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What I’ve Been Up To

I woke up this morning at 5:30. Those who know me well know that I generally don’t describe myself as a morning person. I am a night owl, definitely. I was thinking about that this morning, that right now I’m a night owl and an early bird. That combination often causes a mid-afternoon nap. Anyway, I’ve had two cups of really good coffee this morning, while looking at this lovely view.

We finally have some nice snow to cover all the drab brown and ice. I’m looking forward to a day of conversation with my sewing machine! Here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m working on a quilt for a friend. I’ve been cutting all the pieces for this quilt over the last week or so. It amazes me that in this little basket (6″ x 6″) are almost all the pieces for the top of a quilt! This is probably the last you will see of this project until the quilt is done and in her hands.

There are over 1000 pieces in that little basket!

When working on a project like this, I can tend to get tunnel vision and work on nothing else. I get frustrated when I do that, because the work becomes mundane and I lose the joy of the process. So I’m learning to schedule time inbetween working on this project to play with something new. So here’s a peek at what I’ve been doing to take a break from cutting, especially when my lower back is tired.

I’m still working on X blocks for The 70273 Project. I currently have 17 blocks done. I’m all out of white fabric, so I’ll be replenishing that this week. I have friends coming on Friday to stitch some blocks with me. It should be a fun day!

I’m also keeping up with the Winter Solstice Challenge by Pat Sloan. She sends out a new block each Wednesday. Here is the block from 2 weeks ago, called Cobble Stone. I seem to be taking these names literally, since I looked for some scrap fabric that might look like cobblestones. This was a piece left over from a quilt backing. It’s not an easy fabric to blend, but it seems to work okay for me in this block.

And this is last week’s block, called Gramma Anna’s Basket. I used cotton fabric from Margo Krager’s line along with purple wool for the basket. I may add some embellishing at some point; the basket seems lonely . . .

I have now finished the blocks for two separate wool block quilt alongs. This is the last of the 9 blocks from the Little Woolen Sampler by Jenifer Gaston of Woolen Willow. I’m sorry to be done with this one; it was such fun to stitch these little blocks!

Last of all, this block is a work in progress. The original pattern, by Jan Patek, is a pillow. I’m not sure if I’ll go with a pillow or just make it a mini quilt. The top and right side of the block will have half-square triangles added to it. I’m also thinking I’ll add some of Sue Spargo’s fun stitches to the flower and heart, to add a little pizzazz and uniqueness.

Keep in mind that I haven’t done all these this week, I’m just not quite that productive! Sometimes I get so distracted I don’t feel like I make any progress at all. Little projects like these help me stay focused and provide a nice break from the slow work of cutting pieces.

I hope you enjoy a cozy day of stitches!

Wendy

 

 

A Week Well Finished

Well here we are, it’s Friday once again. Remember as a kid how the days seemed to linger on forever? Now it seems like I wake up Monday and when I go to bed it’s Friday. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Most of my week has been cutting the pieces for a quilt I’m making for a friend. The colors are really lovely, and the quilt will be fun to make. I’m hoping to finish, or at least get a good chunk of the remaining cutting done over the weekend so I can begin sewing next week.

In between the cutting — I need to take a break from that now and then, my back tells me — I have been sneaking some little projects in. I now have 5 Winter Solstice blocks done. They are truly an eclectic mix. I’m just making the blocks out of whatever turns my crank! Pictures coming in another post.

I’m still working on my blocks for The 70273 Project. These are such simple blocks and they are great to work on while watching a show. I think I have 14 made now. Next Friday I’m having a couple of friends down and we are going to stitch blocks for the day. It should be great fun!

One quick project I worked on this week was to make a knife holder for our steak knives. I don’t have a knife block, I don’t like all the clutter on the counter. (If you could see my counter, you would find that statement laugh-out-loud funny.) Anyway, I’ve kept the knives in a drawer, but wrapped them in a dishcloth because they are very sharp and I didn’t want anyone reaching in and cutting themselves.

Awhile ago, I ordered a pack of fabric for a quilt, and when the fabric came I realized it wasn’t what I had thought it would be. It is a mix of denims, some light, some heavy. Rather than return it, I just decided I’d keep it and see what I could create with it. I have some ideas, of course. One of them was to make a knife holder, so I finally go to it.

