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I did!

Owl Pincushion

This adorable owl flew into our nest today! She came all the way from Sandy’s house in Missouri.

Needlekeep Owl

She holds a pair of scissors, a seam ripper, and a needle threader. All of which you can never have too many of! The inside of her wings are made of felt, and will work as needle keeps. For travel, her wings fold over the items and are held secure with a hair elastic and two buttons. She also holds a spool of thread in her elastic talons. (I wonder if Sandy’s granddaughters are missing any of their ponytail holders?)

Such a lovely gift from such a thoughtful person! (Sandy is the one that mailed me some replacement marbles when mine went missing.)

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Who says quilt tools are only good for fabric? Alton Brown always says your kitchen gadgets should be multi-taskers. I’m not sure this is what he had in mind.

I needed to cut the bread dough for the FanTan dinner rolls in fairly symmetrical bits for the construction of these Thanksgiving favorites. Last year’s batch tasted fine, but looked atrocious. Enter the acrylic ruler and a pizza cutter. Perfect 1.5″x 1″ squares!

This year’s batch looks much better and they taste just fine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

My daughter prefers to play on the floor, so the knees of her pants take a beating. It seems the that the left knee is the first to wear out leaving the rest of the pants in fine condition. I can’t send her to school in pants with holes in the knees. I am sure that the school does not care, but I just can’t do it. Blame the Grandmothers, all of them, on both sides of the family, as many as I can remember personally, and possibly more than that. I can just imagine those disapproving glares if I even thought about it.

So, in an effort to make a knee patch look like something fun to wear, I came up with this solution. I’ll share it with you in case you need to patch some things up.

Wash the article of clothing before you begin. For the knees of jeans I have found it easier to undo the side seam of the pant leg for access to the tear. Getting to the spot to be patched is often the hardest part.

I find a shape that will cover the tear and give some good jeans material around the edges. In this case a heart and a star. I have some quilting templates here, but cookie cutters or any other easy shape will work.

For fun I picked a couple of cotton prints to make the shape stand out. I use a scrap of polar fleece as the actual patch material. It is soft on the knees when playing for hours on the floor. I put the cotton facing out the tear and then the polar fleece behind. I have the patch cover the entire width of the front pant leg piece. This makes it less likely that another blow out will occur in nearly the same spot.

Pin the patch on and stitch around the design. On the star I stitched with a tight zig-zag. With the heart, I did a couple of passes around the shape with a shortened straight stitch and a zig-zag row a bit farther out. Two rows of stitching seem to keep the patch from shifting and make it look more decorative. I then stitched the outside edge of the patch to the pants leg to keep it from flopping around inside the pant leg. Again, the large sized patch helps reenforce the weakened fibers at the worn through knee. Once the shape has been stitched, I trimmed the torn denim back to the design edge to make it look less like a repair and more like fashion.

While I was at it, I lengthened the pant legs. When I un-stitched the cuffs there were obvious wear marks and color differences in the denim. To help disguise this I added a couple rows of decorative ribbon. Again, not difficult, but I do suggest stitching down both sides of the ribbon for a more finished look. If you need even more length, a row of cotton eyelet lace could be added, but adding lace should probably fit the personality of the girl. I did see some cool dinosaur, race car, and dump truck trims if you are going to try this for a boy. Remember to stitch up the bottom edge for a narrow hem.

When re-stitching the side seams a serger certainly comes in handy, but a wide zig-zag with one or two rows of straight stitching along the seam line will do just fine.

These pants now have a few more months of school wear before being relegated to farm pants when the other knee goes. She actually looks for these pants to wear first during the week. I guess the patch job was a success then!

The Little Miss and I spent last weekend enjoying the hospitality of Lucky Star Farm during their annual DHIA verification test. The does were beautiful and they all performed very well in the milk department, as usual.

The farm has a special guest this season. Maddy is out to visit her grandparents for summer break. This trip gave the girls an opportunity to have a playmate their own age for a few days.

I made flannel pants for the girls and embellished some t-shirts to go along with them. Normally, I would have made summer jammies in seersucker, but since we haven’t had more than one day that has hit 80 yet, flannel it is.

Maddy’s favorite things are kitties. Since Grandma Judi just decorated her bedroom in Hello Kitty, I though this would be appropriate with the bright pink, blue, and yellow flowers all over her pants.

I put a rolled edge on the sleeves and hem. That gives it the ruffled lettuce edge effect once you run it through the wash, which is where this cutie was left. I got all the way up there and realized I had left the shirts in the dryer. Smooth. Oh well. the girls had fun and I hope Maddy enjoys the top once the mail man delivers it to her!

I think I said how I wished I could just skip ahead to the slip-stitching part. I wish I had left them bald!

I had two skeins of Cranberry colored yarn for the hair. One for each doll, just in case. They don’t give very exact measurements for this part. I was instructed that I needed a 10″x14″ piece of card board and I needed to wrap the yarn around it until it is full. So far, so good. Maybe, just maybe this won’t be as hard as I thought.

 Oh yeah, just so you know, if you put your yarn in a bowl it flops around nicely and doesn’t get tangled on things while it is unspooling.

For the next step, I am to slide the yarn carefully off the cardboard. Then stitch the yarn down to the “wig” base, following the sewing line.

Hmmm. That is an awful lot of yarn to fit under the presser foot. Apparently their idea of full and my idea of full are different. VERY different. I have waaay too much yarn to fit the wig.

