Christmas Stockings for Charity

Every year my guild makes stockings and drawstring bags and stuffs them with gifts for needy children for the holidays. I like to make stockings. Last year I used up almost all of my Christmas scraps making improv pieced stockings, so this year when the charity committee was offering fabric for stockings I took two yards. (I guess I could’ve just used yardage I had but whatever.) I used up both yards and maybe an additional quarter yard of red fabric that I added to make a total of ten stockings. Ten! Eight were cut from the yardage and two improv-pieced, because I didn’t want any scraps hanging around. The only pieces that didn’t get pieced in were the ones that were too small to use – those went into a dog bed stuffing.

I thought I had pictures of all of them, but apparently I only have pictures of number 11, which I made with a piece of green fabric I found in my stash that I didn’t like and some gold scraps.  To add a bit of interest, I sewed a few straight lines in gold around the top.

All 11 stockings went to my guild last week.


Easy Valentine’s Day Decorations

I made quick and easy decorations for Valentine’s Day.  My roommate and I had a small dinner party, just my boyfriend and another friend, and I spent my day at my guild meeting and then cooking, so I didn’t have a lot of time to decorate.

I’d had an idea – probably during my guild meeting – for decorations.  I cut out hearts from pink fabric.  I just did it freehand and then trimmed as necessary.  My plan was to safety pin them to ribbon and tie the ribbon around our kitchen cabinet handles, but the ribbon pulled too much when I did that and the hearts wouldn’t hang straight.   I ended up pinning each end of ribbon to the heart instead.

Cute, right?  I made six of them and it took maybe ten minutes.  I’m going to reuse them for applique, maybe for a doll quilt or something.


Nativity Wall Quilt for my Goddaughter N

Merry Christmas, habibis!  I hope you’re having a very happy holiday if you celebrate (and if not, happy Thursday)!

For my goddaughter N’s Christmas present I thought I’d give her something religious.  I was thinking I’d stop at the Catholic store in my parents’ town and then I remembered that I had bought a Nativity wall quilt kit years ago.  I think I’d originally planned to make it for my parents but I never got around to it, and it’s been sitting in my stash for some time.  I decided it would be perfect.

The kit consists of a panel featuring the Holy Family and the three Wise Men, in shades of blue and gold.  It’s beautiful!

The back is a starry print.

I added this silver-edged ribbon to make loops for hanging.

I did all my quilting in gold thread.  I tried to do some FMQ on it, more free-form than free motion I guess.  I quilted around the halos on the Holy Family, but I didn’t trace in advance, so they aren’t perfect curves.


I quilted inside the Star of Bethlehem, from point to point, although you can’t really tell.  I quilted around the blocks at the top and bottom of the panel.  I quilted along the edges of the center panel piece.  I had some bunching issues at the corners – the little finial kind of shapes – and I wanted to flatten them out as best I could, so I then went along the edges of the quilt in navy.

Can you see that in the above picture?  It did help.

Here are full shots of the front and back:

It’s really cute, right?  I wish it were less bunchy but that’s a chronic problem of mine, and it still looks great!

Christmas stockings for charity

Welcome, habibis!  For the second day of Advent I want to get us right into the holiday season with stockings. My guild makes stockings and stuffs them with gifts to distribute to local children. (I’m not sure the name of the charity.)  See my previous posts about making stockings here and here.

My guild gives out a wax paper template, which you can see in my previous posts. You trace it and voila. All you have to do is sew the two sides together and make a little hanger.  If I can, I fold the fabric so I can trace both sides at one time. (I pin the layers to make cutting easier.)

My guild wanted 1/2 inch seams instead of a quarter inch, because last year when they stuffed them some people’s seams split. I think I did a pretty good job of it this year, but it was an adjustment.

I made eight stockings. I tried to use up as many of my scraps as I could. I sewed my scraps together to make found fabric or used them for borders at the top. The remaining scraps went to my grandma for whatever presents she wants to make this year.  (She has Parkinson’s but she can still do some crafting with her aides and she requested fabric for that.  Destash! I can buy more Christmas fabric next year if I need to. It always goes on sale before the holidays.)

Here are the eight stockings:

I took them to my November guild meeting.  I thought they came out really cute and I was excited to use up my leftover Christmas fabric.

Speaking of Christmas, I’ve made progress on presents!  Last week I had made three presents (plus two birthday presents that I gifted at Thanksgiving – I’ll be posting about those later this week).  I had plenty of sewing time over the long weekend – most of Wednesday, most of Friday, and most of Sunday – and I’ve now got 11 presents completed.  I have staggered deadlines – some things need to be mailed, and I’ll be seeing some family only at my brother’s wedding, not at Christmas – which has helped me prioritize presents and work on them in batches.  Since some presents are going out earlier, I’ll be able to post them before Christmas, too.

