Friday, July 31, 2015

A Mini Finish

This week I finished a couple of small projects. One I’ll share next week – it’s a gift for my hubby’s birthday this weekend – and one I’ll share now.

This is a mini Disappearing 9-Patch. It’s 24 by 36 inches. This came about because my guild will be having a special sewing bee later in August for Ronald McDonald House quilts. The guild RMH Chair thought this would be a fun quilt to do. She won’t be able to make the bee, so I get to be in charge of it (oh no!).

We have kits all cut out for sewing these together. The squares we cut for the kits are 5 inches, so the original 9-Patches (prior to cutting them) will be 14 ½ inches unfinished. I think when they are cut and sewn back together they end up being about 13 or 13 ½ inch finished blocks. We didn’t have a sample quilt to show, so I decided it would be a good idea to put one together. I really didn’t want to make a big full size quilt, and I had a bunch of 2 ½ inch black and white strips, so that’s what I used. I threw in some red for a pop. I think it turned out pretty cute. My daughter even liked it – go figure! I think I will enjoy seeing this up on my wall.

One other special thing I did with this was to try a new binding technique. Someone at our last RMH sew-in described this technique and I thought I would give it a try.

I know there are some You Tube videos on how to do this, but I decided to just wing it. The way I did it is this…I cut the black part of the binding 1 ½ inches wide and the red part of the binding 1 ½ inches wide and stitched them together. You could probably work it out to make the “flange” color 1/16 or 1/8 of an inch wider than the other piece, but I chose not to. Once I sewed them together, I had a 2 ½ inch wide binding strip (which I normally use). When I pressed the binding strip in half, I shifted the red (flange) over just a smidge so it was showing on the black side. This made the raw edges off set, but that’s fine. Then I stitched the binding to the BACK of the quilt, with the red side facing up. Once it’s flipped over to the front the black side is showing with just the smidge of red flange. Then I top stitched with red thread on the red flange…like stitching in the ditch. One note, make sure your bobbin thread matches your quilt backing, because it WILL show.

I think it turned out okay, and it gives it a little bit more pop with the red around the binding. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ALYOF July Finish

I finished my goal for ALYOF for July (#1 on the Goal Setting Party).

I had so many hopes for this wall hanging, but it came up a little short. I found the fabrics and was excited to use them with my cat dye that goes with my AccuQuilt Go cutter, but the lack of contrast between the cats and the background really bothers me. But, it’s done; it looks okay; and it’s going to be fine on the wall of my sewing room.

This was a project I was working on when I bought my new sewing machine, so I was able to get right into FMQ with the machine and it worked well. That made me quite happy! The thing that didn’t make me happy was trying to make the label. I really like the font on this machine (it only has one) because it is so much clearer and larger than the ones on my old machine (I had two). It was part of the reason I selected this model…so I could use it to make quilt labels. But the first label I made ran out of bobbin thread ON THE LAST LETTER of the label! Ugh! Then I was having problems centering the label. I finally set it aside and used a pen (after wasting quite a bit of fabric). I’ll get back to the label making with the machine, but I just needed to walk away from it by then and I wanted to finish the wall hanging.

So, I’m glad that one is finished. I started it in March or April, and had to set it aside when I headed out to CA during April. So it was staring at me for a while across the sewing room. It’s nice to have a finish.

I will be linking up with the Finishes Party at Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts. Head over for some lovely projects.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

This Week and the Stash Report

This week has been a mixed bag in my sewing room. I’ve spent some time working on Ronald McDonald House quilt stuff for my guild. I started working on a Disappearing Four Patch that the RMH Chair gave me to do. I realized why I have never attempted one…all the fiddly seams to match when you sew the blocks back together. Not my cup of tea. Ergh. I also got some more fabric cut for some RMH sew-ins we will be hosting over the next few months.

I finished my wall hanging for my ALYOF goal.

