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Completed Quilt Top #Legendary by Elizabeth Hartman

F-i-n-e-a-l-l-y I finished the top for Legendary by Elizabeth Hartman.  I just love her quilt patterns.  The designs are clean and fun with a touch of whimsy and just make me happy.  I could do nothing but make her quilts from her on out and be completely happy.

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I especially love Flamingos and I have the pattern but not the fabric…yet.  However, I’ve got a lot of irons in the quilt fire pit so I’m holding off on buying the fabric.  So many irons in fact, that I’m out of space and must force myself to finish some and get them out of my life before I can take on any others.  My poor sweat shop is overflowing to the point of the clutter stressing me out.  I hate that.  Clean surfaces and quilting are a contradiction in terms.  I love them both so I have to get busy.

I picked up Legendary as a kit at a quilt store in Denver last August when I went to see my son & his family.  He’s got a sticker of the Mountain Man on the back window of his SUV so I thought he’d like it.  I was right and he’s anxiously waiting for me to finish it up.  Tomorrow I will hit up my fave quilt store for 4.5 yards of backing.   I already have the binding as part of the kit.

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The Alpha-bitties came in handy to keep all the tree branches organized.

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Of course the most fun was the Mountain Man.  He was not paper-pieced at all but instead had odd wonky sewn angles for his hands and head.

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This entire quilt top finishes out at 71″ x 60″.  Once I get the backing the next step is to put it on the longarm.  I want it finished this week.

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Next WIP projects:

  1. My BIL’s t-shirt quilt.  Needs outer border, ruler work in sashing/borders, & bound.
  2. Ocean Friends.  Applique quilt with a ton of work left.
  3. Corner of 5th and Fun.  Easy panel quilt with pinwheel blocks.
  4. Dinosaur applique quilt from Shiny Happy World.
  5. Woodland Critters from Shiny Happy World.

What’s in your queue?

 

 

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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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!

Short While Storage and Sewing

We’re opening a business!  This is serious stuff ya’ll.  My dad and step mom bought 2.5 acres about a mile from a ginormous high school back in the 90’s…even before Steele HS was there in fact.  And since then, the surrounding area has grown by leaps and bounds with rooftops everywhere that used to be grazing pastures.  Dad passed in ’14 and in ’16 mom realized she couldn’t keep up with the house and land any longer by herself.  We purchased the property from her and happily she now lives about a mile from us (as the crow flies).  There is still a doublewide on the property and finally we have some good tenants in there.  Even back when I first met my husband, I told him I’d always dreamed of opening an RV and boat storage on the back of the property.  Once we bought the property, that’s exactly what we’ve done!  Welcome to Short While Storage, LLC.  🙂

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It’s not much to look at now, but that’s about $25,000 worth of 7′ high commercial grade chain link fence with a 24′ wide automatic gate.  There will eventually be 45 covered RV stalls with open storage across the back.  We’re planning to open our doors on April 1st, 2018!  Contracts are in the works for construction. Here’s what our retirement plan will look like.

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Yes, this is a sewing blog so let’s chat about sewing.  I finished the mountain man and a row of “Legendary” by Elizabeth Hartman and hope to finish the entire top this week.  All trees are complete and I just need to add the sashing and get it all together.

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I bought a coordinating backing and put a top I finished in early ’17 on the longarm.  It’s coming along nicely.

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I made a top from a Craftsy Class by Meg McElwee – Sewing with Knits, 5 Wardrobe Essentials.

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I’m making another top from the same pattern but with long sleeves.  Yesterday I saw this video from Angela Wolf on how to make thumb cuffs/hand warmers so I whipped those up from the same fabric and I’ll add those to the sleeves.  I’ll be needing them tonight at our friend’s Superbowl party.  We’re usually outside the entire time.

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I wore that light gray top to a meeting I had at the Pentagon in Washington DC last week.  It worked perfectly with the blazer.  It’s not in this photo but I think the pic is pretty cool so I wanted to show it to you.  🙂  I wanted to share my philosophy of “Now why can’t we all just get along?” with the powers-that-be at the Pentagon but they wouldn’t let me down that hallway.  LOL

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I went up a day early to sight see in our nation’s capital.  Loved every freezing windy moment of it!  The State of the Union was going to be televised that night so security was pretty tight.

