WIP Wednesday: On the Road


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Somewhere near Pendleton, Oregon . . . .

WIP = Work in Progress

Hello, everybody!  I’ve missed you!

I’m still here, still on the right side of the dirt, as they say.  Just busy with family stuff, car stuff, whatever stuff, but not doing much sewing.  But I have a few things to show you today and a few stories to tell, so let’s do it.

First, I did finally finish the second block for the Social Justice Sewing Academy, and both blocks are now back with them to be included in one of their quilts.

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I decided to stay away from the blanket stitch on this, as I don’t think it has the right vibe for these blocks–too cute, too down-home, too neat and tidy for artwork this sharp and cutting.  So I’ve been doing running stitch, that zigzag backstitch I like so much, and a little chain stitch.

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It occurs to me that you could use these blocks for a sort of research project–choose a book on the topic of the block and read along (or maybe listen?) as you do the stitching.  I don’t know that I have the time to devote to something like that right now, but I should think about it some more.  Doing this needlework has pointed out to me some gaps in my education.

Second, I made cat toys!  A member of my Buy Nothing group was getting a donation together for the local animal shelter, so I took the opportunity to purge some old sheets and towels and make a few toys (it’s kitten season, you know).

At first, I tried to make some fish shapes, and, um, well . . . then I came to my senses and remembered I DO NOT DO TINY.  If I’m going to attempt something small–these are about 1 1/2″ across–it’s gotta be simple.  So I did a shape that I know I can cut and sew accurately and have it actually come out looking more or less like what it’s supposed to be.  They have a few catnip pellets inside, so hopefully the shelter kitties will like them–I know mine were certainly interested.

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Third, we took a road trip to the Hermiston/Pendleton part of Oregon in order to check the route for a 300k bike ride.

Lots of rolling hills, cattle, and tumbleweeds out there.  And a little snow.  That’s a cattle guard just visible at the bottom of the photo there; lots more cattle than cars on these roads.

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I’m trying to get out for more walks.  This is the walking path along the Columbia River in Richland up near the National Lab.  Behind me just a few miles up is the Hanford Reach, including the National Monument, and a lot of perfectly preserved shrub-steppe landscape.  It’s preserved because it’s owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and it’s full of nuclear waste.

Living here can be a little strange.

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I also apparently found “where the sidewalk ends” out here.

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And, finally, my latest project, a mini quilt for my sister’s birthday.

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I’ve got the pieces all sewn down except for the eyes, which I’m doing by hand (I DO NOT DO TINY, well, at least on the machine).  I kept to more or less the colors used in the pattern picture because they are bright and goofy and perfect.  I hope she loves this as much as I do!

I hope all is well with you and you are moving along the road to wherever you would like to be.



WIP Wednesday:


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Around and around and around . . . .

WIP = Work in Progress

CW:  Self-harm

So quilting is underway on my Maybe Quilt!

I got out my “Divide and Conquer” book to refresh my memory on how to do Quilt As You Go.  The book discusses several ways to do it, but I’m using Method 1 here; basically, you quilt each section, leaving an unquilted border on the edges you’ll need to join later, then sew the tops together, trim the batting to fit, and hand sew the backing.  So I figured out which edges will need to be joined and ran a line of hand basting about 2″ from those edges.  You can see a bit of the basting at the center bottom of the picture above.  Note: if you do this, be smart and don’t make my bonehead mistake–your basting should only be through the top of your quilt!

On the first panel of the quilt, I started in the middle and did one big spiral–easy and fun!  As you can see in the picture above, I just eyeballed it; I tried to keep the left edge about a presser foot’s distance away from the last line of stitching, but I didn’t obsess over it.  I LOVE quilting you don’t have to mark.  You’d be surprised at how neat and even it looks, though it really isn’t!

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As you can see here, the effect is pretty subtle, which is fine, since there’s already a lot that’s happening in this quilt.  The rainbow fabric shows off the quilting, but it’s nearly invisible on much of the quilt.

