Friday, February 7, 2020

February One Monthly Goal

Hi!  I'm linking up again with Patty from Elm Street Quilts, for One Monthly Goal
But you may remember I always have more than one goal.  

For this month, the Island Batik Ambassadors are doing a Log Cabin quilt and a blog hop.  My day to share is February 26, and I've been provided the Primo collection by Ebony Love.  
I haven't started yet, and forgot to get a pretty photo of the collection, but here's a few teasers.  It's shipping to stores this month.  






So, that will be coming soon.  
2nd goal is to get the Quilter's Planner Hexi Snowflake quilt finished.  I did start, and found a great feather design.  I either need to figure out how to "chunk" doing a pantograph on the border, and get it to go the correct direction, or will take the quilt off the frame when the center and bottom border is done, and turn it so I can add the design on the sides.  Either way, it's going to be a learning experience.  Then I'll quilt the Primo Log Cabin.  



Third goal is to get Mom's stuff cleared out, or stored, and be able to move up to the first floor.  My awesome neighbor (her daughter was my best friend growing up) offered to help  with the clean out, and we spent 2 hours today, doing the room Vanna will be moved to (the Handiquilter Amara long arm).  We got 3 more bags for donations, 5 more bags of trash, and started boxing things for a yard sale and to store for my brothers to choose from.  I need to finish cleaning out the dresser, chest and night stand, and the desk, and hopefully sell the furniture (including the futon, which is my brother's). and get the carpet up so I can have the wood floors finished, in the bedroom and this room.  Both carpets are more than 45 years old, and are so faded and worn, plus full of dust.  I really don't want carpeting in the Long Arm room, but will get an area rug for mine.  The "soon to be my" bedroom was painted the other day, and the closet is finished, so I just need to get more junk and the beds out, and the floor can be done.  I have a week to get it all done, before my handyman comes back to finish and get the floors ready to sand and refinish.  I hope that's all they need, but the bedroom has quite a few creaky spots, and I want that to get fixed.  I'm still looking for a new medicine cabinet and light for the bathroom, but I did start the shower curtain.  That will be finished this weekend, and Charley will install the cabinet and light next week. This is a Wilmington print called Floral Serenade.  I make fancy shower curtains, and this matches my deep pink towels, as well as a set of lavender ones.  I'll share photos soon. 

 Little steps forward, but moving the right way.  After that, I'll work on the kitchen again.  Mom's doing well in the facility, so that's a load off my mind.  She was very happy to have me do her nails the other day.  She was chatty, and enjoyed the donut hole treat I brought in for her.  I'm just glad I got her to smile and she was making a few funny faces at me.  It's such a relief from the past 4 years, but I'm still trying to figure it all out, going back to being a daughter (who also helps care) and my business, as well.  

Thanks for visiting, and I'll be back soon!  




Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January Scrappy Island Batik Challenge


The 2020 Island Batik Ambassadors have been asked to go Scrappy for January.  I don't often consider myself a scrappy quilter, but when using collections like Island Batik's Stacks 10" or Strips, 2 1/2" strips, you get an assortment that makes your quilts look scrappy.  In this case, I had purchased a Fat Quarter bundle of blues for the Quilter's Planner Block of the Month for 2019, from Hancocks of Paducah.  I actually picked up a second bundle, because I wasn't sure I would have enough variety.  After finishing the top in December, before the borders, I decided I wanted it larger, and had enough sections remaining (after cutting out squares needed for the blocks) to cut them into 2 1/2" strips, and make a Piano Key border.  So, I got out my Accuquilt GO! cutter and 2 1/2" strip die, and cut a ton of strips.  I didn't actually count, but figured I could use anything left in something else.  

Some of the strips were about 22" long and others were shorter (where I had used pieces).  I just placed them all, and ran them through the cutter.  

I decided to sew these in sets of 2, and tried to match up the pieces to get the best use out of the size of the strip, and made sure the section I was using was still 2 1/2" wide.  Oops, I forgot to check this strip set, and discovered I had added a "short" piece when I cut, and didn't check before sewing them.  LOL  Of course I used Aurifil 50wt thread, so it was easy to fix.  I always use Schmetz needles, the one here is a Microtex size 12.  

Any of the skinny parts will be used later to make another clothesline basket.  Just wrap them around the cotton cording, and zigzag.  Here's one I made before.  

After sewing the 2 1/2" strips together I pressed the seam to the dark side, and then cut the sections into 6 1/2" units.  If there was enough left, I also cut 2 1/2" unit, to make 4 patches.  Anything left, if there was a random section without a partner, I cut into a 2 1/2" square.  

I sewed the 6 1/2" sections together to make the border, and got them attached to the sides.  I wanted to do the mitered corner, but didn't have any "single" pieces left.  I looked through my "binding leftovers" for more blue strips, pressed them open and cut them into 6 1/2" strips.  I needed 8 units that had 3 sections.  I found a piece of my all time favorite Island Batik collection, Sea Salt Sandy in blue!  I added it to the blocks for the corners.  Yay!  It was fun to even use these, and remember all the projects.  
For the corners, you need 2 3 strip units, and press them so the seams nest.  This info was originally part of the Quilt in a Day book I had used for Jewelbox.  Place them with the strips going the same direction, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.  Decide which side you prefer, by folding it back on the diagonal, and looking at the matches, and which side you wanted to use most.  In my case, I really wanted the larger section of Sea Salt to show.  Draw a second line to the other side of the center, 1/2" away from the part you like best.  Stitch on both lines, and cut between (so you'll have one unit that's 6 1/2" square, and the other that's about 5 1/2" square).  
Press this center seam open.  Add the squares to the border sections, paying attention to the direction of the strips and units.  The long side needs to be next to the border, with the smallest corner to the outside.  Attach the border to the top and bottom of the quilt.  If you want to leave it like this, just stitch again, less than 1/4" from the edge, to make sure the seams don't pop (staystitching, closer to the edge).  I opted to add in another 6" in the Navy mottled Basic from Island Batik.  I thought it added a nice frame.  This now measures about 94", a nice size for a queen bed.

Remember those 5 1/2" squares?? Make a mug rug!  Just point the short sections to the center, and repress the seams so they nest, press the 4 patch seams open.  And I had a few left-over 2 strip units, so I cut more from the binding strips and added a 3rd.  These were set into a Rail Fence block and will be a table runner.  I may end up making 3 more units to make this longer (there's still one extra unit), and plan to do something for a border.  I'm not sure what I plan to do with the 4 patch units in the bottom left corner yet.  They may become more mug rugs.  Or maybe a place mat set, with something in the center.  I'm using them for leader/enders to sew other things, too.  And the blue scrap pile is much smaller.

I'm going to be getting this quilt on Vanna, my long arm, soon.  It's been a crazy few weeks.  My brother and sister-in-law were visiting, and we were busy with cleaning Mom's stuff so I could move upstairs.  We have to do lots of clearing from her hoarded stuff, and then do some repairs and get rid of 40 year old carpet.  Her closet was stuffed, and the sliding doors were damaged, and the rod and shelf were so badly warped that it needed to be repaired.  My friend and handyman, Charley, replaced the damaged stuff with a beautiful custom organizer, and new bi-fold doors.  I wish I had a photo of the "before", but I didn't think to get one of Mom's mess.  Alzheimer's causes many issues, hoarding and disorganization among them.  Here's the improved closet.  The flooring is hardwood, under the ancient carpet, so I'll have that sanded and finished, and get an area rug.  I still need to finish clearing the dressers, and go through the boxes and bins under her bed.  I'm storing her summer clothes, since she doesn't have storage at the nursing home.  It's such a challenge to keep clearing her stuff, but I have to.  We made lots of little steps over the last 2 weeks, with lots donated, lots in the trash, and lots of laughs.  I'm hoping to be able to move up in a few weeks.  I still need to update a little in the bathroom, and clean out the back room, which will be Vanna's soon.  Then I'll tackle the hall coat closet, and the basement.  Little steps, but the right direction.  

I'm also linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal. 
My first project was the Hockey quilt (which my cousin was SO excited to receive last Friday, and is going to be collecting signatures for years) and the Scrappy project was a second.  I did want to get the Crystal Ball fabrics cut into something, but didn't get inspiration for that yet.  

Thanks for visiting!  Have you found ways to use your scraps? 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Island Batik Ambassador Unboxing 2020

Hi!  I'm thrilled to say I'm an Island Batik Ambassador for my 7th year!  It's a wonderful program, and Island Batik and the partners and sponsors are so generous.  It's challenging, fun, and creative, and I get to use the best batik made!  Our team of ambassadors are some of the most creative and fun people, and so supportive of the team.  It's an honor!  

Here's my unboxing video, and some details about the products supplied.  


