To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
It’s right around this time every year that I remember how much I dislike the season of giving. I love giving presents when I find/make just the right thing for someone; I dislike having to buy something just because it’s xmas. I hate, hate, hate being on the receiving end when someone clearly felt required to give me something—it takes all the fun out of being able to appreciate the thought behind the present.
Growing up, giving holidays were always followed by a series of trips to the store to exchange all manner of things that didn’t fit or really weren’t my style—that, or trying to find a way to donate things that couldn’t be exchanged (which generally didn’t happen, so they became clutter in a mini-hoard). So, that’s the long-winded bah-humbug excuse for why my tween and teen niblings are all getting gift cards this year—instead of having to go return things from us in the days after Christmas, perhaps they can go to the store with us while we’re in town that week and use their gifts on things that suit them best.
Gift cards are boring to unwrap, so I made a few gift card stockings as well. I personalized them with embroidered initials, and topped them with a bit of stashed fleece. Really, I was procrastinating on working on a quilt that I’ve lost the drive to finish.
The easy way would be a single layer with pinked seam allowances to stop potential fraying. I made mine with a lining, because it means neat insides and I wanted to experiment with ordering of seams (that is, sewing the lining, cuff, and outside for one half together, then to the other, rather than some complicated nesting process).
Charm squares are the perfect size for these if you want to make a few of your own—you’ll need four per stocking. The cuffs are 3.5″x5″ rectangles (quilting cotton can work there too, or stash bust some fleece/Minky scraps). You can download the template I used if you want to muddle through construction on your own.
Despite my current lack of Yuletide gaiety, I am looking forward to the vacation time and chance to head back to MO to see my family! What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
My studio space is finally clean, so of course I had to go back to a project and get it a bit messy again. Since I missed the last Sew You Want to Quilt (SYWTQ) meeting, which was talking about layout options, and we have almost a month in-between meetings this time because of Memorial Day, I figured I should go ahead and piece the top together.
The last glimpse I gave you of this quilt was on a Wednesday Wall post:
It’s another grouping of fabrics playing on the color scheme I used in “Shakespearian Bars”. Kona Regal, Moss, Berry, Peapod, and Bella Strawberry. It’s a bit closer to what I wanted for the first quilt. It would have been just about perfect with Kona Coral instead of Bella Strawberry, but I couldn’t get ahold of that in time to start piecing.
Because I made the first block undersized, but also made multiples, I had to come up with a way to include both it and the seven 12″ blocks. So, I set a few on point, and ended up with this, which is ~41″×52″:
Then, because a completed top always screams for quilting to start, especially when I’m only feeling lukewarm about the top to begin with, I managed to fit some quilting in. I quickly pieced a back using leftovers from the top and a yard of Kona Plum I’d bought to audition for the top. I’m using the same charcoal thread that I used on “Shakespearian Bars”.
Somewhere along the line, after stitching in the ditch around the major joins, I decided I needed to jump in the deep end and try feathers. For the first time. On a solid quilt. With very contrasting thread when viewed on the back.
Just don’t look too closely at it. I think this one is going to Carl’s niece, so I hope she doesn’t mind getting the guinea pig quilt. Or as Moof would say, his quilt, since he always tries to claim them.
More on this one as soon as I finish the quilting—FMQ goes way faster than straight line quilting! I just have to figure out how to quilt the remaining sections, as I don’t want dark feathering on top of the light pieces.
After I posted this top back in January, I went a bit incommunicado about it, as I decided to submit it to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Beauty of the Byways” show this year. I finished it with nary a minute to spare, so I don’t have many photos of the details, nor of it hanging, but here’s an overview.
Each submission to the show must have a story:
While some say you should travel a byway to see the “simple life”, my journeys on byways around the country have been for the opposite reason; sometimes I need a break from the repetitive, “simple” driving of the Interstate System and long to see the complexities of agriculture, forests, seaways, rivers, and hundreds of small towns. Driving on Ohio’s Amish Country Byway may find me slowed by a horse and buggy, but the leisurely pace gives me time to admire the rows of corn in fields or meadows of flowers along the road.
