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.
When I was telling my mom in January about my weekly, monthly, and bi-monthly goals, she was quick to remind me that February is a short month. I could hear the doubt in her voice that I would not make my goals in the short month, but I assured her that I could and would make it and make it I did. Woohoo!
My weekly goal of three Quad Log Cabin blocks was met each week with 12 blocks completed. I now have a total of 59 blocks stored in a nice big white box waiting for the remaining 133 blocks to be completed. And just in case you didn’t see my first post about these blocks, they finish at 4″.
I finished another charity quilt that is a twin to a quilt I finished in December. Oh, and I’m excited to report that I’ve found a local organization that will take my quilts and see that needy families will get them. I now have 5 quilts and a baby blanket ready to go. Just need to make a call and find out when I can drop them off.
The two-month goal of completing a doll clothes pattern is not as easy for me to meet for a couple of reasons:
- I tend to procrastinate on them since they are basically a toy and not an item that someone needs. I’ve been working on the current pattern project for over a year. I say working on it, but I really mean that it sat in a box in my sewing studio for most of that time. Ya think that may be the definition for procrastination? LOL The quilts take priority over doll clothes patterns as do handmade gifts for family members as their birthdays roll around. In other words, creating doll patterns is low man on the totem pole.
- Once the pattern is with the testers, I am at their mercy as to when they can fit it into their busy work and family schedules. I have three testers that I am so lucky to have, and two of them were ill for a couple of weeks shortly after they received the pattern. They emailed with apologies for the delay, but there is no need for them to apologize. This stuff happens. I’m just glad they are feeling better and getting back to normal. The third tester is working on a part that just simply takes longer. She has already sent me some corrections. This particular pattern is a coat pattern and will not be released until late summer or early fall. It’s a seasonal thing.
iQuilt.com had a sale on their video classes, and I purchased one by Lisa Calle. As I watched the introduction for the class, I learned about the supplies I needed for the class. First, I needed a quilt top ready to be quilted. I have a couple of quilt tops hanging in the sewing studio closet neither of which is appropriate for this particular class. So I got busy and made a disappearing 9-patch which will eventually be auctioned off at our family reunion to raise funds for the next reunion.
Then when I got into the first lesson, I felt immediately overwhelmed with the expanse of this quilt top and quickly realized that I needed something smaller. Just so happened that I made too many blocks for the disappearing 9-patch and had four blocks leftover. So I made this little quilt top which is as you can see a section of the larger quilt top but in my head not so overwhelming. Since I’m donating the larger disappearing 9-patch quilt, this smaller one will be a nice memento to hang on my wall. Doesn’t it just make you think of spring?
Since this was the short month, I didn’t get any extra fun things worked in so am looking forward to maybe an extra project or two thrown in for measure during March.
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: