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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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.

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! 

Project updates

I continue to work on my “Autumn Jubilee” placemats.   The only time I work on them is when I go to a quilt bee once a month.   Last week I had a “Material Girls” bee on Wednesday.  My “Autumn Jubilee” tote of fabric is what I have been hauling to bees for months.  I get a little more done each time.  I’ve made a total of 4 since January of this year.  I managed to get the binding on 2 out of 4 in the last week.

2 Autumn jubilee placemats

And the back of them –

Backs for the 2018 placemats.

It is going to be a rainy afternoon, and I think I will make some more binding for the last 2.  That will give me 8, and I think that is where I will stop.

Set of 6 Autumn Jubilee placemats

Since we are not going to be at “home” for Thanksgiving dinner this year, I can move along to other projects, and bore my friends to death with the final 4 placemats next year.  Hey, 4 a year isn’t a bad track record!  This pattern was part of https://frommycarolinahome.com/2016/10/07/autumn-jubilee-quilt-along/  From My Carolina Home’s blog in 2016.  I did 3 table runners in the fall of 2016 and then got going with these placemats.  You might look back at the post I did when I got the first 4 placemats finished in 2017 — https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/autumn-jubilee-circa-2016/

I am linking up to OH SCRAP – OH SCRAP! to share my scrappy Autumn Jubilee placemats.

Quick update on projects completed last week.  Sewing for the grands – 2 dresses completed.

The first one below required a zipper, which I managed (thanks to YOU TUBE!). Pattern is BURDA 6309.

Size 5 with zipper

I might have mentioned before that zippers scared me in 7th grade Home Ec. This one went in successfully, and I attribute the success to my friends who offered advice and You Tube. This pattern was made in a size 5.

Since we were going to visit on Saturday, I decided once I had the zipper in the dress above to make another dress from the same fabrics.  I made this one in a size 4.  I used the same fabrics, but a very simple pattern.

Size 4 sundress

Back of the size 4

It was fairly easy, except for those darn string ties, which took me a lot of time to turn.  I started it after dinner, and worked on it until midnight.  No zippers , no buttons.

That’s it for sewing for kids for a while. Back to quilting.

What are you working on?  Anything scrappy??  Be sure and go check out the link above for OH SCRAP!  It is inspiring to see what others are making using scraps.

And now, back to the Sewing Machine

I’ve been hanging out off and on with some lovely ladies at a local assisted living facility. My friend June, who is a resident there, asked me if I would come and sew with the residents. It’s really been a treat.

One day I came with a basket full of fabric, and this lovely lady in the photo below arrived (via her walker) with a tattered old pillow and case and asked to make a new cover for it.  She picked out fabric from my basket, and together we came up with a plan for an “envelope” style pillow cover. I thought it would be handy to have something removable that could be washed.  She liked my plan and I cut out the fabric.  She came with her “own” box of pins, still in their SUCRETS box (for the 1960’s I am guessing! She did all the sewing, I just stood by to rethread needles and wind bobbins, and iron as necessary.  In no time at all she had the pillow “slip-cover” made.  Then I took a look at the existing pillow.  Gosh, it was one of those pillow forms you buy and the actual cover of it was shredding.  My fingers went right through the covering and I could see where she had patched it over the years.

I suggested that the following week, we make a muslin cover for it, and stitch it closed.  So, the following week, I supplied an adequate piece of muslin, and again we  planned it out, I did the cutting and pressing and pinning, but Elsa stitched it herself. We stuffed her tattered pillow into that muslin case Elsa made, and sewed it shut. Then we put it in the lovely floral case that she made the week before.  It should last Elsa for many years.

Sewing with Elsa

Oh, by the way….did I mention Elsa had her birthday in early June?   She just turned 101 !!  My goodness she was happy to have that pillowcase!  (Did you notice her container of pins??)

I admired this grand “walker-tote bag” she moves around the assisted living facility with.  It has a lot of flair!  It was made by her daughter, and certainly was well done.

Elsa's walker bag

Our church project for the graduating high school seniors concluded in May.  We got together in early May and did the final layering and tying, then I brought it home to bind. (Susie’s Magic Binding of course….google it if you want to know more) Picture below is the finished quilt.

Lida Gannon quilt 2018

The quilt was presented on Mother’s Day, and the student in the photo below has the quilt over her shoulders, and is praying for her parents.  I just love the presentation at church.

Praying for parents The Gannon family

This is the first time in the 10 years I have been involved with this  program at church where we ONLY had one graduate.

