Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Winterlude Table Runner Complete

I first started this table runner in December 2014, and you can read about it in this post. I had purchased a kit with a honey bun and fabrics from the Winterlude collection by 3 Sisters and planned to use it for Christmas decor.

When I blogged about it, I had worked on it for several hours and stated that I had cut 420 tiny pieces of fabric. I carefully paired and placed those pieces on a board to transport to my closet, planning to keep it out of harm's way until I could work on it again. On the way to the closet the board hit the wall and all those pieces spilled onto the floor. I was so discouraged that I threw everything into a bag and decided to wait and finish it later. This year I found it again and sorted everything out and was excited to get it finished.

It was fun to start on a project with the pieces already cut. I wasn't as picky about pairing fabrics this time, but I like it just fine. The fabrics are so pretty, and it was a pleasure to chain piece and press them. The pattern consisted of 3-1/2 inch 9-square blocks.

I had planned to use a piece of Grunge-ish red metallic as the main part of the backing, but in my Christmas scraps I found a remnant of Moda Fruitcake and decided to piece it with the red. Fruitcake is my very favorite fabric line. I bought it for my first quilting class in 2010, a table topper I finished in 2014. You can read about that right here.

This was (I think) my first time working with a flange. I like the effect, and it was easier than I thought it would be.

My seam ripper was used quite a bit. Normally the scant 1/4 inch seam is my friend, but in the case of the little 9-square blocks, a full 1/4" was required. I found that out the hard way.

Jack was very helpful during the quilting and the photographing

I kept the quilting simple

I'm keeping this one for my Christmas table runner this year!

Winterlude Table Runner Details
Finished size: 26 x 52
Pattern and Fabrics
Front and binding: Winterlude Table Runner Kit by 3 Sisters for Moda
Backing: Fruitbasket by Basic Grey for Moda, Luxe Brushstroke in Bordeaux by Moda

Superior Threads
Piecing: #50 So Fine in 402 Pearl
Quilting and binding: #40 Rainbows in 806 Desert Rose and #40 King Tut in 1002 Holly and Ivy

Straight line walking foot and some free motion

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Necessary Distractions

Last week I mentioned to my husband that my laptop seemed very sluggish. Although we do have slow internet (we live in the sticks!), he reminded me that it was purchased in 2013, had an outdated operating system, and probably needed replacing. He suggested we look at a new one for me, so on Monday off to Best Buy we went. We got a dream of a deal on an open box HP Pavilion 360 14" Touchscreen and got it for 18 months with no interest! Very important when you are retired - hah!

I got a pretty little mouse too!

This beautiful sky greeted me from our deck this morning

After hubby got everything set up, I spent the last two days staring at the screen while transferring and setting up files, programs, and internet bookmarks. And everything is so fast! Late this morning I finished and now look forward to getting back to sewing room projects.

Speaking of fast, this yarn was ordered on the 16th, and it arrived this afternoon. It is "Re-Tweed", a new yarn by Lion Brand, and I'm not yet sure what I'll make with it. I love the look of it, so I ordered a few colors to try. I need more yarn like a hole in the head, but all their yarn was on sale at 45% off, so what else could I do but buy more? The sale is still on, so if you need yarn go to their website and use the code NOV45 at checkout. (I'm receiving no compensation, just want to pass on a good deal.)

Now that the laptop situation is resolved, I'm ready to get back to this little project, a table runner for Christmas. Although it looks giant in the photo, the final size should be about 50x25.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pumpkin Patch Quilt Finish

Pumpkin Patch, aka Hocus Pocus, is finished! You can read about the inspiration for this quilt right here.

This seasonal quilt was such a joy to make. Apparently I really love fall-appropriate fabrics, because I had a ton in my stash. It was a pleasure to pull a variety of browns, orange-y reds, creams, and golds from my stash, and I added pops of blue. I love every single piece of fabric that went into this quilt.

Although I love this pattern, the instructions were challenging. This is NOT a criticism of the author, because the pieces went together beautifully (or at least they were supposed to!), and there were pressing directions for the seams, always important for seam nesting. There were three sizes and shapes of pumpkins, and each size had its own set of instructions. Then there was one size of leaves and three different orientations for stems, so I found myself going back and forth between pages which became very confusing. I want to make this pattern again, but I'll have to rewrite it for my brain to comprehend!

I love this pretty blue print for the backing. You know how you buy a piece of fabric on sale and put it away for just the right project? In 2011 I purchased an end-of-bolt of over three yards on sale at a local quilt shop. Eight years later I found the perfect fit! I wanted to use a solid piece of fabric on the back, since there is so much patchwork going on in the front, so this was ideal.

I free motion quilted a meandering design, which is my go-to quilting pattern for now. I need more FMQ practice to do something different!

For the binding, I machine-sewed front and back. I am preferring this method more and more over machine sewing the binding to the back and then hand sewing it to the front, as it holds up better when laundered. I used two different variegated threads that blended nicely with the binding and backing, and I like the effect.

