While I wait for the bathroom floor to dry so I can finish up in there, I am going to squeeze in some time to write my monthly blog entry. I’m expecting company this next week and am busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so must get everything ready today, tomorrow, and Thursday which includes cleaning, freshening up the bedding, planning the menu, and buying the groceries. Has anybody else’s summer seemed busier than usual? LOL
During the month of July, we celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary, Independence Day, spent two days in Wichita, Kansas, watching our granddaughter play basketball, and most of the other weekends watching our grandson play golf in addition to all of our usual activities caring for my sister and her husband who have some challenges and my aging parents who need our help more and more. We also gathered garden produce, put up what we will need for the winter, and gave away the rest. Yep; summers are busy.
In spite of all this extra activity, I did finish the first of the Jacob’s Ladder quilts that I have been working on since January. It is a monster of a king-sized quilt! Took up most of my 12′ long quilting frame. The quilt top measured 110″ across. That was 9 blocks. The length is shorter with only 8 blocks.
Here is a closeup of the quilting.
I am very pleased with the amount of drop it has when placed on my king-size bed.
I even played around with my embroidery machine and some free software from Imbrilliance. And, yes, I agree that I need to play around with it some more. This label is far from perfect but does get the message across.
In my spare time (LOL), I decided it was time to do something with the ugly sides of my planning wall. So I took it from this
And it was so easy. I had been planning on doing it for almost four years. Took me all of a half hour just using fabric, pins, and a butter knife to push the fabric behind the frame. What a difference.
And since I finished the Jacob’s Ladder quilt with three days left in the month, I started a crocheted doll cardigan in bright pink. I got the bulk of it done. Just have the sleeves, edge trim, and collar left to do. Hopefully I will have enough time to get it finished during August although one week will be spent with company and another is reserved for my follow-up colonoscopy. That only leaves two weeks. Yikes! But one can still hope, can’t they?
Wow! Already July 5, and I’m just now getting to this blog post. Where is the time going?
It doesn’t seem like I got as much accomplished in June, but I do have an excuse. My husband and I both had colonoscopies in June. His was okay, but my doctor called me the poster child for why people should have regular colonoscopies. My first one was 11 1/2 years ago at which time my doctor removed a few small polyps. I had another the next year which was clear, so it was recommended I have another in 5 years. When I called 5 years later to make an appointment, I was informed by the nurse that I didn’t need to have one for another 5 years. Bad advice. I should have insisted because this time I had a polyp so large that it had to be removed in pieces, and I have to go back in August for another colonoscopy to make sure he got it all and that it healed nicely. I’m pretty sure doc is going to highly recommend that I have one more often than every 10 years from now on. Good news is that there was no cancer. If you, my friend, have not had a colonoscopy, I highly recommend that you not put it off any longer. It may save your life.
Now for the good things I accomplished in spite of all this doctor activity for the month. I finished 36 Jacob Ladder blocks this month which brings me to the 216 blocks needed for the 3 king-size quilts that I am making.
And here is the layout with 72 blocks which are all different. I did move 5 or 6 blocks after this picture was taken, and I couldn’t get all of the blocks in the picture.
I am sooooooooo glad that all of the blocks are made and I can start sewing them together.
Now for the smaller things that I did in June:
- I replaced an eye and added a mane to the zebra backpack I made for my niece. I’m looking forward to seeing her reaction when she opens her gift.
- I was showing my sister the Bowtie quilt that I added appliques to in order to hide imperfections. She very quickly saw another seam that had come apart. So I added another flower applique to the quilt.
- Since I am built pretty much straight up and down, when I buy a pair of jeans that fit me in the hips, the waist is too tight. And if I buy them to fit in the waist, the hips are way too big. I bought a pair of white jeans at a thrift store which I love, but the waist has always been too tight. So I enlarged the waist in them to make them more comfortable. Fortunately I had some white denim shorts that were way too small for me which I cut pieces from to use. The operation was a great success. I can now wear these white jeans in comfort.
- I finished one, yes, only one, quad Log Cabin block.
- I worked on my Teddy bear. I got the head sewn and stuffed and the eyes attached. I am ready to sew on the ears.
