I know! I know! The title is not very original, but I like it and it fits. Most of the flowering plants and trees have done their thing already – daffodils, irises, amaryllis, flowering almond, crabapples, redbuds, blackberries, and fruit trees. Of course there will be fruit from the crabapples, blackberries, and fruit trees later. Well, hopefully there will be. Right now the hollyhocks and roses are blooming, and the daylilies will start any day now. I’ve also put some flowering hanging baskets on our wraparound back porch for lots of summer color.
This month has been extremely busy for us because we are getting ready to host the 2018 Frazier Family Reunion at our place. I have been busy spring cleaning the house from top to bottom. I also cleaned the restroom in the shop since most of our activities will take place in and around the shop. My husband has been working on getting our 6 acres spruced up. We both cleaned up the flowerbeds around the house. And amidst all this cleaning and sprucing up business, I managed to meet my goals for the month, make progress toward my two-month goal, and finished some extras.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 98 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 94 blocks to be completed. Did you notice that the number of finished blocks is now larger than the number of blocks to be made? I’m excited that I am now on the downhill slide with making these.
- I finished two quilts this month and pieced the backgrounds and sewed on borders for 14 placemats that need to be finished by Christmas. Let’s see now….this is May, so that means I have 8 months give or take a few days. So if I average finishing 2 per month for 7 months, I will get them done. We’ll see how quickly they go. They have some machine appliqué on them for which I am awaiting arrival of some Lite Steam A Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web so that I can get started on that step . I think preparing those appliqués will slow me down some.
- While I was cleaning in the sewing studio, I pulled out a practice piece that I had done when I took a class to help me conquer my fear of free-motion quilting. And since I had already finished my Rail Fence Picnic quilt and didn’t have what I needed to do more on the placemats, I decided to bind this practice piece and hang it in my sewing studio as a reminder that free-motion quilting is not scary at all. Well, not very anyway. Oh, and my sister finally got the batting to me for my nephew’s quilt. So the quilt is on the frame awaiting the arrival of the threads I need for quilting it. Now why didn’t I think to order the thread earlier? Well, no problem. It will be here soon and I can’t work on it for awhile anyway. Here are my Rail Fence Picnic Quilt and the practice piece from my class:
- The 18” doll dress pattern is coming along very nicely. But I did have a head slap moment when I realized I had wasted two afternoons trying to draft and perfect the bodice pattern when I already had one done in another pattern. Doh! I’m in hopes that it will be published by the end of June. I did, however, use one of the two practice bodices to complete this cute little white dress. Waste not; want not!
- I sent the tester for the reversible coat pattern additional pictures with clarified instructions. She said that they were better. But I still have a lot of work to do on this pattern. I rounded out the neckline and then found that I also must round part of the facing to match. That is now done. I’ve also decided to use something other than the elastic cord I was using to do buttonhole loops but have yet to settle on what will be the easiest material to work with that also looks nice and holds up well. I need to check out the nice cords in the jewelry findings department at Hobby Lobby. I betcha those would work nicely. My tester emailed that she finally finished her coat and will send me pictures and her notes as soon as she recovers from the Memorial day weekend and her company. I’m looking forward to receiving her feedback.
- Ann of Ann van Doren Designs just published the Mary Jane shoe pattern that I had the privilege to test. She used the picture of the black faux leather shoes that I made on the cover of her pattern. I am so honored that she did this. I thoroughly enjoyed making these shoes as her design and instructions made it so easy for me. Ann is a very talented designer. I couldn’t show you the shoes until she had published, so here they are now:
- And to finish off the month, I made some pressing tools to use when I make doll clothes – a pressing ham and a sleeve roll. Here they are pictured next to their full-size counterparts so you can see just how small they are:
And to think, I thought I wasted some time just sitting around doing nothing. Now I realize that I was just resting from all this activity. LOL
As the new year started, like most people I set myself some goals. It worked for me last year, so why not again this year. So my goals for this year are
- Weekly goal – make three quad Log Cabin blocks. I need 192 four inch blocks for the quilt I’m working on. It is going to take me over a year to get them all done. So why am I not making more of these each week? First of all, I’m not in a hurry. “Really?” you say. Yes, I know this is painfully obvious. Secondly, I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over. I get bored. So I’m putting some other things into my schedule to keep things from getting monotonous. Which brings me to my…..
- Monthly goal – finish a quilt. I had a bunch of men’s cotton shirts that I cut into 2 ½” squares. I’m turning these squares into quilts that will be donated. I am sewing these squares into 2 ½” strips mixed in with a background fabric so that it creates a particular design when the strips are sewn together. Then I load my backing and batting onto my longarm frame and sew each strip to them. Doing it this way, I finish sewing the quilt top together and complete the quilting at the same time. Then all I need to do is bind them. It’s a very quick way to make a quilt which leaves me time to work on my…..
- 2-month goal – publish a doll clothes pattern. Well, maybe I should make that a year long goal of publishing 6 doll clothes patterns because I am pretty sure my first pattern is not going to be published by March 1.
- Weekly goals were met with 15 quad Log Cabin blocks completed.
- Monthly goal was met by finishing a western themed quilt for a baby boy. Don’t you just love this pantograph?
- Progress was made on my 2-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern. I have the fabrics to make one more garment from the pattern while I take some better pictures to go into the pattern instructions. In an effort to speed this pattern up, I will work on it before I finish the quilt for February because I need to get it to the testers. Then I’m at the mercy of how long the testers take to make it up and send me their feedback. After I receive their feedback, the pattern will need some tweaking before being published. It is quite a drawn out process. Shhhhhhhhhhhh…it’s a secret, so pictures will have to come later.
- I made a pair of house shoes for my oldest granddaughter for her birthday. If you look closely, you will be able to see the dragonfly print on the fabric.
- I also worked on a doll sweater that will eventually be turned into a pattern. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh….another secret. No pictures until the pattern is published. Sorry.
- I crocheted a hat and scarf for my dolls. The only stitch used in the scarf was a slip stitch – a first for me. Nikki does so enjoy being my model.
I was telling my mom about my goals, what I had accomplished during January and what I need to accomplish during February. In her very own back-handed supportive way she said to me, “February is a short month, you know.” LOL
Have a wonderful, but short, crafty February,
What a busy month! And on top of cleaning and decorating the house for all the Christmas festivities, I decided to make house shoes for one of my granddaughters, her daughter, and her daughter’s dolly to give them for Christmas. Found some sparkly turquoise fabric at Hobby Lobby that I knew they would love. I used home décor fabric-backed vinyl for the soles. They turned out great and were a hit especially with the 2-year-old.
After completing the house shoes, I put buttons on the fly-away bells on the sleeves of a blouse I had bought. The sleeves kept getting into everything so had to tame them a bit.
And I made a tea towel for my mom. There is a story behind it. Of course there is, you say! LOL I had made a tea towel a couple of years ago that my mom wanted, but it was my favorite, and I couldn’t part with it. And I didn’t have anymore of the fabric. But as luck would have it, I bought a box of scraps at a garage sale; and, lo and behold, there was a piece of that fabric in there! Woohoo! So now my mom has a tea towel exactly like mine. She’s a happy camper.
For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been scouring thrift stores and garage sales looking for 11 x 14 frames to put my little sister’s artwork in that she was giving for Christmas gifts this year. She told me she had 9 pieces to frame. On Thanksgiving Day she told me she had 13. Okay, we are 4 frames short! So we went on a wild shopping spree searching for more frames. In case you are wondering why we are looking for them instead of her, it’s because she has autism. We help her out on such things when they prove too difficult or confusing to her. Some of the frames needed replacement glass which we found at a local lumber hard for half the cost of everybody else, and several needed mats which were purchased one per week at Hobby Lobby using the weekly 40% off coupon. Then we picked up her artwork, put everything together, and returned all to her so that she could wrap them. I watched as our other two sisters opened theirs on Christmas Eve. They went right to Kip and told her that these gifts are by far the best gift she had ever given them. Our mom and dad received theirs a few days earlier and called me to let me know how much they liked them and how much they appreciated us helping her. Thirteen gifts cost Kip only $34.21. We won’t count the gas, wear and tear on my car, or our time. LOL Here is the picture Kip gave to us.
Somehow during preparing for having 20 plus people over on Christmas Eve and going on wild shopping sprees, I found time to work on a quilt. I had it more than half done by Christmas Eve and finished it a couple of days later. This was a fun experimental quilt. The plaids and stripes I used were cut from a number of men’s cotton shirts I purchased from the thrift store way back when I first started quilting. I feel this purchase requires a little explanation. When I first started quilting, I was extremely short of funds. The thrift store would have $3 bag sales. I could fit a lot of cotton garments into that big brown paper grocery bag which gave me lots of fabric to play with. I’ve used pieces from this stash in a quilt for our grandson, a throw for a cousin whose wife passed away, and a doll quilt. I still had an overflowing tub that I needed to do something with. I certainly didn’t want to waste them so decided to cut all into 2 ½” strips and squares. Took a good while to do that but mission accomplished. Next step is to get all into warm quilts.
Now back to the experimental part of the quilt. I loaded the backing and the batting for the quilt onto my longarm and then pieced long 2 ½” wide strips. As I finished a strip, I took it to the longarm and placed it horizontally across the frame and stitched it in place using my longarm. Bonus was sewing the strips together and quilting the quilt all in one seam. It really went quite fast and made a pretty nice quilt. See for yourself.
But, really, I need to get back to making quad Log Cabin blocks. After all, I need 192 of these 4” blocks to make my quilt; and even though I started it in January, I only have 29 made. So during the month of December I added 3 more to that total and have determined that I will make 3 per week during 2018 and will assemble the quilt top in 2019. Oh, I almost hate to mention that there is a lot of appliqué on the border. This is a long-term project mainly because, although I really do like this quilt pattern, I find these blocks quite tedious to work on and each one takes so long to make! I figured out that in order to make one block, I actually make 5 blocks – 4 Log Cabins and 1 four-patch. So I will spread it out over time – a long time – and will eventually get it finished.
To top off the month, I whipped together a baby quilt top. Started it at about 8:30 one evening, worked for a couple of hours, and got up the next morning and finished it. And, yes, I used some of the plaid from those shirts I cut up and the leftover backing fabric from the other quilt I finished this month.
I need another 1 ¼ yards for the backing which I will pick up at Walmart next week. In the meantime, I’m waiting for the pantograph to come in that I am going to use for this one. It’s called Yippee Ki Yay! This quilt is destined to be the first one I finish in 2018.
Happy New Year!
My November’s are spent preparing our house for a houseful of guests for Thanksgiving dinner, cooking, lots of eating, and working toward getting all our Christmas gifts made or at least started. Last year I didn’t get to start embroidering the tea towels I gave each member of my family until December 3 which was when the blank tea towels arrived even though I had ordered them two months before. This year I am way ahead of the game and have all gifts done except two. Yay! But that’s not all I finished in November. Even though it was a busy month, I managed to get quite a bit of quilting and sewing done.
Remember the Teddy bear I started back in February? I finally had time to finish him after those three monster king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts were completed. Just a little background before I reveal Teddy. I made him out of my late grandmother’s wool coat and his scarf out of her scarf. This is the first and most likely the last Teddy bear I will make. Just not my cup of tea. I found the hardest parts to do on the bear was sewing on the ears and embroidering the nose. According to the instructions of the pattern I was using, the head was to be hand stitched to the body after all was stuffed, but I chose to use a connector like I used on the arms and legs and make his head jointed as well. It was a much easier alternative to attaching the head. Okay, enough background. Please meet Teddy:
Doesn’t Teddy look so happy to have been born? He usually keeps me company in the sewing studio but will sit in the Christmas tree for all of December. I love decorating my tree with toys.
Since I was on a roll of finishing things and needed something that I could do by hand while watching TV in the evening, I decided to attach the label to the Confetti quilt I finished last December. One more month and the label for this quilt would have officially become a UFO (unfinished object). LOL Took less than a half hour to finish it. Now I need to get the quilt back up on the wall rack.
Last month I told you about the bowl cozies I was making for each member of our family for Christmas. I had pulled all of the fabrics and completed four of them. I finished the remaining eleven of which nine are gifts. I made two for us and use them often. They are great for using in the microwave to heat up a bowl of soup or to use when I’m eating ice cream in the living room to keep my hand from getting cold. These were easy and quick to make. I hope my family likes them.
I also found a Christmas ornament that was quick and easy to make for each of our nieces and nephews. As you may recall, the first ornament I tried went into the trash because I didn’t like it after I finished it. Looked cute as can be in the picture online but really was an ugly thing in person. Then I tried another ornament that is cute as can be but took over two hours to complete. I am very slow at doing the blanket stitch. The first one I did using the blanket stitch on my sewing machine. Too slow. So I did the second one by hand. Just as slow. I needed sixteen ornaments and definitely didn’t want to spend in excess of 32 hours to make them. They are the Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus ornaments at the top of the next picture. Cute as can be. One will go on my tree, and I will give the other to my sister-in-law.
Then I found the ornament on YouTube that I ended up making. I made the first one the size that was suggested in the video. It is the one at the top. I wasn’t real pleased with the fabric I used as the petals so reversed that for the smaller ornaments. They are made out of two contrasting 6″ circles of fabric. Sew around the circles leaving a 1’ or so opening to turn, turn, press, topstitch, a few more stitches by hand, do the magic step, add a hanging cord, and done. Easy peasy. And I had a marvelous time going through my two or so gallons of buttons to find the perfect ones to sew in the center of each ornament.
In 2015 I started a quilt called Ooh Rah. It was a free mystery quilt with 12” finished blocks but is now available for purchase. I don’t really like mystery quilts for fear I don’t like it when done. But I liked the first block released and the colors so decided to try it. However, I didn’t want to use up a lot of fabric in something I might not like when finished, so I decided to reduce the blocks to 4″ and make a doll quilt. The first two blocks were very easy to reduce. But when the third block was released I found that it wasn’t so easy. I worked and worked and worked on that third block to no avail. The fourth block was revealed and was even more difficult to reduce than the last. So for the rest of the year I just collected the block patterns and the finishing instructions. Everything went into a small tub until I made a decision on what to do with it. I ended up designing my own blocks to complete the quilt. I thought it needed a little more red so used the faux piping binding to finish it off. I really love how it turned out.
I mentioned above that I was making a Cathedral Window doll quilt. I took an unusual approach to this one which is okay for a doll quilt but definitely would not work for a larger quilt. Since much is done by hand, there would be too much fabric to bunch up in one hand while stitching with the other. Oh, my unusual approach was to sew all blocks together by machine before putting the “stained glass” pieces in the windows. I am now working on hand stitching all those little squares of fabric, the “stained glass”, onto the quilt. It is going to take me a very long time to complete.
I also made seven more quad Log Cabin blocks making a total of 29 completed. This, too, is a long term project as I need 192 blocks and have already been working on it off and on for 11 months. I really like the quilt though so will push on until I get er done.
My 14-year-old nephew pieced a quilt that I will have the privilege of quilting. He did a remarkable job for his first quilt and having never sewn a stitch before. I am actually envious on how well he was able to match up his seams. Now why can’t I do that? Sigh. I won’t get to start it until January, but here is a preview:
I had not one, not two, but four finishes in October! The smallest finish was getting the label on X Marks the Spot.
While I was machine embroidering this label, I did the label for the Confetti quilt that I finished last December and three labels I wasn’t quite ready for. I still need to get the label sewn to the back of Confetti. It is a large queen-size quilt which is hanging from a quilt rack on the sewing studio wall, and I need help getting it down. I also made labels for the remaining two king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts and for the Chevron baby quilt.
The Chevron baby quilt is finished and has been delivered to the parents to be. I was really surprised at how nice gray and white with a splash of baby blue turned out.
I ended up using the blue dot for the binding because the fabric I wanted to use needed to be fussy cut to look its best, and I didn’t have enough of the fabric to do that. I’m happy with how it turned out. Here’s a picture of the back:
Did you notice the label in the pieced stripe at the top? Here’s a closeup:
After I finished the baby quilt, I got back to the Jacob’s Ladder quilts. I am very pleased to report that I finished both of them. I had to finish piecing one of them and quilt, bind, and label both of them. My ten-month journey with these three king-size quilts has finally come to an end except for delivering the last two which will happen late December and mid-January. Don’t think I will attempt making more than one king-size quilt during a year ever again. Especially if they are identical. I really like a lot more variety in my life than that. LOL
I have also made a great start on making Christmas gifts. I’m making bowl cozies. You can get the free tutorial that I am using here. I found it to be a quick and easy bowl to make. Each bowl requires two 10″ squares of coordinating fabric. Here are the fabrics that I chose:
I have already finished four of them and getting ready to work on the next batch. I would have just done them all at the same time like an assembly line, but I am using white thread on some, black on most of them, and cream on the rest. Now I’m getting ready to do the ones with black.
You cannot believe how pleased I am with what I accomplished in October. It has been a stellar month.
