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 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.
May has got to be the busiest month of the year! Well, it is when your granddaughter is a senior and is participating in her last high school track season – three track meets in consecutive weekends and graduation the next weekend. And on top of all that activity that grandparents love to take in, we were shopping for a car for my sister and a truck for us. AND we also helped the middle granddaughter move.
And there was success all around. We found a 2017 Toyota Tundra double-cab for us and a 2007 Toyota Corolla for my sister. And the granddaughter placed 2nd in state in throwing the discus and signed to throw for Oklahoma State University. And the middle granddaughter loves her new apartment.
When things settled down for us, I got back in the sewing room. But that was short-lived because of all the storms with lots of lightning, rain, hail, and tornadoes. We were on constant watch for tornadoes. There were 61 tornadoes during May with other possible ones being investigated, so the number may increase. If you want to read more about this, check out this link. https://okcfox.com/news/local/61-tornadoes-recorded-in-oklahoma-in-may
So during that stormy weather while sitting in front of the TV watching the weather, I removed all of the remaining paper from the back of the Rainbow Garden Log Cabin quilt. I’m so glad that is done. Now I need to get the seams all pressed in the direction I want them to go so I can measure for the borders. See! No more paper.
On those rare occasions that we didn’t have lightning going on, I stitched down the dark side of the appliquéd leaves on the Poinsettia placemats, and I’ve almost finished stitching down the light side of those leaves.
Early in the month before that long stretch of time in May that was stormy, I quilted half the scrap quilt top that I stitched in the ditch last month. I am practicing a different design in each white square which is sort of an audition for designs that I might like to use in the Lollipop Flowers quilt.
So do you see why I called this the merry, chaotic, tumultuous, stormy May? Not one finish, and this chaos spilled over into June. Well, that’s for a later post. Hope your May was a bit more relaxed and a lot more productive than mine.
“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!
Summer is here and although we have had some rather cool days for June, our days are starting to get up into the high 90s and very humid making it feel much hotter. Very hot days were predicted for the weekend we had the family reunion but Mother Nature decided to give us temperatures in the low to mid 80s with a nice breeze. It was wonderful! The reunion was a grand success, and we plan on having it at our place again next year.
With the reunion, cleaning up, and getting everything back in their storage places, my crafting time this month has been cut short. And in addition to all that, my husband had surgery this month. So I played nurse for a few days. He’s not a good patient; but in all fairness, I am not a good nurse either. LOL But I have managed some finishes and some progress on other things.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 110 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 82 blocks to be completed. I love seeing the number of blocks completed increase as the other number decreases. It gives me just enough boost to keep me going on this long-term project.
- I got all of the appliqués fused to the 14 placemats. I hope to get them all stitched down in July, but it will be a tedious job so may take two months to do that. And if I decide to do the appliqué stitching by hand, I will allow myself three or four months to get them all done. That will leave plenty of time to quilt and bind them and have them ready for Christmas giving. To give you an idea of how tedious this is going to be, here is a picture of half a leaf and there are eight of these tiny intricate pieces to do on each of those 14 placemats. Yes, you did see that right. That piece is 2 1/2 inches wide x approximately 1 1/4 inches tall with a lot of ins and outs.
I finished quilting my nephew’s quilt. I did have a problem when quilting the outer border. My nephew pressed the seam between the inner black border and the outer orange print border toward the orange. Doing the beadboard quilting required me to stitch in the ditch which unfortunately in this case was on the black. Why was this a problem you ask? I was using a bright yellow/red/orange/green variegated thread, and I am not the best at stitching in the ditch. But I found a solution which cost me some extra time but worked. I used a black Pigma pen to color the variegated thread where it was not supposed to be showing but was. Now you see it; now you don’t. In spite of this minor problem, this quilt was such fun to quilt!
- My youngest sister moved from an apartment to a duplex and needed new curtains. She wanted light pink and blue in her kitchen, so I pulled all my blue and pink fabrics for her to choose from. She chose a very light pastel pink and blue plaid. I made simple cafe curtains with a valance and gathered them on spring loaded curtain rods. They look real cute, but I forgot to take a picture. Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures when I take the curtains to her for her dining, living, and bedroom which are now in the works.
