Friday, March 28, 2014

March Down wind NewFO

Well today is only the 12th. I live in Florida and the ides of March are in full swing. Got soaked to my skin yesterday on way to doctor. On the way home the sun was out and the temperature hit in the 70's. This morning freezing and windy!!! Trees are bending over like a very bad ballet. So what does this mean....I feel  physically battered, so I am  spending more time in the sewing room. My sanctuary, my sanity. Even if I just touch my fabric, it is medicinal and calming.

I joined the Doll Quilt Swap. My partner is Pat. I was excited to start on her quilt. I went through my parts department and found the perfect blocks to put together and make her quilt. Only took two weekends of sewing. I hope she likes it as much as I do. My husband loved it and was a little sad that I was not keeping it for myself.  I think it is more fun to give things away that you make with love.

Since I am having problems with arm, my hand quilting really has deteriorated over the years. So I do everything I can get away with by machine. A while back I bought a box of those black binder clips in multiple sizes  at Walmart. They were $8.00 for 200 pc. I used those to hold the binding in place while I machine sewed it down. Worked like a dream! No gluing or hand sewing. Woot!

I received my quilt from Pat, my partner in the Doll Quilt Swap. Love my quilt!
What a beauty.  Spring has sprung!
She also gifted me a eyeglass case and lanyard.
Thanks Pat!

Still working on Bento Blocks for my daughters quilt. They now measure 20 inches each! I altered the pattern for this quilt several times instead of doing the Rip-rip two step! As with many of my quilts, I get derailed on occasion. I have to make two alike quilts and the amount of un-sewing was overwhelming. It was improvise time. They look good this way too. Because the blocks keep growing in size I will probably have enough for a matching baby quilt or lap quilt. I can even use them on the back of the quilt. I purchased 100% cotton batting. There will be some shrinking but I love that look on a homemade quilts.

Amber's Blocks

My bed is queen size and she has a king. She wants two separate quilts. Each quilts is going to measure 80 x 100 inches. I will not be putting a border on it because they are so big. Hers will have teal binding and his will have red binding. I was going to finish hers first but I figure I may as well do both tops and whatever I have left over, I will use on the backs of the quilts. I have my son-laws blocks all made but not web together as yet. (Note: cards on wall are to teach my grandson the month and what day of the week it is. The other wall has sight words on it. He is 4 years old and reads over 200 words. He loves to be tested on his words! )

Also made a silly thing to hang a Nook in the back seat of my car for granddaughter. Since she is in a toddler seat it faces backwards and she gets fussy. There is a loop in the backseat to secure a car seat when it faces forward. I made this to go there. Her daddy beat me to the bunch and actually put a Velcro strip on the back of his Kindle and weaved the other piece through the loop. His was higher so she couldn't kick it.  He won! LOL

I also cut out another 100 spools for my Spooling around leaders and enders challenge from Bonnie Hunter. I have about 260 sew already as leaders and ends. That was a challenge 2 years ago. Hey, it still counts. I think she is doing Lozenges leaders and enders chalenge now.


I found a pile of not so attractive 2 1/2 in squares and am sewing them into 4 patches. Building my parts department for future quilts. Since following Bonnie  and watching her Quilt Cam I think differently when it comes to my scraps. I have made quite a few quilts recently and barely touched my stash. I may use these for Maverick Stars or her latest Wonky wishes but with the tiny 4 patch in the middle. I do have a bunch or 1 1/2 inch squares as well. Which I guess is really Maverick stars. LOL

I purchase a bunch of little bins at the Dollar tree to make it easier for me to trim the little bits that are left over into squares. Bins were 2 for a dollar. How can you go wrong.  Anything small goes in barrel dog biscuit container  for crumbs and I have sorted Zip lock bags for strip piecing  by color. If I hate the fabric I just cut it up. If its still ugly I cut it smaller. LOL!!
No regrets because I am using it up.

BTW -The Dora the Explorer fabric in the background is really a crib sheet I made yesterday that is waiting for me to put the elastic in. This Crib Sheet tutorial was great.

Happy Quilting

Aileen in Florida

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Heating Pad

Heating Pad Tutorial

Here my heating pad.  I was half way through when I decided to do a tutorial, so you will see some of the pictures showing a blue one. The blue one is for tech who gave me the idea.

Prewash fabric so it will not run or bleed color on your clothing when heated. Since it is going to be filled with rice, it cannot be washed.

I cooked raw rice in the oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes, stirred it and then cooked it for another 15 minutes. Let it cool and store in a container. I wanted to be sure that it was dry and had no bacteria etc.

