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 didn’t accomplish nearly what I wanted to in April. Spring fever is my excuse. I just couldn’t resist going outdoors on those beautiful sunny mid-70s days. I just walked around checking out all the new leaves coming out on the trees and all the early flowers. But on the rainy and/or overcast gloomy days, I did sew.
Thirty-six more Jacob’s Ladder blocks are now tucked neatly away with the previously completed ones.
For those who are just tuning into my blog, I’m making 3 king-size Jacob’s Ladder quilts each of which require 72 blocks. It will take 6 months on the schedule I’ve set to complete enough blocks for them. I currently have a grand total of 144 blocks and only 72 to go.
I did find time to make my sister some fabric baskets as an apartment-warming gift. She loves butterflies and purple, so these were perfect for her. She is already dropping loose change into the smallest one.
I also repaired a blouse for her. It is black. I hate working on black because it is so hard to see your stitches on it. The hem had come out of one of the sleeves. The original hem had two rows of stitching. The fabric is slinky and stretchy. So I knew I would not be able to put two rows of stitching back in that sleeve and make it look good. So I removed the hem stitching in the other sleeve and hemmed both sleeves with a blind stitch. Took me longer to remove the stitching from that other sleeve than it did to hem both of them because it is so blasted hard to see black stitching on black fabric. Oh, I said that already. LOL I finally went outside in the sun so that I would have some brighter light. Well, it’s done and looks decent.
I made my quota on the Jacob’s Ladder blocks with a week to spare so decided to put a quilt on the frame and get it quilted. I completed the quilting in 2 days. But this quilt top had problems. It was completed by someone that I don’t know back in the mid-60s and given to one of her children on May 25, 1965. I know this by some writing on one of the sashing pieces. It was hand-pieced and then washed causing it to fray. Some of the fabrics were loosely woven and frayed more than others causing some of the seams to open up. There are also some holes in some of the pieces. I knew that since I was quilting it using a pantograph that there would be some tucks and puckers here and there in the quilting. I don’t like holes and frayed seams and tucks and puckers. Now what am I going to do about it?
Then it hit me. Appliques! I’ll cover the flaws with flowers!!! And I did it with my longarm. It was so simple and so much fun to do. I just cut the flower shapes and some roundish centers, stacked them on the quilted quilt where I wanted them and stitched away on the appliques not worrying about the raw edges. They will fray with time and washings, but they will not come off since I put so many rows of stitching around the edges. And I think they added a bit of whimsy to this vintage Bowtie quilt.
Then another problem arose before I could get the binding on the quilt. We had hurricane force winds come through central Oklahoma which knocked down a lot of power poles which caused a power outage for almost the entire area, and, yes, we were one of them. I couldn’t iron the binding, and I couldn’t sew the binding. Or could I?
No power; no problem. Out came the Singer 66 treadle machine my granddaughter gave me for my birthday one year. Did I know how to use it? No, but I could figure it out. I like to have worn myself plumb out winding the bobbin, but after a rest I managed to sew the ends of the binding together. Not bad, but how do I press this binding to finish preparing it to go on the quilt?
I know. My Little Wooden Iron! I’ve had it for years but had never used it. It worked like a charm. Made a wonderful crease and didn’t take much longer than using an iron.
Now for the sewing.
I really got the hang of it. But I do have to say that I was glad the power came back on before I was ready to sew the binding to the other side of the quilt because there were just too many pins which would require a lot of stops and starts. The starts are the troublesome part as the machine sometimes wants to go backward instead of forward. That makes a bit of a mess with the stitching.
Well, after all the challenges with this quilt, I’ve got plenty of memories, new skills, and a whimsical, bright and cheery new quilt.
April may not have been one of my most productive months, but it certainly proved to be interesting.
Happy Crafting and Quilting,
Yes, come July my first great grandchild will make her (yes, it’s a girl) debut; and, no, I am not old enough to be a great grandmother. LOL The sweet little mother-to-be showed me pictures of her dream baby room that she is trying to make happen on very meager funds. She is very resourceful and talented, and with the help of loving family and friends, it will happen. My part will be a baby quilt.
The colors for the baby’s room will be medium teal, black, white, and metallic gold. It is quite modern looking with black and white chevron and graphic designs. I first chose a quilt design from the January/February 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting magazine called Silhouette Stars. Then I spent three wonderful hours in fabric stores choosing just the right fabrics for this my first great granddaughter’s quilt. Here are the fabrics I chose:
There will be four black and white blocks and five teal and white blocks. There will be white sashing with teal corner blocks, and the backing and binding will be teal. I’ve completed one of the black and white blocks which went together very quickly and was very forgiving of any seams that did not match up exactly. I am very pleased with it.
I’ll add pictures of other blocks as I complete them.
Why Lana’s Lark? Well, first of all, my name is Lana which starts with the letter “L”. What word starts with the letter “L” that describes what I want from the rest of my life? I chose the word “Lark” because a lark is an escapade, a game, a pastime. Synonyms for lark are adventure, amusement, distraction, diversion, entertainment, hobby, interest, play, recreation. The opposite of lark is work. What a wonderful way to spend my retirement years doing anything but “work”!
I love to sew. Self-taught at the age of 13 making my Barbie doll some clothes. I now have three 17-18″ dolls that wear the same size clothing as the American Girl doll. I found Daisy, a Daisy Kingdom doll, on eBay for $39.95 with free shipping. She is the most adorable little girl doll. I thought to myself that I really like this doll. I wouldn’t have spent that much on her if I didn’t really REALLY like her. And the dress she was wearing was to die for. So I hit that button “Buy It Now”, paid for her, and she arrived a few days later. When I removed her from the packaging, I said right out loud to anyone who was listening, “I don’t just like this doll, I love this doll!”
Later I found Pansy, another Daisy Kingdom doll, at a garage sale. I paid the sum total of 50 cents for her. Now that’s my kind of a bargain. Took her home; cleaned her up; and introduced her to Daisy. Daisy insisted that Pansy share her clothes, and we very quickly agreed on a pretty dress for her. After she was dressed, she made her home alongside Daisy in the corner of my sewing room.
Then along came Nikki. Nikki is another garage sale find that cost the enormous sum of a quarter. After a good cleaning, she was introduced to Daisy and Pansy. The three of them became fast friends, and now they share the ever-growing 18″ doll wardrobe If I make something for one of them, the other two keep reminding me that they need something new. They can be quite demanding. And being the spoiled little girls that they are, they decided that they want original clothing designed just for them..So began my pattern designing adventure. Nikki is jumping up and down waving her arms right now. She is “gently” reminding me to tell you that she is the model for the designs.
Okay, now that she is happy again, we can continue our conversation. My first design was a crocheted Spring short-sleeved sweater that my girls love. So far I have made two and the third one is almost finished. The pattern has been written, tested, tweaked, and published online. (I’ll list the URLs in a minute in case you’re interested.)
My girl’s wouldn’t let me rest until I had designed some cute ruffled shorts to go with the new sweaters. So back to the drawing board I went. I had a lot of fun designing and making the shorts in two lengths with either one or two ruffles, but it turns out that sewing pattern instructions are not as easy to write as crochet pattern instructions. But I got it done. That pattern is also available.
And now I’m off to design another outfit. Yes, yes, Pansy, I’ll design this one just for you. Sheesh! Will they ever give it a rest? I hope that you enjoy visiting Lana’s Lark and that you come back again and again. Here’s wishing you many a “lark” in your life,
Lana, Daisy, Pansy, and Nikki
And as promised, here are the links to my stores where you may purchase the patterns: