Archive | March 2018

My First Ruler Work on a Quilt

I’ve been itching to try out the latest trend in machine quilting on a longarm and that’s using a ruler to make designs.  You can do this on a regular sewing machine too.  The concept is to run the foot of the machine along the edge of the ruler and you always have to take into account for the 1/4″ of the diameter of the hopping foot while doing this.  I plan on doing ruler work on my BIL Marc’s t-shirt quilt in the sashing but my skills aren’t there yet so I figured I’d give it a try on a panel.  Cute bunnies!  Happy Easter!

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There are several challenges I have when deciding on what to do on a quilt.
1.  I have absolutely no idea what design to choose.
2.  I usually decide on something WAY over my skillset and screw it up.
3.  I don’t get the math right to make the design equal and balanced.

To fix #1 & 2, I decided to keep it really simple for my first go and settled on a single crisscross stitch.  I had ideas of making it more complex right out of the gate but forced myself to KISS it.  (Keep it simple stupid).  Believe me, it was a challenge!  As far as #3, last summer I saw a YouTube video where this lady used a strip of paper the length of the quilting area and she folded it into equal parts to create measuring guides.  It’s an incredibly simple technique that up until then had escaped me.

I accounted for the 1/4″ SA on the binding and knew I wanted the X’s to start at the outer corner of the inner blue border.  So those points are #1.  I used the ruler to STID around the outside of the blue border and you can see where it got away from me a bit because there’s a wobble up into the green about an inch to the left of the corner.  Focus!  I probably won’t pick that out.  I’m going to leave it so I can look back one day and see how far I’ve come.

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I marked all the points top and bottom, and then created the X’s with a blue marking pen.  The #1’s are the outer corners at the blue border, #2 is the center fold, #3’s are the inner folds.

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My ruler has a little 1/4″ toe that you’re supposed to place at the point where you want to land.  Once I got the hang of this, it was pretty fun!

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If I’d thought about it, (and I did initially and then got caught up in finding a backing and subsequently forgot…SQUIRREL! ), I’d of loaded the panel sideways to get fewer passes out of it.  I still may unload/re-load…we’ll see.  My total quilting space with the ruler table attached is about 14″.

I need to remove the markings a bit more, but here’s the final outcome of a simple crisscross design in the upper border.  I’m thinking about doing some echo lines and will probably do that before I roll it up to do the sides.  I’m so glad I kept it simple so I could have success on my initial attempt at ruler work.  I plan on using the computer to quilt the interior of the panel.  Lots of fun!

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#Simplicity4092 Costume & Daughters of the American Revolution

I am a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution ( NSDAR or DAR for short) and to be a member of this organization, you must have a proven ancestor who fought in the American Revolution. My mother dug into genealogy (ha ha) when I was a child, and she was able to join the DAR and subsequently, put me into CAR (Children) where I remained a member until the age of 18 and then I dutifully joined DAR in 1982. There is an SAR (Sons) too if you were wondering. NSDAR has about 180,000 members and there are over 18,000 just in Texas. The NSDAR national headquarters encompasses an entire city block in Washington DC and is just around the corner from the White House. You’ve heard of Constitution Week? Well you can thank the DAR for petitioning Congress in 1955 for that and President Eisenhower signing it into law.

DAR is an amazing organization of which I’m very proud to be a part. We stand for historical preservation, conservation of historical sites, community service, education, and above all else American patriotism. My local chapter, the Susanna Dickinson Chapter, meets monthly in the East Central School Museum and they are an incredible group of ladies who do everything from sponsor the DAR Good Citizen Essay Contest at East Central High School ($100 award), to placing flags on veterans’ graves at Sayer Salem Cemetery, to doing field trips to local historical sites, and attending US Naturalization ceremonies when they are held in downtown San Antonio.

This past weekend was the 119th Texas State DAR State Conference held at the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio on the Riverwalk. Over 1,000 Texas Daughters descended on downtown in full splendor a to attend business meetings, present state awards ($1,000 to History Teacher of the Year – a Brit of all things! ha ha He found the humor as well), and honor distinguished military veterans. The conference began on Wednesday with the Boy Scouts of America doing a flag retirement ceremony in front of the Alamo.

