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.)

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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 · 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?

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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.

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Water Lily Quilt

Water Lily Quilt Pattern

Several years ago our oldest daughter received a bedroom set from her grandparents. This bedroom set has been in the family for many years. As the only grandchild who seems to be interested in old things and antiques, she seemed like the perfect person for this set to be passed down to.

I can’t recall who the original owner of the set was. I only know that for a period of time in my childhood, before I, strangely, wished to downsize to a twin bed so I could have more space in my room, I had this furniture in my room. I especially loved the bed as it had a footboard that made a daring balance beam. Yes, I walked along that narrow footboard whilst pretending to be an Olympic gymnast, keeping my hands on the popcorn ceiling for balance. Don’t tell my mom. What she doesn’t know now can’t get me in trouble back when I was a kid!

I had made lovely nearly matching quilts for our oldest and her sister, which I will share at a later time, when they were younger. With a larger bed, and being a bit past the age that the original quilt pattern was intended for, she needed a new quilt. I let her pour over the pages of my quilt books and she selected the Water Lily pattern from Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono Designs. She wanted purple fabrics for her quilt just as in the book, so I chose a pretty assortment from Joann’s.

The nice thing about this quilt pattern was that the quilt was made of just two different blocks. One was a bit more complicated. The other was rather “plain.” I wasn’t sure about the “plain” block, but I ended up liking how it all came together.

Our oldest daughter has since moved away from home, moving over 2 hours south of us to start her “Big Girl Job.” She’s still a lover of antiques and everything old. Her room here is still full of antique store “finds.” The quilt is still on her bed here at home. One day she’ll take that bed and the quilt and the rest of the bedroom set. Maybe she’ll even take all those stuffed animals she’s held onto for 22 years. Maybe she’ll take all of those antique store “finds.” Though, if she locates the antique shops in her new town and fills her new place with “new” stuff, we may be providing storage for antique fans and glassware forever.

(She came for a visit recently and brought a backpack to carry a few of her things home with her. A backpack. Is there an eye roll emoji I can add here? I offered her a box. Or two. She declined. She said she’ll fully move out when she has a house. Who knows when that will be, but she’s got her eye on her goals, so I know she’ll make it happen.)

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Empty Nest Cleaning Frenzy

I went into a cleaning frenzy over the weekend. After moving our younger two to college (the middle for her junior year, the younger for his freshman year) and getting all of the “stuff that needed to go with them” cleared out of the piano room, I decided some major cleaning in order now that it was only going to be my husband and me rambling around the house for the majority of the next nine months.

I started with the kids’ rooms then moved on to the bathrooms, which got pretty much a top to bottom, every cabinet and surface lysol-ing. Then I worked my way through the downstairs and the basement, dusting and sweeping and mopping until I was exhausted. (It didn’t help that we’d had two nights of horribly interrupted sleep. Night one involved major storms that seemed to last ALL NIGHT LONG. Our “little” dog, Neville, hates storms. Thunder, gunfire, smoke alarms…they all make him shake. Just the sound of rain makes him nervous. He spent the night army crawling around under our bed, shoving things out of his way and out from under the bed as he went which I would then trip over in the dark. His stress made our other dog, Luna, stressed. So stressed that she decided to snooze in the closet. Night two involved a misbehaving smoke alarm that went off twice for no reason and a stressed Neville, as not only was the smoke alarm terrifying but so was the new storm brewing outside.)

Anyway…

After hearing me complain several times about how I had to kneel on the floor to use my large rotary cutting mat, my husband decided that there had to be a way to get the mat off the floor in our shared office/sewing room. So we tackled that room on Saturday night.

Let’s rewind for a moment to see how I came to be kneeling on the floor to use my cutting mat. Twenty years ago when we built our house we planned for the “den,” as it was labeled on the print we used, to be my sewing room. I was sooooo excited to have a room just for this purpose. For several years I enjoyed having my own craft room. Occasionally I would move my sewing table elsewhere in the house when it became more convenient to do so. For a short while it was in our bedroom, then the living room, while the craft room became a play room so the kids could be nearby when I cooked meals.

Around 14 years ago my husband took a job with (what we referred to after a very short time as) the Evil Empire and the Boss Who Shall Not Be Named. Let’s just say it was a rough four years. The only good to come of those four years was that my husband could now work mostly from home.

There was only one problem.

He needed office space.

So I had to share my sewing room.

We’ve been sharing ever since. (And, thankfully, he no longer works for the EE and the BWSNBN.)

Once we started sharing, I lost one large table and about a third of the room. As I didn’t want to have to travel back and forth between, say, the kitchen table and the sewing table, I chose to suffer through long bouts of kneeling on the floor whenever I needed to cut fabric.

But, no more!

