Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Super Sunday

A one-yard piece of a darling copyrighted print that I received from my sister-in-law while she was clearing out her sewing area to move to a new house inspired this generous lap quilt.  The conversation print is adorable children dressed in various NFL team shirts.  (I'm not taking a close-up because of the copyright.)  It had been in her stash for years, and was leftover from something she made her son who is 26 years old now!

I wanted to feature the print, so a snowball block was just the ticket.  Alternate blocks are four-patches, but each one features the team colors of a different NFL team.  Well, almost. There is one more block than there are teams, so my hometown Vikings got two blocks.  Vikings purple for the border, and bright gold for cornerstones, binding and fleece backing finish it off.

Should be a cozy cuddle quilt to use while watching the game on Sundays.  Can you find the block with your favorite team's colors?

This quilt might go down as the last finish for the year for me.  From now until the New Year the schedule looks pretty packed. Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Allietare 1, 2, 3

I just don't have time to start another of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilts.  No matter how much I love them.
And I cant justify making another bed-size quilt top when I have several tops still in the pile to be quilted.
Hmm.... I might have some of that color in my stash..  that one too...  and here's a great print that has all the colors in it and would make a nice border...
Maybe if I just cut two strips of each of the clues and make a small quilt?  And less scrappy for a change?
And so it begins.....

Allietare steps 1, 2 and 3

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

If you can have Christmas in July...

Last week I was zipping through the local Salvation Army thrift store and, low & behold, they had a new small section of fabric!  This sweet little patriotic stripe that had been in someone's stash since 1995 or so, found a new home at my house.  And about 3/4 yard of navy with tan stars came home too.
I could hardly wait to start making a table runner with a 4th of July patriotic theme, and here it is, December in Minnesota.  Well, if they can have a "Christmas in July" sale at the fabric store, I can have "July at Christmas" can't I?

Finished table runner
41-1/2 x 17 inches
This was so easy to make!  Two seams plus a border.  Seriously!

Here's a quick tutorial if you come across a fabric with wide stripes and want to make your own table runner.

The stripes in this fabric are exactly 1-inch wide, so the math to figure out the proportion for the blue star field was pretty easy:  A rectangle cut 6-1/2 x 10-inches worked out perfectly.

The fabric was 66-inches long and I cut a 7 1/2 inch strip for each runner:  four full red stripes, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance on each side for a total of 7 1/2 inches.

I was able to cut 5 table runners out of this one 66-inch length of fabric, so I'll have a few on hand for hostess gifts and door prize donations.  Sweet!
Next, I measured down 9 1/2 inches from one end of the strip
and folded the fabric back on itself to that line. 
 Cut along the fold.
Trim the most of one red stripe off the shorter piece,
leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
This gives you 13 stripes total.  Perfect!

Lay out your three pieces as shown.
Sew the blue stars to the shorter stripe piece.
Then, join that piece to the longer stripe piece.

Cut three 2 1/2-inch WOF (width of fabric) strips of a border fabric.  Add to the long sides first, then the short ends.  Cut three 2 1/2-inch WOF (width of fabric) strips of a binding fabric.  Cut one piece of backing fabric 18 inches by WOF.  I used two layers of flannel for the batting (1 yard).  

Quilt a triple zig-zag stitch at longest and widest setting on your machine along each of the stripes.  Quilt the field of stars in a diagonal straight stitch.  Quilt the border with a simple meander or stipple.

When stitching your stripe fabrics together, pay attention that you stitch right on the color line so it looks like seamless fabric when you're done.  If the seam is a hair too deep it's not a problem, but too shallow will give you a teeny extra stripe in there that you don't want.

Use a natural fiber batting in case someone sets a hot casserole or something on the table runner. Polyester batting could melt or get a 'flat spot' from excessive heat.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Sheep and the Doves

File this one under "How did I ever get myself into this?"

The two local Churches where I am involved in music ministry have a joint Theater group.  It started out at choir rehearsal.  The woman purchasing fabric for costumes does not sew, and had some questions about what type of fabrics to buy.  I offered to go shopping with her, and somehow I ended up sewing costumes for the Christmas program! A far cry from all the quilting I had wanted to be doing this month.
Sheep: This looks much cuter on the kids than on the table!

But, it's been an enjoyable and challenging adventure.  My job was drafting patterns and making a dozen sheep and two dove costumes for some of the children in the children's choir.  They will be singing "The Friendly Beasts," and be surrounding the Shepherds during other parts of the performance.

"I," said the sheep, with the curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for a blanket warm;
He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
"I," said the sheep, with the curly horn.

"I," said the dove from the rafters high,
"Cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry;
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I."
"I," said the dove from the rafters high.

The sheep were pretty easy.  We just tore 18-21-inch WOF strips of curly fake fur, and folded them in half.  The selvage edges became the bottom of the vest.  We stitched up side seams leaving 10 inches open top and bottom on each side.  Then, using a sweatshirt pattern to get the right shape/size, we cut a neck hole in the fold.  The children will be wearing purchased black long-sleeve t-shirts and black pants.  They just pop one of these little vests over their heads, put on a white felt hood with ears, and TA-DA!  Sheep, as cute as can be.
Dove front

An old 1970's cape pattern was used to get the shape for the dove wings.  Drafting this pattern idea was a little trickier than the sheep, but I think it will do.  The fabric is some type of chiffon with swirls and rosettes stitched on top from the 'bridal fabrics' department.  I do think it gives a lot of texture to the wings.

Some stitch-and-cut made partial sleeves to help carry the weight of the cape, and, those doves can flap their wings!   A feathered mask and sparkly white t-shirt finish up the costume.  Good thing I took a photo of one for you!  When I put it on a hanger I discovered the weight of the cape was a bit much for the t-shirt, and decided to tack the cape at the shoulder seam as well as the neckline.  
Dove back

I'm excited to see the whole performance come together.  (As the guitarist, I've only seen the songs which I will be playing so far.)  There are over 20 children, and 35 adults taking part.  They will tell the Christmas Story through acting, choral and congregational singing.  There will be a fair amount of humor, if I know this group.  Can't wait to hear what the Wise Men's Wives have to say about their husbands taking off to follow a Star!  (By the way, we bought some lovely brocade fabrics for their gowns!)

I'd better get going....rehearsal at 8 PM tonight!

"Fear Not!  Reflections at the Manger"
an original performance by the Heaven Help Us Players
Friday, December 18, 2015  6 PM
Nativity of Mary Church
9900 Lyndale Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN
Saturday, December 19, 2015   6 PM
St. Bonaventure Church
901 East 90th Street
Bloomington, MN