My month of May was busy with a house hunting trip in the Washington DC metro area with my daughter. We spent a lovely week together eating interesting foods and wandering through countless rental properties trying to narrow down one that would suit her family for the next couple of years. I was in sticker shock over the costs of rental properties.

I had some time at 2 quilt bees, the Material Girls and the Queen Bees to do a bit more work on my “Autumn Jubilee” project.  I take the project with me when ever I go to a bee.  I now have 4 more placemats complete (except for the binding)!  No pictures until I get them bound!!

May and June also kept me busy with the From My Carolina Home mystery quilt – Scrap Dance Square Dance.  The final clue of the mystery came out in June, and was able to close the door on another successful quilt along. I had planned for a twin size, but once I had it all on the design wall, I realised the dimensions were just too small for my taste, so I made more blocks and “supersized” the twin.  (It is really a full according to the pattern, but I am calling it a supersized twin).

Scrap Dance Square Dance

It is 61×85 without borders or binding.  I will probably just layer it and quilt “as is”, because it is a perfect size. I love the spinning stars.  It is 98% scrappy. Only the white stars were created from yardage in my stash.

This project has been fun to follow on Carole’s Facebook Group – From My Carolina Home Project Sharing

I like seeing all the color choices others have made.

The pattern is still up on Carole’s blog page until the end of the month. Get it for free now, before she pulls it down to publish commercially.  It is quick, easy, and fun!

That’s it for me for now.  I have a sun dress pattern for a granddaughter all cut out and waiting to be sewn.  I am going to try to work on it “between things” this week.  I am handling the snacks at church again, all week, for the Vacation Bible School kids.  Right now, there are 113 kids registered. The shopping and organizing is done, except for ice cream and strawberries for later in the week. (And I have a volunteer who is handling that area).   I am gather motivation to crush 4 boxes of cookies in the food processor for VBS snacks tomorrow…..turning them into “sand” to go on top of vanilla pudding cups along with swedish fish!  And then there is the popcorn to pop for Tuesday…..wish me luck and pray for a wonderful week with the children.

How’s your sewing and June fun?

PS, if you are a prayerful person, pray for my friend June who broke her back in early May and is slowly recovering.

The final chapter of my April travel adventures (and a FINISHED Quilt!)

PHOTO INTENSE POST – fair warning…..

If you have been hanging around reading over the last 2 months, you are aware that I took a lovely cruise for 10 days in April along Baja California and the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California.  This cruise returned to the Port of San Pedro California.  My next adventure began when my brother Rich and his lovely wife, Carolyn (AKA – http://www.OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com) picked me up at the port and transported me (and all my luggage) North of Los Angeles to their lovely home in Monterey County California for a brief stay.  

There are a few different routes to take but my brother chose I-5 North out of Los Angeles.  Boy was I glad he did that!  We got to see the hills ablaze with California Poppies.  Disclaimer – I grew up in the Los Angeles area, and I vaguely remember seeing the poppies as a child traveling to see my grandmother.  Well, did we have a great show on the ride North.  Get ready – some of the photo’s appear a little hazy, because we were moving along at 65+ mph, and I was shooting thru the windshield from the back seat or the side window, so I apologize ahead of time.  Too pretty not to share!

Bright orange poppies

Poppies on the Grapevine

Can you believe the various colors in the hillsides?   All that orange and gold and (GULP) GREEN!!!

swaths of poppies

Golden hillside

Poppies and green hills

It is not vary often you see the hillsides in California SO green.  Spring must have been kind with the rains.

Hills ablaze in poppies

I remember when I lived other places, my mother would go on and on during phone calls about the poppies.  I honestly don’t think I have ever seen them until now.  I really timed my visit “just right”.

Now, if you are a “travel person” reading my blog, I am about to change lanes and return to my normal activities….and that is QUILTING.  I invite you to hang around, you might enjoy the rest of the photos or the story.

Those regular readers who have followed for any length of time might be aware that earlier in the year, I finished a rather LARGE quilt and planned to visit by brother and his wife and work on quilting it on her long arm quilting machine.  This is WHY they picked me up.  (Sweet of them to drive 4 hours to get me and 4 hours to take me home! )  California is a very big state!  I offered a night in a hotel so they didn’t do all the driving in one day….after all, Rich is my OLDER brother…giggle…..I booked them a room on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I figured they should enjoy a night “on board a ship” since they were picking me up from a ship.  There cabin on the QM was MUCH nicer than a modern cruise ship cabin.( Oh to go back to the old days on ships!!) If Carolyn (aka oneblockwonderwoman) ever posts her photo’s, I will link to them.

