Monday, November 20, 2017


Marcy and I are deep into a sewing project.  Who can figure out what this is?

Friday, November 10, 2017


Just now I hung the new Thanksgiving Banner on the patio wall.

This was a panel to which I added a colourful border.  Appropriate for November here in AZ!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bye Bye Hide-a-bed

 Last Saturday was quite busy.  In the morning Marcy and I were sewing together.  Rather, we were trying to sew together.  We had just endless troubles with our machines.  One of the problems was the material, a fairly dense stretchy knit.  There were SO MANY skipped stitches.  We tried all sorts of fixes.  We also discovered that the tension on the bobbin was so tight that the thread could not be threaded through the proper slots.  We fixed that and we tried other needles.  Yesterday I bought some ball point needles.  I looked for stretch needles but didn't find any.

Then shortly after she left Dear Son #2 called and we had a nice phone visit.  He gave me some good news: dear granddaughter #2 had been the highest scoring grade 4 piano student in their area.  She was invited to play in a concert and receive a trophy, and she will do that.  We're so proud of her!  Then he mentioned that the four of them would like to come for a visit the week after Christmas.  WONDERFUL!

While I was still on the phone with him these fellows who work in the village showed up to pick up the old hide-a-bed.   When we bought the new one we moved the old one to the patio, but it isn't really patio furniture.  Goodwill won't pick up anything that involves beds or bedding, so what to do?  We were told that the workers here, pretty much all of whom are immigrants from Mexico or countries in South America are very willing to remove any furniture that we want to give away.
About five or six fellows from Guatemala showed up and loaded the hide-a-bed on their truck.  We were happy to give it away and they were happy to receive it.
I hope it stayed on the truck all the way home!

Last night I finished a pair of socks for the Dear One's birthday.  That's in December, but I didn't see a reason to wait until them to give them to him.  As he said, It's not a secret.  They are the beige pair.  

The blue ones are for my sister's husband.  They are flying in from Michigan today and will have dinner with us this evening and I'll put the socks beside his plate for a surprise.  He loves these hand-knit socks and uses them to keep his feet warm in bed.

So when the Dear One's socks were finished (before bedtime) I cast on another pair.  The blue and grey striped sock will be for a grandson's birthday in December.

I went to Michael's yesterday to buy some yarn for his socks and found that Patons Kroy Sock yarn is on sale this week.  Just $4.99 a ball--a pair of socks takes two of these 50g balls.  So I bought enough for three pairs of socks.  At the checkout another 10% was taken off.  WOW!  I should go back to load up on sock yarn.  Except that I now have 12 balls of sock yarn in the closet.  That's not counting the two for Zack's socks, the newest pair on the needles.  Maybe that's enough?

Friday, November 3, 2017


Last week all our time in the Sewing Room was spent sorting fabrics.  We received two enormous donations, having already received another rather large donation earlier.  Because this is a 55+ community we do experience the loss of members frequently.  Some die, some move to care centers.  Often their heirs are confronted with a house full of accumulated  possessions, and this sometimes includes a sewing room and we are often the recipients of that accumulation.

One of the donations was HUGE!!!  It was only when we were almost finished sorting that we thought of taking this picture:

This doesn't begin to show you the PILE of boxes and bags.  There were at least a dozen of the big black garbage bags filled with material and accessories for quilting.  Joan and I both took home a new, clamp-on magnifying light for our sewing tables.  I also "inherited" a 6" x 24" quilting ruler and a cutting mat.  In addition to the bags there were maybe six or seven big cardboard boxes also full of fabric.  It was overwhelming!

We made piles of this and that kind of material: pieces large enough for quilt backings, medium sized cuts, maybe a yard or half a yard, fat quarters (18" x 22"--a standard quilting cut), cut squares of several sizes, 2 1/2" strips, and even several half finished projects.  The quilt in my last post was one of them.

And this was only one of three donations in the past three weeks!

Quilters prefer to use only 100% cotton fabrics and many of these fabrics were cotton/polyester, slinky knits, dressy materials or even drapery fabrics.  There were bags of lace.  All of these other fabrics went back into boxes and bags.  Joan and her husband stuffed their car full and took them to Goodwill to donate them there.

Finally the sewing room was almost back to normal.  

Now we have to go through all the materials that we saved and ask each other: Will we ever use this piece?  We need to do a further cull.  Otherwise there is enough fabric here for each of us quilters to sew with until we're 100 years old!  And there would probably be some left then.

