Friday, December 12, 2014

The Gathering

Yesterday I was with seven of my best friends for our annual Christmas Gathering luncheon hosted by Carolyn in her lovely home.  Spirited conversation, delicious food, and of course a little Christmas exchange was enjoyed.  Our quilt bee, known as the Cut-Ups, are not only wonderful friends that meet twice a month but outstanding quilters. We share in each other's joys and sorrows but also get in plenty of lighthearted conversation and laughter.  I always look forward to being around them.

We first enjoyed wonderful salads, scones, cheese bread sticks, and Christmas Bark and then some wonderful desserts, of course all calorie free.


Cynthia, Peg, and I waiting patiently to open our gifts
Martha, Sharron, Adrienne, and Cheryl enjoying some yummy desserts

Peg slicing her delicious Lemon Tort with Carolyn looking on. 




This year we decided to simplify and instead of exchanging small quilts we all made potholders. Of course no party would be complete without a game, so as Carolyn read a story from "The Quilters,"  each time she said the word quilt, quilting, or quilter, we passed our bag to the right.  When she finished her charming short story we opened the gift that was in front of us. Every one was delighted with the original potholder that they received.  I received a beautiful pot holder from Martha that is so pretty, I will use it as a Mug Rug on my side table. Perfect size to hold a cup of tea and a cookie or two.

Since I have not been in the quilting mood lately,  I crocheted two Magic Potholders and sweet Sharron received them.  You can find the Magic Potholder pattern here.



And here we are------The Cut-Ups

Until next time,
MERRY CHRISTMAS

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Some New Toys------I Mean Tools



I could never understand all the controversity about crochet hooks.  For years if I needed a new hook, I just bought whatever was available at that particular store, so I had a collections of Susan Bates, Boye, and even some Hero.  I did find that different brands were better for different yarns but in general I preferred the old fashion, made in the USA, Boye hooks and had a favorite J hook.

Then I saw a post of a c2c shawl and commented on how tight (maybe that's not the right description) her stitch was.  She wrote back that she used Clover Amour hooks exclusively.  Anxious to try, I ordered  H, I, and J hooks from Joann.

My new hooks arrived within a week and I anxiously tried my first project.  From the beginning I was hooked, excuse the pun.  The shaft is so smooth the yarn glides off  like magic and the slightly bulky rubberized handle is so easy to hold and comfortable. There is no cramping in your hand trying to hold onto a skinny alumunimn hook.




In addition, to make it easier for the crocheter, the hooks are color coded.  No more trying to see the stamped size on the end of the hook.  The brown is J, green is I, H is blue, and so on.  So easy, I love it   Now every time I go to Joann I will pick up a new size hook, eventually completing my set.  My only disappointment is that Clover does not make a Size K or larger hooks.

I did find the gauge is a little different size per size, so it did pose a problem. with my UFOs.  With one scarf I went down a hook size to complete and with a shawl I frogged two skeins as working with my old hooks was going to be uncomfortable.

My conclusion -----I am hooked on Clover Amour hooks and proud of it.

Until  next time,




Monday, December 1, 2014

Elise

Last week there were four ufinished projects in my basket, this weekend between football games (go Ohio State) and a little Christmas decorating, I finished two.  One is a Christmas present so I can't show that just yet and the other a Prayer Shawl.  Eighteen Prayer shawls completed since last November. WooHoo



I saw this pattern on Raveley called Elise and it was made with fine thread and not really useful for a Prayer Shawl.  Then I saw a picture of one made with knitting worsted and it gave the shawl a completely different look.  Love it, it's a simple enough pattern and it was charted, love those crochet charts. The shawl will fit a rather tall lady as it dwarfs my 5' 2" frame.


Maybe with the help of Santa's elves I might be able to finish another project or two in my basket




Until next time,


Monday, November 24, 2014

.........and then there were twelve



Last week I joined the 2014 4th Annual NICU Charity Challenge to make twelve newborn/preemie hats in twelve days and donate them to a local hospital.  Since I lIke making hats and love all those precious little newborns, this seemed like a natural project to do.




Earlier I had purchased two skeins of Deborah Norville's Everyday yarn in Christmas red and a skein of Bernat's Pipsqueak with the intention of making a scarf.  Just enough for twelve little Christmas hats.  The fluffy soft Pipsqueak adds that special touch.  As I was running short on the red yarn I used two rows of the Pipsqueak instead of the one on the last two hats.  Wouldn't you know I like the last two hats the best.

A new pattern is offered each day of the challenge but I needed to make mine early and get on with the other three projects in my basket waiting to be finished.  If you are  interested in this project you can find the site here.

Yesterday I finished the last four and after Thanksgiving I will deliver them to the Baylor Grapevine Texas Hospital.  Wish I had more to give, maybe next year.

Until next time....



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Head Start

Since Hubby's recovery is going well after his bout with pneumonia /surgery, I find that I am anxious to get back to normal.  All my time was spent either at the hospital or by his side during his recovery at home.  Needless to say I never made it into the sewing room.  No quilts, no miniatures, and no new aprons.



But time was not wasted as I got a head start on hats and scarves for my friend, Jane, to take to the shelter next November. With old man winter still hanging around, they may be needed now. 



The count of finished projects for the month of January---------seven scarves, twelve hats, and a Prayer Shawl.

Stay calm and put your apron on,




Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter in Texas


It was 16 degrees and snowing when I woke up this morning.  Not a big deal for most of the country but for us here in North Texas it is an "event."

Stay calm and put your apron on,

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday Sewing



I have never been one to fight the crowds on Black Friday so I spent my day in my sewing room. This was a perfect day to make a new Christmas apron.



I fell in love with this gingerbread print when I saw it at Hobby Lobby and thought it would work well with Lori Holt's One Yard Apron.   One half yard for the skirt, one quarter yard for waistband and pocket trim, and another quarter yard for sash and pockets.  I cut the pocket smaller and only added one as I wanted the gingerbread men to dance around the skirt.  Cookies anyone?

Stay calm and put your apron on,

Betty Lou




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Want to Play With Paper Dolls?





This apron was fun to make as every time I would look at the print it made me smile.  When I was little girl I think I played with paper dolls more than dolls, so when I saw this print with cowboy and cowgirl paper dolls I knew it would make a fun apron.

 


With the addition of the red dot ruffle I'll be ready for a Texas Barbecue.

A reminder that tomorrow, November 27th, is national Tie One On Day, traditionally the day before Thanksgiving, we all tie on our aprons and celebrate the women who came before us.

Enjoy all the pieces of your life,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rescuing Vintage Linens




While looking for vintage aprons in the sometimes forgotten corners of thrift shops, I have discovered a lot of vintage embroidery of the 30's and 40's. Often thrown in a heap, these pieces call to me -----"save me---save me."

Most times these dresser scarves, runners, napkins, and other small pieces have been passed over  by collectors looking for more pristine needlework.  But for me, I can't help thinking about the women that made them.  Surely they looked forward to the evenings when they could relax after a long day of housework, listen to the radio with the family and take a few stitches of embroidery.  All the time dreaming of how they could beautify their homes with their colorful stitchery.

I have no idea what I will do with these linens, maybe incorporate some in aprons or maybe just take them out occasionally and enjoy their beauty and appreciate the women that came before me.

Keep calm and put your apron on,

Monday, November 4, 2013

McCalls Sample Pattern



I saw this pattern on Etsy and thought it would be a good vintage pattern to try.  Vintage patterns are expensive to purchase on Etsy and Ebay and I always check at thrift shops but apron patterns seem to be quite scarce there.  Makes me wonder why I didn't keep all my patterns over the years, who knew they would be worth anything years later?



The only information  I have about the pattern is that it was a free pattern given away by McCalls in 1966. I wondered as I was putting this half apron together if it might had been distributed to Home  Ec students to use for sewing their first apron.

McCalls used several techniques that could be used when teaching a young girl how to sew.  Pleats, two small flat fell seams, narrow hemming, pockets, waistband, and ties.

Searching the internet I found that a different McCalls apron Sample pattern was issued in the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80 s. Does anyone remember these or have information as to how they were used?  I would love to hear from you.

I made my little red dot apron using the directions in the pattern even though some modern sewing techniques are much easier much---I admit I did serge the inside edges of the pocket, don't tell the teacher!

I may have gone a little overboard with the rick rack but then there is no such thing as too much rick rack.

Enjoy all the pieces of your life,













Friday, November 1, 2013

Schmetz Needle Coding



Determining the size of a needle once it is out of it's case has always been a problem for all sewers.  Schmetz has  announced their new needle color coding system.  Each needle size will have a color coded band.  This is great news for all machine sewers. Many times I have looked at a needle to try and determine if it was an 75, 80, or 90.  Coding will take effect in 2014 but check your local quilt shop as some shipments may arrive earlier

Thank you Schmetz Needle Company.

Keep calm and put your apron on,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Putting the happy in Happy Halloween





I love Halloween, not the gruesome Halloween, but the Happy Halloween.  Friendly ghosts, jack-o-lanterns, bobbing for apples, and little children in their one of a kind costumes.  I love it when the older kids come trick or treating just trying to squeeze out one more year of their childhood.





I miss the time when children could wear their costumes to school and have a parade  around the playground. When our children were little we would have a little pre-party for the neighborhood kids and feed them a light dinner before they went out to collect their loot of candy.  It was so much fun.






I remember making thecostumes for my two little boys, the first year they were witches, the next year clowns; after that it soon became costumes for four.  Then I made costumes for the grandchildren; race car drivers, nurses, dinosaurs, bees, you name it, I probably made it.




So this Halloween I will wear my Halloween apron and witch hat and wait for the door bell to ring.  I'll admire each costume and I'll hand out candy by the handful, because on October 31st, I become a kid again.

Keep calm and put your apron on,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunday Best in the 50's

These two organdy aprons were purchased at a thrift shop on our recent trip to Ohio.  Although the styles are different they are made with the same light blue organdy fabric and appear to be made by the same person.


Every housewife in the 50's and 60's had a couple of hostess aprons that she would wear when having guests for dinner, a cocktail party, or maybe entertaining her bridge club.


Although very similar the aprons are different.  The one has a gathered skirt with ruffle at the bottom and pockets and possibly made from this Advance pattern.  In 1948 Penny's gave this pattern away to promote the Bob Hope and Jane Russell movie The Paleface.


The next is a half circle apron with lace trim around the bottom and the name Marjorie embroidered on the pocket and could have been made using Simplicity pattern 1846.


When I was married I made pastel organdy aprons for the girls to wear who were serving cake and punch at the reception.  Guess Marjorie and I had a lot in common.

Keep calm and put your apron on,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Scarecrows For Fall





Since returning from our trip I have been anxious to get back into the sewing room.  Last week was busy with laundry, grocery shopping, hair cut, pedicure, doctor's appointments, etc.  An endless list of things that all needed to be done after returning from our trip.

Saturday I went into the sewing room, brushed the cobwebs from my machine, blew the dust from the  ironing board and started sewing this little apron.



I remembered I had purchased this scarecrow fabric last year along with a small leaf print----just enough for Indigo Junction's Gathered To Fit pattern.  This pattern is a one size fits all which usually does not work for me but this is not bad.  I shortened the skirt about two inches but that was the only adjustment.



A little gathered pocket, pattern from The Perfect Apron by Rob Merrett, added a feminine touch. I usually have to wear an apron at least once to know if the fit is comfortable, will try it out this week  I think it may be a winner.

Colors are a little off in the pictures, I really need to take that photography class.

Keep calm and put your apron on,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Vintage Ohio Apron



Brown Gingham Chicken Scratch Embroidery Apron

On our recent trip to Fremont, Ohio I spent a couple of hours at the Share and Care thrift shop. Secretly I had hoped that I would be able to find a vintage apron while we were there, something made by an Ohio homemaker.  Hubby not being too interested in thrift shops, I didn't think this would happen.

Sunday after church we had lunch with our good friends John and Diane.  I knew Diane had worked at Share and Care and when I told her about my new interest in vintage aprons, she suggested I come into the store on Tuesday.

Hemline with Chicken Scratch Embroidery

To my surprise I found four aprons, this being my favorite.  A brown and white gingham Chicken Scratch Embroidery apron, probably made in the 60's.  The Chicken Scratch embroidery fills the hem and upper pocket while a pleating technique was used along with the Chicken Scratch to make the waistband.

Pleated Chicken Scratch Embroidery Waistband

The apron is in good shape, a little repair was needed at the pocket.  Washed, starched, and it looks like new/vintage, just the way I like them.

I haven't been able to find a vintage pattern using this pleated waistband technique but Sew Mama Sew has a good tutorial.  You can fine it HERE

Chicken Scratch has been called many names over the years Despression Lace, Amish Embroidery, or Snowflaking.  Using four basic cross stitch stitches done over the darker or lighter color of the gingham with white or colored embroidery floss gives the fabric a lacy look.  Of course, as with all handwork, many variations can be found.

Keep calm and put your apron on,