August Blogger Bundle with Carole Carter

The fair is over, school started today, and I am going to sew!!!  How about you?  Before I head into the sewing room, I want to share the August Blogger Bundle with you.  It is a lovely collection of colors and prints that say goodbye summer and hello fall!

august blogger bundle

This bundle was curated by Carole Carter of From My Carolina Home. I am trying to remember how I came across Carole’s blog.  I would have to guess it was through one of the many link up parties that happen each week.  Regardless of how, I have been reading this blog for quite a long time. Carole is such a devoted blogger and one of the things I enjoy most about her blog is the variety of topics she includes.  There are always seasonal posts about her projects, quilt alongs, tutorials, home decorations, her garden and, one of my personal favorites, her tablescapes.  I don’t know if I have mentioned it before now, but I LOVE having lots of different dishes to use on the table.  I have Spode Christmas dishes, my Franciscan Rose dishes from my mother-in-law, a set of different white dishes that I have purchased at thrift stores, china from years ago and more.  The only reason I don’t have more than I do is because I ran out of cabinet space (plus my husband would think I was absolutely nuts – he doesn’t understand my love of dishes!!J) But Carole does!  To catch a glimpse of some of her pretty table settings click here.

august blogger bundle

The August Blogger Bundle is just gorgeous!

Ok, back to this fun bundle. Carole and I went back and forth quite a bit as she picked her fabrics. It was great fun to work with her and see her thought process as she selected fabrics.  She ended up with this great bundle that includes Perennial Optimism as the focal fabric.  This floral is from Sharon Holland’s Bountiful line and is a favorite of mine! She also added two different textured solids.  I am a big fan of textured solids as they add interest and feel like ‘more than a solid and less than a print’.  There is a large selection of them in my shop. Carole has taken this bundle and made a lovely set of placemats. Today she will be posting about the construction of her placemats so be sure to go take a peek. Going forward this week she also plans to post about a project where she used the ‘leftovers’ from making the placemats and than finally a tablescape she set with them – I am looking forward to that post!! Also, Carole is hosting a giveaway for one lucky winner (US only) to receive a fat quarter bundle of her collection.  Be sure to enter on her blog!

From now until Sunday, August 19th,  this bundle is 20% off in my shop.  Take advantage and grab one now – I know you will love making something with it.  Thank you Carole for working with me on this and creating such a nicely curated collection of fabrics!

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On Raising Show Pigs

As you know by now, my daughter raises show pigs, trains them, loves them and then shows them at the fair.  After showing them at the fair, she spends time in the swine exhibit letting children ask questions and pet her pig.  On the last day of the fair, she shows her pig one more time during a huge auction and people from the community bid on her pig.  The highest bidder then works directly with a butcher and ultimately ends up with a lot of pork in his or her freezer to eat all year long. Lots of people ask why she does this?  How can she take care of this animal and love it and then ‘let it be killed’.

Julia and I talked a lot about this a few days ago.  Actually, we have talked about it many times.  But coming toward the end of her time with Olive has been hard.  There were lots of tears a few days ago as she grieved and experienced tremendous sadness that Olive would be gone.

I thought it might be good to explain, as her parents, why my husband and I are ok with this process.  First of all, I should say it is really difficult.  My husband and I got really attached to Julia’s pigs last year and after all was said and done, we thought – ‘nope, we aren’t doing this again – it was too hard on us and on Julia’.  After cleaning up the pen and putting away the supplies, we assumed that was one for the books – over and done.  But then around November (8 weeks later) Julia was talking about getting another piglet in the spring.  We asked her if she was sure she wanted to go through the whole process again.  She said yes – it had been such a good experience and she wanted to have another go at it.  Her logical mind explained – Now that I know how to do it, and the pen is built and we have all the gear, I want to do it again.  Ok – we agreed, you can buy another piglet.

Bringing Olive home.

Let’s look at some of the reasons we support this desire of  Julia’s.  First of all, our family eats meat.  As meat eaters, we have to acknowledge the source of our protein.  Animals are raised and then slaughtered on a mass scale for people to purchase and feed to their families.

As a teen, raising a show pig, Julia works very, very hard to balance the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats when feeding her pig.  She understands how to build muscle (the meat from the animal) and fat (where the flavor comes from – think bacon!) She knows how much to feed her pig each day (basically giving a pig three pounds of food a day equates to roughly one pound of weight gain each day).  She balances that all out and decides how much she wants her pig to weigh by the end of the summer and feeds accordingly.   She adjusts this as she sees if the pig is gaining too much or too little so that she is a good size by fair time. Toward the end of summer, she adds in oats and/or corn to “finish” her feeding of the pig. This adds a layer of fat to the meat which is needed or the pork will be too lean and dry. Julia’s goal is to provide a quality meat to whomever buys her pig. There is a lot of science involved in all of this and she really likes this process.

