Time for knitting mittens, scarves and hats! I’ve been doing those portable projects during work and Christmas travels. I get most of my patterns at RAVELRY – a super resource.

I made grandbaby hats and mittens this year, as well as a scarf for myself. So fun!

Inspiration, Miscellany

An Old-fashioned Quilting Bee

Do you have a bride-to-bee in your life? Create an heirloom quilt and a precious memory at the same time, with a GloryQuilts Women of the Family Bridal Bee.


A new generation of women is reaching adulthood. These women value family history and relationships, and they want to establish extended family ties that will last beyond their own lifetime. Separated by busy lives and distance, many of us seldom have the opportunity to really visit with our mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, nieces, and old friends. A quilting bee provides this opportunity. Conversation is easy when the hands are busy. There will be time for leisurely reminiscence, catching up on current events, advice on marriage and motherhood and life in general, laughter and maybe a few tears. New brides and new babies are wonderful reasons for women to come together.

Winter is looming

I’ve finally had to cave in and hang up the autumn wall quilts and dig out the appropriate table linens. Our favorite flannel sheets have already been on the bed for a couple of weeks.

It’s time to start new projects!

(as soon as I get the studio cleaned up to a functional level….)


Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without!

Do you ever “make over” your clothes? It’s an old-fashioned idea and brings to mind the image of “turning the collars” on men’s shirts. I’m a fairly good dressmaker, so when I make my own clothes, they usually fit me. But everyone has at least some store-bought items. ūüėČ I am guilty of hanging on to clothes for a long time, even when they don’t fit. I am not talking about losing or gaining weight (well, not entirely), but about “shape.” I am long-waisted, but I do have a waist. Most store-bought clothes have waistlines that hit me 3/4″ – 1″ too high. It’s a bigger deal than you might think. The fullness below the waist – where it flares preparatory for hitting the hips – is over my waist and tummy instead of my hips. It’s not flattering.

Lately, I don’t put up with it. Since I don’t like the way they fit, I don’t wear them. But since they are pretty and they do actually go over my head and I don’t have many clothes, I don’t throw them out. Recently, I restructured two rayon summer dresses. The first one had six rows of shirring in the back. I removed the top two rows of elastic thread and added two at the bottom. VOILA! Instant fit! The other dress had fisheye darts, and I simply turned it inside out and extended the fullest part of the darts downward about 1″ and then lengthened the bottom end of the darts 1″.

I bought a pair of very nice knit pants, and they just didn’t fit at the waist. I realized that they weren’t intended to sit at the natural waist, but I was constantly hitching them up as they slid down my fanny. Since there was room in the crotch length, I opened the back waistband and replaced the elastic with a smaller piece. I also stitched down the bulky faux placket in the flat front and removed the decorative button there, since they always showed (poked out) through the shirt I wore over them. Now the pants fit nicely and look good with a smooth tshirt or sweater. They sit about 1 1/2″ below my natural waistline, and they stay there.

I like bateau necklines, but often they are cut too high. I cut them lower and use a plain rolled hem to finish them. It generally looks just fine. Gaping armholes or those that bind at the arm can be tightened or cut away. Pants can be cut into capris or shorts. Slim the legs or cut a little notch at the bottom side as necessary. Mending and basic alterations in width or length are easy fixes, of course. Holes caused by pulling buttons can be fixed by reinforcing the underside of the placket with a scrap of fabric. Any stitching will be covered by the button. Stretched-out buttonholes can be tightened up with a few whip stitches at one end. Immodest slits in a skirts, or openings at the bottom of a button-front dress, can be sewed up. Pin them carefully if they are rayon or knit, matching the ends at the hem and preventing stretching while you sew.

Patching jeans is easy if you slit the inner leg (or whichever doesn’t have a flat-felled seam) and do your patching on the flat leg. Then restitch the seam. I don’t usually open it all the way down to the hem, since I don’t want to have to redo that. Gray thread usually works best for jeans. Place your patch (a piece of denim from old, cast-off jeans) underneath, pin it in place and stitch it on top. Trim away any frayed threads.

And you know… it’s perfectly legal to remove tags once you own the item. It’s best to pick out the stitches if possible instead of cutting them off.


Cranston/VIP Fabrics


I was seriously disappointed today to learn that Cranston is moving their fabric printing plants out of the United States. For many years, I have promoted their fabrics because they were made domestically. It’s always a good thing to provide employment locally. Their fabric has been inexpensive and of a reliable quality. Primarily, however, I endorsed the company because they were extraordinary supporters of their military employees. Reservists are protected by federal law, but Cranston exceeded those minimum requirements. As a military wife and mother, that blesses me even when it’s not my own family.

I am working on an article about fabric selection, and I called their customer service number today to ask some questions. The man on the phone didn’t speak English very clearly, he didn’t know anything about their military reservist support program, and when I got to my questions about the specific “Made in the USA” issues, I was shocked to learn that after June 30, Cranston/VIP/Quilting Treasures fabrics will no longer be printed in the Unted States. They have been printing fabrics in the Unites States since 1824.

From their website: Cranston Print Works Company is a large, diversified corporation with operations in textile consumer goods, transportation, and specialty chemicals. The textile operation began in 1824, at the very beginning of America’s Industrial Revolution, and is distinguished as the oldest textile printing operation in the United States, as well as the largest supplier of printed fabric to the home sewing market. The company’s outstanding reputation for quality, service, versatility, and manufacturing expertise is a direct credit to the employees that work here. We continue to believe that our employees are our strength, and remain committed to employee development. Cranston Print Works is an employee-owned company, wherein the ownership philosophy coupled with the company’s excellence in manufacturing, product design, sales, and marketing, create a culture which encourages achievement and innovation.

I firmly believe in the right of every private business to make their own decisions, but I am personally saddened. I am now on a quest to find new sources of affordable American-made fabric. At the beginning of this war, I made a new quilt for my bed. A very special quilt, made mostly of Cranston/VIP fabrics because I was so grateful for their military support. My husband was no longer in the Air Force, having just finished his reservist commitment, but our oldest son was in the army, stationed in Korea.