Machine Embroidery Fall Fun

Off and on I show machine embroidery projects I have been working on. The month of October has been fun working on the Autumn Jubilee projects that Carole on From My Carolina Home blog has posted. She inspired me to do some stitching out of “leaves” on my machine which I showed in a previous blog post. When I was searching some of my favorite digitizing websites in September for inspiration, I came across this fun pattern for an ACORN Table Runner. I wasn’t certain how the leaves would be used in the Autumn Jubilee in October, but I thought I would possibly find a use for this pattern.

Since I was “all caught up” with #AutumnJubilee2020 with my quilt along row blocks and my sew along tote back, I decided to work on a few blocks.

Acorn Table Runner
pattern from https://swpea.com//

I started working on it Saturday. I had my choice on block sizes and choose the 150 mm block, which I stitched out using my 8×8 hoop.

Working on the acorns
Set up to run on my Janome 11000
Acorn patch first
First block waiting to be trimmed.

The fun of these patterns is choosing fabrics and threads. I used the same gold fabric for all the tops of the acorns. The block design had a meander stitch for quilting and I made the error of choosing a variegated thread. No fixing it after I took it out of the hoop. I even tried doing my own meander on the sewing machine ‘after the fact’ and it looked so bad I ripped it all out. The variegated threads looked great on those open leaves in the corners though. Oh well, lesson learnt. Thread choice is as important as fabric choice.

After I got the second block done, I decided I better be serious about my fabric and thread choices. I chose 2 fabrics for background and a wide variety for the acorns and leaves.

Of course, on Sunday, the instructions came out for the Autumn Jubilee wall hanging that has the leaves. I played around with those leaf blocks and the first couple of acorn blocks, and decided NOT to intermix them. The scale was so different, I decided I would carry on making acorn blocks, make the table runner, and work on the wall hanging later.

Now that I have all 10 blocks embroidered, I have found a layout with them that I think works for me.

Ten blocks completed
ready to put together

The fun of working on these blocks is that ALL of the fabrics for the acorns and leaves came from my “scraps”. Ever since I did that Knitting bag last fall, I have kept 8 small baskets with fabrics sorted by color, just for embroidery machine applique projects. It was handy to reach in and pull out little bits of fabrics for these machine applique pieces.

Next up is to stitch the rows together and figure out what to use as a backing. Pattern calls for you to “turn” this project and top stitch to finish it off. It should finish quickly as there is no binding required. Sweet Pea designs has a Facebook group, and I chatted with someone this week who had just finished her table runner and asked about how easily it turned. The secret is leaving a good opening, clipping the corners and chopsticks for poking out the corners after turning. I usually employ a long knitting needle for that job so keep your fingers crossed. I’ll post a finished picture in a few days.

Another interesting project I did this month was to stitch using my embroidery machine on card stock. Embroidery Library has lots of designs, especially digitized for card stock. I read though the tutorials and purchased one design. The design I selected has just over 8500 stitches of a 5×7 card.

EL for cardstock
First card
inside
I used a package of “quilting papers” I had to cover the inside back of the card, and my stamps to add a message of care to the inside the card. This was a fun card to stitch out, and I think I would another card again. The designs are specially digitized for cardstock and Embroidery Library has quite a few.

I have enjoyed really getting to know my embroidery machine in the last year. I have to say this is so much more fun than making COVID-19 masks!

What is happening this week in your sewing room? Do you have a favorite place to download designs? Do you like projects that incorporate machine embroidery with your quilting projects?

