Paper (Thread) dolls

Greetings from winter hibernation! I’m certain I have been in “blog” hibernation for several months.  Maybe I can crawl out of the den and write a few words.  Honestly, I have been busy every day for months and the blog has taken a back seat. Thanks for sticking around and still popping in to read when I finally set words on the page.

What have I been up to?  Well, that embroidery machine and I have had fun.  I shared the Christmas gifts last post.  I left out one particular project.  I found a sale one day at one of my favorite embroidery websites, and bought some designs that I had my eye on for more than a year. The price was amazing for the sale, and I knew exactly who was getting this particular gift.  In fact, if you are reading this today, Jan 17, 2020, you will find a very similar sale – Julia’s Needle Design

I purchased both sets, Patty I and Patty II for a “paper doll” done in embroidery thread.

Fun creating Small doll

I wanted the doll to have some “stiffness” and used a pellon craft product called peltex in the hoop.  After the doll stitched out, I fused the back of the doll to some “In-r-form” by Bosal, and then trimmed around the entire doll.

I was so excited when this doll turned out so well, I brought it in the house to show the hubby. We had fun checking the “size of the doll” compared to other toys we have around the house.

Paper doll with friends

I decided a doll needs some outfits.

More outfits

This outfit included a shirt & shorts, a tummy, legs and shoes.

Fun dress

The pink dress also included legs and shoes. I was able to do the stitchout of both outfits in one hooping and that saved me a lot of stabilizer.

Maximizing the stabilizer

If you are familiar with machine embroidery, you will see I have a little “bobble” going on near the foot of the design on the right.  I had my challenges with this!  I might have been able to do a 3rd design in that hoop if I hadn’t had a stabilizer problem.  Do you see the pins on the edge of the hoop?  The idea is to help keep your stabilizer from being pulled too much in the hoop. The pins go between the inner and out hoop.  For the most part, it works. In the case of the “bobble”, I had a bobbin problem and made a mess with that one show, and it pulled the stabilizer.  I was able to fix the design, but knew I wasn’t adding a 3rd design to that hooping.

I decided to make a little “sleeping bag” for the doll, similar to the one I posted about in November in  Practicing with the new machine

Doll and sleeping bag

I decided the clothing was fairly stiff, but I wanted to “cover” the back where all the bobbin stitches show, so I used so light weight fusible pellon interfacing.

I added some more outfits to the machine and had fun stitching out some pants.

Pants for the doll

More outfits; more stabilizer and LOTS of thread, and pretty soon the doll had a wardrobe.

These were stitched out on my Janome 11000 and all done with wash away stabilizer. These had very heavy stitch counts.

The wardrobe

You will notice that the doll has a velcro dot in the center.  I found “velcro for fabric” stick on dots at Michaels in just the right size. These are way to “thick” to use sew on, and I figure if the dot comes off, Grandma has an extra package.  It was recommended to adhere the dots and then let them sit for 24 hours before using them.  All the clothing has the “soft side” of the velcro on the back.  The logic is velcro sticks to everything (the sofa, the rug etc), and only have one with the hook and loop side reduces the number of “stuck objects” to the rug!

These doll clothes and the doll are each very heavy thread/stitch count, but I don’t have a shortage of thread yet.  75% of that thread on the rack was a gift from my daughters one Christmas, and stitching out things for their kids is a lot of fun!  I really feel confident now with the embroidery machines.  I am FINALLY using the embroidery machine(s) and all that thread!

just a few spools

My 3 year old granddaughter was the recipient of the project, and I will plan to make her one or 2 more “doll friends” and a few more outfits. She has a birthday coming in a couple of months. Then, when she has a human friend over to play, they can each have a doll friend to dress.  I’m still working my way through Paper Doll Patty I set.  I wanted to make certain she liked them before overwhelming her with “more” outfits.  This is a real “portable” toy for a child who may have a trip coming up, fun in the carry on baggage for a long airplane ride or time away from home.

These were SO much fun to make, and I loved the results.  I gave my granddaughter the clothes in a little vinyl zip bag, upcycled from some other product. It was just the right size to slip in the sleeping bag with the doll.  I can see a “carry bag” down the road.  This Stitching Grandma has been having fun. 

