Monthly Archives: November 2017

Winter Friends Christmas Stockings

While visiting my son, daughter in law, and grand baby in Vermont last month we talked about the holidays.  This is the first Christmas we will be apart.  My daughter in law is working her second year of her residency as a radiologist.  Apparently the second year residents don’t have the best work schedule.  She is working over Thanksgiving and Christmas both.  So the three of them will be celebrating holidays in between her shifts at the hospital.  Such is the life of a new doctor.

Always ones to look at the bright side, my son and DIL are kind of excited about Christmas though.  Because they have always traveled to California for Christmas since they married in 2010, they have never had their own Christmas tree or stockings.  They have an 8 month old daughter and it is time to begin their own family Christmas traditions.  When my DIL asked me to make them stockings I was so pleased.  What a fun project to tackle.  I showed her pictures of the fabrics I have in my shop and she chose the Winter Friends line by PB Textiles.  This is so perfect since they are a very outdoorsy family living in Vermont. What better theme than woodland creatures, Christmas trees and snowmen?

I was looking around on Pinterest for inspiration when I asked the kids what they had in mind.  They said to make them coordinate with the set of fabrics but to make each stocking with a different design.  So this is exactly what I set out to do!

First I wanted a template for the size of the stocking.  I remembered I had an old pattern from Simplicity that was designed by Eleanor Burns (of Quilt In a Day fame.) The size of the stocking wasn’t exactly right but it was enough to get me going.  I cut stocking shapes from batting and that is what I quilted my piece work to. From there I looked for ideas on line.  I found this tutorial by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter) and liked the idea of doing a ‘quilt as you go’ strip pieced design for one of the stockings.  Beyond that, I thought I would do a basic patchwork design and just go from there.

The strip pieced QAYG stocking was a breeze.  It came together easily.  This was the first stocking and I did use a few strips from other Christmas fabric scraps.  I kind of wish I had not done that because for the next two stockings I stuck with just the five Winter Friends prints.  Not a huge deal though. For the QAYG process, I cut random width strips and sewed one on top of the other beginning in the middle and working out to both the top and bottom.  Once the strips were sewn to the batting I trimmed to the stocking shape.

What originally got me wanting to add other pieces was this bit of text saying “the stockings were hung” which I thought cute to include. It looks cute and the colors match well enough so I left it as is.

For the next two stockings I made rows of patchwork which I then used for the stocking front in the same QAYG fashion.  I fussy cut the blocks featuring the larger snowmen, deer, woodland animals, and Christmas trees. These were alternated with 2 1/2″ squares of the other prints. I love the way the patchwork looks when set on point. This is my favorite of the stockings.

The second patchwork stocking is also really sweet.  I made little four patch blocks, fussy cutting the squirrels and hedge hogs to be used with the green snowflake print and the plaid print.  The four-patch squares are a little wonky but I am calling that a charming design feature.  😉

I sewed a curved piece of a cross hatch neutral fabric over the toe of each stocking to make it look sock-like.  I also embroidered a line of stitching to decorate it a bit more.  The toe pieces were hand cut so each one is different from the next.

The back side of each stocking is made with the larger print.  This decision was made purely out of laziness.  I had enough of this fabric in the sewing room at the time and would have had to walk all the way downstairs to grab more fabric if I chose a different one. How lazy can a quilter get???

I don’t know what the kids plan as far as family size but for now they have three stockings made.  I set aside enough fabric to be able to make two more stockings should the family grow!  I might not have exactly enough but they will still match the original stockings well enough. I am really happy with the stockings and hope the kids use them for many years to come.

In celebration of the upcoming holiday season, I have put all of the holiday fabric in my shop on sale for the weekend.  Use code HOLIDAYFABRIC25 to receive 25% off any of the Christmas fabrics listed.  I hope you will take advantage of this great sale which will run through end of day on Sunday, November 19th. Orders will ship out first thing Monday morning so you will have your fabric in plenty of time to do some holiday sewing!

I am linking up with my favorite linky parties. For more information, click on Link Ups at the top of the page.