Even more important than the science of raising an animal, is the huge amount of responsibility it requires. Raising a show pig is much more than taking care of a family pet.  After investing a lot of her own money in a show pig,  we want Julia to be fully responsible for taking care of this animal; it is her project and her financial investment. We are supportive and we will help but she does 99% of the work.  If she is gone for a day, I am happy to feed her pig.  But on a daily basis she is up by 7am, no sleeping in for this girl. She feeds her pig twice each day and takes her out of the pen to exercise.

Daily walks with Olive to train her to remain at Julia’s side.

She trains her pig to respond to her show stick and walk in a certain fashion so she can eventually be ready to show in a ring.  If there are issues, Julia is the one to notice them and take care of them.  Pigs are really sensitive to their environment and change is stressful. For instance, when bringing a new pig home Julia is careful to feed it the same food the breeder has been giving it.  She knows that a change in water or feed will probably give the pig intestinal problems.  To avoid this she uses a lot of probiotics to help her animal’s gut flora until it adjusts to the new feed and/or water.

Showing Olive in the ring before the judge.

As time goes on, Julia needs to exercise and train her pig at length to build muscle.  She has learned to look at her animal’s structure and decide if the muscle is developing appropriately. Toward the end of summer, Julia adds additional training time to build stamina so her animal can be in a show ring for a long period without feeling stressed.

A second place ribbon for Showmanship and my very hot, sweaty, tired daughter.

It is a good feeling when all of your hard work shows up in the ring and the livestock judge sees the results of all of the time spent training.

When problems arise, and they always do, we watch Julia and let her try to find the solution.  Examples of this might be running out of feed because she didn’t keep track of how much was left.  If something like this happens, I don’t rescue her – she needs to take time and make a trip to the feed store – even if it isn’t convenient for her.  When Olive developed a huge rash early in the spring, Julia was the one to call her breeder, have him come out and take a look and then go out and spend $50 on creams and sprays to soothe the rash.  She was the one to go out multiple times daily to apply the ointments all over her itchy pig.  I didn’t do any of this for her, not because I didn’t want to but because she wanted to.  She takes care of her animal.

Bath time for Olive.

As parents, my husband and I feel the responsibility for this project is invaluable for our teenager. It is truly her summer job and it provides income for her (more on that in a minute). Julia is basically an only child as her brothers are quite a bit older than her and don’t live at home.  Not having a younger sibling to help care for, this provides similar tasks of caring for another being. It is important when raising children to be sure they have the opportunity to care for something other than themselves.  Raising a pig teaches our daughter to care for and respond to the needs of this animal.

Bittersweet goodbyes.

Here is the hard part though.  Caring for and loving on this animal for five months means attachment.  It means it will be really difficult to give her up at the end of summer.  When our family talks about this we acknowledge that piglets are raised for meat.  We talk about how the majority of pigs live six to seven months at most, unless they have been raised as breeders and live on a farm to provide more piglets.  We talk about the life provided to piglets on commercial farms where they have to raise hundreds and hundreds of pigs to provide meat for a meat-eating society.

One more belly rub.

Those pigs are not loved, petted and  played with on a daily basis. No one goes out and talks to them (pigs are incredibly social and vocal with their owners). No one discovers the piglet loves fresh peaches and cuts them up and feeds bits to them for a treat. No one finds out that the piglet loves to be scratched on the belly and thus gives that pig the best belly rubs ever each day. But when Julia raises a piglet all of this happens.  The pig lives such a sweet life while on our property being cared for by a person. We feel it is a great benefit for a pig to live this sort of life as compared to life in a commercial operation.

Showing Olive to prospective buyers at the Livestock Auction

Financially a pig is expensive to raise.  It is like a small version of a commercial farm.  Julia pays $350 for the pig.  We keep track of all of the expenses so she knows what it really costs to do this.  This is one lesson many families fail to teach.  So many parents buy the pig and the feed, pay for the vet expenses and the equipment needed.  Then when auction time comes, the child receives this huge check after the animal is sold and says wow, I just earned $1200.00!  But is this real life?  Nope, not in our parental opinion.  Julia pays for her pig and we help her with the food expense.  But she knows exactly how much all of this costs and she knows when she gets that check, she will pay us for a large portion of the expense.  That way she learns what her “net income” is from her business.

