Sunday, December 29, 2019

Butterfly Apron For Granddaughter

About a month ago my daughter texted me a photo of my granddaughter in the apron I made for her in 2017, with this message, "Grandma I've almost outgrown my apron!". I was happy to make her a new one to give to her for Christmas.

You can see the difference! She has grown taller and has a slim build.

Judging by the reactions of my older (18 and 16) granddaughters when Delaney opened the gift bag with her apron, I probably need to make one for each of them too! I mostly followed a pattern, which also had an option for adult sizes. I tried adding a PDF for sharing to Google Docs, but I was unsuccessful, so just go to Google and insert the following text into the search box: "child's pdf apron pattern by joanna armour michael miller fabrics", and "Classic Reversible Apron" should appear first in the results. If that doesn't work, then just email me and I'll send you the pattern!

Here she is modeling for Grandma. The straps and ties are long so it is adjustable as she grows.

My daughter texted me last night with this message: "Making necklaces and needed her apron. She tried to put on the old one and got excited when I reminded her of the new one" (That's little Everett you see in the background!)

This apron is fully reversible, with pockets on both sides. She likes butterflies, and I had fun choosing and coordinating fabrics from my stash. On the "front" side, I love the way the butterfly and text fabric coordinates with the text on the main fabric. On the "reverse" side are ballerinas and pink gingham, for when she feels more girlie. To make it reversible, I simply made both sides, put them together with right sides facing, stitched around the perimeter leaving about a 7-inch gap, then turned it right side out, sewed the gap closed, poked the corners out, pressed it, and top-stitched around the edges.

Apron Details:
Pattern: Classic Reversible Apron by Joanna Armour for Michael Miller

Newspaper Butterflies and Bird Dot Collage, both by Carrie Bloomston for Windham Fabrics
Ballerinas by Lynda S Milligan for Avlyn
Key West Pink Gingham Check by Di Ford-Hall for Andover Fabrics

Superior Thread:
#50 So Fine in 503 Genoa Gray

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite holiday. I associate it with my childhood in northeastern Oklahoma where we attended church service on Christmas Eve at our little white-steepled Methodist church. After singing Christmas carols, all the kids received a red net stocking filled with an apple, an orange, and ribbon candy, passed out by "Santa", the father of one of my friends. After church we would go home and get warm with hot cocoa that Mom made in a pot on the stove with cocoa and milk and sugar. I was always so excited and happy when I went to bed, anticipating the gifts that would be under the tree when I got up. After I got married and had a family, watching Holiday Inn and making and decorating my Granny's sugar cookies became some of the traditions my kids enjoyed, but I still feel the anticipation and warmth of those childhood Christmas Eves.

Here is Granny's sugar cookie recipe that my adult kids and husband expect me to make every year. According to my Mom, Granny made these all her life, so the recipe is at least 125 years old. Be forewarned, it is a tender dough that is not easy to cut and roll out, but the cookies are so, so good!

Granny Mitchell’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 stick salted butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon soda
5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons nutmeg

Cream shortening and butter; add sugar and mix. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Mix soda into buttermilk (in a container that will hold the overflow when it bubbles!) Whisk together 5 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg; add alternately with buttermilk. Add more flour as needed to make a dough that holds together. Chill dough at least two hours or overnight. Roll out on floured surface and cut into shapes; sprinkle with sugar. Bake 375 about 10 minutes. Dough freezes well. These are excellent with a powdered sugar icing.

May your Christmas be filled with magical memories!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Christmas Eve Quilt

This quilt was begun as a sew-along with Mama Spark. In January she issued an invitation on Instagram to join her in making a few blocks per month from Moda Bakeshop's 2018 Countdown to Christmas. I decided to do two per month so that by November or December I should have plenty of blocks for a nice Christmas quilt. I made blocks through May then focused on other projects. The photos did not have good lighting, but hopefully you can get a good idea of the colors of red, green, pink, teal, and black.

My improv block

Block pattern from My Carolina Home

I really enjoyed choosing from the variety of blocks on Moda's website. Because each was from a different maker, some instructions were clear and some were sparse but all were fun to make. The two blocks above were not part of Moda's choices. One of the blocks I improvised to use up some leftover squares and another was a free pattern for Nine-Patch Star from Carole at From My Carolina Home. I liked her pattern so much I may make a full quilt of those simple blocks. At the bottom of this post I have photo of my quilt with numbers on each block. You can match each block to the list that includes links to each website.

Instead of my normal quilting from end to end,
I outlined the designs and added extra detail in each block.

The back was pieced with a panel and two of my favorite fabrics - a red/black checked and a print from Mary Engelbreit.

Quilt Details:
Pattern: variety from Moda's Bakeshop
Finished size: 58 x 58 inches

Blocks: A variety of Christmas prints from my stash, featuring Tinsel Glasses from a 2015 Cotton + Steel collection and Llama Navidad by Michael Miller, and creamy white background
Sashing: Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village
Cornerstones and border: Pearl Essence by Maywood Studios
Binding: Anne of Green Gables Swiss Dot Red by Penny Rose for Riley Blake
Backing: Panel - Frosty Fun by Sue Pipkin for Clothworks pieced with Red Buffalo Plaid from Robert Kaufman's Caroline Gingham Collection and Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village

Superior Threads:
Piecing: #50 So Fine in 503 Genoa Gray
Binding: #30 So Fine in 1105 Stop!

Top Row L-R: Regent Street Star, Night Divine, Grammy's Staircase, Prairie Christmas Star
2nd Row L-R: Let It Snow, Festival, Candy Cane Christmas, Hard Candy Christmas
3rd Row L-R: Special Gift, Reindeer Games, Grandmother, My improv block
Bottom Row L-R: Wrapped Up, Country Winter, Nine-Patch Star, Rocky Mountain Christmas

Friday, December 13, 2019

Snow Sampler, Joy Sampler, and Red Robin Candle Mat

My hand stitching for Christmas has resulted in three completed projects, Joy Sampler cross stitch by Lizzie Kate, Snow Sampler embroidery by Kathy Schmitz, and Gail Pan's embroidered Red Robin candle mat.

Although it may have been on Instagram, I really don't remember where I first saw Snow Sampler. If it was one of your IG accounts or your blog, I apologize for not thanking you!

Decades ago I taught myself embroidery (it was called "stamped crewel" on the packages I purchased) and was familiar with the basic stitches. My love for embroidery continued into the early 2000s, but only until the last few years have I again picked up an embroidery needle This pattern is mostly stem stitch, and for some reason I had trouble "getting it". Once I did, things went fairly smoothly. There are mistakes for sure, but overall Buddy likes the result because it matches his collar!

I auditioned a few fabrics for a pillow and decided on a Grunge-y denim fabric, which harmonized with all the variegated shades of blue in the thread. Overall a fun project (although I am not fond of the stem stitch), and I'm thankful to be back in the embroidery squad.

Joy Sampler was a fun stitch for me. I'm finding that I like cross stitch more than embroidery these days, maybe because my fingers aren't as nimble as they used to be. The pattern suggested 28 count cloth stitched over two, but I substituted 14 count stitched over one. This is a pattern I purchased several years ago, and I'm glad to count it in my "Done" list.

There were three little charms included in the kit for added embellishment.

It seemed that an oval frame best suited the size and shape,
and I found one for half price at Hobby Lobby.

The little candle mat by Gail Pan was a quick finish. This week I realized Gail has a even cuter version of this in her book Christmas Patchwork Loves Embroidery. Diann at Little Penguin Quilts has beautifully made some really cute projects from that book, and so now I've put the book on my Christmas wishlist!

I decided on a greenish grunge for the background, and my husband
chose the black Mary Engelbreit for the backing and binding.

Cross Stitch Details:
Joy Sampler kit by Lizzie Kate
Finished size: stitched area 3-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches
14 count Zweigart cloth in Vintage Country Mocha
DMC threads in 898, 930, 815, 500, 367, 321, 434, 931, 783, 712, 3853, 310

Embroidery Details:
Snow Sampler by Kathy Schmitz
Finished size: stitched area 9-1/2 x 11 inches on a 12 x 16 inch pillow form
Background: muslin-like fabric from stash backed with lightweight fusible interfacing
Backing: Hobby Lobby's version of denim grunge
Thread: DMC variegated in 93 Cornflower blue and 121 Delft blue

Red Robin Candle Mat by Gail Pan
Finished size: 8 inch octagon
Background: Grunge Mint by Basic Grey for Moda
Backing and binding: Mary Engelbreit Cranston Village
Thread: DMC 115 (variegated red), 728 (gold), 367 (green)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Winterlude Table Runner

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