Small projects and small bits

Gosh, since the last post I have been washing & ironing that fabric I talked about.  The vinegar was a great success in ridding the fabric of the smell of smoke.  The big pieces washed up nicely.  I can’t say that about the small pieces.  Even putting the pieces in lingerie bags the strings created a balled up mess of fabric.  I have spent countless rainy days untangling the mess and ironing those bits of fabric.  Has it paid off?  I hope so.  There were LOTS of 2.5″ strips that I will trim to 2″; and many blocks that were sewn in preparation for joining into a quilt that need now to be squared up.  I have over 100 pieces that were parts of a quilt that I pressed and will end up subcutting to rid the ragged edges and turn the fabric  into something that is usable.  There were yards and yards and yards of fabric that just needs a slight trim, and measured & folded to be sold at the guild.   So, I will let you know when we sell it at the guild and see what kind of money it brings.  The small stuff may not be worth selling and end up in the scrap boxes. And, if you read my blog, you know I love scraps.  Our guild had a class in March that got people excited about scraps, and I had someone stop over this week to go into the scrap boxes, looking for bits for her “wonky houses” she wanted to build.  At our quilt show next spring, we will fill a playpen with scraps and let shoppers fill their bags for a nominal fee.  While sorting to wash, I found small quilt tops that hadn’t been finished, and now they will end up as charity quilts later on.

In between the rain storms that have kept the entire East Coast of the USA wet and soggy for nearly 2 weeks, I have ducked out to my sewing room and made another sundress. This one is also a size 3, for my youngest granddaughter.  The one I made previously I had to shorten.  I shortened the pattern before I made this sundress.

Front Size 3 cotton dress

FRONT – size 3

Size 3 cotton dress back

BACK – size 3

This is a BURDA pattern, and goes together quickly. The dress is 100% cotton, and her mother is not going to like that it might need to be ironed.  Grandma will have to stick to “Tutti Fruitti” fabric for future sundresses. (Or bring it home to be ironed….)  I dropped it off on Sunday after church, and hoping she will “fit” into it for a time!!  Kids grow so fast!

I had an opportunity early in the week to go fabric shopping with my Queen Bee friends and I picked up more Tutti Fruitti at JoAnn’s for my stash.  Since I have been in the “fabric washing mood”, I washed it, along with all the other that I had on hand.  I’ve mastered this pattern for sundresses, and have dug in my drawer of patterns and began thinking about other sundresses I might want to make.   I made a lot of sundresses for the older girls when they were “this size” and may now repeat some of those patterns for the youngest.  The big girls are coming to visit next week, so there will be at least one size 5 started while they are here.

Sunday afternoon.  I just didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do.  I picked up a stack of 4 3/4, and 5″ batik squares my friend from church gave me. I played around with them, making half square triangles.

Batik HST

I ended up trimming them to 4.5″ when they were finished. And then I decided to build some blocks.

Playing with batik HST

This was kind of “no pattern/mindless” sewing.  And FUN sewing.  My hubby wondered what I was up to .  He & I played with some of those fuzzy stringy strips that I washed….and wove sashing in between and up and down.  Nothing really hit me, so I left the strips and the blocks hanging on the design wall for a few days.

Today, I came up with a plan!  Table runners…….so I have got one started!

batik fun

The blocks are 7.5 and the strips are 2″.  As is, I think, finished, it will be about 18.5″ wide by 35.5.  I like my table runners a bit longer, as I have the leaves in my table all the time, so I might go one more ‘row’, if I have enough fabric for those cornerstones.  Otherwise, I will leave it “as is” and start putting the other blocks together with different sashing and cornerstones, and make another runner or maybe placemats.  Fun to just play around with fabric that my friend from church didn’t have a use for anymore.

Thinking of ironing….I was counting irons…..in my sewing room I have 4.  Two Oliso’s, which are always in use.  One ironing station, and 1 ironing board.  I have an iron “in reserve” in case I have a need.  I also have a travel iron in my little ironing bag for trips to class and other locations.  In the house, I have an ironing board and an iron.  So, if the granddaughter’s dress needs pressed, I do have the technology to handle it.  (I actually ironed the hubby’s shirts 2 weeks ago……and showed him where the iron is stored in case he wants them done in the future!) (Just kidding !)  Quilters don’t iron, we PRESS!  🙂

Hope you are not roasting in the heat and humidity of July…but able to find a cool spot to keep stitching.