Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Another Quilter's UFOs: Part One

Mom loves to visit thrift stores as much as I do. We had a hearty browse at the local Senior Center Thrift store, where they have a large crafting department. Mom does paper craft and makes greeting cards. She found a dozen items to add to her inventory. We joked that she'd need an extra carry-on to get it all home.

Picture from the Internet

I just about came unglued when I discovered an unfinished quilt project in the sewer's corner. All the pieces seemed to be there and the instructions too! I literally scooped them up and took them to the check out.

When there was a quiet moment, I unpacked the two zippered bags and this is what I have.

It's called Lots of Little Pink Stars and all 336 3" star blocks have been made, many of them sewn into the diagonal set rows.

The seamstress's piecing skills are lovely, all points are clear and sharp. Here's a picture of the finished quilt I found on the Internet.

I wonder why she gave up on it. Did she have to down-size and there were just too many projects to choose from? Was there no daughter or niece that could've finished it? Lovely fabrics, careful cutting and stitching, so close to being a complete top. I'll never know the answers, but it sure makes me wonder.

Another Quilter's UFOs: Part Two

During the same visit to the thrift store where I found the Lots of Little Pink Stars quilt pieces, I found another unfinished quilt project; probably by the same quilter. There was something about the collection of prints and the quality of the workmanship that seemed to say this too, was from the maker of the Little Pink Stars.

I brought it home also, feeling like I was adopting orphans and in some way wanting to keep them together. This one is a Double Nine Patch quilt done in blues and whites.

Lots of fabric and LOTS of pre-cut strips. But from what I can tell the quilt maker didn't speed piece the nine patches, each square was cut and sewn individually. Bless her heart.

I went through it all, grouped, sorted and counted, and then packed it all neatly into a project box. It's been added to my UFO shelf. But at least it has a home.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Winter Garden

Mom's visiting for a week from Massachusetts. We decided to see what the Brooktrails Community Garden looked like on a wintry day in November.

We went early enough that the sun was still on the plots, and late enough that the deep chill of the morning was fading away.

We found a sunbeam and sat together, enjoying the calm. There were sparrows and quail fluttering and peeping about. It was lovely.

She looked around and said she could tell it was a wonderful garden during the summer. I told her it took another gardener to appreciate it in November. "Well, I can see the potential." That's one of the things I like about gardens too, the potential.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Make it Your Own

I love the look of this wool sweater I found a few years ago, but it's an XL and too big for me. After putting up with the sloppy feel, I decided to try and alter it. I was ready to get rid of it, so I had nothing to lose if it didn't turn out.

The fullness under the arm was just too much to be comfortable.

I laid one of my favorite sweaters on top of it to get an idea how much of a seam to take. Then I turned the sweater wrong-side out and sewed it on the machine.

Here you can see the difference between the left side and the right side, which has been taken in.

I love it now! And such an easy fix. It really is okay to sew and trim knitted fabric.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Upcycled Lawn Chair

I was inspired by a fiber friend's lawn chairs, redone in brightly colored macrame' cord. That looks fun, maybe I could try something new...

Example from the Internet
I spent time going to all the second-hand and thrift stores in three towns, looking for aluminum lawn chairs. Nothing. Then I went to a  handful of rummage sales and flea markets. I think the style is passe', all I found were collapsible canvas camp chairs.

Not to be deterred, I posted a request for used aluminum lawn chairs on After months without a reply, a woman offered me hers. Well they looked like they were one stop away from the dump, but that didn't put me off. This is an upcycling project after all.

I hosed them down, removed the old webbing and worked away at cleaning the aluminum frame.

It was going along fine until I discovered the rivet that held the leg to the body was snapped. Project stalled.

I continued to spend time on Google searching macrame' lawn chair DIYs and videos. It just looks so cool. But if I can't find a frame to start with, it's all moot. I did discover you can buy new aluminum chair frames, but they're nearly 30.00. That sort of defeats the purpose for me. It's really about making something old, new again. I'm still intrigued by the idea, but I haven't had the heart to check out the second frame yet.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Slipper Socks for Anybody

I love this pattern! That's becoming obvious to me as I make it again and again. This time I thought I'd create a pair to keep by the front door for visitors. We have a no-shoe house in an effort to keep the forest debris from coming inside.

