Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Release of a New Pattern

Progress has been made on the Simple Christmas Tree Quilt (...must think of a better name...).  I have most of the pattern written and used it to make all the pieces to make sure my measurements were correct.  I just need to sew it together, and quilt.  I could add another row of three trees to make it a twin sized quilt, but I think I like it better as a couch throw or bed topper.  The plan was to add a narrow cream border.  I may entertain other options.  This has been a fun project for this between Christmas and New Years' time.  It always seems a bit of an odd few days, doesn't it?

On another note, I picked my word for 2016:  Release   The adult word for "Let it go!"  Release stuff, release stress, release anger, release extra poundage, release ideas, release joy to the world around me.  Release doesn't have to be negative.  It can be very positive!  One year when my word was Joy, I bought three random mugs spelling out Joy.  I don't see myself buying seven new mugs.  That may be counter-productive to releasing stuff.  It's been a tough year and I need to make a real effort to release negatives and move on to releasing positives.   A deep breath in, exhale it out.  Jerilynn

Monday, December 28, 2015

Swirly Twirly Dance Dress

This blogpost would be sooo much better if I had a shot of our youngest granddaughter, Addy, in this swirly dress I made her.  If I get one, I will post at a later date.  She take ballet classes at a fabulous studio in Madison, Storybook Ballet.  The first half of the lesson, the little 3-year-olds work on their plies and pirouettes with real live, working, young ballerinas.  The little ones then sit in a circle and have a fairy tale read to them.  After this, big boxes appear and costumes and props for the fairy tale are given to all the little dancers.  The costumes are easy to put on, swirly, and adorable.  Music is started again, and the dancers all dance out the story just read to them.   Magic.  For Christmas, I thought I would make Addy a swirly, easy-to-put-on dress for dress up.  This pattern fit the bill (can't find the pattern right now, but it is a good one!).  The dress front skirt is gathered, and the front bodice wraps to the back with a hook and loop closure.  The back bodice has a full circle skirt attached to it with long ties that tie with a bow in front.  The whole dress is constructed to be reversible.  The shoulders have a little cap to them.  Really cute.  I want to make this again, using two different fabrics, for double the dress-up fun.  Jerilynn

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Buffalo Plaid Dishcloth

I still do quite a bit of Knervous Knitting during the evenings.  I have grown quite fond of changing colors while doing knit rows.  Soothing and challenging at the same time.  This buffalo plaid dishcloth turned out well.  Jerilynn

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Simple Tree Quilt

Merry Christmas!  I've discovered that I miss having a record of what I've made over the year.  I am making things all the time - some turn out - some ideas are pretty bad.  Nevertheless, it is good to record all efforts.  I will start out by showing a tree quilt I designed this morning, mostly to avoid after-Christmas-clean-up.  We had four family celebrations this year.  Not all of our six kids could be together at the same time.  One family couldn't make the trip at all.  So, we partied with whomever showed up, gifts were exchange, too much food was consumed.  I am in somewhat of a coma today, happy to have an empty house still echoing with family.  Thus, the quilt idea.  I used my Bernina V7 software to design it as an embroidery, then turned it into a vector image.  Love that aspect of the software.  Using a grid, I made each tree block 12".  Overall, this little quilt will be 66" x 66".  Any smaller, the little green strips would be hard for me to piece.  I like the Scandinavian look of the trees and the assorted rainbow tree toppers.  I may feel too guilty to start the cutting and sewing.  But, there is always tomorrow to do the real work.  Jerilynn

 P.S.  I lost my dear mother-in-law Alice this year.  She was a quilter, too.  In fact, I believe I helped her do her first quilt after she retired.  She went on to be quite the prolific quilter.  Her favorite types of quilts were tree quilts.  Her last quilt, not quite finished before her stroke and quick passing, was of trees.  16 big trees representing her children and spouses, and 24 little trees, representing her grandchildren.  Even though I am no longer married to her son, we always remained very, very close.  She was Swedish, and I know she would have loved this simple design. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fabric Basket

Well, this little fabric basket was sure a fun little "avoiding what I am supposed to be doing" project!  Took me about an hour, and, now that I've made one, another would be faster.  I spied this pattern this morning, and did a PDF download.  Isn't it just amazing how much instant gratification is out there?  What a world we live in!  This pattern is Basket of Charms by Sweet Jane.  I got it from her Etsy site, and she has the hard copy as well as the PDF.  It is a mini charm friendly pattern, plus two fat quarters.  It called for decor weight interfacing...I used fusible fleece, and it has very good body.  I might try Soft and Stable next time.  The pattern also includes a smaller and a larger sized baskets. Okay, now I will get back to work on the stuff I need to get done.  Jerilynn  P.S. Here is the link to the Etsy pattern. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blue Bear Paw Block

