“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,
No, I don’t have that backwards. That is how my March went. Read on.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 71 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 121 blocks to be completed. I also have all the fabrics that I need for the remaining blocks in that box. I was short a few but received via email a coupon from my local quilt shop for $10 off a $20 purchase. They also offered an additional $5 off that purchase if I shared their ad. So I just clicked on the Facebook icon and like magic I received that additional savings. What fun I had at the shop choosing my fabric!
- I didn’t get a quilt finished this month but am very close. I just need to do the label, hanging sleeve, and binding. There were a couple of reasons for the failure to meet this goal. First of all, I used this month’s quilt as the one for the Lisa Calle class that I purchased last month. Takes time to learn new tricks, and as Lisa would say “Quilt it to death”. LOL Would you believe I went through 6 large bobbins on this quilt? And the quilt is only 22 1/2″ square! And secondly, I got the flu. I was pretty sick for a couple of days the end of March (out like a lion) and quickly recovered but even a week later am still experiencing some fatigue. If all goes well this month, I should finish this quilt and a quilt for April which is pieced and ready to go and get a quilt pieced for May. If all goes well. I showed you a picture of the quilt top last month. Here it is quilted. Thanks to a friend’s tips on taking pictures, I actually got one that shows the quilting pretty well.
- The reversible coat doll pattern is still with the testers. Funny how something that I thought was going to be easy can turn out to not be so. Probably the way I wrote the instructions. There has been a lot of emailing back and forth. I have made headway on a little summer outfit for these dolls. The prototype is perfected, and the pattern is almost completely drawn up. My plan is to make the outfit up in some cute coordinating fabrics while taking pictures of the process and writing instructions. If all goes well….oh, I said that before…LOL..I should have it to the testers by the end of April. I’ll share pictures of them when the patterns are published.
Review: Divide, Design & Fill for Beautiful Quilting by Lisa Calle
This is the class that I purchased through iQuilt.com last month. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned so much from it. Lisa Calle is a good instructor and kept things interesting and moving at a good pace. I did, however, wish that she had shown her quilting design process on more than one quilt, but I easily found many quilts she had done by going to Pinterest and searching for Lisa Calle. I learned a great deal from looking at other examples now that I understand how she came up with those designs. If you have wondered how quilters like Lisa Calle came up with their designs and are ready to add to your quilting design skills, I highly recommend this class.
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 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,
The Same Stalled Project
The High Tea Crochet Fusion quilt is still on hold. I’m continuing my exploration of different methods for joining the squares. Here is what it looked like last time I showed it to you, and it is still what it looks like.
I finished sewing the X Marks the Spot quilt top. I didn’t have enough of the blue fabric to use exclusively for the backing and the binding, so I will be adding some of the cream and a left over block to piece a backing. The binding will also be pieced.
I now have the Confetti quilt on the longarm and have quilted one pass. I wanted it to look rather old fashioned so am simply quilting 1/4 inch on each side of the sashing seam. I use the word simply rather loosely here since this quilting requires the use of a ruler to help me keep things going somewhat straight. It’s not as bad as stitching in the ditch but is still considered custom quilting. I may wish I had used a pantograph by the time I’m finished as it would go much quicker. But I believe I am going to like the result.
I recently took a FMQ class to help me get over my fear of FMQ. So I took it a step further and challenged myself to do a different FMQ design in every block of a little cheater cloth quilt I was using for practice. There are 30 blocks in all. I did FMQ on 28 1/2 of them. Just couldn’t keep my hands off my ruler. LOL
Keep in mind that these blocks are only 4 3/4″ square, and the FMQ is micro-quilted. Here are pictures of my favorites:
Hope you find some way to challenge yourself to do something that helps you stretch your abilities.