Saturday, November 18, 2017

Not Hiding, Just Overwhelmed

It's quite out of character, but I've posted no new patterns and no blogs in a full month. I'm just starting to find time to sew after a very difficult month.

My husband has been very ill, and I'm afraid we have reached that age when I'll be a caretaker for the foreseeable future. Here's the story.

It all began on October 17th, the day after I posted the final pattern in the Christmas Elves quilt.

My husband fell in the garage shortly before noon. Fortunately, I went out to see what was taking him so long. There he was on the floor and unable to lift himself at all.  He asked me to help him up, but I couldn't budge him. I called 911. Sirens, paramedics, ambulance, neighbors offering to help - the whole bit. He spent the next week in the hospital and three additional days in rehab. Who knew a kidney stone could cause so many problems? Fever, infection, and more. When a person is elderly and in poor health to start with, illness is so much more complicated.

The kidney stone is gone now, as is the infection. Fred's recovery has been slow. The whole ordeal left him totally exhausted. He's just beginning to feel and act more like himself, and life is slowly returning to somewhat normal. I'm afraid to leave him alone for more than a few minutes at a time, though. I think of what may have happened had I been out having lunch with a friend when he fell, and it terrifies me. 

I can't work in my sewing room for long stretches at a time quite yet, so my latest project is going very slowly.

I'm stitching up some very simple holiday place mats. I'm trying to make eight of them using only fabrics I already have on hand. Since I need eight place mats, finding enough fabrics in my stash has become a challenge and I've had to completely revamp my pattern idea.  The stash of green Christmas scraps is dwindling, and I'm totally out of silvery grays. I am going to try to make these without binding. For one thing, I don't have enough of any matching fabrics to use for the binding.  It will also speed the process along, and I would like to move on to other things soon.

This is what the tops will look like. As I said, very simple.

I'll post a tutorial for you as soon as I've finished. Next week, I hope.

Thanksgiving is coming, and my children and grandchildren will all be gathered around my table. I'm counting my blessings. 

Wishing you and yours a wonderful ad blessed Thanksgiving.

Here's to a calm November!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Needing a Break from Christmas Quilts

It's two days later than planned, but the Christmas Elves quilt is completed, and the pattern is written and ready to download.

The Pattern for Assembly and Borders

I am really pleased with the way the borders and the binding work together. This crazy striped fabric pulls all of the scrappy Christmas fabrics together. It's as if it were made for this quilt.

I debated using a different fabric for the wider border, something that would contrast, but I'm really glad that I stuck to my original instinct to carry the background into the border. The quilt is so full of color that it verges on being too busy. The wide light gray border gives the quilt a chance to breathe. The added space reduces the cluttered look and gives the eyes a place to rest.

Look at the fabric I found for the back of the quilt. Could anything possibly have been more perfect?

The last two months of designing this quilt and making the pattern have been pretty intense.  This quilt has about finished me on Christmas for the time being, so I'm going to take a break from all holiday thoughts and work on something completely different. I'm not sure what that may be just yet. Ideas for projects are never ending. I want a flannel bathrobe that comes all the way to the floor, I've been wanting to make a bicycle quilt for a very long time, I have an idea for a fun sewing box, and I'd like to make a very small art quilt, too. I've been thinking about a series of small quilts with a theme of friendship and another house quilt too.

Wishing all of you a lovely October week!
And, no holiday music until December, please!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Thank Goodness I Was in the Quilt Shop!

It all started with a urinary tract infection. UTIs and I have become very well acquainted over the past 40 years or so. I'd been battling this particular infection for almost two months, and in spite of several rounds of antibiotics, it simply didn't want to go away. 

I wasn't feeling too wonderful after lunch last Tueseay, and I thought that a bit of fresh air would help. Running a couple of errands had sounded like a good idea when I left the house, but the longer I was out the worse I felt. I should have gone home, but I wanted to make the most important stop first. Fabric, of course.

The Calico House is a great little quilt shop and only minutes from my house. I'm there at least once a week, so they know me well. I found fabrics for the inner border and the binding on my elf quilt almost immediately. I was feeling pretty awful.  As I paid for the fabric a circle of gray fog began to close in on my vision, and everything started to spin.

Thank goodness, I was in this particular store. Janeese, the owner, recognized that I was about to faint. She pushed a chair under me, and told me to put my head down.Then she and Sandy got a bench from the hallway, put a pillow on it, and helped me lie down. Janeese was so worried that she wanted to drive me home, but after fifteen minutes or so, my head cleared enough that I was sure I could make it to my house on my own.

Right after I got home, dizziness, fever, and chills set in. I was terribly cold, and I began shaking violently. My hubby is not well and no longer drives, so I called my son. He hurried over, took me to the emergency room, and stayed until I was settled in for the night. My UTI had developed into a kidney infection and my white blood cell count was ridiculously high. For the next two days as I was pumped full of antibiotics, my children and grandchildren took over the care of their Papa. By the time I was released, I felt better than I had in weeks.

My quilting was delayed, but that's of minor importance compared to health.

My new fabrics. The stripes on the narrow border will be repeated on the binding. The backing is fun, too, and just the right colors.

