Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Challenge is Always a Good Thing!!

The new year has brought much renewed quilting enthusiasm.  Projects started and laid away have been picked back up with the desire to "finish".  I don't want to leave this world with many ufps (unfinished projects).  I am hoping that I can also use my blog to report as I make progress.  Maybe there will be something here of interest to you that will bring you back.  When I left my blog years ago (when Pops was diagnosed with cancer) I had a fair amount of followers but now---- very few.  I am hoping to find new friends and kindred spirits to share my quilting journey with.  If you see something here you would like to share on your blog, please feel free to do so and in so doing, help me to get word around that I am back.  I have not been so good at posting regularly but am trying to find a way to "get it all done".  I have a new computer--a Microsoft Surface Book and am learning how to use it.  I am trying to find out how I can use the pictures I take with my IPhone with said computer.  I have remembered that I have lots of pictures on Google that I thought I had lost  ~crazy woman~.

Excitement was experienced when I found 2 Challenges for the year by Quilted Moose Quilt Shop, 2018 and they still have patterns for their 2017 block challenges also.  The challenge is to make one block a week.  The same block week after week for one year, or as long as it takes to get the amount you want for a quilt.  At the end of the year they promise a quilt to encourage you to use your blocks.  They each have Facebook and Instagram pages where you can post your blocks and see everyone's blocks.  What Fun!  I love to see different fabric combinations.
Here are two of mine.  The Cake Stand (2017 Challenge) and 9 Patch.
 Piecing 9 patches in rows that leaves the rows connected is such fun and so much easier for me to get the accurate blocks that I strive for.
 One finished block that is totally scrappy.  I am thinking that I will start again and use one color fabric for each 9 patch within the 9 patch.  I have been watching on Instagram and using #52weekquiltblockchallenge--- you will be totally enthused to get started....without worry that you are completely behind ---Whoops!

Now for the Cake Stand which is the 2017 challenge.  I have completed one but have also cut pieces for putting together a massive amount at an upcoming quilt retreat  with friends on March 3rd.  If I get the pieces cut I can see some quilt results.  On Instagram use #52weekquiltchallenge or #cakestand.

 The block is 6 inch which makes it so stinking cute!  And the pieces are pretty quick to cut.
 Here are a few of my stacks of block pieces.  But I have cut many, many more by now.
What a mess is my fat quarter shelf stacked and unstacked as I dig and dig, deciding which two fabrics will make the perfect block.  I know, I should just grab and go with it----sorry, it ain't happening!

When cutting the pieces, pattern calls for one 3 7/8 inch square cut in half for the bottom stand plus 1 -2 3/8 inch square cut diagonally for the part of the bottom stand that is joined to the 2 x 3 1/2 inch background pieces.
 I discovered that after cutting the larger square in half that the other half would be waste.  I tried cutting the other two sections needed for the bottom out of the same fabric out of the other half of the 3 7/8 inch square (I actually cut mine 4 inches).
You can see that the top edge of the triangle is on the 2 1/2 inch mark on the ruler.  Visualize in your mind that this is the same as 1/2 of a 2 1/2 inch square.

 I turned the remainder around and made the same cut on the other side.  See the point on the 2 1/2 inch measurement on the ruler?  Only a small waste in the middle.  Approximately 1/2 inch.
I laid two of the cut pieces from another fabric on top of the larger triangle that they were cut from so you could visualize more clearly what I did.  I hope this helps.  There is a difference in the side which becomes the cross-grain rather than straight of grain, but since all sides are sewn into another fabric and not on the outside edge, I can't see that it makes a difference..

If you go to their challenge web page and decide to take the challenge, maybe you will come back here and use my cutting technique.  It probably won't make much sense unless you actually are cutting the pieces with all your mind in!  If you know what I mean.

Have a great new week beginning tomorrow.
I am worshipping my God not only in the morning but all the time as He is my redeemer and has given me eternal life.  Because He lives, when I die I actually continue to live.  I know that--because He allows me to know that.  His Spirit tells mine.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Oh Holy Night quilt is Finally a REAL Finish (Plus a BOM)

In my previous post I had finished my first finish for the year 2018, all except hand stitching the wrap around binding down.  It is now completely finished and I could not be more excited.  For the past few years I have been helping my husband, referred to here, affectionately, as Pops because that is what our grandchildren call him fight cancer.  He is in remission now, but still has to go to Dallas every two weeks for an infusion of Cetuximab as a maintenance.  He is not eligible for a maintenance pill that is available because our insurance won't pay for it. Medicare will pay for it but Pops will not be eligible for Medicare for 2 more years.  I am thankful that he is cancer free and able to work around the ranch.  He doesn't really ever stop during the day.  It's really amazing and I give My LORD all the credit for it.  His blessings are abundant and awesome around here!
If your interested in the previous post on Mock Hand Quilting, click HERE.