Finally, and some might argue with this,  we feel the sadness Julia experiences at the loss of her pig is also valuable. There is a quote by Carl Jung (see above) that illustrates the value of Julia loving her pig so much that she experiences grief or sadness when losing the animal. Protecting our children from negative experiences does them no favors. It is by experiencing difficult emotions, such as sadness, anger, or frustration and then working through it that humans learn to deal with problems.  It is also how a person develops confidence that they can handle the difficult parts of life. Experiencing sadness and grief makes a person hugely appreciative of happiness and joy. When parents don’t allow a child to do something that might cause distress or tears because they want to protect her, they are doing a disservice.

I had mentioned that Julia had a really tough day on Friday afternoon.  She cried and was terribly sad.  We talked and I rubbed her back.  She cried a bit more.  Then we went to play with Olive.  After a while, Julia’s tears were done.  She looked at me and said, “I feel better, this is how it is supposed to be. Olive isn’t my pet.” On the last day with Olive (yesterday) Julia gave her so many belly rubs.  She gave her a huge dinner (since eating is Olive’s very favorite activity!).  We went and had a cinnamon roll out on the fairgrounds and then came back for one more good bye with Olive.

Spoon feeding Olive vanilla ice cream. She LOVED it.

Julia brought her vanilla ice cream and spoon fed it to her.  Olive went wild for this.  A few more belly rubs and then Julia told Olive thank you for being such a good buddy. (She called Olive ‘buddy’ quite a lot.). She told Olive she loved her and then we left.  It was a good summer, for Olive and Julia both.

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Busy Week

I am popping in to say hello!  It is a really busy time around here.  Julia is quite independent as far as taking care of Olive but I enjoy participating a bit with the fair process.  Over the weekend Julia and Ray had to get the pen ready at the fairgrounds.  Julia is showing “independent” this year which means she isn’t a part of a 4-H group or an FFA program.  The academically rigorous high school she goes to makes it really difficult to participate in those other programs. Since she worked with 4-H last year, we talked to her leader and she was positive Julia could handle this as an independent.

However this means it was up to her and Ray to get water piped into Olive’s pen.

Also, she had to make her own decorations.  For this, she made a poster with a cute 8×10 picture of her and Olive. I made a bunting using pig fabric that Julia found on-line.  The pen looks cute.

Olive moved in on Monday morning.  She didn’t enjoy the eight mile ride to the fairgrounds and ended up cutting her snout on something in the trailer.  Poor girl.  Julia washed the cut and put betadine on it.  She was told to use Desitin ointment to help it heal and it looks much better even two days later.

Today was the first day of the county fair. I think this picture of this cute little guy visiting with Olive is just adorable.  So many kiddos don’t have an opportunity to see farm animals up close and personal.  Julia was hanging out with Olive for several hours this afternoon answering questions and helping children pet her.  Fortunately Olive is so social and she loves to be handled. Makes it more fun for the kids that want to touch her.

Tomorrow is a big day for Julia.  She will compete in two areas with Olive.  One is called Market Class.  This competition judges the animal’s structure and development.   Doing well  here means the animal’s owner chose well when buying the piglet and was feeding her correctly and exercising her to achieve good muscle structure.  The second competition is Showmanship.  Here is where all of those walks that Julia did with Olive will pay off.  Olive is fairly good about responding to Julia.  It is anyone’s guess though because Olive and Julia have been working together in a familiar environment without the chaos of lots of pigs being in one show ring.  Hopefully Olive will respond to Julia.  Sometimes a pig will just go bonkers and run around trying to play with the other animals.  Other times a pig will become agitated and can be snarly with other animals out of fear.  Olive won’t do this – she is so sociable.  However, running around and trying to play?  Yep, that one could happen.  🙂

On another subject, our vegetable garden is just going crazy and we are inundated with tomatoes and cucumbers.  Tonight for dinner I am making spaghetti.  I wanted to make a meat sauce with the billion tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter.  To do this, I processed the smaller tomatoes (including quite a few cherry tomatoes) in the food processor. I also wanted some big chunky pieces of tomato in the sauce. But that would mean peeling some tomatoes or I would end up with big pieces of tomato skin floating in the sauce.

I didn’t feel like doing the whole deal where you dip tomatoes in boiling water and then ice water so the skins slip off.  Instead I cheated and it worked great!! Once I had the sauce mostly there, I put several washed, whole tomatoes right on top of the sauce and covered the pot.  I left the tomatoes to steam for a few minutes.  Using tongs, I took the tomatoes out and put them on a plate to cool a bit.  The skins slipped right off!  Hurray.

I cut them into chunks and put them in the sauce.  It smells so yummy in the kitchen right now.  Dinner is almost ready!

I am working on a cute dress for my grand daughter this week.  I will share it soon as I can.  Tomorrow I will be at the fair with Julia all day and then I am working a shift in the quilt exhibit.  I’ll let you know how Olive does.  Cross your fingers for Julia!!

