Friday, December 30, 2016

Holly the Christmas Hound

When our good friend John was last over, her told me how much he loved Myrrh, my Christmas cow.  He wanted to see her in person, and commented on the Santa Claus fabric.  An idea hatched in the back of my mind.  But then, it evolved into not making him a Christmas cow, but a Christmas dog, since he is a dog whisperer extraordinaire, and 'papa' to red-nosed pibble mix, Brandy.
The flimsy

I have wanted to make Sew Fresh Quilts Lorna's Dog Gone Cute dog blocks since they first came out, wanted to join in the QAL, but just could not squish it in.  For John?  You bet I could squish in a final project for 2016!

The stars do align on a regular basis: I won a bundle of "Kringle Krossing" by Shelly Comiskey for Henry Glass Fabrics last week.  I did not bring any Christmas fabric to Florida except for the few pieces to make Myrrh the Christmas cow.  Luckily I had enough of the Santa fat quarter left that John especially liked for Holly's face and then I used Henry Glass prints for her blaze, muzzle and background.  Just love that background fabric especially!  The dark green for her ears is triangle scraps, and small rectangles (one of which is pieced to make the 6.5" required strip) all from John's quilt I made last year for his 75th birthday.  I'm into connections, symbols, double entendres, deeper meanings, in case you haven't noticed.
And woo hoo!! I'm also into meeting good friends for breakfast that evolved into visiting two quilt shops! Quilt Lovers' Hangout is fabulous!  As is the Go-Go Diner for breakfast, in case you may find yourself in North Fort Myers sometime...
Despite that foray into fantastic fabrics with a fabulous friend, Julie of Pink Doxies, and despite another blip in production from the QC (quilty cat) department...

I managed to get the cushion quilted this morning and photographed for today's several Finish Friday parties.
Flat Holly
and a fitting photo resting against one of John's two potted Christmas trees, which he gave to us after Christmas 2014 and 2015 to plant. They are thriving.
Holly has an ear tattoo, not a number ID but her name, FMQ-ed with Sulky Blendables in 30-weight.
I kept the quilting simple, doing Lorna's trademark wavy lines with Sulky metallic thread.  I tried to catch the sparkle...
Actually this one shows it pretty well.
I also tried to give her eyes a little more definition by using the Sulky Blendables I used for her tattoo to quilt a spiral in each eye.  It helps somewhat.  Aren't those reindeers adorable? I made sure to centre one on her muzzle.

The back:
Envelope back with that beautiful Holly (LOL just realized it this second) on white fabric, and a label.
For once I actually remembered to sew in my mmm! quilts label before I sewed on the binding.  I used the reindeer fabric, such a great strip it has in it!
I am not a machine-binder, but I am becoming more and more of a convert, and I have to tell you that I didn't have to go back on any missed spots on this cushion, woot! woot!  I used white Gütermann on the top and red Essentials in the bobbin.
I thought I'd share a couple of tips for sewing with metallic threads that I learned in a Sulky threads class taken many years ago.
First, be sure to use a Metallica needle, no not the band, although you could be playing one of their songs; I sometimes do listen to them on a rock playlist, ha, bet you didn't think that of me!  Metallica needles by Schmetz (no affiliation) have a teflon-coated eye to reduce friction.  Smart! They also have a much larger eye than a regular needle, which is on the left, Metallica on the right.
Second, you cannot sew as fast as you would with cotton or with polyester.  Think metal on metal and what do you get? Friction.  I only had one thread break, early on, and it was because it did a coil and double-hooked itself around my take-up thingamajig.  So I rigged up my system (some of MacGyver is rubbing off on me, clearly) that I always use for Holoshimmer threads, which are flat threads and need to feed off the spool like a roll of toilet paper, from the top.
Arrows point to the cone threads guide which helps to lessen tension as opposed to feeding the thread right from the spool into the take-up guide. The other arrows point to the spool itself, lying horizontal on a child-sized knitting needle, which is propped on the finger holes of two pairs of scissors.  This way the thread feeds off the top of the spool à la toilet paper, up to the cone holder thread guide, and from there to that take-up guide at the back of the machine.  No more breaks once I did this.
John saw the flimsy on Wednesday when he was here for a dog walk and lunch visit; I couldn't wait to show him.  Now I cannot wait to give Holly to him, and I kind of have a feeling there might be an Ivy 😉 coming to my own house soon!
Quilt Stats:
Pattern:  Dog Gone Cute by Sew Fresh Quilts
Size: 18.25" square
Fabric:  scraps and leftovers, except for the Henry Glass Fabrics "Kringle Krossing"
Batting: Pellon Nature's Touch 100% cotton
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads:  pieced with Gütermann; quilted with Sulky Metallic 142-7027 and Sulky Blendables 30-wt 733-4022

In case you haven't stocked up enough on fabric deals, remember the Craftsy one still on until midnight Dec. 31! That is an affiliate link!

Many quilt shops both bricks and mortar type as well as online type are having end of year sales.  It's a great time to pick up backings or treat yourself.

Linking up with
Crazy Mom Quilts
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
TGIFF at Arabesque Scissors


  1. Too fun! Love your festive puppy. Sounds like he went to a very good home.

  2. Very cute. I'm sure John was delighted.

  3. What a fab way to end the year. Love the fabrics, the binding, and the quilting. Happy New year.

  4. Yet another lovely story ... I love to hear the background around the things that we make for people who mean a lot to us. I bet John absolutely loves Holly. Thanks also for the tip re the metallic needles. I bought a book last year from a quilt show which explained how important it is to have the right needles etc and I have tried to be a 'good girl' by using the right needles, changing it regularly etc. This year. And it has made a difference 😀 hugs to you from your friend across the water xxx

  5. An adorable finish for 2016. I hope John loved it, as it would be hard not to.

  6. Such a cute pillow cover for your friend. Congrats on sneaking in another finish before the end of the year. Happy New Year!!

  7. Too cute! Love the pattern, and the fabrics you used. Haven't made my Dog Gone yet, but admire it every time I see one.

  8. Such a cute pillow! I love this pattern and have made several pillows as very special gifts! Great post with lots of info!!

  9. Puppy power! So cute, Sandra. Great gift!

  10. I love the pillow, too. It's so pretty in Christmas fabrics. That MacGyver thing sounds just like something I'd do. Once I forgot my thread guide while on vacation in the camper. I rigged up a huge safety pin (why was that in the camper) on the curtain valance and stood the spool up on a pencil that was clothes-pinned to a small pillow. All that took a while, and my husband laughed, but it worked and that's all that mattered. I'll have to remember your scissors contraption should I ever find myself without a spool holder. Haha What won't we come up with to quilt?

  11. That pillow is super cute, and such a thoughtful gift! That's good info on using metallic thread. I sometimes forget to slow down my sewing when using it. One thread break is all it takes to remind me! :)

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  13. Yes the stars and the universe always line up! John is so deserving of this and will love it! It's adorable

  14. Holly is adorable! I love how it worked out for you with the Christmas fabric.