Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Learning Curve

 I'm working on some more designs on my embroidery machine.  Because I got the machine used, it didn't come with lessons so I'm having to learn a lot by trial and error.  I'm sure there are some YouTube videos out there, but I find that I usually learn best by doing (and making my own mistakes).

I've been embroidering hats for my son's robotics team and putting the hat in the hoop.  They have been working really well, but if it messes up, I've lost a hat.  I've lost about 5 hats so far trying different things and was getting pretty frustrated with having to throw the hat away.

So, I thought I'd try other ways of making the hats.  These two superhero hats I sewed the design onto heavy stabilizer and then sewed the patches to the hats.

Great, except the Batman one is a bit crooked.
 So then I decided to try some Pokemon guys.  The first one, the bobbin thread messed up and I tell you, if you aren't watching, it will keep going and then you have a mess.  I decided the Pikachu was too big, so shrunk the design and now the stitching is too dense.  I am using SewWhatPro (which I LOVE) and they have put a new feature in that it is supposed to change the density of stitching when you change the size.  Well, it didn't work on these two little guys.
Finally, a successful Pikachu.  Not sure where he is going just yet, but maybe my son's backpack?
Then, I thought there has to be a better way to embroider onto the hats.  So, I put water soluble stabilizer in the hoop and put the hat under the hoop.  Then I put a piece of thin stabilizer under that.  It worked!  The water soluble stabilizer will wash out and I'm left with a design stitched onto the hat and it is much easier to get everything set up.

Here's a Princess Peach hat I'm making for my son's class auction.  His teacher gives out tickets for good behavior and doing homework and about once a month, they have an auction.  Last month, he bought lunch with the teacher for about 150 tickets :)

So, now I'm not feeling so bad about the things I'm having to throw away.  I paid about half price for my used Brother pe770 and that money can buy a lot of extra stabilizer and hats.

Monday, February 18, 2013

tiny triangles

This little quilt was donated and I think it is made from the leftover bits of binding.  You know, the extra triangles you get when you cut off the connected binding strips.  They are tiny and cute.  Lots of scrappy goodness around the edges too and the 'solid' black is actually some millenium fabric!  Love it!

One of those days

If I had known today was going to cause so much trouble, I might have just slept in a little longer.

I was up early and decided to get something done before the day was over.  I had put borders on this quilt top last night and that was first on the agenda.  While quilting, I decided I should work on some more embroidery designs.  I made a Superman symbol and Batman symbol and wanted to make  Pikachu for my son to put on a hat.  I'm now embroidering them onto heavy stabilizer and then stitching them to the hat.  Less chance of stretching while the design stitches and then if it does mess up, I haven't lost another hat.  I'll show you what I'm talking about in another post.

So, I started up the embroidery machine and picked out a backing piece.  It needed to make it just a tad bit wider.  Had the perfect piece already cut and I thought this was going to be a quick and easy quilt.  Started doing some baptist fans on it and the thread kept breaking.  After the 3rd break, I switched thread.  Once that broke about 6 times I changed the needle.  Then changed the thread again and finally figured out it was the batting.  I am trying to use up some of the donated batting and I have some very thin poly that was just eating the thread.  Sometimes the poly will have sharp bits in there that just chew through the thread.  I found out that if I slow my machine WAY down, I can sew without the thread breaking.  As I was quilting, I noticed the backing kept getting smaller and smaller.  It was wide enough on both ends, but not in the middle.  Ugh, I hate when that happens.  Oh well, I would fix that after quilting.  But, when I got to the end of the quilt, the backing was about 8 inches too short!  How did that happen?  I know the quilt will stretch, but really?  That much?

So, I had to take the quilt off and cut some more fabric for the sides and bottom of the back of the quilt.  I just laid it right sides together and stitched and the flipped so it covered the batting.  Had to do that for 3 sides of the quilt.

