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 ??

347,514 stitches

Do you gasp at that number? I did!! My wonderful sister-in-law, Carolyn, (AKA https://OneBlockWonderWoman.wordpress.com//) did the custom long arm quilting on my Allietare quilt.  She messaged me after the quilting was complete and told me how many stitches went into the quilting, 347,514.  That is overwhelming really. The quilt is 111″ wide by 99″ long.   I wanted the extra width for the sides of the bed. Those thick mattresses add to that width. 

I’ve posted about this quilt project in the past, but I would like to report now that the quilt is finished, ready for show & tell and for the bedroom!  To catch up, here is what has been going on this summer.

I mailed the quilt top and the backing fabric to her in July and I got it back last week.  I ordered  Quilters Dream Natural Cotton Select Mid Loft batting from the Fat Quarter Shop, and that took a while to arrive.  I usually use Warm & Natural, but I do like the feel of this mid-loft batting.  Quilters Dream is the batting that Carolyn prefers. She knows what her machine likes best!

Carolyn did an amazing job on the quilting and you can see some little peaks of it here and there in the photos that accompany this post. 

While I was waiting for the quilt to come back to me from California, I made the binding and some pillow cases from left over fabric.

Ready to use

4 queens and 2 standard

I had enough fabric to make 4 queen size and 2 standard pillow cases.  

Want a peek at the quilting?

Back of the quilt

The texture of the quilting really shows on the gold on the back of the quilt.

Carolyn did a beautiful job quilting, free motion on her long arm, Greta the Gammill.  Each area of the quilt was custom quilted freehand.  I think she did an amazing job.  

a peak at the back

Custom quilting freehand

I spent one afternoon trimming the quilt.  Then I made a hanging sleeve from the leftover backing fabric.  I attached the hanging sleeve at the same time as I put the binding on the quilt.

Ripping the stitching

For some reason, I put the hanging sleeve too low, and it didn’t get caught in the first round of binding stitches, so I did a second run…..and those stitches were too wide, so out came my trusty seam ripper.   Took the binding off, moved the sleeve all the way up and reattached it to the back of the quilt. I got in too big of a hurry I think.  I needed to take a break and try again.

Stitching the binding on the back

The burgundy is “flange/piping” part of the binding, and gets stitched to the back of the quilt first.  

Over 400 inches of binding going on.  I love those handy little clips.  I had enough clips to go 3/4 of the way around a king size quilt, which is fantastic.  That meant I didn’t have to stop stitching very often, and drag it all back to my big table very often.   

attaching the binding

This binding is what I call “Susie’s Magic Binding” and is my GO – TO style of binding.  I love the pop of color you get when you have that little flange showing. I also love that you can stitch it down entirely by machine.  Check out the tutorial at the link above.  I use my walking foot when attaching the binding and on this machine, I have an extra help with a special “ditch” foot for the walking foot, that keeps my stitching “in the ditch” of the burgundy fabric.

Manhandling a big quilt to put the binding on is no easy job. The “shipping weight” was 10 pounds, and I can attest to that fact that it is heavy! I had to set up my ironing board next to me to help hold the weight of the quilt.  I also had a table behind my machine table to support the weight.  I am so glad my machine is set in the table and I didn’t have to ‘lift’ the quilt. 

manhandling a large quilt

Stitching the binding

I did the “final” hand stitching yesterday, making certain the label was stitched down and that the sides and bottom of the hanging sleeve were attached.  I put some fusible behind the label to make it extra tough for someone to “remove it”.  Two edges are encased in the binding too.  

Ready to see it?  Here is the back — where you can really see the texture. (Note – those pillowcases were made using some of these backing fabrics)

Can you “see” my hanging sleeve at the top??  It matches the backing and pretty much disappears.  

back of the quilt

And this is what I told Carolyn was the “beauty shot”…..

king size allietare

Five years in the making and finally finished!!!  This is a Bonnie Hunter /Quiltville mystery quilt pattern and was presented in 2015.  The pattern is currently available at Bonnie’s store as a digital pattern – https://quiltville.com/shop.html#!/Allietare-Digital-Pattern/p/59334161/category=13038426

Want more details on my version?  Just use the search function for “ALLIETARE”  on my blog, and you will find all the previous posts. Be sure and check out this post and see why I chose the colors I did.  You will see a hint if you take a closer look at the label on the back of the quilt too. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/progress-on-a-ufo-allietare-mystery-quilt-circa-2015-16/ 

What’s going on in your stitching life?  Any random acts of  quilting? 

