Thursday, December 28, 2017

Gingerbread House

    I burned the midnight (actually 11pm oil) on Friday night finishing this as a Christmas gift for my youngest daughter.  We had our family Christmas on the Saturday of Christmas week-end.  I'm glad we did, because of the snow we received on Christmas Eve morning.

Gingerbread House Pillow

     This was a free pattern in the November/December issue of Rug Hooking magazine by Sharon A. Smith.  I love her designs and to have a free one to use was too good to pass up.  A 15 cent enlargement and a little tracing and I was ready to go.  The brown wool was from my walnut hull dyeing last month.

From this.....

To this..... one fine November afternoon.  
(We won't mention the terrible smell in the kitchen while I boiled the walnut hulls.) 
The gumdrops are hooked with sari silk from the workshop with said Sharon A. Smith a couple of years ago.  The yellow in the lollipop is also from some of my wool dyeing episodes.  

     This was really fun to hook and small enough to finish in a week.  I love to work on seasonal things, no matter which season it is.  I already have my big Christmas project for next year and I have a bunny design to hook in the spring.  I recently joined the Pattern of the Month Club with Deanne Fitzpatrick and the first pattern was roses.  I'm thinking that will be a good February project.  

   Those of you who have followed my blog for quilting conversations are probably wondering if I have given it up.  Do not despair, we will still be quilting in this house for some time to come.  (You don't want to see my quilting stash).  I am not a fan of television, so rug hooking and wool applique fill my evenings while my husband watches sports and news.  One of us has to stay in the great room to let the cat in and out, so he watches TV in the den while I hook in the great room.  It works for us.  I sew most afternoons in my sewing room, so that's when the quilting activities take place.  
     So quilters, don't give up on me, I plan to 
Keep on Stitchin',

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Post-Christmas Musings

     We had a lovely Christmas at the pickinstitchin household!  Family gatherings, good food, an unending Uno game with the grandsons, a beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service and SNOW!  Yes, we had a little snow on Christmas Eve.  Just enough to cover the ground, but not enough to restrict travel to family activities and church services.
Here it is, falling softly on the deck, just before sunrise.

This is one of our recent sunrises, but not the snowy one.  Still beautiful.  Is it my imagination, or are the sunrises and sunsets more spectacular in the winter?

In addition to all of the Christmas preparations, my Early Work Mercantile update was posted on December 15th.  On Saturday, December 16th, we had lots of family here to attend our local theatre's production of A Christmas Carol and I was getting emails about purchasing the items from that post.  My previous updates had pretty lukewarm sales, but this one sold out in the first day!  So exciting!  Here they are.
Feather Tree Stocking went to New York state to live.    

This cute little doll quilt from CW fabrics went to Katy, Texas.

Hooked wool Snowmen.  I actually hooked 4 of these, but gave 2 to my oldest daughter for Christmas.  These went to El Paso TX, so will add some winter cheer to a warmer climate.  

Santa doll.  He went to live in Rome, NY.  

Frosty.  This was sewn from a white wool and came with a red scarf and a blue scarf.  He has a little pocket on the back to tuck a personal note or a small gift.  
Here is his cute face.  I actually sold two of these.  The extra one added some stress to my week before Christmas, but went to a really sweet lady in Texas, so it was worth it.  She also bought the  doll quilt, would love to see how she is using them.  
     My mind is spinning now about what to make for the January update.  I have seen some other snowman ideas, but also want to do something with hearts for Valentine's Day. 


     This week, though, will be about finishing up the year with a flourish.  I am within a few yards of equalizing my fabric stash-in and stash-out numbers.  I would like to see it done, for once.  I usually buy more than I use.  Not a good situation for someone in my age group.  My children will not thank me for that.  I finished this quilt top a couple of weeks ago. 

 It had been languishing in the UFO pile for about three years, so it was time to bring it to the finishing stage.  It is a pattern by Homestead Hearth called Red Cross, so has some significance for me as a retired RN also.  I plan to start the quilting on it this week.  I've been thinking about the quilting (this is always my biggest decision of the entire process).  I grabbed this quilt for my Christmas Day nap and have decided I will use this design. 

It was an easy and fun design to do, so will be a good choice for the week.  No stress!

It shows up a little better with this picture.  

     I'll be back after I finish it and give a recap.  Meanwhile, I'll 
Keep on Stitchin.'

