Sunday, December 31, 2023

Final 2023 Cornucopia


Last day of the year, last cornucopia of links to things I've enjoyed or recommend or want to pass on for the year.


It's obviously too late now for Holiday gift sewing ideas, but check all of these tutorial videos from Janome for next year.


I enjoyed seeing these quilts  by Galla Grotto featured on the HandiQuilter blog, they were on display at the Houston show this year.


The utter strangeness of Victorian era Christmas cards will never fail to amuse and perturb. I feel like a lot of these need some more context. Are they meant to be silly, sarcastic, or threatening? Why not all three?


The images of JRR Tolkien's letters to his children as Father Christmas over 23 years are so beautiful. I love the idea of this father creating whole words for his children in these letters. What a treasure.


QuiltInk is an interesting and easy to use website for coloring in your quilt pattern designs. I was interested in a new Libs Elliot pattern, Electric Pineapple and she mentioned trying out coloring it using QuiltInk.


Heather Cox Richardson on why the resignation of George Washington is one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world."


For next year, make Danish Star ornaments out of fabric strips with this helpful video tutorial.



Really lovely to hear the original Christopher Plummer vocals for Edelweiss in The Sound of Music.


Friday, December 29, 2023


The Holiday Celebrations are continuing apace and I've been feeling a bit like our tree-topper.
Green chopstick to the rescue. Stiffen up that spine and carry on.
Korben decided that the only decoration that needed to be fought with were the Santa hats.
The usual Cioppino for Christmas Eve.
The cats were having fun under the tree so we didn’t put any presents out until the last second.
DS Alex gave us a lovely ceramic skull, almost life-sized.
Korben enjoyed the furry tops of the empty stockings.
Honey baked spiral ham is the traditional Christmas Day feast at my parent’s house.
The other hit present was a new spaghetti strainer (FSM approved), combined here with the skull that probably needs a name.
I made “modern” almond spritz cookies because I ran out of time to cool the dough enough to use in the cookie press.
And now we’re enjoying spending time with my brother and his son at my parent’s house.

Pshew! a lot of fun stuff but not enough time for sewing. Tomorrow hopefully 🤞 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Start of Something Grey


Started in on a new small quilt for the 2024 Stretching Art & Traditions exhibit. The exhibit will be shown at several of the Mancuso shows next year. My original sketch for the theme of rhythm included a five sectioned grey background. At first I was going to use all solids, but I decided to try out some "reads as solid" prints. This was my first selection. Way too dark.
Much Better.
Good, that'll work. 
Pieced and color corrected. And this is just the background, there's going to be some color happening (of course!)
Here's my sketch in my sketchbook, this will be 24"wide x36"high.
Just happen to have 7 recently dyed greens in various shades/combinations to use for the circle-ish shapes. That's where I'm at so far with this. It's due next month.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Seventh Month


Guess which month I'm working on now? That's right, July is when I am finally making it all the way around the color wheel on the Temperature Quilt.

I finally got to use the hottest pinkest  pink on the 102°F day on July 15th. I think it reads differently enough from the two closest colors. I do want it to stand out. Maybe I should use a more neon pink? I'll have to look and see if I have something even more bright pink before I piece my way down to the 15th.

I put up the June column next to July to check, yes, I think that pink probably works. And wow, it really was a lot hotter, but that's July. Our June on average was cooler than usual I think this year.
Closer up comparison.
Definitely different enough. No more faffing about looking for the "perfect" pink, (self-sabotaging delay tactics, I've got 'em)  this is the one I'm using.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Product Review: Bulky Seam Jumper


Trying out my new Bulky Seam Jumper tool on a clothing repair job. You know when older elastic waistbands just go *poof* *crackle* *crunch* and are no longer at all helpful at hiding up your favorite pajama bottoms? It's worth doing a little un-stitching and inserting some new elastic. It doesn't take very long, and you save a little money on buying new ones.

