Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Let’s Talk Turkey #2

I’m in trouble now!

Here’s what happened.

It’s been several years since I completed this turkey wall hanging:

As I searched Pinterest and Googled, using all manner of search terms (“incognito turkey with sunglasses,” “turkey with sunglasses,” “Thanksgiving quilts,” etc.) I found all sorts of fabulous turkey patterns and projects that I now desperately want to make. Who knew I had such an affinity for funky-looking turkeys? What I didn’t find was that lovely lady in the above project. Therefore…no link. Sorry. I also want to apologize to the original artist for not being able to give credit where credit is due.

What I can tell you is that years ago I found a photo of this gal somewhere online. Hubby worked some magic with the printer to get her the size I wanted and we printed her off. I then made patterns for each different part, adding a bit of extra around sections that would be underneath so I didn’t have any gaps. (Here’s where you can learn from my mistakes. See that dark splotch on her yellow belly? That’s the extra bit I added to the black feather fabric. Obviously, I added too much. I didn’t realize my error until I ironed everything down, at which point it was too late to correct the problem.) After ironing all the bits in place (using Wonder-Under), I satin stitched around the edges and added a couple beaded necklaces.

Does she remind anyone else of Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials?

Now…I need to scrub those funky turkey images from my brain and get back to the baby quilt I’m making for a gift that needs to be finished ASAP. Maybe I’ll revisit those turkeys another day.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Let’s Talk Turkey #1

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. It seems like the poor turkey and pilgrim decorations get barely any time on the shelves and walls between the jack ‘o lanterns, ghosts, and witches of Halloween and the Santas, reindeer, snowmen, and nativity scenes of Christmas.

(I actually keep my nativity scenes out all year. And my snowmen. In northern Michigan, we sometimes have snow from October to May so snowmen seem appropriate decor all year long. This year has been an aberration, though. We’ve had a few dustings of snow, with about an inch one day, but none of the white stuff has stuck around. The temperature has been bouncing around between freezing and the low sixties, but there’s talk of a whole heap of snow on the horizon. I have a feeling we’ll soon be trading out our hiking shoes for our snowshoes. I must admit, though it’s a hassle to shovel around, I much prefer snow to all the rain we’ve had this season.)

Today I thought I’d share one of my turkey wall hangings. I’ve shared in the past how coloring pages make excellent patterns for embroidery. They also make good patterns for applique projects. I found a turkey coloring page for kids here: https://www.iamstyle-ish.com/2021/09/free-color-by-number-thanksgiving-printables.html and used it as my pattern for cutting out applique pieces. I wonder-undered the pieces onto my base fabric, satin stitched around all the edges, added a couple borders, and voilá.

I made it sound like the project was finished so quickly, didn’t I? It wasn’t. Getting all the pieces lined up just right before ironing everything in place and satin stitching around the fabric edges took a lot of time. I think he turned out pretty cute, though.

(I’ve gotten a lot of use out of the two brown border fabrics. I purchased a grab bag of brown fabric scraps during a Shop Hop and was thrilled to find a lot of larger pieces inside. Actually, that cream I used for the background was also in the bag.)

knitting · Uncategorized

A Pretty Impractical Afghan

Many, many years ago when our kids were little (actually before our youngest was even born) I attended a knitting group with my mom. The local hospital hosted the group, titling the class “Knitting for Stress Therapy.” I’m not sure how many people actually attended for stress relief or whether most just saw it as an opportunity to hang out with people who enjoyed doing the same things and as a chance to maybe gossip just a bit. I was, at the young, young age of 23, the youngest person in the group. The oldest attendee, I believe, was a nun who was probably in her 80s or 90s.

The class was hosted by a woman I always refer to as the Knitting Lady as she was probably responsible for teaching at least half the knitters in our town how to knit. She had a shop outside of town where she hosted additional classes on occasion and sold all sorts of supplies, patterns, and gorgeous yarn. She was our go-to person for knitting advice and was always more than willing to rip, rip, rip out entire sections of mistakes. She was also my go-to person whenever I needed a dropped stitch fixed. Sadly, she passed away several years ago. I’ve since had to learn how to do all that ripping and dropped stitch fixing on my own.

As a fun idea for a class one year, the Knitting Lady decided to do a Block of the Month project which would yield an afghan by the end of the year. Each month we would purchase a new pattern and yarn. I think the entire afghan ended up costing well over $100. (Probably $150, which makes me shudder!) Crazy, I know. (Now I buy a couple skeins of that One Pound yarn…whatever brand that is… when it’s on sale and can have an afghan for about 1/4 the price or less.) What was even worse than the $100+ price tag was that the yarn used by the class for the project was gorgeous, hand-dyed 100% WOOL!