- I have given up on my goal to finish a doll clothes pattern every other month. So far this year although three have been in the works, I’ve only finished one. I knew it was a lofty goal and gave it my best shot. But life got in the way. So doll clothes patterns have been removed from my goals list. But on a positive note, I’ve sold two copies of the one pattern that I published this year, and it has only been available for one month. Not one of my hottest patterns, but not a failure either. I did receive pictures from the coat pattern tester of her finished coat. It is as cute as can be. And she sent me some very good constructive comments that I hope to get incorporated into my instructions in time for a Fall release.
Oh, did I mention that my husband bought me a new sewing machine? It is a Bernina 590! I’ve already taken my classes and am definitely enjoying sewing on this dream machine. I hope to come up with an embroidery project soon so I can try out the embroidery module. Fun! Fun!
Until next month, happy crafting,
I know! I know! The title is not very original, but I like it and it fits. Most of the flowering plants and trees have done their thing already – daffodils, irises, amaryllis, flowering almond, crabapples, redbuds, blackberries, and fruit trees. Of course there will be fruit from the crabapples, blackberries, and fruit trees later. Well, hopefully there will be. Right now the hollyhocks and roses are blooming, and the daylilies will start any day now. I’ve also put some flowering hanging baskets on our wraparound back porch for lots of summer color.
This month has been extremely busy for us because we are getting ready to host the 2018 Frazier Family Reunion at our place. I have been busy spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. I also cleaned the restroom in the shop since most of our activities will take place in and around the shop. My husband has been working on getting our 6 acres spruced up. We both cleaned up the flowerbeds around the house. And amidst all this cleaning and sprucing up business, I managed to meet my goals for the month, make progress toward my two-month goal, and finished some extras.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 98 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 94 blocks to be completed. Did you notice that the number of finished blocks is now larger than the number of blocks to be made? I’m excited that I am now on the downhill slide with making these.
- I finished two quilts this month and pieced the backgrounds and sewed on borders for 14 placemats that need to be finished by Christmas. Let’s see now….this is May, so that means I have 8 months give or take a few days. So if I average finishing 2 per month for 7 months, I will get them done. We’ll see how quickly they go. They have some machine appliqué on them for which I am awaiting arrival of some Lite Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web so that I can get started on that step . I think preparing those appliqués will slow me down some.
- While I was cleaning in the sewing studio, I pulled out a practice piece that I had done when I took a class to help me conquer my fear of free-motion quilting. And since I had already finished my Rail Fence Picnic quilt and didn’t have what I needed to do more on the placemats, I decided to bind this practice piece and hang it in my sewing studio as a reminder that free-motion quilting is not scary at all. Well, not very anyway. Oh, and my sister finally got the batting to me for my nephew’s quilt. So the quilt is on the frame awaiting the arrival of the threads I need for quilting it. Now why didn’t I think to order the thread earlier? Well, no problem. It will be here soon and I can’t work on it for awhile anyway. Here are my Rail Fence Picnic Quilt and the practice piece from my class:
- The 18” doll dress pattern is coming along very nicely. But I did have a head slap moment when I realized I had wasted two afternoons trying to draft and perfect the bodice pattern when I already had one done in another pattern. Doh! I’m in hopes that it will be published by the end of June. I did, however, use one of the two practice bodices to complete this cute little white dress. Waste not; want not!
- I sent the tester for the reversible coat pattern additional pictures with clarified instructions. She said that they were better. But I still have a lot of work to do on this pattern. I rounded out the neckline and then found that I also must round part of the facing to match. That is now done. I’ve also decided to use something other than the elastic cord I was using to do buttonhole loops but have yet to settle on what will be the easiest material to work with that also looks nice and holds up well. I need to check out the nice cords in the jewelry findings department at Hobby Lobby. I betcha those would work nicely. My tester emailed that she finally finished her coat and will send me pictures and her notes as soon as she recovers from the Memorial day weekend and her company. I’m looking forward to receiving her feedback.
- Ann of Ann van Doren Designs just published the Mary Jane shoe pattern that I had the privilege to test. She used the picture of the black faux leather shoes that I made on the cover of her pattern. I am so honored that she did this. I thoroughly enjoyed making these shoes as her design and instructions made it so easy for me. Ann is a very talented designer. I couldn’t show you the shoes until she had published, so here they are now:
- And to finish off the month, I made some pressing tools to use when I make doll clothes – a pressing ham and a sleeve roll. Here they are pictured next to their full-size counterparts so you can see just how small they are:
And to think, I thought I wasted some time just sitting around doing nothing. Now I realize that I was just resting from all this activity. LOL