Sunday, December 30, 2018

Christmas Sewing

             Images For  Crochet Clip Art
I actually managed a few handmade items for Christmas gifts this year....

 For my son and daughter-in-law,  I made a set of His and Her reversible aprons.  For my son, I chose  fabric with a coffee print, and also a chef print.  Then I added a Civil War repro fabric for the pockets.

For my daughter-in-law I paired up a cute Alpaca print with a little bird print in the same colors:

I use the same pattern for both aprons, but I make the men's apron a bit shorter and the pockets are square:

For the ladies aprons, I use a circular pocket with a matching binding:

Here they are, side by side:

For my mom, I made a totebag for her walker/rollator. 

Seeing as her rollator goes with her where ever she travels, I thought  a fabric with luggage stickers seemed appropriate.

I added some machine embroidery to the top, the bottom and the handles to give it some punch:

Inside are lots of pockets, and the straps are attached with buttons.

Mom's ready to roll!

The last bit of Christmas sewing I did  was these 2 adult clothing protectors that our guild collected from its members to be donated to a nursing home.

Since my sewing room doubles as a gift wrapping center, there is a lot of straightening up to do now that Christmas is over.  Got to start the new year with a clean workspace!

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Mad for Plaid

A recent post by fellow blogger Jeanne featured a green plaid fabric she has had in her stash for a long time.  I immediately recognized it as a fabric I also had in my stash. I had used it in a small wallhanging back when I was a new quilter.  It made me realize that this quilt was a good candidate for a "BTB - Before the Blog" post.

When I was first learning to quilt, my instructor told us to avoid plaids and stripes because they could be hard to work with.  I now know that she meant that advice mostly for beginners, but  knowing my personality, I also knew that unless I could keep the plaids all nice and straight in my finished quilt that they were not likely to be used in my quilts.

So how did I end up with a collection of plaid fabrics? Well, every month my quilt guild has a fabric raffle with a theme.  Members contribute a fat quarter to fit the theme, then the fabrics are divided up into several  packets and given to a few lucky winners.  One month the theme was "plaids".

I had one stray plaid fabric in my stash that I put into the fabric raffle that month,  hoping it would find a good home.  Guess who won the raffle?  Me, of course!  Now my one plaid fabric had turned into a half dozen or so.

I figured that the universe was trying to tell me that it was time to work with plaids.  So I challenged myself to make a quilt using only plaid fabrics.  I figured that if I kept the pieces small enough, I could cut very carefully and keep them lined up.

Next thing I knew, I was actually seeking out plaid fabrics at my nearest fabric store and buying small pieces to add to my new plaid stash.

I cut little snips of the plaids I had and stapled them to the back of a greeting card that I could carry with me as I shopped:

I decided on a Sawtooth Star block pattern, then chose pairs of light and dark plaid fabrics to make this little quilt:

The finished Sawtooth blocks measure 5 1/2 inches, and I handquilted it.

I was lucky enough to find the perfect backing fabric, a multi-plaid star fabric in all the right colors:

The Flying Geese units of the Sawtooth stars were made using a Flip and Sew technique.  As part of my sewing challenge to myself, I thought I would try using the little trimmed corners to make an even smaller quilt.  This little gem, made from the clipped corners,  has 2 1/2 inch finished stars: 

The points don't match, but the plaids are straight!  Anyhow, this little experiment in making miniature size blocks was not very successful, and I haven't tried using the clipped corners from a Flip and Sew technique again.  My sewing accuracy has definitely improved since then too!

And speaking of clipped, here is a photo of the two quilts side by side.
I don't know how I chopped off the left part of the mini in this photo.  

The plaid wallhanging has been hanging in my living room for a number of years, and looking at it today I realize the the blue/black check fabric I used for the border has faded quite a bit. On the right is a bit of the same border fabric that I still have in my stash. Big difference!

Despite the fading that shows it years, it's still a lovely little quilt that I enjoy very much.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A little Christmas mystery

At the beginning of December there are many items on my Christmas to-do list, and starting a new quilt project was not one of them but...

Kathleen Tracy announced a blue and white winter themed mystery quilt with only 4 steps and I just had to jump in and participate.  Kathleen has a group on Facebook called "Small Quilt Lovers" and I have been a fan of her projects for a while.  Her instructions said this would be a simple project and could be done using just a couple of blue fat quarters and a cream colored contrast.

I could have made 8 little "X" squares in less than an hour using strip piecing techniques, but where is the fun in that?  No, instead I pulled out all my dark blue/indigo prints and chose 8 different ones.

Naturally, I had to seek out 8 different cream colored background fabrics too. Then sew them all up into 8 cute little "X" blocks, that will finish at 3 inches.

I have a striped blue and tan fabric that I'm hoping will be a nice border stripe, but not knowing what the rest of the quilt will look like, I won't know if I will end up using it.

Amazing what fun you can have when you are putting off the items on your to-do list.

