Friday, December 8, 2017

Pineapple Log Cabin Therapy: Block 34 of 42, etc.

Greetings from the midst of Advent!  "Busy" does not even begin to describe all the balls I've got in the air right now, but I blocked out some stitch therapy time and managed to complete another pineapple log cabin block this week.  That's 34 blocks completed, 8 more to go, in case anyone's keeping track.

Pineapple Log Cabin Block 34 of 42
Here are the four most recent blocks up on the design wall.  Each block finishes at 17 3/4", and the fabric strips finish at 3/4" wide.

Blocks 31-34 On the Wall, With Bear Paws
Christmas caroling is in full swing, so the Giant Green Dress has been out and about.

Caroling With Cecilia
I'll be practically living in that dress all of next week.  It's such a pain to put on, and I'm sick of wearing it, but the little girls LOVE IT...

My New Buddies
Speaking of little cuties, I ran across a couple of Oldies But Goodies on my computer the other day.  Check out Lars, helping to decorate the Christmas tree on Black Friday nine years ago:

Lars Hauling Out the Holly in 2008
...and here is that very same child, on Black Friday of this year, snuggling with our dogs on a break from stringing lights on the tree:

Lars Snuggling With Rottweilers on Tree Decorating Day 2017
Back in 2008, my son Anders used to smile sweetly for the camera, too.  Here he is showing me a reindeer ornament that he made in preschool:

Anders Showing Off His Reindeer Ornament in 2008
Fast forward nine years, and I am lucky to get a picture of him at all.  I just went through my phone and this is seriously THE BEST recent photo I have of him.

Anders in 2017, Too Cool for Mom to Take His Picture
But in the midst of cooking and entertaining, I managed to get a cute Thanksgiving picture of me and Bernie:

Me and My Sweetie, Thanksgiving 2017
This turned out to be the year that I accidentally dumped ALL of my gravy down the drain (forgot to put a bowl under the strainer!), but no one seemed to care.  

Time flies, doesn't it?  The holidays are definitely different with teenagers than they were when I had little ones in the house.  I would wrap this post up with a pithy observation about the passage of time and seasons of life, but alas, my brain is too tired.  I need to hop in the shower and get dressed for the boys' Christmas show at church tonight.  I'm looking forward to seeing what all the high school kids have been working on for the past few months.  :-)

I'm linking up with Esther's WIPs on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Designs, Dreams, Doodles and Practice Panels

I found some fantastic limited edition panels for machine quilting practice from Liuxin Newman, the Thimble Lady that I just had to share with you.  Liuxin is a renowned author and teacher of hand quilting, hand piecing, and hand applique, and her new digitally printed whole cloth kits would be perfect for hand stitched finishing.  But I'm envisioning using these for practice like I did with my Dresden plate cheater cloth -- except that these are so much prettier to look at, and much more useful sizes.  These would be practice quilts with a purpose, otherwise known as REAL QUILTS!

This Fish O'Rainbow quilt measures 52" x 72" and, with the addition of a simple border or two, it would make a fabulous children's quilt.  You could practice stitching straight lines where you wanted them OR use the lines as markings to evenly space some free motion squiggles.  I especially like all the pearl strings printed on this panel, because I definitely need practice making ROUND pearls instead of SQUARE pearls on my longarm machine!

52 x 72 Fish O'Rainbow Whole Cloth Quilt
See how they've machine quilted the sample?

One Way to Quilt This
I'm sure that, after tracing around all of the circles on this panel with my long arm machine, my ability to quilt rounder circles freehand will have improved tremendously.  This fabric would also be fantastic for embellishing with those bazillion decorative stitches that come with our modern sewing machines, wouldn't it?

This is the other "Just Quilting Kit" from Thimble Lady that intrigued me:

18 Inch Flying Feathers Block
Flying Feathers is an 18" block that you can purchase individually or in sets of 8 blocks, available in the mauve pink colorway or in dusty blue.  Although I'm not as in love with the colors of this one as I am with the happy fishies, I do like that this is all feathers and pearls.  Like round pearls, smooth, graceful feathers that don't look like ogre toes are a challenge, and tracing printed feathers with my quilting machine over and over would probably be a good way to improve my feathers, too.  

