Brass tacks

So today it’s the turn of four large underbed storage tubs stuffed with B-list needlework to be sorted in a very serious way. 

Aida fabric and cross stitch kits were immediately placed in the latest stack of donations for the Girl Guides. During my years on the needlecraft floor at Liberty we were given samples all the time and often had the chance to buy kits that were not sale worthy (packaging damaged or bits missing) for ten pence (so paperwork could be generated to allow you to take it out of the employee entrance). I had a passing fancy with cross stitch but that’s all it was. It’s time the move on. 

During my year of study at The Royal School of Needlework stumpwork ranked in my top three favourite subjects. I did several more projects than required, including this part finished box. From the notes and materials packed with it I can see I meant to make two little drawers. 

It’s been a very long time since I even touched my specialist tools. 


The box also held a fair amount of goldwork supplies which are in very good shape. I remember buying it in the Masonic shop in Covent Garden! Recently I’ve been asked to repair some vestments so perhaps I can incorporate some of my old school supplies. 

I think I’ll frame the sheep after taking apart the part done box. 

Now for the exciting task of packing up wool and canvas in vacuum sealed bags for storage in the attic. 

For the stash 

The designs for the next several quilts have been worked out — a couch throw for Himself for a birthday present, a Gypsy Wife for our 25th anniversary and a bird block quilt for ME. I’ve never made a quilt for just ME, but it will have to wait until all the many presents for other folk get made. It may not even be begun during the IWOM’s fiftieth birthday year of crafting for other folk, but that’s okay. 

The theory for MY quilt is to use a scrap from a number of special dresses and clothes made for our many travels around the world for one or more bird blocks, after which the remainder of the fabric will be donated. I’ve already processed a great many items and it’s time for a test block or two. 

I thought I had pretty much everything for this quilt until I found these really bright PJs in a drawer at my Mom’s house during my solo trip across the pond for the first few weeks of this month. I bought them in 2004 when I spent several weeks with Little Sis and my newborn nephew. I’d read that bright colours were good for baby eye development. 

They are not often worn now  — I usually just pull them on to go start the coffee in the kitchen, Himself and I never finding the need for PJs. 

(Um…TMI? I merely strive to illustrate in what decent shape the fabric still is). 

Into my case they went last week and are now in the Clothing To Be Processed For Crafts basket here in the craft room. 

Just the thing for a snowy squally day, along with tea and an old movie. 

Ten to thirteen

The Nephew’s tenth birthday quilt is one of my favourites. Three years ago he said he didn’t want it on his bed because when you sleep it is dark and he couldn’t see it. 

Clever kid. 

However, when his parents bought a little shoreline getaway he said he wanted the quilt to stay there. Fair enough. However, it’s a little bright for the color scheme and decor chosen by his mom, Little Sis. 

Little Bro and I arrived Friday afternoon sever hours before The Nephew and Little Sis so I set up the new quilt and the fish

as soon as I could. Once they arrived it was a good two hours before he even bothered to go upstairs to his room — when he finally did (all three grown ups knowing what he’d find and Little Sis saying he might not even notice) we heard a loudly shouted ‘thank you’. 

Jokes about ‘sleeping with the fishes’ began at bedtime. 

Crafting on the fly

Not a lot of room for a bedside table for the Bro-in-Law at his and Little Sis’s shoreline house, where the IWOM is currently staying. 

Solved that in an afternoon. 

Poor dude isn’t even here this weekend so I made sure to leave notes:

Little Sis is worried he will step on his glasses, phone, et al as he simply lays them on the floor at night. 

No longer. 

In situ

Dad’s ‘Betsy Ross’ flag (stars stitched on during the 2017 Innaguration, which we watched together while on FaceTime) and

Mom’s stencilled photo box with a picture of Mom, Dad, their three kids by birth, two sons by marriage and The Nephew (who will be getting his quilt and fish later today) at his First Holy Communion several years ago. It’s one of Mom’s favourite pictures of her motley crew. 

Mom said Jasper Johns has nothing on me. High praise from a gal who minored in art history. 

The IWOM’s 50th birthday presents for everyone else project has got off to a pretty good start! Little Bro loved his Alabama Chanin rooster T. 


Something fishy

Where is the fish post of last week? I really must look over this new WordPress layout — before they change it again. I must have done something not quite right when posting from my phone.