I wanted them for Thanksgiving week, but after three days of knitting, I had to quit. My hands were too unhappy working the two strands of wool. I know I need to pace my knitting, but I was just too excited to be making these again.

ETA: That was over three weeks ago and my hand still hurts, though it's getting better. 😕 Maybe it's time to turn to all that reading I say I never have time for.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Four Patch and Friends

When I was on quilt retreat in October, one of the ladies was making a Four Patch and Friends quilt.
I got all excited by how easy it looked and got the pattern information from her for "Someday".  It's made from Four patches and Snowball blocks, simple.

The day I couldn't deal with the Boston Common quilt anymore, these are the fabrics I pulled from my collection, thinking to start something new. When I get the urge to 'start something new', it's a good tip off that I need a break from the current project. The fact that the color palette was the opposite of the blue-green of the Split Nine Patch blocks was also clear to me.

I like to create a layout in Electric Quilt so I have a game plan as I work. But once I created the layout, I wasn't inspired anymore. Huh, well that saved me a lot of work. I shelved it.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Charming Boston Common

I checked my blog archive and it appears I've never written about this quilt project. Oddly enough I can't even find a start date for it, that's not like me.

I think it must've been sometime before 2010, because it uses the same gridded fusible interfacing method used in my Valentine mini. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I love the Boston Common quilt pattern and decided to try one on a postage stamp scale, where the pieces finish at 1". I wanted to use the then, popular gridded fusible method that made watercolor quilts so much easier to piece. I collected lots of individual prints, to make it a charm quilt, and created the center panel.

It was fun, my idea to use the gridded fusible interfacing worked great  and I loved the color play! But that's as far as I got and I got stuck. I couldn't decide how to take the next step. Should the muslin path that comes next be unpieced, pieced in the usual manner or fused to interfacing and sewn so it has the same thickness and lack of drape? It sat in the closet for many years, while I continued to collect additional individual prints for the day when I pieced the outer border.

I've been piecing the blue-green split nine patch blocks for so long, I knew I needed a break, so I pulled this out of storage and started crunching numbers. I found some printable graph paper on point and hunkered down.

How big did I want the final wall hanging, how wide did I want the muslin path before I began the final pieced border and of course, how many one and a half inch cut squares did I still need?

Once I had the proposed finished size, it was relatively easy to work backwards from there. I also decided to create the muslin path the same way I created the center so when the top is complete, the entire thing will have the same heft.

Then I had a light bulb idea. I didn't need to cut 1-1/2" squares of muslin, fuse and sew, I could cut muslin the size of the gridded fusible. That would save a lot of fussy-ness.

I'd shopped off and on through the years for 1-1/2" gridded fusible, but it seems they stopped making it. That had been one of the things holding me back from making headway on this project. I have found it in 1" and 2", but not 1-1/2". So what to do? Buy 1" and draw your own lines.

It worked great, just like I'd hoped. I should've been encouraged.

But the muslin path turned out to be just a prototype, the method worked, but the math was wrong.


The next time I was in the sewing room, I started stash diving and pulling together a palette of fabrics for another quilt. I knew I was done working on this for now. It's still percolating in my mind though...

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Quick Community Quilts

Show and Tell at quilt guild is so inspiring! The ladies showed a lovely collection of simple and complex quilts destined for gifts or donating to the community. I came home and jumped on some community quilts of my own.

Here are four of seven that I made. Some are flannel front and back and some are dress weight cotton on the front, with flannel on the back. Made from a yard of each, by width of fabric, each one takes a little more than an hour. So satisfying!

And when I didn't have a full yard, I mixed and matched. Isn't that how patchwork got its start? This was the first layout, but I thought it was a little uninspired.

I added white and liked it much better.

After adding two borders, it came together nicely. Backed with flannel, without batting in the middle, and lightly quilted, it finished at a nice car-seat size.