Monday, November 30, 2020

new projects to procrastinate the old

I have made zero progress on the baby quilt.  Well, if you don't count deciding on a color of thread to quilt with - I did that just a few minutes ago.  (I still haven't figured out HOW I will quilt it, but maybe inspiration will strike as I type?)

What have I done?

Well, I worked three shifts this past week.  With the start of holiday shopping being this week, I was needed.  It's all good.  I get paid for that.  Money I can spend on fabric, right?

But then I decided I wanted another Christmas-themed mask.  One that had elastics so I could use it quickly for shopping trips - I like the ties for whole-day wearing, but if I'm just running out for groceries, the elastic ear loops are good enough.  And then I decided since I was getting everything out anyways, why not make a few to share at work?  I like this pattern and found a chunk of Christmassy fabric and since this mask thing is not going away and there are ecological issues turning up with disposable masks, I can do something to help, right?

I ended up making six.  One for me, five for work.  The work masks got the pony bead adjusters on them, mine did not.  I saw a few on coworkers on Friday and Saturday!  (But I did put each one individually in a bag and made a note "for safest use, launder before wearing"...wanna cover my bases, though I think I'm healthy!)

Wednesday, another sale at JoAnn fabrics had all calicos 50% off again.  And after leaving so many pretties behind last time, I decided I would rally the quilts and see who needed backs yet.  (Because buying backs is way easier than quilting them!)  I ended up buying backs for four quilts and snagged a 20-yard roll of batting as well.  (The batting was a doorbuster price and I never expected that at noon there would be any left.  But there were!)

The red and green prints will go on the two Christmas quilts I made earlier this year (the one with cars and trees as well as the one with the big stars), but I'm waffling on which will go with what.  The orange is for the Nova Star quilt.  The blue is for my Single Girl quilt.  They've been washed and folded as neatly as I can out of a hot dryer, but I haven't pieced them yet.  They just look so happy and pretty sitting there, though!

I also worked on finishing up the churn dash blocks.  Turns out I had enough fabric to make one too few for a 6x8 layout.  Go figure.  So I raided my stash and found a couple of fabrics that seemed to play nice.

Oh no.  That will not do.  Not at all.

What else can I do?  I cut a few extra pieces into 2.5" squares and added them to my bin.  Maybe I can just make a 9-patch?

Ah yes, that will do.

On to a final layout.  That took a while to get all the fabrics scattered and such.  Maybe not perfect to some of you, but good enough for me.

That oddball does stick out a little, but not nearly as much as it would have with the other fabrics!

I picked them all up, rows labelled, and got back to sewing them together a few days later.

It doesn't really look any different, just a few inches smaller.  I may add a border later, but for now, I'm done fighting with it.  (I'm not confident my stash has anything that will even work, but it's big enough as is if I choose to leave it.)

I turned around and it was quickly claimed.  Not by the usual suspects, but this makes me happy.  Freddie (black) often acts very aloof and wants nothing to do with me.  He sometimes hangs out and supervises, but does not get involved and do NOT pet him or you will get the stink eye.  And Toby (tabby) is learning.  Obviously rather quickly, as he looks quite at home here.

With that done, I needed another project.  Yesterday I spent a chunk of time contemplating the Midsummer Solstice pattern.  The one I bought all the gaudy, bright fabrics for a few weeks ago.  The templates had me concerned, and even more so when I realized there was nothing on the page to make sure my printer had spit them out the correct size.  And then I looked further and found that there were no unit sizes given at each construction step.  I decided the sewing line/cutting line on the templates being a correct quarter inch meant my printer worked properly.  And I figured out unit sizes using math and smaller piece/unit sizes.  But then I looked closer at construction and saw a lot of points to match that, with templates, could get ugly quickly.  And talked myself out of even starting.

But what now?

I remembered this kit!  Given to me last Christmas, I cut everything to be ready for my retreat in January.  I never got to this project, so it just got put on a shelf when I got back home.  Yesterday I pulled it out and started sewing.  I didn't have a lot of time once I actually got going, but parts are starting to look like something already!

