Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Three Machine kind of day

Hi!  I just wanted to share some finishes.  I had a Three Machine kind of day!  

Last week I made this snowflake embroidery on my Pfaff Creative 1.5.  The design is from Embroidery Library, and a young man from church wanted something with snowflakes for a cover for his dog's pillow.  I made the pillow and other covers for him.  He likes changing it for the seasons, and I wanted to play with some of the designs I've been collecting. 

I used Superior Threads King Tut for the stitching, since I felt it was the best color for the background fabric.  I've had it a while, so I wanted to use it, and even though it was a variegated thread, the shades of blue were a good match.  It doesn't show the changes well in this design, but does add some depth to the stitching when you look closely.  I think the color is Mirage.  I turned the cone upside down on the machine, so it would feed from the regular spool pin.  I have a cone stand, but need to put it with that machine.  For the most part, it stitched well.  I did have issues with shredding, but that was fixed when I replaced the needle.  That in itself was a learning experience.  I had to remove the embroidery module, which deleted the program.  Luckily I hadn't moved the location, and just had to forward through the design file until I got to "about" where the break was.  Lesson:  Change needle before something with lots of stitches, especially after working on a number of other projects.  
 I thought the design worked well with the fabric's print.  I think I got this at JoAnn's a few years ago.  It has a cute silver metallic finish on the snowflakes.  Today's project was to quilt the top, finish the edges on the envelope back, and finish sewing the pillow cover.  This was done on my Viking Sapphire 850.  I just did a quick stipple over the top to the batting, only.  No backing on the batting.  
 I like to finish seams that are inside a pillow cover with my serger.  So just a few seconds after sewing the layers together, I did another round with the Babylock Imagine serger.  This project was done while the embroidery machine was stitching out a design in the other room.  I love being so productive that I can get 2 projects done at almost the same time. 

Here's the envelope back.  I happy I can deliver this tomorrow.  
 A friend had liked the Flourishing Machine embroidery I used for my Quiltsy Team Secret Santa gift.  
 I used Aurifil 40wt in 2525, Light Blue Violet, and paired it with some Island Batik for the background and borders.  My recipient loved it.  I sent her a few FQs and a stash roll from Island Batik, as well.  This friend requested black thread, so I used Island Batik solid white for the background and Aurifil 40wt black for the stitching.

I decided to list this as a custom available item in my Etsy shop.  You can pick the thread color and the background fabric color.  I put fusible interfacing on the fabric behind the stitching, for more stability.  You can finish it as a wall hanging or mug rug, or add it to a quilt with other sewing theme blocks.  It's so pretty in person, and measures about 6 by 8 1/2".  If you don't sew, but want a gift for someone who does, I can finish it as a wall hanging or small quilt.  Just ask! 

I have a few other finishes I want to do as soon as possible, but I MUST begin working on my Island Batik Ambassador blog hop quilt, featuring Crystal Ball, which is due next week.  I have the pattern picked and think it's going to be lovely.  Hopefully fast, as well.  Too bad I can't cut and sew at the same time, lol  I can't wait to share.  All of the Ambassadors are getting excited! There will be give-aways and lots of eye candy and inspiration.  Watch this space for more info!  

Thanks for visiting.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Island Batik December Whimsical and Wonky Challenge

Hi and Happy December!  Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas, and happy holidays! 
The December challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is Whimsical and Wonky.  

After making the Christmas Lights Log Cabin for November (it's almost done being quilted, and I'm working on the file for you) I wanted to stay whimsical for this challenge.  And since I've been playing with my Pfaff Creative 1.5 and wanted to do more with embroidery, I picked the project from Embroidery Library called Santa on the Edge

I picked a piece of older red Christmas fabric from a Stash Builder roll, and the new Solid White fabric, and a bit of pink from a scrap, plus beige from another background scrap, and some Buttermilk for the background.  

