Sunday, November 27, 2016

Crunch Time

I've been busy stitching. 

I wanted to keep up with my machine quilting practice, that I'm doing with Pat Sloan, but, I've been having problems with my elbow, since the 2nd day.  I don't know what I've done to it, but, it's been over a week now.  I skipped a few days of machine quilting, then, I started back, in earnest.  During those few days, I made and basted 8 Rooster placemats.
Rooster placemat

showing backing of Rooster placemat
I couldn't wait for my elbow to get better, so, I straight line quilted these (it's still practice, since we are supposed to be using our walking foot). 
straight line quilted

back, showing quilting
Of course, the placemats still needed binding, so, instead of practicing one day, I stitched the binding on all 8 placemats, using my walking foot, instead.
all 8 placemats, with binding stitched to one side
Over Thanksgiving, I started stitching the binding down to the back, during movies.  I've completed 3 placemats so far.
completed placemat, 5 left to finish stitching
During this time, I also basted and quilted a wall quilt.
wall quilt
This wall quilt is finished, including a label, but, I haven't taken photos yet.  I got a bit more creative with the quilting on it, than on the placemats, but, it's still straight line quilting. 

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, I made a fleece tie blanket.   I haven't made one of these in a few years. 
fleece tie blanket

I did work a bit more on my first panel project, for the Pat Sloan challenge. After more walking foot practice, I put the free motion foot on my Janome, and tried using it.  The result was really bad stitches on the back.
2nd day of stitches added (walking foot only)

free motion around the flower

showing the back stitches (yuk)
 Pat Sloan said to label our practice panel quilts, so, this is Quilt #1.  Not as bad as it could be, since I haven't used a free motion foot in a decade or more. 
free motion label

At quilt guild last week, I got a few goodies off the freebie table, that will help with my machine quilting quest.
paper patterns to practice with (total of 3 of these)

hoop, small panel and fun fabric to practice stitching around the stars with
Just before Pat Sloans challenge started, I finally pulled out my son's wedding signature quilt, and quilted it (on the machine).
wedding signature quilt (front)

back of wedding signature quilt

up close of the quilting
I don't trust myself to do a good job with a walking foot around the initials on this quilt, so, they will be hand quilted.  This is the only part of this quilt that isn't done. (binding has also been done).
the part I will hand quilt instead of machine quilting

See, I've been busy!  On Nov. 15th, I mentioned listening to Eragon while sewing in my sewing room.  Well, that book is done, and I'm half way thru the 2nd in the series, along with watching several movies (binding time) with family, and another movie in my sewing room. 

I'm trying to keep up my practice as much as possible, but, I have so many other things that I still need to make before Christmas.  (2 baby quilts, 2 purses, binding on a few things.....)

I know I'm not the only one that waits till the last minute to get presents done.  What do you still have to work on?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Batik Star Block Exchange

I participated in another TOBE (Treadle On Block Exchange).  This time we made Batik Stars.  We have to make our blocks on either a treadle or hand crank.  I made 2 different sets, using 2 different hand cranks.

my first block

1914 Singer 66 hand crank (Lotus Decals)

my 2nd blocks

1927 Singer 15 hand crank (Gingerbread Decals)
I was so busy making these, that I forgot to make blocks for myself, like I usually do.  Thank goodness I got one of each of my blocks back (I did mention that I'd be happy to get one of my blocks back).

Here are the blocks I got back, from the 2 sets.

As you can see, I only got a couple of duplicate blocks.  Some used the same fabrics, but, made different star patterns, and, some used the same pattern, but, different fabrics, so, only 3 blocks are the same. 

I don't know how I'll put these together.  It should be a fun quilt (or two) when I'm done.  These blocks are all 12.5".

I have one more exchange that I participated in, that will be coming.  It's a pin cushion exchange.  I can't wait to see what exchanges there will be in the year to come.  I've participated in exchanges for several years now, with Treadle On, but, I haven't made a quilt with any of my blocks so far.  One of these days, I'll have to pull them out and start putting them together. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Stitching, Planning and Learning

I've been busy stitching, and working on projects. 

I finally straight line quilted my son and daughter in laws Signature Quilt, from their wedding (May 2015).  Yes, I should have gotten this done ages ago.  I made the binding, and attached it to the front of the quilt this morning.  I just need to stitch the binding down, on the back.  Hopefully, some of that will happen tonight, while watching NCIS, and the following shows.
back of Signature quilt
I don't think I'll add a label to this quilt, since it already has all of the signatures on the front. 

I need to make binding for another quilt.  Erica quilted my Happily Scrappily Irish quilt today.  I'll get it from her at quilt guild, on Thursday. 

I have been working on Half Square Triangles, too. 
HST's, ready to be stitched into blocks
These are for 2 baby quilts that I need to make.  I'm late, as usual, since both babies have been born.  I do have an excuse for one of the quilts, since he was born more than 6 weeks early.  He is still in the hospital, and will be for a while longer. 

I still have these Triangulations left to stitch.
Triangulations still to be stitched
I'll be making Bear Paw quilts (minus the Bear blocks), for these babies.

I went thru my Christmas list, to see what I still need to make.  I found that I don't have as many things to make as I thought I did (thank goodness).

I have 2 more purses to cut out and stitch.
fabric for one purse

fabric for the other purse

I also need to make a table topper. 
table topper kit

I also need to make a fleece tied blanket (no picture).

If I get the time, I need to make some placemats, too.  I've had the fabric for quite a long time now, but, haven't gotten around to making them.  We'll see how much I get done on the other projects.

Pat Sloan is doing a 'Teach Me to Machine Quilt' challenge, using her new book 
Pat Sloan's new book
 I've been wanting to work on my machine quilting skills for a while now.  About a decade ago, I took 3 different free motion quilting classes.  They were boring, and I never practiced.  Now, with encouragement from a blogging friend (thanks Deb), I'm finally going to make time to try again.

Pat Sloan suggests that we use panels to practice on.  Well, I picked up several pillow panels last weekend, for a quarter a piece.  I've spray basted them, and, I have 5 of them ready to work on.  Pat suggested using baby quilt panels, but, I'd rather start a bit smaller, and work my way up to the baby quilt panels (yes, I have a collection of those, too). 

Pat suggests that we practice for at least 10 minutes a day.  I practiced for over an hour today.
1st panel to practice on

up close, after more than an hour

back of panel, showing my work, so far
Not too bad.  So far, I've only used the walking foot, and straight line quilted.  After I finish all the straight line quilting on this pillow panel, I'll put the darning foot on and try free motion.  Frankly, free motion scares me.  I don't like the look of stippling, and, back when I took my classes, that was all they taught you. 

I have my Janome set up in the sewing room.  It's sitting on a table in the middle of the room (in the way, really), since I don't want to move my other machines, and, the table is better at supporting the quilt sandwich.  My sewing room is very hard to move around in now.
Janome 4800QC
I haven't used this machine since last Fall.  The only thing I ever use it for is some machine quilting (straight line only) at times, and sometimes for some of the special stitches it makes.  I decided to use this machine for the 'needle down' feature. 

I've been listening to an audio book while I was machine quilting.  I listened to Harry Potter #7, while machine quilting the Signature quilt, and, I've started Eragon, for while I practice machine quilting.  We have all four books, so, I shouldn't run out of listening material any time soon.
Eragon audio book

I'll be doing lots of practicing over the next few weeks.  We are suppose to finish one panel before we move on to the next one (5 panels in all, at least).  You'll be seeing if I get better or not, over the next few weeks.  I really want to get better, since I asked for a ruler and ruler foot package for Christmas. 

Wish me luck, and, if you have any suggestions or links to short machine quilting videos, please send them to me.  I'm NOT on Facebook, so, I don't know if I can watch anything there. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veteran's Day!

This picture of my grandfather, during WWII, was at my family reunion, last month.  I'd never seen it before, and quickly took a picture of it

Carson Anthony Gayler, U.S. Army

My other grandfather was in WWI and WWII.  I don't have a picture of him in uniform, but, I've seen pictures.  He was in the Navy, and, during WWII, he was recruited into the OSS.  

Thank a veteran every time you see one, not just today.  And, if you are interested, check out Quilts of Valor, and stitch a quilt for our veterans.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Review

The Cottage, by Michall Phillips, book 2 in The Secrets of the Shetlands series.

I just finished this book.  

This book is set (mostly) in the Shetland Islands, off the coast of Scotland.  I like how the author wrote the 'local's speech into the book.  As I read the words, I could 'hear' the brogue coming out. 

Loni, the main character, inherits an island, and lots to go with it.  There is a lot of responsibility along with the inheritance.  Loni has lots of questions, like, will the islanders accept her, and, can she figure out who she is, and if she even wants this inheritance.

All of the characters are well written.  Watching Loni grow throughout the book, is good to see.  How she deals with some 'not so nice' characters is interesting to see.  It takes the whole book for Loni to 'find' herself, and make her decisions.  If there is a 3rd book in this series, then I want to read it. 

Knowing that there is a book 1 in the series, makes me want to read it.  This book is a stand alone book, so, I don't think I missed a thing by reading it without reading the first book. 

*I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review, from Bethany House.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Quilt Guild Fun, and a Finish

Wego Quiltin', my little quilt guild, met last night.  I presented the program.  Shabby Fabrics has a cute sewing machine ornament, and, I made kits and everyone made their ornaments during the meeting.  I had made up my ornaments last week.  Watch the video above, and make one for yourself.  *Hint, she mentions using a drop of glue in places, and, I encourage that, since one of my ribbons came out, after lots of handling.  Here are the ornaments that I made up, to show variations of what can be done.

The ladies had fun making their own ornaments.

I also had a finish yesterday.  I finally finished the quilting on a baby quilt for Betty.  I put faux piped binding on it.  It is backed in chocolate brown Minkee.

finished baby quilt
 Up close of some of the blocks, before quilting.

 Now to get this quilt washed, and in the mail.  Hopefully I'll get lots more done this week, since I didn't get much done last month.