I wanted the quilting to be a little more interesting than one big spiral in each panel, so I tried to do a couple smaller spirals in the second section.  And ran into this:

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I think where I went wrong here is that rather than starting in the middle, I more or less ended there, so I basically pushed the excess fabric in toward the center as I went, resulting in those nasty folds there.  😦

I’m not sure how I’m going to go about fixing this–maybe rip out most or all of one spiral so that I have somewhere to push that excess fabric?  Rip out part of each and hope to ease that excess in?  I’ve put this in the naughty corner for the moment so that I can ponder what to do and grumble about the unfairness of life.  One thing’s for sure–on the other two sections, I am DEFINITELY doing a spiral close to the middle, then working out from there.  Harrumph.

While I’m being grumpy about that, I’ve been putting in some time on my embroidery for the Social Justice Sewing Academy.  It’s a nice portable project to work on while I’m waiting for my mother at her various appointments.  Almost finished with this block:

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Blanket stitch gives a nice finished look, but it takes so long on all these letters!

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Tried to use Lazy Daisy to suggest drops of liquid here.

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I did a backstitch in a sort of zig zag pattern on these letters, which I really liked.

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I’m hoping to get these packed up and in the mail next week.

Then I need to get going on a little something for my sister’s birthday next month.  So many things to make!  Note to self–less time reading up on the John Grisham (or maybe Mario Puzo?) novel that U.S. politics is currently inhabiting means more time for making things!

Have a very excellent week and I hope you’re able to set aside the craziness and focus on making lovely things (at least until it’s time for the next march).  Take care.


WIP Wednesday: Drama


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WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Wednesday (and, yeah, that other thing, too, if you’re into it.)

I encountered this very regal goose at Leslie Groves Park the other day and thought I should share the magnificence.  (We won’t mention the fact that its call sounded like the whiniest baby imaginable:  WAAAHHH)

We could also probably talk a little quilting while we’re here.  Specifically, this:

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My baker’s rack and a couple of binder clips:  essential photographic gear.

If you recall, this quilt top is now in four pieces for quilt-as-you-go purposes.  In preparation for quilting it, I set about making a scrappy backing from the leftover fabric from the top.

Like most things, it’s easier said than done, but this is what I’ve got for that section:

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I started the process by googling–there must be a tutorial someplace on how to do this, right?  Well, there may be, but I didn’t find it.  Lots of quilters do things like inserting a finished quilt block into a plain quilt back, but I didn’t really find anything on making a totally scrappy back.  So I spent about three days–and nights, as I tend to dream about problems I’m working on–thinking about how to turn a pile of scraps into a quilt back.  My goal was to use up as much of that fabric as possible without using a quilt pattern or spending a huge amount of time on it.

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The method I came up with was to cut my pieces into squares and rectangles as efficiently as possible.  All the resulting strings were sorted into piles by length and each pile was sewn together, then trimmed.  That gave me larger string blocks to work with; I laid out the section of quilt top, then moved around my string blocks and larger pieces of fabric until it was completely covered.  Then I sewed the whole mess together.

Here’s the front of the second section I worked on:

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And the pieced back:

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This was the perfect opportunity to use that Sylvester and Tweety fabric!  I got it in a huge Freecycle box of fabric several years ago and have been saving it for just the right project; I only had that one strip and the design is huge, so it wasn’t the easiest scrap to use.

So, verdict?  This was really fun to do and I love how the backs turned out!  And LOTS of scraps found a home–almost all the fabrics you see here were completely (or almost completely) used up!  I only made two of the four backing sections I’ll need for this quilt, and I’m actually a little concerned that the blocks I have left won’t be enough to make the other two, so I picked up another fat quarter today while I was out with my mother.

