Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April One Monthly Goal

 I missed setting the goals in March, and I missed completing the goals I would have set.  It was a challenging month in many ways, and I'm hoping that April brings better news, but so far, there's more challenges.  

I need to focus on the happy challenges, though, the ones I set to finish a project and that make me happy.  One Monthly Goal with Elm Street Quilts.


In addition to the Island Batik April Challenge, I want to make a table runner for a friend.  


It's All Up to Me, so the challenge says.  I can decide what to make.  Although the table runner is going to use scraps and Island Batik fabric, I'm using an older group, so I'll make something else, too.  I have some quilted fabric left from making the bags last year, and may make some project bags or something.  Or I'll make a few runners.  Or maybe a quilt.  I don't know yet, but I'm hoping that I'll get inspired soon. So, I don't even have photos to share with fabric pulls.  

In addition to that, I have customer quilts to long arm, plus a charity quilt, and hope to finish the project I was working on in March, the Scrap Quilt, plus finish quilting the medallion.  



This is on Vanna, my Handi-Quilter Amara now. 
What are you working on?  Do you have a goal for this month?  

Thanks for visiting.  

Maryellen




Sunday, March 28, 2021

Long Overdue

 Hi.  Thanks for stopping by.  This is going to be a long, overdue post.  Yes, the comma is in the right place, lol.  I was an English professor, as a matter of fact, so I do know the comma's uses.  

I missed getting my blog post done for the March One Monthly Goal start, so I can't enter, but I do plan to link up with Elm Street Quilts for this post.  I need the accountability. 

I do have finishes, and I'm still working on the Island Batik Ambassador Scrappy March challenge.  I have almost half of the blocks done as of tonight, so I'm hoping to get them done Sunday, and have the top assembled by Tuesday.  

So, now to the finishes.  

First, I finished this quilt for my son.  We went to Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks last March, just as the shut down started, on the Collette tour I won from the 2018 Secret Santa Wheel of Fortune prize.  It was a great trip, and shortly after we came home, I discovered that Riley Blake Designs had panels for the National Parks, by Anderson Design Group.  I purchased a bolt of Grand Canyon, and Bryce parks, plus the pillow panels (available in my Etsy shop) and designed this quilt top with EQ8, using fabrics from Island Batik as well as more from Riley Blake.  I wanted the pieced border to resemble mountains, and I think it came out great.  I quilted it with the Navajo panto from Urban Elementz on my Handi-quilter Amara with Pro-stitcher.  I did design it to be long, since my son is tall, and I know he loves having quilts that cover his feet.  It's a long overdue, since it was initially intended for Christmas.  And it's long, get it?? lol  I had to make a trip to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, so I was able to give it to him.  He promised to keep it away from his puppy (who actually chewed an older quilt that night).  Aurifil 40-3 thread for quilting, Warm & Natural batting, and cotton sateen backing.




Next finish:
Fruit Salad. 

This was started in 2017, part of an Island Batik Blog Hop for the Cherry Berry collection.  I used the Accuquilt GO! Apple Core die, and had the top together, but Island Batik is very generous with the Ambassador bundles and I had a 2 yard piece of the blue/lemon design that I really wanted to use.  I also had a few more of the other blocks cut out, and wanted to use them, as well.  I sewed the remaining pieces, and cut the strip in half, and added it to both sides of the top, to make it wider, and give a straight edge for adding a border (I could have just cut off the sides, but would have lost about 5" in width, and didn't want that to happen.)  I decided to cut some of the blue and do the same thing, to make the top and bottom even.  I did end up cutting a few more pieces, and even grabbed a scrap from a recent collection to add to this.  Once the top was done, I searched and found Fruity panto, which I thought was perfect for this top.  Quilted in blue Aurifil 40-3 weight thread, and used Warm & Natural batting.  Grey swirl wide backing.


Lemon/orange slices, apples, cherries, and other fruit shapes!



This is for sale in my Etsy shop.

