Tag Archives: quilting

Placemats and Quilt Repair

Quilted with bindings attached to the front, ready for the backs to be sewn.

Aches and pains hampered some of the hand sewing yesterday, yet I remained undaunted, machine sewing the bindings instead.  I prefer hand-sewn bindings, but didn’t wish to aggravate my right shoulder.

Straight out of the washer and dryer, crinkly and completed!

I am so pleased for how these turned out; I machine quilted them with bright orange thread, and the contrast is nice on the lighter squares.

The two bindings I hand sewed alongside one that went under the machine. We’ll see how my shoulder heals for the rest of the placemats….

Using my machine does make for faster completions, so I’m grateful for that method.  I wanted to get these placemats to my daughter today, although a big blue quilt of theirs is still hanging around my house for repair.

Two of the patches I added, as well as a new binding, which I am going to hand sew. Hopefully my shoulder will accommodate that work.

This comforter has been languishing for a few months; it needed holes fixed as well as a new binding, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve given it the proper attention.  Not sure why quilt revivals have been high on my agenda, but there’s great satisfaction in restoration.

A ragged binding in need of replacement. This will be finished over several evenings, with basketball in the background, ha ha.

This one is well loved, and with rain forecast for the coming week, I’ll happily snuggle under it while attaching that new binding.  In retrospect, another quarter inch in width would have been nice, but every project is a learning experience.  Next time I make a binding for an older quilt, I’ll remember this blanket, and plan accordingly.  Not sure what the next project will be, although some mini charm pack squares have found their way onto a quilt wall.  Perhaps that will be this week’s endeavor.

Maybe some coaster in the making? We’ll see what happens…..

The rechristened Roxy Music quilt….

“I tried, but I could not find a way.”

Sometimes the best plans go awry; I truly didn’t mean to resurrect this quilt.  I meant to cut out the best square, preserving it in some fashion.  However, when I sat to do the actual removal, my heart said No.

“Looking back all I did was look away.”

Herein lies the basis for my artistic guidelines; follow the gut instinct regardless of what seems more appropriate.  Hence the length of The Hawk, ahem, but also put into practice when it comes to sewing.

“Next time is the best time, we all know.”

Chopping this piece into smaller bits felt wholly wrong, and suddenly all the scraps littering my table, plus some rescued from overflowing tubs, became quite useful.  The only hindrance to writing up this post was the pesky sun, and how inadvertently I kept finding more broken seams to cover.

“But if there is no next time, where to go?”

But why call it a Roxy Music quilt?  “Re-Make/Re-Model” is from their first album, summing up what I’m doing with this project.  That wasn’t my intent, yet in choosing fave scraps as well as some plain white fabric alongside bright threads, I have reclaimed this quilt from where it began, turning it into a comforter for the 21st century.

“She’s the sweetest queen I’ve ever seen (CPL593H).”

The back fabric is in good shape, now spruced up by purple, blue and pink.  Maybe as time goes on, I’ll incorporate other shades, but for now these threads work fine.

“See here she comes, see what I mean (CPL593H).”

I’ve been mending this quilt for several evenings now; the impetus for saving this project was in part due to my need for a new evening hand-sewing task.  I’ve come to revel in those nighttime stitches, whether or not sport lingers in the background.

“I could talk talk talk talk myself to death.”

Of course, I’ve set myself up for eons of patching, but something about that feels liberating, as if giving this quilt an entirely new life.  While the top was fraying, the rest is in good shape, part of what seemed so criminal in cutting into it.

“But I believe I would only waste my breath (ooh, show me).”

I didn’t wish to destroy it, but breathe into it another existence.  I could have titled this post The Pleasure of Being Crafty Part Three, but talent with needle and thread only scratches the surface, which is outwardly all it seems I’ve done.  Yet this quilt is more now than a recycled comforter; it’s indicative of embracing what seemed unnecessary by adding my own stamp(s).  My breath is now a part of this piece, for better or worse.  Better, I believe, for the quilt as well as the tune.

