Monday, April 22, 2013

Fun sewing

The challenge for this years May retreat is "Earth, Wind and Fire" meaning you could draw on one or more for your project inspiration. Initially my mind went to my favorite block, flying geese, however it seems my time went flying away with those geese.  
I needed an alternative quick project so I made this guard owl for next to the front door.  I found this pattern from Toad's Treasures  on Pinterest and used it as jumping off point,  so simple and fun!  He is stuffed with batting wrapped large rocks to keep him sitting upright.  I think he needs a friend.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Since no stitching has been happening...

I thought I'd share some of what I have been up to.  I have been pretty lucky (*knock on wood) that my days off have been beautiful and have allowed me to get started on some yard stuff.  Which means not much sewing, still haven't figured out what's the deal with the big machine/frame, but in the meantime its making a fabulous cat hammock.

So here is my little birdbath, and yes, that is a hole from a M-80 firecracker so not so much bathing happening.  It is still a mystery as to which of my sons actually threw the damaging M-80, but since it might have been Q, we've decided that this isn't going anywhere, it will literally need to rust into the ground because its a fond memory of Q and G together and being mischievous.
 But of course what kind of crazy lady keeps a birdbath in her yard in which no bird has hope of bathing?  Well, it was me for over a year, until I decided it would be the perfect place for some hen and chicks with a couple of large rocks thrown in to hopefully block the flow of dirt out the hole.
 And I thought I'd pop a couple pics of my Harry Lauder's Walking Stick or Contorted Hazelnut since they're in my second favorite season, winter is the best when it snows and all the gnarly twisted branches are set off against the white snow.  But I do love the spring when these catkins are hanging from it.  reminds me so much of another late summer fav of mine, Love Lies Bleeding.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Thread breaking..patience crushing

So the big machine is back form service, finally!  And As I posted before I had a ton of tops and backs ready to go.  Unfortunately I am having huge thread breakage issues and my patience is about to fly out the window although I am tempted to throw this machine and frame with it!  Grrr, have nothing to show unless you'd like to see the birds nest of clipped threads!  Send all the good machine voo-doo vibes you can I sure need it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Key Chain Tutorial

So I was looking for a fundraiser for our local Relay for Life in June.  I am the Co-Captain of our work team and I am determined to make this year a success.  My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and she spent 2012 undergoing numerous procedures including chemo, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgeries.  Then I lost my Q in August of 2012 and all I can think of is how nice it would have been to have extra time with him.  And if I can do just a little that might enable someone else to have extra time with their loved one, then I'm all in.  So this is my method for making these key chains.  I have seen other tutorials on Pinterest that inspired me to come up with this, I find it to be easier, sturdier and more finished looking. Other methods required strips of batting to provide a more substantial feel, but I feel i accomplish this with the thick denim.  This method also incorporates one of my favorite fabric acquisition methods, up-cycling or recycling, whichever you'd like to call it.

Material list:

Old jeans from the scrap bag cut into 2½"x14½" strips.  I happen to be fortunate to live with a couple of XXXL guys and I have found that you can get 14 to 15 key chains per pant leg, but really, if they're in the scrap bag, does it matter?  You're up-cycling!  Feel good about that!

Focus fabric cut to 2½" x 14¼" 

Steam a Seam Lite or similar fusible cut to 7/8" x 14" 

Coordinating fabric for thin seam hiding band cut to 2"x5"

Matching thread

1¼" swivel snap hook

First press your denim strip into the middle, try to keep it somewhat even but there's no need for an exact measurement since the accent fabric will be covering the split.  I have found that a good steam iron will make all the difference when trying to get your denim to lay flat.

Next sew your focus fabric along the long side wrong sides together with a scant ¼"

Next press over that ¼" seam using your stitch line as a guide

Iron the fusbile strip down the center of the back of the focus strip, catching the edge of the ¼" seam that you pressed over.  This will keep fraying in check and keep your key chain nice and neat without thread stragglers.

Peel off the fusible backing and iron down the center of the denim strip doing your best to keep it as straight as possible.

Stitch down the long edges of the focus strip to the denim.  I used a buttonhole stitch, but you could use any stitch you find pleasing.

Now its time to slip the snap hook over the sewn fabric strip and join the edges.  Butt the two pieces against each other and I used a short stitch length zigzag stitch set at max width to go back and forth a couple of times joining the two pieces.

That line of zigzag stitching isnt so pretty on the front...

 ....nor from the back.  But we're going to fix that with a hider band.