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Back on Track

July was one of those non-stop months. We were on vacation from the 1st to the 12th. Came home and got caught up on household and gardening chores and then hosted a bridal shower last weekend. Of course amidst all of this there was the usual number of migraines. Because of all of this, I did very little sewing and not a whole lot of blogging.

Yesterday I found a little bit of time and did the July piecing for Tish’s Fireburst Mystery Quilt. Fortunately, the piecing for July consisted of a number of flying geese blocks in different combinations and one little square in a square block. I like the fabric combinations and look forward to the instructions for August. I chose to make the baby size quilt and these fabrics will be so sweet when assembled.

Speaking of which, hurray for August! I am really determined to get back on track. I think this is doable as we have very little planned for this month. I am eager to get back to my routine and spend some time in the sewing room.

I just basted my Twisted quilt. The dining room table had the extra leaf in it so I took advantage of that space and got the layers pinned. I am vacillating between a few ideas for quilting it though. I need to do some doodling and make a few decisions.

Remember I mentioned I was hosting a bridal shower over the weekend? It was a lot of fun and I think the bride-to-be enjoyed it. Four of my sisters were able to come to the shower which was so nice.

One of my sisters, Cathy, brought me a big bag of fabric scraps! I have talked about my sisters’ shop, 6 Monkeys and Co, where they offer handmade children’s clothing. Because neither of my sisters do any quilting, they tend to throw away any remaining scraps after cutting out their project. (While I am talking about my sisters, I need to do a little shameless promotion! Their sewing skills are amazing and it really shows in the sweet dresses, shorts, shirts and hats they make. If you have kids or grandchildren, you need to check out their shop!)

Cathy offered to start saving scraps for me and now I have all sorts of fun children’s prints to play with!

I am itching to cut these into usable pieces but for now they are going to be organized by color and then they will have to wait just a bit.

Finally, Julia is getting ready for the fair which is next week. Saturday morning Julia gave Olive a bath because she needed a picture of herself and Olive to hang on a sign above Olive’s pen.  It was rather comical trying to get a decent shot because Olive wasn’t having any of it.  Finally, bribed with an extra meal, she cooperated.  Silly pig.

Purple Pansies Table Runner

When I was in Vermont at the beginning of the month, I noticed the table runner on my daughter-in-law’s dining table.  It was really simple and didn’t have any batting in it.  I liked the flexible, casual look of it.  I decided to give it a try and grabbed my stack of charm squares.

I have a rather large collection of Benartex charms. Have you heard of the Fabric Club at Benartex?  (No affiliation – I just think it is kind of a fun subscription.). For $25 per year, Benartex sends the subscriber a newsletter and a set of 5″ squares from a new fabric line every three months.  It is a rather inexpensive and fun way to see what is new with Benartex. Each set has a minimum of 20 charms, some have more than that depending on how many pieces are in the line.) The newsletter usually has a suggestion or pattern for the charms.  I did this for quite a while (maybe two years?) and as a result have a number of these sets.

For this project, I decided to use a set called Pansy Noir.  It is a rich collection of shades of purple, gold, black and green. Using a set of charms like this can be satisfying because the designer has already made sure there are a variety of scales and values in the set.

In this set, I love the contrast of sweet pansies, such a simple flower, with the rich swirls of purple and black. How do these designers come up with this?

I didn’t add anything to the set and made the runner with 21 of the 22 squares in the pack.  So it measures about 14 x 30 inches. Using a silvery Sulky thread, I stitched straight lines going down the column (at the seam line) and across the rows (again at the seam) to hold it together when laundered. No binding makes this a 1/2 hour project.  The backing is a pale lavender fabric from my stash.

This was a fun project to whip up during a time when I am getting very little sewing done. This summer I have noticed a large uptick in the orders rate at my shop. It is really rewarding to see this happening now that I have been in business for 18 months.  Of course it takes away from my sewing time which is a trade off!

Otherwise, summer has been busy with house projects, gardening and taking pictures of Julia and Olive!!  The fair is in two weeks so Julia has been really focused on training Olive for showing her at the fair.

Julia and Olive walking in the yard.

To increase stamina and muscle mass, Julia has been taking Olive on long walks.  For much of the summer she would walk Olive around the perimeter of our property which was a nice long walk.  Well, Olive is a very smart pig and learned that route quickly.  Soon as she knew she was close to the end of the route, Olive would take off running to the pen (her source of food and mud!)

Strolling down the street!

Julia decided to mix it up and started walking her in our neighborhood, much to our neighbor’s delight.  It is hysterical to see Julia and a pig strolling up our driveway and down the road. But Olive does really well.  She is sometimes a bit startled by a horse or dog and it is nice to see Julia can redirect her when this happens.  I think they will do well together in the show ring.