Come back tomorrow for my first Travel Tuesday installation.  Over the course of the next four weeks I’m going to post about my travels to Europe and the Middle East, split into two Northern Europe posts and two Mediterranean posts.  Tomorrow’s post will be Northern Europe Part I.  (I am incredibly blessed to have traveled so much that I need four blog posts to talk about it.  My list of things to be thankful for at Thanksgiving was very, very long.)  If I can get my act together I’ll even have pictures!

Blog tags

I want to make the blog more reader-friendly, and I realized that tags are a good way to do this.  I’ve gone through all of my posts and added tags based on various themes. I’ll tag this post with all of them so you can more easily find anything you’re interested in, and my goal is to be more conscientious about tagging in the future.

In the course of doing all my tags, I realized that I posted twice about the Storm at Sea runner I made my parents, once in 2011 and again last December during my Advent posts.  Perhaps if I’d had a better tagging system I would have remembered that I’d done it before!  It was fun to go back and look at the old posts – I’d forgotten what some of the blocks were called and I had to read the posts to see which quilt I was writing about.  Most of my pre-blog quilts are on here, although I know of at least four that aren’t.  Perhaps those will be fodder for Advent 2014!

The tags fall into several categories: block type, type of item if it’s not a quilt, language if I was quilting in something other than English, etc.   The blocks I have thus far are as follows:

Drunkard’s Path – Storm at Sea – Hunter’s Star – Lone Star – hexagons – pinwheels – Steps to the Altar – Rail Fence -Windowpane – Log Cabin – “Elegance” fan block – Korean patchwork – Amish Square – Bow Tie block

If you happen to notice that I have the wrong name for a block or if there’s another name for it, please let me know!  In one case – the wedding quilt I made for my friend N last year – I’m not sure if there is a name for this kind of quilt.  (  If there is a name, please share it with me.

I made a tag for doll quilts, since I make so many of them, and if I used a particular block I tagged that as well.  I may have missed some, so leave a comment if you notice that a block went untagged.

Tags for non-quilts include, in no particular order: pot holders; kitchen/household; holiday; decor; pillows; napkins; clothing; ornaments; aprons.

I’d forgotten how many pillows I’d made, for example.  Kitchen/household covers pot holders, napkins, and aprons; aprons fall under clothing, too.  Decor includes pillows, runners, and wall hangings, but runners and wall hangings don’t have separate tags.  Holiday includes ornaments and stockings, the latter of which also don’t have a separate tag.  If you think it would be helpful for me to make a runners tag or a wall hangings tag or a stockings tag, let me know.  If you see anything I haven’t tagged that you think I should – a quilting design or a specific stitch or whatever – just leave me a comment.

Hopefully this way my blog will be much easier to navigate.  I like to read other quilters’ blogs and I’ve learned not just from what other people are making but from how they’re blogging about it.  Tagging struck me as a relatively easy way to be more accessible.  This is for you, so feel free to give me your input.  If you want a “wedding” tag or a “birthday” tag or some other category that you think would be useful, I want to know about it.


Stocking for J

Merry Christmas!  This is my bonus post.  I decided to make a stocking for my roommate J because I had hung one up and I thought she should have one, too.  I used the same pattern I’d used to make the charity stockings – I saved the pattern my quilt guild had given me.  I chose poinsettia fabric and traced the stocking onto the fabric.

I used a little scrap to make the hanger.

I folded down the top edge of each stocking piece and sewed it to hide the rough edges.

I didn’t bother adding decorative ribbon like I had on the charity stockings, so this time around the assembly went even faster.  I just sewed the two sides together, with the hanger pinned at one corner, and I had a stocking.

J was delighted with the fabric and hung the stocking up on her door.

Thank you for joining me on my Advent calendar blog post adventure.  Come back next Tuesday for my regular posting schedule – I’ll be featuring the polka dot quilt I’m making for myself.

Stockings for charity

My quilt guild makes stockings for charity at Christmas.  They provide the fabric and a pattern.  Putting the stockings together was a breeze!

First, I traced the pattern.


The guild had samples with ribbon trim on them, and I didn’t want to make subpar stockings.  So, having cut out the stocking pieces, I then pinned ribbon to them.  The ribbon pinning was actually the hardest part.

IMG_0977 IMG_0978

I also folded the top edge under twice to hide the raw edges, and pinned.


Then I sewed the top edges and the ribbons down.

I made little hooks by sewing a long thin piece of fabric lengthwise to make a tube and turning the tube inside out.  I used a safety pin to turn it inside out.

IMG_0974 IMG_0975 IMG_0976

I pinned the matching sides of each stocking together with a hook.


I sewed around the edges and then turned the stocking inside out.


I was able to make several stockings with the fabric the guild had provided me.  I ended up with enough large scraps to make one more stocking.  I sewed all the large scraps together to make pieces of fabric large enough for the patterns.

IMG_1002 IMG_1005

I cut the stocking pieces and did the same thing I had done with the other stockings.


It was fun and easy to put the stockings together.  Such a breeze.