Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Pincushion Art

 My friend Elisa sent me this for my birthday!  

It's a tiny pincushion in a repurposed salt cellar, about an inch and a half in diameter.  Too cute for words, and it's my favorite color.  That pin with the beads on it is just for show, which pleases me every time I look at it.  Check out Lesley Storts on Etsy if you want to see more of these, plus she has a pattern for how to make your own!  Fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Yarnie UFOs

 Despite all the sewing I've been doing, I do have some knitting and crochet projects in process.  Some will probably end up frogged and/or forgotten, but I have three I am determined to finish.

First, the knitting projects.  I started the simple blanket pictured on the right with some good old worsted weight Encore I had in my stash.  But the simplicity got a little, shall we say, redundant?  As in, boring.  I added a few random garter stitch bands, and then I thought, why not write a pattern?

I grabbed some chunky yarn and started a similar project, which I hope I can finish more quickly.  This time, I'm keeping track of where I'm putting the garter stitch bands, for the sake of those potential pattern buyers who don't like to improvise.

Then again, why not finish both and have a pattern that includes directions for both weights of yarn?  We shall see.

Meanwhile, this crochet project has been languishing for probably two or three years.  I tried designing some other motifs which would go with the fun hexagonal shape in order to make it into a blanket.  That experiment did not go well.  I thought the result was tacky.  Hence the languishing of the project.

Now I'm thinking, if I use some thin cotton yarn, it might make a great doily.  I plan to try that, and if it works, I'll have another pattern to share.

I only have about five sewing projects I'm actively working on right now, so, I have plenty of time for knitting and crocheting too, right?

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


Yes, I’m at it again: I’ve made another monstrous project that seemed like a good idea at the time and then went horribly wrong.

For more on my less-than-delightful experiments in crafting, you can read about my Frankentote, which has links to my Frankenhat and Frankencowl, and of course, let's not forget Frankenbear, although I have no pics of him;  he's long gone to charity, bless his heart.

I should have waited for my friend Elisa before I started this.  We had agreed we would one day get together to make these very cool Jelly Roll Rugs designed by Roma Lambson.

We had the jelly rolls, we had the precut rolls of batting strips.  But we kept getting distracted by our startitis issues, so we hadn’t quite gotten around to this rug when—you guessed it—Covid happened.

I was quilting out of my stash, and I kept seeing my jelly roll and that cute pattern sitting in a basket, waiting.  I needed something simple to do one stressful day (out of many stressful days), and I grabbed the jelly roll and started sewing the strips together.  I even ordered the special tool that is supposed to make the folding of strips and sewing the actual rug easier.

I sheepishly confessed to Elisa that I started the project without her.  She was forgiving.  (What would we do without our friends?)

The first part of the process went fine.  Easy, fun, progress being made, no problems.

Alas, this did not last.  Maybe it was lack of patience on my part, or lack of manual dexterity.  Despite watching the helpful YouTube tutorial, the central portion of my rug looks... well... Frankenruggy.  All distorted and pleated, bumpy and messy.  And the outer edges are all floppy and wavy.  Very disappointing.

I blame myself, not the pattern.

I love the colors I chose, but I am never going to use this.  Maybe it would make a good dog bed at a local pet shelter?

Thursday, October 15, 2020

And Furthermore...

 Here are a few more quilt tops I’ve finished (just the tops) in the past few months.

This one I made from scraps, and the next one is a UFO from a class I took at least a couple of years ago.  At least I freed up the project box I had it in!  So I could store another UFO in it.

This one, called Charming Lucy, is from a charm pack I’ve had lurking in my stash for awhile.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.  Then my friend Elisa challenged me to make one—hers looks totally different even though it’s essentially the same pattern, just different fabric.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020


 Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been creating.

First, a wallhanging for my mom, and a quilt top now hanging in my closet waiting for layering and quilting.  Lots more to show, in due course, but I haven’t been knitting or crocheting much: it’s been too hot!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Another (Free) Monsoon

Here’s another redo, this time of a free pattern I offered early on in my blogging.  It's called Monsoon’s Blanket.

