A Note from Mercy Hospital

Hi all – I want to pop in and share this lovely thank you I received from a member of the Palliative Care team at Mercy Hospital. The response to the Mercyful Quilt Drive has been nothing short of AMAZING and I want to be sure you know how appreciated your beautiful quilts are. So far we have received over 90 quilts in the last 10 months. Hurray!!! Just in case you are new to my blog, you can read the details about Mercyful Quilts here and here and even here!

Dear Bernie, 

Back in November of last year, our ICU nurse Patty reached out to you about how we used to have a supply of quilts for patients at the end of life (aka “comfort care”) here in our hospital and how the quilts have sadly been harder to come by in recent years. You in turn said some wonderful things about your own family’s past experience at Mercy General in your blog post and then asked for those in the community to consider sending us quilts to have for this program. The response to this has been incredible and we thank you so much for this help. I am a social worker on our palliative care team here in the hospital and have had the honor of bringing these beautiful quilts to the family or loved one of a dying patient. 

The supply that you all have provided has been amazing. I, as well as others, can now provide a quilt that family feels expresses the personality or the favorite colors of their loved one and allows an openness to talk about who they are- who they were. We actually have a selection for men on comfort care now which was always so hard to come by and in addition, we’ve been trying hard to honor our Veterans at the end of their life here, and those who made and donated the patriotic colored ones and the American flag ones are now used to help honor them in one final way and show appreciation to their family for their service. 

Our palliative care team, as well as the dedicated bedside nurses that care for patients in their final moments, can often feel helpless in wanting to provide comfort and something meaningful to loved ones during such a dark time. These gifts have allowed us to bring something they can find some beauty in and later keep to remember the one they’ve loved and lost. 

I am so sorry that it has taken me almost a year to write to you but wanted to say to you, and to all those who have made and donated these quilts, that we cannot thank you all enough for the time and effort you put into these. It means a great deal and on behalf of our team here, thank you so much for your wonderful gift. 

-Emma Cook 
Palliative Social Worker  
Mercy General

This was such a wonderful note to receive. I knew they were really happy to have the quilts but this certainly validates all of the work and effort, time and creativity, not to mention expense, that goes into the gorgeous quilts so many of you have donated. Please continue to make quilts for this worthy reason. I am happy to facilitate the donations and get your quilts right over to Mercy Hospital. Continue to think about gender neutral themes and the occasional patriotic theme as they are needed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind hearts and gorgeous quilts!!!

A Linen/Cotton Version of the Hobo Bag

I told you I wanted one of these shoulder bags for myself! I have made two for Julia which you can see here and here. The pattern is a freebie from Very Purple Person.

They are so fun to make, don’t take too much time and not a lot of fabric so why not? It is a great way to use this sweet Japanese fabric that was given to me by my friend Patty. She vacationed in Japan about a year ago and when she returned she sent me five pieces of fun fabrics. Three of them were a beautiful cotton-linen blend and I have been holding on to them and thinking of how I wanted to use them.

Each cut is 1/2 yard and I was happy to be able to squeak a bag out of this one! I had to piece the shoulder strap a bit but you can’t even see it. The fabric has a great weight to it. I washed and dried it first because I suspected there would be some shrinkage. It was minimal though. Rather than sewing a gusset into the bottom of the bag for width, the designer simply used two wide darts at the bottom corners of the outer and interior fabrics. Very easy!

As usual, I added two interior patch pockets. Purses need pockets to keep the little things from always ending up at the bottom of the bag. The lining is an older print that has been in my stash forever. How great to use it up and have one less piece in the pile!

A simple hair elastic was added to loop around the button as a closure. I did this after the fact (meaning I forgot to stitch it in while constructing the bag.) But this was not a big deal. I basted the elastic (with my machine) where I wanted it. Then I folded up a square of fabric so no raw edges showed and stitched it over the bottom of the elastic. Let’s call it a design element, shall we?