Making Labels for Quilts

In the last couple of weeks I got motivated to make labels for projects that are “nearing” completion or are completed.  If you have been reading my blog in the last month or so, you know that I finished TWO of my Pat Sloan projects (Get to the Point and Mama’s Garden) that were started in classes several years ago.  I am also working toward completion of my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Allietare.

I like to make a label for my quilt as the “final step” in the project. I use my embroidery machine to make a simple label, and fuse & stitch it on.  (More about the embroidery machine in a minute.) Often times I will use part of the backing fabric as a border on the label so it kind of “floats” on the backing. I learned a trick years ago for “making perfect circles for applique” and use the method when I add the fusing product to my label.  Basically, I lay the fusible product on top of my label with the fusing facing the wording and stitch all the way around, then I slit the fusing in the middle with my snips, and turn the whole thing “right side out” . This way there is a nice neat “edge” on the label turned under, and I have the added benefit of a “hard to remove” label. I do stitch around the label by hand, avoiding going into the front of the quilt, much the way you stitch binding. I will put a link to a video at the bottom of the page that gives you a better “visual” than my explanation.

If I am “efficient” I have the label ready, so when the binding goes on, two edges of the label are stitched down by machine. Like I said, “IF I AM EFFICIENT“.  That means in my life that I better make the label BEFORE I bind the quilt, and that doesn’t always happen, so SOME have to be hand stitched on all 4 sides.  When I hand stitch, I use a matching thread so my sloppy hand sewing doesn’t show.  

Let’s talk about making machine embroidery labels.  If you followed me for anytime you know that I have two embroidery machines. I have the Brother PE500 with the 4×4 hoop and the Janome 11000 with lots of hoops, including an adjustable hoop up to 6×12 or so.  For years I made my labels on the Brother machine, using the available fonts in the machine, typing one line at a time on the tiny screen.   The example below is one done on the Brother machine, one line at a time.  Around 2017 I was given a hoop that can be repositioned on the machine, so making a bigger label could be done with out “re-hooping”. Using it for the label below I could get a longer label, and still keep everything lined up straight.  I got “pretty good” at the alignment thing and figuring out where to start the next line using the plastic grid that came with the hoops.  

Banner label

The yellow label was applied on the back of this project BEFORE the binding went on.  The beauty of using fusible on the back is that it will stay in place while you are working on the binding. 

When I made my label for the Mama’s Garden quilt, I was using a fabric piece that Pat Sloan had signed for me several years ago, either when I took her class or went to a guild lecture she gave.  I had to try to line up the wording on my Janome 11000 (again one line at a time), using built in fonts.  I had fun with this label as it is the first attempt at making a label on my Janome, and I got to use some larger fonts.  I wish I had pushed the words pattern by a little farther to the left, but, I can live with the final result.

Quilt label with signature

This label was stitched on after the binding went on. I used green of the backing fabric for the edge of the label, but set it opposite of the backing so it does not completely disappear.

I have a couple of “free software” programs for embroidery, and decided I would try one of them to make my next label, using the software on the computer.  The program I chose to use was called Embrilliance Express and I used the fonts in the program.  I was really pleased with the result on the screen and with the stitch out.

Get to the Point label

I haven’t figured out how to tell the software to cut the jump stitches between letters, but I can live with them.  If you use Embrilliance Express and know the secret, do share!

  I hooped this fabric in my 8×8 hoop and got a nice size label.  I did the fusible trick and got nice edges and corners when I turned the label out right. I fused it on and hand stitched it down on all four sides.

I had such good success with the creation of the label in the Embrilliance Express software on the computer that I got busy and made another label and stitched it out for my Allietare quilt.

