Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bringing nature inside - first runner finished

I like it when I can drop the use of the top roller.  I had it all stabilized so I just used the two rollers for the backing.

I quilted flowers in the squares, feathers in the outer border and circles in the inner border.  It all turned out great, even the feathers!
My issue, and isn't there always an issue, is that the thread is laying on the back.  I have to adjust my tension again.  Grrrr!
 Here is the finished product!

It was fun to take pictures of it on the back deck, amongst the flowers and nature.

You can't really see the quilting but that's ok, maybe there are some mistakes!

Or maybe not?
 Here is the same deck, same chair and same table runner but photographed vertically.

I think it makes a difference, the whole table runner looks different!

Where is the second one, you query.

Upstairs waiting to be quilted, I reply!

Hey, quilters need breaks!
 I think I like the flowers so much because in the summer time I am trying to bring nature inside.  No, not the mosquitoes, I am trying to keep them out!

Here I have my flower of the month tea cups.  I liked to put them out on Mother's day and put them away after labor day.

One day I may even drink tea from them!
This table runner is in my kitchen right now, it is the same pattern as the one I just finished.

See how fabric selection changes the whole look?

I love this one - I made 4 of these!

This makes three blogs for this week so I will write again next week.  I will work on the second runner and the heart blocks.  And whatever else strikes my fancy.
Sew happy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back to the Heart Quilt!

 I am working on the quilting of the two, count 'em, two table runners. 

While I am doing that, I need something to sew on, something I can sit and sew.  (I can only stand for so long at dear Gladys.)

Remember the heart quilts?  The key here is the "s" as yes, I am making two heart quilts.

Are you noticing the same pattern here that I am?

At any rate, I found the squares for the second quilt, waiting patiently. 
 I like to have 3 squares going at once.

The one that is "on the blocks" (to borrow a term from my swim team days) has the rows stitched together and pressed.

I just have to join the rows together and press.

But I don't like to heat up the iron for just that amount of ironing and I don't have anything left in my to iron pile.  (I KNOW, I am shocked also.)
 The block that is "on deck" (don't be overly impressed, I wasn't a very fast swimmer I just liked being on the team) has the squares selected and is waiting to have the rows put together.

I keep it on the ironing board.  Once the block is sewn together, I flip it onto the ironing board and replace it with these rows as I stitch them together. 

This gives me two things to iron with one heating of the iron.
Here is the "in the hole" block.

I fiddle with the color and fabric placement as it sits next to me.

I can see right now that this will not be a block, there are two squares with the same fabric.  I will work with it until I am happy and then it will move to "on deck" and the squares below it will be "in the hole."  I get a kick out of this sports vocab used with my quilting1

Sew happy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Times two

 I fooled you, I didn't finish my table runner.

Why, you ask.

Well, I was looking at the leftover fabric and thought, I could make another one.  The second one has slightly smaller outside borders but otherwise, exactly the same.

I guess this is why I always buy too much fabric, so I can double my fun?
 Speaking of too much fabric, I dove into my stash to look for backing fabric.

In the spring of 2010, I made some bags, etc. to donate to Shelby's sorority auction.  I had bought bunches of fabric at Hancock's of Paducah and look at this, I had a bunch of pink fabric left.  (Shelby's sorority colors were pink and green.)

There is enough for two backs and still about a half a yard left over. 
 I got the first one on Gladys.

Am I brave enough to attempt feathers on this table runner?

I don't know!

In the meantime, I stitched in the ditch along all the borders and squares.

I like this fabric more every time I work with it. 
As I work on the first one, I can see its twin sister on the loft railing, waiting its turn.

Hang on, sister!  First I have to figure out what design I am going to do.  I am leaning towards flowers but maybe I should give feathers a try?

I will let you know when I figure it out.

Sew happy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Easy table runner part two

 We continue strip piecing.  Yay!

Both sides now have a strip pieced onto them.

As the top strip will be the bottom of the square beneath it, you are only strip piecing on one more side.

One strip will do 3 squares, the 4th will use the 4th stip

Sew, press and cut.
 Ta da!

You have three squares with strips on three sides.

Lay them out and decide what order you want them in.  I decided to go pink - yellow - pink - yellow.  The leftover part of the 4th strip will be added at the bottom.

Sew each square to its neighbor and finish with strip.  Press. 
 Now it is beginning to look like a table runner.

The second quarter or half yard will be cut into 3 strips now - I made mine 2.5 inches.

I measured the length of the middle of the table runner and cut two strips to that size.

Sew one on each side.

Measure middle for short end and cut two that size.
Once you have pressed the table runner it will look more like the finished product.

You have to decide how you want to finish it.

Are you going to machine quilt it on your sewing machine, like I did the Paris one?  Or will you use a longarm, as I tried to!

Will you bind it or sew it like a pillowcase and turn it inside out and then quilt?

