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.
Besides moving my sister and her husband and doing some mending for her, I managed to meet all of my goals and then some. Whoohoo!
The number one priority goal is the Jacob’s Ladder blocks for the three king size quilts I need to finish this year. I did reach my goal of 36:
In addition to these blocks, I completed 12 of the quad Log Cabin blocks which is more than I’ve been able to complete in a single month so far:
Then I decided it was high time I finished a set of 7 tea towels I started the first week of December 2016. I learned a lot about my embroidery machine working on these since the lettering would not fit in my 4 x 4 field. I used a movable hoop and learned how to mark things and line them up. I’m pretty new to this embroidery machine game. LOL
And since I had the embroidery machine stuff strewn all over the place, I decided to make a set of 5 tea towels for one of my granddaughters for her birthday:
After I finished the embroidery, I did a bit of cleaning and straightening in my studio. While I was whistling while I worked, I had a brainstorm. My shelving for my fabric stash and other treasures is made from two shuttered bi-fold closet doors and 5 boards. It dawned on me that those shutters showing on the end could work harder than just holding up 5 boards. They could also hold my cones of quilting thread. Here is what my husband and I came up with:
Now isn’t that just handy dandy?
Oh, and I almost forgot about the doll dress I finished. I did the embroidery whilst all that stuff was out, and then I put the fasteners on the jumper and the tee:
Maggie really likes the bee on her red corduroy jumper.
Then I finished a blanket my youngest granddaughter started about 4 years ago:
And to finish off the month, I took a strip of fabric and folded it just so and sewed it up, added a pair of folding scissors, and then put it with the other stuff I made for one of my sisters for her birthday:
I think that’s it. Like I said, it’s been a mighty busy and productive month!
Here is a picture of my grandmother’s quilt top.
As you can see she did the appliques diagonally across the block. I would have expected them to be put into a quilt top on point. There is also a lot, a whole lot of white background. Some quilter’s may have loved having all that back ground to fill with quilting, but I didn’t have a clue what to do with it.
One day while looking through a rather old quilting magazine, I ran across a picture of a little quilt with only four blocks. Two Sunbonnet Sues and two Overall Bills surrounded by sashing and then a couple of borders. But this simple little quilt gave me the idea of making four smaller quilts from Nanny’s quilt top. And being one who likes to have a complete plan, I started searching for quilting design ideas. My go to is Pinterest. Click here to see what I found.
Okay. Now I have a plan. But remember that the appliques were diagonal, so I had to cut them down. And in some cases I had to sew some background fabric onto a corner. I ended up with 10 1/2″ blocks which would finish at 10″. Perfect for making 25-patch blocks. All I needed were a whole bunch of scraps from which to cut 2 1/2″ squares. I had fabric strewn all over my sewing room for several days while cutting all these squares. I also had to cut lots of 2 1/2″ squares from the background fabric. Did I say that this background fabric was flour sacks? I didn’t quite have enough but did have some from a previous quilt that I had refurbished. Yay! I’m on a roll.
After picking up all the fabric I had all over the place, I started sewing. It went fairly quickly. Then I designed the embroidery for the other block I needed for the quilts and started embroidering. I showed you part of the quilting in the previous post. Here are two of the quilts completed.
If you have inherited a quilt top and don’t know what to do with it, make something else out of it. It’s okay. It’s yours now. Enjoy it.
I have been very busy the past three months or so doing embroidery work on three quilt blocks that have been include in my sister’s quilts which will be their Christmas presents. It all started with a quilt top that my mother gave me that her mother had made. It was one of her first quilt tops – an appliqued Sunbonnet Sue which had 11 Sunbonnet Sues and 2 Overall Bills. I was at a total loss as to do with this quilt top until I saw a Sunbonnet Sue wall hanging that had 4 Sunbonnet Sues in it and 5 25-patch blocks. I decided right then and there to divide the quilt top so that my 3 sisters and I would each have a part of Nanny’s quilt top.
It dawned on me very quickly being a math teacher that 13 is not evenly divisible by 4. And I wanted to use all of the blocks in these 4 smaller projects. And there was the problem of having the 2 Overall Bill’s. As luck would have it, the Overall Bill’s had matching Sunbonnet Sue’s, so those 4 blocks would go into one quilt. Now to divide the remaining 9 blocks into ones that looked good together.
I ended up with a pink and green; light blue, yellow and red; and medium blue, gold and deep red colorways. Now to find out which sister to give each of them to. So I polled them. I gave them a list of the colorways and asked them to choose their favorite. Luck was with me on this one as they each chose a different one. Can you believe that? LOL
Now, as you may recall, I needed 4 Sunbonnet Sue blocks to make each of these wall hangings and I only have 3 for each of them. So what to do. I decided to make an embroidered block to fill in. It was all hand embroidery which I don’t really enjoy doing so had to force myself to work on them. But after about 3 months the embroidery was complete. Yay!
Now the real fun begins – quilting the quilt. Most of the quilt is ruler work with a straight ruler for the cross hatching and various sizes of circle rulers. I felt somewhat like a contortionist quilting around those circles. The rest is FMQ. I have finished the quilting on 2 of them and am working on the hanging sleeves and binding. Here is a picture of one of the quilted embroidered blocks.