crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Tiny Pineapples

I’ve been working my way through my list of Unfinished Projects this year. I was on quite a roll, then stalled a bit over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been working on some other projects that aren’t craft-related, have been planning some summer adventures, and have been helping move college kids back home.

My piano room presently looks like a hoarder lives here as Middle Daughter has to move back to college next week for her summer classes and we piled all her things in there when we unloaded the car rather than put them away for such a short period of time.

Son came home with mountains of laundry a week later, claiming he’d run out of Tide Pods a few weeks before the end of the semester. I can finally see the floor in the laundry room again…after days of tripping over hoodies and blankets–he sleeps under no less than 10 blankets every night–and underwear.

With my days spent moving laundry from the floor to the washer to the dryer, my sewing time has decreased significantly. However, I did manage to eke out some time to work on a few tiny paper-pieced pineapples.

These pineapples measure just over 3″ square and are great for all those tiny scraps!. I found the pattern at https://www.thelittlemushroomcap.com/paper-pieced-3-pineapple-log-cabin-block-mini-quilt-progress-free-paper-piecing-template-a-video/.

Originally I made a stack of these blocks with lights where the darks are in the above photo. As I laid them out, planning how I was going to arrange them, I decided that I liked the look of alternating blocks with lights and darks in the corners. So now I’m working on creating a stack of what I’ll call dark blocks. (Like the one above. Below you can see the difference between the “lights” and the “darks.”)

I haven’t yet decided how large this quilt will be. Considering all of the time involved I will probably choose to hang this one on the wall rather than have out where it can be used.

crafts · sewing

A Quick Little Project

Late last year I started reading The Count of Monte Cristo. I was reading it on my phone whilst walking on the treadmill. Then I realized just how long the story was and just how much I hate reading books on a phone screen and that I would probably end up walking the equivalent of a trek from Michigan to California before reaching the final page.

So I thought, “Why not try the audiobook.” We had a lengthy car ride coming up in December. Surely I could make it through a bazillion hours of listening whilst watching the scenery go by from Michigan to Texas and back again. Then I realized that there were a lot of names that weren’t Bob and Tom but were more like Caderousse and Cucuetto and also a whole lot of foreign-sounding places, all of which were difficult to understand.

So, rather than giving up on the whole idea of reading the book, I thought, “I’m going to have to actually get a physical copy of this book and read it.” I couldn’t check it out from the library because I’d end up needing to renew it for the next six months and that’s not allowed.

I ended up buying the book, and I’m making myself read one chapter a day.

“Why?” my middle daughter asked because classics aren’t interesting to her.

I’m not sure why. Maybe because the classics were ruined for me in high school when we had to read them and get out of them whatever the teacher said we should get out of them. (Which I never did.) Maybe because it’s enjoyable to read something original that doesn’t follow a formula. Maybe because it’s nice to read something that’s stood the test of time and is still here. Maybe just because the story is actually pretty good.

Since this book and I were going to be constant companions for the next 117 days (that’s how many chapters there are), I decided I needed a pretty bookmark to look at for those 117 days.

For this project, I sewed together two scraps of fabric wrong sides together on their long sides. Width and length don’t matter…whatever dimensions are preferred are fine. After turning this tube right side out, I tucked in the raw edges on the short sides, slid in a scrap of ribbon on one short side (folding it in half so all raw edges are inside), and edge stitched around all four sides.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Conquering the Unfinished Projects

I have no idea where the last two weeks went.

Oh, wait. Yes, I do.

I had to block off a lot of hours last week for worrying. Yes, worrying.

Our middle child (actually an adult) ended up in the emergency room of a hospital a couple hours away earlier in the month. After a few tests, a tentative diagnosis was reached, and she was told to follow up with her physician. She did. At that visit, lab work showed the problem had worsened. Had I not already been worrying, I would have started then. She was referred to a surgeon, and I spent an afternoon at the hospital with her while she underwent some more testing. As of yet, no real diagnosis has been reached, but she’s feeling much better. So the hope is that whatever caused her issues was just a temporary blip.

I will say, and I’ve joked with her about this since her time in the recovery room, that the show she gave me as she came down off whatever good drugs they gave her was worth the price of admission, i.e. what insurance isn’t covering. She was swearing. She was saying goofy, inappropriate things. And she was loud. I was glad there was a curtain around her recovery cubicle so no one could see us in there. This is a smallish town! Someone might know us! It all made for a good story to tell the relatives, though.

I found a little time to sew last weekend, but with two of the kids home from college, there wasn’t time to share anything here. This past week I found more time to sew, and yesterday I finished my 4-patch Little Squares quilt top, a project that has been in an unfinished state for a couple years.

The top consists of 1,152 1-1/2″ squares made into 4-patch units combined with 2-1/2″ cream squares. The colored scraps making up the border are 2-1/2″. The outer cream border measures 1-1/2″ wide. This made a smaller lapsize quilt. All of the fabric, except for the cream, used in this quilt is from my never-ending, ever-growing stash of scraps.

