Gifting

The blogosphere is happily abuzz with crafty inspiration for the holidays. One place in particular I’ve been keeping an eye on is Sew Mama Sew’s Handmade Holidays series (start here if you haven’t already stumbled across it). There’s been a different theme for each day this month, all “curated” by different people.

Time constraints make it impossible to actually make even half of the projects that appeal to me, but I have enjoyed browsing through them—usually over morning tea before dashing off to work. I did get to thinking though, that surely there must be at least one small project I could do that would satisfy my yen for handmade gifts. Sachets! That was it—old fashioned, tried and true, lavender sachets. They’re a great way to use up scraps and truly don’t take much time to put together.

I decided I wanted them all to be backed with unbleached linen (ordered from Hancock’s of Paducah). Along with a plastic bin of scraps I pulled out a basket of leaders and enders I’d sewn together over the years. Many of them are quite tiny and it dawned on me that this might be a good project for some of them. The ones below are about 1 ¼-inch square, so four of them stitch up at, yeah, about three inches. I liked the these particular bits against the linen so both the front and the back of this one have linen.

Sachets

 

By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the leaders and enders thing, do check out Bonnie K. Hunter’s blog and her books.

This next one ended up mostly linen as well, but I added a strip of novelty yarn for some rustic bling.

Sachet

 

These two use bits leftover from a batik quilt I made a while back.

 

Sachets

 

Here they are looking like little stuffed pillows. The all blue one uses scraps from a quilt I made for my grandson several years ago.

 

Sachets

Sachets

 

 

And here a few favorites that I bundled up as a small hostess gift for my daughter on Thanksgiving.

sachets

 

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Florida Knitting

Truthfully, it was more airplane knitting than Florida knitting. And when you’re using size 0 needles it doesn’t look like much, but the socks and an audio book on my iPhone were enough to while away some time on a completely full airplane populated mostly by families with young children. The kids were mostly (and thankfully) quite well-behaved and some even managed to nap while clutching various Disney plush toys. Too bad their exhausted looking parents couldn’t do the same.

The knitting is a pair of slip stitch heel basic socks from Wendy D. Johnson’s  book Socks From the Toe Up with a few minor alterations. I have somewhat narrow feet and, despite switching to size 0 needles, the socks I’ve made so far tend to be just a hair looser than I’d like. So I thought I’d experiment with these and reduce the total number of stitches from 66 to 58 stitches. Hopefully, I’ve reworked all the stitch counts everywhere in the correct proportions, especially the gusset, heel and heel flap. I’m not a fan of wrap and turns and was tempted to go with the Fish Lips Kiss Heel. Short rows are useful things, though, and there’s a part of me that would really like to master the beasts.

Easy Socks

The yarn is Regia Design Line in the Garden Effects color way. It’s 75% super wash wool and 25% polyamide. I purchased the yarn online and thought I was buying self-striping yarn. The site showed the yarn but no swatch. It’s definitely not self-striping in the way I was thinking it ought to be, but it’s still very pretty and I like the feel of the yarn.

The trip to Florida was a too-short getaway to visit friends in New Smyrna Beach, which is about an hour and a half drive from the Orlando airport. The visitors bureau there claims that they are “consistently voted one of the ‘Best Beaches.’” I can believe it. It was beautiful. The site also says that New Smyrna Beach is the second oldest city in Florida. Who knew? One thing that surprised me though was the number of surfers. I had no idea that the area is also a popular spot for surfing.

The surfers were farther out than the kit lens on my Canon could capture, but you get some sense of what the waves were like that day.

New Smyrna Surfers
The natives were not at all interested in the surfers.

New Smyrna Natives
shore birdsI didn’t spend much time among the shops on the recently renovated Flagler Avenue and Canal Street areas. But I did spend a few delightful hours on the water. My friends Pat and Jeannine are the captain and crew of the Schooner Ondine. Ondine is a Thomas Colvin gazelle design. Nope, I don’t know exactly what that means but I enjoyed the heck out of it. Pat and Jeannine charter both day and night cruises on Ondine and are absolutely worth a lookup if you’re planning to be down that way. I’m already looking forward to going back.

Sailing Ondine
Parting shot: Sunrise on the beach.

New Smyrna Sunrise

Disappearing Hourglass—Take Two

A few months ago I watched one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company  tutorials by Jenny Doan. I found myself fascinated by the technique Jenny demonstrated and decided I needed to give it a try. A week or two later I dug out a bundle of ½ yard cuts I’d picked up at Quilt Odyssey the year before and started cutting.

Of course, before cutting I pulled up the video and watched it again—just to make sure I remembered the way things were supposed to work. Here, have a look . . .

Pretty cool, huh?

I cut 10-inch squares from the ½ yard pieces, stacked, sewed the perimeters, and cut again.

Quilt block

So far, so good. Then I did the magic cuts and turns.

quilt block

Looks pretty good, I thought. Here’s a closer view of another set.

quilt block

quilt block

I made several more.

quilt block

Notice anything yet?

Did you watch the video?

I didn’t turn the middle 4 patch. I liked the blocks as they were and since I’d already made, I dunno, about half a dozen finished blocks AND had about that many partially completed I had a decision to make. It wasn’t difficult. As awesome as Jenny’s original blocks were I was not unsewing the ones I’d made.

So, there you have it. Disappearing Hourglass Blocks—Take Two.

(Do check out all of Jenny Doan’s tutorials as well as the shop’s website. Nope, no affiliation, but I have ordered from them and been pleased with their service.)

 

tales from the creative mind