Monday, September 29, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Quilt

As you create quilts, aren't they supposed to get larger as you finish them? Somehow, this quilt missed those process steps. After I finally created all my binding needed for both my Turning Twenty quilt (red binding) and my friends memory quilt (black binding). I set my mind to completely finishing my friend's memory quilt.

I took another look at the quilt and decided... hmm... I need to trim it a little bit to square it up before I begin with sewing on the binding. So, I started out with a 1.5" blue inner border and 3.25" outer black border. I completed my first trim and off came .25 inch all around. No problem.

Sat down while hubby watched the football games and sewed down the black binding. All went well. I joined the two ends of the binding with some difficulty but got it done. Whew. Now, I decided, I'm not hand sewing this binding down. It will "take to long". So I thought I'd just sew down the quilt from the front while I tightly wrapped the binding around to the back. I'm sure my stitching will catch it. NOT.. That was the most unsightly mess. I did peek from time to time but the areas I peeked at seemed OK. I tried to rip out the stitches where the backing came out over the binding. That went on for about 15 minutes and I just said... forget this...Sorry no pictures of that unsightly mess.

I stomped downstairs muttering under my breath all the way. Expanded my cutting table, placed the quilt on the top and you guessed it. I lopped off the half attempt at sewn down binding. There went another approximate .5 inches.

Now, back to creating another 250" of new binding... Sewed it down on the newly smaller size quilt and you'll never guess what I said. I'm not sewing this binding down by hand. It will "take to long". So this time, I got the big idea to sew it down from the back to the front. This way I was sure to "catch" the binding and sew it down correctly. 3.5+ hours later, this process is finally completed. The second round of binding sew down worked. Not beautiful, but, durable. The quilt now has a 1.5" blue inner border and a 1.5" black outer border.

This all happened Sunday night. Just when you think the hubbies aren't paying attention to your "quilting troubles" they'll surprise you. Here's what I came home to Monday night after work. When asked why, he said since you were having such a difficult time with that quilt and to celebrate it's done. Now only 4 more to go... Yep, I agreed to do 5 of them...

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Binding, Bobbins and Free Motion

Binding Progress

I cut my binding strips in red and black and setup the ironing station in the livingroom using my double sided craft board. I created over 500" of binding.

After creating the binding, I was looking for somewhere to store it. I found this empty external hard drive stander upper thing on my floor. Perfect! The sides keep the binding in alignment.

Rediscovered Bobbin Winder

Right in the middle of the sewing the binding strips the bobbin thread ran out. I dreaded the thought of having to disconnect the thread to connect the bobbin winder on the top of the machine. Wait a minute, I have one of those sidewinders... where is it. Long story short, I gave it another try and I loved this! It was so fast and saved me the agony of trying to rethread my sewing machine needle which I swear I can't see anymore without a magnifying glass. Now it only works if you have two spools of the color you need. I was using black, so we know everyone has plenty of black.

Finishing the Halloween wall hanging and Free Motion Quilting.

In the evening I sandwiched my Halloween wall hanging. I was dreading the fact that I have to twist and turn the wall hanging at every angle to sew down the branches of the tree. Can't I just move freely left right up down? OK, I'll try it again, I'll put on the free motion foot. Last time I tried this foot on the machine I had a disaster of a birds nest. Now, where do I drop the feed dogs? OK, got it. Tested out some sewing and OMG, it didn't turn out as the same birds nest as I remember before. Hey, this is easy!! I'm hooked.

Thanks for stopping by.


P.s. SAD NOTE: If anyone is following our butterfly raising entries. Our last butterfly started emerging yesterday. It got caught up in the cocoon on it's way out and after hours emerged with crumpled wings and just did not make it. This was very sad after the long journey, but, we knew going in, there could also be some sad things to witness in addition to the beauty.

Friday, September 26, 2008

All Bound Up on a Rainy Weekend.

Yep, I'll be bound up in binding over my head this weekend. I have two quilts to cut and apply binding on. I'll be cutting, pressing, adhering and binding the "Oopsy Daisy" quilt below. I'm going to use one of the red fabrics in the quilt. That is, if I can remember what I did with the fabric. It's somewhere around this place. This quilt will be a little over 315" of binding to create and add. I plan on hand sewing this one down on back. So, I don't think I'll finish it all this weekend. I'll be happy if I finish creating the binding and sew it to the quilt.

