Friday, November 21, 2014

My Quilt Inspector

Everyone seems to have a quilt inspector. I have a canine quilt inspector.

Hurry Mom! I wanna go outside!

This is Isis. She came to me 2 years ago, already named. Egyptian lore says the name Isis is literally Queen of the Thrones. She was a goddess of health, marriage and wisdom. This is who her breeder was thinking about when she named her. Her sire is named Zeus. Her dam was Hera. Lots of mythology there. My girl is NOT named after the radical people creating havoc.

Early snow 11-16-14
Isis came to me when she was several months old. She was a wild child but over time has settled into my life. Farm chores are one of her favorite activities. Waiting while I stitch is not her first choice but she does flop on the bed waiting for the moment we can go for a run outside. It's tough for me to get a good picture of her as she prefers to be moving :)

Slender puppy still in early 2013

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quilted Potholders

My oldest son asked me to make a couple of potholders for a friend of his getting married. They were decorating in an Indonesian Elephant theme. Red, gold and green. Indonesian Elephants??? I asked if this was a new fad and he shrugged his shoulders. New brides decorating their first home is not in his realm of knowledge. Typical man, LOL.

I could not find elephant print fabric. I did find some insulating batting with the foil layer which is new to me. Luckily, my stash had some red and gold patterned fabric that looked appropriate. The real blessing - my Janome has an elephant stitch on it! Yes!!

I decided to quilt the layers then trim and bind the various potholders. It was easy stitching, though the dense quilting really shrank my pieces. So I made extras.

I made a red on one side, gold on the other.

I made a red gold stripe.

Before quilting .... 

After quilting ...

I made a half square triangle style potholder.

And would you look at that elephant stitch!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Expanding Sunflower Fields

You recall the Sunflower Field quilt top I tested recently, well its time to expand it to fit a big bed. Plus I need the storage space for new projects, hehehe.

The design makes it easy to go bigger - you simply add more columns and rows of chevrons. And the solid neutral rows with the sunflowers. Soooo cut more squares. Stitch more HST's. Cut.

Press. Trim to size. 

Don't you love the pile of sliver trimmings? Something about the tiny slivers makes my heart happy. I don't like waste but I love the little piles of slivered fabric. Maybe it just shows I am accomplishing something. 

My yellows are close in tone, even though this is scrappy. More flower petals traced and cut. Flowers stitched. Now to assemble and assess the overall size since I am making this bigger than even the pattern allowed. I'm doing my typical out of the box, cut things up and mix them together quilt making. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bad Bobbin!

Do you ever wind a bobbin and it just goes wrong? A little bit of thread wrapped on the post rather than the bobbin and the whole bobbin ended up being lumpy. I hated to do it but I unwound the whole thing. It would just make my machine angry, so that thread will have to be set aside for hand sewing. Bad bad bobbin!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Testing Sunflower Fields

Happy August! How are you? I am so happy that summer will be over soon. I know many people who want summer to last forever - I'm the opposite, LOL. I love cool weather. I do not like hot, hot weather and in Oklahoma, it is hot for months. This summer has been fairly mild until lately so I can't complain too much. Now its nasty hot outside, so I am indoors stitching in the cool air conditioning. 

I'm not fond of trimming blocks down until I see how spiffy they look without the little tabs.

This week I actually followed some directions and tested another quilt for Quilt Doodle Doodles. She has some fun designs. This week I tested Sunflower Fields for her. My oldest daughter adores sunflowers, so this fit. And the quilt will have a home when it is done.

Trimmings from stitching half square triangles. 
Her inspiration was fields of wheat with sunflowers on the edges. I live in a rural agricultural community. By golly, we have lots of wheat fields around here. However the farmers raise winter wheat which is usually harvested around Memorial Day, if not sooner. So we never get sunflowers with our wheat. They come later during the summer heat. It all goes back to our weather, LOL.

I love the bright sunflowers

The pattern is scrappy, light and quick to stitch. I used leftover yellows and gold paired with an off white, some tan and I even tossed in some unbleached muslin. Cindy has her sunflowers on a green vine. I'm debating to add the vine or just stems and leaves. Cute and flowing or authentic to my local flowers?

The pattern is clear. The blocks will work for beginners. It's a really nice design. I feel like I got a lot of bang for my efforts, so to speak. I had a beautiful quilt top whipped out in short time. It's just so pretty!  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rainbow Chair Covers

My daughter is active in The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls organization. They are a youth group under the guidance of the Masonic Fraternity. They teach lessons of service, love for home, family and community, speech and such. My oldest daughter was also in Rainbow, so we have been in this for 14 years now.
We are part of a brand new assembly. The girls are actively working to grow the membership in their group. This means they need to do lots of fundraising and need 'stuff' for their assembly room. I was in the meeting a couple of weeks back and realized chair covers like they use at their big state meeting would sure spiff things up. The state uses black covers so the theme decorations get attention. In our little bland room though, covers in the colors of the Rainbow would be fantastic for events.