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to practice developing muscle memory for quilting designs on my iPad during church sermons:

My "Sermon Notes"
Of course this doodling doesn't translate perfectly at the machine because the Apple Pencil moves smoothly across the surface of the iPad in all directions.  Because of the way a longarm quilting machine carriage rides on horizontal and vertical wheels, there is more drag resistance on diagonal quilting motions than there is on true vertical or horizontal stitching lines.  That's why it's easier to draw reasonably round circles on the iPad than it is to actually quilt round circles on a longarm machine -- they come out square until you learn to compensate for the additional drag at the "corners" of the circle, and the extra momentum you pick up at the top, bottom, right and left points where the machine wants to keep going straight.  

Would you like to know how much actual sewing in real life I have accomplished since my last post?  I sewed ONE WHOLE SEAM yesterday.  I did laundry, got clean sheets on the beds, went for a walk with my sweetie, and had a VOX choir rehearsal starting in on the Christmas Lessons and Carols music.  But I managed to seam two lengths of backing fabric together and trim away the selvages before I left for choir.  That's the nice thing about having a dedicated studio.  If I only have a few minutes, I can sneak off to my studio and just sew for a few minutes.  If I was working on my dining room table, by the time I got the sewing machine out and set up it would be time to put everything away again!

I have high hopes for today, though.  I've got a bit of work piled up that needs my attention, but I hope I'm also able to get that backing pressed and cut down to the right size, AND get that math quilt loaded on the frame today.  I still don't know how I'm quilting it yet, but I'll feel better once it's on the frame and ready to go!

Have a great day, and happy stitching!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Of Capitulation, Resignation, and Thanksgiving Mules

Well, folks, I tried to reason with him.  In vain I sought dialogue and dreamed of a compromise that might streamline this year's production of Thanksgiving Chez Moi.  I ransacked my trove of cookbooks for simpler recipes, considered paring down the list of side dishes, and reducing quantities.  Then I sat down with my obstinate German husband and proffered my suggestions one by one, summoning forth all of my patience and carefully laying out reasonable arguments in favor of small changes, just this once, just this year...

And he shot down EVERY SINGLE ONE of my ideas.  He will not give up his buttercup squash soup.  He will not agree to a smaller turkey (and he is already scheming to safeguard the leftovers lest his mother-in-law attempts to run off with all the turkey again).  He will not permit Thanksgiving to be hosted at anyone else's home, and he is vehemently opposed to disposable plates in lieu of fine china.  After an exhausting morning of negotiations with my mule of a man, I am now committed to doing everything exactly like we've done it every other year.  

Me and Bernie, Discussing Changes to Our Thanksgiving Menu
Ah, well.  At least there is no stress of the unknown, since we've been making these recipes for nearly 20 years now.  And the one concession I got is that Bernie is going to do the work of prepping the stuffing on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so that I can concentrate on pumpkin pies that day.  (Now it's in writing, Bernie, and the whole Internet has witnessed it.  No backing out!)  The stuffing is pretty elaborate and takes a couple of hours what with cooking the wild rice, chopping and browning the apples and vegetables, etc. Last year I ran out of time and had to buy pies from Dean & DeLuca on the way home from church on Wednesday night.  They were nowhere near as delicious as my recipe.  The molasses pumpkin pie is MY favorite part of Thanksgiving, and I'd just as soon serve everyone popcorn, jelly beans and toast for dinner as long as we have my pumpkin pies for dessert!

Popcorn, Pretzels, Jelly Beans and Toast
So far today I've reserved my fresh 22-24 pound organic turkey from Whole Foods and placed a Harris Teeter order for all of my non-perishables and wine, and I'll pick up the groceries later this afternoon.  Hopefully Harris Teeter will have that buttercup squash for Bernie's soup and we won't need to waste time enjoy the hunt of visiting every grocery store in Charlotte looking for it this year.  Because squash soup, herb butter, and spiced pecans all need to get made and frozen this weekend.

Ah, my husband is so lucky he's cute!  It will all be fine, though.  It will be even better than fine -- it's going to be great.  My mom is bringing her green bean casserole and an apple pie, because she is NOT fond of my molasses pumpkin pie (more for me!).  My friend Lisa is bringing a yummy apple salad and I think maybe something with sweet potatoes, too.  And, as I said, I've already selected and ordered plenty of wine.  With the year we've been through, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.  When all is said and done, gathering friends and family together over good food and good wine is EXACTLY what we all need this year for Thanksgiving.

Let the Culinary Games begin!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Of Recuperation, Thanksgiving Hostility, and EQ8 Quilt Designs

First of all, I am glad to report that Bernie is back home again after five miserable days in the hospital.  His ICD (Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator) is now working to pace (and if necessary, to shock) his heart out of those lethal ventricular rhythms and he's doing well; just a bit stiff and sore from the surgery.  Since I spent most of the last week either in the hospital, driving back and forth from the hospital, or driving kids around, I have no actual sewing projects to show you.  

I did, however, bring my laptop computer to the hospital, and I spent some time working on a couple of quilt designs in my newly upgraded EQ8 software while Bernie was in surgery and recovery:

Variable Block Applique
This is not necessarily a quit that I'm planning to MAKE, mind you -- just an experiment with the Variable Block layout.  Primarily I was interested in familiarizing myself with the new software interface and locating all of my favorite design tools.  But do like the idea of combining traditional applique with modern color schemes and non-traditional layouts, so I may come back to this idea later.  I'm still a long way from finishing my Frankenwhiggish Rose applique project and have no plans to start any new applique until that one is finished.

60 x 80 Charity Quilt
This second quilt is one that I might actually make.  The goal with this one was to make a 60" x 80" charity quilt that would be relatively quick and easy to make, and interesting enough to hold my attention.  (Of course I always think I'm designing something simple, and then it ends up being not simple at all...)  Anyway, this row quilt fits the size parameters for Lutheran World Relief Mission quilts, and features fifteen 12" blocks, three of each kind.  Here are the challenges:
  1. Lutheran World Relief says their Mission quilts are used by recipients primarily for warmth, so my go-to thin cotton battings wouldn't be appropriate for this one.  100% high loft polyester is probably the most practical choice, but I've never quilted with that before and I don't want to mess with raising the height of my presser foot or anything crazy like that.  Those of you who regularly make charity quilts, what do you recommend as far as batting?I don't actually have the fabrics I used in the design of this quilt. 
  2. My husband is likely to be annoyed with me if I buy all new fabric for a charity quilt when I literally have a roomful of fabric that I have bought and never used, but most of my fabric stash is either fat quarters or purchased for a specific project.  Before I could make this quilt, I would have to make as many fabric substitutions as I could from my stash and still would probably need to shop for more fabric.  I have quite a few quilts that I've designed and purchased fabric for, but never actually started -- so I'm really, really hesitant to rush out and buy STILL MORE fabric.  In fact, I really should be on Fabric Shopping Probation until I use up all of the fabric I've already purchased!
  3. I am seriously overextended right now and have no business starting any projects at all -- there is at least an 85% chance that I would buy the fabrics I needed but never get around to actually making this quilt.  At least not as a Thanksgiving project, like I had in mind.  I probably wouldn't even get to this until next Spring.  Who am I kidding?  That fabric could be stashed under my cutting table for 5 years without ever seeing the light of day.  I get stressed out over the meal preparation for Thanksgiving every year, and now I want to add a charity quilt project on top of everything else?!
Which brings me to my next topic: we in the United States will be celebrating Thanksgiving two weeks from today, and I'm feeling slightly hostile about it.  I've been reevaluating our family traditions (to the chagrin of my husband, who wants the SAME EXACT MEAL EVERY SINGLE YEAR): Roasted turkey with vast quantities of rich, high-carb side dishes and desserts that require weeks of preparation, hours of cleanup, and put us all into a food coma afterwards.  This "traditional" menu makes very little sense historically, since potatoes were not yet cultivated in North America at the time of the first Thanksgiving.  The Pilgrims had not yet built any ovens for baking, and they had completely run out of sugar so there were no desserts and no sugary cranberry sauces, either.  According to one source, the First Thanksgiving included venison, lobster, deer, swans, corn porridge, and seals on the menu.  Fascinated as I was by this bit of trivia, I shared it with my husband.  His response?  "You want me to CLUB A BABY SEAL for our Thanksgiving dinner?!"  

