Summer is here and although we have had some rather cool days for June, our days are starting to get up into the high 90s and very humid making it feel much hotter. Very hot days were predicted for the weekend we had the family reunion but Mother Nature decided to give us temperatures in the low to mid 80s with a nice breeze. It was wonderful! The reunion was a grand success, and we plan on having it at our place again next year.
With the reunion, cleaning up, and getting everything back in their storage places, my crafting time this month has been cut short. And in addition to all that, my husband had surgery this month. So I played nurse for a few days. He’s not a good patient; but in all fairness, I am not a good nurse either. LOL But I have managed some finishes and some progress on other things.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 110 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 82 blocks to be completed. I love seeing the number of blocks completed increase as the other number decreases. It gives me just enough boost to keep me going on this long-term project.
- I got all of the appliqués fused to the 14 placemats. I hope to get them all stitched down in July, but it will be a tedious job so may take two months to do that. And if I decide to do the appliqué stitching by hand, I will allow myself three or four months to get them all done. That will leave plenty of time to quilt and bind them and have them ready for Christmas giving. To give you an idea of how tedious this is going to be, here is a picture of half a leaf and there are eight of these tiny intricate pieces to do on each of those 14 placemats. Yes, you did see that right. That piece is 2 1/2 inches wide x approximately 1 1/4 inches tall with a lot of ins and outs.
I finished quilting my nephew’s quilt. I did have a problem when quilting the outer border. My nephew pressed the seam between the inner black border and the outer orange print border toward the orange. Doing the beadboard quilting required me to stitch in the ditch which unfortunately in this case was on the black. Why was this a problem you ask? I was using a bright yellow/red/orange/green variegated thread, and I am not the best at stitching in the ditch. But I found a solution which cost me some extra time but worked. I used a black Pigma pen to color the variegated thread where it was not supposed to be showing but was. Now you see it; now you don’t. In spite of this minor problem, this quilt was such fun to quilt!
- My youngest sister moved from an apartment to a duplex and needed new curtains. She wanted light pink and blue in her kitchen, so I pulled all my blue and pink fabrics for her to choose from. She chose a very light pastel pink and blue plaid. I made simple cafe curtains with a valance and gathered them on spring loaded curtain rods. They look real cute, but I forgot to take a picture. Maybe I’ll remember to take pictures when I take the curtains to her for her dining, living, and bedroom which are now in the works.
- I have given up on my goal to finish a doll clothes pattern every other month. So far this year although three have been in the works, I’ve only finished one. I knew it was a lofty goal and gave it my best shot. But life got in the way. So doll clothes patterns have been removed from my goals list. But on a positive note, I’ve sold two copies of the one pattern that I published this year, and it has only been available for one month. Not one of my hottest patterns, but not a failure either. I did receive pictures from the coat pattern tester of her finished coat. It is as cute as can be. And she sent me some very good constructive comments that I hope to get incorporated into my instructions in time for a Fall release.
Oh, did I mention that my husband bought me a new sewing machine? It is a Bernina 590! I’ve already taken my classes and am definitely enjoying sewing on this dream machine. I hope to come up with an embroidery project soon so I can try out the embroidery module. Fun! Fun!
Until next month, happy crafting,
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
Sorry for the title; I couldn’t resist. LOL But seriously, as you may recall I borrowed a day from April because I lost some time in March due to having the flu, so I had to do a little catch-up in April. Well, I’m happy to report that although I didn’t get to work on anything but my scheduled goal projects, I did get everything done in spite of spending some time with my mom when she was hospitalized overnight and after. She is following up with a cardiologist but seems to be getting stronger each day.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 15 blocks completed. I now have a total of 86 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 106 blocks to be completed. Hey! I’m almost half way there!
- I finished the quilt for March
- and a quilt for April
- and pieced a quilt to finish in May.
- I’m revamping the pattern and instructions for the reversible coat doll pattern that has given my testers fits. I am still hopeful that I can complete this pattern and get it published. It is such an adorable coat if I do say so myself, so I am just not ready to give up on it. I’ve also started a dress pattern for the 18” dolls. I hope to have it done and published by the end of June. It is a dress I did some time back before I was doing patterns and have decided to turn it into a pattern so others can make it for their dolls.
- I finished the doll’s summer outfit pattern! Woohoo!!! I was blessed with a tester who got it done quickly. April Brown is a fabulous doll clothes designer in her own right. You can find her on Etsy at GrannyGooseDesigns and also will find some exclusives and embroidery designs on Embroidery Passbook. She said that my pattern was easy and quick to make up and fit the dolls well. She even made a fuller version of the skirt, told me how she did it, and gave me permission to add it to my pattern which I did. The top to this ruffled outfit can be made with or without ruffles and can be made reversible! Ruffles Galore! or Not can be purchased in my stores on Etsy and Craftsy. The links are at the upper right.
No, I don’t have that backwards. That is how my March went. Read on.
- My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 71 blocks stored in that nice big white box waiting for the remaining 121 blocks to be completed. I also have all the fabrics that I need for the remaining blocks in that box. I was short a few but received via email a coupon from my local quilt shop for $10 off a $20 purchase. They also offered an additional $5 off that purchase if I shared their ad. So I just clicked on the Facebook icon and like magic I received that additional savings. What fun I had at the shop choosing my fabric!
