Thursday, May 16, 2019

Welcome Home, Vanna

Hi and thanks for visiting! 



So, I've mentioned lately that I'm getting a Long Arm quilting machine.  How can I afford it?  Well, I was really lucky to have some angels watching Wheel of Fortune, and saw "Maryellen" come up for a winner on the Secret Santa give-away last December.  The angels contacted me on Facebook to remind me to check, and when I saw "You are a winner" I almost fell over.  The player who had my number won the second prize, so I won the same amount,  and a trip.  I do hope to take the trip at a later date, but it depends on support from others, because I'm caregiver for my mom, who has Alzheimer's.  She won't accept help from other family members at this time, and we don't have additional help for me in place yet.  I'm hoping by the time the "last chance to book" date comes, I'll have that figured out, but in the meantime, I put the prize money towards a Handiquilter Amara with Prostitcher.  The Amara is a 20" throat space machine, with excellent lighting, and very easy to use.  I haven't tried the Prostitcher yet, because my box seems to be missing the screws to attach the tablet holder to the machine.  I want a decal or something with the name Vanna on it, but I've put a Wheel of Fortune logo on it already.  I wanted to commemorate the reason I was able to get this! 
There's a lot of back-story for the machine even getting here, because I had to wait for the check from Wheel of Fortune before I could order it (One person said February, the other said 120 days after the show).  Then the Prostitcher price went up. But since I had requested the package, and Fred from Pocono Sew and Vac had given me the price, he honored it when the check finally arrived.  Fred ordered the complete system from Handiquilter and was going to deliver it to me the day before he went on vacation.  But FedEx LOST 2 of the 3 pallets, including most of the boxes I needed.  Fred contacted Handiquilter who agreed to send a complete package, all 6 boxes (some weighing 88 lbs) again, directly to me, so I could get it while Fred was away.  FedEx did eventually deliver the missing stuff to Pocono the next week.  So, the boxes came here, and I was excited.  Then the handyman I had hired to help assemble didn't show up, so my wonderful son, Matthew, volunteered to help me assemble during Mother's Day weekend (imagine waiting with the boxes here for 4 days, and not being able to do much with them).  That's the perfect present for me. Time with him, and him helping me to finally get this assembled, and move some (long planned) furniture to make the apartment more livable.  He was a huge help, and we had a lot of laughs, too.  


Yes, this is one of the "Before" photos, after I had already started cleaning.  When I moved back here, there was a round table and chairs just to the right of this photo, and a desk under the TV stand (hanging on the wall) plus a lot more junk.  I had moved with a full house of stuff into this occupied space, and have no extra storage for stuff I don't want to get rid of.  I know this house is temporary, and wanted to keep my dining room table, a few dressers, not to mention photo albums, holiday decorations, and a few of the vintage machines I've been given.  And when the original carpet and bathroom were demolished, and new flooring put in, anything in this space was put into large trash bags (you can see some towards the left).  I was so overwhelmed I just didn't do anything.  It's not necessarily hoarding, because I didn't have time to get rid of junk before they took out the carpet.  I was in the process of moving back, and packing that house.  The wall next to the door has my desk and laptop, and printer, so that space was fairly organized.  Until I started going through the bags and bins.  Anyone need boxes of folders and colored computer paper?? I do plan to "destash" some of the fabric, too.  There's more to do.  But the machine is set up, and I moved some of the bins under the frame.  The bookcase was moved into the bedroom, and the microwave cart was moved to the wall just to the left of this photo.  There will be storage for some stuff in the cart. 

This was before the bookcase and cart were moved, and that made room for the 2 recliners to be closer to the left wall, giving just enough room to work the machine, and get to the door to let Hazel out.  
I tested out the machine by loading a yard of 2 fabrics and some Warm and Natural scrap batting to just play, practice some freehand designs and feathers, and practice starting and stopping, bringing the threads up, and locking the stitches.  I cut this test fabric up and bound them for placemats for Mom.  


I made 6 of them.  We've been using placemats over her traditional table cloths to keep the cloth a little cleaner.  It's so much easier to gather crumbs and shake out the placemat, or replace it if she spills something, than change the whole table (removing the salt/pepper, napkins and occasional vase).  Mom's been enjoying the variety of placemats I've made.  Both of these fabrics were purchased at JoAnn's and the binding was in my stash.  