Seals and Swans for Thanksgiving Dinner?
But SERIOUSLY -- Since we're especially thankful for our good health and beating hearts this year, shouldn't we rein in some of that culinary excess and serve a lighter, healthier menu that doesn't require so much work?  Because how, exactly, does stuffing ourselves with carbohydrates and giving ourselves indigestion reflect a thankful heart?

What Bernie Wants for Thanksgiving
And so I'm torn.  Part of me wants to skip the next two weeks of meal prep entirely and just order my Thanksgiving meal catered from Dean & DeLuca, focusing my energies on other things (music, exercise, current UFO projects, new charity projects, staying on top of reading for a class I'm taking, Christmas cards and caroling that's about to kick off next weekend)...  But another part of me feels like these holiday memories are a gift that we bequeath to our children, and that makes me feel a strong compulsion to order a raw turkey and start making and freezing vast quantities of squash soup that no one besides Bernie wants to eat.  Because threatening to withhold pumpkin pie from my children if they don't eat their vegetables is a time-honored family tradition.

-- Will Rebecca ever actually MAKE any of the quilts she designs?  Will her family be forced to eat turkey cold cuts and frozen tortellini for Thanksgiving dinner, or will she succumb to the pressure from her recuperating heart patient husband and cook the ridiculously overblown feast everyone is expecting?  Will she eat an entire pumpkin pie by herself for breakfast the next day?  Find out next time...  ;-)

Today I'm linking up with:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Lessons Learned from Long Arm Quilting the Cheater Cloth

Happy Friday!  This post comes to you from the cardiology floor of the hospital, where I'm hanging out with my sweetie this weekend.  It's like a romantic bed and breakfast, except the breakfast is only for Bernie and the housekeeping staff keeps barging in at all hours of the night to draw blood and check his vitals.  He had an ICD (Implanted Cardiac Defibrillator) put in yesterday but it's not working yet, so they're holding him hostage (monitoring him) until they can try some other stuff on Monday.    

Finished Cheater Cloth Sample, After Washing
I thought this was as good a time as any to wrap up my Cheater Cloth practice project and record some final thoughts.  The photo above was taken after washing, and it doesn't look half bad, does it?  I might even be tempted to bind it and find a home for it, except that the design was printed off-center on the fabric I don't have four complete rings around the Dresden plates and I'd have to cut off too much to center that one Dresden plate in the middle.

So when I took this project off the frame and flipped it over, I saw two problems that would have been a big bummer if this was a "real" quilt.


YUUUUUCK!!  Eyelashes!
Somewhere in the middle of quilting this project, I decided to switch from Glide thread with those little magnet bobbins to a different thread with cardboard prewounds, and apparently the bobbin was too tight or top tension was too loose, because I had this ugliness on the backing.  Tension looked good on the top of the quilt and when I poked my head under.  Lesson learned: From now on I need a sample quilt sandwich off to the side of my frame for checking tension, especially when changing thread types mid-project.

Yucky Number Two: Pleats From Too Much Backtracking 

See That Horizontal Tuck?
Because quilting straight lines with my ruler was one of my primary objectives with this practice piece, I backtracked a lot to get from one section to another, traveling along "seamlines" that I'd already quilted.  So I got a couple of tucks like this one.  It wasn't nearly as noticeable after washing the quilt, though.

