Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tea Cozy For A Proper English Tea!

Tally-ho!  It's Nan from Pots and Pins, back for another round of codswallop, er, fun!  Surely you all know about the seismic event that's coming up??  No, not another earthquake, but The Royal Wedding!!  I hear it could be the most watched TV show in history with over two BILLION viewers!  Crikey!  Of course, I'll be setting my alarm and waking up in the middle of the night to watch...(1:00 am here in the Northwest!) and the mister will be sleeping down the hall because I wouldn't want to poke the bear wake him and  put up with any of his cheekiness about watching what could arguably be called the greatest spectacle EVER!

Tea and Scones will be necessary, for my viewing pleasure, and no proper English tea would be complete without a Tea Cozy!  Today I'm going to show you how to make a Tea Cozy in less than ONE hour!  No, I'm not joshin', it is possible and you will be totally gobsmacked when it's done!  So let's get started!

Make a pattern out of paper by taping two sheets together, end to end.  Cut the pattern 14-inches wide at the base by 9-inches high at the top, then gently round/arch the sides, keeping the width till about half way up...does that make sense?  Hope so!

You will need two different fabrics (fat quarters work great), plus fabric for binding and batting.  Or you can use scraps from your stash - there's a novel idea!
2 pieces of fabric:  9" x14" for the front and back.
2 pieces of fabric:  9" x 14" for the insides.
2 pieces of batting, 9" x14" for each side of the cozy.
1 piece of fabric:  2" x 5" for the pull.
1 piece of fabric:  2 1/2" x 28" for binding.
Optional:  rick-rack, yo-yo's, buttons or any other embellishments you might want to add.

Lay the pattern on top of both fabrics and batting, stack it all up together and cut it out!
 Layer the fabrics, with the batting inside, to make the two sides of the cozy.
 Machine quilt the two sides of the cozy, use a few pins to hold together but no need to go overboard!
 When quilted, trim up so everything is even.
 Make the pull for the top of the cozy by cutting a piece of scrap 5-inches x 2-inches.
Fold both sides to the middle.
 Ignore the gnarly fingers...I never could have been a hand model...or ANY model for that matter!
Once both sides are folded to the middle, fold one side over the other.  Finger press, no need to break out the iron for this!
 Stitch down both sides, close to the edge.  Godfrey!  Do I need a manicure or what?!?

This is purely optional, but if you would like to make your cozy a bit more cozy, add some jumbo rick-rack to the edge.
 Pin rick-rack to the right side of the cozy, and at the middle top, pin the pull.  Place the other side of the cozy on top, right sides together.  Pin in place.  Just look at the size of that vein!  Years ago I was sitting in church next to a little girl, about 4 years old and I caught her staring at my hands...she looked up to me and whispered, "You've got a worm under your skin!"  My first thought was, children shouldn't be allowed in church, my second thought was, she was right! 
 Stitch around the cozy, turn right side out...almost done!
Cut a piece of fabric for the binding, 2 1/2-inches by 28-inches.  Fold binding in half, length-wise and sew binding onto bottom edge of cozy, just as you would sew the binding onto a quilt.  Either machine stitch or hand-stitch down. 
 Now, if you really want to posh things up a bit, add some yo-yo's...or buttons or both!  (My binding has not yet been sewn down.)
 And just like that, you've got yourself a bonafide English Tea Cozy and Bob's your uncle!
 Stinkin' cute, no?  Now you just need some tea and scones!
And Devonshire cream and jam and tarts and bangers and mash and Scotch eggs and fish and chips and Pepto-Bismol!!  Okay, maybe just tea and scones...I'll let you pick your own tea but for the Scones, you must try my recipe for  Butter-Cream Scones, it's spot-on!  While these scones have butter and cream in the recipe, you still need to butter them up...and then load on some Devonshire cream for the full English effect...blimey!  I'm drooling already!
I'm looking forward to watching the Royal Wedding...and I sincerely hope it lasts longer than the last televised Royal Wedding!  Can't wait to see what Camilla wears on her head...or the Queen!  The mister and I saw the Queen and the entire Royal Family, including Princess Di and Prince Charles, back in 1984 on our first trip to England.  We stumbled upon this huge crowd of people (we are the original Accidental tourists!) lining the streets in front of Hyde Park and had no idea what was happening...I asked a man what all the falderall was about and he said, "Are you daft?  The Queen is coming!"  And so she did...and she waved her Queenly wave and I waved my Queenly wave right back and dare I say?  We had a "moment"...she looked right at me and smiled, as if to say, "You and I are two of a kind!"   And in my dreams, we are!  Well, that's my take on it and I've been her biggest fan ever since!
Until next time, I remain your humble servant...come see me at Pots and Pins, I'll have tea and scones waiting for you!  Cheerio!  Pip! Pip!  xoxo, Nan

Sunday, April 24, 2011

All of our GUESTS bloggers are taking a long weekend BREAK!

To a weekend of bunny hugs,
Easter Blessings, 
and time with family!

See you on Tuesday!

( and yes that comment button doesn't seem
to work on special occasion weekends either
oh - darn it )

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blast from my Quilting Past...

Thanks to Madame Samm for inviting me once again to guest post on Stash Manicure.  My name is Jane and my blog is Sew Create It. Today I’m going to air out my dirty laundry and share with you my oldest UFO (UnFinished Object).

Twelve years ago I started a quilt... but not just any quilt:  The Piecemaker’s 1999 Times and Seasons Quilt.  Some of you might remember it as the one with the lighthouses.  At the time I was living in Montreal and a few friends of mine were making their way through the 1998 calendar and I wanted to jump on board and try my hand at hand-appliqué.  The 1998 calendar was no longer available, so I opted for the 1999 calendar... this is the quilt I started:

Nothing like jumping in the deep end!  Most sensible people start their appliqué journey with a heart or a flower... but no, not I... I started with a quilt that measures 80” square!  I have no idea what I was thinking, but I suppose when you have your peers putting the pressure on you and telling you that they will help you along the way, one does make silly choices.

I suppose now, in hind sight, I wouldn’t say it was a silly choice, because what better way to learn a new skill but to practice, practice, practice.

The construction of this quilt was a challenge on many fronts.  For starters the quilt is made up in sections or blocks.  You can see the seam line along the left side in this picture.  It was important to get the hedge and the sky to meet perfectly to create a seamless effect. 

Some of the pieces were really small and it was sometimes easier to use a motif out of commercial fabric than to piece it.

I also used fabric creatively to give the illusion of texture.  You can see in this picture I have used a bamboo print to create cliffs.

When it was being pieced I had no idea that my life would bring me to the U.K.  So I’m ever so pleased I included references to Canada.

This could be Peggy’s Cove!

From the top square to the last there is a difference.  In the top corner I didn’t know about cutting away the back and reducing the bulk as I layered up the appliqué.  The stitches are bigger and the curves aren’t curvy at all!  But by the last blocks, which were completed in 2002, there is a marked improvement and I can honestly say I had tackled every appliqué shape possible!

So now there you have it...my oldest UFO.  I just need to get it basted and get it quilted...

But that’s just it, how does one finish a quilt that is all made by hand, yet has areas that are so thick with fabric there is no way it could be hand quilted?  Can you really machine quilt a quilt all done by hand?  Well... it’s taken me years to make that decision and I think 2011 might just be the year it gets finished.  I won’t tell you what I’ve decided... I want to know what you would do! :o)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Did that title grab your attention? I will explain in a minute, first let me introduce myself. I am Sharon from Vroomans Quilts. I live in a little country town that was founded by my ancestors and live on one of the earliest original homesteads. A number of my ancestors were cobblers, coopers, blacksmiths, ran the local feed mill and (my great grandmother no less) ran the first hardware store. So I am familiar - it’s in my blood - with shopping at the local hardware store; even for quilting supplies.

So I am taking you on a shopping trip to the Hardware Store. Are you ready for some sticker shock? The stores I chose to do price comparisons are strictly because they are a little more familiar and I have no association with any of them. And prices are reflected at the time I researched them.

NOW grab a basket...we are going to comparison shop...

45 mm BLADES
AC Moore $10.99 2/pkg
Joann’s $ 7.99 2/pkg
Freight Harbor $ 1.79 2/pkg (called Rug Cutter Blades)

AC Moore $10.95 pr.
Joann’s $ 7.95 pr.
Freight Harbor $ 4.99 3/pkg. (have a large number of various types of gloves in pkg.)

Or have you thought about disposable gloves? I like these because I can 'feel' the fabric, thread my needle or handle other objects without removing them, and don't feel guilty about throwing them out because of the price. (box of latex or nitrile disposable - 100ct. For $5.99)

small AC Moore $ 7.15
Joann’s $ 6.49
Freight Harbor $ 3.49 (in the Assisted Living Section)

Large AC Moore $17.59
Joann’s $19.99
Freight Harbor $ 6.99

AC Moore quilter’s tape ¼” x 30 yds - $2.85
Joann’s quilter’s tape ¼”x 39yds $3.99
Freight Harbor painter’s tape 2“ x 60yds. $5.99
To ¼“ x 60 yds. 1.99 (paint dept)