Friday, September 29, 2017

October Pattern Sale!

My pattern shop is overflowing! No one can find anything in all the clutter, so I'm reducing inventory. This group of patterns will be on sale during the month of August, and most of them will be discontinued at the end of the month. A very small number will return at full price in November, and others may eventually come back if there are enough requests for them. Happy sale shopping!!

Please let me know if you find any broken links or any patterns in this list that do not reflect a markdown in price.

The Sale Items

HOME Block 8, Birdhouse

HOME Quilt Along Blocks 6 and 7 Sewing

HOME Quilt Along Block 5

HOME Quilt Along Block 4

HOME Quilt Along Block 3

HOME Quilt Along Block 2

HOME Quilt Along Block 1

HOME Quilt Along, Block 9

QA 2015 Trellis Block Plus Assembly 

QA 2015 Bunny & Basket plus a Mug Rug

QA 2015 Wheelbarrow Block

QA 2015 Birds and Spade Blocks

TGIF Mug Rug

This Old Truck

Goose Gossip Mug Rug

Just Ducky Mug Rug

Baskets for Mom Mug Rug/Block Trio

April House Mug Rug

March House Mug Rug

Spring Table Runner & Bonus Mug Rugs

Summer Picnic 

G is for Giraffe

Summer Swallow

Martha's Roses 

Let's Rock Mug Rug Trio

Playmates Mug Rug

Celebrate Mug Rug

Snowball Fight Lap Quilt
Pals Mug Rug
Ice Skates Table Topper
 School Wall Hanging

Home Quilt Along, Blocks 11-12


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Christmas Elves Quilt Along, Block 5: Elf Checking the List

This is very last of the Christmas Elves sections. Now, I need only to sew them together and come up with a border treatment that suits the collection of small and large blocks. This is such a busy quilt, that I think something simple will be best.

Block 5 Patterns on Craftsy

There really is a lot going on in this fifth group of blocks. The elf, the list, the bag filled with gifts, and one adorable puppy make up the main block. The list of names may be my favorite thing from all the blocks. I've personalized it with the names of my children and grandchildren. The names of a few friends and neighbors, some random names, and scribbles round it off. A fine tipped permanent marker made quick work of it all.

There they are - Mandy, BJ, Sara, David, and Tim. I didn't think to put the pups on the list until it was too late.
The snowman and the mittens are basic applique blocks, with a bit of embroidery added to the snowman. The cowboy hat is a bit different from the hats usually seen on snowmen, and gives him a unique flavor.

And now, the wreath. Once again, something unique seemed to be needed. A Dresden plate style in multiple fabrics worked nicely. The block is only 4" square, so the plates are tiny, and there are only twelve instead of the usual twenty. The center of a wreath should be recessed and in the background rather than the foreground. The usual treatment of a circle of fabric stitched on the top just didn't work this time. It looked more like a green flower with a puffy gray center than like a wreath. I finally resorted to fusible web and an empty center for a three dimensional effect. Once fused, the center of the wreath was stitched to the background with my favorite blanket stitch.

The friendship stars can be made with traditional piecing or with paper foundation piecing. I've included instructions for both in the pattern.

The lighting wasn't at all wonderful when I took this photo. The stars are really quite bright and colorful.

I'll start sewing it all together next week. The finished quilt should look so much better than this diagram made of individual photographs.
I can't wait to see how this looks when it's all put together and finished!

Have a super week!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Christmas Elves Quilt Along, Block 4: Elf with Packages

This group of blocks was so much fun!

Christmas Elves, Block4

My Facebook followers asked for skates and a toy train, so those items are here. They've also asked for a snowman and mittens, but I'll have to wait to see how or if those will fit in. I love it when people share their thoughts with me. Those ideas really do influence the final designs.

This elf may be in Block 4, but it was actually the very first one I made. It's a bit special for that reason, alone. I love the teddy bear, and this little elf as such a cute face.

The ornaments invited themselves, so here we are with a set of four blocks, all of which are made with applique. That was not really part of the plan, but I think it will be just fine. The block is 10" wide and 4 1/2" tall, so it's just the right size to make a great mug rug, too.

And now, the fun really begins. What is it about toy trains and Christmas? Every year at Christmas my grandchildren played with a little wooden train set whose cars were filled with tiny wooden soldiers. There wasn't space to make a whole train for this quilt, but I am very pleased with this little engine.

The final block I made is the one with ice skates. If you've been following my blog, you will know that I love adding little details. The skates gave me the perfect opportunity. It's all about the laces. Pearl cotton thread was just the right size for the laces and bows. Stitching the laces was almost like lacing real skates. In one side and out the other all the way from the bottom to the top.

 Only one set of blocks to go, and then it's time to sew it all together. The quilt is looking awfully cute and I'm getting excited now. I think I'll redo a couple of the smaller blocks in brighter colors. The gingerbread pair for sure. Don't you think  they look rather dull compared to everything else?

For now, I've positioned the skates and train above the elf block and the ornaments below. I may change that, but I'm not sure yet. It's a work in progress. 

Only one group of blocks to go!

Wishing you a wonderful week!