That’s right, friends. I’m giving away a set of oven mitts to three lucky winners. Will you be one of them?
I made these oven mitts in preparation for writing a tutorial. The shape of the mitts is the same on all of them — it’s the binding I’ve been tinkering with. I’ve been trying different widths and finishing techniques. Now that I’m finally satisfied, I can get to the tutorial — but now I have to make one more set of mitts to photograph for the tutorial!
The mitts you see above were made of four layers:
⦁ the outer fabric is 100% cotton
⦁ the second layer is 100% cotton batting
⦁ the third layer is Insul-bright, an insulated lining material specifically made for hot pads and oven mitts
⦁ the fourth layer (the inside of the mitt) is cotton with an aluminized coating, commonly used to cover ironing boards. This fabric is not essential but I had some on hand and decided to use it because one of my old oven mitts happened to be lined with it.
To be entered in the giveaway, all you have to do is write a comment at the bottom of this post responding to the question, “What is your favorite kind of food?” If you wish, name a dish you especially like in your favored cuisine. How simple is that? No need for you to subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram (though I would be delighted if you chose to do either).
One entry per person. I will mail anywhere in the world so international readers are welcome to enter.
Family members are invited to leave comments but are not eligible to win. (Don’t feel too sorry for them; all they have to do is let me know they want a set and they’ll get one!)
The giveaway will remain open through Friday, January 31. On Saturday, February 1, I’ll use a random number generator to pick three winners. Winner #1 gets the red mitts on the left with the flowers; winner #2 gets the set in the middle with the cherries; and winner #3 gets the set on the right with the poodles.
But wait — there’s more! It it happens that you are a winner and the mitts are totally the wrong color for your kitchen, you can let me know when I contact you and I’ll make you a custom set in the color of your choice. If that happens, I’ll draw a fourth winner for the set that didn’t work for you.
Is this not the oddest looking quilt you’ve ever seen?
Actually, it’s not a quilt at all.
I’m gearing up to make a few sets of oven mitts as gifts and I didn’t want to take the time myself to quilt the four layers needed for a well insulated mitt. So . . . I made a “quilt top” using three suitable prints from my stash that could all be quilted with the same color thread and asked Karlee of SewInspired2Day to quilt it for me. The result is what you see above. The quilt motif is “Modern Waves,” one that Karlee has used on another of my quilts, Where It’s @.
Here’s a closer look at those three fabrics, pictured with my oven mitt pattern to give you an idea of the scale of the prints:
I think they’re going to make pretty cute oven mitts!
You may remember the mitts I made last month for my sister Diane. I quilted the fabric for those using a cross-hatch design:
After I published the post I had a few requests for a tutorial. Good news! A tutorial is coming.
I received the most wonderful gift in the mail last month, this striking quilt made in 2004 by Lee Fowler:
Lee was an incredibly talented quilter and crafter who was only 54 when she died of cancer in 2013. I didn’t meet her until 2009 so I had the pleasure of knowing her for only four years but she touched my life in many ways. I greatly admired her intellect and talent, and I loved her goofy sense of humor.
The quilt you see above is named Rolling Star Revisited. It was designed, pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by Lee. Here are a few detail shots, starting with a single rolling star:
Each star measures 15″ from point to point; the entire quilt measures 58″ square.
Lee was an accomplished longarm quilter. She did hand-guided quilting without a stitch regulator. Here you can see some of her beautiful free-motion quilted feathers:
The circles in the center of each star are hand-appliquéd using the needleturn method as is the reverse-appliquéd border:
You must be wondering how I came into possession of this treasure. Well, in early December I received an email from Lee’s husband Rick, now remarried and living in another part of the state. Rick wrote that he and his daughter Liz were on a mission to send Lee’s quilts out into the world where they could be “loved, cherished, and above all used,” and asked if I would like to have one. He included photos of 16 quilts. I replied immediately, telling Rick I would be thrilled to own one of Lee’s creations and that it had taken me all of two seconds to identify the quilt I would love to have.
Rolling Star Revisited arrived a few days later. Doesn’t it look wonderful on the back of my couch?
This is actually the second quilt Lee made using the Rolling Star block (hence the Revisited part of this quilt’s name). Her first version, made with Depression-era reproduction fabrics, was featured as a pattern in the September 2005 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine:
Lee had found a circa-1930s newspaper clipping of the block and drafted her own pattern. It’s a challenging project with curves and set-in seams; the directions include sewing the curved pieces by hand or by machine. One of these days I might make a single block just to test my skills.
