16 August, 2019

Handy Tip and Tidying Up

In an effort to finish as many projects as I can this summer I have adopted the practice of binding for a few hours each and every evening while watching TV before bedtime. We don't watch television in the lightest and brightest of all rooms which makes needle threading a challenge. I have started pre-threading my hand needles during the day and have them ready to go now when I sit down to bind. I found this super-duper needle threader when cleaning out some of my Mom's sewing accessories and few months back. I have found it to be sturdy, as well as pretty and substantial; but, best of all, it threads even the finest of straw needles! I am now threading up five or six needles with whatever color thread I will be binding with and place them into the handy-dandy domed needle case to use later. Can you thread up needles ahead and place them into a square of flannel or felt? Sure. But this is a much more efficient and safe way to store them, read on.
This was also found in the recent clean-out. I have fallen heir to many valuable treasures from my Mom's sewing box. The way this works is this: the threaded needles are each inserted into a slot and wound into the case by spinning the center wheel. You can see a demo here. I love this; it really works and definitely earns its place in your chair-side sewing box besides being a fun little "toy" to have! Both of these notions are by Clover and I assure you that I receive no compensation from Clover, only my tried and true recommendation. Check them out. 
Placing the domed cover over your threaded needles, it locks into place, making this completely portable.
You can toss it into your to-go bag and your threaded needles will be tangle-free and ready to use!

Speaking of efficiency; I have been spinning my wheels in the sewing room lately; I have been busy as a bee but not showing much forward progress. A quick look around revealed why. I had piles of mess everywhere! Every pattern I had been thinking about, book that I had pulled off the shelf, piece of fabric that I had dragged out and half-finished project was either piled up or draped over something else. It was high time to clear the deck so that I could breathe think work again!
In less than an hour and a half I had everything cleaned up: sorted, stashed, filed and/or completed. Work surfaces were cleared, (except for what I am actually working on) and order was restored.
First thing: I got caught up with the latest BOM blocks from my LQS. Without all the piles surrounding me I worked quickly; it felt good to be unencumbered, I tidied right back up when I was done. I can now enter this space again with a lighter, free-er feeling and get right down to business. Am I alone in this or can you relate? That tidying that we put off can really drag us down to the point where we get nothing accomplished. The amazing thing (at least to me) is that it never takes long to restore order!
I placed an order for fabric the other day. Imagine my delight to learn, when I opened the package, that I had hit a jackpot! A full three quarter yards of jackpot, too; WOW, it was my lucky day! 😊

Life is Good!

09 August, 2019

Under The Needle

It's been a whiz-bang, speedy summer so far.  My decision to make this season the one of "finishing up projects started" may just have to become the year of that; and that's okay! I have Hexie Garden on the rails currently, Snowbird  and I are having fun quilting it up, I am using a new (to me) pantograph called "Diamonds Are Forever" by Urban Elementz and I really am quite pleased with the effect. I took this photo before the sun came up this morning with only the light from the machine to show up the quilting; in the daylight it's quite subtle. 
This Charming Nine is small, it's just a flimsy measuring 25" X 28". It is, as the name implies, simply a nine patch sewn from two charm packs. Joined block to block like this gives it an antique look. I stitched it up (or, rather, finished stitching it up-- who knows how long ago it was begun!!) leader-ender style along with the in-progress scrappy tumbler below.  It will become a table-topper.
Three more rows to go on this tumbler and it will replace the one that I have either misplaced or lost somewhere along the line this summer! Stitching this together while working on other things makes it grow almost magically!
And last, but not least; another tea wallet for gift-giving. 
And sew it goes-- what's under YOUR needle these days?

Life is Good! 

07 August, 2019

Nap Blankets 2019

Nap Blankets 2019  ~ Ready for the first day of the new school year.
I have posted about making Nap Blankets before, I am blessed to be a part of a small quilt group that is dedicated to supplying an elementary school in our local system with a nap blanket for each child enrolled in the Pre-K program there; that is 45 blankets-- three classrooms with fifteen children each. I have posted about this program before, here. I believe that our group has been doing this for the last nine years, that's 405 nap blankets so far! You can read more about the program, part of our greater Quilt Guild here.   
Here you see some of the nap blankets going through the rigors of "quality control". She's tough! 😉

 From a previous post: "These blankets are simply constructed with two one yard lengths of child-friendly fabric, a front and a back. They're sewn right sides together, turned and top-stitched around the edges and with a corner to corner "X" through both layers, there is no batting."  

I  am grateful to be a member of such a generous group of quilting friends; we are all blessed with so much, this annual project elicits nothing but pure joy.

Life is Good!

