Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quilting Fun

 I am loving the new location for my sewing room!  It is light and bright.  I can be in the center/front of the house, and feel more a part of what's going on.  I am sewing every day.  Nothing big.  Nothing fancy.  But I am getting more familiar with my new machine, and learning what all it does.
Last week one day, I decided to make the cake block I was seeing all over my friends' blogs.  It is a Lori Holt design, and she provided it for free in celebration of her book Quilty Fun.  If you go visit her blog, you can also print out the instructions to make this block.
I made a little boo boo.  If you have already made this block, you can probably spot it.  I loved this block.  I used scraps from my scrap bin.  The cake fabric, is from a quilt I have that my Great Grandmother, (Nana's mother) made.  I have several of her quilts.  A couple of them were in pretty bad shape.  One of them, was very bad, so I snipped off all of the usable backing pieces that I could save, and then I made a couple small blocks with the front that I saved.  The back of that quilt was done with flour and sugar sak fabric.  It is a very thin, and beautiful floral.  Mom and I figured that this must  have been made sometime in the 20's, when Nana and her siblings were small.   This is what I used for the cake piece on this block.
I love that fabric, and am so glad that I saved it!  I quilted the cake in a sort of upside down U shapes, to simulate icing strokes.  The rest of the piece I did a small stipple.  My stipple has gotten better with each piece I have done.  I am getting more and more comfortable with it.
I added a small applique flame to the candle on top of the cake.  I added red borders to it, and bound it in a floral pink.  Then hung it in my sewing room to enjoy.
Fun block...go check out Lori's blog, Bee In My Bonnet, to download the instructions and make one.  The link is included in the top of this post, just click on her name to get there.   Also from her blog, I saw that she made these darling little design boards for keeping your block pieces together when piecing a block.  You can make them in any size.  They are simply portable design walls.  I have a large design wall in my sewing room that is nailed to the wall for larger pieces.  But these are terrific for small pieces and classes!!  So I made one for me, and one for my friend Jae.
She has a good tutorial on her blog for these too.  I think that these would make a great gift for your quilting friends!!
The little mug rug I have on the design board is just a small block I did for practice with my machine blanket stitch, and then a couple small appliques.  I added a green border and stippled it, put some definition on the pumpkin, some eyes on the ghost, and machine quilted the word Boo down on the bottom right.  I bound it with some left over binding I had.  A mug rug was made!
I am certainly enjoying my new sewing room!!!  I have been in there every day!  So have my dogs.  This bad boy won't stay out of this chair no matter how hard I try to keep him from it!
These chairs were in my living room  But I moved them to our little dining area off of the kitchen, and made a sitting room.  He looks pretty stressed doesn't he?
And then my Dusty Boy.  He has to be as close to me as  he can be.
We had our granddaughter's over for the night last weekend.  We had so much fun.  They got into my bag of scraps and a bag of costume fabrics, and they designed dresses on my wedding dress and wicker dress form.  They had some pretty creative ideas too!!
They had a blast, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their creative play!!!
A really fun twist on playing dress up!  If you have little girls, or granddaughters, and a box of fabric you don't mind them playing with, let them have a go at this.  So fun!!!!
Today we are going to my Mom's for a Halloween party for the kids.  Her neighborhood hosts a darling carnival, and then on my Mom's street, they all go to the culdesac where their garages are, and they set up their tables in front of garage and the kids all trick or treat through in a long parade of cuteness!!!!!  It is so fun.  We usually have a simple dinner and sit out there and watch the fun.  So our grandkids are all coming, and very excited for the festivities to begin.  I will see you soon with a new post.
Til then, get out there and make it a GREAT day!!!
XO  Kris