Now, do you know what happens to 100% wool if you toss it in a washing machine?

It felts.

Which is probably not a good thing. Because afghans that are actually used for…I don’t know, say, snuggling under to stay warm…rather than just as a chair decoration might actually need to be washed once in a while.

Other than the initial very delicate hand washing (which I did prior to blocking each block), this afghan has never been washed. It has never been used. It hangs out on the back of a rocking chair in our bedroom just looking cute.

I have to say that I love the colors I picked. The Knitting Lady seemed very skeptical when I chose the orange yarn, but as there was some orange in the variegated yarn, I knew the variegated would tie all the solid colors together.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

A Crossed Canoe Quilt

Winter is rapidly approaching in northern Michigan. We saw our first snowflakes tonight, our headlamps illuminating them as we walked the dogs in the dark after supper. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a fan of these “shorter” days. I don’t like how it looks like the middle of the night at 7 in the morning or how by 6-something-o’clock in the evening it’s pitch black outside. The dogs don’t seem to mind these “night hikes” through the neighborhood, but I do feel just a tiny bit of apprehension over whether or not we’re going to encounter some sort of scary night creature. Like a bear…as happened to one of our daughters during a run at dusk. Or a bobcat…as happened once before to us, which was quite an ordeal involving a can of bear spray that was discharged into a human’s eyes.

But that’s a story for another time!

This cooler weather has me reaching for afghans and quilts every evening and being thankful for my snuggly “little” dog who likes to curl up next to me on the couch and share his body heat.

This past Sunday, when our outdoor work session was put on hold due to endless drizzle, I spent several hours in the sewing room working on one of my unfinished quilts while Hubby caught up on work and we finished an audiobook we’d been listening to. (The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley) I can’t say that I wasn’t thrilled to be able to put off the hours and hours of raking that still need to be done, but I would love to be able to get the leaves taken care of before the temps drop so low that I freeze my fanny while raking. (Raking/leaf blowing is probably my absolute least favorite chore. I’m not kidding when I say it’s a ten-hour job. I enjoy the first hour. After that…it’s just drudgery! But it must be done because wet, moldy leaves are an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare in the spring.)

The quilt, with two deviations from the pattern (I chose to leave off the extra border and use fewer blocks), comes from the October 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting. It is called Pieceful Waters and uses paper-piecing to make Crossed Canoe blocks. My hope is to have it finished completely by the end of the month. For some strange reason, I seem to stall a bit when it comes to sewing backings and doing the quilting and binding. So…we’ll see. I’ve set a goal to finish one unfinished project this month, so this may be the one.

Several of the fabrics in this quilt were used in previous projects. There’s even some pink that I used in my second quilt–a baby quilt for our first baby over 20 years ago! The Wizard of Oz green in the second pic was used in a bed quilt I made for one of our daughters when she was a toddler. Our other daughter’s quilt had a blue Wizard of Oz fabric. I think that block is my absolute favorite in this quilt. The floral in the border triangles can be found in several other quilts in our home. I must have bought a ton of that! I’ve finally whittled my supply of that one down to just a few large rectangular scraps.

I’m pretty pleased to note that I didn’t purchase any new fabric for this quilt. Instead, I pulled everything from my stash!

knitting · Uncategorized

Half of a Pair

Finally. I have a sock. My oldest daughter’s response when I sent her a photo of the completed sock was, and I quote, “Ayyy. Only took years.” I have no idea what “ayyy” means. I’m sure it’s some sort of exclamation indicating astonishment at my slowness. But let’s talk about the “years” that it took, shall we?

Several years ago…less than ten, or maybe more??…I took oldest daughter to the yarn shop to purchase sock yarn. I bought some for myself, which I knitted up into a pair of socks in approximately 5 years, and she chose this blue/tan combo.

She began knitting her socks, completed approximately one inch of ribbing, and declared that she was ready to do the heel as she didn’t want high socks. At this point in time I wasn’t even close to ready to start on my heel, and, as we needed to make a trip to see the “knitting lady” for a bit of show-and-tell on how to actually do a heel, my daughter laid her pair aside.

By the time I was ready to learn how to do the heel, our “knitting lady” had passed away and my daughter had lost all interest in finishing her socks. (She had moved on to sweaters and afghans by this point and thought that knitted socks weren’t worth the effort.) Without our “knitting lady,” I had to watch YouTube videos on how to form the heel since our printed directions were slightly lacking in photos and instructions. Finally, I completed my pair.

As I’m not really a blue and brown kind of gal, oldest’s partially completed sock lurked in my knitting basket for several years before I finally picked it up to work on it. As I wasn’t certain exactly where she was in the pattern and since we knit at a different tightness, I picked out her work and began again. After several months, which involved much picking out due to misreading directions, I finally completed this sock. It’s mate is in the early stages and may be completed within this decade. I can’t make any guarantees.