As much as I'd like to keep this one, I made it as a birthday gift for my daughter. She has already seen it and loved it, so I need to get it boxed up for mailing before I change my mind!

Pumpkin Patch Quilt details:
Finished size: 68 x 44
Hocus Pocus by Margot Languedoc

Front: Scraps and stash
Back: BonBon from the Chocolat collection by Three Sisters for Moda
Border and sashing: Grunge Moutarde by Basic Grey
Binding: Andover/Makower Bloom Bouquet in Red

Superiors Threads
Piecing: #50 So Fine in 402 Pearl and 502 Genoa Gray
Quilting: #50 So Fine in 402 Pearl
Binding: Front - #40 Rainbows in 806 Desert Rose; Back - #40 King Tut in 1002 Holly and Ivy
Quilting: Superior #50 So Fine in 402 Pearl

Meander free motion quilting

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Osage Autumn Crochet Scarf and An Anniversary Update

Here is another finished winter scarf for wearing with boots and jeans. (Here and here are the two I made last year.)

The yarn, Patons Kroy in Blue Striped Ragg, is classified as "socks yarn". I attempted to crochet socks, but I gave up and made a scarf instead!

I used a U.S. D/3 crochet hook and primarily a single crochet stitch, with a few lacy rows thrown in to give it character.

In other news: Our kids surprised us this past weekend with an anniversary party! Our 50th anniversary was October 23 (read about that right here), and our daughter and two youngest grandchildren came for a weekend visit Friday night. She had told us before she came that she wanted to go out to eat to celebrate our anniversary and her birthday (October 24) and not to buy or fix a bunch of food like I usually do. She was very sneaky and never hinted at the fun to come.

Our son had told us various reasons he and his family couldn't come out for the weekend and made plans with us to take us out to eat in a couple of weeks. On Saturday around 11;00am, he and his family showed up at our house with a cake and food for a cookout! We were so shocked! They brought margarita fixings, queso, guacamole, and salsa, and my son grilled burgers. We had a blast!

Our kids helped us recreate cake cutting, 50 years later.

The cake had a photo of the cake cutting at our wedding reception.
It was just as delicious as the one 50 years ago!

Our littlest Sooner helped us feel better when OU lost their game.

Of course no visit is complete without a trip to Walmart for diapers.

We enjoyed a marshmallow roast on the firepit.

It was truly a great weekend filled with wonderful memories and happy times.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Today Is Our 50th Wedding Anniversary - We Made It!

Fifty years ago today, my husband and I were married in the little United Methodist church in our northeastern Oklahoma hometown. It was a chilly, cloudy, misty day. Our church was undergoing a renovation, and my Daddy was concerned about "the mess", so he spent part of his day sweeping debris off the sidewalk with a broom. I didn't hear about this until days later, and it made me cry! That night he walked me down the aisle. Even though we had rehearsed waiting at the entrance to the sanctuary, I kept walking forward and he gently tugged me back, and we laughed. It was a funny sweet moment I'll always remember, along with being surprised to see tears in my soon-to-be husband's eyes as I walked toward him.

My colors were dark pink and white, and I did not want little bride and groom figures on my cake!

Because of the renovation, our Fellowship Hall was not available for the reception, and we "borrowed" a Fellowship Hall in the Baptist church just down the street. All of us walked down the block in a light mist, but no one complained!

After the reception, we drove to Fountainhead State Lodge, about a two-hour drive south. We had a bite of cake at our wedding (and it was good!), but neither of us had eaten much during the day, so we were hungry. (In 1969, serving a meal at a wedding was not common!) It was too late for a restaurant, so the vending machines supplied our wedding supper - peanut butter crackers and Coke - and it was delicious!

Our honeymoon was spent driving through the hills of Arkansas and Missouri, and we still talk about the breath-taking beauty of autumn leaves on that drive. It was like neither of us had ever noticed autumn colors before! We went to two theme parks - Dogpatch USA in Arkansas and Silver Dollar City in Missouri. We were still just kids at age 21, so we had a great time! We ended up having so much fun and were so reluctant to get back to our college classes that we extended our trip an extra day. My Daddy's boss had given us a check for $100.00, which seemed a fortune to us at the time, so that completely paid for our honeymoon.

College dance, circa 1968
We started dating when we were freshmen in high school. Our first "date" was a band trip to a roller skating rink. We rode the school bus and held hands. On the ride back, he leaned in for a kiss and I leaned toward him. We hit a bump in the road and our lips kind of collided. My braces caused a little cut on the inside of my lip, but I didn't care. After we got back and left the band room, we had a real first kiss outside on the tennis court, and that one was magic. We attended the same church and the same college, and we graduated together in 1970.

Jeff and Jenni and us, Christmas 2017
During our 50 years of marriage, we were blessed with our amazing son and daughter, Jeff and Jenni, and they have given us a wonderful daughter-in-law, Susan, and great son-in-law, Chris, and five beautiful grandchildren - Brandon - 20, Sydney - 18, Samantha - 16, Delaney - 3, and Everett - 5 months.