This button has been in my button jar for a very long while and it is perfect! I am happy to add this bag to my collection. A selection of different purses is fun to have – I am one who changes them out all the time. This one will be great for the fall which is just around the corner! If you are intimidated by making a bag, this is the pattern to try. It truly is simple. The most difficult part is turning the whole thing right side out as you pull it through the shoulder strap as it is bulky and can feel awkward. If you try it and have any problems, email me. Happy to help.

Adding a pocket or two to the interior (or exterior) is simple as well. Here is a link to a great tutorial if you need more information. Again, if you need help, send me a note.

Finally, I have a great giveaway happening on Instagram today and tomorrow. Be sure to click over and check it out!!

New Baby Quilt with a Cute Sisu Print

I have had this adorable fabric in the shop for a while now and it has called to me on numerous occasions. It features the sweetest little girl hang gliding, floating with balloons, and parachuting. The use of primary colors makes it so cheerful and bright – I just love it. It is called Hei Sky Cloudine from the Sisu line by Art Gallery Fabric.

AGF, as always, has described the line beautifully: “Sisu!” is an untranslatable Finnish word; it is the mindset that allows us to keep going just when we think we are about to give up. In Sisu, children playing with primary shapes and colours inspire our natural tendency to persevere into our fullest potential.

Last week I was browsing quilt blogs and came across a post on Material Girl Quilts and saw a very simple quilt made of stripes of fabric in varying sizes. It really appealed to me because it would show off this sweet fabric perfectly. I made two small modifications to the tutorial. I added a very narrow stripe of color just above and below the focal fabric. Then I cut my strips a tiny bit wider just to make use of the fabric as much as possible.

Obviously, this is a very simple quilt to make and took little time to put together. I used primary colors which make for a bold, happy quilt. Because the assembly took no time at all, I took the quilting slow. A quilt this size is perfect for practicing free motion quilting. Also, quilting in a row like this lent itself to some fun motifs. I enjoyed making the rows of rising suns on the dark yellow stripes. On the blue dots, I quilting large stars but I cannot quite make them show up in the picture. It seemed like I was making a night sky stripe with stars on the dark blue dotted fabric.

Clouds were the obvious choice for the focus fabric. This adventurous girl is floating around amidst all sorts of clouds. Small curved lines with lots of echoing was a fun motif to quilt. For the red polka dot stripe, I just did a wavy line, almost like a ribbon candy motif. By the way, the stars and sun motifs are from Lori Kennedy Quilts – you can find just about any motif on her site. It is a wealth of information!

The backing fabric is a red and white large check with a hint of blue outlining the white squares. Perfect colors, right?

Making this quilt was so satisfying. Easily pieced, fun fabrics, and fun quilting motifs – Hurray!All of these fabrics are available in the shop so feel free to browse these links:

I am surely going to make more of these when I want to use fabrics with large scale prints. This quilt will probably hang as a sample for a while and then be gifted or maybe donated to Project Linus. We are enjoying oddly cool weather today and tomorrow so I am enjoying it. Sewing is going to have to wait until it heats back up on Monday!! Enjoy the weekend all!

Linking to my favorites – check them out at the top of the page, under link ups. This week since this has some FMQ going on, I am also linking up with Muv for Free Motion Mavericks.

County Fair Re-Cap

What a nice day we had today – long but lots of fun.

Julia started the day with a great smile, all ready to go.

She competed early in the morning in “Market Class” which is where the judge (in the ball cap) ranks the animals by the quality of their physical structure. Julia and Leo did well, placing 3rd out of eight animals.

Competition was followed by the “Breakfast of Champions” which is an annual event at fair. Yum – corn dogs!!

We watched some 4-H kids practicing showing their steers and I just loved the phrase on this guy’s shirt. His 4-H group all wore these shirts and it made me happy to see – they must have a great leader.

The breeder that Julia works with had a new litter of piglets just a few weeks ago. He brought the mama and her eight piggies to the fair to people could see these little guys. The mama looked exhausted and why wouldn’t she be with constantly nursing eight hungry babies. Mama pig weighed 500 pounds – she was huge.