An unexpected finish….

So last year I started a quilt top that was a remake of one done for my youngest daughter’s good friend (more about remakes coming soon….).  It wasn’t meant to be more than a picnic blanket, in that I was going to use an old flannel sheet as batting, a floral cotton sheet purchased from a thrift store for the back.  Sort of an experimental quilt, or maybe just an excuse to employ a stack of squares that I loved too much to give away.

Our laundry line is out of service, so the side fence was put into use. This quilt is 60 X 76″, which might seem a little long, but at over 5’7″ tall, I’m happy with those dimensions.

How often does that happen, not only in quilting, but in writing; I’m hording how many rough drafts, plus a few that desperately require a sequel, in the hopes that one day I’ll complete those tales or rework them into a releasable form.  And I won’t even mention storylines that continue to percolate in my gray matter with no discernible foothold in the writing schedule.  A writing schedule, what’s that?  My goodness, far gone are the days when I had more time than sense, books scribbled within a month or so as though my life would always be so unfettered.

Very slowly I machine sewed the binding, but compared to how long it would have taken to hand sew it, it was still a faster way to go.

Ahem, let’s back to this quilt, (although I can never truly escape the prose); after finishing my grandson’s birthday present, I pulled out this project in need of some hand-quilting.  I had no idea how many stitches remained, it was just something to do in the evenings while the Golden State Warriors entertained.  But one night last week I sewed the last of those hand-quilted rows, and suddenly all that remained was to bind it up!  I’d planned to use the backing for that job, but changed my mind, sewing up a colorful binding, then machine attaching it on both sides.  Usually I hand-sew the back of the binding, but felt compelled to complete this, what with its end coming without any warning.  I didn’t need to belabor this quilt any longer than necessary….

Paint splatters decorate the back, which means I won’t hesitate to lay this over the ground for a picnic!

And now it’s washed, draped over the back of our sofa, arousing parallels to other aspects of my creative life; I’ve read through part thirteen of The Hawk, and to my shock, it’s much more cohesive than how I remember it from last…  Summer, autumn, jeez, I can’t even accurately recall the last time I wrote!  Okay, well anyways, it’s in fairly good shape for how disjointed I felt when writing it which means….  Writing some more is basically just around the corner.

In making a binding instead of using the back, I chose to dress up this quilt more than originally planned. Yet I like it this way, it feels more finished.

Um, whoops, there it is???  Sure, who needs a schedule anyways, lol.  Grandkids are constantly mastering new tricks, maybe abuelas can too.  If nothing else, I have a quilt in the can, plot twists aching for resolution, and as free of an agenda as anytime in the last three and a half years, meaning no babies are imminently due, ha ha ha.  Writing won’t be as it used to (if it ever returns to my previous output), but over the last few years I’ve certainly managed to produce a fair amount of prose, alongside quilts.  Learning grandmotherly skills has also meant shuffling my previous hobbies from their former glories, but maybe now some happy co-existence will result.  This quilt is proof of that, a new top amid recycled batting and backing, with a fresh binding holding everything in place.  What’s old is new again, and what lingers isn’t always forgotten.  More about another remodeling job next week….

The Pleasure in Being Crafty Part Two

One of the benefits of my sewing skills is repair; boy it’s easy to fix fraying towels with a machine!  Then there are the pillowcases I’ve made, sheets put back into rotation with just a few moments under a mechanized needle.  However, I’m in a slight quandary of how, or even if, to proceed with quilt maintenance.

It looks fine from far away, however….

I didn’t make this lovely lap quilt; my sister-in-law bought it at a thrift store, then gave it to me as it was taking up space in her home.  It wasn’t in need of repair until maybe the middle of last year, repeated washings finally taking their toll.  I’ve patched two long rips, easy enough, but now serious issues are emerging.  What to do….

I love this pattern, the hues too. Would patching it maintain the original flavour, or merely be an ugly blot?