I've been watching lots of videos and realized I had not loaded the fabric correctly, so the second quilt to be done was loaded correctly.  I'm using Red Snappers instead of pins.  I'm mostly done with the quilting of the April Island Batik Ambassador challenge, the Accuquilt GO! Baby quilt.  I did an all-over design on the top, and have done some of one of the borders.  I need to move the quilt on the frame again to finish.  I hope to be able to bind it this weekend.  

I'm so excited about this new dimension to my business and the skills and chance to grow my ability.  I will be quilting for others soon, and can't wait to be able to do large quilts easily.  
I also worked on the design for the May Island Batik Ambassador challenge, Make it Modern with Hobb's Batting.  I decided to use the "Pressed Petals" 10" stack and navy and orange fabrics I got as an Ambassador.  I'm not sure which Hobb's batting I'll use yet, as I don't have the full plan for the size.  Although I plan to use traditional units, the whole design is still undecided, which is so unusual for me.  Modern quilts use more improv and 'blank' space, or alternate grid work.  So I'm still in the playing stage. 

I will be sewing it on my vintage Featherweight, though, because I'm bringing my Viking Sapphire 850 in to Pocono for a spa day.  I'll be getting my car fixed at the dealership where I bought it, and then will return for the Amara class, so it seemed like a good time to get it done.  Sapphire's served me very well for the last 2 years, with all piecing and quilting, and she deserves a deeper cleaning, and maybe just adjusting the hook to thread the needle.  I hope that's all it is, and I can use my Pfaff Creative 1.5 to sew any bindings.  I have another vintage I can use for piecing, too.  Should be fun! 



Back to cleaning here, and then work on my other sewing room, up on the 2nd floor.  That's the cutting, piecing, embroidery and binding area now.  Look for more finishes soon!  

Linking up with For the Love of Geese


Thanks for visiting.
Maryellen

Friday, May 10, 2019

Christmas RAPPing Blog Hop


Nan Baker  and Margaret Brewster Willingham wrote a really fun and inspirational book that features Reverse Applique and Paper Piecing, and has a great variety of suggestions for each design.  Above you'll see some of the designs in the book, and the bottom photo is actually a really cute version of an Advent Calendar, where you add the applique animals each day.  There's another gorgeous tree shape calendar, plus table runners, quilts, and the tree skirt that I chose.  But you can use the ideas, change the colors, and make something unique, for any season, not just Christmas.
Although Island Batik sponsored this blog hop, I purchased my Island Batik fabric for the top, the red, gold and green, and have them listed per yard in my Etsy shop.  The Buttermilk background is from a previous Island Batik Ambassador box, though.  I decided to play with color placement in the star blocks, and drew an "idea" of the block in EQ8, and used a few options for the color placement.  The red center, with gold around it, and green and red points won.  This is a foundation pieced block, using 4 quadrants.  You do need to make note of each block section and keep them in order for the centers to match.  I also suggest you color the spaces to make sure you're using the right color in the right space.  Crayons or colored pencils work well. Follow the directions, they're good.  Make one block at a time, so the units don't get confused.  After I made 4 blocks, I decided to use some Embroidery Library designs for ornaments I've purchased, for the other 4 blocks.  I wanted something a little different than the book, but still similar.  Have you seen the others who took the designs and made something different, like a gorgeous pastel table runner and a pretty baby quilt?  Check back on the blog hop posts!  You'll be inspired and have fun.

Another shot, a different time of day, and the Buttermilk looks more white.  The first photo is closer to the right color.  The dark green has half-square triangles on it, the red has swirled dots, and the gold has flower petals.  I think the colors look gorgeous together!  

 Details of the blocks.  I LOVED using my selection of Aurifil 40wt for the machine embroidery, and 50wt for the foundation pieced blocks. It's so much prettier in person. And no, it's not quilted yet, because my long arm still looks like this.  I plan to quilt it soon, though.  I am just going to layer it, carefully, with the opening edges very close together, and then bind.  We'll see if it works (look for the post in a later blog).  

My son is going to visit this weekend to help me get it assembled.  The handyman I thought I hired didn't show.  I love my son, and we work so well together.  I'm sure it will go smoothly now.  Fingers crossed.
Lots of stitches! Aurifil 40wt Mako cotton, and 50wt in the bobbin.  My Pfaff Creative 1.5 loves it! 




