Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Whacked Tree Borders

We had a quiet day on Thanksgiving since I had to work the next day.  I cooked a half a turkey - interesting . . .  I had to get a fresh one so they could cut it in half for me.  Honestly, is not my favorite.  I don't know about you but I was raised on frozen turkeys and I like them better but that's just me.  I'm kind of out of practice on my cooking so maybe I didn't cook it right!?  But the homemade mashed potatoes and gravy were delicious!  (I have to remember to write down the story about how much my family loves gravy.)

Anyway, it's coming up to the finish line for the Whacked Christmas Tree quilt.  I've been making the borders.  I did the piano keys the same way I did them on the pumpkin quilt.  Since most of the fabrics were fat quarters, and the pattern was placed along the top and left edges of the stacks, the strips ended up being about the same length.

I cut all the left over pieces into strips.  I didn't pick any one size, just randomly cut them so they are different widths.

Of course you know I couldn't stand that mixed up pile of strips!  I had to straighten them all out and lay them out flat - I was laughing at myself as I did this because I'm so anal about it!!!  Or as one of my quilting friends put it "you really are a linear thinker"  ;o)

I had hoped I could just put them all in this bucket and pull them out one at a time but I just couldn't do it LOL!

So I lined them up according to color and a little bit by size (wide vs narrow) then worked from there.  First I sewed three strips together being sure to mix up the widths and patterns.

Next I sewed these strip sets to each other to get larger strip sets and so on . . .

Then I trimmed up one end.
And finally cut the large strip sets to the 6 inch wide "bricks" I needed.
Then I sewed these bricks end to end to get the piano key borders.  This is about a scrappy as my poor little brain can handle.
Tonight I'll be putting the top and bottom borders on with corner stones shown below.  Then the whole thing will be ready to take to the quilter on Friday.  She promised to have it back to me before Christmas (she usually only takes a week) so if I'm really quick I'll get the binding on before Christmas too.
In other news (in case you were wondering), I finally finished the second apron for Aunt Doris and got them in the mail today.  The floral print on this one is a bit more exciting.  I'm not sure if she'll like it but I think it came nice.  I'd love to do one more for her, with Christmas fabric.  I'll see how it goes.

I had some fun playing with the piping. I think I need to get a piping foot that has a little groove in it. I saw one on a quilting show and it was really cool. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about getting a new machine.  I know I've talked about it but I haven't actually ventured out to shop yet.  I'm thinking I'd like more attachments/feet.  I'd also like to try quilting smaller projects on my own so I'll need more space between the needle and the machine. 

I'm not interested in lots of embroidery but I'd like to be able to do simple labels and a few decorative stitches.  I saw a table runner that had the makers name embroidered in the binding.  Since I'm not a fan of "big honking white" labels (LOL) plastered on the back I thought embroidery in the binding might be a nice alternative.  For now I'm still thinking it over.

Sewing may take a back seat for a while as the big kitchen project on the rental is starting in January.  I'll probably post some construction pictures as things go along.  Until then I hope to get a few hand work projects cut out and prepped for take-along.

Stay tuned!

PS - How do you like my new profile picture?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Apron for Aunt Doris

I recently attended a bridal shower for my Great Niece Heather.  You may have see the post I did that showed the aprons I made for the brides maids.  They were such a hit with my Aunt Doris that she asked me to make her one.  Not exactly like those, just a half apron.  And a little bit longer if possible.

Aunt Doris with my brother Roddy
Who can resist a request from their Aunt who is also their Godmother?  Certainly not me!  So I promised to make her an apron and bring it to the wedding a few weeks later.  Well, when the wedding day came I didn't have it made. Sure enough she asked me about it and I felt really bad.  I had it in the back of my mind for the whole time but kept thinking how long did she want it exactly? And I wasn't sure what colors she has in her kitchen.  (Now I'm feeling even more guilt because why don't I go visit her; she only lives an hour away!)
Before the wedding got started I got the specifics:  blue and purple but don't make purple, and just above the knee, but don't go to any trouble.  I had her stand next to me and since our waist and knees were at the same height I now knew how long to make it.
Naturally I asked my sister Dutchy if she had any blue floral in her stash and she came up with these three and one other which I coordinated with small prints from my own stash.  These didn't make the first cut but I'll be doing a couple more in a few weeks.  Love the one on the left with the blue and purple!

These are the fabrics that made the cut, a pretty blue and yellow floral with green accents.

I already had a pattern that I had bought ages ago but never used.  It was kind of fun working with pattern pieces again.  It's been so long I had to actually read the directions LOL!

It all came back to me and I spend most of the time remembering all the sewing I had done with my mother. She would always say "now do it like this" and then show me.  As I worked I could hear her telling me which way to put the pins in and where to place the pattern pieces. 

"Fold the fabric this way"
"Match up the dots"
"See how the points are on both pieces?"
"Yes you have to iron ALL the pieces as you go"
"Pay attention!"
"No! No! don't sew over the pins"
"Slow down, they're not giving out any prizes for finishing first"

If I did it wrong she made me do it again and again until I got it right.  I wasn't a quick study but apparently I learned. Funny how now it seems to me that she was patient but at the time it didn't feel that way!

I had forgotten how easy it is to do a gathered skirt on a waist band.  That brought back a whole other set of memories - Home Economics!  The very first project for the class was a drindle skirt. All gathers at the waist, a zipper, a button hole, and a 4" hem. Does anyone wear a 4" hem besides children? I hated it! I thought was just hideous and made my hips look huge. LOL! But it was a great teaching tool.

The teacher was always giving us hints and tips about how to dress and keep up our appearance.  Not only did we hear this stuff at home but now we had to hear it at school.

"Never wear anything that has a safety pin in it." (I took this one to heart until I got to a point where every blouse gaped at the chest.)
"Don't wear nylons with runs." (this was before panty hose :o)
"Young ladies should not wear girdles, it makes you have weak stomach muscles." (Now we call them Spanks and I wouldn't be caught dead without one under a pretty dress!)
She even gave us a demonstration of how to put on a bra (over her clothes of course) - first, hook it in the front, turn it around so the hooks are in the back, pull the straps up, grab the straps, bend over and shake everything into place. I still crack up when I think of it! 

See what the kids are missing with no Home Ec in school?  On second thought she'd probably be arrested

So finally, here's the apron I made for Aunt Doris and it was certainly no trouble!  In fact it was a day of fun and fond memories.  I'll be mailing it off in a day or two. I hope she likes it!