Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Twining Class Wrap-up

twined runner
December 2015
Mid-December was the last session for the Rug Twining class at Fort Washakie. Only one of my students finished a rug, but the others have the technique mastered and should finish their rugs in short order.

During the class and subsequent work sessions, I finished a rug and the runner, shown in the photo above. The fabric strips from the last row on the runner still need to be woven into the rug before I can call it finished.

Ingrid's finished rug
December 2015
I want to commend Ingrid on her finished rug. For the record, it is exceedingly difficult for a beginner to twine with the two strips the same color, and Ingrid did it beautifully on her entire rug. Well done, Ingrid!

An earlier post on the rug class can be seen here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Busy in the "Sweat Shop"

finished blocks by the machine, and in the
foreground, sections ready to be sewn into blocks
December 2015
Marilyn and I are always kidding about working in the "Sweat Shop" (our sewing rooms), and last week, I was busy in my Sweat Shop turning scraps into blocks or sections of blocks.

The stack of blocks by the machine are pressed and waiting to be trimmed while other sections are ready to be sewn into blocks.

While the scrap bins have not been emptied, they are clearly less crowded. When I finish sewing the sections, I will have enough blocks for another Quilt of Valor, undoubtedly the first for 2016.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Thrifty Baby Surprise Jacket

nearly complete Baby Surprise Jacket
December 2015
Several months ago, I found two coordinating skeins of Encore yarn in a Casper thrift shop for a total of $1.50. The original price stickers are still on the yarn labels: $6.50 for the turquoise, and $6.98 for the off-white colorspun, so I got quite a bargain.

Last week, those two skeins became a Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ). Hopefully, this week, I can seam the shoulders and then add a collar (directions below) with the remaining yarn.

    Encore Colorspun (Drifting - color #7009) off-white and some turquoise plied together
    Encore (color # 0469) turquoise/teal

Baby Surprise Jacket pattern from Schoolhouse Press (I recommend the A-B-C-SJ, Adult, Baby, Child Surprise Jacket Pattern because it includes the a row by row pattern for the baby sweater). Using this pattern makes knitting the BSJ easy and enjoyable.

The original pattern (the directions are NOT row by row) is a bit confusing, in my opinion.

size 8 US

Collar details: after seaming the shoulders, pick up 18 stitches along each front neck edge and 20 stitches along the back of the neck. To prevent the collar from overlapping the buttons in the front, begin and/or stop picking up stitches at least four stitches from the front cast off edges. Knit 22 rows (11 ridges) and cast off in purl on the right side.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Back in Time - Kid's Table

Christmas Dinner at the "Kids' Table"
Brenda M., Terry S., Dwight M., and Brenda K.
sometime in the 1980s
We celebrated a LOT of family Christmas' on the farm, and often the "Kids' Table" was set up in the living room when there were more guests than the kitchen table could handle comfortably.

Lots to see in this photo - TV tray for extra helpings, graduation and wedding photos on the wall above the stereo, pole lamp, a ceramic Christmas tree, a rabbit ears' antenna complete with a chunk of aluminum foil for "better" reception (we only got one station even with a large antenna), and a small glimpse of the Christmas tree with Harold's stocking tucked under it.

Terry and Brenda K. were married in 1984, so it's possible they were married when this photo was taken, but I think it was probably before taken earlier than 1984. Brenda M., Terry and Dwight are my niece and nephews.

If you have an overflow or "kids' table" at your house today, snap a photo to capture those memories.

Merry Christmas to you & those
gathered at your table(s) today

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Memorable Scents

Dwight's toiletries
June 2015

One of the gifts that I remember giving to my brother Rich at Christmas was a bottle of Old Spice aftershave. Even though he had other brands - Aqua Velva, Brut, and English Leather, the one he used the most was Old Spice.

Several family members gathered at my sister's house in June, and one morning I spied my nephew's toiletries on the counter of the guest bathroom. Sitting there was the familiar bottle of Old Spice, and I admit that I popped off the top and took a big whiff.

What scents bring back memories for you?

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Open Windows

Open Windows
Quilt of Valor
61 x 73 inches
Open Windows is Quilt of Valor #82, which means I have completed 32 Quilts of Valor in 2015 - far more than I ever imagined were possible. The Shoo Fly blocks, featured on Monday's post, were used to create this top.

The last ten quilts have been made almost exclusively from the scrap bins. Yardage is only cut for background (white or off-white) and borders - sometimes the borders are remnants of previous quilt backs.

Just to clarify - when I finish a quilt and have "odd" sizes of fabric left over, rather than stuff it into a sack or box I cut it into sizes that can be used in various blocks. I start with the largest remnant and cut whatever that remnant allows; i.e., 10" squares, 8" squares, 6.5" squares, 5" squares, 4.5" squares, 3.5" squares, 2.5" squares and/or strips. I also try to cut some "bricks" which are 3.5 x 6.5 inches. These elements are then stacked in plastic bins and boxes and ready whenever needed. Bonnie Hunter calls this technique of scrap control: Scrap User's System. (click on the link for more details)

Thankfully, I've found a lady in Lander who welcomes smaller strings (2" or smaller) of scraps, so those scraps are given to her. Very little fabric is wasted which is a very good thing.

Cotton, quilting fabric pricing is all over the board: in some shops, the fabric is nearly $12 -14 a yard. Many shops also have clearance areas where fabric is 30 - 40% off, but selection is very limited; thus, it pays to use every possible bit of fabric.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Colorful Knitting

ten cotton dishcloths

This time of year, I like to knit simple dishcloths as neighbor gifts. This stack of colorful cloths were fun to knit.

The pattern is an oldie and is commonly referred to as Grandma's Dishcloth.

Grandma's Dishcloth

Yarn: Any cotton yarn (Peaches and Cream, Sugar and Cream, etc.)
Needles: Size 8 needles (US)

Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: Knit 4
Row 2: Knit 2, yarn over, knit across the row. Repeat Row 2 until you have 40 stitches on the needle.
Knit 1, Knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to the end of the row.

Repeat Row 3 until you have 4 stitches on the needle. 

Either bind off or do a round of single crochet and make a little loop of chain stitches in one corner.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Shoo Fly Blocks

Shoo Fly block
Quilt of Valor # 78 - Roundabout resulted in a considerable number of large "waste" half-square triangles (HSTs). Since I recently made a lot of star blocks from the smaller HSTs from Whirligig, I made some Shoo Fly blocks to shake things up a bit.  

Shoo Fly block
I only needed to cut the white solid squares, as the center squares were already cut and in the 4-inch scrap bin. Once sewed together into the quilt top, the blocks will measure or finish at 10.5 inches.

Thirty Shoo Fly blocks were made from the HST scraps - enough for another Quilt of Valor.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Foreign Friday

decorative gable
Southern Japan
Japanese architecture has such interesting details - right up to the roof tops. Most appeared to be hand-carved.
decorative gable
Southern Japan

Thursday, December 17, 2015


preparing scraps for more blocks
I'm focusing on using scraps before cutting into any "new" fabric The process is messy and time-consuming since the fabric has to be cut and trimmed. These stacks of scraps are destined to become granny squares. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Calico Stars #2

Calico Stars II
Quilt of Valor
56 x 68 inches
Orphan, scrap star blocks, remaining from Simply Stars, were paired with squares from the 4.5 inch square bin to create Calico Stars II (Quilt of Valor #81).

Due to my recent efforts, the scrap bins are becoming less crowded, and with additional scrap busting, I may find the bottom of some of the bins before 2016.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Simply Stars

Simply Stars (Quilt of Valor #80) was created with the scrap stars made with "waste" half-square triangles, and 10 inch squares of fabric. The border is fabric that I purchased at Kansas Troubles Shop in August.

Simply Stars
Quilt of Valor
58 x 74 inches

Friday, December 11, 2015

Foreign Friday

leaves on the edge of a small creek
near Lake Towada, Japan
Fall 1979
Fed by melting, mountain snow, the creeks and lakes in this region were crystal clear.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Freshen Up

Mouthwash Dispenser
Manhattan, KS
August 2015
I was surprised to find this dispenser in the women's bathroom in the Manhattan, Kansas  Chick-fil-A restaurant.

Have you seen dispensers like this in your area?

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scrap Stars

star blocks
8.5 inches
After making Whirligig, I had a large stack of "waste" HSTs (half-square triangles). The technique is explained in this PDF by Bonnie Hunter.

I sized the HSTs to 2.5 inches, selected some squares from the 4.5 inch scrap bin and made some star blocks to be used for another Quilt of Valor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Adopting an Elf

Elf ornament
painted by Brenda M.
This cute little guy arrived in the mail on Saturday, a gift from my niece Brenda.

Brenda and Marilyn (my sister) have hosted a Cookie Exchange every December for 25 years, and every year, they create unique holiday items for each of their 25+ guests.

gifts for the Cookie Exchange guests
Brenda's 2015 collection for the Cookie Exchange included elves, Santas, and reindeer. 

a variety of items painted by Brenda over the years
These are just a few of the ornaments and decorations that Brenda has painted over the years. I think she has an amazing talent.

Monday, December 7, 2015


57 x 68 inches
Quilt of Valor
Gemstones was made from scraps from many other Quilts of Valor. I am thrilled that Lori (Dakota City Quilter) told me about this quilt block. It is a great way to use a variety of scraps.

Gemstones is Quilt of Valor # 79. A list of the quilts can be seen here.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Missouri Star Mural - part 2

artist working on a new mural
Hamilton, MO
August 2015
It was fascinating to see this man working on a new mural for the Missouri Star Quilt Company. The building was next to a small coffee shop where we popped in to purchase a cold drink.

mural in progress
Missouri Star Quilt Company
Hamilton, MO
August 2015
We went further down the street, and when we turned around to go back to the car, we could see the progress that he had made. How I would love to see the finished mural that appears to be a large farm house, probably with quilts on the porch.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Additional Baby Blankets

six blankets and eight burp cloths
Over the holiday weekend, another batch of flannel, receiving blankets and burp cloths was made for a local charity. This will likely be the last set of blankets I'll be making for a while, as it's time to get back to working with my quilting cotton scraps and make some Quilts of Valor.

Earlier blankets can be seen here and here.

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