Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My New Toy

  I celebrated my birthday yesterday and I had a really nice day.  Dear daughter took me out to dinner and gave me some birthday gifts.  One of her gifts to me was this:




     In November I talked to my daughter about the two of us going in together to buy the Brother PE 770 embroidery machine so we could expand our crafting horizons.  My daughter doesn't sew as much as I do but I knew that as soon as I bought this machine on my own she would want to use it.  I always let her use my sewing machines and whatever else she needs to make a project, but embroidery is a little more expensive so I thought it would be better if we shared the cost of this machine.  My plan was foiled by a sneaky child.       

    I can't wait to open the box up.  This morning I got busy doing some research on how to use it and figuring out what kind of supplies I have to have.  I also watched an hour long Youtube video on how to set the machine up and stitch out a design, then I found stabilizer, thread, pre-wound bobbins, and usb thumb drives on Amazon.  I'll place the Amazon order on Sunday so I should those supplies by early next week.  

    In the meantime, I'm going to set the machine up in the kitchen tonight (the cutting table and sewing table will be busy with the Pretty in Pink quilt, which I have to iron and pin baste tonight) and do some playing on it tomorrow, thank goodness for paid work holidays.  I have six spools of rayon embroidery thread that I can use to test the machine and I'll hoop two pieces of cotton on it for testing since I don't have any stabilizer.  The rayon thread was given to me by a friend who doesn't sew, but inherited her Mother's sewing supplies.  I wasn't sure I would ever be able to use those spools of thread, but now I'm glad I held onto them.

   I will share my stitching results with you tomorrow, in between cleaning my very dirty oven and quilting my Pretty in Pink quilt.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Holy Pin Cushions, Batman!

   I'm sure Batman would not find pin cushion patterns as interesting and fun as I do, but I'd like to think Robin would.  

   So, I'm finding more pin cushion projects to make.  Here is the link to a new cute birdie pin cushion pattern.  I'm adding this to my to do list.  

     I've also been thinking about making an Eight Pointed Civil War Buckshot pin cushion for a while.  That pattern link is here.  This has the shape of an octopus to me and is super cute.  I love the history behind it.  I bought a half yard of Civil War reproduction blue fabric this morning for this project but instead of buckshot, I'm planning to use emery sand in it.

  Here's the fabric I bought from the Fat Quarter Shop for this project.  I only need to order my emery sand from Amazon.  





2014, The Year Of The Sun (Hat)

    A lot of crafty blogs are doing the year in review.  I have only one favorite project that I want to show you.  It's the sun hat I made from a pattern I bought from Winnie and Clem on etsy.  This hat has everything, a nice wide brim to cover your face, ears, and neck from the sun and a pony tail opening.  I was looking for all these features from a ready to wear hat when I found this pattern during my internet search.  It was perfect.  I wasn't sure if I could make a hat, but I was willing to try.   Here is the link to the pattern.

    This is an electronic pattern and it is delivered electronically in .pdf format.  I had one minor glitch when printing my pattern and pattern pieces.  My 8.5" x 11" paper was not big enough and I lost the points to the back brim pieces.  I drew them and taped them on.  Fixed.

    This hat is also reversible, but I could not decide on coordinating fabrics, so all my hats (yes, I made three of these for myself) have the same fabric on both sides.  I used stash fabric and interfacing and all I had to do was buy some magnetic snaps.  These were fun to make.  My daughter even got in on the action and I taught her how to sew her own hat.  She loves her hat.

   Here is one of my hats close-up.

 


     I'm wearing one on the pier at Panama City Beach, FL.


     This was my favorite and most useful finish in 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Fabric Shopping For A Christmas Quilt

         
       I don't have a Christmas quilt.  I decided the day after Christmas that I need a Christmas quilt.  To make a Christmas quilt, I need Christmas fabric, so I went fabric shopping.  I was hoping that the Christmas fabric would be on sale, but I didn't find a lot that I liked and it wasn't on sale.  I finally found fabric I loved that had a great price.  I bought a 42 piece 10" layer cake from an etsy seller for $29.95.  The line is called "Rejoice" and look at the birds.  So pretty.  