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October Quilting

Hello and happy Sunday!   Since I have changed my sewing room to the living room, I have been busy working on some old projects left undone, and then also managed to whip up a couple of Halloween things.  I am a big fan of Lynette Jensen's patterns and fabrics.  I also have a lot of her books.  I made this little Halloween pillow the other day from the Treats No Tricks book.
I debated whether or not to do any quilting over the appliques, or to use same color thread if I did.  But I wound up just doing a meander all over the top.  I am  loving my new machine, but was having some trouble with the free motion foot, and knew it wasn't installed right, as the fabric was not easily gliding along, and the needle was too close.  Finally, after nearly finishing it, I realized that I had to move the needle position, and then it was smooth sailing.  But I got some pretty wide spaced stitches during the troubleshooting.  Oh well.  This is how you get better at machine quilting.  You quilt everything you can get your hands on.
The pillow back is also a Thimblerries fabric from several years ago.  I love this pillow pattern because I like to do the envelope fold over style of pillow for easy laundering.  And also, this makes such a nice crisp, neat back for the pillow too, when using a large piece of fabric doubled to size, using the fold as the opening pieces.
Once you sew the back to front, the entire piece gets bound exactly as you would a quilt.
I thought it turned out really cute.
In the same book, I used the pattern sheet to make up some appliques for another Halloween piece.  And actually, this isn't a quilt.  It was just to do some practicing on my new machine.  I have never had the blanket stitch on my machines.  I always did it by hand.  But I was really wanting a machine that had this feature to secure appliques onto a quilt top.  I just took a scrap of lighter background fabric, and using heat n bond, I adhered the appliques to the background piece.  And using three leftover pumpkin appliques I had from a group project I was part of years ago, I did the same thing, leaving the edges free for easier sewing, as these were already two thicknesses of fabric.  I had a long time ago, used my older Viking to try to do blanket stitching using another similar stitch.  That was done in a beige color, so it is still visible.  Like I said, this is for practice.  Note to anyone who is trying to blanket stitch for first time on applique pieces......do NOT use small shapes with lots of curves and sharp edges!!!  Do hearts, pumpkins, circles, etc, but NOT what I did.  The spiders and the witches were murder I tell you!  Since I have done it in dark thread, the oopsies are not quite as easily visible.  But you can see my bloopers all over the place!!!!  I wanted to put some leaves on the pumpkins, but not necessarily with fabric.  So I thread painted them with green variegated thread.  What fun!  I have done a little bit of this before on some pillows and it is fun to play with.  Just use your free motion foot, drop your feed dogs, and go.  I did trace out a pumpkin leave onto freezer paper, and then ironed the paper onto the quilt, and simple went around it on my machine.  Then peeled it off and did the veins.  I went over them all several times, taking so special care to stay on the previous line.  In fact, the more wiggly it gets, the better it looks.  Since I was just playing, I did not use any stabilizer on the back to prevent for distorting the fabric.  I will certainly do that the next time.  
If you have not tried using freezer paper before, it is some great stuff.  You draw out your shape on the dull side, then cut out and iron onto fabric with the waxy side. It will stick very well into place for you, and it can be removed and used over and over.
I was going to bind this, but then I had a lightbulb go off, and remembered a frame I had in the garage that was about the same size.  Sure enough it was, and even though I had to hide the green borders on the sides, one side shows a wee more, because it looked best in the frame slightly off center to show the stars and moon.  I used my stapler and tacked it down on the backside of the frame, and voila....
I am limited and learning with my machine quilting.  I have really only done meandering.  On this I tried my hand at some echo quilting around the black shapes, and then some free hand waves on the border.  It was fun to make.  Just for play.  Certainly not worthy of gifting, but good enough to put up on my fireplace.  I call it Pumpkin Patch At Night.
I have begun to turn my old sewing room into the new guest room.  I still have much to do in there.  The closet still holds my things for sewing, and the walls need some patch and paint.  A rug for the side of the bed, maybe some pillow shams. But it is a nice room for a guest room.  So bright and cheerful.  We have a sliding french door that goes out onto the patio with a view of the pool and grove beyond.  We had our first guests last night.  Our two granddaughters Hannah and Claire.
I left the bunting up in this room, and with the quilt I used for the bed, it fits perfectly.  The only room in my house with soft and feminine colors.  I had this wreath in my living room, and after cleaning it, and drying it, I thought it would like nice on the wall in here.  The pretty little wooden scalloped tray is just for pretty.  I removed that as soon as the girls arrived.  I smile every time I walk down the hall and see this room.
Those two wooden chairs are extras for my dining table.  I want to find a small comfy chair for one of those corners.  A place to toss your robe.  I have removed the closet doors in here, and wallpapered the inside of my closet in a tiny pink rosebud paper.  I love it.  I made a floral curtain to hand low enough to cover the things stored on the shelves in there, but high enough to clear a head peeking in.  I had my friend Jae's husband, Tom install an electrical outlet inside the closet so I can have a small lamp inside, with a pretty soft glow for the night.
I put the carved wood table that was in our entryway in here, and also a lingerie chest I brought down from the cabin.
This room was our oldest daughter, Gennifer's    I had gotten this white eyelet pleated duet shade for the room.  It was so pretty and feminine.  As well as private for the night time.  But she loved to burn candles in her room at night, and the shade got sooty.  I have no idea how to clean it, and restore it to it's original white.  I never had it drawn when I used the room for my sewing room.  But for sleeping in here, it is a must.  
 The girls arrived and were raring to go!!
We had a really great time with them.
That was our weekend.  Geeps is out back grilling up some hot dogs.  We are having chili dogs tonight.  Easy peasy.  Geeps and Gramma  are kind of tuckered out!
See you soon!
Kris

Monday, October 13, 2014

My New Sewing Room!

