Last week was a week of finishes and I am just getting around to reporting on them. I am finally finished with the Thanksgiving tablemat. I bought the fabric in August of 2015 as I came back from dropping the YM off for his freshman year at college. I started working on it sometime around the end of 2016, worked on it at the retreat in 2017 and finally finished it a few days ago. It is 23 x 24 inches and fits perfectly (whew!) on my coffee table.
This is the final piece in Thanksgiving decorations. I may make more, but for now I am finished and I am glad to cross this project off my To Do list.
The last time I wrote about this project was after last year’s Retreat. I can’t believe I have done nothing on this project since then. Well, I really can believe it, because I don’t like to quilt. The Retreat is the only time I seem to be able to tolerate it.
I has some problems as mentioned yesterday, but got the binding most of the way on, so the end is in sight.
I don’t have my binding tool, but there are YouTube videos and other tutorials on joining the binding, so I had some hope I would be able to accomplish that at the Retreat, too.
I have high hopes that this will be on the coffee table for Thanksgiving, if not before.
I finally made the pillow I intended to make from the panel Mrs. K sent me.
I feel like such a slacker. This panel has been hanging around since …. I don’t know…. months? I do keep sewing, so I can’t be that much of a slacker, right?
We do not have to raise money this year at Grand Parlor, so I made this pillow for one of our friends who does not get support from his Parlor to attend Grand Parlor. He is running for Grand 3rd VP and needs all the help he can get.
Yes, I pulled out some Pointillist Palette fabric, after being inspired by my SIL. I can’t hoard it. I have to get the 4th Pointillist Palette quilt done and use this great fabric. Since I had it out to use for Kelly’s Color My Quilt piece, I decided this pillow would work as another effort at using it.
The back is pretty plain, but I do like that blue. I wish I had written down what it was (usually I write the brand and color on the selvedge) as I could look for more. I didn’t so, it will be a mystery.
I bought some flannel cupcake fabric to make a pillowcase.
Then I saw some great flannel cupcake fabric at another shop and bought it to make a pillowcase. It turns out the two pieces were the same. If someone had bought it for me, I would have said “great minds think alike.” Since I just bought both pieces, apparently forgetting I bought it the first time, I have to wonder. I guess I really liked that fabric.
I have been on a near-frenzy lately washing fabric. The pieces of flannel got caught in the madness. Since I am trying to stay in the black in terms of fabric usage, I decided to make some pillowcases. They are a quick and easy yard of usage.
I thought I would give these to a niece who has recently become engaged. I am not sure she would like the colors, though, so I may give them to someone else.
While plowing through fabric a week or so ago, I found a leftover piece of skeleton fabric with a note on it that said “pillowcase cuff”. Since I was preparing to send the YM a care package I sewed up a new pillowcase for him. I haven’t been making him one a month like I was last year. If I get inspired, I make one.
I used some stripes as the body since I also found them while I was plowing through that same pile of fabric. I figured I had enough stripes for binding and one more black and white length of yardage wouldn’t be missed.
DH asked me why I was sending the YM a Halloween pillowcase in February. Sigh.
We did something different this year. We used a quilt for a tree skirt. I think it looks nice with the gifts wrapped in gift bags.
I made a tree skirt out of felt soon after I got my first tree. It has been looking ratty for a few years, but it looked embarrassing last year. I didn’t make a tree skirt, though I have a pattern. Perhaps next year, now that the Thanksgiving tablerunners are done?
However! The napkins for Thanksgiving are done! As I mentioned last time, one got eaten so I went and bought another pack. The dusky purple was an inspired choice. All of the motifs turned out really well on that background.
Even the Pennsylvania Dutch style turkeys is appealing.
The tablerunners are ready for their first outing in a couple of weeks. I have no illusions about finishing the tablemat, but I am pleased with my efforts thus far.
The first one I finished is shown on the left. I really like this one and kind of wish I had bought more of these panels, so all of the runners could match. I didn’t and I am not making more.
I did very simple quilting, for the most part, though the quilting ended up being much more complicated on the alternate design just because of the fabric motifs. I did a lot of outline quilting of the leaves and such, so it took more time.
I think, depending, that I will plan to take the tablemat to the next quilt retreat. I get a lot of blocks made at retreats, but quilting is also a good task for a retreat.
I think my last update about this project was in August. A lot has happened and I think we are nearing the end.
SIL and her machine have been working hard. She has to recolor all of the designs so use just 6 colors. Sometimes that is really hard and she has to make compromises. Still she has done a great job and I can’t wait to have the napkins out at Thanksgiving.
My job has been to wash and press all of the embroidered napkins. I have had no bleeding or fading of the designs. I have used a lot of Flatter and Mary Ellen’s Best Press!
The embroidery machine had a hissy fit and ate one of the yellow napkins. While there were probably enough napkins for everyone, we decided to get one more packet (World Market Buffet napkins). I bought a dusty purple and these came out SUPER well. I am very pleased with them.
I really like all of the napkins. Not only are they pretty and festive, but they are also large enough to keep laps clean.
As discussed a couple of days ago, I went on the BAM Retreat. I didn’t just have boatloads of fun and eat until I was sick, I also made some valuable progress.