A friend gave me this pattern after she had made the quilt.  It is so precious and the message such a joyful one to me that I decided to make it.  I decided to make it as a Block of the Month.  To give myself some slack and a challenge of making one block per month so that I give myself some time to enjoy each block and also possibly another project too.

It has all the elements of a quilt that I love.  Pieced background, applique, and embroidery.  I still have not decided whether the embroidery will be hand or machine.  Right now I am thinking hand so I will have some handwork to do while I watch TV with Pops in the evening.  My first block is ready to start the embroidery.  I always struggle with fabric choices, trying several and more to make sure the best is chosen.

This is the second block (my February block), straight from the pattern book.  A precious angel block.  God sends these special creatures to take care of us.  Although we have no idea what they look like, I like to imagine.  I'm sure that spirit-beings are invisible unless they need to be seen, in which case they look like you and me.  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?  Hebrews 1:14
"Do  not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."  Hebrews 13:2  
"Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones.  For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my Heavenly Father."  Matthew 18:10
"For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." Psalms 9:11
 This is my method for auditioning fabrics.  I fold them in shapes similar to the size of the cut piece and place them in a similar fashion as the block will be, being careful to hide most of the fabrics that will only include a small piece.  This way no fabric is overwhelming.

 This is the block with my fabric choices.  I did change one or two from the originals of the previous pic, the wings and the hearts.
I decided I didn't like my angels hair choice.  It seemed harsh to me so I tried this one.  It seemed a little light, but am thinking after the embroidery is done it might be best.  Each piece will be outlined with a black blanket stitch.  What do you think?  Which would be your choice?  Or possibly a fabric in between the two.  I'M TAKING VOTES.  PLEASE COMMENT WITH YOUR CHOICE, BLOCK 1 (darker) OR 2 (lighter)or somewhere in between will be 3.  I will send a couple of fat quarters to the winner.  The winner will be chosen by a drawing of names of the commenters.

Have a blessed week!


Thursday, February 1, 2018

FIRST FINISH OF THE YEAR! (But it's not finished!)

I had some time yesterday to get my first finish of the year but fell short of hand stitching the binding down.  This small quilt wall handing has been pieced for over a year and a half but I have procrastinated because I am afraid of failure.  The quilting is something that I have not had much experience with.  This is about to change.  I decided to try mock hand quilting on my machine.  You probably have tried it before.  You use a regular thread in the bobbin and an invisible thread on the top.  My Janome machine suggests using a stitch called a "sculpture stitch" (#171) and adjusting the tension to a #6.  What happens is the invisible top thread pulls the regular bobbin thread to the top in a fashion that when stitched you find it looks a lot like hand quilting.  I have done it before, but not in a long time and on a very small quilt that was a panel.  The mail problem I had was moving over thick seams of piecing.  I found that sewing very slow is very necessary.
 I layered my backing, batting and quilt top after pressing all until smooth and straight.  Make sure you have no puckers anywhere and pin all together.  The batting and backing will be trimmed after the quilting is complete and the excess backing will be used as the binding.
 I then began my marking.  I used a chalk marker and, of course, a straight edge ruler.
 I used the simplest method quilting lines which was diagonal through the blocks, both directions.  I only marked a line or two at a time as the chalk brushes away easily.  Choose the color of invisible thread that you think will be the most invisible on your quilt.  Funny, but I have a real problem with this thread because it is so invisible.
 Here is a pic of after I marked a few lines of quilting.  I did rub some of it off and had to do it again so you can benefit from my mistakes!  Yay!!
 As you begin to quilt you will start to think it is puckering and will never ever be right again!  But think again.  When all is done, if you have quilting similarly all over the quilt, it will be straight again.  I promise.
 I think you can see in this pic that the top and bottom look good but the middle looks puckered.  That is because it has not been quilted.  Take your blessings where you can fine them!
 In this picture, I hope you can see the hand quilted look.
 I actually began working on the binding before I finished the center quilting because I stipple quilted the middle.  I was anxious to see if my idea of bringing the backing around for a binding was going to work.  I folded the backing out of harms way and trimmed the batting to 1/2 inch all the way around.  I then trimmed the backing 1 1/2 inches all the way around.  I them folded the edge of the backing to the edge of the finding and then folded the backing one more time and pinned it in place.
The corner will need to be worked with before you can fold the next side.  After the first fold, you will need to fold back the edge into a triangle sort of.  This makes that edge disappear.
 Press all really good even using a little Magic Sizing or starch.  Fold down and continue pinning.
This pic was taken before I pressed really well---my bad!!

