilee fun I worked on quilting the placemats with a variety of stitches available to my Janome 8900 sewing machine. I used my wonderful Superior Fantastico thread. It is a variegated blue and purple # 5021. You can see some of the stitches better on the BACK of the placemats.

back of placemats

The backing for 4 out of 6 was that deep indigo blue, almost looks black. I ran out of that fabric and switched over to this wonderful orange for the last 2 placemats.

back of 2 placemats
Hubby’s favorite color!

We now have a total of 12 placemats in this collection all done in a similar style with batik. I made 6 last year for me, and 6 for each of my daughters. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2019/05/25/a-week-of-finishes-and-fun/

These will come out during the summer and go on the table with my batik “Fire and Ice ” table runner. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/fire-and-ice-batik-table-runner/

Six finished placemats

The binding is a very pale yellow green, and I used a burgundy for the flange strip.

binding strips

I used my typical “Susie’s Magic Binding”. I think I made about 400″ for these 6 placemats. It is easy to finish them when it is all done by machine.

I’m sure there is more in the basket of batiks that could be made into table runners or placemats, but I think I can justify to myself that I am “finished” and can easily sort the basket out, putting the smaller pieces into my scrap storage and yardage back into the color appropriate containers. It will be nice to get that off the table so I can proceed to digging out what ever is next on my table.

I did a couple of little projects the other day after I finished my #AutumnJubilee tote bag. I got busy with that red polka dot fabric and made a 30″ square, hemmed on the sides, bandana. I could not get that hem foot to work for me and gave up. I quickly pressed a 1/4″ fold on each side, and then folded it in a second time. I have to say that CLOVER ironing ruler is a very handy tool when you are trying to get something close to straight !

bandana is done

One of my granddaughters is planning her Halloween costume and Rosie the Riveter needs this on her head.

I had some extra fabric left and I made a couple of headbands for the granddaughters. Marie Bostwick had given some instructions for https://mariebostwick.com/easy-diy-scrunchies/ on her blog recently and I just “expanded” the size a bit. I have one granddaughter who likes my headbands, and I hope she will enjoy this and share the other with her big sister.

headbands

That’s it for now. I am awaiting the next row for the #AutumnJubilee2020 quilt along which comes out on Friday morning and I have space on my table to work. I’ve “saved the whole day” for me to work on the next row !!

Anything fun on your sewing table ??

Stars and Strips Autumn Jubilee

Last post I talked about the construction of my star units for the #AutumnJubilee2020 Quilt Along being run on the blog From My Carolina Home. (There are links throughout the post or choose the button on the side of this blog to access the page)

On my last post I shared how I make half square triangles. These units are often found, in varying sizes, in many quilt patterns. There are as many ways to create them as there are patterns. I happened to find a method that I really like, but you might be doing yours using another method. Do tell what your favorite method is, and if you use a special ruler or tool when making it.

Now, on to the updates. My two star rows for the Quilt Along are completed.

Two Star Rows
Rows 1 and 5 are ready

I choose a little darker leaf print for the sashing, but I think it blends nicely with the other scrappy background fabrics I used. The sashing went on fairly quickly.

The pattern for the stars is at https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/02/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along-week-1/

Oh, did I mention that Carole has LOTS of sponsors and prizes on each post during the Autumn Jubilee 2020? Don’t miss out!!

The instructions for the next “project” that I wanted to work on were posted on Sunday. https://frommycarolinahome.com/2020/10/04/autumn-jubilee-sew-along/

I had a fairly easy time choosing fabrics for this sew along.

lined up to stitch
Strips all lined up

I opened my bountiful tote of Autumn Jubilee fabrics, and my “other” tote of fall fabrics and pulled out these pieces. Not all my pieces came from yardage, so I had to join a couple to get the length I needed.

It didn’t take much time to get them all stitched together.

Stitching is completed
Can you find the “join” ?

I don’t often see purple in Autumn fabrics, but I really liked the two in this project, and that helped me pull in the fabric on the outside rows.

Carole suggested using the built in stitches on our sewing machines to “quilt” along the seam line. I chose one of the “long” stitches on my Janome 8900 which looks a bit like a leaf. I used Superior Fantastico thread, in my favorite “CASHMERE” color.

