Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

“Friends” Quilt

Hubby, our middle daughter, and I enjoyed a trip to Texas during the last two weeks of December. We visited Enchanted Rock State Park, Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe National Park, and El Paso. We hiked miles and miles every day, summited Guadalupe Peak, and enjoyed a visit with my brother and his family.

Guadalupe Peak Summit

It was a great trip.

Then we got home.

Where one after another we succumbed to what we think was the Big C. The Great Contagion. The thing for which we were all vaxxed to the max. I wouldn’t say it was horrible, but it definitely wasn’t a good time. Now, a solid month and a couple days from the first symptom, I think I’ve finally fully recovered. (Tests were very difficult to find, so we simply stayed home.)

For most of January, I didn’t feel like doing much. I read. I slept. I watched television. I cooked “interesting” meals from what we had on hand in the freezer since we were pretty much stuck at home for three weeks straight. (We might not have still been contagious after a week or so, but no one wants to be the person having an uncontrollable coughing fit in the middle of the grocery store right now! It was just easier to stay home. And, as an added benefit, we were forced to use up some older food in the freezer.)

This past week I finally felt like doing some sewing. I picked up where I left off prior to vacation on the quilting of my Crossed Canoes quilt. I had hoped to have the quilt finished by this weekend, but didn’t quite make it. I also spent an evening working on some knitted socks.

Since I have nothing new to share, I thought I’d pull a couple older quilts out of the cedar chest to share. Please excuse the wrinkles. They were well-used and have also been stored for some time.

These quilts were made from the “Friends” pattern found in Quick Rotary Cutter Quilts by Pam Bono Designs.

Quick they were not!

Each large doll block was constructed of 45 different pieces, and that didn’t include the buttons and frills and hair! (It was fun choosing the ribbons, lace, and buttons to dress up each doll.) This quilt pattern could be a great use for scraps.

I made these twin-size quilts, one in blue and pink for our oldest daughter and one in green and pink for our younger daughter, when they were around 4 and 2. They are both in their 20s now.

As I look back now as a mostly empty nester who doesn’t seem to complete projects quite as quickly as I used to, I am amazed at how much sewing I got done when the kids were younger. At the time I made these quilts, I was pregnant with their younger brother and had two very active toddlers running around the house.

(The book also contains a pattern for a doll that matches the quilts.)

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Dolphins in the Bathroom

Shortly after we moved into our house I decorated the kids’ bathroom with an underwater theme. I painted the walls light blue, then sponged a darker blue on top.

(Sponging paint on or off was quite the rage there for a while in the early 2000s. I must have sponged, ragged, and even plastic-wrapped paint on over half the walls in the house. Looking back, while I liked it at the time, it was a pretty weird fad. The plastic-wrap technique involved painting the walls with a base color, then adding a darker color. While the darker paint was still wet, you put a layer of plastic wrap on top then pulled it off. This removed part of the dark paint, leaving behind interesting lines in the remaining paint.)

Anyway, I digress.

Where were we?

Ah, yes. Underwater bathroom.

After painting, I added an undersea-themed wallpaper border up near the ceiling. (Borders were “in” at the time also. Had I known how difficult this one would be to remove years later, I never would have put it up there.) We then hung a fishing net and blue tulle from corner to corner over the bathtub and put a couple starfish inside. That, I think, did look pretty neat.

As a final touch, I added this small dolphin wall hanging:

The dolphin block, a paper-piecing pattern, was from A Quilter’s Ark by Margaret Rolfe. Each dolphin block finishes at just 4″ x 4.” This little wall hanging was just the right size to fit between two medicine cabinets.

Several years after painting the bathroom, we decided to give it a bit of a freshening up. The netting and tulle were dusty, the kids had outgrown the underwater theme, and I just like to have painting projects. We didn’t put a lot of thought into the paint color, instead choosing to be frugal by using leftover paint from when I painted our oldest daughter’s room. She’d chosen a pale blue for her walls and a strange pinkish-purple for a tiny angled wall where her bedroom door is located. We had nearly a gallon of that strange pinkish-purple color left, and so that’s what ended up in the bathroom.

I hated that color.

And the dolphin wall hanging didn’t quite match the room anymore. But we left it there anyway.

We tolerated the paint color for several years until it came time to paint our son’s bedroom. He chose a lovely grey paint for his walls, and, since there was leftover paint, I was able to redo the bathroom. Now, the dolphins once again look like they belong.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tis the Season #3

I know, I know. Christmas has come and gone. The New Year is upon us. I’m going to share another Christmas wall-hanging anyway because this Christmas quilt hangs in our basement all year long. (It’s lap-quilt size, but I didn’t want this one to get the amount of wear that a lap-quilt gets laying on the back of the couch, so we hung it up.)

I chose to use Christmas fabric for this quilt as I had a ton of Christmas fabric in my stash that we had planned to use to make stuffed wreaths.

