Category Archives: Christmas

Holiday Tales & Traditions Blog Hop

Post Update: Two things I wanted to update here. First of all, the winner of the giveaway on this post is Darci. Congrats Darci and I hope you enjoy the fabric. Second update: I talked about the Christmas Through the Decades later in this post and mistakenly said it was on Netflix. However it is really available on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Sorry for the misinformation.

Hello everyone. If you are new to my blog, coming here from the Holiday Tales and Traditions Blog Hop, welcome. I have been blogging since 2014 (which seems crazy but it has been over six years now)! I would love to connect with you and invite you to take a look around to see what Needle & Foot is all about.

This week I am hosting a blog hop to share some traditions celebrated over the holidays. I asked a number of bloggers to write a post telling a tale they remember from their holidays or a tradition they celebrate during the holidays. Last year I wrote about family traditions from this time of year and I really enjoyed reading comments about the traditions all of you remember. I thought I would carry this forward to this season as well. We certainly need to come together and lift each other’s spirits during this time of year, especially in 2020 when so much feels heavy and abnormal. I hope you will enjoy the hop. Be sure to click through to the other blogs and enjoy some holiday stories.

I have a few tales to share with you. One from my childhood Christmas memories and the others from Christmases spent with my children. Because I think blog posts are more fun with photos, I am randomly including holiday pictures here and there.

Ian and I, Christmas 1994

When my three boys were young, Christmas was naturally an exciting time. As it is for most kids, right? After we put up the tree, I would wrap the gifts from Mom and Dad and put them under the tree. This happened about ten days or so before Christmas. My boys would spend a lot of time checking out the presents, shaking them, trying to guess what they were. It drove me crazy if they guessed correctly – I wanted it to be a surprise on Christmas morning and I don’t have the best poker face! So, one year I decided to try to outsmart them. I bought three rolls of wrapping paper. Using one roll for each boy, I wrapped their gifts. Then I didn’t put any tags on the gift. They were just blank. Under the tree they went. The boys were totally befuddled. “Mom, how do we know whose is whose?” they would ask. I would casually reply, ‘oh, I’ll figure it out.’ or ‘don’t worry about it, we can figure it out on Christmas.’ They went nuts and I thought it was hilarious. On Christmas morning, I played Santa (usually it was one of the boys) and passed gifts out to them. When each boy had gifts wrapped all in one type of paper, they figured out what I had done.

The following year, I knew I couldn’t pull the same stunt. It would not be as fun because they would know what I was doing. Instead, I switched name tags between two of the boys. When wrapping Ian’s gifts, I put a tag on them saying “For Andrew”. On Andrew’s gifts, I did the same, putting a tag on them saying “For Ian”. Kyle’s gifts had his name on them (I couldn’t figure out a way to mix it up any further without making some sort of mistake.) Christmas morning I played Santa again and placed all of the ‘Andrew’ gifts in front of Ian and the ‘Ian’ gifts in front of Andrew. Fooled them again!

My favorite holiday quilt-I hang it each season.

Let’s go back in time now to Christmas in the 1960’s when I was a child. I have a fond memory of one year when my father was scheduled to work at church on Christmas morning. I am sure it was the only year this ever happened but there we were, waking up and Dad was going to be gone for the majority of the morning. Mom insisted we would all just wait until he got back and then we would open gifts. Not so easy for a child, let along six of them! To distract us, Mom thought she would light a fire in the fireplace. Well the damper wasn’t opened and she totally smoked out the living room. She sent us all outside while the smoke cleared. I remember being on the front lawn with my five sisters in our pj’s on Christmas morning. I wonder what the neighbors thought of that. ūüôā

Since I grew up in the 1960’s, I had a lot of fun watching a show on Amazon Prime recently, called Christmas Through the Decades. The episode on the 1960’s was especially fun. I enjoyed hearing what the top selling toys were for that decade. The list is slightly different depending on what you are reading but this was the list from the documentary.

1960 – Chatty Cathy
1961 – Ken Doll
1962 – Slinky
1963 – Mouse Trap Board Game
1964 – GI Joe (“Pull his ‘dog tag’ and he will issue commands”)
1965 – Rock’em Sock’em Robots
1966 – Spirograph
1967 – Battleship
1968 – Hot Wheels Cars
1969 – Big Wheel

I think it is interesting that, other than GI Joe and Chatty Cathy, all of these classic toys remain popular today. I read that GI Joe is going to be re-introduced but I am not sure if that is already happening.

