Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas, sewing and a drawing

I have just returned from my Christmas trip out to Chicago to visit my sister. Above is the only drawing I am including in today's blog update. I made this sketch while waiting at Logan Airport for my flight to board. The man was looking out the window at the various activities that were going on around the planes waiting for passengers. I did make another drawing, but though this is very sketchy I prefer this one out of the two I made. 

A lot of my time prior to my leaving on my trip was taken up by sewing. Above is a photo showing the 5 bags that I finished this month to give as gifts. Two went to my niece, one to her daughter, one to my sister and I kept one. Because they were gifts I couldn't write or post about them on the blog prior to Christmas.

Out of the 5 bags two of them were ones I had started last year and never finished, the other 3 are ones that I cut the fabric for this year, using a slightly different approach.

The older method calls for more cutting and piecing before cutting the pattern out, but I like the finished look better so. With the older method I was cutting six inch strips and then sewing them together prior to cutting the pattern. For the bags I made this year I cut four pattern pieces out of 2 different fabrics and then did some mixing and matching. Since I am using half yards of fabric I need to add strips to the bottom to make the bags long enough. But I need to do that with both methods so in that way it doesn't matter which method I use. I have decided to go back to the original method for the bags I am planning on sewing this next year.

You are going to have to look closely at the above 3 images to realize what you are seeing. There are 6 objects in the above images not 3. Each scan is of 2 mug rugs that I gave to my sister for Christmas. I used her scanner for the images and the bed was a bit too small to show all edges.

My sister likes to sit at the counter in her kitchen to drink her morning tea. In the past it has been her habit to place her mug on top of a pot holder on the counter to help keep the tea warm in the cup. This year inspired by a possible exchange with friends I decided I should make her some mug rugs. They are 6 x 9 inch small quilts that can be used in place of a pot holder. Well in place of a pot holder on the counter, they can't be used as pot holders to haul hot pans out of an oven.

All of them used blocks (units) that I had hand pieced at one point or another and just never put into anything larger. For the top 4 I used four 4 patch units, selecting those with approximately the same coloring and adding some hand dyed fabrics to give me the size I needed. The bottom 2 used a couple of friendship star blocks along with some indigo dyed fabric I had purchased. I kept the quilting to in the ditch, so it was quick and fairly easy to do.  I think finishing off threads took almost as long as the actual quilting.

There is batting between the layers though I used the pillow case method of finishing the edges (sewed and turned, then stitched about a quarter inch away from the edge. I didn't see any reason to spend the time actually putting binding on these mini quilts. The opening on the turned edge was slip stitched closed prior to my quilting the pieces.

They were kind of fun to make and I certainly have enough of a stash of finished units to make more of these this coming year.

One last image, the Christmas tree in my Sister's apt. on Christmas morning. Presents are bagged in Christmas fabric bags making for a colorful display under the tree.

I did spend a fair amount of time over the Holiday drawing so will include some of those drawings in my next update. In the meantime I hope everyone who celebrated enjoyed their Holiday and are looking forward to 2014.