Posts Tagged ‘Leaves’

Sewing Calms

June 29, 2019

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from my 91 year old mother before I had gotten out of bed. Well, that can’t be good. Dad’s 96 so the entire time she was talking I was wondering “is Dad dead or alive?” It took her 10 minutes to get to the punchline: Dad was in the hospital, no longer able to stand up. My advice if you’re in a similar situation – start with the punchline, then tell the story of how things evolved. When she hung up I quickly texted my brother to let him know mom was calling him and dad wasn’t dead yet.

Later that day we got word that the doctor wouldn’t discharge dad back to the independent living facility. He had to go to a nursing home. I called my friend in that town to pick her brain about the local nursing homes. She said the one in a nearby town was good if the patient was easy. Her mother wasn’t and their experience was bad. She pointed out that my dad also wouldn’t be easy to deal with. She said they had a good experience with the Odd Fellows home in town. I reported what she said to mom and my brother. Mom stunned me by saying, “I don’t think your father would be any more difficult than anyone else.” I asked her, in disbelief, “How long have you lived with him?” My dad can be extremely difficult to deal with especially since he can’t see and he can’t hear. He was so combative with the hospital staff they hired 24 hour sitters for him. Of course, it being Friday meant nothing would happen until Monday because the hospital social worker and nursing home administrative staff that make things happen don’t work on the weekend.

As you can imagine, I was agitated by all the uncertainty. Was he going to die in the next few days? Would I need to cancel all the appointments I had over the next few weeks? Linda was over that afternoon to sew. I was sick and tired of doing borders and backings so I pulled out the bin of  Dutch 9-patch block kits and started sewing. When I got them out I said, “Self, you better get out a finished block as an example so you get the pieces in the right spot ’cause you know you get it wrong sometimes. Nah, I got this.” You know where this is going, right?


This is the way the books show the Dutch 9-patch. The blocks are perfectly fine, except this isn’t the way I was doing them. In these I reversed the placement of the outer patches. The floral pieces should have been in the center spots and the go-with color on the outer corners. As you sew, so shall you rip. Even though they were fine, they weren’t the way I wanted them so I ripped them apart and did them my way.

I sewed and sewed and sewed over the next week or so. Eventually I began to calm down. Then I had my gastroenterologist appointment and got riled up again. I knew he would want to do a colonoscopy now (my next one wasn’t due until next year). When we talked about the prep, he omitted some pertinent details. Had he included them our discussion of which prep to use would have been longer. After I got home, I looked it up and discovered it’s basically the same stuff I used 25 years ago, except you mix this stuff with gatorade instead of water. It was vile then and I expect it to be just as vile now. Can I drink a gallon of gatorade? I’ve never had gatorade so I bought a bottle to taste. We’ll see. I hope it’s tolerable enough. The only prep I wouldn’t mind too much doing again is the pills but they don’t want to use those anymore because of the risk of blowing out the kidneys from not drinking enough water with them. Yes, I realize my reaction was excessive.

By that time I was determined to finish all the blocks I had cut pieces for. By the time I finished I had calmed down again. Here’s what came out of my bin:


This is the stack before I put them on the design wall. The ones on the bottom have been flattened by the weight of the ones on the top so the pile would be higher if they had just been stacked like they were when I took them off the wall. I should have measured the pile then.

That is 110 blocks. They finish at 9″. I couldn’t fit them all on the wall for one picture. The right side is the 20 blocks that didn’t fit on the wall with those on the left. Up close I didn’t like them side by side but it doesn’t look too bad from distance. I got out the bin of finished blocks from the UFO closet and counted them. 135. So I have a total of 245 blocks to play with. They’re back in the closet to rest while I ponder settings.

So, Dad’s in the nursing home, doing better physically, maybe. Mom says some days she can’t wake him up when she’s there. My brother said he’s noticeably declined since we saw him in May and that I’d better come for a visit sooner than the planned one in August. So a trip to Illinois is in my immediate future. Oh, and they said he’s stage 4 Alzheimer’s. Great. Another condition to add to his collection. And, Mom’s planning to move to a one bedroom apartment if he’s not coming home which means my brother and I have a lot of work to do. The bulk of the burden is falling on him because he’s only 180 miles away. I think both mom and dad are in denial now thinking maybe he will be able to come home. I don’t think that’s going to work out.

I went through my inventory of UFOs and tagged them with the stage they’ve reached. There are at least 8 that need borders and backing. Sigh. I’ve just done half a dozen or so. Some of these need pieced or appliqued borders. I’m tired of borders and backings. But, I’m also feeling the burden of all the UFOs. The sooner I get the borders and backings done, the sooner they can go to the quilter and get finished! Of course, there are about 57 new things I want to start. Right. This. Minute. I just finished making the back for the Kaffe leaf quilt. That’s the second one I have ready to take to the quilter and I took two to her a few weeks ago. So, maybe, I could start one new project as a reward? Please? Pretty please with sugar on it?

Basket of Fun

June 12, 2019

Here in central Maryland, we’re experiencing a couple of beautiful days in between rain storms. I went out for my second walk this week yesterday. Boy, am I out of shape. I really need to do something about that.

May 30 was sweatshop for Ladies of the Sea with Polly at Spring Water Designs. Polly is ahead of me, as usual. I pressed and trimmed the blocks that have the inking completed, decided on the sashing and the sawtooth border accent color. Still had two blocks to wash before inking and trimming.  I eventually did that but both have bleeding so I need to soak them again to see if some of it will come out like the other one did.

May 31 I embroidered on one of the carrot seed packet pieces for the June Snowman. I really don’t enjoy embroidery but it has to be done sometimes.

June 1 Patty and I went to the Quilters Unlimited show in Chantilly, VA. Quilters Unlimited is a coalition of quilt guilds in northern Virginia around DC. This show is as large as a regional show. They had 500+ quilts and 71 vendors this year. Pretty much an all day affair.

6/2 I finished the borders on the Jacob’s Ladder quilt and made the backing so it’s ready for the quilter. Those cats on the back are huge – 6″. The little kids are doing various things on the cats – eating, playing, napping.

I also decided the border sizes for the Kaffe leaves quilt and cut and stitched the inner border strips.

6/3 was Mimi’s Grad School. That evening was my guild’s summer potluck. No sewing happened.

6/4 I traced the remaining seed packet pieces to be embroidered for the June snowman. I chose the “broach” (it’s a button) for the May snowman.


She’s fused but not stitched. I’ll do that as the quilting, someday.

I finished the assembly of the February snowman. Again not stitched.


I see they’re missing the “coal” pieces. They’ll get them when I do the stitching.

I cut the background pieces for the June Snowman.

I cut the inner borders to size and attached them to the leaf quilt.

Worked on the embroidery for the June snowman.

6/5 Calculated the best way to cut the directional border fabric for the leaf quilt so that all the borders were going the correct direction. Pressed the fabric and cut the side borders. Don’t you just hate dealing with large swaths of fabric? I find them so hard to manage.

I got one side sewn on and pinned the other. Cut the borders for the top and bottom – they have to be pieced to get the necessary width. I decided not to bother matching the print. Don’t think I have enough fabric for that anyway.

6/6 was the daytime guild potluck. Went to JoAnn for batting for a donation quilt and the pillow form for the Schnauzer pillow. No air conditioning at JoAnn that day. Might have wandered around longer if there had been.

Got home and finished the borders on the Kaffe leaf quilt.


6/7 was supposed to be sweatshop with Polly again but she was sick so I had a reprieve. Linda came over. I paid lip service to the ships by studying the border and sashing fabric requirements. I chose fabric for the mariner’s compass blocks for the border corners.

I started to clear out the leaf bin since the top was finished. Found a bag of 35 more fused leaves. After Linda left I rummaged around in the background fabric yardage bins and found something suitable. Got the backgrounds cut and fused the leaves. I’ll wait until these are stitched to choose the fabric for the 36th block. Stitched three leaves – hand buttonhole stitch with #12 pearl cotton.