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Early Works Mercantile and Etsy

     I recently decided to dip my toes into the online sales pond.  I had done a little E-bay selling when I had a shop here in town, so wasn't entirely clueless (pretty close, though).  I started with applying to a juried shop, Early Works Mercantile, just to see if my stitching came up to the standards of online sales. It is a primitive decorating shop and I love the things in all of the shops.   I was accepted, so stewed and fretted until my first "update", which was October 15th.  I immediately sold an item, so was definitely encouraged.  Then I sold another from my November update.  This emboldened me to set up an Etsy Shop for those things that don't fall into the primitive category.  There is still a lot to learn, but I think it will be fun.  My Etsy shop is PickingandStitching (that was easy) and my Early Works shop is Old Trail Primitives,  Here are some pictures from the current update on Early Works Mercantile.

And this is my logo.  I think it is pretty cool.  

Here's a few things from the Etsy shop.

That's enough, that gives you an idea.  Why, you ask?  I love to stitch, my house is overflowing, and it might help fund my habit. 
So, I will just 
keep on stitchin'

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pumpkin Party

I was recently invited to a pumpkin patch party with some guild friends. I had been admiring the Bonnie Hunter string pieced pumpkins in Quiltmaker magazine, as well as the Jo's Country Junction version with a brown background. We could choose any pattern we wanted so we were all working on something different. See all of Christi's pumpkins at her blog Here is my version with the brown backgrounds.

And here is the quilting.

And here is some pumpkin inspiration for you from my side yard.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Benefit Gifts


       We still have rural elementary schools here in Mid-Missouri.  Before you form a picture of a one room schoolhouse with a potbelly stove, let me set you straight.  They are modern buildings with several classrooms, a library and a gymnasium and provide the area with a pre-school, kindergarten, and grades 1-8.  The class size will be less than 10 usually and might serve two grades.  Our local school has a very active parents organization with a traditional fall fundraiser, a dinner and some type of auction.  I was invited to donate a quilt for the auction this year and gladly agreed.  I invited one of the organizers into my sewing room to choose a quilt from the "pile", both quilted and unquilted.  She chose two to consider, a traditionally pieced one in fall colors and a simply pieced Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern in yellow and pale gray.  The rest of her committee was younger women with school age children and they overwhelmingly chose the more modern one.  Here it is after quilting;

A vintage quilt was gifted to me by a friend cleaning out her deceased mother's sewing supplies after her passing.  It was a lovely top of Nosegay blocks, all made with feedsack prints.  I was able to find that odd shade of green to make a border and binding, then quilted it.  I know, if I was a purist I would have hand quilted it, but it had laid unquilted for 50-75 years, so I decided done was better than perfect.  I am donating it to our historic preservation organization for their house tour and silent auction this fall.  Here it is:

I enjoy donating quilts to good causes and it seems I do more of that kind of quilting than I do for us. I think I've made just two or three this year that I intend to keep.  That's probably enough!

Monday, July 24, 2017

QAYG Christmas Table Runner

The day has finally arrived!  It is my day to have the spotlight for the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop.  
All of the details for the blog hop as well as the fantastic giveaway can be found at Sarah's blog:    Just sayin', if you make a comment on my post today, you are entered into this fantastic giveaway.  There are two more bloggers participating today and here are their addresses, so you can enter there too.

The project I am featuring is a quilt as you go table runner.  It can be made any size or shape and works just as well in a square as it does a rectangle.  It is a great way to use up batting and fabric scraps and strips.  Also, if you have orphan blocks left from other projects, here is a great way to put them to use for holiday gifts.  Here is the one I chose to make for our little tutorial.

     My Christmas scrap bin looked like this:
besides having some fat quarters and small yardages.  And I had some frankenbatts that were about 18" x 30".  So this is what I chose to do.  If you choose to sew along with me, here is what you will need:
Scraps or fat quarters of chosen fabric.  If you are using fat quarters, you will need 7.  I actually used 5 and some smaller scraps.
Batting, a piece approximately 18" X 30"
Backing fabric, approximately 20" X 32"
Sewing machine with walking foot or even feed foot.
Normal sewing supplies  

This is a fat quarter grouping I purchased in the sale room at my LQS.

I love that little Christmas tree print on the left, but there was only about 6" of it.  I decided it could become pinwheel blocks for the center.  I made 6-1/2" unfinished blocks, starting with 3-1/2" strips, cutting the HST's with my Easy Angle ruler, my favorite method.

If you make your HST's from squares, you will need 4" squares, then trim your HST's to 3-1/2".  Press well.  (Don't you just love the little triangles it makes on the back when you spin your seams?)

I made three pinwheels and put them together with 2-1/2" strips of another fabric.  You can do this center anyway you please according to the piece of batting you have and any blocks you have on hand or decide to make.  