Do you ever start a project for reasons other than “I love this and can’t wait to make it”?  Then your feelings about it change as you go along?  This quilt wasn’t one of those “true love” sorts of projects for me; I started it as an experiment to help me learn more about combining colors and fabrics, and as a way to use up a bunch of scraps.  The farther I get with it, though, the more I like it; I suspect it’s going to be the “good friend that became THE ONE” of quilt projects.  How appropriate for February 14th.  😉

In other exciting news, we were overjoyed to welcome this new addition to our family:

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Thus ending almost three weeks of what my partner and I are calling The Dishwasher Saga.  I won’t go through the whole thing, but it involved (literal) fire and flood, two dishwashers, four installers, innumerable phone calls, a few tweets, and me stomping out of a large department store while swearing to TAKE MY BUSINESS ELSEWHERE.  The saga finally ended last night when I filled this with dirty dishes and ran it.  Then my honey and I found ourselves hanging around the kitchen, half expecting the thing to blow up or something.  It seemed impossible that it should just work without any drama, but so far so good.  [crossing fingers and toes]

I leave you with a picture taken at the viewpoint outside Ellensburg on our way to the Seattle Bike Swap.  Spectacular weather that day, and I was able to get this nice shot of the Kittitas Valley.  (Unfortunately, the weather for the rest of the weekend was, well, normal for Seattle in February, but we still had fun and unloaded a bit of our bike stuff stash.)

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I hope all is well with you and all your projects are well-behaved and free of drama.  Unless that’s what you’re into.  I don’t judge.


WIP Wednesday: Success (Mostly)


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New park last weekend–this is W.E. Johnson Park in Richland, WA.

WIP = Work in Progress

Happy Thursday!

It has been a busy week here!  For some reason, lots of appointments and phone calls and errands needed to happen this past week, and I have been doing a lot of running.  We’re off to Seattle tomorrow for the Bike Swap on Saturday, then next week should be more of the busy.  If you get to the Bike Swap, be sure to find us and say hi–we’ll have the table with the colorful zipper bags.  (Like you couldn’t see that coming.)

I FINALLY finished my PJs yesterday, after what felt like about six months of working on them.  I’ll try to get some better pictures sometime, but these were what I was able to snap quickly between appointments #2 and #3 today.

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Cats are always so helpful.

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These are my patterns:

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The Simplicity on the left is the pattern I used for my last pair of PJs.  They were perfectly wearable–and I literally wore them to pieces–but I wanted to see if I could get a little better fit on my next pair of PJ pants using a pattern designed for women.  So I hunted down the See & Sew pattern, the only one I could find that was just for women, meant for woven fabrics, and not a traditional buttons-up-the-front style (I don’t know why, but I just have an aversion to that style).

So I used the S&S pattern, a simple, quick pattern, but basically complicated it as much as possible.  The top was too short, so I added a band on the bottom, attached with flat fell seams.  The full-length pants were super long, so I made the capris and added another band on the bottom–more flat fell seams–and I mistakenly put the band on the TOP of one of my pieces rather than the bottom, so that had to be fixed.  I used the pocket piece from the Simplicity pattern to add a pocket to the right pants leg.  Which was great, except that I then discovered that my pants legs were too roomy, after I’d done flat fell seams on the sides (with a pocket on top).  So I took in and tapered the pants as much as I could using the inner leg seam.  I would like to take them in more, but at this point I’m frankly in no mood to be ripping out any more flat fell seams.

So, bottom line:  I LOVE the fit on my new PJs, except for the pant legs, which are too big and drafty.  If I get to the point where my annoyance at the drafts outweighs my innate laziness and dislike of mending, I’ll tinker with them again.  We’ll see.  For now, though, I (mostly) love them.

Also this week, I took a stab at making some of these guys:

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But wait, you say, surely these can’t be a need for our friend STH?  Hasn’t she whined (pretty much endlessly) about the indignities of geezerhood, such as her creaky old joints and her not being able to see to embroider?

Well, my friends, all I have to say to that is that Mother Nature is obviously the one in charge here, not me.  :/

I looked at some tutorials and would up using this one.  My version has flannel on top, two layers of thin batting in the middle, and fleece on the bottom.  I intentionally made the first couple of pads thin, to see if I could get away with using so little padding.  And so far, so good!

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Very quick and easy to make, and very effective so far.  I’m using regular sew-on metal snaps on these; they’re a bit time-consuming, but no way am I buying a Kam Snap set for these pads that I don’t expect to use for much longer (I can only hope Mother Nature agrees).  The only real quibble I have is the claim in the tutorial that the cotton tops won’t stain; not my experience so far, but, again, my hope is to not have to use these much longer.  Quite grumpy to still be using them at all, but I do admit to being pleased to be able to use up some batting and fabric scraps to make them.

