Happy 2017, friends.
I can’t move on with my blog without mentioning the loss of my best buddy, Doc. He passed away on December 30 at the age of 14. Doc has been in many of my photos on this blog since it’s inception and he’s been at my feet as I’ve sewn everything that I’ve ever posted in the space.
I got Doc as a puppy from a sheep/cattle ranch in the extreme northeast part of CA. I had the pick of the litter and he was the smartest of the lot. I did a little test with the pups as they followed me around and I walked over a little stream. Most of the pups stood there looking at me whimpering and didn’t know how to get across. Doc went down the stream by himself and crossed at the bridge and then ran up to me. He was my best friend ever since.
I love all of my dogs, but Doc was very special. He was with me during my darkest hours and stood beside me during my happiest moments. He traveled around the country with me and was my constant companion. He joined me for archaeological surveys in South Dakota, caused me to slip and fall on ice and sprain my ankle in Wisconsin, and joined my family and friends as part of my wedding party right here in California. He was a top herding dog and many ranchers tried to buy him from me, but he was more than a cowdog to me. He loved to ride in cars and we often had to watch him as he would jump in anyone’s car if he thought it meant he could go for a ride. He loved roadtrips and he logged thousands and thousands of miles as my co-pilot. He met so many people and so many dogs throughout his life and he loved dropping frisbees at your feet and forcing you to throw them for him. He was a Canine Good Citizen and a TDI (Therapy Dogs International) dog. He loved going to Oakland A’s Bark at the Park games, but sadly had to miss last year’s as his arthritis meant it was too difficult for him to walk up and down stairs. He was diagnosed with dementia this past summer and it was a long trying time with him these past few months because of that. At times, I would see glimpses of my Doc, but most of the time he spent sleeping as his body shrunk and his mind drifted further away.
Most of all, he was my best friend and my heart is broken because he is gone.
We buried Doc next to our pond, which he loved to swim in. He’s surrounded by narcissus bulbs that my grandma planted out there long ago and right next to a cow trail, so he can watch them walk by. He joins our other Border Collies — Tansy and Dusty — who passed away in 2016 at the ages of 16 and 17.
I didn’t mean to bring you down and make this post so sad, but I needed to share and let my words out. The rest of this post will be more uplifting, I promise.
The Classic Horror Film Quilt
I made my husband a quilt for Christmas this year. It was a total surprise to him and I managed to keep it a secret. I sewed this while he was at work, but when he was off for Christmas break (he’s a middle school teacher), I still didn’t have it done, so I worked on it late at night. I had everything done except for the binding by Christmas Day, and I gave it to him, telling him it would be finished soon.
My husband loves classic horror movies, with his favorite “monster” being Frankenstein. I had meant to make him a Frankenstein shirt back when I made my Dracula Dress, but I didn’t…. And then when I decided that I would finally sew one — of course the fabric is no longer to be found! 🙁 Both the Dracula and Frankenstein fabrics come from the Robert Kaufman Classic Horror Films Collection that is now OOP (a link to a pic of the fabrics). I could, however, find pricey listings for the panel print from that collection, but what would I do with that? Well, I decided to make him a warm comfy quilt that he actually might use. Along with the RK horror film panel that I found on eBay, I also used the current Kaufman horror fabric from the Pleasures and Pastimes Collection and the Alexander Henry “Favorite Haunts” from the Haunted House Collection. I had some of the Dracula fabric left, too, so I used that as well.
The novice quilter that I am (this is my third finished quilt, with one long-ago UFO unfinished quilt top in a bin somewhere, and one that I started cutting out this past summer), I thought the panel prints would be easy…. NOPE! At least not this one. The panels are all different sizes and odd sizes, too! The top two are one size, the bottom three are another size, and the two in the middle are different sizes…. I usually sketch out a quilt plan before I cut out squares (I pretty much just do easy squares), but I couldn’t see how to do it with these odd shaped panels. I decided to cut squares to fit each panel and frame them. Then I sewed them together, sewing little pieces to fit the gaps.
My MIL has made some kids/baby quilts with large panels and soft backings and suggested using this minky fabric for the back. I wanted this quilt to be soft and warm as my husband likes to relax on the couch with a blanket at night. The minky is soft, but it’s a pain in the ass when you’re laying out and smoothing the fabrics down. I didn’t use batting, but instead used a blanket throw for the middle of the quilt sandwich. I quilted it and then added the binding that I made. This is the first quilt that I’ve actually quilted (the others were either not quilted or quilted by someone else) and that process took longer than the rest of it! I only outlined the blocks and panels — I didn’t get all quilty…. it was giving me a nightmare sewing black on black on black and stitching in the ditch…..
Both of us are really happy how it turned out! It will fit right in with my mid-century living room redo. It’s sitting on the couch that I made a fitted slipcover for before Christmas. I still have the loveseat to do, which I’ll get to after I finish some other sewing projects. I plan on sharing all of it when I’m finished. I just decided to make a quilt for the loveseat and just ordered another fabric in the OOP RK Horror collection — this Alfred Hitchcock panel. All of those panels look to be the same size, so I don’t think I will run into the same issues as with this one. I don’t plan on using minky or so much black, either! Now to find some fabrics to go with it and invest in some quilting safety pins and wonder clips!
Sewing Goals and Plans for 2017
So, I thought about it and I decided to skip Gillian’s Top 5 and also the 2017 Make Nine. I’m already making my way down my fall/winter sewing list and I need to finish that up before spring hits. And I will!
- 1920’s velvet dress/coat
- 1920’s Egyptian Revival beaded gown
- Late 19th century afternoon dress
- 1930’s afternoon dress
- 1890-1910 Halloween dress
- Dickens Christmas dress
In addition to these sewing goals, I’m also planning to host a sewing challenge! I dreamed up this challenge a few years ago and I’ve been wanting to host it for a while. I’ve decided that this year is the year and I’ll be sharing the theme with you next month. 🙂
I also want to take this time to thank you for being with me on this journey and reading this blog. I appreciate you and the words that you’ve written for the past five years.