Our Oklahoma October started out in the 90s and ended in the 20s. Talk about going from one extreme to the other! And it snowed on the 30th! Extremely unusual for this part of the country. On the positive side with all of these too-hot-for-me and too-cold-for-me temps, I stayed in a lot and got quite a bit accomplished.
Oh, and I could have gotten more done if my husband hadn’t tangled with a copperhead. We spent an entire day in the emergency room while they monitored him and did repeated blood tests to determine what changes were taking place. Fortunately no changes in his blood so no antivenom had to be administered. His ankle is still a bit tender but he has been back on his feet since about three days after the bite. Then there were the two days that my dad fell and had to have CT scans to make sure he wasn’t having any bleeding in his brain. And thankfully he was also fine except for a little bump and a scrape on his arm. His doctor has since ordered home health, and a physical therapist is working with daddy to improve his balance. I was the one who suffered permanent medical issues from all of this. My blood pressure went a bit haywire, and my medication had to be increased. A wild month to say the least. Everything is back to normal now.
I finished Aspen’s quilt and the doll quilt that we are giving her for Christmas. I do still need to add the labels, so technically they aren’t quite finished yet. But I’m calling it a finish. I’m sure somebody has done a pattern like these two quilts, but I haven’t seen them. I just had an idea for what I wanted to do and started cutting and sewing. I’m pretty pleased with the results. I used two layers of Hobb’s 80/20 batting on the twin size quilt with a single layer in the doll quilt and quilted them using a panto called Crayon Scribbles by Anne Bright Designs. It is one of the most difficult pantographs I’ve used, so perfect quilting it is not.
In addition, I put together 4 baby quilt tops and finished one of them. I found this really quick-to-make pattern called Baby Bento Box online. I’ve also seen some variations that I may try later. I suppose because of the fabrics on a couple of these tops that these would be better as lap quilts. I really had fun quilting the little bunny one. I had never done clamshells so tried my hand at that using a 4” circle ruler and Lisa Calle’s technique. The quilt would have been just fine with the overall clamshell quilting, but I thought it looked a bit plain so added some free-motion feathers in each clamshell. I like it so much better now.
My month wasn’t 100% success story. I had a flannel shirt that I wanted to add lace to the back of to make it more feminine. Sadly it didn’t turn out to my liking; and since I didn’t want to spend time ripping out everything I had just sewn in, I am going to send it to the thrift store. Somebody will like it. Maybe.
I did spend some time working on mine and my husband’s quilt this month. Last month I only had sewn blocks into 5 rows. I now have blocks sewn into 15 rows. Let’s see……15 rows times 29 blocks……..that’s 435 blocks! If our weather is going to keep being this cold, I had better get a move on and finish this quilt so we will be cozy and warm this winter. But there’s so many other things I want to make………..
Oh, and I found my missing string blocks! They were between two books on my bookshelf. I had put them there to keep them nice and flat until I had an empty project box to put them in. It was really strange how I found them since I had already turned the house upside down three times looking for them and had given up. So after about a month, I started thinking about them again. So I walked into the sewing room and straight to that shelf to start searching again when right in front of me at eye level was the corner of one of them sticking out from between the books. This second search has to be the shortest search on record. Those wayward blocks are now safely stored in their own box waiting for me to make more.
I completed all fourteen Poinsettia placemats! Woohoo! That is most of my Christmas gifts finished. So happy with them!
The final homemade Christmas gift is Aspen’s Quilt and a doll quilt for her made from scraps from her quilt. They are on the longarm, and I have started quilting it. I chose to use a slightly off-white thread and a pantograph called Crayon Scribbles from Anne Bright Designs. It is the most difficult pantograph I’ve used to date because of all the diagonal lines on it but is still the perfect one for this quilt. I also chose a wide backing that I found at Missouri Star Quilt Co. called Lazy Loops on a white background. It is such a fun print and should look great with the purple binding I am going to use on the quilt.
I even squeezed in enough time to make three baby quilts that I will be donating. It is such fun to see the ladies faces when I drop them off at the church clothing pantry.
Last year or the year before, I made a pumpkin from an old wool skirt that I felted. My sister-in-law saw it and oohed and aahed over it, so I knew I needed to make her one. I immediately cut out the pieces, placed them in a kit bag, and promptly forgot about them until this year. I got busy and finished it this month and took it to her. She loved it even though it was necessarily smaller than mine due to having limited scraps. For the first time I purchased nice wool felt to make the leaves and curls for this pumpkin. Much nicer results than the cheaper felts. And when buying for small projects is very affordable.
I am also making progress on mine and my husband’s quilt. I finished squaring all 400+ half square triangles, arranged the blocks for a fourth of the quilt since that was all my planning wall will hold, and started sewing the blocks into rows. I did devise a way to add the second half of the blocks to the row for the full width of the quilt. I do, however, have to fold the rows when I place them back onto the planning wall. I also have to overlap them to make room for twice the number of rows that I originally placed on the wall. You do what you gotta do. I’m hoping to have this quilt finished by the time the really cold weather hits in January.
