August 26, 2011

Day of the Week Kittens

I do love machine embroidery! ---and especially these day of the week dishtowels. Although it might be difficult to actually use some of these to dry dishes!

This cute design set is from Sew Weirds Machine Embroidery. She has "sew" many other wonderful vintage machine embroidery designs for towels and quilts.

Be sure to check out her site.

I plan to embroidery a set every week! I have many cute day of the week designs I've collected over the years---and the dishtowel blanks. Time to get busy! :o)

(click on the pictures to see a more detailed view)

Blogger Stats

I've just recently noticed and been paying attention to the "Stats" tab on my Blogger page. It's fascinating that visitors still look at the Kindle Cover blog entry from way back in 2008. That's when I bought my Kindle 1. With all the ready made Kindle covers and cases and make it yourself Kindle cover patterns out there---this is still the most popular blog posting. I was just playing around with some fabric, batting and cardboard backing, and ended up with a Kindle cover. I don't offer a pattern or a tutorial, and it's for the first ever Kindle Amazon made which is not easy to find nowadays as Amazon does not make or sell this model of Kindle any longer. BTW: I still use and read on my Kindle 1. It's battery needs charging more frequently, but it's still a wonderful eReader. Rumor has it Amazon is going to introduce a Kindle tablet soon, presumably it will also have an eReader on it.

The next most popular blog post is about the two Jelly Roll race quilts I recently finished. Just about all the visitors come by way of another bloggers posting who doesn't much care for the look of Jelly Roll Race quilts and where I suggested my Jelly Roll race quilts didn't look so bad in the comments section. I think they are fun, and pretty in their own special way--- So, I guess visitors may be using my pictures and article and links to decide if they ever want to attempt making a Jelly Roll Race quilt, or not. BTW: Green Faire Quilts is having a big sale. 30% off all Jelly Rolls!

Chenille Potholders---what can I say about the continued interest in this tutorial blog posting except these pot holders are a fun way to learn about making chenille and sewing on a binding, and you will end up with a truly useful project. They make up fast, and make great gifts! I love to make them, especially when I want to sew---but, just can't get the creative juices flowing---sit down and make a few chenille potholders, and your in the groove again. Something productive and finished!

Maureen's needle case is not the last "stat" entry, but still one of the most popular. It encourages you to learn to use your sewing machines embroidery alphabet feature, and once again it's one of those "useful" projects. What seamstress wouldn't like a needle case? I use mine all the time. I keep it in my hand sewing basket. And it also made me aware of how to use the built in alphabet functions on my sewing machine. Something I would not have otherwise pursued.

I'm glad visitors still find and read these blog entries, but I also find it interesting that the most popular posting---is about a Kindle Cover???

By the Month

All time
2011 Jul 27 – 2011 Aug 25
Kindle Cover
Aug 11, 2008
484 Pageviews

Jelly Roll Race Quilts
Jul 26, 2011,
338 Pageviews

Chenille Potholder Tutorial
Dec 16, 2009,
98 Pageviews

Maureen's Needle Case
May 8, 2009,
93 Pageviews

August 24, 2011

Ribbons & Remarks

I recently entered some wallhangings and a quilt into our local county fair. I do this most years as I find the critiques a good way to learn and improve your skills, plus it's just plain fun to enter some of your projects into this type competition. If you visit my blog regularly, you've seen most of these projects in some stage of completion this past year.

This is the Corvette quilt, which I renamed "Stingray" when I made the label. There was a lot of competition in this class: Adult Home Art; Quilts; Machine Pieced/quilted long arm/Large. The judges remarks: "Very striking and well constructed. Appropriate quilting for this project." This quilt creates a lot of conversation. It was fun standing in the crowd and overhearing: "I had a Corvette like that in the 60's, I should have kept it", or " My Uncle has one of those Corvettes, he would love this!" or "Corvettes never die!" oh-yeah!

"Stingray" won a 2nd place red ribbon. Red is one of my favorite colors!

Odd how what we feel is so well done, really is not. I felt good about "Art Nouveau" when I finished it. Yet, the judges found some flaws, that I either did not see, or chose not to admit. The Judges remarks: " Quilting accents the fabric design. Stitching in the Ditch needs improvement." I will say, they must have gone over this with a fine tooth comb---However, recalling I enter this competition for these critiques---They were right on the mark with this one. Now I see what they see. You better believe I will be more conscientious and strive to improve my ditch stitching. So, what I hoped might be a first prize winner in Adult Home Art; Quilts; Machine pieced/quilted long arm Small. Fell short of the mark (or ditch). :o)

"Art Nouveau" won a 2nd prize red ribbon.
(still my favorite)

This next entry---Boy, I know where all the flaws are. And believe me there were quite a few. Entered into the Adult Home Art; Quilts; Any Other. Remarks: "Very striking, well constructed and appropriate quilting for the project". Evidently the judges did not see what I knew was there. In fact I almost didn't enter this wallhanging. But---

"Crazy Quilt Series 1 Machine Embroidery" 1st prize Blue Ribbon!

The next and final entry is a simply a long labor of love, but in my rush to complete this for competition, I overlooked a small (very small)--- area just above the cannon that was my undoing. One I will soon not forget, and of course the judges noticed wouldn't you know. Entered into the Adult Home Art category; Quilts; "hand" embroidered. Remarks: Very nice hand embroidery. Watch shadowing threads under white fabric. Very nicely finished"
And there it was---some royal blue embroidery thread tails floating (shadowing) under the white fabric! Ugh! --Even I couldn't believe I had not noticed these thread tails.