Next up on my agenda is a departure from the embroidery machine.  I am going to get out to the sewing room today, and tackle some scraps, with PURPOSE.  My friend Carole Carter  is starting a new mystery quilt today on her blog, From My Carolina Home!  Go take a look!  Scrap Dance Twist Mystery Quilt 2020

The mystery quilt will use charm packs, fat quarters, yardage or SCRAPS…..so you know, it is right up my lane.  Look for a future post with my fabric choices!

What are  you having fun working on this month?

Happy New Year – Christmas Gifts revealed

Wow, it’s been over a month since I have written a blog post.  Sometimes I have “gaps” because I have not been making much or travelling. The past two months I was “getting ready” for Christmas.

Show & Tell – since all the gifts have been given, I can share now.  Most of what I have done in November and December has been with my embroidery machine I bought LAST January. I got it back from the service center in late October and have enjoyed learning to use it. It is a Janome 11000 and has an 8×8 hoop along with a bunch of others. There is a mega hoop, but I still need to learn how to play with software to “split” designs, and my brain isn’t ready for that yet.

My # 1 “big gift” that I made was from a pattern I purchased from Sweet Pea Designs . In September, Sweet Pea had a stitch along in their Facebook group, and I fell in love with the design.  I think this is what got me moving to get my big embroidery machine serviced.  I bought the pattern while it was on special for the stitch along, and it was the FIRST thing I made when I got the machine back in October.

It is an “In the Hoop” project. All 12 blocks were made on the embroidery machine, then I used my sewing machine for making the handles, inside pockets, and putting the bag together. There is batting in each block.  Picking the fabrics and thread colors was fun.  I made the bag using the 6×6 block.  The pattern includes 5×5 and 4×4.

Finished Knitting bag

Button Side

This was a gift for my daughter who knits.  (You should see what she made for me!!! Another post….)

She shared a photo on her knitting group on Facebook and it got some great comments. She was even asked if her “mom would make one to sell”.  I said sure, for $500 and 30 day turn around!  (I’m actually working on a 2nd bag now, just to time out how long it takes to make…..). We joke all the time about the cost of crafting. You get a crafted item as a gift because you are loved.  I’m not “in the business” to sell things, so my price has to be “high enough to discourage”….basically saying “YOU CAN’T AFFORD ME”…  That is a topic for another blog on another day!

A friend of mine, also a quilter & knitter, knew I was making this and alerted me to a fabric at our favorite quilt shop. “Knit N’ Purl” by Whistler Studios from Windham Fabrics  . (If you are a knitter and are looking for some cute fabric, check the link out!)  I used the green cable knit and the animals…..

Now, all that said, I used all SCRAPS from my bins for the blocks, handles, bottom of the bag.  I put bosal-in-r-form in the inside of the bag. Beside the lining and pocket fabric, that was the only “new out of the package” product I used.  I picked a lot of batik and tone on tone prints for the bag. There are a few other prints just to brighten things up. The marching band fabric was something to make the bag “unique” to her without putting her name on the outside. I tried to repeat fabrics on both sides of the bag but baking each block different.

Once this bag was finished, it was on to In The Hoop (ITH) zip bags – I primarily used patterns from In the Hoop by Sher.  These bags are fully lined and were done in the 5×7 hoop.  (Note – Sher often offers a free pattern, so take a look!)

fully lined

This one went with the knitting bag! (Sorry for the upside down pix)

The next one went to my 9 year old granddaughter.

5x7 zip bag

A girl can always use a place to tuck away her money or her bits & pieces like tissue or chapstick.

One of the granddaughters is a Brownie Girl Scout, and just got her “First Aid Badge”. Mom reported she was a bit uneasy during the earning of the badge, and when I saw the next pattern (from Sher’s website), I thought that this might help her feel more confident with her band aid skills.  Of course, I filled it with band aides and an ace wrap!  Just what every 7 year old needs.  I did buy some FUN bandaids.

First Aid bag

I have a daughter who has been encouraging me to ride my bike, and I found this sweet fabric. Of course there was a great pattern by Sher and I used it for her zip bag.  The pattern called for a bike to be embroidered, but I thought the print was perfect.