I really want to go work on this, but I know that is partly due to needing to quilt the baby quilt.  I'm very good at procrastinating!  But I have to work tomorrow, and Finn goes to the doc for his yearly checkup, so I'd better just take advantage of today, right?

Happy quilting!

Monday, November 23, 2020

baby quilt progress!

 A week ago, I was just getting started cutting pieces for my niece's baby quilt.


I dug in.  You know that excitement of new projects, right?  Keep sewing while you still feel it!  I finished cutting all the pieces and started sewing.

Some behaved better than others, but on the whole, the curves found a comfortable difficulty for me.  I kept sewing and sewing - these are chain-piecing compatible - and boy did it get ugly at times!

I started doing the math - there are 100 "petal" pieces that make up 25 blocks.  Each petal has four pieces, which means three curves.  I sewed 300 curves to get these block parts done!

But honestly, they went fairly fast.  Used a few bobbins worth of thread, but I can handle that - I've been a bit guilty of picking up a few spools every time I'm somewhere that sells Coats and Clark (my brand of choice).  I'm not hoarding.  I'm preparing!  It's only hoarding if you don't use it, right?

Anyways, the blocks, once pressed, made an impressive stack!

They actually look pretty tidy here, even before trimming, but they needed some surgery to be square.  Many were off the mark for trimming to be exact, but as I've said before, I'm going to let this roll.

Not much change after trimming, but they are now ready to lay out!  That process required some removal of cat fur from my design floor first (as usual!), but the laying out went much faster than I anticipated.  I truly expected to be crawling around on the floor for hours trying to get this just right.  Pleasant surprise!

I liked the darker streak down the middle, but was worried because I wasn't seeing the secondary circles associated with this pattern.  I see them a bit more now, so maybe I was just looking too hard when I did the layout?

Or maybe I was just seeing too much cuteness in my way?  Such a little diva, this one.  (Look at that side-eye.  She is such a character.)

I quickly labelled the rows and picked the blocks up.  No sense tempting the other three, right?!

I was excited to get started putting the rows together, if not a little wary.  Lots of seams and points and whatnot that I knew wouldn't go as well as I would like.  Also, a few instances of thicker seams, which if you remember from early this year, my machine is not terribly tolerant of.  I've learned to route my thread a little differently before it gets to the tensioner mechanisms and slow down to avoid these troubles, and that worked well for me this round.

Much like the last quilt (the nine-patch one), I sewed rows to each other as they were completed, to limit the amount of long seams needing to be sewn at one time.  That also helped, for this project, to see the secondary circles appearing.  Which, thankfully after my little panic at the design floor, they did.

Once the blocks got to "petal" stage, things went quickly, even if I was pressing seams open (my least favorite method of pressing, but trying to limit the thickness troubles here), and I had rows completed fairly easily.

The photo above was about one stretch of sewing.  And then yesterday, I hit play on a 3-hour podcast, and finished the other 6 rows!  I even had about 20 minutes at the end with the podcast still rolling where I cleaned up the fabrics!

The top?

I am very  happy those circles appeared, but am now wary of that dark diagonal of "flowers" down the center.  But it is far too late to change that now (unless one of you wants to do a bunch of reverse sewing for me?!) and I'm pretty sure it will be just fine in the end.

I also pieced the back and prepped the binding before the podcast ran out.  So this is ready to quilt.  But I'm not.  I've seen a few quilted with circles echoing the secondary design that are intriguing, but I know my ability to echo curves is not good enough.  I've also seen some with a LOT of fun pebbly quilting and stuff, but I also am not quite up to par there.  Nor am I quite interested in doing that much.  I want to put in a fair amount of quilting to help it hold up to lots of washing, but I have some thinking to do about what that will look like.

(Sadly, many of the quilts I've seen using this pattern just do straight line quilting.  I can do that, but it is B-O-R-I-N-G and I know I can do better.  Not much help inspiring me, either.)

So I'll have my thinking cap on while this stares at me from the rail of the longarm, waiting.  I'd like to have it done in the next few weeks, as I plan to send a Christmas package and would like this to be included.  Not that it is a Christmas present, but just to save the effort of finding a box and getting to the post office and all that.

