Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Crafty One?? Plastic Canvas Club

My 7-year-old trying a latch-hook craft

So I convinced my friend Sherry to try the Plastic Canvas Club-of-the-Month program through Mary Maxim with me.   I enjoy doing plastic canvas crafts, and I know she likes them too.  This week, I started working on August's craft.  It is a lighthouse-motif Welcome sign.

Love when my package comes in the mail!

Canvas cut.

Last night, when I started stitching some white long stitches, my 7-year-old daughter starts watching me and offers to help.  I show her how to follow a color chart, and make long stitches.  She loved it!  She wanted to do more, but it was getting late.

Work in progress with my daughter's help...

First thing this morning, she is in my room, asking to do some more stitches.  I told her I would find her a project she can work on.  I found a latch hook kit in my project stash.  I figure the repetitive hooking-action is something she can master, and the printed canvas along with the color chart will make it easy to follow.

Happy to craft - still in her PJs.  :-)

She is so excited!  She is quite content to sit and craft for a while.   Maybe I have another crafty one?  Time will tell, but I'm glad to see her interest.  After she finished her first row across her project, she sighs and says "Only 66 more rows to go!"  Spoken like a true crafter.  ;-)

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Annie's Mystery Quilt Block 4

It has been a while since I finished the fourth book in the Annie's Quilted Mysteries Book Club, titled Broderie Curse.  I am just now getting a chance to blog about it.

Each book in the series includes a block for a mystery sampler quilt.  The first three blocks include:
  1. Friendship Star block.  
  2. Raven  
  3. Roman Tiles
The last book in the series will also include finishing instructions to create a mystery quilt designed by the series' characters, Cotton & Grace.

The fourth block is called Castle Block with a Finished Block Size of 12"x12".

This block uses four colors:  two lights, one medium and one dark.  I auditioned similar fabrics from the first three blocks in Electric Quilt again.  I decided to go with the yellow for my light color, along with a new large pink floral print as my second light fabric.  I used the green for my medium and blue again for my dark color.
Fabric choices for block 4

If you want to make your own Castle block, here is my rotary cutting printout from EQ for this block.

EQ7 Version of my Castle Block

Pieces cut.

Small units sewn together.

Rows ready for piecing.

Castle Block done.

Here are my first four blocks for this mystery quilt.  It feels very much like a Spring quilt.  :-)

Roman Tiles

I finished the book and made this block before summer started, so several more books have come in since then, and I need to get caught up!

Happy Stitching!

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Beach Embroidery

We're getting ready for our annual group trip with friends from our college days.  This is my 20th consecutive trip with these guys!  Twenty years ago, we were all single and no kids.  Time has passed and we've all grown in many ways.  Our group this year is 11 adults and 12 growing kids.    

I wanted to embroider a little something for everyone this trip.  Thought a cooler bag would be handy at the beach, so I picked up these 12-Can Cooler bags at Five Below.

 My crafty daughter helped design the embroidery using Brother Embroidery Lettering Software.

I used a stick-and-tear-away stabilizer in the hoop, and placed the bag so the top could fit under the needle and stick in place.   The cooler has thick insulation so you have to watch it to sure the embroidery stitches without a problem. 

First bag done.

I did go through a few embroidery needles as they would occasionally break during this stitching.  But, I was able to complete all of the bags. Each bag took about 45 minutes to stitch.

A Cooler for All!


While I was in embroidery-mode, I pulled out a large, plain, quilted blanket I picked up on clearance a while back.   I had wanted to personalize this for ourselves to use at the beach or wherever.  So we got that design done. My daughter helped design this one too.  We used the Brother software again to get the lettering in a circle-format.

I used a Badgemaster heavy-weight water-soluble stabilizer in the hoop for this project.  Did a basting stitch around the design first to hold the blanket to the stabilizer as well.

I'm ready for the beach!!  Now I just have to pack.  :-)

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

International Quilt Festival Chicago 2014

I was with my family for vacation in Chicago a few weeks ago.  The 2014 International Quilt Festival/Chicago was being held the same week we were in town.    I made a point to take a morning off to visit the show.

The show was huge and amazing!

I forgot to bring my real camera, so had to settle for using my cell phone.  The pics don't do the quilts justice.

Here are some of my favorite quilts on display:
Forest of Life

Gorsuch Family Quilt Circa 1840 Revisited
I aspire to do a Baltimore quilt one day. Hope it will look this good. 
First Baltimore

Nourish the Body, Nourish the Soul

Bless My Sweet Home

My favorite vendors too:

HandiQuilter had a huge booth. Demo of Sweet 16 in a new HQ Hideaway table.

A familiar face!  Carly Mul from my local quilt shop, WebFabrics, was at the show too!

I spent a several hours at the show, but it wasn't enough time to visit all of the exhibits.  I did enjoy the time I could spend there.  

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Friday, July 4, 2014

New Sewing Room!

Well, the room itself isn't new, but it has new floors, and since I was starting with an empty room, the room layout was updated too.
Ahhh, a blank slate to start with.

I pulled out my sewing room grid which I saved from last time to play with the layout.    My sewing room is long and narrow with a center door and a slanted ceiling on the right half of the room.

Based on several rearrangement trials, my favorite spot for the cutting table is centered so that it is accessible from all four sides, so I moved it away from the window and wall.

