Sunday, January 25, 2015

I Can Trace.

      I have had the muslin for this project for a couple of weeks and I've had the pattern even longer, but I couldn't make myself start this project because I was afraid I was going to screw up the pattern tracing.  I've never traced a pattern before, I can't draw, and I don't own a light box.  I do have a lovely sliding glass door in my dining room that gets beautiful morning light and I knew I could use this as a light box, but I was procrastinating.

   This morning I made myself get my fabric ironed, I opened my new brown pigma pen, got my painters tape out, pulled out the embroidery pattern and the instructions.  I used the painters tape to secure the pattern and the fabric to the window.  There were three pattern pages.  I taped the first page up, and didn't tape up the second page until I finished tracing the first, then I lined up the second pattern page with the bottom of the first page, taped it to the window and traced it.  The third page was the easiest.

   The morning light at 10:30 a.m. was perfect.  It took me about an hour to trace this pattern and it came out really well.  I've already selected the colors from my embroidery floss stash and I'm ready to start stitching.

    Here is my sliding glass door light box.  This is a picture of the tracing finished.

   The pattern is "Never Underestimate The Power Of A Woman With A Sewing Machine"  Here is a link to the pattern.

Eight Point Civil War "Buckshot" Pin Cushion Project

    I finished it.  I filled my pin cushion with emery.  Almost 2 cups of it.  The pattern is here.  When I decided to use emery to fill it I knew I would have to make little pouches for the emery to put inside the main pieces of the pin cushion.  So I cut my white fabric squares 4 1/4" (just a 1/4" smaller than the main squares).  They worked perfectly.  The only downside to using emery is that the emery settles in the bottom of the pin cushion and the top 1/3" of each piece is kind of empty.   I was surprised at how long it took me to finish this project, but I love it, so it was worth it.

  Here is a picture of all the emery pieces.

Here are the blue pieces filled with the emery pouches.  The blue fabric is a civil war reproduction fabric I bought on line.

All assembled with a yo yo and button top.

View from above with all the octopus arms.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

One My Favorite Cutting Tools

      It's my ergonomic handle rotary cutter from Martelli's.  I bought one of these rotary cutters a couple of years ago and I fell in love.  These rotary cutters come 45 mm and 60 mm sizes and in right hand and left hand models, which is kind of cool.  The company even has a video on it's website on how to hold it.  The demonstration on that video is pretty amazing because he cuts layers and layers of fabric.

   Here's the link to the website so you can see what I'm talking about.  Link to the Martelli rotary cutter page is here.

  Oh, and I just ordered a second one for my sewing room.  While I'm thinking about rotary cutter, I've resolved to change the blade more frequently so my cutting might be more accurate (and goodness knows I need all the help I can get).\

Inspiration Found. Thanks, Lucy.

    I was browsing the web yesterday and looked in at Lucy's Attic24 blog.  Lucy is a brilliant crocheter who loves color, takes beautiful photos, and is super nice about sharing ideas and patterns with her readers.  I had seen the sweet flower heart you see here before but yesterday I realized (light bulb turns on here) that those little flowers would look so cute in a petal pink yarn decorating my bedroom in some way.  With the picture and pattern right in front of me all I had to do was convert the UK crochet terms to US crochet terms (conversion chart on this page), grab my yarn and size G crochet hook and make some of these these little beauties.

  Here are the pink flowers I made using Lucy at Attic 24's pattern.  These were really fun to make.  I finished 16 of them while watching TV last night.  I just have to decide what to do with them.  Thanks, Lucy.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

New Fabrics On The Way.

   I can't stop adding projects to my crafting to do list.  I'm always finding another pattern or some pretty fabric that has to be added to my list.  I just placed three different fabric orders in three days.   I'm starting to dig on the pre-cuts lately.  I bought that layer cake for my Christmas quilt and I just bought two sets of fat quarters.  I still buy yardage, but when I buy pre-cuts, there isn't a lot of leftover fabric, which can be a good thing, if you don't have a lot of space to store it.

   I bought these fat quarters, Roses and Chocolate by Moda from an etsy seller.  I fell in love with this line a couple of weeks ago, so I knew I was going to get some of this line at some point.

   I bought a couple of yards of this green backing fabric from Marshall's Dry Goods to go with the Roses and Chocolate fat quarters.  This is 108" backing fabric.

I found these fat quarters on sale.  This is Far Far Away by Heather Ross, purchased from an Etsy seller.  I may use this fabric to make a holder for my circular knitting needles.  My circular knitting needles need a home.

   I'm revising my crafting to do list, but it's hard to get things in the order I want to make them because I want to make everything RIGHT NOW.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sunday and Monday - Making Pillow Cases Days

      Last year I made some pillow cases for my room, but they weren't exactly what I wanted.  I settled for using fabric I could afford and some stash fabric.  I've been waiting a whole year to fix those pillow cases.  This time I used Slipper Roses in Pink from the Tanya Whelan line.  This is some of the same fabric I put in the Pretty In Pink Irish Chain quilt I finished a couple of weeks ago.  I love this fabric with the roses, the hint of green and the pink, ah, the pink.  I made four pillow cases using the youtube video tutorial by Jenny Doan at Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Here's a link to her excellent video.  I didn't use a contrasting fabric for the end of the pillow case but I did use a pink gingham (leftover from the quilt) for the two inch decorative flange and I finished my seams with a french seam because they are so cool to make and make these pillow cases perfect.

   Here is the finished product.


    Gingham flange.

    French seam make a really neat finish.

   I received the pink yarn for my fluffy afghan and I started it the other night.  So P.I.N.K.  Love it.

    Here is the start of the afghan.

   I was not able to return the embroidery software I purchased that I can't use, the on line store has a policy about not accepting returns on software, but I was able to sell it for a reduced price and get some of my money back and at least someone else will be able to use it.

   I'm in the process of sewing together my charm squares for my Christmas quilt and sandwiching the Union Jack block for quilting.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

# Union Jack Block Fun On A Holiday Weekend #

       I have been wanting to get a paper piecing pattern for the Union Jack block.  I love the Union Jack quilts people are making in the pastel colors.  I lucked out and found this free pattern on Craftsy.   Here's the link to the pattern page. 

     So instead of working on one of the projects on my ever growing list, I took some time and made this block to use as a decoration in my bedroom.  It nice to get a project done to make up for the bathmat fail I had last week.  This block is 12" x 18" finished.   I'm going to sandwich it, quilt it and hang it in the bedroom.

  Next, I'm going to cut the squares for my Civil War Buckshot Pin Cushion project.  I ordered the emery sand to fill it yesterday.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Time To Buy A Bathmat

     I'm going to buy a bathmat from Walmart today.  I will not be finishing the crochet bathmat I planned to make with the the 1" strips of fabric I sewed together to make fabric yarn.  I did a test crochet last night with the ball of yarn I made the other night and I hate it.  I just wanted to let you know that I will not be working on this project anymore and you won't see a picture of the little bit I crocheted last night.  It is completely U G L Y.   I wasted about a week on this sewing/crochet fail and I'm moving on to the items listed below.

1.  Recover the cardinal pillow I made last year with red plaid fabric I bought a couple of weeks ago.

2.  Cut the squares for my Civil War Buckshot pincushion  and order the emery sand.

3.  Make the 4 pillow cases with the yardage of Tanya Whelan fabric I purchased last year.

4.  Iron the muslin and trace the pattern for the hand embroidery, Never Underestimate A Woman
     With A Sewing Machine.   Then pick the colors of floss for the embroidery.

5.  Organize the box holding more projects, fabrics and supplies.

6.  Start the pink fluffy granny square afghan for my bedroom.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Fabric Yarn Is In Progress

   I cut my 1" wide (give or take) strips last night and tonight I sewed a lot of them together.  Since I'm going to be crocheting this all up I didn't worry about right sides together or making sure each end was straight, I just put them together selvages and all.  This is the ball of yarn that I have done so far.  And since I like to keep track of how much time things take (I don't know why, but I'm obsessed with time), it took me about an 45 minutes to cut the strips for this ball of yarn and another 45 minutes to sew all of these together.  I'm really enjoying making the yarn for this project.