The piecing of my quilt is not intricate, but to call it simple belies the involved process of creation—from choosing the colors of fabric and thread, to the complexity of each stitch holding the three layers of cotton together. It is plain, but sometimes the monotony of life’s daily bustle calls for slowing down and enjoying the “simple” complexity that you can find when you turn off the more often-travelled path—whether it be a break from quilting projects of many pieces to work on something inspired by the Amish or taking time to drive along a byway and admire the sights.
The pattern is mine, but it is strongly influenced by quilts made by Amish women in Pennsylvania and across the Midwest in the late 19th Century, now in museum collections.
The title comes from the color scheme, one I found for yarn somewhere on Pinterest. They called the scheme “Shakespeare”, so I ran with that. It’s “an English interpretation” because English is what the Amish call non-Amish. The colors are Kona Coral, Kona Regal, Kona Hibiscus, Kona Moss, and Free Spirit Citrine.
The back is another Amish-inspired composition using the purples from the front (Regal, Hibiscus) and Moda Bella Thistle. It’s a little off-center, but not crooked, so I call it a basting win. Considering that I cut 7 of the 12 pieces incorrectly when putting it together, I should also call it a miracle.
I hastily applied a handwritten label to one side, but once I get it back, I’ll put a better one on.
It’s quilted in a charcoal thread that I had leftover from the Cyclist quilt; many sources on Amish quilts say that their quilting was done in black at that time, so I chose to use a dark thread rather than matching to the colors of the quilt.
Pellon Nature’s Touch in the middle gives it a nice drape and warmth factor. I didn’t wash it before the show, but can’t wait to do so once I have it back in my hands.
The binding is wide and non-mitered—another nod to the Amish tradition. I chose Hibiscus, as I wanted to put it next to the Regal as a way of giving the inner pieces more contrast. In certain light, the Hibiscus and Regal photograph very similarly to each other when they are in different areas of the quilt.
It’s also Moof approved, but I’m starting to think he’s just a sucker for soft quilts on wood floors.
I don’t think this is the last of my experiments with color schemes and Amish Bar quilts!
For various reasons, I haven’t been doing much sewing since my last post. Yesterday, I finally got back in the sewing room to finish up a quilt top I’ve been working on. Unfortunately, I’m about two weeks behind… I had hoped to finish the quilting by tomorrow—bound and all.
But, my delay doesn’t change the rush I felt last night when this crazy plan of mine all came together correctly. You’re just going to have to wait a bit before you can see the finished project. Moof is a great sneak peak guard.
This has been a pretty big year for changes—we adopted Moof back in March and now we have our new house, complete with an actual mantle in the living room! So, of course, Moof needs his own stocking to hang.
I don’t know which of us actually came up with the idea, but Carl and I were joking a few weeks ago about how Moof chews on pretty much anything, so if we got him a stocking, it’d probably be chewed up. We thought it would be funny if he had a pre-“chewed” stocking with child-like lettering.
Our puppy isn’t exactly housebroken yet. The first night we had him, he messed all over the pillow in his kennel. We needed something that could protect the pillow and be easily washable. The solution: flannel, hospital sheeting (rubber sheeting), and velcro. And a whole lot of estimating and zero measuring with anything resembling a measuring tape.
Caveat lector: this isn’t intended as a tutorial, rather as a show of my process on an off-the-cuff project. But, if you want to make your own and want clarification on anything, let me know in the comments or contact me.
Normally I’d put more thought into something like this, but basically, I looked up pillow case sizes online (on my phone, on the way to the fabric store), decided I needed about a square yard of sheeting, give or take and went to buy it.
I’ve been terribly unproductive for the past month. In fact, I have half a post written about my unproductiveness and all the WIPs I have at the moment, but I’ve been too unproductive to take the photos for it.
And now, I have this guy living with me:
He’s nameless (at least, so far, 24 hours after we adopted him), 4 or 5 mos. old and not housebroken. So, it looks like my productivity will be shifted for a while yet, but have no fear, I’ll be sewing again soon (I hope).