Allietare label

For this label I used my inspiration fabric on the edges of the top and bottom.  I will add the fusible after I get the quilt ready to bind.  I still need to get busy and make that backing and ship it all off to my favorite sister-in-law, One Block Wonder Woman

She has graciously offered to quilt it for me on her big long arm machine, Greta the Gammill.  Go take a look at her blog I linked and check out her adventures. 

So, that is my adventure in making quilt labels this month, and over the years. I need to learn how to import fonts into the Embrilliance program, and hope I can do that without buying something else.  I am so tickled with how the last two worked out and am writing about it to encourage you to use your embroidery machines if you have them.  Even if you just have a 4×4 hoop, you can make a multi line label!  Embrilliance is free in the “express mode”, and it is not to hard to navigate, which is perfect in my life!

Do you label your quilts?  What information do you like to include on the label?  How do you make your labels and apply them?  Love to hear what your methods are, as I like to continue to learn new tricks.

Here is the link Making perfect circles for applique  for the method I use for adding the fusible to my label and getting a nice clean edge.  The not only works for circles, it also is useful for rectangles or squares.  I tend to get a more “rounded” corner instead of a sharp 90 degree turn, which is fine for a quilt label in my life.

 

Mama’s Garden nearly finished

Last week, we left off with the applique pieces all fused on, and ready to stitch. https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2020/06/05/2015-was-a-good-year/

stitching around

Fun with blanket stitching

thread fun

Playing with variegated threads

applique stitched down

Top stitching completed

Once all the applique was stitched down, I had to start thinking about borders. I re-read all the instructions, and I looked at lots of “other quilters projects” that had been made, including Pat Sloan’s. I decided to dig out my container of Pat Sloan “Bobbins and Bits” fabric by Moda and lay it all out around this project. In doing so, I shared photos on Facebook and got input from some friends.

more choices

Each of the potential border fabrics was in the background

Fun fabrics

Decision time

fabric to chose from

Tough decision for a 4-5″ border

The favorite by far was the red background sunflower. However, I listened to the advice of three people, one non-quilter and two quilters, and decided to follow their suggestions.

I went with a fabric that was NOT in the project, and did so to give a frame to the busy piece. The recommendation to NOT use a piece already in the project was strong and the logic was it would draw your eye directly to it’s matching bit instead of framing the project. I think the advice was exactly what I needed, so I changed direction entirely. My non-quilting daughter suggested finding a color that was in the project but not overwhelmingly so. That was also great advice. My other quilting buddy said pick a fabric that will give your eye a “resting spot”.

Borders are on

Border is on – ready to quilt

The green was a good choice, and I was quite happy to fold up the remaining fabric for another project.

I had fun with the quilting and thread choices on my domestic sewing machine. I did mostly “walking foot” but some free motion.

Quilting on my domestic machine

Fun with flowers

 
fun with the quilting

Hanging sleeve ready

The back of the project – hanging sleeve

I used the same fabric on the back of the project as I did for the borders and had “just enough”. It is a neat fabric and I love the way the quilting shows on the back. I made color choices for the front with the thread, but stuck with Superior bottom line silver in the bobbin.

When I put the binding on, I will stitch down the hanging sleeve by machine along the top edge, and hand stitch the bottom and sides of the sleeve. I even have the label finished. I did it on my embroidery machine, and still have some “alignment learning curve” to get past, but I had to try and do the label and preserve the signature that was already on the fabric.

Quilt label

Pat Sloan signed this fabric 5 years ago!

When I made this label, I added a strip of the backing fabric to the white on the top and the bottom, so it would fit in my embroidery machine hoop. I trimmed off the excess when I was finished with the stitching. Then, I used a technique I learned from Pat Sloan years ago for making circles. I laid a piece of fusible interfacing with the sticky side facing the label stitching, and stitched all around the edges of the label. I slit the fusing and turned it around to the back of the piece. Now, I had a nice finished edge along my label, and I could press the label to the back of the project. I will add some hand stitching to the label after the binding is finished.