  I didn't have a lot of pink and green fabrics leftover from the quilt because I only purchased 1/2 yard pieces to make the top, but I did find some pink and green fabrics in my stash that I am cutting into strips for my yarn.  I don't know how much yarn I will need.  I think I'll make another ball of yarn to match the size of this one and start crocheting my rug, then if I run out before I finish I can make more yarn.

   I hope to have a new bathroom rug soon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's All About Flexibility

    I know everything doesn't always go smoothly in my crafting world, but I had two major fails in two days and I had to go back to the drawing board on a project and a purchase.

    The first fail was my bathmat project.  I was going to make a bathmat like a mini quilt with a towel as my backing fabric but it was not to be.  The towel stretched when I was sewing my fabric on it and I got really frustrated with it.  I had to re-think my options for making my bathmat and I've decided to crochet one with fabric strips.  Crochet is really fast and when you use a big hook with big fabric strips, it goes really quickly and I really like to crochet.  The tutorial I will use to figure out how wide to cut my fabric strips, how to join them, and what size crochet hook to use is here at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I'll be pulling my fabrics out tonight and I'll start cutting them up.  I wonder how a dishmat for the kitchen counter would work made with crochet.  I have some curtain fabric leftover with some other blue and yellow fabric that would be fun to crochet.
     The second fail happened this morning when I finally opened the package that contained the Brother Software I bought to integrate purchased embroidery designs onto my Brother PE 770 embroidery machine.  I looked at the package and the Windows operating systems listed on it were all the old systems and my computer is running Windows 8.1.  I had no idea that they would be selling something that ran on these old systems.  I've emailed the company to see if I can return it for a refund.  In the meantime I had to do some additional research to find a reasonably priced replacement.  After checking the threads on Quilting Board again, I found Sew What-Pro software.  I did check some reviews on this software and it seems to be just what I need and it's even a little cheaper than the old software I purchased.  Here is a link to purchase the software.

    I never know when I'm going to have to change gears to get something done, so I try to be flexible with my ideas.  I hate to totally give up on an idea until I've tried it a different way at least once.  Dear daughter would say I'm stubborn (like my Dad), but I prefer to say I'm persistent.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Embroidery Machine Test Success.

   This morning I completed a successful test of my embroidery machine using my newly acquired supplies of stabilizer and thread.  I did a couple of tests of a small one color heart then I watched the machine stitch out this 25 minute one color design that is pre-loaded in the machine.  I was interested to see if I would run out of bobbin thread on the large design, but I still had lots of bobbins thread left.  Next I have to get my software set up on my computer.  On Friday I did some browsing on the Embroidery Library site and purchased one design and a alphabet design pack which has letters with pretty wreaths around them.   I really enjoyed shopping at the Embroidery Library site and I put a few items in my wish list for later.

   Picture of the machine in action.

   This is the finished embroidery.  It was interesting to see the machine stitched the design in  layers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Look! They Match!

       My big and little ironing board covers match now.  I covered the little ironing board last month and on Monday night I made the new cover for the big ironing board.  It took me a couple of hours to make it while I watched TV.  It's nice to have matching covers on my ironing boards.  I'm thinking about making matching machine covers for all the sewing machines, but that will have to wait for a little while.

  I've added a couple of quickie projects to my list.  I'm going to make myself a bathmat (pieced quilting cotton quilted to an old towel) and a dishmat, same idea as the bathmat but for the kitchen counter as a place to put wet just washed dishes when my dish drainer is overflowing.

   I also just ordered some yarn to make a big fluffy pink crocheted afghan for my bedroom.  I'm going to use a size N/P crochet hook and a double strand of Red Heart Super Saver making a large granny square.  These afghans work up really quick and are super warm.  I make these a lot when I want to get a big fluffy blanket done in a hurry.

      Here's a picture of the one I made with my scraps last year.

Here's a picture of the one I made for my daughter in a teal color.  This one has a crab stitch border on the edge.  