- I remade a window curtain for my granddaughter so that it would fit a window on a door in her new bedroom.
Hopefully I will get more done in July although the month is full of celebrations such as Independence Day, mine and my husband’s 49th wedding anniversary, great-granddaughter’s birthday, and great-niece’s birthday. Lots of parties and cakes. Hope my white jeans still fit at the end of the month. LOL
For all my friends who make clothes for their 18″ dolls, I am giving away one of my patterns – the ruffled shorts shown in this picture and the capris with two ruffles. Just go to my Craftsy store to download it. Please let me know how you like it. Enjoy, Lana.
For any new visitors, my monthly goal for each month for the first 6 months of 2017 is to make 36 Jacob’s Ladder blocks – 12 sets of 3 identical blocks each month. Instead of making 9 blocks each week this month as I did for the first 4 months, I thought I would try making all 36 at once. I didn’t like doing it this way. Made it feel as though I was never going to finish them. I had trouble gauging if I was keeping up a good pace in order to complete them by the end of the month. I need smaller/shorter goals. So for the month of June, I will go back to making 9 blocks per week. Anybody else need to break up bigger chunks of work into small pieces in order to feel like you are actually accomplishing something?
Here are the blocks I finally completed for May:
I finished them with only 5 days left in the month to work on other projects. First up was to cut off 3 pairs of jeans and hem them to capri length for my sister. Mission accomplished. I was very pleased with how my Janome 6600 handled the thick denim.
And I did squeeze in enough time to make 2 quad Log Cabin blocks:
After working on all these blocks all month, I wanted to do something fun. So I made an American Girl sized backpack for my great-niece’s birthday coming up in July.
Isn’t it just the cutest thing?!!! I have to say that it was probably the most difficult sewing project I’ve ever worked on. It is supposed to have fringe between the ears to represent the mane, but I needed a break from it after I got it to this point. I have plenty of time to make the mane.
And with still a couple of days in the month left, I decided to dress one of my half dolls using a couple of my vintage hankies. Since the half doll is only 2 inches tall, the work was a bit tedious but worth the effort. I’m very pleased with the result.
After adding the base and skirt, she is now approximately 8 inches tall.
Have you ever felt you didn’t get much done and then listed everything and realized you did more than you thought? Me, too! LOL
I didn’t accomplish nearly what I wanted to in April. Spring fever is my excuse. I just couldn’t resist going outdoors on those beautiful sunny mid-70s days. I just walked around checking out all the new leaves coming out on the trees and all the early flowers. But on the rainy and/or overcast gloomy days, I did sew.
Thirty-six more Jacob’s Ladder blocks are now tucked neatly away with the previously completed ones.
For those who are just tuning into my blog, I’m making 3 king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts each of which require 72 blocks. It will take 6 months on the schedule I’ve set to complete enough blocks for them. I currently have a grand total of 144 blocks and only 72 to go.
I did find time to make my sister some fabric baskets as an apartment-warming gift. She loves butterflies and purple, so these were perfect for her. She is already dropping loose change into the smallest one.
I also repaired a blouse for her. It is black. I hate working on black because it is so hard to see your stitches on it. The hem had come out of one of the sleeves. The original hem had two rows of stitching. The fabric is slinky and stretchy. So I knew I would not be able to put two rows of stitching back in that sleeve and make it look good. So I removed the hem stitching in the other sleeve and hemmed both sleeves with a blind stitch. Took me longer to remove the stitching from that other sleeve than it did to hem both of them because it is so blasted hard to see black stitching on black fabric. Oh, I said that already. LOL I finally went outside in the sun so that I would have some brighter light. Well, it’s done and looks decent.
I made my quota on the Jacob’s Ladder blocks with a week to spare so decided to put a quilt on the frame and get it quilted. I completed the quilting in 2 days. But this quilt top had problems. It was completed by someone that I don’t know back in the mid-60s and given to one of her children on May 25, 1965. I know this by some writing on one of the sashing pieces. It was hand-pieced and then washed causing it to fray. Some of the fabrics were loosely woven and frayed more than others causing some of the seams to open up. There are also some holes in some of the pieces. I knew that since I was quilting it using a pantograph that there would be some tucks and puckers here and there in the quilting. I don’t like holes and frayed seams and tucks and puckers. Now what am I going to do about it?