Fourth Show All Wrapped Up

Last weekend my sister and I worked as vendors at the quilt show for the Pioneer Quilt Guild of Rocklin, CA.  The show was held in Roseville which is about a 40 minute drive from my home.  Set up was Friday night which was slightly unusual. Since my generous sister had accumulated a zillion points with Holiday Inn, she treated us to a hotel rather than driving back and forth. It was a treat to stay in town rather than drive home after we finished setting up. Also, we were able to get there early on Saturday to put finishing touches on the booth before the show opened.

The show was great.  The guild is rather small but quite talented. You’ll be surprised to find out I didn’t take even one picture of the quilts on display.  So strange for me.  I think it was just too busy.  The show was not juried but I did go and vote for my favorite in each category.  I liked their system for displaying the quilts.  Each category was displayed together and there was a painted clothespin with the color of the pin denoting the category of quilts.  So if you saw a purple clothespin for example, that meant you were in the medium size, pieced quilts.

Saturday was busy until about 2pm and then it just dragged.  I think there were some Veteran’s Day activities in the afternoon that pulled customers/viewers away from the show. It made me nervous because usually the first day of the show has been the busiest and the second day much quieter.  Patti and I were nervously anticipating a very quiet day on Sunday.

We were pleasantly surprised because Sunday was very busy and we had so many customers.


Also, Julia spent the day with us on Sunday. She had fun talking with customers and putting bolts away after I cut fabric.


Patti, owner of Etsy shop Ferrari Handmade, had a very successful weekend. She brought only her holiday dresses and the coordinating doll dresses.  This is the perfect time of year for her shop and there were many grandmas at the show who liked and purchased the dresses for their grand daughters.  She also had a number of custom orders which she is busily sewing away on this week. The incredible technology we have these days enabled her to sell a custom dress for a grand daughter in Florida. It was really fun to watch the grandmas FaceTime with her daughter in Florida so she could show the fabric choices for the dresses.  Patti was able to get details right then by talking with the mom as she took the necessary measurements on the little girl. Gotta love technology!


Patti constructed this super cute fireplace to decorate our booth and give it a festive feel.  Julia was so funny as she tried to emulate an excited child sitting by the fire (a string of battery operated lights.)


As always we learned a few things with this show.

#1 – If you put the candy jar behind yourself because the work table is too small, one goes through candy much faster!  I suppose people are more ‘comfortable’ taking candy when it is less visible?  How funny.  So we ran out on Saturday afternoon and had to restock for Sunday’s customers!

#2.  We wrapped little holiday fat quarters with ribbon and hung them from our Christmas tree like ornaments.  However we didn’t post a sign with pricing and we didn’t sell even one!  We sold tons of fat quarters from the basket where the sign hung but not even one from the tree.  So, while it looked cute, it wasn’t an effective display.

#3.  As I had hoped, having samples made with fabric available for sale really boosts sales.  I had the small quilt made with the Shine panel as well as the Panda Garden whole cloth quilt on display.  Numerous sales resulted from this as they drew interest from the shoppers.

This is the last show I am doing for 2017.  I am looking at the shows for 2017 and deciding which to do.  My sister has a busy month booked for December.  She will be doing a weekly outdoor event up here called Victorian Christmas. Hopefully I will be able to help by working in her booth (if my head cooperates and I am not dealing with a migraine.) Whether I work in the booth or not, she will certainly be successful – especially after seeing the success of her efforts over the weekend!

The holiday season is going strong for me and i am sewing lots of cozies for both French Press coffee pots as well as Chemex pots. I have several Christmas projects I want to make/finish so I need to stay organized if I am going to get it all done.  I am sure you are feeling the same way as November marches on and the holidays begin.  Enjoy the sewing time and don’t stress over it!

Sam’s Quilt

The sports jersey quilt is finished!  This is the second t-shirt quilt I have made, the first one being for my niece, Lil (Sam’s cousin.) The jersey quilt was a good learning experience, but what quilt isn’t? There is always something new to try or a skill to further practice.


The biggest challenge was definitely piecing those slick, polyester pieces of the jerseys.  Second to that would be working with the rubbery decals used for his number and the logos.  They were much thicker than one would think.  Other than those two issues, this was a breeze to make. You can read progress posts about putting it together here and here.

To quilt this rather heavy project, I rented time at the long arm shop.  It would have been difficult to feed it through the throat of my home machine because the decals are thick and stiff, making the quilt unwieldy. Once I had it loaded on the machine I quilted it with lots of interlocking squares.  It looks like a nice, masculine motif and works great with the blocky pattern of the quilt.

