Thursday, April 15, 2021

Backside of Machine Embroidery Quilting AND Another Happy Bird


Paula asked on Facebook to see the backside of this little quilt. She wanted to know if the quilting looked as good on the back. I think it does - what do you think? I will definitely keep doing more quilts like this.

And here is the latest Happy Bird. Always good to finish one of these. 

I'm happy to report that my shoulder and chest muscle pain died down after a couple of days of rest. Tuesday I was able to quilt a bit more stitch in the ditch on Blessing (Marshal). I only have one more large motif to quilt around that involves quilt wrestling with my machine. And then it will be on to the borders
which require no wrestling at all. Yay! I hope to do this later today.

Continue to stay safe!

Sunday, April 11, 2021

One Thing Figured Out!

I called the sweet people at DIME (Designs in Machine Embroidery) and they knew what I was doing wrong. Yay! It worked! I made this photo big so hopefully you can see the machine quilting done by my embroidery machine. I still need some practice in lining up each time, but this was a good little top on which to practice.


Here's the backing I used. 

I've decided to wait until the next instructions (for the road) come out to fix my Color My World quilt. I think it will be easier to do the road first, and then put the houses together again.

I did a bit more quilting in the ditch on my Blessings (Marshal) quilt yesterday. Unfortunately, it was a bit too much. Today my shoulders and chest are sore. No sewing for me today. I hate my new body. It doesn't cooperate when I want it to.....

Continue to stay safe....


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back


I have not accomplished much in the last couple of weeks. I did get these babies stitched together. And I've embroidered one more hexit.

I've made a bit of progress on the Needle Dance cross stitch project.

And we've bought oodles of plants and flowers for our yard. This hanging basket is one of my favorite finds - Trailing Fuchsia - Corabells Dark Eyes. I just love the buds - they look like little balls. And the blooms are lucious, aren't they?

Here's where my frustrations have come in. I bought a new machine embroidery hoop. It's a DIME (Designs in Machine Embroidery) magnetic hoop. Designs by Juju sells quilting end-to-end quilting software. I bought the hoop to try this out for myself. To begin, you have to baste the quilt with adhesive spray. That's the picture you see above - I spray basted this little scrappy top that I made over 10 years ago. I thought a small quilt would be good for practice.

Here I have the basted quilt in the hoop, hooked to my Bernina. And that's where I stopped. I couldn't get it to go. I think I'll call the DIME people tomorrow and ask for help. I'm determined to figure this out!

And here's my other OOPS. The April instructions for Color My World had me make the trees and then sew the house units together to make a circle. Trees made. BUT, when I sewed the units together...they don't lie flat. EEK. I have now taken it apart and will sew it back together again. It will lay flat by the end of the month. IT MUST!

Other than that, we've been busy with the lake. We bought 2 new SeaDoos and had them delivered over the weekend. We spent a nice day there yesterday and went on a boat ride. We are definitely ready for summer at the lake!

Stay safe!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Two More Birds


I have finished two more of these sweet Happy Birds. I'm determined to finish this project - they are so much fun to stitch.

Last weekend I prepped the kits for the next three birds - I'll start stitching one of them today. Lately hand stitching is my main accomplishment. And that's just fine!

This little cutie is so worth it! Sadie had her 1st birthday this week. What fun it was! I wouldn't have missed her party for the world! I don't share many photos of her on my blog or on Facebook because she deserves her privacy...but a birthday is worth sharing!

Stay safe!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

More Hexagons! And a New-to-me Product.


I was browsing on Facebook a week or so ago and came across this book, Tiny Treasures by Kathy Schmitz. Of course, I had to order it. The book has 72 patterns for 1 inch embroidered hexagons. What fun!

This is the project I want to make. The book came in the mail very quickly, so I got started right away.

The author says you can use embroidery floss, but she used number 12 perle cotton. I have loads of #12 perle cotton in a wide variety of colors. Bingo! I using a neutral grunge from my stash. The little triangles will be this green from my stash.

Along with the book, the author offers these papers for sale. Yes, I ordered these, too. I had never heard of them before. These papers are fusible on one side (yay!) and you can leave them in forever (double yay!)...

Years ago I developed a water soluble hexagon paper. It was not fusible though. And it was expensive to produce. So I was intrigued by this product and anxious to try it. So far, it's wonderful - I'll give a complete review later.

The back of the package shows that you can get this product in lots of different shapes.