It worked so well for our rescued cat, Monsoon, I thought it would have magical, calming properties for all cats everywhere.  Leave it to me to make assumptions, joyfully and unscientifically.

So I made another blanket, a bit smaller, for a good friend's new, but previously somewhat badly used, rescued cat.

This cat reminds me so much of Monsoon.  I'm told she meows a lot, craving attention, but apparently, she also fears it.  She'll purr and let herself be petted for about a second and a half, and then--watch out!  She bites!  She might deign to leap into my friend's lap, but only briefly.  Pick her up, and she wriggles mightily to escape loving arms.

So I made the blanket, and I was told the kitty did lie down on it right away.  I seem to recall being told she even purred, but that may be wishful thinking.  Perhaps she napped.

It has been several weeks, and so far, though she does sleep on it from time to time, this one cat continues to be resistant to the magical healing properties of the blanket.  She still bites.

Of course, it took Monsoon a long time to recover, too, so there's hope.  At least I used up a few leftover skeins of yarn.  Stash shrinkage has occurred!  Maybe I need to make this kitty a bigger blanket.  That could work for both of us!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mermaid Bling

I took a Guild workshop from Janis Rivera in February, using Laura Heine's fabric collage technique.  I've had one of Heine's larger patterns for years and haven't gotten around to making it, so I jumped at the chance to have some hands-on, in-person instruction from Janis.

I managed to keep going on the project when I got home, determined not to add to my UFOs.

You can't see all the bling on this thing in the photo, but it was a great excuse to play with the hot fix crystals again.

Now this mermaid hangs in my hallway, glittering mysteriously whenever I walk by.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Fat Quarter Infinity Scarves

I've had this free pattern for ages, and finally got around to making several of these scarves about two months ago.  Little did I know how useful they would be when going for a walk these days.

The scarf boasts a double layer of fabric, and with one around my neck, I can drape it over my face when passing someone on the street, and then, when the coast is clear, I can undrape and breathe freely.  Nicer than a mask, as long as I'm not going anywhere too populated, like a grocery store.

There are several versions of this pattern available, and plenty of YouTube videos.  Just type in "Fat Quarter Infinity Scarf" and you're sure to find something that suits.

So easy to make!  I know, I say that a lot, but in this case, it's really true.

I think I need to make more of these.  (I know, I say that a lot, too!)

I'm finishing up a few more "traditional" masks, and several quilt tops, and given that it's getting to be summer, maybe the scarves will wait.

Then again, there's that luscious fabric in my stash, perfect for an infinity scarf....

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

B.C. (Before Covid-19)

Remember when we used to make things just for fun?  I crocheted this project bag from an Interweave Crochet magazine pattern called “Swirling Bag” by Kathryn Merrick (Fall 2009).

It wasn’t too complicated and it was another great pattern for using up scraps, in this case, Tahki Cotton Classic.  Now I need to start another project to put in the bag!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

More Masks

From what I hear, it turns out the hospital can’t use the fabric masks over the N95s after all, but apparently the fabric ones can be sent to some nursing homes and other places where people need some protection.  And now I’m getting so many requests for masks from friends and family, I’m booked as far as mask production.  Still have 9 more in process, but so far, I’ve finished these, some of which have already been donated to the guild:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Free Pattern Link: Missouri Star Fabric Mask

In the midst of the virus madness, I've been grateful to have a huge stash of wonderful fabrics and yarns and so on.  I feel sorry for people who don't have hobbies!

At first I was working on my own projects, in between trying to get groceries and such, which was often an all-day affair.

I kept getting all these emails with links to tutorials on how to make fabric masks, since we have shortages of the N95s.  Most of them looked too complicated for my overstressed brain to decipher.  And at first, our local hospitals didn't want the fabric ones, as they do not protect against the virus, so I didn't feel too sad at not being able to contribute.

But now they are welcoming the fabric ones, wearing them over the N95s to prolong their usefulness.