That is all the quilty news for the week.  Also, not much other excitement here either.  We got a new trash can for the kitchen because SOMEBODY keeps dumping the one over that has no, you know, big excitement here!

Off to construct those churn dash blocks that pieces were cut for before I went a little nutty buying new fabric and frantically sewing it into a new quilt top!

Happy quilting!

Monday, November 16, 2020

two new projects!

Last week, I left you with some fabric purchases...some had been turned into projects already (the pants), and others were waiting their turn...

First, I needed to get the masks made.  My niece's birthday is today and I knew we'd be stopping by (an outside visit, thankyouverymuch) soon with her birthday gift and I wanted to add these in.

I chose a boring, coordinating, solid for the inside of her grandpa's mask, but for her?  Fun stuff!  And while I was on a roll, I made my Christmas mask, too.  You may notice the pony beads there - I'm not sure if I actually saw someone use those, or just figured it out myself (it's been a long year...), but I added those onto the extra-long elastic to make it adjustable.  I've seen far too many people with masks falling off their face because the elastic is way too long and for $2.99, I acquired a large bag of beads.  I continue to put ties on mine because I like them better.  (And we got new communicator devices at work that rest on your ear...pretty soon we're all gonna need extra ears...thank goodness I can wear contacts and save the glasses trouble!)

After that, I decided I would try to use up some of the scraps from the pants.  I'm okay with putting some back in the stash, but it was staring at me and this idea seemed quick and easy.

Of course, Gabby can't miss a photo op, and this is before I sewed it all together, but I'm sure you can imagine it with seams.  I had to piece one pink square, but otherwise, it was all good.  (And now the offending pink that would not cooperate is gone.)  I still have a little of the cat fabric, but that's okay.

Next up were pillowcases.  These always sound like a great idea, but getting those French seams properly arranged leaves me with aching hands.  I've learned to use a wooden seam roller instead of an iron to flatten them, so at least my hands are not also singed!

They don't look like much just sitting here, but in my previous post, I showed a better photo of the fabrics in case you're really curious.  I may be getting faster, but these always take longer than I want them to.

Between projects, I continued with the churn dash blocks - as thread colors allowed (no way am I going to sew these with black!)...

I figured out I could cut a ninth block from the shorter leftovers, which not only speeds the process along in general, but makes for a nice square set in a photo.  Not that you'd notice it with Miss Personality helping there.

These are more true to color.  Apparently Gabby's beauty washed out the blocks in the previous photo.

I think there may be a set missing, but, well, you get the idea.  Blue and off-white churn dash blocks in coordinating prints.  Not terribly exciting, so it's good I have some new projects in more varied, brighter colors to share.

But first, Toby would like you to know that he is making progress in his journey as Quilting Cat.

Here he is calmly supervising me cutting churn dash pieces.  Don't be fooled.  4 seconds before and after the photo, he was walking back and forth, tempting fate for a tail-shortening or worse.  (Of course, I'm careful and put the cutter away and give him loves, but we're working on timing things better!)

On to my second shopping trip in a week!

My niece, the one who "ran away" last September, got married in December and pregnant in about August, finally found out she is having a boy!  I knew I was going to make her a quilt, but was waiting to make color choices.  I went through my Pinterest boards first.  And found the Chic Country quilt pinned in a more random colorway than the pattern cover and I was done.

I've had the ruler for a while, but didn't have the pattern.  No problem!  And I've been feeling guilty at spending all the money on this ruler that I've not yet used.  Perfect pairing!

But.  Since this involves a lot of curves (which I'm pretty confident with, but I mean a LOT), I decided to make a test block.  Make sure I could handle at least a small portion of the whole before I committed.

The corners were not where they should be (you make the block quarters oversize and trim them down) and I was a little worried.  Which is why one corner is smaller.  It is the correct size, but I left the others a bit large, not sure what to do.  When in doubt, google!  I found that the pattern designer, as well as many others, have said "it'll be fine".  It is not perfect for anyone, and once I read that, I inspected their photos more closely and realized there are lost points in every one.

Okay.  Let's make a second test block.  Move the needle over just a teeny bit, maybe the slightly larger seam allowance will make a bit of difference.  (But also, practice makes perfect!)