Heading down the driveway for home.

This weekend I am hosting a bridal shower for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law.  Her parents are coming up here for the weekend which will be fun. I have met her mother only once and haven’t yet met her father.  We will enjoy getting to know each other.  Once again, another no-sew weekend – Such is life!  Whatever your plans are, enjoy your weekend.

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Friday Finish – Chambray Pants

Happy Friday!  Before I get going here, I want to thank everyone for the great response to the July Blogger Bundle.  It is a beauty and I am happy to announce that Kathie L will be receiving a bundle in the mail soon.  She won the drawing for the giveaway!  Yay for happy, squishy mail – it’s coming your way Kathie!

I actually do have a finish to share – not a quilt finish but something to check off the WIP list nonetheless.  I began making a pair of pants in May – Well, I actually bought the fabric over a year ago and it sat on a shelf until May.  But then Me Made May rolled around and I got excited about making some clothes.  I got these nearly done in May – they only needed to be hemmed.  It took me until mid-July to hem them.  Why??  Now it is too hot to wear pants.  Silly me.

So these were a very easy make. The pattern for these was Vogue 7294.  The pattern was from 2001 and the pants had a high waisted cut.  I took a few inches out of the rise so they would hit me below the waist. There isn’t a waistband – just a simple elastic waist.  I don’t tuck my shirts in so this won’t be an issue.

The biggest issue I ran into was the fabric I chose for the pants.  It was not a good choice at all!  It is too light weight and it frayed continually, making it a pain to sew with. I did the best I could, making sure to finish each seam with a zig zag stitch to help with the fraying.  My plan is to hand wash these (in the washing machine – my washer has a “hand wash” cycle) and hang them to dry.  I really have no idea how long they will last?  For all I know, they may disintegrate upon first wearing.

Chambray Pants

I was concerned that this lightweight material would make the pants look like pajamas.  To be honest, they do look a lot like pj’s.  But I like them anyway.  They are comfortable and they have pockets in them!!  However, I am afraid to use said pockets because of the lightweight, easily frayed fabric.  Yikes, these are going to be some high maintenance pants!  😉

In closing, does anyone need a good book to read over the summer?  I just finished two and both of them were excellent.  The first one was The Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler.  I am a huge fan of Anne Tyler’s.  She writes such great stories about regular people. I love how she develops her characters. The reader always comes away feeling like he really knows those people.  Great read!

The second book I read is the The Book of Unknown Americans, by Cristina Henriquez.  It iss a timely novel about several families who came to the US from various countries such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.  The relationships between the families, their history, and a love story between two young teens make this book hard to put down. Have you read anything good lately?  I am ready for another book.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  We are having lunch with my in-laws on Saturday and then we will be home all day Sunday.  Supposedly it isn’t supposed to be over 90 degrees this weekend so that will be a nice break from this crazy heatwave.

Linking to lots of linky parties.  See them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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July Blogger Bundle with Kim Soper

It is time for another Blogger Bundle and I am so excited to share it with you!  The July bundle was curated by Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios.  Kim is an award-winning modern quilter, a blogger as well as being a stay at home mom to three boys. Once an attorney, she decided to stay home to raise her boys and like many of us, she looked to sewing to fulfill her creative need.  Kim’s “about me” page is great and I encourage you to take a minute and read it, if you haven’t already.  I especially like the part about how she came to name her business Leland Ave Studios.

Lincoln, designed, pieced and quilted by Kim Soper.

You might know Kim from her Mr. Lincoln quilt which was awarded People’s Choice at the 2017 Quilt Con. That is how I first became aware of Kim and her work.  I’d like to share the blurb she wrote when she submitted this quilt:

This quilt (passion project!) developed out of a desire to create an entirely improv-pieced, recognizable image without use of template, paper-piecing or applique. Using an iconic image of Lincoln that had been converted to WPAP (vector-based geometric pop art) by Ihsan Ekaputra, it was constructed using 6-inch blocks. The backing fabric is a repeating pattern of the original image of Lincoln. The binding is a nod to the vector-style of art on which the quilt is based. The end result is a quilt that is both identifiable as the intended image, and distinctly my own.

To read more about the process she used to design and create this gorgeous quilt, click here.

Following that, I began following her to read the weekly interviews she has been posting since the beginning of 2018 in The Creativity Project.  Oh my gosh – talk about a dose of weekly inspiration.  The series is wonderful and while I have enjoyed reading interviews with creatives I am already familiar with, I have really loved meeting many whom I hadn’t been familiar with.  I am grateful for the work Kim has done to create this weekly series.

