A Gift to Warm You

Gator Fleece Quilt

Gator Fleece Quilt

I made a couple of fleece quilts to give some friends. The only thing I bought was some fleece binding; I had plenty of fleece remnants on hand.

These friends are very special to us. They believe in thrift and using what you have. They have two boys who are out of high school, and the biggest part of their Christmas fun is to search for gifts for the boys. Whatever the boys name on their list each year, even if it happens to be misspelled, which frequently happens, the parents diligently search until they find just the right thing. For instance, one of the boys asked for a book about the history of guns. Except that he typed “nuns.” It was a deep search, but the parents eventually found a book about the history of nuns. Little fella had a laugh about it eventually.

Every year they give us greens from their garden, and various other marvelous food gifts. This year they brought my DH a little bag of coal, because they’ve been experimenting with a forge to do some welding, and had to drive to Georgia to buy a lot of coal to power the forge. At least, they say that is the reason they gave him some coal. For what other reason does a person get coal for Christmas? 😉 Actually, he was impressed. They had a very long conversation about anthracite versus other types of coal.

I realize that I’ve slipped into another post about blankets again! But apparently blog-surfers want to read about blankets and quilts, because 2 of my blanket posts are in the top 10 of my posts people have hit on since I’ve been blogging. My favorite blanket/quilt pattern is McCall’s 4185, a fleece quilt. It’s a Sewing With Nancy pattern, and I’ve always gotten a lot of use and understanding from Nancy Zieman’s offerings, whether in books, patterns, TV or blog posts. The beauty of her fleece quilt is that you can piece together small remnants and make a good size blanket. Using small remnants=less textile waste in the landfills. Fleece is a modern fabric; you see it everywhere. Fleece can pinch-hit for a household central heating unit. I once owned a house that had a hit-or-miss furnace. In the middle of the night I’d wake up freezing and have to re-light the pilot light that kept going out. After awhile, I bundled up in fleece and I didn’t feel the cold. That was nothing short of a miracle. At the request of my old boss, I once made a fleece blanket out of licensed collegiate gator fabric, for her to give to an aged relative in a nursing home up in Rhode Island. A couple of years later, the old lady passed away and she’d asked to be buried with her gator blanket tucked into the casket with her.

I remember one of my most interesting Christmases. I guess I had run my mouth to someone about being short on cash, because a family came over and brought my kids not just one present each, but quite a few each, so much that the space under my little Christmas tree was full of wrapped packages with bows. Then they invited us to dinner. I made up my mind I would never again mention to anyone that I might be low on money around Christmas so that I wouldn’t be taken in as “the poor family of the congregation” that year: someone’s charity project. Then they took us riding around in their pickup across a hilly and bumpy pasture while the guys in the family looked for dead tree branches they gathered and sold to a company that made silk flowers and attached them to the branches to make fancy floral decorations. They might have thought my boys would have fun doing that, and could help them in the wild, crazy search. During the bumpy ride I realized I wasn’t just a charity case to them. They cared about me and my kids enough to spend time with us, not just throw some money at “the problem.”

Jesus said in Matthew 26:11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” This time of year, it helps to ponder the presents (presence) of both…

Early summer freebies

A little PS to week before last entry: I found a Mickey Mouse fleece remnant about 30″ x 15″ and sewed up some travel pillows for the twins, to go with their woobies.

travel pillow

. This is the sort of project I can really get into, because all the materials were stashed and I didn’t have to buy anything. First I cut off the selvage from the remnant and folded the remainder in half, then cut it into 2 equal pieces. I had an old bag of quilt batting lying around, which had been previously cut into, so it contained lots of long narrow pieces leftover from a bigger project. I cut some and folded them into a small pillow shape. Then I got a remnant in my “white” drawer that was labeled “Wamsutta 100% cotton” (probably what used to be an old sheet) and fashioned a pillow case for the rolled-up batting. I seamed the fleece pillow cover on the wrong side then turned it, leaving an opening on the back with slightly overlapping ends to stuff the pillow inside. More overlapping would have been better but the remnant was just too short.

finished blankies & pillows

Meanwhile, last week I went trading at 2 different venues, the gym and the church, and obtained some freebies to experiment with. Sheesh, from the photo, looks like even my mannequin has saddle bags.

Gym freebie

white embroidered shirt

olive drab microfiber Old Navy maxi skirt

.I like the shirt and the red dress. The skirt could use some adornment, such as the recent trendy Letters and Text dress on the Sew Fun blog (Husqvarna Viking Sewing machine blog). The blogger said she has decided to embroider words she likes, names of children, etc. At first I thought “dotty” then I began to think “innovative!”
We also got free produce over the weekend, thanks to a farming friend who let us come and pick. Thanks, Billy and JoAnn for the wonderful, fresh, beautiful, free food!

yard-long and heirloom red Chinese noodle beans



purple hull, razorback and zipper peas


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