Monday, December 12, 2011

Considering Family & Gratitude

I have spent a lot of time with my family.  Or at least I try to.  I worry over them, and hope for the best for them.  And sometimes that means I don't get to post very often.  At least that's my story for now.

Last night I visited with my Mother and my Aunt.  They are both aging (as we all are), and I know they feel young inside.  It made me ponder about families.

Growing up, I thought I had it bad because I had an absent dad.  But, instead I had it pretty good.  I was surrounded by loving aunts, uncles and grandparents, and my mother loved all of us and worked very hard on our behalf.  I always knew my extended family loved me very much.  It was just easier as a child and young adult to focus on what I didn't have.  However, as an adult, I've found it better to focus on what I have.  I still have loving extended family member that love me.  They have memories to share with me, and are willing to spend time with me when I have time for them.  For this, I am grateful.

Even now, I have to focus on what I have.  Children can be difficult.  And watching your children make life-changing decisions without awareness of the consequences can be extremely difficult.  (Surely no mother looks at their newborn baby and thinks about them being a bum when they grow up).  (Not that mine are bums, but you get the idea).  We all want the best for our children.  We want them to have it better than we did, learn to love, learn to work hard and to be around forming memories with us as we and they age.   However, when these decisions are made, we need to stand by and let them, because they have their agency.  So, I try to focus on what I do have.

I have a child that thinks a Sunday isn't complete without a game of Aggravation with his dad and me.  He also still doesn't mind spending a little bit of time with us, and helping out around the house.  For this, I am grateful.

I am grateful that I have time to quilt, sew and create.  I am grateful I have a part-time job that stretches me, allows me to be creative, and share my knowledge with others.  I have a great boss, fabulous co-workers and it is nice to laugh at work.  They support me in my hardships, and we can share our lives.  For this, I am grateful.

I have a sewing group that gets together once a week (usually).  We share our triumphs, our sorrows, and our work.  We help each other and teach each other new things.  We try to solve the world's problems, and laugh at ourselves and the mistakes we make.  For this, I am grateful.

I am enjoying leading the Ward Choir this Christmas season.  The choir members have been very responsive to me, and we are enjoying singing together.  Good music and beautiful harmonies touch my heart and soothe my soul.  For this, I am grateful.

So, I may not post very often, although I would like to do more.  Just know that I am working, learning, sewing, spending time with family and friends, and serving where I can.  Life is full and overflowing.  For this, I am grateful.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's Been HOW LONG???!

I went on Spring Break with my family, shortly after my last post.  Then, as soon as we were back, I hit the ground running and it has taken a while to slow down.  So, I guess I better do some catching up.  I had an opportunity to use a long-arm quilting machine... and quilted this to hang at the store.  It isn't bad for my first official quilt.  I would like to do some more.

 Then, there is this runner.  I took a quilt guild class for flying geese in 2010.  Then, last fall I pieced these three blocks together to make a runner.  I basted it soon after, and finally quilted it this month.  Last week I finished the binding while at a family reunion.  I am pleased with it, and will use it in the Spring.

 In April and May, I only had time to finish one quilt guild project...The Mystery Quilt.  I decided to do straight lines diagonally across the quilt.  This is a very time-consuming way to quilt!  I do like how it finished.

I have more to show later...and much more to work on.  I'll try to keep up here more frequently.  I've missed this, too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More Store Samples - Bags!

Two new patterns came in the store last week, and I just had to make the samples.  The one on the left is a Scripture bag; the one on the right, a crayon bag.

They both have inside pockets as well.

They were pretty easy to make - only taking less than 2 hours each.  I think the next ones will go even quicker!  Plus, I got to work with this super cute Riley Blake fabric.

Keep on Sewing!

Mystery Solved & a Few Other Finishes

Our Quilt Guild did this quilt as a mystery.  I used "Summer's End" by Kansas Troubles.  I am thrilled with the result.  I don't think I want to add a border to it.  I hope to quilt it before May 10th. 

Then, I finished this quilt, using "Lilac Hill" fabric.  

Can you believe that quilt is only 16x20 inches.  It is called "Delectable Mountains" and it is from the Fat Quarter Quilting book by Lori Smith.

Next, I finished these place mats for Easter.  I wanted to use them to decorate the shelves of my kitchen hutch.  I may make enough to switch out frequently through the year. I did learn that next time I will quilt all over a sandwich made from 2 1/2-yard pieces, instead of cutting them to size first.  That way, I can quilt better without worrying about getting too close to the edge.  

And, finally, the second Chocolate inspired table topper.  

This one, I used a different back on, but the front is the same.  I had a difficult time with the inside corners, but it worked out okay.  

Here you can see some of the quilting.  I am very pleased!

Now I can add them to my list of finished projects.  Yahoo!!!

What are you sewing?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Fun Tool

I found another useful tool.  Sometimes I do have hand work to do, and would rather sit on the couch than in my sewing room.  So, I gather my equipment and head downstairs with this:

That's right...a breakfast tray.  Sometimes used for breakfast in bed.  Sometimes used for sick days.

But, this is the best use of all.  Handwork and keeping all my supplies together.

Do you have any favorite tools?  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Finish...

or two.

I finished these bags.  They are tote bags for shopping days.  I can fit a lot in these bags.

