Oh, happy day!

A three-day weekend, and a sale at my local, friendly yarn and fabric store, Brooklyn General–what could be better? Brooklyn General is a cozy store with a great selection of natural fibers, a helpful staff, and a doll’s house in case you have a small person in tow. Another great thing–a few times a year everything in the store is 25 percent off, which is such a treat. Here are the things I bought–the black fabric with the sporty cars is for a sewing machine cover, the yarn is for a keyhole scarf for my niece, and the plain cotton (Kona) is for just about anything.

Quilted table mat

My dining room table is weirdly sensitive to water. One droplet and the surface blanches like it’s seen a ghost. So for Thanksgiving, I needed something to keep my table happy. A quilted table mat was the perfect opportunity to try out a cross pattern, a simple nine-square. Easy, peasy–at least in theory. The fabrics are an irregular stripe from Leisl Gibson’s lovely City Weekend collection, and a tiny dot. I really love how these patterns work together.

Less happily, the stumpy crosses on the end were not intentional. I used my presser foot as a guide to sew my 3/8″ seams, which, it turns out, left them all a smidge too narrow. That smidge, compounded over several seams, left  my center panel longer than the top and bottom sashes. Rather than ripping out the seams and adjusting (which actually wouldn’t have been that hard), I lopped off the long ends.  Hence, it’s just a little wonky. On the bright side, I learned where to place the fabric for a perfect 3/8″ seam in the future, just peeking out from the presser foot on my machine.

And, I have something cheerful for my table. I made these place mats and napkins this summer, during a red and blue period. Not a very autumnal palette for my Thanksgiving table, but patriotic! And, in the spirit of being nontraditional, I am serving chocolate cake for dessert–yum!

Pajamas recycled into soft blocks

You may be able to throw away your old, favorite polka-dot p.j.s. Or use them as a dust rag. But I don’t have that kind of resolve. Plus, I don’t dust that often. So, I stashed them away.

Conveniently, my friend Megan decided to get pregnant. Babies are the best excuse for making things that are not really useful but are pleasing. Like soft blocks. And old p.j.s offer the perfect fabric for them: cotton softened by sleep.

For complete instructions on how to make soft blocks, a downloadable pdf is available here: How to Make Soft Blocks

Here is the end result: chubby cotton blocks!