For the little triangle pieces in between, I cut a few hexagon papers into 6 pieces.

I traced 4 more patterns on my Grunge to work on this week. Lots of fun! And these tiny pieces don't take long to embroider. 

I did very little machine sewing this week. But in the evenings, I work on these embroidered hexies, or my cross stitch, or my Happy Birds. It's so nice to have hand work at the ready! 

This morning I did a bit more ditch quilting on my Marshal/Blessings quilt. I'm realizing that I may not be able to do all the free motion quilting that I want to do with this project. Even the ditch quilting is hard for me to manhandle with my weak shoulders. I think I will continue the ditch quilting, a bit at a time, over the entire quilt and then maybe I'll switch over to big stitch quilting by hand. At the rate I'm going, the ditch quilting will take a couple of months more since I only work on this on the weekends.

Stay safe!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Completed the Circle of Houses and Pi


I finished the circle of houses over the weekend. I also sewed them in pairs, as instructed. And now I'm ready to the April instructions.

I also began the quilting of Marshal. I've started in the center - just a start, but I'm glad this is has been started.

And what's this???? Counted cross stitch???? I haven't done much of this in years. And quilting will always be my number one, but I was drawn to this pattern. "The night forest wakes as the needles dance." Such a beautiful saying. I had ordered this kit (with the blue linen) back in 2019 when we were living at the lake. I started it and decided it was too small and too tedious. I got it back out yesterday and worked on it a bit. Yes, it's tedious and TINY, but if I just do a bit at a time, I think I can do it. In case you're wondering, it's 32 ct linen. I'm going over two threads of the linens.  I'll share progress photos every once in a while.

Yesterday was Pi Day! We are a family of math nerds, so I had to do my part. I made a chocolate 'Pi' and pizza 'pi'.

It's supposed to be a rainy week here, with heavy, dangerous storms predicted mid week. So Sadie and I will definitely go for a walk today while we have the chance.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Marshal: A Quilt with Scars

I finished basting my Jen Kingwell's Marshal. I've actually finished the basting over a week ago, but am just now posting about it. This quilt definitely has a story behind it. I used Tula Pink fabrics in mine along with assorted grays.

The quilt pattern called for it to look like the above. But this arrangement wasn't speaking to me.

I had my mastectomy in November, 2018. Marshal came out as a block of the month pattern in Quiltmania magazine in January, 2019. I thought this would be a great hand piecing and applique project during my recovery. My arms and shoulders were not ready for machine sewing for a few months. But I could sit and stitch these pieces as I felt like it. This became my recovery project. 

Later in the year I saw the finished pattern and had a letdown. It just wasn't ME. I ended up showing to a group of friends and they helped me figure out this arrangement. So then I had to figure out how to stitch it together.

I ended up appliqueing a big section to a large square of the background fabric. The I sewed on the borders. BUT! BUT! BUT! But....

The quilt top didn't lay flat. Uh oh. BIG uh oh. I had too much extra fabric in the background areas. At this point we were living at the lake. I don't have a big floor area there to spread it out and no design wall. I thought about taking the borders off and starting over, but I really didn't want to do that. But I did the best I could and ended up making some tucks in areas and stitched them by machine - sort of like darts. The busy background worked well for this - you don't see them. 

But once we moved into this new home a year ago and I pulled it back out, it still wasn't flat. UGH! And this is why I didn't send it out to be quilted. I knew it would need some extra attention.

So when I started basting it, I was careful to have a long ruler at hand, squaring it up as I went. All was going well until I got the the end. Lots of extra background. So I squared up the border at that end and then dealt with the big puff in the background. A bit of tucking and pinning. A bit of rearranging. But with the quilt mostly basted, I couldn't easily take it to the sewing machine to make the dart. So I simply hand stitch the loooong, curvy tuck in place. And now the quilt is FLAT and SQUARE!

You have to look VERY closely to see the darts and tucks. But you probably won't find them.

Can you see a long tuck?

There is a long tuck just below the word 'BLESSINGS'. Can you see it? I will say that using this background fabric was the real blessing! The tucks do not stand out! 

I found it serendipitous that this was my breast cancer journey quilt. I have SO many scars now. But they don't stand out. And you don't see them. I know they are there, just like on this quilt.

I'm planning some heavy duty custom quilting based on a class I took virtually from Claudia Pfeil. It will take a LONG time. But I'm in no rush. Maybe I will name the quilt, 'Blessings.'

Stay safe!