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Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Tuesday is Valentine’s Day and I will be at an all day meeting and I decided (yesterday) that I was going to make something for everyone at the meeting. Fortunately it isn’t a big meeting! I wanted something quick, relatively easy, of course quilted and usable. So I decided that I was going to make Mug Rugs or Coasters!

b-val-01aI took photos of the process to show you how I did it and I hope that you can use these instructions to make some Mug Rugs for yourself or for others. They make GREAT gifts and in an afternoon you can make a bunch of them and save them for future events and gifts.

The photo at the left shows both the circle and square Mug Rugs that I made.

Note: This is a photo intense post. The photos are shown in a small format. Please click on any photo for a larger view.

I started out with a half yard of backing fabric and a half yard of washed, white muslin and put them on the quilting machine with a thin-ish batting. The batting was a left over piece of (I think) Quilters Dream Poly.  I put the selvage edges of the fabrics to the leaders.


Square Mug Rugs

I b-val-01drew horizontal and vertical lines to make 4-1/2 inch squares along the top of my fabric. I used a Crayola Washable Marker  (CWM -my favorite marking tool) but later on realized I could have used a permanent marker. These markings are the cutting lines and will be cut apart or under the binding when the Mug Rug is finished. Note: My first square is only 4 inches wide. That’s all right, it will work out.


b-val-02Now take a marker (CWM) and draw lines 1/2 inch from the first drawn lines. These lines indicate where I want the edges of my feathers to be. If I take my feathers out to the “edges” of the square, they will be covered by the binding – which I don’t want.  After these lines are drawn, stitch a wavy line close to the first drawn lines. These wavy  lines of stitching will hold the layers togehter when the Mug Rugs are cut apart and you put the binding on. Notice that I stitched one line across the top of the blocks. Then I stitched another line starting at the top left, going down the left side, across the bottom , up along the drawn cutting line and then down again. This line of stitching starts at the left edge and goes all the way to the right edge!


b-val-03Divide these spaces in half both horizontally and vertically and mark the lines. If desired, use another color of marker. On the intersections of these lines, draw the heart shape as shown.

To make the heart shape, Click on the highlighted text for a pdf file of the mug-rug-shapes need for this project. Print out this page, trace the shapes onto piecing template plastic and cut out. Position the shape where indicate and draw around.


b-val-04Now you are ready for quilting the feathered heart!

Start at the bottom point of the heart and stitch along one side of the drawn heart shape and make a swirl at the top of the heart.  Come back to the bottom of the heart along the previous line of stitching. Don’t worry if you are not exactly on the first line of stitching. This is called a double spine line and, I feel, this is gives more “character” to your quilting. Do the same thing for the other half of the heart. See photo at the left.

 


b-val-05At the top of the heart and along the center line, stitch a loop up to the drawn line. From here, begin making feathers along one side of the heart down towards the bottom point of the heart. Keep the tops of your feathers even with the drawn lines of the square. Follow along the fist line of stitching and get back to the top of the heart.  See the photo at the left.  Your feathers don’t have to be “perfect.” Just do the best you can!

 

 


b-val-07Now begin making feathers on the other side of the heart until the outer area is filled with feathers! When you are at the bottom of the heart, make another “double swirl” heart in the bottom of the inside of the heart shape.

See the photo at the left of the completed feathered heart!

I want my quilting to show and I used a red variegated  cotton thread for the quilting.


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For those who are a little bold and daring, draw the center lines in the block on the diagonal and position the heart shape on the diagonal. Then quilt the feathered heart on the diagonal! This is the same design but it looks different!


Circle Mug Rugs

val-13Refer to the pdf file (above) and cut out the 4-1/2 and 3-1/2 diameter circles from piecing template plastic. Note: If you have circle templates you may be able to find the sizes needed.

 

 

Draw the 4-1/2 diameter circles, then center the 3-1/2 circles inside. Draw the center lines, position the heart shape and draw around it.

b-val-15aSquiggle stitch close to the outer line. This will keep the layers together when you finish the edges.

Quilt the feathered heart in the same way you quilted the square one, keeping the tops of the feathers even with the 3-1/2 inch diameter drawn line.