July 4, 2019. L-R me, Jenni, Samantha in front of Randy, Delaney, Sydney, Jeff (behind Sydney), Brandon's girlfriend Prescilla in front of Brandon, and Susan. Buddy the dog is in front!
Not pictured is son-in-law Chris, who was on a trip, and Everett, who was taking a nap.
We hope to get everyone in the picture at Thanksgiving!

We haven't been good in recent years about taking decent photos of ourselves, so here is my favorite from our anniversary 5 years ago, when he had more hair and I had fewer wrinkles!

Here is a more recent photo from our birthday celebration in 2018:

It has been a fast 50 years, and I am so thankful that we are still in love, still in good health, and still laugh together!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

My Fabric Love/Addiction History

I love this cartoon from The Big Book of Bobbins by Julie Icenogle!

My love of fabric began in junior high school, when Mom let me choose patterns and cloth for my clothes at Ellard's, the local "dry goods" store in our tiny town. Mom was an excellent seamstress and made most of my dresses. I think I learned the rhythm of sewing by watching her, first at her pedal sewing machine, and then at her fancy new cabinet Singer.

When I was a freshman in high school, our home economics teacher introduced us to sewing. Our big project was to make a dress. After we assembled our dresses during class, we took them home to measure for the hem, then had to hem them by hand. I still remember neatly spacing the slip stitch we were required to use. My stitching was so good that my teacher did not believe I had hemmed the dress myself and thought my Mom had done it. Mom got very upset when I told her about this and made a trip to the school to set that teacher straight!

Before I learned to sew, Mom made two particularly memorable Palm Sunday and Easter dresses for me from the same pattern. One was a full skirt and jacket in lilac, and the other was a slim skirt and jacket in turquoise. Both had bolero jackets over a sleeveless dress. Mom and I felt very chic saying the word "bolero". She helped me choose the fabric for each dress. At age 13, I felt very grownup wearing these to church, with my first high heels. The pattern pictured above (which can be found here) is very similar to the pattern Mom used, except the dress was sleeveless.

After I got married, I began to buy fabric to sew for our home and family. I loved sewing clothing (I even made my husband a plaid suit!) and house decor, Halloween costumes, etc. A lot of my fabric was purchased at Hancock's, but there were a few nice local stores I loved to frequent. If a particular fabric caught my eye, I splurged and bought a few yards, even if I only had vague plans for it. Some of the fabric got put to good use, some of it just got admired.

During my husband's career, we followed his jobs in Oklahoma and Texas, and the moving process helped keep my yardage in check. When I packed, if I hadn't used it in 5 years, I gave it to Goodwill. Now I wish I still had some of those beautiful fabrics I gave away (I can still remember many of them!)

My first quilt stash and sewing room in 2012

My current fabric stash on hubby-built shelves

After I started quilting in 2010, my fabric purchases became quilting cottons instead of clothing and decor fabrics. I had no clue how to build up a good stash with neutrals, small prints, solids, and blenders. Instead I bought what appealed to me, purchasing many charm packs and bundles. Now that I have a few quilts under my belt, I buy yardage; but I'm still a sucker for a pretty bundle (see the two new Christmas bundles on the top shelf!)

So there you have a little history of my fabric love, but I did not include my love affair with yarn. That I will save for another post!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Vinyl Project Bag

So this happened over the weekend, and on a Saturday when I usually spend most of the day watching college football! Somehow I worked around the NCAA football schedule to complete this little project bag. There are zillions of tutorials for zippered vinyl bags on the internet, but I like this one from Moda Bake Shop. The pattern was easy to follow and perfect for my first time sewing with vinyl.

I could hardly bear to cut into my long-hoarded Suzuko Koseki fabric, but I love the little circles of retro-ness and thought it was perfect for a bag.

I quilted the back so that the circles were left unsullied.

Here are some things I did differently from the pattern:
  1. I used a solid piece of fabric for the back instead of piecing together mini charms, so the final size is off about an inch from the Moda bag at 13 inches x 14 inches
  2. I used fusible batting instead of regular batting to give it more body
  3. I sewed the zipper on with a regular foot instead of a zipper foot
  4. Next time I will be more careful getting creases out of the vinyl. In an effort to smooth the vinyl I put too much heat on it and made it slightly warped. So there were a few crinkles when I sewed with it. However I'm the only one who will notice!

My ambitious self wants to make more little vinyl/fabric bags for Christmas gifts!

Health update: Life is good again. After being sick most of August into September, I'm feeling like my normal self again! My CT scan revealed that I had had pneumonia in my left lung, so that explains the pain with coughing, the weight loss, and the trouble breathing. While waiting for my test results I made the mistake of looking online and found all kinds of things that could be wrong with me, so finding out it had been pneumonia was actually a relief - LOL!