By the way, this isn’t the first time one of Lee’s quilts has graced my couch. I was one of two dozen friends who helped Lee complete her last quilt, a magnificent version of Pickle Dish. I wrote about that here. Rick dubbed us “the Pickle Dish Gang.” The quilt was displayed at Lee’s memorial service and afterward it was circulated to each member of the group to have in her own home for a month. It was my turn in 2015:
I wrote about that here. It was such an honor to have one of Lee’s creations in my home, however temporarily. And now! Now to have one of her quilts as my very own . . . You can understand why I consider Rolling Star Revisited a gift beyond compare. It will be loved, it will be cherished, and it will be used.
Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2020 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points. (And wouldn’t we all much rather dwell on the high points of 2020 than the low points?!)
My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.
5. Uptown Funk. My version of Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. It was so much fun to make!
4. Something in Red: New Oven Mitts. Every oven mitt I’ve tried on in a store has been oversized, and every tutorial I’ve found online has included a pattern that’s too big. What’s a quilter to do? Why, make her own, of course! I just started making oven mitts in December and am still tweaking my process but I plan to offer my own tutorial and free pattern in early 2021.
2. Love Rocks. All You Need Is Love, made using the Love Rocks pattern and alphabet (both contained in Sew Kind of Wonderful’s latest book, Text Me) and the Wonder Curve ruler.
1. Scattered Stars, an original design using a block first seen in Jenifer Gaston’s quilt Churning Stars.
Thank you so much for checking out my “top five” blog posts. If you’re a blogger, you can join Cheryl’s party, too. The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers — and prepare to be inspired!
Are these not the cutest oven mitts you’ve ever seen?
Last month, while visiting my twin sister Diane, we were commiserating on the sad state of our oven mitts. We have the same ones — we bought them years ago when we were together in a kitchen shop. They’re in pretty bad shape but they’re the best-fitting oven mitts we’ve ever found so we’ve just hung on to them. (The ones in the stores today are too darn big. I suppose they’re meant to be one-size-fits-all but I swear they’re made for ham-fisted cooks and chefs.)
I resolved to make a pair of oven mitts for Diane when I got back home as a thank-you gift for the marvelous hospitality she and her husband Ed bestowed on the Dear Husband and me over the two-plus weeks we spent with them at their home in Georgia over Thanksgiving. I finished the mitts last week and popped them in the mail. Since then I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for Diane to receive the mitts so I could show them to you. They arrived today — finally!
Diane’s kitchen has accents of red so I chose this darling Michael Miller print that’s been in my stash for a few years. I traced around my old oven mitt to make a pattern out of freezer paper:
I looked at several tutorials online and combined what I thought to be the best features. Interestingly, the patterns that accompanied the tutorials also make oversize mitts. I like the lines and fit of mine so much better!
Diane started her holiday baking today — that’s Ina Garten’s recipe for Salty Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies on the cookbook holder — so her new oven mitts have already been put to the test:
Can you picture Frank Sinatra crooning the lyrics to September Song?
“Oh it’s a long long while from May to December . . .”
[never truer than in the time of COVID!]
“But the days grow short when you reach September. . .”
We’ve actually reached the end of September. And until today I hadn’t worked on a single quilt the entire month. Can you believe that? Oh, I did some sewing in September: a few face masks, a pair of pillowcases, a bucket hat. I also worked on a fun home decorating project over the weekend that I’ll tell you about in a bit.
But a quilt? Not until today, when I pulled out this throw-sized quilt top I pieced a dozen years ago:
This little quilt came into being because I had a stack of 9-patch blocks left over from another project. (That’s a lot of leftover blocks, right? A confession: I had pressed the seams in the wrong direction while strip-sewing.) I combined the 9-patches with some snowball blocks, set them all on point, and created this 52″ x 58″ throw.
This project was ready to quilt back in 2008. I had pin-basted it to the batting and backing and had actually sewn a single line of stitching. One line! I have no memory of why I didn’t continue but I have no desire to finish quilting it myself now. My “quiltmaking” today consisted of removing all the basting pins and getting the layers ready to deliver to a longarm quilter.
My plan was to have it quilted with a simple edge-to-edge design. Then I realized that because I added a flange to the interior, the quilt will probably need to be custom quilted. Here’s a close-up of the flange:
Some of the fabrics are ones I would probably not buy now but I like the top well enough to want to finish it.