1/2 yard bundle of Wintertide and 1 yard of an old fashioned Santa print

Thanks for taking this little trip down memory lane with me! Since this post mostly centered on childhood gifts, I would love to hear your memories of toys that were popular when you were a child. Did you receive something you really wanted or give your child a toy he or she was drooling over? Leave a comment – it is so much fun for me to read your experiences and I know other readers will enjoy going through the comments as well. I would love to give one of you a gift this year as well! I will draw a random name from the comments and send along a fun holiday package of fabric (see above) to the winner. Winner will be selected on Friday evening, giveaway is open to US residents due to the cost of postage.

The Holiday Tales and Traditions Blog Hop is being celebrated on the following blogs:

Sew Preeti Quilts
Quilting Jetgirl
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Academic Quilter
From My Carolina Home
Pieceful Thoughts
Devoted Quilter
The Colorful Fabriholic
Me & My Quilts
Kathleen McMusing
Sarah Goer Quilts
MMM Quilts
Needle and Foot  – That’s Me!

Thank you to all the bloggers who participated in this fun event. Wishing all of you the happiest of holiday seasons!

A Bit of Holiday Cheer

It is the fourth of December and I am starting to feel some Christmas Spirit! I love this time of year and in 2020 we need every reason to celebrate and impart joy. I have two small projects to share with you today.

The First Three Stockings

For my younger grand daughter, I had the fun task of making a Christmas stocking. Three years ago I made a set for my son, his wife and my oldest grand daughter. When I did this, I set aside fabric to make more stockings if/when his family grew.

Scrappy Christmas Stocking

This stocking is number four for their family. I used the easy peasy quilt-as-you-go method for the strips. As with the other stockings, I put a ‘toe’ on the foot of the stocking and embroidered a red line of stitching across it. Fortunately I saved some of the twill tape and wooden buttons (made by my husband!) so the stocking is a perfect match for the first three. I think it is super cute – the line of fabric was so much fun when I had it in the shop. It is long gone now.

Next project? Well, remember how I have been ‘cleaning’ my sewing space? I sorted through some of my Christmas fabric. I have a large bag of vintage (1970’s-1980’s) holiday fabric and cut much of it into 3″ and 5″ squares with the AccuQuilt. Once I had that stack of squares sitting there, I couldn’t just put them away, right??

I decided to make a quick patchwork runner for the top of this drop leaf table. (My mom loaned this to me a long time ago for our Downieville house. We have since sold the house and I am hoping she doesn’t ask for it back…. I love the table!) I plan to put a set of photos here of my kids with Santa. I look forward to looking at those pictures each year. But I haven’t brought that box up yet. Julia and I plan to do some decorating this weekend and will put up the tree early next week.

As I have said so many times before, simple patchwork is by far my favorite of any quilt. I am so nostalgic and love the look of this – what can I say? This would have been made even cuter with some hand quilting but I really wanted to use it now. So instead I used a variegated holiday thread I had from Mettler and did simple straight lines.

If you look at the fabrics, you will see the small print of white objects on red (next to the holly on white). This fabric is definitely from 1978. It is the same fabric my sister, Cathy, used to make wedding favors for her December, 1978 wedding. (Side note – if you want to read a fun post from several years ago, I wrote about all the weddings in our family and how most of us made our wedding gowns. Click here for the post)

OK – that is it for today. I do want to let you know I have a few fun things coming up on the blog! Next week I will be hosting a Guess Who game. I have childhood pictures from lots of quilter/bloggers. I want to see if you can match of the adorable faces to the right quilter. Look for that on Wednesday, December 9th. Then the following week, on Wednesday December 16th, I am hosting a Holiday Memories Bloghop. Lots of us will be posting about some of our favorite holiday traditions and memories or stories. I am so looking forward to reading these. Keeping spirits bright in 2020!!

The Holiday Season

Happy Friday everyone! It has been a long time between posts. Without whining I will just say I caught a bug just before Thanksgiving, it moved from a cold to bronchitis to pneumonia and set me back a bit. Thankfully, all is well now!

Our house is decorated and the lights are up. This always makes me so happy. I love this time of year. Julia and I have made a few batches of cookie dough and froze the cookies raw. We can then pop them in the oven a bit closer to Christmas.

