Thursday, November 15, 2007

A quartet of pumpkins

This morning I downloaded the instructions on how to make these fabric pumpkins from the International Friendship Quilters website, and then made four pumpkins. I couldn't stop! My daughter says I have an addictive personality...

The smaller ones are made of fat quarters. I recycled plastic grocery bags for stuffing, and love the way I can plump them into shape with that kind of stuffing.

I made some fabric leaves from some scraps. I see in the photo that I still need to trim the twine. I think I'll make a few more leaves, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Follow-up on rice-bag foot warmers

For any of you who made or will make the rice-filled foot warmers for which I previously gave directions, here's a follow-up tip:

Be sure and double-stitch the seams. If your bag is already made and in use, you can use your machine to sew around the bag, close to the previous seam, being careful to keep rice grains out of the way. Use a strong thread and a tight stitch.

I accidentally ran a finger through one of my seams and could have had rice all through my bed if I hadn't noticed my initial puncture.

A word to the wise…


Friday, October 26, 2007

Quadrille - the other side

Photo#1: The quilt, as you may notice, is just now having the binding applied.

This is side 2 of Quadrille, formerly called Ugly Quilt, but its feelings were getting hurt, so I've stopped calling it that. I think it would be perfect to use on a boat. Will work on finishing it in the coming week.

The borders will still need to have batting inserted (didn't plan ahead for that). Other than having to do some mental gymnastics to make this work, I love the option of quilting each block as I go instead of having a wrestling match with a huge quilt on my DSM (domestic sewing machine).

Photo #2: Here it is, all ready to snuggle over or under, possibly for a Fourth Fireworks Celebration.

I notice, a little too late for me to want to do anything about it, that the quilt is "upside down" in one of these photos. I don't know which, and it doesn't matter!

Quadrille - the front (half awake)

Photos (in process, and finished): The front side of what I was calling my Ugly Quilt, unfinished, now newly named Quadrille, after the fabrics I purchased on the island of St. Thomas in 2006.

I am experimenting with doing reversible quilts, where each block is quilted before you join it to the other blocks. My dear friends say it reminds them of a bunch of nautical flags. Wherever it ends up, I don't know if anyone will be able to sleep under it.

I woke up this morning thinking of the trip Rachelle and I will be making Thanksgiving weekend down to Sabrina's wedding. She wants to make a quick trip of it, so that makes it difficult to carpool with anyone else.

I thought of our route, and happened to think that it has been a long time since Don and I stopped by to see Vivian and Ralph. A very long time. I wonder why? We should stop by and visit them on the way down, because Don so enjoys their company. Why haven't we visited them recently?

I puzzle with that question as I become more fully awake. Full awareness hits me. Oh, that's why. He's gone. I miss him so.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fighting a cold with bright stuff

I've been guzzling water to wash out my cold (something's getting washed out, but it may not be the virus), and sewing up what I'm afraid might be an ugly quilt.

Just experimenting with quilting-as-you-go (reversible quilts), and it turns out that the colors are quite, um, lively. Maybe I'll like it once it's put together, but I've always found a collection of primary colors to be a bit much. I chose the primary solids because they went with the plaids, and now I'm thinking I should've just stuck with a creamy white.

I have enough of the plaids left over to do a second trial, so we'll see, but I think it would be something entirely different. Need more plaids, but more plaids beget more plaids. Like rabbits. Like any other collection of fabric.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hot rice bag foot warmers

Argh, already had this entry nearly finished, and my pocket pc thingamasnicker bombed out. User error, I am certain.

Sylvia asked how to make the foot warmer, which, by the way, worked beautifully. No foot cramps last night. I will have to make some for my Fairbanks daughter, providing she has a microwave.

If you know how to make a beanbag, you can make one of these.

  • 1/4 yd fleece
  • A couple pounds of short grain white rice, or your grain of choice
  1. You gitcherself some soft fabric, tightish weave. Knit or fleece is good; the thicker fabric theoretically holds the warmth longer, but I haven't scientifically checked the theory.
  2. Cut two pieces fabric into your desired shape. I cut mine about 6x15. Renae has a C-shaped one she puts around her neck.
  3. Sew right sides together, leaving an opening to insert grain.
  4. Later addition: Stitch a second time, very close to the first stitching. Helps prevent seam poppage and rice leakage.
  5. Turn right side out.
  6. You gitcher grain of choice. You do not cook it. Repeat, DO NOT cook it! *snicker*
  7. I think short grain rice works well, because it is scent free, and the rounded grains move well, less poky. Flax seed has a wonderful feel, but smells like linseed oil when heated. Potpourri is an interesting addition for foot warmers, but I wouldn't want that perfume next to my face. I have a buckwheat neck bag at home which works very well, but it smells like pancakes when warmed. Millet might be an option, too.
  8. When you fill the bag, you want it floppy, but not so thin that it loses heat quickly. The contents of the 6x15 bag I used last night are about an inch deep when the bag is leveled out on a flat surface, and it is just right.
  9. Sew opening closed with a tight stitch. Machine stitching works well, because it is faster and less likely to leak grains. Stitch twice.

10/19/07 P.S. I made mine yesterday, of fleece, and slept with it last night after microwaving three minutes just before I went to bed. My tootsies felt so loved!

Cloth trivets

As seen in Jackie's house: Cloth Trivets (instructions revised 1/17/09).

This will further exercise your sewing machine, but mostly your glue. I think of a hot pad as something protective and flexible that you hold in your hand, and since these are inflexible and sit on the table, I call them "cloth trivets."

  • Two 5" to 10" squares of cardboard (will cut into circles)
  • One piece polyester or cotton batting to fit cardboard
  • Two pieces of fabric 3" larger than the diameter of your cardboard circles (muslin, scrap, or to coordinate with washable cover)
  • One piece fabric 6" larger than the diameter of your cardboard circles
  • Tacky glue
  • 1/4" elastic, as long as the circumference of your cardboard circles
  1. Cut a couple identical discs out of corrugated cardboard. Jackie had a variety of sizes, from 5" to about 10".
  2. Glue cotton or polyester quilt batting to one side of one disc, extending a quarter inch bit over the edges. This is the top of your hot pad.
  3. Cut two circles of your chosen fabric about 3 inches larger in diameter than the cardboard circle . This can be muslin, scrap fabric, or you may want to choose a fabric that coordinates with the washable cover you will make.
  4. Clip edges of the fabric circles, about 3/4" - 1" clips.
  5. Set the plain disc down on the wrong side of the fabric and use Tacky Glue to apply fabric tightly and smoothly to the disc edges. Clipping first will help.
  6. Set the other disc, batting side down, on the wrong side of the other fabric, and do the same as step #5.
  7. You don't have to wait for drying, but can immediately spread glue on the back of one of the discs, and press the two together. Putting them under a weight (i.e. phone book or iron skillet) while drying helps.
That's the basic insides of the hot pad, but the neat part comes next. You can make interchangeable covers for these, out of fabric sewn basically the same way you would make a shower cap.
  1. From your choice of decorative, washable fabric, cut a circle about 5 - 6" larger in diameter than the cloth trivet.
  2. Fold and sew down the edge all around so that it will accommodate 1/4" elastic. Insert elastic and tighten just enough so that it will hold tightly around the cloth trivet and yet be easily removed for washing or to change your color scheme.
  3. When not in use for table protection, use these for an indoor Frisbee tournament. No, on second thought, outside would be better.
I will post a photo when I have mine made.

Note: As of 1/17/09, I haven't made any, but they are still on my to-do list - maybe for next Christmas.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ladies of Leisure

Photo #1: "Ladies of Leisure" - created from a panel purchased in Portland, OR.

I’ve discovered I have totally confused myself on what the name of this quilt really is. I've been calling it Circle of Friends, and it has morphed into Ladies of Leisure, but sometimes I forget, and it becomes Circle of Friends again. I will have to make a label, and soon.

Now that I see it like this (as if from a distance), I think I would have liked it better without the dark red border. I'd like to see it displayed like the art work at my local Ethiopian restaurant - stretched between a four-sided twig frame, with lengths of sisal or hemp strung between the wood and holes punched in the quilt. Too late for this one. Maybe next time.

The fun thing about panels is making them your own, absolutely different than what anyone might do with the panel. For this one I did free motion quilting around the background leaves, and added not only the border, but piles of beads. There is a mix of polymer clay beads I made, semi-precious stone beads, many beads strung on "tiger tail" wire and tacked to the front of the quilt.

I didn't particularly enjoy sewing on all the beads, but the finished product made it well worth it. What I need to do is to find a "more funner" way to add embellishments.

Photo #2 shows hot-fix beads that I used for the ladies' jewelry.

Black-white gradation

On Thursday and Friday I cut and pieced the strips for the background of my tree applique quilt, name yet to be determined.

The background is a gradation of vertical strips of 17 fabrics from black to white (left to right) for a 30x60 wall hanging.

I had originally planned on having each entire strip a single piece of fabric, but when I looked at all those quarter yards - 44" x 9" of fabric - I decided I'd cut a bunch of 9" x 2.5" strips and stagger the pieces from one side to the other, something like vertical bricks. I laid it all out on the pingpong table, liked what I saw, and pieced together the first four columns.

Then I didn't like what I saw. What had been charming and unusual about the fuzzy raw edges of the strips during the layout stage was hidden when sewn. I painstakingly took all the strips apart and re-sewed them, lapping the end of each short strip over the strip below, wrong side to right side, and then sewed the finished long strips right sides together, as usual. See photo of unfinished top, above.

Now I need to decide what color to make the tree trunks (I've decided to do two trunks instead of one). I know I want the leaves (about a dozen of them) to be yellows and greens. I'll play around with what I have and see what inspires me.

Meanwhile, I will try to post my travel adventures in the days ahead.

Cabin on the Lake

This week I finished, and tied with pearl cotton (because I wanted it to drape softly), the twin-size flannel log cabin quilt, "Cabin on the Lake," for which I had completed the blocks in July. Finding enough blues that were not green-blues or purple-blues was very difficult.

Now that I see it in a photo, I'm thinking the lightest blue blocks are too light. Too late now...


Catching up on quilts, part 1

Between my last trip (to Idaho) and my next one (to Ukraine, first leg of which starts tomorrow), I have been busy pretending to be a textile/fabric artist, or at least crafter...

I finished the last of my collection of scrap-fabric fractured 16-patch pot holders (sample of one -->), which reminds me -- I need to check and see if the ones I mailed for a birthday present arrived, or if I actually mailed them (ahem).


Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Wow, 2007! I never thought I’d be around this long.

I am seriously looking into buying a quilting machine. Looked into the Mega Quilter, as suggested (thank you!), and also Janome 1600p. But the sales lady at the store, which has dozens of machines, kept steering me towards computerized quilting machines that also do embroidery. Do I need that? I don’t know. And will the embroidery/quilting machines work on a quilting frame and do what the Mega Quilter and Janome 1600p will do? No one seems to be able to tell me.

The saleslady finally admitted to me, after 45 minutes of vague answers, that she has never quilted herself and was not really all that familiar with the pros and cons of the various machines. Sigh.

© 2008 LDN