I will be writing more about this next week, but this is not my favorite project ever. However, it’s done and will go on the wall in my sewing room and I will enjoy it. J

I also spent a little time stitching out the July block for the Vintage Kitchen BOM.

I changed it up a bit from the original pattern, but I like it just fine.

Finally, I’ve been spending a little time every day working on the Butterfly Sampler for Sue Spargo’s Craftsy class.

It’s slow going, but I am soooo enjoying it. I just really enjoy applique and hand stitching. I have all the butterflies finally stitched down and started on the bodies this weekend. I have 8 more to go, so I hope to get them stitched down this evening. Then it will be time to start appliqueing some cotton fabrics on top of the wool.

It’s been five weeks since my last Stash Report, mostly because there hasn’t been any movement in my stash until this past week. I had .75 yard go out for guild projects, and I had about 2.75 yards out for completing the wall hanging. I wasted used a lot of fabric working with the monogramming and programming functions of my new sewing machine trying to make a label for the wall hanging. I finally just used a pen. Though, I haven’t given up on making labels with my machine…I just really wanted to get it done and decided three waste practice labels was enough. I also added some more fabric to my shelves…I picked up two more yards of Kona Snow for my ongoing RSC projects, and I also picked up a couple of fat quarter bundles while I was at the fabric store last week. So, my new numbers have a net increase in fabric added…

Stash Report Week 30 of 2015:

Used in 2015:            22.00 yards

Added in 2015:          45.25 yards

Total net used 2015: 23.25 yards

Red means I added more than I used
Black means I used more than I added
Goal: Use more than I add

So that’s about it from here for the week. This afternoon is another Ronald McDonald House quilts sew-in for our guild. 

I will be linking up at Patchwork Times for the Stash Report and at Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gloomy Thursday

It’s going to be another rainy day here…which is great for the garden and lawns. But it is so gloomy outside. I think this weekend will make up for it though with lots of sunshine (and heat!). What else can you expect for July?

Yesterday I was able to finish a couple of items. First, I finished my project for A Lovely Year of Finishes for July.

I’m still “meh” about this one. I had picked up a couple of packs of coordinating fat quarters a while back because I liked the colors. I really thought they would look nice in a wall hanging. I also had the cat dye cut for my AccuQuilt Go! Cutter and wanted to make something using that. So this wall hanging came into being. I was so disappointed with the low contrast. I added the border thinking it would help, but it didn’t really. I also used dark brown to do a blanket quilting stitch around the cats. Still didn’t work. The other thing I forgot to do was fuse Pellon 809 interfacing to the backing fabric for stability. So it is probably not going to hang very flat or straight. Plus my sewing machine was acting up while I was FMQ. Ergh. But, let’s end this on a positive note…I do like the fabrics and the colors, and this gave me the opportunity to jump right in and work with my new sewing machine. And, it will perk up my sewing room when I find a place to hang it. It’s all good, really. J

I also pulled out my embroidery needle and completed the July block for The Vintage Kitchen BOM from Jenny of Elefantz.

I did mine just a little bit different than her original pattern. I traced this at the beginning of the month, so I honestly can’t tell you all that I changed. J I know I left out a couple of bottles that peek out above and behind the jars. I just thought it would work fine without them, which I think it does. I also think the pickle jar was originally pears…but I have only canned jam and pickles, so I wanted a pickle jar. So, this was a little quickie I was able to do over the course of the afternoon…with all the normal interruptions of home.

This morning I have the house to myself, so I’ve already vacuumed and done some cleaning. I even made a doctor appointment…what fun. I will probably spend the rest of this morning doing some work on the computer and trying to become more familiar with Excel…I know, I’m behind the times. I will probably get some genealogy work done also, and then this afternoon I hope to spend more time stitching butterflies. It should be fun! I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Monday, July 20, 2015

This Week

On my Design Wall this week…

These are 9-patches from one of the flannel quilts I’m making. I have 44 done on this one and I need 19 more. If I finish up my other projects this week, I’ll do more work on this. I’ll be linking up at Patchwork Times…head over for some lovely projects.

