An Autumn Portrait

Here in middle of the country, autumn is usually a beautiful time of year. This year has been no exception. The trees put on a colorful show, the skies are often clear and blue, and the humidity lessens. Autumn is nearly over – rain and wind during the past week have denuded the trees, and there is a hard freeze forecast for this weekend, with possible snow flurries.

Twenty-one years ago (I think!) my parents had an autumn portrait taken of their grandchildren. Here are my Annie and David, and my sister’s two sons.

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Of course, I made coordinating outfits for everyone 🙂 One girl and three boys, ranging in age from just under a year to eleven years old. I chose a very soft, bright plaid cotton flannel as something that they might all be willing to wear!

I don’t have the shirts Annie and David wore any longer. Annie’s had a V-shaped, bias front yoke that I fringed at the lower edge. I don’t remember doing it, but the picture shows fringe around the collar, as well, so I assume I fringed a strip, then inserted it in the collar seam as I would piping. David’s shirt had an attached hood, and I found a brightly colored lizard button that I added to the chest pocket.

I do still have my nephews’ garments! Thanks, Mom and Cathy, for saving them.

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This was Sean’s shirt (the plaids on the front placket really do match, but the way it’s hanging shows that they don’t!) 

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You can see that I matched the plaid on the chest pocket. Just as a tip, look at the little stitched triangles at the upper edge of the pocket – this really helps keep pockets from tearing out, and adds a nice professional touch for very little effort!

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The cuffs were made with a continuous-lap placket and two pleats.

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On the left upper sleeve, I appliqued a colorful lizard to match the lizard button on David’s shirt! I added googly-eye buttons for fun.

All of the “big kids” outfits were from commercial patterns – I have no idea which ones.

Mark’s overalls may have been made from a commercial pattern, or some other pattern, or adapted from a pants pattern.

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The smocking was Ellen McCarn’s “Crayon Rainbow.”

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I wanted the legs to snap, but wanted fewer snaps than snap tape. So I cut the snap tape apart and spaced them out on the inner leg opening.

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The back waist was elasticized. The criss-cross back straps buttoned to the inside of the back waist, with multiple buttonholes to allow for growth.

Finally, these garments have been stored with others that I have made. Do you know that purple boa feathers shed copiously?! I was picking little purple feather shreds off of these garments as I was trying to get photos, but obviously missed some.

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And where did the purple feather boa enter into my sewing history, you ask? Well, as a trim on a very sparkly dress! But that’s a story for another day…

 

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A Red Dress: Part 2 – Houston Quilt Festival

So many of you commented about my new red dress, which I made for the award ceremony at the Houston Quilt Festival! Well, I’m home from Houston after a very enjoyable week, and it’s time for an update. We arrived in Houston on Tuesday afternoon. Part of the prize for the top winners is travel and hotel accommodations. Here I am, ready to go to the convention center for the awards! Makeup, nail polish, Annie Pennington brooch and earrings (of course!) – the works! 🙂

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Here are those red shoes!

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The presentation of the awards is fun, with all of the category awards given first. The blue ribbon winner in each category is revealed from behind a black curtain on the wall of the auditorium, with spotlights focused on that quilt. The eight big awards are given last. My quilt, Blue Plate Special, was awarded the Master Award for Thread Artistry, sponsored by Superior Threads! After the awards are all given, attendees get to get up close to see the winning quilts, and talk to the makers. And, yes, the top winners get flowers! 🙂

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On Wednesday, there is a luncheon at which the top winners all give short speeches, then Preview Night is from 5PM to 10PM. This is the way my quilt was displayed.

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I spent a lot of time in front of my quilt for the next four days, talking to thousands of people.

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You can see all of the prize winners here. I was also awarded an Honorable Mention for my quilt Crystal Garden, but that’s a post for another day.

Here is Blue Plate Special

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The quilt is 73″ x 73″, and was completed this year. It is white cotton sateen on the front and back. It all started with the dark blue print strip of fabric that surrounds the central star, and forms the border corners. That strip was left over from a quilt kit I cut out for my Mom to piece! The fabric was a print stripe, and this section wasn’t used, so I kept it. The colors for the quilt all flowed out of that little print strip. And the corners are the size they are because that’s all the fabric I had! Those strips were appliqued on, then I used a decorative machine stitch – little satin stitch dots – to accent the edges. All the rest of the color on the quilt is digitized machine embroidery. The more solid-looking, darker areas are machine embroidery applique, done with old Cherrywood fabrics from my stash. The free-standing lace border and the large swirl designs are from Zundt; the rest of the embroidery designs are from OESD. Except for the lace, the embroidery was all stitched on the quilt top only. After the embroidery was completed, I layered the top, batting (Hobbs 80/20 bleached), and backing, then did all the quilting free-motion on my APQS George, which is a sit-down machine. The quilting was done with The Bottom Line thread in the needle and bobbin. I usually like to use silk thread in the needle, but I didn’t think this quilt was going to be good enough to justify the expense! To make the lace, I embroidered segments on water-soluble stabilizer, joined all the segments together in a big loop, then soaked the stabilizer out. I soaked this for a couple of days, with several water changes, because I don’t want any stabilizer to remain in the lace. Then, after the lace was complete, and the quilting was all finished, I stitched the lace to the quilt, using free-motion stitching and monofilament thread. I hope this quilt does half as well at the other shows in which I’ve entered it!

Now, it’s time to get back to work on my quilt to enter into next year’s Houston contest.

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The deadline is only about six months away…