Trimmed and ready to bind

Ready to bind

Overall I am very pleased with the project. The binding will be put on today, using my favorite Susie’s Magic Binding technique. This has been a fun project.

What have you been working on?

UFO Complete — Get to the Point!

Not too long after I retired, I signed up for a series of “beginner quilt classes” at the local quilt shop.  We used two books by Pat Sloan, and made several patterns from “I Can’t Believe I’m Quilting” and the advanced book .  One project has been “fermenting” on my shelf. The pattern was called Get To The Point, and  I originally wrote about it in an early 2013 post- A Good Sewing Week.

A few weeks went by and it got mentioned – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/on-point-with-borders-wip-still/  . 

Later in 2013 I started to feel a little bugged by “unfinished class projects”  – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/unfinished-projects-starting-to-bug-me/

That doesn’t mean I finished them all, because a few years later I mentioned this quilt again again – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/11/08/such-a-follower/   and then again early the next year –https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/on-point-and-setting-triangles/

Looking back at all those blog posts (do that later), I realized I had multiple projects going on, and a lot of indecision about how to proceed with many of these projects. I’ve learned a lot with those projects, and one thing I learned about me is l love to piece quilt tops, but get stuck with the borders and the “finishing”.   

With this project, I decided to try my hand at “free motion quilting” not long after I put the top together and I hated the result, so the project got folded up and put on the shelf.  A few years later, it was one of my UFO challenge projects, and I took it off the shelf and worked at removing all of the free motion quilting. Oh, my seam ripper and I became very good friends.  Back on to the shelf it went to continue the fermentation process.  

This past week, I went out to my sewing room thinking I would work on my Vintage Christmas blocks, but somehow, that project caught my eye and I pulled it off the shelf and unfolded it to have a look.  I’d done some basic “stitch in a ditch” after removing the free motion quilting (or maybe that was before the free motion, I don’t remember). Anyway, I decided I could tackle this top and clear it off the shelf for good. 

Machine quilting

Because the quilt had been well anchored with the “stitch in the ditch”, I started with the borders. After the borders I moved into all the setting triangles, while thinking about how to quilt the sashing blocks.

Fun with quilting big spaces

These big squares got a squared off spiral, starting on the outer edge of the block and working around to the middle.  The quilt had poly bat and I remember the disaster I had with “not enough quilting” on another project, so I went with a lot of stitching to really anchor this top.  (No I don’t use poly batting any longer, but I didn’t want to totally take this apart).

I spent a lot of hours at my machine this week, with the walking foot on, and did a lot of “straight line” quilting. I used at least 4 bobbins of Superior Bottom Line silver thread, as I worked my way across the quilt, down the borders and around and around the triangles points. I also used Silver (Masterpiece by Superior) on the top of the quilt.  I like the silver because it pretty much disappears into the quilt and you see the texture but not a lot of the stitching.

IMG_20200527_205054458_HDR

The back of the quilt really shows off the quilting. The original “stitch in the ditch” quilting was a different thread, so it tends to be more visible on the back, but I am ok with that. 

IMG_20200527_121907055_HDR

 I finished the last block, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on yesterday, too. 

lots of quilting

I am SO happy that I had tucked away fabric for binding inside the folded quilt to use for the binding.   I did my favorite “binding with a flange” also known as Susie’s Magic Binding.  (The purple for the flange came from a scrap leftover from the Senior Quilt 2020 backing).

Get to the point

It finished at  57×74 (who knows why? Not me).  It is a great throw size for snuggling under in the recliner or on the back of the couch.  In this photo it is on top of the queen size bed in the guest room which currently has (gasp) a comforter on it, not a quilt. (It made a nice neutral backdrop.)  Before the evening was over last night, I ran it through the washer and dryer, and was able to sleep under it !  Ok, still needs a label, and I will try to do that today. 

Oh, one more thing — I assembled the Scrap Dance TWIST and put on one narrow border.  It is now an official UFO/waiting on borders! The pattern is by Carole Carter on her blog From My Carolina Home

Twist assembled with one border

It is 86×98 and I plan to put a 6″ border of some kind all around, but it needs some thought (oh geez) and a good pressing! (Shooting for a generous king size of course).

If you are interested in the Scrap Dance Twist pattern, it is available on Carole’s blog for another week or so, before she takes it down and publishes it for sale. Honestly, if you like scrappy patterns, this is a great one to make.  

Speaking of UFO’s….I took down off of hangers in my sewing room a bunch of them yesterday, to do a little show and tell during a zoom quilter chat.  There are a bunch, and when my friend asked how many I didn’t count the ones in bins.  Borders seem to stop me. I don’t know why, searching for the perfect fabric to set things off?  Realizing I have been making KING SIZED quilt tops (at least 5 or 6), and the idea of quilting them maybe is what stops me.  I ordered some grey wide backing in February, and have enough to finish at least 2 king sized. Perhaps my next UFO will be one of the oldest tops .  I’ll have to get back to you on that. Don’t hold your breath!  

Disclaimer….if you go back to those old posts that I shared in the links at the top of this post, the CROSSROADS and the 9 patch CUPCAKES, Friendship Star table runner are really finished!  The Allietare is still “waiting on borders”, as are several other “Scrap Dance mystery quilts”. 

What are you working on this week?

Senior Quilt 2020 (A peak)

Every year I coordinate a project for my church which involves making quilts for our graduating high school seniors.

I started my quilting journey in 2008 when the Pastor handed me a ziplock bag full of 8.5″ squares, gave me some basic instructions and sent me on my way. (I was NOT a quilter, and had only “bound” quilted panels with the help of You Tube and Google).

One thing led to another and at the end of that Spring, I had made 5 quilt tops, and learned to layer and tie the quilts too.  Then Pastor John retired and I was asked to coordinate for the coming year.

Thankfully, with the guidance of an experienced quilter, Kristin S.,  I learned all about cutting and chain piecing and much much more.  My first official quilt shop class didn’t come until 4 years later.

Over the years we have made a lot of those “senior quilts” with a team of willing volunteers.  One year we had as many as 15 students graduating.  The next year, I took a year “off” from coordinating and Kristin stepped up to manage everything that year. (Burnt out?  Probably).  Sometimes you need a new perspective, and new energy and new leadership.

This year, is quite different, with just ONE senior.  When I gathered together with my quilt making volunteers in February, we had a great time selecting fabric from “accumulated stash”.  One church member had donated her entire sewing room of fabric and we had a lot to choose from.  A feature fabric was chosen, and the quilters chose companion fabrics, picked out two blocks that they wanted to make.  This was the first year we didn’t do a basic 8.5″ block for our quilt.  One graduate, and lots of sewers, and big ideas.  A little work on EQ8 and we had a pattern.  (I was tickled to get to use those skills I learned in my January class).

Fabric selection

More fabric choices

In the process of working with the fabrics, I discovered that one of the colors was bleeding all over my ironing table as I was steaming the fabric. I stopped what I was doing, took the strips into the kitchen and soaked them in Retayne and rinsed them clear.

Bleeding blue

I was thankful I had a small bottle of Retayne that came in January with an order, and was amazed how it worked. The picture above is just after I put the strips in a glass bowl of warm water.  The picture below is after the recommended soaking time and after I rinsed with clear water.  I threw a color catcher in the bowl for “good luck”.

After the soaking

Thankfully they were only strips, not pieced into the blocks with the white fabric adjacent.  Did you know that your salad spinner is a great place to wash and “spin” pre-cuts and small pieces like fat quarters.  This experience has made me a big believer in pre-washing.  I put the larger piece of yardage in the washer and did a similar process with the Retayne too.

We got together two more times to cut and sew as a group.   And, as anyone who has ever worked on a group project, sometimes there are other problems.  Working with the “same 1/4” can cause construction challenges, so I made sure to mark with tape and a seam guide everyone’s machine. Several people worked on making half square triangles and others cut various fabric units.   Our feature fabric got cut the wrong size for the pattern and in desperation to replace it, I went in a frantic search online. I finally found it for sale on ETSY and bought all they had, just in case.  A little recutting and reconstructing, and all was well again. The “miss-cut” will get used somewhere else along the line and working together, we adapted and overcame the challenge.