 So I use the coordinating 5"x2" strip to make a small decorative hider band.  Again this is pressed into thirds along the length.  I found that if you can press it so as to leave just 1/8" to ¼" from the edge of the outer fold it will help to keep straggling threads contained.

 Slide the hook around so that the zigzag line is about an inch away from the hook and tuck the end of the small band between the 2 layers of the key chain loop.

Wrap it around the outside, doing your best to keep it aligned front to back and tuck the end between the folds.  It really works best at this point for you to just hang on to it tightly there are a lot of layers of fabric to try to pin through.

Now, s l o w l y sew through all layers on each side of band.  (Sorry for fuzzy pic, I hope you can see what I'm talking about) I used a straight stitch simply because there are so many layers of fabric I saw no reason to add any undue stress on my machine.  There will be quite a hump to sew over, but if you go slowly you should be able to get a nice straight stitch.

Clip your threads and you are done!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Relay for Life fundraiser key chains I have been working on. 
I have many more to make, this is just the beginning!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

It will be a few weeks more before I have my quilting machine back from repair and although I am sooo tempted to start something new, I am trying to be a responsible quilter and turn my energies to finishing some things up.  

These were some snowball swap blocks from a couple of years ago, I threw them together with a border to make a baby quilt.  (Notice the remnants of hurricane Lucy on the right side of my design wall.  Love those kittens but wow can they be destructive!)

 In my attempt to be organized and ready to pump out some finished projects I have been preparing  everything needed to finish the quilt once the big machine comes home.

I hate to thread and re-thread the machine so I plan to put the black cone of Aurifil on the machine and assembly line quilt any finished tops requiring black thread.  Maybe that's the way to approach my UFOs rather than list them and beat myself up, maybe I should just go with quilting thread color, first my black period, then my tan period, etc.  I'll let you know how it works out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 Scrappy Crossed quilt blocks almost complete.  You may notice that these blocks look like the scrappy crosses posted a little while ago, but not quite the same.  That's because I forgot I was swapping them.  I cant just sit and sew blocks together without getting all sorts of ideas of how to finish off the quilt.  So my blocks definitely had an orange and blue feel, however these that I swapped Maggie for, had an undeniable pink black vibe for me.  

I still have some hand stitching I'd like to do in the white areas with pink thread, as you can see there are a few safety pins hanging off there.  I'm just not finding any thread to stand out enough for my liking.  Perhaps floss will work better, I may try that this evening.  And you might notice the prairie points, a first time for me.  They do add some flair and interest to the quilt, no they weren't difficult, but I just don't know that I got the bang for my buck.  Lot's of pressing and burning my fingers when i could have done some quick flying geese and achieved almost the same effect. 

 Back used up some asterisks swap blocks from long ago.  I must also point out the toile is the same that I used for my prairie points and was leftover from my kitchen curtains, how's that for a win-win?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looking Glass View

A little finish for this weekend, pattern called Looking Glass View that uses fusible and machine applique. I have been sorting through UFOs trying to see what I can manage to complete without the big machine since its in for repair for up to six weeks.  I spent so much time and energy swapping blocks, and as I went through the totes and piles and boxes, my thoughts went to my prolific swapping friend Sandra,  I  think we must have swapped well over a thousand blocks over the years. She sent me this pattern as a little gift after I saw her beautiful completion.  We lost Sandra to cancer in October and I miss my friend.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Scrapper user upper

What a scrap eater of a quilt pattern! Its called Crossed Quilt Block  and isn't adorable?

There are sites all over talking about scraps, how to cut and organize them and patterns to use them  up.  My problem with those systems is that for me, I am just not that organized.  As I finish a top I'm sick of looking at those fabrics, I do not want to press and stress over what size to cut them to, I want them out of my face.  I also decided long ago that unless a piece is at least 5x5" or a strip that's 2.5" for me, its just not worth saving.  Nevertheless I still have numerous totes and boxes of scraps.  So this pattern was right up my alley, long strips that could be cut from my leftovers.  Any color corner blocks could work and I know this is not the last time I will use this pattern!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wooly work

A penny rug I have been working on.  Thought the square shapes were interesting to work with and  the stars just really made it folksy.  Now to decide how to finish it off, since its wool appliqued onto cotton its pretty flimsy feeling, maybe I need to find some nice stiff wool for a backing and add some buttons in the middle of the pennies.

About Me

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Bargersville, Indiana, United States
I'm a 45 year old wife and mother. Quilting is my haven from the real world.