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I finished a beanie for my son who lives in Colorado Springs.  We’re all cursed with larger than normal heads so I had to enlarge a pattern 140% from a Craftsy class I got for sewing with fleece.  That’s $25 a yard PolarTec 100% wind-proof something or other and I’ll sew it into a PolarTec 200 fleece shell.  Then it ‘s off in the mail.  I should get this to him next week.

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I also finished an embroidered towel for a couple in our camping crew.  I did two others last December but didn’t get pics and have already delivered them.

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I also completed one row of my brother-in-law’s t-shirt quilt and stabilized and cut out all the cornerstones from logos off the sleeves. I should be able to finish it up this month or next.  My frame isn’t large enough for a king size so my friend Lisa is going to let me quilt it on her longarm.

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That’s it for now.  I need to get out into the sweat shop and work on that long sleeved T for tonight.  Adios!

Rock & Roll Marathon T-Shirt Quilt

I know now for a fact that I married into a family as crazy as I am.  My brother-in-law, Marc, started running many years ago.  Running.  As in, putting on tennis shoes and moving quicker than walking between extreme distances for no other reason than because he could.  If that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.  Why on EARTH would you not drive?  I’ve always said, “I’m built for comfort, not for speed.”  Much like a Cadillac ya know?  LOL  One of his brood (and he has 9…NINE) has serious issues with Crohns & Colitis so he took up that charity as a reason to run every single Rock & Roll Marathon he could in 2017.  Here he is with #8, Wyneth (age 18) following the last race of the year in San Antonio last December.  She finished both races WAY before him…because he’s old.  lol  Hi Marc!

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Before they hot-footed it out of town (ha ha), he left me an entire box of shirts from all of his races so I could make him a t-shirt quilt.  I’d agreed to this early on in 2017 so it was no surprise.  Here’s the pile of shirts on the longarm.  They are fairly easy to make since the block is done already but there is a lot of shirt prep that has to occur.  This is my second t-shirt quilt.  My first was for my husband made from his Harley Davidson shirts.

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Here’s some how-to’s to make a t-shirt quilt.  There are several schools of thought on stabilizing t-shirts but I always do and have never had a bad outcome.  T-shirts, whether cotton or synthetic are made to stretch. The odds of stretch and a crappy outcome are VERY high if the shirts are not stabilized no matter whether they are synthetic or just plain cotton t-shirts.  If anyone ever brought me a t-shirt quilt to put on the longarm that wasn’t stabilized, I’d refuse it.  Before he left, I order an entire bolt of Pellon 906 Sheerweight and used the entire thing on this soon-to-be king sized quilt.

First, I cut off the sleeves on the body side of the shirt right next to the seam.  Reason:  if you need any design on the sleeve, you’ll leave the design and any needed seam allowance intact if you cut away on the body side of the sleeve seam.  These designs will be used as cornerstones in the sashing.

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Then cut off the shoulder seams.

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Then cut off the side seams.  Take the side of the shirt you want and head to the ironing board.

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I cut up 25 pieces of stabilizer (5 shirts across and 5 down) that were large enough to cover the design I wanted + one inch on each side lengthwise.  I don’t worry about the height of the design until later but I do put the stabilizer up to the neckline.  I do not stabilize the cotton sashing or the borders – only the shirt pieces in the quilt.

Can you tell how wrinkled this design is from the inside?  It’s been wadded in a box or suitcase ever since the race.  If you don’t press it first, you’ll stabilize the wrinkles which is bad…very bad.

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Because the shirts are synthetic, I used a piece of silk organza to press the area without steam.  Silk organza is a wonderful pressing cloth because it can take pretty much any heat that any iron wants to give it and leave the fabric underneath without any press marks or shiny spots.

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The wrinkles weren’t completely gone, but they were minimal enough to go ahead and stabilize.

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I pressed the sheerweight stabilizer onto the fabric vs. ironing it.  Again, no steam.