Well, I did it.  I moved out of my sewing room, which was in one of our bedrooms, and moved the entire contents to the living room!   Do you have both a living room, and a family room?   We really "live" in our family room.  I liked having one room in the house, that always stays clean and pretty.  But honestly, we just don't use it, except for occasionally, we both like to read in there.  The natural light is terrific in that room.  I love the big picture window, and the view of our front yard, and the pretty house and yard of our neighbor.  So, after thinking about it, and talking it over with Greg, we decided that it made really good sense to utilize this space in a better (for us) way.  When I get the notion to do something, I just dive right in.  I will work from sun up to sun down.  Until the job is done.  I can remember in years past, moving for instance.  I would have the house unpacked and looking quite livable in a matter of a couple of days.  Now, being older, I find that I tend to do that anyway, but I suffer for it.  I began this project after Greg and I had already put a full day in outside, with building a new chicken run.  I began to carry all of the stuff from the sewing room, to the new spot, and I just dumped it in piles.  Greg had planned to go fishing on Sunday, so I wanted him to help me get the big farm table moved that night.  He was a good sport.  He removed the table legs, and we carried it in to the living room, and set it back up.  And I was off!!  I worked until 11:30 that night.  Then took a shower and collapsed into bed.  I woke early on Sunday, and got busy once again.  That evening, when Greg got home, with the help of our son in law Jake, they moved the piano out of the living room, and the big armoire I had in my sewing room, out to the new room.  Again, I worked until late last night, and collapsed into bed exhausted.  I woke this morning, and after dropping Noah off at school, I finished.  And now, I have a brand new sewing space, complete with comfortable sofa, chairs, and sewing table, and cutting table.  It houses all of my sewing supplies, as well as all of my yarn and tools.  Amazing how fast you fill up a space.  I will bring you in from the front door, since this new room is the first room you see upon entering our house.
Come on in and have a tour.

