Just popping in with a quick update. I have something new in the shop and I am really loving it. Recently I opened an account and started carrying Northcott Fabrics. In case you were not aware, they make tons of fun panels. I don’t use a whole lot of panels but my customers have shown me the light. Some of them are really cute and make for a fun, quick finish.
Thinking of holiday gifts, I thought this would be a great one to have in the shop. With the panel, a bit of lining and some Insul Bright, you get to make an apron, two oven mitts and four coasters. Instructions for most of it are on the panel. The coasters were my creation. They have the four squares at the top of the panel which are a bit of a bonus. I thought they were really cute so I made them into holiday coasters.
The apron is adorable. I lined it with a bias check fabric ( available in the shop) which gives a nice weight to the apron and also makes it reversible for use during the rest of the year.
The oven mitts are a little tricky. I did a double layer of Insul Bright in them because I think they are more insulated this way. But it makes for a thick batch of fabric to sew. That part wasn’t a huge deal but binding the edge at the top was. My machine doesn’t have a free arm to sew a smaller, circular seam with. I was able to do it but it just took a bit of fiddling as I went around the circle.
Once the binding was stitched on, I folded it to the inside and pressed with steam. Then I hand stitched it down.
The coasters are a breeze. I used batting scraps and scraps from the lining of the apron to make these. I think I might give them a little top stitching around the perimeter now that I have looked at them for a bit. It will give a more finished look to them.
What do you think? I really like the resulting set. It makes a wonderful gift for someone or to give to yourself! Considering how long it has been since I have done a giveaway, I think it is time! I made a kit with everything you need – the Insul Bright for the mitts, the panel and the lining. You only need to supply the batting scraps for the coasters. I am certain each of us has plenty of scraps to use!
To enter the giveaway, you must follow Needle & Foot in some way. Please let me know how you follow. If you want links, follow me here on the blog or at any, or all, of these: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or my newsletter (which is sent out all too infrequently but I do try!) Leave a comment and tell me if you are a fan of panels like these or if you usually do not choose to use them. I want to hear what your thoughts are. Giveaway open to US residents only (sorry – the cost of postage is prohibitive). Winner will be drawn on Sunday, November 1st at the end of the day. Good luck!!
Thanks to the horrible utility company, Pacific Gas and Electric, much of Northern CA was without power for a couple of days. We had some wind which makes PG&E nervous because of their antiquated equipment (which was deemed responsible for several of the disastrous fires we have recently experienced.) So when a bit of wind is expected, they shut down the power in case a tree or limb should fall on a line and start a fire. That means no power for the duration of the wind – usually a day or so. Then the next day PG&E flies helicopters really low over all the outage areas to look at the lines (does this not sound terribly inefficient?) to be sure there is no damage. Once they can confirm that we get power back. This just makes me steaming mad. We pay plenty for our electricity and goodness knows we don’t get great results. Yesterday when Julia, Ray and I heard the helicopters flying over, we were shouting , “Yay, they are checking the lines!” It is ridiculous and also sounds kinda like we are in a war zone or something. Yet another reason we look forward to moving out of California at some point. Sooner, rather than later, if we can work it out.
Murphy’s Law came into play during the power outage and Verizon had difficulty with the tower that services our area. So we had no power, no wifi and no cell service. We are fortunate to have a generator and when that was on, we did have wifi. But after about 36 hours, AT&T, our internet provider, decided it was quite tiresome to have to provide service without normal power and we lost that connection as well. Sigh. May as well have been marooned on a desert island. I hate being without power and turn into a whiny pest when it happens. My husband could be happy living off the grid and just playing in the yard for the rest of his life. Me, not so much…
I did get a few things done while enduring these terrible times. (hahaha – I know, I am a bit dramatic about the whole thing.)
Kind of blurry, but I bet this looks familiar to most of you. I had these stuffed into a little plastic drawer. It was getting to be a challenge to close it without shoving it all down. So I sorted it!
When power was back on, I took some of the long strips of batting that were the same type and stitched them together with a wide zig zag. This gave me lots of bigger pieces that will be cut to size as needed. I tossed some very tiny bits that I have no idea why I ever saved. The larger rectangles are folded and ready to use.
The largest leftover pieces are now measured and marked. What a difference this makes. Some of these are quite large but since they were shoved into a corner of a closet, I never looked through them when I needed batting. At least now I know what I have.
Moving on…. Quite a while back, just at the start of the pandemic, I posted on my Facebook page that I was looking for an AccuQuilt. I was so fortunate to hear from Emily, of The Darling Dogwood. She had two and would be happy to give me one of them. We bartered for some fabric and I paid for the shipping – what a great deal! I am so happy to have this. I ordered a couple of dies for it – just basic squares so far. Emily also gave me one (I think was a duplicate for her?) I put it to good use this week though!