I used the Triangles fabric from Alpine Jingle in Forest for the borders.  I just purchased a bolt of this, and have it listed in my Etsy shop.  It's a great shade of green.

I created my own writing file from the program that came with the machine.  I think it would be fun for Santa to have his own placemat on Christmas Eve!  And of course, we need to leave treats for the reindeer, who are working so hard to make all the deliveries.  I know they like carrots.  

I didn't make Santa's coffee, and I must admit that Mom and I ate the little mini cupcakes, and she ate the cookies after the photo, since I haven't finished baking my treats yet.  They would be stale if I left them out for Santa. 
The backing is also Island Batik White and I quilted around Santa with Aurifil 50wt and used the green for the border.  I use the same thread in the bobbin as the top.  It makes the top look better.  I'll be listing the solid white batik in my Etsy shop soon!  

This shows a little more detail for the fabric.  I planned the placement of the mitten, so it has a gold snowflake on it.  Santa's hat and coat also have the gold painted snowflakes, and yes, it's Island Batik.  I loved the metallic accents when they came out with this group.  
I used a double layer of white for the beard, pompom and cuff, because I wanted to make sure the red didn't show through.  I used a Clover fusible web for the applique.  All the threads are Aurifil 40 wt.  The finished piece measures about 16 by 20".

Okay the color is off on this photo, but I finished this at night, and wanted to send it to my great-nephew and nieces in Colorado in time for Christmas Eve.  And I'm still learning about placement for designs that require 2 hoopings.  Santa is a little wonky.  So I guess I have both whimsy and wonky??lol  Each time I try something is a learning experience.  I do plan on listing this as a custom item in my shop.  I'll work on getting Santa a little more straight with the lettering.  

Want to see more?  This is a list of Island Batik Ambassadors with links to their blogs.  But it may not be to the current Whimsical and Wonky post.  Please check their list for the desired post.  But inspiration is in abundance.

Thanks so much for visiting!  I hope you have a wonderful time with your family, or whomever you wish to enjoy.  And eat a few too many cookies!  Thanks so much for following my quilting journey. 


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Better Late than never Island Batik Challenge October Needle Paper Scissors

I'm so happy that Island Batik isn't angry when an Ambassador fails to get a challenge in on time.  This is late, but it's done.  Not just a top, like many of my other projects lately.  They know I'm also caregiver for Mom, who has Alzheimer's, and her needs come before my sewing time.  I am so grateful for that, and for the fabrics they provide, and for being an ambassador.  It keeps me motivated and looking forward, when the daily issues and stress can drag me down.  

Enough about that.  October's Ambassador Challenge was Needle Paper Scissors.  We're supposed to do something with foundation (they specified paper, but I think they'll allow this).  English Paper Piecing is something I've done, and I do enjoy it, but wasn't in the mood to cut pieces for the shapes I have.  I thought about paper piecing a star or something, but again, couldn't come up with a design or pick fabric.  So I started cleaning, and remembered I have a few sample kits from Quiltsmart.  They had asked me a few years ago to try them, and blog about them.  Sort of like an Ambassador.  I've used the Mondo bag kit, and they have some for applique shapes, but again, those didn't appeal.  I did find the Tumbling Blocks kit, and thought that would be fun to try.  I had gone to a quilt show recently that had a Tumbling Blocks quilt in multi-colors, and had wanted to see what I could do with the foundation/fusible printed interfacing they provided.  But I also knew I had other projects, so this would have to be table runner size.  16 1/2 by 42 1/2, that works for me.  

But then Halloween Costumes and Mom's change in behavior put a "hold" on it.  And not deciding how to quilt it, too.  Sometimes a project needs to wait until it inspires the next step.  

