Monday, June 9, 2014

Goodies from Grandma

Well, you will never guess where I have been for the past several weeks! I have been preparing to be the head cook and dish washer for a girls camp. Ten meals for 60 people with two of them serving 140! I have been so terrified since I have never done anything like this before. But, everything came off very well and I am home and so relieved and grateful to pick up my regular life again. So back to the hope chest, I hope!

When I was visiting my mother-in-law a couple of months ago, she presented me with a bag of goodies! She told me that she had completed all the wedding quilts for her grandchildren and that she was absolutely finished with embroidery. She remarked that she doesn't see well any longer and would I be interested in the blocks that were extra. Of course I am interested! I am really quite excited as there are six or eight of each design of the large cross-stitched blocks and eight of the little baby quilt blocks. She called the other day to report that she had found more finished blocks in the basement while cleaning house. Lucky for me and I'm hoping for more discoveries! I'll put these together with large printed fabric blocks. I can't wait to see how they will turn out.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pictures of the Quick Hope Chest

I finished most of what was on my list on the second day, but made some dumb time mistakes. So, the weekend hope chest turned out to be a three-day hope chest, rather than two. Just think in terms of a three-day weekend. I am very pleased with the results - except for that horrible bleached apron, which I will report on, but I think I'll show you my successes first! Here are the projects I completed:

1 dozen dishtowels--
Raw-edge Applique
Dyed and tucked, with button embellishment
Dyed and stenciled
Simple hemmed homespun, baby rick-rack, button magnets

10 hand towels along with a crocheted towel tender--
Printed, simple lace trim, yo-yos and crocheted chain daisies

2 V-stitch crocheted dishcloths--

5 refrigerator magnets--
Antique white button daisies and that cute baby is my grandson!

1 decorated binder--
for collected menus and associated recipes

1 set of quilted place mats and napkins--

 1 set of embellished bed sheets--
Simple "beading" eyelet lace threaded with grosgrain ribbon

 2 pair of pillowcases--
One is a simple cotton print and the other has a simple ribbon trim

1 set of embellished bath towels--

1 couch quilt--
Flannel "rag" style quilt - it still needs to be washed and fluffed!

1 birthday set--
A birthday table runner and  birthday banner

I am really glad to have some of these things finished. I work from a personal list of things that I want to do before I feel like Abigail's hope chest is finished and she now has at least one set of bed sheets and some bath towels. Each person will have different needs for her hope chest. My idea of a quick hope chest just reflects projects that could be done quickly, especially if one is thinking of creating a gift. It takes some thought to come up with a list of items that would suit each individual.

I think a very basic hope chest would include at least one kitchen set (with an apron, 7 dishtowels, 4-7 hand towels, 7 dishcloths, and a set of hot pads) a recipe box or binder with favorite recipes from home, a tablecloth or set of place mats, two sets of bed sheets and two sets of bath towels.The number of linens reflects a need to have enough to last until you could get the laundry done. Other important items, in my mind, include at least a lap quilt, a first-aid kit with a basic first aid book, basic kitchen drawer items like a small hammer, screw drivers, etc. Holiday things like Christmas ornaments and a basic family history and scrapbook are also important to me. Obviously, some things may need to be saved for and purchased, such as basic dishes, silverware and pots and pans.

I know people wonder why I am doing this. People ask me if I don't trust that Abigail will receive any wedding gifts and I laugh and say that I am hopeful that she will. But, who knows when she might get married and what those gifts might be and sometimes they can be pretty random. This is my gift - and along the way I hope I am teaching her to look ahead, to value creating a home, to develop skills, to be creative and to "prepare every needful thing."  Taking responsibility to prepare for a future need is simple wisdom. None of us knows what the future holds and if Abigail's need is not as great as the preparation, she will have an excess to share.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Update on the Quick Hope Chest

I should be busy at home on the second day of the quick hope chest, but honestly could not find two days in a row for some time yet. I am frustrated by what this says about my life right now! I think May is the busiest month of the year, even considering Christmas. I finally decided that I just needed to get started yesterday and will finish up on Friday - God willing! I have to take my weekends on odd days, I guess. I did think you might be interested to know that I started, at least.

I began working at 7:00 a.m. and finished Day One when my husband drove up at 6:00 p.m. It was a long day, hunched over the cutting table, measuring, marking, and cutting. But I took a lunch break and stopped for a few minutes in the afternoon. Everything on my list is now cut out and marked and I got a head start on the fun. A few items are finished, including the set of bath towels, one set of appliqued dishtowels, the recipe binder and the fridge magnets (these are very cute!) A few items are more than half-finished. I also crocheted a dishcloth during our regular Tuesday night TV show. The rest of the items on the list are neatly stacked next to the sewing machine, awaiting Day Two.