So excited that Aurifil chose this photo for their Sunday blog post!  I feel famous! 

The top is sewn with large wedge shapes.  Kind of like an elongated kite.  Here's a progress shot of the top.
 One thing I realized, if you're doing a different type alternate block:  For embroidery designs that go in one direction, you need to embroider it on the diagonal of the block if you want them facing "out".  I cut them a little larger, closer to 13 or 14", then drew a diagonal line from corner to corner, with a blue wash-out marker. I lined up the diagonal lines on my hoop, and made sure the design was centered on the blue X to start, and then did the embroidery.  I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the fabric, too, to make sure it had enough stability for all the stitches.  I used a tear-away stabilizer, as well.  You can barely see the blue lines here, but they really helped!  I should have measured the size of each ornament, though, as 2 are larger than the other 2, but I still think it's pretty.  I'm still pretty new with the embroidery and the machine, lol   I then trimmed the blocks down to the 12 1/2" size needed, using the diagonal lines to help center the ruler.

So, for information about purchasing the book, please see the links below.  There's also a chance to win some Island Batik fabric and Aurifil thread using the Rafflecopter link.  I think you'll find something wonderful to make from this book, and if you haven't tried Reverse Applique, you should.  I was tempted, but couldn't decide on that or the embroidery.  Embroidery won this time, but I do plan to do a Reverse Star for something.  It's good to add new skills to your bag of tricks!  

Thanks so much for visiting, and please check the other bloggers.  

April 29  Joan @  MooseStash Quilting
April 30 Linda @ One Quilting Circle        May 1 Kathy @ Kathy’s Kwilts 
May 2 Bea @ Beaquilter       May 3 Sherry @ Powered by Quilting
May 4 Jennifer @ Dizzy Quilter             May 5 Barbara Gaddy @ Bejeweledquilts by Barb
May 6 Nancy Myers @ Patchwork Breeze          May 7 Vicki @ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting
May 8 Gail @ Quilting Gail             May 9  Michelle @ Creative Blonde
May 10 Maryellen @ Mary Mack’s Blog          May 11 Denise @ For the Love of Geese
May 12 Maria 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 5, 2019

News for this week.

Hi.  Thanks for stopping by.  I need to do a little updating info for you. 
One Monthly Goal


First, my One Monthly Goal is to finish the baby quilt from April's Island Batik Ambassador Challenge.  

I've been waiting for my new long arm.  At first I was hoping it would be delivered April 22, but Fred, my salesman from Pocono Sew and Vac wanted to order the complete package from Handiquilter.  I'm getting the Amara with Prostitcher.  He had the Amara in stock, but not the computer part, so it made sense.  He called on Wednesday, April 24 to say he may be able to deliver the 25th, definitely by the 26th.  We worked out a plan, since I'm over 2 hours away from his shop, but I won't shop anywhere else.  Bob, the owner, sold me my first machine when I was 6, and he was the manager of the Franklin Square Singer store.  Plus, it's a great deal.  Oh Thursday, Fred called back saying that FedEx LOST 2 pallets of his order from Handiquilter.  Of the 6 boxes for me, only 1 arrived.  They got 5 out of 18 boxes ordered.  So, while Handiquilter and FedEx were searching, I was crying.  Fred was leaving on a 2 week vacation and Saturday was the last day he could deliver.  If it didn't arrive before he left, he got Handiquilter to agree to send the whole replacement order directly to me, but I would need a way to get it in my house.  One box weighs 88 lbs.  Help!! We had an idea, but would need to speak to the UPS driver.  They all thought it would be delivered by Friday, May 3rd.  Nope, it's due Monday and Tuesday.  So, all the anticipation of the machine, and it's still not here.  My son was going to come down this weekend to help me assemble it, but since the tracking showed Monday, that didn't make sense.  So, it's still not ready.  And I am not sure when I can get it assembled, as I need help.  Then I need some practice time.  After that, I hope to do this quilt. 

On the second news front, there's a blog hop.  

My day is May 10th, and you will be able to see the whole tree skirt I'm making then.  I don't think it will be quilted by then, because of the issues with getting my Long Arm.  I am having fun working on the design, though.  It involves that block in the lower left corner of the above photo.  Please check back to see the list of participants and things they've made.  It started last week, and there's a chance to win some fabric and thread. 
Here's another teaser for my version. 


