Tuesday, April 7, 2020

A Fail and a Few Finishes

'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'
                                    'I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve.'

My mother used to quote the first two lines to us but I didn't know the author although I'd read many of Frost's poems. I'm fortunate to have a large family that gets along. We write; we call; we visit. What a blessing to just belong to this group; people who have known you all your life. {Although I'm now old enough that's it's generally me who has known them all their lives.} In another sense, family encompasses a larger group. We all share this beautiful blue marble, the only home all of us have ever known. That makes us all one family. Please make good choices. Stay the course.

Pine tree blocks arranged on point might be a possible border around the Shadow Star blocks
Tree blocks as a possible border for Shadow Stars

The trees were supposed to border the Shadow Stars but they don't have enough weight. Is that because they are on point? Would bluer green leaves make a difference? Would colored setting triangles? {As opposed to the empty whiteness of now.} IDK. The trees don't seem to have a relationship with the stars even though I deliberately made tiny triangles to echo the tiny squares. Now it looks like they should have related more to the star points. {Does that make sense?}

How easy it is to see problems with a digital camera. Disappointing but not a complete loss. They will be useful somewhere else once the "much too dark" trunks are replaced with lighter fabrics.  It's not exactly a fail as they will wait in the Parts Department until becoming a different quilt.

On the other hand, I found a useful way to move several older pieces of fabric along. They were purchased specifically with my grandchildren in mind but never made it into a quilt. All will be moving to larger beds this summer in a musical chair progression. Out of the crib to the trundle bed. {What do you call the crib mattress without the sides? The one that is barely off the ground.} Out of the trundle bed to the toddler bed. Out of the toddler bed to the twin. So these fabrics will become pillowcases to celebrate their growth.

Many people posted pillowcases with enchanting crocheted edging. My grandmother taught me how to do this so I added it, too. Mine look more old-fashioned. Well, not exactly, but they aren't as bohemian chic as the ones I've seen online. But they look adorable to me. For two cents, I'd keep them for myself.

A blue print with bunnies and a pale green print with pink and white swans are sewn into pillowcases with white cuffs and white crochet edging
Pillowcases with crochet edging

Other animal prints made nice cases, too, but crochet didn't fit their theme.

Novelty prints of owls and foxes are used to make three pillowcases.
Children's pillowcases

Cases can be made with cuffs or a flap - an extra bit of fabric to hide the pillow and keep it inside the case. Mine just have the cuff but I may try the flap later and want to keep the instructions in one place. My {standard} pillows measure 18.5" x 29.5" so my case should finish 20" x 31". Yes, it could be narrower but this will be easier to get on and off. DH's king-size pillows are 20" x 36" and need pillowcases that finish 21" x 40".
  1. A pillow with a cuff
    • Three-quarters of a yard for the main fabric; a third of a yard for the cuff
    • From main fabric, cut a single piece for front and back 41" x 28" each.
    • From alternate fabric, cut front cuff 41" x 10".
  2. A one fabric pillow with a flap
    • Cut one piece 21" x 75.5". 
    • Use the other half of the fabric to make a second pillow.
  3. A two fabric pillow with a flap 
    • Seven-eighths yard for the front; one and one-quarter yard for the back.
    • Cut front piece 21" x 32.125" and back piece in another fabric 21" x 43.625".

Closeup of the crochet shows seven double crochets form each shell of the edging
Shell crochet edging
Crochet edging supplies:
  • a thick tapestry needle with a rounded end 
  • a steel crochet hook size 2
  • Size 8 pearl cotton in any color you choose (one ball edges three cases for me}
  • washable marker
  • ruler or guide marked 3/8"
Crochet edging:
  1. Mark the pillowcase at 3/8" intervals about 1/4" from the edge.
  2. Use the tapestry needle to make holes without breaking threads in the woven fabric then
  3. Make a single crochet in the hole followed by 3 chain stitches.
  4. Repeat around the edge of the pillow.
  5. Slip stitch into the beginning.
  6. Two chain stitches.
  7. Seven double crochet in the first opening {the 3 chain stitches}, 1 chain, 1 single crochet in the next opening, 1 chain. Repeat around the edge.
  8. Slip stitch to the beginning of this round. 
  9. Tie off and bury threads.
Seven pillowcases finished. Three with cuffs only; four with crochet.

