The first of the three sets of Christmas postcards are done! I've been wanting to do a bird postcard for a while but just hadn't found the right bird, until a few weeks ago.
Just to be totally transparent, and I've said this before, my postcards are almost never original ideas. I have a germ of an idea but I search the internet for images that I can use. This card started with the Merry Christmas ribbon so I searched for a bird that would work with the rustic palette that I wanted to use. Once I had an image I could resize it in Gimp to get it to the size I needed. Then I was able to trace templates from that. After that it was just a lot of cutting and stitching and then a serged edge.
Right before I serged the edges I painted a black eye on each one. I had some suggestions to add a white dot to the eye but I felt that took away from the rustic look of the cards.
I made 26 of these cards. I think I'll be addressing all of the Christmas cards by this weekend!
I've explained before why I don't dye Shibori very often but occasionally I get in the mood and just have to do it! It's not profitable but the dye process is just so magical and it energizes my love of dyeing. I love having it to share with you. All of my Shibori pieces are dyed twice to give them even more texture and color depth.
I especially like making Stash Packs of Shibori so that you have an opportunity to get 8 separate Shibori pieces. Each piece is a fat eighth for a total of 1 yard.
There are also several half yard pieces available for artists who need larger pieces. Just like the ones in the Stash Pack, each of these is dyed twice for extra texture.
Check them all out in the shop.
Fabric of the Week
The fabric of the week this week is the Shadows Stash Pack. It contains 10 fat eighths in shades of dark blues, grays and black. These fabrics are great options for night landscape elements of water and sky.
Shadows is 20% off through Sunday.
Kim and I had a great week at the river with Anne and Weesie. We all made a lot of progress on our projects and I think we wore Weesie out. Anne said she slept the whole day after I left. One of the projects that I worked on was this crochet cape. I finished it Sunday while I was watching football and I started another one. From The Heart put out a call for wheelchair capes. I had one already finished, this one is the second and I'll try to get one more finished before I deliver in a couple of weeks. This cape works up really quick.
This is a "pattern" that I made from combining some other patterns and the directions are here. The yarn is Lion Brand Mandala Ombre and I think it makes a pretty cape.
I accomplished all of the stitching on the postcards that I could while at the river and I did some of the finishing this weekend. I had to stitch the berries at home because I didn't take any red metallic threads with me. The color I used here is kind of a copper color. I wish I had used a more textured background with these but it's too late for that!
This is the stitching that I got done on the other two designs. The trees will get some crystal but I'll add those after I stitch the edges. I got the birds outlined and the ribbon added.
Yesterday my birds got painted eyes and what a difference that makes!
Now I'm ready to fuse the backs and serge the edges. The end is in sight!
I also brought home a little toy to play with for the next few months. Anne bought this Sashiko machine secondhand in the Spring. She will be out of town for a few months so she let me bring it home to play with until she returns.
It's a really interesting machine. There's no top thread, only a bobbin. It may look like a sewing machine but it doesn't work like one at all.
This is what the stitching looks like. You can adjust the size of the stitches and spaces separately. I'm not allowing myself to play with it until the Christmas postcards are all in the mail.
This week I will get the cards finished and I want to get 4 veterans quilts quilted.
Our inspiration this week is Marquette Ore Dock by Toni Bergeon. Her art quilt is currently in an exhibit at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. She used the Blue Sky and Trumpet Vine Gradients in her quilt.
For sharing, Toni received a 20% coupon for the shop that's good for 3 months! If you have made anything with my hand dyed fabric I hope you will consider sharing it in the Customer Gallery. The only rule is that projects have to be complete. It doesn't have to be made totally from hand dyed fabric, just include a recognizable amount.
As I write this post I'm still at the river with my friends and I just wanted to share the spectacular sunset from last night. We are having a lovely time.
I even got the rest of my postcards stitched! When I get home I still have a little work to do on each design but it won't take too long to finish them and I should be able to get them in the mail by December 10th. That's my first goal of December. The postcards were my main project for November
As I look back over November I'm really happy with everything I got accomplished, starting with these 2 quilts that I quilted. One is a raffle quilt for my quilt club and the other is a quilt for a friend.
On top of those, there were 6 veterans quilts. One of them is one of my quilts so, hopefully, that will be a finish for December.
I even had 2 weeks of vacation during the month and used a good bit of that time to crochet some hats and finish off a scrappy donation blanket. I finished 8 hats and the 1 blanket.