Which raises a question from me to you. When you add a different color binding to the quilt other than the quilt fabric itself, what color thread do you use? On this one, the red binding will be a huge contrast to the b/w front and the black backing. Should I use black thread or red?

The second quilt I will be creating binding for and adding is my friend's memory quilt. This one will be about 250" of binding. This one, I'm adding black binding on black border. This way allows me to machine sew down the binding without it being so evident when I come in close on the binding on the back.

I'll have plenty of time to add this binding since it's going to be a rainy weekend here in Central PA. That's OK, hubby's off today with me and we'll do a little running and then Saturday and Sunday will be spent sewing since hubby works weekends. I'll just plop in my new "Sex and the City" dvd and start sewing the binding.

Hope you have a great weekend!
Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Loves Me, Loves Me Knot or Oopsy Daisy

I am so excited that I received my Turning Twenty quilt back from the Rachel-sewbehind blog and the Sewbehind website. I am so mesmerized by the consistency of the daisies on the quilt. One the front, they are nice and subtle and don't take away from the overall quilt design and on the back, WOW, they just add a great element!

I asked that Rachel use two different threads for the quilt. Black on top and White on the bottom. Usually this is such a no no. But, since the overall quilt was already black and white I figured when the bobbin white thread pulled up to the black top thread, i would get this polka dot like look. It is more evident on the back and it looks exactly as I was hoping.

I can't say enough about Rachel. I just met her while blogging (which you all know has not been very long) . Quality work, fast turn-around and great prices. Please visit Rachel's sites to see more (Rachel-sewbehind blog and the Sewbehind ) when you have a moment

Just look at how great these photos are. Ok, it's early morning here and the lighting is not perfect. The colors are much more vibrant. There are close-ups of the front and back and full front (well, couldn't fit the whole quilt in the photo) and back. You can click on the photos for more details.

Also... help me choose the quilt name. Either Loves Me, Loves me knot or Oopsy Daisy. Send me an email or post a comment.

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Work and Quilt prep Shortcuts

This weekend was spent finishing up my friend's memory quilt. I at least got it to the point where I'm ready to add the binding and label so it was a big accomplishment for something I've been putting off. You see, most of the fabrics are knit and it was a struggle just keeping the squares aligned.

Preparing the Backing

I love my steamer! I steam everything I can. It's a Rowenta large standing steamer. I've even used it to help remove wallpaper. Now that's a multi use product. This time, as I was preparing the quilt backing, I noticed how wrinkled it was. I folded it up and introduced it to the steamer and I was done in maybe 3 minutes. Most of the steam reaches through the layers to hit all but I reached in touched up the layers with a swipe of steam. Took out enough wrinkles to work with the backing.

Pinning the backing without the aching back

I have tried several ways to pin the quilt sandwich without all the back strain/pain of crouching over the quilt on the floor. Since most of my quilts are smaller than a queen size quilt top, I started using the top of the bed. I make the quilt sandwich on the bed and then I place a small chair at the end. I pin a row, then roll the quilt/batting/backing sandwich and carefully, evenly pull the quilt closer to the edge for the next row. To help not pin the bedspread below, I drag my flat cutting board from left to right under the sandwich to catch the pinning. I pin left to right and roll, then right to left and roll. Before you know it, you are done and your quilt is in a nice tight roll to place under the basic sewing machine. It works great for me.

Where are my magnifying glasses

I decided to rip out the clear thread sewing I started on the Halloween quilt wall hanging below. OMG, it is hard to do. Finding all the thread is a pain. Won't do that again. But now, I'm back to square one and ready to sew down.

Found my coupon book

When I went to Joann's this past Saturday, I was looking for the Fall Fusion pattern book for $2.99 that had coupons on the back. Normally, I don't pay for coupons but 50% of is a good one for me when I buy large amounts of fabric for a backing in one piece. Needless to say, I found the magazine and bought 3. They're great since they last until 12/2/08 so I just stuck them in my purse and ready for impromptu visits to Joann's.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Digital Scrapbooking Day for Me

Well, when I got home for work this evening it was digital scrapbooking time for me. From time to time I like to create digital scrapbooking pages to share with family / friend. Here are some pages completed for my Great Niece Justice. Now, keep in mind, I'm a little behind on my pages, these photos were from about 1 years ago.