I also finished the vintage Trip Around the World top I was asked to quilt.  My customer's mom had started this in the 1990's and passed away before finishing it.  Although she had done some of the hand quilting, other family members decided to add stitching as well.  Maureen didn't want that stitching removed, even if it would have made it easier to finish, so I left it all, including the ones that didn't bury the knots in the layers.  I decided to finish it in the same pattern, of 1/4" or so inside each block, and used rulers to get that done.  Then I searched my stash for a blue fabric that would work for binding.  I must have pulled about 15 different ones, until I decided on this stripe.  I knew it was perfect when the selvage dated it to 1990.  It's similar in shade to the blues in the top, plus the stripe is fun, and that little pink flower is similar to the pink flowers in the calico.  My customer has seen it on Etsy and is happy.  I'll deliver it Sunday.  




I made myself a new Easter egg mask, and I'm hoping it will make Mom smile when I'm allowed to see her again.  It's scheduled for this week.  


I also quilted 2 customer quilts, and have one more here to go, plus a few that are lining up for soon, and I was also asked to make banquet cushion covers.  It's getting busy!  That's good, and I'm being careful to NOT schedule too much, because I also need to do my quilts.  I have more UFOs plus the monthly challenge, and other things for my shop I want to make.  I also want to make a Bryce Canyon quilt for me!  If I don't occasionally sew for myself, I get frustrated.  Sewing and quilting is my passion, and my love, but it can't all be work, or it feels like work.  It's not exactly balanced, but it's better.  I've gotten burned out before, and felt so much better after making something for me.  It's not selfish sewing, it's sanity!  I also took a class from Megan Best at BestQuilter.com to learn more about Pro-Stitcher and Designer, and did my first sample of embroidery on the long arm.  I want to make more, some for me and some for the shop.  I also finally got the new Janome 550 Embroidery machine working.  A few screws came loose in shipping, but the tech at Pocono Sew & Vac fixed it quickly.  I have more things I want to embroider as well as things for the shop.  I'm just going to keep moving forward, keep sewing, and keep blogging my finishes. 

Thanks so much for reading this long post about long quilts and more!  Have a wonderful day!  

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Island Batik Create for a Cause Blog Hop and Giveaway

   

Okay, that's a little teaser and hint to the idea behind my quilt.  Welcome to my day on the Create for a Cause hop, with Island Batik Ambassadors.  The fabric collection I got was Melody, designed by Claudia Pfeil for Island Batik. 

This collection was in my Ambassador box in January, and will be in quilt shops soon.  It's a gorgeous mix of pink, purple, plum, and shades of green.  The tjaps (chops) have gorgeous feather quilting designs, and vines, plus circles and squares.  
This just spoke Flowers to me.  Happy Spring flowers.  Our objective this month is to make a quilt that will be donated to a charity.  I was stumped!  I knew I wanted to make something large, at least a throw size, and it needed to have flowers in a field of grass.  Which charity?  I'm still not actually sure which charity I'll be able to donate this to.  I'm contacted my church, and a local nursing home that does raffles, but haven't heard back yet.  The nursing home is one where my dad volunteered for many years.  Mom's nursing home doesn't do raffles, so I can't donate it there.  I also contacted my high school, and they would love to accept it, but aren't doing raffles or auctions at this time because of Covid.  I would love for the proceeds of this to go towards tuition for a smart girl that would benefit from being a student at Sacred Heart Academy.  It should bring in a nice sum of money if raffled or auctioned.  

So, without really knowing where I could donate it, I was stumped on the design, except that it needed to look like flowers.  I played around in EQ8 and drew something that looked like petals around a center.  I picked the 7 favorite pink/purple pieces, and 6 of the greens, plus the Circles in green, which was the 2 yard light piece included in my Ambassador box, plus some Egg White for background.  When I drew the block, I knew I was going to use the Corner Beam tool from Studio 180, plus the Flying Geese ruler by Quilt in a Day.  I was thinking of doing a pieced center with yellow and green, but decided to just use the collection colors, and a full square (faster that piecing one).  
So, 13 blocks later, plus 12 squares of the variety of greens created the center.  I used a border of the green circles, and then finished with a nice wide border from the dark coordinate in the box, the Vine in Dusk fabric, which is also the center flower.  The Flying Geese units are stitched to a rectangle of the same fabric, to make the petal shape.  Let's just call them Star Flowers, and the quilt is Garden Melody. 