Just me and my bike zip bag

This pattern was also a 5×7, but I used a bigger hoop and scaled it up to 116%, praying the whole time I didn’t screw it up; as I only had a “scrap” of this fabric.  It worked well.  Check out the size difference. The green is the backside of the first aid bag.

Comparing sizes

I am really pleased that I learned how to enlarge things “in the hoop”.  The 5×7 hoop size zip bag is just a little small for my big phone, but by increasing the size and using the next size hoop, my phone fits in perfectly.   My grandson got a phone for Christmas, and I was waiting to see how big it was before making him this – pattern by Sher too.

Techie Stuff

Of course he can use it for cords, USB’s, change, tissues or other gadgets, but I thought he would like the “techie stuff”.  I scaled this design from Sher up to 116% . My phone fit easily (3.5″ x 6.5″ phone), so i knew his would too.  I had a bit of fun with his Techie Stuff and used a scrap of Star Wars fabric on the inside lining.  That Wookie might make him smile!

Star Wars fabric inside

I had another pattern to try for techie stuff, which was a cord wrap, pattern by Embroidery Garden. This is a free pattern and comes in multiple sizes.  I used fabric fused to felt.  You can use vinyl if you have it.  I used the small design, and learned to “duplicate it” in my 8×8 hoop.  I was able to stitch out a bunch! I included one in his Techie Stuff bag, and kept the others for cord containment around the house. (Hubby is always complaining about the long phone cord in the car!)

I have to clean up the stabilizer on these, but they are functional and FAST to make. I have thoughts of making more.  (Next time I will read the directions too…..maybe use some vinyl…..)

Cord Wraps Pattern by Embroidery Garden

Overall; I am thrilled with the purchase of the used Janome 11000.  I think I have learned a lot about enlarging, duplicating, reducing; repeating, skipping over sections etc.  I finally used some of those colorful snaps I bought last summer.  Other than my time, my costs were “minimal” making everything above. I have been digging through the fat quarters I have, and the scrap bins, the “felt stash” and the handful of zippers my friend Susan shared with me last spring. I did have to order stabilizer for the big hoop though and went for the 50 yard roll of cutaway and tearaway. I have ordered wash away too, so I am well supplied for a while.

So, that is it for now.  Next post I will share the “paper dolls” I made “in the hoop” for my youngest granddaughter.

Happy stitching and Happy New Year!

More fun with Machine Embroidery

I’ve been giving the Janome 11000 a real workout.  I LOVE that I now have twice the hoop size as my Brother PE500.  Going from a 4×4 to the 8×8 is HUGE!  So many things to do.  Last week I saw a pattern on a Facebook group for an “in the hoop” design that I wanted to try.   (In the hoop means the entire project is done without removing it from the hoop) .

The designer was asking what other sizes people would like and so I responded to her with my desire for something just a bit bigger than 5×7; that would fit my 8×8 hoop.  Now, silly me, I should have given her millimeters, not inches. Turns out my 8×8 hoop is NOT 8×8….it is 200 mm which converts to 7.87402 inches.  She added several more sizes of the design and I purchased and downloaded the one for the 8×8 hoop. It would NOT work in my machine!  I was getting this horrible message –

error message

I could not figure out what was wrong.    I tried changing the machine settings to the SQ hoop (8×8) but that didn’t work either. I deleted and reloaded multiple times and finally notified the designer that I was unable to use the product I had purchased.  After a few text messages, and my realization that 8×8 didn’t really mean 8×8 (open user manual and read!!) …she resized the product to fit!

wave pattern

You can see now on the screen that she resized the design to 6.7 x 7.5″ and I was up and running!  I had so much fun making the design and wanted the bigger size to accommodate my big cell phone.

Wave bag

Room to spare.  The phone is 6 1/2 ” long and this has “room to spare” on the finished bag.   I really liked the “wave” on the bag too!

Wave bag

If I made another one of these, I would probably put a tab on both edges so I could make a carry strap.  The pattern source – SunshineStitchesCA Custom Digitizing/Embroidery .  Dawn was a big help to me in resizing adjustments.  I appreciated her customer service!