This one is a bit better, but still has its problems.  I decided to make my peace with it and go buy the fabric.  It's going to be a baby quilt, intended to be used, so perfection is not terribly important.  And though Jade has done some quilting stuff with myself and both of her grandmas, I don't think she will be overly judgy.  She will either know better than to criticize, or not know enough to see the problems.

So off I went to get fabric!

That blue on the bottom was a starting point.  (It will also be the back.)  I wasn't exactly sure what colors I would end up with, but when I saw that one, I was ready to roll.  (It is hard to see, but some of the flowery-things have colored dots in them, which helped lead color selection.)  Then I found the birds.  Ooohhh!  And it went from there.  Greys that I liked were in short supply, so I planned to supplement with fabrics from home.  I have, but no photo of that - oops!

I washed and pressed and folded these right away.  When coupled with the second half of my purchase (I'll show that soon), it took eons.  But with the weather having turned colder, the extra warmth was welcome.  Even if I did have to shed a layer of sweatshirt midway through the task!

Yesterday I didn't have to be to work until noon, so I took advantage of my time and started cutting!

This is half of the pieces.  I can say I do not enjoy using the curved ruler (and just now realized I have to modify the shield-like petal pieces - missed a cut!), but I'm getting better and faster and more confident.  Today I will finish cutting and start sewing!  Hopefully the blocks continue to get easier and faster as I move through this.  Because I'm committed now!  No turning back!

She is not due until May, but you know the lure of a new project!  And I haven't bought fabric in how many months now?  Probably March or maybe early April.  I've been working happily with my stash and honestly considered trying to do this from my stash, but decided the sale that was happening was just too good.

But the sale was too good to not buy more fabric!

Way back in August (it seems like longer ago than just those few months!), I was supposed to go to Drummond Island with my hubby.  And I had chosen this project to take along, but hadn't bought fabrics yet.  I was on the fence about it, with templates and all, and then my dad fell off the ladder and broke his hip and my well-trained cat sitter fell through and it all happened so fast and close to our departure date, I opted to stay home.  And this quilt never happened.  Not even fabric purchasing.

The pattern has been hanging out, nagging me a bit.  What is it?  It is called Midsummer Solstice and was originally in a quilt magazine.  The link here, I think, gives you just the pattern.  (But I ended up purchasing the entire magazine for just a penny more - downloadable.)

I loved the bright, clash-y-ness of the overall look.  Even though my brain kept telling me that was not a good choice and was crazy, I kept going back to it.  So I took the pattern and bought all 17 yards of fabric that it calls for!

I switched up a few colors (grey instead of light green, most notably), but I had so much fun.  Even if these never make it into that quilt, this combination and variety and brightness makes me so incredibly happy.  But I do plan to make the quilt.  After I finish the baby quilt.

The timing seems quite good, too, as last night our state governor made the announcement that at midnight Tuesday, she is shutting down a bunch of things again.  Well, technically SHE is not making the call, as she was sued for misuse of power and lost for the last shutdown (funny, though, after that was taken away, none of the things she shut down opened immediately - hmmm...seems she knew what she was doing after all, just doing it months ahead of other states with fewer cases!), but the Department of Health and Human Services.  She just made the announcement.  She seemed better prepared for the announcement and questions, which I expect is in some part due to this being round two and we have a better understanding of what works and what does not, but perhaps also because the whole decision was not entirely on her shoulders.

Anyways, the places being shut down are not as extensive as the first round (scientific data is now available, so better decisions can be made about where you're more or less likely to get infected), but it is probably good I have a few projects and have scratched the fabric shopping itch for a while.  (But, oh the pretties I left behind...I could have bought a yard of about half the calicos in the store for all the beauty!)