Choose your backing and cut 1" larger than your batting on all 4 sides.  Mark the centers on your backing, batting and center design and layer with centers matched.  Spray or pin baste layers together.    (I do both).
Secure the three layers together by adding your first strips to the ends of your center design.  Place another 2-1/2" strip on each end, RST, sewing through all layers, using a 1/4"seam and your walking foot.  Trim your strip even with your center blocks.

Press seam toward the outer edge.  Repeat on the other end of your center blocks.
Now using 2" strips of a coordinating fabric, add strips in the same manner to the long edges.
I was using fat quarters so needed to seam some of my strips to make them long enough.  I used the diagonal seaming technique to make the seams less obvious.

Be sure to press each strip toward the outer edge before adding another strip.

I added another row of 2" strips on the long edges before adding the border on all four sides.  

I made the border from 2" strips also, sewing on the short end strips first.  Press this last row toward the outer edge.  
Now is the time to add some quilting to your center blocks if you would like

I used a curved line through the center on the green HST's. 

  You can add as much or as little quilting as you wish.  Remember, you were quilting the layers as you were adding your strips!  
I used 2" binding strips in a different coordinating print, pressing them WST to make a 1" binding, sewing to the right side by machine, turning over the edge and hand stitching to the back.  This makes a very snug binding.  If you prefer, use 2-1/2" strips for a wider binding.

     Now for an optional design.  

The center fabric was something I fell in love with last year.  It is a Holly Taylor fabric, called Town Square.  (Good luck finding it if you love it too.)  I used it for a center panel, fussy cutting the design to fit my size.  Using the same quilt as you go technique, I added 2" strips in coordinating fabrics, only this time I added them in a courthouse steps style to all four sides.

I used a large meander to quilt the center.

The possibilities are endless with this technique.  If you try it and like it, send a photo to me and I will include it in a future blog post.  Or if you use Bloglovin, just add it to a comment on this post.  
     I hope you enjoyed this project and will visit again soon.  Remember to leave a comment to be included in the drawing for those great Tula Pink fabrics.  

And keep on stitchin'

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Christmas in July

     Sarah, with Confessions of a Fabric Addict, ( is sponsoring a blog hop and I am participating  It was going to be loads of fun from the beginning, but she has now announced a HUGE giveaway!  Here is her announcement.  
12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop
"And as if great holiday ideas and a tutorial weren't enough, this year we've got something extra special!  The lovely folks over at Free Spirit Fabrics have donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN!  And it's pretty drool-worthy stuff, too - it's Tula Pink's new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!"

She has six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away - and here's how we're going to do it!  Visit each stop on the hop, including Sarah's blog, and leave a comment on each post for the day.  If you comment on all the blogs involved that day, you'll have that many entries in that day's drawing!  At the end of the hop, she will do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone's name in the hat who commented that day and drawing a winner for that day.  That will be twelve winners - the design rolls and layer cakes.  Then she will put all the names from all the days in a hat and draw out a grand prize winner for the fat quarter bundle!  Only one prize per person, though.  So carve out a bit of time to visit all the blogs and comment.
Here is a list of the blogs and their dates: 
Friday, July 14th

Saturday, July 15th

Sunday, July 16th

Monday, July 17th

Tuesday, July 18th

Wednesday, July 19th

Thursday, July 20th

Friday, July 21st

Saturday, July 22nd

All Points of the Compass

Sunday, July 23rd

Mel's Quilting Blog

Resourceful Momma
Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting

Monday, July 24th

Anja Quilts
A Dream and a Stitch

Tuesday, July 25th

Christina's Handicrafts

Kathy's Kwilts and More

     As you can see, my post will be on Monday, the 24th and I am working hard to have it ready for you then.  Meanwhile, visit those other blogs and comment so you can get into this fabulous drawing.  Here is just a little teaser to keep you interested.

     I do have a few things to show you from the past couple of weeks.  I decided to join the Bonnie Hunter Leader and Ender Challenge this year, so did some cutting from my overflowing 2-1/2" strip bin.  Bonnie's little blocks are so much cuter, but this is the bin that needs some work at my house.

I'm using dark brown and cream for my 4-patches because my rails all seem to be those warm darker colors rather than brights.    I did a bunch of cutting in preparation for a sew day on one of my vintage machines.  My go to machine for piecing at home is my Viking Megaquilter and it has a thread cutter, so no need for leader/enders.  These blocks are 12-1/2' unfinished, so I can make a big quilt over a year's time. 

     The other finished project is something from a class with Shelly Pagliai (Prairie Moon Quilts) about a year ago.  I had it pieced, but not quilted.  I knew I wanted to practice some more elaborate FMQ on it and just kept procrastinating out of insecurity.  I finally have it done and if you don't get too close, it isn't too bad. 

Ok, its time to go work on my day for the Blog Hop.  See you  then.