One more picture from the park, then I’m heading for bed.  Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope all your projects are coming together nicely.


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WIP Wednesday: Two Steps Forward


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WIP = Work in Progress

CW:  Self harm.

I’m not exactly setting speed records here, but I’ve made a little progress on my projects since last week.  The combination of a lingering cold and gloomy January weather is so very un-great for your motivation to get things done.  😦

Above is a picture of my Maybe Quilt top–or 1/4 of it, to be precise.  I’ve been thinking about how to quilt it, and had to face the fact that there is simply no way to do it in two pieces.  It’s sort of grown in the making, and each half of the quilt is about 3 feet by 7 feet!  Sure, there are people who are willing to take on wrestling a quilt that size under a regular sewing machine, but I’m not one of them.  So I took a deep breath and cut each piece in half.  I’m not crazy about putting an extra seam in there, but it was the best solution I could come up with.  Next step is making a pieced back for each 1/4 so that I can finally sandwich and quilt this monster!

I’ve also taken in the sleeves on my PJ top and finished it up.  Pants are next, once Shelby is finished with them.


Also on the to-do list:  research new camera!

Poor little girl.  I accidentally trapped her in the cold garage last night, which led to a frantic search later when I was ready for bed and realized I hadn’t seen her in hours.  Cue the catastrophizing and visions of worst-case scenarios–YIKES–until she finally came out during my SECOND search of the garage.  I think she thought I’d abandoned her!  She’s been very clingy today; at this moment, in fact, she’s somehow perched on the back of my desk chair, so that she can keep an eye on me.

Anyway, I also acquired an interesting new project this past week.  I came across an organization called Social Justice Sewing Academy that holds workshops in which teens make quilt blocks about the social problems in their lives.  Those blocks are sent out to volunteers to be embroidered, then returned so that they can be combined into quilts.  I love the idea of high school kids having their concerns heard in this way (and seeing where they can take such an ancient art form), so I signed up to embroider.  These are the blocks I was given to work with:

There’s an interesting challenge here:  how to use embroidery to enhance a message that’s beyond the usual “here’s a pretty thing” point of embroidery.  How can I help the people who made these get their message across to the viewer of the finished quilt?  Between that and the actual issues dealt with in the blocks, I suspect I may learn a lot from this project.

Also in that vein, we had our local Women’s March this past Sunday; last year my partner and I went to Spokane, but this time I just drove across the bridge to Richland.

I just took a few pictures to give a size of the crowd–best estimate is about 1,000!  Not bad for such a conservative area on a drizzly, windy day.

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Couple of handmaids showed up . . . .

If nothing else, it helped us all recharge our batteries a little bit, and I’m glad for that.  Because I suspect things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

And a song that we sang before we marched:

Have a great week, folks, and take good care of your lovely selves.








WIP Wednesday: Cozy Colors


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WIP = Work in Progress

Hello again from the Land of the Everlasting Viruses!

Yep, I’m still recovering oh-so-very-slowly from my nasty cold, and still pretty low on energy, but I do have a few pretty things to show you today.

First, as you can see up above, I’ve made more charity quilt blocks–now up to 21!–and did manage to use up almost all the strings I had pulled out of my scrap stash.  I may yet churn out some more before the deadline, but I’m moving on for now, as all the half-finished projects in my sewing room are making me a bit squirrelly.

These blocks have led to a couple of positive developments, though (I mean, apart from the whole objective of contributing to a good cause).  For one thing, I like how these turned out a lot more than I expected to; I normally don’t like blocks that are totally random and scrappy like these, but they are undeniably fun and cheerful.  This has made me feel a lot more hopeful about how successful the Maybe Quilt will turn out to be.  That quilt has fewer colors and fabrics, and more qualities that tie the whole thing together, so I’m feeling optimistic that I’ll like the final product–and I’m anxious to get back to it!

Also, going through my scrap bins to find bright strings to use made me realize how many fabrics in there I just really don’t like any more.  They’re weird colors that don’t go with anything, or pastels, or little flowered prints, or whatever, but they’re fabrics that I just don’t want to use for my projects.  Rather than keeping them in those bins and considering and rejecting them every time I choose fabrics to use, I decided to pass them on to somebody who would appreciate them.

