Archive for the ‘Gran's Fabric Project’ Category

   I have completed my first UFO of the year!  I had grand plans to finish one of the big quilts this month, but after opening the shop and then making the top and the dress, I found the month was quickly getting away from me! 

So I chose a small UFO to finish.  It was one I actually didn’t know I had until I opened a drawer looking for something else, and there it was.  This was another unfinished project of my grandmother’s (those UFO’s do like to travel) and I had obviously tucked it away because at the time I didn’t know how to finish it. 

This is what it looked like straight out of the drawer.

I can see why she abandoned it.  The final border is so stretched and crooked that it would definitely bunch up and wrinkle if you tried to quilt this and add binding.  The whole think looked like it was in need of a good iron.

I soon discovered why….

The quilt was made with the foundation technique (like paper piecing but using interfacing instead of paper).  My grandmother must have been low on supplies because she used fusible interfacing on this one – sticky side down.  Which meant that when I went to iron down the seams, all I got was a sticky mess on the bottom of my (brand new) iron.  I turned it over and did the best I could from the front.

Then I removed the border.  It was broadcloth, too thin and flimsy to help this quilt keep its shape.  Luckily I also inherited my grandmother’s fabric stash along with the UFOs and was able to find a matching fabric for the border. 

I quilted around the hat, quilt, and inside border, and used another matching fabric for the binding.

I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out.  I wish my grandmother could see her work and mine combined!  (Although she might give me a lecture on how quilting by machine isn’t really quilting at all so perhaps it’s just as well…. 🙂  )

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My mother’s house is full of boxes of things that were removed from my grandmother’s house after she passed away.  It has been a slow and sad process to go through them all and decide what to keep and what to pass on to someone else. 

Among many of the very ordinary things of daily living there have been a few priceless treasures.

Like my great-grandmother’s recipes. 

As we went through more boxes this summer, a few more of these treasures have found their way into my home. 

Vintage linens.  I think these pillow cases are destined for a quilt. 

A doll pattern.  Ordered from the newspaper in 1948!

A pretty little apron.

I was really excited to find this one – a clothes pin apron! 

But the biggest treasure is definitely this:

A quilt from my great-grandmother’s house.  It is worn, stained, and has a few holes, but I love it anyway. 

Thinking of Gran today, with love.

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In the past two weeks I have been involved with 3 pattern tests and am happy to say that after spending all day seam-binding the last quilt, I’m done!  The quilt is still top secret at the moment (don’t I sound like the sewing spy?  I’d show it to you, but then I’d have to…ummm….poke you with my sewing needle?  Ok…maybe I’m not really a spy….)  Anyway, although I can’t show you the quilt (yet) I can show you my latest pattern test.   I was very, very lucky to be able to test the Ruby Lou doll pattern from Sew Much Ado

First off, I have to say what an amazing pattern this is!  I have never made a doll before and she made the process extremely easy.  It wasn’t as hard to make a doll as I always thought it would be.  I am so proud of my finished Ruby Lou!

She even has a reversible skirt!

Isn’t she cute?    And…she was made entirely from my grandmother’s fabrics!  I wonder if she knew she had all the making of a doll in her stash?

The PDF pattern for Ruby Lou is already available with a print pattern coming out soon.  There are lots of other fun sewing tutorials on the Sew Much Ado blog too!

Can you believe that this is my 6th pattern test?  I’m beginning to feel like a professional! 🙂

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It’s quilting month at Sew, Mama, Sew!   As part of the festivities there is a quilt block sew-along with a new block posted every Monday.  When I first saw this week’s block I did what I always do with projects I want to try – I bookmarked it.  The sad thing is, I have so many projects now bookmarked that I never seem to get around to making any of them.  And no matter how hard I try to organize them in my favourites (folders and sub-folders and sub-folders of my sub-folders) I can never seem to find the tutorial I want when I am looking for it.  (If anyone knows a better way to organize these things PLEASE tell me.  I need some serious help.  Opening my favourites folder is a little like opening the kitchen junk drawer – the very idea of it stresses me out.)

Anyway, all that to say that I decided that instead of bookmarking it, and despite all the half-finished quilts in my sewing room currently, I would do something that I never do – I would make the block Right Now.

And I did!  (Sometimes I even surprise myself!)  I almost got stopped after my visions of a black, white and grey quilt were dashed when I discovered that I have absolutely no plain white in my stash (black, grey and cream just wasn’t going to do it for me.)   But I persevered and I am really happy with the final fabrics I chose.  And all but one of them is from my grandmother’s vast collection.  (yippee!)

So then the fun part.  Cutting the triangles, sewing them into squares, and then playing around with the endless variations of patterns.  This is one of the things I love about quilts.  I once wrote a book about how teachers can use quilting to teach their students math for one of my university classes  and I spent hours hand-drawing the numerous possibilities for each type of block (I’m a geek, I know….)  Here are only a few that my 16 sew-along blocks could create: (pardon the dark photos, it was night when I took these)


Diamonds 2

Triangles - Random

triangles - ordered

Hour Glass

Pinwheels - I love pinwheels.

There is something soothing to me about arranging and rearranging quilt blocks.  I don’t know why I love it, but I do. 

In the end, I chose the random triangles.  I liked the way it kind of dispersed the colour throughout the block.  And I liked that the triangles just got to be themselves, without combining into any other shapes.  Here it is, in it’s finished glory: I can’t wait for next Monday to find out what the next square will be!

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When I saw the pattern for “Granny’s Clothespin Apron” in One Yard Wonders I knew it was a project I had to make.  My clothespins are stored in a white plastic bucket that we inherited when we bought this house.  There is really nothing wrong with the bucket, but this apron would be so much prettier and how easy to just grab the pins out of the apron as you hang the laundry!

Of course, I couldn’t make “Granny’s Clothespin Apron” out of anything else but my granny’s fabric.   There were a number of fabric contenders, from very retro to modern quilting fabrics, but in the end I choose something that really looked like it came out of Gran’s fabrics, the type of fabric she used all the time for her projects. 

It was really easy to make (except for one step where I read the directions wrong and accidently sewed the two pieces together backwards…sigh….) and it turned out fine even though I had quite a bit less than a yard of this fabric and had to cut the waist ties a few inches short. 

I was so excited to put this on yesterday to bring in the laundry!  (I really am easy to please.)  It was so much nicer to just slide each pin into the apron as I took the clothes off the line, rather than bending down to put them into the bucket each time.   And it made me feel a little more like the accomplished “manager of the household” that I strive to be.  Ahh..the power of the right outfit! 🙂

Old bucket kicks the bucket


new apron steps in


Now the fun part – in honor of my 101st post (I can’t believe that I have written 101 posts!   Hats off to you if you have actually read all 101  – thanks for being here!) I am hosting a giveaway.  The prize…. a clothespin apron made just for you!  Now, if you don’t have a clothesline, or just wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a clothespin apron (I know you’re out there…) I don’t want to leave you out, so I will also make a reusable fabric shopping bag as a prize if you would prefer.    The fun part – you choose the colour and I will make the item of your choice out of one of my grandmother’s fabrics.  I will happily send these items anywhere, so everyone can enter.

How to Enter:

1.  Leave me a comment telling me which item you would like to win (apron or bag) and your favourite colour. 

2.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, leave a second comment letting me know that you are and you will have a second chance to win.

Good luck!  I will leave the comments open all week and announce the winner Friday evening.

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I’ve been pattern testing again.  This time I was testing this cute apron pattern from Puking Pastilles  (If you’ve read the Harry Potter series you are probably smiling right now, and if you haven’t read them…well…you really should).  Despite my aside right there her blog isn’t actually about Harry Potter, but it is full of really fun sewing patterns, like the cape I made my nephew last week.   

I really enjoyed making the apron.  I learned how to do two things I had never done before – piping and knife pleats.  She made both really easy and I can’t wait to do some more.  I also just really love the design and if I had lots of little girls in my life I would happily make a whole bunch of these. 

The apron was also a  perfect use for some of Gran’s fabric.  I just love those happy-looking flowers and I think they look great with the gingham and blue.  (And in case you are wondering, that is our brand new kitchen floor pictured under the apron…another week-end or two and the kitchen might actually be done!!  Yipppee!) 