I’ve made several other items on the embroidery machine this week, and a few of them have to “wait” for gifting before I can share them.

I can share with you some fun ornaments I made.  The design is from Kreative Kiwi, in the FREE section of their website.

In the hoop snow globe

There are about 10 steps to the snow globe, and the very last step includes laying down vinyl to keep the little sparkles inside –

adding the glitter

Did you see those pins on the outside of the hoop?  I learned that trick on one of the videos that Kay on Kreative Kiwi does.  It helps to keep the stabilizer from pulling into the hoop.  This project took 2 layers of Vilene wash away stabilizer.

Finished snow globe

My hubby said, after I did the first ornament, that it would be “nice” to put names and year on them.  So, I figured out a way to do that, using BOTH of my embroider machines. What I did was hoop “tear away” stabilizer in my Brother machine; and run the first two steps, then exit the program and use the Brother fonts and stitch out the name & year.  Meanwhile, the Janome was going on the other table with the first several steps of the front of the snow globe.  When it came time to add the backing, I trimmed up the part with the name, used a glue stick to apply it to the back side of the hoop and continue with the stitching.  I think it worked well.  (Note I chose this photo with the date showing but not the name for privacy).

When I get the hubby’s or mine done I will show you a better back!

Names and dates on the back

The project calls for vinyl over the top as part of the last step.  I have a big roll of heavy vinyl and I made a couple ornaments, but it felt really “stiff”.  I was reading online, people were talking about “upcycling” the vinyl bags that sheets and linens come in from the department store.  Well, I have a few of those in the sewing room and cut 5″ squares out of that vinyl.  I had also read that wiping a little Static Guard on the vinyl would help the sparkly stuff to move around better.   I had fun too digging in the crafty drawers for little sparkly things to put in the snow globes.

Here are some close up shots.

Fun with snow globes

Santa and crystals and glitter

Snowman and hearts

More snow globes

My daughter thought they would make fun “place cards” at the Thanksgiving table. I got 8 out of 10 finished before I ran out out the stabilizer I need.  Hopefully my order will arrive early this week.  The last 2 are for myself and my husband, and I may have to “stitch together” pieces of stabilizer to get the project finished!

fun with snow globes

These were SO much fun to make!! Kind of “addictive” digging through the fabrics and the craft drawers.  They really don’t take much material and it was fun to personalize them just a bit.

What are you working on???

Fun with buttons and more

lots of thread

A week or so ago, I had some creative people at my house.  They got busy working in the box of sewing room cast offs.  Old spools of thread, odd pieces of ribbon and lace, discarded tape measures, buttons, seam rippers were all put to use.  The creative idea was borrowed from a photo I saw on Facebook and shared with my friends.

They arrived with empty wreath forms in hand and stuff from their sewing rooms. They dove right in and got busy wrapping wire wreaths with ribbon or lace to give the hot glue or white glue a place to “stick”.  White glue was a safer choice for my grandchildren to use, while the adults used hot glue.  In just over 2 hours many awesome wreaths were created.

Silk flowers are fun

Wrapped in burlap

All buttons

Grapevine wreath

mostly buttons

It was fun to see what everyone came up with.  NOTE – all the thread spools are considered OLD and not worth using for sewing. I had a great time watching the creative process. I really appreciated my friends willingness to work alongside 3 grandchildren. I’m not sure who had the most fun.

I shared the wreath I made right before my last cruise, simply as an example of what was possible.

My wreath for the sewing room

After everyone left, I started to play in the bins of buttons and came up with this little project done on a 4×6 canvas with hot glue.

Button heart

Have you taken a different approach to crafts lately?

Note…learning to type again while the long finger is splinted….tough for an old bird who learned to touch type at 14!. Hunting and pecking with the right hand for 6-8 weeks. Improving daily, but have been banging the end inadvertently and that isn’t any fun!  UPDATE – the knitted mitten has been completed. Can’t wait to try it. It will off a little extra protection when I am doing things I shouldn’t.  🙂

Feeling a little Crafty

January has been a fun month doing lots of activities with family and friends.  Typically, I am NOT a “crafty” person.  I’m a quilter.  Now, that said…it’s been a crafty kind of week!