Suffice it to say, Kim is a huge inspiration to many in the quilting and creative community.  I was so happy when she agreed to participate in my Blogger Bundle series this year.  Want to see the bundle she curated?

Kim wanted a modern collection that had a summer vibe. I think she definitely got it!  Both of the florals are from a new collection called Indigo & Aster by BariJ. She pulled in more fuchsia with the piece on the far left from Alison Glass’ 76 collection.  To keep it bright and summery, Kim added Squared Elements in Mandarin, from Art Gallery Fabric.  Finally, she chose a neutral and added the black and white polka dot made by Red Rooster Fabric.  This might be my favorite move on Kim’s part.  It moves the collection away from the femininity of the floral and adds whimsy to the bundle.

Once again, I have so enjoyed working with a quilt artist and seeing how she gathers fabrics from various lines in my shop and uses them together.  Kim made a really cool, non-quilty, project with this bundle.  Head on over to see what she made.  I just love it!

As before, this bundle (in either fat quarters or 1/2 yard cuts) is on sale in my shop for 20% off today through Wednesday of this week.  Also, there is a giveaway – one lucky winner will receive a fat quarter bundle to use however they please.  Normally the blogger who curated the bundle hosts the giveaway but this time, I will host it.  Kim is getting ready to go on a vacation to Italy with her family and we decided it would work best if I held the giveaway. She has enough going on getting ready for their trip.

To enter, please comment and tell me what you think of the bundle – why do these five fabrics work so well together?  Also, to be eligible to win, remember to follow me on here the blog, or on Instagram or Facebook. The giveaway is open through Wednesday of this week, just like the sale!  If you purchase a bundle and then win one (which has happened in the past) I will refund your purchase price of the bundle.

Thanks so much to Kim for the bundle she has curated for my shop.  I hope you are enjoying these collections as much as I am!!

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Designs by Heidi – Guest Post

Hi Everyone – I am back from our back-to-back vacations! Both trips were awesome but as always, home sweet home!  After a relaxing time away, I am ready to jump back into my blogging/sewing/shop routine.  Today I have a really special post to share with you.  I would like to introduce you to Heidi Emmett.  Heidi is a really talented pattern designer and I am proud to carry a number of her patterns in my pattern shop. To do justice to this introduction, I need to tell you a bit more!  Heidi lives in Grass Valley and we are both in the same quilt guild.  Heidi makes both quilts and garments, designs clothing patterns, teaches sewing classes at an annual retreat up at Lake Tahoe and is generally a creative maker at heart.  She also owned a brick and mortar fabric shop in Grass Valley for quite a few years.  She is a person with what seems like unlimited energy and is constantly making or designing something.  About a month ago, she and I chatted at a guild meeting and we were brainstorming ways we could work together since we both have so many common interests.  As a result, I have begun to carry her patterns in my pattern shop.  She had purchased some of the Sarah Golden linen blends from me at the quilt show last May with the intent to make one of her Terrific Tabard vests. Today she will share the vest she made and explain the process she used to make it. I hope you enjoy the post.   If you have any questions for Heidi, be sure to leave them in the comments and she will post a reply to you there. I hope you all will enjoy getting to know Heidi as she is a creative force to be reckoned with!

Hello! Designs by Heidi is who and what I am. I have a line of “Art to Wear” patterns. You can find some of my patterns for sale at Needle and Foot. A BIG thank you to Bernie, for inviting me show off some of the fabric she sells using one of my patterns, Terrific Tabard.

I’m going for a whole new look (than the cover shot above) with the linen blends I got from Bernie’s Etsy shop. Let me show you what I did to create a sophisticated and smooth Terrific Tabard. I started with two linen blends from Bernie. I absolutely LOVE linen! And these two linens by Andover Fabric are neutrals that will work with ANY  other palette of colors. The piece with the columns of lines is called Lines (appropriate enough!) and the piece with the checked pattern is called Squares on Tailored Cloth.  Both were designed by Sarah Golden and are available in Bernie’s shop.

tabard

I went to Quilt Market in Portland, OR this past May and was able to buy a modern black and brightly colored panel by Marcia Derse. This panel won’t be available in stores until October. I immediately thought to use it as a part of my Tabard vest!

Fortunately, I also snagged some very small pieces from Marcia’s newest collection, again available in October.  The linen fabric is just perfect with these prints.

Most of my patterns have tissue pattern pieces included (I always include a range of sizes in one pattern). Notice I have taken a lengthwise fold in some of the tissue (closest to the side, not the center). I did this because I want to insert some improv strips to add color and visual interest to the vest.

I love lots of bold color and plan to use bits of the smaller Marcia Derse pieces to create a long strip of fabric.  Remember when I cut out this piece I pinched out some, so now I have to fill it back in with something.