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I posted this bag of scraps to my Buy Nothing group and wound up giving it to a woman who plans to make blankets and other things for new moms who don’t have much.  I liked the cause, so I went through my yardage, too, and found 10 yards of fabric to add to the bag.  She was thrilled to get it, and I was thrilled to have some more clutter out of my little sewing room.  This is what I love about Buy Nothing–every single exchange is a win-win for everybody involved.

Also, I have an update on my new flannel Pjs!

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I’ve got the top mostly together.  I noticed before I cut that the finished length was way too short (about hip length), so I decided to take the opportunity to add a little interest to it in the form of a band at the bottom.  I used a flat felled seam to attach the band to the front and back, then added the sleeves (flat insertion), and did the first line of stitching on the (French) side seams.  I’m going to need to try this on again and take in the sleeves a little, as they’re a bit drafty at the moment.  Note that this is supposed to have 3/4 length sleeves, but they’re full length on stubby little me.

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The full-length pants were just ridiculously long for me, so I cut the capri length.  If I need a little length, I may add a contrasting band to the hems; I also want to add a contrast pocket to the right leg of the pants, as that was an unexpectedly handy feature of my old PJ pants.

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This London print is just so silly and fun–I love it!  I don’t mind being a goofy tourist every once in a while.  🙂

So I need to finish these up, then get back to that Maybe Quilt.  I keep on making all these quilts and I still don’t have a full-size one for my bed!

Have a wonderful week, and I hope you’ve got all sorts of cozy, colorful things coming to life under your needles!


WIP Wednesday: Plague Month


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WIP = Work in Progress

So I started 2018 with all sorts of ambitions and plans and fresh-new-startedness and then . . . I got sick.

Actually, my honey got sick first, right after Xmas.  And he’s STILL sick, which will give you an idea of what sort of ugliness we’ve been dealing with here.

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so . . . very . . . droopy

I SEEM to be getting better in a sort of two-steps-forward-one-step-back way, but we’ll see.  I’m hoping to avoid the second act–starring antibiotics and Prednisone–that my honey’s going through.  😦

I have managed to sew a bit during the plague, though, so let’s talk about that.

I had two Xmas presents to finish up, so those were my first priority.

The first was this embroidery for my buddy Heidi.

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Terrible lighting on this is not doing it justice, but I was in a hurry.

Here’s a slightly less shadowy one I took before I bordered and framed it:

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This design was a coloring page over here and it immediately made me think of Heidi’s lovely back garden with her cats peeking out of it.  I did this in more muted colors to (hopefully!) suit her taste; most is backstitch, with a little lazy daisy on the smaller leaves and outline stitch on the outline of the cat and the yellow flower.  Very fun to do, but I deliberated too long on starting it and so it wound up late.  She loved it, though!

And I also finished the wall quilt for my partner’s sister:

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Finished size is about 16″ x 20″.

I did sort-of-but-not-quite matchstick quilting on this to enhance the sense of horizontal motion.  I skipped over the triangles with the quilting because I didn’t want to obscure the piecing in them, which is really my favorite thing about this quilt.  I used the tip here to start with drawn lines 2 1/2″ apart, then fill in the space between them.

Close-up on the piecing here, because I really need to try this again sometime.  I love the balance of simplicity and subtle detail in this quilt.

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I finished the quilt up about the time I got sick.  So what to do now?  I wanted to make something but I didn’t trust myself to manage anything that might require brain power.

I decided to take a stab at some charity quilt blocks.

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These are for the block drive happening over here for a charity called Covered in Love that provides quilts for the families of people who die in the hospital.  I’ve been wanting to do some charity sewing, and easy string blocks like these are a fun way to do that.  I’m using some old pillowcases (came in a box of random linens from my Buy Nothing group) as the foundation and lots of bright scraps for the piecing.  I’m up to eight blocks now and have barely made a dent in the box of strings I collected for this, so we’ll see how many I can churn out in the next six weeks or so.