Now about that home dec project:
My husband and I took our first trip since the pandemic arrived on our shores, driving from Portland to Bend last Thursday to spend a delightful long weekend with my stepmother Shirley. While there I made two tailored bedskirts for her extra-long twin beds. Shirley recently bought new bedspreads with a nautical theme featuring navy and aqua images on a white background. We decided on a solid navy fabric for the bedskirts.
Here’s a look at the pattern I made on graph paper along with the fabric, a navy blender (almost a solid) called “Shadowplay” by Maywood that I like so much I buy it by the bolt:
You may be able to tell from my pattern that the bedskirts have one inverted pleat along the end and two on each side. Because of the dark fabric and the lighting in Shirley’s bedroom I wasn’t able to get good pictures of the completed bedskirts but they did turn out beautifully. You’ll just have to take my word for it!
This is the third and final pair of queen-size pillowcases made from a lovely toile fabric from Timeless Treasures that’s been in my stash for a few years:
The first two pair were made last year, the first pair as a gift and the second for my own home. I made these pillowcases last week as a hostess gift, planning to deliver them to my twin sister Diane when the Dear Husband and I make our annual Thanksgiving trip to Georgia in November. (Of course we will be taking every precaution while traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.)
I made the mistake of telling Diane about the pillowcases and she cajoled me into sending them in advance. I’m glad I did because she promptly put them on the pillows in the main floor guest room and sent me pictures. Here’s a close-up of the cases:
There’s something special about toile. I was really sorry to use up the last of that fabric. I actually searched for more on the Internet but came up empty-handed.
I did not make the accent pillow on the bed; Diane had it made at a specialty shop using fabric left over from the bedskirt. But I do spy four things in the photo above that are “me made”: the pillowcases, the quilt at the foot of the bed, the bedskirt, and — hard to see but look at the reflection in the mirror in the bathroom for a glimpse — the shower curtain, made in 2011 and embellished in 2012. You can read about that here. (There’s one more thing I made that you can’t see in the photo: tailored valances. I wrote about that project in this post, also from 2012. By the way, the pillowcases were made using my photo-laden Perfect Pillowcases tutorial.)
The DH and I will be sleeping on these pillowcases soon! This year’s trip is a very special one as Diane and I will be celebrating an important birthday, one of those big ones ending in a zero. Here’s a hint: we will become septuagenarians.
After posting pictures in January of the valances I made for our kitchen windows, I declared last year’s kitchen remodel “officially complete” and blithely added I would post before and after pictures “one of these days.” Well, friends, it’s been nine months coming but “one of these days” has finally arrived.
Our kitchen was fully functional before the remodel. Indeed, it had been updated only 20 years earlier. But there were several things about the kitchen I had grown dissatisfied with and I knew that making changes now would achieve three ends. First, the Dear Husband and I would enjoy cooking in the kitchen more. Second, it would give us the opportunity to correct some design flaws from previous remodels. Third — and much more important — the updates would make our home more attractive to buyers, a consideration down the line when it’s time to think about selling.
Let’s start with the east wall, moving around the corner to part of the south wall:
The soffit over the sink is gone, allowing the new cabinets on the south wall to go all the way to the ceiling. The old casement windows were failing, which is what started the remodeling ball rolling. We replaced them with double-hung windows in keeping with the windows in the rest of our 1913 house. Not shown in the photos above are the sliding glass doors that take up the rest of the east wall.
Here’s the east wall with the valances in place:
Looking directly at the south wall:
The upper cupboard space gained with the elimination of the east wall soffit was offset by cupboard space lost by having a custom range hood cover installed. We also lost a great deal of lower storage space by giving up the angled corner cupboard to the left of the stove containing a very large two-tiered lazy Susan that held most of my pots and pans. This forced me to pay attention to the items I actually use in my kitchen and resulted in paring down contents not just there but throughout the kitchen.
Here’s a “before” shot of the west wall:
Apparently I didn’t get a shot of the entire west wall after the remodel so I can’t show you a side-by-side comparison. Here are two “after” shots of the west wall:
The counter-depth refrigerator makes the kitchen feel roomier. It’s wider than the old fridge but doesn’t hold nearly as much. No matter: the old one is now downstairs in the pantry. Having a second fridge is literally one of the biggest bonuses of this remodel.