 

     For the back I'm going to use some leftover charm squares from the Blitzen line.  This is the only Christmas fabric I have in my stash.  I'll sew these 36 charm squares into four patches and that will give me 9 four patches.  I know this will not be enough to complete the back, so I had to go fabric shopping one more time.  I went to my favorite on line store, Connecting Threads, and decided on the Mirage in silver lining colorway, which will go great with the Blitzen charm squares.  I'll alternate the four patches with the silver fabric to make the back.  

Blitzen



     Once I get the top and back finished, I'll  have to decide on my binding fabric.  I thought I was going to  use the silver/grey, but I really think I need a red for the binding and in that case, I can do some more fabric shopping when I'm ready to work on the binding.

    This new project throws my crafting to-do list all out of wack.  I hope to get back to my list once I get the Pretty in Pink quilt finished in a couple of weeks.  My batting for the pink quilt should be arriving today or tomorrow.  Yeah.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Knitted Hat - Done


      I finished knitting my hat this afternoon.  Those last rows went by very quickly.  Here is a picture of the hat after I had done 4 of the decrease rows.  There are 60 stitches left on the needles (30 on the pink set and 30 on the gold set).  The needles I used are 29" size 8 Boye Circular knitting needles, one pair in pink and one pair in gold.  I'd like to say that I planned the different colors to keep the sides straight, but I didn't, those were the only colors available in that size at either JoAnns Fabric Store or Walmart (can't remember which one).
   
      By the way, I learned to knit with two circulars from a Youtube video done by Cat Bordhi.  Ms. Bordhi is a very well known knitter/teacher and she has a lot of videos on Youtube.  This is the link to the first part of the video.  Link to Video Here.




Here is a picture of the last 5 stitches left to weave the end through to secure them (you can almost see the sparkly bits in the yarn in this picture) and a picture of the hat finished with both ends woven in, ready to wear.  I had just a little bit of yarn left at the end.  




   Time to find a new project to work on while I wait for my batting.

Artwork For My Room

      I found this cute, cute, cute Eifel Tower fabric on etsy.  I have this fabric in black and white, but the pink color is just a super lovely print.  I bought this fat quarter on etsy to cut a piece to frame for my pink and green bedroom makeover.  I love it.  I cut the piece to fit the frame and I starched the snot out of it (that's a quilter technique).  It fits this frame really well and the frame has those lovely flowers decorations on each corner.  This frame was made to place on a table with an easel installed on it but I removed the easel and nailed on a hanger to put it on the wall.  I don't really have enough table space to keep another picture with an easel.


The pink fabric on my plain beige walls is really pretty.  



Waiting for Batting

   The Pretty In Pink quilt is patiently waiting for my batting and thread order, placed on Christmas Eve.  I hope to receive it next week.  In the meantime I made my binding and pieced the back together with some blocks to match the top of the quilt.  That's one of my favorite things to do, is to make the back interesting with pieces and colors used on the top.  So much fun.  I'm officially ready to get my batting and sandwich this baby for quilting.  I can't wait.



      I've been knitting on my hat and I'm about 5 rows away from the last 10 decrease rows.  I'll share a picture tomorrow of the hat with my two circular needles in it.  I split the stitches evenly on each circular needle, so each one gets 50 stitches.  It's an easy way to keep tract of your stitches that way.  The 10 decrease rows decrease by 10 stitches a row until you get to the last 20 stitches, then you just knit two stitches together for the last two rows.  At the end you have 5 stitches remaining then you weave the end of your yarn in those last 5 stitches to close up the top of your hat.    

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Lemon Bars

  I don't do a lot of baking from scratch but this recipe always turns out great and it's really easy to make.  I wanted to share it with you.  I have not seen a lemon bar recipe that uses nuts in it and they really add a lot of flavor.