There’s also been some progress on my flannel PJs, but I’ll leave that for next week.  Until then, wash your hands and stay safe, friends.


WIP Wednesday: Festivities


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It’s a stick, guys.

WIP = Work in Progress

Content warning:  Swears

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

I hope you all had a lovely week, whether or not it contained a winter holiday.  We had a fun long weekend here, with SO much good food and music and lights and presents and SNOW!

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Maybe only 3 inches or so, but it hung around for Xmas, the first white Xmas I can recall in the time I’ve lived here.

And I did finish my two rude cross-stitch gifts, even if I had to stay up until 3:00 a.m. on Xmas morning to do it.

The one on the left was for my sister, the right for my partner, and they loved them!  My partner’s immediately went up on the front of the fridge, and my sister told me she HAD to take hers to work.  She works at a Catholic hospital, so I’m not sure how that’s going to work out.  😉

What takes me so long on projects like these is being indecisive.  How to finish them?  Took me FOREVER to make a damn decision; I finally decided to give them these borders and ties so that they could be hung like a picture or put on a doorknob.  Regular frames just seemed too stuffy for them and I couldn’t come up with a way to keep them in a hoop and yet make them look finished.

My sister’s present for me hasn’t arrived yet, but she did bring me this little item:

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Another Pusheen sweatshirt!  And even bigger than last time, but this one is made of nice, thick sweatshirt fleece.  Will need to ponder how I want to refashion this.

Before I do anything, though, I still have two presents to finish up, which I’ll try to do this next week.  I’m kind of ready for the holidays to be over so that I can get back to my quilts and other projects (and make use of that Joann’s gift card that Santa brought me!)

I’m ready to move on to 2018!

Have a wonderful week, and I hope all your 2017 loose ends are getting tidied up.  Happy 2018 to all!


WIP Wednesday: Colorful Comforts


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Look at it go!

WIP = Work in Progress

Content warning:  swears

Happy Thursday!

Just a few pretty pictures for you today, then I have to get back to slaving over that needle.  Yep, it’s true, Xmas presents are still in process here.  I’m not sure what happened this year, but the holiday kind of kicked my butt.  The tree stood for a good  two weeks bare-ass naked before I got some stuff on it, cards didn’t get sent out until today, and at least a couple presents will be late.  Yikes!  Just too much going on this year, I think, and not much energy left over for Xmas prep.

Next week, I’ll have some pictures of finished presents, but today I thought I would look ahead to post-holiday project plans.

My beloved pink pig flannel PJs are starting to (quite literally) fall apart on me, so I’ve been waiting for the winter flannel sales at Joann’s.  Imagine my joy when I discovered the 70% off sale was online as well as in the stores, so I was able to avoid the holiday craziness and still get this lovely red flannel on sale to coordinate with the fun British print I got at the end of the summer.

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Finding an appropriate pattern took a bit of work, as I wanted to avoid the unisex patterns (and their weird fit issues).  Once I eliminated all the patterns for knits only and the ones that are the classic buttons-up-the-front style (yes, I have a lot of opinions on PJs for a person who doesn’t actually wear them to sleep in), I was left with this:

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Not super exciting–okay, not at all exciting–but I think some colorblocking is going to happen on these to sex them up a little.  I mean, they’re flannel, so actually sexy isn’t going to happen, but interesting might.

I also had to grab this 3-yard precut piece of flannel while on the Joann’s site, because $2/yard flannel is not something I am strong enough to resist.

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I was hoping to make a Christmas top out of this–maybe with a half-zip neckline?–but it’s looking like a project for January right now.  Whatever, still a really fun print in the bright colors you need in January.

And, finally, here’s where sewing intersects with mental and physical health.  I’ve written a bit about the problem I have with my legs.  Basically, it’s a progressive, disfiguring condition that requires me to to exercise my legs (walking is best) for an hour nearly every day.  If I don’t, my legs swell, get painful and itchy, and more.  And it has made my relationship with my body even more fraught than it already was in a culture that frankly despises fat women.

So I’m trying to re-commit to that exercise program, for the sake of both my mental and physical health.  And here’s the plot twist, cause I bet you didn’t think this would involve buying myself some leggings!