I took a trip over to Alexandria VA last weekend to participate in the “MAKER’S MILE” in Old Town Alexandria.  This event was sponsored by Fibre Space, Penny Post, Stitch Sew Shop, Red Barn Mercantile and A/R Workshop.  For a modest fee, we attended “maker’s workshops” at each shop, and made a small project.

We started at Penny Post, which is a delightful stationary shop.  Our project was to “decorate” a small notebook.  Materials were all provided and we had fun trying out new stamps, fun pens, washi tape etc.

Penny Post project

Our next stop was Red Barn Mercantile, where we created cute little beaded necklaces.  This project was fun until the end, when pliers were needed.  After a lengthy search for them, the clerks finally appeared with a set. Couldn’t have finished without them to put the last bead on!

Red Barn Mercantile  project

We followed that project up with a nice lunch at a rather historical location – Gadsby’ Tavern Restaurant.

Lunch stop in Old Town Alexandria

Gadsby's Tavern

Hey – George really did eat here….there was a picture of him…on the way down the stairs to the toilets……

George ate here

We walked off our lunch by heading to A/R Workshop.  There we selected our “inspiration word for 2019” and did a little painting. This shop was a little more “hands on” helping with the project.

Inspiration word at A/R Workshop

Heading back to the other end of the Maker’s Mile, we road the free trolly through Old Town.  We hopped off and walked a few blocks to Fibre Space, a lovely shop full of yard and patterns and nice people. There certainly a lot of knitters working on projects in the store and the knitter I was with went shopping while I attended the workshop and 3 youngsters. Everyone got their pom-pom key ring made, and it was probably the most “hands on” of the projects thus far.

Fibre Space project

Last stop was Stitch Sew Shop – where the task was a counted cross stitch item.  We were given a kit, told to select to contrasting colors of embroidery floss, then left to our own devices to get the needle threaded etc.  (I gave up after 3 tries…no needle threader, 6 strands of floss and standing to work on the project.)  Into my bag it went, and I intend to try it at another time. I was startled to find no needle threader available on the notions wall in a sewing store. The shop was very crowded, as we arrived in the first hour they offered the activity. I watched a “sewer” working diligently on a project bag while there were 25 people crowded around the table next to her. KUDOS to her for her concentration.

Stitch Sew Shop project

Is it a UFO if you never started???   I’ll take it on my trip tomorrow and see if I can do something with it!

At home this week, I had a Bee on Tuesday, Second Time Around on Wednesday, and today, after packing for my trip tomorrow, I took some time to do a test run of a project I have planned for February.  I made a wreath for my sewing room wall.  I started with a wire frame from Dollar Tree, then wrapped it in pale pink lace.

Sewing room wreath project

I got out the hot glue gun and all those old wooden spools of thread from the bins of “unsold stuff” at Second Time Around.  I trimmed and glued and and kept piling on things until I was satisfied with the results.

Sewing room wreath

I think it worked out pretty well, and I can’t wait to hang it on the wall in my sewing room.  But first, I am going to use it as a sample when my Queen Bee friends come over and they work on their own wreaths.  Plus, I am going to “borrow” their back, and use it as a display during our quilt show.  I think I am going to assemble some “KITS  to make your own wreaths” and sell them at the quilt show. in the Second Time Around Booth.  We have an ABUNDANCE of supplies, like old buttons, notions, thread etc, and this seems like the perfect solution.  (My daughter said to me recently that if I had a “sample of a craft” they could get inspired! Here’s my sample.

So, that’s all the crafty stuff for now.  No sewing, but a lot of fun.

I’ll be off on a trip for the next week, but I am taking my English Paper Piecing hexies with me and that counted cross stitch project too.    What’s happening in your crafty world?

Embroidery Machine Projects

I figured out last week after attending the embroidery club gathering that I could hoop stabilizer, and so this week I have been working on long sleeve tee shirts for my youngest granddaughter.  I order 2 packages of shirts from WalMart.com and washed them to “pre-shrink” when they arrived.  She is just growing into a 4T and these might last her through the winter. I’ve enjoyed going through my various notebooks of designs and picking things that would suit her.

