September 01, 2014

More Blocks, and Thread

I've been steadily stitching out more of the Anita Goodesign "Homestead" quilt blocks.  The center of the quilt, like all the buildings, quilts, animals and trees are completed. That was fun! Now I'm stitching the between the rows sashings, and the outside edge borders.




These blocks are going faster because I can use my largest Babylock Ellismo hoop set up to do three sashings at a time in one hooping.  Soon I will be sewing the blocks together. Yay! Anita Goodesign embroidery projects are time consuming, but so much fun!

I confess. I have a thread obsession. I now have more thread than fabric! For one, as the years have past on I find certain threads are not as good as others.  For instance, I rarely use Sulky Rayon to machine embroidery with anymore.  It was like the first ever machine embroidery thread I purchased back in 1995. I think along with Coats & Clark it was the premier thread to own if you had an embroidery machine.  It may still be for many---but, I moved on to Maderia Rayon in 2000 when I purchased a Maderia Treasure Chest at an introduction sale.  I still love and use my Treasure Chest.  Even though many embroidery enthusiast (me included)---have moved on to Polyster threads in recent years.

Maderia Treasure Chest Threads

Polyester embroidery threads are stronger and colorfast, and most have a the lovely sheen of Rayon threads.  This past year I sold most of my Sulky and replaced it with Floriani and Isacord threads.

Anita Goodesigns suggest Floriani colors for their embroideries, and the colors are beautiful. Luckily I have a local source for Floriani threads. So, if there happens to be a color I don't have (really?)---I can get it pronto.

Isacord thread, my other favorite I do have to buy online. It has less sheen, almost a matte finish, but I like using it for some of the vintage machine embroideries like the dish towel sets. It has the similar  appearance of hand embroidery "cotton" thread.

Isacord thread

Embroidery Threads: Floriani top drawer, Isacord second drawer. 

You would think this is enough embroidery thread right? Well there is a bit more.
I call it the miscellaneous thread embroidery thread drawer. Or the "just in case" I  don't have a certain color. My back up thread stash:


You just never know---oh, those are some precuts I have been stashing on the right side. Great for embroidery appliqué or quilting.  I think that first charm pack says: "Everything but the Kitchen Sink" which seem appropriate for this drawer! :o)

This is just embroidery thread---there is more. Like "sewing thread", but I'll share that some other day. 
Back to stitching---gotta use some of this thread!


July 20, 2014

Past Due---New Bakeware

After 25 years of baking in the what had turned into grungy, stained, warped and sometime blackened bakeware, I splurged on everything new last week.

I bought two new AirBake cookie sheets,  an AirBake oblong cake pan,  two Chicago Cookware round cake pans, one 12 x 16" raised edge AirBake pan, one Wilton square pan and one Calaphon loaf pan.

Years ago I had AirBake cookie sheets that I loved! I never burnt a cookie with those pans. They baked everything so well. I hope the new ones are as good as I remember. Maybe I'll test (tempt)--bake this afternoon.

The Chicago cookware round cake pans are very nice, even though they are not the Airbake brand. They are thick and heavy so should cook very evenly. Love dark pans for cornbread!

So, I'm set for the upcoming holiday baking.  


Last March we replaced our 35 yr. old vintage GE  range with this convection beauty in GE's new color, Slate.  Love it!


The oven is so large I can fit in two cookie sheet, the oblong baking pan, the square baking pan and a loaf pan!
Life is Good!

May 30, 2014

Sewing---not Quilting

The sewing machine and  the embroidery machine are stitching along----I'm having fun using the different feet on my machine, putting in zippers, finishing seams, attaching snaps and ruffling yards of fabric! Sometimes I think my sewing machine only knows how to sew one type of seam, the 1/4" for piecing quilt blocks, I'm finding it can do many, many other things. (Love the Brother DreamWeaver)

It started with the Bionic Gear Bag and I've expanded to making these.  I don't' know what to call them except they are handy container things. I'll call them "Stuffies" for lack of a better name.




The one on the left is a in the hoop design made with the embroidery machine, and the one on the right is the rug mug I made ages ago that I didn't know what to do with. I will say, they are not worth the time to make them in the hoop on the embroidery machine.  Just layer two fabrics with some stiff batting or thick interfacing between the fabrics, quilt a cross hatch or meander design on the quilt sandwich and sew on a binding. You will have a flat little quilt.  Then add corner snaps or just sew the corners together, and you have a "stuffie".  Easy-peasy! ---whatever size you want!

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The Twirl Skirts

These little girls twirling skirts are gifts for my grand-nieces. What fun!


I'm learned to use the Ruffler attachment for my machine, and the edge finishing stitch and foot while making these.  


Some of the fabrics are from my stash, and some I needed to buy as I don't have very many 'brights' I'm finding out and I think these fun skirts deserve a splash of color!

I watched  ruffler videos on You Tube  to get the hang of using my ruffler attachment.  (what would we do without video instructions?)---You don't need a machine ruffler to make the skirts, but I felt it gave the skirt a nicer finished edge where the tiers join.

More later-----there is a quilt top waiting for me on the long arm---so back to quilting for awhile!

May 26, 2014

Memorial Day-Raising the Flag

As long as we have memories,
yesterday remains. As long as we
have hope, tomorrow awaits. As long as
we have love, today is beautiful.
~anonymous
Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
~Francis K. Scott

May 19, 2014

Bionic Gear Bag

I haven't posted for awhile.  I've been out in the yard a lot. Mulching, repotting plants and cleaning up weeds.  It has been so windy here the last few days I stayed indoors and caught up on laundry and spent some time in the sewing room. What a lovely place to be! Yes, I love-love the new sewing space!

I wanted to finish the Bionic Gear Bag I had started up at retreat.  Honestly, for me the written directions and photos were a challenge,  and I had to push myself to sit and read and re-read, and think more about what the pattern designer was trying to convey to me.  Maybe I have been quilting too much, and had forgotten about zippers, right sides of fabric, interfacings and easing in seams. 

Here is where I left off several weeks ago.

Actually the zippers were not the problem I thought they would  be. Me and the zipper foot became good friends.  It was understanding how to sew the zippers with the lining, and which side of the fabric was  supposed to face up, or down or ? 

I really was tempted to give up several times.  But, then I said to myself….Me, myself and I, have conversations about do you scrap a project, or head to the finish line no matter what!

I decided to meet the challenge!  Now, there are mistakes (yep, of course there are!) But, I'm not going to tell you what they are. Just know that after many hours, much ripping out---it is finished. I'm very pleased I didn't give up. Here are some photos of the (slow) progress.





 Finished! Bionic Gear Bag



This one is filled with  my take along sewing supplies!