 Here is the semi-finished quilt, ready for binding to be hand stitched.  You would not believe all my computer woes lately.  I got a new Microsoft Surface Book for Christmas, but it is so different from any I have ever had, it is taking me awhile to figure it all out.  This posted before I was finished yesterday so many of you think, "Well, she just cut it off right at the end!  Sorry!  and anther day last week I was trying to post from my phone and a blank posted.  Many of you tried to "read" something and "nothing" was there.  Again, "So Sorry".

Back soon`--  I have a couple BLOCKS OF THE MONTH going that I want to show you.


Thursday, November 30, 2017


Now that the basic stitchery book is finished, the fun part begins.  The inside should contain all the necessities that a stitcher needs to accomplish her stitching tasks.  It's fun to think about all possible ways to gain this very thing.  For this one, I chose a pincushion, a thimble holder, ribbon to attach your scissor, and a wool folder to hold needles (with no "ouch" factor).   I like to thread several needles in different colors of thread to be ready for use as I stitch.
So----from the day I gathered supplies and ideas~~~~~~~~It went from this:
 To this!  As you can see, I did not use all the initial choices.  I wish I could tell you the thrill it gives me to see the finished product and how different it is from the images I had in my mind.  I could never think of all the possibilities of the finished product from the very start.  Each addition spurs another and so on and so on.
The pincushion gave me the most problems.  I tried many ways to make it and many ways to attach it but in the end ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 the best way I found was to cover it.  I had a small walnut shell stuffed pin cushion that was just the right size.  I wrapped it in my chosen fabric, folded it and sewed the folded ends underneath, then stitched the ends down.  I wrapped the ends with antique lace and stitched it in at the same time --

This is the best pic I took of the pincushion placement and stitching.  Before I stitched I played with placement of other things.  Here I had placed a needle folder made of wool to the left and began to design the front of it.  The scissor keeper and thimble holder would be on the right.

For the thimble holder, I placed a piece of 1/2 inch wide elastic inside the fold of my chosen sunflower fabric and stitched closely to it using my zipper foot.  The length of fabric?  I did not measure, but made it plenty long to go around my thimble plus some.  Making first and trimming afterwards is always my motto.  Bigger and longer is easier to deal with.  I hope that makes sense. 

I stitched across one end (left pic) and pulled the other open end elastic (right pic-see the elastic peeking out?)  until I gathered it enough using my thimble as a guide.

When my length was right I trimmed the edge with pinking shears.   I stitched the two ends together leaving the seam to the outside and to stitch it to it's appropriate spot in the stitch book.
The addition of the thimble holder was a sort of challenge because it seemed to get lost on the "page" so to speak.  My solution became a sunflower where I added the thimble as part of it.  the stem and leaves are wool.  Embroidery stitch is buttonhole and the leaves have a chain stitch vein.  The sunflower is wooden.  You'll be surprised what you can find in your stash of stuff is you make up your mind not to buy one thing.  My stuff is awesome!! ~smile~

See how lost the thimble was looking?  Something cool had to be thought of.
Scissors--- I placed the ribbon in the place I thought appropriate and tacked it down enough to try it out.  I had to move it a time or two before I got it right.  Nothing much else to report about this--very simple.

The needle folder/holder is a great way to protect your needles from grabbing onto other things in your book.  Somehow seems they seem to do that if you don't enclose them some way.  Also, threads creep and crawl!

 AI small sign, hand stitched, announcing it's contents.  A button added for cuteness.  I had this darling birdhouse button that just seemed to scream, "USE ME, USE ME!  The pole is small vintage rick rack wrapped with green embroidery thread.  The edge needed definition so I accomplished that with large rick rack.

The little label is just a square of muslin and a hand written  message.  I used a fine point Pigma Pen, then stitched it down with a running stitch.  Ragged edge is my style.  Simple and ragged~~

 The closure is ribbon around a precious button.   Perfectly useful and a lovely final addition.


It's been such a pleasure doing this tutorial as I worked on a project I so totally enjoy!  I appreciate your close attention!  I appreciate your finding some part of my life to benefit you and your little section of the world.  JOY is something all of us seek.  Little things in life is where most of it comes from.  If you don't find JOY in small things, you may not find very much.  I find my total JOY comes from my LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.  If you haven't found HIM, my prayer is that you will very soon. His Word says you will find him if you look for Him with all your heart, soul, and mind.  The place to look?  His Word--the Bible.  It is totally alive and will come alive in your inner most being, your soul.  He is life and brings life, Forever life which is where I find my JOY.  This world brings many many sorrows, but in the promises of Jesus Christ, I can still have ultimate hope and JOY!  If I don't come back before Christmas, Please remember to look for HIM this season.  Without Him there would be no Christmas. 
If you read my blog and enjoy any part of it, I surely would appreciate a comment.  It's the only way I can know you enjoy it.  I don't get paid for any part of it, just love giving a gift to you from me.  If you want to encourage me to do more, just leave me a nice comment.  

Love to all !


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