I keep forgetting to get my corn stalks up by the front door.  It just might not happen this year.  Walking in the front door, you will now first see the piano.  I moved the carved wood table that was there, and I don't know where I will put it yet.
It wound up fitting nicely in this space, and Drew says the acoustics are good.  To the right is the new sewing room.
The only furniture I left in there was the couch and ottoman, and china cabinet in corner.  The ottoman color fought with the quilt on the wall, and other softer colors of my sewing room, so I tossed this crocheted bobble stitch felted rug over it.   The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt was made by my own Great Grandmother, Clara Eliza.  Nana's mother.  I remember her well.  She died in her late 90's when I was about 12.  I have several of her quilts, but the one on the wall was the one in the best shape. In fact, this quilt used to hang on the bedroom wall of our first family cabin.  I have washed it several times, and it is in very good shape.
The quilt is entirely  hand done.  Probably sometime in the 30's.
I have always loved this quilt.  And the minty green that separates the hexies.  In changing this room to my sewing room, I wanted it to look like a sewing space. Not a living room, where I set up to sew.  So all of the things came off the walls as well.  The things hung there now, were in my sewing room, although I did not put everything back up.  I love this canvas floral, and the greens really mesh well with the quilt.
 This corner of the room is a bit more crowded than I had hoped, but I had to get it all in.  The cabinet houses the stereo.  A must.  I removed the contents of two shelves, and it now holds yarn.  Lots of yarn.  The tea cart has a mini quilt I made lying atop it, with some of my boutique items, as well as knitting needles, both vintage and the ones I actually use.  Underneath is more yarn.  The sign hanging above it was sent to me by a dear blogging friend Debbie.
In the corner is an old chippy shutter that I dumpster dove for.  I use it to clip patterns to mostly.  
Sitting next to the stereo cabinet is my wicker dress form with my the wedding dress I wore down the aisle 35 years ago. Around the neckline, is a string of Nana's pearls.  I will never tire of looking at this dress.
I thought about taking the couch out of the room, but I want the room to be a place for several to gather, and be comfortable.  I also left my china hutch in the room because it holds many treasures that I want to remain visible.  They bring me comfort to see them.  I added my floral wing chair, which was in my sewing room before.  It is an old chair.  We bought it with a sofa set from Penney's about 20 years ago.
Over the back of the chair is the bobble blanket I made a couple years ago.  I made it with some yummy yarn I ordered from England. The yarn that Lucy of Attic 24 uses.  I finished it during the Queen's Jubilee celebration, and so it is thusly named Jubilee.
Moving around to the other side of the room.  My cutting table is actually a rolling butcher block for the kitchen.  It stands up higher, and is perfect for standing to cut.
It has a big enough surface for the large cutting mat to fit on top.  I like to use a photo easel to hold the pattern or book up, that I am working from.  I keep a Ball jar of rice grains in it to hold my fabric pens, and a small pair of Ginghers.  My rotary cutters and fabric scissors are in the heart cut wooden box.  Above the cutting table is my design wall.  It is simply a tri fold pattern cutting board, wrapped in batting and covered with flannel.  The projects on the design wall are all very old unfinished projects.
My dear friend Kathy recently gifted me with this wonderful oilcloth bag.  I think the name of the company is Thirty One?  Great bag, I love it.   Can you see what is embroidered on the front?  This bag will get a lot of use!!!
On the wall between the cutting and sewing table.
The mailbox I bought in an antique store, and painted it aqua.  I use it to attach notes and cards, and inside are my Joann's flyers and some Cath Kidston catalogues.  The framed antique applique square was from my friend Becky.  The curtains in the living room I made a couple of years ago, and they were the perfect taupe color for my furniture.  I just wanted something sheer and they have been perfect.  But now I think I need to change them since I have different colors in here.
On the side of the cutting table, I hang my acrylic rulers from hooks. I keep a bar stool, with padded seat cushion in front of the table, because I often sit there for a long time to make Bloomie's and things.  The little rattan ottoman behind it, I brought home from the cabin.  It will be handy for many things.  To set my basket of fabrics on, or can be easily moved for a foot stool, or used to set a drink or lunch on when my Knitty Biddies are here.
The farm table was placed right in front of the window.  I have my three most used machines set up there.
I have a lot of task light set up.  Next to the cutting table, I have a light tree with three adjustable lights.  The swing arm lamp on one end of the farm table  And a swing arm Ott light with magnifier on the opposite end of the table.
  From left to right, my  new Singer One, my antique Feather Weight that belonged to my Dad's older sister, my Aunt Connie, and my vintage Viking that I love!   On the little shelf, on the far right, is a little working childrens Singer that belonged to my Nana.  I even have the instruction booklet!
 Some of you reading this post might recognize something on this table.  Several were gifts sent to me from blogging friends.  Like this darling mouse pincushion, from Sinta
This is the best sewing table.  So much space, and it can easily support the weight and bulk of a quilt that I am doing machine quilting on.  If you have the space, this is the way to go.
To the right of the table, where the piano was, is my armoire.  This was once in our family room to hold our telly.  The back has a large piece cut out of it for the back of the TV.  This was before the flatscreens.  I have covered that up with a small quilted table topper that I made a long time ago.
On top of the armoire are some quilts.  The two on the left, I got about 20 years ago on a trip I took to Tennessee with my parents.  These were sold by an old man whose wife had recently passed.  She was a quilter, and these were the last two she had made.  The three on the right side were made by my Great Grandma, Clara Wright.   Two of these are still in pretty good shape.  One of them is very worn.  From another one, I cut a piece out and put it up under the needle on this antique solid iron Commander.
As well as gifts from friends displayed here, are a couple of collectible pieces and lots of  books.  Crochet and knit on the right, quilting on the left.   This trio of singing chickens was a gift from my friend and Knitty Biddy, Vicki.
In the two large cabinets below, is a large portion of my fabric stash.  But his will have to be changed.  I had this in a book case in the closet before, but didn't have a space for it in here.  So I will think about a better way to store it for easier viewing and access.
You quilters out there are saying...."is that all the fabric stash she has?"  No...don't be silly!  Underneath the farm table are several snap lock totes chock full!!!
This was a big project!  I will still be fine tuning the space as I go along.  But I am thrilled to my toes with it!
I have not yet decided if I will hang my bunting in here that I had in my other sewing room.  I am going to think on it for a few days.  See my faithful boy there on the rug?
I turned the dining area of the kitchen into a little sitting room with the two club chairs and ottoman and stifle lamp from the living room.  It's funny how our needs have changed in our home as our kids have grown up.  This set up would have never worked for us 15 years ago.  
Now I have to deal with turning the old sewing room into the new guest room.  And the old guest room, back into the exercise room.  Phew!  But today, I shall rest.  Thank you for coming to see my new Sewing Nest.  I wish that so many of you could come and spend some time here with me.  Whether sewing, knitting, or crochet,  I know that this new repurposed room will suit me just fine!  
Tootle Loo.....
Kris