So I trimmed the excess fabric and batting away...

...And I serged the edges with a 3-thread overlock.  I wanted to be able to assess the quilting after washing the piece, but wasn't going to bother with binding it.  Serging the edges was faster and easier.

3 Thread Overlock In Lieu of Binding
(How do I love thee, Sergei, my Bernina 1300 MDC serger?  Oh, let me count the ways...)

After a tumble through my washer and dryer, the practice quilt has a nice, snuggly, bumpy texture.  Despite fairly dense quilting throughout, it still has a nice drape to it, too.  It almost looks like a real quilt, doesn't it?!  I feel like I'm almost ready to put a REAL pieced quilt top on my frame next.

I've got a handful of free motion patterns that I feel comfortable with now, and I got much better at quilting straight lines with my ruler by the time I got to the bottom of the practice piece.  I just have to go REALLY SLOWLY and concentrate on what I'm doing and I should be fine with stitching in the ditch on a real quilt.  I might even get brave enough to use monofilament thread in the ditches and then my oopses will be even less obvious.

My math quilt is next in line to be loaded onto my longarm frame, and I haven't decided how I'm quilting it yet.  Do I stitch in the ditches with my ruler and then add free motion fills, or do I attempt a simple edge to edge pantograph?  I'm leaning towards the pantograph, because I know I'll want to do something more custom on my bear paw quilt.

Here are a few parting shots of the cheater cloth quilt:

My Favorite Star
This was my favorite star block, with loopies on the blue triangle points.  I think that on a real quilt I need to think more about contrasting dense quilted areas with less densely quilted patches for contrast.  Nothing is popping out when I quilt the snot out of EVERYTHING.

Way Too Much Quilting On This Star!
This star was my least favorite.  Way too much quilting overall, and the white thread for the pebbling on the blue triangle fabric makes them blend into the adjacent blue and white print.  If I'd used blue thread for the pebbling that wouldn't have happened, and my pebbles wouldn't be so obviously lumpy, either.  But see how the blue and yellow square that was left unquilted puffs up?  I need to plan for more "pop-up" patches in my real quilts.

Freaky Feathers
On this star, I was experimenting with feathers in the blue star points.  They're crooked and uneven, but they look a lot better after washing than they did fresh off the frame.  I think that I'm going to need to do some marking when I try to put feathers on a real quilt.

This cheater cloth project was definitely not a waste of time (or thread), but I think it's time to try a real quilt now, don't you?  I just won't get to it until sometime next week, though.  Meanwhile I've got some hand sewing here with me at the hospital.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

I'm linking up with Esther's WIPs on Wednesday.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Behold! I Am the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog! (In Which I Make, and Wear, a Giant Toddler Costume for Halloween)

Good afternoon, friends!  Happy Almost Halloween!  Have you ever noticed that my husband Bernie bears an uncanny resemblance to Tim the Enchanter, and that I am just the spitting image of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog?

Tim the Enchanter and the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog

In case you're unfamiliar with killer bunnies and Tim the Enchanter, refer to this classic Monty Python clip below:

So Bernie and I were invited to a Halloween costume party, and I was disappointed by the options for women's costumes that were available at my local Party City store:

Women's Costumes at Party City
Um, NOT what I had in mind.  I wasn't in the mood to go out in public wearing a costume that barely covers my tushy, but the sleazy bunny costume sparked the idea for making a Monty Python Killer Bunny costume instead.  I bought a pair of bunny ears on a headband, a tube of fake blood, and a pin-on tail from the accessories aisle and then headed to Jo-Ann's for my DIY costume supplies: a basic, loose-fitting pajama pattern, and several yards of white faux fur.

It turns out that thick, fluffy faux fur is annoying to work with, so I thought I'd share how I tamed that furry beast.  My faux fir was similar to a Minkee in its drape, but with barely any stretch to it and a VERY thick furry pile.  It was very difficult to cut through two fabric layers, and it shed so much white fluff all over the dining room that, when my son Lars came home from school, he said it looked like I had slaughtered the Easter Bunny.

I had originally planned to whip this costume up on my serger, but the two fabric layers were just too thick to fit under the presser foot of the serger and a few minutes of fiddling with it were enough to convince me that my regular sewing machine was going to be faster and easier for this project.  These are the settings that worked well for faux fur on my Bernina 750QE:

Straight Stitch No. 1, Stitch Length Increased to 3.0, Presser Foot Pressure Increased to 65
I was using presser foot 1D with Dual Feed engaged, regular polyester all purpose sewing thread, and a size 80/12 Universal needle.  The other challenge is that the thick furry stuff wanted to stick out past the cut fabric edges -- so I couldn't even SEE the fabric edges, let alone see the 5/8" seam guide marking on the stitch plate of my machine.  First I tried using the seam guide that screws into the bed of the machine, like this:

Using the Screw-On Seam Guide that Came With Foot 97D
It helped to have a "wall" to guide the fabric edges against, but I had issues with the bottom layer of fabric curling under and getting stuck in the seam.  So I took my biggest acrylic quilting ruler, smashed it down against the wrong side of the fabric, and trimmed away all of the fur that extended past the cut edge of the fabric, all the way around each cut-out pattern piece for my pajama pants and top.  This extra step made a big difference, because after I did that I was able to see and align the top and bottom fabric edges more accurately as I sewed the seam, and I was much better able to monitor that bottom edge to prevent it from curling up into the seam.

Furry Rabbit Pants In Progress
Do you see how thick that fur is?  It felt like I was like wearing a down comforter.  I'm glad I left the furry arms off the pajama top and wore a long sleeve cotton T-shirt underneath instead of doing long sleeves in fur.  I was already plenty warm in my furry outfit.

Anyway, that's all I have to share today.  The party was fun, but the faux fur made a huge mess in my house.  I'd like to return to my quilting projects today, but first I've got some vacuuming to do!

Quilty Goals for this week include:

  1. Cheater Cloth Practice Quilt:
    Now that it's quilted, I want to photograph some of the issues I had with it, trim the excess batting and backing, and then serge the edges (rather than binding it) so I can toss it in my washing machine and evaluate how washing shrinkage affects my oopsies.  
  2. Math Quilt:
    Backing fabric needs to be seamed together, and then this will be my first real pieced quilt on the quilting frame.  Not sure whether I'll attempt a simple edge to edge pantograph or continue working with my rulers and free motion fills.
  3. Butterfly Bear Paw Quilt: 
    This one needs its final outer border cut and sewn, backing fabric pieced, and then it is destined to be the second real quilt for my longarm machine.
  4. Anders' Modern Building Blocks Quilt:
    I adapted the Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt to work for an XL Twin bed and pieced the first block for this quilt over a year ago, so I think it's time to make the second block now, don't you?  This one should be fun to quilt on the long arm machine since I get to do something different for each block.
  5. Jingle Quilt:
    This is a pieced and hand appliqued WIP that I set aside about 3 years ago because I didn't know how I wanted to set the center medallion and I discovered that one of my red fabrics is a bleeder.  That sapped all motivation for continuing to work on it.  However, with the holidays right around the corner, I've decided to take it out again and finish it up.  At the very least, it will be good practice for quilting around applique on my longarm machine, and I've gotten some good suggestions from other quilters that I can try that might save the finished quilt from the running red dye.  Worst case scenario, I end up with a pink background instead of off white.  And this quilt definitely needs to go through the wash when it's finished, because I glue basted all of those turned edge applique shapes in place and I want the glue out of the finished quilt.
  6. Pineapple Log Cabin Quilt:
    I suppose I ought to make another paper pieced pineapple log cabin block for this quilt.  
  7. EQ8:
    Last but DEFINITELY not least -- I downloaded the EQ8 upgrade a few days ago and I love it so far!  I'll be taking some time this week to get comfortable with the new interface and playing with the new features.

Today I'm linking up with:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My New Favorite Quilt: "Mummy Without Coffee Take 2" by Mathea Daunheimer

"Mummy Without Coffee Take 2" by Mathea Daunheimer, 2016 
Apparently I am NOT the only mommy who wakes up every morning in the guise of a fire-breathing dragon, requiring several shots of espresso in order to regain human form!  Am I even sure that I AM a human, suffering from a curse that turns me into a raging dragon every morning?  What if I really am an honest-to-goodness dragon, magically transformed into a human each day through the sorcery of my skim milk and espresso elixirs?  And if so, at what level can I blame my wretched teenagers for all of this?  These are questions we may never be able to answer...  But in any case, this is officially my new favorite quilt and I just had to share it with you.

Detail of "Mummy Without Coffee Take 2," photo by Luana Rubin
"Mummy Without Coffee Take 2" is a 40" x 36" painted whole cloth quilt made by New Zealand quilter Mathea Daunheimer of Esparta Fiber Arts in 2016.  This quilt was exhibited in the 2017 New Zealand Quilt Symposium, and Luana Rubin shared it in her eQuilter newsletter this morning so I discovered this loveliness early this morning when I sat down at my computer to check email...  with my freshly-brewed latte.  :-)

"Mummy Without Coffee" in Process, photo by Mathea Daunheimer
Daunheimer starts with plain white fabric, quilts the picture into the layered quilt sandwich with heavy black thread on her domestic sewing machine, and then colors it with textile paints, referring to her process as "coloring book quilting."  How cool is that?!  Daunheimer's fabulous dragon patterns are available for sale here.  

Today, this espresso-tamed dragon mama will not be doing any quilting.  Instead, I'll be waging war against the fleas that have infested my dogs and home, sewing myself a Halloween costume, and hopefully meeting with my husband's cardiologists as soon as Bernie gets back from a business trip.  And I'm gonna handle it all with aplomb, like a perfectly sane human... thanks to the magic of coffee.  

Lovely Latte Art by Rush Espresso at Ballantyne Village, Where Everyone Knows My Name
I think that Rush Espresso should try to purchase this art quilt for display in their cafe, because I'm pretty sure I'm not the only mommy in Ballantyne who can relate to it.  

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

...And the Plaid Flannel Fabric is Reassigned to Manly Pajamas!

Thanks so much to those of you who read through my long, boring blog post about my Christmas caroling costumes, and thanks even more to those of you who took the time to weigh in with advice and suggestions.  After reading through the comments and mulling it over a bit more, I have decided that the plaid cotton flannel fabric is FIRED from the costume project.  It will not, however, go to waste, because it will be perfect for matching Christmas pajamas for my menfolk:

Footsie Pajamas for Bernie, Lars and Anders!
Hah!  Can you imagine my teenaged sons and my 6'8" tall husband, wearing giant toddler pajamas like these?  I can see the Christmas card photo in my mind already...  This is from Kwik Sew pattern 3713.
Kwik Sew 3713 Men's Pajamas
As funny as that would be, none of them would actually WEAR footsie pajamas, and that's too much work for a practical joke.  So I'll probably just make my flannel plaid into a few pairs of pajama pants like these:

New Look 6858 Sleepwear
Pajama pants would sew up a lot faster than the union suits, and they would actually be worn regularly.  Waste not, want not!

When I went to JoAnn's looking for new caroling costume fabric, I had a polyester taffeta fabric in mind, but they just didn't have anything in the right weight or colors.  That's how I ended up settling on the cotton flannel.  I think I need to check out another fabric store, like Mary Jo's Cloth Store in Gastonia, to see if I can't find me some fun taffeta plaid with shimmer and sheen.  Wish me luck!

Nope!  This Fabric Will Become Pajama Pants, Not Caroling Skirt!
If I can't find a taffeta plaid for my costume, another idea would be to use one of the plaid Christmas cotton fabrics with metallic accents.  I'll see what I can find.  What I have in mind is the kind of plaid fabric that would make a great holiday table cloth.  If anyone has sources, please let me know.

Meanwhile, happy Fall, y'all!
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