Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I bought these cool papel picado machine embroidery transfers from Debra  I thought they'd make cute dishtowel embellishments.  I jazzed up this set with rick rack.

This one got double layers of rick rack.

I made a more sedate set with the last set of towels.  I machine sewed the buttons, I'm not sure it's much faster than hand sewing, but you get nice uniform results.  Tip:  use scotch tape to hold the button in place while you stitch it.

I'm keeping the rest of the motifs for myself.  They'll be perfect for a little art quilt.  Maybe something for the Day of the Dead.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I've finished this shawl that I worked on over the summer.  The pattern Ridge and Furrow Triangular Shawl, by Sue Grandfield, is a free download on Ravelry. 

This is the second shawl I've made from this pattern because it is a lovely meditative knit that's easily memorized.  Plus it's striped, one of my favorite patterns.

The colored yarn is a long color repeat wool blend that I got on clearance.  The black is recycled yarn from a Gap sweater: a blend of wool, nylon, angora and lamb's wool.  Yummy stuff.

I got a question in the comments about the pink and white quilt in the background.  It's a kit quilt top I bought on Ebay.  The workmanship wasn't great, but I love the colors, and Debra machine quilted it for me.  It's so bright and cheerful, and it goes well in my newly refurbished sewing room.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Museum Monday: In the Button Box

Beth over at Love Laugh Quilt proposed a Sewing Museum this week in which people post some of their vintage goodies.  I've dumped out some of my vintage metal buttons to share.

The buttons above are funny to me because they resemble the heads of screws.  How's that for an industrial look?  Following that theme, the ones at the bottom of the photo have metal "thread" in fake button holes.

Here are some plain brass buttons: both two holed and four holed.

I love these "primitive" mid-century buttons.  They have what looks like a cave painting design.

More oval and modern buttons in two sizes.

I've also got some military or police uniform buttons.  The sewer strung them together to keep them tidy.

This collection of lady head buttons comes in three sizes. These really remind me of coins.

More military/police uniform buttons, in two colors.

These are mysterious:  the inscription says "Highland '16 Scottish."  Perhaps they were from a band or lodge uniform. 

All these buttons were inherited stash from my sister-in-law's mother.  Apparently she was an avid needle worker and she recycled many buttons.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finished Zig Zag Afghan

This one's done.  This is a very satisfying project if you like to play with color.

And Michael said he wanted it.  Now it lives in his man cave.

I feel inspired to make more blankets and afghans, and I've got an acrylic stash to work with.  There may be another one before long.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Sewing Baskets

One of my favorite possessions is this vintage sewing basket.  My sister bought it for me when I was in high school at a Christmas rummage sale at my school.  It's a very sweet memory.  At the same sale my brother bought me an enamel pin with tiny pearls that I still have and love.

I occasionally see these baskets in antique stores.  I've seen them in aqua too, but they a distinctive motif on the wooden lids, and they have matching cord for handles. (I didn't notice until I was writing this post, but there's a cat tail peeking out of the right side of this picture)

I keep my embroidery thread in mine, sorted by color in plastic bags.  It's a little crowded in there. 

I recently bought this larger sewing basket at a rummage sale.  It's not in perfect shape, but I love the color and it's roomier than my pink basket.

Old sewing baskets, like old sewing machines, come with an interesting assortment of goodies inside.

 This one had lots of elastic, bias tape and hem facing.  Someone needs to come up with a great craft project for bias tape. 

It also had some great needle booklets. 

The needles in the second one were tiny, which is probably why they're all still there.

I migrated my cotton embroidery thread into the new basket and I'm using the old one for crewel thread and silk.

They look very cheerful on my shelf.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Blue Afghan

The blue afghan is coming along very nicely.  I can get several inches done in an evening of television watching.  Michael and I are big fans of The Shield on Netflix, and of a new crime drama on FX called The Bridge.  TV watching is good for this project.

I'm going to keep working on this until I use up most of the yarn I've dedicated to this project: which should take it up to twin bed length.  Hopefully, this will happen soon, as I'm eager to work on something else.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


Remember that quiz show where they'd give you a lifeline, the ability to call a friend if you get stumped?  Well when I posted about this quilt, Debra threw me a lifeline by suggesting I use the pieced blocks I was trying to line up at the top and bottom as cornerstones.  This suggestion got the wheels in my brain moving.  I put the blocks up, and then dug out some 5" paper pieced scrappy blocks  I'd made with no project in mind--hey, these are the blocks in the header to my blog, and I'd almost forgotten about them!

I liked the way these looked together, so I started to make more.  I've got a bin of tiny bright scraps I set aside to make these blocks.  The "logs" on these blocks are 1/2" wide, so they're pretty small.

From my stash of 2.5" strips, I found a great striped fabric for the rest of the border, which I paired with strips cut from various black fabrics.

I've got two borders pieced and two to go.  There may even be another border with four of the same blocks as cornerstones.   Thanks for the lifeline Debra! 

Sweater Genesis

  A few years ago I learned to harvest yarn from old wool sweaters.  I don't do it so much anymore, with the exception of if I find...