    I'll be playing with my embroidery machine this weekend.  I have plenty of tear away stabilizer, thread, and bobbins.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pretty In Pink Quilt Finished


 I just finished hand sewing the binding on the back of the quilt and I'm calling it done.  It's not perfect, none of my projects are, but it's perfect for me.  This is the front and a close up of the back showing the blocks I pieced into the center of it.  My Bernina walking foot worked great. The stitching was easy and the stitches were very nice.

   Now on to other projects.  I have to do a few small ones before I start my Christmas quilt.  I have to make my ironing board cover, sewing machine covers, pillowcases for my bed, and the harness for the dog in blue.  I have more but I can't remember them all right now.  And I want to play with the embroidery machine next weekend.  Plenty of sewing and crafts to keep me busy in the new year.

    See you soon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Notes on Purchasing Supplies for My Embroidery Machine

   I wanted to make some notes on my journey into the world of machine embroidery supplies.

   On New Year's Day it took me over two hours to decide what kind of thread I wanted to buy and where I wanted to buy it from.  There a lot of choices of thread and just as many vendors.  I bought an 80 spool variety of polyester thread from  The price was reasonable and I've read decent reviews about the company's customer service and the products from the members on the Quilting Board.  (The Quilting Board is a free message board found right here).  I spend a lot of time on the Quilting Board learning about all things quilting, which includes embroidery.

   On New Year's Eve I took the time to read all the information in the posts on The Seasoned Homemaker Blog.  She created 30 days of posts to cover a wide range of machine embroidery topics and I learned a lot.

   The most important thing I learned from The Seasoned Homemaker's posts is that I need computer software to import designs from the computer onto my embroidery machine.  I did not know this.  I did some research and I purchased the basic Brother software here at  I did look at the on-line software available on embird and embrillance, but the cost of those was more than I wanted to spend at this time.  I'm trying to resist over spending on supplies before I figure out how much I like doing machine embroidery.

   I placed an order for extra Schmetz titanium needles for this machine with an ebay seller.  

   I will be placing my order on Amazon for pre-wound bobbins, extra empty bobbins, and medium weight tear away stabilizer on Sunday.  I understand that also carries stabilizers and thread.  The prices for both are supposed to be very good.  So I may be trying as a vendor for stabilizers and other supplies.

   That should take care of my machine embroidery supply needs for a while.  As soon as I get my stabilizer I will start to play with my new embroidery machine.

    I decided on a name for my Brother PE 770 embroidery machine.    She will be called Myrna.  I could say she was named after Myrna Loy (one of my favorite actresses), but she is actually named after the sheep that was on the birthday card my DD gave me when she presented me with the machine.  The sheep, Myrna, had her front half sheered and her bottom half wooly and the caption on the top of the card read:  On a dare, Myrna goes topless.  And inside the card it said:  Expose yourself to plenty of birthday fun!  You can see the card right here.  It is a really cute card.

    I haven't started quilting my Pretty in Pink quilt just yet.  I'll be working on that tomorrow and Sunday.   See you soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

    Here's to a happy and healthy New Year to you all.

    I spent New Year's Eve with my pets and my projects.  I set up the embroidery machine, which runs great right out of the box.  My testing would have been complete if I had stabilizer for my test.  The doubled cotton fabric did not work.  My upper thread broke twice and I think that was the machine's way of telling me it was not happy.  I turned it off and I'm waiting for stabilizer supplies before I test her again.  She needs a name and a home.  I can work out those two questions while I am waiting for supplies to use her and finishing quilting the Pretty in Pink quilt.

   The Pretty In Pink quilt is pin basted and ready to be quilted.  Here is a sample sandwich I did with the Bernina 1530 and her new walking foot.  These are pictures of the both sides, but for the life of me the stitching is so sweet, I can't tell the top from the bottom.  I should have used different fabric or thread for one or the other.  Oh, well.  All in all, I'm very happy with that Bernina walking foot purchase.


   I'm off to finish cleaning my oven (I sprayed cleaner in it two hours ago and it's time to wipe it all out) and then I can start quilting.  See you soon.