Saturday, February 18, 2017

Surprise: A Quilting Reader's Garden Fat Quarter

I returned from my monthly quilting group session and checked my email and found I had been picked to get a fat quarter from A Quilting Reader's Garden.

How fun is that?  I think yellow or white would be a good color to insert in a project...

Thank you Angie!


At quilt group I actually brought in a sewing machine that I hadn't used in a long time, and for another surprise it works perfectly!  I guess I stopped using it when I got the new 1/4 inch foot for the new Brother that I have at home.

So I had brought a bunch of assorted charms that I had either won in drawings, cut myself with rotary or with a Studio Go.  So I got organized and started sewing them up into 4 patches.  One of the ladies showed me how to get the center of the patches so a mini-4 patch appears on the back, but I wasn't successful with getting that to work for me for all the patches.  She said it would help reduce the number of thicknesses of the fabric when I was quilting the project.

And I got distracted so I wasn't consistent with how I put together the blocks.  Oh well.

I put them on the living room floor to take a photo and Buffy returned from her walk and I forgot what I was doing so you don't see them all in this photo...

Except for two of the 4 patches, they each have the same fabric in the lower right of the block.

: )

Finished Charity Quilt

Boy, it's really difficult to show the FMQing on this project!  

It's a variation of an orange peel design.  I started by making the loops on the diagonal starting with the little yellow squares, then the little black ones, then continued to the larger flower blocks - then back again.  Then in the other direction it was green, green and larger flower block and back again.  It made a pretty design on the top.

I went along the inner purple border and went into the border when I hit the tip of quilting described and then made a little circle. I also made a circle in the corners of the purple border.  

On the outside of the purple border I went along and only popped out at the corners.  In the green I made one loop that sort of looks like the design in the inside.  On the rust I made three loops.  I'm not sure why I did this but I did.

You can see the faux flange on the binding.  A lady in the group is a long arm quilter she makes a flat faux flange so she can quilt as usual on her long arm by cutting a strip 1 inch, sewing it on at 1/2 inch seam then continuing on with what ever she is putting on (in her case where she was showing me she was adding the faux flange between two borders that were close in the same color).  Anyway that is a way to get the flange effect and be able to have quilted on a long arm!

This was turned into the quilting group for that lady to donate...

I also turned in the 9 patch quilt as you go project!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


I'm been making more grapefruit marmalade.

Packed some up and sent to friends and relatives back east along with a package of Alternative Bagels.  (I'm lucky I can pick these up at a sort of local store.)

I keep charts of how much fruit I put in the pressure cooker, how long it cooks.  Reminders to get the next set of supplies in order.  Weigh and put in sugar, and little package of the recovered grapefruit seeds.  Have ended up cooking at low saute for 30 minutes, then about 10 minutes of medium saute and then end up with 10 minutes of high.  The original recipe was for 2 pounds of fruit and only 7 minutes of high saute, I've ended up with 5 pounds of fruit and the additional cooking mentioned above.  Each time something seems to change.

I taste the mixture after the 30 minutes and need to add sugar.  Sometimes.

I always need to stir at high, sometimes and medium, and sometimes even at low saute.

The color of the marmalade is now usually golden, but when we have tasted the darker versions seems the taste is the same. ???  Have made 18 batches of marmalade!

My addition of cutting old wash cloths in thirds so I can wrap each bottle as it goes in the water has really helped with preventing the jars from hitting each other, and make it easier to insert, and remover from the water.  They make easy the final cleaning of the lip of the jar too.


There are still more fruit to process!  I have a 5 gallon bucket in the frig and there are more fruit on the tree not ready to pick.


Was so concentrating on marmalade that I forgot that one could just juice it.  So today I used the citrus juicer my mom left me to make morning juice, then I removed the rest of the fruit and some of the white and cut 1/4 inch strips.

Have been boiling that.  The recipe I found suggested boiling and changing the water three times.  Then to add sugar and boil - then to lay out the strips and let it all dry.  I think sprinkling some sugar on the top.  Then we will have sugared grapefruit skins.  If needed I'll dip in the dark chocolate for different taste!

After one boiling...

Watched a film on Netflix: Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  Looks like at least part of it is posted on the web.  Our son was watching me make the marmalade and said I was like Jiro - always thinking of new ways to process things and to make them better.  I guess it's the same with quilting - always testing and thinking of new ways to piece, baste, bind and quilt!

After second boiling.
After third boiling, I weighed the peels.  Added five cups of water and four cups of sugar and simmered for 90 minutes.

