“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!
This month has been a bit chaotic what with my having a touch of some kind of bug and my brother-in-law having to be put in the hospital. I’m still recovering, and he should get out today or tomorrow. So hopefully all will settle down soon.
In spite of all the madness, I managed to accomplish quite a lot during March. First up are two quilt finishes:
I quilted this 4-patch with stars and loops in black thread. It is a big queen size quilt and now ready to deliver to the church pantry.
I also made a small quilt that can either be a lap quilt or a baby quilt. It was a favorite of my quilting group. And I finally got to use the Tri-Recs rulers I found at a garage sale for $2 a few years ago. This pretty quilt will also go to the church pantry.
I chose backing fabric from my stash for a throw size scrap quilt that I started last month. The backing is loaded on the longarm, but quilting was put on hold until I pick up the batting I need for it. I will be playing with some custom quilting in the 6″ white squares.
And then before I knew it, this doll quilt top was together. These quilts put me a bit closer to my goal of using up all the 2 1/2″ squares and strips that I have cut.
And I got three more rows of the Rainbow Garden Log Cabin quilt together. Because this quilt top is rather heavy with all that paper on the back of each block, I am constructing it in two halves and will sew the halves together later after most of that paper is removed. It’s slow, but I’m getting there. In addition to the additional rows sewn together, I now have all the border appliques cut for this quilt.
Last Sunday afternoon, I altered the length of a dress for my granddaughter and added elastic at the waist to give it some shape. I would have gotten before and after pictures, but this 3-year-old was not feeling cooperative that day. Out of the fabric that I cut off the tail of the dress, I made her a scrunchy for her hair. Very easy and quick project.
I cut and adhered all the poinsettia appliques to 14 placemats which are Christmas gifts for this year. Stitching them is next. These have way more pieces than last year’s pumpkin placemats so will likely take a lot more time to stitch. I best figure out a schedule for how many to complete each month so that I have them done by Christmas. I’m thinking that I may also do a thread color change on this one. Or I could do it all in a deep forest green. Decisions, decisions!
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!
I had not one, not two, but four finishes in October! The smallest finish was getting the label on X Marks the Spot.
While I was machine embroidering this label, I did the label for the Confetti quilt that I finished last December and three labels I wasn’t quite ready for. I still need to get the label sewn to the back of Confetti. It is a large queen-size quilt which is hanging from a quilt rack on the sewing studio wall, and I need help getting it down. I also made labels for the remaining two king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts and for the Chevron baby quilt.
The Chevron baby quilt is finished and has been delivered to the parents to be. I was really surprised at how nice gray and white with a splash of baby blue turned out.
I ended up using the blue dot for the binding because the fabric I wanted to use needed to be fussy cut to look its best, and I didn’t have enough of the fabric to do that. I’m happy with how it turned out. Here’s a picture of the back:
Did you notice the label in the pieced stripe at the top? Here’s a closeup:
After I finished the baby quilt, I got back to the Jacob’s Ladder quilts. I am very pleased to report that I finished both of them. I had to finish piecing one of them and quilt, bind, and label both of them. My ten-month journey with these three king-size quilts has finally come to an end except for delivering the last two which will happen late December and mid-January. Don’t think I will attempt making more than one king-size quilt during a year ever again. Especially if they are identical. I really like a lot more variety in my life than that. LOL
I have also made a great start on making Christmas gifts. I’m making bowl cozies. You can get the free tutorial that I am using here. I found it to be a quick and easy bowl to make. Each bowl requires two 10″ squares of coordinating fabric. Here are the fabrics that I chose:
I have already finished four of them and getting ready to work on the next batch. I would have just done them all at the same time like an assembly line, but I am using white thread on some, black on most of them, and cream on the rest. Now I’m getting ready to do the ones with black.
You cannot believe how pleased I am with what I accomplished in October. It has been a stellar month.
Since I am still recuperating from the broken bone in my foot, I am still not quite up to speed. The last x-ray shows that the bone is healing well, and my job now is to concentrate on walking normally. As the doctor put it – heel to toe, heel to toe. That is much easier said than done though, but I will eventually get there.
Even in the face of this obvious obstacle, I managed to get some things done in September. I finished one quilt, pieced another and am almost finished quilting it, finished piecing another king-size quilt and have started putting the rows together for another, and spruced up a doll I bought at a garage sale.
X Marks the Spot
I started this twin-size quilt last year using leftover blocks from another quilt and some yardage leftover from still another and some that I bought at a yard sale. I didn’t have enough of the either of these yardages to use just one of them as the backing so pieced the backing. I’m not sure which side I like best. I also tried out a new pantograph, Wave On Wave, that I was considering using on the king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts I am making for our children. I also used the two piece binding that creates a faux piping on the front.
Chevron Baby Quilt
Our first great-great niece is due December 12. I thought I better get a head start on making a quilt for the little one, so I inquired as to the colors for the baby’s room. Gray and white. Okay. What about an accent color? Baby blue. Oh, dear. What am I going to do with that? I have plenty of time to consider this, or so I thought. Within days after my inquiry about colors, I received an invitation to the baby shower which is October 15. Luckily the registries were listed on the invitation which I quickly perused as to get an idea as to the theme for the room. Turns out that almost everything is done in chevrons. So I quickly went to Pinterest and search for chevron quilt patterns. Pinterest did not disappoint. I had a bit of trouble finding geometric prints in gray. Do you have any idea how many shades of gray are out there? LOL After purchasing a fat quarter bundle and three pieces of yard goods, here is the resulting quilt top:
I am almost through quilting it. I was going to just quilt it with a pantograph, but this quilt screamed, “CUSTOM!” It is a simple custom design that I copied from a picture on Pinterest.
And I’m using the faux piping method for the binding. Here is a preview:
I hope the happy parents like it.
Jacob’s Ladder Quilts
As you may have read and/or recall from previous posts, I am making three king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts. The first one is completed and was donated as a fund raiser for our local food pantry. The other two are gifts for our son’s and daughter’s families. I finished putting the blocks together to complete the second flimsy and have two rows together for the third one. Here is a reminder of what they look like:
We happened to go to a garage sale that had an American Girl doll for sale for a mere $10. I could not pass her up for that wee sum. They usually are priced for $50 or better. Turns out that she is Josefina. But the bottom four inches of her hair was badly damaged. I tried using conditioner on it to no avail, so I decided to cut and curl her hair and renamed her. Meet Josie:
Almost Back On Track
So even though I lost a month of working on the quilts, I am back on track to finishing the two king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts ahead of schedule and even squeezed a couple of other quilts in there. And had fun playing hair dresser, too. You can bet that I’m being extra careful walking. I sure can’t afford another down month. LOL
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!