I vow to conquer the procrastination tendencies that seem to arise at this point of a project. I WILL get a backing sewn. I WILL get it pinned. I WILL get the quilting done. I WILL get it bound. Am I the only one who hates sewing backings and doing the pinning?

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Little Squares

It’s been a week.

A rough week.

I enjoyed a bit of sewing and cross-stitching time last weekend, then Monday hit.

And with Monday came the stomach flu and a week of feeling not quite right. I’ve been doing a lot of napping and lazing about on the couch with my faithful canine companions by my side. I hope this coming week finds me out of this ick funk that I’m in so I can get back to the things that I enjoy.

(Not that I don’t enjoy lazing about on the couch. I just don’t like doing it for days at a time.)

After finishing the Lemon Pepper quilt and matching pillows I decided I’d get back to my unfinished project list and work on something that had been gathering dust for a while. I chose what I’ll refer to as my “Little Squares” project.

Little Squares is made up of so many…you guessed it…little squares. I’m doing four-patch blocks with 1 1/2″ squares. These four-patch blocks are combined with a 2 1/2″ block of cream fabric.

After a bit of calculating, I discovered that I need 1,152 little squares to make the quilt the size I wanted. That’s a lot!

Here are a couple of progress photos. I’m hoping for nine of the larger units in the finished quilt, so I’d say I’m nearly halfway there.

As I cut up my scraps into the tiny squares, I’m adding a lot of even smaller scraps to my itty-bitty scrap container. These will come in handy when I get back to my miniature paper-pieced pineapple blocks.

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

A Trio of Pillows

Did we need more pillows?

Probably not.

As it is, one of our couches has just enough un-pillowed space left for a single dog to enjoy a siesta when she’s feeling antisocial in the evenings and chooses to relax in a different room than her humans and her doggy “brother.”

Did I make more pillows?

Yep.

You can never have too many, right?

Besides, I had numerous scraps left from the Lemon Pepper Quilt–little bits that had already been sewn together which could be trimmed up and pieced together to make pillow tops.

I also had enough larger scraps left that, with a bit of piecing, could be used to make backs for the pillows.

I trimmed the already pieced bits down to 2 1/4″ strips and sewed four of these strips together to make a block. Each pillow top had 4 blocks, 2 going vertically and 2 going horizontally. I added a black border and quilted the tops in a similar style as I had the Lemon Pepper quilt (kind of an all-over straight line quilting 1/4″ from some of the seams…think boxy zigzag.)

crafts · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Grandma’s Quilt. Dad’s Pajamas.

My dad’s pajamas hang on the bottom of our bed.

It’s not as weird as it sounds.

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, died before I was born. I’ve seen photos and heard many stories about her, but the only connection I have to her is a quilt my grandfather gave to me a few years before he passed away.

By the way, those stories about grandma? The one told most often was about how she was such a kind woman. But one day, one of the chickens in their backyard flock pecked her one too many times, and that kind woman wrung his neck! You can guess what they had for dinner that night.

I’m fairly certain–judging by the fact that many of the fabrics are florals–that not all of the quilt squares were cut from my dad’s clothes, but I know for certain that at least one of the fabrics came from a pair of his childhood pajamas. If I recall correctly, his pajamas were made of red and white stripe fabric.

Though my dad is still living and I don’t need a tangible item to bring memories of him to mind, it’s nice to have this quilt nearby as a connection to the grandmother I never got to know and to the child my father once was. And I’m glad my grandfather trusted me with this heirloom and knew I would appreciate the effort put into each hand-stitched stitch.

I also appreciate all of the fabulous patterns on the old fabrics.

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?

crafts · Uncategorized

Merry Christmas

Today seems like the perfect day to share my favorite homemade Christmas ornaments. I’ve given away many to family over the years. Here are a few that are hanging on our tree:

Supplies needed:

  • 3-in styrofoam ball
  • cross-stitch fabric, pattern, and floss
  • scrap of beads (opt.) and scraps of ribbon
  • Christmas fabric scraps
  • glue (I use Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue)
  • grapefruit knife
  • a 2 3/4″ or 3″ diameter circle cut out of paper

Directions:

  1. Select a cross-stitch pattern that, when complete, will fit within the diameter circle you have chosen with a bit of unstitched fabric left around the edge.
  2. Stitch your pattern, place the paper circle on top of the cross-stitch design, trace along the edge of the paper pattern, and cut out your design.
  3. Glue the cross-stitch design onto the styrofoam ball, leaving a small amount along the edge unglued. (approx. 1/4″)
  4. Using the grapefruit knife, gently tuck this unglued edge into the ball.
  5. Begin adding scraps of fabric to the ball. (Glue is unnecessary for this step.) Simply tuck the edges (probaby about 1/2″) of the fabric into the ball with the grapefruit knife. A tiny bit of planning on fabric placement will allow you to have a middle point where you can tuck in a ribbon for hanging. (I’d use glue on the hanger.)
  6. Glue a bit of ribbon around the edge of the cross-stitch design. Add a string of beads if desired.

Here’s the back of one of my ornaments so you can see how I arranged the fabric:

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.)