One thing I love about this time of year is the return to sewing. I feel so guilty watching my fabric stash grow during the months when I'm busy weeding, growing, and preserving. Is it just me or does fabric expand like the universe? Anyway, it's my goal to make some headway, as usual.
When I was in a particular quilt shop in Ohio, I saw dozens upon dozens of these beautiful quilted table toppers that the shop was selling. They reminded me of large sunflowers or Dresden Plates, which is a somewhat demanding quilt pattern that I have not yet attempted to piece. The color combinations were beautiful, and all the fabrics were high quality. I toyed with the idea of actually buying one, and as my fingers sorted through the stacked piles of table toppers, a lady appeared at my elbow and asked me if I wanted to buy the pattern. You mean I could make these myself? Over and over again? Sure! (I was in quilt country and had pattern fever.) So I bought the pattern, and a few fat quarters from their fine selection of materials. These items have since sat in a sewing cabinet for the past fifteen months, which is an accurate depiction of what my sewing backlog is like, time-wise. But I still thought about the project, and during the year I sifted through the remnants bin at JoAnn's for unwanted and returned yardage in Christmas colors and pulled together a seasonal color scheme for very little money. Then, I went at it and gave myself plenty of time in advance to complete the table topper, and was delighted to find that it was ridiculously easy and mercifully quick to piece and quilt. From first cut to final press, I'd say about seven hours. And that includes a break for a leisurely lunch. Now that I've made it once, I would say that cutting that time in half would be a realistic scenario. Of course, I washed and pressed the fabric first, which isn't counted in the construction time.
This one is actually a gift, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. The recipient was pleased too, but she's biased because she's my mother. The lace trim around the circle made things a little tricky, but you can omit the lace. I could definitely see making more of these as gifts, so that pattern turned out to be real economy. With patterns as simple and accurate as this one, then I would highly recommend Gramma Fannie's Quilt Barn (formerly run by Gramma Lydi Anne, who has just retired, and is now run by daughter Rose). It's not every day that something in the sewing room works out this well, so it's worth mentioning when it does!
Another project I've been working on falls under sowing rather than sewing. I would like to spread the word about a blog my friend Hope Anne has set up to chronicle her family's journey to adopt a special needs child from overseas. For anyone who has ever been curious about adoption, or would like to help this family who has already helped so many orphaned children through their medical mission ministry, this blog is well worth your time. Our prayers are with their family, and with all the children who long for a forever-home.