I used PhotoShop Express 5.0 for my digital scrapbooking pages. I subscribe to several digital scrapbooking newsletters that usually provide 1 or two free samples daily or weekly. Some of my favorite sites for digital scrapbook items are:

I usually send the pages (after resizing them to a smaller size) to relatives as a surprise or I will do a series of them as .jpg images and then add them to a slide show with music. It puts a little twist on the same old digital photo slide show. Here are the photo pages I did of Justice. Her headband reminded me of spring so that is the theme I went with on two of them.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's a Sew Down & All the way from Australia

Slowly but surely I've been working my way around all the intricate details of the Halloween wall hanging. I decided to sew down my applique on this one with invisible thread and a zig zag stitch. I'm almost done with the right side of the tree but I'm not happy with the results :-( When the light hits it just right, even a flash from the photo, you can see the "invisible thread" on the dark fabric. I probably should have used the smoke invisible thread. Now I think of that. Anyhow, I'm debating about removing the stitches.
All the way from Australia

Probably 10 weeks ago I order a lot of Quick Cards Made Easy and CardMaking an Papercraft on eBay. I probably paid more for shipping than the magazines because they were mailed from Australia. I find that if I don't constantly think about the shipment and what's the status, it's such a great surprise when they do show up.

Well they finally arrived today!! I really like these magazines for new ideas for cardmaking. I wish there was a less expensive way to get them. Here is their website, see for yourself.

Thanks for stopping by


Monday, September 15, 2008

Up Up and away....

Well, they are all hatched and two are on their way out in the big world. Here's some photos of the priceless results of this whole process. It was a long journey but the end result of having the butterflies cling to you before they take off is "priceless".

Thanks for stopping by


Turning Twenty Quilt & Before and After

Well, the quilting on my turning twenty has been finshed. It looks fantastic and was completed by a fellow blogger. Her name is Rachel and she has the Rachel-sewbehind blog and the Sewbehind website. I asked her to do something quilters rarely do and that is use different colors for the top and bottom of the quilt. See for yourself. She does a fantastic job on the quilting. See for yourself how it turned out.

Weekend Goal Progress

Goal 1 - Nope, didn't finish my friends memory quilt. Ran into a snag in that when trying to sew cotton borders on stretch clothing squares I now have wavy borders. I tried twice and still ended up with wavy borders. Set it aside until I talk to my friend.
Goal 2 - Started the Halloween Wallhanging and have the full top almost completed. Just need to sew down the applique. Here's the photo work in progress with borders. Goal 3 - Half way done, I watched half of the Kim Brunner dvd and then got sidetracked from bulletin board conversations that another dvd was better for beginner long arm quilters so I ordered that one to start with first.
Goal 4 - Thank you card completed and ready for mailing.
Clean computer room - done on Friday and disorganized by Sunday :-)

Buttefly Before and After

Hard to believe here are the before and afters of our butterfly journey that started with an egg on August 22nd is now the most beautiful butterfly on September 14th.

Thanks for visiting

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Huge Lightbox and the First Monarch

I've used this before when I was completing my stain glass quilt but never showed photos of it. If you have a glass patio door or sliding glass door, you have the largest and best light box for tracing applique patterns. Here's a photo of my natural light box and how much the pattern shows through the fusible web for tracing.

Then I started tracing with several things, tried chalk but kept rubbing it off when I crossed over lines. Too erasable. Tried pen which worked well but I kept having to stop and write normally to have the ink come back down. Too time consuming. Then I moved on to a pencil. Why didn't I use that first, duh. Just right. You can see by the following photos I try and reuse every bit of the fusible webbing I am using.

I used painters tape to adhere the pieces. This is still tacky enough to keep the paper and fusible web with paper sides up. However, you still need to be careful taking it off, it can rip the pattern.

