Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Stockings

     A very long, time ago (back in the '50s) my Great Aunt Irene, who lived in Detroit, Michigan, purchased felt Christmas stockings ... I think they were from a women's church guild in Grosse Pointe. I am not sure what has happened to my brothers' and sister's stockings, but I still have mine ... a little worn out (the name had to be replaced, the candy cane is missing a stripe) but well loved.

      Years later, when my first daughter turned one, I made her a Christmas stocking. I hadn't yet started to quilt, so I used pre-quilted fabric and it was my first attempt at applique. A simple stocking for a little girl. I think someday, I should add her name to it.

      The following year, a 2nd daughter arrived and I created another stocking. That was the year I was into cross-stitch.  (Prior to the girls' births, I was into macrame ... I wonder what kind of stocking I would have come up with then??) Unfortunately, the toe didn't quite get the roundness I was going for. A prediction perhaps ... when she reached elementary school age, she loved trains; we had engines, cars and tracks winding through the family room!

      And that was the end of stockings for a very long while .... years later when Kate returned home along with her dog, of course, the dog required a stocking!

     This year, with the arrival of a grand-daughter, it was time to make a new stocking and while I was at it, make one for my step-granddaughter as well.
     Ari (age 6) loves My Little Pony and Minions, and since her Dad likes to rhyme her name with banana, that was added too. Ari informed me yesterday, that the Minion, named Steve, likes bananas too. I picked up a pre-made Christmas tree and star to add a little bling. The background is free-motion quilted and the pony, banana, name and minion are raw-edged machine appliqued with additional thread-painted details .... oh yes, and her favourite colour is purple!

      Baby Charlotte doesn't yet have favourites, but her Dad calls her his 'little bird' (she made chirping noises during her first couple months of life). The colours coordinate with her bedroom colours and the quilt I made for her a year ago. The patchwork background is free-motion stipple; the name was a little more of a challenge (I don't have an embroidery machine) ... I penciled in her name along the side and then followed the markings with a satin-stitch.  I attempted making fabric snowflakes to applique but on a recent trip to a fabric store saw that they had beautiful silver snowflakes that worked much better.  It's hard to see but the little bird with its flowing tail has silver-thread highlights along some of the feathers and on the eye.

     That should have been the last stocking, but Kate decided at the last minute, if the girls were getting proper stockings, then her husband should have one too.  Using up fabric leftovers from my stash, and now using my expertise on stocking construction, one more stocking was created.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Preparations

Busy! Busy! Busy!  and all of a sudden it is a week before Christmas.
     My daughter, Liz, repainted her condo: Wild Water (a dark blue), Universal Grey, and Ophelia (a cream/beige colour) and decided she would like new cushion covers to match. She first told me that she wanted 2 cushions at 25 inches square ... but after making the top for one, I figured something wasn't right. I'd never seen cushions that size at her place. On Skype, I had her remeasure ... ooops, she meant to say 15 inch square cushions. And could I make them kind of geometric, .... I have worked on two 15 inch square cushions and two 16 inch cushion covers.
     This is based on a Delectable Mountain pattern ... I ended up making two covers the same since I wanted to use both the grey and the creamy-grey colour as the background to the blue ... which led to enough blocks for 2 cushions.
     Lesson learned: I am not that great at Y-corner seams .. resulting in quilting the whole darn thing to make it lie flat! I like the shadow look of the blocks.
     I used the same fabric for all 4 cushion covers. This was the block that was originally 25 inches. Originally the pattern repeated with 2 blue, 2 grey, and 2 beige on each corner block ... I eliminated the extra grey and beige and sewed each block through the centre to shrink the length. A bit of quilting on top and it is ready to be stuffed.
      The pillows are at her place, so it will likely be awhile before I get to see them 'finished'.
They are her Christmas gift ... but  I know she never checks my blog, so showing them here won't spoil the surprise.
     I wasn't quite done though. She also painted her bedroom .... and could I make some pillow cases in the same colours but add a bit of white too!

     They don't quite go with my bedspread .... probably should have turned it over and had a white background.  Two pillow cases have the same fabric as the living room cushions; two cases are plain navy/white/grey.

     More projects are being completed ... pictures to follow soon!