Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Out of the Vortex

Those of you who follow my other blogs may remember that we started renovations on our house in late winter. Many months and more gray hairs than I care to count later, we are finally about to wrap up the work we contracted – just waiting for the final inspection. We still have lots of landscaping and a few small projects left to do ourselves, but it does feel like we made it out of the vortex. Life is returning to normal, which means I’m sewing again, and ready to write about it.

The new quilt for our bedroom was finally finished this week, and though the stripes pop a bit more than I expected, the husband has given it a thumbs up. Lady, our dog, doesn’t mind it either. She was delighted to be the first to check it out. Obviously, this isn’t going to turn into an heirloom, as it will need to be washed on a regular basis. That is one more truth about living with dogs. By the way, that sweet little pillow on the bed is actually a throw that fits into its own pocket. It was made for me by Harriett (Pat) Gilliland without ever seeing the quilt. The woman must be psychic!

The design for the quilt is my own, and unlike some patterns it is square (80 x 80 inches). The sizing works out perfectly for this queen sized bed since I like to let the wooden side rails show. If you would like to make one, the pattern will be available on my store in a week or so. I’ll post a note here when I get it listed.

I’ve also been busy with a few projects around the house. I salvaged some chairs and tables to convert our front porch into an outdoor sitting room. A neighbor left the tables in the street for the junkman. With a bit of touch up paint on the wrought iron legs, a coat of red on the top to match the front door, and a few funky flowers in shades of blue, gray, and white, we are now ready for a tray of snacks and a shaker full of cocktails.

For this sort of folk artsy project, you don’t need to worry about your artistic skills. Online clipart provided the idea for the flowers. Using paint that was intended for model cars and airplanes (an inexpensive way to get a very small amount of several colors) I took a stab. Only one thing turned out really hideous – my attempt at a lady bug. I used some mineral spirits to erase it and then repainted that section with the same base red.

The chairs have a longer history. Ten years ago, I had the sad task of closing down the Atlanta division of a software company. Somehow, I ended up with four of these office side chairs with upholstery so 80s it makes me cringe. I thought I would recover them, but before that plan could be carried out, the basement flooded with four and a half feet of water. Though the chairs were quickly hosed off and dried out, the thought of adding new fabric over the old (and possibly mildewed) padding wasn’t very appealing. So they sat. Fast forward to this summer. While looking online for inexpensive chairs to use on the front porch, I remember these gems sitting in the basement. I set to work to remove the old fabric and padding. After pulling about 500 staples, some really rough bent plywood seats and backs were revealed. The wood was none the worse for it’s dousing, so I filled the cracks with wood putty, added uncounted coats of polyurethane (plywood can really soak it up), made some cushions and voila! The fabric is intended for outdoor use, and while I was at it, I made a cushion for the glider to match.

What else? I made an outdoor bed for Lady complete with pillow, which she has not deigned to use yet. I even made a goofy pillow to match, but she’s not going for it. A project that was cut out a year ago is finally finished too. Late last summer I decided to make a project bag for a friend as a birthday gift. I had plenty of fabric, so at the same time I cut out one for myself. The bag is the same basic design as my original Lady Bags produced for Knitch. Working on that gave me some ideas for a new series of project bags and a line of crochet needle cases. But then there are the three other quilts I have planned, and the Ansel Adams quilt tribute, the felted leaf bowls, the book I’m supposed to be writing, and the garden…. We will have to see what wins out.

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