Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Finishes of the Year

       As 2016 is coming to an end I wanted to finish what I could.  I finished the quilting and binding on 2 children’s comfort quilts which GCQ guild will donate to the children’s hospital.  I used many leftover pieces of binding for a wonderful scrappy binding that suits these quilts.  Many guild members appliqued the puppy blocks and there are many more blocks waiting to be pieced into quilts. 

In 2016 I finished 7 comfort quilts for GCQ guild + 2 adult tops
                           10 comfort quilts for church SQG
                           9 for myself, friends and family + many mug rugs and 1 set of 4 placemats
I have not completed as many quilts as last year; however, I have stayed busy including sewing for my granddaughters and their 18” dolls.

    As I prepare for 2017 I plan to take stock of all other pieced tops waiting for quilting and prioritize my UFOs for 2017 finishing.  Another goal is to use up as much of my fabric stash as possible.  The bed size blue, yellow and green quilting was paused for the holidays so I hope to get back to it soon.  There is also one small quilt sandwiched and waiting.   It will take priority since it is the class sample for the JoAnn Fabric class next week. 

Have a safe Happy New Year and enjoy time sewing and quilting!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Preparing for 2017

    Like many quilters and sewers I have a LARGE stash of fabric.  To prepare for the New Year, I worked to organize my stash.  When I first started quilting, I made 2 flannel “quillows” and planned to make a flannel rag quilt.  The rag quilt never got made as I learned new techniques. Years ago when I bought this flannel I did not prewash.  Now I wash all new fabric before it is put away. I washed multiple loads of flannel pieces.  Not sure how I will use them, but they are ready.  

    Next I sandwiched 3 small quilts.  The 2 puppy quilts are made of blocks collected at guild for the Children’s Hospital.  

The Ohio Star quilt is a class sample for JoAnn Fabrics.  I have a beginner class scheduled for early January. 

I found 3 more children’s small quilt tops waiting to be quilted.  I need to get back to work quilting the bed size Yellow, Blue and Green UFO I was working on before the holidays.  I have been tempted but am trying not to start a big new project until I get another UFO finished. I need to stop starting small projects also. I have plenty to work on in 2017.

Hope you are pleased with your accomplishments for 2016.

Let’s get ready for 2017.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Holiday Preparations

     My younger granddaughter saw one of my holiday sweaters and asked me to make her one.  I made matching Christmas sweatshirts for both granddaughters.  I fused a holiday bear from fabric and embellished them a little. 



     I also did my holiday baking.  About 40 years ago a family friend gave me her rum cake recipe.  For Christmas I have been making Rum Cakes every year since as gifts. 

   I gave the recipe to a friend and she varied the recipe making chocolate rum cakes.  This year for half I tried her variation.  My older son said he likes the original better.  Here is the recipe if you want to try it.

Rum Cake - From the kitchen of Elizabeth V Kelbaugh

Cake ingredients:
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pkg. Duncan Hines Butter Recipe mix
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
½ cup cold water
½ cup Wesson oil
½ cup dark rum (80 proof)

¼ lb. unsalted butter
¼ cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark rum

Preheat oven to 3250 F.  Grease and flour 12 cup Bundt pan.  Sprinkle nuts over bottom of pan (optional mix ½ nuts in cake batter.)  Mix all ingredients together.  Pour batter over nuts.  Bake 1 hour.  Before cake come from oven, boil glaze 3 min.

Mix glaze ingredients.  Let boil 3 min. and have hot when spooned evenly over cake.  Use spoon to ease edge of cake from pan when pouring on ½ sauce.  Remove from pan immediately.  Spoon remaining sauce over top and sides.  Let stand 3 to 4 days before serving.

* I like to use 6 cup decorative Bundt pans as well as 1 cup Bundt minis as gifts. I bake the 6 cup pans about 45 min. and about 40 for the 1 cup.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Scrappy Project

      There are plenty of special events going on this time of year.  One I am following is From My Carolina Home blog is hosting a quilt along for her pattern “Scrap Dance Waltz”.  She shows it in several color combinations (including Christmas red and green) but I love the scrappy version best. 
  I decided to make it small for a charity/comfort quilt. The pattern is simple with HSTs and squares but looks sophisticated.
    I pulled green, blue, red, brown and neutral squares and strips from my stash.  I have a difficult time using as a wide variety of neutrals as Bonnie Hunter but I tried to be scrappy.  Next it was simple to draw a diagonal line on the back of the 4” neutral squares and match them with dark colored squares.  I made good progress sewing before granddaughter time. Red and brown HSTs are sewn and pressed. About half the green and blue are finished. 

Hope you are enjoying this holiday time of year and also enjoy some time sewing and quilting.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Working On

          A friend gave a sister 3 different doll beds including cradle and Barbie bedroom unit. At our Thanksgiving visit, she passed them to me for my granddaughters.  I took some measurements and quickly covered 2 mattresses and made 2 blankets and pillows.  I thought a darker color paint would show less dirt so decided to paint the Barbie unit.  
After            I did not paint inside the closet.        

     After painting the Barbie bedroom furniture, I worked with fleece.  I have lots of pieces.   My younger granddaughter asked for a gold hat and pink mittens.   The simple fleece hat was made using a free pattern from    I just couldn't leave it plain so added a flower shape. 

 The mittens and pompom hat were made using a free pattern from DIY-crush.comI am a little concerned about the mitten fit. The thumb and fingers look long but I will see when they get on.  I’m sure I can make them smaller if needed.  Another site recommended tracing the child’s hand to make a pattern.   

     I have started the quilting on the Blue, Yellow, and Green UFO.   So far I have done a lot of stitching-in-the-ditch to stabilize the quilt.  I spray basted and used safety pins, but I have still had to be careful using the walking foot working on the puffy wool batting.  I want to do free-motion quilting after I make a plan for each block and am considering feathers in the green setting triangles. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ready for Thanksgiving

    I am looking forward to visiting with siblings and their families for Thanksgiving. I decided to take a mug rug for each adult of my generation so collected those previously finished and made a couple more to have enough. 

My siblings usually bring Christmas gifts instead of putting them in the mail so I got busy for that too. I finished up this set of red Cobblestone placemats. I quilted them with one of my favorite motifs from Leah Day called “Echo Shortcut”.
I also made a quilted cosmetic bag and a couple of insulated wine totes.  Both of these were classes I taught at JoAnn Fabrics.  

    After getting baking done, I found time to quilt some on a comfort quilt and finished the Big Houses quilt.  You can find out more about the pattern on this post.  This was a joint effort by members of my church quilt group.  I adapted the size so it finishes at 48” by 66”. 

I decided to quilt the houses with simple straight lines but in the border did a free-motion star meander to go with the border fabric.

Wishing you all an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day of visiting with family and friends. Then you can rest and enjoy some quiet time to sew and quilt.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

This and That

     I have not had time recently for much sewing or quilting.  I had a short visit with granddaughters and family.  The oldest took time to sew a bib for her expected new cousin.  She was nervous about sewing the curves but she did well.  I’m very proud of how her skills are improving and happy that she loves creating things with her sewing machine.
The bib pattern is free from  Clover and Violet  .  Instead of making it reversible, we put flannel on the back.

      I did make time to create more red “made-fabric”.  I hope to make some more crumb hearts.  You can find basic directions from Bonnie Hunter here.  It is easy to adjust the size of the block if you want to make them larger. I am thinking of using multiple sizes and colors.

     Tuesday at Greater Columbia Quilt Guild general meeting Roger Winchell shared a great trunk show.  I helped hold up many of the quilts so I did not get to take photos of them all.  You can see some pictures on the guild blog here or check out Roger’s website   He is a retired engineer, loves math and uses it a lot to design his quilts.  The quilt below is related to a Snail's Trail except that it starts with a hexagon pinwheel instead of a four patch. 

Hope you can find some time to enjoy sewing and quilting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Embroidery Frustration

        I don’t do a lot of machine embroidery and it has been a while since I did.  With my experience yesterday it may be a LONG time before I do again.  This is the result of about 8 hours, 2 new needles, and a lot of stops for broken top thread.

 Sometimes the thread shredded in the tension system and the spool was not feeding smoothly. I used the same polyester embroidery thread I have always used.  Another problem was when the machine would cut the thread to move or change color, it cut it too short and would not pick up the bobbin thread when it started again. That also means backing up the design to not skip areas.  I had to watch constantly. I hope my nephew and his wife will not notice glitches. I wish I knew whether the problems had to do with my embroidery module, machine or something more I should have done.  
     *I would appreciate machine embroidery problem ideas or suggestions

    With much less frustration. I have been going through my clothing fabric stash to see what I can use now.  I finished 2 skirts for myself and a corduroy jumper for a granddaughter.  For my next visit I am taking the Simplicity pattern and more fabric in case the older granddaughter wants to learn and make one for herself. 