I also decided to put a piece of tissue paper under the yarn to keep the feed dogs from munching random yarn strands down into my machine like fuzzy red spaghetti. Probably the smartest thing I did all night!

If I sewed the wig with the yarn facing up I couldn’t tell where the fabric was, or if I was anywhere near the stitching line. The presser foot also wanted to catch the strands with it yarn up.

This is attempt number 3 and success! Attempt number two went well on the bottom, but had some flaws along the top and sides. Thankfully, after wig #3 I can easily fix the problem on wig #2 by removing a few stitches. and only re-sewing the top portion of the wig, instead of re-wrapping the yarn for the 6th time. For your future reference, two wigs for 15″ Raggedy Ann dolls can easily be made from a single skein of yarn.

Slip-stitching the wig was more of a task than I thought it would be. It doesn’t lend itself to being well-pinned in place, and it really wants to creep around while you are hand sewing it down. I do recommend that you center it, pin it the best you can, and work from the center down each side. It didn’t say to specifically, but I also stitched the back of the wig down.

Then it got even more nerve wracking. You have to cut the loops and give dolly a hair cut to make her look right and not like some strange hippy doll. How much do you cut before it is too much and you are making another wig? This is where the failure of wig #2 would have been really obvious. You actually have to fan out the hair so there are loops all down the sides to give her hair along the side of her face. Thankfully I noticed this on the test fit and NOT after I had sewn the thing down.

So after her hair cut, and a quick pass with the lint roller, she got a signature and some clothes. I think she could still use some more hair trimming. Before I made that decision, I wanted to see how I liked it after I had some sleep.

Merry Christmas Little Miss! I hope she is a good friend to you.

 

It is nearly 4 AM and I have 3 of the 8 arms & legs ladder-stitched closed where I stuffed them. The dresses & nighties are done except for the snaps and I have to wait for the bodies to be finished for the final fitting. The clothes pattern could have been a bit more generous on size.

My final hurdle with these dolls is going to be the hair. I have to wrap yarn around a 10×14 inch piece of cardboard until it is full, and then carefully slip it off and sew the yarn to a “wig” piece of fabric. Then I must slip stitch the wig to the doll. I’d be happy if I could just jump straight to slip stitching. I can see a lot of my own hair being pulled out by the end of this escapade. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’m off for either coffee or sleep….

We had a birthday party to go to today. I am not a big fan of some of the things that can be bought just to say you gave a gift. If you have a limited budget, get my kid a new box of crayons. We’ll both like it better, but, I digress.

This is Raspberry Sherbet Pony. I have no idea if the birthday girl really liked it, or what she’ll name it. Em picked the pattern and I did some stash diving for the fabric. We were both pleased with how it turned out.

Em has a request in for a Pink Pony now. I’m not going to tell Blue or Snowflake her other two Funky Friends ponies. I don’t want them to get a complex. I think Em would be happy with a whole herd of these in all different colors. Unfortunately, we would run out of space in her room long before we got tired of finding new color combinations.

I have wanted to make a Raggedy Ann doll for my daughter for a few years. Nana found her a Raggedy Andy for Christmas about two years ago, but they were out of Annie dolls that year. I have finally gotten around to making a pair. One is for Em and the other will be for her cousin. Then they can have tea parties when they visit.

I realize that at this stage she looks more like a porcupine than a sweet dolly friend. Hopefully once she is sewn together, stuffed, and given some fabulous red yarn hair and a set of clothes she’ll be more huggable.

See ya around Doll!

Sometimes dads need to schlep the baby stuff around. They aren’t going to want to have to tote the girly looking thing around. So I made these for the guys.

My cousin is a HUGE Mavericks fan. Even before they won the basketball championship. I found this fabric in our clearance section here in the Seattle area. Huh, go figure.

The baseball one is for my son who is expecting a son in September. He could have probably borrowed one from his little sister, but again, the flowers and girly patterns just won’t work.

I have a few more to finish top stitching. I have two more baby shower gifts coming up, and I like to have a couple on hand, just in case.

This pattern makes great tote bags for just about everybody, not just diaper bags. You just pick the appropriate fabrics for the intended person and off you go. You can even customize the pockets if you want. A couple of narrower seams and you have a perfect sleeve for knitting needles or crochet hooks.

If you want a closer look, check out SewBaby and their Double Duty Diaper Bag pattern. If your fabric store carries the SewBaby line of patterns, it is usually one of the ones they keep stocked.

I have made several modifications to the pattern, like lining the pockets and adding an extra two inches to the strap handle so I can extend the tab into the bag further to secure them with extra stitching. That is from trial and error, and it looks like they may have tweaked the pattern a bit from the one I picked up 5 years ago. If you are looking for a super handy bag this is it!

Santa tucked these row markers into my stocking this last Christmas. He must know how often I get interrupted while quilting, and thought these might help my sanity. I think the little flower shapes are too cute!

This is the first time I have had a chance to use them. They came with a safety pin to attach them to the block. The problem was with the safety pins that were included in the package. They made huge holes in the fabric. That was easily solved by using my longest quilting pins, and running them through the fabric at the seam allowance.

They didn’t have capital letters or numbers available, and that would have given me even greater ability to organize my blocks. I bet that I could use the small alphabet beads the same way if they are thin enough. You know the ones that you made bracelets with as a kid. I’ll have to look for them the next time I am at the craft store. If they are too thick, perhaps I can use up some of that Fimo clay I bought 101 years ago and make my own. Hmmm.

So, Dritz Quilting Notions, if you are listening, find some finer safety pins, add  capital letters and numbers, and this would be a great item!