Saturday, January 30, 2016

365 Block of the Day Challenge-January's blocks and DIY spool thread keeper

Those of us taking up the 365 Block of the Day Challenge are celebrating that we made it through the first month. 

Thirty one 3 1/2" blocks made.  Then we realized that these blocks are enough to make one side of an inside border.  There are 112 blocks in the first dark border.  We have a ways to go with only 31 made so far.

With the success of the DIY bobbin holders, I decided to take the idea one step further.  How about keeping thread on all the spools in the various boxes of thread?  I have thread for my long arm, for my domestic machine, for my chain stitch machine as well as my embroidery machine.  Then there is the speciality thread:  nylon, metallic, glow in the dark and the like.

Off to Staples to buy plastic binding spines of a larger size.  Some of the smaller spools will fit into the 1/2" spines that I used for my bobbins.  The mid size and larger spools fit quite nicely in the 1" spines.  These are easy to cut with scissors.  Leave one ring extra to assist with holding the spine when removing the spools.

Hope I can make putting the spools back into the holders a habit.  Because there is no mess of threads in the boxes now!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

DIY Bobbin Holder

Again....that darn Pinterest.  There was a photo of a DIY bobbin holder.  Plumbing tubing was cut into 1/4" circles, the circle had a slice in it to open it up and there you have in expensive bobbin holder.  No threads spooling off and getting into a tangle.

So off to the hardware store.  Sorry, we don't have that size (3/4" outside - 1/2" inside measurement).  But the store across the city has it in stock.  Long story short...we couldn't find the right size anywhere.  Some things were meant to be.

A quick search on the net showed a few other DIY bobbin holders and I quickly found one that was in expensive, easy and the right one for my needs.  And I can cut to the number I want.  With scissors.  Less chance of cutting myself.   You guessed it...plastic book coil binding.  The kind you sometimes find on cookbooks (so they tell me...I don't cook).

DH picked up a box of 25 for $10 yesterday at Staples.  These are the 1/2" size.  When I came home he had 4 different sizes of bobbins fitted in the coil.  Plastic and metal bobbins.  The only round bobbins that didn't fit were the ones for my Featherweight machine.  And before anyone questions the "round bobbins? - aren't all bobbins round?", no they are not.  Several of my vintage machines use shuttles.  The bobbins that go into the shuttles are referred to as either pin, bar, or long bobbins. 

I'm going to be looking for larger sized binding spines to go over my spools of thread.  The ones not on the spool rack are stored in a plastic box.  And they are a thready mess.  Actually, now that I think about it, I'll probably use the coils to hold the thread on the spools that live on the rack as well.  There is a mess of threads hanging from that as well.  Every time I remove a spool to use it, I have to first untangle the Staples.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A quick DIY tablet stand

I'm beginning to dislike Pinterest.  Every day I find projects to add to my "to do" list. 

One of the most recent finds was a tablet stand.  It would hold a tablet when sitting up in bed, or laying down watching videos.  Very cute, but a lot of pieces.  And you had to encase the little foam balls used in bean bag chairs.  Then add a zipper to the stand so the "pillow" that holds the bean bag balls inside. 

I had a dentist appointment today and because of the icy walk I left early to get to the mall where my dentists office is.  There was time to hit the dollar stores before my appointment.  One of the shops had chair pads for $3.  These pads had a non slip backing.  Cool.

I picked up two of them.  A stand for myself and one for DS.  A few minutes in the sewing room and I had one stand made.  Three buttons keep the top half of the chair pad together.  Non slip side facing outwards. 

The next one I make I won't bother with sewing buttons to hold the pad in half.  I'll most likely use yarn or decorative string and "tie" the top chair pad in half.  It will be even easier than sewing buttons.

Hope the following photos help to explain....

Front and back of chair pads:

Now a tablet stand folded in half - only front and back top are held together:

Tablet stand with bottom of chair pad open to hold top half upright:
Stand holding an 8" tablet:

 This stand holds my tablet on my lap to read or play games.  Or on the bed to watch videos.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A new quilt top!

Just before Christmas a request for pattern testers went out and I was one of many who said "Pick me".  And I was one of the testers who got the opportunity to test the pattern for accuracy.

It's been a while since I worked on a top that just came together painlessly.  Instructions were easy to follow.  The measurements were accurate.  This made the process so pleasurable.  So much that I made three more.

But I really don't need four table toppers.  Or baby quilts.  So I put the four quilts together.  And here it is - Chain of Stars:

Now to get the top quilted and put the binding on.

The designer is Eileen Hohelsel of PineRose Designs

Her blog can be viewed at:

Contact Eileen at:

Monday, January 11, 2016

In the sewing room

Who knew that participating in the 365 Block of the Day Challenge would keep me in the sewing room?  And it's the same for a lot of other quilters.

We receive the instructions for the day's block first thing in the morning.  Then we head into the sewing room for 15 to 20 minutes to get the day's block made.

Because the blocks are so small (3 1/2") we have to pay close attention to accuracy in cutting, sewing and pressing.  And it's showing in the rest of our quilting.  A fun way to improve our quilting skills.

We kinda knew that would happen.  But the surprise was how much we would get done on other projects.  It's the routine of going into the sewing room at a specific time.  And the feeling of accomplishment when the block is finished.  Then we see something else and it gets done as well. 

So far this year (and it's only 11 days into January), I've tested a pattern for an on line friend who is a designer.  The result is a top that measures 76" x 76".

I've quilted on a practice quilt (and ripped out all the quilting - it was terrible).  Then I worked on to some tops that I can show here.
This is to be the centre for a quilt that will take a year to make.  One of my best friends wanted to make the same pattern.  So we got together and started working on the quilts at the same time. 

For my little quilt a border a month will be added to it until the top is queen size.  I'll be asking the ladies on the hearts2hands group to make suggestions on what pieced border (and colours) that should go next.  The hard part will be waiting a month before adding the next border.

My friend's  quilt will have larger blocks.  Once she adds the one or two borders she plans on making she will have a queen size quilt.  A brave lady...she's fussy cutting her focus fabric.
The next top is how I started the New Year.  First I made the block required for the 365 BOD (Block of the Day).  And the bonus block that was sent out.  Then I and another member of the hearts2hands worked on this mystery quilt:

My family didn't see much of me on New Year's Day!

The ladies on the hearts2hands group are hoping for a productive year in their quilt studios.  And there's been a lot of suggestions.

One member explained how she gets so much done in her sewing room.  First there is JOT - Just One Thing.  Go into the sewing room and do one thing.  Bet you can't stop at that.  Getting that one thing done gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

Then there is her Fab 4.  She has four projects in various stages close by her sewing machine.  After she finishes her JOT she looks over to the Fab 4 and works on one of these projects. 

I'm not that organized.  But I have decided on a goal for 2016.  Again, on the hearts2hands group we have listed our quilting goals for the year.  My goal is to always use enders and leaders when sewing.  I've been meaning to do this for years.  There are so many scrappy quilts that can be made this way.

I finally set up two bins by the sewing machine.  One with light squares of fabric and the other dark.  As I begin sewing a seam and when I end it, I grab two squares and sew them together.  Less thread wastage and I'm using up my scraps to make a scrappy quilt.  Now to make it a habit.

Wishing all quilters every where a productive 2016!