Some of these were already cut but many were done this week. I now have quite a large stack of 2.5″, 3″ and 3.5″ squares. I also cut a ton of five inch squares of novelty fabric. When I accumulate enough, I list “I Spy” charm packs in the shop. This is much, much easier to do with the AccuQuilt. I now have quite a large pile of them to be sorted into packs and then listed in the shop.
Last, but of course not least, I made good progress on the hand quilting I am doing for this pretty quilt. I think I am probably 2/3 of the way to complete on this project. I just love it. My stitches are getting more consistent, which makes me happy. This quilt really looks pretty, quite old fashioned. Hopefully I will finish it up soon and share the whole thing with you.
Just before the outage, Julia brought home four new chicks – like 1 day old – very teeny, tiny. Chicks need to be kept warm and she has them in the laundry room with a heat lamp. They like to be at about 88 – 90 degrees. Well, this is a challenge without power. She had to rig up a warm environment for her babies. She used pots of hot water around outside of the bin they live in. Also added a deep pile of shavings for them to burrow into and wrapped the bin in an old blanket. She was able to keep her chicks all toasty for the duration. The interesting thing was they wouldn’t eat when it was dark which was much of the time. When the generator was on and they had light, all four of them would rush to the feeder like they were just frantic for their next meal. Considering how big they are just days later, I think they survived just fine!
OK – that is it for now. I have power and need to catch up on all things dependent on electricity! You know, the fun stuff like laundry, vacuuming, etc. Blech.
With the onset of the pandemic and especially when everything shut down, my shop went nuts. It took me by surprise, never having owned an on-line business during a pandemic before. (Who knew??). Anyway, I was happy to provide fabric to the many, many people making masks as well as quilters who were not able to physically go into their LQS. As a result of this increase though, I was really busy and had almost no time to sew.
Things have changed and many people are venturing into brick and mortar shops (which is good for the shop owners, as long as people are being careful and masking up.) I think the frenetic mask making has slowed down a tiny bit as well. Thus my shop has gone back to a more realistic level of sales for one person to handle. What does this mean? More time to sew!! Hurray.
This week I had the opportunity to learn to use my friend Sophia’s Baby Lock Tiara sit down quilter. It is a dream. The wide throat is incredible and it sews with a nice even stitch. So much easier than using my Janome (which while it has a bigger throat, is getting old and tired) for FMQ.
When I wanted to first try it, I decided to just bring a piece of cloth over – I wasn’t sure how successful I would be and didn’t want to bring anything I had pieced. I have had a yard of this cute fabric sitting on the shelf for a good 4 or 5 years. I am sure it was a border print made for a panel but I think it is adorable. I used to sing this song to my kids when putting them to bed and now I love hearing my son sing it to his girls.
I decided to use it as a whole cloth baby quilt for donation. To practice with Sophia’s machine, I just stippled this. It was so fun and so incredibly quick. It took (almost) as long to pin baste it as to quilt it.
The bold blue polka dots on the back are really cute. You can see the stippling a bit better on the back side. I used an off-white thread which doesn’t really show on the front.
Now there is a cute baby quilt ready for donation and I have a little practice under my belt with the Tiara machine. It is rather tiny in size (30 x 36″) so I will need to see which organizations can utilize a quilt of this size.
So that is a (small finish for me! Used a little bit of fabric off the shelf, learned to use a cool machine and have a donation ready for someone! My next project with the machine will be the jelly roll quilt I recently pieced. I am looking forward to getting some tops finished up! 🙂
Hello everyone! Just popping in this morning to share a project that Beth Sellers and I ‘cooked up’. As you know, I love to support many of the talented quilt designers in our community by selling their patterns in the shop. My preference is to purchase directly from them whenever I can, as opposed to through a distributor. It helps the designer a tiny bit financially and allows me to get to know the person too. A total win-win.
Recently I placed an order with Cooking Up Quilts to restock some patterns that had sold out in the shop. Her patterns are lots of fun, not terribly complicated and her directions are so clear and easy to follow; making them popular items in my shop.
When the last order arrived and I was able to take an even closer look at Summer Rain, I thought it would look great with a set of layer cakes I have in the shop called Spring Blue. Summer Rain is designed to be used with a layer cake. Spring Blue features blue and white tones with soft florals, birds and butterflies. The bundle is so pretty and with a light background and dark blue corner stones, it just works perfectly! I contacted Beth at Cooking Up Quilts to get her opinion and she agreed.
Beth quickly did a rendering of what the quilt might look like with the fabrics in the bundle. Isn’t it lovely? After seeing the rendering, I decided to add the kit to the shop.
The dark blue used for the cornerstones and binding is very saturated. I think it best to prewash it to prevent any dye issues since it will be placed directly next to the white background. Both the white and blue fabrics are subtle tone-on-tones from the Urban Legend line by Blank Quilt Co.
