Itchy Fingers

I hadn’t planned on threading my needle again until the grandkids came along. I’m still waiting on my future angels, but I’ve had itchy fingers. I needed to let my quilting self out. Let her create. Once I gave her permission, all $@^(&^$@ broke loose.


Sewing Central

First, I set up my room. The fabric you see here is a fraction of what I dug out of hiding, and there are two more storage shelves on the left. It’s impossible to have too much. Besides, she who dies with the biggest pile wins. (Marlene, the race is still on.) Once I begin a project, the fam is on their own; I only leave this room when it’s absolutely necessary–I can survive on fumes from the kitchen below.

I began with small projects. I have two good friends with birthdays this time of year, so I decided on mug rugs. The fabric with the brown and white circles belonged to my grandmother.

The sage and dusty rose rug below went to my coffee buddy. The rest are rolled up in a small crock on my kitchen table, ready for Christmas.

christmas-projects_dec-2016-12Then, I saw a pattern for mittens. I could not get it out of my mind. I had to make some. I needed wool and I remembered where to look…



I’d recently found the ugly Christmas sweaters from our contest four years ago. It was meant to be. The only all wool sweater was the middle sweater on my middle child (sadly, the sweaters he and my husband are wearing used to belong to me). I began cutting.



They are going to someone with very tiny hands.

For my first pair, I was happy with the result. But, no. I was not done. I’ve been wanting to make a stocking for my daughter-in-law. I decided this was the year. I texted her fabric choices for the body, and this is what she chose:


I raided my mother-in-law’s thread stash for matches.

Here’s the finished stocking, with bells, a Thimbleberries pattern.


There’s another Thimbleberries pattern I’ve had my eye on for years. It’s a table runner made using star, tree, and house blocks. I could feel it in my bones. This was the year. I began with the trees.

img_20161222_102045995.jpg…and then the house blocks.


I love using the scraps I’ve accumulated through the years. It’s my favorite type of quilt. That purple polka dot up there? It, too, was my grandma’s. The green in the bottom left block came from Brazil. The color options are endless and my creative juices left me aglow. I swear, it wasn’t the wine. But, I’m fighting the Christmas clock. I told myself this had to go on hold.

That was right up until I saw a pattern for a tote bag. A tote bag! I had to start on it immediately. It was required. It wasn’t an option. Of course there were no options…

“Dinner Schminner!” I yelled downstairs.

I began with the batik scraps my aunt gave me years ago. They are bright and cheery. I wish this photo did them justice.

img_20161222_110636567.jpgThey’d been in a box for so long that I decided to wash and iron them before I started cutting. No problem. I’m all for multi-tasking. I tossed in the batiks with a pile of my clothes. Good to go. No problem. I HAD to make the tote bag. Had to. And, I was fighting that clock…

The project started and ended beautifully. I arranged and rearranged.


I love the fabric so much that when I cut the first squares, I cut enough for two bags. I should have counted the scraps from my aunt. I thought I had more…

Meantime, because I received so many compliments on this bag, I decided to make a second using all one print. It won’t take that long. If I skip dinner, I have time to widen the zigzag stitch on the front and use a heavier grade batting.




Tote bag, finished.

Whew! One more project done.

I was pretty tired when I changed for bed last night. When I took off the pants I’d been wearing, something felt a little off.

Ah, here it is.


Yay! More fabric! I can start another project…..

  22 comments for “Itchy Fingers

  1. December 29, 2016 at 9:15 am

    I had so much fun reading this for several reasons: the humor and passion of your words, the creativity you put into your delightful and varied products, your love of fabric that is so like my mothers was, the photographs clear enough to allow me to enjoy the details of your work,and the glimpse you gave me of the mind, excitement and drive of an artist at work. How lucky your friends and loved ones are to receive such gifts, and how happy it must make you to give them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Oh, Janet, I hardly know what to say. Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤ I can't begin to tell you how much your words mean.