I first cut the panel apart near the pinched out area all the way up through the shoulder area. Tip: Always cut wherever you pinch it out, then you can replace that space with your accent fabric and bring it back to size again. It is a fun and creative trick.

I cut up a few of those colorful pieces and sewed them together and then stitched them to either side of what I cut apart.

Always line up other seams and plan to have extra on either end to trim off. I do not like to run short. I will just snip, snip, the orange fabric in line with the shoulder seam.

While I let the fashion layer dictate what each section will look like, I always, ALWAYS, strive for a long and lean look. I want your eyes to see the whole design in an up and down fashion as this tends to be much more flattering than looking side to side.

Preparing the embellishments for the back of the vest

When I created the back piece, I wanted to add some embellishment to it as well.  For this, I used an applique process rather than slicing and inserting a strip.  I cut the pieces I wanted and folded the raw edges under and pressed them. Next I pinned them in place and top-stitched around the edges to attach them to the back as well as finish those raw edges.  I didn’t fuse them first though you certainly could if you preferred that method.

After stitching the front pieces to the back, in most other “quilted” version of Terrific Tabard, I would be layering the vest with batting right now (sometimes even before the shoulder seams are stitched together) and quilting all three pieces. Then the vest would be finished off with quilt style binding (albeit much narrower than a quilt binding). These instructions are included in the pattern. But THIS vest will have no batting. I chose to line it traditionally which means no binding necessary! This version really goes together quickly.

Front and back lining pieces stitched at the shoulders

The two front lining pieces are “Grunge” in black. The back piece lining is a very old (no longer being made) Kaffe Fassett stripe. To line this I pinned it, right sides together, and stitched all the way around using a 1/4″ seam allowance. I made sure to leave about a 6-8″ opening on one side so I could turn it right side out.

Grading a curved seam.

Very carefully grade the seams on the curved portions. Grading just means trimming one piece smaller than the other. When you turn the whole piece inside out and begin to press, press, press (that’s the secret to a beautifully lined piece), all the rounded edges will fall into place as you press. Tip: On dark fabrics use a press cloth (a piece of muslin works) on top of the fabric before you press. Sometimes you get a shine, even on linen.

Handmade buttons by Sandra Bruce

I have a rather large collection of buttons. Here is a group of handmade polymer buttons by the talented Sandra Bruce. I love to buy the buttons I like, knowing that someday, I’ll have the perfect button for a project. Forget buttonholes. I use strips of fabric that have been folded and pressed and stitched into place.

 

The polymer button I chose for the front is very intricate and it’s really BIG, but I think it blends in nicely.

The two side buttons are from my glass button stash. I know, I know, it’s a sickness, but one I don’t want to get over. Ha, ha.

It’s finished!!

I love my new vest. I can’t wait to wear it (not sure when since it is still summer!), but I’ll be ready when cooler weather comes.

Here is the finished back side of the vest.  I love the look of the larger scale linen print slicing through the narrower lines.

Worn with just one lapel folded out.

One last way to style this Terrific Tabard, fold back the lapel on just one side.

If you like what you have seen, please join me at Designs by Heidi for more fun and creative happenings. I love sewing “Art to Wear.”  You can also follow me on Instagram to see the latest patterns and classes I offer. Thank you again Bernie for letting me join in with you all at Needle & Foot.

Hugs, Heidi Emmett

Back to Back Vacations

Just checking in before we leave for another trip!  We had the best time ever in Vermont.  The weather was horrible with record breaking heat and humidity – truly awful, but who cares?  The kids have A/C in the house and I was really there to spend time with my grand daughter so it was all good.

We had such a nice visit – lots of water play, time at the lake and hikes to the river.  I was really surprised to see how adventurous this little girl was.  She doesn’t balk at anything. From playing in the freezing cold river to swimming in the lake, she was up for it. This girl is on the go constantly.

Julia spent time reading books to her and sharing ice cream with her.  The baby was cutting some molars and it was bothersome.  Julia made popsicles for her with pureed strawberries, banana and some yogurt.  What a nice auntie! They were close buddies by the end of our week there.

I am hoping as she gets older, she will remember us from visit to visit.  We do FaceTime quite a bit which will help.  It is hard to be a grammy from 3,000 miles away.

I really enjoyed rocking her which she will only do when she is super tired.  I had the treat of rocking her to sleep just once.  She is usually far too busy for that.

Organizing for the next trip!

