Monday, November 30, 2020

First Gifts of Chirstmas

Still fairly quiet around here, sewing down bindings and doing some embroidery. I've completed the little book of shapes I've been stitching for our new granddaughter. I figure I can share it here since she's not likely to see it before Christmas morning. 😁

The three basic shapes are appliquΓ©d to the cover with blanket stitching. The cover ended up a bit short of the pages in spite of what I thought were careful measurements. 

The cover isn't stitched any further, just more blanket stitching to secure it to the first and last pages. Well, and a little bit of backstitching on the back cover. I don't know whether you can see it or not.

I just repeated the shapes from the front cover, although not in the same positions! The cover panel and the pages are all backed with a layer of cotton batting so the whole book is soft and squishy. Also washable. πŸ˜‰

The first and second pages:

The circle is chain stitches and blanket stitches surrounded by Colonial knots. The large triangles are done in stem stitch and the little ones in the background were made with fly stitches and a single straight stitch.

The third and fourth pages:

The squares are more stem stitch with seed stitching in the background. The octagon was also stem stitched, then fill in with straight stitches. I used 8 pointed star stitches for the background. 

And the last two pages:

I believe the heart shape was back stitched, then decorated with fly stitches and more back stitching. I filled the background with cross stitches to represent all the kisses I would give the baby if it were possible for me to be with her. The last page has French knots scattered around the inscription. Overall I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. 😊

The quilt I built during advent last year has been finished, laundered, and gifted to our son and daughter-in-law so they can use it during advent this year. 

Here's a close-up of the quilting:

And finally, we just gave this quilt to our daughter and her family for the Christmas season:

I believe the center panel is a Susan Winget design. It was a freebie, partly because of the color shift across the panel. Here are a couple of detail shots:

James did custom quilting in the panel and then stippled around the blocks. It's a very cheerful quilt if I do say so myself. And I do enjoy fussy cutting imagery to be featured in the star blocks!  

The next big job is to get the house decorated for the season. We never really go over the top like some folks. I hardly decorated for Halloween this year so I would like to do better for this final holiday season in hopes of a much better 2021. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Still Here

 The week following my last post was, unfortunately, one of those that got the better of me. What little sewing I did was done by hand, and it didn't seem like all that much frankly. I finished up a little heart ornament. This is the front:

And the back:

The front was mostly stitched when I picked it up again this past week but the decoration on the back is all new. And the front is blanket stitched to the back - that's an accomplishment in and of itself! 

I sewed down some binding on the Return of the Swans quilt.

That purple back is an extra wide cotton. For some reason it was very stiff even after laundering and quilting. Between that and the batik binding sewing it down was pretty hard on my finger tips. I've never been comfortable using a thimble but this was one time when it would have been very helpful. 

Oh, and I started on this little scissor case kit:

I do like the Stitch & Zip kits for mindless stitching, and mindless was what I needed most this past week. 

Things are looking up so far this week although I don't feel I've been very productive yet. Baby steps are what's required. If I don't learn anything else from my chronic afflictions, I certainly ought to learn patience and how to pace myself. 😏

Sunday, November 15, 2020

A Scrap Happy Stitch Along

Scrap Happy Day falls on the 15th of every month, hosted by Kate in Australia and Gun in Sweden. In the Stitch Along that Avis administrates we check in with our progress every three weeks. Once in a while those events fall on the very same day, as is the case today. So let's see, where to begin? 

I completed the background of the needlepoint canvas I showed in my last SAL post.

Now I have to decide whether to lay some cobweb stitches in the upper corners on top of the purple or not. I like the idea. And someone suggested I add a spider at the end of a cobweb thread. I also like that idea a lot. I probably have appropriate thread if only I would look for it. It's just a matter of making the decision to take action. There's plenty of time between now and next Halloween, perfect for procrastinating. πŸ˜‰

In terms of putting my scraps to good use for Scrap Happy Day, I've made these 6" Sticks blocks...

And these 8" stars.

They go into my collection of orphan blocks in the Parts Department until I have the creative energy to build a quilt out of them. 