Butterfly Update

Of course, I turned my back this morning and I have a visitor. The monarch has emerged. The other two cocoons are about to hatch as well. Once they start moving around I'll get a better photo. For now, I don't want to disturb them while it is drying it's wings. I hope I can catch one of them emerging from the cocoon.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Simply Quilts, Cards and Butterflys

I love watching reruns of the Simply Quilts show with Alex Anderson. I loved watching them even before I was a quilter. I happened to come across a tape (ok now dvd) and rewatched the episode about Origami Flowers. I thought this would make a great card front. So, you guessed it, I pull out a piece of recent batik received and created an origami flower block. Of course I had to put a little bling in the center with a bead.

Here are the steps I took for the card. I combined the steps into one photo and labeled them for quick reference. A - I created the origami flower block. B - I taped (using the very strong red line double sided tape) some free form cut leaves out of scrap. C - I added tape to all pieces. Printed out a Card that just said thanks you in open black lined letters. D - Colored in the "thank you" with the recent markers I purchased. They color so nicely!! Bow, I must say I was nervous about staying within the line when I was coloring :-)

Then I pealed off all the backing to the tape and very very carefully (once this tape takes hold, it's staying) placed the flower angled on the top left of the card. Here's what I ended up with the results. I'm happy with it. Not sure how it's going to mail ( I can squish down the flower petal) but happy with it.


We moved the cocoons to the netted cage in preparation for their arrival. The caterpillars and cocoons were in a Glad plastic container with air holes. All we did was place two Velcro circles on the lid and adhered it to the netting cage without disturbing the cocoons. It worked great. Here's a better photo of the cocoons. I think you can see the wings inside. And finally, we have one last caterpillar ready to change. It's in it's own container. Here it is I swear looking at it's reflection LOL.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Awh... the weekend is upon us.

Yippee, it's FRIDAY, FRIDAY, FRIDAY, it's the weekend (well almost) and time for some crafting. I have several goals this weekend.

Goal 1 - I want to finish the memory quilt top for my friend. Once I get the last corner finished, I'll place it on top of the backing and make my quilt sandwhich and then it's on to stitching in the ditch. Pretty easy.

Goal 2 - Pull out the halloween wall hanging and get started. If not, another holiday will be upon me and I didn't get the holiday wall hanging completed in time.

Goal 3 - Finish watching my new quilting DVD from Kim Brunner

Goal 4 - Create a Thank-you card for a quilting friend. Of course it will have to be quilting themed.

Whew... just a few goals, nothing too hard. I also have one non crafting goal. Clean my computer/sewing room. it's amazing how disorganized one can get in a week. Several packages just sitting on the floor, stash fabric disorganized because I was in a hurry to find something, etc.

This week I was looking for inspiration on organization and craft rooms and stumbled upon this webpage that had a ton of peoples craft room photos. I hope you enjoy the examples as much as I did.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

So many things...

This week has been a mix of things as usual. I usually jump from 4-5 new things a week, it's what I do. I have 3 of the 4 double border corners completed. When I know I won't have much time to sew, I tend to set goals for myself. This week the goal was to sew down and complete one corner per evening on the quilt below. So far so good.

I have a couple new additions to my crafting supplies. There's always some new item that catches my eye.

First, I bought my first set of Prismacolor markers. These are especially useful in coloring in black outlined stamps which I like to use on cardmaking.

Here's a great overview on craftcritique blog. Of course, I had to get them one sale. I used my favorite Michaels craft store 40% off coupon.

New Quilting DVD - I also received my new instructional quilting DVD that I've been hearing a lot about on the quilting bulletin boards I monitory. I was able to review the first chapter and it is very informational. It's called "Machine Quilting for Beginners" by Kim Brunner.

It covers the basics of making sure your quilt is on the frame straight, etc. I definitely need this to get moving on using the sewing machine and frame more. Here's a photo of the cover of the DVD in case you are interested.

Finally, we are still waiting for our Monarchs to emerge. Their cocoons are sooo green and if you can see on the details for the photo below, you will see the gold seal on their cocoon with the gold dots on the bottom. Possibly you might be able to click on the detail in this photo. Sometimes the blogger links to details don't work for me. Hope you enjoy!


My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by 9/11. We will never forget.