We got home Friday night and I spent Saturday catching up on orders that came in while I was gone.  My husband has this week off so we are going to spend the first half of it at the beach.  We are back Thursday afternoon and then life goes back to normal. Like I said in a recent post, I miss my sewing room!!  I don’t have any hand stitching to bring with us but I am going to do some free motion doodling.  I have two quilt tops I need to quilt so this will be a good time to practice drawing out some motifs.

Hope your summer has started off well!  Back soon – hopefully with a project of some sort to share!

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A No-Sew Week

I miss my sewing machine.  I have not spent much time with her and I suspect she misses me just as much. It is a combination of things – we are having a patio built  and, while I am not doing any of the building, somehow it seems to take up some of my time.  Maybe because I am so excited about the progress (we have wanted this for a very long time) and I keep going out there to watch the next step.  Yesterday they poured a large portion of it and I spent most of the morning watching.  Poor guys probably are sick of having an audience.  Beyond that, June has been riddled with migraines.  I don’t know why (that is the million dollar question and if I had the answer I would be one happy quilter). But it has been a bad month with 9 migraines so far – along with each one, there is usually one more day of feeling wiped out.  So 18 days out of 26 haven’t been great. All this adds up very little sewing.

I will share something that I am playing around with.  I decided to make a new tablecloth for our outdoor table. We have coffee out there and dinner when the weather isn’t terribly hot.  I only have one tablecloth and it is getting a bit faded. Time for a new one.  The tablecloth is quite large – I think the diameter of the table is about 70 inches.  Add in the drop and enough to turn a hem, and it means cutting a circle with an 84″ diameter.

I decided to use a wide back fabric so I wouldn’t have to run a seam to get a wide enough piece.  Lucky me, I have a few wide backs in the shop from which to choose!  I picked this cheddar yellow print that was designed by Mary Fons. It is cute and sunny, nice for an outdoor tablecloth. Since I had a tablecloth that was already the correct size, I used it as a template and cut my piece about two inches bigger all the way around.  I didn’t mark anything, it was easy enough to just eyeball it. (By the way, even after cutting this large circle out, I have a lot of fabric left over – being 108″ wide means lots left for other projects!)

While I had it on the ground, I decided to just keep going and I brought the iron over and started to turn the yellow fabric under and press as I went along.  This worked really well – I kind of wondered if it was bad for the carpeting but didn’t seem to be a problem.  Actually I think I secretly wished I would burn a hole in the carpet because it is all worn and needs to be replaced anyway.  Alas, no such thing happened and for now, the ugly carpet remains.

After I got the first fold pressed, I pinned everything in place.  Then I felt ok about picking it up and moving it.  I took it to the regular ironing board and steamed a good crease in the hem, folding the raw edge in as I went around.

I wanted to use a decorative stitch for the hem.  Mainly because my Janome has five billion decorative stitches and I never use them.  I chose a Mettler variegated thread and a cute pattern that looks like ribbons. It looks really cute but wow, it took so long to go all the way around!  Probably about 1 1/2 – 2 hours?  It also took a crazy amount of thread.  Speaking of thread…..

As I was hemming the tablecloth, I noticed my needle would come up and have fuzz all over it.  When I finished, I took the top plate off and look at the mess of fuzz!  I was amazed.  I haven’t used a ton of Mettler thread and have to wonder if this is typical?  I had cleaned it out prior to this project so the fuzz was only from hemming the tablecloth.  Anyone have experience with this sort of thing happening?  Kinda makes me even more of an Aurifil fan.

Ok – now that it was hemmed, I decided it was a bit boring.  Applique came to mind but I didn’t really feel like doing anything very fussy.  Then I thought about embroidery or some sort of big stitch design (like Sashiko) but I know myself and it would take too long. By the time I finished we wouldn’t be eating out on the deck anymore…..

So I thought about the gorgeous floral collage quilts by Laura Heine and took that as inspiration.  I gathered lots of floral scraps and applied fusible backing to them and started cutting out flowers – and more flowers – and even more.

Julia and I started to play with arranging them around the hemline in a collage – our only aim was to distribute colors well and to keep the border about three inches tall.  We have 1/4 of the border pinned.

It was clear I didn’t have nearly enough blooms so back I went, fusing and cutting. This is quite fun so I am enjoying the process.  I haven’t yet fused any to the cloth yet.  I want to get most of the way around the cloth before I commit.  It is great practice because I have a Laura Heine pattern I want to make so this gives me a bit of an idea how I will go about it.

For now though, I have set everything aside.  Julia and I are taking off for Vermont!!  We are both so excited to go see family and to play with that grand daughter of mine. Projects will have to wait.  Flowers will remain unfused and the tablecloth unfinished.  Time for some grand baby time!

As an FYI – the shop will remain open but orders placed from June 28 – July 6th will ship on or about July 7th.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week and I will be back in a week or so!

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