Garden Melody measures about 80" square, and would be so pretty on a twin or full size bed, or hanging on a large wall.  I quilted it with Aurifil Forty-Three in 4660, Pink Taffy, a variegated thread that picks up all the colors of cotton candy to fuchsia.  It looks great on the green fabrics, too, and blends into the border.   I used the panto Maggie's Rose from Urban Elementz on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-stitcher.  If you think you want to make something similar, let me know and I'll write the pattern.
The backing is a grey swirl wide back, and batting is Hobb's Heirloom Cotton with scrim, one of the queen size battings they added to our Ambassador boxes.  And I always use Schmetz needles, and love Microtex for piecing with batiks.  It's the best and lasts so long, even with doing multiple layers of binding, batting, top, and backing.  
I went to Hick's Nursery to get some photos, because the weather was too overcast and snowy for outdoor shots.  Thanks to the staff person who volunteered to hold this for me!  
Here are some other fun shots.  
Look, a garden bench painted to match!   I had to stop for another photo, lol.  I think the guy behind me on line thinks I'm nuts!! I had purchased a few house plants and a flower pot, and had just folded up the quilt.  Had to unfold it, toss it on the bench, grab the camera, then fold it again, lol.  
On my queen size bed.  It's a little small for it, or will need pillow shams.  
This fabric is my favorite in the collection.  It's one of my favorite colors, with my favorite.  I posted on Instagram that my shirt matched this the day I was sewing this block, and I do have nail polish to match, too. 
A little of the tread detail in quilting.  The color change is fun, and adds a pretty touch to the fabrics.  

Island Batik is having a give-away on their blog, and here's the Rafflecopter widget.  


You can win Mystery, the other collection by Claudia Pfeil.  It has similar tjaps, but features other colors. 

Please leave a comment on my post to enter to win some fabric from me.  I'm not sure what I'll share yet, but you'll be happy, as I'll stuff a flat rate envelope with Island Batik.  A US winner will have free shipping, and if you are from another country and agree to cover the difference in shipping, you can enter too.  This give-away will close on February 21, 2021.  Please sign up for emails of my blog posts, and consider following me on Facebook and Instagram!  Thanks!

Please visit this week's blogs for more inspiration, and to enter give-aways on their posts.  

February 8:

February 9:

February 10:

February 11:

February 12:

Blog Hop Round-Up Week 2 and Giveaway

Thanks so much for visiting!   Have fun on the hop, and get some good inspiration.  

Maryellen




Sunday, February 7, 2021

February 2021 One Monthly Goal

 



Another busy month on the machines, I guess.  
First up, the Island Batik Ambassadors are Creating for a Cause. 
 My blog day is Wednesday, so I hope you come back to see my quilt and enter to win my prize, as well as the one by Island Batik.  

Here's a look at yesterday's progress.  I have more blocks done, and all the units sewn, but have to trim the last ones, and then sew the blocks.  I hope to have the top assembled and ready for Vanna on Monday, but that depends on how much snow we're going to get, and how long it takes me to clear it.  Super Snow Sunday, lol.  


After this is done, I need to get the customer quilt done.  A local person found me on Facebook, and the quilt was started by her mom over 20 years ago, so it needs to be finished quilting, and bound.  


After that, I want to get the Medallion from December done.  It needs the last borders quilted, and the binding is already ready. 

Then I'll start Matt's Grand Canyon quilt.  

A UFO to finish is still the Apple Core top.  I figured out how I wanted to make it a little bigger, and although I did want it to have curvy edges, I think this is a better plan.  I have 2 yards of fabric from the collection so I may as well make it bigger with a border.  You'll see it soon, I hope.  It was the January goal, too.  

On the Fun News front, I purchased a new Janome Memory Craft 550 Embroidery Only machine.  I'm so excited.  I had gotten a Pfaff embroidery and sewing machine a few years ago, but it's jammed and there were issues with it from the beginning.  I'm trading in for something that should last and not have issues.  The machine is here, but a piece was loosened in shipping, and I can't find the screw, so Pocono Sew & Vac, the best machine store in the US, is sending another screw.  That should be here Monday, and I can play after my Create for a Cause quilt is done.  
Photo courtesy of Janome.com

What are your goals?  Link up with Elm Street!  
Visit again Wednesday, please!  
Thanks

Maryellen










Sunday, January 31, 2021

January 2021 Island Batik Ambassador Challenge

 So much news!  First, The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for January 2021 was Placemats.  I couldn't decide what to do, or which season I needed placemats for.  I have for Valentine's, Spring, and regular time, and have other fabric for July, but not batik, so I grabbed the scraps from the quilt above (new pattern for Stars and Bars coming soon).  The collection is Freedom 2, which is shipping to stores now.  I know precuts are available, and fabric will be coming soon.  I make tumbler flags, and thought it would be fun to use the Accuquilt GO! 4" tumbler die for placemats.  I decided 6 across by 3 rows would be a good size, and made 6.  I had scraps left, so cut more shapes and alternated the colors for a patriotic table runner. 



