Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Archive for the ‘Grandchildren’ Category

From there to here, from here to there…

“…funny things are everywhere.”  Dr. Seuss

My goal this year is to finish projects.  We all have them; those UFO’s hanging out in boxes and bins.  Funny thing, I don’t seem to be getting anywhere too fast.  How do you get from there to here, or…from here to there?   My UFO’s keep multiplying.  I seem to begin more projects than I finish.

I am making slow progress on FMQ the Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  To be honest, I haven’t done anything since my last post.  Until Saturday, I hadn’t worked anymore on the applique blocks, either.  Instead, I spent a great deal of time outdoors transplanting more irises and hosta plants.  I prepared a new flower bed and planted seeds.

The biggest culprit in not working on finishes is beginning new projects.  I purchased outdoor fabric to make a new seat cover and canopy for our outdoor swing – another project I have put off doing because I already have too many.  But, my husband is ready to do the sanding and painting of the frame, so he is encouraging me to do the stitching.

But, before I begin, I really need to clean up the sewing space.  The table has been collecting all sorts of stuff.  Tables seem to be magnets for magazines, patterns, fabric scraps, spools of thread, and project boxes.  With company coming on Sunday, I need to clean.  So, I cut my fabric leftovers into Scraptherapy squares.  I placed spools of thread on their spindles, stuffed fat quarters back into bins, and relegated magazines into a stack on the floor.  There are still patterns to sort and file.  I would really like to cut out the seat cover and canopy and stitch them together before our Memorial week-end barbeque.  But, I got sidetracked again with one more WIP waiting to be completed.

I came across a baby bib project lying under the stuff on the table.  I made a bib for one of my grandsons from a foam bib shape I purchased a couple of months ago at the LQS baby event.  I had a second one to make for my other infant grandson.  I stitched it together this evening, adding a purchased picot edge bias tape using a decorative edge stitching.

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One more project completed gets me one step closer to there from here.  Next week, I should have pictures of applique progress.  I prepared more freezer paper shapes and basted them on a Saturday road trip.  They’ll keep my hands busy at night this week.

Until next time…happy stitching!

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A Day Late & a Dollar Short

If you read The Free Dictionary, my title indicates being “late and ill-prepared”, while Dictionary.com says “inadequate; overdue and lacking; too little too late”. Historically Speaking explains “that action taken was taken late and is of no use. An opportunity has not only been missed, but if it had been snagged, it would have been to no avail as there was inadequate preparations made that would have resulted in a favorable outcome.”

I don’t know that my blog post meets all those definitions, but I am a day late in making my weekly post on my quilting project progress.  Hopefully, when I am finished, you won’t agree that I am also “a dollar short”.

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned attending a week-end event with my sister at my LQS.  I purchased a package of double gauze fabric to make a swaddling blanket – a quick & easy project only requiring a rolled edge hem after trimming away the selvedges.  The fabric in the package is printed with gray elephants and fits my youngest grandson’s room decor theme.  I also stitched together a baby bib using a foam bib form and a fat quarter with tractors.  The bib is for my other infant grandson who is beginning to eat pureed foods.  The first photo shows the items when I purchased them, while the second has the finished projects.

You may have noticed the picot edged bias tape in the first photo.  This is a new product the LQS ordered at Market.  I plan to make a second bib with one of the fabrics from my elephant walk quilt stash.

I also spent time preparing some of the applique shapes for my Craftsy class project. Currently, I am preparing leaf shapes using freezer paper.  Guild meeting is tomorrow night and I like to have a hand project to take along.  I have more than enough to keep my hands occupied during the program.  I continue considering machine quilting designs to use on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  I enjoy browsing through the multitude of designs over at The Free Motion Quilting Project by Leah Day.  This always sparks my imagination for machine quilting.  I will likely use some swirls and some pebbles, since those are designs I enjoy quilting and have practiced a lot.

Are you working on a machine quilting project?  What designs are you quilting? Seeing what you are working on may inspire me to make my decisions and get to the quilting.

Until next week…Happy Stitching!

Emma’s Pillow

Learning a new craft is challenging.  Teaching can also be challenging, trying to explain basic sewing principles in easy to understand terms.  My granddaughter, Emma, has been a willing learner, but she exhibits frustration when she doesn’t do something right.  When that happens, she needs a break and I allow for it.