So, Step 1.  Pick Fabrics.  Put them back, and pick again.  Decide, finally, on Alpine Ice, in shades of gray and slate, and Dot for the background.  I needed strips cut to rectangles.  And one sheet of the interfacing for the runner.  Step 2, put back the fabric.  Step 3.  Play with the idea on EQ8.  Step 4, pull the fabric again.  Yes, there was some indecision. lol  Finally, cut it, and sew the pieces together, sew it to the interfacing, trim it and turn it with the Dritz Quick Turn (Which I've had for years, and constantly find great uses for, in dressmaking and in quilting) and be careful because the interfacing may rip a little.  Step 5.  Decide again how to place the designs, and make sure the beginning and end pieces/blocks work for that design.  Step 6.  Fold background fabric and press it well to form lines for you to fuse the strips down.  Step 7.  Fuse, and use Aurifil Clear Monofilament thread to applique down the edges.  Step 8.  Admire it, sew on the side borders, and press again, then baste it with batting and backing (I used Island Batik's new White solid fabric. Awesome!!)  Step 9, (procrastinate, if needed, lol) Quilt about 1/4" from the edges of each strip with Aurifil 50wt 2605 Gray, with a walking foot (I know, it's not Free Motion for a change!), and bind with Island Batik's new Gray solid fabric.  Again, awesome.  So, here's the finished project.  

 That's the back, showing some of the quilting detail, and the White fabric by Island Batik and the Gray binding.  The fabric patch is a left-over, but basically that's what you make, before sewing them in a row, and then to an interfacing strip.
I think it looks like 3-D in this view.   
The whole thing.   
Not so much a 3-D look in this view, but kind of a cool zig-zag thing. 
Ah, the 3-D blocks appear again. 
I'm so happy it's finished.  I have some other projects to finish and start some holiday gifts, soon.  I will let you know when they're done.  The December challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors is Whimsical or Wonky.  I'm going for Whimsy this time.  I hope to share that soon.  In the meantime, I'm also ready to quilt the November Log Cabin challenge, the one I appliqued lights on.  I'll have the directions and file for the lights ready soon.  

Thanks again for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed reading this book, lol.  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Cozy Cabin with Christmas Lights

Hi.  I'm SEW excited to share this!  I love being an Island Batik Ambassador, and love the fabric they provide for these challenges.  This is something I've wanted to make for a few years.  The timing, fabric and embroidery machine finally happened!

Our challenge this month is Cozy Cabins, and I love Log Cabin blocks.  

I'm a HUGE fan of Hallmark movies.  I think it's good for Mom, too.  They are uplifting, positive, and fun, and she seems to enjoy the fun and music.  It's Christmas movie time, and although this is inspired by an older movie, I'm also in the mood to sew Christmas quilts.  So, I grabbed my pack of Alpine Jingle and some Sprinkles and set to work.  

Filmed in 2013, the movie Let It Snow shows Candace Cameron-Bure waking up under a Log Cabin quilt that has applique in the Barn raising Setting.  I looked for a photo of the quilt, but I guess you'll just have to watch it again. It's on this weekend.  I think the quilt had poinsettia or holly for the applique.  I wanted something different.  I wanted Christmas Lights.  I grabbed the new Quilt In A Day book 40 Fabulous Years for the Log Cabin blocks, but they use 1 1/2" strips, and I didn't want to cut the strips smaller.  The older Log Cabin in a Day book uses 2 1/2" strips, as does the new 6th Edition Log Cabin, which happened to arrive in the mail as I was finishing the blocks. LOL. Timing.  Yes, the assembly could have come from this new book, but I've made a number of Log Cabin quilts, and just went scrappy.  

I searched online for the perfect size applique light, and couldn't find one.  I recently got an embroidery machine, and I'm learning a lot about it, but don't own the program to digitize my own drawings, yet.  I drew out the design, and figured the number of lights, and how to do the wire, but wanted to use the Pfaff Creative 1.5, not do hand guided stitching.  I contacted QuiltShopGal, aka Darlene, knowing she occasionally does digitizing for her own use.  At first she didn't think she could, so I also contacted Marian at Seams to be Sew, whom I met last summer doing the Row by Row shops in Colorado.  She offered one version, but Darlene also did one, and I picked Darlene's.  