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the apron outside, too.  It was gorgeous here today.  Unseasonably warm and sunny, and you could actually listen to the snow melting!

And this little guy came to say hello to me too.  His name is Bailey and he thinks he belongs to our house and spends much of his time scratching at the door and meowing to be let in, or sunning himself on the deck, or crawling into your lap if you’re outside in the summer.   (Until his real owners come home that is,  and then he becomes a streak of orange running under the fence.) 

He loves to be picked up and he purrs before you even pet him.  I love a cat with a strong purr.  It’s very validating (even when he ignores me and purrs at the parsley plant in the window…)

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We are lover’s of books, hubby and I.  It is the one thing that we find irresistable, easy to acquire and hard to give away.  As such, we have more books and magazines than we do storage space.  As much of our reading is done in bed, there are piles of books on both of our night stands, and hubby in particular always has a large stack right beside the bed, where his feet should land each morning.  So far, no person or book has been harmed by an accidental morning slip, but it’s one of those things that seem inevitable – magazines are very slippery on hardwood floors!

So, when I saw this bedroom book organizer in One Yard Wonders it seemed the perfect thing for us, AND a perfect use for some of Gran’s fabric.  This pale green matches both our winter duvet (made by me) and our summer quilt (made and hand-quilted by Gran herself!).  It nicely fits a couple of books and magazines, and once I get some anti-slip stuff sewn on, hopefully that will be the end of the pile of magazines and books on the floor (the pile has reappeared since I made this and put these books in….I am hoping it’s just because at the moment it still sometimes slips out from between the mattresses at night?)

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When my grandmother passed away, she left me all of her fabric.  She actually started giving it to me several years ago, boxes of it, every time I came for a visit.  And each time I left with a box my grandfather would say “surely you could take a little more?”

And now that I have her stash, and my stash (minimal though that is), I really have more fabric than I know what to do with.  And I didn’t even take all of it.  Maybe half….she had a lot! 

I can’t lay a baby quilt on the floor of my sewing room anymore.  Too many boxes.  And I try not to think about the boxes and bags piled in the basement.  But since they block the way to the washing machine, I know I am going to have to deal with them.  Soon.

Thus begins project number two – to find uses for my grandmother’s fabric.  For someone who likes to sew, it sounds easy.  I have no problem with the cottons – quilts, here I come!  But the others…..the others I picked out because I liked them for one reason or another, but I am not exactly sure what my grandmother was thinking when she bought them – except that it was a long time ago and styles were different then.  Here is a sampling:

This is a beautiful thick wool.     But what does one make with beautiful thick wool in these particular colours?

These flowers are so sunny and cute.  But poly-cotton.  Hmmm….

This one reminds me a bit of stained glass.  But it is thick and stiff…

Ok, I really love this one.  I love the wildness of it.  I love the bright colours.  And it’s shiny.  100% polyester.   I love that my grandmother was the kind of woman who bought fabrics in wild patterns and bright colours.  I really want to know what she was planning to make out of this!   I probably would have worn this as a teenager but my style is a little more subdued now (which is probably a good thing as I can imagine the impression I would make if I wore something made out of this fabric to work….I would definitely get some comments from my students).  I can’t help thinking it would make a great lining for….well…something.

I love this one too.  But it’s a strange fabric.  Nylon maybe?

Yeehaw!  Who doesn’t like hot pink bandana fabric?!  This one had a big chunk cut out of it, I wonder what she used it for?

And this is not even the tip of the iceberg.  So it looks like I will be spending the next year cooking my great-grandmother’s food and sewing with my grandmother’s fabric.  Nostalgic, yes, but I guess that’s just the kind of girl I am.

  I expect I will be working on this project for the next few years…or more.  I don’t have to use every last scrap, mind you, just have to get it down to a size that will fit in the sewing room.  If I made it through 5 or 6 of the boxes, that might just do it!  (Like I said, this is going to take awhile…)   If you have any suggestions for things to make with these fabrics, let me know!

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