Fun leaf stitches
Top Stitching

I decided to use fusible fleece for the batting as I have a whole bolt. I like that it didn’t need pinned while I did all this top stitching. I also found after I did the first row that I was tired of pushing the foot pedal of my machine, so I unplugged it. It was great to use just the “start/stop” button and only focus on guiding the fabric straight. This rather long stitch does a lot of back and forth so it is time consuming.

Next up is deciding on the inset panel and how I am going to embellish it. I have a piece of fabric set out, and I am thinking about what to machine embroider on it. I may switch colors as the contrast feels a little ‘stark’ to me.

Strip piecing for bag

I might look for a deeper gold or a green. The background fabric will determine the thread colors for the embroidery. Too dark of fabric and the embroidery will disappear. I am going to think about it a bit and see what I stumble over in my bins.

There are other projects beside quilting in the Autumn Jubilee posts. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Carole has planned. One project she posted over the weekend was a wool hand stitching project. I decided to limit what I was doing so I don’t get overwhelmed. I know from previous years there are lots of fun activities ahead.

I’ve enjoyed Carole’s patterns and posts for over 5 years. She has so much variety and I’m sure you will find something you like. If you comment on her blog, tell her I sent you . Be sure to follow to get notified when there is a new blog post, and share your projects inspired by her blog on the Friends of the From My Carolina Home Blog on Facebook, where I am one of the moderators. The friends on that group share their photos of projects inspired by the blog. I find it helpful to look through the photos when I am looking for alternative color, value, saturation on these quilt/sew-alongs.

What are you working on?

Summer winding down

I can’t believe August has left us and summer has wound down so quickly!  August has been a hot humid month, and September is much the same.

Our local kids went back to school on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day in the US.  Some areas of the country school has been in session for several weeks.  We live in an area that is a summer tourist destination.  A few years ago, citizens complained to the state government about schools starting in the middle of the August and not long after the legislators set a “state-wide” start date for schools.

So, as the children started back for their “First day” in Delaware, my youngest daughter, my youngest granddaughter and I ventured over to the formerly busy beach area for a bike ride! What a change a week makes in the volume of people on the trail, walking and running.  All summer it has been filled with families and young children and yesterday, it was the older crowd. A few moms with strollers around the library and right in town, but once out on the longer trail, my granddaughter in her trailer, was the only child around!  We rode a surprising 12.24 miles !

12.24 mile bike ride

I was stunned to realize how far we had gone. Up to this point, my longest ride has been about 8.5 miles.  I started riding with my daughter in early July, sometimes 2-3 times in one week. I need exercise and this is certainly a fun way to get it.  Haven’t lost one pound, but I have found my calves!  Now, I am finding myself scheduling bike rides on my calendar into October. I want to make sure I schedule the time so other things don’t get in the way of an opportunity to ride together.  I haven’t done much in the way of exercise since I retired six years ago, unless you count climbing the stairs to my sewing room multiple times a day as exercise!  So, this is GOOD.  As I approach my mid 60’s, those looming health issues we all face demand I do something, and I love to ride.

My bike is a TREX, era 1990’s, with good tires, though heavy and a bit squeaky and with it’s quirks.  My oldest daughter rode this bike in middle school and high school during that decade, and I rode it off & on in the years following. I put a “new bike” on my Christmas / Spring birthday wish list for myself, determined not to buy one until I have at least 6 months of riding  regularly. I really love the local bike shop, LifeCycle in Milford DE. My daughter introduced me to the owners, Ben and Jenn, during a community ride they organize.  I’ve done several with a big group, 40 or more riders, and some with smaller groups that my daughter has organized and I am having fun!   All in all, a positive direction to move in.

Yes, I am still sewing, and I managed to get a few projects done last week.  Those batik placemats are coming along. I found a nice 3 yard piece of batik in my “blues” bin and think I can get just about all of my placemats backed with it.  I layered and pin basted them and started quilting them over the last week.

half way done with placemats

I have 9 quilted, trimmed and ready to bind.  If you click the photo, it will take you to my FLICKR album. Give the picture a second to focus, then you can zoom in and see the free motion quilting (FMQ) on the placemats.  It has been good practice.  The quilting has been done on my domestic sewing machine using Superior Fantastico # 5021, a variegated blue turquoise and purple 40 weight on top and in the bobbin. Thankfully you can’t really “see” the quilting on those busy batiks on the front of the placemats, but boy can you see it on the back.  I will show a photo of the backs ‘next time’.   Let’s just leave it as “good practice” for my FMQ and I am getting better bit by bit.

