Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hospice Tree

Every year in Gualala a very large Christmas tree is set up inside a shopping area.  On it are heart ornaments that people use to remember someone who has died.  Several years ago I put up a heart ornament for my Grandma Irvine, and one for Rick Hansen.  

A couple of weeks ago at my Tuesday quilting group, Lori brought all of the raw materials for making these hearts.  She had volunteered to make some, so she roped us into helping her!  It actually was quite fun.  One person traced shapes onto red felt, green felt, and white cotton.  Another person cut out the red felt, another the green felt, and someone else did the white cotton hearts.  Then we each took several of them home with us to finish up by layering the fabrics, inserting the ribbon, and doing a decorative stitch around to hold it all together.  Lori encouraged us to put a little decoration on the hearts, like a button, or a bow, or green felt holly leaves.  I sewed mine up, then looked in my button container for some appropriate buttons.  I saw this little tractor button that I had been saving for a special occasion.  And I thought, even though the tractor is the wrong color (!)* this would be a good  way to remember my dad.  So I wrote his name and dates on this heart when I gave all my hearts back to Lori.  

There are literally hundreds of these memorial hearts on the large tree.  And now my dad's ornament will be there with them.

* For those of you who don't know your tractors, this green and yellow tractor tells us it is a John Deere tractor.  On our farm, we had red tractors, which were made by Farmall.  But, the tractor button I found was green, so I hope no one minds about the discrepancy.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


I've added a little button on the side of my blog.  It offers you a chance to subscribe to my blog by email.  Just fill in your email address to be notified when I make a new post.  Easy!

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hand Quilting

MisterStitches and I made a road trip up to Ashland, Oregon (before the weather got colder and wet!), to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival again.  So as usual, I needed to ready my handwork for the long drive.  I really didn't have much going at the time, so I made up a new project.

I decided on another hand quilting project.  I found some nice light blue fabric (above) with leaves scattered around on it at my local quilt shop, The Loft.  (Fifty percent off, too!!)

I backed it with this nice blue flowered print that I had in my stash--they play very well together, I think.

I'm simply stitching around each of the larger leaves.  

I chose this pretty variegated thread in pastel colors, and I think it looks nice.

And here is my little portable sewing center suction-cupped to the car window!  I can happily stitch away all along the very straight highway.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Baby Quilt for the New GranddaughterStitches

I mentioned in a post last August that there is going to be a new GrandBabyStitches.  Now we know that it is a GranddaughterStitches!  So, in addition to the receiving blankets and some other baby accessories, I've been working on a quilt, too.

Daughter-in-lawStitches told me about a website/app called The Bump.  It's a very helpful app if you happen to be expecting a baby.  Each week they send out an email that tells you how big your baby is, how much it weighs, etc.  It tells you other information about the baby, too, like which parts of the baby are growing right now, etc.  And there are lots of links to articles about things like decorating a nursery, buying a baby stroller, what to do for morning sickness, etc.

The really cute thing is that each week when they tell you the size of the baby, they compare it to a fruit or vegetable.  At first it was a tiny apple seed, then grew to a grape, then a lemon.  And later to a head of lettuce, a pumpkin, and a watermelon!  So I went on a hunt to find as many of those foods depicted in fabric as I could.  Here they are all laid out.

I changed the photo into black and white so I could get a better idea of which fabrics read as darks and which read as lights.

I found a pattern in a magazine that I liked.  Then I adapted it to make a smaller quilt.  The magazine included a paper template for the curved piece.  So I just made it a little smaller than that, using the width measurement of the template to tell me how wide my baby quilt would be.

Here is where I was auditioning fabrics for the binding.  I ended up going with a semi-solid, known as "Grunge" in green.  

How to quilt this was my next "decision/opportunity."  I haven't been feeling very good about my free-motion quilting quality lately, but. . .

I sewed 1/4" away from all the curved horizontal seams and the straight vertical seams.  Then I tried free motion quilting some fruit and vegetable shapes, and was ok with the results.

I decided to mix up the quilting, so you can see in the above photo that I quilted strawberries on the pumpkins.    And below I quilted pumpkins on the bananas.

I had found this great "multi-fruit/veg" print at a quilt shop in Ashland, Oregon which I used for the back of the quilt.

I'm quite happy with how it turned out.  This is one quilt that is supposed to look wavy on the bottom!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Way last February, at our annual PPQG retreat, all of the participants made disappearing four-patch blocks in reds, whites, and blues.

I have to say that I am truly amazed at how beautiful and scrappy it all looks.  Some people used colors other than the traditional red, white, and blue.  We have some light blue, some off white, and somehow it all blends beautifully.

Since then, I've been playing with different arrangements on my design wall.  

This is one of those projects that (sadly) I kept putting off.  It seemed like a huge mountain to me.

First, all of the blocks needed to be squared up to a consistent size.  Fortunately, my friend and fellow quilter Deb squared them up for me.  

Still, huge mountain!

But I finally got to it this week.  I finalized my arrangement, then got busy sewing all the squares together.  

Many years ago Libby Lehman taught a class at my guild and she showed us a method of sewing lots of squares into a quilt.    In the photo below you can just barely see gaps between the horizontal quilt rows.  That is because I sewed all the lengthwise seams first, but didn't cut the threads between the squares.  So at this point all I needed to do was to sew the crosswise seams together, and they are all held in just the right position.  This way nothing gets lost, and my quilt comes out the way I had planned it on the design wall.

