The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels


September Sewing Projects

I have a couple quickie sewing projects to share with you from September.

A quilted set of four placemats and napkins joined the pile of linens. Nothing fancy, each napkin uses 1/2 yard total and as well as each placemat. I make the napkins rectangular to avoid fabric waste if I buy as fat quarters or have fabric in 1/2 or one yard lengths which was the situation here.

I have a thing for yellow and navy.  The matts are a white and yellow print backed straight line quilted. The napkins share the fabric that backed the matts.

A project bag with drawstring I made up as a thank you gift for a friend.  She has a black cat!

Pockets inside to organize:

My sewing room’s become a school work room. Sigh…hopefully I will have time now and then to work on sewing projects.





Charity Quilts for Syrian Refugees-September, 2015

Today I taped up a box full of love. Via Ravelry I found a group called Hats and More for War-Torn Syria.  Sadly, the charity I knit for in the past, Afghans for Afghans cannot ship anything because of the country’s instability.

War and strife cause me great sadness. Charitable knitting, and now sewing, help me deal with those feelings, feeling like I can contribute something to meet others needs, to infuse some sort of happiness into dour situations.  One year ago I shared a post with a link to a photo of an Afghan girl holding up the Icelandic sweater I made for that campaign. How happy that made me.

This group collects childrens’ quilts as well as knitted items.  I lucked out and connected with a gal that will quilt donated tops on her long-arm machine.  It would take me hours to do just one.  How generous of her. I prefer piecing to quilting in general.

Using requested size limits, I pieced 10 tops from stash that needs a more worthy home than my shelves. Only one I used a pattern for. All others were improvised as I went along.

This process was liberating!

I dove into my batiks:


Miscellaneous fat quarters put to good use:


Close up detail of some of the prints:


Simple. Simple. Simple.

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The quilt on the left uses a panel well-marinated in deep-stash-land. I used leftover blocks from my nieces quilt to insert into the split panel. The one on the right was great fun. Stacked coins on a fabric foundation strip are bordered by larger cuts of fabric. It’s vibrant.


Uber simple strips of flannel. This one will be cuddly.

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Here’s the only one I used a pattern for.  Sun Sprite by Villa Rose takes only 6 fat quarters.  Printed on a just a small card, the Rosecard patterns are easy peasy. I’ve made three total including Limelight and Senior Prom.


This quilt I call Pink Lemonade because of the lemon fabric and the salmon pink fabric. It’s a giant log cabin block.


It’s been a fun way to use languishing stash for a great cause.


Sewing Stuff-Cushions, A Shower Curtain, and a Flashback

I’ve been stricken with the plague. Most of the last 7 days I’ve spent asleep or in a stupor.  Today was a breakthrough in that I enjoyed a whole press-pot of coffee this AM. I also mustered up the energy to weave in the ends on a few knitting projects which are now blocking.  Some are a top-secret so pics will have to wait until I gift them.  In the meantime,  I’ve a few sewing projects to share.


The cotton velvet orange lumbar cushion I made with an exposed zipper. I like its gold teeth next to the orange fabric. I’ve a thing for navy and orange these days.

These new cushions sewn for my couch brighten up the room and the colors work well with a new quilt.  Here’s a pic of it all spread out on the back fence (before I quilted it).


To my delight, I found this slice of yellow embroidered silk and solid red silk in my stash. I don’t remember buying either. What a find! With just a sliver of the yellow, I used every inch as an insert into the red front. Two solid, navy pillows, deco-abric from Britex in San Francisco (I do remember buying that) help settle down the riot of colors. I think…sorta.


A floor cushion was a breeze to make. At the local Habitat for Humanity thrift shop I found a length of woven, obviously imported fabric, though I’m not sure from where.  A huge, firmly stuffed pillow (conveniently there as well) makes for a comfy seat.


Isn’t it pretty?  There’s metallic gold thread in there.


