Modern Sunbonnet Sue's Musings

Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue:

January 2012 - Posts

Sue's Sunday Sewing & Other Musings

So, today is another Sunday. Snow is blanketed across the landscape of mid-Michigan. That makes today a wonderful day to stay inside and work on a sewing project. Each week, I determine what project I will work on Sunday afternoon, while my husband is off working. Today, is bibs. The Groovy Girls Club project for January is baby bibs and baby quilts. Since I have two grandbabies due this Spring, why not make a few bibs. You can never have enough of them. My older sister visited yesterday and helped me pick out color combinations from my stash. I have begun putting them together, today. They are a simple Atkinson Designs project. Her patterns always offer a step that saves time and headache, which is why I like them. However, she always uses more fabric than necessary and causes scrap waste. That might not be so bad, since I like to make scrap quilts. But, I have enough scraps to last my lifetime after more than 30 years of collecting them.

My email this week had a note from Jennifer Chiaverini about her latest Elm Creek Quilts book coming out soon. I haven't finished the book I got for Christmas, because I am spending more time reading my Bible at night and sewing in my spare time during the day. I guess I need to finish the book, so I can begin her next book in the series, when it comes out.

Today, I caught up on reading Barbara Brackman's blog titled 1812 War & Piecing. She provides a rich history of quilting from that time period, while offering ideas for re-creating a quilt of your own. I am so enjoying reading her blog. Anyone interested in quilt history will find her blog worth reading.

I had my surgical check-up on Friday. This was my third appointment, with the surgeon canceling the first two due to illness. My surgical wound has healed well and he snipped the outside stitches that continued to bother me. I will be having labs in two months, with a follow-up to determine whether or not I will need thyroid medication. I recently blogged about the doldrums, but have to say that this week I am feeling great. I no longer have the worn down feeling, so it likely was related to the recent surgery. If I begin to feel tired again, then, I will know that my thyroid is not working adequately. Here's praying that my recovery will be full and pills will not be necessary. Besides, I have other concerns. My granddaughter was leaving the surgeon's office as I arrived. We are seeing the same ENT and he is recommending that she have out her tonsils and adenoids. We will be praying for her and her physical needs. Three is so young to have to endure surgery. However, since it is elective, it may have to be put off, since the soonest they can schedule the surgery is just a week before mom (my daughter) is due with her second child.

Hope your life is filled with stitches. Now, I'm back to my sewing machine to finish a couple of bibs.

Posted Sun, Jan 29 2012 1:43 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

Birthday Dress

My granddaughter will be three next month and I decided to make her a dress to mark the occasion. I found some purple polka dot fabric in my stash and cut out a pattern over the week-end. I finished the hem on the dress last night. I also made another pair of beaded socks to go with the dress and bought a pair of purple leggings for her to wear with the dress. Dresses can be breezy. I understand from her mother that she won't wear any other socks than "the one's Grandma made" for her.

 The pattern was from the 80's and had a V-neck collar, cuff and neck ruffles, as well as, lots of lace. I chose to update the pattern without all those frills and added the rick-rack for trim.

I know some have asked about making the beaded socks. It is very simple. They are made with mini pony beads and crochet cotton thread. I count the ribs on the socks to determine how many beads I will need. Then, I can plan when to change bead color. The beads are added so that they hang down from the cuff of the sock. Here are simple directions:

Work from the back side of the cuff. I use a #4 crochet hook, but any size that will fit through your bead will work. Sl st between the first rib of the sock. Ch 2, place your crochet hook through the bead and draw a chain through the bead and the chain stitch on the hook, Ch 2. Skip the next two ribs on the sock and sl st into the next space between the ribs. You want the spacing to fit with the drape of the beads. Depending on the size of the socks, the spacing may be different. Continue adding beads until you reach the beginning; slip stitch into the first chain, sl st and tie off. Work the ends of the crochet cotton into the back side of the sock.

Here is a close-up of the socks I did at Christmas in my stitching together love blog.


Posted Wed, Jan 25 2012 11:12 AM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

Sue's Week-end

My week-end started Friday afternoon with a road trip to Grayling for a Michigan Quilt Network board meeting. Luckily, I rode with my quilt friend and roommate, so that I didn't have to do the driving. The countryside became whiter and whiter as we drove. The secondary mode of transportation in the area was on a snowmobile. They were everywhere and the town was busy with tourists. We dined at the the hotel restaurant next door and received the worst service, but the food was tasty.

Friday night's meeting included a Show & Tell session. Always a favorite among quilters, I most enjoyed the antique mola shown by a member and their paper pieced large-size quilt of marinar's compass- like stars. The colors were stunning and the quilting gorgeous. This gentleman does a beautiful job with his quilts and had, and has, some of his work displayed in some national quilt shows.

Saturday involved the usual stuff you talk about at board meetings. I kept my hands busy during the meeting stitching a sleeve onto a wall-hanging. Then, the ride back home, earlier than usual. Our meetings have become more organized and fruitful. I used the ride to work on my baby needlework project, that I first talked about and showed a picture of, in my antique shopping blog. Back at home, I decided to begin a dress-making project. I had found a size 3 dress pattern during my search for something else last week. I dug out a purple polka dot fabric and prepared it for cutting. After cutting out the pattern, with updated styling, I began stitching it together. The sleeves and hem are all that remain to complete. I also crocheted another pair of beaded socks to go with the dress, which will be a birthday present for my only granddaughter. She will be three next month.

Sunday, however, I did not get back to my sewing machine. Instead, I drafted a newsletter for our MQN regional group. I decided to take on this project, hoping to use it to encourage current and past members to get involved again with our group. With such a large area of Michigan covering our region, it has been difficult to get involvement on a regular basis. The newsletter could be a cohesive element in bringing the group together. I included my Mystery Quilt instructions, along with upcoming meeting info, local quilt show information and information on National Quilting Day.

In my research for the quilt show information, I reviewed the pattern that National Quilting Association put out to encourage sharing and creating of quilts for National Quilting Day. I downloaded the pattern, Pointing the Way, and may have to plan on making one during the month of March. Hopefully, many of you are making plans for National Quilting Day activities, officially recognized annually on the third Saturday of March. This year's date is March 17, 2012.

Now, I am blogging. Obviously, I am feeling better. Maybe that extra day of rest from work was the answer to by doldrums. Certainly, quilting brings pleasure, so that surely was a balm for my doldrums. Whatever the reason, Sunday night brings Sue back to her usual self. Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments. And, keep warm during these cold, winter days. Several areas of the country have been hard hit and the furnace is running more often to keep out the chill.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Sun, Jan 22 2012 7:25 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

In the Doldrums

This week, I have been in a period of the doldrums. Doldrums defined by the dictionary says ...low spirits, dull, listless feeling, sluggishness. I cannot decide if this is because I am still recovering from my surgery of three weeks ago; or if having half my thryoid removed is the issue. Either way, I haven't accomplished much this week. I have a list of things to do, but only accomplish half or less. At work, I cannot seem to concentrate on anything for a great length of time without becoming tired. Several individuals have commented on how I appear, and most think that I must be ill. My voice has a hoarse, husky sound since the surgery. Many, that did not know about the surgery, assume that I have a cold. As you may see, I haven't blogged much in the last couple of weeks, either.

I have been stitching an embroidery piece that I picked up last Fall at a flea market. It has a Disney design with Bambi and Thumper and places to record birth information. I need to complete this by the beginning of March, when my daughter is due with her second child. I also expect to get the baby quilt back from my longarm quilter tonight, and it will need binding put on by March, as well. The one thing that I have accomplished, since the week-end, is to put together the instructions for the Applique Club heart blocks for the guild meeting that will take place next Tuesday.

After work, I plan to meet my older daughter at Babies R Us. She is also expecting, in May. And, my Kiltie Quilters will meet at the local library to socialize. That's about all that I am able to think about accomplishing. Maybe I'll feel up to more by the week-end. I sure hope so.