I decided to use a dark charcoal denim for the outer fabric and pulled a red/brownish homespun that I had in my stash for the lining.

I cut three pieces of fabric, 12.5″ x 14.5″, one from the backing fabric and two from the lining. I also cut one piece of very thin fusible fleece to the same measurement. Taking one lining piece, I folded it in half the long way, so it would now measure 6.25″ x 14.5″.  I also cut one strip 1″ x WOF for the tie.

I figured about 2.5″ for each knife pocket. That was actually a little wider than I needed in the end, but I decided to leave it as it gives a little room for the knives to shift. So that makes 10″ I’d need for the knife pockets. That left me with about 2.25″ on each end, so I marked that off, then marked each pocket off on the folded piece of lining. Once the marking was done, I sewed the pockets.

 

I used a light grey pencil to mark the lines. As long as I had good light, I could see them easily, but they don’t show up on the photo!

Once the pockets were sewn, I put the pocket piece atop the lining piece and tacked it on the left and right sides to keep it from slipping around as I finished the piece.

Then I ironed the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the lining piece. I probably could have skipped this step because of the stiffness of the denim, but I wanted a bit of cushioning for the knives.

Then I layered the lining piece on top of the backing piece, wrong sides together. I marked the pocket lines all the way to the top of the lining piece, then sewed through all layers on those marked lines, sewing over the pocket lines once again (for added strength).

Then I made the tie piece, folding and pressing the strip in half, then unfolding and folding to the fold mark on each side. I stitched that together.

It’s getting late at night; I’m determined to get this done!

Then I tacked the tie to the backing before I add the binding.

I rounded the upper corners of the piece before adding binding. In the end I wish I would have done so on the bottom corners too. The bulky fabric made the mitered corners a challenge.

I sewed the binding down by machine. And Voila — it was done!

It was a fun, quick project and it looks much nicer in my drawer.

So it’s been a good week with some fun projects in my quilt cave!

Happy Friday, all!

Wendy

Pieceful Monday

Well, the holidays are over and a new year has begun. I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s with my family. This holiday season was quieter in some ways than others, but lovely nonetheless.

I made a goal to do as much of my Christmas shopping locally as I could. It made the whole season so much less stressful; no mall crowds to contend with. Perhaps that’s why I think it was a quieter season this year. It was certainly more relaxed!

I also made a few things, but not so many that I felt rushed at the last minute. As a matter of fact, I spent the last week or so before Christmas just playing in my quilt cave. More about that in another post.

I met some of my girlfriends for an annual coffee date. While we were chatting, one of them talked about a pillow she had seen. She had mentioned she had seen a larger pillow like this at a store, so when I got home that evening, I made her a little mini pillow, about 6-7 inches. All the buttons are from my button box, some of them my grandmother’s, my mother’s and mine. It’s only fitting that some of my family should be part of hers. She is a very dear friend of mine, and our lives have woven in and out together for many years. The linen fabric is from my stash, a left over piece of fabric from a dress I made years ago. The dress is long gone, but I’ve made good use of the scraps!

This is the pillow top; I apparently didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished pillow!

Another gift I gave was to my daughter. She has always liked pillows she’s seen similar to this, so I thought it would be fun to make her one. I found a {free} outline of the deer and blew it up. Then I traced it onto hand-dyed brown wool and stitched it to the pillow. The pillow fabric is left over from the fabric I used to make curtains for her apartment. She loved it! It was probably my favorite project that I gave as a gift.

Not a great picture. The pillow fabric is a deeper green than shown.

Gifts came to me in return. I loved all of them, here’s a couple of highlights.

When visiting my daughter this summer, we were shopping in an antique store. I saw a cute little toy sewing machine. We talked about it and that was that. When I opened my gift from her this Christmas, there was the little sewing machine!  I am so delighted to give this little cutie a home.

It is a Kayanee Sew Master made in Germany post WWII in the 40s. Apparently those with decals are a bit more rare, but I’m no expert so I don’t know if this is true. It works too, the only thing it’s missing is the needle.