This orange pillow slip has a history, one I first shared with you back in 2008.  Made in India, I purchased it at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe while living and working in Albuquerque.  It’s been in many different homes with me.  Just look at all that dense hand stitching.  Colored thread on the yellow background denotes areas of color. It depicts women cooking, doing tasks, using a hand water pump. Check out the propane stove in the lower right hand corner.  I just love this piece. And I love the memories associated with this road trip and the festival I attended.  Next year it’s scheduled for July 8-10.  How I’d love to return.

Why’s it so special? Since 2004, more than 750 artists from 92 countries have sold and displayed their art.  They receive 90% of the profits.  Total sales, thus far, exceed $21 million. You can see photos of artists working their craft on this old post I made in 2008. I don’t know why WordPress has changed all the formatting making it look odd. Never-the-less, I just enjoyed revisiting the photos.


Ok. The shower curtain.  After making our new bed quilt, being in the fabric stash-diving mode, I figured out how to make a shower curtain using 16 fat quarters.


After trimming all to the same size, I laid them out in a pleasing manner and seamed them up. All seams I serged.  Needing length, and to help meld the riot of patterns, I added a header with buttonholes in the most fabulous salmon color.

Piece of cake!  What a great way to use up fat quarters. One could slowly collect a bunch for this, or purchase a set.  Hmmm…


Technicolor Placemats and Napkins and Quilt and Coasters – CAUTION, Sunglasses Advised

I’ve been sewing feverishly.  Now that the new house is all nested and set up, time’s available to become re-acquainted with my sewing machine and fabric stash.  For many years, a mobile travel nursing lifestyle made sewing impractical.  Knitting filled that need to craft.  My knitting’s taken a back-burner to quilting.

A few projects:

I made four placemats from various fat quarters and yardage. I can’t seem to get enough of blue and orange.


This photo shows the bird and floral backing.  They are reversible.


I played with using the fabric’s motifs as a template for free-motion quilting. See how the stitching roughly follows the petals’ contours?

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I wanted to skip binding the mats so I used a mitering technique on the corners then folded them under.  It was fiddly but quite pretty and neat. Here’s a great tutorial:

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To coordinate, but certainly not match, four napkins I made from 8 fat quarters. I simply cut all to the same size, sewed right sides together, turned and topstitched.  Easy peasy!  Washable, re-useable, I’ll never buy paper napkins.



This photo shows both sides of all four napkins spread out, so cheery and bright!


Deep, deep in the stash I found 6 log cabin blocks I free-form pieced using muslin foundations. Not sure what I had in mind for these, having made them some 6 or more years ago.  I added black borders – backed in pretty batiks – coasters they became. This photo is indoors and does not show how bright and primary the colors really are.


And lastly, a quilt is in the works, awaiting its backing and quilting.  Jane ignored my warning about the bias edges stretching and promptly plopped down on it.  Why do cats do that?

The pattern is called Prisms by Aardvark Quilts  I bought mine at a quilting shop, can’t remember which. A quick search told me Hancocks of Paducah sells it.  Have you seen their website?  Man…beware.



All sewn together, I draped it over my back fence but the overhead  sun and breeze made this a challenge. Please pardon the shadows.  I’m piecing  a backing equally as colorful, trying to maintain a promise to myself to not buy more fabric.





I’ve set out several more projects, enjoying playing with fabric.  My batik scraps I dumped out and sorted by color families into separate containers. That was fun!


More sewing updates later, including the next project in line.


Christmas Sewing – 2014

Quilts.  I’ve made one for each of my nieces and nephews. Another niece is due to arrive in June.

Sam got the first quilt back in July 2012.

I’ve shown it to you before but will do so again because he’s so dang cute.

Pattern is Lucky Stars by Atkinsons Designs.  I’ll surely make it again and again.  He’s not that wee anymore. He’ll be 3 in June.  Pattern is Lucky Stars by Atkinsons Designs.  I’ll surely make it again and again.  He’s not that wee anymore. He’ll be 3 in June.


This quilt was a blast to make.


I just love seeing he still uses it.


Lily received the quilt I showed you earlier this summer.  She curled right up in it upon removing it from the gift bag.  Talk about adorable and an immediate affirmation of appreciation!


Pattern is Senior Prom by Villa Rosa Designs. I ordered several from the company.  Their simple and punchy designs appeal to me.