This week I’m going to get better acquainted with my new sewing machine…

This is my new Husqvarna Viking Opal 650. So far, so good. I bought it Friday and when I got home I finished up FMQ a wall hanging with it. It went well. I had a Viking Rose (for almost 18 years), so I’m familiar with the Vikings and all of my extra accessories fit this one! Yay! So, this week I will spend a bit more time with it and make a label for my wall hanging and get the binding and hanging apparatus put on. Then I’ll be hand stitching down the binding.

Once that is completed, I’ll get back to work on the Butterfly Sampler.

I have to stitch down the last 10 butterflies. After that, there is still a bit of hand applique to do before I start the embroidery. But I’m enjoying it all the same.

That’s about all I think we have going on around here this week. Nothing special, except I’ll be going to Joann’s for our guild Ronald McDonald House Quilts sew-in on Sunday. My only commitment this week! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Stay cool!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Slow Stitching on a Sunday

Today I will be working on my Sue Spargo Butterfly Sampler. I’ve gotten the background completed and I’ve stitched down four of the butterflies so far. The remaining ones are just pinned down.

I have really enjoyed working with the wool on this project. It makes me want to do more!

I will be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching. Head over for some lovely projects.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I Knew It Would Happen

I’ve been putting off having my sewing machine serviced for a while now, but yesterday it finally said, “Enough!” A few times of bunching thread and finally a broken needle while free motion quilting, I decided to stop and take the Rose in for service. I’ve had my machine for nearly 18 years (!), and it is a trooper. But, I may look into trading it in today. I’ll have to see what they have in the shop that would be better for me. If I keep it, I will probably go ahead and find a nice lightweight sewing machine that I can take to quilt guild Bees and sew-ins. The Rose is 22 pounds, so she’s a bit hefty to haul around. Of course I guess I could even look for a case with wheels. We’ll see what I can find.

Before I stopped yesterday, I had most of the quilting done on my July ALYOF project. Here is the close up of the quilting...

I’ve done blanket stitch quilting around each cat in a shiny dark brown thread, and then I’ve just done a stipple around each cat in each block. I used a very light yellow Sulky thread for the yellow blocks and a variegated mint-y green Sulky thread for the other squares. I was on the last square when my needle finally broke and I finally called it quits…for now.

You can see the variegation in the thread…I’m not sure about the darkest part of the thread, since the background is so light. But I already had the thread and decided to use what I have. It was the only thread I had that was in the mint-y green color range, so I would have had to run to the store before quilting; and I didn’t want to do that J I think in the big scheme of things it won’t make a lot of difference.

So now I’m on hiatus from machine sewing until I get my machine back (unless I come home with something cool and groovy from the shop, or I see if my 30+ year old Kenmore will still work). Never fear, though, because I always have plenty of hand stitching to do J I think I’ll get some more done on the Sue Spargo butterfly sampler.

I hope you all have a great weekend! We’ll be weeding outside in the mornings and cleaning inside when it starts to get hot.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What’s Been Happening?

Well, not a whole lot. I have been busy puttering around. I’ve spent a little time this past week cutting fabric for kits for quilt tops for Ronald McDonald House quilts. I probably have a bit more of those to do. I need to make sure there are enough for a sew-in at the end of August; then we’re going to be sewing for RMH in November at the Quilters Road Show in Townsend, TN. So we’ll have to have plenty for people to work on all day. I’m sure we’ll all be able to keep busy!

Last night was the Board of Directors Meeting for our quilt guild, so I have some things to go over from that today; otherwise, I should be able to spend a little time sewing today. I plan on doing some of this…

This is my project for July for A Lovely Year of Finishes…to finish up this wall hanging. I need to blanket stitch the remaining 8 cats, then quilt and bind it. Here is where it stands…

All pinned up and ready to go. I hope this morning to get the cats machine blanket stitched. I’ll probably save the quilting for Thursday.