My dad joined us for lunch and to watch Julia compete in the afternoon. We loved having him hang out with us – Thanks for coming, Papa! Isn’t this a cute picture of the both of them?

The day ended on a somewhat sour note. During the showmanship competition, Leo decided he wasn’t in the mood to cooperate and literally went to the corner of the ring and refused to leave. Try as she might, Julia couldn’t get him to perform, walk, or get out of the corner. It was crazy ridiculous since Leo has been such a great animal and they have been walking our property every morning for weeks and weeks. But if the animal has never been in a ring with eight other pigs, you can’t truly be sure how it will respond. Leo wasn’t in the mood I suppose. Julia tried and tried and finally realized she wasn’t going to be successful. Oh well, life lessons, right? I was proud of her in that she kept her cool and did her absolute best.

They are still buddies even if Leo really doesn’t dig the show ring too much. Raising an animal is a great experience that instills patience and responsibility in a person. But as with humans, animals have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. This guy is not a performer which was disappointing and surprising to Julia. She handled it well though and that is what counts.

Thrifting Fabric

About a week ago, our local guild sent out an email to members stating a seamstress in town was retiring and having a sale. She wanted to clear out her fabric and supplies as she planned to downsize to a smaller home. I am sure you knew I would be sure to go check it out. The woman was both a garment maker as well as a quilter. Her shop was large and there was tons and tons of fabric.

By the time I got there much of the quilt fabric had been sold. But I was not really interested in quilt fabric considering the shop I have downstairs! My interest was actually in garment fabric. I found a few gems. Instead of setting a price on each piece of fabric (which would have taken days and days) the woman had a stack of plastic laundry baskets. The deal was $10 for whatever fit in the basket. Oh my. Let me show you what I picked up.

This is two yards (58″ wide) of a stunning border print. It is a cotton/rayon blend and has the nicest feel to it. I washed it and had no issues. I think Julia has claimed this piece for a pair of wide legged pants. That border will be so nice at the bottom of each leg. Sort of a boho look.

I picked up six yards of this fabric. Not a seersucker but it feels like one? I am not sure what it is but it washed well. Julia and I both want pants out of it and I am sure there will be leftover fabric.

Four yards of this gray and white chambray. It is really pretty and a great quality fabric. I am not sure what I will make with it. It is heavy enough to back a quilt but I think I want to make some sort of wearable with it. Hmmm…. decisions, decisions.

As I brought these up in the basket, along with a few oddball pieces, Carol (the seamstress) smiled and remarked my basket wasn’t yet full. I looked around and saw an antique unfinished Dresden quilt top stuffed into a corner. All hand stitched to a very thin muslin (as was often the case with this sort of quilt).

The blocks are huge at 18″ across. The fabrics look like the 1940’s – 1950’s. I picked it up and she said to add it to the basket. My plan is to pick the blocks apart – there are twelve blocks in good enough condition to use. Then I will fuse a very thin stabilizer to them since that muslin is so thin. Add some sashing from my vintage fabric collection and it will be a quilt top again. I am really looking forward to finishing this one and it shouldn’t be a huge project.

As I was waiting to pay, I saw this little quilt folded up on the counter. Apparently Carol had picked up the center patchwork piece and added borders to it. The little squares are 1 1/2″ and all hand stitched. It had been tied intermittently. I believe it looks like the remaining 1/2 of a quilt – if you look at the pattern, I think it continued into full square with that navy blue having been at the center. I am not terribly fond of the borders that were added. They are filled with puffy batting, probably a polyester. But it was calling to me. I could leave it as is and just give it a wash or I can consider taking those borders off and reworking it. Looking at the fabrics, the patchwork portion was also made in the 1940’s or so.

Julia will be busy this week with the county fair. Hard to believe her time with Leo has come to a close. Why is it that time goes by faster and faster?? Since we share a car, I will likely be home quite a bit which means lots of time to sew. I started a purse for myself a couple of days ago and want to finish that up. The quilting on my friend’s memory quilt is very close to being finished. Those two projects will be the focus for this week. How about you?

Love this New Purse!

