Tag Archives: family

A New Christmas Stocking

Our son lives far away and won’t be here for Christmas. However, he will still need a Christmas stocking. I’m not ready to send off the one he grew up with, so I made  a new one for him.

I chose fabric from my stash. The foot of the stocking is bright red, with whimsical instruments drawn in white. I used this fabric a few years ago as an accent in a quilt made for Son’s best friend. (They were in high school band together. Dan played trumpet (and soccer!) and Son played sax.) The cuff is from a Christmas print, one of the very few I have in stash. The backing is a plain white muslin. The batting was a scrap of some low-loft, low-density polyester, and it gives it just enough padding.

First I quilted the fabric with my long-arm. It’s probably just as easy to use your DSM, or even buy pre-quilted fabric if you find one you like.

Then I traced around my pattern, drawn using the stocking he got as a baby. The pattern has a seam allowance included. It isn’t very exact but for approximation’s sake, let’s say the seam allowance is 1/2″.

I drew and cut out two. Remember you need two sides to the stocking, and the foot needs to face both ways.

To keep the edges corralled, I stitched quickly around the edges of each part separately. Then I pinned them, right sides together. Using my walking foot, I stitched around, leaving the top open.

Then next step was to create a cuff. I decided how deep I wanted it (4.5″), doubled that (9″), and added an inch (10″). The inch was the seam allowance for both edges that would attach to the top edge of the stocking. I cut the piece 10″ deep. I also needed to know how long to make it. Honesty: this was a bit of fudging. What worked fine was using the width of the finished stocking, doubling it, and adding something like 3/4″. Because the cuff needs to fit around the stocking, you need a little extra leeway. Then I sewed my cuff along the 10″ edges, right sides together, to make a tube. The seam allowance here is probably a fat 1/4″. As I said, I fudged a little.

I turned the cuff and folded it to make a tube half as deep, with right side of fabric on the outside. I pressed the fold edge all the way around. Then I tucked a piece of batting into the folded tube to give the cuff a little poof. You could skip that if you prefer.

With the stocking turned inside out, I pinned the cuff to open edge of the INSIDE of the stocking.

Again using my walking foot, I stitched the cuff down around the top edge, back-stitching at the beginning and end to secure. Once turned right-side out, the cuff lies nicely around the top. Finally, I used a piece of grosgrain ribbon to create a loop, attaching it with zigzag stitching.

Here is the finished stocking, featuring Son’s first Christmas present from Santa. Next to it on the right is his original stocking, which served as the model.

A Gift for My Brother

A few years ago my brother got married. Sister Cathie and I made a quilt for Brother and his bride. Alas, the marriage didn’t last.

But happier times are here. He recently bought and moved into a new home. I thought that a new home, new start, called for a new quilt. I built a quilt top of simple 8″ hourglass blocks. The block is fun to make and packs a lot of pow with its graphic simplicity and contrast. I used fabrics I still love but am not using much. I framed it with a triple border, and enlisted Cathie to help quilt and bind it. It’s big, about 94″ square, so quilting and binding is a big project.

Last Sunday we visited Brother in his new home and presented his new quilt. It looks even better on his bed.


Tree of Life Times Two


Cathie’s “Fantasy of the Squirrels” on the left. My “Garden Party” on the right. Click on the picture to open it larger in a new tab.

One of the things I love about quilting is how two quilters can interpret a pattern or an idea completely differently. The photo above shows two quilts made using the center panel designed by Julie Paschkis. My sister Cathie made the one on the left side of the picture. I made the one on the right. Frankly, I think they are both terrific.

If you click on the picture, you’ll see the details of both quilts better. With hers, I love the way the split-striped border creates movement with the light/dark bars’ contrasts. Those contrasts are offset by the soft brown on either side. The triangle points extend the center outward, giving it even more presence. The outside border is a leaf print of blues, greens, and black swirling through, continuing the “fantasy” of the center, and playing well with the green and black print that squares the center. She repeats both the reds and blacks from the center with the corner four-patches, adding to the unity of the design.

In mine the colors are more saturated, the value contrasts stronger. This is a typical difference of how she and I work.

I enjoyed seeing the finished quilts side by side.



Making a List and Checking It Twice…

No, I’m not Santa, and I’m not making Christmas lists yet. But I am planning to give some quilts away.

Until about three years ago, I gave away almost every quilt I made. But for a variety of reasons, my pace of giving slowed substantially. Most of those reasons are still in place, so my gifts will be carefully considered. But there are several my heart is ready to release. A few of them have new owners chosen, while others will be more challenging to decide.

Jim asked for one quilt to give away. I’m not sure if he has a plan for that or not, but I look forward to watching the process unfold. One will be a baby present for neighbors, who also happen to be friends of our son. Isn’t it sweet?

Bunnies for Baby

At least one will go to my guild as a service (donation) quilt. I never did like the combination of fabrics.

And I have chosen family and friends for five of them. A few others are candidates for giving, too, but I’ll have to think a bit more about receivers.

One thing I have learned while stockpiling my work is that giving all of them away isn’t okay. Nor is keeping them all. I need a balance between the two, allowing me to celebrate the gifts of love and friendship and family, as well as those of my art and my own need for comfort.

Odds and Ends

So many things going on! There are several short blog posts I’d like to write. Instead, here’s a mish-mash of a few.

First, I’m excited to be presenting to the DeKalb County Quilters’ Guild tomorrow (Thursday) evening. I’ll be discussing design basics for medallion quilts and showing a few quilts in my portfolio. The meeting begins at 7:00 pm. The address for the presentation is
St. Mary’s Parish Activity Center (PAC)
322 Waterman Street
Sycamore, IL
Guests are welcome. I’d love to see you there!

Besides that, I’m working on a quilt with my sister Cathie. (Okay, make that two quilts. This weekend we’ll be quilting that hourglass together.) We’ve done “round” robins before, passing a top between us using a medallion format. Today I made some flower block parts for the next border of our current round robin. In fact, I’ll pass the flower parts on to her. Then she’ll get to decide whether to use them or not. Here are four of the blocks (not fully assembled) arrayed on my design wall in a bouquet.

I’m a member of the yahoo group called Stashbusters. Recently we’ve had discussions on chain-piecing with leaders and enders. Here is a post I wrote previously about that.

Another post I wrote before was on paying attention to your machine. I take good care of mine, cleaning out the lint regularly. Recently I had my main machine serviced to take care of the parts I can’t reach. It was a fairly small investment, less than $100. But today it was making noise as I sewed. I tried listening to it to determine what might be wrong. Ultimately I decided a new needle was in order. Listen to your machine. Often you can take care of the small problems yourself. (A related post you might enjoy is A Stitch in Time. It shares a little history and information on how your machine actually makes those stitches.)

Friday is my mom’s birthday. She would have been 83. I keep a picture of her on my wall and am always glad to have her with me.

And to the more trivial, I finally got my hair cut this week (!!!) and my new business cards came today.

I’m keeping busy. My life is full and I am very blessed.