Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Newest Christmas Stocking

Merry Christmas, y'all!

The year began with the intention of finishing a Christmas stocking for G3 {the newest grandchild} by summer. That plan quickly dropped by the wayside. I finally finished it mid-December, working almost to the wire. It's the cutest one yet - if you like gaudy and loud.

The white rectangle covers the recipient's name for privacy but it's written in green sequins for extra bling. 'Cause Texans can never have enough!

G3 Christmas stocking

All the stockings I've made have a Christmas tree


Christmas tree and mitten on velveteen stocking

and an event from space that occurred in their birth year. This one is the Juno satellite circumnavigating Jupiter's poles. Juno is still actively exploring Jupiter. In fact, NASA posts photos regularly on its feed and social media. 



Juno satellite circumnavigating Jupiter, beaded Christmas stocking

Then it's open season on ornaments. My mother's stocking had pink bells which reprised on her namesake's. That was fun.

Beaded Christmas bells on a stocking

DH suggested holly when I ran out of ideas. Well, I didn't run out of ideas but many don't work out given my limited artistic ability and use of sequins. A tiny manger was one charming idea that was never realized {Who'd believe sequins and mangers don't go together?} although there is hope I might fashion a sheep one day...

Holly and berries beaded on a Christmas stocking

Most stockings have six or seven felt-and-sequin ornaments. Any remaining space is filled with shiny snowflakes, stars, and random buttons and beads. The deer and bird buttons were special finds at a quilt show. They are plastic with a shank on the back. Very easy to add and non-toxic. The bird fit perfectly on the Christmas tree. How lucky is that?

The felt ornaments crowded the bottom this time leaving a bare spot at the top. {Someone didn't arrange them properly.} Hmm. Searching the internet, I found special glass beads that filled it perfectly. Success and a new idea. 

I'll be upgrading all the stockings as I see them. Each branch of the family tree will get the same bead. G3 and her parents have penguins. Daddy dibs-ed them first. {Is that even a word? We said it in the past tense but there's no way to write it.} There are enough beads for a few future siblings, too. Sounds like a fun task to me but hey, we all know I'm uniquely wired.

While the stockings aren't washable and dry cleaning will take the color off the sequins, they can be gently brushed or vacuumed and carefully stored in bins. There are other ways to make them last. For instance: Each seam is sewed twice and zigzagged around the edges. The lining doesn't extend to the toes. It only goes to the ankle so gifts won't put pressure on that angle when an orange nestles at the bottom.

Sewing the stocking after all beading is attached

This stocking is hung by the chimney with care. G3 loves the way it jingles and I love sharing this heritage with another generation.

Previous stockings with construction pointers:
  1. Mine and my offspring's
  2. G1 and G2 stockings in progress
  3. More progress
  4. G1 and G2 stockings completed

Mel Beach emailed me last week that she pulled my name for a set of Lyric Kinard's Start Your Art cards. Then Lyric mailed not one, but two, sets.

Lyric Kinard's Start Your Art cards

They include warm up exercises to help you start making art whenever you feel blocked. I shared one set with my small group. Thank you Lyric and Mel for opening my eyes.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

A Finish in the Nick of Time

It's gotten cold regularly since Thanksgiving. Funny how that happens. I recognize the air cooling but don't need extra layers until... Bam! It's freezing. Now the bed has an extra winter quilt, my sweaters are front and center of the drawers, and I'm sipping hot tea throughout the day. However, one hardy hummingbird shows up at the feeder several times a day. He must use so much energy in this cold weather.

I've secretly been planning this quilt for the other grandmother of my our darling granddaughter. And finally, it's done. And gifted. Just in time for Christmas. Hooray.

Chinese Coins XII quilt with tulips

Once it was quilted I had some trouble choosing the binding. Green? Blue? I really liked the mottled blue and white {left side} but it's a stripe. Sewing it next to the striped border didn't seem right. Also, while there are busy {and older} prints among the Coins, the  borders and sashing are more crisp. Oddly enough, the blue stripe is only a year or two old; one of the newest prints in this group. So it's not the age of the fabric but rather the style.

The same applies for the busy green prints on top and right. They are just too busy.

Binding choices

The green leftover binding at the top looks best. Some of the greens inside the quilt are a bit more chartreuse but this matches the outer border stripe. The length is a bit short so one of the other greens was added.

I started the back with the center fabric in the spring colors MFG {my fellow grandmother} likes. It matches the purple and blue sashing on the front. There wasn't quite enough {as usual} and this older shirting plaid was the only thing that seemed to blend. It came from the NYC garment district a decade ago. The hues don't work with the front very well but this can just be a two-sided quilt. Aren't they all?

Chinese Coins XII quilt back

Any of those busy binding choices would have worked better with the back but the front is the star. The back will just have to clash a bit.



Spiral and loop quilting detail on Chinese Coins XII

Quilting designs added more fun. Spirals, leaves, loops, and fans. 