Here are my YTD stats:
Quilts - 2
Other major projects -
Veterans quilts made - 12
Donation lap quilts - 12
Veterans quilts quilted - 33
Fabric Postcards - 20
Pet Beds - 7
Quilted for others - 6
Crochet blankets - 9
Crochet shawls - 1
Crochet/loom knit hats and scarves - 39
Doll outfits - 2
Placemats and Table Runners - 25
Dyed shirts and towels - 7
Other Donated items - 74
Bags and totes -
Garments (sewn and cochet) - 1
Balls of yarn used - 57
Other items - 5
My goals for December are:
- make placemats for my brother
- placemats for my nephew
- make 80 Christmas postcards - this is the most important goal
- work on the blue quilt
- quilt 6 veterans quilt
- quilt a quilt for Kim
- start quilting the Red Sunset quilt
- dye beach towels for Christmas gifts
- make some pet beds for donation to get rid of a bunch of batting scraps
- make some birthday cards
I "only" read 5 books in November but that's because there was a holiday and The Follett book was over 21 hours. Also the last book I started is over 30 hours so that one won't be done for a few more days. The best part about reading this month is that none were duds. I enjoyed all of them.
What good books do you have to recommend this month!
Florence Adler Swims Forever
By Rachel Beanland, Read by a cast
I read another book by this author a few months ago. This House is on Fire was about a 1811 theater fire in Richmond Va. I really enjoyed that book and I'm sure that's what sparked me to get this one.
This book was promoted as a "perfect summer read" and that was clearly by people who had never read it. The cover makes it look like a good, light-hearted summer read. It's a good book but it's not what I'd put on a light summer reading list. It's covers several serious topics including death, grieving, anti-Semitism and Nazi Germany.
It's 1934 in Atlantic City, NJ and Esther and Joseph Adler run a bakery in the seaside resort. They are hosting a young woman who is trying to escape Hitler's Germany. Their older daughter, Fannie is married and is in hospital on permanent bed rest due to a high-risk pregnancy. Their younger, 19 year old daughter, Florence, is training to swim the English Channel. During one of her training sessions in the ocean she dies. Ester makes the decision to keep the information from Fannie until the baby is born.
It's a serious novel covering a lot of serious topics and the consequences of decisions made. I didn't enjoy it as much as This House Is On Fire but it was a good read. My biggest complaint is that it's long in the middle and the ending wraps up a little too quickly and conveniently.
By Jane Harper, Read By Stephen Shanahan
This is the 5th Harper book that I've read. Some I love (The Dry) and some are just OK. This one is in the OK category.
Kieran Elliott has returned home to his quiet seaside hometown in Australia with his girlfriend and new baby. His parents are preparing to move as his father has dementia. He avoids coming home since his brother, Finn, died trying to save Kiernan from drowning during a storm.
He's reconnecting with old friends when, one night, the body of a woman is found on the beach. She was in the town for the summer doing research for her art degree. As the investigation into the death gears up, many wounds are reopened from the summer when Finn and 2 others died.
The premise is interesting but I found the telling to be slow and the characters not all that interesting. I kept reading just to get to the end. I'd recommend a couple of her other books (The Dry, Exiles and The Lost Men) over this one.
The Armor of Light
By Ken Follett, Read By John Lee
This is the 5th book in the Kingsbridge series. If you like Follett and the Kingsbridge series I don't need to sell you on book 5. The Pillars of the Earth was one of the earliest historical fiction books I read and I've enjoyed ever book in the series. Actually I've enjoyed all of Follett's books.
Kingsbridge is a town with an economy based on weaving and textiles. The story opens in 1770 when the spinning jenny was invented and it threatens to put a lot of wool and cotton spinners out of work. The story follows the fortunes and tragedies of people in the town through the period of the Napoleonic wars.
If you've not read Follett before, start with The Pillars of the Earth. The narration was perfect, as always with John Lee.
Bright Young Dead
By Jessica Fellows, Read By Rachel Atkins
Last month I read the first book in this series, Mitford Murders. I enjoyed it enough to try another installment and I enjoyed this one even more.
Fellows weaves a fictional event into a real household, Mitford. Each book features one of the Mitford sisters. This one features Pamela. The main characters are a nursery maid in the house, Louise Cannon, and a young police sergeant, Guy Sullivan. The Bright Young People were a group of young aristocrats and socialites that were the free-spirited partiers of the 1920's in London. They attended Jazz clubs, had treasure hunts and basically drank and did a lot of drugs.
At Pamela's 18th birthday party, one of the guests is pushed to his death from the top of a nearby church. A visiting ladies maid, Dulce, is immediate arrested for the murder. Dulce had also stolen some jewelry from one of the guests. Louise believe Dulce is innocent of the murder and that she was somehow forced into the theft.
Meanwhile, Guy, is investigating a shoplifting gang lead by the infamous Alice Diamond and the cases might be related.
I really didn't expect to like these books but now I'm hooked. There are six books in the series, one featuring each sister and I expect that I'll work my way through all of them.
The Water Keeper
By Charles Martin, Read By Jonathan K. Riggs
Someone must have recommended this book to me because it's not one that I would have found on my own.