I also made two batches of these amazing Sweet and Spicy Walnuts. A friend of Ray’s gave us two huge bags of (shelled!) walnuts. They are addictive and the three of us have been eating them constantly. Yesterday Julia had a few friends over and they went through them as well. I wanted to gift some so I will likely need to make one more batch. Fortunately, they are super easy to make. You want to give them a try, trust me.

When Julia’s friends were here yesterday, they made some gingerbread cookies. This one is my favorite.

Sewing…. This is my busy season with my shop. Meaning the majority of my sewing has been Chemex Cozies for my customers. I only have one left to go and hope to finish that one today or tomorrow. Nothing too exciting to show you there.

I also made doll clothes for my grand daughter. Of course, in my rush to get that package mailed off, I totally forgot to take any pictures! I found a template on-line for making little diapers for her doll. With her little sister coming in March, I though it would be fun for her to have diapers for her own baby. I am not sure she will be able to put them on and off herself? They have velcro closures but still might be a trick for her. I made them in a few sizes because I wasn’t sure what would fit her baby dolls. We don’t want them to leak, do we?? Haha. I also made her a set of flannel pajamas and a little set with shorts and a t-shirt. All were made with scraps and bits of elastic and it was a fun sewing session. If you want to give this a try, here is a great link to several free patterns for doll clothes.

There are a few gifts in process as well. Those will be shared after the holidays. Finally – I am working on the November piecing for the Mosaic Mystery Quilt. When I got sick, I really got behind with this project. So I have to get the November and December piecing done. It is looking really good though. There are a couple of other QALs and BOMs starting soon that I want to join but if I am behind on this one, it will be a challenge. So wish me luck!

Sparkles and Sequins

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with my son and his family. They were spending a long weekend in Colorado while my daughter-in-law interviewed for a job she is interested in. Since moving and changing jobs is a huge decision, the kids wanted time to look at the area without the added help of their two year old daughter. So I got to be the nanny for a few days.

I had not been to Denver until this trip. Denver is at an altitude of nearly 6,000 feet and I usually avoid high altitudes because of my issues with migraines. But it seemed like a reasonable decision to go and spend time with the kids and hope for the best with my head.

Fortunately, it was a wonderful trip and my head only gave me a bit of grief one evening. We stayed in an Air BnB in the perfect location. We were walking distance to a little park and coffee shop. Across the road and just down a little ways was the Denver Zoo and a great natural history museum. We kept ourselves very busy!

All sorts of sparkles.

Right before I left, I put together a little project for my grand daughter and I to do together. I wanted to make a Christmas ornament with her using what I had around the house. I gathered some green felt and a little piece of green velvet. From these, I cut some triangles to make Christmas trees. Then I went outside to find a branch that might work for the trunk of the tree. I topstitched the triangles together and put the tiniest bit of stuffing inside. Then I used hot glue to affix the branch/tree trunk. I had a container with an odd mix of sequins and shiny things in it which would make perfect decorations for the trees.

An artist at work.

We had so much fun decorating these little trees. I squirted a pool of Tacky Glue on a piece of waxed paper and gave my little one a q-tip to apply the glue to the tree. Then she carefully picked out a sparkle or sequin to put on each spot of glue. I was impressed with her attention span and how carefully she chose her decorations. It was so hard not to tell her where to put something!

Concentrating and creating.

When she was done, we had four sweet trees.

This one is for Grammy.

I kept one to hang on our tree here at home and she took the other three back to Vermont. I just love this age. We really had a wonderful time together.

Now I am back at home and catching up on things. I am also enjoying a cold that I caught during the trip. Yuk. Doesn’t it seem like this happens all the time – fly somewhere and then catch a bug?

Thanksgiving is this week in the US and I am getting ready to cook. Julia came home last night on the train. Yahoo!! We are hoping to spend lots of time baking and hanging out over the long weekend. She will also be studying a lot – end of quarter projects are due soon and then she has her first round of final exams. Busy girl!

Finally, make sure to come by the shop this weekend! I will be holding a 20% off sale starting on Small Business Saturday lasting through Cyber Monday. All yardage, precuts, patterns and notions are all on sale! This is a great time to stock up for yourself or to choose some gifts for those special people on your list. All orders of $10 or more will receive a free fat quarter tucked in with your order. Happy shopping!!

