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.
BAM’s retreat started on Friday. I did not go to the gym Friday morning, though I did go for a walk. I could have gone to the gym and that was my plan, but I decided I wanted to relax a little bit and not rush around.
The night before DH decided he needed our larger car on Saturday to ferry people to the football game, which left me with our small car. I pared down projects a little bit, though not much. We packed some of my gear on Thursday night so I would mostly be ready to go. I had space, but used most of the available area to cram sewing supplies in.
Rhonda was kind enough to save me a seat. I sat between Sonja and Liz while I was across from Gerre and Rhonda. Our side of the room was relatively quiet, compared to the Mary-Amy side of the room, which was hilarity personified. We did talk about the Supreme Court nominations quite a bit. What a fiasco.
One of the first things I noticed was that Maria brought the swap pillow I made for her. She is using it to make the hotel chairs more comfy. Gerre also had a pincushion I made and the EPP kit I made. She was showing them off, which was sweet. I am really glad to see people like my work and use what I make.
The tables filled up quickly as people trickled in throughout the day.
People also started working on charity right away. I made a block as I pieced my MetroScape blocks. I used my own fabrics, but it doesn’t really matter. I’ll make more tomorrow. Claire finished a Spiderweb quilt that Liz had made.
Peggy made a really cool quilt top from the additional blocks made when we used the Chevron design. It is kind of improv Flying Geese-y.
After finishing the purple dot MetroScape block, I turned to the Thanksgiving Tablemat. I started quilting the center. I didn’t have the right green for the background, so I stuck to the lines in the center.
As I put on the binding, I saw the back and realized that the tension was terrible. Not anywhere near good enough to salvage, so I ripped it all out, finished putting on the binding (still need to join the ends) and called it good. The piece doesn’t have a ton of quilting, but it has enough for its purpose.
The Retreat Committee is really well organized. Everything is going very smoothly. We have a HUGE array of prizes that will be distributed throughout the weekend. We got a bunch of raffle tickets just for arriving. I put most of my tickets in the cup for a Daylight Slimline lamp. I don’t think I really need it as my lighting situation at home is good, but it would improve the situation so much. It is making me think of reorganizing and revamping my workroom. That is such a HUGE project that thinking about it when I am not anywhere near home is the only way I can deal with it.
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.
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.
I was determined to work on some of the projects on my to do list at the Retreat. I also wanted to work on some projects I wasn’t likely to work on at home.
First up was the Thanksgiving tablerunner. It has only been on my to do list for 5 minutes, but I started with it because it is small. I figured that I could actually finish it.
I was able to finish the quilting. I am a bit of a maniac when I do decide to quilt, so the project took me all afternoon and into the evening. I did go out to dinner and socialize, but otherwise sat in front of my machine and quilted.
I quilted diagonal lines in the center (red) using some blue painter’s tape to keep the lines even and straight. As I got more comfortable, my mania started to kick in and around the edges I did a lot more quilting. I followed the outline of the pumpkins and gourds. I also quilted a lot around the leaves on the top and bottom and in the orange sashing.
Next up binding, then I will have a finish for 2016.
As I mentioned back in August, I want table runners for Thanksgiving. I don’t have many Thanksgiving decorations and I can’t bring myself to make napkins yet. I want napkins, but I can’t deal with all that brown and years of decorative stitching required right at the moment.
I bought two Thanksgiving fabric panels at Forget Me Knots in Bandon, Oregon. Friday, I put the table runners together.
How it happened was that I was going through the fabric on my ironing board, cutting the pieces I needed for various projects and putting yardage away. My goal was to allow DH a brief window to iron. When I got to the table runner panels, I decided putting them away would be silly and I just did what I needed to do to move those projects along.
The small contemporary table runner was easy. It just required cutting apart from the rest of the piece. I didn’t add any piecing to it. Just basted and it is ready to quilt.
I pieced two sections of the traditional panel together. I think some of the pieces and parts of the panels were supposed to be coasters, but I think these sections (right) are too big to be coasters, but there are too small to be placemats, so I don’t know what their original purpose was. I like the leaves. The green is a little odd.
The traditional panel also had a square leaf wreath, which I will use it as a table mat on the coffee table.
Finally, my favorite is the one to which I added the most piecing. I am not sure that pumpkin orange fabric was exactly right, but it is close enough and doesn’t match. It will add interest.