My mats measure about 19 by 12, and I left the edges with the tumbler shape angles, instead of cutting them straight.  I thought it was more fun.  The runner measures about 28 by 12", again with the angled edges.  

As you can see from this photo, I didn't get the binding finished on 4 of the mats, but that will happen tonight.  The project required 12 strips of binding, so the edges are longer than most king size quilts.  It takes a while!  



I put the runner and 3 place mats on one strip of wide backing, which was at the end of the Medallion quilt.  

I used Aurifil 40wt in Liberty to quilt them, and the remaining Hobb's Heirloom cotton batting, but didn't have enough room on the backing for the last 3 mats.  


The panto is Celebrity from My Creative Stitches.  I actually set up one area for all 4 pieces, with each piece basted individually.  Just a few minutes later I had them all stitched. 

This week was pretty hectic.  I did finish all of the FMQ on the Blazing Star medallion before starting the quilting on the runner and mats, and will put the Blazing Star back on the frame soon to do the side borders (I don't know how to chunk the computer designs to work with vertical stitching space, so I just remove and reload the quilt sideways, then I can set the area and stitch across, like I did on top and bottom).  

I added more backing fabric and also taught my sister-in-law and her twin how to use Vanna.  They're new quilters, and I'm so excited for them.  They had a blast, and are thinking of their next project, which we'll do in a Zoom class, since they're back in Colorado.  Ellen even bought a sewing machine!  Arlene is getting the one I purchased for my mom about 8 years ago, and Ellen's is the same.  They'll have twin machines (I think one needs stickers, lol)  




They picked their strip colors from an assortment of Island Batik pieces I sometimes get when I purchase for my Etsy shop, and each set was long enough for 2 mats.  They picked their thread color and the designs for quilting, and did the edge basting, and loved watching Vanna do her thing.  After the mug rug pieces were quilted, I added my last 3 placemats onto the backing, plus another topper (I'll share after it's bound) and quilted them.  Then I cut their mats into large mug rug size, and did the binding for them, so they could take finished projects home.  But binding 8 mug rugs takes time, too.  That's another reason I didn't get to bind all my placemats.  

Arlene and Ellen were in NY for almost 2 months, to help their siblings clean out their Mom's house, after her passing in December.  I was glad to have so many chances to spend time with them while they were here, and show them why I love sewing.  They made mask pouches, a zipper pouch and pillow covers from their mom's clothes, we worked together on cleaning out more of my house (Mom's stuff) and sewing lessons, plus some shopping, lots of good food, and even the holiday light show at Jones' Beach.  They gave me one of their mom's china sets, so I'm looking forward to getting them in my cabinet, and will remember Helene with love every time I use them.  She loved my cooking, and my treats.  

And I also have another new project.  Someone on a local Facebook page asked me to finish a quilt her mom started about 20 years ago.  It has some hand quilting, and she's happy with having it finished on the machine.  I'll have to find coordinating binding. 
I'll have to stitch extra fabric on the backing to get it loaded, then will just do a similar 1/4" line with rulers.  When I met Maureen today at The Flower Shoppe, where she works, she handed me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers as thanks for agreeing to finish the quilt.  I was shocked and thrilled!  
I had to go put the arrangement I made on the new runner, just because! lol  


I'm going to show you how to do the angled edge with regular binding (no bias cut binding needed) in another post.  This one is long enough.  

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal.  
I did finish other projects this month, and put them in another post.  I know some of my goals switched after I set them on my calendar, but it's all good.  I do have finishes.  

Thanks for reading my novella! lol 


Some of the products used in this post were given to me as Island Batik Ambassador.  
Others were purchased, or left over from a catalog quilt. 

Island Batik Ambassadors are doing a blog hop starting February 1 (tomorrow) for Create for a Cause quilts using the new Fall 2020 Collections.  Please go to Island Batik to enter to win this week's give away and the schedule.  

Thanks for reading!  I told you there was a lot of news!

Maryellen