Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Easy Christmas Stockings!

My new quilting bee met at my house this week, and Rita showed us how to make Christmas stockings.  I mentioned this to a quilting and blogging friend, and she suggested I post the directions.  So here goes!  Thanks to Rita for the clear directions.  And I believe she got them herself from yet another person!

I use the larger rotary cutter
for the long straight edges of the
stocking and then switch to
the smaller one for the curved
I don't know how I can duplicate the pattern here on this blog, but it is easy enough to draw off a stocking pattern.  Ours is 16" long from the top cuff area to the lowest part of the foot; the cuff area is 8" wide; and from toe to heel measures 11".  You can get 2 stockings, front and back, from 1/2 yard of fabric, if the fabric doesn't have a directional print.  You need a bit more for 2 if the print is directional, as my snowman fabric is in the demonstration photos below.  For the lining, you need the same amount.

Cutting:  Cut 2 from the lining fabric, 1 front, and 1 back (these can be different fabrics or the same, as my snowman stocking is).  Also cut one cuff 16" x 8".  And cut one loop 8" x 2 1/2".  I used the lining fabric for the cuff on the snowman stocking. 


Here the lining and the
stocking fabrics have just been cut

1.  Stack the front and back right sides together and the lining right sides together.

2.  Stack and pin all 4 layers together.  Sew from cuff edge to cuff edge.  I used a seam that was a bit over 1/4", to make sure I got all 4 layers included in the seam.
Sewing around the stocking

3.  Reach into the stocking between the lining fabric and turn the stocking so that the lining is on the outside.

4.  Fold the loop in half lengthwise and press.  Then fold the raw edges into the fold line and press.  Put these pressed edges together and edge stitch.

Pinning the loop to the stocking, with
lining on the outside

5.  Pin the hanging loop at the heel edge seam, raw edge placed at cuff raw edge.  I put my loop to the side of the seam, opposite where the seam allowance is, to reduce bulk.

Seam on the cuff pressed open
6.  Sew the short edge cuff seam and press open.  You will have a tube.  Turn and fold so that the seam is on the inside. 

Pinning the cuff to the stocking lining;
stocking front and back still
on the inside.
7.   Place the cuff over the stocking (still with the lining on the outside) and pull it down so that all raw edges are even.  Pin the edges together.

8.  Sew around the top of the stocking.  I always reinforce the area where the loop is with another line of stitches. 

Sewing the cuff on

7.  Turn the stocking ride side out and turn the cuff down.  Voila!  Your stocking is finished!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Festival, Part One: Some Portrait Quilts

The International Quilt Festival in Houston every fall is the largest quilt exhibition in the world, and it is Houston's largest convention.  Since I began quilting in earnest in 1998, I've attended almost every year.  Sometimes taking classes, but often not--often just feasting my eyes on the hundreds of quilts.

This year I attended with friend Carolyn from Dallas.  We spent two days and one evening at the Festival, not only viewing the quilts, but also shopping. 

It is difficult to do so, but I've tried to narrow down the hundreds of pictures I took to some of my favorite ones.  Some are traditional, some are art quilts.  All are inspiring!  Because I'd like to comment on the quilts, I've decided to break my remarks about Festival 2010 into several different postings.  Today's post focuses on portrait quilts.

This quilt, a blue ribbon winning quilt in the "Group Quilt" category,
is an outstanding example of using fabrics creatively to depict the
shadings of a face.  These 10 women from Australia each did
self-portraits, with the daunting challenge of using
Kaffe Fassett-designed fabrics,
 not flesh-colored, plain, ones! 
A close-up will demonstrate how successfully these
quilters met the challenge!

A close-up from the group quilt.  Click to enlarge to better appreciate the unusual
choice of fabrics, yet the creative way this portrait "works"!

A close-up of the book
reading girl, showing
how artfully this quilt
artist has depicted the shading
on the girl's face with appliqued
fabrics of different values.

  This quilt appealed to me also because of my own love of reading and my memories of how, as a young girl, I would get lost in a book, as this lovely young girl is--so lost that the horses from
her book are literally leaping from its pages!  Another thing I love about this quilt is the way the artist has used traditional quilt blocks, skewed, yes, but still traditional, to depict the sky and in the green quilt (or is it green grass?) below the girl.  Most definitely this quilt and a few others I'll discuss later was in my "top 10" or maybe "top 5" favorites!
Here's a close-up of another portrait quilt.  This is a
lovely example of another way to render portraits in fabric--this beautiful
young woman's face has been painted with fabric paint.

Here's the painted quilt, which is called "The Solace of Persephone."