Now, to combine Scrap Happy and a new project for the SAL I give you my 12 Pages of Christmas book project. This is being hosted by Anne Brooke on Instagram (hannemadebyanne, #sew4thesoul12pagesofchristmas). This will be a brief project for the SAL because it's meant to wrap up prior to Christmas. The idea is to find a tin for your book to live in when it's completed and then make a fabric book to fit in the tin. I chose this Reed's ginger candies tin, which is about 4" square. It was practically the only tin in my collection that didn't already have something in it!

Because this is such a small project in size I will be using scrap bits exclusively. The prompt for the first page was to cut three circles in graduated sizes and play with our favorite stitches. Below is my first page and the book's signatures stitched together.

Page two was to include a cluster of French knots, a running stitch grid of some kind, and groups of three stitches somewhere within the grid. My groups of three stitches are fly stitches.

Not the best picture in terms of color representation but it's what I've got. As we make these little collages they get stitched to a page in the book. Anne is using a piece of a cutter quilt for the cover of her book. I haven't decided yet what I will do for a cover.

The third prompt was to weave strips of fabric and/or trims into a foundation, secure them with stitching, and add three buttons.

This project is perfect for using some of the strips I've saved that are not 1.5" wide (the smallest size I generally piece with) but seem too big to throw away. This weaving was a bit fiddly for my taste but I do enjoy playing with my needle and threads. 😊

Now for the links. The other stitchers in this SAL can be reached through these links:


Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, MaryMargaret, Renee, 

Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie, AJ, Jenny, Laura, Cathie, Linda, Helen

And the links for the bloggers using their scrap materials (not all of them fabric and thread!) are below: 

Ann, and welcome to Kym!

Monday, November 9, 2020


 I meant to write a new post before now but I got a little distracted. It would be hard not to have been distracted by the Presidential election in the United States in recent days. There have been other significant events in the world at large as well. More to the point, it seems like every time I have a good day it's followed by two bad ones. Not a routine I would recommend to anyone. One learns to cope, but it does get tiresome. 😏

So when I was feeling well during the past week I made more Tessellating Star blocks (see previous post)

Until the fabric I had on hand was reduced to scraps too small to cut more of the strips required to make these blocks. It didn't go as far as I'd expected so I had to make a decision: try to find new fabric in those colors or just call it a lap quilt and be done? Given that the whole point was to use those prints up, and that green is not my favorite shade of the hue, the answer seemed obvious. Lap quilt. 

It helped when James came in, eyed the blocks, and declared that he likes the pattern they create. He also said he could really use a smaller quilt (he only has bed quilts so far). That sealed the deal. It will be his when it's finished. 😊

I've continued to sew the off-cut triangles into tiny Broken Dishes blocks. They've been good for leaders & enders. Not sure what will happen with them yet though.

Another (welcome) distraction has been a new hand stitching project prompted by Anne Brooke on YouTube and Instagram. She set up a slow stitch project back in the spring when the UK went into their first lockdown. At the time it was meant to last the whole year. Since then she's given us two additional projects to take on if we are so inclined. I watched the second one develop via YouTube while I worked on my version of the first project. Now she has instigated a third project as European nations go into lockdown once again. This one has only appeared on Instagram so far. That has forced me to activate my Instagram account and actually begin to learn how to use it. I've managed to create a feed that consists of pretty pictures and inspiration. It has become my go-to place in spare moments. I think I'll hold off sharing the progress I've made on the current project until the upcoming SAL post (15 Nov.). Or maybe in another post here mid-week. If I can avoid further toxic exposures... πŸ˜’

Monday, November 2, 2020

Up in the Air

 I've finally put the border on Return of the Swans to bring it up to official twin size.

The green is not as close a match as I hoped/expected but it will do. I thought I would back this with a black tone on tone but couldn't find anything I liked well enough for the money I was willing to spend. Settled on a very nice purple instead. If I have enough of the lime greens for the binding it will look spectacular against the purple. 😁

I've started another set of blocks out of older prints from my stash too.

These are twelve inch Tessellating Stars, a popular block for friendship requests in my local quilt guild. It was just such an request that inspired this new endeavor. Of course, now that I've committed to this color palette it's looking like I won't have enough of that particular green for 30 blocks. I'll figure something out - eventually. 

More scrap blocks are being created between seams. I might be building a new quilt out of the Parts Dept. soon. πŸ˜‰