Looking Ahead (and back!) to Christmas

We are now in the last third of October, which is the time I traditionally start getting excited and planning for the upcoming Christmas season. Now don’t yell at me quite yet- I never actually decorate or listen to Christmas music this early! (although I have a friend who does and she’s one of the happiest people I know!)

That being said, I HAVE started thinking about Christmas projects- what I hoped to get done, what I want to do still and what I’ve done in the past.

I was hoping to have FOUR more quilts ready to gift at Christmas than I have done. With the pain in my hands and elbow curbing my sewing time, I have had to come to terms with the fact that it’s just not going to happen this year. Fortunately, these people love me and know the effort that goes into quilt making, so they’re willing to wait!

One quilt I do plan to have done by the Christmas Season is my Quilter’s Planner 2019 Snowflake Sampler.

Quilting this has been a slow process, but it’s over half done and I will definitely reach that goal in time! This will go on my bed from mid-November through February/early March.

As for other Christmas sewing, I really don’t think there’s much else I want to do! Honestly, my sewing time is so rare lately and I’ve gotten so far behind on UFOs that adding new projects is not really on my radar.

That being said, I did want to take a look back at some of the fun Christmas projects from the past.

This apron was made for my daughter back in 2016. It’s still in our kitchen drawer and gets used year-round!

It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that I made these table runners using the Swell Christmas fabric line, but it has been two years! This reversible one went to my sister.

And this one with the fun hand quilting stayed with me.

This tree skirt is still one of my favorites each year. It’s thick because it had two layers and is wide enough that it looks great with our larger trees.

Last but certainly not least is this quilt I forgot I had! It is stored most of the year in my Christmas decorations, and I completely forgot about it after packing it away last year. Cant wait to pull it out when it’s time to decorate for the season.

Are you already sewing for Christmas?

Color: It’s All Relative Sample

Hi friends! I was sewing up a storm of class samples in September!

This project is a class sample for my Color: It’s All Relative! class. It’s a small quilt, finishing out at 48″ square. I finished the first quilt top just in time to present the content to a guild via Zoom in April.

I ran into some problems as I started planning the quilting on this. It’s such a high-contrast quilt, and I really wasn’t sure what thread color or quilting style I should do. I started with straight lines in a medium grey. Three lines in, I decided I hated it and pulled it out. Then I went for a swirl design. Still it was not quite what I was going for, but I thought if I added some more quilting to it, I could save it. I thought wrong. As a quilt for using, it was fine, as a class sample…. not so much. Never in my life have I ruined a quilt with the quilting, and I always tell my students that anything is recoverable… but for it’s intended purpose (showing the quilt top design) this quilt was ruined.

At this point, my best option was to finish this as a quilt to donate and start fresh for my class sample.

I decided this time on monofilament thread and wondered why in the world didn’t I think of that the first time?! I went with my original plan for straight lines, and am happy with how it turned out, in spite of some distortion from quilting. I feel like using spray basting would have helped, but I was all out and on a deadline.

I chose a cute multi-colored polka dot for a binding and love the way it brings it all together.

I will be teaching this class at Quilting Mayhem in November; visit my Group Classes page for more info!

Happy Sewing! ~L

Scrappy Rainbow BYS Quilt

I am so happy to FINALLY be sharing this By Your Side quilt with you! I feel like I have been making this quilt forever, and just finished working on it last week.

I finished the top years ago and then it lingered in my studio closet waiting to be quilted.

The quilting stage gave me some trouble, as I had my batting flipped and was getting all sorts of looping and thread breakage. For more about batting ‘sides’, visit  Suzy Quilts for a fabulous post on the subject!

It sat in my closet again for months waiting for me to remove all the bad lines of quilting.

Finally, last week, I sat out in the beautiful sunshine and finished the job!

It was nice to finally see it done and Phin gave his kitty seal of approval!

Happy quilting! ~L

Studio Update

Hi friends! I hope you’re having a fabulous week and you and yours are safe and healthy.