Saturday, October 28, 2017


Before The Dear One had his Garden Centre, I would have called this a "bush" but now that I know it's a "shrub" it's kind of hard to say "bush."  Leave that for "W".

I call it a "Purple Flower Bush" oops, Shrub.  It has a botanical name, but I don't know what that is.  It's very pretty.  The picture doesn't really do it justice.  And very interesting: Every day it is covered with these pretty purple flowers.  At night it drops them and the next day it produces a whole new crop.  How does it do that?

Friday, October 27, 2017


Last Saturday my friend Marcy and I were in the sewing room when a realtor we know stopped by and delivered several (lots and lots) of boxes and very large garbage bags full of materials.  She had listed a home here in the village of a woman who had entered a care facility.  I don't know how that woman stored all of this fabric.  Marcy and I called Joan and she came over to the sewing room.  The three of us worked all morning sorting the fabrics.  Quite a few were good for quilting, but there were also a lot that we sent on to Goodwill.  By a lot I mean that Joan and John's car was STUFFED with boxes and bags of fabric.

Thursday is our regular quilting day.  When I arrived at the sewing room Joan was busy sorting another fabric donation.  She and I worked until 12:30 that day, sorting and putting away more and more and more fabric.   From this donation we are sending 6 large cardboard boxes and 4 large garbage bags of fabric to Goodwill. There were also some half finished projects.  I took two of those home with me and last night I was going to finish one of them.

This is fabric that is already quilted.  I just needed to apply some binding.  That didn't go without problems, though.  There was some deep pink double fold binding with the project and I began applying that to the edge.  It was going well.  This wasn't going to take much time at all!  And then, slightly past half-way the binding ran out.  Awww!  I went to the sewing room in the Community Center to see if there was any more of that binding in the last bag of "give away."  No luck.  But I did find some other, slightly light pink binding and took that home with me.

This afternoon I ripped off the deep pink binding--yes, literally ripped it off.  Then I applied the new binding, finishing it nicely with a bias seam to join the ends.  Of course, if you do a 45ยบ angle seam on bias binding, you are no longer on the bias but on the straight grain.  It turned out well, I thought.  It will be useful to someone.

When I put the finished quilt back in the bag it came in I found an unopened package of the deep pink binding.  Oops!  Could have finished it last night if I realized there was more of the binding in the bag.

Then I started on the second second-hand project.  This was a little more complicated.  It was a 40" x 42" quilt top of strips, serged together.  I pressed all the seams carefully in one direction.  There was a piece of backing just the right size.  I went to the Sewing Room and picked up a piece of left-over batting that just fit this project.  But there was no binding for this project, so I finished it another way:  I spray basted the batting to the backing and then laid the quilt top on the backing, right sides together.  I pinned it carefully all around the edges to keep it from shifting and sewed all but about 12" on one side, turned the quilt right side out and stitched the 12" shut by hand.

This needs to be machine quilted, but I don't have the right thread here.  I'll have to go back to the sewing room tomorrow and see what thread there is for machine quilting it.  I'll post a picture of that quilt as soon as it's finished.

So, two quick easy finishes in just a few days.  These will go to the "Love House"--a local shelter for abused and abandoned children.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Last Friday at Art Group I finished the basket of fruit picture.  I guess I'm satisfied with it. It was a "lesson" picture in a workbook.  I did change it just a bit, especially in that I gave it a background.  The original was also very light.

And just now I completed and hung up in the second bedroom the quilt I started the middle of August when DD#2 and the two wonderful grandkids left after a week's visit.

That was originally a paper piecing pattern for a placemat.  I drafted it up a whole lot and then took fabrics from my stash to create it.  The red is a bought fabric.  There just wasn't an appropriate fabric in the stash.  I'm calling it "Autumn" because of the colours and because the original pattern is called "Tessellated Leaves."  I had intended the background to gradually become darker from upper left to lower right, but one of the fabrics does not fall in the right order for that.  It was discovered too late to remedy, so I decided to just accept the way it is.

When I made it I had no idea where it would end up, but after buying the new (second-hand but in prime condition) sofa bed I realized that "Autumn" should grace the wall above the sofa.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.

I have another finished painting from last year that needs to be framed and hung in that room also.  I do love handmade things!