Supplies - Prewashed 100% cotton fabric or muslin. Iron , no starch

     ~WOF x 15 1/2 inches or 2 pcs - 20 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches (can be done in two colors)

Cotton thread                          24 inch ruler                            Raw rice

Small funnel                            sewing machine                       regular sewing foot

zipper foot                               pencil or  marking pen             Freezer Paper 


Draw your pattern on a 22 x 17 piece of freezer paper without seam allowance. After drawing, trim down paper. Draw lines approximate 1 ½ inches apart. Draw notch marks in the center area of neck. This is your area for inserting the funnel in order to fill with rice.


Freezer Paper Pattern size I decided on was 20 ½ in x 14 in.  Round the top corners and in the neck area.  The measurements from top edge to neck area is 7 ¾ inches. Legs are 5 ½ inches wide.  Iron freezer paper to fabric.

Cut fabric 5/8 inch bigger than pattern all the way around.  

Sew all the way around outer edge of freezer paper using small stitch. I used 1.8 stitch on my Janome. I sewed it twice for extra strength.

Sew all the way around inner curve leaving the 1 1/2 inch gap open for filling in center of neck.  Tack it for strength.  Do not sew the legs shut. After sewing, trim the center area leaving 5/8 inch margin of fabric. 

Clip rounded corners, taking care not to get to close to seam line. Set the seam by giving it a quick press, and turn right side out.  Finger press seam as you are turning it inside out. This will make it easier to press flat for the drawing of the lines.  Press seam allowance under on bottom of legs and center of neck area. Iron the Freezer Paper back onto fabric about ¼ inch from the edge. Use your lines as your guide and draw dots on the fabric on each side to use as a guide to draw the straight lines and notched area.


Draw your lines with marking pencil, Sharpie, etc. Lines will not show after heating pad is sewn & filled.

Sew directly on the line. Remember to leave notch area open for access to fill with rice.


Using a funnel fill one side at a time with rice.  Shake several times after filling. Rice will settle a few times. Leave at least 1 ¼ to 1 1/2 inches empty on every row.  This step is very important for 2 reasons. First, you need the empty space in order to sew the seam shut, with the zipper foot, without running over the rice. Second, it makes it easier to fold heating pad for placing it in the microwave.

Sew slowly, using your zipper foot to sew seams shut. If you have the ability to move your needle position to the left, this will help you with sewing the seam shut more easily. You can use a pin to help keep the rice in place.


You have finished the first row! Continue sewing until you get to the leg area.  When doing the very last line in the neck area sew straight across from one end to the other, leaving the notch in the center open. Fill this last tube and sew shut. It should look something like this. 

When you start sewing the legs, leave 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch opening on the outer edge. Putting the opening on the outer edge makes it easier to fill with rice. Leave at least 1 ¼  inch space without rice.  Same as on the neck area. Use a pin to help keep the rice away from the needle and sew shut using the zipper foot.


Continue until you get to the last row. On this row you will have to sew the tube shut very close to the edge, leaving the 1 ¼ inch space open for filling. I had to hand sew the last 1 ½ inch by hand. Believe me I tried to do it on the machine because I am not a hand sewer. LOL.

You may ask why I just didn’t fill the tubes from the outer seam? Well on the prototype I did just that. The problem was that the heating pad was very bulky and also very heavy. I could not figure out how to put a binding around the edge to make it looked finished, unless I sewed it completely by hand. Because of the bulk of the rice, it was impossible to clear the needle shaft area without getting stuck. Since it is much bulkier it presents a problem when trying to fold it and place it in the microwave.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I will be making a washable sleeve to go on my heating pad out of terry cloth. Towels seem to hold the heat of the heating pad in longer.


Aileen in FL

Feb NewFO Heating up!

February is almost a memory. Sewing and creating will help keep the blues of winter away.
Click on link to see what everyone has been up to in February. Join the fun!

I continue to work on the Bento Blocks. Trimming and sewing. Need 48 blocks measuring 16 1/2 inches for two identical quilts.  I decided to sash them in black with teal cornerstones on one and red cornerstones on the other. His & Hers.

Lot of body pain this month. Loving my Shoulder Heating pad. What is that, you say? Well it is a nifty little heating pad that sits on your shoulders like a collar and does not roll off or bunch up in the ends.

I had an MRI and the tech came back to release me from the chamber of horror wearing it on her shoulders. She said she has had it for years. I looked it over. Asked if she new the maker but alas she stated she got it a flea market years ago. I kept thinking about it all the way home. I have a rectangular one and a long cylinder shape one that constantly falls off or needs adjusting. So I decided to try and make one. The prototype was really bad but I worked out most of the kinks.

For you and me who suffer from neck and shoulder pain and for those who just want to jump in bed with something warm around the shoulders here is the Heating Pad tutorial.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I will be making a washable sleeve to go on my heating pad out of terry cloth. Towels seem to hold the heat of the heating pad in longer.

I joined the Doll Swap Quilt Group. Can't wait to get started!

Aileen in FL