     It is Election Day and no matter who wins, I will be glad when all the campaigning is over.  Hope you take time to vote and then find time to sew without frustration.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Couple of Finishes

    I have been working on a few things even though it has been a while since I posted anything.  A couple of things are for my guild Christmas challenge so I don’t want to show them at this time.
   This was the week for church sew day and guild comfort quilt sew day.  I worked at both.  I finished the quilting Friday and sewed the binding and label on so this 3” strip scrappy trip is ready to give.

I quilted with a floral type swirl and tried a new design from ChristinaCameli in the border. My bubbles need a lot more practice.                      ---   front
                                 --- back

  I finally quilted the owl mug rugs so they are also ready to give. 

    My granddaughters love playing with dolls when they visit.  I found a pattern on PixieFaire  for beds made from PVC.  I just happened to have some laying around plus the cutter.  Here are some in progress photos and almost finished. 

 They can be twin or bunk.
This was a fun project. It was so easy I am considering making more.

Enjoy some time sewing and quilting!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What I’ve Been Working On

        I have made time for some sewing and quilting the past week.  I quilted 3 scrappy fall mug rugs.  They could also be used as potholders because I used 2 layers of cotton batting. They will be used for small gifts. 

       At a recent church quilt group sew day, I started scrappy trip blocks using 3 ½” strips so the blocks finish at 18”.  I like this design, however, it is not great to use fat quarters because you must have 21” strips when trimmed. Sometimes you cannot get 21” after trimming selvedge and straightening the edge.  Even though scrappy, I tried to keep the colors in the same order for each block.  Somehow I sewed one wrong.  At least the cream, red and blacks are in the same order. Can you spot my mistake?  Today I sewed on borders so the top is ready to sandwich for quilting.

     I talked several ladies in my church quilt group into making big house blocks.  The pattern was free from Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.  For now you can still find the free pattern here.
We changed the size of the quilt and only put 6 together with sashing and a border.  It is a top ready to sandwich for quilting.

    I have plenty of other projects and some with December deadlines so I better get working on them.

Enjoy some time sewing and quilting!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Granddaughters Learning to Sew

     I am home from a visit with granddaughters and family.  I am glad I could be there for school holidays to spend more time with them. 
The oldest made her Halloween costume – a bat.  She designed the wings.  She couched pipe cleaners as bones in the wings. We used sticky back hook and loop tape to hold the wings to a black shirt.
She has also made a mask out of black felt.

   The youngest recounted that her big sister first learned to use the sewing machine at age 4 and since she is age 4, she wanted her lesson.  I happened to have 2 ½” by 4 ½” scraps cut.  I let her choose a dark and a light to sew together.  I ran the foot pedal and helped her guild the fabric.  She was responsible for raising and lowering the presser foot and cutting the thread.  After a few seams she wanted to keep sewing to make a doll blanket large enough for her doll. I did have to resew 2 seams so as not to have holes.  I pressed, sewed backing and turned pillowcase style plus top-stitched the edge.

She is happy and this grandmother is very proud of both.

Enjoy some time sewing and quilting!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Potholders, Mug Rugs and More

Even though the days here are only a little cooler, I have been thinking fall and holiday projects. The past week I have been busy playing with scraps.  I saw this cute pieced turkey on Lori Holt’s blog Bee in a My Bonnet.   You can see her 12” block here
I decided to resize it to 8” for a potholder and made 2.  I placed the first hanging loop in the corner and the second in the middle.  I guess I like the straight hanging one better.  Which do you like?
 The backing fabric is mum like and it looks like fall also so these potholders could be reversed and used for longer. 
 I also played a day with fall scraps and pieced the top of 3 more mug rugs. I enjoy giving them as small gifts.

Wednesday was sew day at church.  Martha shared her “Star Gazing” quilt top.  It looks great!  The pattern is from Britney Walsh of Soft Day Quilts.  You can find out more about where to find the free pattern on this post

Saturday morning I taught 3 beginning quilters in a class at JoAnn Fabrics.  Kelly finished her 2 blocks and sent me these photos.  Her birthday is Halloween and these are perfect for her and the season.

Enjoy a few minutes each day sewing or quilting!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Scrap Management

     When I am at my home away from home in between painting, spending time with granddaughters or free time, I like to work on scrap management. One type is sewing crumbs together into “made fabric”. I am working on rainbow pieces for a future quilt.  Here is some purple “made fabric”. 

Second type of scrap management is cutting down fabric pieces less than a fat quarter.  I cut strips to 6 ½”, 4 ½”, 3 ½” and 2 ½”.  Strips less than 2 ½” become strings.  Too short to be a string pieces are grouped as crumbs.

I also finished a couple of painting projects during this visit. The bathroom cabinets have a new coat of paint.  Here is a photo of work in progress   
 and after.

Enjoy some time sewing and quilting!