Lemon Bars

Crust 
1 cup butter; softened
1/2 cup powedered sugar
2 cups flour

Filling
4 large eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (3 or 4 regular size lemons)
1 cup finely chopped pecans

To make the crust cream 1 cup butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Gradually stir in 2 cups flour until blended.  Pat over the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the filling by at once, beating 4 large eggs slightly with a fork; add 2 cups of sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.  Add 1/3 cup lemon juice, and 1 cup finely chopped pecans.  Stir (do not beat) until well mixed.  Pour over warm crust.  Return to oven and bake 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  Loosen edges and let cool.  Then cut bars and remove.  Freezes well.

Here's a picture of the lemon bars I made from this recipe on Christmas Eve.




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hat Knitting In The Round With Pretty Yarn


     I love knitting hats.  When I taught myself to knit in 2011, the reason I started was so I could make myself a pretty knitted hat.  It took me almost a year to get to the point where I was ready to knit a hat.  Knitting in the round is interesting, some folks do it with double pointed needles ("dpns") and some folks do it with circular needles.  I found that I can't handle dpns very well, so I taught myself how to use circular needles, with lots of help from the internet.  The trick to circular needles to have the right size for your project.

   I was going through my yarn stash the other day and I found this skein that I love.  The yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease, which is a blend of lamb's wool and acrylic.  It is machine washable and dryable.  The color is white/multi.  It's bright white with tiny glittery bits in it to make it sparkle.  You can't see the sparklies in this picture very well.  Sorry.  I only have the one skein of this yarn, perfect for a hat.

    Here is the start of my hat.  And yes, I do need that many stitch markers (100 stitches, a stitch marker every 10 stitches), the orange stitch marker represents the end of the round.  This is a simple 3 knit, 2 purl rib pattern and I can always tell exactly where I am by where the stitch marker is.



     I'm using my size 8  16" fixed circular knitting needles (Rainbow wood (f/k/a Harmony) needles from Knitpicks.com) to knit the body of the hat.  The pattern says to knit the body of the hat to 5.5", but I always make mine longer.  I like to have my ears covered with a hat.  When I get to the the crown decreases, I will split the stitches up evenly between two circular needles and finish the last 10 rows.

     I'm knitting my favorite hat pattern (I've made about 30 of these since I started knitting).  It's really simple to knit and the finish is super cute.  The pattern is called "Hat Fit For A Boyfriend" (it's a great hat for girls, too).  This is a free pattern on Ravelry.  Here is a link to the pattern on the designer, Stephanie Nicole's, website.  There are no pictures on this old website page, but the entire written pattern is there.  Here's a picture of one that I made.  I especially love the decreases at the top of the hat and the way they work.  So clever.




  That's all for now.  I'm disappearing for the Christmas holiday.  I'll be back next year.


 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Testing, 1, 2, 3, Testing


    I bought a brand new walking foot for my Bernina 1530 a few weeks ago and I'm just getting around to testing it.  I want to use the walking foot on the Bernina to straight quilt my Pretty In Pink quilt when I get my batt.  Here is a picture the pretty little walking foot installed on my machine and a picture of my the front and the back of the sample I just stitched.  It's perfect.





   One note about the walking foot and why I wanted to test it.  Last year I bought an off brand walking foot for my Bernina 1530 from an ebay seller.  I was saving over $100.00 and I thought it would be fine.  The motion of the off brand walking foot was not smooth and although the stitches made using the foot were fine, I wasn't happy with how the machine was running.  So I had some extra money a couple of weeks ago and decided to spring for a Bernina brand walking foot.  I am so glad I did.  There is a world of difference in the two walking feet, the Bernina brand foot runs smoothly and you can see how even the stitches are on both sides.  I'm glad I bought it.  I do a lot of straight line quilting and will probably get a lot of use out of this beauty.  


   One other test I did was to make a 5 Minute Block (the pattern is from Suzanne McNeill).  I'm thinking about using this block for a scrappy Christmas quilt, but I couldn't decide if I would like making it, so I had to try it.  Still not sure about it.  But here is my test block.  It was a fun block to make, I probably need more contrast in my fabrics.  


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update On Pretty In Pink Quilt.