Sam’s football number was 50, just like his father’s was when he played.

I tried to avoid quilting through the rubbery decals and numbers.  Instead I went around and inbetween them wherever I could. It was really difficult to keep the quilt flat while quilting it. I cannot tell you why, the heft of it or maybe the slick jerseys? If I were quilting it at home, I would have guessed I didn’t baste it well enough. But when we loaded it on the long arm (the gal at the shop kindly helped me) it seemed very straight and flat.  At any rate, it is not tightly quilted. The quilt has a puffiness to it.  It doesn’t bother me though.  I plan to wash it today before I mail it off and it is likely to crinkle up a bit when the batting and cotton fabrics shrink up a little.

 

Remember I pieced the backing so I could use up a few more jerseys?  This is the first time I loaded a backing that really had to be straight on the long arm to line up well with the front.  It was mostly a success – the logos are straight but they aren’t centered across the back.  Side note, it has been quite rainy this week which is wonderful. I kept waiting for a clearing in the weather so I could take some photos.  Finally, Julia said we better just to take pictures Mom.  So off we went in the rain.  I put a beach towel under the quilt and she held it over the railing.  Such a dedicated quilt holder!!  You can see the towel shows under that edge on the left. 😉  Ok, back on topic – I love the way the back looks and it shows the quilting pattern off a bit.  I keep looking at the larger spaces near the decals and wonder if I should add some quilting there?  Do you have any input?  Are those unquilted spaces too large?

The binding is an older stripe with 1 1/2″ widths red and gray.  At first I was hesitant to use it because the red wasn’t exactly the shade I wanted but there are so many different reds in this quilt between jersey colors and the sashing I used that it worked well in the end. The bold, chunky look of the stripe fits with the blocky pattern of the quilt just fine.


So this one is finished and will be sent off to Sam early next week.  The long arm practice continues.  It is tons of fun but has a definite learning curve to it.  My skills are improving but I need so much more practice.  It motivates me to finish up some of my projects so I can go back and practice some more!

Now sewing time for me over the next couple of days. This weekend my sister and I are working the Pioneer Quilt Guild’s show in Roseville.  If you are local and planning to attend, please come say hello!  I am excited to see the quilts hanging and meet members of the Pioneer guild!

Sewing Room News

The season has definitely shifted to full blown fall around here.  We had a great rainy weekend and the colors are gorgeous.  The shot above was taken a few days ago up at the pond on the edge of our property.

I have a few fun things to share with you.  You may have noticed that Craftsy has been evolving and changing over the past year or so.  They started to carry their own brand of fabric (Boundless) as well as yarn (Cloudborn).  Now they are offering a subscription plan to the videos offered for sale on their site.  This is an interesting proposal for those crafters that regularly purchase and view Craftsy videos.

The subscription is similar to that offered on Creative Bug but the Craftsy site offers many, many more classes in all sorts of subjects than Creative Bug does.  Of course, you get what you pay for, right?  The Craftsy subscription comes at a higher price.  For $14.99 per month, or $120.00 per year, the subscriber has full access to all of the classes in the Craftsy library.  There is no contract tying the subscriber to the plan for a certain number of months to enjoy full access.  (Of course if you pay for a year up front, you are subscribing for the twelve months.)

The interactive qualities, class notes, and discussions, are all available with the subscription. But you do not own the class, meaning when you decide to cancel the subscription you will no longer have access to the classes.  I think there is merit to their plan. Right now, Craftsy is offering a two week free trial of their subscription service.  Certainly worth taking advantage of, especially if you were considering purchasing a class in particular.  You now have the chance to watch the class and decide if it covers what you need before purchasing it.  There are lots of options how to utilize this new service.

As for sewing and fabric news, I am working on finishing up the binding on my nephew’s jersey quilt.  I decided to machine stitch it to both the front and back.  I am somewhat sure my nephew will not look at the binding and wonder why his Aunt Bernie didn’t hand stitch the back of the binding.  😉  Also, the quilt is made of jersey knits that have been stabilized.  It is pretty heavy and I don’t want the binding to come apart when the quilt is laundered.  I found one spot where the quilting stitches look a bit funky on the back side and I will take those stitches out and repair it on my machine.  I think I have thread that is close enough so it won’t be noticeable. Hopefully I will finish that up and then have a fun finish to share with you.

