Monday, December 30, 2013

Vintage Modern Surprise

Yesterday I spent pretty much the entire day in my sewing room, cleaning, organizing, and culling. Regrettably, it doesn't look much different than when I started. You know how it is. You pick up a piece of fabric, stare at it for several minutes, then put it back on the shelf. Or in the box. Or in a different box. Once in awhile you relegate an unloved item to the "go away" box. Sometimes you take it back out again. At the end of the day, I did manage to cull enough stuff to make it a little easier to move around the room, and in the process take inventory of my so-called "collections".

One box was (is still) full of mid-20th century-type stuff, among which I found this quilt top. I honestly don't remember when/where I got it, in fact finding it in the box was a total surprise to me. The blocks measure over 12", so its a fairly decent size.  I don't know about you, but it looks to me like it would fit right in with the Modern Quilt movement.

Am I the only one who gets excited over these funky '60's fabrics? I wonder if they will ever have their day, and become trendy.

Some of the prints are truly whacky. Others are truly horrid - or wonderful, depending on your point of view. Most would have qualified for our guild's Ugly Fabric Contest which we held at our December meeting.

Whoever made this top had a great sense of color, imo. The blocks are so vibrant, they practically pop out of their purple boundaries. There is one dud... I think you can find it.

I'm not sure what to do with this. Should it be quilted? if so, how?  I don't know if it even lays flat enough. And if I quilt it, then what am I gonna do with it? I really don't have room to store quilts I don't use. Heck, I don't have room to store the quilts I do use! Would I use this?

Maybe I'll hang onto it, wait for '60's prints to make a comeback. Properly finished, it might do well at our auction. Maybe someone other than myself will fall in love with it, too!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Nothing Christmas-y to show today, but...  at least I finished my baskets! The top, that is. I really really love these fabrics, and am very happy with how the top turned out.

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to quilt it.  The baskets are a bit wonky and I think quilting in the ditch around the baskets would only accentuate the flaws. I'd like something overall, like maybe the Baptist Fan? And maybe a cable or grid in the border? What do you think?

Meanwhile, I hope everyone is enjoying a Happy Christmas with your loved ones, and that Santa was good to each and every one of you!


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Easy Glasses Case

Here's a super easy method for a cute glasses case I came up with, which you can complete in about 10 minutes.

Here's what you'll need:
one piece of outside fabric, 7" wide by x 9" long
one piece of lining fabric, 7" wide by 9" long
one piece of cotton batting, 7" wide by 9" long

First you want to choose two coordinating fabrics

Cut a 7x9 piece from each fabric, and from a scrap of cotton batting. Layer your outside fabric on top of the lining fabric, right sides together, with the batting underneath.

Put a few pins along the top 7" edge, and sew 1/4" seam. Notice I'm using my walking foot.

Now open the layers, and fold back so the right sides are facing out and press...
 ...then fold back so the batting is in the middle and press again.

Now fold the lining back over the outside, about 1 1/2" and press. I know, I seriously need a new ironing board cover! Please ignore the stains ~

Next, fold in half lengthwise, inside out, and pin.
Be sure and match the folded ends

Now sew together down the side and across the bottom, 1/2" seam.

Here's where you have an option. You can simply trim the seams, clip the corners and call it a day. But if you're worried about the unfinished seam (which is hardly noticeable btw) you may finish it very easily like this:
Fold the lining fabric back on one side before you trim, then whip stitch it over the seam.
I'm lazy so I only stitched it about two inches down, leaving the rest of the seam unfinished. Your glasses won't care, trust me.

Turn right side out, and push corners out with a chop stick or similar tool.


Seriously, this took about ten minutes to make. Well... eleven if you count whip stitching 2" down the seam.

Embellishing is easy, and fun.  I'm sure you can think of lots more variations. But beware, these are addicting!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Lucky Me!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

Lynn at Sew'n Wild Oaks hosted a giveaway a week or so ago, and  I was the lucky winner and recipient of her new Patchwork Math book!

I've been intrigued with this book ever since Lynn published it, but hadn't yet worked up the energy to make the 1 1/2 hr. drive to her store to take a look at it. I eventually talked myself out of "needing" it. Boy was I wrong! I NEED this book, and chances are, you do too.

You ever wonder how to figure out just how big to cut the squares for those pesky setting triangles? Wonder no more, Lynn has figured it out and gives the formula. Same with elongated star points - how to measure, cut and accurately connect those long triangles, which is key! She explains and illustrates everything from half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, flying geese, and all kinds of variations of the above and more - she has figured out the math and the method for it all. And then shows you how to use the units to construct a variety of different blocks. And the greatest thing is having all these instructions all in one place, so I don't have to go digging around for whatever book or magazine I once thought I saw it in.

I highly recommend this book. Now, go here and order one!

Ah.. life just got easier! Thank you, Lynn!!

Meanwhile, I finished my little Americana Quilt, but not before making a total u-turn on the binding and backing. Here's what the plan was:

I was sure I wanted the blue plaid for the back and binding. I went ahead and installed the binding, therefore finishing the quilt, and .... I hated it. In fact, I decided at that point I really didn't like how the back looked, either. So... and this is the first time I've ever done this... I cut a new back, and quilted it right on top of the old one. I'm a bit nuts, I know.

But it looks nice, no?  And I went with red for the binding. Which my husband picked, btw. Maybe he should be the quilter!

Now, its finished. I promise!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I'm so bummed. I got an email this morning informing me The Old Country Store  has suddenly closed. This was my favorite online fabric store!

And... what happened to "Inspired By Antique Quilts" ???
I just clicked on her blog and there's nothing there! Just the home page, which states "no posts." ?!?


Monday, December 9, 2013

A New Season

I've really been enjoying seeing everyone's Christmas decorating!

So ya'll have inspired me to get with it .. the season, that is. Not sure if I want to haul out the big box and go the whole nine yards of decorating this year, though.  Some years I do it, some years I don't. As you can probably see, we're crowded pretty tight in our little house, so a tree is out of the question anyway. Meanwhile, at least I changed out my quilts.

While I don't really make actual Christmas quilts, these more or less fit the season. The other colors nicely balance out the reds and greens imo.

I think I might be able to manage getting a nice poinsettia for the mantle. And some pinecones, if I can find some. I've got lots of other stuff that could go up there too, but like I said.... 

am I being a humbug? or just lazy?

Not sure what that big shadow is in the corner - maybe my finger in front of the lens?

 This was my first real "blended" quilt, which was really fun to make.  I adore those Moda prints!

I decided to use the back of this quilt for my dining table topper, with the little mini made by my MIL as a centerpiece. 

Two days later  -

I got my poinsettias...

and my pine cones...

I walked a few blocks down to a "country road" this afternoon and scored these - they're pretty dirty and about half of them are closed. I need to clean them up a bit, then bring them inside and see if more of them open up. 

Already I've done more than I thought I would. Hmm.... maybe I'll get in the mood yet!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sew Day

I had a sew day with my friend Pam Rocco on Friday. This is what I came home with at the end of the day!

Years ago when I first met Pam, she was making what she called "britches quilts" mainly out of corduroy and other materials gleaned from pants from the Good Will.

Pam made what we would now call "Modern Quilts" far before the Modern Quilt movement ever hit the internet. That's Pam, on the left, pointing at the green circle.

I took these pix several years ago, during Show-And-Tell at the guild she belonged to at the time.

My little start of a quilt at the top of the page (and below) is from Pam's leftover corduroy. Which I bought a huge stack of from her for a song not too long ago, and is now on loan to our friend Ann, who also participated in our Sew Day. 

Its amazing how long it took me to come up with these simple blocks. Especially since the two on the ends were already made, from a class I took from Pam a few years ago. So really, in three hours I made one block, connected the other two, and sort of framed it with the cream/yellow. There's a tiny little hint of curved piecing here - which Pam tried to teach us - but not so easy to do on cord. I sure like the effect, though.

Hopefully I'll have a chance to dig into that corduroy again some time soon (whenever Ann is finished with it) and expand upon my quilt. I'd be quite happy with lap size!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Two on the Design Wall

On my wall, as we speak:

I'm calling this my Little Baskets Doll Quilt (original, hey?) I combined Cocheco Mills prints with Judie Rothermel's Dressing Gowns line for this little quilt-in-progress.  I love these prints - they're so soft and homey. To give an idea of the size/scale, the baskets will finish at 4". 

I showed a pix of this a few weeks ago, and you might notice I re-arranged the baskets to the Cake Stand pattern. Accuracy was lost along the way ~

As you can see, I'm playing around with the idea of a scrappy border.

Meanwhile, I've finished the quilting on my little Americana Doll Quilt, and am ready to construct and install the binding. Hmm... Looking a little "bowed" on the sides. Must correct first.  

I tea-dyed the blue plaid, which is also on the back. 

I'm considering donating this to our Quilt Show Silent Auction.  Considering, I say, because I've had some heartbreaking experiences with other like donation/auction quilts.

One year I donated two beautiful hand quilted doll quilts to a fundraiser for a co-worker with cancer. Items started out with minimum bids, which got eliminated at some point, unbeknownst to me. I was horrified to watch my darling (to me) quilts walk out the door for $5. I would have preferred to give my minimum bid amount directly to the fundraiser, and keep the quilts for myself. Or give them away - to someone who could appreciate them.

Since then, I'm cautious about where/how I donate. Our Silent Auction is attended mostly by quilters, so it should get an appropriate price. And.. it will no doubt be loved.

Now.. on to Judy's Design Wall Monday, to view what everyone else is working on!