Then it hit me. Appliques! I’ll cover the flaws with flowers!!! And I did it with my longarm. It was so simple and so much fun to do. I just cut the flower shapes and some roundish centers, stacked them on the quilted quilt where I wanted them and stitched away on the appliques not worrying about the raw edges. They will fray with time and washings, but they will not come off since I put so many rows of stitching around the edges. And I think they added a bit of whimsy to this vintage Bowtie quilt.
Then another problem arose before I could get the binding on the quilt. We had hurricane force winds come through central Oklahoma which knocked down a lot of power poles which caused a power outage for almost the entire area, and, yes, we were one of them. I couldn’t iron the binding, and I couldn’t sew the binding. Or could I?
No power; no problem. Out came the Singer 66 treadle machine my granddaughter gave me for my birthday one year. Did I know how to use it? No, but I could figure it out. I like to have worn myself plumb out winding the bobbin, but after a rest I managed to sew the ends of the binding together. Not bad, but how do I press this binding to finish preparing it to go on the quilt?
I know. My Little Wooden Iron! I’ve had it for years but had never used it. It worked like a charm. Made a wonderful crease and didn’t take much longer than using an iron.
Now for the sewing.
I really got the hang of it. But I do have to say that I was glad the power came back on before I was ready to sew the binding to the other side of the quilt because there were just too many pins which would require a lot of stops and starts. The starts are the troublesome part as the machine sometimes wants to go backward instead of forward. That makes a bit of a mess with the stitching.
Well, after all the challenges with this quilt, I’ve got plenty of memories, new skills, and a whimsical, bright and cheery new quilt.
April may not have been one of my most productive months, but it certainly proved to be interesting.
Happy Crafting and Quilting,
Besides moving my sister and her husband and doing some mending for her, I managed to meet all of my goals and then some. Whoohoo!
The number one priority goal is the Jacob’s Ladder blocks for the three king size quilts I need to finish this year. I did reach my goal of 36:
In addition to these blocks, I completed 12 of the quad Log Cabin blocks which is more than I’ve been able to complete in a single month so far:
Then I decided it was high time I finished a set of 7 tea towels I started the first week of December 2016. I learned a lot about my embroidery machine working on these since the lettering would not fit in my 4 x 4 field. I used a movable hoop and learned how to mark things and line them up. I’m pretty new to this embroidery machine game. LOL
And since I had the embroidery machine stuff strewn all over the place, I decided to make a set of 5 tea towels for one of my granddaughters for her birthday:
After I finished the embroidery, I did a bit of cleaning and straightening in my studio. While I was whistling while I worked, I had a brainstorm. My shelving for my fabric stash and other treasures is made from two shuttered bi-fold closet doors and 5 boards. It dawned on me that those shutters showing on the end could work harder than just holding up 5 boards. They could also hold my cones of quilting thread. Here is what my husband and I came up with:
Now isn’t that just handy dandy?
Oh, and I almost forgot about the doll dress I finished. I did the embroidery whilst all that stuff was out, and then I put the fasteners on the jumper and the tee:
Maggie really likes the bee on her red corduroy jumper.
Then I finished a blanket my youngest granddaughter started about 4 years ago:
And to finish off the month, I took a strip of fabric and folded it just so and sewed it up, added a pair of folding scissors, and then put it with the other stuff I made for one of my sisters for her birthday:
I think that’s it. Like I said, it’s been a mighty busy and productive month!
May not be true but seems I got more done in February than in January. Perhaps it just feels that way because February is a short month and I got at least as much done this month as last.
I completed 36 Jacob’s Ladder blocks – 3 each of the 12 pictured,
In addition I completed 5 quad Log Cabin blocks,
2 pincushions and a sewing kit,
Sewing kit open.
Sewing kit closed.
and made some progress on the Teddy bear I’m making. I now have the arms, legs, and body sewn. Have not yet started joining all those pieces into one Teddy bear yet. LOL
Hope your month was at least as productive as mine.