Next Tuesday I will show you how I decided to finish mine.  Enjoy Memorial day weekend!

Sew happy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Easy table runner - part one

 I had purchased these fabrics to make the same type of table runner that I had made with the leftover Paris fabrics.

That table runner required more careful cutting as I had scraps.

Here I had new yardage.  4 fat quarters and 2 half yards but I really only needed a quarter.

Wash and iron all fabrics. 
 Cut the square of your fabrics - you can have four different or four the same.  I cut 8.5 inch squares but you could vary the size.

I then cut 4 strips that were 2 inches wide.

This is the yellow fabric that will frame the fun squares. 
 I sew each square onto a strip.

Be sure you have right sides together.

I use a quarter inch seam.

You can just quick piece them all onto one strip.
 Press them so the edges go towards the strip.

Cut them apart.

Now we will do the same thing with the other side.

When you quick piece them on a strip, you save a lot of time.
Here you can see that they are all still attached to the strip.

I took a picture so you could visualize the strip piecing method.

Tomorrow, we will do the other sides and the outside sashing.

Sew happy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Today was fix the Longarm machine day.

First I took a walk, had breakfast and a shower.  Then I went upstairs with the headset for the phone and all my paper work.

I took an old piece of Mark Twain fabric I had for that book club and pinned it as a backing piece of fabric.

I had a leftover piece of batting I floated over that.
 I took a piece of leftover Paris fabric and pinned it to the top roller.

I rethreaded the machine and took a deep breath and tried it again.  Immediately broke.

I called The Heart of Quilting, where I bought my machine and got the woman who had taught me how to use it.  Even after I explained who I was I knew she didn't remember me. Bad for ego!

She started going over everything with me.

 I changed the needle again.

I switched to pink thread and replaced the bobbin.  I dropped when soft f bomb.

She walked me through the threading and son of a gun, I had somehow switched step 4 and five.  If you look and see the silver wheel the thread doubles back to there after going around the black and grey wheel.

I tried again.

It worked!

Now how have I been threading my machine for two years correctly and then after City Green threaded it incorrectly?  I don't know what to think - am I losing it?  Am I moments away from gumming applesauce with long white hairs protruding from my chin?  Should I buy tweezers or just realize I always have to use the diagram, never trust that I know how it's threaded?
Since I had the fake quilt all set up, I decided I may as well use it.

I practiced making feathers on and off for the rest of the afternoon.  I got better at them.  I don't know if you can really see them in this picture.

I felt I made progress but on a more disturbing note, we did have applesauce for dinner.

Coincidence?  Hmmmm
Happy sewing!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Count of Monte Cristo Book club

I did NOT get my longarm to work.

I stayed up until 1 am on Friday night and got up at 5:30 am, convinced I could fix it.

I did not.  So I took the table runner off of Gladys, pinned it to baste and switched it to the Bernina.  I had never even opened the box with the walking foot I would need to use to quilt it.  About 7:00, I had learned it and quilted the first border and then went back to bed.

I finished it that night and you know, I liked it!  I even quilted Eiffel towers in each square. 

Saturday night I set up the island for the food and I also set the table.  It was fun to use all the things I had sewn and purchased.  Plus, I liked that I didn't have a lot of cooking to do, everyone brings something.

I got the table all set and had some fun figuring out which napkins to use and how.  I almost forgot I had the swanky French dish towels.

Friday night I had gotten the groceries delivered from Peapod and got 3 bunches of tulips. Yes, delivered right to my door for about 6.00 per bunch of ten.

2 bunches I put in the bathroom in a pitcher that I love.  (I actually love all my pitchers.)  I bought this one at Fort Pulaski when Cliff was oohing and ahhing over bullet holes from the Civil War and I had escaped to the gift shop. I bought it in case the 30+ year old blue pitcher my Mom got me ever broke.  But guess what?  The two year old pitcher developed a slight crack and leaked every so slightly.  After book club,  Joe had to recycle it, I was too sad.

I forgot to take a picture when we had the cheese, quiches and salad (with my homemade vinaigrette) but I remembered when I had the desserts out.

I ordered the mini pastries and they even put them on my tray.  Other people brought the candy, cookies and cupcakes.

We eat well!  And we read great books and discuss with love and gusto.  And I get reasons to sew and buy fun kitcheny doo dads.

That's a great book club, n'est-ce pas?

Sew Happy - I will once I get my longarm fixed

Friday, May 18, 2012

Paris Table runner and problems

 I think I am drifting towards a three day a week posting of this blog.  I feel like I will have more to say that way.  Or maybe I am just getting lazy?  Either way, the blog will not be five days a week anymore.  I know you are feeling a bit sad now but go eat some chocolate, you will feel better.

(I will wait while you do.)

See!  Don't you feel better now?