I did have one COLOSSAL fail! The bleached apron project took an unexpected turn! My husband expects me to report this failure, in the interest of full disclosure, but it will require a separate post, as well as a picture, to explain...

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Project - A Quick Hope Chest

One of the blessings of writing this blog has been to connect with people who e-mail me. I have received a number of e-mails that say something like this: "I am getting married in such and such month (about six months away), and really want to have something like a hope chest..." or "My daughter is getting married in three months and I would really like to make a quick hope chest for her, but am also busy with wedding plans..." or "I would love to make a hope chest for my daughters, but I'm not very skilled at sewing or embroidery..." The common expression is a wish for creating a quick and/or simple hope chest and they each ask for my suggestions on how to accomplish this. I've thought about this idea of quick and simple as it applies to a hope chest.

Obviously, one common aspect of a hope chest is for a young girl to develop the skills she will need to create a home, and, in the process, create items for her future use. This isn't usually accomplished either quickly or easily. But, another important aspect of making a hope chest is simply collecting and acquiring the useful items and accepting and profiting from the gifts and wisdom of older and more experienced mentors. I am all for encouraging anyone who wants to have a hope chest, regardless of the time available or who might make it!

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you cannot miss the significance of what I am creating for Miss Abigail. She has made a number of lovely things for her hope chest, and I'm sure will create more as she reaches an age when her own "nesting" instincts kick in. I continue to encourage and help her. But, I'm sure it doesn't escape any of you that, because of some really magnificent gifts, even some fairly ordinary gifts, and my own steady contribution, Miss Abigail is one lucky girl! But this is what any mother might wish for her daughter, even if the time is short. You probably agree or you wouldn't be reading this blog. So, I've set myself a challenge - to produce a "weekend hope chest." To see if one could produce a nice collection of basic, necessary handmade items in a really short time. My husband thinks I'm a little crazy and my friends are doubtful. In fact, one friend thinks the idea of a weekend hope chest might defeat the purpose of a hope chest altogether. But this is my response to all those who continue to want to create a hope chest in a hurry.

So I made a list of what I think is basic. I have ransacked my resources for projects that are both beautiful and quick, and I've shopped for and collected all the stuff, including details like buttons, thread and a new blade for the rotary cutter. (BTW, I've kept track of all my expenses and I won't be revealing the totality of this info to my husband, but you might be interested.) I've organized the steps and made a work plan. I've cleaned the sewing room. Now I'm just looking for two days in a row to meet the challenge. Because I try to keep the Sabbath, and this project will certainly qualify as work, my calendar cannot include Sunday. So, stay tuned...

I would love to hear your comments about what would have to be included in such a hope chest. What do you think?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Other Favorite: Lacy Slant Stitch Crocheted Dishcloth

I have used this stitch for dishcloths many times and really like it. The fabric is firm without being dense, and that allows the cloth to dry a little faster. The stitch forms a kind of scallop on three sides but the foundation chain side remains flat. Because of this, I think the cloth requires some kind of edging. After trying several things, I think this lacy edge is prettiest.

Lacy Slant Stitch Crocheted Dishcloth:

Row 1: Ch 36. (dc, ch 2, sc) in 4th chain from hook. *Skip next 3 chs, (2 dc, ch 2 sc) in next ch. Repeat from * across.
Rows 2-17: Ch 2, turn (dc, ch 2, sc) in next ch-2 space. (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in each ch-2 space across.
Edging: Ch 3, turn. (hdc, ch 3, hdc) in first ch-2 space; first corner made. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc) in each ch-2 space across top to the last ch-2 space. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc, ch 3) in last ch-2 space; second corner made. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc) around ch-2 post at the end of the last pattern row. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc) around each ch-2 post across side to the last ch-2 post. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc, ch 3, hdc) in last ch-3 post; third corner made. Ch 3. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc) in chain spaces across foundation row, including the last space. (Ch 3, hdc, ch 3, hdc) in corner stitch – the original first chain in the foundation chain; fourth corner made. (Hdc, ch 3, hdc) around ch-2 post at end of pattern row, and around each ch-2 post across last side. Ch 3, sl st in base of ch-3.
Alternate edging: Dc evenly around edges with (dc, ch 2, dc) in each corner

Monday, April 14, 2014

Great Grandma's Embroidered Lace

This is a picture of my Great Grandma. Her name was Marian Bell Anderson. She was born on January 17, 1864. The eyelet lace pictured at the bottom of the post was made by Great Grandma as part of her trousseau. In 1885 she was 21 years old, living on the frontier of Idaho and preparing to get married to Olaf Anderson in November. Marian and Olaf lived in the area of Rexburg, Idaho for the rest of their lives. I am just amazed at the skill that went into this embroidery and the amount of time it must have taken Grandma. I'm certainly glad some of her talent passed into my own hands.