All the judges remarks were so constructive and a bit humbling, but certainly things I will improve upon in future quilting projects.

And here is "A Patriots Dream" 2nd prize red ribbon winner! See--I told you red was one of my favorite colors (and blue too--- of course)

August 21, 2011

It's Finished, Just Barely Made It

The quilt backing was just a smidgen wider and longer than the quilt top. Just barely. It was a challenge. The binding is on, and it's finished. I think Leslie will be pleased---

August 20, 2011

Pear Crisp

What to do with dozen remaining Bartlett Pears sitting on your counter, and you can't think of another thing to do with "pears".

Peel, quarter and cut out the core portion of a dozen pears. Cut the pears quarters into medium size chunks in a medium size bowl and set aside.

In a medium size bowl combine until crumbly looking:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup old fashion oats
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Scoop out 1 cup, pack down into the cup some of the above mixture and set aside to be used for the topping.

In a 9" inch square baking dish press the remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Top with cut up pears.

Now, in a small sauce pan combine 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 1 or 2 mins. or until thickened and add 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. Pour over pears evenly and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup crumb mixture.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40- 45 mins. until bubbly and the crumb mixture is golden brown on the top. Yield 9 servings. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.


August 19, 2011

What's On the Long Arm Today

I picked up this quilt top from Leslie at guild yesterday. A donation quilt. The challenge is the backing is the same size as the quilt top. I'm using the Circle Lord Baptist Fan template board. One more turn, and it's finished. I'm hoping the lower edges meet and I don't sew off on the leaders! :o)

Yikes---this is what I call cutting it close! I could just barely pin on my cloth side extenders. I'm hoping with a bit of squaring and trimming, I can get the binding on O.K. after it's off the long arm. Wish me Luck! :o) This is a "close call". :o)

Sassy keeping an eye on you---!

August 18, 2011

Quilt of Valor

I thought you might enjoy seeing Mildred's Quilt of Valor top now that it's finished and off the long arm.

The center heart with Mildred's lovely machine embroidery.

August 08, 2011

Quilting Around the Long Arm

I've been asked about the long arm. Where is it? What is it? Questions about various things that get used around the long arm. So, I took some pictures today of what is going on around "Polly".
This is an old picture of when I first had the long arm installed in 2009. I've personalized it a lot since then, and even turned the whole frame and machine around so that I'm looking out towards the living room. Actually it's so that I can keep an eye on Sassy, and I have a better view looking out the sliding door to the yard. We also have our TV, recliner sofa and chairs in the room. It all works out. The frame and quilts are interesting to visitors who have never seen a long arm.

"Polly" is built by company called Prodigy Quilter in SC. The frame is about 10' ft. long. I ordered it that length because I don't quilt overly large quilts, and because the long arm sits at one end of our long living room, and will live there forever--- the machine arm space is 24" inches. All 4 spidery looking handles are very adjustable, as is the frame. There are hydraulics to roll the quilt, to raise and lower the quilt, and to raise and lower the frame. The frame is very heavy so hydraulics on each leg, and a handle that lowers or raises the whole frame is appreciated. When you initially look at "Polly" it can be overwhelming, but you soon realize the machine, frame and how it functions are really very user friendly.
This pics. shows the end of the frame and rollers, magnetic pin dish is velcroed to the heavy aluminum frame support. There are my Grip-Lite side tension clamps. Luv them!

The round plastic container on the top holds an assortment of marking pencils, tweezers, needle tip fray check bottle and of course the always useful thread/seam ripper!
The paper cone coffee filter cone taped to the side of the machine is where I toss thread trimmings.
This is the Tadl Tales quilt and batting protector hang on the front of the frame. I float the batting and the quilt top, so this nylon protector keeps everything encased and out from under my feet---and also keeps Sassy from building a bed in the batting. It is suspended by velcro on both ends of the frame. Don't you wonder how we ever lived without Velcro! :o)
Someone on the Homequiltingsystems group asked about thread nets. I use this one on my slippery polyester threads. It's longer than what you see showing on the cone, and the part you don't see is tucked up inside the thread cone and metal thread spindle.
Here's my small wooden tote that has most of my everyday supplies.

I'm quilting on a Quilt of Valor that Mildred in Southern Calif. sent. It took me about a week to decide out what designs I wanted to stitch on it. And even then, I frequently change my mind about what I like once I start. Sometimes I can jump right in with an idea, and other times ----I have to study the quilt for awhile before I get inspired.

Here are some pictures of what is going on right now---I'm about half way finished, and then I will be turning the whole quilt 90 degrees to complete the side borders and inner sashing. It's just easier that way than trying stitch at an angle down the side of the quilt. I'll be turning the quilt once I have the top and bottom borders finished, and the sides basted. I'm free motioning some of the borders with a shell like design.

Here I've used a Simplex Expandable gauge to mark out some reference marks for the sashing design in the light area of the quilt. In the small squares I've stitched some continuous curves across, down and up the squares of fabric. This gauge is a neat tool to have.
Some small feathers in and around the embroidery.
Mildreds Quilt of Valor embroidery.

I haven't posted a picture of Sassy for awhile. She is 7 months old now, 8 lbs. of love and energy! We have a lot of fun with her! Here she is playing with her food dish which an every morning event! PS. Sorry the photos are so dark. New iPhoto application and new Lion operating system on my iMac is taking some getting used to. Especially iPhoto's latest edition software. :o(