This is the second purse I have made for Julia. When she asked me to make her a new purse, she said she wanted the same pattern as the first one. This was fine with me because I really love the pattern. It is a free tutorial found over at Very Purple Person. The intention is to make a reversible bag but Julia wanted an interior pocket so this one isn’t truly reversible.

It is a great looking hobo style bag. Very casual and soft. Julia didn’t want any sort of batting or interfacing in it so it hangs with a cute slouchy look.

I did put the pocket on the interior. The corners are a bit puckered though so not my best pocket ever. It is nice and deep which means it will hold plenty of the small items that end up at the bottom of the purse.

The first purse didn’t have any sort of closure so this time, I added a fabric loop and a nice big button. She also likes longer straps than the pattern calls for so with both purses, I added a 15 inch strip to the straps.

What makes the bag though is Julia’s fabric choice, Harmony with Nature. I really love this print. It has a great watery look to it. The gray circles have this taupe color in the middles looks like wet sand. The lining is called Mystic Gray and is a Pure Solid by Art Gallery Fabric.

I am thinking I will make a bag for me. This pattern is simple and shows off fabric nicely. I think it took about an hour to sew (other than cutting pieces out) so it is a quick finish. It would be fun to have a new bag for fall.

Shop Update

Just a little news about my shop! I have changed my shipping policy a bit and wanted to share that with you. Orders that are $35 and more will ship free in the USA! Orders less than $35 still ship for a flat rate of $6.99. Also, many items ship free regardless. Examples are most notions and the quilt patterns I stock. Hope you will check this out! Makes your online shopping really economical. 🙂

OK – that’s it for now. Hope you are working on a fun project or two. Have a great week all!

Linking up at a few different sites – including the Meadow Mist Designs Favorite Finish Monthly Link-Up.

Sewing, Baking, Napping and More

Lots going on around here lately. My husband has finally decided he is ‘done’ renovating our little house in Downieville and it is listed for sale. We bought it some years ago after I saw it for sale during a quilting retreat up in the mountains. We have enjoyed many weekends up there and Ray has really outdone himself with updating it. I suspect it will sell easily and make someone very happy.

A “Before” photo

This is a shot of the living room when we were first looking at the house.

The same angle with Ray’s updates!

Want to see more? Here is the kitchen when we toured it the first time.

The “Before” shot of the kitchen.
And the kitchen as it looks now. I love it!

In some ways we are sad to give this little house up but we are also ready to be responsible for just one house again. Life is always changing!

I did bits of sewing here and there over the past week but mostly I was napping and dealing with a long migraine cycle. Ugh, that is so frustrating. Started Sunday night and here it is Friday and I am not so sure it is over yet. Such a waste of time – dragging around and not accomplishing a whole lot. I am so fortunate that reading does not bother me when I am sick – many migraineur’s cannot read because of strong sensitivity with their eyes. I have a hard time looking at the computer, I think it is because of that little bit of movement that one’s eyes track while looking at a screen. But the T V and books are ok. Anyway, lots of napping and I am crossing my fingers it is over with soon. I did my second monthly injection of Ajovy yesterday. My neurologist said some people experience a benefit right away and it can take others 3 or 4 months to notice a difference. Maybe this month will be better!

The sewing I did do was mainly working on my friend Susie’s memory quilt. I got it basted (Julia helped me crawl around on the floor for that!) I quilted straight lines through the sashing and have been thread sketching an echo of sorts around the two plaid hearts. I think it lends a rustic simple look which is perfect for the mood of this quilt. Next, I plan to work on the short sashing strips between the four patch blocks. Then I need to decide what I want to do with the four patch blocks. I am just taking it easy and enjoying the process.

Julia has asked me to make her a new purse. The last one was made in fall of 2017 and it is looking a bit worn. I love her fabric choices! The blue and gray fabric just arrived last week and I am happy to cut into it and give it a try. It is called Harmony with Nature and was designed by Norman Wyatt. She chose the Mystic Gray (an Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Solid) for the lining.

