New Orleans House Project

Saturday, March 28, 2020

TGFT! (Thank Goodness for Fabric Therapy)

Good morning and welcome to Week Three of "Sewcial Distancing" and Fabric Therapy.  For all the times I may have felt guilty about my pile of UFOs, or the size of my fabric stash - right now I'm grateful to have both.

Oh, and surprisingly grateful for social media, too.  Instagram has been a soothing escape from all the pandemic news/noise.  I have been trying to post there more frequently, mostly to let friends and family know I'm still doing OK (a.helman on Instagram).  My family also uses GroupMe, a group text messaging app, to stay in touch and check up on each other.  The governor of Florida has decreed travelers from Louisiana must be quarantined for at least two weeks, so I couldn't visit my family even if I needed to.

Do your UFOs speak to you?

This batch of swap blocks started calling my name early this week.  I came across the blocks as I was digging through the UFO bin, looking for a different project.  That night, as I was falling asleep, the blocks started making very insistent noises about getting assembled into a flimsy.  

What could I do?  Out came the blocks and soon they were arranged on the design wall and ready for assembly.  This might be one my oldest UFOs, as the blocks date back to 1998-1999.  The block exchange was between the members of the Treadle On mail list - Treadle On being a group for folks who collect and use vintage and antique (non-electric) sewing machines.  

The blocks actually cover two swaps; the first used reproduction-style fabrics, the second used novelty fabrics relating to the block maker's geographic location or other personal interests.  Not only is it a fun catalog of fabric prints from that time, but each block is also inscribed with the maker's name, location, and type of sewing machine.  The blocks are from all over the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe.  The oldest sewing machine dates to the mid-1880s!

I also have an appliqué block I plan to use as the quilt label.  This was my prototype block for a Sunbonnet Sue quilt put together by the Treadle On leader, "Captain" Dick Wightman.  I called the block "A Sewing Machine Named Desire", inspired by Treadle On members' constant hunt for that antique sewing machine that made their heart go pitter-pat.  My appliqué sewing machine is embellished with gold embroidery, including the name "Desire" and a crescent moon and stars (Crescent City being a nickname for New Orleans).

On other fronts, I made 350-something inches of bias binding and attached it to the Full Circle quilt.  I will try to stitch on this a little each morning - avoiding TV news and maybe binge-watching more Outlander.

Christmas prep department:  I put my AccuQuilt Go to work cutting Christmas trees and holly leaves.  I found a bargello table runner pattern online - Dec la Table - and since I had appropriate fabrics already in the stash, decided to give the pattern a try.  I've been wanting to make a bargello or Trip Around the World style table runner ever since I saw Diane D Knott's Mardi Gras table runner!

I didn't follow the exact instructions for the table runner, as the pattern in written to be done quilt-as-you-go style.  I just made the flimsy, then cut out some Accuquilt shapes instead of using the designs in the pattern.  I haven't fused the shapes in place yet.  Plus, I wanted to use metallic thread to outline all the appliqué shapes, but my metallic thread stash is not to be found (I think I pitched them all in a fit of cleaning; all of the threads were old, so probably not a great loss).  If anyone has any metallic thread recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

And now I've spent way too much time in front of my computer, so it's time to move.  I hope everyone is doing well, practicing good health routines, and not running low on toilet paper! 😃


  1. Wow! You go girl! I was starting to feel a tad guilty about all the free sewing time, but I think we all need it and you surely have used your time to the best possible outcome!

  2. Very pretty table runner--love those holly leaves and trees..nice work;
    And the circles look super ~ ~ ~ ~ waving from afar Julierose:)))

  3. I, too, am grateful for my stash and long-planned projects. Stitching has always been my go-to in times of stress - and this time I even have the time to go with the stress-inducing situation. Happy binding time - I agree that I avoid the TV news. I read the online version twice a day (morning and late afternoon) and that's my limit.

  4. You are doing a great job working through some projects. Don't you just hate when they get in your head and insist on being worked on? I'm thinking I should have started with a block a day for this quarantine (or stay at home cause it makes sense)..... Stay safe and happy sewing.

  5. Well, that bargello table runner you’re making makes MY heart go pitter pat! Your Full Circle quilt is going to be lovely too. Hopefully when we’re all released “into the wild” again, we’ll have smaller UFO backlogs. Be safe and stay healthy!

  6. You've chosen some wonderful quilt projects to occupy your time, Angie. I will be SEW happy to see your Full Circle completed!

  7. You are making good use of your quarantine time. You've got a great variety of options to work on. The table runner is super cute and finishing up your oldest UFO definitely gets a thumbs up. Things are well here. A friend told me yesterday she found TP at our local Costco! I guess we'll use that as a gauge on how things are going.

  8. Your signature quilt is fabulous. I love seeing all the different inks and styles of writing.
    Nice table runner.
    You're making good use of sew therapy time! stay well

  9. I like that - "a sewing machine named desire". You've got a LOT going on and it's good to diversify our quilting therapy;). It's been interesting to see how different states are handling the COVID emergency. Hard to imagine that we can't take for granted crossing borders freely. Japan just cut off air traffic from the U.S. What an incredibly stressful time. So nice to have our quilting at this time.

  10. Those rail fence blocks are about a decade before I joined Treadle On. I have LOTS of great exchange blocks that I need to sew together. I got to see the Treadle On quilt several years ago, when the Captain passed it on to Cindy (2013). What a great quilt. Stay safe!