Today’s project was a small charm square pillow with a hand stitched initial.  Emma has a keen sense of color.  She spent quite a bit of time selecting fabrics from my stash, selecting fabrics that appealed to her and looked nice next to each other.  Today’s lesson involved learning how to use rulers and a rotary cutter, including handling the cutter safely.  We handled the rotary cutter together, knowing that she needs close supervision until she is more skilled.

emma-sewing

sewing the pillow together

I also allowed Emma to practice her previously learned skills.  She wound a bobbin, threaded the sewing machine, and stitched quarter-inch seams.  She also learned a new skill: how to use a seam ripper.  Interestingly, she realized during the sewing that she had veered out of the seamline.  She stopped and immediately reached for the seam ripper to tear out part of the seam.  No hesitation on her part to unsew and resew.  That may be the perfectionist coming out in her.

Emma completed the pillow project over the course of the day by taking breaks to do other things.  At one point, I thought that she had stitched enough for the day, putting the project aside and shutting down the sewing machine.  Later, I found Emma back in the sewing room hand stitching her initial onto the pillow top.  It is exciting to see her developing an interest in handiwork.

emma-her-pillow

Emma’s Pillow

She’s already asking what our next project will be.  I’m ready to teach her how to cut out a paper pattern and stitch together a piece of clothing.  I made my first pair of pants in 4-H when I was 9 years old.  My plan is a pair of flannel pajama pants.  Emma is also learning to knit, from her other Grandma.  Someday, she will realize how fortunate she is to have learned these skills as a child, since many of our young people are not learning them.  If you’re a sewist, quilter, knitter, or embroider, pass that skill onto a younger person.  We owe it to the next generation.

Until next time…happy stitching!

Emma’s Pincushion

Quilting and sewing is enjoyable only when you are able to share it with someone else.  I share my stitching with my two sisters, friends, guild members, and even acquaintances.  Now, I am sharing stitching with my eight-year-old granddaughter. She spent another Saturday morning practicing the sewing lessons I started a couple weeks ago.

Emma is learning to embroider.  She traced the heart pattern onto a piece of muslin and hooped it with flannel backing.  She selected three colors of embroidery floss and is learning to thread a needle and make a knot.  This isn’t easy for a newbie and is teaching Grandma patience.  She outlined the hearts using a stem stitch. Sometimes she made large stitches and had to take them out and redo them. Sometimes she didn’t catch the thread on the front of the stitch and either removed the stitch or kept it.  Sometimes she caught the corner of the fabric in her stitch as it folded across the back of the hoop.  All this is a part of the learning process.

emma-embroidering

We took a break from stitching to practice on the sewing machine.  She threaded the machine and stitched a sample with straight, curved and V-shaped lines. Learning to start and stop at a specific point can be challenging.  She is also learning how to adjust the speed with the foot pedal.  After a couple of hours, I think Emma needed a break.  But, she was persistent and wanted to finish the project. So, she trimmed the finished embroidery, pinned it to a backing, and stitched the seams on the sewing machine.  After turning right side out, she stuffed it with some batting scraps and whipped stitched the opening.  Voila, a pincushion.  Quite an accomplishment.

emmas-pincushion

As for my projects, I completed some hand quilting on Sunday.   Too many other activities going on in my life to allow much time for stitching.  But, sewing with Emma is worth more than finishing a WIP anyday.

Until next week…Happy Stitching!

Borders, Granddaughters & Hand Quilting

This weekly progress update has multiple topics.  My goal was to complete the borders on a BOM begun about 1-1/2 years ago.  Although, I would like to say that I met my goal, I was only able to complete 3 of 4 borders.  But, I also spent time doing something crafty with each of my granddaughters, and made progress on a project that wasn’t even on my radar.

Mid-week, I put the first border on my Sew Sweet Simplicity quilt.  The pattern is by Jacquelynne Steves over at The Art of Home.  My older sister & I planned to do this project together.  The block options included applique or embroidery, and I chose to embroider.  The first border is the cream fabric used as the background fabric and the sashing.  This framed the blocks, making the fabric colors and embroidery stand out.  By Friday, I was able to add the second border of blue bird fabric.

2nd-border

Both of my granddaughters spent time with me this week-end doing a crafty project.  I planned a Saturday morning sewing lesson for 8-year-old Emma that included a trip to the local dime store to purchase items for her personal sewing box, practicing straight line stitching on striped fabric, and teaching embroidery stem stitching.  Her first project is to make a pin cushion, which has embroidered hearts.  Her nearly 5-year old sister Carly, spent time with Grandma on Sunday making a beaded turtle keychain kit.