One of our intrepid quilt guild members sent a link to a tutorial from Jenny Doan at Missouri Star that is easy enough even for me!  Jenny Doan is so great at simplifying things!  Plus I love the cute music they play at the beginning of each of their tutorials.

Here's the first mask I finished, super quick:

Our guild is now collecting the masks, and I deeply appreciate the people who got this organized.  Of course, now my friends are all asking for masks, and I really want to make some for them too, so I have an idea to streamline manufacture (here in my own tiny factory of living room, with one staff member--me).

Finished 3 more!

Here's the plan:  Instead of using scraps, I'm going for yardage.  (Do I have enough yardage?!  Yes.  Yes, I do.)

I'm going to cut a strip 9" wide, width of fabric (WOF) from each of two different fabrics, then sew two seams on either side, the length of the strips, then cut the sewn piece into 6" pieces, with each resulting piece being the face part of a mask.  Brilliant, no?

I'm also going to cut two 2" strips, WOF, for the ties, so I can run each strip through my bias tape maker, thereby streamlining the pressing process.  I don't have a bigger bias tape maker, and the 2 and 1/2" strips I've been using just don't go through the one I have properly.  Might be worth trying to order a bigger one, but in the meantime....

If you watch the Missouri Star tutorial, you will understand better what I'm getting at.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who has figured this out.

Off to sew!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Still Crocheting After All These Years

In case you were wondering, I haven't quit crocheting simply because I'm obsessed with sewing.  I finished this shawl awhile back.

It's mainly double crochet and a few front and back post stitches for texture.

Now if only I liked wearing shawls....  I just like making them!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Burrito Pillowcase

The finished pillowcase in all its glory
One of our quilt guild members recently suggested we make special pillowcases for submitting quilts to our shows.  Many quilts can be folded or rolled up to fit in a standard pillowcase, which keeps them clean and makes them easy to transport.

A novelty print would be easier to spot when picking up our quilts after the show, this lady said.

Sounds logical.  Sensible.  Reasonable.  But at first, in my typical wet blanket fashion, I resisted the idea.  Why would I want to make a darn pillowcase when I have more ideas for quilts than I can finish in a lifetime?!  What a waste of time, I told myself.

It helps to have friends.  When I passed on the info to my quilting buddy E, she sent me a link for the "burrito method."

The burrito!
As it turns out, I had done this once before in a workshop and never wanted to make another!

But at that time, I was just getting back into sewing, and everything seemed complicated and frustrating.  Sewing a straight seam was complicated, let alone doing a French seam.  Threading the machine was complicated, for heaven's sake!

Seven years later, I find this method sew easy!  And sew fun!  And it uses up lots of fabric quickly, which is good, because I have the Giant Stash That Ate New York living in my apartment.
First seam sewn: the first big reveal!

As I told my friend E:  Must Make More!  The pic at the top of this entry shows the finished pillowcase.  Hooray!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Happy Village on the Coast

The minute I heard about the Happy Villages fabric collage book by Karen Eckmeier, I knew I had to have it.

I ordered the book, and then, a mere year or so later, got motivated to actually try the technique for this year's quilt guild challenge.

We're supposed to use at least one technique new to us, and to add at least two embellishments on the finished wall-hanging.

Sticking to the "legal" size this year was easy.  I sometimes have trouble with that one!

I was able to make my wall-hanging a little larger than Karen's suggestion for a first project, and still meet the size criterion.

Making this was like designing a jigsaw puzzle.  Fun fun fun.  I got addicted right away.  I could not stop cutting out little roofs and windows, doors and trees.

I chose not to follow Karen's suggestion to include steps.  They look great on her designs, but I found them distracting on mine, and I felt more foliage was in order.

I added a few sailboats and a couple of seagulls, then embellished the ocean with hot fix crystals--also a new technique for me--and couched a little yarn around the edge next to the binding.

The crystals don't show up well in the photo, alas.  But I love this thing!  Must make more!

This isn't due until the March guild meeting, and will go on display at the April meeting.  It feels good to finish in plenty of time, and get back to my other 27 projects!