Here is another rendering Beth provided. This one has a more organized layout. Are you into the random look of the first photo or this structured look? (I love them both!)
Many thanks to Beth for working with me on this kit and for the wonderful patterns she creates! Hope you will take a look at the kit and let me know what you think. Thank you so much, Beth, for your help with this project!!
Hello friends! Hard to believe I haven’t posted in nearly a month. I kept sitting down to write and just couldn’t get into the mood for some reason. Let’s just blame it on the pandemic, shall we? Life isn’t normal and even though I certainly have time on my hands, I find myself dithering it away quite a bit. Sigh.
But here I am, with a cup of coffee and the mood to write. Let’s catch up!
We took a trip up to Washington to watch my favorite grand daughters while my son, Andrew, and his wife moved their family into their new house. My husband and Andrew spent two days working on various little projects at the new house before moving which left Julia and I to play with the girls in the rental. Guess who got the good end of that deal!!
As with most toddlers, this girl needs to get outside to play. She gets stir crazy if she has to be inside all day. One rainy day, we went out to look for puddles to jump in. When she finished jumping in this one, she immediately went into her pretend mode. Her imagination is always going and at this moment, she was making soup for her horse. Each time she added pine needles to the puddle, it was a different ingredient. Some meant for soup and some not so much. “It needs parsley. Let’s add a carrot. Now I will put in an egg. Here’s the rainbow sprinkles.” On and on, all the while stirring her creation with her stick.
It took very little time to go from mixing her horse’s soup with the stick to standing in the puddle and going all in with her hands. How I love this girl.
Just a couple of days later, we were all in the new house. We tried to keep the kids corralled while the movers brought in nine million boxes. My husband ran around inside keeping the movers organized and my son checked the boxes off the list outside. Such a process.
I have never had movers pack my house before. But with a new baby and moving across country (not to mention a moving stipend from their new employer) the kids had this luxury. It was so odd to see some of the things the movers packed. It seemed like every third box contained a weird surprise. One time I unpacked a plastic trash can from the bathroom that was packed with the trash still in it. Another time, an apple was carefully rolled up in a huge amount of paper. Now it helps to know, the house was packed in mid July and everything was stored until they moved in on September 28th. That apple was a mess. There was a box with a container of honey that leaked all over the place, yuk! They also packed a pop-tart which they found somewhere in a zip lok bag, thanks to a three year old who must have left it in some odd place? (They told my kids that they were not allowed to pack any food items that were open but I don’t think they followed this rule at all?) Oh well, for the most part, it all went very well and there were not many items that were damaged in the process.
This little one was a breeze. She is so happy and just sort of went along with everything. I was setting up the laundry room at this point. (She is chewing on an old watch of her dad’s?!) Honestly, I could set her down most anywhere and she would just play with whatever I handed to her. She is starting to scoot around though so it was nice to contain her when I could. Hence the laundry basket. Haha.
I brought up this picnic quilt for the girls and we used it a number of times while playing outside. Babies on quilts, nothing cuter!
Back to this girl and her love of the outdoors. I was pulling a few weeds while she played and showed her a fat worm I found. This quickly led to her digging for worms and figuring out which was a daddy, the mama, the grammy etc. She kept them in this bowl for a bit, ‘feeding’ them grass. She is very inquisitive and asked if they had eyes so we talked about the life of a worm and she happily put them back in ‘their home’ when she learned they would die if not in the dirt. Just before putting them back in the dirt, she did need to sing a ‘wormy song’ to them. My heart melts with her.
The two weeks ended way too fast, as always. I love this picture even if it is quite blurry. We squeezed the girls a million times and drove back up to California. Luckily by the time we got home, our area was basically smoke free. What a wonderful thing it is to have clean air after nearly two months of staying inside to avoid the smoke.
As (bad) luck would have it, just a couple of days after we left, my daughter-in-law tripped and fell. She was carrying the baby so when she was falling her only thought was to protect the baby. She couldn’t break the fall which meant she broke a couple of bones in her foot. So she is hobbling around with a cast and waiting for her foot to heal. So unfair when she was so excited to set up her house and get settled. Such is life. I wish we were still up there so we could help.
That is a fair summary of the last few weeks. I was really having trouble getting in the mood to sew after getting back. It happens, right? But now I have started to spend some time in the sewing room and it all feels great. Yesterday, I had some sewing time at my friend Sophia’s house. She has a Baby Lock Tiara sit down machine. It is the best! I will share more on that next time. I have also been preparing for the holiday season in my shop even though it is somewhat hard to predict how this year will look. Business was crazy for months and then slowed back down as quilters and sewists were able to return to in-person shopping. Now with the unfortunate rise in the number of cases, I need to decide how to plan for that. Such a strange time in life.
OK – back soon with updates on sewing related things! I have missed you all and have not been on-line much at all with regard to blog posts or social media. I need to catch up with so many people! Hope you are well and enjoying your Saturday.