The first one I decided to make was called Trick or Treat Kitty —

Trick or Treat Kity

I used variegated thread for the cat and the bat on the hat. (Say that fast!)  Pleased with how we got a great striped cat, but not so much for the bat on top of the hat.  I didn’t want to make a black bat on a black shirt, so I thought it would stand out with the variegated thread….a little disappointing. (Hindsight I should have used silver!)

The second shirt was called Garden Sketch Kitty –

Garden Sketch kitty

This “sketch” design seemed a little light on the pumpkins and squash, and I ran the stitching a second time.  I should have run it again on the yellow flower or chosen a bolder brighter yellow.

Next up were pink pumpkins on a blue shirt….

Pumpkin sketch design

This “sketch” design put down a LOT of thread…and that’s good…because this thread by Superior Threads, GLOWS in the dark!  (Not that a 2 year old will be “in the dark” very often…but it is fun.  )

The next package of t-shirts were pastels, and I searched for “non-seasonal” designs in my notebooks.

Stitching out the cat face

This was the most challenging design of all with 3 pieces of applique and MANY thread changes.  Can you tell what it is?

(This was the FAVORITE of this group of 4 shirts)  She was very excited when her mother was showing her the shirts.  I think it turned out well, in spite of me letting get a sleeve under the hoop and having to spend an HOUR unstitching 1  flower to release the sleeve…sigh…

Cat Face

Hooping those little t-shirts is a challenge, trying to keep all the stuff “out of the way” while it stitches.

The next two shirts I finished up this afternoon.

Carousal Unicorn

Who doesn’t want to ride on a pegasus unicorn on the carousel??

And the final one…I couldn’t resist!

I love Cats Tshirt

All of these designs were for a 4×4 hoop, stitched out on my Brother PE500 machine. The designs were from Oh My Crafty Supplies.

I used Floriani Sticky back stabilizer in the hoop, and Floriani no show fusible mesh on the back of the shirt, and Floriani water soluble stabilizer  on top. I also backed the shirt after removing from the hoop and clearing jump stitches with a soft product called Cloud Cover (brand unknown) that would keep the thread and stabilizers from scratching a small child.  I used primarily Embroidex thread. (That variegated thread I was sent for free one year at Christmas from Embroidex).

These fun projects kept me busy this week!

What are YOU working on?

 

 

Stitches and more

I am still hanging out…waiting on the stitches in my hand to be taken OUT in another week!  Things have been quiet on my blog because I haven’t been doing too much.  (Stitches are from surgery, not rotary cutter injury!!!)  Anyway, I am healing and puttering about trying to find ways to entertain myself and not get totally bored.

Two days post surgery I had a morning gathering of quilters come work with me on “Second Time Around” fabrics.  I was pretty useless, so I did things like pretend to iron, and organize, teach and answer questions.  My helpers were great.

The next day I was able to remove the surgical bandages and wash my hair~!~  (If you have been restricted you must know how great that was!) There is really nothing worse than trying to shower with you hand in a plastic bag all taped up! I am now using small bandages which I can change myself and do so everytime I wash my hands.

By the time the next round of helpers came on Monday to work with the “Second Time Around”, I was in much better shape and able to do the ironing with no difficulty.  We got a lot of fabric worked in the last week, setting some aside for the April  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Show.  I have a big booth to fill with fabric at the show for the guild, and there are going to be some beautiful pieces for sale!  One of my faithful helpers, Joyce, worked at home folding and sorting and arranging fat quarters.  I picked those up from her on Friday morning and I have to say, the arrangement is beautiful.  I think there were at least 75-100 that she folded in cute little triangles.  I am setting those all aside for the quilt show, along with those fantastic patriotic ones I got from another friend on Thursday! It’s hard to not put these all out at the OWQG meetings and to save them for the show, but I want to have the very BEST items at the show!!

I’ve been sorting through donated buttons too, bagging the sets up to prepare to sell.  My dilemma with buttons is how to make all the work of sorting and bagging pay off.  Buttons are a funny thing.  We all buy them, we save them in metal tins, and cute jars or funny boxes. We dig through the box looking for “just the right one”, and when we can’t find it, we go to the store, pay $2-12 for the PERFECT button, use one on the card and throw the rest in the button tin!  I’m looking for creative ways to “market” those buttons at the guild meeting and the quilt show. One of my daughters suggested some “button craft ideas” might help, so I started a Pinterest Button Fun page to gather ideas.