By the way, after taking the “after” shots last fall I had the lovely watercolor (by my talented daughter-in-law, Jeanne Ann White) reframed. Not until I got it home and hung it on the wall did I notice that the wood frame is the same color as the stainless steel appliances:
In the northwest corner of the kitchen, the doorways from the dining room and TV room were transformed by millwork matching the rest of the house:
It didn’t occur to me to take a “before” picture of this corner because there was literally nothing there but sheetrock.
Finally we come to the north wall:
Jeanne Ann’s work is featured on this wall as well. The wood trim you see on the far right side of the photos is the frame of the sliding glass door.
And there you have it.
I’m going to do one more post, focusing on some of the decorative accents I’ve added to the kitchen. I might include a list of the pros and cons of the remodel. Yes, there are a few things about the kitchen I don’t love so much. Overall, though, I am thrilled with the outcome and would do it again in a heartbeat.
If you’re new to my blog and want to review the kitchen remodel from the outset, feel free to follow these links:
Let me end this long post by saying I am beyond grateful to have a kitchen. As wildfires fires raged through Oregon last week leaving destruction and devastation in their wake, some of my family members and friends were forced to evacuate their homes. I am relieved to report their homes are still standing but it will be some time before they can go home because the fires are still burning and the air is thick with dangerous smoke. The fires came within a few miles of Portland but the city was blanketed by smoke. Portland has had the worst air quality in the entire United States for the last few days. Rain is forecast for tomorrow so we are hoping for some relief.
I have watched in anguish the images on TV of entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble not just in my state but also in California and Washington. Wildfires are burning in a dozen western states but the west coast has been hit especially hard. Against that backdrop I feel lucky to have a beautifully remodeled kitchen.
Do you ever buy a piece of fabric that you have no idea what to do with but you just know you have to have it? A couple years ago I was in a quilt shop in Bend, Oregon and spotted a succulent print in greens from the “Canyon” line designed by Kate Spain for Moda. I had to have some!
It sat on a shelf in my sewing room cabinet until a few weeks ago when I pulled it out to make this test block from a new pattern by Margot Languedoc called Pretty Little Baskets:
The pattern is definitely on my “to do” list but I only made one block with that fabric.
Then very recently Sew Kind of Wonderful released a new pattern called Curvy Bow Tieusing the new Wonder Curve Ruler and I used a bit more of the fabric to make this test block:
Such a cute block but I wondered if the fabric would look better as the background of the block rather than the focal point. I made another block to see:
Oh yes, I like that better. But I’m not ready to make an entire quilt out of it just yet. (I love the Curvy Bow Tie pattern, though, and do plan to make a quilt when I’ve decided on a color scheme.)
What I really wanted to do with that fabric was make a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House (using my own tutorial). So I did:
And I used some scraps to try out a new mask tutorial:
Now I can’t stop thinking of ways to use this fabric. Wouldn’t it make a great camp shirt?
Hooray — March is here! Spring is on its way! In celebration of my favorite season of the year, I’m working on a new project featuring the quintessential color of spring: green, of course. My favorite color.
You’re probably wondering why on earth I’ve started something new when I have so many Works-in-Progress and Unfinished Objects (aka WIPs and UFOs) on hand. All I can say in my defense is that a) I like working on multiple projects at once, and b) there’s a method to my madness.
Before I explain, let me show you the new project:
I’m building a wonky neighborhood using the pattern Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. The wedges are made with a Dresden plate ruler, hence the name of the pattern. Isn’t my little neighborhood cute? The houses will have wonky doors and windows, and the raw edges in the center will be covered by an appliquéd circle.
Here’s Kim’s version as shown on her pattern cover:
I came across the pattern last year and bought it right away. After looking at some clever and charming versions recently on Instagram and Pinterest, I decided to jump in and create my own version. I’m also working on a couple of large quilts so the idea of a small (24″ square finished) project has great appeal. That’s one reason.
The houses in this little neighborhood are meant to be embellished with decorative machine stitches, especially around the roofs. Late last year I upgraded my Janome sewing machine to the Horizon Memory Craft 9450 QCP model. I am absolutely loving some of the new features but haven’t yet played around with the decorative stitches. This project is the perfect jumping off point. That’s the second reason.
And the third reason? I’m going to be teaching a “Wonky Dresden Neighborhood” class in June. (I teach at Montavilla Sewing Center’s Lake Oswego store.) This is going to be my store sample so I have some extra motivation to finish it up as soon as possible and get it on display. Hardly a burden. I can’t wait to get back to it!