Next up for projects is a quick one I did on Labor Day afternoon.  I made two bibs to include in a “baby basket” that will be raffled off at our spring quilt show.  Since I made so many for my youngest granddaughter, I feel comfortable making these for that event. I tried to pick fabrics that looked modern and might appeal to a young parent.

Bandana bib

I love this bandana style.  I did minimal quilting in a graphic manner, just enough to hold the batting firmly in place that is between the layers.  I made a second bib in a more traditional shape with 2 contrasting fabrics.  I just love this bright green leaf print.

Flip side of the black bib

I think it makes a nice reversible to this dot fabric in bright colors.

Traditional bib

I did a bit more quilting on this bib in a wide graphic shape. They are bagged up and ready for delivery!

While I had my “bib making supply box” out, I sorted out all the fabrics I had stored in it, and returned most to my stash, leaving just the basics in the box, like patterns and PUL laminated fabric for waterproofing.

I found a great pattern and instructions for a free “in the hoop” zip bag last week through a group on Facebook.  I was happy to find one that would work with the 4×4 hoop on my Brother PE500.

Pattern Paw Print Zipper bag

The instructions are so well written, and it was worth the 12-14 pages I had to print out, to follow along.  I downloaded the design and got busy!

Paw Print zipper bag

This little pouch finished at 3.5″ square.  I did use some 505 spray, for temporary adhesive while construction was underway, along with my narrow masking tape.  The instructions have you pinning fabric edges, but I found that I liked the masking tape. I am now on the hunt for short zippers that I can use on some future projects!  I have a bunch of 18″ ones I purchased at a quilt shop a couple of years ago, but they are really too big for this project and would be wasteful.  I’ve dug in my sewing box and come up with a few short ones.  I have a similar in the hoop pattern from another designer that puts the loop on the left side of the zipper, and I am going to try it next. Bother patterns use the same size pieces for the pouch.  I have 3 pouches “cut out” and kitted up for my next embroidery club gathering.

I do like these quick projects that I can finish in a day or two.  I keep working on my placemats, in between, some of these other fun projects.  It’s nice to have some “finishes” once in a while.

I had to laugh with my husband about all of my quilt tops that are on hangers, patiently waiting for me to finish them.  I have to go in search for a heavy duty hanger for one, which was too weighty for the hanger and broke it this week.  It is a queen size that is in a state of “limbo”, just hanging around waiting for my next move.  I believe it is my Scrap Dance Tango in king size. (Pattern is from Carole – From My Carolina Home.  (Follow the above link for pattern information). The one with 1400 or so half square triangles.  It is a beauty, and one that I must get busy and quilt.  I seem to remember I wanted to add a 2.5″ border all around. Must be time to spread it out on the bed and see if the size is as I wanted it to be and move forward from it’s status.  Our quilt show registration is opening next week, and I think I want to show this one, so I must get busy.  I need to make a “finish it list” to move it along!  Carole – From My Carolina Home always has fun projects and great posts.

I also follow some rather “famous in the quilt world” people.  Bonnie Hunter has been a favorite for a long time, and I have done a couple of her mystery quilts and taken 2 of her classes.  .   Those that have followed my blog know that I love her scrappy style and I have written about her scrap storage system, string piecing and linked to her blog many times.  This week she is mourning the loss of her brother and I know that the tens of thousands that are her fans feel her grief and offer their sympathy.  She has a worldwide following and I hope she can find strength from the “quilty hugs” many of us are sending her way.  I pray for peace in her heart and comfort for her entire family.  

Many quilters find peace during their sewing time, and comfort in the quiet time they spend in their sewing rooms.  I’ve read about quilters who work through their grief while stitching in the wee hours of the night. I enjoy the solitude sometimes in my sewing room, and yet, I find great joy in the times I can sew with my friends at a bee.  I hope you have a wonderful day working on your special projects.