 


Make as many of the square and /or circle Mug Rugs on your fabric as you want. Because I used the Crayola Washable Markers, I had to wash my finished “quilt” in warm water with detergent – to remove the marker –  before cutting the Mug Rugs apart and finishing them.

b-val-01aI finished the edges of the circle Mug Rugs with a Satin Stitch and then trimmed the excess fabric close to the Satin Stitching. If you have some, you might want to put some water soluble or tear away embroidery stabilizer under the circle Mug Rug before Satin Stitching. This sometimes helps keep the curved (bias) edges from stretching. I also ran a line of Fray Check along the edge of the Satin Stitching. This will keep the fabrics from fraying and will keep the Satin Stitching from coming apart.

On one circle Mug Rug I experimented with putting a turned “facing” on the back. If you want to do this, that is fine. I felt it was a little too “fiddly” for me.

I put “regular” quilt binding on the square Mug Rugs and stitched everything in place with my home sewing machine.


val-23  b-val-24When I got finished quilting my square and circle Mug Rugs, I realized that I had a bunch of un-quilted fabric, especially around the circle shapes. So I did some quilting in this area with a Ribbon Stipple.

In the un-quilted area at the bottom of my fabrics, I did  Spiral Squares. I’m not quite sure what I am going to do with this new quilted fabric, but I’m sure I will think of something! More Mug Rugs maybe???

I hope you have fun making some of these Mug Rugs for Valentine’s Day, or any holiday or special occasion.

If you make any Mug Rugs, please send some photos and I’ll post them here.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

 

 

 

 

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Earlier today I posted to this blog, step by step photo instructions on how to make an easy zippered pouch. Somehow, when I was trying to upload the WordPress app to my new smart phone, I  DELETED that post!! Don’t ask me how I did that, I have absolutely NO idea how that happened.

Fortunately, I was able to selvage the original post and here it is again. I apologize for this and this is where I can say I both Love and Hate technology!!!


Easy Zippered Pouch

A belated Happy New Year to Everyone! I hope that 2017 is wonderful for you and your family!

I have been SO busy the last few months that I have not had a chance to post to any blog. Now that things have slowed down slightly, I can finally “get to posting!”

For Christmas, I made the Grandkids these simple, easy zippered pouches. A few years ago I began giving the Grandkids McDonald’s gift certificates as a Christmas gift. The kids love them – I’m not too sure about the parents loving them, but I am the Grandma and Grandma’s do things like this! Sometimes just to annoy their children. This is payback time! – and I like to put the gift certificates in things that I have made for them. (See my post about last year when I made all 10 Grandkids knitted socks. To see that post Click Here)

When I made the zippered pouches, I took photos of the process and I am going to show you, step by step, how I made them. Believe it or not, these zippered pouches were NOT quilted! If you wanted to quilt the fabric you can, but the zipper is bound and applied a different way. I have a unique way of doing this and I may post those instructions later on.

Below are the instructions for the Easy Zippered Pouches. Note: The instructions are photo intensive and I have the photos at a small size so more can fit on the screen. Click on any photo for a larger view.

Easy Zippered Pouch

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Supplies – Outside the pouch fabric, pouch lining – a fat quarter of each will make several pouches. I love to look through my stash and use larger scrap fabrics. Zipper several inches LONGER than the finished pouch, standard sewing supplies.

Finished size – you determine the size of the finished pouch. The pouch in the photos above finish about 6 inches square.


b-zip-01Cut your fabric twice as long as it is wide plus seam allowance. If you want a pouch about 6 inches square, cut your fabrics (the outer pouch fabric and the lining fabric) 6 x 12 inches, plus 1/2 inch seam allowance on all four sides. Your final fabric measurement should be about 7 x 13 inches

This is not a hard and firm number and it can be adjusted. If you wanted a bigger pouch, say 7 inches square-ish, your fabrics should be about 8 x 15 inches.

 


b-zip-02Place your zipper face up. Center and place the narrow edge of your outer pouch fabric face DOWN on top of the zipper. Make sure both ends of the zipper EXTEND well past the cut edges of the fabric. Pin in place.

 


b-zip-03Turn the zipper/pouch fabric over. Place, then pin the lining fabric, face DOWN on top of the zipper, aligned with the pouch fabric. Move the pins from the pouch fabric side to the lining side and pin all three layers together. The fabrics at this point are right sides together.


b-zip-04Using a zipper foot, stitch close to the teeth of the zipper. If desired, stitch another line close to the first line. I apologize, I used white thread for the stitching. You can barely see it in the photo!