The Thanksgiving tablerunners have been hanging over my head. Thanksgiving is now 1.5 months away and the hanging became more like the Sword of Damocles than an item on my to do list. I am pleased to say that the two remaining have been quilted. I still need to make and apply the binding, but the quilting part is done. I didn’t get to the tablemat, but I am pleased with my progress.
One thing I did on the pumpkin tablerunner was use Aurifloss (12 wt thread). I used it in the machine with 50 wt Aurifil in the bobbin. There was more breakage than I normally experience with Aurifil. I really like the effect and was pleased that the 50 wt did not show through to the top. I didn’t have to adjust the tension.
I also made a few blocks for the Tula Pink City Sampler/ Tale of Two Cities project. The blocks were a good break from quilting, which I needed after I completed the quilting on the first tablerunner. Julie joined the #100blocks100days challenge on Instagram and, while I have not joined, it is inspiring me to work on them. Also, she is now ahead of me on making blocks! I need to get myself in gear. Michelle S was a good support for this project at the retreat.
I also FINALLY started the Valori Wells Little Cell Phone Wallet pattern. I really, REALLY need something to carry my phone and hotel key when I am wearing dresses with no pockets. REALLY. Since the project was small, it seemed like a good time to work on it. I had some trouble with the directions, which should be no surprise. I did get a good working sample by the time I left the retreat. It isn’t one that I will use for various reasons. I’ll write more about this pattern in another post.
While my descriptions might not seem like a lot, I was busy and working hard the whole time. I am pleased with my progress and will be really pleased when I can finish these various projects and cross them off my list.
The good thing about machine embroidery is that it can happen while the maker is piecing since the machine works independently. Still, SIL is making crazy good progress. After a few napkins last week, she gave me a bunch this week.
This group of motifs is fun. The pie and the corn, along with the pumpkin, which you saw last week, are two of my favorites. I took a close up of the pumpkin, so you could see what a nice design it is.
SIL is embroidering napkins for the napkin project at a furious pace. I need to get busy on the tablerunners. September will be here before we know it and October and November will be hard on its heels.
SIL has finished some more napkins.
Two motifs included in this most recent batch came out very well. I really like the tree and I, especially, like the pumpkin.
I think they are coming out very well and I will be happy to put them on my table at Thanksgiving.
A few weeks ago I wrote about Thanksgiving napkins that SIL and I** were in the process of making. We have finished some of them.
There is some trial and error in the process, but SIL is working hard to minimize the loss of any napkins. So far so good.
Progress is good.
The process is
press and starch napkins
pick embroidery designs
figure out thread colors
embroider on napkins
rip off excess embroidery
I did the washing and ironing. As I do with all of my fabric, I washed these napkins in hot water. Hot water is the worst than can be done to them, I think, in terms of washing. I ironed them with Mary Ellen’s Best Press, mostly. I used some Flatter, but I really don’t like the smell of the one I bought.
SIL had a few embroidery designs in her library that were suitable. I went looking at a couple of sites she suggested and bought a few. We plan to reuse the designs. I don’t want or need 30 different designs. using different threads and stitching them out on different colored napkins makes the designs different enough.
We do all the napkins we are doing to do with one design before we switch to the next design.
We had to simplify some of the thread choices, because SIL has a machine that can accommodate 6 thread colors. It is easier not to have to deal with thread changes in the middle of stitching out a design. I kind of wish she had bought the 10 needle machine, but I wasn’t laying out the cash. 😉 Also, I wouldn’t be doing this at all if she hadn’t brought her machine to live around the corner from me. I had planned to make napkins the normal way I make them, which is odious at the best of times. It would have been a ton of work as well as a ton of money for Thanksgiving appropriate fabric. If my math is right (1/2 yard of fabric for each napkin), I would have needed 15 yards of fabric. I love buying fabric, but this is much easier and much more cost effective.
SIL had some tension issues at the beginning. After much fiddling, she resolved them, but thinks the machine may need a spa day.
So far, we have about 6 done. Fortunately, once the machine is set up, it stitches the designs out without someone standing over it pressing a foot pedal. It is still a lot of work and I am trying to help as much as I can.
**Nota bene: Most of my part is making color choices and buying stuff. I also wash and iron the napkins as needed. She is operating her massive embroidery machine.
I am on the fence about putting this down as a project, so I’ll have to call it a sort-of project. I have to do some work, but a lot of the actual sewing is done.
The family splits up the holidays because there are a lot of us and it is hard work to feed 24+ people. Thanksgiving is our holiday. I have been wanting Thanksgiving napkins for awhile, but the thought of making napkins is daunting and it has been daunting. Of course, I could have hemmed some fabric quickly and been done with it, but if I was going to make napkins I wanted to make them nice. Such a project would also involve buying a lot of autumn colored fabric. Not my favorite colors.
When I saw napkins at Cost Plus World Market in the right colors and sizes for a great price, I was thrilled. I texted SIL with an idea and went back later and bought them. SIL has a 6 needle embroidery machine and is willing to do some embroidery on the napkins to make them festive. She has several embroidery designs and I will buy a few for her as well.
After we gather the designs and the supplies (I’ll have to buy some stabilizer, though I have a bit from my old embroidery days), then we’ll have to plan the project out. We have several months before Thanksgiving, so the sort of project is doable.