Saturday, December 4, 2021

It’s December!

Wow, this year is just speeding by, isn’t it? We’ve decorated lightly for Christmas, including a little tree. We pick up a few gift cards (the preferred gift of most family members) whenever we’re out, thus checking a few more names of the “Nice” list - no Naughties this year. I even did some baking! Bruce was jonesing for some oatmeal raisin cookies, so I obliged. 

Yeah, so cookies aren’t a preferred food on my diet plan (WW), but I’ve been plugging away losing about a pound or so every week for the last month or two. I love my WW meetings, and the group of friends that have developed there. One friend, Ruby, gave me some elegant fabric scraps that I showed a couple months ago. Well, last Tuesday she brought me the entire rest of the fabric - a full yard of this heavily embroidered expensive fabric. She does custom sewing on her industrial machines for Denton House, an exclusive source for home decorative items used by billionaires. I was floored. It is so beautiful - we all just fondled it lovingly.

Here are some close-ups to show some of the amazing detail. 

I have enough to make a large cushion (euro size) for the couch. I may even make two, but first I have to source some suitable backing fabric. I do have the pillow forms. 

Then with the smaller pieces and leftovers from that, I can probably make a half dozen simple cross-shoulder bags, which I’ll distribute to my WW friends. But first I’ll have to find a good, simple pattern (my days of drafting my own are well past) and the accessories like lining, shoulder straps, etc. Do you have any simple pattern ideas to suggest? 

In the meantime, I have been busy sewing. Yeah, so what else is new? I’m retired, the garden is sleeping, we see family regularly and do limited grouped errands in these Covid times. So, afternoons are usually spent in the studio. It’s what I love. 

My first finish this week was the brown and green strings quilt. It was finished early in the week and qualified as my last November finish.

I had sewn 27 brown string blocks earlier in the month and added the rest from my stash of string blocks. It needed an accent color, and I decided to use some green blocks as I remembered the green ones fell flat when mixed with the multi-colored string blocks I have by the dozens.

The backing was this green piece that I picked up at an estate sale a couple years ago. The quilt finished at the usual (for my string quilts using my 6.5” blocks) at 42x48” and is a donation quilt for Quilts for Kids. During our annual hiatus (November-December), I just accumulate quilts and donate them in a big batch at the January meeting. 

Here is the other quilt I finished on Thursday, making it my first finish of December. It was a way to use up a few donated strips sets in grays and red. There were actually only about three sets of those, so I used them as “seeds” and extended the color palette to include dark blue/navy. In the process, it ate up lots of ugly, unloved and/or orphan strips.

I made this quilt larger (48x56”) to be more appropriate for a tween or teen boy rather than a smaller kid. It has a definite masculine vibe. For the backing I used some wonderful gray yardage that I bought to use when making my son’s quilt last year (Arahorn) but never used. It was perfect here.

After that, I put away my dark neutral scraps - goodbye browns and grays! I needs me some COLOR!!!

Time to dig out a project I cut out last December and get it finished up for use this year!  Yeah, it’s another wonkily-pinned picture. Why do I always do that?? Anyway, here it is with the main portion sewn together. The pattern, Flurry, is a free one from Kate Spain, and the fabric is an older line, Pixie Noel, from Tasha Noel for Riley Blake fabrics. 

I modified it, eliminating a white row of sashing between the gifts and the cornerstones because I don’t like too much white. Also, notice that blue gift in the bottom row? It was a scrap from a  different line (don’t know where it came from), but it was a bit short for a gift. So, I just added some white at the bottom because who says all gift boxes have to be the same size? Another example in Cathy’s crazy world of “making do”. The quilt is for me, so I don’t really care if it messes up the symmetry. Symmetry is highly overrated. 

So, here are my progress shots so far. The borders are just pinned up for now because I still have to sew the bottom one. And can you see that red and white stripe fabric barely showing on the right-most picture?   How perfect is that for the binding?!? I plan to finish up this top today and maybe even get it basted. Quilting will be simple and NOT the swirls that I usually do for anything Christmas-related. I’ll show the finish next week. 