 


b-zip-05Turn the fabrics to the right side to expose the zipper. If desired, press fabrics in place.

 

 


b-zip-06Take the bottom edge of the pouch fabric and bring it to the (top) edge of the zipper tape. When you do this, the fabric will be right sides together. Line up the edges of the fabric and pin in place along the zipper tape.

 


b-zip-07Turn this over and bring the bottom edge of the lining fabric to the (top) edge of the zipper tape. Move the pins to this side and pin the three layers in place. As you can see in the photo, the bottoms of the pouch are “hanging free” and are NOT stitched together. At this time, all the stitching is being done at the top, zipper edge of the pouch.

 


b-zip-08Using a zipper foot, stitch close to the zipper teeth. If desired, stitch another line of stitching close to the first line. Notice the gentle fold in the fabrics at the bottom.

 

 


b-zip-09Turn the fabrics right side out so that the zipper teeth are exposed. Position the zipper so there is about 1/2 – 3/4 inch of fabric ABOVE the zipper. If desired, press this fold in place. Don’t press the bottom yet.

 


b-zip-10If you open the zipper, you will see how nice the inside and the outside of the pouch looks. The edges of the zipper tape is encased in the fabric.

 

 


b-zip-11If desired, make one or two lines of top stitching along the zipper edges. Click on the photo to enlarge it to see the stitching lines. I used pink thread on the sample and you can barely see the stitching!

 


b-zip-12Cut a piece of the pouch fabric about 1-1/2 inches x 6 inches. Again, this is not a hard and fast measurement. Instead of fabric you could use ribbon or something similar. If using fabric, press in half lengthwise, WRONG sides together. Then press the cut edges to the inside about 1/4 inch or so. Fold and press again so all the raw edges are to the inside. Stitch close to the folded edges. This piece should finish about 1/2 x 6 inches or so.


b-zip-13Pin this tab in position at either the right or left edge of the pouch and pin in place. Pin only through the top two layers of fabric. See way below for the right edge placement of the tab.

 

 


b-zip-14Open the zipper about half way and turn the pouch inside out. The lining fabric will now be on the outside. Match the raw edges of the pouch and pin in place. Notice how the zipper edges at the left are positioned. Make sure the zipper is at least half way open!!!

 


b-zip-15Stitch the raw edges of the pouch together with a 1/2 inch seam. If desired, stitch a line of zig zag or 3 step zig zag in the seam allowance close to the first line of stitching. You can trim the edges of the zipper at this time, but I like to wait until a little bit later.

 


b-zip-16Let’s deal with the bottom of the pouch! I like to press the fold in the bottom of the pouch. Then I take this fold line and line it up with the side seams we just stitched. The pins in the photo show where the fold line and the seam lines come together. Yes, the pouch will be a little “poofy” because of this.

 


b-zip-17Measure in from the point about 3/4 of an inch and draw a line across the “point” of the bottom.

I used the blue, Mark B Gone, water soluble marker to make this line. Do the same thing on the other side.

 

 

 


b-zip-18On both points, stitch along this line. If desired, stitch a line of zig zag or 3 step zig zag in the point. You can trim the points away, but on something this small, I just leave it as is.

 


b-zip-19Here is another view of the pouch. The zipper has been trimmed and the points at the bottom have been stitched.

 

 

 


b-zip-20Turn the pouch inside out and – taa daa – you have a completed zippered pouch! Give it a light press and your pouch is done!

 

 


b-zip-21What if … You wanted the tab on the other side? No problem! Go through all the steps above until you get to the part where you are pinning the tab in place. Pin the tab to the RIGHT edge of the pouch and stitch it in place. Continue stitching your pouch following the instructions above and turn the completed pouch right side out.

 


b-zip-23Here is a photo of both of these pouches, one tab is on the right and the other tab is on the left.

 

 


I know that this looks like a lot of steps, but once you get started it takes about 10 minutes (maybe less) to make a pouch like this. It is also fairly easy to “assembly line” the construction if you are making several at one time.

If you make any of these pouches, please send photos. I love seeing what others can do with this basic design.

 

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Quilted Turkey

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

(click on the photo above for a larger view. You have got to see the details!)

I want to wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! Whether you are spending this day cooking in the kitchen or visiting with family and friends, let us all give thanks for what is truly important in our lives including family, friends and faith.

