Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Alphabet Book

Barb and I had a leisurely day. We were either eating out on the porch or sewing down in the studio. She enjoys many of the same foods I do - the ones that my boys are not interested in eating - so we had an egg scramble with zucchini, onion, mushrooms, and peppers plus bacon for breakfast, and a bacon, hard boiled egg, pineapple, and mushroom with mixed greens salad plus balsamic dressing and cherry tomatoes for lunch, and roasted chicken with rice, dilled corn, baked asparagus, and pickled beets for dinner. YUMMY. The chicken was huge. There's lots left for another dish today and then for soup.

In the studio, Barb worked on a quilt for a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer. You can see her fabric selection spread out along the book shelf behind her. I love the way the colors work with my piece. That's atypical. Normally, she works in fall colors.

I worked on the alphabet book. To create a firm and durable edge, I stitched the binding in place by machine, turned and slip stitched it to the inside by hand, and then added two rows of top stitching again by machine. The binding is cut on the bias so it should wear well.

A wider strip of the blue between the two original blocks forms the spine. The pages are machine stitched in place. You can see the four rows of stitching in the image above. I back stitched significantly at each end so the pages wouldn't pull loose from continuous flipping.

The 1/4" between stitching lines allows the pages to sit comfortably when the book is closed and to lay open when it's in use. The linen is already doing its wrinkly linen thing. That's okay.

The original quilt had twenty-seven blocks including this Now I Know My ABC's... bear. I used it to sample different stitches but it seemed a shame not to repurpose it too so I picked out the red stitching, re-stitched it in grey, and then satin stitched it inside the back cover.

The blocks on the cover are no where near square. It was impossible given the parameters. Instead, it's eccentric, handmade, original, a gift of love, any other phrase you can think of and even so, someone looking at the book without knowing the details from its history is going to wonder at the discrepancy between the lack of squareness with the blocks and the overall squareness of the book. Once you know the history, the twenty-seven year difference in skill levels is quite evident. The book is mostly done. I want to add a label to the inside of the front cover.

With the exception of the red yarn ties and the original, straight cut, way too narrow, not done quite right, binding, I've re-used every part of the original quilt. There are not further bits lying around the studio waiting to become something else. This is good. So often, you're left with a pile of "stuff" and you're not sure what you're going to do with it. Like scrap breeding in the night.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - This week, we'd scheduled a contractor to change the access to the downstairs bathroom from inside Kyle's bedroom to off the hallway because Kyle is away for ten days. The contractor was supposed to start Monday and then couldn't and planned to come Tuesday instead. Because he hadn't already started, we called and asked if we could put the project off due to possible strike action and he said he was relieved. He had wanted to fit us in because are good customers but he was really too busy. I'm so thankful that worked out well and that he didn't need the job right away. It's very upsetting when someone cancels a job you were financially counting on. I've had it happen to me and I'd hate to do it to someone else.


  1. Myrna - the book is beautiful. The only thing missing is a "made with love by Grandma" label ;)! And who knows, you might be showing your grandson (or some friend of his/another grandchild) how to quilt someday and be able to use this book as an example.
    I have spent much of my time in my sewing room lately. Not working on such a fun project, but a commission (4 bridesmaid skirts). Lots of poly chiffon. I've the 4th to finish today YAY! and am going to take a break and sew something different before I go bonkers!
    Nice that it worked out about the contractor - the timing there was excellent.
    Enjoy your day sewing with your friend.

    1. Thank you. I've decided the book is a gift to my daughter so I'll write a message to her in it. I don't want to give it to only one grandchild and since it's remnant of her baby quilt, it seems to me it should be her gift.

      Good luck with the dresses. I could not do that. I'm not a sew for other poly chiffon girl in any way. I admire your ability.

    2. It's more like survival at this point. I'm reminding myself that I really hate sewing need to say "no" the next time I'm asked to take something like this on. Still the entire thing is more done than undone which is keeping me going!

  2. Your grandson will enjoy that book in the months to come. For now, your daughter will love the work and love you've put into it. Delightful.
    So glad that the contractor could put off the work for you. And I do hope the strike doesn't come to pass.

    1. LOL - I hope so. Thanks.

      I'm glad the contractor was so understanding as well.

      A strike would not be good in many ways but it would be excellent in another in that the owner has been walking over the employees for the past three contracts and needed a wake-up call. The vote may have done that though.

  3. Better late than never....
    My first cup of coffee on Thursday and I am reading the Wednesday posting. How typical of me.
    Truly you have made a tutorial of how to repurpose a quilt into a child's soft book. It is a shame that you do not "teach" through U-Tube. It is a way to make it back into the vision of your former students and to make it into the view of new students.
    While you were making the book I was following the procedure. My grandson is 12 so there is no chance of making a book for him, but I can make one for future generations...but I have started a Hope Chest for him when he finds the perfect match to start them out.
    Karen in S.W. Ohio

    1. LOL - lovely to have you whatever the day.

      I'm resting on the teaching idea at the moment and trying to let it show up if it's meant to rather than manipulate. It's hard. I'm either resting or not resting. I can't seem to totally put it down.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.