Month: May 2016

Pocket Blues

I am finally sewing real seams! There has been so much prep work with this project, I was beginning to think I might be working on this in July. That is a tad dramatic…having a couple of Saturdays without major events got me back in my sewing room, and making some real headway. Have I mentioned how much I love working with wool? Amazing stuff! Pressing seams is so satisfying because they behave so well; no springing back and causing trouble. I love it!

My first pocket is looking great….that is until I started to attach it to the side seam. I have four layers of worsted here, and I’m feeling quite humbled at the moment. That, and the need to work on wedding gifts has stopped me in my tracks. First I considered that maybe I needed to sew the facings, separate, but now I’m thinking I need to stick with my original plan so sewing through all thicknesses.


I have scowered the Internet looking for any instructions for a similar pocket application, and I’m finding nothing.  I guess I’ll think about a few more days before I try anything. If anyone has ideas, I am all ears!



Summer’s coming!

Summer’s coming!

I have been hard at it the past few weeks, trying to get wedding gifts ready to go, and as I work on those items I look longingly at my Pendleton wool coat, which requires ripping. Meanwhile, it has been a race against time to get the summer programs at work ready to go, but such iimages the world of youth development. It seems that we are always working against the calendar! The first wedding happened this weekend, and happily, I was all finished with the gift… The cashell linen was wonderful to work with, though it obviously got pretty wrinkled by the time I complete the stitching. It finished up very nicely however,image and will be a great reminder of their beautiful ceremony and vows.  The next wedding is coming quickly in June, and involves a smaller throw quilt in the double wedding ring pattern. I sewed the top several years ago, during my learning how to piece era, and have had it sitting in my cedar chest, waiting for one of my daughter’s good friends to get engaged. Quilts still feel pretty overwhelming, because I’m not very creative on what to quilt. I spent several evenings perusing pinterest and googling images until I found an idea I felt I might be able to accomplish. DSCN0425[1]

I learned how to make my own template on the last wedding quilt, so once I found this pattern, it wasn’t difficult to trace it on the plastic, and use my handy melting pen to get the template made. I used a fine tipped fabric pen to transfer the design. No issues with tension and getting things going, and over the course of doing the pattern about 30 times, I think I am finally doing OK on tracing patterns with my free motion foot. I am still disappointed with my inability to keep an even stitch length, but that isn’t so obvious, especially since it is white on white. I keep telling my inner 4-H’er this is NOT for competition!

Now I am working on the rings, and have decided that in the future, I must come up with a better way to build quilt sandwiches. In spite of working hard to keep things smooth, I will have some tucks and very poofy spots. I am hoping that the final wash softens those issues, but I’m going to need to figure out a better way to sandwich before the next bed quilt, which is likely only months away…DSCN0426[1]

Overall, I’m pleased with my progress. I know the quilt is far from perfect, but it was made with love, and I think that it will hold up for many years to come.

Under the banner of Etc., summer is also about family camping adventures and gardening. Growing up on a dairy farm, side trips during the summer were unheard of, so I have really enjoyed learning how to camp with my  husband, who graduated from scout camp outs as a boy to summers as a wilderness ranger in the Colorado Rockies during his college years. Our entire family enjoys longer visits to the Big Horns in Wyoming as well as quick weekend getaways to the more remote Black Hills area campgrounds. I guess we are traditionalists; we use the campfire for cooking and still sleep in our cozy tent, though I think I’m getting ready to move up to a more cushy floor pad! Each outing is an opportunity to try new Dutch oven options, hike and just soak up God’s creation. I really love being unplugged, not counting the book on my ipad!

I always bring a project to work on during our camping trips, usually knitting, but sometimes handwork or some sewing that is ready for hand stitching, so I’ve been considering my options…I have leftover wool that will make a nice pair of socks, I have a lunch time cross stitch project that could be packed, and I’m hoping that I might have some hand sewing to do on my coat…though I may decide not to risk it being too near the smoke from the campfire. I’ve also been following the Splendid Sampler adventure going on with Pat Sloan and friends, and have been considering trying my hand at hand piecing with some of those blocks.

DSCN0418[1]I hope that soon the only thing competing with sewing will be the garden, which we attacked this weekend. While it may seem late to many, we just had our last frost on May 16!  We have a thistle and bindweed problem that is driving us to distraction, but made excellent progress Sunday afternoon. To solve this weed issue, we’re going to put down black plastic and literally bake those nasty bindweed and thistle roots. We are resorting to RoundUp only for the strawberry patch, which has been a dismal failure, due to the deer fertilizing it with thistle and crabgrass seed….GRRR! Our garden has three plots; one is 20 x 40 and the other is 30 x 30, plus the strawberry patch which is 10 x  30. It covers half the back yard, and provides us with all of our potatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, green beans, carrots, spinach and tomatoes for the year. Today we’ll put out the tomato plants, all 58 of them. They have become a forest on the dining room table, so it will be good to get them out! Soon to follow: potatoes, carrots and green beans, and finally pumpkin and squash the first of June.

Until next post….Kathy