And twenty-five more face masks. No more sheeting or pillowcase ticking and only two yards of batik left. I line them with 100% cotton t-shirts. One good thing is that I'm finally progressing on DH's t-shirt quilt.


Cover of the first book in The Book of Dust trilogyEach of my children grew up with a different books series which I read as they did. They certainly made interesting dinner conversation. For the oldest, it was Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The original book, The Golden Compass {known as The Northern Lights everywhere else in the world} was made into a movie and recently into a television series.

Recently I discovered a prequel trilogy is being published. The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage begins shortly after Lyra's birth and concerns how she arrived at Jordan College. I'm ready to reread the original books.

My contributions have been to stay home, make masks, and donate money to my favorite charities.  It's all I can do. Stay safe everyone.

Enjoy the day, Ann


  1. Oh, don't you just hate it when something you tried doesn't quite do what you thought it would? Happens to me all the time;((( I love the trees and I love the bigger quilt, too--you'd think they'd be perfect together...no worries, you will find something I am sure...
    We are staying in, getting groceries delivered, and trying not to worry too much. I made masks for the family members and am making a lap quilt for my SIL. Stay safe and strong ~ ~ ~ waves from Julierose;)))

    1. It's disappointing for sure, Julierose. But now that I'm older and wiser {hahaha} I'm trying not to force things to work. The stepsister trying to force her foot into the glass slipper. As you wrote, it will all go somewhere.
      I'm glad you're staying in while this passes. It's the best thing we non-medical people can do. I'm back to making more masks for family, too. Stay safe.

  2. My post for tomorrow is on home... so it was fun to see your first poem and hear of your family. The opposite of mine, but one I longed for. I have one little crocheted edge pillowcase my granny embroidered then edged. I treasure it but we use king size now. I must try to put an edge on myself, what a grand idea. Now, just from the pictures, your trees are very light green, so they don't have the weight you mentioned. If they had the weight would they pull attention from the fab center though? It's not easy for me to make those decisions! Good luck and when you're finished we'll all say "that's the way it was supposed to be!!!" LeeAnna

    1. The poem itself is much sadder - about not fitting in with birth family and creating one of your own, and coming home at the ned of life.
      I agree! Why didn't I think of adding crochet years ago? It's pretty easy. You might make a sample edge to make sure the design size works. And this is a good time to try it.
      I've been thinking about the trees a lot. Need more blueish green, need slightly stronger greens, need lighter trunks. Would colored setting triangles add gravitas? Etc. I'm going to think about this for a while. I want it to be right.

  3. You put in a lot of work to find out that the trees are just not quite right for the border, but I am looking forward to seeing the quilt you will make with those tree blocks. The pillowcases with the delicate crocheted edging are beautiful! Thanks for the instructions. I am not all that adept at crochet, but I can muddle my way thru it.

    1. Yes, but they will work somewhere else. I'm just glad I didn't barrel on through when I'm not happy with the look.
      I'm not an experienced crochet-er either but it's not difficult. Any easy project while listening to the news.

  4. Your blogs are always bright spots in my week. They make me think, inspire me, and give me a sense of fellowship. So happy to be on this beautiful blue marble with you. Keep sharing!!

    1. Your comment lifted my spirits, Sue. We all need a reason to smile. Thanks for giving me one today.

  5. Thanks for sharing your progress/process. You have added to your 'parts' collection, so many possibilities.
    Your family is a gift and all families are different. To look for the good and celebrate that is a rare gift.