Since the announcement was made at 6pm last night and I got out of work at 7pm, I decided to up my plan for groceries this morning to groceries last night.  While the closures are less, I expected there would still be panic buying and I was in need of regular supplies.  So sooner is better!  The store was well stocked with toilet paper still, but the bread aisle was quite vacant.  Some other areas of the store have been randomly being depleted for a week or two and then restocked, but I'm sure that has to do with manufacturing and distribution troubles, so it was not entirely apparent what had been panic purchased or just simply weekend-depleted.  But we managed to get what we actually needed and a few extras snuck into the cart that might not have been there otherwise (an extra pack of toilet paper, some laundry detergent and a few more cans of kidney beans that are needed to make a pot of chili, for example...not cartfuls, mind you, though we did see a few folks with 4 cases of water or 50 cans of beans - I have a faucet and prefer fresh produce, so I'm good there!).  And really, it was nice to not have to get up early to go this morning (if I go early, the hubby is just getting home from work and I get help carrying it all in!).  And now we're set for a week or so before things that spoil quickly (bread, produce) need to be replenished, and hopefully by then the second panic will be under control.

And with that rambling paragraph, I should get rolling.  I'm waiting for a call from my eye doctor (snafu with new contacts is the short story) and need to get going on that cutting.  Also, peanut butter cookie baking is in my afternoon plans.  (I can taste them already!)

Happy quilting,

PS Here is an old picture of Freddie since he rarely appears here and you've made it through all that talking without any photos!

PPS I bought something like 30 yards of fabric in that one trip.  I don't think I've ever bought that much at once before.  It was fun.  And at 50% off, I saved as much as I spent!  (But I'm not going to make this a habit...gotta pay the mortgage, too!)

Monday, November 9, 2020

a finish and the list of projects grew!

I went fabric shopping yesterday and holy cow did I add to my list of projects!

But first, let's see a finished quilt!

It all started out with a blog post and a quilt I couldn't quite get out of my head.  As one project was finished, I gave myself permission to start this.  My friend Colette and I decided to do this together-apart.  This time I got a head start...usually she outpaces me!

I cut for what seemed like forever, but it was not helped by cutting just five of each colored fabric.  Lots of stopping and pressing and refolding.  But almost every single print in there is different.  Almost!

I made all the 9-patch parts of the blocks first.  Obviously.

And then, to be safe, I cut just one set of triangles and made a test block.  I wanted to be sure I like this method and such...those of you who know me, know I often modify patterns to suit my needs!

Perfect!  I just need to pay attention to directional fabrics.  Not that this quilt has a true up or down, but sometimes you just like things to all be going the right way.

So I continued to cut setting triangles, again from my stash.  (Have I mentioned this has all come from my stash so far?)  And I sewed and sewed.  And before I knew it (ha ha ha ha - this took days because it takes a while to line up those triangles and I wasn't too excited, so I took a lot of breaks), I had a stack of blocks!

After trimming, it was time to determine a layout.  That required running the vacuum over the design floor.  So a bit of a stall there, as the hubby claims he is allergic to the vacuum, so I have to run it when he is not around.  (Seems awfully convenient he is allergic to a housework appliance, no?)

I had some help, but not as much as usual.  And I knew no matter how I fussed with this, it was never going to be "perfect" so I settled for "looks good" and picked it up again quickly.

(I did try taking photos and turning them black and white and such, but it just looked like a mess and my eyes were struggling to take it all in, so I declared it done and will live with my choice.)

Again I procrastinated and took my time getting the top together.  Matching those corner points was no fun and I made my peace with them not being perfect in a lot of places.  As I finished rows, I put them on the floor in my sewing room to help me orient them when attaching them to the other rows.  Gabby helped.

I finally pushed myself last weekend and got the whole top finished, but it was windy and cold and not a good time for photos, so you get this wrinkly shot instead.

(I know some quilters like to do artsy, wrinkly shots, but that was honestly not my intention here.  I'm just lucky there wasn't a cat under it when I was trying to do this!)

And then a week ago, I decided I was going to get this quilted.  Though Colette and I gave ourselves a January deadline, I was on a roll and the Rack of Shame isn't getting any lighter for my efforts of late, so it was time.  I got up, showered, got dressed and then realized I had a chunk of sunflower fabric.  I got dressed for nothing.  (Showering is less optional, even when staying home a lot.)

That works quite well.  I didn't notice until sewing down binding that there are even grey dots inside the sunflower heads!  So the only color not in the front is the turquoise dots between the flowers, but I like those, so all is well.  Except that it was a bit short, but not to worry!  I snagged some orange from the stash and pieced it in.  Problem solved.