05 August, 2019

Birthday Quilt

Hannes celebrated his fifteenth (in human years) birthday last week; our youngest two grandchildren happened to be visiting that day and they reveled in the celebration by singing to him and dispensing treats with wild abandon. Lynnleigh suggested that we make him a special birthday quilt to mark the auspicious occasion. She rummaged through my bin of orphan blocks and found enough string blocks to arrange into a setting for a small quilt top. She was super excited with her design until I showed her that she was going to have to remove the paper foundations from the back of the string sections, she wasn't a fan of that process. 🤣

But, soon enough, it was time to stitch them together. She sat in my lap and I pressed the pedal while she guided the blocks under the presser foot. She was very careful and attentive. 
Voila! The quilt top was complete; is that one proud little girl? We looked for a suitable backing fabric (she was interested in either a dog or birthday themed fabric: "either paw prints, doggie bones or birthday cakes"); the stash closet failed to deliver that day and she was accepting no substitutions,  we decided that we may just need to go shopping. The next time she visits we will load it, quilt it and add binding. In the meantime, Hannes was very comfortable with his birthday quilt being a "summer weight" flimsy!
Happy birthday, buddy! 

Life is Good!

30 July, 2019

Scarlet Stars

"Scarlet Stars" 60" X 72"

This recently completed quilt is a compilation of two different blocks-of-the-month from my LQS. I added bits and pieces of other blocks and coping strips to fit it all together. It has been a top for years, just hanging out in the stash closet for its time to be quilted. Thank goodness I happened upon Country Threads' "Chicken Scratch" blog and jumped on board their UFO "Dirty Dozen" challenge. Twelve UFOs are assigned a unique number and each month a number is drawn for completion during that month. This top was my number eight; I met this month's goal, it's quilted and bound. A new number will be drawn on Thursday for August. I hope that I can keep up, it's a good feeling to finish projects once and for all (I even made a label for this one!!).
I used a new (to me) pantograph on this one-- "Starry" by Beany Girl quilts, it fit the bill and the theme!

Life is Good!

25 July, 2019

Single Family Household

It's quiet around here again; Chez Goodneedle has gone back to being a single family household. In the uncharacteristic stillness I have loaded "Scarlet Stars" onto Snowbird this morning and begun quilting it.  I sure do miss my little garden helper! Every day after lunch Lynnleigh and I would go out and do the deadheading, watering, or bird feeder filling;  she was always quick to remind me what needed to be done. Now I'm on my own. I know how very happy they all are to be back in their own home and beds once again. They have made some huge improvements to their home, updating and modernizing.
The circa 1964 kitchen was gutted and a new, sleek, modern one exists in its place. Our son and daughter-in-law had some great ideas and vision that transformed this space into one that is uniquely theirs. Our son and Mr. Goodneedle constructed the dining table and built in benches for their eating area.
This island top is a slice of an oak tree that once grew at Virginia International Raceway. Purchased in an auction years ago this slab of wood has resided in our basement until its recent restoration. They also had two bathrooms and their mudroom gutted and remodeled. They now have a new house with the same address as before, we couldn't be happier for them!
Switching gears: I made the recent birthday boy a pillow using Elizabeth Hartman's "Penguin Party" pattern. I believe he liked it, penguins are his favorite animal. 
Naturally, Nana and PawPaw couldn't take birthday gifts to the Capital City without a little something for the birthday boy's sister. I do believe she might just have the best dressed dolls anywhere. 
Last week, during Quilt Camp, I had to construct parts of a tumbler for demonstration purposes. Surprisingly, I discovered at that time that I have misplaced (or completely LOST!) a completed Scrappy Tumbler quilt somewhere along the line. A couple of summers ago I made two out of my charm bins and now can only find one. Where that second one has gotten to is anyone's guess. I will go ahead and finish this one now, leader-ender fashion, to replace the lost one. Maybe, by doing that, the missing one will resurface. Heaven knows, I have enough charms and scraps to keep this up for a very long time!
We picked up a couple of bouquets at Trader Joe's last week to place on the altar at church. They came home with us after worship and have remained vibrant and healthy looking all week. I just love having fresh flowers in the house, the ones that I find there are always nice and very reasonably priced. 
I took this picture yesterday afternoon; our THIRD Bluebird clutch this season! Once before we had two Bluebird families in one season, but never three!! So, maybe there is another family living at our address after all, just when I thought we were down to only the two of us once again. 😉

Life is Good!

24 July, 2019

Nana, Now With Years Of Experience

It seems like only the day before yesterday that this precious little one arrived, making me a Nana for the very first time; I suspected then, but know now, that this day marked the beginning of a most special stage of my life. Fast forward to today:  
This handsome young man, shown in both photos above, is now eleven years old! Happy birthday to this fun-loving, sports-minded, smart, quick, curious, cheerful and polite boy that we're ever so proud to call our grandson!

"...Grandmas can shed the yoke of responsibility, relax, and enjoy their grandchildren in a way that was not possible when they were raising their own children. And, they can glow in the realization that here is the seed of life that will harvest generations to come... "
-Erma Bombeck, American writer (1927-1996)

Life is Good!