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Look how smooth this shirt front turned out.  Now it won’t give me any bias-like issues on the longarm or when adding the sashing.  Do you notice the Roman numerals above the design?  That shirt is #16 in the quilt.  I chalk-in a design order for the blocks in Roman numerals on my quilts because neither chalk nor Frixion pens like to make curves in regular numbers.  It helps that these shirts are going into the quilt in date order and I have a photo of the approved design, but if I have quilt blocks made of regular fabric, once I like a design, I’ll ID them with numbers like II-IV, which is the 2nd row, 4th block.  Works for me.  🙂

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Here’s the final agreed-upon layout – in race date order vs. color wise.  There will be 2″ sashing in between the columns and rows with the 20 Years Running from the sleeves in the cornerstones and 4 corners of the quilt in the border.  The top 3 rows are his half-marathons and the bottom two rows are his 5ks.  There’s a sample cornerstone between rows/columns 3 & 4.  That’s 227.5 miles of shirts.  Like I said, he’s insane.  And he’s 60!

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I really have to take issue with the shirts for San Antonio.  No Alamo?  No city skyline with the Tower of the Americas?  No Military City USA anything?  For a city with an enormous amount of character and the 7th largest in the US, whoever designed these shirts should be fired.  Just sayin’.  Once the shirt is stabilized, having a quilt ruler for just such a purpose, and a rotating quilt mat is enormously helpful.

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I’ll post again when I’m finished!  If you are so inclined, he’d appreciate a donation to the Crohns Colitis Foundation.  http://online.ccfa.org/goto/marcthompson

Stitching Santa 2017

One of the coolest things about our sewing community is that we have “secret language”. I can tell someone at my day job about a project I’m working on and while I work with some incredibly intelligent computer people, I mention “needing ballpoint needles for sewing with knits because…well, of course” they look at me like your face would look if I were to say on here, “The PPS has to be registered with AFSPC in order to submit the FSR.”  They might get what a sewing machine needle is but exactly why I need a special one for knits is obscure to them.  Poor dears…

Enter our very own Christmas Angel, Sheila from SewChet, and #StitchingSanta !
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In 2016, a fellow stateside participant in Stitching Santa, Jen Miller, contacted me via email because her secret recipient was a quilter and she had absolutely no idea what a quilter would like.  I provided her a laundry list of items and we corresponded a couple of times over email since then.

Well lo’ and behold, I was her Stitching Santa recipient this year!  She really came through with little necessary quilting gizmos and a handmade little basket to keep them all in.  I was thrilled!  It is so exciting to open gifts from someone who understands how much these things mean to me.  🙂

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I love the cord-wrapped candy cane that will hang in a predominant place on my Christmas tree for years to come to remind me of her sweet gift.  Believe it or not, I especially love the needle threader.  I break the cheap ones constantly and this one was just in time because I just broke my last one.  Jen, thank you SO much!  Look at this little basket.  Isn’t it cute?

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Another successful Stitching Santa has come to a close.  I highly encourage my readers to contact Sheila to get on next year’s list.  I’ve linked to her blog above or the web address in the photo.  Happy New Year to all!

Halloween Hooters Applique

Ok, so this is a bit late.  And I could hold on to it until next year but…nah.  While I was in Colorado Springs visiting the grands last August, I came across the CUTEST applique quilt, Halloween Hooters by Whistling Creek Productions.

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I did this quilt completely the old fashioned way: tracing by hand, cutting with scissors, and stitching by machine vs. an embroidery machine.  It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  I did enjoy the process.

I’m completely not a fan of a blanket stitch but instead, after seeing this on a blog somewhere, dropped the feed dogs, popped on the hopping foot, and stitched very close to the edge of the material.  It went very quickly and I got better as I went.

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I found some really cute Halloween fabric for the backing.  I totally don’t care that the stitching can be seen here.  It’s a wall hanging so it won’t be seen anyway.

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I think before it goes up next year, I’ll do some spider webs in the black center parts to fill it in a bit.  Overall I’m vey happy with how this turned out.  Too cute and totally fun!

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