Handmade Christmas Gifts

Now that Christmas is done and gifts have been given and received, I thought I would share what I made with you. Usually I try to find a fun project to make and give during the Christmas season.  In recent years I have made purses, zip pouches, table runners and hot pads. This year I decided to make an apron for my Vermont daughter-in-law.  Also, I made hot pads for my California son and his girlfriend as well as my Toronto son and his wife.  These projects were quick and satisfying.

For the apron, I upcycled a duvet cover that I had bought a while back. I was thrilled to find this cover in a tan and cream stripe.  The neutral colors and the feel of the fabric assured me I would easily find many uses for the fabric.  I had a vintage pattern from 1975 that I have been holding on to, thinking it would make a really cute apron.

Originally the pattern was designed for a wrap around dress and let me just say, I would have totally loved wearing this dress at age 15 (not that I was necessarily 15 in 1975… oh wait, I was.)¬† Anyway, I had a really similar dress that I made out of a green striped seersucker fabric.¬† I was so cool.

Ok, back to the apron.  I had seen these Japanese work aprons and really liked them Рthis pattern is a bit of a compromise between a standard apron and the Japanese wrap style. This one is more fitted with darts in the bodice.

It wraps around the back with the tie coming through an opening left in the side seam.

I finished the interior seams by folding the raw edges in and top stitching them for a clean look.  This fabric would likely fray in the wash so this will prevent any issues.

I even remembered to put a little label on the inside.

Overall, this was a fun project and hopefully my daughter-in-law will get lots of use out of it.  She is a great cook so I suspect she will use it.

On to the hot pads!  I wanted to make something with the Maker Maker fabric I have in the shop.  I cannot even express how much I love this fabric!!  I made Chemex Cozies out of the Grid fabric and the gray and black Lines fabric.  They were far and above, my top sellers for the Christmas shopping season.Anyway, I thought I would make some hot pads using the Grid fabric and the cats.  The linen has such a nice texture and weight, making it perfect for kitchen accessories.  These finished at at eight inches square and are filled with two layers of Insul Bright, making them nice and thick.

The next gift I want to share was not made in the sewing room!  My husband decided he wanted to make a gift for each of the kids. The boys and their spouses received gorgeous rolling pins made with pieces of walnut and oak that he laminated together.  He turned them on his lathe to make a one piece rolling pin.  I just love them!  The kids were taken with the wonderful finish and really appreciated the work that went into these.

Each piece is different from the next with the stripes and color variations making them unique.

Since Julia isn’t really in need of a rolling pin just yet, he made her a piggy bank.¬† She had such a great time with Daisy and Ella last year, he thought this would be a fun way to remember that summer.

This was a challenging project but it turned out so cute!I love the shape of this little pig’s body and her curly tail.¬† It was so much fun to watch Ray making these projects during the months before the holidays.¬† I love having a few handmade gifts under the tree.¬† I also made some placemats for my parents but didn’t think to take pictures.¬† I will take some the next time I am up at their house so I can share them.¬† Were you able to make any of your holiday gifts this year?¬† If so, share in the comments.¬† I would love to hear about them!

Linking to my favorite parties, including Finished or Not Friday hosted by Busy Hands Quilts.¬† Check the Link Up tab at the top of the page for more info!¬† Have a great weekend all.¬† ūüôā

The Busiest Time of the Year

Tis the season ¬†to be busy, right? This week has been packed with a variety of things. Much of my time has been centered around my Etsy shop. I have had a nice number of sales so that means packaging and shipping items. I greatly enjoy this, so it’s all good. ¬†I decided to start including a little freebie with my orders this year. I made a bundle of little book marks with cute buttons, large paperclips and a bit of hot glue. What do you think?

I get a kick out of getting the shipments ready. For one thing, check out the cute dispenser for the twine that I use to wrap orders. ūüôā I love it – I received it as a birthday gift from my father-in-law a couple of years ago. Secondly, I love helping my customers. ¬†This week I did a custom Chemex cozy for a customer who wanted rooster fabric. Love the colors in this piece of material.

Besides Etsy work, I have done about 75% of our Christmas shopping. ¬†I am feeling pretty good about my progress up to this point. ¬†I have a strong hatred for shopping malls and have thus far avoided stepping foot in one. It remains to be seen if I can finish without hitting the mall but so far, it’s looking good! I also found a dress to wear to my son’s wedding in January. The wedding is in Toronto, Ontario so we will be trekking to Toronto in a few weeks. ¬†As always, when they announced their engagement a year ago, it seemed like it would be such a long wait for the wedding. Then, suddenly, we are a few weeks out. Crazy the way time buzzes by.