Back to the blog!  This is the table runner I made from the miscellaneous scraps of French fabric I had plus a black and white fabric that I had in my stash.  It is kind of goofy and fun looking!
I made the back from the yard piece I had left.  I cut it in half lengthwise and then sewed it together to make a piece long enough for the back.

I couldn't decide whether to put in on the Long arm or machine quilt it on my regular sewing machine.  I decided, hey, I spent all that money on Gladys, I am using her!  

Here is the back pinned on.  The pinning takes a long time!
 Plus, since the book club is coming here on Sunday, I was trying to hurry so it felt like it took even longer.

Here is the batting which I "float" on top of the backing.

I was super glad that I found a piece cut off the batting from the City Green quilt that was the perfect size for this backing.
Then I pinned on the front on the side closest to me and floated the top.

In the meantime I had oiled the machine, wound a bobbin and threaded it in black.


All set to .... stop.  Rats and a half.  The thread keeps breaking and breaking and freaking breaking!  I said a lot of bad words but finally I had to just walk away.

I imagine (hope) it is a tension problem that I can fix when I am calmer and not shouting curse words!

Will I get it done for Sunday, I don't know!

Sew happy.  (This time I am writing this with gritted teeth.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Eiffel Tower Apron

 I didn't post the blog yesterday as I couldn't upload any photos, it said I was over my limit on Picasa.  So I just walked away!  I sure hope that issue is resolved.

At any rate, you know I am having book club here Sunday for The Count of Monte Cristo and on June 10th for The Paris Wife.  French themes, what fun!  You saw Monday's posts with the napkins and dishes and you thought, what?  No apron?

Not to worry!
I dug through my French themed fabrics and liked this red Eiffel Tower but HAD to find something else for the back.  What are the chances that Top Shelf Quilts had a French themed fabric?  Pretty darn good so I snapped up a yard and got the checks for the ties.

I think I will use it on the red side this Sunday and the more 1920ish side for the Paris Club.  Perfect, all done, yes?


Here what is left in my French fabric collection.  I have scraps except for the blue and red Eiffel Tower, I have the entire half yard Shelby gave me for Christmas.  And the upper right fabric, I have a yard of that.  And I don't have a table runner.


Stay tuned!  There may be some more French sewing left in me.  All together now, let's sing Ne Me Quitte pas to get me in the mood.

Sew Happy!

Monday, May 14, 2012


 My classics book club meets here on Sunday and we read The Count of Monte Cristo.

I got those Eiffel Tower fabrics even though it was built 50+ years after the book as there were no other French fabrics.

I made three different kinds of napkins, I love them and I think they will look great with the tablecloth I made last week.
 I decided I needed a few more fun things so I checked Homegoods, William Sonoma and Pier One.  Nada, zilch, rien!

This past Saturday we were in Naperville and I wandered into Sur La Table.  Zut alors, this place is fabulous.

How about these cute little dish towels?  Plus a package of Eiffel Tower napkins, just to be sure.
 I found those two Eiffel Tower candle holders on clearance even. 

Then I spied the packages of dessert plates.

First I just looked.

Then I made the mistake of opening them.

I walked away.
I came back.


The plates and I now had a relationship going.   Plus, since I am having The Paris Wife book club don't I just have to buy them?  They are 4 plates to a box.

I bought three boxes.

Sew happy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Paris Wife and me

Paula Mclain signing my book
I was home from the funeral on Tuesday, taught my class on Wednesday and went to the Grand Finale for The Big Read on Thursday night.  My friend Paula got me involved in this wonderful endeavor sponsored by 11 libraries in the western suburbs.  Everyone read the same book, The Paris Wife.  Then all the libraries held different activities related to this story of Hemingway's first wife and their time in France and Spain.  Yes, my two favorite countries!  I went to a discussion of The Paris Wife, a discussion of A Moveable Feast and a tour of the Hemingway museum and birth home in Oak Park.  On May 3, Paula Mclain came and talked to everyone.  It was just lovely!  Paula and I got there an hour early and had seats in the front row.  I also got ticket number one for the book signing.  NUMBER ONE!  I had a divine couple of minutes with Paula Mclain as you can see above. 

Today I realized that my own Classics Book club will be here on May 20th for our discussion of The Count of Monte Cristo.  Invitations have already been issued!

I went back into my recent acquisitions stack and found this nifty chunky checked fabric.  I figured out how I could make it into a tablecloth long enough for my extended table and still have fabric to cut off and divide into four lengths for the drop.

Ta da, here it is and all the checks line up.

Remember the Eiffel Tower and Paris fabrics I ordered online? 

I ironed them and will make four napkins out of each one.  I think they will look very chic with the table cloth, blue plates and glasses.

Plus, and here is the truly nifty part, I am having my daughter's book club here on June 10th.  And guess what book we are discussing?  Yep, The Paris Wife!  So I will be able to use the same table linens.

I think Hemingway himself would be impressed.