Now, back to the story – I packed up my quilt top, and the backing (see the post – In Betweens – for that story) and shipped it to California before my cruise, so it was waiting on my arrival. Dear Carolyn had thoughtfully taken it out of the package and hung both parts to “relax” when she got the package.  Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, and I was flying home on Sunday, our time together was very short.  We got busy and loaded a practice piece to quilt .  I learned a lot about loading a quilt, and using the leaders and basting the top and sides, and floating the quilt, and how to use the size clamps.  By 10 am the next day we were set up to stitch on Greta, her new Gammill long arm quilting machine.  I had LOTS of practice before we loaded my quilt.

Greta the Gammill

This is her dining room, with windows on 3 sides.  The sun is so bright that she has heavy drapes to block the glare.

Time to practice

Greta the Gammill has great LED lights.

Practice on plain muslin

Carolyn taught me some of her favorite stitching elements.  I wanted to tackle each block independently and I had fun learning to operate the machine, and not drive it like a drunken sailor. Thank goodness for a great stitch regulator!  She even taught me how to work with a ruler –

Practice and planning

I decided I needed to “draw” a couple of quilt blocks so I could get a better handle on exactly where the needle was stopping and planning out some layouts for various blocks.

Since time was short, after 2 practice pieces (and lunch), we loaded my quilt on Greta’s frame.  That took us over an hour, getting everything “just right”.

Quilting at Carolyn's on Greta the Gammill

This is not a small quilt and nearly fills her frame.  I can see why my brother is often referred to as the “Quilters Assistant”.  It really seems like a 2 person job getting the quilt, the batting and the backing all set up right.  Because I had a pieced backing, I was extremely careful about the placement of the backing on the machine so the quilt top would be centered.

I won’t bore you with all the close up photo’s of the quilting.  Let me just say, if you really want to see them, they are in an album all together with the quilt construction photos, and you are welcome to browse through them.  Grandma’s Kitchen Blocks  .  There are lots of notes in the album about the various names of the blocks etc.  I quilted each block taking into consideration the elements of the block.  99% was done free motion with no stencils, drawings, markings.  2 blocks were done with ruler work.  We spent a lot of time working on the quilt.  I took a shot of the screen on Saturday –

LOTS of stitches

Even though we had been working since Wednesday, the machine said we had an actual 6 hours of stitching time, with over 152,000 stitches in the quilting. The “timer” only clocks when the needle is going up & down, not when the machine is on. (Has something to do with time for oil and cleaning if I remember correctly). There is a lot of “in between time” that happens.  Advancing the quilt, taking practice stitches along the side, and the distractions of where I was in California.  Their home is on several acres with gardens and meadows and the weather was perfect.  The home was constructed in the manor of a California Adobe, with tiled roof, walled garden area and arches.  The view out the windows is amazing.  What a great place for a break and a stretch!

In the courtyard

The sound of the fountain was so relaxing –

View from the window while quilting

Those of you who follow Carolyn on her blog – https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com know about what lies in wait on the other side of the gate in the grape arbor, just outside the courtyard wall.

Grape Arbor

And of course, in between times, we had to eat breakfast lunch, dinner, drink wine and go for walks.   Check out the great area they live in – quietly nestled in a little valley down a dirt lane.  There are vineyards and cattle and farmers all around. It was good to get out, stretch my legs and enjoy the beautiful Central Coastal California.

Enjoying a walk

My sister-in-law is well known among her neighbors and has several quilting friends that stopped over to meet me. It was so fun to visit with the people I had heard so much about who get to share time with Carolyn all the time!  (Thanks for sharing Mona!!)

We ran out of time on Saturday when all of a sudden the top tension went nuts when we changed bobbins, and nothing Carolyn adjusted could make the machine sew right. There were big loops on the bottom (thankfully I had an extra 6″ of backing all around and she had a place to test stitch.) Many phone calls to her dealer tech rep, and to a friend with a Gammill still left us unable to stitch.  So, we stopped, left the quilt on the frame and the next day, I had to fly home.

After 2 weeks of “adjustments, and a visit by her friends with a Gammill; she was able to finally get things working again, and she finished up my quilt.  Carolyn did the center of one block, and finished the last 2 blocks and quilted the border for me.  I was very thankful that she was able to do this and ship it home.    She trimmed the quilt for me and saved the cutaway backing pieces. She knew I was planning to use them for the binding.