I have so many projects going all at once, and I realized I haven’t updated my blog followers on what’s going on in my studio recently. So here’s your full Laurel, Poppy and Pine update!

As I begin to re-open my studio, I have set safety protocols in place for private lessons. Of course, having my students mask up is on of those precautions. I expect most students will bring their own masks, but in case someone forgets, I purchased these adorable masks from my friend Trina at Snippets for student use.

In addition to restarting private lessons, I am also gearing up to begin group classes. I will be teaching my By Your Side pattern at Quilting Mayhem in Snohomish on September 26th and have several other classes that I am preparing, including a fun color theory class. Local friends, keep your eye out for that!

And with teaching more classes comes making more samples! I have a couple of By Your Side top samples that I would like to finish before class to show my students all the fun ways you can make this quilt.

I also have this top, which is the sample for my color theory class. I’ll be finishing it hopefully this weekend.

Last month, I shared that my July UFO challenge was a black and white version of Quilting Jetgirl’s Downstream quilt. Since finishing that top, my son has moved AND decided to buy a larger bed! So, I got creative and drafted up a plan to add 10″ solid black borders to each side so he had a decent amount of overhang to cover his mattress well. I do have a bit of a sense of urgency to finish this one, as he’s in a studio so his bed is in full view of all guests!

My August UFO project was to finish my 2019 Quilter’s Planner BOM quilt. Recently, my husband and I decided that we would like to have a series of seasonal quilts to use on our bed. And with it’s adorable snowflake layout, this quilt is perfect for winter! I did not finish it in August because I really wanted to practice the quilting motif and take my time to do it well. It’s about a third of the way quilted at this point. And because I didn’t really have a good plan for my September UFO project (#10- a stack of Berry Season and Fall colored 10″ squares), I decided to skip it and extend my August project into September.

Speaking of quilts for our bed, my husband and I decided to work together to get a head start on my #6 project- the Alice in Wonderland Shimmer quilt. At the beginning of the year, my plan was to ‘have a finished top’, but I hadn’t chosen a size. Well, our bed is a king size, so that means we’ll be making 56 of these blocks in total. We’re still in the cutting stage, but it’s been fun to work together on this. We plan on it being our ‘late summer into fall’ quilt. Although there are a lot of florals, I love that the color palette made it masculine enough for his style.

With so many projects to do, it’s been a bit hard for me to know what to work on. I’m feeling a bit like a bumble bee buzzing from one flower to the next! I’m hoping on my next update, I’ll be able to show you some finished work!

Happy Sewing, ~L

Jeans Repair

I don’t know if it’s the summer or what, but I feel like lately I’ve been doing so many repairs on my family’s jeans collections.

I love that a quick fix can save a pair of well-loved jeans from the donate pile or scrap bin.

There are lots of great resources out there to learn mending techniques and get inspiration, but these two books are my favorites. If you haven’t tried mending your own clothes yet, I suggest starting here. (These are not affiliate links; I just love these books!)

Happy Sewing!


July UFO Challenge

Hi friends! As promised, today I’m sharing a little bit about My July UFO Challenge project: Isaac’s Downstream quilt

This project was one of two on my list that I didn’t have a plan for the design- just the recipient. here’s is what I had to say then:

5- Full-Sized quilt for Isaac: Like project number four, this is still in planning stages. At least for this one, I know it’s going to be black, white, and grey.

My eldest son is very much a computer nerd. He loves drones and 3D printers and all things techie, and has always liked the combo of black and white. He loves the last quilt I made for him, which you can see here, but it just isn’t big enough for him anymore now that he’s grown.

Around the time I was setting aside fabrics for this quilt, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl released her Downstream Digital Quilt Pattern. It looked like just the thing he’d like, and the inspiration behind the quilt really hit home because, although he’s a tech nerd, my son is also very much a Pacific Northwest outdoorsman.

I chose the twin size, and realized quickly that although he wanted a scrappy quilt and I could shop from my stash, I just did NOT have enough black, white and grey in my stash for this thing!

