Many years ago my father-in-law chided me for having three sewing projects all in various stages toward completion but none finished. It was his belief that one did not start a new project until the last one was finished. How could a person work on more than one project at a time? That was his way. I enjoy the finishing of a project. It feels good, a real sense of accomplishment! However, I enjoy the starting of a new design, the use of a new fabric, the challenge of a new technique, even more. So, I have started more than I have finished in my lifetime. As I age I am becoming fearful that I may not finish all that I have started (I am hopeful that someone will enjoy rummaging through my stash at the estate sale when I am gone.). I am working as fast as I can on finishing and to that end I brought 37 started projects to occupy our winter months in Texas. To date, after four weeks here, I have finished 3 throws, 2 teddy bears, one blouse and one tablemat. In January I will quilt the 7 quilts that were basted. Tomorrow I will baste the 6 projects that were sewn. I spend my evenings hand stitching the three applique projects (one of which was started almost 10 years ago). Next week I will finish the three summer tote bags for my nieces. Too soon I will change my plans and start that art quilt that is percolating in the back of my mind. I have no intentions of finishing 37 projects by the end of March but I do intend to make progress and I do intend to enjoy the process!
We have been in Texas for almost a month. The weeds are under control again. The mosquitos are fewer and the cutter ants have been subdued for a while anyway. And my temporary sewing room is set up in the camper— in fact I have finished two throws and two teddy bears for Christmas presents and have finished the first table mat that will be shared as a free pattern at this site and made an impromptu throw using Moda’s Grunge from Golden Needles and Quilts shop here.
One of my Texas friends asked how many projects I brought with me and I don’t count as the real answer is too many to finish but enough to keep me creatively engaged and free to choose what satisfies my mood of the week. But, the question made me wonder. So, how many projects do you think I brought? (That is, what is started in some way, shape or form not just uncut fabric that I thought might be fun to think about or sketches that I will most likely buy more fabric for while here!) I have a feeling the answer will startle both me and anyone reading this.
Yesterday was the hardest day of work I have put in for a loooonng time! While Craig was under the park model (crawl space) wrestling with wires to get the electricity hooked up for the sewing room I was in and out of the 18” x 24” door numerous times bringing things like crescent wrench and flashlight and another crescent wrench, etc. And then I had to go in and get the drill so I could go back out and drill a hole from the outside for the wire to come out. Granted Craig wasn’t just laying under there doing nothing. He had to loosen the axle braces so he could get up and over them on his way to the front. Today I took it easy and nursed sore muscles and skinned shoulders after walking two miles to make sure the muscles still worked. He finished wiring the room and at end of day I have electricity in the sewing room!!!!!
Now for the insulation……after Christmas.
Circle of Prosperity, January, 2015
I have titled this small quilt “Circle of Prosperity”. It may be recognizable to readers as Burgoyne’s Quilt but was also identified by other names one of which was Wheel of Fortune. It seemed a likely candidate for sending a prosperous new year wish to all.
Things I like or would change: it was fast; the color contrast makes the design obvious (love those Grunge fabrics from Moda); quilting motif was easy to develop (draw) by dividing a square into 8 parts and then free form drawing flower petals in each section; border would have better proportion if wider by about 1 ½ inches each side. Below are the general directions for making the block with borders.
Block: ¼ yd dark; ½ yd light
Border and binding: ½ yd if horizontal stripe, ¾ yd if vertical stripe (I cut my binding 1 7/8” wide, if you use different width you may need more)
Backing: ¾ yd
Batting: 28” square
3 strips 1 ½” by width of fabric (wof), cut one strip into 3- 13” pieces;
4 squares 2 ½”;
1 square 1 ½”
3 strips 1 ½” by wof, cut one strip into 3- 13” pieces;
3 strips 2 ½”, subcut into 4 pieces 15 ½” x 2 ½”, 4 pieces 1 ½” x 2 ½” and 8 pieces
3 ½” x 2 ½”;
1 strip 3 ½”, subcut into 4 pieces 5 ½” x 3 ½”
Cutting mitered border and binding:
4 pieces 3” x 24 ½” (or wait and measure finished edge after block is constructed);
3 strips 1 7/8” by width of fabric.
Use ¼” seam allowance; press seams toward dark or toward the larger unseamed piece
Sew each dark 1 ½” x wof strip to the corresponding light 1 ½” x wof strip; cut into 20- 1 ½” x 2 ½” sections and 8- 2 ½” x 2 ½” sections. Sew 16 pairs of 1 ½” x 2 ½” sections to make 2 ½” square (figure 1). Sew 2 ½” x 2 ½” to either side of remaining 1 ½” sections.
Sew 13” strips together to form a dark, light, dark strip set and a light, dark, light strip set; cut d,l,d set into 8- 1 ½” sections and the l,d,l set into 4- 1 ½” sections. Sew 2 d,l,d with one l,d,l in the center ( figure 2). Make 4
Make center square using the four 2 ½” dark squares, four 1 ½” x 2 ½” light sections and one1 ½” square as shown in figure 3.
Use four 9-patch and four 3 ½” x 5 ½” rectangles to add the second round as shown in figure 4.
Follow finished photo to complete the third and fourth round. Add mitered borders by stitching each side from corner to corner but stopping and starting stitching ¼” from edge of block. After stitching all four borders line up two adjacent sides of border pieces (folding excess fabric from block out of the way), mark and stitch a 45 degree angle from stitching line at inner corner (block) to outer corner. Check for accuracy before pressing and trimming off excess. Baste backing, batting and finished block together. I quilted a flower in the center and then did a meandering stipple. Geometric quilting lines following the block design could be used. This is also a good time to practice any design you would like.
For the next year I will share directions for making a 20″-24” table mat or small wall hanging once a month. Each will be based on a single block. The first reason for doing this is to provide my mother, who is in a care center, a bright spot in her room. When she first moved in for rehab I brought one of my small wall hangings once a month to brighten her room. I found they were a good stimulus for her to have conversations with staff and visitors and they also engaged her mind to examine how they were made, what patterns were used and patterns that emerged at the different angles from which they were viewed. She likes seasonal things and also bright colors—I think because her eyesight is failing and the brightness and strong contrast is easier to discern. She also likes to hear the stories behind why they were made. After going through the few small things I had in my closet I found myself scrambling to make sure she had a new and different one. Thus, a plan to insure there is a new one each month for the next year.
This effort also fits well with my desire to try different blocks that are of interest to me but that I do not necessarily want to use to make a larger quilt. Of course, it also feeds my addiction to try new fabrics and color combinations that may not fit any specific home décor needs. I hope that others may choose to use the directions in whatever way it fits with their need to create something from fabric. (All will be fast and easy so would also make great gifts to have on hand for housewarming and other occasions.)
The first project will be posted next week on whatever day I have a strong enough internet connection to enable pictures to upload. I hope you enjoy and will share this site with others.
The cover quilt for Something Stitched is my interpretation of a quilt featured in Pamela Dinndorf’s book “Colorific”. I was inspired by our trip east through the Pocono mountains to pick up a camper as well as the Mississippi River bluffs where we live in Hannibal, Missouri. Batiks were used to represent the river and fall foliage. The quilt remains on display at Hickory Stick Quilt Shop in Hannibal.
Baby Bunting was a pattern identified in 1922 in Ladies Art Company and also in 1935 by Carrie Hall. Today, improvisational piecing with random grain placement on foundation pieced arcs makes an appealing modern twist for a baby’s playmat. Bright colors stimulate but traditional pastels would also make a great baby ‘s blanket.
I used Dr. Seuss fabrics as a basis for color choice to coordinate with baby Gus’s room in the blue and orange playmat. Another arrangement of the arcs uses a Northcott collection with Moda accents.
We have arrived at our Texas home for the next four months. Internet is much slower here so it will be a continuing challenge to post pictures with the words. And to attest to that statement a message just popped up that I have lost connection!! Well, suffice it to say I will be posting when I can and not when I want to. I plan to stitch every day while here. That may mean hand stitching or quilting or creating.