I was recently discussing the cost of homemade socks with my husband. I believe one skein of this particular sock yarn was somewhere between $9 and $18. It’s been so long ago that I can’t remember what I paid. When you add all of the hours spent working on a pair of socks to the cost of materials you end up with a pair of socks that would be too ridiculously expensive to sell.

So why spend all the money and time making them?

They are super comfortable. Many of the socks I buy from the store are too long for my feet. I have some toasty wool socks whose heel lands significantly north of my Achilles tendon when pulled on all the way. They bulge out from under the hem of my pants like a fluffy tumor. Homemade socks can be made to the exact size of your foot. That said, I don’t think I’ll be making all of my socks in the future. At the rate I knit, I’d be barefoot most of the time. I’d also be broke.

knitting · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

The Unfinished Object List

As I was sifting through a box this week, I happened upon an old Unfinished Object list. While I was happy to note that I had completed at least one project on the list in the past year, I still had several more to finish and had even added new projects over the past year. So I sat down to make a revised list.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Quilting projects

  • X-scrap quilt
  • Pink and green paper-piecing quilt
  • Tiny pineapples quilt
  • 4-patch squares scrap quilt
  • Cabin Quilt
  • Striped squares scrap quilt
  • Lemon Pepper quilt (Just needs to be quilted.)

Other Craft Projects

  • Knitted socks
  • Cross-stitch project

I suppose my list is not as lengthy as other’s lists, but it is still a bit daunting.

Here’s a peek at each of them:

Despite the urge to start another new something, I chose to work on three of these projects this week. I worked on the pink and green paper piecing quilt, which will probably end up hanging on a wall in our home. Or it may be a lap quilt. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll do with it. I also worked on the 4-patch scrap quilt. I intended to continue working on the pink and green paper piecing when I wandered into the office/sewing room later in the week. However, I arrived just as my husband, who often works from home, started listening to an audiobook. Normally, I’m not a fan of action books (in this case, Lee Child’s The Sentinel), but I somehow got hooked in the first few minutes. Since I was unable to hear it playing over the sound of the sewing machine, I chose to work on my cross-stitch project. Abandoning all of my other work, I arrived in the sewing room/office the next day to continue listening and cross-stitching. This could quickly become a dangerous habit!

What does your Unfinished Object list look like?

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Scrap Quilt #3

For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my fabric scraps. I would assume, after finishing three lap quilts, that I’ve succeeded. So why does it seem as if there’s still just as many bits and pieces left to use up?

Here is my most recently completed scrappy lap quilt. I finished this one up earlier this week.

I used up lots of odd blocks and extra pieces cut for other quilts. (See those triangle squares with the autumn colors matched with the light tan? Those were extras left over from the first quilt I ever finished.) I used up many small scraps by sewing them together, cutting a straight edge, then adding a new piece or section to that straight edge. For this quilt I was even able to use up some binding I had leftover from another project. The backing, which I showed in a previous post, consisted of brightly-colored rectangles. (These were fabrics I wasn’t overly fond of, so weeding them out in a useful way was great!) It may be a bit eye-crossing to look at, but it is still nice and toasty and was so enjoyable, though time consuming, to make. (The blocks for this quilt were 19″ by 15.” I did all-over meandering quilting since the top wasn’t busy enough!)

Here are all three I’ve completed within the last year or so. Two are very similar. the third one (the one on the left) was made by sewing strips of fabric to paper triangles. I absolutely adore that one, but that was a whole lot of triangles!!

After I complete a few of the projects on my lengthy list of Uncompleted Objects, my next scrap project will involve figuring out what to do with all of the bits left over from my I Spy quilt fabrics. (I have made numerous I Spy quilts. Nearly every single baby I’m even somewhat related to has received one. Which reminds me, I have a new niece coming soon, so I better add another I Spy quilt to my list of projects to complete.) I have an entire box of, what we’ll call, “image/picture/kids” fabrics that look like my grandmother’s newspapers after she got done cutting articles out to put in her genealogy scrapbooks. I’m thinking that I might try to play with the colors a bit for that project…maybe do something with an ombre effect.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

“It Looks Like Clown Pants”

I do this thing every month where I write out my goals for the month in my bullet journal. Sometimes I accomplish everything on the list. Sometimes I accomplish nothing on the list. Sometimes I accomplish one or two things. It all depends on how the month goes.

Last week, while reviewing my goals for September, I was reminded of how I wanted to get a quilt ready to quilt. I had two quilt tops lurking in the sewing room and decided I needed to do something with one of them.

