Saturday, December 23, 2017

DIY Felt Stockings

DIY Felt Stocking

My mom has had the same stockings for me and my siblings for as long as I can remember.  Somewhere in my early childhood she found some felt stockings with little girls and boys on them and really loved them.  Originally, she bought one for my brother and one for me.  I think she later went back and bought one for each of my sisters.  Anyway, she has kept them all these years and now uses them for grandchildren.  However, she has many more grandchildren than she had children, so we need more than the original set of stockings that hung in our house as kids.  Over the years, she has found different stockings that she liked for each new child, but this year she needed a stocking for a new grandchild and a repair to my original stocking.  She brought them over and asked if we could fix the old one and make a new one in the same style.

Original Felt Stocking

I've made some repairs and replacements for these stockings in the past.  About 20 years ago, one of the original three was destroyed somehow and I replaced it for her by copying the original, construction and all.  They were made with glue and sewing machines.  I was able to finish the job quickly, and it has held up well.  

The original stocking (green dress) with an early remake (purple dress).

I have always thought they were cute, but I really prefer hand stitched for such small sentimental projects, so this time I opted for a slower finish, but one that honors and freshens the original stockings at the same time.  

I sewed everything by hand, except for the hanger on the back, which I thought should have some heavy duty reinforcing.  I also added some embroidery to the dress and apron, changed the style of the hair and face, and added little red bells as the berries on the the apron.  I'm really happy with the stocking and I'm looking forward to making another one next year, since I have a sister who is expecting a baby this coming April.  

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

Birthday Bags

Recently we had a couple of birthdays to celebrate.  One for a friend of my daughter, turning 11, and the other was for my 11 year old niece.  Generally, I really don’t like birthday culture for children.  I think it is pretty commercial, and children get lost in the shuffle of stuff.  That said, I don’t want neglect to give a gift, either, so I feel better about it if I can make the gift.  It allows us to really spend time thinking about the birthday child and make something that can really be enjoyed, while leaving the worst of the consumer mentality behind.  

My daughter Lucia has been using a bag/purse to carry around her important possessions, like her sketch pad, colored pencils, a quill, ink, her book and I’m not sure what else.  She actually has a collection of a few different bags that she uses depending on how she wants to accessorize.  She mentioned that she would like for me to make her a messenger bag, so I thought this might be a great opportunity to make a few.  One for her and one for each birthday girl.

I found a bag that wasn’t too big, but that had an adjustable strap and wasn’t too difficult to make.  Lucia and I dug up some cute cotton/linen fabric and got going. 

These bags were easy to make and they turned out really cute.  In fact, my son James mentioned that he’d like one for himself so that he can take it with him while he explores and use it more as a nature bag.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Quarter Log Cabin Finish

I recently finished this quarter log cabin quilt with some scraps I've been trying to use up for some time.  I still have enough scraps to make another baby quilt, but I'm very happy with this finish.  I bought this fabric to make my nephew a baby quilt almost two years ago now.  My first go at the scraps ended in these three bags, but I had intended to make a full size quilt.  The blocks just didn't come together quite like I had envisioned.  It's funny, because the same thing happened with this quilt.

I began putting together some courthouse steps blocks, but ended up feeling that they were just boring.  I'm not sure why that keeps happening, because I really like the block.  After putting a few together and realizing that it wasn't going to work for me I decided to chop them up and try a different kind of setting.  There is just so much more energy in the quarter blocks.

I began working with a limited color palette, but then changed my mind and started putting together whatever I had in combinations that appealed to me.

When I finished, I tried two different layouts.

I liked them both, but settled on the second.  I picked a simple, Japanese inspired design for the quilting.  It is hand quilted with a variegated purple pearl cotton, number 12, I think.

It's bound and backed with more shots and stripes scraps.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Two Finished Quilts

I finished this log cabin baby quilt recently and thought I’d post it.  I wanted to work with red. I love log cabins and decided to try one enlarged block and see how I felt about it.  I like it. I backed it in some fabric I picked out for my nephew's quilt, I think it's Tula Pink.  I ended up going with something different for Isaac, but I really love how bright the backing is.  It is quilted with a square "spiral" in the center red square and then has some all over flowers.  

It would be fun to do a few oversized blocks, maybe four square blocks or six if they were rectangular and not square for a larger quilt.  I keep coming back to the idea of making a large quilt using shot cottons, because I love the feel of the finished quilt and I enjoy quilting them, but I find that the colors are not usually as bright as I like.  I have enjoyed using Kaffe Fassett’s stripes; they are beautiful and have the same soft texture.  

I also finished this cross quilt, or addition quilt, for my son's kindergarten teacher.

She was a great teacher for him, warm and loving, but also had tons of energy.  She is a marathon runner and she ran every morning with her class.  It was a great way for my son to use up some of his energy in a very positive way.  Anyway, she retired and I felt like I wanted to send her off with a lap quilt.
That last picture is a bit dark.  I finished it in the middle of the night before the last day of school... Here are a couple of others...

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Work In Progress Quilt

I am working on a new long term project.  This is for my parents as an anniversary - thank you gift.  They will celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary this autumn and they took our entire extended family to Hawaii this June.  While we were there I collected everyone's handprints and asked my husband to make sketches of some of the experiences we want to remember.  We turned them into images that resemble the petroglyphs that can be found on the island.  

Now that we're home, I've ordered some fabric and begun the process of appliquéing hand prints onto some fabric using a technique that I love, I think it's called back basting, and embroidering the "petroglyphs".  I'm asking some family members to help with the embroidery, especially capable grandchildren.  I'm working on the outer border first because I think it will be at least half, if not more, of the work of assembling the quillt top.  I have five more hands to appliqué for the border and lots more embroidery, but here's what is happening so far. 

This isn't related to quiltmaking, but I'm also re-reading Michner's book Hawaii.  I read it many years ago as a very young teenager and remember it fondly.  I zipped through it back then, but now I'm struggling.  I think its because I know how it ends.  He's good, and really makes you care about his characters, and I just don't want to go where I know the story will take me.  


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Storm at Sea: Finished Quilt Top

Vivian’s storm at sea baby quilt top has taken me forever to finish, but I’ve finally got it done.  I started it back in October, and it was a project I worked on slowly over the last few months.  It was a bit like quilt therapy; half celebration of a beautiful new little person, and half sadness and stress over the political reality of my country at the time of Vivian’s birth.  It’s a disturbing juxtaposition:  a perfect, uncorrupted child born into my family, and a jaded, corrupted president who is attempting a hostile takeover of my country.  While the political climate in our country is alarming to say the least, baby Vivian is doing well.  She is waking up to the world around her and has two very silly, and mostly sweet big sisters to show her the ropes.    

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about how to quilt this.  I have always hand quilted the quilts for the babies in my family.  I had intended to do the same with this project but have been thinking recently that it would look better machine quilted.  

I found a piece of fabric I’ve been holding onto and got it washed up for the back.  It’s a Michael Miller print called Rain Dot.  It isn’t quite big enough, so I think I’ll sew it to a piece of solid blue to make up the difference and get going.  

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pretty Little Brooches

I did a lot of sewing for Christmas last year.  One of my favorite projects was a collection of brooches I made for most of the women and girls in my family.

I used the book Modern Folk Embroidery and made my first couple using Nicholson's embroidery designs, and then I started playing and made up some of my own designs.  I had a great time doing it and I really like how they turn out.  I even "borrowed" one to wear to my husband's holiday work party.

When I was considering the project and talking it over with my mom, I thought that while cute, they might not be ideal for children.  She mentioned that it would be really great for them to have a pretty pin to wear on their coats.  I thought that was a good idea.  I live in Southern California where the weather is almost always warm, but many of my nieces live in Wisconsin and they spend several months of the year wearing thick winter coats when they are outside.  Now they have a sweet little accessory to wear.  I even made a really small one, straight from the book, for my littlest neice, Vivian.

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Women's March

Last weekend my family joined millions of people around the country (and the world) to voice a growing concern for the alt right's agenda that seems intent on steamrolling the rights and wellbeing of so many people and our planet.  I am proud to be among these people and hope that we can maintain enough momentum and action to bring about true change.  My kids all carried signs for the march and we found several signs that we liked and wanted to remember (and maybe use at future rallies).

I've been pretty upset about our political reality since the election, but last weekend was particularly bad.  When I returned home from the march I felt a need to work with my hands so I started working on a few political brooches.  My girls each wore one to school and really connected with other kids and even some teachers over the marches.  One girl even asked if she could have one (which she will get!).  I also ordered some pink yarn to start making pussyhats.  One of my daughters wore one during the march, but my other daughter voiced an interest in having one as well.

With Trump acting more like a dictator than a president, working quickly in an attempt to eliminate essential democratic institutions, like the free press, it is important for masses of people to continue to act politically to resist his agenda.  Voting and marching are not enough.  It is important to put pressure on local, state and national representatives to use their power to uphold democratic values and frustrate Trump's agenda and to donate what we can to free media (such as NPR) to ensure that accurate information continues to be available to everyone.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Scarlet’s Letters

My niece Scarlet’s favorite color is red.  And she’s kind of interested in letters.
So for Christmas, I made her some felt letters, using a tutorial from Purl Bee.  

This was a fun project, and my  kids really had a good time playing with them before we wrapped them up… 

I think I could have added a few extra vowels and a few extra useful consonants (T, S, M, R), the ones that get a lot of action.  And I may still do that, but I didn’t have enough time before Christmas.   

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.