Sam’s Jersey Quilt; November 2017

My sister asked me (a LONG time ago) to make a hanging sleeve for a quilt I made for my nephew. Remember his baseball and football jersey quilt? She wants to hang it on a wall in his room. I finally cut a few strips of this gray dot and will get that off to her in the mail.

Today is my husband’s birthday. I just finished making him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. To keep it dairy free, I used coconut cream instead of butter for the icing – it is yummy and I was licking my fingers the whole time I frosted the cake! I used coffee for the liquid instead of milk or cream because the coconut is fairly sweet and I thought the coffee might cut that a bit. He requested enchiladas from our local Mexican restaurant which is a treat for me. No cooking!! Then we eat cake. Probably way too many calories after a week of napping but such is life.

Hoping all of you are enjoying summer. Have a wonderful weekend and if it is hot outside (it is in the high 90’s here!) now is the time to enjoy the cool of your sewing room and make something!!

Contributions for the Annual Safelight Project

More than a year has flown by and it is once again time to sew for the Safelight Project. Hosted each year by Carole of From My Carolina Home, this project provides support to people in the domestic violence shelter that Carole advocates for. Just in case you are not familiar with Carole and her work, she is one incredibly kind soul. She has spent the better part of the last year working hard to gather hundreds of quilts for victims of the Carolina hurricane. Carole also is a very active blogger with all sorts of quilt alongs, fun tablescape ideas, upcycling and thrifting posts, as well as great recipes. Check out her blog as it is lots of fun.

The Safelight Project is one I have contributed to before. People escaping domestic violence need all the support possible. I love the idea of these gift totes filled with little necessities because so many times the person leaves with just the clothes they are wearing and not much more.

Making a cometic bag and sunglasses case takes little time and not a whole lot of fabric. The instructions are so simple (and available here). Each one just requires a bit of batting and a strip of velcro.

Carole collects many sets and includes them in the tote bags she fills with other sundries. It must be so gratifying to see these pouring into her mail each year.

You know I have a thing for fabric with birds. This looks like a quail to me and I love it!! At first glance it looks like a paisley print but then this sweet bird shows through.

A bit of inspirational fabric made a sweet lining for this pouch.

Have to say, I was a bit disappointed when I realized I cut the triangles going opposite directions for each of the cases. Ooops!

Both sets are in the mail today heading for Carole. Thanks so much to Carole for coordinating this wonderful event each year.

Linking up with a few sites, check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Introducing the Nido Wool Pressing Mat – Product Review

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by Winnie and Tyler, owners of Nido Goods. This shop has just begun and they sell a fantastic wool ironing mat. When they asked me to review their product, I was happy to do so. I have been reading about these mats a bit on-line and wondered if they were worthy of the fuss generated recently.

Guess what? They are! My sewing area is contained in my guest room. Luckily, I don’t have guests all that often. But it does mean the queen size bed takes up a good portion of the room, so space is tight. I have a laundry room which is next door to the guest room and that is where my ironing board is. Yes, you could say having to walk to the laundry room is a good thing because it gets me off my bum and walking a bit when I am sewing. But when I am piecing blocks it is annoying. I used to have a wooden, table top ironing board but it took up too much space. I also made an ironing mat with Insul bright and that silver color fabric one uses to make an ironing board cover. However it heats through and gets the table top really hot. (I think I should have used a lot more Insul Bright in the filling). Anyway, I was pretty excited to have a mat sent to me.

I had read that there might be an odor when ironing on wool, especially if using steam. The steam can make the wool a bit moist and possibly cause an odor. I found little odor, if any. The bit I did smell made me feel a bit nostalgic. When I was a girl I attended a private Catholic school which meant I wore a wool, plaid, pleated uniform through 8th grade. As soon as we were old enough to (sort of) do a decent job of it, my mom had us ironing our uniforms after she washed them. (Remember there are six girls and that was a lot of pleats for her to press!) So the smell of the mat reminded me of pressing the uniform skirts. But truly, it is a very light scent. Not a problem at all.