I’m of the belief that everything on this planet has its lifespan.  People, quilts, baseball dynasties; we’re all meant for a set purpose, then back to dust we return.  I didn’t make this gorgeous comforter, but as it’s now in my possession, what happens to it is my responsibility.  Maybe I’ll mend jeans until the cows come home, but with a quilt, aesthetics are involved.  I don’t wish to muddy the delicate handiwork that went into this piece, nor do have the fabrics to accurately match the existing cottons.

I can easily mend the rip at the top, but what of the rest of it?

Bleach stains testify to the long life of this quilt; it was well used long before it found its way to me.  I could patch the rips and tears as I have already done, yet that feels wrong to merely place a large section of fabric over such intricate work.  It would take much more than band-aids to set this piece right.

If I had fabric similar to the flower print, I probably wouldn’t hesitate, but I’m not going to shop for a print just for repairs….

I’m seeking opinions about how to proceed; either I fix it in some manner, or sooner rather than later I throw it away.  And honestly, I don’t have a strong feeling about either solution.  If I had sewn this myself, I wouldn’t hesitate to rescue it.  Still, my mending habits call to me; place it under the machine and see what happens!  I certainly don’t lack for scraps.

A previous rip….

(It’s similar to storing old novels in a flash drive, except that manuscripts take so little space.  Goodness knows I have plenty of first drafts waiting, if I ever need something to do….)

An easy, if not somewhat gauche, fix.

There’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment when fashioning a quilt, also when returning something to its former glory.  There is also a time to say goodbye.  Not sure what this comforter requires.  Any and all comments are ever so welcome!

The Pleasure of Being Crafty, Part One

Securing the edge before the binding is added….

The sleeping bag insert for my grandson is finished and in the dryer as I type.  I’m pleased with how the hand-quilting looks, mostly circles throughout the galaxy, with some random straight lines and meandering about along the right side fabrics.  While sewing around the perimeter with my machine, then attaching that chocolate binding, I considered how fun it was to make this for him, and how blessed I am to have sewing as a hobby.  This project was easy to produce, and will give him years of snuggly joy.

The brown binding was the perfect size, hehehe….

There’s another side to crafting, that of storytelling.  In a way, this little quilt speaks to one of The Burrito’s current faves, space travel.  (He’s also big on Superman, but I’ll leave the pop culture reference to his imagination.)  One of the reasons I write is to leave tales for my descendants, like bestowing pieces of who I am.  In future days, this comforter will remind my grandson of days when we played astronauts and various other scenarios.  He might never read one of my novels, but there will always be a quilt close at hand.

All I had left was to hand-sew the binding. Pics of the finished quilt to come….

Sewing and writing might seem nothing alike, and in part they require different skill sets.  But often I find parallels, or maybe spinning yarns is so ingrained I can’t help but note the similarities.  Words and fabrics come together in their own spheres, adhering beautiful thoughts into completed paragraphs and adorable (if I do say so myself) blankets which bring comfort, also provoke questions.  In Part Two of this post, I’ll pose a sewing query for which I require an answer.  Usually it’s a plot point leaving me stumped, but currently The Hawk is fine where it is.  One issue at a time, thank you….

And so begins the year of using what I have….

Earlier this week I laid out a variety of scraps, bright primary and secondary hues.  I stared at them for a couple of days, not certain how I would arrange them; a mix, or by shade, or value perhaps?  Then yesterday afternoon I recalled a project more in need of my attention; my grandson requires an insert for his sleeping bag!  Problem of what to do with those scraps is temporarily solved, ha ha.

I bought two yards of this fabulous print, and only needed a couple of feet, plenty more for future space travel….

Once I made that decision, the insert came together quickly, in part that I already knew most of the fabrics, and chose to use a large section of one, which left little for me to ponder.  Even then, the rest came about rapidly, and by the time my husband got home from work, the top was done, just the back to sew together.  By evening’s end, I had it basted, and was hand-quilting it.


This print has been in my stash for a good while, again the perfect time for it.

I even have the binding, that chocolate strip from a recent post!  It felt so good to dive into my stash, not thinking about any additional purchases.  Batting was from my large scrap collection, and while my daughter’s sleeping bag insert had two layers of batting, The Burrito doesn’t need that kind of padding for a while.  I’ll have it finished in time for his birthday next month, and look forward to his reaction, all our recent chats about the galaxy ready for him to explore within a quilt.

I added the anchors to hearken back to older times.

So far my 2018 sewing adventures have me feeling very pleased, and I’m itching to get back to those vibrant colours, although I still don’t know how they will fall onto the quilt wall.  I do have a binding prepared for whatever emerges, and it’s not short, so if a medium to large project happens, I’m covered.

I do love me some colour!

What I am finding is that by choosing to not purchase fabrics, parameters have been built in to each project.  It’s not that I’ve stopped admiring my fave fabric website, but the reason for gazing at those gorgeous prints has changed.  Instead of ideas, it’s appreciation.  What I sew this year is going to come from my own backyard.

And now neatly coiled….

Or rather, my sewing/writing grotto closet, lol.  I definitely have a Dorothy returned from Oz mentality going on; if it’s not within my reach already, I probably don’t need it.  I’m interested how this approach affects my crafty output, but at least I’m starting off firmly planted right in proverbial Kansas, even if it looks a lot like a solar system.  I don’t plan on explaining this to my grandson, I’d never hear the end of why’s.  But maybe one day I’ll tell him how his sleeping bag insert launched a new manner for this abuela to fashion quilts.  It’s sort of like the anchors in the corner, just a return to methods from the past.  Find purpose in what lies at your fingertips, be it in cotton, words, or a beautiful hug.

Waiting to be sewn together….

Another Wedding Quilt

Wrapping up one last project before I go, and it’s a beauty.  This quilt was originally meant for those who had lost their homes in the North Bay fires last autumn, but I sent two other quilts instead.  Then I learned a member of our church is getting married, so….  The low volume prints hearken to a wedding, and the plus signs signify all the positive vibes that matrimony brings to a relationship.  The biggest question with this project was whether or not I could get it done before I left to watch my grandson, painful hands in the fray.

My last post ended with me wondering how I would fill the rest of that day; turns out I spent much of it hand-quilting this comforter.  As I sewed, I listened to Kate Bush’s Aerial, which we have on LP; it was good to get up every few songs to flip the record, shaking out my hands as well.

I kept telling myself, “Next week you will do no other sewing.”  Not that keeping an eye on The Burrito is simple, ha ha, but it won’t involve anything remotely related to fabrics.  With each section finished, my giddiness rose, the sense of completion rising within me.  Kind of like how I feel when a novel is nearly done, a long-held breath aching to be released.

And then suddenly it’s over, the last square stitched through.  Well, it’s practically done, as there remains sewing around the perimeter, attaching the binding, then hand-sewing it to the back.  But those steps are brief in comparison to hand-quilting, although just when you think you are done….

Why double-checking is so important; how I forgot to complete that beige square escapes me, but I’m sure glad I inspected it thoroughly.

You’re not quite there.

Fully stitched and ready to go…..

But a few stitches and voila, it really was ready for the final touches.  And now it’s in my washing machine, truly one of the last steps.  Tomorrow I’ll give it to a young woman who will soon become a married lady, then I’ll drive north for a week of fun with my nearly three-year-old grandson.   My hands will covet the break, and while I’ll miss my better half, this is part of being a mother and grandmother.  And without my hubby, I wouldn’t be either of those, lol.

Three-week-old Miss Em from last night, photo courtesy of my husband….

Maybe that’s another reason making a wedding quilt is so awesome; regardless of any progeny resulting from a marriage, the sense of togetherness is reinforced day after day.  Families are made in all kinds of manners, from the largest to the smallest.  Inaugurating a life-long commitment to love and fidelity deserves a special quilt; thanks be to God for such blessings.