A bright stack - green, orange, red, yellow, indigo, violet

We went shopping and found fabric matching 6 of the 7 colors pretty quick - still on the hunt for the perfect light antique blue in cotton. I borrowed a chair to bring home and make my pattern. Why buy a pattern when I can draw my own? I laid the chair down and traced the curve at the top, because of course, we wouldn't have a squared off chair, LOL. Then I measured and pondered whether to use one long piece of fabric or two pieces to make the cover. I finally decided on two pieces, as I found Rainbow patches to sew on the covers. It will be easier to attach, pre assembly, to a smaller piece of fabric.

This is the violet chair cover
For once, I followed common sense and made a practice cover first. I used the black from a bolt I bought some time back. That bolt has come in handy so many times! I measured the chair to get the basic dimensions. Then I used my tracing to get the proper curvature. A quick seam, then the test to see how I did ... Voila! It fit! It looked pretty darn good too considering I hadn't ironed it yet. Wahoo! Success! Now to repeat it with the emblems attached to the vivid colors.

Unironed red ... I like it!
I have to admit it seemed easier cutting fabric, assembly line style. By making the cover from 2 pieces, I can make the complete cover with just one yard. I fold the fabric, selvage to selvage, make sure I have a straight edge then cut two 18 inch x WOF pieces. Then I cut one piece shorter for the face of the chair back. The other was longer for the back of the chair back. If you try this, you will have to measure your chair to see how to optimize your fabric.

Indigo needs pressed, LOL. 

I measured down 8 inches and marked the back for the placement of the emblems. I got so lucky and found that above the clasped hands is a yellow line. I threaded my machine and stitched right across there. I rethreaded my machine with bright red and stitched the curved top slowly and carefully. Wahoo!! It worked. No hand stitching for me :)

After that I match up the front and back piece and stitch the seam that goes from one side, up and over to the other. Hem the thing and its done. I must be doing something wrong because it is way too easy! Oh well. I can handle easy, hehehe. In no time at all, voila! Seven chair covers made to custom match the ribbons they already had in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Go Rainbow!

The chairs set up in the meeting room. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Create a tote

The other evening I whipped up a simple tote bag as a gift. My daughter bought a tote and wanted me to embroider the young lady's name on it. My Janome does basic embroidery but the letters were not tall enough to look right on a tote bag. Ugh.

I heaved a big sigh and moved the Janome to sit on the bed and pulled out my old Babylock Ellure machine. This one can embroider bigger stuff. And it was fresh from servicing when I set it aside. Of course, the machine was in one spot, the power cord and foot pedal another and the embroidery table in a third spot. I have got to get organized!

I thought I had my ducks in a row, then I tried to put the embroidery frame on the tote bag .... What was I thinking?!? The frame would hold the one side just fine but there was not enough fabric to go around the machine without catching the back side in the stitching. The bag was just too small. I know better but I am out of practice, LOL. Now what to do?

We talked and decided to make a 'patch' that could be stitched onto the tote bag. It looked fine once created but as I made a few hand stitches to attach it, I couldn't help but think how much nicer it would be if the stitching was PART of the bag. I'm a little OCD, I'm sorry.

I love having her name stitched ON the bag. 

So my mind struggled and I set the bag aside to pull out a bolt of black fabric and my cutting tools. I just love having a bolt of fabric in house. I need several. All I have is black but it has proven invaluable so many times. I cut a piece about 30 inches x WOF. Then I turned and cut two strips, 3 inches wide at the selvages to make straps. Hindsight, I wish I had made the strips wider.

By stitching the layers together and turning - no raw edges!
I then folded the WOF length in half and stitched up the one side. Turned it right side out, ironed it and that was to be the body of the bag. I put one end on my embroidery frame and stitched out the name and an oval frame. So cute!

Stitch a triangle at the bottom of the side seam and voila - the bag has width. 

I then folded the piece in half lengthwise and stitched both sides. By folding and stitching and turning inside out, the side seams had no raw edges. It may not be as slick as no seams but it is fast and easy.At the bottom, I made a triangle and stitched across it to give the bag width. I also folded the top edges inside and ironed them in preparation for inserting the handles.

Closeup of the leaf design

The handles were narrower than what I expected so I stitched a 1/4 seam on one side and turned them right side out. In my insanity, I had the machine stitch a decorative leaf stitch the length of the handles in black, tone on tone style. I inserted the handles on each side of the bag, pinned them and did 3 rows of stitching around the top edge of the bag to securely attach the handles. Did I mention I have an OCD streak?

The leaves of the handles go with the leaves of the frame.

It's a bit tall for the width but I am extremely pleased. I think the young lady will be pleased to receive it. It looks super cute and was made with love just for her :)