My grandmother, Irene Anderson Clements was a devoted genealogist and wrote a history of  her own life and the lives of her parents and other ancestors. It is a blessing to me to know so much about my father's family. Grandma wrote this about her mother, Marian and the lace:

"Mother liked all kinds of hand work. It is hard to say what she liked best. She enjoyed making quilts. She made many, from heavy camp quilts, to fancy embroidered and silk quilts. The Relief Society does a lot of quilting and she was anxious to help. She soon became known as one of the most skillful quilters, and was made head of this department on work day at Relief Society. Then as she was particular and liked to have things just right, she became an almost perfect marker especially for the most complicated patterns. Her fame spread all over town and some expensive quilts were brought to her to be marked by well-to-do people, some she scarcely knew. They were glad to have her mark the quilts, even though it was impossible for her to help with the quilting. It would be hard to estimate the number of quilts that she helped quilt and also quilted alone.

She enjoyed knitting very much. She knit hose for her father, brothers and sisters, husband, children and grandchildren. She knit many pairs of gloves and mittens, also a number of sweaters. She especially was good at making knitted lace. Every one who has some of her knitted lace prizes it very highly. In her early married life she knitted a full sized bed spread with no. 8 thread. She did crochet work. She was an expert at dressmaking, etc. Besides the sewing for family and friends that she mentions in her history, she did most of the sewing for her children and helped as long as she could with sewing for her grandchildren.

She enjoyed making fancy pillows, pin cushions, and any other knick knack that she saw. She made a variety of rugs. In fact, she was always interested in new patterns and ideas. She watched for ways to use material she had on hand to make her family more comfortable and her home more attractive.

At the time of her marriage, it was popular to do eyelet embroidery in lingerie, household linens, baby clothes, etc. Her skill with the needle is shown by the petticoat she made to wear when she was married. This petticoat was 37 inches long, 90 inches wide and gathered onto a band at the waist that was 26 inches long. It fastened with a button and button hole. She embroidered a scalloped flounce which was 9 inches wide at the scallop. Then she made five groups of tucks, two in each group, arranged above the flounce. This scallop is one of 18 cut from that petticoat. Mother wore this petticoat until it was worn out."

Because I know what it takes to embroider even the simplest eyelet, I am in awe that Grandma embroidered eighteen of these scallops on a garment that would never even be seen! She is my handwork hero!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Garden Series" Crochet Edgings: #3-Jonquils

I love this third edging. "Jonquils" is a little more difficult, but not much. The picot stitches on top of the double crochets remind me of the ruffled heads of jonquils on long thin stems, hence the name.

Note: The front and back of crochet stitches look different, as you would expect. I want the smooth front side of the double crochet in this edging to show on the front of the towel, so I am careful to begin the foundation row with the back side of the towel facing me. If mark the towel and start on the back, I'll be ready to turn the towel and do Row 1 on the front. Row 2 shows the back of the picot stitches, but I think it is prettier to show the front of the double crochet. It may not matter at all to you which side of which row shows...

Again, you'll begin the Foundation Row as in the Garden Fence edging. Use a washable marking pen to mark 3/8-inch marks across the edge. Push an embroidery awl through the first mark to make a tiny hole. Pull up the thread and make the first slip knot. Chain 4. (Use the awl to make several more holes at the marks. Stay ahead of your crochet about 8-10 holes.) *Sc, ch 3 in the next mark. Repeat from * across. (See the pictures in the tutorial at the link above if you need help with pictures of this foundation row.)

Row 1: Ch 1; turn. Sc in the first ch-3 space. Ch 3, 4 dc in next ch-3 space. Ch 3, sc in the next ch-3 space. [Ch 3, 4 dc in next ch-3 space. Ch 3, sc in next ch-3 space] across, ending with the sc in the end space.

Row 2: Ch 3 and turn. Skip the ch-3 space. Sc in the first dc of group of 4 dc. Ch 3, sc in next dc. Ch 3, sc in next dc. Ch 3, sc in last dc of group. Ch 3, skip ch-3 space, sc in next sc.  Repeat [Ch 3, skip ch-3 space, sc in first dc. (Ch 3, sc in next dc) three times. Ch 3, skip ch-3 space, sc in sc] across. Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Hopefully, the following pictures expand the directions for Row 2.

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