Posted Thu, Jan 19 2012 3:23 PM by Pamela | 5 comment(s)

Sue's Sunday Projects Continue

I spent most of the day preparing the next two sample blocks for the monthly Applique Club at my local guild meeting. The samples have a folk-art look using a black flannel background, while the first set of blocks I completed are traditional cottons on a white on white background. I posted the traditional blocks back in September - Shadow Applique heart and Broderie Perse & Celtic Hearts. Here is the last folk-art block that I completed - Celtic Heart.

This Celtic knot was quite intricate and required pinning the entire shape in place before beginning any stitching. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to complete the over and under sequence without mistakenly stitching down an area in the incorrect order. The central heart continues to wind into a secondary heart. The green circles were part of the pattern and I completed them in wool.

The other part of the day was spent cutting out fabrics for my mystery quilt pattern that I am preparing for my other quilt guild, MQN. I am making the entire quilt using fabrics from my stash. Some of the fabrics are from the 1980's or 1990's. I'm really not sure when I purchased them, but likely from a JoAnn's sale. That was my usual choice for fabric shopping back in the day. Quilt shops were not as prolific as they are today.  

These are the five fabrics that will be used in the Mystery Quilt. The black and yellow fabric are from more recent purchases. You cannot see the difference in the fabric in the photo, but the feel of them certainly gives away the lower quality of fabric. The purple fabric was especially difficult to square up for cutting strips. I am still in the preparation phase, ensuring that my instructions will be correct before passing them out to the group. Tomorrow is a day off from work, so I hope to sew together some of the mystery sections to ensure that they go together as planned.

Sue's Sunday is winding down. She's been up since 6:30 a.m. and yawning has now set in at the 8:00 p.m. hour. Time to close up shop and consider flannel pajamas and warm covers. Winter has blanketed the Michigan landscape over the last week and staying indoors is the preferred activity. Although, soaking in the hot tub under a star studded sky is also in fashion.

Happy Stitching!

Posted Sun, Jan 15 2012 7:20 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

SewBatik Challenge Fabric

I was so excited to get my challenge fabric, that I blogged about it before thinking about including a picture. So today, I decided to snap a pic and post it, so that you can all see what the fabric looks like. Here it is. Such a pretty blue batik.

I looked through my pattern books and found a pattern for a 4-1/2 inch Marinar's Compass block. Yes, it is paper pieced. And, I am not a fan of paper piecing. I may try to hand piece the block using the English paper piecing method. Then, I will applique it to my quilt. The total dimensions have to be 20 inches by 20 inches. Right now, I am still in the planning phase, so I don't want to reveal any ideas. I do think that I will use only batiks fabrics. I have quite a collection and plan to pull them out and feel them and decide which ones go with this pretty blue batik. Check back later for more.


Posted Thu, Jan 12 2012 4:50 PM by Pamela | 1 comment(s)

SewBatik Challenge 2012

Well, if I haven't got enough quilt projects to juggle, here comes another one. I realized the other day that I hadn't heard back about the SewBatik Challenge for the National Quilting Association show. I had sent for the fabric back in November and expected to hear by now if I would get a FQ to make the challenge quilt. Then, today, I received a package in the mail with the challenge fabric and instructions.

The theme for this year's challenge is the Marinar's Compass. Each year, the NQA has a theme for the annual quilt show, which is also used for the challenge quilt. SewBatik sponsors the challenge and, of course, the challenge fabric is a batik. This year's fabric is a pretty blue color. I have never made a Marinar's Compass block. Whenever I look at the intricate piecing, it appears so daunting. Since I have always wanted to try making at least one block, this is my opportunity. And, I cannot think of any other creative idea to complete with this theme.

Some of you may have put two and two together and remembered that my quilt from last year's challenge was my "Hot Tub" quilt quilt with the Log Cabin theme. I blogged about it here. So, my first step is to plan out my quilt. Finding the time will be the real challenge.