Truly, I have spent very little time in the sewing room this week. I did make a little fabric bucket for a gift.  I think I have mentioned that Julia joined 4-H this year. She wanted to learn about raising market hogs to show and sell at the county fair. It has been quite a project for her. She is committed though and has made time for the meetings and is learning all a girl needs to know about market swine!  Ray is reinforcing an existing pen on our property and Julia is helping. They have been setting posts and running wire fence.

I have been very impressed by her 4-H leader for the swine group. ¬†Tracy puts in a lot of time with these kids and it will be even more once their piglets are born. (Julia should bring her piglets home in late March or very early April.) I wanted to give her a little gift for the holidays. I searched for Christmasy pig fabric and wouldn’t you know… there is such a thing! I wasn’t terribly surprised. I think there is fabric out there for everyone and every possible theme!

Aren’t these guys the silliest thing ever? ¬†It cracks me up. I lined it with a vintage holiday print I had in my stash.

I made the bucket with two 11″ squares of fabric for both lining and outer fabric. I fused a thick fusible interfacing to the outer fabric before sewing this up. ¬†Once I fused the interfacing, I sewed the perimeter of the two outer fabric squares, leaving one long side open. ¬†Next I boxed the corners. Then I repeated the process with the lining. However with the lining, I left an opening of three inches on the bottom seam so I could turn it right side out when I sewed it together. ¬†Nest the outer box inside the lining box, with fabric right sides together and stitch around the top. Turn right sides out and press. Hand or machine sew the opening in the lining. ¬†Fold the top over to the outside and you’re done! ¬†If you want pictures or more detail, this tutorial from Dear Handmade Life is quite good. ¬†The size of the bucket in the tutorial is much bigger though. ¬†Mine finished at 5 1/2″ square – so basically at 5 1/2″ wide, tall and deep. Perfect size to fill with a few treats. Perfect gift for any pig lover. ¬†ūüôā

I have also been making blocks for the¬†Sew Fresh Quilt Bee, hosted by Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts. I have two finished but haven’t taken any photos yet. I’ll show them to you soon. They are very cute, improv log cabin blocks.

Ok, that is it for now. ¬†I have to pick up Julia soon. She is in the midst of finals and has been studying like crazy. ¬†She has a few more next week so she will likely have her nose in her Chemistry book all weekend. ¬†Ray and I will drag her away to pick out a Christmas tree but other than that, I doubt very much that she will be doing much besides studying. ¬†Have a wonderful weekend everyone. ¬†Remember that my giveaway for Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway day is open through Sunday evening, December 12th. ¬†Pop over and enter. ¬†Be sure and head over to Sew Mama Sew as well. There are so many fun bloggers participating in this and tons of great giveaways!

Finally, C&T Publishing is having another $5.00 blowout sale this weekend. Of note, they are offering adult coloring books for $5.00 Рbuy one get one free.  So, two gifts for $5.00 plus shipping???

My favorite of the books is one by Valori Wells. She designed the amazing elephant fabric that I made a whole cloth quilt from recently.  If you were as smitten with that fabric as I was, this might be fun for you! There are several nice books listed on sale this weekend.

(Note:  I am an affilliate of C&T publishing and will receive a stipend if you click through my site and order from them.)

Christmas Giving and Receiving

About a week before Christmas I decided I wanted to make a few gifts. My self-imposed parameters were no trips to the store, no spending money on fabric and something quick, easy and fun. I decided on the thirty minute zipper pouches that I found at Kelby Sews. They are a lot of fun to make and very satisfying.

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I do follow the basic tutorial that Kelby posted as her method of making these bags is wonderfully simple. However, I don’t strictly adhere to her dimensions. I have a large zip lok bag of zippers that I have collected from various thrift stores. Many, really most, of the zippers I have are very long, 16-22″ or so. It doesn’t matter as the ends are cut off once the bag is assembled.¬†In addition I, like most quilters, have a large drawer full of batting scraps. The long pieces that are trimmed from the edges after quilting a project are stored there and are perfect for this project. With the zippers and batting on hand, I just had to pull large scraps that went well and coordinated with the zippers. That was probably the toughest part of the process, matching fabrics to whatever zippers I had. ¬†Looking at the photo below, you will see fabrics from Kaffe Fassett, Henry Glass, Allison Glass, Amy Butler, and several by Kathy Davis. ¬†A variety of wonderful colors, to be sure; it felt¬†great to use up so many scraps! The tutorial tells the maker to use adhesive and glue the fabric to the batting. I chose to quilt them together instead. I think it adds an extra touch, and also…I don’t have any spray baste on hand!