I figured out how to pad the palm of my hand successfully so I could go bike riding, 1 week post op. I have enough grip strength in my right hand to operate the back brake, and to hold on to the hand grips.  This week we got in 2 rides, so I  am happy!  (Last week I only got in the one ride on Sunday at the State Park, so I needed to get out!)

I rode on Wednesday night in the Lifecycle Community Slow Cruise with 25 or so folks.

bike ride milford wed 10 10 18

Headlights, tail lights, bright clothing are in order when you ride just after the sun sets.  I added a light to the back of my bike helmet that flashes red, along with the usual ones on the bike.  I also put on my bright yellow reflective safety vest that I picked up at the local WalMart.  I want to make sure drivers can see me at dusk and later.  Here is a picture of our group right before we set out for the ride.

Bike ride wed night 10 10 Milford

Our usual Thursday morning ride got “rained out”, so I asked my daughter if she would like to try for Friday morning. Hurricane Michael passed through our area on Thursday as a tropical storm, and the weather changed to FALL on Friday.  We got together at Lifecycle and 4 of us went for a ride.  Check out this great video & post. Burley babies  .My daughter led the ride, pulling her toddler a Burley trailer.  I am trying to keep up with those young parents, and do ok most of the time. Our Friday ride was wonderful, great crisp weather, though half way through I had to stop and take off my red windbreaker and stuff it in my backpack.  (Note to self…bring the thinner one next time or wear a long sleeve tee-shirt!)

My daughter leads this route and the only challenging thing is crossing one road near the fire station in Milford.  Took us about 5 minutes to get a break in traffic to get across.  There is a wonderful path in front of the shopping center along the highway, and around the corner…then it just “ends”.  No crosswalks etc.  And no real way to cross at the traffic light.  So we try to cross just down the road at the next corner, but it is tough, because there is so much traffic from the highway, and so much traffic coming out of town toward the highway.  Overall, Milford is a very bike friendly town.

bike ride Milford Friday 10 12 18     5 miles

For the most part, drivers in Milford are very respectful of the Delaware bike laws, which gives bikes “the lane”.  Delaware Bike Code is also very “bike friendly”, yet a lot of motorists are not aware of the latest changes.  A prominent citizen was hit and killed last year on a bike and the driver went to trial recently. The driver is awaiting sentencing later in the month.  Basically, the law requires that vehicles can pass a bike in a lane only when it is safe to do so, giving the bike at least 3 feet of space between the vehicle and the bike, or by going into the opposing lane.  There are not many shoulders that are safe to ride on (unpaved), and attitudes about bikes are all over the spectrum.  One reason I like riding in Milford is, for the most part, the streets in town are wide, all have 25 mph limits.  Bikes are allowed to ride 2 wide in the lane, and operate just like a motor vehicle.   The more I ride in group events the more I see drivers who are aware of the laws.  I observe the other riders giving friendly waves to motorists and see the friendly waves coming back.  So, being seen is good, being acknowledged by a motorist is better with a wave. Did you know, in Delaware, it is illegal to HONK at bike riders to facilitate them to get OUT of the motorist way.  We did have a friendly tractor trailer driver give our big group a nice air horn “toot” when he was traveling in the opposite direction the other night.  He was waving out the window too.  That type of honk was friendly & fun, not scary!

After riding, I did need to ice the hand a bit.  Keeping it in one position on the grips was challenging, so I did try to adjust periodically.   I am trying to follow orders, so I am keeping the ice on periodically through the day to prevent/reduce swelling.  This makes it tough to do any real sewing or spending long periods in the sewing room.