Now all the horizontal rows need to be sewn together and again back up on my design wall.  I think I'll see if I can get some help adding a border and doing the basting and quilting.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pet Beds

I sewed up some more pet beds recently, since my bag of throw-away scraps was overflowing!  This time I used some upholstery fabrics that I had in my stash.  These are pieces that an interior designer gave to me--fabrics that were discontinued.

I like this one with the straw hats. . .

This one would be perfect for a hunting lodge!

Here is where I laid a yardstick down so you can see the relative sizes of the pet beds.  

I might try to see if my own kitties would like any of these.  But I know that I will give some of them to my local animal shelter.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Aprons for the Bakers

Time to make some more aprons for my favorite bakers, Margaret and Hilla at Two Fish Baking Company.  Once I got started, I couldn't stop!  


So I ended up making six of them this time.

I really enjoy making these aprons.  It's fun to go through my stash and find two fabrics that will "play well together" for each apron.

The apron below uses some of my Harmony Art organic fabric, "40 Ginkgos." And it was lined with fabric that I used for sashing strips on my President's Quilt.

Harmony Art fabric was also used for the apron on the left, "Whispering Grass" in orchid.

Is it ironic that I never make an apron for myself?  I almost always wear an apron when I cook or bake, but they are the plain white ones that I buy at the restaurant supply store!

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By the way, I've added a new "gadget" to the right sidebar of my blog.  It is to enable you to sign up and receive my blog posts by email, if you so desire.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Marble Maze

DaughterStitches sent me a link to a blog, and said, Please Mom, make me some of these!  This is the blog, called Serving Pink Lemonade.  (Isn't that a cute name!?!)  She gives a tutorial to make these very simple marble games.

I won't give you the directions, as you can visit the site, but I basically took two rectangles, and sewed them right sides together.

Then I turned them right side out, and sewed some lines throughout the little "pouch" to create the maze.  I backspaced at both the beginnings and endings of these lines to lock the stitches so they would not unravel.

 I popped in a marble before I sewed the opening closed.  

The child (or adult!) spends time moving the marble around the maze.  A great way to keep young fingers busy in a safe way.  I think DaughterStitches might have a few students who need this maze toy!

I honestly had trouble stopping making these!  They are so fun to make and just take scraps.  So I made several and I will give them to people for their young kids or grandkids.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hand Quilting On The Road

MisterStitches and I recently took a road trip to Ashland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  It is a full day of driving, mostly straight highways.  So I took along a project to keep my hands busy.

I wanted to do some hand quilting, so I found some light blue fabric at my LQS, The Loft.  After washing and ironing, I sandwiched it with some backing fabric that I had in my stash.  I decided to hand quilt around the edges of the leaves on the fabric.  

I chose this cute variegated thread that I already had on hand for the quilting.

I really enjoy hand quilting.  It is so relaxing and peaceful to me.  (Except when I poke myself with the needle!)

 This is the backing fabric that I chose.  The stitches hardly show on it.

And of course, I used my trusty portable sewing station that I could attach to the car window.  It is so handy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sewing with GranddaughterStitches

We recently had a visit from eight-year-old GranddaughterStitches, who came to attend Art Camp at GAC.  This is her third year at the camp, and she loves it.  

She looks so serious, doesn't she!

As you can imagine, I am very interested in teaching GranddaughterStitches how to sew/quilt. In previous years, I have taught her how to hand sew; she loved cutting (fussy cutting) pieces of print fabric, then sewing them onto another piece of fabric.  Last year I gave her 40 5-inch squares and had her arrange them on my design wall.  I then sewed them together for her.  She helped me pin the quilt sandwich, and instructed me in what design to use for the quilting.  She was very proud of her doll quilt.

This year I found a book at Marva’s “The Loft” called Sewing Machine Fun for Kids by Lynda Milligan and Nancy Smith.  It is a great book for guiding a young quilter/sewer.  It had puzzles that helped GranddaughterStitches learn the names of different parts of the sewing machine.  That made it more fun for her.  It also had sample projects, and she chose to make a hair scrunchie.  After that she decided she wanted to sew a pillowcase, even though that wasn’t one of the projects in the book.  And I have to say, she did a pretty good job of it. 

The pillowcase.  I love the fabric that she chose from my stash.
The scrunchy.

I’m so happy to see this new generation interested in sewing and quilting.  It warms my heart.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Receiving Blankets

 I am pleased as punch to be making some receiving blankets.  Because that means there is going to be a new BabyStitches in our family!  SonStitches and DearDaughter-in-lawStitches are pregnant, expecting a little one in December.  I'm so excited!!!

It was a very windy day, so I had GranddaughterStitches's help in photographing these blankets outside.

One is a cute alphabet print, with a light yellow background.

 I hand-sewed the hems down with a funky little stitch that left these marks on the front side.

Another fabric I chose is from the book How Much Do I Love You?

I used a blanket stitch to hem this one.

This one is two-sided.  I followed the instructions at Missouri Star Quilt Company's Youtube site.  Here's the link.

The result is a cute receiving blanket that has a double thickness, and about a 4" contrasting border on the front side.

These cute flannels are from the same fabric line, and I found them at The Loft, my LQS.  One of the fabrics shows lots of different animals, then there are separate fabrics that use just one of those animals.  Here I chose the elephants.