Normally I give all my quilts to a friend or two to put binding on, but this one I couldn't let anyone see how I had messed up.  So, I found some extra wide binding and sewed it on myself.  I have a finished quilt for a teenage size boy or girl, but it took about twice the time it should have :)

Inbetween my quilt troubles, I was stitching out the Pikachu and the first one, the bobbin gave me troubles and I had to start over.  The second and third I had shrunk down the size of the design, but the stitch density was too heavy and they puckered.  4th time's the charm right?  I finally got one that worked and my son loved.  Now to put it on something before I lose it.

Will post pictures of my embroidery efforts later.  Off to shop at the GoodWill as today is 50% off clothing and shoes.  My son needs a new suit for his California Honor Band later this week.  He loves to wear suits anyways and I'm sure he will get good use out of anything we find today.  There might even be a new pair of shoes if we are lucky.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My son, the sewist

 My son has made the bumper pads for the robot for the last two years.  He thinks it is cool that he's pretty much the only one on the team who can sew.  There are a couple of girls, but they don't volunteer.  Of course, he waited until the last minute to get them done, but this year's turned out way better than last year's.  I guess all those quilting sessions really helped.
Yesterday I managed to get some quilting time in and added borders and quilted up this super scrappy quilt.  I got the backing fabric at the Goodwill store that sells clothes by the pound.  I think this was a twin bead sheet or maybe shower curtain.  It was nice and wide.  I need to go back this week and see if they have any more.  I do love not having to piece a backing.  Of course, if I did piece the backings, I could get rid of some of the fabric I have.  My little guy tells me today, Mom, you won't believe this, but you have too much fabric.  Thanks dude!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A winner is picked

Random number generator picked out #80.

Java diva has been notified and as soon as I get her address, the Valentine Heart will be on its way.

Hope you enjoy :)

Remembeer, you can download the free pattern at the link on my blog hop day, so if you do have an embroidery machine, you can make one yourself.  If not, I bet you have a friend with a machine.  They are more common than you think :)

I've wanted one for years and am so glad I have it now.  There are so many new things to try out.

I'm going to make a quilt for a boy using the machine to draw some pictures for me.  Boy quilts are always in such demand.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Final Day of the Hugs and kisses blog hop

I'm going to take some time today to go back and visit those I've missed on the hop. Lots of great inspiration out there.  Here are today's participants.

Friday February 15th

Why Knot Kwilt
Sew Darn Quilt

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hugs and Kisses blog hop Day 4 My Turn!

I decided to combine my two loves for this Hugs and Kisses blog hop.  Quilting and machine embroidery.

I downloaded the free Heart of Hearts pattern here and got to work.

I picked out some white fabric that I think is a poly blend.  Most of my fabric is donated, so I'm not exactly sure where this came from.

Then, I got stitching.  this is a BIG design and took a long time to stitch-about 45 minutes.  Good thing I didn't have to do all of the stitching myself.  I do so love my new embroidery machine :)  It's a Brother pe770 and I got it used.  It is a real work horse and I'd recommend it to anyone.  Just remember to change the needle every once in a while!  That's usually when I start having troubles and go, oh, yeah, change the needle lady!

Once it was done, I squared it up and put on some borders..  Then, I cut a piece of Hearts Fleece and sewed a back on.  Stuffed it and in a short amount of my time (not counting the embroidery) I have a great pillow that screams LOVE!  I'm not sure where this will end up just yet, it may be a present, or I may just keep it.

Would you like a white panel machine embroidered with this heat of hearts?  Just leave a note on this post and I will pick a random winner on Saturday around noon.  You will get the center panel embroidered in red thread and you can make your own pillow or use it in a quilt or wall hanging.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and be sure to check out everyone else on the hop.

Thursday February 14th

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Margaret's Hope Chest needs quilts


This is one of the charities I personally support because they help kids of men in prison.  The kids didn't do anything that deserves punishment but because of poor choices their dads make, they do suffer.  If a quilt can help them know they are loved, I'm all about making and sending.