Of course, the day I intended to quilt this got away from me, as did the following day.  Having the hubby on third shift can easily derail my day.  His sleep schedule varies a lot and if he is up, that often means I'm doing what he wants or needs, not what I want.  It's all good in the long run, but some days...

Anyways, I FINALLY got to it two days later, when I was supposed to be working, but due to supply issues, I got shifted a day later.  It felt like a free day, even if it was just trading a work day and a free day.  But I got more procrastinating!  I wanted to do something fancier than an overall pattern.  I mean, that is quick and easy and you all know I love me some good swirls, but I thought this would be a good chance to break out of that rut.  And I had an idea!

First I had to load the back.  I had tons of help.

He was wrestling the fabric like it was another cat.  I have a video, too, but that takes forever to upload, so it's not happening here.  (It is on my instagram account...)

Once I finally got Finn to go play with something else, I could start my idea.

This was early on in the quilting process, but this block (and those around it) show the pattern quite nicely.  I put the ruler base on to do the straight lines, using a ruler, and that limited my throat space significantly, which made this take more stopping and rolling the quilt than without it, but I am pleased with my work.  Rulers are not my favorite and I struggle with them, but these straight lines were good practice.  And I'm definitely getting better at controlling where the machine goes and managing to stop where I want it to, so those arcs in the 9-patches look pretty good, too.  Not perfect, but this isn't intended to be a showpiece, so I'm happy.

It seems like it took forever, but I kept going.  I knew I had to work the next two days, so this needed to be off the frame before I quit for the day.  (Because I couldn't stay down there all night, defending it from cats who know this is The World's Most Expensive Cat Bed!)

When I started, I knew I was low on thread, but I thought I could swap out the lighter grey for something else if needed.  This is a scrap quilt, so why worry about thread?  Scrap thread is a thing, too, isn't it?!

The last bobbin that went in was off-white, but this was what I had left on the top!  I knew I was getting low at the end of the second to last pass, but I didn't think much about it until I was cleaning up.  Holy cow that was close!  But it was probably better I wasn't thinking about it because I tend to try to quilt faster (making my stitches larger - stitch regulator is off, remember) and that just doesn't work.

Next up was binding.  In my mind, I was going to use up a lot of red, orange and yellow leftover binding.  I had about 10 feet of a few yellows.  Nothing else in those colors.  But I did have a LOT of greys, so let's make this entirely scrappy and use those!  I measured and pieced and started sewing them on without much  more thought.

And before I knew it, all 437 sides had binding sewn down!

But my stash of leftover binding still looks the same.  *sigh*

Usually I watch Netflix (Gilmore Girls, to be specific) while binding, but the hubby was home this weekend and I wanted it done, so I listened to some podcasts.  The setup for binding is in the living room, where the TV lives, so I had headphones in while he watched football, and we were both happy. (Well, he did suggest I move my light or go buy another light or generally move my setup to somewhere upstairs, but sheesh!  I live here too!  And I think, at least in part, he was being a brat.)

And since we have had a few gorgeous, warm (like 75 for a high!) days here, I ran out yesterday to get a photo.  Of course, the sunshine made photography a bit difficult (as wonderful as it is coming through the trees, it makes photos of quilts look awful!), but I finally pinned it up to the cat run and got a good one!

I can see now how some colors are a bit more clumped than maybe they could have been, but also I know that some of the darker oranges are reading as red, and some of the darker yellows reading as orange.  But it's okay.  (At this point, it has to be, right?!)

It measures 68"x68"

Made entirely from my stash.

And now for my shopping trip!

It started out because JoAnn's has/had flannel on sale.  I'm tired of trying to find pajamas that are made with breathable material.  I don't know what is going on lately, but they all are a poly or poly blend that does not breathe so I wake up in a puddle of my own sweat too many nights.  (The one set of pajamas I have that is 100% cotton does not create this problem, so I know it is the pajamas and not me or my bedding.)  And you can sometimes find just pants, but seriously?  If I have to go looking for a top, I have a sewing machine and these kind of pants aren't that hard and I can pick a fabric that is actually cute, not obnoxious.