With our new arrangement, I’m able to keep my largest mat on my sewing table AND also have my two smaller mats on a desk. I’m pretty excited to get back to my projects now that I have this new arrangement. My husband is excited that I can no longer talk about taking over our oldest daughter’s bedroom which would have us on totally opposite ends of the house. Of course, we will both probably be in a nursing home before she finally moves her last possessions out of her room, so the likelihood of me moving up there anytime soon was pretty slim anyway.

Here’s the progress I made on the Pieceful Retreat quilt last week. I really like this one!

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UFO #43 & WIP #20

Unfinished Objects. Works in Progress. I think I may have even heard them referred to as PIGs once at a quilt ruler class, though I can’t remember now what those letters stood for. Perhaps “Project In…” and something starting with ‘G.’ There was some story that went along with it about pigs in a barn or something like that. I’m in my early 40s and I think my memory is already going.

I know some people keep track of how many projects they’ve got in the works at any given time. They may even have them divided into their own little container with all the pieces carefully labeled. I am not one of those people. I’d take a picture of my sewing room right now, but that would be embarrassing. I have projects piled on my sewing table, stuff stacked in the closet, fabric on the floor that I was sorting through to start yet another project this week, laundry that needs ironing hanging off the back of my chair. It’s a disaster. I should also add that there are carefully cut fabric bits on the ironing board, which means my husband’s church attire won’t be meeting up with the iron any time soon.

I was thrilled to have several hours to spend in the sewing room on Tuesday while I enjoyed one of those incredibly rare moments when everyone was out of the house. (I homeschooled my kids and my husband works mostly from home, so days alone happen once in a blue moon. Our youngest will start college this fall, middle will move back to college for her junior year, and our eldest is living on her own in another part of the state, so those blue moon type days might roll around a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.)

I sewed up some bits for scrap quilt #4 (or 5–I’ve lost count), then decided it was time to tackle a project I intended to do eons ago. My mom and I were supposed to take a class nearly 20 years ago to make a bed quilt. We bought the pattern, chose our fabric, but never took the class. (Which was fine with me. I’m not a class kind of person. I like to sew in solitude and figure things out on my own.)

The pattern is Pieceful Retreat by Laura Boehnke for Thread Head Designs. It makes a 99″x99″ bed quilt. I once said I would never make another quilt that large as it is difficult to quilt them on my machine (and I don’t send my quilts out for quilting), but here I am making another one.

Thus far I have nearly completed the cabin section. Only 95% of the quilt to go!

I’ve also made some progress on another scrap quilt. As I’ve mostly run out of cut strips to use for this one, I’m taking some time off from working on it until I get some more strips cut. I really like how it’s turning out, but I think I need to add to the width a bit. I thought 8 blocks wide would be sufficient, but it’s a bit smaller than I intended. I just love all the bright colors!

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Communing with Nature

When there’s so much nature to see, who has time for quilting?

Our middle daughter recently purchased an inflatable paddle board. This inspired my husband and me to purchase an inflatable kayak so we could spend time on the water with her. Plus, as an added bonus, we’d have something economical to use to float down the Manistee River. (Or any other river.) Renting a canoe, raft, or kayaks from the local liveries can be costly, especially if you want to go often. In the past we’ve only taken maybe four or five trips over a bit more than 20 years. Since purchasing our kayak just a few weeks ago, we’ve been on the Manistee River twice and one of our local lakes once.

Our first trip on the river lasted about an hour. Our ending point was a sketchy looking “dock” at a campground. After deflating our kayak and stowing it in the car, we added a couple miles onto our North Country Trail goal for the year. Our hiking miles aren’t adding up quickly this year, but we keep plugging away.

This past weekend we spent a bit over four hours on the river. We saw lots of turtles, some ducks, and a MONKEY. I am not kidding. An actual MONKEY. A woman was floating down the river in a canoe with a monkey on her lap. I think that ranks up there as one of the the most bizarre things I have ever seen!

Last night we spent an hour on the lake. Last week I spent a couple hours at the beach with our daughter. I’m turning into a water person who has a tan, and this was not something I ever thought would happen when I was canoeing for the first time at 19 and was so terrified about falling in that I sat super still and didn’t even help paddle until maybe the last ten minutes of the trip. Actually I’m still terrified about falling in, but the kayak is a bit steadier in the water than a canoe.

Side note: On our way home from the beach, we stopped at a health food store to purchase some bulk grains. (Wild rice is so ridiculously expensive!) Our daughter found some dark chocolate-covered ginger and wanted to try some. I would NOT recommend anyone ever try such a thing. My mouth was burning up and I got a nice stringy chunk of ginger that I couldn’t chew up no matter how long I worked at it. So chocolate-covered ginger is a big thumbs down for me.

So remember when I said that I didn’t have time to sew? I lied a bit. I managed to finish the Lemon Pepper quilt top by sneaking in a few minutes of sewing over several days. I probably won’t start quilting it until fall. Here it is: