Many moons ago…or at least fifteen years I think, I was in a fleece sock making mode. I made big socks, little socks, lightweight socks, heavy socks, patterned sock and plain socks. Yes I had a great time. They were fast and easy with my new serger. When my family was no longer interested in fleece socks, I mean how many pair of fleece socks can a person wear, I gave socks to friends and finally had to give up the fleece sock adventure and move to something else. Now I’ve had one of those friends ask for new fleece socks. It’s getting to be fall and the feet are getting cold and the old socks have finally worn out.
This was such a fun project. I went into the storage room where all the “vintage” fabrics and patterns are located and shopped. I located fleece and my favorite sock pattern. This is a Rain Shed pattern. The Rain Shed company is located in Corvallis Oregon so they really understand the local climate and needs. This pattern is very high quality, it fits well and is fast to sew. It also produces a professional end product which makes it very satisfying to sew.
The first pair is done. Now the victim or I mean friend can come and test the fit and I’ll be inclined to sew a few more pair.
The fall table runner is finished and I think it looks ok. When I added the oatmeal colored border it really helped pull it all together. It gives your eye a place to rest among all the busyness of the patterned fabric. The dark brown binding really finished off the runner by framing the entire mini quilt. It think it was a good choice. I also decided to try my hand at free motion quilting. I traced a stencil on the middle portion and then just did a rounded zig zag down the sides. It’s far from perfect but for the first time I felt it was acceptable and not so bad I had to rip it out and start again. I figure it’s on the table for only a month or two and no one really looks at the stitching but only the overall effect. I know this is how people get better at a skill but I was lamenting to a friend that it’s hard to admit that at my age I’m really just a beginner. When people get older I think there is a tendency to think you should be able to master a skill the first time and not have to start at the bottom of the skill level. Sort of a humbling reminder I guess. I did have great fun doing the free motion quilting however and really look forward to finishing more projects so I can do it again. I think it’s time to finish up the x’s and o’s quilt and see how I do on that one.
It seems like I have lots of friend with birthdays in the next few weeks. I’m having fun sewing up some new things and each friend will receive something different. It’s a great way for me to try new things and fun to think of something each friend might use. I really hate the idea of giving a gift that is not useful in some way. Then it’s just clutter and something to pass along as a white elephant gift. Well, I guess the holidays are coming if they want to get rid of these things… Today I’ve created a dishtowel with some decoration at the bottom. I had some Huck towelling yardage and that works great for towels. It’s soft and absorbent and you can bleach it when it becomes dingy. I also made a rice bag that can either be frozen or heated. This friend is having a knee replacement the day before her birthday so I was trying to think of something she might find useful in the next few weeks. This surgery event also made it difficult to choose a birthday card. Was kind of hard to pick on that said to have a great day or some such thought. It will soon be a good day but I suspect that may not be her happiest birthday in recent years. She will be happy with the end result however and that is good.
Middle daughter was home this weekend to celebrate her birthday. The actual date was almost a month ago but with her work travel schedule she wasn’t able to come home until this weekend. It’s always good to have her home and the other kids came and joined us for dinner. We had great conversations about jobs, activities and QR codes. If you don’t know what a QR code is, it’s the little box with squares that you find on advertising that can be read with a smart phone. This link will give you more information about a product or take you to a web site with more information. After a yummy dinner she opened her gifts. I had to do some sewing of course so she got this little snap pouch and a covered pillow for her bed. After looking at the pictures I wish I had thought about design placement on the fabric before I cut it but I only had a small piece and not much flexibility as to where the pattern was on the fabric. It is cute however and because she is a transportation planner it seemed appropriate. She also lives in a studio apartment so her bed is a focal point and she has started a pillow collection on her bed. This one I used some really soft cuddle fabric and made a slip cover for it so she could use it as a decorative element or it could be used for guests and still look not so bed like when it’s not being used for sleeping. All in all, another successful weekend.
I’m working on a new table runner. I decided to do a split rail pattern with fall colors. This is not my usual color choice but I’m liking it and think it will be good. I want to put a border on it before I bind it but not sure of the color. These were the fist choices. Not sure either one is quite right so will continue to think about it. Any thoughts?
My first attempt at coasters was ok because they were cute. Yes, they are also functional but still didn’t really meet my needs as far as dealing with the condensation on the glass with all the ice cubes. Especially if it had been sitting for a while. Now I didn’t write about try number 2 bust basically what I did was use the apple squares and add a layer of microfiber dishtowel to the batting layer. This was a better solution but still not adequate. Here is try number three. I started not really knowing how big I was going to make this but I had been using a hot pad that was ok so I decided that a bigger version would work. My kitchen table is formica so getting the table wet wasn’t the problem so much as leaving water on the table so other items got wet. When I sit at the table, particularly for lunch or a break, I like to read. The condensation on the glass would get my book or magazine wet. After I got a Kindle it was suddenly more than just an annoyance but now was deemed a necessity to control the water. This time I started with a fan pattern. I’ve been thinking about trying one of these to see how I liked it. I also knew that I wanted to use some olive fabric that I had so I pulled some fabrics that would look good together and got started. These are colors that are a bit out of my comfort zone but it turned out fine and I think it will work. I used a layer of insulbrite which has a layer of foil between the batting and also a layer of microfiber kitchen towel. Because of the larger size and the different layers I’m thinking this should give me an all day solution to wet spots at the table.
Yesterday I went to Tacoma to celebrate with a good friend who had an 80th birthday. This “young” man lives in a nursing home and doesn’t have much space so I’ve been thinking about what to bring to celebrate the big birthday. When I was in Joann Fabrics a couple of weeks ago I found a piece of flannel in the remnant bin (I always check out the remnants) and knew this would be perfect for a pillow case for Don. He loves Snoopy and Charlie Brown and whenever I find something Snoopy related I buy it and save it so I can send it off to a new home. I also had some Snoopy post it notes, magnets and some pens. The next thought of course was what to put them in. A bag certainly was the answer and I found this really cute Peanuts fabric so I made a bag. It’s light weight and rolls up so it can be stored in a small space or tucked in a pocket or the basket of the walker and it will be ready when he needs it. Very compact and easy to take when he goes to the store the bookmobile or on a short visit to friends or relatives. Happy Birthday Mr. B!
One project I always keep material on hand for is oilcloth bags. I love sewing with oilcloth. The bright colors, the pliability of the fabric and it never ravels. I have learned a few tricks when I sew with it however. I always use a walking foot and I like to use painters tape for holding things in place. I also use big vinyl coated paperclips. One of my current favorites is making market bags. This pattern is the same size as a paper grocery bag and is perfect for so many things. I use it at the library, at the store and just for carrying stuff. They fold easily when I’m done with them and make a satisfying pile when I have finished making them. I think I’m going to make a bunch up and sell them. I have both laminated fabric and oilcloth. Maybe that will be my next project.
One of the first quilts I made was from necessity. We had just moved daughter #2 into a big girl bed and didn’t have a bedspread or anything that would fit. We bought an imported bed, these were pre Ikea days, and it was a bit narrower and longer than a conventional twin bed. It was also closer to the floor. Perfect for a toddler and a fitted bottom sheet but I couldn’t find anything that was toddler friendly for the top. I can remember putting the sewing machine on the dining room table and spending the day sewing. This was after shopping for a pattern and fabric. At that time we had a wonderful quilt store here in downtown Edmonds. I loved to go in there and just look at all the fabrics. It was housed in cute little older home in the downtown area. I picked out a sunbonnet Sue pattern and a few fabrics, came home, cut them out and sewed them together. Those were in the early days of fusible web so I think I cut them all out, layered them and appliqued the pieces by machine and then layered the quilt all with straight pins and tried to stitch it all together. I used a white flat sheet for the back so that dictated the size for the front. Kim loved it and loved playing with the feet which were not stitched down but were loose, hence the name the foot foot quilt. It was used for many years but actually still looks good even with all the daily use. I’m thinking about putting it back on the bed and remembering all those fun years of little girls.
Well, the wedding quilt is done. Not without some angst however. It’s not perfect but I doubt anyone but me will care and probably will not notice. The real challenge came when I washed the quilt after taking some lovely pictures. Into the wash it went and along with the quilt I tossed in some of the Shout Color Catchers. I know that the batik has such bold colors that there was a possibility of bleeding but I didn’t know how many times they really needed to be washed before the color wouldn’t bleed. After the first wash and tossing in the dryer I thought it was fine. The color catchers really did catch some color. It was not until I pulled it out of the dryer however that I realized the many of the dark purple squares had bled all over the white. It made me feel sick to think that maybe this fabric hadn’t been washed and now ruined all my work. After thinking about it for a while I decided that I wasn’t out anything if I tried to remove the purple from the white. I used stain stick and Clorox2 and washed it three more times. I ended up adding 3 color catchers each time as well. After the third wash I put the quilt in the dryer. When I pulled it out it was warm and dry and for the most part the purple was all gone and the colors were still bright. If you look closely and you know it’s there on a few of the squares you can still see a bit of duskiness but it really looked ok. What a relief! I’m not sure if that purple fabric never got washed or if the color was so dark that there was more color to bleed out. I guess I’ll know that next time I use such a dark batik that I need to be more careful.
The next challenge was how to wrap it and send it. Now these are young California professionals and transplants from Washington so they believe in a “green” lifestyle. This was a soft and squishy quilt and it was going in a box so I decided to pack it in a market bag and add a bow and now they will have two gifts. It’s in the mail and I’m on to different projects.