So anyways, flannel is on a good sale and that seems a good choice for winter pajama pants, right?

The pink is for a cuff.  We'll discuss that later.

While I was strolling around looking for all the flannels, I came across some Western Michigan University fabric.  My sister-in-law's father-in-law completed a degree there a few years ago, late in life.  Which means his granddaughter, my niece Alora, loves the school.  He takes her to games and while I prefer she be a Michigan State fan, I can handle this.  So what's a girl to do but buy some fabric to make a face mask for the niece.  (And since there is enough, grandpa will probably get one, too.)

And what's that?  You spy a Christmas fabric in there?  Well, yes you do!

Turns out Christmas fabrics were all 40% off, though, despite my repeated efforts to find out, I did not know.  You may remember that every year I make the three nieces on my side of the family Christmas pillowcases.  This year will be no different, but I knew the time for good selection will be ending soon, so I kept watching for the sale.

Since I happened upon it unintentionally, I won't complain, but instead walk the aisles and find some perfect fabrics.  This year, as last, I've added in the husband of the eldest niece.

I found Christmas flamingo fabric again this year, so decided that would be fun for the oldest niece.  Her hubby will get the Christmas sweaters and I haven't decided who will get Santa and who will get kitties for the two other girls.  But they are all washed and pressed, so ready for sewing.

While these were in the wash, I worked some on the churn dash blocks.  I had cut enough for eight more, but stalled out there quite a few days ago.  (Well Suited took priority for a few days!)

These look a bit dark, but I took the photo after dark last night, so it make sense.  Today, I will cut and sew another set before I get to do something fun with the above fabrics.  (Probably the masks...)

But after these were done last night, I decided to cut out the pants.  And start sewing.  Why not?!

Every single one of the cats ran in to help.  I remembered the fabric was directional, so I had to cut and re-layer it, which took a while with added help.  Then I had to smooth out the pattern, which had been folded and stashed in my pattern box for years, so DEEP creases.  That took longer because everyone wanted to help with the crinkly sound.  I kept moving cats, but finally snapped a photo of Gabby.  She doubled as a pattern weight (just in case the pins failed), but did not center herself properly, so she was in the way of cutting most of the time.

I've used this pattern before and was a little worried the small wouldn't be big enough any more, but I figured worst case, I could repurpose the fabric into a quilt, right?  Turns out it is okay, but I didn't cut the top shorter (as I did last time), so it sits a bit high on my waist.  I could use a bit more in the backside, but thankfully I washed the fabric before I used it (flannel shrinks like mad), so I think all will be well.  Next time patterns are 99 cents, I'll snag another, though, and cut a medium.

But about that cuff...let's just say it isn't gonna work and move on.  I think I have a better idea how to make it work for the next pair, but not knowing how long/short to cut the legs, I had to make the pants and THEN sew on the cuff.  Next time I'll have something to measure since these pants are done.

I decided, despite the cuff frustration, to finish the pants last night!  (It was tempting to leave them, mostly finished, and go to bed.)

Again, not great lighting, and please forgive all the cat stuff in the background (this is my bedroom and somehow I have a lot of cat beds and toys up, wait...that is the way my whole house is!)

They fit well enough and I hemmed them a bit long on purpose because I hate having too short pants.

I still want to find a pink shirt for the top, but I'm happy with my efforts.  These went together really fast (except the cuff/hem debacle), so I was in bed at a reasonable hour!

And one last kitty photo.  The other day, I ran the vacuum.  This is where I found Toby afterwards.

Sleeping.  Upside down.  To be fair, I ran the vacuum on the main floor (where this ripple rug lives) and then did the upstairs, so I wasn't near him.  But seriously?  Such a little goofball.  He is learning our ways, but it is slower going than some cats have been.  It's okay.  We've got time and will accept him no matter what.  This is his forever home.

Time to go take that daily shower and make some churn dash blocks.  I'm whittling down the stack of fabrics, but that's the only way the stash is going anywhere!  (And if the stash goes, I have excuses to buy more, right?!)

Happy quilting,