So, here's the top.  At least so far.  I'll explain...

I want to add the outer border, but it may need something in the corners. I haven't decided what, yet. 

Each bulb is about 4 3/4 long, and the black "wire" is Clover Quick Bias Tape.  

So, here's how to make your own version.  
1.  Get a strip pack and some yardage.  I did the 16 block Wall Hanging size, because I could get it out of 1 pack, plus an extra strip or 2 of the different gold, which is Border 2.  Get yardage for the creamy side.  And the book.   And border yardage.  Island Batik provided mine.

Make 16 blocks that are "scrappy" looking, trying to mix up all the fabrics in the block.  
Not like this one. 

I did actually leave this block as is.  I don't think you'll be able to find it easily.  
The house elf who sewed this has been sacked, lol.

2.  Sew the blocks in the Barn Raising setting, with the Sprinkles forming a diamond. 

(The 2 stitch-outs of the bulb are modeling the placement)

3.  Pick Island Batik scraps for the lightbulbs.  I picked 6 colors for 12 bulbs, 2 of each color, and since I like Multi-colored lights, I went with that.  Yes, purple, too.  Just because I wanted it.  Apply fusible web on the back, and trace the shape of the bulb.  Pick a green strip for the base of the bulb and apply fusible web and trace the bulb base shape, leaving a little extra at the top.  Carefully cut out the shapes.  A template for the shapes will be included with the program download.  

4.  Decide on a basic placement and order, and load the embroidery program into your machine.  I'll provide a link to the file soon.  Get the hoop loaded with the quilt top, and the stabilizer, and one of the bulbs pinned into place, so you can adjust the placement on the machine to where you want it.  Be prepared to shift the location, and flip as necessary.  You really do want the bulk of the quilt to go to the left of the machine.  I also did a basting line (which is an option on my machine, not included in the file) to define the space, and to make sure the stabilizer and quilt would not shift.

5.  Stitch out Step 1 and 3, for placement lines. I skipped 2, which is the tack-down for the base.  If you don't want to precut the shapes, you can do the tack down, then trim really close, then iron.  If you cut out the shapes first, remove the paper backing and carefully iron the base shape first, then the bulb.  The bulb overlaps the base. 

Place and press carefully.

If you're using a light colored bulb, and the base shows through, trim it before pressing, or put an extra layer of interfacing under the bulb.  I trimmed the base to about 1/8th inch over the placement line. 

Step 4 of the stitching is the hold-down line for the bulb.  Make sure you don't have too much over the edge of this stitching, or trim as needed.  Change the thread for the base color, and it will sew the satin stitch zig zag for the base.  Change the  color for the bulb, and stitch the bulb.  If you wish to change the thread for the accent, you can, but I didn't.  I did change to a lighter green for the accent on the base.  

6.  Move on to the next bulb, varying the angle and direction as you wish.  

7.  Decide on placement for the "wire".  I made a loop and played until I liked how it looked, then ironed it.  After the wire is placed, you'll need to sew it down.  You can either sew down both edges, or do a wide zig-zig over the whole thing (my choice).  

So, what about the borders?  I have the red and gold on, and the sizes are based on the fabric I had remaining, 1 1/2" and 4".  I have this great green for the outer, but think I need something for the corners.  I plan a 6" finished border, which makes the top about 82" square. 

 Do I put 6" Log Cabin blocks?  Or do I put another light bulb?  
Here's a mock-up in EQ8.  

Vote and let me know in the comments!  I would love to have this quilted before Christmas.  I know some of what I want to quilt, but need to decide more.  I think I'll have to do outlines around the bulb and wires, and maybe swirls around them, but want feathers in the "dark" part of the blocks.  

HUGE thanks and hugs to Darlene and Marian for the help with digitizing.  