One blue block done!  I am fighting a bit of a nasty cold, and took yesterday off from sewing.  I did manage some Knervous Knitting, and I watched a Craftsy class on sergers, so I guess I was still somewhat productive.  On these blocks I am pressing all seams open, which is what Weeks and Ringle, of Modern Quilt Studio, do with all of their piecing.  I do think that the blocks are nice and flat.  I will now move on to making a red block, then go and do one more block of each color.  I supposed it would be more efficient to do both colored blocks at one time, but I like working on  the variety of colors.  I am long past the time of getting back to work...so, tomorrow I must tackle The List!  Jerilynn

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wild and Free and the Threads of Time

Maureen Cracknell has designed a limited edition collection of fabrics called Wild and Free.  I had decided I was going to TRY to not buy more fabric for a while, but when I saw this collection, I caved in.  I just love the folk art quality of the collection.  On her blog, here, she did a large bear paw block with some reds added to some of the Wild and Free fabrics.  I decided to copy her, and make not only the red blocks, but some yellow and blue ones, too.  I used my 4.5" square ruler to cut the little blocks, making the block finish at 28" .  I figure if I make two blocks of each color, and use one of the great Wild and Free prints for a small border, I should have a quilt that is about the right size for a twin topper.  Once again, it is a fun time to go through my fabric bins and find not only some colored fabric to throw in the mix, but also find some great backgrounds.  There is another new collection out that is trying to break my resolve:  Threads of Time by Julie Hendricksen. 
This is a shot of the neutrals in the collection.  Mmmmm.  Another connection to this collection is some sewing history.  Julie owns a fabulous quilt shop in Sun Prairie, WI, that is chock full of primitive fabrics.   Probably back in the early 90's I first visited this shop with my friend, Jane, now a sewing angel.  I remember looking in the window and saying "I better not go in there...."  I am not sure I even bought anything that day.  I was that gob-struck.  It was also the first time I had seen packets of fat quarters, all tied together.  Working there at that time, was the mother of another good sewing friend, Joani.  Joani's mom is now part of the angel sewing guild with Jane, Jane, Peggy, and Lucille.  I can only imagine the heavenly quilts those ladies are turning out!  The other fabrics in this collection are wonderful, too.  The kind of fabrics you turn to time and again.  Even though I think my style is more modern and quirky, these fabrics fit right in.  I think I am talking myself into a big purchase.  Well, it IS my birthday month!  Jerilynn 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Finished Flannel Quilt

All done!  What a fun project.  I discovered, while trying to get good pictures of this quilt, that flannel doesn't photograph well.  Or, I just don't know how to photograph flannel well.  I was going to bring the plaid back to the front for an easy binding, but the plaid was just a slightly bit askew on the back and I didn't like that look.  So, I hand cut the binding on the bias and I like the look (bottom photo).  I think the Churn Dash quilting looks good.  Any closer quilting would have made the whole thing too stiff.  It is definitely a cold weather quilt!  I still need to make a label once I come up with a good name for this blanket.  Still having fun, enjoying the sunshine from the studio, keeping warm.  Jerilynn

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Knervous Knitting Garter Stitch Style

This is what I do in the evening.   Knervous Knitting, garter stitch style.  I am not sure why this amuses me so, but I don't seem to tire of the balls of Dishie cotton yarn from Knitpicks turning into dishcloths and scarves.  The cotton scarves are surprisingly warm.  Not a bad thing to be these past few weeks!  Jerilynn

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Life is But a Dream Machine

Today I am doing the quilting on the flannel quilt.  I decided to use black Mettler thread for the quilting.  I thought it looked best on the back red plaid, and, on the front assorted flannels, it looks folk-arty.  I first stitched in the ditch, every seam.  I took a class once and the quilting teacher said she always quilted ESS....Every Stinking Seam.  Yikes.  But, her quilts were amazing, so  maybe she has something there.  Anyway, after quilting ESS, in the ditch (I had pressed the seams to one side, so the "ditch" was just slightly off the seam on the side without the bulky pressed edges).  I decided the plain 9" blocks needed more quilting and I chose a Churn Dash quilt block motif to fill the space.  It is working out great!  The churn dash is basically a 9 patch pattern, so it fits easily into the 9" block.  It is also somewhat continuous to stitch.  I am quilting it on my new Brother Dream machine, and, the machine is living up to its name.  Perfect stitches, loving the walking foot, and the laser light is making the geometric stitching a breeze!  I might even be sad when I finish this quilting.  I left the batting and backing about 2" longer all around the quilt top, and I am thinking about bringing the back to the front as an easy, red plaid binding.  What I haven't liked about this technique in the past is that the ends of the quilting show unevenly when brought to the front.  I solved that problem by continuing my quilting lines all the way to the end of the backing fabric.  This way, when wrapping to the front, the quilting lines will just match up.  The weather is just super cold here right now, and will be even colder here tomorrow.  At least the sky is blue, the view from the studio is quite gorgeous, and I have a fun project to do.  No complaints!  Jerilynn