I have also been working on the Butterfly Sampler for Sue Spargo’s embroidery class on Craftsy. I got the background put together and yesterday I cut out all the butterflies and pinned them in place.

I even started stitching down the red butterfly…

I will probably spend the remainder of my sewing time today working on this applique. Once I get the bases of the butterflies stitched on, then there is layering more fabric on top of the butterflies. Once all the fabric has been appliqued on top of the butterflies, then I can start the embroidery. This is a process! I’m not complaining, because I enjoy the hand stitching…it just takes some time.

I’m off to exercise before I sit down at the sewing machine. Today will be dark and dreary with possible storms this afternoon. We were fortunate to miss the predicted rain and storms last night, but I think we’ll get them today - the wind has started to pick up already. Tonight for dinner will be pasta with sauté veggies…fresh tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

RSC – Red!

All the red fabric! I’m not usually fond of red, but I’m certainly enjoying the bright colors for my July blocks.

I’ve been able to complete all of my red projects I wanted to get done for July. The first week I finished my paper pieced projects; the tree and the cat…

Then on Thursday I sat down and put together the two sampler blocks for July…

I think they all turned out lovely and bright. If you notice in the first Sampler Block I didn't quite follow Angela's directions and cut 1-1/2 inch strips to sew together. I looked in my red scrap bucket and I already had a few strips in there of various widths, so I just grabbed them and used them. I think it worked out just fine, plus I was able to use up what I had instead of having to cut more fabric. They will look great in the finished quilt top.

I was also able to put together a couple of red hexie flowers, but I didn’t take photos of them. Maybe I’ll get more done and take a photo of them all by the end of July.

So, I’ve completed my main priority blocks for July’s RSC. I don’t know if I’ll get around to any more red projects this month, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Still plenty of other things I need to do though J

I will be linking up at So Scrappy for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Head over for some lovely red projects.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Again…

I didn’t realize it’s been almost a week since my last post. Things have just been cruising along here…getting bits of this and that done. Let’s see what’s been happening…

I’ve been able to get a few more flannel 9-Patches completed. I’m now at 44, with 19 to go…for the first quilt. I hope to finish the blocks for this top in July. We’ll see how it goes.

Today I was able to get a kit cut for a Ronald McDonald House quilt, and the pieces cut for the two Sampler blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge…

I love the red. These blocks will make a nice addition to Rainbow Sampler quilt.

Finally, I’ve been doing a bit of hand stitching this past week. I’ve worked on HocusPocusVille and my hexie flowers. But I’m most excited about working on the Butterfly Sampler for the Sue Spargo class on Craftsy…

This is the background for the sampler. I have a few more pieces to stitch to the wool background, and hope to finish those this week. Then I can start on the butterflies. I’ve enjoyed watching the lessons for this class…Sue primarily demonstrates her method of layering the background for the purposes of creating more texture, and she demonstrates the embroidery stitches.

I have chili in the crock pot for dinner tonight…I know, it’s almost 90 degrees and we’re having chili…but the family asked for it. So, hubby just got home and I need to get off the computer to spend some time with him before our daughter gets home from work and it’s time to eat. I hope you all had a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

What Happened Wednesday?

Yesterday was a drab and dreary day. We’ve been having thunderstorms recently and it seems the days are mostly overcast, even without rain. Monday evening our air conditioning went out so we had our windows open during the night. It started thundering and lightning at about 10:30 PM and did not let up until 6 AM. Continuous noise and light all night long. I may have dozed a total of about 1 hour that night. Tuesday night was quieter…except for the barking dogs till midnight, but at least we had A/C. So, maybe I’m just cranky due to lack of sleep. But the dreary skies don’t help – and they continue today with plenty of rain. Anyway, I was able to get a bit of sewing done on Wednesday.