Many, many years ago (like over 30!) when I was in fifth grade, my teacher used to do craft projects with interested students after school. One time we painted bird-shaped suet holders (which I still hang outside every summer minus the suet). We made gingerbread houses. And we made stuffed wreaths. All these years later, and I still have the pattern pieces. What I didn’t have was a good memory as to how it was all put together. Sadly, we flubbed up and ended up with something completely unusable!

But I wasn’t about to let that fabric just languish in the closet. (I have plenty of fabric that has languished in the closet. Christmas fabric is too special for that fate.)

I wish I could remember where I found the pattern for this quilt. I think it must have been in a book I checked out from the library because I know it isn’t in any of the books I own. If I had to guess, I’d say it was in a book where all the patterns used jelly roll strips.

(Check out the really awesome hanger my husband made for this quilt. He’s made many of these for my quilts.)

The giant plain squares and triangles of bluish fabric needed a lot of quilting to make them interesting.

Here’s to hoping 2022 is uneventful and boring. Who thought that might ever be a wish for the new year?

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tis the Season #2

I don’t often put dates on many of my projects anymore, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. While it’s interesting to know how long ago I completed a project, sometimes it’s a bit of a shock to see that a decade or more has passed since I made the final stitch. It makes me feel like my life is just flying by. Such is the case with this little snowman cross-stitch wall-hanging which I completed 12 years ago.

Whoops!

Nope!

13 years ago.

It’s not that I lack math skills for calculating how many years have passed, but rather it’s the fact that for a moment I thought it was still 2020. Some days it feels like 2020 came and never went.

This snowman cross-stitch pattern came from a booklet titled Snowmen Thru the Year. It has patterns for Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and a large pattern of 4 snowmen representing each season. I’ve completed all of the holiday-themed snowmen and hope to do the season snowmen project sometime in the future.

These projects are easily turned into small wall-hangings with the addition of fabric borders, some hanging tabs, batting, and a tiny bit of quilting. I also like to add a strip of ribbon around the edge of the cross-stitch.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tis the Season

Thanksgiving and Christmas collided at our home this year. I was tempted to greet our guests with a Merry Thankmas or a Happy Christgiving. Actual Turkey day was spent prepping for our guests who would be arriving throughout the day on Friday and dealing with the after-effects of jab #3. (While they weren’t as severe as what I experienced post-Pfizer #2, the muscle aches, small bit of chills, and swollen lymph nodes were still unpleasant.) I pushed through the aches and prepped everything except for the traditional green bean casserole and the turkey. When our guests arrived on Friday, the turkey was already in the oven and everything else was ready to go save for a quick mix-up of the casserole and a bit of a heat-up of all the sides while the turkey was “resting.” Prepping pretty much everything in advance meant I was able to sit down, put my feet up, and actually visit with our family.

We chose to dole out Christmas presents at our gathering, knowing it would be sometime after Christmas before we would be able to have everyone all in one place again. Thus is life now that our oldest lives and works downstate and our other two kids are in college.

As the holiday season is upon us, I’ve changed out all of our Thanksgiving wall hangings for Christmas ones and thought I’d take the next few posts to share them.

This whimsical wall-hanging is a personal favorite. The pattern, which was originally intended to be used in a table runner, came from the September/October 2013 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. I enjoy doing these simple embroidery projects. Minus a pattern, one could, as I have mentioned before, use a cute, basic coloring page as a pattern.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

I Spy

Our extended family is about to gain a new member. My brother will welcome his third child with his girlfriend/partner/not-sure-what-to-call-her this month. This will be his 8th child and her 5th. They range in age from almost 30 down to almost born. (My brother is 7 years older than me. His partner is a year younger than me. I can’t imagine having a baby at my age. The idea is exhausting. Our 3 are all 18 and older now. I am thrilled they no longer need my help to get buckled into car seats and that they can dress themselves and wash their own clothes. Though sometimes the 18-year-old brings laundry home from college.)

As is tradition, I made an I Spy quilt for the newest little one. Many years ago I started making I Spy quilts for baby gifts. They are super simple, quick to make, and will live on longer than a tiny newborn onesie.

Generally, I use a solid color as the “background” fabric. I’ve been trying to use up a lot of my stash and I don’t have a fabric store nearby, so this time I used a cute star print instead. The I Spy pieces are 4 1/2″ fussy cut squares. The sashing pieces are cut 2 1/2″ by required width and 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2.” I do simple in-the-ditch quilting. The backing was a piece of purple flannel from my stash.

As I already had a huge stack of I Spy squares cut, I was able to complete this quilt in around 10-12 hours spread out over about 4 days. That includes the time to hand sew on the binding.

I also took some time last week to make a cute tied fleece blanket for our eldest daughter’s boyfriend’s son for Christmas. He’s a fan of dinosaurs. So he got different dinosaur fleece on both sides.

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.)

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 · 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?