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I saw these oh-so-fabulous leggings come up on my Facebook feed as a new item in Mary Engelbreit’s online store, and my first thought was, “OMG I love them so much, and they have them in my size, but I could never wear those flowers on my swollen legs.”  Which meant I had to buy them, of course, because it felt like a gift to myself, an expression of caring for my body, and a big old FU to the haters (including the one in my head).

Which also meant I had to have something equally fabulous to pair with them.  So I searched on Etsy and found a yard of discontinued Mary Engelbreit fabric.  This will get paired with another fabric to make a top to wear with those leggings.   And I will do my best to keep up with that exercise and feel good in my new outfit, even if my legs are still swollen.


Okay, better get back to the present-making.  I hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday season.  Take care, don’t stress, and have a great time.


WIP Wednesday: Winter Things


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WIP = Work in Progress

Content Warning:  Contains swears.

Happy Wednesday!  In the mood for some random–yet colorful–bits and pieces today?  ‘Cause that’s what’s been happening over here.

First, my honey and I spent last weekend in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle.  He spent Saturday on his bike (of course), and I spent it with my bestie, the lovely and talented Heidi (I clearly got the better end of that deal).  She presented me with the Amaryllis bulb above in its cheerful red wax coating.  I’d forgotten how nice it is to have something growing (and hopefully blooming) inside in the winter.  That little green shoot has doubled in size in just the last few days . . . .

Among other things, Heidi and I went to the Columbia City Gallery for an exhibit of art made from old Eileen Fisher clothing, and I bought myself a couple of new Xmas ornaments for our tree.  Then we went next door to the EF Renew store and admired the pieced clothing made from old, worn out items.  You’d better believe there was some inspiration happening!


I can’t decide if the felted wedgey thing is the cross-section of a planet or some sort of extra-terrestrial fruit.  Cool either way.


Also, I wanted to show you how the Pusheen top refashion turned out.

If you recall, this was the sad, sad before picture:

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Can I just mention here that I hate hate hate ribbing?  It just always feels too tight on my wrists and comes up too high on my neck and is just generally terrible.  My mother calls sweatshirts with ribbing at the hem “potatoes” because she says they make her look like a potato.  I know I’m not glamorous and sexy, but I feel like I could probably achieve something better than “potato,” you know?

So off came all the ribbing, the body and sleeves of the shirt were shortened, and I added hem vents, a slit at the neckline, and binding on the neck and hem.  I also took in the side seams at the bust and upper arm a little, as the arm pits of the shirt were weirdly low.

For the neckline, I got some help from this book I picked up when SCRAP closed.

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(See here also for more recent Mary Mulari sweatshirt-related creativity.)

Lots of good ideas in this book, though this is probably not one of them:

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Just say no to epaulettes.

THIS, though, is something I would totally do.  Reverse applique and cowl neck!

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Oh HELL yes.

So here’s what I ended up with:

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Yep, I cut the sleeves a little too short.  It actually worked out well, though, because I don’t like a lot of extra fabric at my wrists.

Split neck technique from the book.  I machine sewed the binding, as I suspect I won’t get too many years of wear out of this not-super-amazing fabric.  A bit wonky, but fine.

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I definitely had my doubts about how this was going to work out, but I’m very happy with the results.  I only wish it was a little warmer so that I could wear it more often!

And, finally, I am working away on presents.  I’ve set the wall quilt aside for the moment, as my partner assures me that late is perfectly fine for his sister’s present.  Two others are in process, but I finished this one today for my sister:

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This was my first cross stitch in about 8 years, and it was so fun!  Pattern is here.

I was working on the backstitching this morning while waiting for my mother at her physical therapy appointment, when an elderly woman patient asked me about it.  I wasn’t sure what kind of response I’d get, so I hesitantly said, “well, it’s pretty rude . . . ” and showed it to her.  She just laughed and laughed!  I mentioned that it’s for my sister, but my mother won’t approve.  Her response:  “Well, that’s okay, it’s not for HER!”

Have a most excellent week, friends, and I hope you enjoy the season you’re in and the people you’re with.