Saturday, April 28, 2007

Table Cloth Beginnings

During the Cub's game I brought my new project that needed to be cut into the front room so I could cut while watching the game. I am making a tablecloth with jars on it for my mom for Mother's Day. I have everything cut except the jars and the four corner pieces of the tablecloth.

I saw a picture of a tablecloth like this on the 'net but adapted it to work for me. There will be 24 jars, 8 on each long side and 4 on each short side. Mom's table is 6'x3', so it will work out nicely. I don't want it to hang down really far, so the jars are only going to be 8" high, plus thier lids which are only an inch high. Each of the fabrics for the jars has a food theme. I had almost 24 fabrics so that every jar would be different, but decided that the look was more important than every one being different. The size of the print in some of the fabrics was too large for this project.

I'd also like to make a small wall hanging to go with the tablecloth. She has a window in the dining room that is pretty wide and I'm thinking a long and narrow wall hanging with four jars lined up in a row would work. And if there isn't enough space above the window (my brother Joe will measure for me, since he still lives at home) I'll make a wall hanging with four in a sqare.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Since I wouldn't photograph the people in Arthur, I thought I would take pics of the livestock! These cows are in a pasture right next to the parking area of my favorite Amish dry goods store. I think that one laying down is smiling for the camera...


Here's a picture of the quilted purse I made. The fabric was all stash fabric. I had to buy snaps and a button, but that was it. This pattern was adapted from one that was on the internet. Some members of my quilt guild made versions of it at a local shop. I am not able to go to classes at that shop, usually, because of the times they have them. Since the gal that owns the shop also comes to the quild meetings, I usually can participate in things after the fact. We are doing a block of the month with her starting next month at guild.

I used leftover batting in the purse, by the way. I didn't have a piece big enough, so I joined some scraps with a wide zig zag stitch. I also made customized pockets on the inside. I made one side just to fit my checkbook, pens and cell phone, and then the other side has a couple pockets that fit various stuff I always seem to have in my purse.

The snaps and button were bought at the Amish shop in Arthur Saturday. I hope the snaps hold up because they are just sewn on. I did use a lot of thread to sew them on, but I am pretty rough on my purse. I'm not sure if I'm going to leave the top open with just the button on it or put a zipper in. I don't like to sew zippers in, but I'm thinking that all my junk will fall out if I don't have a closed top. Going to 'test drive' it for a while with the button.

Not that I'm still complaining about my 'newer' machine, but all of the quilting and sewing done on this purse was done on old faithful. That old Kenmore went through 5 quilted layers at the sides when the handles were attached. Considering the newer machine can't handle binding without breaking threads left and right, I'm seriously considering closely watching Ebay for any machines identical to the one I have.

The Green Monster

It's done, it's done! I finished the Green Monster Saturday night after my trip to Arthur. It's a trip around the world pattern. The middle square is a duck on the water. On the backside, which is muslin, at the top and bottom borders I put a strip of pieces of squares from the front. I would like to say this design element was planned, but what really happened was the muslin shrank in the washer and dryer and I refused to cut, wash, dry, and piece more muslin. I also added a label printed on our home computer. It wasn't much, but at least it was a label. The quilting was my first attempt at quilting a large quilt on the industrial singer. I'm pleased with it, overall. I had planned to stipple but chickened out and ended up doing wavy lines up and down through the middle of the squares, and again across. Gave the quilt to Dad Sunday. Told him it was just because, no special reason. Oh, and my two teenagers are behind the quilt holding it up for me to photograph it. That's the closest they have been to each other for ages without arguing. I took the picture quickly....

Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend Accomplishments

Had a productive weekend. I was able to get all the quilting done on the green monster. I just need to bind it now. I feel pretty good about using the industrial machine for the quilting. I'm not real good on it yet, but with each row it felt like my control was getting better. I will admit that Saturday night, after quilting half the quilt on the machine, my shoulders and neck were so tense it took a while for me to relax them. But that will go away with more practice! I do have a bit of a problem with the tension on the machine still. It is so tight I can hardly pull the thread through, but the stitching seems okay. And yes, I did have the presser foot up!

I also started on a quilted purse over the weekend. At guild Thursday night some of the ladies had shown off purses they had made at a local quilt shop. There wasn't really a pattern, just a way of folding the material. With a help from some internet friends, I was able to find the folding directions online and the rest was easy. The purse is about halfway done. Don't know if my daughter will want one or not (might not be cool enough for her, you know!), but this first one I made for myself. It also makes a neat tote bag when made larger. Going to make a few of them, also.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Old Singer

Here's a picture of my old industrial Singer. I had the original motor replaced and a hopping foot and single hole needle plate put on. The feed dogs are permenantly dropped on it, also. I have been practicing my free motion quilting on it and now I'm ready to quilt the green monster on it. This week I haven't been able to do much sewing at home, but plan to make up for it Saturday.

Thursday we had our guild meeting. Our guild is only a few months old and we meet in a town about 20 miles from here. There are about 18 in our guild that attend regularly. I usually pick up my sister in law in town and then we stop in the next town and pick up two others. With the price of gas, riding together is working out really well. Plus, having someone to ride with make me want to go more.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Kitty Help

So this is my messy sewing area. Figaro, our 14 year old cat, likes to sit on the blue pillow while I'm sewing and look out the window. She may be supervising the stitching, too, I'm not sure... But, as soon as I get up, Fig thinks she should have the comfy chair! The good part is, she keeps it warm for me while I'm gone.

The machine I was using here is Old Faithful. That's my Kenmore from 1980. It was a Christmas present from my grandparents that year.

I was working on the green squares quilt that I've decided to name 'the green monster'. You can see all my little pieces of paper pinned to the end squares of each row. That's how I keep track of what order they are in. And talk about cheap...I actually recycle those numbered squares! Can't tell you how many times they have been used, but old number 2 scrap of paper is getting pretty full of holes - I must have to move it more than others! Might have to break down and actually number a different scrap of paper - GASP!

The green monster's top is finished now. I put a 3" wide dark green border on it. Tried to pin baste it at home today and just got extremely frustrated with it, so I gave up and decided to take it to work tomorrow to pin on one of the conference room tables. I also baste quilts in the church basement, but the lady who has a key to the church probaby wouldn't have liked me disturbing her Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Day before Easter

Here's a picture of a quilt I made at the beginning of the year. It was made to be sold. The center square has the name of a person stitched in the center. You can kind of tell there is a pattern to it a little bit. I would loosely call it a trip around the world as each round radiates from the center out. The first round was green, etc. I didn't follow any real strict rules, just tried to put in squares that were in the same color family.

I started another quilt that will be the same size as this one, made with squares in different greens. Each round is the same material, though, so it will be more pronounced. Plan on machine quilting on my old industrial Singer. This will be my first real attempt at stipple quilting. I have the top almost completed.

I haven't given up on the idea of a log cabin out of green shirtings, just wanted to get something done over the holiday weekend. I don't have all the shirts prepped to be cut yet. It seems to take forever to cut up the shirts. The back and front panels always yield a lot of fabric, but it's hard to throw away the sleeves, so of course those have to be cut apart, too. Then cutting off the hem and seams help to make the material lay flat for cutting. Cutting is not one of my favorite parts of sewing. It ranks right up there with ironing! But since I converted my ironing board into a big board, ironing isn't quite the task it used to be. My hubby bolted a 2'x5' piece of plywood to my old ironing board and I covered it in batting and muslin. Works great and was cheap to make. The lumber yard cut the plywood to size. Total for the wood was only $7 and I had the muslin and batting.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blue Shirting Quilt Finished!

Last night I sat down at 6 p.m. and decided to work on the binding of this quilt. Considering it is 84" square, this was quite a task. I had already sewn it on the machine, which was an absolute nightmare. I usually do a double fold binding, sew it to the top, then fold over to the back and hand sew binding to backing. The bear of it was that the thread kept breaking on me while I was sewing the binding to the quilt on the machine. I finally gave up on doing it on the newer Bernina machine and got out my old faithful Kenmore (which is almost 30 years old and has metal gears - gotta love 'em!). The Kenmore came through for me, but I didn't dare try to sew the back of the binding on the machine. Didn't want to push my luck! So last night I sat down and hand stitched the binding to the back. I put the last stitch in at 11:10 p.m. It felt really good to have it finished. Tomorrow I have the day off work, but I brought the quilt to work today and I'm leaving the quilt at work tonight because a co-worker who only comes in on Friday's has expressed interest in buying it. If she doesn't want it, that's fine, I have other options.
I really did enjoy making this quilt. The fact that the top was made completely out of shirts made for an interesting project. I started collecting some green shirts from the thrift shop and I think I will cut them into strips this weekend so I can start another log cabin. There are a couple things I will do differently in construction this time, though. This one was made without measuring the strips as they were added, just squared them off with the previous round. I didn't feel this made a very accurate square. I think I'll cut each set of strips to size before sewing. Maybe... wish me luck!