Then, I saw this chocolate fabric at work, and had to do something with it.  So, I adapted a charm-pack pattern, and used yardage instead.  Here you can see I used the chocolate on the back, too.

 I am using this quilt as a sample for my machine quilting class.  I hope it is eye-catching enough!

I had enough fabric for two of these, just had to use a different back on the other one.  It is still waiting for the binding to be finished.  All in good time!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Great Tool

 I have another favorite tool to share with you.  I recently cleaned out a drawer and found this handy flashlight.  It is great to use at my sewing machine.  I frequently drop pins and can't see them in the shadows.

So, I turn on the light and the pins sparkle in the light.  It will certainly save my feet from a few pokes.

Do you have a favorite tool?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Help for Square in a Square Blocks

I've had trouble in the past with my square in a square blocks.  I know you add triangles to each side of the square.  However, mine were always difficult to square up.  So, I finally figured out a few tricks.  

First, I find the center of my triangle and fold right sides together.  Then I fold my square right sides out. 

That way they nest together to line up.  

Pin well. (I used to hate pinning, and yes, it takes a little more time, but it sure saves on accuracy).

Then, here's the trick...Sew with the stretchy triangle on the bottom.

Remember that old line, "Baggy Bottom".  It fits many scenarios.  Here it kept my triangle from shifting, and the pins kept it lined up with the square.

And here is my very nice square in a square block.  The beginning of a very cute table topper to be revealed later.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Results

I received these mug rugs from Mary today.  They are so sweet.  The center piecing looks like weaving, and the squares are only 1/2 inch.  Amazing work!  I love the little scissors on the fabrics.  They will fit my interests just right!  Thanks Mary!

These are the mug rugs I made to send away.  I sent my partner one of the watermelon ones and the pink one.  The other watermelon one I sent to Lisa.  She is my friend from College days and after she sent me warm college memories, I thought I needed to send her a mug rug.

I hope you enjoy these little bits of sweetness.  Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mug Rugs in Progress

 I've been working on mug rugs for a swap.  Here I chose my fabric and sketched my design idea.

I cut squares and triangles.   The pink squares have crowns and jewels.  The recipient can be queen for the day!

I've sewn triangles to opposite sides of the squares.

And pressed them open.

Sew again,

and press.

I sewed them all together and it is too long.  But, I fixed that...

By adding borders half-way through the side squares.

Here it is ready to be basted.

I decided on my second one, to let the fabric speak for itself.

I will quilt them soon and get the binding on.  They need to be posted by Monday.

I think the trick for the square in a square is to pin the triangle in 3 places to keep it straight while being stitched.  I struggled a little with it here.  I'll try it next time.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I have my Mystery up to date

I worked on it all day on Saturday and got it to the same spot as our Guild tutorial.  Only 3 more guild projects to go this month.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Border Tutorial

  This is my first tutorial, so I hope you will leave some kind comments at the end. 

Putting borders on a quilt can put fear into some.  Borders not put on correctly will cause problems for your machine quilter.  I've developed a way to put on borders that seems to take out the fear, and leave you with accuracy.  I've developed it from using a conglomerate of tips gleaned over the years, and insight of my own.  Enjoy!

This is our mystery quilt for Quilt Guild.  It is basically adding borders around the quilt over and over again.  Some are pieced borders, and the others are a one-piece border. Great effect, don't you think?

The first thing I do, is measure the quilt through the center.  If it is bigger than my cutting mat, I fold it in half, then, measure it with my acrylic ruler.  I find the accuracy is fine if my quilt and border are both measured the same way, folded or straight. This measurement is 20 1/4 inches

So, now I measure my border piece.  The cutting instructions for this quilt told us the cutting measurements, but thinking they might be borders, I just labeled them for what they would be cut to.  I always measure my quilt before adding borders.  Lots of things can happen while piecing to make the measurement different than the pattern says.

Here, my border is measured from the fold...20 1/4 inches...

and I cut off the excess.

Next, I take the quilt and the border to the ironing board.  I press the quilt in half on the edge the border will be placed.  Here, the quilt is folded wrong sides together.

 Then, I open it up and press each edge to the center, still wrong sides together.

Set the quilt top aside for a moment.  Now, I press the border, right sides together, in the center.

When I open it up, I have a nice crease in the center.

Now, I press each end to the center.

This marks the border at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 across the fabric.

 Now, lay the quilt top out, right side up, and lay the border on, right side down.  The creases you made with your iron will nest together.  You will know that they line up.

Now, it doesn't matter if the quilt is creased right sides together, or wrong sides together.  The key is to have the border folds be opposite of the quilt.  Then, the creases will always nest, giving you an easy mark to match.

Now, I pin at the center, each 1/4 way mark, the two ends and then in between each crease.

Now, I take it to my sewing machine and stitch my 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Just a note, here.  If you have one part that has more stretch to it, and the other doesn't, put the stretchy side down while stitching.  I remember it as "Baggy Bottom".  The feed dogs will help it feed evenly and your border will go on great.  Here, my pieced border has more stretch, so I will put it on the bottom.

Be sure to remove the pins as you come to them.  You don't want to break a needle on one.  Also, keep your edges together as you go.

Now, I press, with the seam allowance going to the border.  This eliminates bulk, and your machine quilter will be happier!

Now, repeat the process with your other 3 border.  (Lather, rinse, repeat.)

And here it is with all four borders.

Looks good!  Only 3 more rounds to go for this month.