In between, I added the third border to my quilt.  The dot fabric was purchased off the Hobby Lobby clearance rack.  I love dotty fabric and couldn’t pass by this purchase, only realizing after I got it home, that it is a perfect match to the fabrics in my quilt.  Bonus: I have enough to do the backing.

closeup-of-blocks

Being Grandma is lots of fun, but tiring.  Carly is a bowl full of energy.  I spent the remainder of the week-end on the sofa.  I picked up a hand quilting project in the vicinity of my resting place and added some stitches to the project.  My Solids Liberated Improv is from a Gwen Marston quilt retreat in 2009.

solids-improv-hand-quilting

So, that’s what I accomplished last week.  How about you; what projects have you been stitching on?  Join me this year in finishing up all those projects you’ve started.  I’m trying to learn persistence and determination with my UFO’s.  Just a little every week and, as the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”.

Happy Stitching!

 

Not a New Year’s Project List

I make lists.  Lots of lists.  I’m the type of person that adds to a list just so I can cross it off the list.  I like to see that I completed something.  I like to look back at my lists and see what I accomplished.  At the beginning of each new year, I like to create a list of the quilt projects I plan to finish.  Generally, the list gets longer and the finishes are fewer.  I seem to spend a lot of time creating lists and less time doing what’s on the list.

Last year, I didn’t make a list.  In fact, I haven’t been working off a written list all year.  Instead, I focused on my current project and worked on it until it was done, then I moved on to the next project.  In 2016, I completed 3 baby quilts and 1 queen size quilt, from start to finish.  I made progress on several other projects.  I also stitched up several items for my grandchildren: baby burp cloths, baby bibs, baby blankets, doll clothes, and lined curtain panels.  I also didn’t post much on my blog.  Seems I get more done when I stitch and avoid the blogosphere.

elephant-baby-blanket

Flannel elephant fabric with comfy gray fabric on back and satin blanket binding with heart stitching – baby blanket for my next grandson we are patiently waiting to arrive.

Lately, I hear more & more quilters are trying to downsize their stashes and complete UFOs, WIPs, or whatever you call them.  I’ve been trying to do that, as well, but find myself obsessing about the particulars.  I can be a perfectionist.  But, I’ve decided I need to jump in and just do them.  I can’t take too long making a decision.  So, now that I have caught up on current projects, I decided to jump into a WIP and get it done.

I picked up a table topper I put together last September, from a kit I bought several years ago.  I bought the project so that I could try my hand at a scalloped edge treatment.  I spray basted the top, batting & backing together and started quilting.  After stitching around an inner border with a walking foot, I started free motion quilting organic designs.  In no time, the topper was finished.  I marked the scalloped edge, stitched the line, and trimmed away the fabric edge.  A couple rows of echo quilting along the scalloped edge and I’m ready for the binding.

Well, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with my progress and excited to have a finish in sight.  Makes me want to pull out another project and get it done.  So, meet me back here next week and I’ll show you what I’ve accomplished.  And, maybe after several more weeks, I’ll begin to see a dent in those UFOs and WIPs.

Happy Stitching!

 

 

 

Quilting or Blogging

Quilting is a passion of mine.  I like to share what I do with others.  But I have found blogging to be time consuming and takes away from the time I get to make quilts.  So, you will see only a few posts when I have more time in my life to visit this site and input another quilt story.

Today’s story will be short and contain few pictures.  Sorry!  Many of my quilts are for gifts.  And, in the process of finishing a gift, I often forget to take a picture before wrapping it up.  I recently made another Charm Squares Baby Quilt as a gift to my niece’s son born in October.  I also made a flannel baby blanket with that bumpy, plush fabric on the back as a gift for my nephew’s son born in November.  Now, my attention is on making a baby quilt for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  I know, I had a grandson born in July with my previous post about that quilt finish.  Now you can see why I don’t have time to blog about my quilts.

I have a great pattern picked out for this grandson’s quilt.  It has rows of elephants, which is the theme of the baby’s room.  Check out the pattern here.  I have fabrics selected with an emphasis on grays and teals.

I cannot wait to get started on this quilt, but I have another Christmas project to finish first.  I am making bedroom curtains for my two granddaughters.  Mom made a special request to have them as Christmas gifts.  So, I must end this post and get to work on these curtains.  I have an entire week free of regular work to sew on them.  How great is that!

Happy Quilting!