So, no more denim scraps in the craft room, blah, blah, denim seams on the right side, snipped, washed, blah, blah, dried in a hot dryer:


I made one of the fish from McCall’s Crafts 5930 for my nephew a few years back, always with the intent to make the full set of four. I made view B for Himself when we were finishing his last year of honours law so I’m guessing this pattern number has since been reassigned. The designer is Lori Kaye.


These two are filled with ordinary fiber fill but the last one is full of beans (like the iPad/book holders of a few posts back).


He (or she) is the floppiest so I’m thinking The Nephew might like him (or her) best.

These are part of The IWOM’s Fiftieth Birthday presents for other people (since I have everything I need) and will look good with the HST quilt I decided to make for him for his 13th birthday in April.


I guess I have yet to take a picture of the finished quilt, but here it is laid out on our super kind bed ready for layer basting at the end of January. The dark blue is lightweight denim, the prints old Thomas Pink French cuff shirts donated to the cause by Himself and the white an old duvet cover brightened with chemical help that made the fabric even softer. The backing is  pale blue gingham.

Will post the entire set up in The Nephew’s bedroom at his mom and dad’s shoreline getaway cottage soon.

We don’t need no stinkin’ movies

Besides, I have a good dozen on the iPad at the moment….


Back when I was a nervous flyer (waaaay back) I found that doing some sort of handwork at 37,000 feet helped calm my nerves to no end. Then we started turning left and alcohol took the place of that…and of course assorted restrictions over the years also made crafting difficult.


But there were always ways around it! I actually preferred dental floss boxes for my cutting implement.

All I really need for some new Alabama Chanin fingerless gloves are pre-threaded size nines (two strands of embroidery floss each) and some itty bitty scissors in a tin.


Okay. And a needle threader in case I get through the couple dozen I’m getting to as soon as I finish this post. The light isn’t always that great, especially if you don’t have a window seat, so anything to help with those getting tinier holes is a happy thing.


I dug out a couple magnets, a little tin, scraps of felt


and ten minutes later had the perfect travel kit.


One can never have enough pairs of fingerless gloves. We’re looking at a total of ten hours of air time over three flights to get me from where I am to where I need to be for a couple weeks. Let’s see if I can get these puppies ready to snip by the time the third flight lands!

There’s got to be something better than this

Nothing wrong with this batch of tablet pillows:

Nothing at all. 

They’re just a little dull. In an attempt to get rid of a huge bag of bean bag beans

I cut a whole bunch of fabrics 12 inches by 18, folded them in half right sides together for 9 inches by 12, then stitched the 12 inch edge and one nine inch edge using a quarter inch seam allowance.  

The third line of stitching requires pinning the seam to the fold first and leaving a gap for turning and filling. 

I hand stitched this one closed just roughly so I could test the amount of fill needed. I’ve made these before but never measured the amount! (The t’internet abounds with tutorials with pictures if you need more help). 

The plan was to make as many of these as I have filling then sell them for charity. 

As nice as the gingham and hydrangea fabrics are, the end result is a little dull so I got to thinking about multi fabric versions. I have 152 of these simple four patch with sashing blocks kicking around from my days of teaching at Liberty’s Sewing School in the mid to late nineties. I made samples to demonstrate (and sometimes students would leave their samples!) but never made them up into a quilt. Over the years I’ve considered all sorts of settings, the latest being some simple sashing then making baby quilts for charity. 

I may yet do that but donated six to the cause. Still a little dull so the next one had all different blocks:

Okay, they look a little goofy but they’ll do the job of holding your iPad steady on a table or in your lap. They could even be used for ‘real’ books. 

Luckily I have never had a problem selling any of my crafts when the proceeds go to charity. I’m thinking adult literacy might be a good cause. 

Plan A then: make enough to use the filling then use the leftovers for the baby (or perhaps wheelchair lap) blankets. 

The devil’s playground

I was pretty nervous last night when Himself and I settled in to watch LI. 

Handwork always calms my nerves and I am making a concerted effort to ditch the digital after supper so always have something lined up ready to grab when we are stretched out on the Natuzzi of an evening. 

I got all the outlining done by the first half but set this project aside to comfort Himself and be a real fan by watching my team. 

Dang but I wish I wasn’t off coffee at the moment! Actually that might be a good thing as snipping my Alabama Chanin projects for the final reverse appliqué step requires a steady hand. 

This is one of the many IWOM 5-0 birthday presents I am making for other people. You’ll have to wait until next month to see the first batch!