This little project was in the CrossStitcher Organiser Calendar 2010 my mom gave to me.  (Yes, “Organiser” is spelled correctly.  Apparently it’s a British publication, with British holidays and all.) It hung in my kitchen all that year.  I wanted to do the projects, but that meant I would have to take down the calendar whenever I worked on a project.  Knowing myself the way I do, I knew the calendar would never get back to the kitchen if I ever took it down!

I decided to start on the projects in 2011.  I gave myself the goal of completing each project within the month it was featured.

January…cross-stitching part of the project completed.  I still need to track down some white quarter-inch quarter-round trim to complete the rest of the project.

February…entire project completed.  It is now in the guest room at my parents’ house.  Hooray!

March…skipped this one because I could never find the beads required.  Sigh.

April…completed and framed.  Still don’t know who the recipient will be.

May…here we go!  The poppies project.

Having read the supplies lists and followed the directions for a few of these projects already, I skimmed through this one, ready to get started.  I purchased the colors of floss I didn’t already own.  I asked my daughter if I could have some of her “little black beads” when I was ready to put the finishing touches on it.  (She agreed.)  I read “28 count…” in the supplies list.  WHAT?!  28-count?  Are they crazy or something?  (For you cross-stitch rookies, “28-count” indicates that this will be stitched on a fabric that is woven to accommodate 28 stitches PER INCH.)  I typically work on 14- or 18-count, depending on how large or small I’d like the finished product to be.  28-count might kill me!  I did have some 22-count on hand, from my college days, when my eyes were younger.  I could handle that.  Right?

June…I didn’t complete this one within the month.  Oh well.

July…Still not complete, because my 40+-year-old eyes only like to work on it in bright natural daylight.

August…Still going, and feeling like the Energizer bunny…

September…the Little Engine That Could…

October…the Little Engine That Might?

November…I was determined to finish it.  Stitching, beading, and making it into a pillow.  And I did it!



And look at the cute little buttons I had in my stash!  Aren’t they perfect?



Here is a close-up so you can see the details.  The seed beads were bigger than the cross-stitches!  The top-stitching you see on the purple fabric is about a 2.5 on my sewing machine, a fairly small stitch length.


I don’t want to say “never again!” but I can say that I do not foresee any other projects in my future that involve 22-count cloth.  Oh, and by the way, that “28-count” in the supplies list that I skimmed over…  It was actually 28-count evenweave cloth, on which cross-stitches are worked over TWO threads in each direction (vertical and  horizontal).  28 divided by 2…you mean I could’ve worked this on 14-COUNT?!

(Photos by my daughter.  Background is her groovy turquoise corduroy dish chair.)

T-shirt Quilt, Part 2: More Squares

I spent part of  today working on another quilt, but I decided to show some more squares from the t-shirt quilt instead.  (You’ll get a tiny peek at that other quilt in the last photo today.)  The following squares are from my high school and college days.

This was the front of a raglan-sleeved, hooded sweatshirt with a kangaroo pocket.  There was not much fabric around the image area to work with, so I added the strips at the top and bottom.


And this was the back of that same shirt.  I wanted to coordinate the two squares without doing the exact same treatment to both, so here’s what I came up with.


This shirt had a full 16 square inches of usable image and space without adding to it, so it was the easiest.  (That gray strip at the top was part of the shirt.)  The little purple patch was cut from a pair of sweat pants.  It will be appliqued to the quilt…somewhere.


The writing at the bottom of this shirt faded with innumerable washings.  I may embroider the words back onto it; I haven’t decided for sure.  It said, “black hole experience.”  I think the deep space print added a nice touch to this square.


This looks more like a vacation shirt than a high school or college shirt, right?  Well, I spent February of my junior year of college in the Bahamas for a geology class!  Not bad, eh?  (And February was a terrific time NOT to be in Iowa!)  The fabrics are from various projects for and by my daughter.  These are ‘her’ colors.  That round patch in the lower left corner of the picture was from the front of the shirt, and it will be appliqued onto the quilt…somewhere.


This shows the dorm I lived in for 3 years, and 1989 was the last year this image was used for the shirts.  I love it!  The dorm was renamed after a sizable monetary donation was made, so the image with the old name was no longer usable.  The bottom half of this square is part of the quilt that was on my bed through all my college years.


Only 6 more squares to go!

(Again, these pictures were taken by my daughter, who’s checking in on me!)

T-shirt Quilt, Part 1: the Squares

This project will be covered in several installments.  It wasn’t completed all at once, so I won’t show it to you all at once!

Today, I’ll show you a group of completed squares, after I explain that I didn’t have the forethought to photograph the actual t-shirts before I started whacking them up!  The photos you will see here are already 5 steps into this project.

Step 1: Ruthlessly clean out your stash of t-shirts that you KNOW you will never wear again.  (Wash them if necessary.)

Step 2: Measure (and record!) the height and width of the image area of each shirt.  This will determine what size to cut all of your t-shirts, if you want them all the same size.  (More on that in another post about another t-shirt quilt.)

Step 3: Cut the t-shirts according to the measurements you took.  The tallest image area among my shirts was 12 1/2″, and the widest was 14 1/2″.  Allowing for seams and free space around the images, I decided a 16″ square would be about right.  (I use a rotary cutter on a cutting mat to do this.)

Step 4: Apply fusible interfacing to the backs of all your squares.  This prevents stretching and general misshapenness while you work on your quilt.  And for the years to come.

You may skip the following step, if all your squares are uniform and ready to join together into a quilt top.  Mine were not, so on to Step 5.

Step 5: Some of my shirts did not have 16 usable square inches, so I had to make them bigger.  In order to make them bigger, I had to add fabric–something that is in (too) ample supply around here.  In fact, I had to buy fabric for only ONE of my squares!  Anyway, I added fabric in the style of traditional quilt blocks, such as Log Cabin, Snowball, Foursquare, Brotherly Love, and others.

In no particular order, here are the first 4 of 16 completed blocks!


This is the image that ultimately determined my squares' dimensions.


This one resembles a Snowball quilt square.


I wanted this one to look not quite square, so I created a two-color assymetrical border.


See the kite and kite string? This is a very modified Snowball, and it was very fun to do!


Keep watching this blog for more about my t-shirt quilt!

4 Seasons cross-stitch

This was a fun project I did last year as a gift for my parents.  They live in a beautiful part of Colorado where they actually have all 4 seasons.  Here in coastal southern California, we don’t really get all 4, you know?  I remembered to take pictures of my progress through this, but forgot to take a final shot of the finished product.  (Maybe my sweet parents will take a picture of it and send it to me…hint, hint.)

At this stage, most of what I’d stitched was pretty much the same on all 4 panels.  The snow in the fourth scene was the only major difference.  If you can even see the white clouds in the first 2 panels, they’re a little different from each other.  (They show up better when the sky is added later.)


OK, now we’re starting to see some progress!  Green!  Grass and leaves begin to make the seasons appear.


Add a little autumn color to the tree and ground in the third panel…


then the little background mountain on the horizon, and a little bit of sky.


The sky is complete.  Can you see the white clouds now?  Almost done!


It’s all in the details.  Outlining really defines the barns and that bare winter tree.


The finished product was a black framed white mat with 4 square openings, each opening featuring one of the 4 seasons.

I may well do this pattern again.  It’s easy enough to do while doing something else, like watching the news or chatting with people.  It’s also interesting enough to keep me motivated…unlike some other projects that remain incomplete.  <ahem>  And it was small enough to complete in a short period of time.  It’s cute, too!

Here we go…


I mean, sew…

This little blog is the result of my realizing that I have no record of countless fabric creations that I have made over the years.  Baby quilts, big quilts, doll clothes, people clothes, purses, bags, etc.  I can picture in my mind most of the items I have made, but no one else can see them (except for their recipients)!

I decided it was time to start documenting my little adventures in the world of fabric.  I plan to take pictures of my progress throughout my different projects and post them here. Unless it’s a gift for someone who is likely to read my blog, it will likely end up here.

Currently, I have a few projects in various stages of completion.  I’m making a t-shirt quilt, restoring/repurposing the quilt that I used in college, making aprons from pillowcases, and–always–finding cute fabrics to make shopping bags.  Other types of projects that I have tackled in the past and that may appear among these posts are purses and bags made from old jeans, pants, or neckties; doll clothes and fun stuff; teddy bears and other animals; projects for non-sewing friends; cross-stitch projects; and whatever presents itself when I find a piece of fabric that I just can’t resist!

I hope you’ll join me on my creative journey!

(Giving credit where credit is due:  My wonderful computer geek husband set this all up for me!)