Thanks to Island Batik for the fabric, and to Aurifil thread for providing some of the colors needed, within the Island Batik Ambassador box.  I have a good collection as well.  

As soon as I can finalize the file for the applique, I'll let you know.  So far, it's only in VP3, but I may be able to change it.  I'm a newbie, so please give me time (or tell me how). 

Thanks for visiting.  I can't wait to get this done. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mid November Catch Up

There's some finished stuff here, and info about my last blog post's winner.
Comment 44 was chosen by, and I've contacted PK for her mailing info.  Thanks so much for hopping along on the Pick a Pumpkin hop. 

I've also done a few other projects recently.  I made another Hogwarts robe for a custom order, but forgot to get photos before.  I do know the wearer enjoyed it.  

Next, the baskets.  After my father passed away, May of 2016, my brother John and I wanted to do something in his memory at his church.  Dad was a fixture at Mass.  He went daily, was an Extraordinary Minister, Usher, counted the collections, did minor repairs, was involved in the Knights of Columbus, St. Vincent de Paul Society, took videos of special masses, and so much more.  Even the children knew him, and if they saw him, would ask him to bless their new rosaries.  Dad would send them on to the priest, and smile for days.  He was there over 60 years.  Last year, when Fr. Rudy was celebrating his anniversary, I made a new robe for him, in Dad's name, but it wasn't for the parish, it was a gift for Dad's friend.

I've been friends with some of the other ushers, and when they needed help, I offered.  I had watched Dad since I can remember, so it was fairly easy to figure out how to handle the baskets, and did it weekly for more than a year.  Another man asked, so now I'm the sub.  Along the way, I noticed some of the baskets were crumbling.  The rattan wrap on the handles was worn and breaking, and some of the edges of the baskets were damaged.  I discussed it with John, and we decided to replace the baskets in Dad's memory.  It's fitting, since that was how most knew him.  When I spoke to Sr. Judy, she made arrangements to order the new baskets, and suggested I embroider something to state they were in memory of Dad.  I had just purchased an embroidery machine, so designed a simple patch, and stitched it out.  Since the liners were removable, I was able to easily stitch the patches in.  

I've been honored to carry Dad's baskets a few times, and seeing the patch brings back wonderful thoughts of him.  The other ushers knew him well, and they're also happy to think of him.  

Here's a few shots of the baskets and labels.  It says "In Memory of Jack McAuliffe, Usher and EM, 1929-2016.  

Mom and I with one of th
John, who also served as a substitute usher, was here when they were first put into service, as well.  

I also finished the January Island Batik Blog Hop top, featuring City Culture.  Click the link for the memory, lol  I  had the quilt pin basted for a while, and finally had a few days to quilt it.  I had other projects I needed to work on, but couldn't grab them when I had time to sew. Long story, not needed here.  

I did a swirl/hook design over the top, which uses my Zen Basket pattern, using Aurifil 50wt Mako 2605, Gray, 50wt.  For the inner blue border, I used 4644, Smoke Blue and a vine or branch design, plus 5023 Medium Green in a fern/feather design for the outer border.  I used a grey wide back for the backing, and Warm & Natural batting, and added a green batik binding.  Here's a few shots. 

City Culture should be in stores now, and I've gotten tons of compliments on the colors and design for this pattern.  It's really easy to do, using 2 1/2" strips.  

In addition, I've also started selling Island Batik fabrics in my Etsy shop.  I have a few 10" square Stacks and white, Sprinkles and Lavender yardage so far, plus some of the scarves, which I hope to get listed this week.  If you need something, let me know!  

Thanks so much for stopping by to catch up with me.  I am currently working on the November Cozy Cabins challenge, using Alpine Jingle for my Log Cabin quilt.  I have something fun planned for it, using my new embroidery machine.  You'll just have to wait to see what happens.  Here's a little teaser, where I am tonight on the blocks. 

 Next strips are cut.  2 logs of greens, then assembling the top.  And then the fun...
Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for visiting.