    1. Yes, that Parts department becomes larger every time I look at it. Ha. My family is a gift. I'm glad they put up with me.

  6. Staying home is the biggest thing you can do. I rather like the trees as the border. I think they look lovely. I agree that they need lighter trunks but the whole quilt looks like a dreamscape - so nice. The pillowcases are so vintage looking and special. I hope your grandkids appreciate you.

    1. Staying home is safest for me. The more I look at the trees, the more I see tweaks that might make them work. It's time to pause for a good long think. The pillowcases should have been quilts or at least quilt backs. I'm glad the fabric is going to them in a useful form while they are young enough to enjoy them. All my grandkids have loads of grandparents and other relatives to love. Hopefully that grounds them well.

  7. I love the crocheted edging on your pillowcases. Have you had any issue with shrinkage of the edging after washing them? It's been a long time, many years, since I've crocheted, but I might just need to try it again. Have you
    tried different colors for the setting triangles on your stars/trees quilt? I agree that the light/white background shown in your first photo doesn't do justice to the beautifully pieced blocks.

    1. I use DMC and have never had trouble with shrinkage. I suppose you could pre-treat with steam if you're worried.
      I need to put some different colors out for the setting triangles. It may just be too white right now. Thanks.

  8. I enjoyed reading about your deliberations concerning these blocks, which are all so beautiful by the way. I guess I take comfort in that even the real quilters have some decision making to do when it comes to joining up borders, edges, etc. Also love your crocheted bits on the pillowcases. And kudos for making masks too!

    1. Creativity takes great thought, doesn't it? A blog is a good place to discuss the process. As many have noted, it's like a diary. Quilting and painting aren't completely congruent. You can blend paints but fabric is what it is. Even if you dye/stamp/bead/etc it, it's always a "block." So things don't always work out as we originally thought. Figuring our way out of corners is part of the fun.

  9. Well, I couldn't crochet an edging to save my life; yours look utterly charming and I would buy them in a moment. It's a shame about your lovely trees, though I'm sure they will find their place.
    You are right about family - I count my blessings all the time at the moment.

    1. This is about as much crochet as I'm willing to do. Some people have very elaborate edgings. Like you, I'd buy them. The trees will work somewhere, just not sure where that place will be now. We are blessed with our families. I try to remember that when they are driving me crazy.

  10. Love your crochet edged pillow cases. I learned to crochet decades ago in college, but never learned to read and understand the directions. I made many loosely crochet scarves with the loopy edging you describe instead of fringe. One lady saw mine and asked if I would make her one. I gave her mine, a variegated pink and white yarn, and made myself another. My eyes would not be able to handle making your lovely edging for pillowcases now.

    1. That was kind of you. Sometimes it's easier to give yours away and make another though. If we were are good as our grandmothers, we could make these without looking. I'll neve be that good so I may not be making them much longer either.

  11. Perhaps a medium tone of fabric for the outside triangles would help ground (pun intended) the trees and help the trunks feel more right??

    1. Yes, that is something I need to try. Just have to find a place to lay things out.

  12. I am way behind on blog-reading....The tree blocks are beautiful but they don't enhance the intricate Shadow Stars. If you want a pieced border to frame the stars,maybe long skinny triangles? And the tree blocks can be planted in a quilt of their own. The pillowcases are charming and the crochet edging is such a nice touch. Happy Easter!

    1. Funny how little time we have to read even though we're staying home. I've made masks for family and neighbors and am now making surgical gowns. I feel fortunate to help this way. But no time for reading.

  13. Love the pillowcase edges! And the animal ones will be much loved I'm sure. And yes, to me the trees and the stars are 2 different quilts! Great to see the pics & read about your thoughts on this, and look forward to seeing what you decide next!

    1. Thanks, Linda. The grandchildren like their pillowcases. I agree with you; these two blocks don't seem to go together as well as I'd thought they would.


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