My son asked me for some suggestions. He gave me one thing I have wanted for quite some time. (I had forgotten I had even told him about them.) Blackwing pencils. I could hardly wait to use them!

When you order from JBWelly, your order comes wrapped in gorgeous paper like this. Fun, huh?

If you’ve never heard of them, here’s a fun but lengthy link that gives some background.  They are truly remarkable. Even BigJ was surprised when he picked one up. They are so light! I spent the entire day using one the other day, and my hand didn’t get all cramped and sore like it often does when I’m working on designs.

Well, let’s talk quilting and what I’ve been doing. As I said earlier I have one project I worked on that I’ll share about another time, but I do have a couple of blocks to show you.

Pat Sloan started her 182 Day Solstice Challenge  recently, and I decided to join in. Each Wednesday she sends out a new block. She’s designing as she goes, pulling from her stash and encouraging us to do the same. So far the blocks are simple and fun. Come join the fun!

Here’s the first block. I’m not overly excited about the fabrics I used for this one. They kinda make me want to nap — Zzzzzz. I may redo this one.

Here’s the second block, called Day into Night. This one was really fun to make. I’m happier with this block.

For my birthday earlier this month, my daughter gave me this canvas that she painted. The saying is hers too. I love it, and will leave you with this thought today.

Happy Stitching!

Wendy

 

 

One More Peek

On this day before all the festivities of Christmas begin (or continue, if you’ve started early), I wanted to share with you one last peek at my house and the Christmas decorations. I’ve saved the best for last, of course.

When we remodeled our living room, BigJ purposely designed a bookshelf with a space for hanging quilts. It is the focal point of our living room, and I enjoy changing the quilts out every now and then. At Christmas, a star quilt goes in that space. It is one of my favorite quilts, because it was made for me by my sister-in-law. What quilter doesn’t like to receive a quilt?

Nestled beneath the quilt is the nativity scene. The figurines were also given to me by my brother and sister-in-law, so they are special to me. BigJ and the kids, when they were younger, constructed the manger. It is a teensy, fragile little thing that I love. The linen runner beneath came from my grandmother to my mom, to me. I’m quite sure my grandmother did the crochet.

Not only is this scene the focal point of my home during this season, it’s meaning is the focal point of my heart. For Christ came, for me and for you.

Enjoy this time with family and friends, love generously, laugh joyously, hug much, and remember why we celebrate at all.

Merry Christmas!

Wendy

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have have eternal life.  –John 3:16

Snowmen and Stockings

By the time I post this, I’ll have my shopping done, I hope! I have done much less shopping this year, most of it either local or online, so this week is quiet and relaxed. I have not set foot in a mall for any Christmas shopping! So I’m enjoying some time just playing in my quilt cave, but more about that in another post.

Since I’ve been giving a mini tour of my Christmas decorating, I thought I’d show you where this little snowman runner ended up. It’s a small runner, maybe 6 x 20-ish, so I had to think a bit about where to put it.

This picture was taken awhile ago, before we had snow!

I realized that I had the perfect spot for it above my kitchen sink. BigJ hung it up for me; we just tacked it to the wall with straight pins. It makes me smile when I look up from my chair and see it in my kitchen. I collect snowmen, so this little runner belongs in my home. It was a kit given to me by my sister-in-law. She knows me well.

Today is the winter solstice. That combined with my dark little house has made it a challenge to get decent photos. (Better photography should probably be on my list of goals for 2017.) That being said, I hope you’ll still enjoy the peek at my home.

And then there are the family stockings, which we hang on the railing of our staircase so they are visible from our front door. Three of them were made by BigJ’s grandmother — his and our two kids. I made the fourth, for me. I did have a stocking as a child, and I still have that stocking somewhere, but it was just the saddest thing ever — not handmade. I’m not sure what the story was behind it; I never thought to ask. In a family of sewists, you’d think I would’ve had a handmade stocking! So, anyway, I made my own, with a snowman, of course!

The top stocking is the oldest of the four, made for BigJ when he was just a little guy. The three made by Grandma K are felt with much detail. That’s my snowman stocking, a Thimbleberries pattern.
During her lifetime, Grandma K made stockings for all of her grandkids and great grandkids. They are a treasure.