Picture Play Baby Quilt

I’ve completed another baby quilt.  This one is for my soon-to-be-born grandson.  Big Sister, my 7-year-old granddaughter, assisted with picking out the pattern and fabrics.  The design is adapted from the pattern Tiny Treasures in Picture Play Quilts by Ami Simms.  Her pattern used 2-inch patches, but I had lots of 3-1/2 inch patches that I’ve saved using the Scraptherapy method, by Joan Ford of Hummingbird Highway.  I also completed a different border treatment than the pattern by Ami.

I found a great bargain on a dotted fabric and used it to make borders and backing.  The colors are perfect for a baby boy quilt: brown, yellow, blue & green.  And, it fit well with the patches in the quilt.  I love all the little designs fussy-cut from my collection of children’s prints.  I’ve been collecting these since my first grandson was born four years ago, but haven’t used any of them until now.  Isn’t that how it goes. We collect fabrics with good intentions to make something, but it takes forever to get that project made.  It took my daughter having a baby to give me a deadline to finish a quilt.

Speaking of deadlines, her delivery is fast approaching.  So, I took time this holiday week-end to get the outside borders onto the quilt and make the backing.  Here is a peek at the quilt top before I send it out to the longarmer.

Tiny Treasures Picture Play Baby Quilt

Baby quilts are so much fun to make.  Over the last 30 years or so, I’ve created more baby quilts than I can even remember.  I really need to document all my baby quilts together.  That may be a topic for a future post.  For now, here are more close-up shots of the picture patches.

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Enjoy!

Child’s Quilted Backpack

I spent my Monday holiday stitching up a child’s quilted backpack. With the entire day off work, I hoped to do some quilting. But, I diverted from this plan to make this backpack, a project I began for my granddaughter more than a year ago. The pattern, fabrics, and notions have been in a box stashed in my sewing room, waiting for me to have the time to make it.

I let my granddaughter pick out the fabrics. She loves kitty cats and had to use some cat fabric from my stash for the pocket. Purple is her favorite color, unless she’s wearing pink, and the butterfly fabric perfectly fit with the cat fabric she picked out. If you look closely at the photo, two of the cats are inside a green bag with purple butterflies. The top of the pack opens and closes with drawstrings that double for shoulder straps. The project stitched together quickly.

Child's Backpack

Child’s Backpack

Some may wonder why I didn’t work on my quilting goal list for 2014. I just didn’t include other sewing projects on the list, but do need to put effort into completing some of those, as well. Quilters sew up bags and sundry items, often for gift-giving. My granddaughter has a birthday next month and this will be included with her other gifts. I had a quilt on my list for her birthday, but that will have to wait until next year. I should have started that project sooner.

Having emptied a box, I now have one less sewing project on my list. Finishing a project in a day is always a motivator. I need to empty more of those boxes, so they don’t end up as one of those Boxes Under the Bed that my children find when cleaning out my house in the future. My ultimate goal is to clean out the sewing room, either stitching up forgotten projects or giving them away. So, look forward to seeing more completions this year.

Happy Stitching!

Progress on Advent Calendar

I am finally making progress on the Advent calendar wool ornaments. I received a package in the mail today that contained #8 perle cotton thread that I ordered online. I needed some additional colors that were not available at my local quilt or craft shops. I had continued to blanket stitch several ornaments, but was unable to finish many of them without the additional thread colors.

Today, I finished four more ornaments: the candy cane, the gingerbread man, the light bulb and the present.

Candy Cane

Wool Candy Cane Ornament

Gingerbread Man

Wool Gingerbread Man Ornament

You may have noticed that the gingerbread men do not match. I didn’t have enough wool in the same tan color, so made them from two pieces.

Wool Light Bulb Ornament

Wool Present Ornament

Thread color is difficult to match, and even more difficult to match when selecting thread from online. The green color does not match the green wools very well, but I decided to use it anyway. As for the brown thread on the gingerbread man, it was not as dark as I had expected. Stitching all those white stripes on the candy cane was time consuming, but came out well.

I prepared several more of the ornaments, as I waited for my thread to arrive. I should be able to finish several more ornaments next week. Monday, I have a sewing day planned with my sisters. I will be cutting out the cotton fabrics to make the feather tree quilt that the ornaments attach to. I actually believe that I have planned well enough to complete this project in time for my grandchildren to enjoy the Advent calendar this season. Hope you are being as successful with your holiday stitching projects.

Happy Stitching!

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