If you look at the picture you will see the bag that is the fifth one down in the stack, is made of multiple fabrics. I used an orphan block for that one. It was a practice block I used when I was trying to make a herringbone block. Fortunately it was long enough to make a pouch with, I just had to cut the width down. I loved that pouch because it looked like I had pieced it.


I put some yummy Evelyn and Crabtree lotions in the pouches and mailed them off to my sisters and a quilty friend in Michigan. I also gave them to my mother, my mother-in-law, and sister in law. For my two nieces, I filled the pouch with chocolate and a gift card.
In addition to making these zipper pouches, I made a couple of heat packs for my kids. These are filled with rice and can be heated in the microwave to soothe a sore muscle.  (They can also be stored in the freezer and used for muscle aches and pains.) I made one for myself a long while back and love it.

While it is fun to make, and give, gifts, it is also fun to receive a quilty gift. This year I received three quilting books. I have a list of books that I want to add to my library and received three of them.

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Since receiving it, I have already read Fifteen Minutes of Play, by Victoria Findlay-Wolfe, in its entirety. I love it and spent a few minutes yesterday creating ‘Made-fabric’. I am planning to incorporate her ideas into my projects for RSC16 and will post more on that later. Sunday Morning Quilts has some wonderful ideas for quilts using mostly scraps. Written by the quilt world’s scrappy quilting queens, Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkinson, it is filled with great ideas. Mary Mashuta’s recent book, Foolproof Walking-Foot Quilting Designs, is also wonderful. Mary¬†has some great ideas for quilting designs other than straight lines with a walking foot. I have just taken a peek at that one and already learned a few new ideas that I will try soon. These three books will provide a great deal of inspiration and instruction for upcoming projects. If nothing else, just looking at the photos of the quilts made by these amazing women is so satisfying!

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2016 be a year of peace, good health, and many hours of stitching!

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts, Freemotion by the River, and Let’s Bee Social.

 

 

Swooning over this finish

A few weeks ago we had a quiet weekend – Ray was up working on our house in Downieville and Julia and I stayed home. I pulled out my pile of Christmas fabrics, trying to think of an easy project. I wanted something that would come together easily and could be made entirely from my stash. After spending some time looking at ideas that I have collected on Pinterest, I made my decision. I would make a mini that consisted of one large swoon block.

I have been drooling over pictures of quilts with swoon blocks and minis made from swoon blocks for a long while now. I am not sure what it is about them, but I love them. The pattern for the swoon block was developed by Camille Roskelly over at Thimble Blossoms. ¬†She really started something when she created this pattern. ¬†The pattern makes a quilt with nine swoon blocks that measure 24″ square. For this project, I decided to just make one block and use it as a mini.

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Using only minimal quilting, the fabrics and the pattern shine.

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It turned out so festive.

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I was able to make the quilt using only scraps I had on hand. The backing is a green and cream plaid that a neighbor gave me a long while back. I didn’t have enough of any one the fabrics to bind it so I made a scrappy binding.

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Because it is made of rectangles, HST’s and Flying Geese blocks, the block¬†was a breeze to cut and piece. Making a large quilt with them would be very easy. I love the oversized look of the block.

There you go. A really satisfying finish that was so fun to make and used up some stash.

Linking to Freemotion by the River, Let’s Bee Social and Finish It Up Friday. ¬†Links to all of these are located at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Odds and Ends

The weekend is just about here. Julia is going to her first high school football game tonight and we are not a football family. It is rare that you’ll hear any talk of sports in our house. But I am fairly certain that 14 year olds don’t go to football games for the sport – it’s all about the friends. She will have a great time and I will wonder how she got to be this age so quickly.

It was a busy week here in Grass Valley, CA ¬†(doesn’t that sound just like Garrison Keillor? I love him.) I decided I was tired of looking through filthy windows so I hired a couple of window cleaners to come and clean them. We have lots of windows (40 to be exact, I paid per window so I now know this number.) Turns out that having windows cleaned involves lots of prep on the part of the window owner. They asked me to clear any items near the windows so they could have access. ¬†Yikes. ¬†My sewing table, ironing station and cutting station are under a window. I am sure you can imagine. But after I got the house put back together, it was well worth it. Shiny clean windows. Just in time for fall colors… the maple trees near these windows turn a great shade of yellow-gold and now we will enjoy the changes that much more. (Well, that’s if fall ever comes, it is a balmy 98 degrees outside today.