Quilters working at Reformation

Then in mid March, the concern about COVID-19 stopped us from meeting and sewing together. Our last group sewing day was a very productive day.  Luckily most of the blocks were either finished or near completion.  I finished up the last few blocks and one willing quilter took the blocks, and a photo of the layout, and put the top together.  Thanks to Judy M.G. for that big job! She did that in between making masks for the local nursing home and her family, while waiting on the outcome of her own COVID-19 test results. (Negative thank goodness!)

 

When I got the assembled top back from Judy M.G.,  I added the borders, the embroidery blocks and photo of the church.  Using our best “social distancing (across the width of three banquet tables), two of us got together in the empty church fellowship hall to layer and tie the quilt.

Tying the Senior Quilt 2020

Usually we have 4 or 5 people doing this, and can tie a quilt in an hour, but in order to “be safe” we had to limit how many and stay on “opposite” sides of the banquet table.  It took the two of us nearly 3 hours.  But, we got it done!

I brought it back home, and did some machine quilting on the borders to anchor them, trimmed the quilt and got the binding on.

Big wide white borders

The quilt is ready, 2 weeks ahead of my “scheduled deadline”.  (Yes, that is Susie’s Magic Binding that I always do, completely by machine!)

verses on the quilt

There are 3 verses on the quilt this year. Again, we only had one quilt to make, and thought this would make it extra special.  This students parents picked the verses back in January.  Many thanks to Designs by JuJu embroidery company for their wonderful ministry , making these digitized verses available for free.

And now, we have to wait again.  Ordinarily it would have been out in church on Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and the remaining Sunday’s in April for the members of the congregation to sign and write messages of love and inspiration. Just as soon as we are able to gather again for services, we will have the quilt out to have the members sign.  I hope they fill those big wide white borders with wonderful messages.

Our time line has turned upside down, but we are going to make certain our one graduate knows how special she is and that she is loved by her church family.

Presentation normally would have happened in mid May, but that timeline is a bit fractured too.  Our Pastor will work with the family and determine an appropriate time to present the quilt.

The service where this is done is always very moving.  Parents wrap the quilt around the shoulders of the student, just like they did when they were young. Prayers are said asking God to guide the young graduate in the coming years, and to help them know that the church family is always with them as they go off to college and start new lives.  The quilt has a photo on it of the church, and the parents picked a verse that they felt was important to be remembered. It is our hope that the student will always feel wrapped in the loving arms of Christ, and when they may need a boost of faith, they can wrap up in the quilt which is covered in prayer and messages of inspiration.  Many prayers get sent heavenward during the creation of the quilt, and I always want the graduate to know that their church wraps them in God’s love as they go onward in life.

Once our graduate has a chance to see the quilt I will post more photo’s so you can really see it.  The quilters who have gathered together every year to work on this ministry vary from year to year and new quilters have joined in this year. All together there was Judy M.G.; Judy S., Kristin S., MaryLu W., Karolyn H., and Lydia P. and myself working on this project.  It was fun to do something very different than any quilt we had done in previous years.

Do you do a special project or have a tradition at your church for graduates to honor them as they move ahead in life?

When Time Runs Away

I realized it has been TWO months since I wrote a blog post!  Time has certainly run away from me.  When I travel for any length of time, I always feel like I have so much to catch up on when I get home.  My trip to Alaska was fabulous.  In fact, it was so great, that another opportunity has arisen and I will be making a similar trip NEXT August.

My wonderful sister-in-law; Carolyn, known to many as the One Block Wonder Woman   suggested a QUILTING CRUISE !  She has suggested this before, but I always said no, because the cruise lines were not Princess Cruise Lines.  I’ve been busy building loyalty status on Princess, and was edging my way to the top level and didn’t want to miss out on those loyalty perks. Well, she picked up a flyer at a quilt show recently and low and behold, the quilting cruise will be on a Princess ship.  So; we are doing a 10 day trip out of San Francisco next August to Alaska and taking advantage of the 4 days at sea to learn and sew with like-minded people. This trip will include Sitka and Haines Alaska, which are new ports to me.  Of course, booking this trip and looking ahead at which class(es) to take etc has kept me busy. The big details are worked out; and in the coming months I need to figure out air & hotels; but for now, I am sliding the trip into the recesses of my mind and getting back to my current projects.