   I finished trimming and ironing the rows on Tuesday night and I just finished sewing the rows together.   Here it is.




       Next week I will iron and piece my already washed solid light pink backing/binding fabric.  I'm going to piece in some blocks from the tops across the back to give it some interest.

       I still have to buy a batt for this quilt project.  I'm going to do some on line shopping for that after the first of January.  My local stores do not carry Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting (my favorite) so I always have to buy them on-line.  I usually order from the Connecting Threads website.  They seem to have the best prices even with shipping charges.


Pins, Pins, Pins, and Of Course, Pincushions.

     I love, love, love pincushions and pins.  One of the best things about sewing are all the fun notions I get to have.  Pincushions and pins are so simple and I am one of the sewists that can't sew without them.  I also love that they can be super decorative.  I buy them, I make them, I can't get enough of my pins and pincushions.

   When I make a pincushion I try to fill it with emery sand (not always possible) because it's so good for sharpening my pins.  I buy emery sand on Amazon or etsy.com so it's super easy to get and one pound of emery sand goes a long way.  You only need a little emery pincushions to help sharpen those pins.


       These teacup pincushions (I used the idea from a blog called MrsMMakes, link here) are filled with polyfil because it was the best material to get the nice plump pin cushion top on the cup.  I did cover them with wool (another good material to use for pins).  The pink cup has wool felt I bought in squares from an etsy seller.  The blue pincushion and the green pincushion are covered with felted wool I knit myself.  To make the blue and green covers I just knit a quick square of stockinette stitch from my wool yarn stash, felted it, filled it with polyfil, sewed it up and glued it into the cup.  The teacup is then glued to the saucer.  This is a super quick and fun project and they would also make a great gift for a fellow sewist.  The hardest thing about making these pincushions was finding a not too expensive pretty teacup and saucer to use.  I always go to ebay or etsy for my teacups and I try to buy them out of season like early in the year before Mother's Day and well before Christmas because the prices go up for those holidays.



       I have no idea what is inside these tomato pincushions I bought, I think it is sawdust, but I don't think my sewing room would be complete without a tomato pin cushion, or two or three.  I found the following information on wikipedia regarding these cuties:  "According to folklore, placing a tomato on the mantel of a new house guaranteed prosperity and repelled evil spirits. If tomatoes were out of season, families improvised by using a round ball of red fabric filled with sand or sawdust. The good luck symbol also served a practical purpose—a place to store pins.  Typically, the tomato is filled with wool roving to prevent rust, and the strawberry is filled with an abrasive to clean and sharpen the pins."



     I made the little wool pincushions with yarn I had in my knitting stash.  I posted how I made them here. 




      I made this big crazy, wonky pink pincushion with wool felt that I filled with emery, the best of both worlds.  It's really heavy and great for using at the machine because it's low profile and it doesn't get in the way of my sewing.




   I bought this felted wool pincushion because it's so pretty.



   I have a few more pincushion projects that I want to make.  There is a completely cute pincushion made using a 3" embroidery hoop, the tutorial is here.  And I know I really, really, really need a very cute ring pincushion to have for my hand stitching sessions, and that tutorial is here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Pretty In Pink Quilt Update

   All the 9 patch blocks are made.  I made 34 nine patch blocks using 3 inch strips for this quilt top.  They will be alternated with solid blocks of the white on white rose print fabric.  I love, love, love the green center on these.  I'm really glad I did that.  I still have to iron and cut the blocks for the solid blocks.  The 9 patch blocks have been ironed and trimmed.







Saturday, December 13, 2014

Claiming My Blog on Bloglovin'

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/13044569/?claim=r628w439xsw">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

In order to claim my blog I had to create this post.

