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!

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.
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! 

May 04, 2014

Quilt Retreat

Last week I spent four wonderful days with friends at a quilt retreat. This is my eleventh year. We started as a small group of about 12 as I recall, and now we are at our limit of forty-five.  If you have never attended a "quilt retreat", please give it a whirl!  We have such a good time.  The best part goes without saying really---just being with friends that understand your passion for this crazy love of cutting up fabric, sewing it together and calling it a "quilt". Who else understands this except your dearest quilting buds!

We have a really special place for retreat. Unique, beautiful and peaceful. Located in the beautiful secluded hills and valleys of Healdsburg, California. No cooking! No cleaning! No classes! ---just rest, relax and sew. If you don't want to sew you can hike, read, swim and soak up the quiet or take an afternoon nap. The weather this past week was so nice. Sunny days with warm evening led to lingering evenings walking with friends after dinner, or sitting on the veranda enjoying the view.

The green valley and flowers are so beautiful this time of the year.

I actually did some sewing. Not as much as planned. I always try to take three projects, knowing that if I complete just one, that is a major achievement. (lots of time visiting, walking about the ranch, and eating!)----- I wish I could bottle the energy and inspiration that is shared and bring it home! It's wonderful!

A finished this string quilt top I had started at home. 

I cut and pieced another Double Slice Layer cake and started putting it together. Riley Blake layer cake.

I also started sewing on Sally's Bionic Bag I had cut out, but lost my way on step #2. I did manage to put in the zipper though.  Now that I'm home and I can concentrate quietly, maybe I'll figure out the remaining steps this week. It's a cute bag I want to make for all my travel machine do-dads.

Here I am at retreat trying to finish sewing on the last few inches of binding.

Showing Easy Street ---Finished!