I’ve been ordering fabric online a lot more now that 1. I don’t work at a fabric shop anymore. 2. Coronavirus has reduced many store’s hours and kept me home. But for this, I was in the groove and I didn’t want to wait for fabric in the mail. I went to both Hobby Lobby and a fabric shop in my town and found what I needed to complete this quilt.

Scrappy quilts can sometimes yield fun surprises. I was really happy when I sewed these two blocks together- I think that the contrast of the stripe going in to different directions as they make this point is a really cool detail!

Yvonne made this pattern so easy to follow; it’s a very quick finish! For assembly, I numbered my rows and was careful to follow her assembly diagram as I sewed.

I love the way this turned out, and even better- so does Isaac! There are some rather large triangle pairs left over which I have stored away in my closet to (eventually) make a baby quilt for his first child so they can have coordinating quilts!

This quilt top has joined the quickly-growing stack of tops for me to finish this winter.

Happy Sewing! ~Lorinda

June UFO Challenge

Does everyone else feel like they’re playing one very long game of catch-up, or is that just me?! The Corona-craziness starting in March and April coupled with a massive arthritis flare-up in May and June have done a good job of keeping me always just slightly behind schedule on my UFO challenge. Add my lack of keeping up this blog, and I’m realizing that unless you are an instagram follower, you would think I’ve given up this challenge completely!

Well, I definitely have not given up! And in the next couple of days, I will be posting about the last couple of months of the challenge and where I’m at.

#11 was the project picked for June. Here is what I had to say in January about this project:

11- 16-patch scrappy quilt: I have several 16-patch scrappy blocks that I’ve made over the years and would like to make some more and assemble a quilt. Not sure what size I’ll end up with, but it’ll probably depend on how busy that month is!

I didn’t really have much of a plan for these blocks or even an idea of how large the finished project would be. I decided on two options: I could simply assemble the blocks and make a very busy baby quilt with zero negative space, or I could assemble them on a grid with a ‘background’ color for some space to rest the eyes.

Well, in spite of being behind schedule, I decided I much preferred the idea of the larger quilt. And since my eldest son helped me make that decision and he was just about to leave for a picnic with his girlfriend, I figured it should be a picnic quilt for her.

We decided on a dark grey or black solid background, but as many of you probably know, it’s kinda of tough to find neutral solids right now. As I shopped online, I did find this black and grey blender that I thought would work well. It was a little scary buying that much fabric without seeing and touching it first! But when it arrived, it was as beautiful as I had hoped. I ordered extra, so there was enough to add a 3″ border and even some to save for my son’s next quilt (which, unbeknownst to me, would be my July UFO project!)

Leah’s Picnic Quilt is now in my pile of finished tops awaiting the perfect backing and quilting plan. I like the idea of an all-over swirl design in a bright color. The finished top is 62 x 70.

Tomorrow I’ll share with you about my July UFO project: Isaac’s Downstream quilt.

Happy Sewing! ~L

“Gertie Sews” Garments for Lauren

You may have noticed I’ve been posting a lot the last couple of weeks. I’ve finished a lot of projects recently and am trying to catch up on writing my posts!

For years, I’ve been wanting to spend some focused time learning how to sew garments really well. I decided a great place to start would be sewing some cute vintage-style clothes for my daughter from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual guidebook by Gretchen Hirsch.

I love how this book lays out so much information in a way that is totally understandable before giving you some amazing patterns that can be adapted and adjusted to fit your style.

My first pattern from the book was the Short and Chic A-line skirt. Honestly, this one was really just about me getting to play with my serger settings! I had this fabric on hand, and although the heavy weight wouldn’t be my first pick for a short skirt, I think it’ll look really cute in fall with some dark tights.

Next up was the Flared Shorts. I kept the pockets in the pattern because who doesn’t love pockets?! This black pair was my test run.

Once we had the pattern as we wanted it, I told my daughter the yardage she would need to buy if she found fabric she liked. Well, she works at a craft store that sells fabric, so it took her all of a day before she came home with this adorable blue and white stripe with embroidered flowers.