Would you believe I have a UFO finish?  It only took me 25 months…..Back in Sept of 2017 I took a class with Sandi Blackwell and used her method called Square-Agonals to make this –

Square-agonals BEFORE the cut

After some “slicing and dicing” of the block –

Spiral Out workshop

I reconstructed according to the SPIRAL OUT pattern, and ended up with this great project –

Square-agonals project

I brought it home from the class; did some quilting and then set it aside…..for 2 years.  Well, I had a 3 day Sit & Sew Camp at the end of October and got busy and finished up quilting.  I can’t believe I let it sit for 2 years when just the borders needed quilting.  I got the quilting done on the first day of sit & sew camp, and started making the binding. On day two, I finished making the binding and made a hanging sleeve too.

Spiral Out

Of course, I used my favorite binding method “Susie’s Magic Binding”.  (If you follow me on a regular basis, you KNOW that this is the only way I do binding anymore. All by machine!!  LINK to the method at the bottom of this post.)

Binding went on and the project was completed….sorta….It still needed a label.  More about the label in my next blog post! (SOON….really……)

Before I show you the back…I have to confess I was lazy when I quilted this back in 2017.  I used my Janome 8900 and let the machine do a locking stitch instead of being good and pulling my bobbin thread to the top.  While it looks ‘ok’ on the front, the back looks like a lot of “thread throw-up”.  You know, chunks where the top thread and the bottom thread get all yucky.  Since this photo I have used my micro tweezers and gotten a lot of it cleaned up, but it is NOT show worthy, and certainly not “judge” worthy.  Lesson to myself.

The other lesson is about “details”.  When I pulled this out to “finish” I could not remember what thread I had used to do the quilting. WHY didn’t I just pin a note to it..??????  Hindsight being 20-20, I won’t do that again.  When I did the quilting on the last two borders (the cream and gold border and the green), I ended up using a different thread.  I see it; but maybe others won’t.  The original thread was a silver variegated Superior Fantastico thread.  The thread for the last two borders was silver Bottom Line thread from Superior. It is slightly different, since the Fantastico is 50 weight and the darker silver runs through it.  The Bottom line is much finer at 60 weight and all but disappears.  (Wish I had used it on the entire project in hindsight).

So; here is the back…..and on the outer borders you can see how the thread is almost invisible.  And yes, I pulled my bobbin thread to the top and tied off…so it is a little cleaner all around the borders.

Back of Spiral out

So, here we are, nearly the middle of November and in two months I have one project finished…..at least to talk about.  I have a Christmas project underway that I can’t share until Dec 26th.  I will “write” and “photograph” along the way, and just save that post to publish after the item is gifted.

I’ve had lots of other activities going on, and will save them for future posts!  I won’t wait quite so long for the next blog!

Go hug a Veteran and thank them for their service!

 

Link to Susie’s Magic Binding

 

Quilt as you go placemats and holiday sewing

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

Ready to trim

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

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

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

Close up of 3 placemats

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

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

8 placemats finished

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

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

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

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

10 points

30 points

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

Stars and lots of points

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

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

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

Blocks for Scrap Dance Minuete

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

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

Do you have any fun plans for the holiday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Binding and more binding

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

More placemat fun

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

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

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

7 placemats bound

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

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

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

These 5 are ready and waiting for available sewing time!

Binding ready

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

What are you working on this weekend?

 

Back in the Saddle Again

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

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

Last day in the splint

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

Screw is working

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

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

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

1st ride post op

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

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

Lifecycle morning ride

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

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

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

Exploring the new trail

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

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

Reflective tape

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

Rack in stowage position

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

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

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

binding complete

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

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

New handles for mat bag

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

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

Dog beds for SPCA

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

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

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