While I wait for the bathroom floor to dry so I can finish up in there, I am going to squeeze in some time to write my monthly blog entry. I’m expecting company this next week and am busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday so must get everything ready today, tomorrow, and Thursday which includes cleaning, freshening up the bedding, planning the menu, and buying the groceries. Has anybody else’s summer seemed busier than usual? LOL
During the month of July, we celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary, Independence Day, spent two days in Wichita, Kansas, watching our granddaughter play basketball, and most of the other weekends watching our grandson play golf in addition to all of our usual activities caring for my sister and her husband who have some challenges and my aging parents who need our help more and more. We also gathered garden produce, put up what we will need for the winter, and gave away the rest. Yep; summers are busy.
In spite of all this extra activity, I did finish the first of the Jacob’s Ladder quilts that I have been working on since January. It is a monster of a king-sized quilt! Took up most of my 12′ long quilting frame. The quilt top measured 110″ across. That was 9 blocks. The length is shorter with only 8 blocks.
Here is a closeup of the quilting.
I am very pleased with the amount of drop it has when placed on my king-size bed.
I even played around with my embroidery machine and some free software from Imbrilliance. And, yes, I agree that I need to play around with it some more. This label is far from perfect but does get the message across.
In my spare time (LOL), I decided it was time to do something with the ugly sides of my planning wall. So I took it from this
And it was so easy. I had been planning on doing it for almost four years. Took me all of a half hour just using fabric, pins, and a butter knife to push the fabric behind the frame. What a difference.
And since I finished the Jacob’s Ladder quilt with three days left in the month, I started a crocheted doll cardigan in bright pink. I got the bulk of it done. Just have the sleeves, edge trim, and collar left to do. Hopefully I will have enough time to get it finished during August although one week will be spent with company and another is reserved for my follow-up colonoscopy. That only leaves two weeks. Yikes! But one can still hope, can’t they?
Wow! Already July 5, and I’m just now getting to this blog post. Where is the time going?
It doesn’t seem like I got as much accomplished in June, but I do have an excuse. My husband and I both had colonoscopies in June. His was okay, but my doctor called me the poster child for why people should have regular colonoscopies. My first one was 11 1/2 years ago at which time my doctor removed a few small polyps. I had another the next year which was clear, so it was recommended I have another in 5 years. When I called 5 years later to make an appointment, I was informed by the nurse that I didn’t need to have one for another 5 years. Bad advice. I should have insisted because this time I had a polyp so large that it had to be removed in pieces, and I have to go back in August for another colonoscopy to make sure he got it all and that it healed nicely. I’m pretty sure doc is going to highly recommend that I have one more often than every 10 years from now on. Good news is that there was no cancer. If you, my friend, have not had a colonoscopy, I highly recommend that you not put it off any longer. It may save your life.
Now for the good things I accomplished in spite of all this doctor activity for the month. I finished 36 Jacob Ladder blocks this month which brings me to the 216 blocks needed for the 3 king-size quilts that I am making.
And here is the layout with 72 blocks which are all different. I did move 5 or 6 blocks after this picture was taken, and I couldn’t get all of the blocks in the picture.
I am sooooooooo glad that all of the blocks are made and I can start sewing them together.
Now for the smaller things that I did in June:
- I replaced an eye and added a mane to the zebra backpack I made for my niece. I’m looking forward to seeing her reaction when she opens her gift.
- I was showing my sister the Bowtie quilt that I added appliques to in order to hide imperfections. She very quickly saw another seam that had come apart. So I added another flower applique to the quilt.
- Since I am built pretty much straight up and down, when I buy a pair of jeans that fit me in the hips, the waist is too tight. And if I buy them to fit in the waist, the hips are way too big. I bought a pair of white jeans at a thrift store which I love, but the waist has always been too tight. So I enlarged the waist in them to make them more comfortable. Fortunately I had some white denim shorts that were way too small for me which I cut pieces from to use. The operation was a great success. I can now wear these white jeans in comfort.
- I finished one, yes, only one, quad Log Cabin block.
- I worked on my Teddy bear. I got the head sewn and stuffed and the eyes attached. I am ready to sew on the ears.
- I remade a window curtain for my granddaughter so that it would fit a window on a door in her new bedroom.
Hopefully I will get more done in July although the month is full of celebrations such as Independence Day, mine and my husband’s 49th wedding anniversary, great-granddaughter’s birthday, and great-niece’s birthday. Lots of parties and cakes. Hope my white jeans still fit at the end of the month. LOL