 Hobb's Batting, some of the stash rolls. 
 Whispering Feathers by Kathy Engle, available in shops soon. 
 Island Batik Basics, Foundations, and 4 of the new Solids. 
 The 10" squares are Bloomers, by Kathy Engle, and the rayon, stashbuilders, and Aurifil thread
 Schmetz Needles.  Chrome Microtex and Non-Stick, plus information book.
 Milan thread pack, and Amalfi by Aurifil.
 Rayon and solids
 So generous!  
And the bundle for the February Log Cabin project is not in the photos, but it's Primo, by Ebony Love of Lovebug Studios.  The surprise bundle has been removed, so I didn't tempt you with that.  Actually, it's hidden below the solids, lol.  Still a surprise!  Please note, the Accuquilt GO! Storm at Sea block will be for March's challenge.  I had my dates wrong! 

Please check out the other Ambassador videos and photos, and follow our blogs and social media.  You can find our info on the Island Batik Ambassador page.  











Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Winter Blues Blog Hop



Hi, and welcome to my blog!  Thanks to Carla, from Creatin In the Sticks for planning this fun for us!  It's the first day for the Winter Blues, but this is anything but sad.  This is inspiration, fun, and color!  Time to snuggle up with your favorite quilt, your favorite beverage, aka Hot Chocolate, and visit great bloggers who will clear away the winter cobwebs with 
BLUE! 
I am often working on something blue.  It's one of my favorite colors to quilt with.  I also love purple, but limit it to a few rooms in my house.  Blue can and does go anywhere.  I'm working on a blue and white quilt, the Hexi Snowflake, from the 2019 Quilter's Planner.  I am sewing up scraps of 2 1/2" strips I cut with my Accuquilt GO strip die, the left-overs from the fat quarters I used for the blocks.  Here's the top, waiting for the final borders.  I am adding a piano key, then a final batik print border.  
I cut all the leftovers into strips.  You can see here, it's so easy to cut even the chopped ones!  Just layer them on, and crank.  Pile of strips ready to go. 
But I should have made sure I was only sewing 2 layers.  One shorter one got hidden between 2 longer ones.  I'll sub-cut these down to 6 1/2" sections later.  I think I'll sew them in sets of 6 before cutting.  The shorter strips will be added for variety.  
Oops! lol 

But something blue I've been meaning to finish would probably be done faster than the strip sets for that border.  I decided to finish quilting the New York Islanders' Quilt, a commission for my cousin.  I needed to remove a small section, where the design went wonky because I didn't plan correctly.  I wanted to finish the ruler work, stitch in the ditch around the Autograph Block border, and add the hockey players in the outer borders, then was able to advance, finish the center swirled hockey stick design, and the rest of the autograph blocks, then do the bottom row of hockey players.  All of this was done with my Handi-Quilter Amara with Prostitcher.  I'm still learning, and really figured out a lot with this quilt.  It's the first time I did a border to border type design, and used different designs in the other borders, including ruler work for the ditch quilting. This is actually just borders around the jersey patch in the center.  

I used licensed New York Islanders' fabric, along with the gorgeous new Island Batik Solids, in Orange, Cobalt, and White.  Batting is Warm & White cotton, and the backing is a wide flannel from JoAnn's.  All thread is Aurifil. with 50wt white to piece, and Forty-3 to quilt.  4669, Stonewash Blues variegated.  I used 2725 for the bobbins in Vanna, the long arm.  

My son, who is visiting this weekend, went to the Northwell Health Ice Center in Westbury with me, and helped to take these photos.  He's tall, and the quilt is about 82" square, so we had fun.  His favorite was seeing the giant player statue, and draping it over the shoulder.  I'm so grateful he had some great ideas for these.  So, enjoy some blue and orange.  





 Matt was peeking to see if I had finished.  Thanks for being a great sport, Matt!  

I hope to see my cousin this week, to deliver this.  

Thanks so much for visiting.  I hope you take a few moments to visit the other Winter Blues bloggers, and remember to stop back at Creatin' In the Sticks to see the rest of the hopping days.   

Monday, January 20th


Since you got this far, please leave a message, and I'll choose someone to receive a few Island Batik FQs. Thanks!  I would be so happy if you followed via email, and stopped by my Facebook or Instagram pages, and followed, too.  
Giveaway open to US, and other countries if you agree to pay the difference in shipping from New York to your country.  

Please also note:  I'm selling the Cobalt, Orange, White, Grey and Black solids, and a variety of 10" squares, 2 1/2" strips and other Island Batik fabrics in my Etsy shop.  You can find the link above to the right.  I also have some Aurifil thread, and will make the Islander's quilt a custom order, as well as Rangers and New York Giants.  Contact me through my shop for further information.  

Thanks!  Have a great week, and enjoy the Winter Blues!  

Maryellen

Friday, January 17, 2020

Much needed change

HI!  I'm so happy I finally got this accomplished!  It's not difficult at all, but it's just that other things had deadlines, and then I couldn't find the fabric I had.