Lastly, I thought I’d sneak in this little stocking that is a favorite of mine. They are a paper-pieced pattern that I picked up at a local quilt shop that is no longer in business, unfortunately. It is a great pattern for using scraps!

I’ve made several of these, they are about 11″ from heel to the cuff.

One more post before the Christmas festivities begin. I hope you are getting those holiday projects done!

Wendy

 

Pieceful Monday

It was quiet around here last week. My birthday started the week off, and I decided to enjoy the week working on some quilt projects. We celebrated my birthday by going to see White Christmas at The Ordway, a fun way to really kick off the holiday season!

I spent most of my week doing the finishing stitches on some Christmas gifts and finally getting some Christmas decorations up. Here’s a peek at some of my decorating.

Even with the lights turned all the way up I couldn’t get a decent bright photo of these, but you can get an idea of how I have hung them.

These little stockings and mittens were so much fun to make. They hang nicely over my patio window each Christmas. The reindeer you see above them are from my childhood. I have the full set, with Santa in his sleigh and, of course, Rudolph in the lead. Try as I might, I couldn’t get a full photo of them for you.

This is the top of my piano, which has my small collection of mercury glass along with my nod to my Scandinavian heritage. The St. Lucia was my mother’s. The Nutcracker Ballet has always been a favorite of mine; this handsome fellow was given to me by my parents when I was a teen. In the frame is a poem my son wrote when he was young that is a favorite of mine.

And of course, the tree was decorated. We rarely put the tree up before my birthday. That was a tradition when I was growing up, and continues now in my home.

Christmas blessings . . . to you and yours! I’ll post my most favorite decorations later this week.

Wendy

 

Twisted Flimsy

Twisted Flimsy — sometimes I think that could describe me, but that’s for a whole ‘nother discussion! This twisted flimsy is a quilt top that I have had done for ages. Seriously, ages.

This was a quilt kit from my sister-in-law years ago. I made the top pretty quickly, but I wasn’t sure how to quilt it. So it ended up in my pile of tops/flimsies to be finished.

Anyway, since the twisted pinwheels bring quite a bit of movement to the quilt, I just decided to stitch in the ditch. Don’t look too closely; I got a little distracted and some of the lines wobbled. I’m considering adding a few vintage buttons here and there on some of the pinwheel centers just for the fun of it. I purposely took this picture inside with the warmer light; it shows the actual intensity of the fabrics better. This quilt would look great in my daughter’s apartment, so I’ll give it to her if she wants it.

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I’ve been behind on a couple of wool appliqué Block of the Month projects, so I finished Blocks 1 and 2 for this monthly project from the Woolen Willow.

Block 1
Block 1
Block 2
Block 2

And I finished the June block for this monthly project. I’ll be working on July, August and September this week. Both projects are done on 7-inch blocks that will be squared to 6-1/2 inches when done. This monthly project is from River’s Edge Antiques and Quilt Loft. The blocks are free downloads during each month, but are available for purchase after the month has passed.

June Block
June Block

I have the day to spend with my sewing machine. The guys are going to a ballgame, so it’s just Max the cat and me here at home. Max has become completely enamored with some burlap that I have had laying on the floor of my quilt cave. He sniffs it, rolls in it, lays on it, rolls on it some more. I finally realized I could put an old pillow inside the burlap sack that I picked up at a coffee shop. I haven’t even sewn the opening closed, just flopped it on the floor. He seems to like it quite a bit.

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Today I’m going to do some practice with free motion quilting. I’m not very good at it, so I will get some practice sandwiches put together and try to be more intentional about doing some FMQ each day.

I may also pull out another little flimsy, quilt it, and get the binding on. I’ll also prep the next blocks for those woolie BOMs. That should keep me occupied for the day.

Linking up with Quilting is More Fun than Housework, Em’s Scrap Bag, and Cooking Up Quilts.

Quilting at the Speed of Life

I woke up this morning around 2:45 am to thunder and incredible lightning. We have had so much rain lately! The Cannon River that flows through our town is running high, sending some of the businesses along that river scrambling to get sandbags in place. We have a little creek in our backyard that feeds into the Cannon, but so far it has stayed within its banks. We are up high enough that it is never a threat, even when it overflows.