It goes right under your presser foot and behind your needle on the way up the hump.
And then you place it in front of your presser foot on the way down the bulky spot. This keeps the sewing surface much more level and so there are a whole lot less skipped stitches from making it through all those layers. That means you end up with an actual stitched seam instead of a section of not really held together fabric. So functional, right?

I didn't know if I really needed something like this, but it really works. This is a very useful and functional piece of plastic. I should not that it is two sided as well, so if your bulky seam is only a little bulky, you can just use the smaller sized side. 

Two more features: You can use it for holding a button for stitching on with your machine. And the little hole seen on the front can be used to hold your new sewing machine needle to insert it into place.

 For all that functionality I think it's a pretty good price. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Sandwich Workout.


Two more quilts are now joining the To-Be-Quilted-Queue, Trinket and Made It Work. My first step is re-ironing the top and the back that have been sitting around waiting to be sandwiched. Then I pin the back up on my design wall, smoothing out all the wrinkles (hopefully).
Then I place the quilt top onto the fusible batting and cut it out to size with some extra batting all around. I use Hobbs 80/20 fusible as it has the fusible on both sides of the batting unlike some others out there. I really dislike using pins to baste so I just go with what works for me.
Then the quilt top and batting are pinned up and smoothed out. Then I get some weight lifting in as I iron it on the wall.
Once it's all mainly fused up, I take it off the design wall and iron the front and back smoothing out any remaining wrinkles. So to be honest, all of that is a whole lot of ironing.
Then I put them in the To-Be-Quilted-Queue pile and think about the quilting designs and threads I'll be using. Whew! It's a workout for sure.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Made It Work Back

Time for a back to the Made It Work quilt top I just finished. This is all the leftovers from making it, many of which are from the freebie table at the BAM sew day.

 And done! With only a few additions from my blue fabric boxes. Ready for sandwiching tomorrow hopefully.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Bag O' Binding


The Bag O' Binding is getting full. That means I need to switch over to quilting mode instead of piecing mode. That's a change in setup that I always put off doing even though it's really not hard. It's a mental block that I need to get sorted out.
Trinket, Village/Japanese Houses, and Made It Work are ready to go. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Made It Work

Here's where I left off working on the "Make It Work" quilt for the BAM community giving effort. Still not done, not big enough.
First step was to attach that right hand border.
That addition on the bottom is good but way too big.
Final border beginning possibilities. I chopped that bottom border in half and I'm much happier with it.
Not the final form quite yet but getting there.

All the way around now with a final border, but still not decided on exact placements of the pieces.
There we go, all done. The title is: "Made It Work"

Wednesday, December 13, 2023


A couple weeks ago I was on Instagram and noticed how nice and colorful my "grid" looked. I took a screen shot (on purpose this time, wow!).

And then off to Percolator I went, just to see if I was right. First of all, I love the black and white abstraction of the top and bottom, isn't that cool? Almost like a steampunk lace design. Also, some of the squares of the photos would make great mini-quilts just like this. 
I played around with some of the settings (it's pretty much impossible not to).
This circle overlay look with more of the original picture is interesting. I was thinking of how to make this in a fabric piece, it would have to be layered. The background piece could be a print out on fabric of the screen shot photo. Then subsequent layers could also be printed on organza or something similar. I think it might work.
I like this greyed-out version a lot. Some of these squares from the original photo suggest great color palettes for a quilt.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Make It Work Again


I picked up a "Make It Work' baggie at a BAM sew day back in July. It was mostly filled with blocks made by various people and some pieces/parts that kind of sort of went together. I put this on my To-Do list for December, so it's been churned up to the stage of getting worked on once again. That's how that making a list thing works for me, it stirs up all the to-do stuff in my brain and makes more of it accessible.

I worked on assembling it at another Sew Day in September, but hadn't gotten back to finishing it off until now. I'd gotten stuck on a badly done angled seam that made everything not be flat. After some *un*sewing* it was pretty easy to get back to it. 
I ironed and put up the rest of the small and large pieces of fabric I'm maybe working with for the rest of this top. The dark fabric on the right will probably be the binding.
I have to decide how big to make this thing now. Probably will be at least "lap quilt" size.