- I didn’t get a quilt finished this month but am very close. I just need to do the label, hanging sleeve, and binding. There were a couple of reasons for the failure to meet this goal. First of all, I used this month’s quilt as the one for the Lisa Calle class that I purchased last month. Takes time to learn new tricks, and as Lisa would say “Quilt it to death”. LOL Would you believe I went through 6 large bobbins on this quilt? And the quilt is only 22 1/2″ square! And secondly, I got the flu. I was pretty sick for a couple of days the end of March (out like a lion) and quickly recovered but even a week later am still experiencing some fatigue. If all goes well this month, I should finish this quilt and a quilt for April which is pieced and ready to go and get a quilt pieced for May. If all goes well. I showed you a picture of the quilt top last month. Here it is quilted. Thanks to a friend’s tips on taking pictures, I actually got one that shows the quilting pretty well.
- The reversible coat doll pattern is still with the testers. Funny how something that I thought was going to be easy can turn out to not be so. Probably the way I wrote the instructions. There has been a lot of emailing back and forth. I have made headway on a little summer outfit for these dolls. The prototype is perfected, and the pattern is almost completely drawn up. My plan is to make the outfit up in some cute coordinating fabrics while taking pictures of the process and writing instructions. If all goes well….oh, I said that before…LOL..I should have it to the testers by the end of April. I’ll share pictures of them when the patterns are published.
Review: Divide, Design & Fill for Beautiful Quilting by Lisa Calle
This is the class that I purchased through iQuilt.com last month. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learned so much from it. Lisa Calle is a good instructor and kept things interesting and moving at a good pace. I did, however, wish that she had shown her quilting design process on more than one quilt, but I easily found many quilts she had done by going to Pinterest and searching for Lisa Calle. I learned a great deal from looking at other examples now that I understand how she came up with those designs. If you have wondered how quilters like Lisa Calle came up with their designs and are ready to add to your quilting design skills, I highly recommend this class.
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,
It has been awhile since I promised I would get this pattern done and published. Well, today is the day. I had such great fun designing it, and my testers tell me that they loved making it and how it looks on their girls. You may purchase the pattern at either the Craftsy or Etsy stores listed at the right. I hope you enjoy this dress as much as I enjoyed designing it.
I’ve been working on a new pattern lately. I finished my prototype yesterday, and Nikki insisted on wearing it to her Christmas ice skating party. Doesn’t she look cute?
Now that the prototype jacket is finished, I’ll be turning this design into a pattern. When it is released, you’ll hear it here. Oh, did I mention that the jacket is reversible?
And Nikki had so much fun at her party!
Lana, Daisy, Lily, Maggie, Nikki, and Pansy
Part VI: It’s Finished
Testing has been completed. I’ve dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s. And the pattern for my latest creation has been published. Nikki and Maggie are so very pleased to model these lovely sweaters.
Nikki is wearing the shell stitch cardigan with long sleeves. It can also be made with short sleeves. She chose a tee, jeans and boots to complete her cute back-to-school outfit. Maggie is wearing the short-sleeved bolero length sweater with her new polka dot dress. This cute dress with the scallop detail will soon be available in pattern form. It has to wait until I finish my sister’s Christmas presents. You can access my stores at the right. I hope you like this sweater as much as Maggie, Nikki and I do.
Lana, Maggie, Nikki, Daisy and Pansy
Part V: Testing Is Almost Completed
The pattern testers have been busy, and three of the four have completed the sweaters. I received pictures from Linda Campbell today. Her sweaters are so cute I just had to share a couple of her pictures with you, and Linda kindly gave permission for me to do so. The new pattern has the option of a cropped sweater or a cardigan each with either short sleeves or long sleeves. Linda made the cardigan with long sleeves and the cropped sweater with short sleeves and tells me she is going to get more thread and make the sweaters with the other sleeve options. Here is what she has done so far.
The front of Linda’s cropped sweater with short sleeves.
I will be publishing this crochet pattern just as soon as I hear from the final tester. I contacted her earlier this week, and she reported that she was almost finished with the body of the cardigan and will be working on the sleeves shortly.
Each of the testers have several years experience with crochet, and one of them authored crochet patterns herself. I am so pleased to have them on my team and thank them for their service. I am looking forward to showing you, with their permission of course, what the other three testers have done. And my girls (dolls) are anxious to share the pattern with you.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie
Part IV: Pattern Has Been Sent To The Testers
I’m a very lucky designer. I’ve had four ladies volunteer to test the pattern without my even asking. All I did was tell about my year of waiting for my sister to test my first pattern. It too was a doll sweater. One that I could crochet in an evening. Very simple. I finally told her to bring it back to me with her comments on any problems she had seen. I told her that I had planned on publishing it that past Spring which was a couple of months after I gave it to her. I suppose I shouldn’t have told her that because it made her feel bad about taking so long, but I needed to light a fire under her. My other inquiries into how she was coming along (Hint! Hint!) didn’t do a thing. She brought it back with apologies but is very VERY relieved that someone else is testing my new pattern. I’m thinking she didn’t much care for testing patterns although she did get a cute sweater for her doll. That is if she ever finishes it. She is the queen of procrastinators. LOL
I’m so excited about this new pattern because it has options! Don’t you just love patterns with options? There is a short-sleeved version and a long-sleeved version. There is a cropped sweater/shrug and a cardigan-length sweater. And there are options for the closure. Shouldn’t be much longer to the release of this latest creation. Stay tuned. You’ll hear it here first.
In the meantime, I’ve purchased an American Girl doll to model this newest creation. After all, she has to earn her keep. She will make her modeling debut when the pattern is published. Her name is Maggie named after my late mother-in-law, and she is very excited about her future with Lana’s Lark Designs.
Lana, Nikki, Daisy, Pansy and Maggie