Then I removed from the syrup and rolled in sugar before putting on drying rack.  This is my first time using the dehydrator machine.  We also cut some grapefruit rounds and put them on and have one tray of grapefruit bites (no peel, or sugar, just fruit).  Just tasted the candied peels - delicious and warm.  Wonder how they will be after a full night of dry heat?  It feels so frugal to use all of the fruit!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Third Binding Done - on previously quilted charity project

I'm sort of on a roll.  We'll see how long this lasts!

I finally finished up a charity quilt that I had put together with charity fabric.  I quilted each block as I finished it, and then joined with strips. I think I got the QAYG strip directions from Leah Day's site.

I did find a good video Leah Day posted for Applying Binding by Machine:

I like the way the FMQing shows on the plain fabrics.

I applied the binding first to the back, then did the stitching on the front.  I really worked at lining the binding up so there is pretty even line of stitching that shows on the back side.  If you look closely, you can see where I patched a bit of the joining strip so the batting would not peek thru.  I hadn't noticed the batting until doing the binding...

I'm posting this photo to show that the two fabrics are facing each other and the tails are to the right!  It's difficult to see since I unhelpfully had a solid fabric at the end of the scrap binding that I made for the project....

I participated in another political event yesterday.  I'm not sure what to call it really.  We met outside the offices of Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris.  We are all figuring out how to do this.

I liked the way this lady had her signs set up so she didn't have to hold them up for the two hours.  Really can only read the front side from a car, but the back was important to consider too.

People were adding notes to their signs that they were not paid protestors.
This dog had a tag on that said he was not paid too!
I don't think everything should be protested, but I am concerned when I hear plain lies being represented as facts or when people are being recommended for positions who either do not have experience, or appear to have such self-interests for profit or gain instead of looking at the needs of people who are not like them.

It was about a mile between the two offices, a beautiful walk thru downtown San Diego.  I took a few photos showing old and new buildings.  I bet some one is going to knock the older things down to make room for more shiny new buildings.  Since I don't own them I don't have a say, but I do like older buildings...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Second Binding Done!

I picked the larger of the spray basted quilts to work on today!

Originally I was going to do curves in the binding.  Gentle curves with equal measurements on the top and bottom...  But then when trying to figure where they would start and end I noticed the design of the quilt was asymmetrical, something that had appealed to me when I picked the pattern.  But something that I had to think about toward the end when I was adding the final borders.  I decided then to have the borders be equal on all sides, and that is what I decided about the binding too.

So I practiced another magic binding finish!

Changes and tips I used again:

 Stitched the edges of the quilt together before trimming.

Trimmed so the back and batting were approx .25 inch wider than the top.  (I then trimmed the backing so it was closer to the top position, but realized after that I should have kept the fabric and instead concentrated on placing the edge of the binding so it was on the stay stitching line. Photos below.)

Did the trick of pressing the ends to help me keep track of which side to put where on the plain black fabric. (no photo)

Pinned and then sewed each joining set all at one time.

Cut the flange 2 inches (instead of 1.75) so more of it would show.

Cut the main color still 1.5 inch and used fabric recovered after trimming the backing and batting so it was a tad sticky. I did not press the seams open for the fabric joins of each strip as I wasn't sure what would happen to the iron or fabric.
 Sewed and pressed the combined pieces oriented it so I could see the flange.  I did press the seam open for the two fabric strips and I pressed the color on top of the black color to get rid of the sticky side being exposed.  Worked well.

 Here I show sewing the binding on.  It would have been easier if I had not cut the backing back - the batting kept getting caught on the presser foot.

 I lined up the edge of the binding with the stay stitching line.

I used the tip of pinching the end at the corner then bringing the result up to meet the sewing line. And I used the stack of fabric (I didn't have emery board handy) so the pressure foot at the corners was level with the fold when I was sewing that to the back.

 When I got to the end, I folded the binding back after having it meet.

 Then I pressed the fold, and used a pencil to mark the intersection line.

 I referred to the photos from last night to help me orient the fabric and so got it right the first time!

 The final binding stitching didn't take very long. I prepared each corner with Wonder Clips and oriented it so I could just continue sewing with little effort.

More of the flange shows, which in this case with plain fabric, I like.  I'm still getting an extra line of stitching that shows on the back, but the binding is done and this charity quilt is now ready for free motion quilting!

As I was working on the binding I started thinking ahead to the buckets of grapefruit waiting to be turned into marmalade.  My son and I keep charts of what we do (amounts of fruit, water, sugar; cooking times and temperature).  Seems we are always tweaking something, just like I was tweaking the making and application of this binding.

First Binding Done

It didn't take all day, but I don't know how many hours I was sewing today.  I know I spent time rereading directions on how to put on bindings!

I decided to start with the middle quilt (of the three newly spray basted quilts) as it was going to just have a regular binding.  But then I was reminded about the type of binding with faux piping and I thought having a little extra pop would be nice for the quilt, and a good experience for me too.