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It was such a moving ceremony that at times I got teary. It was so wonderful to see young people lead hundreds of spectators in the Pledge of Allegiance and then one by one, talk about the history and meaning of our flag. The proper way to dispose of a flag is to burn it and bury the ashes, but with no burning allowed on Alamo grounds, they cut the flag into 4 sections, leaving the blue field of stars intact to show unity of states as a country and then reverently folded the 4 sections into a box to be burned later. I’ve never seen it done like this and it was very nicely and respectfully performed.

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They marched in and out as a complete color guard and it was simply wonderful to be there.

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At the conference, I was a committee of One and in charge of Meal Greeters for the entire week. I had the dubious honor of making sure that only those who paid for their meals got into breakfasts, brunches, lunches, teas, receptions, and formal dinners. I live about 30 miles from the hotel and made the trip back and forth every day from Wednesday through Sunday. Some days I had plenty of volunteers in place and others I was checking tags myself but I was there from dark until …dark. When a breakfast begins at 6:30am, I had to get up a 4:00am to get there in time. The only reason I did this was because my former chapter Regent was a co-chair of the conference organizing committee and I promised her my full support over a year ago when she agreed to the assignment. She stayed in the hotel but at over $150 a night, I decided to drive back and forth. If you have vertigo, skip the next image of inside the hotel from above. That’s the San Antonio Riverwalk just outside the glass windows below.

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We were honored to have Mrs. Gregg Abbott, the Texas Governor’s wife, join us for our Educational Awards luncheon. That little doll on the head table is wearing a replica of the gown she wore at her husband’s inauguration. Texas State DAR is sponsoring a historical display of all Texas First Lady’s gowns at Texas Women’s University in Denton, and there were 48 hand made miniature gowns on display at the conference that were made by Texas Daughters. A raffle was held to help fund the display. You know I really wanted to win all those doll dresses. Sorry, no photo but here’s Mrs. Abbott.

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One of the Fiesta events my chapter attends every year is the Pilgrimage to the Alamo. Fiesta San Antonio is a huge 10-day long celebration that is the largest party in the country. It was second only to Mardi Gras in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina. Fiesta occurs every April and it is the celebration of Texas’ independence from Mexico. There are parades of all kinds, night parties, historical displays, and a gazillion other events during the celebration. They even shut down local schools for the Battle of Flowers parade. The Pilgrimage is a very somber event held during the daytime where hundreds of people gather in their respective groups – everything from the Scouts, to the Junior League, to the 4H…you name it – and we walk in silence about a mile through the streets of downtown San Antonio to lay wreaths at the Alamo. As we walk into Alamo Plaza, the names of the patriots who died there during the Battle of the Alamo (1836) are read over a loud speaker and there are thousands of spectators all over the plaza. In attendance, there’s usually a Texas Congressman and/or Senator, general officers and colonels from the local military installations, and a full herd of ladies in yellow dresses and hats from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas (descendants of Texas patriots). We, the DAR, are frequently confused with them, the DRT. They have the Alamo; we have the Constitution. 😉 So there!

During this Fiesta event, members of my group attend in full colonial costume. Have you ever been horrified to discover that you have turned into the parent who embarrassed you beyond belief as a teen? It happened to me this weekend. Enter Simplicity 4092.

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During certain DAR events throughout my life, my mother would go in costume. I was mortified by this and tried to stay as far from her as possible to disavow any relation to that whack job across the room. She loved every minute of it – from the sewing to the display and she usually wore something she pattern drafted herself that was more of a dress that would be worn at home. Not me. If I’m doing this, it will be as a lady of means by golly. As I’ve aged, I’ve learned to enjoy the freedom that being a bit older gives you. And by freedom, I mean I couldn’t care less what other people think. It’s so liberating! And it’s so FUN! Today I thank my mom for paving the way.