After that, my December is wide open for finishing UFO projects. Next in line will be a Rainbow Scrap Challenge finish - Spring Stars - that I made every month this year. I have twenty 12” blocks that I’ll set traditionally (4x5) for a 48x60” donation quilt.

And then I’ll tackle another personal UFO, Ring Around the Roses. I made these blocks last January and February, and they’ve been marinating in my stash since then. They are ready to be assembled!

That should keep me out of trouble for awhile.  What are you working on??


  1. Hi Cathy! Your two dark neutral quilts turned out great. I love the brown and green one, and the other may not be my style but it also turned out great. Have fun on that happy Christmas quilt! (Lazy Girl designs has lots of easy bag patterns, including a small cross body bag. Check here:

  2. Great finishes this week, Cathy. Love your Christmas gifts work in progress, lovely design and great choice of fabrics. I’m intrigued by your phrase “jonesing for some oatmeal cookies”. What is Jonesing? The piece of gifted fabric is stunning! You obviously have plans to use every square inch of it!

  3. I've never seen fabric like that embroidered piece. What a fabulous gift and will make some awesome pillows. It's too pretty to cut up small isn't it? Love your RSC blocks!

  4. That embroidered fabric is beautiful. I like your brown and green quilt.

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  6. One of my go to patterns is a basic rectangle , with an inside pocket or two, depending on how ambitious I am, folded in half bound on the sides with it's strap made long enough to hang it at anyone's hip. takes about an hour and a half to throw together if you don't get to fancy with it.

  7. Fancy having a friend who sews for billionaires! That's certainly worth dropping into the conversation now and again, or even often!

  8. You have such luscious browns in that string piece--very nice finish!! I think that fancy fabric would look great in pillows and also (depending on how heavy it is) in a small crazy quilt piece? How about a couple drawstring bags--like Quilt Diva Julie has made...?
    Good luck hugs, Julierose

  9. Your Christmas present quilt top is so cute, Cathy! It will be fun to see it finished. Love your stars and roses blocks, too - they're both going to make beautiful quilts!

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  12. Wow, so much wonderful sewing going on here! Congrats on finishing two quilts for Quilts for Kids, such a worthwhile cause. I love the present quilt, especially because of your creative way to make that blue block work! I'm looking forward to seeing the "coming attractions" of stars and roses.

  13. Way to finish off November and start December with a couple of fabulous completed quilts, Cathy!! Enjoy that holiday project. The RSC will wait for you to finish it!

  14. That embroidered fabric is to die (live) for! I bet it's even lovelier in person. Ruby is a very generous friend, and you deserve the fabric she gave you...because you are always giving.
    I still love the green and brown stripe quilt. That was such an unexpected color combination.
    The more masculine donation quilt is perfect for a tween/teen boy. I like the backing fabric.
    As for what I am working Oh yeah, that! I managed to have an entire day off Friday from babysitting my darling grandson. My daughter has hired a friend to come in on Fridays and give me a break; much needed. I managed to do some more rearranging in my office and bedroom. My "spare" rooms have been sorely neglected due to the sitting of grandchild! ;) As soon as I can get these two rooms situated how I want them I will dive deeply into the sewing room once again. I walked in the yesterday afternoon to maybe pick up some semblance of sewing, but it didn't happen. My sewing mojo is seemingly on holiday! Ah be continued...

  15. That decorator fabric is gorgeous! I'd say a simple box-bottom bag would be fine. Perhaps use another fabric for the straps and maybe for the bottom because all that embroidery is likely to get snagged. I really, really admire the brown/green strings. The green pops!

  16. Congrats on your WW success! Keep it up! All these fun quilty projects are sure to keep you off the streets and out of trouble, lol. That embroidered fabric is fabulous! Do show us what you make with it.
    Have a good week!

  17. Oh Cathy, that embroidered fabric is perfect for a wide skirt. I want to wear it!!! If you insist on making bags, I recommend byAnnie. The green/brown quilt is handsome and so are the red/blue quilts. The quilts with Christmas gifts are my favorite :-) I look forward to the RSC stars coming together in a dazzling array - as they are going to be :-)

  18. Such excitement, what a treasure in that yardage. You are sew productive!


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