Well peeps, I’m not sure we need Halloween this year to make things any spookier, but with a little more time than usual on my hands I was only able to put off the urge for decorating until mid-September.
We’ve had perfect foggy fall weather, the ferry horn blaring and sadly an orange sun and moon due to the smoke from the fires to kick off the season.
My seasonal handmade items are for the most part samples for classes with the benefit of fueling my love of Halloween, making pillows and decorating.
Two of my favorites are my pieced Ghastlies pillows created for an improv log cabin workshop when I first opened the studio. There were always dreams of an A-line skirt with this fabric, but the few I made over the years revealed improv and apparel making don’t mix.
Fussy cutting the Hammer Girl and the witch were no brainers. I have no idea if the story is true (kind of fitting of the times eh?), but a student once told me she took a tour of the Alexander Henry studio and it was revealed that the witch is actually too polite to flip the bird, but that’s what she’s really gesturing with her pointed finger. Some of us can relate right now I’m sure;)
Why do we get so attached to fabric? I just traded the last of my orange Ghastlies fabric and I had to remind myself when I felt a tug at my heart for keeping it that I’d likely in my lifetime never create another thing with it. In return I received fabric that has at least a 10% chance of making it into a project.
I also use the pillows as samples for when I teach invisible zipper installation. If you’re looking to add a new sewing skill to your toolkit I’ve got a tutorial here. You can do it!
I usually teach Spiderweb quilt blocks this time of year. I just finished a faced binding on the solids one above as a sample for a new class using one of my go-to techniques, improv strip piecing.
The studio needs some Halloween spirit as well and I love to buy Halloween fabric as much as Christmas, so I made some thread/scrap catchers for the table. In my straight line quilting workshop it seemed a waste to not make something with our practice panels so we turn them into this fun bucket project. Since we can’t be together, visit the lovely Christina Cameli to get the bucket pattern and her insight and skills with free motion quilting or practice some straight line quilting ideas.
There’s a rabbit hole of good projects and techniques to adapt to Halloween, like a quilt-as-you-go trick or treat bag or paper piecing. I’d been making hanging locker bags with some of the middle school kids that come sew and thought to merge it with this paper pieced Skull from Twiddletails as a hanging candy bag and I’ve just reminded myself I’ve got it all printed larger for a pillow;)
Of course there is the endless and awesome Halloween bric-a-brac you can buy, but I had to put the brakes on that.
We did have a rainy week since I was last here, so I packed the freezer with some soups and put some cans of pumpkin and gifted apples to use in muffins.
I also froze some unbaked hand pies so we’d have something to munch on besides the usual lunch of sandwiches. Two of my favorites are Back in the Day Bakery’s sweet potato & sausage hand pies, and the chicken pot pies from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry Cravings. Having never made a cream cheese crust I kept it to one batch, only to pressed repeat the next day it was so good and easy.
Lucinda’s book also had a tamale pie that was tasty.
We’re doing our best to physically distance, but still enjoy some company. We were able to watch the debates last week and football the week before with friends since the weather cleared. The pop up tent might be the next step.
I made a few masks for myself and others and basted my King size Star Player quilt during Sunday’s Hawks game. I finished binding my Spinning Webs shown above and if I get some brighter days and a cooperating human I should get some photos of that up next. RBG fabric is from Spoonflower and I bought some nose wires from Modern Domestic that function better than pipe cleaners.
I wasn’t feeling very productive about my week, but just writing this all down makes me realize there have been a lot of small wins.
I hope for your mental health you’re all checkin in with your small wins too. I’m sure you’re all kickin’ ass.
Cheers. xoxo, Katie