By the way, for those Jennifer Chiaverini fans, I did receive her newest Elm Creek Quilt's book from my daughter for Christmas, autographed. And, I'm nearly finished reading the story. Another happy moment, a quilt friend of mine always donates books to the library as a yearly donation. This year, she chose two of Jennifer's quilt pattern books for part of the donation. Cannot wait to check them out of the library. Of course, my friend got first dibs.

Keep on Stitching!

Posted Wed, Jan 11 2012 8:46 PM by Pamela | 2 comment(s)

Sue's Monday Musings

So, I am back to the grindstone. Not really a grindstone, since I do enjoy my stressless job. Although, I had kept my surgery to myself, everyone seemed to know and was wanting to find out the results of my biopsy test. For those that may not have read my response in a previous blog, I am cancer free. No more surgery or tests. Maybe a small pill down the road, if my thyroid doesn't function with just one gland.

Over the week-end, I attended Groovy Girls with my sisters. I had finished last month's project and provided it for show & tell. Here it is for all of you to see.

Cute napkin and tea bag holders made with timtex, skinny hair ties and buttons.

I was awake at 3:00 AM, on Sunday, so got up and started my day. I selected fabrics, and did cutting for the mystery quilt that I am planning for one of my quilt guilds, MQN. My plan is to use this forum to demo the mystery, so that members can have access from home to pictures and instructions. Anyone interested in trying it out, is welcome to join in. This will be my first time writing my own mystery, but I am excited about the project. More to come later.

So, Monday is winding down. I am leaving work to help my daughter hem some new maternity pants. She cannot bend over to pin them and expect to mark them accurately. So, I get the pleasure. She plans to stitch the new hem herself. Hurray! My eldest daughter is actually learning to use the sewing skills Mom instructed her on as a child.

Enjoy your Stitching!

Posted Mon, Jan 9 2012 4:27 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)

Folk-art Applique Heart Blocks Revisited

A week ago, I was under the knife. Today, I am recovering quietly, at home. I am still awaiting the physician to call on the biopsy test results, but am confident that there will be no cancer. Just saying that outloud to all of you (well, writing it down), is a step of faith. My husband and I have been reassured through the Spirit on more than one occasion that this will be so. God is faithful to keep his promises and we are believing ... when Jesus walked upon this earth he healed many, stating "your faith has healed you". I stand on His promise.

 So, I have been spending my time at home stitching. With the holidays over, I can concentrate on previous projects that were put on hold. I revisited the applique heart blocks, begun last November for my guilds new Applique Club. I am making two quilts - a traditional wall-haning and one that is more of a folk-art rendition of the pattern. Each month, I have completed two blocks in the traditional fashion and begun the folk-art blocks to use as demos for the guild club meeting. The November blocks were a Stained Glass Heart and a Broderie Perse & Celtic Hearts. I have completed the Folk-art design in the Stained glass block and am working on finishing the Celtic heart block,

I revised the stained glass pattern to use a different layout. The bias strip is cream, to stand out more on the black flannel background. I used dark blue plaids and a wool for the stained glass sections, along with a cut-out of two Pennsylvania Dutch looking doves, on fabric that I have had for several years. This same fabric will also be used in the Broderie Perse block.

 I found a Celtic design in the book Celtic Quilting by Gail Lawther. I enlarged the design and made the bias out of a plaid fabric. After tacking it down, I plan to place small circles of green wool around the heart shape. Here is the block in progress. Lots of pins to hold the intricate knot in place.

I also began the Shadow Applique block, which will be the demo for January, along with the Broderie Perse block. The latter has yet to be started. With the end of January looming, I need to get it started. Especially since, I also have a baby shower on the books for Februrary and a baby quilt to get finished by the first of March. Oh My! Not to mention various and asundry other projects. Groovy Girls is Saturday and I haven't finished any of the projects for Show & Tell. Kiltie Quilters is tonight, but we are just a social group. The time will be used to work on my hand stitching. I so love having a hand stitching project to take along everywhere.


Posted Thu, Jan 5 2012 5:28 PM by Pamela | 4 comment(s)