Recycled Duvet Cover Makes a Super Utility Quilt


      Last year I wanted to make myself a utility quilt for the car/beach but I didn't want to take the time to piece a top with nice fabric.  I wanted to experiment.  I was thinking about using some used twin sheets to make my quilt, so I went on ebay and found this twin duvet cover.  I can't remember what I paid for the duvet cover, I think it was about $18.00.  I washed the cover and I stuffed a twin Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batt in it and pin basted it.  There is space on the edges of the long ends where the batt did not quite fill the cover completely and I probably could have pieced some of the extra batting from the short end to fill that in, but I didn't want to fuss with it.  I did straight line quilting on it diagonally with my walking foot on my domestic machine.  After I finished quilting it, I folded in the open end of the cover and top stitched that closed.  One of the best parts of this project was that I did not need to bind the finished quilt.  This quilt is super heavy and really useful.

    I love the madras plaid fabric (it looks like it was pieced by a quilter) on the top.  The bottom is the blue strip.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Flannel Purchased for Quick Blanket

    I need one more blanket that I can take from bedroom to living room so I went searching for some flannel.  I found lots of cute flannel on sale, but these panels really caught my eye.  I just purchased 6 of them to make a nice big, quick blanket.  The panels are 24" x 43/45", so three on each side for a double sided blanket will be perfect.  I love the applique look on it.  So pretty.  Five seams and one round of top stitching and I'll be done.  I can fit this project in one evening when I don't feel like working on the pink quilt.




***Edited to update on this project.  I received the flannel on December 18th and it came all in one big piece so all I had to do was wash it, fold it in half (right sides together) and sew up the two long seams and part of the short seam, turn it right side out and top stitch all around.  It took me about an hour to do the sewing.  So easy and it's really pretty fabric. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kitty On A Quilt

I took this picture last year.  Taffy likes to cuddle on the warm blanket after I get up.  Doesn't she look annoyed?  hehehe  She is my napping cat, she loves to find a nice warm, quiet spot to spend hours sleeping.




Saturday, December 6, 2014

First Strip Sets For The Pink Quilt

Here is a picture of my first strip sets for the pink and green irish chain quilt I'm making just for me.  The green will be the center block in each of the 9 patch blocks.  I love, love, love the white on white fabric, it has little roses on it.  That white on white fabric will be the solid blocks as well.






I'll post again when I've made some sewing progress on this one.

Hanging Dishtowels

   I love, love, love hanging dishtowels in my kitchen to wipe my hands off after I've washed them or they are wet from cleaning up.  These towels are used for my hands only, I don't dry dishes with them or use them for anything else.  I made these real simple by cutting a huge cotton dishtowel in half (found them at JoAnn's, $8.99 for two towels that turn into four hanging dishtowels).  I gathered the cut end and sewed on some pretty fabric to brighten my kitchen.  This is the same fabric I made the crazy round potholders with.  I hemmed the sides of the fabric and just folded it over the gathered end of the dishtowel leaving it open for my ribbon to hang it.  So easy.  I finished three of them last night while I was watching T.V.


Friday, December 5, 2014

My Project To Do List Updated

MY CRAFTING TO DO LIST – DECEMBER 5, 2014

Make my Irish Chain quilt in pink, green and white. You only need to order batting after top is complete. (I will start cutting fabric this weekend for this project).

Start the hand embroidery project “Never Underestimate The Power Of A Woman With A Sewing Machine.”   Get white fabric from stash, get a brown  Pigma pen and choose your embroidery floss colors before you start.

Make more pin cushions with small embroidery hoops (you have all the materials to finish these).

Make collapsible thread catcher with the 4” embroidery hoop you just ordered from Amazon.

Make a blue dog harness for Wolfgang.

Use hexagon punch you bought from Amazon to make papers for English Paper Piecing project.

Start crocheting a granny square afghan in pink, green and white for your bedroom.  You have lots of ideas posted on Pinterest board for inspiration.

Recover large ironing board with solid fabric that does not bleed.

Make new curtains for bedroom, living room, and dining room.  Use 108” backing fabric.

Learn how to cross stitch with small kits you bought.

Use pattern to make Gadget Girl sewing kit bag with vinyl pockets.  You have the pattern.

Print slipper pattern to make slippers.  You have the .pdf on your computer.


Make a new purse using bow tuck pattern you have or using the video tutorial by Debbie Shore.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I love this list.  These are all projects just for me.