All in all I had a pretty productive month. I’m hoping October is at least as good since November and December are such busy months which don’t allow a lot of time for crafting. Hope you also had a great month and plenty of time for crafting during the holiday season.
I started August by finishing a doll quilt on the very first day. I already had it pieced but failed to put that in last month’s post. Now how did I overlook that? The quilting on it is just a simple design, and I got it bound lickety-split. Small quilts sure do go fast!
I also made some progress on the king-size quilt that I started in July. I have all of the 4-patch and HST blocks pressed, and I’ve started squaring up the HSTs with about a quarter of the over 400 blocks done. I worked on these on days when we were experiencing thunderstorms. On those days my longarm and sewing machine are unplugged. Don’t want to chance lightning ruining them.
It never ceases to amaze me that all the blocks for a king-size quilt can fit in one small tote!
Oh, and I made myself a handy-dandy tool for squaring up those HSTs. I had heard about some rotary rulers that were designed with a ledge along the center diagonal on the bottom of the ruler. The ledge would nestle against the high side of the seam on the HST block making it easier to keep in place and trim the blocks. I don’t have one of those rulers, but I do have a 5″ square ruler and some painter’s tape. So I placed painter’s tape along the diagonal line on the bottom of my ruler. It worked great! Makes lining up for the cut so much easier and quicker, and slippage was greatly reduced. If you don’t want to spend the money on another ruler, you might want to try this hack.
Besides this ruler hack, I repurposed a laundry sorter as a scrap storage container and a pressing table. I love it! Combining the two into one unit saves space and is easily moved from place to place. I also have a larger pressing board that I can lay on top when needed. Oh, by the way, those three storage bags holds over three bushels.
When pressing things, I have lots of time to think and started looking over at my fabric stash wondering what fabrics I had stored there that would make some nice children’s quilts. So when I finished pressing, I started pulling fabrics. I still have some of them stacked up ready to work on when I get the time, but I did complete a few. The first one is Bob the Builder. It turned out much brighter than I expected but is cute.
The second one was fussy cut from a clown print. I really like how it turned out. I even had enough of the print to use as the backing.
The next quilt was made from blocks that I had left over from another project. It is too small to be called a throw so can either be used as a lap quilt or a crib quilt. I just did SID on this one mainly because I did not have a thread that I liked with it so used my 100 weight thread that hides in the ditches pretty well.
One of the fabrics that I pulled for a child’s quilt let me know right away that it wanted to go to my great granddaughter, Aspen. I’ve completed three of the nine rows. I hope I have it done by Christmas.
Aspen’s quilt is currently on hold so that I can finish the fourteen poinsettia placemats. I have about half of the quilting done. I’m working on the cream backgrounds right now. In order to quilt these backgrounds, I had to move my laser pointer from the back to the front of my machine. After I worked out some kinks, the quilting is going pretty fast. When the backgrounds are done, I will change thread and do some detail work on the poinsettias.
I’m pretty pleased with all that I accomplished during August. I was much more productive than I was in the previous two months. I hope you were also pleased with your month. Until next time,
After a couple of months of NO finishes, I’m very pleased that I finished two quilts in July which completed another of my goals for the year – using up all the 2 1/2” squares and strips that I cut from thrift store shirts, skirts, etc. I finished the scrap quilt that I was using to practice different fills in the white squares. Just look at all that texture!
And I finished this pretty pink baby quilt. I used Anne Bright’s quilting design, Anne’s Garden, at an 8″ height. It was quite tedious to quilt this at a size smaller than intended, but I love the outcome. And it is a small quilt so only had to quilt 6 rows. Note the faux piped binding. I love using that technique. It looks so special but is easy to do.
In addition to these two finishes, I started a king-size scrap quilt for my bed. The blocks finish at 4 inches so I need 812 blocks to get the drop that I want. I have made and pressed in excess of 406 half-square triangle blocks. I still need to square them up. And I’m half done with a little over 406 four-patches. Here are some random pictures I took along the way.
I’ve also started a strip quilt. The foundations for the blocks are used dryer sheets cut into squares. Then I just sew random strips of fabric diagonally across them until they are covered and trim to 6”.
I hope you had some finishes in July. Now I’m wondering what August will bring.
“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” –The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland
Here it is three days into May, and I’m just now writing my April report. They say time flies when you’re having fun. And fly by it has, so I must be having lots of fun.