Last week I got lucky on my thrift store prowl.  I was having lunch with my mother in law who lives about an hour or so from me.  I saw a local thrift store that looked interesting and stopped in.  They had three rolls of knit fabric, each one 60″ wide.  I really love the color of one roll, a dusty purple and I grabbed it.  It was taped tightly so I couldn’t unroll it and check to see if it was in good shape. But I decided to take the chance on it.  If it didn’t turn out to be clean and in good shape, my $12.00 was going to a good cause (Hospice). But guess what?? It turned out to be really nice fabric and there is probably at least five yards on the roll. It will be fun to sew something up with this. I am not sure exactly what yet.  Nightgown? T-Shirt? There is plenty on the roll so maybe both?? As always, I look at a piece of fabric and it is so fun to think of the potential in it.

Hoping your week is going well and you are fitting in a bit of sewing time here and there!

Linking to Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts and a few others. Take a peek at the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups, for more linky parties.

(This post contains affiliate links meaning if you were to click through and make a purchase, I would receive a small compensation for that purchase.)

 

Playful Pandas Whole Cloth Quilt

I don’t know about you but I am really lazy about getting my sewing machines serviced.  I procrastinate, put it off longer and longer with my usual excuse being ‘I clean out the bobbin housing all the time so it must be fine’. But oh my gosh, think about how often I use these machines of mine.  The poor things need to be taken care of!

When my smaller Janome refused to stitch more than two inches without giving me grief, I realized it was time.  I took it to a woman in town who is a whiz with machine repair and maintenance.  She kept it for a few days and worked her magic. Some $80 later, my machine is purring along. What a huge difference!!  When I picked the machine up, Debbie had a sandwich size Zip Lok bag filled with lint and gunk. I can’t imagine how she got it all out of there but she did. The machine is like new!

I decided to take advantage of this amazing transformation and practice some free motion quilting. I have not been doing too much quilting at home because the machines were not cooperating (now I know why!)  To have a nice big canvas to play with, I chose to do a simple whole cloth quilt.  Have you seen Art Gallery’s line of fabric called Pandalicious? Of course it  features adorable panda bears. Designed by the very talented Katarina Roccella, these prints are really sweet and just filled with the personality of spunky pandas. I have a few pieces of the line in my shop and decided to play with the feature fabric.

Panda Garden Recess is a large scale print which tells the story of panda families frolicking in a garden of pastel blues and greens. I cut  a 40″ piece of this fabric and a 44″ piece of Hidden Panda for the backing. After trimming the top to a 40″ square and quickly pin basting the layers together, I started quilting loops. My machine was entirely cooperative and the tension was perfect. It is much more fun to quilt when my equipment is properly taken care of.  🙂

 

The quilting took no time at all.  After squaring it up, I decided it needed something more than just the binding.  I had a large scrap of a jade green solid in my stash and cut some 1 1/2″ strips to make a flange.  I am always, always a fan of a flanged binding!

As I mentioned earlier, the adorable backing is called Hidden Panda.  It is another of my favorite prints. The loopy quilting I did (which doesn’t really show up in the pictures) works well with the curve of the print.  Looking back, it would also have worked to quilt the piece from the back, by quilting along or tracing the curves. Another project for another day!

There you have it.  My machine is back to its amazing self and I have a sweet quilt as a result.  Next weekend is the quilt show for the Pioneer Quilter’s Guild where I will be a vendor.  It is going to be held in Roseville so if you are a local, come out, say hi, and enjoy the show!  I will use the quilt to show off this fun fabric in the booth.  After that, maybe it is destined for Project Linus or a spot in my Etsy shop.  I haven’t yet decided.

We are supposed to have a wet, rainy weekend and I am prepared!!  I have two projects currently vying for my time so I am very much looking forward to a quiet weekend in the sewing room.  There is also a tiny quilt show scheduled for the weekend and I may hop over there to take a look at the quilts.  We shall see!  Hope you have something fun planned as well!  Enjoy the weekend.

Linking to my usual favorites as well as one new to me;  Finished or Not Friday over at Busy Hands Quilts.  Check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.