They need (what else) BOY quilts.  Every charity I work with is always asking for boy quilts.  Seems most of us like to make girly quilts.  I find myself having to really think about how to make a quilt for a boy, especially the older ones.  Good thing I have two boys in my house, an 8 year old and a 15 year old so I can ask their opinions :)

Maybe you can help out too.

Hopping Day 2

Tuesday February 12th

Hugs and Kisses Blog hop is nicely on it's way through the week.  Hope you find some time to exercise as you HOP through these blogs today!  Looks like my little guy is feeling better and I'm going back to work today.  Yay for him, boo for me :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

For a favorite teacher

My husband's favorite high school teacher fell at home and shattered his shoulder.  He had to have a total replacement and can't use his hands or arms for a few more weeks.  My husband asked if I could make a quilt with a world map on it so he can dream of all of the places he wants to go once he is healed.  After a couple of weeks of thinking (that's the hard part!) and planning, this is what I came up with.  I wanted to use my chisel die from the Studio fabric cutter and found this block pattern.  Can you tell there are two different light blues?  Nope?  Good.  I used what I had in the stash and made due.  There are also two different greens.  The only thing I bought for this was the map panel.  I had one, but it still had Russia as one country and labeled USSR.  Things have changed just a little bit :)

Hope he likes it!  It is HUGE for me.  Twin size is about twice the normal size of quilts I make.  I need a bigger quilting machine :)

Do you need a hug?


The Hugs and Kisses blog hop is underway!  Here's a free pattern I found that looks simple to make and would make a great hug for a hurting child.  If you make quilts and don't know where to donate them, call your local school.  Kids are going through so much that isn't talked about and the counselors or school nurse would know of that special child needing a warm hug.  I teach at a high school so have the inside scoop on these kids.  Some of them are fighting battles that leave permanent scars and I have found they all appreciate a warm, handmade quilt.

Check out the participants of today's blog hop here.

Monday February 11th

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop


That's right, the blog hop starts on Monday and goes through Friday next week.  My day is Thursday, Valentine's Day!

I'm working on my project inbetween other things like embroidering hats for my son's robotics team and making a quilt for my husband's favorite teacher.  There is always more thing to get done in the day than time to get them done.

I hope you have a few minutes or hours to pop on over to all of the blogs in the hop.  Some will be offering prizes!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dusted off the machine

I need to make room to quilt a quilt for my husband's favorite teacher from high school.  This is the closest person he has to a father and he gave my husband much guidance through high school when my husband's life was pretty crazy.  My husband lived on the streets during 11th-12th grade and wasn't sure where his next meal would come from.  Mr. Edwards was a major reason my husband kept going back to school every day.  Imagine having to wear the same stinky clothes every day and not being able to shower.  High school kids aren't exactly the nicest and most understanding people in the world.

Well, last week Mr. Edwards fell and hurt his shoulder.  He had to have a complete shoulder replacement and can't use his hands.  He will be in rehab for another 4 weeks so having a bright, cheery quilt will hopefully make him feel better.  His daughter said he had so many visitors they were asking everyone to please stay away for a little bit, he was just too overwhelmed.  He has impacted many lives.

Gotta get busy on his quilt later today.  This little quilt has been patiently waiting on the frame for about 3 weeks while I played with my embroidery machine.  Now that my first 'order' of hats is done (15 for the RoboVikes) I can get back to quilting.  It was fun to quilt this while the embroidery machine did its thing.  Now if only I had a robotic quilting machine, I could really multi task. Dinner might even get cooked!



Winter Ball 2013

 When did he get so big?  I made my son's boutonniere.
 I made her wrist corsage myself and saved about $40!  Crazy what they charge for these things.
I'll have to find the picture from last year to show how much my son has grown.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hats for Sale

SO, my son's robotics team is going to buy these from me for $15 each.  I have a guarantee of 15 hats.  Next up, Vanden Music hats.  Hopefully they will sell too :)