Monday, January 5, 2015

Flannel Quilt

I'm starting to like this "goof-off" sewing period in my life.  I think this may be a new tradition that I will like to put into action:  for a few days (weeks?) after the Christmas hub-bub, I allow myself to sew whatever I want to sew without feeling guilty about The List.  I feel like I felt the first few weeks after I retired - "OMG!  I can do whatever I want!"  That freedom does not last long, as most all retirees will tell you.  Life happens as it does when you're working, and before long, days are filled with a list of to-dos.  Okay, back to the quilt.  I had a layer cake of 40 squares of flannel from the Maywood Woolies collection.  This is a collection of flannels that are printed to look like wools.  Much prettier in person than in this bad photo.  I was tempted just to sew them together without preshrinking, but then thought better.  In the past, some of my flannel projects, and some flannel projects of friends, have pulled away from seams.  I had always thought it was either that the flannel was not densely woven, or, the seam allowance was too small.  Layer cakes are 10" squares, factory cut.  I decided to brave the  dryer lint and prewash all 40 squares.  The lint wasn't as bad as you would think.  Plus, once dry, the squares measure 9.5"!  That 1/2" is quite significant, and must be the cause of flannel pulling away from seams once a quilt is washed.  One thing I didn't do is measure all 40 squares before sewing them together.  I think some of the squares shrunk one way more than the other, because sewing them together, I had some corners that didn't meet up so well.  (Maybe my sewing skills?)  I also decided that I wanted this quilt a bit longer than 6 blocks by 7 blocks (I added two more flannel squares from my stash).  So, I added in the tree and house row, blocks that are 9.5" x 10.5", unfinished.  That added an additional 10" to the overall length, making it a quilt topper for a twin bed or for my mom's nursing home bed.  You can see the red plaid flannel flat sheet by the side.  I decided to use part of that for the quilt back.  I think I might see if Kohls still has some of those sheets left because I am finding they are coming in quite handy!  Not sure how I am going to quilt this yet.  It needs something not too dense to keep the cuddle factor going.  Jerilynn  P.S.  The house block is red with a green roof...just like our house!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Auld Lang Syne

My list of things I need to work on is patiently waiting on my studio desk.  I continue to treat myself by finding projects on hand that get pushed aside when more pressing tasks need attention.  I bought this wool little runner kit a couple of years ago.  The canoe, of course, caught my eye.  The wool pieces came with the kit, and, had the pieces been larger, I would have made the cabin red, with a green roof.  I stitched on the pieces with a hand-stitched blanket stitch over the course of two  evenings.  It made me think back on the old days, when my sewing group did handwork as well as machine work.  My friends that are in an angel sewing guild are pleased.  I backed the runner with another big piece of wool, and did a blanket stitch around the edge.  Years ago, we used computer paper with its perforated edges to keep the stitches consistent.  There probably aren't that many left that would even know what "computer paper" is!  I just went for it...the stitches are perfectly imperfect.  And, I had fun making this little project and remembering auld lang syne.  Jerilynn

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Appliqued Sweatshirt Revival

Even though it is the new year, I want to show you something that is old and new:  an appliqued sweatshirt!  How many millions did we all make back in the 90's?  My friend Joani saw the bottom photo of a shirt with a plaid state....Alabama?  (you would think by this time I would know my states!)  I will try to find the blog she saw it on.  Anyway, she had a piece of patchwork leftover from something, and stitched it on the grey shirt (middle shot).  So cute!  I bought a faded red color sweatshirt, and did a flannel log cabin design, with a heart about where our cabin is.  Sweatshirts are hard to find nowadays...  Are we both still living in the past, or are we on the cutting edge of a revival?  Jerilynn

Friday, January 2, 2015

New New Year Jammies

Happy 2015!  I was sitting in my Red Chair in the studio the other day and it scolded me for not blogging much lately.  I have been creating something almost every day since we last chatted, but the pictures would have been a bit boring.  I made over 100 little elf ornaments, dozens of elf wine bottle hats, 60 coasters for the nursing home, dozens of pillows for Idlewild, and at least two dozen washcloth scarves.  I need to get some new ideas into action for Idlewild, Indygo Junction, and for the two middle school girls that I am mentoring.  This time of year, though, is always the time to take a deep breath, put away Christmas stuff, clean up the studio, and just RELAX.  I was on a quest before Christmas to find more red and black flannel for Christmas pillows, and my friend Laura gave me a great tip:  flannel sheets at Kohl's.  I bought a king set, washed them, and cut out a new pair of jammie pants.  I also happened to have a plain white long sleeve shirt around, so I added an appliqued heart.  A nice new jammie set to welcome the New Year in comfort.  I will save the rest of the flannel for next year's Christmas pillow orders.  I just got an email from Garnet Hill saying their double brushed European flannel sheets are on sale.  No plaid, but there is a great ticking pattern....in red, of course!  Maybe I could use two new jammies?  Jerilynn