Helpful Binding Websites:
She has video that I found first, the blog post shows what the back of the project will look.  Very helpful to me to see. Also has hint to stop stitching 1/4 inch from the end, the to turn the work and sew off to the corner.
Missouri Star - hint to iron to help show which is the front part of fabric and to fold the corner to arrange it so easy to sew the corner.
Great tip to have something to support the pressure foot when starting new corner - also has idea for starting and ending binding that I will try sometime.  She also makes it very clear on how to get the right angle for the folding at the corner.

I'm very pleased that I was finally able to make things click and to finish this first quilt binding!

I cut the strips following the directions I found.  On straight of grain, the flange part was 1.75 inches, the main color was 1.5.  The websites were very helpful with how to apply the strips, but I had trouble with the final joining of the end to the beginning.  I referred to my earlier post on binding, but since that example was using a solid Kona it was difficult to see the order to arrange the strips.  So I took some photos to help the future me....  In this case I had to line up to the intersection of the seams so I put a pin in - and ended up hand basting to check what I was doing!

 I tested the seam and it was correctly angled.

 I pinned so the fabric would not move and sewed along the basted line.

 I could see the basting after sewing, so removed the basting.

 I was sewn on the back of the piece so the flange would appear on the front.

 In May 2013 I won some Wonder Clips that were the best for helping with the binding - they have little marks so I could use them to measure the seam too!  Danielle hasn't been blogging lately, but everything I won has been so great - all things I use regularly.  Except these clips, but now I will be using them all the time!
 Binding done!  I'm experimenting with doing the quilting after the binding so the quilt is not done yet!

Here you can see a close up of the front and the back.

Yes, I see it's 3:30 in the morning.  But I'm pretty sure it was after dinner tonight before I started experimenting with figuring out which pressure feet and settings to use and getting out my grey thread to do the work!  I still was watching videos.  I made additional binding and made up samples with scraps testing the settings.  It was break through to think to look at Aunt Marti's blog and then to see at the very end of that write up, that I was not expected to stitch directly thru the flange to the ditch of the seam in the back.  Even she has a line of stitching that shows on the backing. (I spent a long time fretting about how I was going to do that!)

So I hope my photos will help my future self next time I try this!

: )

To Look Into:
I think there is something I was supposed to do with cutting the batting so the binding would have more of it and/or perhaps I was supposed to sew around the quilt to secure the fabric more before applying binding too.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Afternoon of Basting

As with many things in my life, I spent a ton more time thinking about basting than it actually took me to do the project...

I set up two tables in the back yard and put short candle holders on the table to help hold down the fabric.

I loosened the batting by putting in the dryer for a little spin, and first put that on the table.

Then I put the backing with the wrong side down on top of the batting (so I could see the right side of the backing).  I folded the backing back about half way, then sprayed about one foot of the back of the backing that was exposed.  Then I use my hands to press the backing to the batting.  I starting in the center then worked each side.  I pulled the backing back until I could feel the pull of the spray basting, and repeated.  Once I was done with the back I flipped it over so I could put the top of the quilt down so I could see the design, and I repeated the steps of folding back, spraying, pressing down.

I had a little trouble being sure I had backing that was a little larger than the front since my helper really enjoyed jumping on the fabric once I put it on the carpet!

Once I had things spray basted I put the quilts on the floor for a photo, and my helper, Buffy, came down the stairs so she could enjoy the bounciness of the quilt sandwiches....

Well, my plan is to get a photo of the quilts so I can draw on the proposed quilting!  We'll see how that goes tomorrow.

The teacher I mentioned previously who does not want us to take photos of any of her projects or projects we create in her class following her patterns, is a big proponent of binding /before/ quilting so I'm planning on trying that with these three not from her class so I can share photos charity quilts.  The smaller one will have wider binding so it will end up being around 42 inches square.  The middle one will be done first as it will have regular binding.  The larger one with the pieced backing will be around 45 x 60 inches, but I'm going to try my hand at binding so the edges have gentle scallops.

(I also have a few quilts that are already quilted as part of 2016 One Month Goals that are ready for binding too so hopefully I'll get pretty accomplished with this binding step by finishing them up! Photos will be coming! )

January 2016 OMG - Tumbler 
March 2016 OMG - Cultural Fusion Windmills
Sept 2016 Nine QAYG Blocks for Charity

I didn't really keep track of the time, but think it finally took me under three hours to get these three quilts where they are now.  I had to plan which fabrics to use for the backing, find the batting in my closet, and in one case sew the backing too before actually spraying them.  Also had to press everything.  Lovely that no pins were needed so far!  Even after Buffy jumping around them the pieces are secure!

 : )

We went over friends tonight to watch the surfers and sunset while chatting, sipping wine and nibbling on snacks.