6/8 Chose the thread for the rest of the leaves. Here’s where the basket of fun comes in.


To hell with the embroidery for the June showman. I dropped that sucker in a hot New York minute to work on the leaves. If you remember, I said above I don’t enjoy embroidery. Except, I do like to do hand buttonhole stitch. Go figure. Anyway, I’ve been sewing leaves ever since last Friday when I got them fused.

6/8 was Jinny Beyer club. We drive an hour each way for a one-hour meeting. Crazy, isn’t it? When Linda comes we leave earlier and have lunch in the village center where the shop is. I sewed 3 leaves that evening.

Only sewing thing I’ve done since club was stitch leaves. I’ll probably get that out of my system soon. Then, I’ll have to buckle down and work on getting sashing on the ships. After the cleaners leave today, I’ll put one of the ships in to soak and hope the bleed comes out.

Yesterday, after my walk I grabbed my book and sat downstairs in my recliner, enjoying the open windows that are so rare in the Maryland summer.


All the Shiny New Projects: Autumn Leaves

November 24, 2015


Sometime last year, Linda was at the cutting table with the fabric on the left. Of course, I had to have some, too. It is so georgeous. I knew exactly what to do with it. It will be the border for the Vermont Maple Leaf Quilt. The picture on the cover of the pattern doesn’t do the quilt justice. I first saw the quilt in person a few years back at the Quilter’s Unlimited quilt show in Chantilly, VA. At that time the only way you could get the pattern was to buy her kit. A couple of years ago she started selling the pattern without the kit. The light blue fabric on the right is the background I chose.

I’m making the leaves out of Kaffe Fassett collective prints. I made a fussy cutting paper template and used that to determine where to cut the fabric. I cut out a square the size of the paper template.


After cutting the squares, I put fusible on them. I used Misty Fuse which has no paper backing. That makes it a little difficult to work with but I’ve been using it enough to get the hang of it. The hardest thing about it is that it is so fine, it’s hard to see.


The teflon pressing sheet on the ironing board is the bottom layer.


I laid the Misty Fuse on the pressing sheet, then carefully laid the fabric squares on top, right side up. You can see the pressing sheet looks lighter on the left where the Misty Fuse hasn’t been cut away. I trim the fusible away from the fabric before fusing so I don’t waste it.


Then I cover the squares with another pressing sheet or parchment paper and iron according to the instructions. I’ve used parchment paper here.


After they’re fused and cooled, I peel them off the teflon sheet and cut the squares apart. Then I let them cure for a bit. I used my plastic leaf template and trace around it on the fusible side using a Pigma pen. I carefully cut out the leaf so I have a positive and negative version. I give the outside part that isn’t the leaf to Linda who does things with them.

After pulling fabrics that I thought went with the border fabric, I didn’t have quite enough. I had 3 fat quarter towers I bought in Paducah in 2013 (or was it 2012?) so I washed them and pulled the ones that went with the color scheme and cut more leaves.

Of course, I ended up with more leaves than I need. It’s going to be hard to decide which ones to not use. If the pattern had each leaf on a separate background, I could sew them all and not worry about which one goes where until the end. But, the pattern calls for putting 4 leaves together on one piece of background. That means I have to decide on the layout of which fabric goes where before I do any sewing. I’ll have to remember to mark each block with it’s position in the quilt.

The quilt size in the pattern isn’t quite as large as I like for a queen size bed so I’m adding an extra leaf on the side and bottom – those blocks will have 2 leaves per background. That’s all the background fabric I have. I can’t even find the scraps that must have been left. Maybe they’ll turn up somewhere. I’ll probably make the border larger also but won’t decide that until the top is assembled.


A mess of leaves ready to fuse.

After I fuse the leaves to the backgrounds, I’ll stitch them by hand with buttonhole stitch using Valdani #12 perle cotton thread.

After I’m finished fusing, I clean the teflon sheet of any fusible residue by rubbing it with a bath scrubby.