Free motion quilting fans, loops, and leaves on Chinese Coins XII

I {sort of} matched the thread with the fabric: peach and yellow were closely matched, light blue thread for blue and purple, green on the border.


FMQ on Chinese Coins XII quilt shows better after washing
These Coins were part of my final push to empty the scrap bag. One top worked very well but the next did not, so I cannibalized those strings, surrounded them with solid sashing, added tulip fabric for fun and ended up with this charmer. Much better.

Quilt Details
Size: 40" x 42"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: blue and yellowAurifil 50/2 cotton, peach and green Gutermann cotton 
Quilting: walking foot SID and FMQ motifs


FMQ on Chinese Coins XII shows better after washing

Christmas Stocking for G3

The newest Christmas stocking is almost complete. Oriental Trading Company had some darling glass beads screaming my name. My idea is to add the same one to each "family group." {DH, my offspring and I will get the Owls. Dibs.} BTW, the grandchildren are numbered here so G3 is my third.

Glass beads from Oriental Trading Company

My goodness! I wish my kids' stockings were as adorable as the ones my grandchildren are receiving. {Although they looked like the "bees' knees" when I made them. It just shows my beading and bling-ing skills improved over the years.}

Special items like these are only readily available with the advent of the internet. I've no idea what local shops might carry them now or who did in the past. Finding something seemed very random; you had to be walking by a store and it caught  your eye. Once you became proficient in the craft or recipe or whatever, you knew where to get the supplies but it seemed harder for novices to even realize they needed better supplies.

Isn't that what happens with any new endeavor? When we first try knitting or quilting or any other craft, the toughest part is finding good quality materials. Or even finding the materials at all. The internet has made it much easier to source them. Now we can search by photos, too. What a wonderful world and an exciting time to be alive.

With peace and goodwill to all.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Chinese Coins X Completes a Pair for Twins

This quilt is very similar to the previous one. I planned to gift it to siblings but friends expect twins soon. Perfect timing.

The quilts include many of the same fabrics but previous one has yellows on the outside while this one has blues. Also, I was running out of Coins {Is that even possible for me??} so I used the very last of the green leaves to extend shorter Coins to finish columns.

Chinese Coins X quilt

Again it's quilted using yellow and blue threads with the walking foot perpendicular to the Coins. Simple but effective.

Chinese Coins X quilting detail

The photo below contains glimpses of the backs and bindings of both quilts. All are from my stash and binding leftover box. I love the blue pebbles; there was enough for one entire back. The other has an old Kaffe with a sliver of those pebbles to make it wide enough. Another connection between this pair.

Backing and binding details for Chinese Coins quilts IX and X

All this dark binding was already seamed and they make a lovely sharp edge.

Here they are after washing. As always, I like the way quilt crinkles when the batt shrinks in the {tepid water, gentle cycle} wash.

Chinese Coins quilts IX and X after washing and drying

Fair warning, the quilts shrunk about 3-4 inches.

Chinese Coins IX and X quilts folded and ready to gift

Previous posts:
  1. Creating IX and X from leftover Coins
  2. Tops sewn
  3. Chinese Coins IX quilt finished
Quilt Details
Size: 38" x 40"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: yellow and blue 50/2 Aurifil cotton
Quilting: walking foot SID and parallel lines

Quilted, bound, signed, washed, and blocked. In the mail tomorrow.

Enjoy the day, Ann

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Chinese Coins IX Quilted

This is one of two similar quilts that were part of my Chinese Coin demonstration. Although they incorporate basically the same fabrics, they look {slightly} different. That makes them perfect for twins and I happen to know a family expecting some. It's time to finish these and gift them.

Chinese Coins IX quilt

Very simple walking foot quilting; parallel lines crossing the coins. I did SID between the columns and switched from yellow to blue thread to match the columns.

Chinese Coins IX quilting detail

Previous post:
  1. Using leftover Coins.
  2. Top sewn. 
  3. Starting the quilting.
Quilt Details
Size: 42" x 41"
Design: Chinese Coins
Batting: Mountain Mist Blue Ribbon100% cotton
Thread: blue and yellow Aurifil 50/2 cotton
Quilting: walking foot SID and parallel lines


Last week I attended Fern Royce's Working Small class at our guild. What a delightful day working on five techniques with an organized, friendly, and relaxed teacher. Fern sews improvisationally in different ways than I so it was a treat to learn new constructions techniques.

First we inserted a simple skinny curved strip {the middle sample.} Then we played with multiple skinny strips {on the left} and dancing squares {on the right.} All of these are small, no more than six inches wide.  One thing I learned was how much more carefully fabrics must be chosen when working so small.

Three samples from Working Small with Fern Royce
Additionally, I worked with these soft tans, something I haven't used in a while.

Fern teaches monthly at Bay Quilts where the work of her students is being featured this month.
Enjoy the day, Ann