Sunday, July 28, 2013

What do you do when you are bored?

Believe it or not, I clean when I'm bored which is probably why my housekeeping is sporadic. I am seldom really bored but today the only thing  I really wanted to do was make buttonholes for a shirt I just made. In spite of having recently sorted and put in order a large shoe box full of  buttons I did not have enough of any one kind of white buttons. I am not driving right now so I had to wait for Jack who was out on his bike.
So, I cleaned my sewing  machine. First I cleaned the inside and it was really linty. Then I cleaned the outside; first I dusted it, then I noticed that there were ink marks from holding my Pigma pen while I was doing something around my machine, then I noticed that the spool holders were all gunked up with the adhesive from the thread spools and they were all dirty looking from the black ink on the labels. I used some Mr. Clean to get that all off. Well then, my sewing table didn't look so red hot either. It is showing it's age but it is still solid and it is the right size for my space so I cleaned it up.

I had clear package tape covering lines I drew as guides for making HST's without marking diagonal lines on squares. I removed the tape that was getting ratty looking and cleaned off the sticky residue and drew new darker lines and covered them again with clean tape.
I also cleaned all the thread from my pincushions and from the attached bag for all the extra shreds and threads. Those sand filled  pincushions with the little bags attached don't stay put on my sewing table so I tape it down with masking tape. I removed the old blue painters tape and cut 2 neat strips of light tan tape, much better!
By the time I got all that done Jack came back from his ride and we went to Joann's for buttons and I took advantage of my 70% off entire notions wall coupon. This is what I got for $13.88

Buttons are not considered notions; even though they are in the same aisle with all the other notions with a big sign (hanging right over the buttons ) that says sewing notions. Never mind, I needed the buttons and they are really inexpensive for what I wanted. In fact, after I picked out 2 cards that I wanted I found another bag of 130 buttons and they were so cheap inexpensive that I bought them as well.
I could do a little more cleaning
but I am no longer bored
so it will have to wait for another time.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I was rummaging through my fabrics yesterday and came across some fabric that I really don't like. It is a fairly recent purchase and I can't understand why I bought it. There is nothing about it that I like. There it was taking up space and I thought that it would make a good useful grocery shopping bag. I took one of my plastic grocery bags and cut the bottom and the handles to flatten it out and made a pattern. I decided to use some bias binding on the cut edges to make it sturdier and perhaps make it better looking.

Well ugly is still ugly. Jack thought it was too small so I decided to make another ugly bag and found a similar larger pattern on line.
I would not be seen carrying these bags but as we usually bag our stuff by the car it will be OK. Jack can carry them in when we get home. I will use the better looking bags I made a few years ago when we were snowed in for a few days.

Recently, while I was decluttering and we were improving my sewing space, Jack installed an under cabinet light on the bottom of the shelf over my cutting area. Lighting has always been an issue in my sewing room. There is no overhead lighting and lamps take up valuable space and always seem to be in the wrong place and need to be moved around.
I  took these two photos without the flash and they show a difference but in real life light the difference is much more pronounced. It even lights up the stitching area on my machine when I am set up for quilting.

I was so pleased with the light I rewarded Jack by sewing some missing buttons on his clothes. That brings up another subject. When I got out my button box and dumped all the loose buttons (on my new counter under the new light) I decided I really needed to organize my buttons; that is what I spent the day doing yesterday. I bagged all the carded buttons and strung together all the buttons that where alike and put assorted buttons by size, small, medium and large in zip lock bags and did the same with all the assorted light and dark shirt buttons. I'll see how well this works next time I need to sew on a button. No photos of this; the only thing more boring than ugly  bags is a boring box of bagged buttons. How's that for alliteration.

Friday, July 19, 2013

2 Finishes

 I was almost finished with this the other day but I was contemplating what to do with the hexagons. I decided to quilt across them in 2 directions. Here is a picture showing the quilting. It is enough! My previous post shows the whole  table topper.

I got the 2013 Diva Jellyroll Race quilt layered up last Saturday and I  finished it up yesterday with Kona Bone for the binding.

On the right is a  close up showing the wavy line grid quilting. Quilting across was  easy; I just stayed between the seam lines. Length wise, I had to mark lines 2 inches apart to stay between. I knew I would end up with my seams drifting off to one side as I went along.  I started with masking tape which didn't work  too well. then I tried my old pizza cutter/pseudo Hera marker and it didn't show up very well. I think it works better with Warm and Natural batting. I went out and bought a Sewline mechanical pencil and ended up not using that for this either. I just marked with blackboard chalk in the end as I didn't need a fine line only guidelines to sew between.