I spent a little time in the morning working on one of the flannel 9-Patch quilts. The dark squares are from my dad’s shirts…I purchased the light flannel for the alternate squares in the 9-Patches. I was able to put together 10 blocks in the morning, so now I have 29 done for this quilt. I’m planning on a 7 by 9 block arrangement, so I still need 34 more for this quilt. It should finish up over 50 inches wide and over 65 inches long, without borders. I’ll see once I get the blocks together if I want to add borders to it. If I do, I’ll probably add a three inch border of the light flannel. As it is, I think the size would be plenty for a sofa quilt. I plan on working on this some more today. I probably won’t have any sewing time on Friday or Saturday due to the holiday here in the US, so maybe I’ll make some headway today.

Other than that, I worked a bit on genealogy, and I watched part of the next lesson in Sue Spargo’s class on Craftsy. My course kit and Sue’s book Creative Stitching should be here today, so I will probably spend a little time with that this afternoon after running around with the hubby. He has half a day off today for the holiday, so we’re going to do a bit of shopping and stop by his mom’s to wish her a happy birthday – 92 today!

I also prepped some fabric for hexie hand stitching. I picked up some English paper piecing papers for my hexie flowers which I’ve been working on forever (really, just since last year). I have been drawing out the hexies onto freezer paper, then cutting them out and fusing them to the fabric for my hexies. I decided to try out the purchased papers. The jury is out on which method is better for me. It sure does cut out time though to use the purchased ones.

These are the papers glued to the back of the fabric pieces. I’m using washable glue, so the papers come off pretty easily. I also glue down the seam allowance around the edges. If I had to hand baste all of these hexies, I would not be doing this project J And here is the fabric that will go between my hexie flowers when they are put together…

This is a grey pebbly fabric. Instead of a traditional green for a Grandmother’s Flower Garden, I’m using this grey as a stone walkway among the flowers. The working title for this hexie quilt is Garden Pathway. We’ll see how it ends up going together, but I hope to start adding grey hexies to my completed flowers this week.

That’s about it. I will also try to work some on my embroidery projects this weekend. I’ve been able to make some progress on them and I’m looking forward to some finished projects soon!

I hope those of you in the US have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July celebration!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Lovely Year of Finishes – July Goal

Happy July everyone! It’s hard to believe the year is half over. It’s been jammed pack so far. I truly hope things settle down for the next six months. I’ve hardly completed anything I had wanted to do in the sewing room this year, but unexpected things have come up and I’ve had to change some priorities. I hope to have the chance to complete some more items the second half of this year.

My goal for July’s A Lovely Year of Finishes is to finish this little cat wall hanging…

I really don’t care for it much. Bummer. I had this bundle of fat quarters with the triangles on them and I really liked the fabric and wanted to make something with them. I also have an AccuQuilt Go Cutter with the cat cutting dye and wanted to make something with that dye. So, in about March, I found the background fabric on my shelves and decided they would all play well together, so I set up the 9-Patch and then fused the cats to it. I was less than overwhelmed. Very little contrast…which is hard for me…but I guess low volume quilts are OK too. Just not what I’m used to. So, I found the border fabric on my shelves and added that, and decided to put a dark blanket stitch around each cat. I stitched around the middle cat, then put it away. It’s now time to get it done and put on a wall.

So, since it’s all pinned and ready to quilt, I’ll finish with the blanket stitch around the other eight cats, and then I’ll do some overall quilting around the cats inside the border. I’m not sure what yet, but I have the month to figure it out. I will probably do an all over paisley design or something similar. I probably won’t stipple it. Then in the border I think I will try quilting some cat paw prints. But first I need to do the blanket stitching. I think I will not ditch stitch it. I hope I’m not sorry. It’s about 24 inches square, so I think I may be all right not stitching in the ditch. We’ll see come the end of July. 

Anyway, I’m actually excited to get it done and have a finish. Hopefully it will be hanging on the wall of my sewing room by July 31.

I will be linking up for the July Goal Setting Party for ALYOF at Sew BitterSweet Designs and Fiber of All Sorts. Head on over for some lovely projects.