I have quite a few ironing boards here.  I've mentioned that I moved back to my parents' house 4 years ago (today, actually) and Mom has 2 or 3, I had one from when I used the apartment before I moved, and I had 2 in my former home.  One of those is still stored in the garage.  It's a vintage, so I do plan to keep it, and will probably put it in the room Vanna, my Handiquilter Amara will be moved to, in a few weeks.  Since Mom's now in a nursing home, I can move to the first floor, instead of the basement apartment.  So, I have to clean out her stuff to make room for mine, and then clean out my stuff to fit the new space, lol.  I feel like I'm packing and moving 4 times.  Anyway, back to the project.

A number of years ago, BJ's Wholesale Club had this Polder ironing board.  It's wider than the 14" average, at 17", and there's a back section that has a silicone iron rest, as well as space for starch/spray, and even a place to put hangars (but whoever irons clothes?) The base is sturdier, and there's even a shelf under the front to keep wider things off the floor.  This has been in storage for 4 years.  I used the older, more rusted and lower one that I moved from the PA studio to this one.  I really wanted to use this one, but the other had a better cover.  I had made a pretty one for that a few years ago, with some bargain home dec printed canvas. 


I recently brought the Polder upstairs, and searched for the same fabric, but didn't find it.  I also searched for the Pellon Insul-Fleece I thought I had, and didn't find that, either.  So I went to JoAnn's and found this pretty blue floral, which was on sale, and got the Pellon, too.  I grabbed a 3 yard pack of 1/4" elastic, too.  Since the board is wider than average, no one sells pretty covers for this size.  Bed Bath and Beyond had only the silvery fabric one, but the smaller ones had great colors.  JoAnn's doesn't sell one this size, either. 

Here's the before! 
This is the original fabric, which is just a thin cotton, and it was nasty!  Stained and gross!  

So, I got 1 3/4 yards of the pretty fabric, and the fleece, and here's what I did.  I cut the fabric about 58" long, and 24" wide (measure your board and add about 5" to each).  Then take a large piece of paper, and trace the shape of the pointy  part.  Fold the cut fabric in half, lengthwise, and use the traced paper for a guide to cut about 2-3" away from the curved shape. Round off the bottom corners, too.  If your original cover is not too gross, you could use this as a pattern, too.  Some online blogs say to place the whole board upside down on paper and trace, but that requires being able to have space, and get around it on the floor.  Since you really only need to "estimate" the shape of the curves, I think just tracing it is easier, and causes way less grunting trying to get off the floor, lol. 

I used my serger to finish the edge, all around.  Then I folded up about an inch along the edge (I fold as I go, but did use Wonder Clips to hold the curved top).  Start near the bottom center, but remember to leave about 2" open.  Sew close to the serged edge, to make a casing.  I used Aurifil 50wt in light blue, to match.  Press it (if you still have the old ironing board cover).  Insert the elastic in the casing with a safety pin.  Put a large pin in the end of the elastic, and push the pin through the casing, letting the elastic slide in.  Once you're back through the opening, make sure you pin into the tail piece of elastic, and the cover, so you can set it down.  

Put the fleece on the board, and add one or 2 layers of cotton batting.  I had scraps that were easily 52 by 17" so I layered them, lined the one straight edge along the edge of the board, and trimmed around the bottom curves, any extra along the other side, and around the curve at the top.  Then, carefully put the new cover over this.  Since this table has the extra iron rest, I needed to get the tail of the elastic, the pin with the front, and the extra cover fabric, into the space between the arms that hold the iron rest.  Hold the pin close to the hole, and pull the tail of the elastic until you're happy with how the cover fits.  Make sure the fleece/batting layers don't shift off the top of the board, and adjust the gathers as needed.  Then tie a knot or bow in the elastic, cut off the extra tail, and admire your work, and pretty new cover!  

I know this one will make me smile when I need to press my quilts.  I also love the wool iron mat I got from Quilt in a Day.  It's larger than some, and will hold a completed 12" block, and makes it nice and flat.  Putting this on the new cover will help keep it cleaner, longer.  I don't use the wool mat when pressing a whole top, but I do know the extra 2" is going to make it faster!  Less moving the top because I can press a bigger area!  Oh, total cost? Under $20 and about an hour's time.  


So, does anyone need an ironing board?  I think if it was spray painted (there's some rust) and if you could find new feet caps, (or just wrap with fun colored tape) it's a good board, but not as pretty as this one, lol  And it needs a cover.  I think I'll check with our local thrift shop to see if they'll take it.  

Thanks for visiting!  Stop back on Monday for my day on the Winter Blues Blog Hop.  I'll have something else blue to share, and there will be fun inspiration from others.