I decided to test out my new dress at the Education Awards luncheon at State Conference on Saturday. This gown took me about 3 months to sew. The pattern must have over a million pieces and the final product weighs about 20 pounds. The overskirt is a brocade I found stuffed on a roll in a back rack at Hancock’s about 3 years ago and the underskirt is a tone-on-tone drapery fabric. I couldn’t find the right shade of lace so I ordered white and tea dyed it. The fit of the bodice was a real challenge and while it fits, it’s not the most comfortable in the armseye. I imagine it would fit better with a corset, but I’m a seamstress, not a masochist. I stuffed the panniers with scraps of quilt batting. The pictures don’t do the dress justice. The green shimmers in the light along with the gold stripe and it’s really beautiful.

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No showing of teeth when you smile. Ladies didn’t do that back then.

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Moving around in that hoop was a true challenge. Sitting in one is its own form of misery. I have respect for my ancestors who suffered through fashion.

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Y’all, this was an absolute BLAST! So many ladies wanted to know about the dress and I received a ton of compliments. One even asked me to make her one for $250…um’ no. I was the only one in costume during the Education Awards luncheon so I was besieged with Daughters who wanted selfies. It was a relief, because these women are sticklers for historical accuracy. Non-convention goers wanted to know why I was dressed like that and I was able to share information about DAR.

Here are the ladies from my chapter before the luncheon began. The only downside to these dresses is that by the time you add the hoop and panniers, you’re as broad as a Chevy Suburban. 😀 It was a fabulous time and I can’t wait to wear it again next month for Fiesta!

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If you are interested in learning more about DAR, please visit their website linked above or if you are local, message me. I’m the Chapter Registrar and help perspectives complete their applications. You need your first three generations of birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses. DAR can help from there. If you are interested in SAR, I can point you in the right direction too.

Applique Bath Towels, Ocean Friends, & a New Spool Quilt

Keith’s daughter Keri visited last weekend with his almost 10-year old granddaughter, Lyric, who was an absolute joy.  They were visiting from North Texas for a wedding that Keri was going to attend over in Gonzales, Tx.

When she arrived, Keri said she forgot to bring a gift and felt bad.  Grammy to the rescue!  Personalized towels are perfect and so easy.  She bought some towels at a local store and then we picked out an applique font and some fabric scraps.  I used the Brother Simply Applique program to create the design.

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I floated the towel over hooped wash-away stabilizer and used a wash-away topper to keep the stitch down stitches from being buried in the pile of the towel.

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They turned out great!

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I dug around for a wedding gift bag in a back closet somewhere and ta-da!  Instant wedding gift.  Keri was so appreciative and thanked me profusely.  You know I loved every minute of doing this.  🙂

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On the day of the wedding, Keith took Lyric fishing on our ranch all day.  He said that girl is a fishing machine and she wore him out!    I think Harley is hoping she drops it.

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They brought home four fish and Keith fried them up for lunch on Sunday.  They were delicious!

Also on Sunday, Lyric spent 5 hours in the sweat shop with me to help me work on the Ocean Friends quilt that I’m making for the son of our neighbor at the coast.  She was so good listening to me and asking questions about what and why.  She learned to use a rotary cutter, how to hold a ruler while cutting, how to thread the machine, she helped to pick out fabrics and she sewed 9 of the Wonky Nine Patch Blocks that go into the quilt.  I was so proud of her.  You should have seen her critiquing her 1/4″ seams!

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Look how the seams match on those blocks.  She was so careful to nest them the way I showed her.  She’s a natural!

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I was sorry to see them go home.  I did however, send a special birthday present for Lyric home with her mom but I can’t tell you what it is because her birthday isn’t until June.  After her experience this weekend, I think she’ll like it!  😉

Monday I went to my local quilt shop and picked up  17 yards of black grunge fabric for a 6″ outer border and backing for my BIL’s t-shirt quilt.  I also got a yard of teal grunge for a 2″ inner border.

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Here the quilt top so far.  I should be able to finish the top this weekend.  The lizard on the ceiling caused quite a stir in my FB group for Beginner Longarm Quilters.  He’s always hanging around keeping an eye on me.  ha ha

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I also saw this quilt made from a panel hanging in the window of the quilt shop.  Of course, I had to add it into the queue…as if it’s not full enough!  I’ve never made a spool quilt and I think it will look great in my new sewing room at the coast.

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Happy quilting!