I like the Sewline markers and I used both the white chalk mechanical pencil and the air/water erasable one, that I bought last week, to mark my straight lines through the hexagons. Maybe with my new markers I will  get back to doing some work  on MY BIG UFO.  I have not done anything with it since the day after our commitment meeting 2 months ago.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Finish

I have a finish (maybe). Yesterday after Jack's appointment with the eye doctor we stopped at the quilt shop and I got border fabric for my Honeycomb  table topper. When we got home I layered it up and quilted it and added the binding; I machine finished the binding this morning. For the backing, I was able to use fabric leftover from piecing the backing for my Jellyroll Race quilt that I will layer up tomorrow at the group meeting at the church.

I used Kona bone for the binding it finished the edge off better than the red fabric would have. After I stitched the binding to the front I pressed it away from the border and then turned it and pressed it, shaping the corners and pressing them in place. I used a washable glue stick to hold the binding and I stitched in the ditch on the front along the binding. It turned out pretty good.
I am not sure whether to call this finished or add some quilting in the hexagons. There are three options I am considering.

1. Rows of stitching point to point across the hexagons just in one direction
going the length of the row. That would be 6 rows.

2. Rows of stitching point to point in both diagonal directions. That would be 16 rows.

3. Hand stitch a smaller hexagon  one inch from the seam in all 34 hexagons.

I already discarded the option of point to point across both the length and the diagonals and I am still considering no more quilting at all.

For all my concern about not cutting the triangles exactly right to fit the odd size of the hexagons, this squared up perfectly. Maybe I should say it hexed up perfectly. Anyway, when I fold it in half, all of the points (corners?) line up exactly.   All those bias edges can be very friendly if they are handled with reasonable care.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I have been working on the Honeycomb pack and it is coming together slowly. It is a bit fussy and I am taking lots of breaks.

I thought that I would sew 6 rows with 6 hexagons but after looking at it for a couple of days and trying to figure out a way to have straight edges on the outside edges I realized that 5 rows, with the center row longer and the other rows shorter by one hexie at both ends of each row, would work much better and give me pointed ends to make a good table runner.

The photos on the left show how I had the hexies up on the wall when I was just looking at them and the lower one is the arrangement I am using. The top three rows are sewed together and the bottom 2 rows are still just hexies and triangles sewed together to make  diamonds.

I figured out what size to make my triangles and how to trim them without losing the dog ears. That meant that I pressed to the hexagon and trimmed then I pressed the seams open.  Pressing this way and that way is  an extra step but when I sew anything that has an angle I have better results when matching when the seams are pressed open and that extra step kept the dog ears intact which helped in matching the points.

When I match the points, I match up the dog ears so they are lined up exactly, one on top of the other (top left). I place a pin exactly where the seams will cross, checking on the back to make sure it is exactly at the seam crossing point (top center and right). The bottom left photo shows that same seam after stitching. The other bottom photo shows another area with more matching points. There are a few other places where the points are not perfect but they are good, remembering that the enemy of good is perfect; I am not going to mess around aiming for perfection.
I have to sew the last 2 rows together before I can add them and then I will have to go back to the quilt shop to get something for the borders. I am leaning toward a red, probably the floral red but I will see what is in the shop. I am not going to run all over trying to find something I have set my mind on; I am leaving the options open.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I was excited about the Honeycomb pack from Moda but I am a little disappointed. The hexagons are laser cut to an odd size.

They measure 6 inches point to opposite point but  flat edge to opposite flat edge they measure a little more than 5 1/8 but not quite 5 1/4. It would not make it easy to cut a few more hexagons to match the size from my own fabric with a hexagon ruler.

Of course, I could use the template that comes in the pack to cut more hexagons. I would do it by marking the fabric around the template and cutting on the lines using a straight ruler and my rotary cutter. The template is ordinary template plastic and I would not want to shave it with my rotary cutter. This photo shows the template on the hexagon from the pack, it is sized perfectly and the patches are all cut exactly.

What I want is to cut triangles to sew to 2 opposite edges and therein is another problem. The size triangle to cut is a size that also falls between the lines. If I make it a little bit larger and trim, it fits, but I lose the dog ears that help me line up the points.

This photo shows all  the hexagons up on my wall but not in the order that I will  put them together.
I am cutting a few more from my own fabric to replace some of the very light prints and I have worked out the size triangles I need.
 This is getting to be more fussing around that I want to do if I am buying precuts.