The speed of our life this month has been full to overflowing as well. All good things, but definitely keeping us hopping! More on that in a minute, but let’s talk quilting.

My hourglass blocks are still sitting nicely in this little basket.

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Yesterday I had appointments in the morning, and then brought Mount Hood over to a friend’s house. Sometimes talking through the next step with a friend helps me think more clearly; two heads are better than one. I have a plan. However, no more work on this quilt until next week; our weekend activity won’t involve quilting.

This weekend will move at a fast pace as we help our daughter relocate for her next job. We are moving her in this weekend, so there will be packing, driving, and unloading. I am so excited for her, and her new place is really charming. So my sewing task for today is working on some bedroom curtains for her. Such is the speed of life, right?

While I’m riding along on our road trip, I hope to give this little table runner some thought. I made it awhile ago, and all that’s left is quilt and bind it. I’d like to practice some FMQ and give it a go on this runner. Maybe I can even do some doodling practice while I’m on the road. If it turns out okay, I plan to give it as a gift.

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This picture was taken before I began blogging or even thinking about how to stage a picture. Ignore my busy ironing cover!

And before we know it, the cooler weather will be with us and I’ll be ready to pull out my fall decor. This is a little wool candle mat that I made. I found a leaf in my back yard, photocoped it, cut out the photocopy and used it as a pattern for the leaves. Once I had them on, I added a backing with a little extra on each end that I turned into a binding. Easy peasy.

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So no finishes to show today, but I’m making progress, and that’s enough to make me happy dance!

Whoop whooping today with Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

WIP Wednesday

My work-in-progress this week has hit a stall, but for good reasons. We have been apartment hunting for my daughter — with success! The remainder of August will be a busy one, getting her moved and settled.

So I’m still working on my Mt. Hood quilt and I haven’t gotten any further on it than I was last week. I need to get the first inner border on it — I’ve been thinking about that and what fabric would work. My goal for this quilt is to do it all from my stash. I’m hoping I have a piece of fabric that will work for the borders, both the inner and the final outer border. Between the two borders will be a row of hourglass blocks.

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The pattern is by Pat Speth from her Nickel Quilts book. It’s an easy quilt to make and a great quilt pattern if you’re looking to use up some of your scraps. All of the blocks in the book are made from 5″ squares (that’s why they’re called nickel quilts).

Remember that wedding quilt I made? It was given to the newlyweds last night, and they loved it.

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My 6’6″ husband is really stretching to hold this quilt for me.

Today calls for shopping with my daughter to prepare for the move. I’m looking forward to spending the day with her. I hope to sneak in some quilting in the next couple of days, however.

Linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts and Quilt Fabrication.

Pieceful Monday

I’m so thankful for a quiet, pieceful Monday. Last week was busy, to say the least. This is how we spent our Sunday afternoon. Even Max the cat was happy to nap, as cats always are!

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Feeling somewhat rejuvenated today, I’m planning to get the Mt. Hood blocks sewn together. I have to admit, I am just not that excited about this quilt. I’m not sure why, other than I think I chose a pattern which just doesn’t challenge me enough. I chose this particular pattern for a class, because I wanted to have something easy. I hadn’t taken a class for some time, and I was feeling a little intimidated.

Since I don’t have a design wall large enough, I had to lay them out on the floor. I grabbed my camera to photograph them, only to find my camera battery was dead. The camera was left on from the last time we used it; no juice whatsoever. So these are taken with my phone because I need to get this post done, y’know?

After my quilt block layout morning aerobics, here’s the final layout.

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When you are short and trying to take an overhead shot without a ladder. Fuzzy, with toes.

And here they are, all messily stacked and ready to be sewn together. Note my classy method of noting on my stacks. Hey, it works for me!

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I’m very tempted to just do a plain border on this and be done with it. The pattern calls for a narrow solid border, then an hourglass border, finished with a wider solid border. It would definitely add some pizzazz to the quilt, so I’ll make my decision once these blocks are put together!

Linking up today with Cooking Up Quilts and Em’s Scrap Bag.