I don’t know about any one else, but I do not like putting backing together for a quilt. I also don’t like pinning the backing, batting, and top together. But I suffered through the process, kneeling on the living room floor, with HGTV playing on the television as a distraction from the tediousness of pinning.

For this scrap quilt I chose large blocks of bright fabrics for the backing. As I looked at it laying over the ironing board, I was reminded of clown pants. I took a photo and sent it to my mom telling her what I thought. She said she liked the big blocks of bright color, so I decided they would stay.

Every couple days I’ll spend an hour or so doing random all-over quilting. I know some people aren’t fond of random all-over quilting. I love it. I don’t need a fancy machine to do it, and there are minimal threads to tie when completed. I’m probably around 3/4 finished and am pleased that I’ve done more than just get that quilt ready to quilt.

Which maybe makes up for the fact that I’m not going to complete those other goals of finishing a new quilt top or finishing one knitted sock.

knitting · Uncategorized

Knitted Socks and Pureed Peaches

This past weekend was all about peaches. (And hiking and errands and church and movies and knitting. But mostly peaches.) Our peach tree is a sad little thing. It’s lopsided and leans heavily toward the ground once the peaches begin growing. Once upon a time we had its trunk tied to a large aspen in our yard in the hopes that it would eventually end up standing straight. We’ve since given up all hope of this happening.

Our peaches are also sad little things. They have dark specks where bugs have attacked them, and they are generally no larger than ping pong balls. There may have been two in the bunch this year that were a decent size.

While they are sad looking and tiny, there are many of them. This year we picked a grocery sack full. After at least 4 hours of peeling and cutting while listening the Paper Ghosts podcast over two days (resulting in a horribly cramped hand), we ended up with 28 bags of puree to freeze and add to smoothies. While I know that all those little plastic baggies aren’t good for the environment, it was the best option for us this year. In years past I have frozen the puree in ice cube trays and stored the cubes in a large plastic bag. The trouble with ice cubes is that they take up a lot of room. These bags flattened out nicely and fit well in our overstuffed freezer. Last night we enjoyed our first peach smoothie, and it was tasty!

This weekend I also decided to make some progress on my knitted socks. I enjoy the sock knitting process once I get the needles all sorted out after the first few rounds. But when I neared the heel I knew I would need a lot of concentration and a few YouTube videos to get past it as I’d only knit one other pair of socks before and had forgotten how to do the heel. So I set the project aside until I felt ready to tackle that part.

I’m not sure why working on the heel seems so scary and daunting. It’s not really that difficult. After a few tries and bit of picking stitches out when I struggled picking stitches up on the heel, I managed to produce something that looked pretty good.

Below is a photo of the sock in process and one sock of the pair I made a few years ago. I really like the striping yarn. I’m using a five needle sock pattern that I got for free from the woman who taught me how to knit. I believe she may have created the pattern herself as there is no information on it that indicates it was created by someone else. Whenever I get to a tricky spot in a knitting pattern, I always think about this woman and wish she was still around to help me out of a bind. Sadly, she passed away several years ago.

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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Halloween

Just kidding about the pumpkin spice. I am not a pumpkin spice kind of gal. At least not when it comes to beverages. I like my pumpkin spice where it belongs…in pie. And, even then, it’s not my favorite thing. I’m a bigger fan of pecan pie or blueberry pie or apple pie with a thick, crunchy coating or lemon meringue or even this strange concoction of a pie made with buttermilk and not much else. Pumpkin pie is WAY down on the list of favorite pies.

However, despite my lack of fondness for pumpkin spice, I love love love to decorate for fall and Halloween. I like the oranges and reds and yellows and blacks. I like the pumpkins and jack o lanterns (though I don’t actually enjoy doing the carving myself as the pumpkin guts give me itchy arms). I like the cute witches and scary, warty witches and skeletons and bats.

So in honor of the upcoming fall season and upcoming holiday which I have ALREADY decorated for, I wanted to share with you a small wall-hanging I finished several years ago. I believe the pattern was from an edition of Quiltmaker magazine that my mom had given me a subscription to for either my birthday or for Christmas for several years.

The pumpkin and spider web design was transferred onto a scrap piece of muslin. My aging brain can’t remember if I used colored pencils or crayons to color in the design. (I believe I used colored pencils. Then I did the majority of the embroidery with black cross-stitch floss, using a strand of sparkly silver with the black for the spider webs. I added a black border and a green border and (after quilting in those seams) covered my sewing seams with orange and silver ribbon.

This was a project that I thoroughly enjoyed completing.

Hint: Basic children’s coloring pages make great embroidery patterns if you can’t find an embroidery pattern that you like.