IMG_20150911_3796Time in the sewing room was not plentiful this week. I did finish up one quick project though. Remember the block-hop that I posted about last week? When I was playing with the design for that block, I did a mock up first. I used some holiday fabric that I had (mainly because it was right next to the cutting area and saved me the long walk to the closet across the room where my stash is stored.)  The block was pretty though and I wanted to use it for something.

IMG_20150911_3784I¬†added two borders, one 2″ wide and the other is 3″ wide. With these borders I ended up with a pillow cover that is about 21″ square.

IMG_20150911_3788I used an envelope backing and stitched a seam 1″ in from the perimeter to make a flange. ¬†Straight line quilting with a fairly narrow gauge was done on an angle, dividing the pillow into four quadrants.

IMG_20150911_3785I used a Mettler variegated thread with shades of gold, silver and cream which I love with these fabrics.

IMG_20150911_3793When I quilt a pillow, I sandwich the quilted portion with plain muslin and pieced batting scraps. The quilting looks kinda cool on the muslin side.

IMG_20150911_3783It makes me want to try some sort of whole cloth project to really¬†emphasize¬†the quilting. Another addition to the list….

It will be fun to pull this out in a few months when the time comes to decorate for the holidays. Hoping everyone has a great weekend. Seems like it is hot across the country right now. Maybe this is the last blast of heat before wonderful autumn starts.

Linking to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict as well as Freemotion Mavericks (even tho this is quilted with a walking foot, not my darning foot.) All links to these link parties are available at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

 

TBT Except It’s Saturday

I have been reading posts that are linked up to a party hosted by Jen at Quarter Inch From the Edge this week and really enjoying them. (I also enjoy the name of Jen’s blog, isn’t it perfect?). She has been hosting a monthly link up where bloggers are sharing projects from earlier days and I love seeing how far everyone has come with their skill and creativity. Really interesting to read the posts and check out the pictures. Most of my earlier projects have been posted about already but I did think it would be fun to share the Tablerunner Craze of 2012.

The fall of 2012 was when the quilting bug really bit. I had recently finished a queen size simple patchwork quilt for my mother-in-law. I posted that story here. When I was finishing up that quilt, I had no clue how to FMQ so I stitched in the ditch along every block. Once that was finished, I really wanted to try some free motion quilting so I took a class at my LQS to learn the basics. ¬†Table runners seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice this newfound love. Glad for the excuse to shop, I shopped for holiday fabric so I could make table runners for my family as Christmas gifts. If you have been a reader for any length of time, you probably know I have a huge family. I made eight table runners in about a month’s time. One for each of my five sisters, one for my mom and my mother-in-law, and one for myself.

This was long before I started blogging and I am happy I thought to take a quick picture of some of them before giving them away.  Definitely last minute pictures. I remember I was about to wrap them and get them in the mail and I tossed them over the back of the couch and took a picture with my phone. (Hence the superb quality of the pictures!) Here are three of the runners.

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I did a basic, squiggly meander over the entire runner. Mitred bindings were not yet in my wheelhouse so the corners were just folded over and stitched (machine stitched to the front and hand stitched to the back? Maybe, maybe not….)

Here are three more.

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These runners are on the small side. They are probably 13″ wide and maybe 30″ long? They were pretty though and I enjoy¬†looking back at them. They were definitely my first foray into free motion quilting. ¬†Actually, it kind of amazes me that this was almost exactly four years ago. The time continues to buzz by.

We are spending the long weekend up at our Downieville house. It is gorgeous up here with crisp, cool air. If you live in California, you are probably hearing about this tremendous El Nino that is supposed to happen this year. Ray is cleaning all of the drainage paths and gutters this weekend. If it comes to be, then we could get some substantial storms this year. I am grateful that he is so good about¬†preparing for this sort of thing. Our Downieville house is is a flood zone being so close to the river so we do need to be careful. At any rate, maybe this year will put an end to four years of drought. Here’s hoping!

Linking to Quarter Inch From the Edge (for the very first time!)