      And you are right, it's hard to describe the feeling I get when I see the face of the person to whom I've given one of these gifts. Example: my mother when she saw the mittens I made for my sister (mom's pair is in the works but I need a smaller pattern). I could not include them in this post because Lynne, my sister, reads my blog. I cannot seem to add the link for the image, so I'll post about those soon. I cut up my father's old navy blanket, cut out his name and number, and made them into mittens. My mother went absolutely still and simply stared, held them as if they were made of gold. To her, they were. ❤

      I'd love to start an online sewing business. I am not sure I will, but I've thought about it many times. We'll see.

      Again, Happy New Year, and thank you for stopping by. ❤

      Thank you so much for your heartfelt words. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • December 29, 2016 at 10:26 am

      Hoping this takes you to the image.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. December 28, 2016 at 5:54 am

    Bless you for making me laugh at this early hour before I’ve even had my first sip of coffee.:) After the kid has moved out and I can find my floors, I’ll invite you up and you can be the fabric judge. There is major sorting going to happen. I love all of your projects! you have inspired me but I can’t pull out my chair to sit at the sewing machine right this minute. We are stuffing stuff in that room. One more week, God willing and the creek don’t rise. Your bags are unusual and they look like they will be very strong with all that stitching. I want to make mug rugs too! That’s a lot of stockings and a really cute pattern. You have been quite busy and I almost didn’t get a chance to read this. This week will be all about getting his storage unit straightened out and ready to go in a truck. I will catch up. NOW where is that coffee?

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Hi, Marlene. I do hope you found some coffee today. 🙂 I don’t get very far without mine. The mug rugs were my way of warming up my sewing machine (and clearing out the dust) for those meatier projects. They were quite easy and as I’ve said, using scraps is my most favorite way to quilt. That tote bag was very easy, and I think I’ll try it with jean fabric as well. If you want the pattern/tutorial, let me know and I’ll send it your way. We are fighting the clock until our son comes home from Vietnam. He’s been gone and that’s all it took for me to take back my house (and claim my sewing room and fix up the guest room). That bumped him into the upper attic. I feel like this house has had a major tweaking (and we hosted Christmas)–which it badly needed–and this was all part of the process. I get where you are coming from. At any rate, I’ve unleashed my sewing self and I couldn’t be happier. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ❤ P.S. No one can win until we are dead. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. December 25, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Wow!!!! You are amazingly talented! Your sewing room itself is a marvel, to say nothing of all of your finished pieces. Those tote bags truly are works of art. It must feel amazing to be able to release all of that creative energy in such a fruitful and beautiful way. Merry Christmas!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Hi, Lulu! Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you are having a great holiday season. Well, I took back my room–my house, really–when our son left for Vietnam in Nov. He’s coming back soon so we are fighting the clock getting the upper attic ready. Yes, I LOVE SEWING. Always have. If I hadn’t been cleaning out the attic, I would not have found that batik. But, it is quite lovely. I agree. I made quilts and clothing for myself and my children when they were young; that was my creative outlet (=kept me sane). 😉 Hoping you have a fabulous 2017. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. December 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Oh my goodness Karen.. these are AMAZING! I just love the idea of using the Xmas jumper to make mittens… what a fantastic idea! You are so creative…Fantastic.. I hope you’re having a magical day .. Happy Xmas and may your dreams for 2017 come true… xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm

      Well, I can’t fit into it anymore, and if I could, I’d have a major hot flash…and we don’t want that! 😉 I was happy to cut up that one and make something someone can use. Thank you for the lovely comments. HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • December 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

        Haha Karen – I know that feeling! Still.. they are fantastic and you are very talented!!! Hoping your dreams for 2017 come true…. xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. December 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Dang, you are quite talented!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I think it’s more that I can copy really well….(but thank you!) 😉 HAPPY NEW YEAR, ANN. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy
    December 23, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Wow! Just lovely! And you sure have been productive. I am impressed! Merry Christmas to you and yours and all the lucky people who get those handmade gifts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 28, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Amy. My daughter got the purple wool mittens and my mother got the tote bag. My daughter-in-law knew she was getting the stocking (not really a gift). Hope you are having a great week, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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