I did make some pot holders on Sunday. My husband has been my assistant, taking things in and out of the oven and was complaining about our old thinning pot holders.  My friend Nancy tossed a scrap bit my way Saturday that was perfect for pot holders, and using my Fiskars 60mm stick style rotary cutter and a fresh blade, I was able to cut the pieces and some batting and Insul Bright thermal batting to size.  Sewing was easier than I thought, and since these were 8×10 pieces, they were easy to quilt. I quilting some warm and natural to each piece of fabric, then sandwiched the Insul-bright in the middle, and added just enough quilting to hold the layers together and keep the Insul Bright from shifting.   I had a terrible time binding them, as my fingers were just not “nimble enough” yet.  They are about 7.5×9.5 finished, and they work, but every time I look at that binding I cringe.  Not my best work, but I do have an excuse and they function.  I certainly won’t take the binding off to fix them at this point. He likes the Insul Bright layer, but said they were rather “stiff” .  I think washing will help to soften them up.

worlds worst binding

There was “just enough” of this cute fabric to get 3 pot holders.

I have played a bit with my embroidery machine this week.  I was able to get something hooped and stitched out.  The project turned out well. I took the embroidered piece and incorporated it into a project for a Christmas gift. No pictures until after Christmas. Secret stuff……  

My embroidery club had the monthly gathering on Tuesday, and I stitched out some free standing lace (FSL) ornaments.

Free standing lace ornaments

I got a little worried when the 2nd one was stitching, thinking I might just “run out” of the gold thread!

Close call

 I still need to put the item back in the hoop and get one or two more stitched.  I learned from one of the members to cut a “larger piece” so I could get more than one in the hoop.  This saves on the stabilizing products. The next ones I stitch out will require a different spool of thread I think!!

 I had a couple of Free Standing lace  (FSL) “FAILS” on Monday when I stitched up a couple of designs.  I don’t know if it was bad digitizing or poor efforts on my part, but the designs fell apart when the vilene was washed out. I was so disgusted, as one design was more than 20,000 stitches.  That was a lot of wasted thread!  I got so mad I deleted all the designs in that group from my computer !  They looked perfect until you washed away the vilene!  Keep your fingers crossed on these designs.  I have 3 friends doing LOTS of FSL to decorate a Christmas tree for a charity event, and I thought I would give it a try.  I am going to survey them to get info on the designs they had success with to order and add to my collection.  

I got a little “design crazy” with embroidery downloads this week, and have some plans for gifts.  I found myself overloaded with the “color charts” that I print when I download a design.  I added 3 new “notebooks” to my filing system, and spent an afternoon “filing” designs in them.  I broke out a couple of categories into their “own” notebook.  I belong to several Facebook groups that send you in search of free designs, so I didn’t spend much on the designs, other than ink and paper.

I read comments/questions from people in groups about how to organize your embroidery design downloads.  I feel like I have a good system.  I have a folder on the computer for all my embroidery design downloads.  Inside that folder are many subfolders, by category.   I have 53 MAIN categories, the rest of the folders are “sub” folders.  My categories are things like Animals, alphabet, verses, sewing designs, Christian, transportation, holidays, seasons etc.  Inside a category, like SEASONS, I have sub folders, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER, FALL.  Inside each of those sub folders are many ZIP folders with the designs.    I have 1.5 g b in files – 8007 files in 500 sub folders.  That is a LOT to contend with if they were not organized.  

Usually when you download a design it comes in a ZIP folder, so that accounts for the number of sub-folders!  When I print out the color change sheet, I try to file them in a notebook under a tab  that mirrors what is on the computer.  This helps me “find” the actual design on the computer when I want to use it.  I also try to “add” detail to the automatically assigned file name when I download, using what is printed on the color change sheet so I can make sense of it later when I want to stitch out the design.  All in all, this seems to work for me. Most of the designs I have were freebies.  I’ve posted previously about my “sources”.  I very rarely buy a design.  Hubby saw one the other day while I was working on the computer that he wanted for a gift project, so I did break my “no buying” rule.    I am curious how others organize their designs.  I have a friend who just keeps them in the “download” folder on the computer, but has challenges finding what she wants.    

I hope you have been taking the opportunity to follow along with Carole’s Autumn Jubilee posts.  Her post yesterday included an Autumn Jubilee Placemats Sew Along.  Be sure to follow her blog and sew along for a chance to win great prizes.  Are you “sewing along”?  I am following along this season due to my limitations, but enjoying all her posts!

Have a great weekend!