Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Crochet Bug

How time flies! Been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. I have been spring cleaning, painting, etc. for the last few weeks. I was trying to get these things done before my daughter arrived last Saturday from California for a week long visit. My DD has been bitten by the crochet bug. She taught herself to crochet a few months ago by watching online videos. My mother taught me when I was about 9 years old. Anyway, DD has started a 12" Granny square swap on Facebook. Loads of folks have joined. I have volunteered to make a few squares because some of the squares are being donated for lap robes for wounded service men and women. 
She has made 2 squares while visiting. The squares are not blocked yet. The first is a winged dragon square.
Last night she finished a beautiful square. I love her color choices. I would like an entire afghan made from these squares. I would have never thought of putting navy with the spruce green and burgundy.         

My one contribution so far is this cranberry pinwheel square.
 We pulled all my stored crochet patterns and yarns. I had 3, nearly full, 20-gallon totes of yarns. She was like a kid in a candy store. We even found a half finished afghan I had started and then forgotten about. It has 8 strips like the one pictured below. Four and a half strips were already made. Being such a strong supporter and volunteer for the troops, my DD loved the red, white, and blues.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Re-purposed Basket

My DH hates to throw anything away. The bigger problem is that he also hates to see anyone else throw anything away.  Recently, he was helping an elderly neighbor to move. He brought home a basket. The basket itself was in good shape but, the liner was soiled and dry-rotted. I pulled out the old liner and washed the basket. Here is the old liner pictured below. It was easy to remove it because it was so worn out.
I looked through my stash of fabrics and chose a beautiful floral fabric. I measured the old lining width and added enough for the ruffle. I measured the circumference of the basket and cut one and a half times as long. I folded over the top for a couple inches for the ruffle and ran 2 rows of gathering stitches about an 1 1/2 inches down. I ran a single gathering row along the lower edge. I gathered the top and bottom to fit the basket and tied off my threads.  I had pulled out the old bottom liner and re-padded and covered. I stapled the fabric underneath the bottom piece. I hot glued the ruffled edge to just inside the top edge of the basket. Then, I pulled the lower edges into place and glued down the bottom piece to hold it in place. Here is the end result. It was a very quick and satisfying project. I love the end result.
 Doesn't this make a lovely sewing basket for my hand-sewing projects? Keeps everything at my finger-tips.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Label Quilts-check!

Today I finally washed the Damask Rose quilt. I just love the look of quilts after they have been laundered. It is kind of like the look along the seams of well laundered jeans. You just can not get that look any other way. 

Then, I actually labeled it and the Briar Rose (yellow rose) quilt. I have made a promise to myself to always do that. The quilt is not really finished if it's not labeled. And, as a family history buff, I know how important this information can be later on. There are several ways to create a quilt label. One is described in this tutorial at Crazy Mom Quilts blog. That is pretty much how I labeled the Damask Rose quilt. I do wish I had gotten a finer point Micron pen. The label looks lop-sided in the photo, but it isn't.
For the Briar Rose embroidered quilt, I used a pre-printed fabric label. It came from a quilt label panel I bought years ago. Here are photos of a portion of the panel and the selvage. These are designed by Kaye England.
Selvage of the panel.
The label I chose is large and is the same dark green as some of the leaves embroidered on the top of the quilt. There a lot of information to put on this label. I cut out the label from the panel and squared it up. Then, I ironed it to freezer paper for stability. After I wrote on the label, I removed the paper and hand-stitched to the back of the quilt. Because the label was so large, I also took tiny stitches around the edge of the green design, as well. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another Finish!

I am beginning to feel like a real quilter and not just a quilter-wanna-be. This morning I finished stitching the binding on the Damask Rose jelly roll quilt. I love the fabrics in this quilt. So romantic. It is the first time I have used cotton batting and is very cozy. I think I can easily wrap up in this to watch TV or read a book on a cool, rainy day. It is machine pieced and quilted. The machine quilting is stitch-in-the-ditch which took longer than I had imagined it would. Not perfect, but finished. I'm happy with it. I took it outside to photograph. It was windy and slightly overcast in my backyard.
(from Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls, and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott)
I do think the colors appear a little brighter outside in natural light. Indoors the colors are softer. 
This photo was snapped under my new OttLite. Sewing under this lamp is a dream. I bought it at the Hancock Fabrics in Collierville, TN last week. The original price was $269.99. Hancock's had a 40% off sale on OttLites. But, I saw a sign above this 3-way craft floor lamp that said $99.99. The manager said it was an old sign, but would let me purchase at that price. It just happened to be senior discount day for anyone over 55 years old, too. So, it cost me about $85 plus tax. Quite a steal, uh, deal. LOL

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Full Circle

This quilt has come full circle. I bought the top. My mother embroidered it. I hand-quilted it. And today we were all together. Thank you, Mother, for passing on your love of needlework on to your family.
See more about this quilt and it's history go here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you.

Lately I have been spending some time getting to know my sewing machine. That may seem strange. I have had this particular sewing machine for 8 years or so. It is a Husqvarna Lily 545. But, I didn't use it very much until recently. Even then I had no idea of all the things it can do. I had recently figured out some unique things on this machine. Then, I found my handbook. It had been misplaced for a while. Last night I read it through and through. Now, granted, I will have to refer to it again many times. But, I was amazed as if it were brand new to me. 
I had already discovered that by the touch of a button, I can control the speed and I can make the needle always stop in the "down" position. This comes in handy when you are stitching short distances and then having to turn. I am doing a lot of that while quilting my Damask Rose quilt. I am using the stitch-in-a-ditch method of quilting it and learning a lot as I go along. Last night I discovered that if I press the "fix" button at the beginning and ending to my stitching, the machine does a better job of tying off than me using the "back" stitch button. Looks so much neater. I hope to use the applique stitch before too long. It is supposed to look like hand applique.

When I bought my sewing machine, I also bought the Quilter's Kit that goes with it. It has the attachments for free motion quilting (FMQ). That is on my list of things to learn to do. Also, right now I am using the walking foot to quilt the Damask Rose. In the first photo is the plexiglass extension table that was also included in the kit. Yes, I hope to soon really know my machine a whole lot better than in the past. No telling what I can accomplish!