Sunday, June 20, 2021

A sweat shop

 We had the most AMAZING wrap-up session for Long Time Gone. I was truly impressed by the work of everyone! Color choices were a challenge, piecing tons of small pieces, not getting out to buy fabric, and a whole lot more. But the group came through with flying colors. I'll be sharing their wonderful projects later this week. And so many of the group got their tops together. 

I'm so grateful to all of them for signing up for that crazy journey. I don't think I would have made the quilt without them. It was truly a team effort. And thanks to everyone for your kind comments. I love teaching, and that just makes my heart sing!

I was in that Zoom class when my phone rang, and I ignored it because I don't think it was even beside me to cancel the call. It was my MIL. Could I please bring her more stuff to sew? Good grief - does she think I just have scads of stuff sitting here for her to work on? Well, I knew this would happen - she is like a dog with a bone. I was in the process of loading the third small quilt on the machine when I called her back. 

Community project quilt

So that quilt got quilted and trimmed, and now she has three more quilts to bind, as well as 30 more pillowcases to make and one more string quilt project to finish. 

And this is what I got back. 

Here are 30 FINISHED pillowcases. 

30 finished pillowcases

And she finished the string piecing on these blocks for the red quilt. She didn't quite get the concept because she trimmed the strips, so they were all the same width. Not necessary!!! It doesn't matter - there are now enough blocks to make one quilt. I need to trim these down with the rotary cutter, and then it'll be ready to sew together. 

The blocks for the red string pieced quilt

I dug out three more small quilts to quilt over the next couple of weeks. I have to get some customer quilts done, so I'll try to work those small ones in between. Then, I have to dig out more fabric for the next bunch of pillowcases. I still have FORTY to prep. And I have ONE more string quilt project that she can work on. 

Then I'll dig through the community project stuff to see what else I can unearth for her to work on. I also have a couple of clothing patterns that she could whip up in a few hours. I'll dig those out for her. Good grief -- between her and Diane, I feel like I'm running a sweatshop! But this is a situation where you do NOT look a gift horse in the mouth. If they want to sew and I have stuff they can work on - I'll take the time to do the prep work. I don't need to do much for Diane - I give her fabric and let her run with it. But MIL is NOT a quilter, so I have to have more stuff prepped for her. 

My scrap bin was overflowing, so that got made into a pet mat. Unfortunately, the serger is at MILs, so I can't close it up. Well, I have another serger, but I was too lazy to dig it out. 

The scrap bin overflows once again

OK -- so here's the start of our summer art project. Remember - this is supposed to be fun and totally a learning experience. We are NOT coming up with masterpieces, and we may not be thrilled with the results, and that's perfectly OK. There are so many ways to get started. 

Oh - what are we trying to make? Here's an example of what we're going to do. The key was my focus. 

The art project

Here are two links to show you how I made the piece above. 

I'll explain a bit more tomorrow. But we need to make a background, so we have something to play with. I sort my scraps in boxes by type/color. So you can make your background like this. It was made using light prints in mostly beiges. I just grabbed pieces and sewing them together. I'll go through the process of making that tomorrow - not enough time today. 

The background for an art piece

Or, you can do something simple like this for those who are not that "daring" and don't want to waste good fabric. This is a bit boring, but we all need to start somewhere. It's basically three strips of muslin. I will tell you that this is way harder to make look exciting than the example above. Let the fabric do the work for you. And I'm using scraps. Gosh - I wish we could meet in person because I have many scraps that I would love to share. 

A more basic background

I have a box of muslin scraps. 

The box of muslin scraps

And like all my other colors, it's FULL and needs to be dealt with. 

The box of scraps is full

I sorted through the top couple of layers - it's like an archeological dig. Some larger pieces got moved to the label box as I use muslin to make quilt labels. 

Sorting through the scraps

I found a large strip that I could use. This was from the days when I started to quilt, and my quilt teacher said it was OK to use muslin for quilt backs. NOT!!! I would never consider using muslin for a quilt back and haven't for years—it shows too many sins. 

Cutting the strips for the background

I cut three pieces approximately the same length—no need to use a ruler. 

Three strips for the background

But if you want to, use a ruler to trim up the sides. They don't have to be perfectly straight. There are NO quilt police. 

Trimming the sides of the strips

I make those backgrounds about 10" - 11" wide by about 13" - 14" long. Then we can embellish the heck out of them and trim them down. I'll share more ideas for these backgrounds tomorrow if you want to wait to see what I'm doing or come up with your own ideas. And don't be shy to share your photos with me. But I plan on making about 10 backgrounds, all in different ways and using different colors. Then we'll get to the embellishments, which can be decorative stitches on your machine, 3-D objects, machine embroidery, or whatever. We'll walk each other through that process. More on the backgrounds tomorrow. 

As I went for my afternoon walk, I spotted a drone flying over the major street near my house. Why? No idea, but the idea of that drone (with a camera) flying around is a bit disconcerting. There are spies everywhere!! A real estate agent was likely getting shots of a house, but it was directly over this major street. 

It's a plane, it's a bird - NO - it's a drone

I was trying to have some quiet time in the backyard. That wasn't possible. You see, I bought a new SQUEAKY ball for Murphy. Well, I can't throw straight, and I don't know how many times I've thrown the darn ball into the pond. Of course, Murphy is a quick learner (when she wants to be!), and she likes to throw the ball in the pond. It's hilarious!!

Ah - Mom - the ball is in the pond

She has also learned that she is NOT allowed in the pond and must wait for Mom to get the ball. Needless to say, I didn't get much reading done. I swear that dog is way needier than a child, but you can't help but laugh at her and her antics. She is brilliant, and she knows that!!

Lexi is not far behind. I went outside after dinner and was again trying to read my book. But she wouldn't leave me alone. What did she want? Oh yes - I need to get the brush and get all of her winter coat out. Those girls!!!! So needy, but so much fun!

I was madly finishing my homework for our UFO class this morning, and I emptied the glue stick that I was using for paper piecing. ACK! No worry - I have more glue sticks. But this is why you shouldn't buy a lot of glue sticks or only buy good-quality glue sticks. I think this one is toast. 

A wee bit dried up

But I had a couple more. I wonder how many other products I've purchased that should be tossed because they are dried up. It's a waste, but thankfully, it's just a glue stick. And I have to say that I find regular glue sticks work better than fabric glue sticks. Just saying............

A good glue stick

And on that note, I'm late!! The girls will be in here in a few minutes, demanding a walk, and I'm not ready. 

Have a super day!!!



  1. One way to keep glue sticks from drying out so fast is to place them in a zip lock bag. A freezer grade bag is even better than a regular sandwich or snack bag. That way you can at least have a backup for when you run out.

    1. Great idea Linda-- I shall do that. I think it also makes a different to buy GOOD QUALITY glue sticks to start with.

  2. I keep my glue sticks in the fridge. I have had them for over 4 years and they have not dried up

    1. Seriously??? Glue sticks in the fridge? How do people come up with these ideas? I must take stock of how many glue sticks I have and figure out where to store them. I might forget they are in the fridge!

  3. OH yes! Long Time Gone was sooooo much fun. I too would NEVER have considered this quilt without a 'gang' along the way as well as your guidance and tips n' tricks :-) Can't wait for Boho Heart.

    Happy summer 😄

    1. Thanks Elle -- I would never have considered making it without all of you as well!!!! Enjoy the summer!

  4. If you spritz them with water and let them soak that up for a bit as they stand upright, they usually come back to life. This is an old teacher trick, as sometimes the caps were not put back on tight by the kids. Revived alot of glue sticks in my teaching career!

    1. That's a great idea and I meant to try it with the dried out glue stick. I forgot and out it went. I'll keep that tip in mind for the next dried out one. Thanks for following!