AC Moore $89 - $108
Joann’s $89 - $200
Freight Harbor various bags - smallest 18” x 20” x10” $22.99
**this bag is the same size as those for carrying your sewing machine**

AC Moore 2-PK - $2.79
Joann’s 2PK - $2.99
Freight Harbor 22 piece - $3.99 (table saw dept)

AC Moore $7.65
Joann’s $9.99
Freight Harbor $3.99

AC Moore $27.49
Joann’s $49.99
Freight Harbor $9.99

AC Moore $32.95
Joann’s $36.95
Freight Harbor $9.99

AC Moore $2.99 each
Joann’s $2.99 each
Freight Harbor $ .99 for pkg of 3

Please note that not every chain store carries the same product from area to area. You can shop most of their on-line shops, but when shopping at the hardware store you have to know the difference from ‘Quilt Speak’ to Hardware Speak’. I’m sure if you asked the assistant at the hardware store where the Purple Thang is - he might just call security. SO take a ride with your hubby - won’t that excite him, you want to go to the hardware store? Learn the new names, drop on the floor over the prices, remember not to drool or load 2 carts or DH will never take you again.

Now you have a new conversation with dear hubby, he’ll be happy you are staying out of his work room to “borrow“ items, and I bet next time you ask him to drive you to the hardware store he will race you to the car.

Now I like bargains - do you have some new quilt supply shopping places that you would like to share?

Thank you Madame Samm for letting me share my shopping trip.
Sewingly Yours,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vintage and Unfinished Quilt Tops

Hi there!  I'm AnneMarie from Gen X Quilters and I'm glad to be back here at Sew We Quilt!  Today I am bringing some food for thought to those of us that have some unfinished quilt tops piled somewhere in the corners of our sewing rooms.

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival a few weeks ago, and wandered aisle after aisle, all filled with every quilting item you can possibly imagine.  I was mostly fabric shopping and looking for some great deals.  Although I only stopped momentarily at a booth carrying vintage quilt tops, for some reason the works I saw there stayed with me and something in my subconscious was nagging me, but I just couldn't put my finger on it.

I started to think about my own path into quilting.  My very first quilt was made when pregnant with my first child.  I wanted to make something special for him from my own two hands that we would keep and remember.  I had never stitched a single stitch on a sewing machine, but for some reason I was compelled to make a quilt.

One of the things that draws me to quilting is the legacy of it.  Someday I would love to have a stack of quilts a mile high to pass on to my children and grandchildren.  Hoping they know the care that was taken in selecting the fabric and sewing each stitch with love.  But that doesn't mean I've completed every quilt I've started....

What about those rejected projects?  Those cast aside for one reason or another and left unfinished.  Maybe it was forgotten because of some more urgent project, maybe the colors/fabrics chosen didn't mesh as desired once they were put together, maybe there was no money left for a backing....  what will become of those quilt tops now?  I am sure we all have some of these UFOs buried somewhere.  What is their fate?

Here is one possible answer:  My mother-in-law is an antique collector.  Her finds range anywhere from unique furniture pieces (pie safes and chests) to vintage kitchen notions to an old barber pole to quilt tops.  Yes, quilt tops!  She showed me her collection last year sometime after I really started churning out the quilts.  All of the pictures included in this post are her finds.  Quilt tops sold at antique shops and estate sales - and although she is not a quilter (yet!), she intends to finish the work that was started.  They are fascinating to look at.  Some are very obviously made with the leftover scraps for men's shirts, others, like the crazy quilt above, include velvets, ribbon, flannels, etc.  They all demonstrate the time, patience and skill of an unnamed quilter.  Will your quilt tops end up in antique shops 30+ years from now?

Another possible answer:  There are some charities that accept unfinished quilt tops.  Is there one in your area?  This is a wonderful way to have something great become of a lonely and forgotten quilt top.  Many charities donate the finished quilts to children in need, women's shelters, and areas affected by natural disasters.  Wouldn't this be a wonderful way to contribute?  

One example accessible online is Margaret's Hope Chest.  They accept quilt tops all year long-- volunteers finish them off--and then the finished quilts are shared with people all over the country who can use an extra dose of HOPE and comfort.  MHC is actually having a quilt top drive this month!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing these vintage quilt tops and that you'll consider what will become of your UFOs in the future....  after all, if you find homes for them, there will be room for more fabric!!  But also, how interesting it is that today we are picking up these old unfinished quilt tops, be it at a Festival or antique shop, and finally finishing up projects whose stories are unknown and making them our own.

By the way, I am hosting a giveaway with Fabricworm for a Robot Farm Custom FQ bundle this week.  Be sure to hop on over to GXQ if you'd like to enter!