April is my birth month, and my darling husband gave me three air cleaning machines with hepa filters. A week after setting them up, I dusted the whole house. Would you believe there was less dust in the whole house than what usually collected in our bedroom in just a couple of days before the machines were installed? Woohoo! Less time spent dusting means more creating. And here is what I created during April. (Did you like my lead-in to this months accomplishments? LOL)
Finishes: 5 crocheted dishcloths, 2 sewing machine mats with storage pockets, 2 potholders, and 1 wallet. It is one of my goals this year to use up items that were in boxes of fabric that I purchased at garage sales. Items that I would not usually buy. I used up two of such items this month making the above listed items – a ball of heavy tan crochet thread and a scrap of pre-quilted fabric. Now I’m looking at other such acquired items and thinking what I might make out of them.
Successes: I am a member of a Facebook group for owners of Bernina machines. While reading a post I learned that my machine has a hover feature. I was not told about it when I did my training, and I did not read about it in my manual. But once I knew it was there, I was determined to find it and get it turned on because it would make stitching down appliqués so much easier. You see, the hover feature causes the presser foot to rise slightly when you stop pressing on the machine pedal which allows fabric to be turned as needed. Of course, when doing appliqué, the needle also has to be set to stop in the down position. I searched in the presser foot settings to no avail. Wouldn’t you think that if it has something to do with the presser foot the setting would be in presser foot settings? Nope, wasn’t there. Then I just started looking in all the menus. And, lo and behold, there it was in the needle position settings window. I had three levels to choose from: no rise, slight rise, and higher rise. I chose slight rise. Now life is so much easier.
Progress on WIPs: all the blocks are finally together on the Rainbow Garden Log Cabin quilt. I now just need to get the paper removed from half the quilt. Just! That is putting it lightly. I hate this part of making this quilt so have been procrastinating. When that is done, I can measure for the borders and start the appliqué on them.
I also got stabilizer pinned to the back of the 14 poinsettia placemats and have started stitching down the appliqués. That hover feature on my machine has sure made this more efficient.
The scrap flimsy I finished last month is on the quilting frame. I did SID on every seam and was very pleased that 99.9% of the SID stitches went where I actually wanted them. Then I made a decision on how I wanted to quilt it. Each block on this quilt will be quilted differently as I try out different designs. You see, I’m using this one as practice leading up to quilting one that I’ve been putting off until my FMQ improves and in the process am deciding on a design to use on the quilt I’ve been putting off. I did learn an important lesson on this scrap quilt though besides FMQ practice. I should have used two layers of batting to get the results that I was wanting. It is a mistake I don’t think I will ever repeat. Lesson learned.
New projects started: In my efforts to finish using up all the 2 ½” squares and strips that I cut from those cotton garments, I made a flimsy for another baby quilt. What few squares and strips I have left have been boxed up and stored with stuff I will someday sell in a garage sale and donate if it does not sell.
So as you can see, I have lots of creating going on and plenty to work on during May. What am I saying!?! I have plenty to keep me busy for several months! Love it! Love it! Love it!
As the new year started, like most people I set myself some goals. It worked for me last year, so why not again this year. So my goals for this year are
- Weekly goal – make three quad Log Cabin blocks. I need 192 four inch blocks for the quilt I’m working on. It is going to take me over a year to get them all done. So why am I not making more of these each week? First of all, I’m not in a hurry. “Really?” you say. Yes, I know this is painfully obvious. Secondly, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over. I get bored. So I’m putting some other things into my schedule to keep things from getting monotonous. Which brings me to my…..
- Monthly goal – finish a quilt. I had a bunch of men’s cotton shirts that I cut into 2 ½” squares. I’m turning these squares into quilts that will be donated. I am sewing these squares into 2 ½” strips mixed in with a background fabric so that it creates a particular design when the strips are sewn together. Then I load my backing and batting onto my longarm frame and sew each strip to them. Doing it this way, I finish sewing the quilt top together and complete the quilting at the same time. Then all I need to do is bind them. It’s a very quick way to make a quilt which leaves me time to work on my…..
- 2-month goal – publish a doll clothes pattern. Well, maybe I should make that a year long goal of publishing 6 doll clothes patterns because I am pretty sure my first pattern is not going to be published by March 1.
- Weekly goals were met with 15 quad Log Cabin blocks completed.
- Monthly goal was met by finishing a western themed quilt for a baby boy. Don’t you just love this pantograph?
- Progress was made on my 2-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern. I have the fabrics to make one more garment from the pattern while I take some better pictures to go into the pattern instructions. In an effort to speed this pattern up, I will work on it before I finish the quilt for February because I need to get it to the testers. Then I’m at the mercy of how long the testers take to make it up and send me their feedback. After I receive their feedback, the pattern will need some tweaking before being published. It is quite a drawn out process. Shhhhhhhhhhhh…it’s a secret, so pictures will have to come later.
- I made a pair of house shoes for my oldest granddaughter for her birthday. If you look closely, you will be able to see the dragonfly print on the fabric.
