Squirrels, Squirrels, Squirrels

Everywhere! Last week I wasn’t much in the mood to sew. When I went into my sewing closet, I followed a squirrel and emptied most of the fabric and some other goodies out! Sorting and folding for several hours. I now have this basket of goodies to cut into scraps. Some day soon I’ll get out my studio cutter and reduce the pile to squares and strips.

The closet looks so good now. I could not bring myself to take a before pick. Such a coward!

Not all my fabric, just yardage and batting scraps.
Packaged batting and a few more scraps.

And as often the case with a project like this, there was a bonus. I found a large piece of the gray shiny ironing board cover fabric. My handy wall board cover was getting quite picked looking. I sewed a new cover and after adding another layer of thin batting, there is now a nice new shiny cover! I prefer this type of covering – it holds the heat well and can be washed off if there’s starch residue. And, I love this little board. It has a tile at the end for placing the hot iron (hubby’s idea as he made this for me) and it folds down on the wall when done.

Then, on Friday (which just happened to be my birthday – yes, happy April Fool) we went to the city of Greensboro, an hour and a half from here. Visited a sewing machine store I’d done business with in the past and I purchased a Pfaff Passport 3.0. I have the 2.0 and use it as my retreat machine. A backup machine is always a good idea, but a couple of years ago I sold my Featherweight and have been without one. I have borrowed my sons little Janome, but that gets to be a pain for both of us. The 3.0 is almost identical to the 2.0 with just a couple of new features. Now the two will go with me when I travel.

All in all, the squirrels were all welcome. Maybe now I’ll get some sewing done! Thank you daughter for the lovely flowers.

Scrappy Trees

Some time ago I saw a posting for a quilt called “Arboretum” by Springleaf Studios. I really loved it and having a ridiculous bin full of Kaffe scraps, I decided to do it. Here it is about two years later and I am finally tackling this project. I pulled out all my pretty flowery Kaffe prints. For the trunks and branches I chose Aboriginal Dots and Millefore prints.

Pairing the fabrics was not as easy as it might seem. I auditioned more than one trunk fabric with each print and looked at it through my camera with the mono filter. It’s amazing that to the naked eye it looks as though a pairing might work, but with the mono filter, you can see the contrast vs. blending.

To the naked eye, the fabric on the right looked fine, but above you can see that it blends. The pairings took quite a while and then there was all the cutting. I now have a project box full of seedlings.

There are about 10 blocks completed. They are not a quick sew – it’s not like they can be chain pieced. Before squaring them up, I threw a few up on the design wall and have decided I like them. The trunk on one is a bit off so I’ll have to fix that but at least it’s an easy fix.

And now that spring has truly marched into the Piedmont, there is so much to rejoice about in the yard. The daffodils are now gone, but we have a red bud in bloom and so much is sprouting out of the ground. Below is a Hosta which I think if I had stayed up all night I would have been able to see it grow. And the post of Hosta? Ha! That’s what one has to do when the outdoor cats love to sun bathe in the large flower pots!

One for Spring

Melee the quilt is finished! I have, however, changed the name to “Vibrance” which is much more positive. This was made from blocks I had put away for some time. The blocks were cut up in varying shapes and sizes and put on the design wall with a minimal plan.

The center of this quilt was definitely planned.
The two ends of the quilt had the full triangles as a border.

It was back from the long arm quilter last week and I couldn’t wait to add the binding. Yes, there were extra “corners,” but they were easy. This quilt definitely has the colors and vibrance of spring. And I have been SO craving spring!

After auditioning several solid fabrics, I chose this bright blue for binding- it accentuates some of the colors of the quilt. The few extras of the blocks are on the back so no leftovers. A real win! The polka dot backing fabric adds to the fun of the quilt.

This quilt is going to live in my living room for a while. It will be a bright spot until the real Spring arrives. Do you have a favorite season? Do you display quilts that reflect that season?

Twelve Days of Christmas

Brrr and Good Morning from chilly North Carolina! The poor sea of daffodils are all weeping from this cold! Of course, for me, this means a day of sewing!

Two years ago I cam across a Twelve Days of Christmas ornament series made from felt. It was love at first site! Uncharacteristically, I ordered the full set of patterns (from Larissa Holland, mmmCrafts). At first the pattern set seemed pricey, but oh the detail, exquisite design and excellent instructions made it so worth it. I even ordered the set of felt to make them with. I printed the patterns out, organized all in a notebook and that’s as far as I got until the last couple of months. The time just seemed right to forge ahead. Here are a handful that I have completed.

The Partridge and Pear – an exciting start! I haven’t added the hangars yet as I haven’t decided what I’ll use. That can wait until the end.

The Turtle Dove. Choosing the felt colors and threads are part of the fun.

The French Hen. Seeing this one come to life was a lot of fun!

The Colly Bird now more commonly known as “Calling Bird.”

Five Golden Rings. I did struggle a bit with this one. Putting it together was not intuitive as the others were, but thankfully the instructions are excellent.

The Best Part – My daughter visited and when I showed her the finished ornaments, she was in awe. “Mom, these are family heirlooms!” Music to a mother’s ear.

The Plan – To finish one set by December and hang the set on a small separate tree that will be covered in little white lights. I then hope to make a second set and eventually give each of my children a full set.

A Bigger Memory Quilt

At Christmas I gifted several memory creations to a family. There was a lot of shirting left that they did not want back. It is my son’s girlfriend’s family, and he asked if I would please take the leftovers and make a quilt. Did I say “no” to my son? Of course not! I got on it very soon after!

There were a lot of pockets that I wanted to use. There was also a nice variety of shirt fabrics. Without a full plan, I appliqued the pockets onto gray and dappled gray non-shirt fabrics. I then set them onto my design wall with spacing between them and got my “ah hah” moment. Stars!

There was a lot of cutting, sewing, and a couple of redos. Finally, an almost what I wanted on the design wall. Sashing was clearly needed so with hubby’s help, we calculated what was needed for a pieced sashing. Lots more sewing.

I don’t always use an outside border, but this quilt clearly needed one to “hold it together.” Of course, there wasn’t anything to be had in my stash. I knew I wanted to use the burgundy color, but couldn’t find a match. The mottled blend really worked.

All the larger leftover pieces went onto the backing. I really hated to discard any of them.

I really do love this quilt and can’t wait to present it.

Linking with: NTT

Cutting Out Another Quilt

This one may very well do me in! Several years ago, after seeing a friend’s finished quilt “Jolly Tartan Quilt”, I was in love. Having scoured the internet, I found one last kit available and scooped it up. I’m finally in a good place to commit to this project. There are thirty (30) different fabrics – oh my! I’ve gone about this very methodically. The kit was put together beautifully. Each fabric was labeled with a letter to correspond with the instructions.

First, I made an enlarged copy of the cutting instructions for each fabric and then cut each out separately. Each fabric with its corresponding cutting instructions went into these nifty plastic zip lock envelopes.

The cutting has begun! I’m working slowly and intentionally. Mistakes cannot be made as it won’t be easy to find more of these specific fabrics. After cutting each fabric, I’m putting the cuts back into the envelope with its instructions inserted into the outside.

The leftover of each fabric is going into a separate bag together with it’s selvedge.

Once it’s all cut, I will use the paper plate technique for the sewing steps. Hopefully, by the end of next week, I’ll be at that point.

And yesI began this project with a nice fresh blade in my cutter. Whew!

Hint of Spring

Prepping for Retreats

This April I’ll be heading to two quilt retreats. Not having any works in progress to take with me, I got busy prepping for the first retreat. Two charity quilts were prepped – baby quilts, 36 inches by 36 inches using 3″ finished squares. I even have the backings and bindings ready to travel. It would be a hoot to come home with two completely finished projects!

My next endeavor is for the quilt pattern “Snipits.” I raided my batik bins – oh so many, many batiks. I don’t usually prewash my quilt fabrics, but I do with batiks. It softens them and it’s amazing to see the color catchers at the end of the wash.

There were 1280 pieces to cut for this quilt, varying lengths, 1 1/2″ wide. Not as bad as it sounds – I pulled out my studio cutter and went to work cutting strips, then subcutting by hand.

I like using these clear zip envelopes. The pieces are kept separated and tidy and then all in a project box.

I’m really excited about these projects and am fighting the temptation to begin while still at home. April seems forever away! Next I’ll prep a long awaited kit for the second retreat. The cutting is a bit more complex for that one, so it will probably take me a couple of days.

I’m sure I’ll find plenty more to do to keep me busy in the studio after that. Also, we’re expecting some glorious weather so maybe I’ll get to some long awaited and much needed yard work!

Ready to Go!!

Passing it On

For the last year I have done a LOT of cleaning out in my studio. A box full of fabric went to a friend who sews charity quilts and a box full of fabric and miscellaneous sewing things went to the quilt guild that meets nearby. And still so much. Again I attacked a large bin and sent a substantial amount of partial projects and some fabrics to Goodwill. I was gathering more when a friend suggested I consider giving to the Navajo Quilt Project. I was thrilled to read about this project and knew that’s where some goodies were going. Sent were:

I stuffed a medium USPS Priority Flat Rate box and sent it off.

I’m hoping the bright variety of fabrics will be enjoyed. It’s so much better than them wasting away in my storage and most probably never to be used. Yes, there’s still LOTS more – another day!

How do you tackle you overflow of fabulous goodies?

My red Camelia in bloom – in the snow!

Non Sewing Fabric Project

Fifty years later, and three fabric changes. This rocking chair was handed down to me years ago and I’ve always loved it and found it fairly comfortable. I’d changed the cushion covering three other times. Not only did I want to change the fabric again, but I wanted to make it more comfortable as the springs could be felt.

Blue fabric was an old covering.

First, I with hubby’s help, completely took the cushion apart which was not an easy task as there were a lot of tacks and staples. Fortunately, he’s the tool man and had just the right ones to make the job a little easier.

After much consideration and deliberation, we decided to eliminate the spring base. Part of me hated to take away from the originality of the chair, but ease and practicality won. We had a piece of foam custom cut at a local foam dealer near us. We decided that the cushion needed to be an inch thinner so I marked it all the way around and used my electric knife to slice off an inch – just like cutting layers in a cake!

There was an original partial label on the bottom of the chair. There’s enough still visible that I was able to look up both the manufacturer and retailer. There was some history, and was so interesting. And yes, the label is back on the underside of the chair.

Together hubby and I put the new cover on – I pulled, he stapled. Although the cushion is not as round as it originally was, I like it – and most importantly, it’s comfortable! Bonus: I used a home dec fabric from my stash!

Love my “new” rocking chair!

A Donated Dozen

The first donation of this year of Hospice quilts have been picked up! The effort of hanging all these quilts together outside is so worth it.

There were twelve quilts in this batch. Some were donated quilt tops that I quilted and bound. A couple I did from start to finish. Two were quilted by Laurie and then I added the binding. Three were donated by Dolores – I posted about those here.

There are a few flimsies for Hospice in my closet waiting to be quilted. It will probably be a while before I get to those. In the meantime, I hope all the above give warmth and joy to their recipients!

A great ending to the first month of 2022!