Third, I did get the Monthly Color Challenge for May done.  I used my Accuquilt GO! cutter and the (very old)  6 1/2" HST die to cut the blocks.  Easy peasy!  A few minutes and I was done.  I need to catch up with March and April.  Maybe I can figure out the dies for those. 

I noted the size strip and number of pieces per strip on my dies.  It's handy!  Just copy the info from the packaging, and use a sharpie. 

So, thanks for stopping by.  I hope to share photos of my new long arm soon.  And then have time to learn how to use it.  By the way, FedEx did find the 2 pallets and they arrived at the store April 30.  Not that it helped me, but at least Pocono has the supplies they ordered for their quilt show next weekend.  If you want a Handiquilter with ProStitcher, I know where you can get a deal.  Just tell them Maryellen sent you.  

I'll be back for the Blog Hop!  Thanks.

Maryellen





Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ready Set GO! Baby Quilt Challenge with Island Batik


The April Island Batik Ambassador Challenge was to use the Accuquilt Ready Set GO! Die cutting system to make a baby quilt.  I've had a GO! for years, but was delighted to receive this along with the fabric for this year's Ambassadors.  I loved looking through the book by Eleanor Burns for the GO! cutter and CUBE die system.  It has lots of eye candy and suggestions, and all the math, I mean ALL the math is done for you.  Want a block in a 6" and need to know how big to cut the strip to place on the die?  It's there.  What about making it a 12" block, or 8" block?  Yup. everything you need to do to assemble any of the 72 blocks in a multitude of sizes is right there.  It's SEW easy!  



I drew the block in EQ8 and played with the options.  I did with and without sashing. I liked the secondary design of larger pinwheels so I picked the Peace and Plenty block without sashing.  I also picked Peace and Plenty because I thought the name was great for a baby quilt.  Better than "Mosaic #6" which was the other block I wanted to try.  I wasn't sure which fabrics I would choose until I dug through the bins of Island Batik fabric. So the EQ8 design just used 4 colors.  I've been an ambassador for a few years, and also purchase fabrics.  I keep them all together in a few tubs, and make sure I don't mix them with older, non-Island Batik fabric.  I can usually tell if one is NOT IB, because the colors are not as clear, and the fabric is thinner and lighter.  Island Batik is really the best.  

I picked the butterfly design for the border, and had just enough for 4 1/4" strips for 4 sides.  It was just shy of 18", left from another project.  I pulled the pinks and then aqua and deep sky blue for the other pieces.  I loved finding all the matching Aurifil threads for this, too.  It's also my favorite for quilting and piecing.  I opened the 8" CUBE and pulled out dies 4 and 5, and cut 2 strips of each color in the size recommended, and soon had a pretty pile of triangles, already matched and ready to sew.  I made sure when I placed the fabric on the dies that I had the best sides of the correct colors, right sides together, and ran them through the GO! cutter.  384 pieces cut in minutes. 


BUT I didn't read the directions very well the first time, and had to unsew some half-square triangle units, to make them side triangles for the Quarter Square units.  Once I figured out the correct side to sew, and the order to sew the units, I actually did them quickly, and within a few hours had all the smaller units sewn, and all the blue/green units sewn and pressed.  I chain pieced the pinks so that they were ready to make the center units.  


The next step was to press the units so the center seams spun, and then add the blue/green corners.  Since I had used a light and darker pink, and the opposite light/dark from the book for the corners I again had to do some re-pressing so that the seams would all nest.  Once that was done, the blocks were done in minutes.  I did 16 blocks, and then webbed the top.  I finished the rows and added a darker pink inner border, and sewed the butterfly border on today, so I could get some photos and write this post.  

I'm planning to use a grey Minkee type fabric for the back, since I have it, and Hobb's Heirloom cotton batting, and the darker pink for binding.  

I'm going to wait to quilt this until I get my Handi-Quilter Amara long arm.  I'm hoping it will be soon, but I'm waiting for the check tor the prize I won as a Wheel of Fortune viewer.  If I can get the computer part financed, I hope to get that at the same time, if not I'll save up for it.  My salesman/friend, Fred, from Pocono Sew and Vac is hoping that there's a deal that benefits both of us, so he'll call me as soon as he gets the info.  He's also looking into getting Red Snappers to sell in the shop, and I'll be getting those, plus the ruler base and foot, and a few rulers.  I plan to have a BLAST learning and playing with this.  So, I'm saving tops to quilt!  I'm so glad I have a good selection of Aurifil thread.  It's going to be great!  

Some more photos for you.



 I really liked that you couldn't easily determine the block. Is it the pink set on point next to a blue/green pinwheel?  No, a pink center with blue/green triangle corners.  

I had fun picking the colors, and think they really do look great with the border, even though they are not part of the same collection.  That's the beauty of Island Batik, too.  There's always something that matches. 

Thanks for visiting, and please check out the other Island Batik Ambassadors as they share their Ready Set GO! baby quilts.  



Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Island Batik Vintage Reimagined

Vintage Re-imagined.  


March's challenge for the Island Batik Ambassadors is to take something vintage, and make it new.  I played with a number of designs in EQ8, and didn't really know which to do.  I wanted something square and a good size, so I could use the Hobb's batting from the 2018 boxes, which are lap size, 60" squares.  I want to try either the wool or silk batting for this.  I printed out the 3 options, and my brother and sister-in-law liked this one the best.  

And knowing my lack of time, I wanted a few squares so opted for the on point setting.  I picked this block from EQ8, and called Garden Patch Variation.  I liked how it looked with sashing and cornerstones, especially after turning the center block's direction, and the pattern that developed.  It is about 56" square.





I used the Quilt in a Day Triangle in a Square ruler to make the star point sections, and strip piecing to make the 4-patch sections.  For fabric, I picked a purple and green floral design from my Island Batik Ambassador boxes, and Columbine, which I loved so much I purchased a bolt.  I wanted that for the border, too, and have the yardage for sale in my Etsy shop.  I wanted to make it more modern by using the Grey and Black solids provided in the Ambassador box.  I pieced it with Aurifil thread.  I have Black listed in my shop, and will be getting Grey soon.  If you want different fabrics or 10" squares, please consider visiting my Etsy shop.

I'm going to wait to quilt this.  I'm going to be getting a Handi-Quilter long arm soon, and want some tops to practice my quilting on it.  Not many of my UFOs are ready to be quilted, so I figure I'll start getting them to that stage, so I can play when the machine is here and set up. So, be prepared for more finishes!  I also need to decide on the backing for this.  

Thanks so much for visiting and I hope you stop by the other Island Batik Ambassadors to see their Vintage Re-Imagined projects.  Many have great stories.  

Carolina Asmussen ~ Carolina AsmussenGene Black ~ Gene BlackPamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuiltsConnie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the RiverAnja Clyke ~ Anja QuiltsTina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection DesignsBecca Fenstermaker ~Pretty PineyJennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring QuilterBarbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by BarbDione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever ChameleonSarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer QuiltsVasudha Govindan ~ Storied QuiltsLori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter IIJoanne Hart ~ Unicorn HartsMania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for QuiltsCarla Henton ~ Create in the SticksStephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson DesignsConnie Kauffman ~ Kauffman DesignsJoan Kawano ~ Moosestash QuiltingKim Lapacek ~ Persimon DreamsEmily Leachman ~ The Darling DogwoodLeanne Parsons ~ Devoted QuilterBea Lee ~ BeaQuilterToby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & StuffBill Locke ~ Studio Bill LockeDenise Looney ~ For the Love of GeeseLeah Malasky ~ Quilted DelightsSally Manke ~ Sally MankeMaryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s BlogKathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusingCarol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers DesignsKaren Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly CreatedLisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt JamJackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could TalkLaura Piland ~ Slice of Pi QuiltsMichelle Roberts ~ Creative BlondeVicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and QuiltingGail Sheppard ~ Quilting GailSherry Shish ~ Powered by QuiltingAnita Skjellanger ~ Quilt in a not-ShellLaticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in WonderlandJennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter <–That’s me!
Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue CreationsTerri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek QuiltsAlison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny QuiltsSandra Walker ~ mmm! quiltsSuzy Webster ~ Adventurous Applique and QuiltingAnne Wiens ~ Seams Like a DreamGeraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water QuilterJanet Yamamoto ~ Whispers of Yore