It measures 13.5 x 13.5 inches which is a great size since the largest block I usually do is 12 inches. Using up just 13.5 inches of space is really efficient as far as my sewing space goes. If taking a class, this would be a perfect tool to bring. The care instructions advise not folding or rolling the mat. But with a 13.5 ” square, it will fit into a tote bag without a problem. This will help avoid the lines that often happen at the ironing boards when taking a class!

As I was writing this review, I wondered what the word Nido meant. When I was on NidoGoods.com, I found out it means ‘nest, a structure, place or home where one finds comfort’. I love that! As I was emailing back and forth with Winnie and Tyler, I asked a few questions about their business. I thought it might be nice for you to read the conversation as it took place. These two are so fun to work with.

How did you start this business? Tyler and I had been thinking about starting an online business for a little while now. Meanwhile I recently started quilting in my free time. I am beginner so I don’t have a proper workspace. I started using our dining room table and had to constantly go back and forth to our ironing board. So basically I thought there has to be a better way and stumbled across wool ironing mats and our business was born.

Do you make the mats yourself? Do you outsource them? No, we do not make the mats ourselves. The product is manufactured in China and is made from 100% New Zealand wool! We had several manufacturers send us samples based on our specifications. We then spent the next few weeks testing them to ensure that we chose the best of the best. 😀

Do you plan to make different sizes? We are currently in production of a larger 17×24 inch mat and are considering other sizes. If you have any thoughts on additional sizes we would love to hear them!

How did you choose wool used in the mat? What makes wool the right fabric? There were two major factors that we were focused on – performance and odor. When it comes to performance, we chose wool because it retains the heat very well which allows heat to be delivered from both sides. Also, we have a nice wood dining table so we wanted to make sure that it didn’t get damaged! The wool also creates some friction allowing for grip so things don’t slide around when pressing. The odor was a concern as well, as some of the samples released a not-so-great smell with steam and heat. We were determined to find the best combination of the two and we couldn’t be happier with our product! 

Other things to share? We are brand new small business owners and very excited to get our product out on the market. If any of your readers have any questions or concerns feel free to contact us directly at winnie@nidogoods.com

As a small business owner, I enjoy supporting other small businesses. Nido Goods has a great product to offer and will soon have another, larger mat available too. I would love it if you would check them out and give their mat a try. These mats are sold on Amazon and, in fact, today happens to be the second day of the Amazon Prime sale! The mats are on sale today only for $24.99 which is nearly 25% off the regular price of $32. You do not have to be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of this price. If you are reading this post AFTER the Amazon Prime sale ends, you can take advantage of a special discount offered to readers of Needle and Foot! Use code NEEDLEFOOT when ordering and you will receive 20% off. Thank you Nido Goods!!

Sweetest Skirt with Trixie & Thomas

Another distraction popped up the other day. I have been wanting to make something for my grand daughter with the new Trixie fabric. This piece was designed by Heather Ross and it features two little mice, Trixie and her friend Thomas. I really love it! By the time I ordered it, a few key pieces were already sold out. However, I do have these two sweet bolts in the store.

I am fully aware the fabric in the shop is supposed to be sold. That is the goal. However, it is really difficult not to cut into certain bolts and this is one of those. These little mice are too cute. In real life, I have a huge issue with rodents, mice, etc. Ugh! But these, I can handle these little critters!

The pattern was a freebie from SewCanShe.com. This little skirt is so simple to make. The length of the skirt seemed quite short so I added a bit more length by adding on the second ruffle with the green floral.

I was also able to add some length by stitching a band of the floral around the top of the skirt. I used that to create the casing for the elastic. This added about one inch to the overall length. I love the way that pop of green looks at the top too!

I packaged up the skirt this morning and will mail it off to Vermont tomorrow morning. The elastic is not yet stitched together. I really wasn’t sure if I was making the waist the correct size so I am hoping my daughter in law can check the fit and then stitch it together. I know H will love these little mice with the bicycles.

Heather Ross creates such whimsical designs. Trixie is no exception. For those of you who are really into fussy cutting, the design lends itself perfectly! Hopefully it will fit H and I can share a picture of her wearing it soon.