To thank you for your support of Longarm University this past year, I have put a FREE Online Class on the Longarm Classroom website. This class will show you how to make the cutest pillow top from a child’s hand and foot print. reinweb1(Click on the photo at left for a larger view.) It also makes a great gift for any child or grandchild! Also included in this FREE Online Class are instructions on how to machine applique using your quilting machine.

For complete details on this FREE Online Class, including photos, Click Here

For a list of other FREE Online Classes Click Here

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and travel safe!

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My sister is going to be a Grandma!!! I am SO excited for her! The baby, a boy, is due in a few months and the whole family is excited.

My sister is also a quilter and in her travels, before there was even a hint of a baby, she found these absolutely darling panel prints. She purchased them and saved them for when she would be a Grandma, or if that didn’t happen, she would donate them to a kids charity. I don’t know where she purchased the panel prints, but these were some of the nicest panel prints I have seen or worked on!

The first panel print is titled “In the Beginning” for obvious reasons. Here is the full view of the finished quilt.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

B-Baby-1

Here is a close up of the top of the quilt.

B-Baby-2

And a close up of the bottom of the quilt.

b-Baby-4

This is quilted with Signature, 100% cotton thread and many thread color changes were done to match the thread to the fabric.

Now for the fun quilting!!! My nephew, the baby’s father, is a heavy equipment operator. When my sister saw this panel print, she could not help herself! Here is the full view of the panel. It isn’t very large, only about 42 x 34 inches.

B-Trucks-1

On a panel like this, I like to quilt “texture” into what is already printed on the fabric.

B-Trucks-2

Here is a close up of some of the trucks.

B-Trucks-3

And another close up of another truck. Please click on the photo for a larger view and you can see the stitching on the trucks.

B-Trucks-4

Again, I changed my threads many times and I also used Soft & Bright batting.

I have one more panel to show you – Another heavy equipment themed panel. (My sister finds the GREATEST fabrics!) Here is the full view of the “Gravel Pit” and I went crazy with the texture! Yes, I did quilt pebbles in the gray “asphalt” on the panel! This quilt is also 42 x 34 inches.

A-Pit-A1

Because I knew that I was going to be changing my thread a LOT, I decided to baste the quilt first. I like using a bright (usually neon) color, high sheen poly thread for the basting with a large stitch. After the basting, I put a color of thread in the machine ( I started with a variegated gray) and quilted the “asphalt”  and anything else using that thread color, moving the quilt back and forth as needed to get to the area to be quilted. Then I changed to another color of thread and quilted ALL the areas that need quilting with that color. Before I quilted any area, I removed the basting from that section.

This photo shows the basting on the un-quilted quilt top. The quilt is on my machine with the bright overhead lights.

B-Pit-1

In this photo, this area has been quilted and it is hanging outside on a cloudy day. Click on any photo for a larger view.

B-Pit-1B

Another photo of a basted area.

B-Pit-2

And here is that area quilted.

B-Pit-2A

One more basted area –

B-Pit-3

And the same area quilted.

B-Pit-3B

One more photo of another section of the Gravel Pit.

B-Pit-4B

I have sent my sister photos of these quilts but I can’t wait for her to see them in person! These quilts are getting mailed back to the Midwest in the morning!

I can’t wait to hear about the reaction of both my nephew and his wife when they see these quilts. And of course, after the baby is born, I’ll get photos of the baby laying on the quilts!

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For many, many years I have grown artichokes in my garden. In fact, when I first started growing artichokes, I started them from seeds! Over the years the original plants have had “babies” and I have supplemented them with new, purchased plants.

Generally the winters here in Seattle are fairly mild compared to other parts of the country. If it does get below freezing, which isn’t very often or for very long, I cover my artichokes with old sample quilts from my longarm classes. (To view a past post about using sample quilts as garden covers Click Here )

But sometimes, the winter is cold and nasty and a few of my artichokes do not survive. I now have two fairly large artichoke plants growing in my garden.

This spring, my artichokes have gone wild! Each of my artichoke plants has at least three artichokes on them.

Did I mention that I LOVE artichokes!

Here are some photos of my artichoke plants – click on any photo for a larger view.

A-1

Artichoke plant #1 with four artichokes on it. Do you see the baby artichoke near the bottom of the photo?

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Artichoke plant #2 with three artichokes on it.