- I also worked on a doll sweater that will eventually be turned into a pattern. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh….another secret. No pictures until the pattern is published. Sorry.
- I crocheted a hat and scarf for my dolls. The only stitch used in the scarf was a slip stitch – a first for me. Nikki does so enjoy being my model.
I was telling my mom about my goals, what I had accomplished during January and what I need to accomplish during February. In her very own back-handed supportive way she said to me, “February is a short month, you know.” LOL
Have a wonderful, but short, crafty February,
What a busy month! And on top of cleaning and decorating the house for all the Christmas festivities, I decided to make house shoes for one of my granddaughters, her daughter, and her daughter’s dolly to give them for Christmas. Found some sparkly turquoise fabric at Hobby Lobby that I knew they would love. I used home décor fabric-backed vinyl for the soles. They turned out great and were a hit especially with the 2-year-old.
After completing the house shoes, I put buttons on the fly-away bells on the sleeves of a blouse I had bought. The sleeves kept getting into everything so had to tame them a bit.
And I made a tea towel for my mom. There is a story behind it. Of course there is, you say! LOL I had made a tea towel a couple of years ago that my mom wanted, but it was my favorite, and I couldn’t part with it. And I didn’t have anymore of the fabric. But as luck would have it, I bought a box of scraps at a garage sale; and, lo and behold, there was a piece of that fabric in there! Woohoo! So now my mom has a tea towel exactly like mine. She’s a happy camper.
For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been scouring thrift stores and garage sales looking for 11 x 14 frames to put my little sister’s artwork in that she was giving for Christmas gifts this year. She told me she had 9 pieces to frame. On Thanksgiving Day she told me she had 13. Okay, we are 4 frames short! So we went on a wild shopping spree searching for more frames. In case you are wondering why we are looking for them instead of her, it’s because she has autism. We help her out on such things when they prove too difficult or confusing to her. Some of the frames needed replacement glass which we found at a local lumber hard for half the cost of everybody else, and several needed mats which were purchased one per week at Hobby Lobby using the weekly 40% off coupon. Then we picked up her artwork, put everything together, and returned all to her so that she could wrap them. I watched as our other two sisters opened theirs on Christmas Eve. They went right to Kip and told her that these gifts are by far the best gift she had ever given them. Our mom and dad received theirs a few days earlier and called me to let me know how much they liked them and how much they appreciated us helping her. Thirteen gifts cost Kip only $34.21. We won’t count the gas, wear and tear on my car, or our time. LOL Here is the picture Kip gave to us.
Somehow during preparing for having 20 plus people over on Christmas Eve and going on wild shopping sprees, I found time to work on a quilt. I had it more than half done by Christmas Eve and finished it a couple of days later. This was a fun experimental quilt. The plaids and stripes I used were cut from a number of men’s cotton shirts I purchased from the thrift store way back when I first started quilting. I feel this purchase requires a little explanation. When I first started quilting, I was extremely short of funds. The thrift store would have $3 bag sales. I could fit a lot of cotton garments into that big brown paper grocery bag which gave me lots of fabric to play with. I’ve used pieces from this stash in a quilt for our grandson, a throw for a cousin whose wife passed away, and a doll quilt. I still had an overflowing tub that I needed to do something with. I certainly didn’t want to waste them so decided to cut all into 2 ½” strips and squares. Took a good while to do that but mission accomplished. Next step is to get all into warm quilts.
Now back to the experimental part of the quilt. I loaded the backing and the batting for the quilt onto my longarm and then pieced long 2 ½” wide strips. As I finished a strip, I took it to the longarm and placed it horizontally across the frame and stitched it in place using my longarm. Bonus was sewing the strips together and quilting the quilt all in one seam. It really went quite fast and made a pretty nice quilt. See for yourself.
But, really, I need to get back to making quad Log Cabin blocks. After all, I need 192 of these 4” blocks to make my quilt; and even though I started it in January, I only have 29 made. So during the month of December I added 3 more to that total and have determined that I will make 3 per week during 2018 and will assemble the quilt top in 2019. Oh, I almost hate to mention that there is a lot of appliqué on the border. This is a long-term project mainly because, although I really do like this quilt pattern, I find these blocks quite tedious to work on and each one takes so long to make! I figured out that in order to make one block, I actually make 5 blocks – 4 Log Cabins and 1 four-patch. So I will spread it out over time – a long time – and will eventually get it finished.
To top off the month, I whipped together a baby quilt top. Started it at about 8:30 one evening, worked for a couple of hours, and got up the next morning and finished it. And, yes, I used some of the plaid from those shirts I cut up and the leftover backing fabric from the other quilt I finished this month.
I need another 1 ¼ yards for the backing which I will pick up at Walmart next week. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the pantograph to come in that I am going to use for this one. It’s called Yippee Ki Yay! This quilt is destined to be the first one I finish in 2018.
Happy New Year!