I can’t find the shots I took of the finished quilt. This will have to do.


Finally, I made Lucca, a new kindergartener with a mind for science, this solar system quilt. We found a solar system book to go along with it.  Fabric line is Out of This World by Northcott Fabrics.    I backed it in soft flannel.

The fabric was supposed to glow in the dark but didn’t. Still…it was fun to make and Lucca loves it. That’s what counts!  Lucca wasn’t into a photo-op being too distracted by Christmas excitement.

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That’s it for Christmas sewing.  Now having a dedicated sewing and craft room, I suspect I’ll do more sewing for gifts this year.

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Munro’s Bookstore in Victoria, B.C. – Quilted Artwork by Carole Sabiston

Moving day is one week tomorrow. Pete and I have been painting the new house’s interior like mad, hoping to complete most all before moving day.  In case you’re new to this blog, I just bought my first house.  I’m tired.  Really tired.  All extra energy goes towards preparing to move.  He’s a saint.  I’m grateful for his help and tolerating my occasional veering away from my typical cool and calm self to Nervous Nellie.  So much to do!  Not to mention work.

I miss my blog.

Thought I’d share something simple today, pics from a trip into Victoria when my mom and dad were here.  After we parted ways, I had a bit of time waiting for the ferry,  so I popped into Munros Books.  It’s a bucket list bookstore.

The inner harbor, looking away from the Parliament Building, from the ferry I arrived on.



Gorgeous, eh?  The neo-classical building was designed for the Royal Bank of Canada in 1909.

The coffered ceiling is 24′ tall.  The space is light and bright.  Their website reports they’ve won two heritage awards for its renovation.




A welcomed surprise, artful quilted wallhangings grace the arched walls inside.


The owner, Jim Munro’s wife Carole Sabiston is the artist who created the four hangings representing the The Four Seasons.  In the back are other pieces inspired by literature classics.

Timely, and my favorite season, fall:












To see more of Carole’s works, which are hung in the store, visit the About Us page on Munro’s website. At the bottom, photos cycle through.

I cannot find a website for Carole.  Munro’s website states she works on theatre sets and costumes. She’s done commissioned works in many provinces as well as the UK and the US.  She uses hand and machine stitching.

How I’d love to see her studio!

Speaking of studios, I can’t wait to set up and USE my new sewing room.  It’s quite a bit smaller than the one I’ve had the last year but I have strategies to conserve space.  I’ll share all that later.

First I have to survive the painting, packing, moving and unpacking.



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Rekindling my Sewing Mojo

Moving my goods to from CO to CA put me in touch with my long-lost sewing stash and trusty Pfaff machine.  There’s a lot of fabric in my closet, more than yarn space-wise.  In fact, I was surprised at how much fabric I still have despite many purges.

In the last month I’ve sent a baby quilt off to my favorite long-arm machine quilting business, Robbins Nest Custom Machine Quilting  in Lindstrom, MN.  Robbin does beautiful, high-quality work at exceptionally reasonable prices.  If you quilt, I recommend clicking the link.  She takes out-of-state work via mail.

This I’ll gift to my brand new nephew Samuel in a week or so.  (Pics promised once gifted. I’m really excited about it!)  I’ve also made a pair of PJ pants and a pillowcase for my other nephew Lucca’s third B-Day gift.

My length of fabric too short, I shortened the pattern at the waist and added a contrasting waistband. Turned out a pain in the arse mod. Should have added a contrasting cuff instead.

Lucca’s gift is a puppy-clad pillowcase and a book on things that dig and push.  He’s fascinated by “diggers,” trucks and tractors.  Not used to seeking out boy stuff.  This was a new experience for me!

It’s been fun re-uniting with the stash.  In past housing set-ups, a second bedroom dedicated to sewing/crafting was a reality.   Exorbitant Marin county rents prohibit a second bedroom. I’m contented with a table in the corner of my living room.  The view of the bay and hills are grand so I don’t mind.  Forces me to keep the space neat and tidy as well.

My brain is planning a new bed quilt. I love the one I have now but it’s time for a change.  Lord knows I have enough fabric to make one.  Later…knitting calls.