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Weekend Sewing

Chilly and rainy weather this weekend made it a good weekend to stay in and sew.  I finished the next 2 blocks in my quilt  guild's Half Square triangle block of the month:

The pinwheel block on the left can only be made with 16 half square triangles, but it was tempting to make the one on the right by substituting Flying Geese like this:

However, I guess that would be contrary to the name of this quilt which is "Half Square Triangle Sampler", so I stuck with the program.  Here are the first 4 blocks:

Our guild is making Adult Clothing protectors as our charity project this Christmas. Basically they are adult bibs.   When my father developed Parkinson's disease, his shaky hands could make it hard to keep food from slipping off the fork or spoon and so I know firsthand how handy it was to have something to keep his clothes clean at mealtimes.  This weekend  I bought some fun, yet manly, fabrics and got them cut out and ready to sew into protectors.

Our guild is also having a fun challenge this year, which is to use a magazine photo as inspiration for a quilt.  I found a great page for my inspiration and spent the greater part of my sewing this weekend making the quilt top.   Can't share a photo of it  yet, but here are the fabrics I was working with:

Seems our quilt guild is keeping us busy with sewing this year!

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Wedding Hankie

Our son got married in October and we were delighted to welcome a new daughter-in-law to our family.  I wanted her to have a special wedding hankie to carry on the big day, so I set out to make one.

I bought a piece of lightweight white cotton fabric and cut it to 10 1/2 inches square.  Then I folded the raw edges under twice to give a nice neat edge.  I secured the edge using my sewing machine and a blanket stitch.

With a large needle and crochet cotton, I hand sewed a blanket stitch around the edge to give myself a base row for some crochet stitches.  I used the machine stitches as a guide to help me make evenly spaced hand stitches:

Then I switched to a crochet hook and did a few rows of stitches all the way around.

I boxed up the hanky and had it ready to give to the bride.  Two nights before the wedding, I learned that she did not have anything blue for her "Something Borrowed, Something Blue..etc.".   I told her I had something for her, and that I could make it blue.  I then gave her the handkerchief, and told her I would add some blue ribbon.

The following morning, I went to Michael's and bought some narrow blue ribbon,

and that evening, amidst all the other wedding preparations and after  the rehearsal dinner, I used a safety pin and wove the ribbon in and out of the spaces in the crochet border. 

On the morning of the wedding, I was very pleased to be able to give her her "something blue".

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Half the squares, twice the fun

My quilt guild's Block of the Month this year is called "Half Square Triangle Sampler" by Jeni Baker.  All the blocks are made up of only Half Square Triangles.

The pattern directions are for 12" blocks for a nice lap size, but I have decided to make my blocks in a 6" size instead.  I want to use a couple of charm packs that I purchased a while back at an overstock sale:

When I opened up the wrapping, I realized that it contained multiples of only 7 different fabrics.

I checked the stash to see if I had anything to add, and I came up with these additional fabrics:
(Hey Linda N!  Notice the blue/green ginko leaf fabric.  It lives!)

Each of the fabrics will be paired with white to make up the HST's.  I cut the white fabric into 5 inch squares and marked them with an "X" from corner to corner:

Then sewed 1/4 inch on each side of the line:

and cut apart into squares.

Each square generates 2 HST's:

So, instead of drawing a diagonal line on the back of 4 small white squares, I only had to draw 2 lines on the back of one larger square.  Works for me!

Here are my first two blocks of the Sampler:

My quilter friend, Rosemary, is also making the guild's BOM.  You can see her blocks here.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Even the leftovers have leftovers

I found myself left with a rainbow of colorful scraps after I finished my Dinosaur quilt.

I knew there had to be at least one more kid's quilt in that pile.  What's a gal to do but invite a few friends over and have a sew day?

I cut out as many 3 1/2 inch squares as I could from the pile:

Then I sewed them up into four-patch units and alternated those with plain white squares:

The last step was to find a border fabric. Turns out  I had a rocketship fabric that contained all the same bright colors:

A narrow inner border of blue and a wide border of the rockets resulted in this cute quilt top:

With 3 of us sharing just one ironing station, it turned out to be the one place where a bit of a traffic jam could take place.  (Not that we minded the chance to take a break and chat while we waited our turn..  It was more like we didn't want the person at the iron to feel rushed.)  Anything that could economize on the use of the iron was handy.  So, I came up with a plan to sew the two borders onto the quilt with only 3 trips to the ironing board instead of 4.

1:  Sew top and bottom inner borders to center of quilt.  At the same time,  take remaining 2 inner border pieces and sew them to two of the outer borders pieces.    Iron quilt and also the border pieces.

2:  Sew left and right borders to quilt.  Iron.

3:   Sew remaining outer borders to top and bottom.  Iron.

I had lots more colored squares and enough rocketship fabric to make a second quilt top.  I forgot to get a photo of the finished top before I turned them over to our Quilt for Kids coordinator, but here it is what it looked like in progress.

Oddly enough, my pile of rainbow scraps doesn't look much smaller, but that only means there are more quilts to come.

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