I really love this book and now that I’ve made a few garments for my daughter, I think I’ll venture into making some things for myself. My goal is to get a pattern drafted for a perfect-fit cigarette pant. My husband is also already asking for dress shirts, so I’ll have lots of things to keep me busy!

Happy Sewing! ~Lorinda

May UFO Challenge

How can time simultaneously seem to be dragging and flying by? How is it possible that 2020 is half over? And will I ever catch up on my UFO challenge?

My arthritis was really flaring up in May/June, so I reduced my sewing time quite a bit and got WAAAAYYYYY behind on my sewing projects.

My May UFO challenge project was one that had been sitting around my studio for much too long. In fact, when I got it out and up on my design wall, my daughter reminded me that we worked on it together at our old house. That means this project has been sitting in limbo for almost THREE YEARS. Not the oldest of my UFO projects, but this one did sit untouched the longest. Time to get it done!

Here is what I had to say in January about this project:

“12- Low-Volume Blue log cabin- This is a charity quilt that has been lingering for much too long. The blocks are mostly done and it just needs to get finished and get out into the world. I would like to have it completely finished by the end of its month.”

Because I hadn’t touched it in so long, I had to look at what I had in the project bag and make a guess at the layout I had planned. There were 20 unfinished blocks; some of them measured up to 12.5″ on one side. Knowing that, and remembering the charity quilt size requirements for my guild at the time, my assumption was that I was making 12.5″ blocks in a 4 x 5 layout. This would make a 50″ x 62.5″ quilt top.

I had some remaining fabric set aside to finish this, but I also wanted to add some newer things from my stash for variety.

After finishing the top, it sat for a while longer before I started quilting it. I decided on Aurifil 2890. It was in my stash and coordinated great with the Kona Basil I had used for the majority of the backing and for the binding. My husband really like the density of the quilting on this, so I think our next bed quilt will be similar. It looks full, but there are plenty of open spaces where the quilt can pouf up and move around.

I’ve been doing a lot of machine binding this year. Hand sewing has gotten harder, and I feel like machine binding gives a really strong finish. This is especially important for baby/toddler quilts that get a lot of washings!

Happy Sewing! ~Lorinda

Vintage Princess Peggy Day Dress

About a year ago, my mom brought me this dress for my daughter. It was my grandma’s, is in great condition, and she thought Lauren may like to wear it.

From my research, it was produced in the late ‘40s or 50s, and I could only find one other like it online…. an amazing treasure. But, in order for Lauren to be able to wear it, I had to size it down quite a bit. Scary! I really waffled back and forth about altering this dress, but ultimately, it was either going to keep sitting in the closet untouched, or I was going to adjust it and let it out into the world again.

While examining the structure of it, I found these little hand stitches that were made to adjust the fit around the bust and neck strap. Presumably, they are my grandma’s stitches, and most likely 50-65 years old. I didn’t know my grandma well, as we lived across the country from each other and she died when I was in elementary school. But seeing these stitches really made me feel a connection through the years. I imagined her sewing this all those years ago. She was obviously in a rush, maybe trying to finish this task between chasing around her kids… she never would have dreamt that a future granddaughter would be admiring and then taking those stitches out 50+ years later. It makes me wonder what of my sewing will be left after I’m gone and who is coming after me to take up what I leave behind. And it reminds me of how thankful I am for this craft that ties generations together.

I sized the bodice and skirt down about two inches each, taking lots of pictures as I went to refer to later and leaving all the original fabric in the seam allowances. That way, the dress can be sized back up in the future. I chose to leave out the bodice boning for comfort and removed the belt loops that were on the sides as there was no belt with it. Those are both saved for the future if needed. I am so glad to have this lovely piece of wearable history for my daughter. And Lauren is super happy to finally get to wear it! Scroll down for her ‘It has a pocket!” pose.

Happy sewing, friends! ~Lorinda