Murphy Shepherd lives alone on an island in Florida and caretakes a church that has no parishioners. One day he pulls a woman named Summer out of the Intercoastal Waterway and he's suddenly off on a mission to help find her daughter. The daughter, Angel, has been abducted by sex trafficers. Murphy has a lot of experience with the sex trade in Florida and knows where to start looking. Along the way he picks up a really cool labrador retriever and an ex-con named Clay. I liked the characters, I liked the pace of the story and it held my interest.
The funny thing is that I didn't realize until I sat down to write this review that this book is categorized as Christian fiction. Yes, there are characters that are Christian but that wasn't the focus of the book. Probably the most overt nod to the genre is that there aren't any hot sex scenes, Otherwise, there are fights, gun shots and lots of blood. The book reminded me of the Operation Underground Railroad organization founded by Tim Ballard. There's a movie based on Tim's life and I thought about that a lot while reading that book.
This is the first in a series of 3 books. They all deal with abduction themes so I'm not sure I'll read the others but I give this writer a thumbs up.
We are having a great time at the river this week and that fun starts with this pretty girl. Ouiser (nicknamed Weesie) is a 5 month old lab and she's mostly delightful and sometimes a typical puppy demon seed. She's really sweet and actually pretty well behaved but she gets a little wild (in a fun way) in the evenings. I'm having a great time with her.
But I'm sewing a lot and am making great progress on the postcards. I decided to outline the holly leaves with Razzle Dazzle thread. It's tedious and takes about 10 minutes for each card. That's about 5 hours to stitch the leaves on all 30 cards. I didn't bring any red metallic thread so I'll stitch the berries when I get home. I finished all of the holly leaves last night after dinner. Today I'll start the birds. They should be easier with simple straight stitching.
Kim got the binding sewn on her quilt and we got it in the mail yesterday too. Her friend should have it by Saturday to use when she gets her chemo treatments. I think she will love it.
Anne is going to make the Tamarack Jacket that is apparently very popular on Instagram. She is getting her fabrics quilted and ready to cut the pieces. I'm anxious to see how the jacket turns out because it's one that I might be interested in making. If we were at my house with the longarm the fabric would be quilted already!
Today it's more sewing and more playing with Weesie. One day we will visit the local quilt shop and a nice art gallery.
First, a note to let you know that any orders placed this week will be shipped Monday, December 4th. That's because I'm enjoying a sewing week with my friends and this spectacular view. Today is going to start a very cold streak so it's perfect sewing weather for woking on my Christmas postcards.
But even though I'm away I do have some fabric news for you.
This week I have TWO new gradients for you! Both are autumn/cool weather inspired. Autumn Harvest is a upgrade of the discontinued Pumpkin Patch Gradient. Cocoa is the result of lots of tries to get the brown gradient that I had in my head. This is it!
Gradients Back in Stock
I've also got 4 gradients back in stock for you.
Fabric of the Week
Staying on the Gradient theme, the fabric of the week this week is the Sunshine and Shadows Gradient. It's 20% off through Sunday, or unless it sells out before Sunday.
First a little shop notice: I'm heading out for a few days with friends so any orders placed this week will be shipped Monday, December 4th.
After cleaning up from Thanksgiving and putting up the Christmas decorations I got busy on the things I wanted to get done. First off, I wanted to get a couple of veterans quilts quilted. Both of these quilts are square-based patterns with no borders and that allows me to quilt them really quickly with the wavy crosshatch.
I'm not sure who made this one but I think it might have been made by Gwendolyn.
This is a pattern that I like to use when I have lots of scraps in a similar colorway or pattern, like plaids, batiks or patriotic. I cut this one out earlier in the year and Laura pieced it on vacation in August. All I have left to do is binding.
Then I got on with the postcards. They are all fused and I've gathered a bunch of threads for the stitching. I'm taking these to the river today to work on this week.
Right after I posted Wednesday's post I got a message from my brother that my SIL was sick and Thanksgiving at their home was canceled. We quickly regrouped and hosed our side of the family and two of my friends at our house. Chris secured a turkey to cook and everyone brought the originally planned dishes to our house. Anne brought her new Black Lab puppy, Ouiser, and we all had a great time and ate way too much. It was a lovely day.
I didn't get to do my dyeing Wednesday (I'll do it today) because I decided to set up the Christmas tree for the Thanksgiving party. But I did have a little time to get the next two veterans quilts loaded and ready for quilting. After I do my dyeing today, I may get to quilt some on this.
I also got the third, and final, postcard design done! I always like to do a tree design and I usually do a design using Paula's fabrics. These are left over from the 2023 Paula quilt and I really love it. I got all the trees cut out while watching TV.
This weekend I will get all of the cards fused and ready for stitching. I'll take them to the river Monday and do the stitching while there. When I get back I'll just need to fuse the backs and serge the edges. I should be on schedule to have them in the mail by the 10th....if all goes to plan!
Today I'm dyeing some new shibori fabrics!
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.