I recently inherited a sewing desk (and many other sewing items) from a friend's mom.  The sewing desk expands to over 6' in length, so I am limited on where I placed it.   I decided to go with this room layout...

Let me show you around!

My favorite position for the cutting table is centered with accessibility on all four sides.  I also like having the room's only window fully visible.

This left corner hasn't changed much.  The tall dresser (former baby changer) is still on this wall with the TV/DVR on top.  I keep it on this side of the room because I have a full-ceiling height on that wall.  The iron shelf pulls out to make it double wide and convenient for pressing.

There is a small black file cabinet in the back, and small white sewing desk on the other side of the tall dresser.  The desk is folded down now, but can be wheeled around and opened up if and when needed.  On top of it, is an open box of scissors and cutters, plus a portable ott light and small cutting mat.

The back wall is covered in a grey flannel fabric for my design wall.  The small storage closet is on the back wall as well.

My sit-down long-arm Sweet 16 is next to the window and my Duetta sewing/embroidery machine is adjacent on a 6' folding table.

On the low-ceiling back-wall is a child's chifforobe.  It was an old and worn-out family antique when it was given to us when we started our family years ago.  I had it restored and it came back beautiful.  Now that our kids no longer use it for their clothes, I use if for my project stash and supplies.

The sewing desk is in the right corner of the room.  I have my Singer 160 set up on it, but will need to move it aside if I want or need to use the display monitor (in the corner) with my laptop.

I tried to get a panoramic photo of my room, as viewed from the doorway in the center of the long wall.

I love, love, love having the hard floors in this room.  I like having carpet in the bedrooms of our home, but this room warrants a hard floor.  It will be easy to clean and care for, and safer as well.  The room is so neat and organized at the moment.  It is motivating!

Thanks for touring my sewing room!!

Happy Stitching

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Sewing Room Floors

We were replacing the flooring in our home, and this room had a blue carpet.  We thought it best to put a hard floor down so that the pins and needles that drop don't get lost in the carpet, only to be discovered once someone steps on them.

The room looks strange when it was emptied, and the old carpet torn up.  The first pics were from my cell-phone and were a bit blurry...
Old flooring torn out.

It was easier to leave this table in the room, than try to squeeze through the door.

So I switched to a real camera for a better shot...
View from hallway towards Sewing Room.

Making Progress!

The flooring we chose for this room is a wood laminate Natural Values II by Shaw Floors in the Abbey Hickory color.

Finishing Touches..


 Since I was starting with an empty room again, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to rearrange (again) this space.  I also want to declutter as I move things back in.  I will post the new sewing room pics too.

Happy Stitching!!

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

FNwF... Embroidered Quilting

What is one way to get perfect quilted feathers?  Let your embroidery machine quilt it for you!  For my Friday Night with Friends, I tested out some digitized quilting feathers.  I haven't used my embroidery machine for quilting before, so this was something new for me to try.

You may remember I have this small blue quilt top that I did for an online digitized quilting class at Quilt University.

I'm finally getting around to getting the quilting done for this top.  This is the quilt design layout for it.
Since this technique is something new for me, it is a good idea to test out the embroidery/quilting on a test quilt sandwich of the same materials used in the real one. The designs I tested tonight are shaded in yellow:

The center design of the quilt is done with two hoopings.  The first step is to hoop wash-away stabilizer, then baste the quilt sandwich to the stabilizer.
I use Vilene which is a light, non-woven, water-soluble stabilizer.
I then stitched my first placement line, and promptly had to rip it out.  The placement lines done on the quilt are supposed to be done in waer-soluble thread.

First un-sewing of the night.  Ugh.
 I knew I had water-soluble thread somewhere.  I bought it a long time ago, and never used it.  After digging through my sewing box, I found it!
I knew it would find a use one day.
I didn't realize this wash-a-way thread was so precious that they don't give you much on a spool.  I wound a bobbin, and it used up the entire spool before it finished.  So I wound off half onto another bobbin and used the bobbins for my top and bottom thread.  These placement lines are only needed temporarily so they will be washed out when the quilt is complete.

Placement lines stitched in wash-away thread.
I've been wanting to use this blue variegated thread that I've had, so I used it first, but didn't like the way it looked at all.  It looks like half of the feathers are missing.  I used a Sulky blue viscose thread for the second part of the design, and I liked it much better.
I don't like the look of the blue variegated thread used on the bottom feather.
To complete the center quilting design, I hooped another piece of stabilizer and lined up the design to match the placement lines of the first design.  I stitched the placement lines for the second hooping.  The lines matched up so all would be good.   The second design stitched out well.
Test of center design stitched.  
 I then test stitched the large triangle and double small-triangle area designs.

They came out good, so I figured my testing was done.   Then I thought the tread color was too dark to be used as quilting on the quilt top, so I restitched part of the center design with a lighter shade of blue that more closely matched this background fabric.

Final test of quilting feathers.
I liked this thread color much better and will use it on the quilt top.  Perfectly embroidered quilting feathers.  Testing finally complete.  

My FNwF got a late start and it was after midnight when I was done the testing part, so that was a good time to call it a night.  Now I'm inspired to embroider quilt my top!  I know what I'll be doing on Funday Monday when my friend comes over to sew.

Happy Stitching! 

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