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A side view showing both plants and the artichokes growing on both of them. And there is one big artichoke on each plant ready to be cut and cooked!

Over the years I have cooked artichokes many different ways. I have boiled, steamed, baked,  roasted and microwaved my home grown artichokes. But this year, I’m using my crock pot!

I cut my artichokes, trimmed them, and put them in my big crock pot. I put some garlic through the garlic press and put that on top of the artichokes, along with lemon slices and lemon pepper. I put some water in the bottom of the crock pot, covered it up and set it on high for about 4 hours.

Here are my artichokes in my crock pot ready to be cooked!

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While the artichokes were cooking, I was back out in the garden trimming my wisteria!

This is what my wisteria looked like before I attacked it with the pruning shears! It definitely needs a haircut!

W-1

After a bit of work……

W-2

Oh my gosh, it looks SO much better! And there is a hosta at the bottom left! You can hardly see it in the before photo!

After working on my wisteria and other garden stuff, I’m back to my artichokes.

My house smells divine and my artichokes are tender and look great! Here is the one I ate for dinner

A-5

It was SOOOOOO good! I dipped the leaves in some honey mustard sauce, yum, yum, yum!

All that is left is a pile of eaten leaves and the “spikes” from the inside of the choke!

A-6

The other artichoke I cooked is in the fridge and I’m going to warm it up and have it for dinner tomorrow!

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For about the last year and a half, I have been helping my Daughter-in-Law with a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at her church. I get to work with the babies from newborn until they are crawling. I am thoroughly enjoying doing this.

In the Nursery where I work with the babies, there are some baby quilts that the “church ladies” have made. These quilts are pieced fairly well, but the quilts are tied and they have IMHO “icky” batting. So, with permission, I have been taking the quilts home, taking them apart, fixing them, re-quilting them and then bringing them back to the church.

Here are some photos of the process. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

W-BB-1

This is a cute 4-Patch with all sorts of wonderful fabrics. The fabrics feel like good quality fabrics and the batting felt like it was pretty good. The edges were finished with the “birthing” technique – right sides together, stitch around all four sides, leave an opening and push the quilt, with batting, through the opening, sew the opening closed, then tie the quilt together.

I took the stitching out of the side seams, cut out the ties and this is what I found.

??????????????

The batting was completely gone in some sections. I took the batting off of the fabric and placed it on a piece of cardboard to show you what it looked like.

W-BB-3

I believe that the batting was a bonded polyester – I have NO idea what brand it was. I also have to say that these quilts are “rode hard and put away wet!” After they are used, even for a little bit, when the babies go home the quilts go into the laundry hamper. And they are “loved” only as a quilt can be loved by a baby!

I can’t remember if the ties on the quilt were in the places where the batting is gone or it’s the other way around. Either way, the batting, at this point, is NOT good!

I began to work on the quilt top and, because of the “birthing” technique and trimming the corners, I had to replace the corner squares.  I cut my squares too small and had to put some extra piecing in them, but I got them in there!

Then I added borders to the quilt and quilted it using wavy lines using a variegated thread. Can you see my corner squares?

W-BB-4A

It was dark and rainy outside so I hung the quilt up in my studio for the photo.

So, what did I use for the batting? My favorite batting, Soft & Bright from Warm Company. I LOVE this batting! Soft & Bright is “built” the same way that Warm & Natural is built – with a scrim between the layers of the fibers, either cotton of polyester. I have used Soft & Bright in my own quilts and in my Grand Kids quilts for YEARS and the batting still looks great – even after being VERY well loved!

I also put new backing fabric on the quilt and bound it.

 

W-BB-4

Here you can see a close up of the quilting and the backing fabric.

My mission now is to do this with all the quilts in the church nursery and maybe the other child care rooms.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and let you know how the Soft & Bright is holding up!

 

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In October, I decided that I was going to knit socks for all my (10) Grand-kids for Christmas. (My Grand-kids range in age from 20 years old to 14 months!)

As you can see in the photo below I got 9 pairs finished! The first sock of the last pair are on the needles, ready to have the heel flap knit. These socks are for my 14 month old Grand Daughter.

Christmas Socks

9 + pairs of Christmas Socks

I have the rest of today and all day tomorrow to finish up the last pair of socks!

The socks were a lot of fun to knit and I hope they keep the feet warm for a long time!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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