 I spent a couple of evenings with the seam ripper removing the stray stitches on those saved pieces and made my “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  I got the quilt bound just in time to put it on the guest room bed!  I had family coming and I want them to be cozy under a new quilt!  I finally got to show it at the Material Girls Quilt Bee this week.  Still needs a label, but the hanging pocket is on already. I will enter it in our next  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show April 2019

My quilting is a novice attempt, so I will enter in the non-judged category.  Overall, I love the outcome, and I declare the project FINISHED!!!

Grandma's Kitchen - queen size

                            GRANDMA’S KITCHEN by Mary Deeter

Note – Pattern is by Pat Sloan, block of the week quilt along (Jun-Dec 2017).

Hope you enjoy the pictures included in this post and take time to check out the link to the FLICKR photo album.

Have you had any fun travel or quilting adventures lately?

Retreat and UFO

Every year, since I have been a member of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, there has been a retreat in early February.  I’ve attended many of these retreats and always enjoy the time spent with so many creative, talented people. As in the past, we meet at a lovely beach front hotel in Ocean City Maryland, where we are greeted most mornings with spectacular sunrises in our ocean front rooms. 

640 Dawn's early light - Ocean City MD Sunrise

There are 9 more photo’s in this sunrise series you can see hereOcean City Sunrise photo’s

It is inspiring to wake up early at this retreat, so you don’t miss the glorious sunrise.  Breakfast is at 7:30, and we are sewing by 9 am !

I took with me many items to work on at the retreat.  Turns out, only ONE project captured most of my time and energy.  I dug out one of my oldest UFO’s and brought it along, with the intent of quilting.  Just how old is it?   You can read about it back in 2012 here – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

and here https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/crossroads-pattern/

and here-  https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/playing-with-borders/

About a year ago, I came across a bit of fabric that was in the same deep red/brown tones and I tucked it into the box for backing of this project.  So, when I pulled it out to take to retreat, I just needed a bit of batting.  This project was about 44″ square.  I am happy to say I finished all the quilting during the retreat. I cut the backing and batting and pin basted in our hotel suite on Tuesday night, so I was ready to start stitching when the classroom opened on Wednesday morning.  I worked two solid days quilting this, and thought it is small, there were TONS of starts and stops, and turning constantly. I decided right away I was going to “pull up” the bobbin thread, and use my lock stitch on my Janome for my start & stops, and not burying all those threads. It’s a wall hanging and a 6 year old UFO !  (I’m not putting it in a show, so hush you quilt police)  (Oh, and by the way, I KNOW there are a few crappy HST and a few geese that lost their points in this project….they jumped out at me while quilting….hey it was before I knew what I was doing…..)

Quilted and bound

 

I did most of the quilting using my walking foot. The exception is in the wide border of hearts, I used a stitch that is connected hearts, and in the narrow red border I did the same stitch.  On the outer red heart border I did some wavy stitching.  I like to use these built in to the machine stitches if possible.  They make quilting a lot easier.  If you want to see close-ups of the various quilting that I did, look at the photo’s here – UFO Finish  .  (There is also a photo of the back where the techniques I used really show). 

Yesterday,  I trimmed it down to about 40″ square, as I felt the final borders were TOO wide.  I used up a bunch of left over bits of the red to make a scrappy binding, and did the Susie’s Magic Binding technique. (Some call it binding with a flange or piping) If you have never tried this method, check out the tutorial here – Susie’s Magic Binding Tutorial(Watch the video’s too…)

I used the same fabric that is in the area around the flying geese in the flange for the binding. I love that little pop of color along the edge. I added a hanging sleeve while I was doing the binding, and the last thing that needs to be finished is to hand stitch the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve and make a label!

Since this was the “big deal” for me at the retreat, I will stop here and ask – what is the OLDEST UFO you have sitting around, and WHY didn’t you finish what you started?  

I will tell you why this went “in the box”.  We were doing a new project every week in the class and I was overwhelmed.  I also could not figure out how to “finish”.  Our instructor had scaled the pattern in Pat Sloan’s “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” down to just a 1 block project instead of a whole quilt, and I didn’t “know” what to do at the time.  Of course, a few years of experience were needed under my belt before I could say, enough is enough and a wall hanging is just “fine”.  🙂

More about the retreat in the next post!