If I were going to only sew the hexagons from the pack together with each other or another Honeycomb pack, there would be no problem. I could also use my hexagon ruler to cut each hexagon down to the next uniform size on the ruler (4 1/2 inches), so I might buy a Honeycomb pack again for the variety.  I think that a hexagon ruler and triangle ruler or maybe the "Hex and More" ruler are probably the way I would go and either buy a fat quarter pack or a Dessert roll for the variety. Maybe after I put this all together I will decide that I was expecting a problem where none existed.

We'll see!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shopping on the 4th

I had a minor episode of vertigo last evening and ended up going to bed very early and slept soundly until about 9AM. Today I am feeling quite well and fit. Fit enough to go to J Ellen's quilt shop and take advantage of her sale of red, white or blue fabric for $6 a yard.
I bought the red and white print on the left for the back of the  quilt I made in January at the 2nd annual Basement Diva Jelly Roll Race. The Jelly roll was Blitzen and I didn't get any fabric from that line while it was still to be found so today I was on a quest for a red backing fabric. I found several to choose from and this is the one that came home with me. I am ready to layer and quilt.

When I was in the shop last week I caught sight of the  Moda Honeycomb
packs, something new to me. I thought about it for the next few days and today one of them found it's was into my bag. I also discovered Moda Dessert Rolls but I didn't buy any  today. My stash is on a diet.

I spread out a few, but not all of them to look at. In the pack there is also a piece of template plastic the exact size of the hexagons and it has holes in all the corners for making a quarter inch dot for machine sewing; how nice is that.

I used to bypass the precuts, thinking they were a waste of money. Not anymore, I do not want to add anything to my stash. My goal is to have almost no stash except scraps and to buy what I need when I need it. Precut is perfect for that. Leftovers are small and can be counted as scraps. It is too soon to say how well this is going to work for me. I do think I will allow fat quarters for impulse buying if it will be appropriate for whatever color palette I am working on at the time.
We'll see.

Happy 4th of July

I like to bring out all my red, white and blue quilts from Memorial Day through Labor Day because all the summer holidays are American patriotic holidays so the quilts are my summer d├ęcor.
The only new red white and blue quilted items I made this year were some hutch mats; they don't say 4th of July like this one. This makes me think of fireworks.
Have a Happy and Safe Independence Day
Count your blessings
May God Bless America

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Jack said he needed to get out for a ride on his motorcycle as he was exhibiting signs of withdrawal. I knew exactly what he  meant. It has been many days since I have done any sewing/quilting and I was getting shaky.

I had the scrappy trips blocks sewed in to section of 8 blocks and for once I understood the way I had then stacked when I last took them off the wall. I had pinned the vertical rows together and labeled them left, center and right. I put them back up on the wall just to be sure and then I sewed them together. I got Jack to hold it up for me to take a pic before he went out for his ride; he was fairly cheerful about it. I told him if he held it up I wouldn't have to get up on a ladder to put it up on the wall.

It is not quite a flimsy; I have to add make the borders but I am feeling much better today.

At this point it is 48 x 72, a bit long and narrow. I really don't want to make more blocks; it would take 12 more to complete a pattern and would make the quilt square and it would end up bigger than I want.
So.............. I think I will make the side borders 6 inches and the top and bottom 4 inches (maybe). I am going to quilt the body of the quilt before I add the borders.

 I will see
 how it goes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Almost Ready to Sew

I have been working away at decluttering and reorganizing every since Jack took one of my tables and gave me a tall narrow chest of drawers. I am hoping that this is the last big declutter and reorganization that I ever have to do. I have been brutal.
We got a 6 foot stock counter top from Lowes and Jack cut 6 inches off the end (with a handsaw) and fit it to the top of 2 of my short 4 drawer chests.
A friend  gave me 2 plastic drawer units that she was no longer using and they now fit under the counter top. we also replaced a 9 1/2 inch x 11feet shelf with a 12 inch by 6 inch shelf above the counter top.

 Because the counter top is deeper than the chests I have some space to hid things that I need to keep but use only once in a blue moon. toward the back between the sets of drawers is a doll bed piled with dolls and doll quilts that my grand kids play with when they visit. I need to keep that for a while yet.

This patched together photo collage below shows the entire 11ft. 5 inch wall  with my new counter top cutting space and my desk space. The counter tops do not match; for about 15 seconds I considered buying one to match to replace the desk. I let it go, I am just really pleased to have a cleaner, neater space. The new counter top replaces a 4 ft. Lifetime adjustable height table and a 2 x 4 adjustable height tray table that I couldn't have the same height because they wouldn't fit a long unless they could over lap.
One thing we can't do much about is the lighting, hence the cords allover the  place. Jack is going to put an under cabinet light stick over the cutting area and I am going to get an Ott light with an adjustable arm to put on the right side of my sewing table.
And that
do it!