Christmas Baubles and Bubblelights

Christmas Baubles and Bubble Lights

A Table Topper

Hoffman fabrics with silver metallic highlights caught my eye at my favorite quilt shop earlier this year. This table topper is an easy and quick project to make for the Christmas holiday table and could easily be adapted to make a tree skirt (I have one of those in the works also). I didn’t make a pattern but want to share directions for how you can make it your own. I started with the background square of fabric cut 39” (1 ¼ yards), seven fat quarters of coordinating prints and 1 ½ yards for backing and binding. The small baubles are 3” in diameter and the larger baubles are 6 ½”. The Clover yo-yo maker (one of my favorite tools) was used to make three different sizes of yo-yos that resemble the old fashioned bubble lights reminding me of Christmas past.

Below is a photo series to show how to make the decorated ornaments. I cut patterns free hand for these. A glass works well for the circle and the elongated bauble I cut from a folded square of paper to get the shape I wanted.

Cut (8-10) 7.5″ squares from fat quarters

 

 

 

Stack  squares in groups of 2 or 3, aligning the edges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut a slight curve through the middle of the square.

 

 

 

Rearrange the sliced pieces

 

 

 

Stitch using slightly less than a quarter inch seam allowance for ease in joining the curved edges.

 

 

 

Ready to cut the ornament shape of your choice.

 

 

 

Additional embellishment is done with metallic thread and decorative embroidery stitches. Decorative threads, beads and hand embroidery stitches would also be fun to use. Arrangement of the ornaments is best done by thinking of the background square as four quadrants. Placement of yo-yos was done around a 6” center circle so a small poinsettia plant could be placed in the center.

Tree skirt ready for quilting, done in festive colors with gold metallic highlights and embellishments.

Dresden Plate, The Inner Circle

I am making a display quilt for Hickory Stick Quilt and was asked how I did such perfect circles in the center.  Below are photos and directions for the method I like to use for this 6″ center circle.  I cut 8″ squares of fabric and 6″ circle from freezer paper and from mylar template plastic for a 6″ finished circle.

Finished block, 38″

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron freezer paper  template onto fabric square

 

 

 

 

Baste stitch about 1/4″ outside the freezer paper in preparation for gathering.  Then trim away excess fabric about 1/4″ away from basting stitch.

 

 

 

 

Remove freezer paper and insert mylar template, pulling gathering threads around the circles edge.  evenly distribute the gathers for smooth edge.

 

 

Press from wrong side (mylar template does not melt) and then again on the right side and remove the template.

 

 

 

 

I use a blind hem stitch with a narrowed zig zag and narrowed straight stitch to invisibly attache the circle to the center.

Love this method for those perfect circles–very similar to the work of hand appliquers when making perfect circles.

 

 

 

 

 

Harvey

My husband and I have spent the last two weeks cleaning tree debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey at our winter home near Rockport, Texas. We were so fortunate to have only limited damage to our home or my sewing/guest room. In fact, because the sewing room had been designed by him to be much like a guest room complete with air conditioning a generator allowed us to sleep cool while working. Like many have said and posted on the internet the utility workers coming from many different communities and states have very methodically been restoring power in far from pleasant conditions. The man who came to check and adjust our lines yesterday with the three-truck crew had such a cheerful attitude. They have had grueling work chain-sawing through downed trees to get to houses, watching for all manor of vermin (the roaches are really, really big in Texas and the mosquitos have grown almost as big) and of course climbing over debris with nails and other hazards.

Today ( actually a week ago since there was no electric nor internet to post) we were enjoying the breeze and a cooler day when the fan blades started turning. Relief!! a hot shower, wash clothes, eat off real plates, ice.

In the midst of the work I found creative relief in late afternoons by painting some fabric in such a way that I could use it to make a quilted piece interpreting the chaos of this storm. I imagine there will be other quilters who will be interpreting this disaster in fabric and I will enjoy seeing them posted on various web sites. I know there are friends who will not be doing any sewing or quilting for some time as they lost everything in the storm. When we return for the winter I will be bringing those fabrics that have been stored in totes waiting for just the right project idea or just the right time in my schedule to share with those who have lost their “stash”. I’m sure other winter Texans will be doing the same. Fabric is not a necessity for life but I hope it can be one of the pleasantries that helps us to heal from the devastation.

 

Clamped Dyeing of Fabric

I tried a different method of dyeing on some small samples. Usually I use the low immersion technique instructed by Ann Johnston and seem to have lots of excess dye when ready for the rinsing stage. With this technique I used ¼ c of water with ¼ tsp. of urea and added ¼ tsp. dye powder. Since I was using small samples of fabric I trifolded lengthwise and then triangle folded as when folding a flag. I clamped two pieces of wood on either side of the fold on two pieces, two quarters on one piece and just the clamp on the final sample. I feared there would be too much white on the wood clamped pieces but was not disappointed with the result. Using just the plain clamp impression was also pleasing to me. The fabric was soaked in soda ash solution for twenty minutes before applying the dye. Dye was applied with a spoon, just dripping it on different parts of the folded cloth and into the separated folds, put in a plastic bag and set for 12 hours. A surprise was how little excess dye was apparent in the first cold water rinse and even in the hot soapy wash compared with other methods.

Now to consider a use for these brightly colored pieces. (I used black, emerald green, dragon fruit, sapphire, and deep yellow.)

Hexagon Flowers

I posted a photo of a display quilt for Hickory Stick Quilt Shop in Hannibal, Missouri yesterday.  Below are the directions and photos of how to make the hexagon flowers from a two inch circle.  They are a simple way to make blossoms.  I have grouped them to make hydrangeas, used alone to simulate cherry blossoms,etc. Limited only by your imagination. Enjoy.

 

 

Step 1. Cut 2 inch circle

 

Step 2. Find center by folding in half and then in half again and press or mark with dot.

 

Step 3. With wrong side up, fold edge to center and press in place

 

Step 4. Fold point up to center, press in place

 

Step 5. Fold point to center and press 4 more times

 

Step 6. Anchor center by hand or machine or with decorative stitching

     

Van Gogh Challenge

It was fun designing, planning and constructing for the 2017 Cherrywood fabric challenge.  The theme was Van Gogh and the colors were three blues and black.  My design was simple but pleasing to me.  They had record entries this year and mine was not among those selected for the traveling exhibit.  I did not expect it to be as it was a simple design and there were many gorgeous, complex entries posted at various sites on the web that I admire for creativity and execution. Still it was fun and makes me smile as I walk into my sewing room each day. I look forward to seeing the exhibit when it comes to a quilt show near me.