Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Lincoln Movie & the Keckley Quilt

If you've seen the Lincoln movie, you know that one of the most intriguing characters is Elizabeth Keckley, who, in the movie as in life, was a close confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln.

Keckley was an extraordinary person who suffered greatly as a slave, but was eventually able to purchase freedom and send her son to college, in part due to her needlework skills.

Incredible as it may seem, Keckley left behind a quilt which is said to have been made from scraps from creating Mrs. Lincoln's dresses.

A better view of the quilt is on page 2 of this article. The quilt resides at the Kent State University Museum, in Ohio. The museum produced a brief video, highlighting its dress fabrics and poignant liberty-themed embroideries, here.

The story of  Elizabeth and Mary has a sad ending.  Mary Lincoln, and the public, never forgave Elizabeth for sharing confidential information in her memoirs, Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. She died in poverty. Learn more about Keckley here.  

Postscript: Another fascinating thing about the movie is how similar the actors look and/or were made up to resemble the historical figures. Slate Magazine did a terrific side-by-side comparison, including Keckley and the actress who played her, Gloria Reuben. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quiltlet #5: Upcycled Coffee Cuff, in Smell-Surround

As long as we're paying tribute to comestibles....

.....Presenting Quiltlet #4! It's an upcycled coffee bag cuff, potentially in smell-surround! 

In an earlier post, I expressed my passion for coffee and coffee-themed quilts. Coffee makes me omnipotent and omniscient, for about 47 minutes every morning - better brief than than never! (How deep is my love? This deep!)

The quiltlet above brings caffeine-fueled creativity to a new level. Genuine coffee accoutrements, including a disassembled coffee bag, and, potentially, coffee molecules, can be included. 
But before the directions, excuse a short digression, to share what I learned during several minutes of research into coffee bags.  

The technical name is "retort pouches". Fused layers of plastic and metal, they were co-invented by the military and private industry in 1978. The technology spread slowly to the commercial market. Kids' juice drinks were among the early adopters, most notably Capri Suns. 

Coffee companies eventually caught on - pouched coffee is lighter than metal cans, reducing shipping costs. Tuna and other seafoods are among the newest converts - but who the heck wants a tuna-scented cuff?(Update: A reader answered this question: Cats and their owners.)

The bad news about retort pouches is that they're not usually recyclable.  They go into landfill, or are  incinerated. This is hopefully changing; I found several companies online that have developed recyclable versions.

The good news: retort pouches are sturdy, colorful, washable, and...stitchable! So it was inevitable that green-minded sewists and crafters would start eying them flirtatiously; the relationship was consummated, and their spawn was a new subset of crafts. Google "juice pouch crafts" or "juice pouch bags," or "capri sun pouch crafts" - you'll find a ton of of ideas and patterns, especially for tote bags, wallets, coin purses, and, of course, the occasional prom dress.

It wouldn't be healthy to drink your way to a juice pouch tote bag (let alone a prom dress), not in a short amount of time, anyway. In recent years, health experts have warned children and adults to cut back on juice consumption. Even 100% fruit juice contains plenty of unnecessary sugars and calories.

Coffee bags, on the other hand, come full of very tasty 100% coffee, beans or ground, which might be very good for you, even if you drink many cups a day. Coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer, dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, humility, etc., according to scientific studies like these and these. The day may be coming when we view coffee as a nutrient.

So the first step is to drink a lot of coffee, until the bag is more or less empty. Then,  wash it. Or better yet, just wipe it down a bit; but leave in some coffee dust. Yum, it will smell good for a long time and probably not attract vermin?! Isn't it much better to have a roasty fragrance on your wrist than some sappy perfume? (Or tuna?)

However: If you've got a Starbucks coffee pouch, examine it carefully before cutting - some offer a trade-in: 

You are supposed to hand over the whole bag to get a free smallest-size cuppa.  (I keep intact, rolled up empty Starbucks bags in my purse, ready for barter. My purse smells delicious.)

I chose a Peets' coffee bag for this project, not only because it DIDN'T offer a trade-in, but also because it's a rich chocolate brown, with gold lettering (nice font, too). 

You can see the gold lettering better in this back shot of the  finished cuff: 

Here's an annotated version of the whole cuff: 

Cuff ingredients: 
  • An empty coffee bag (Peet's 'Major Dickason's Blend', in this case. (Delicious, by the way.)  
  • Brown glass beads shaped like coffee beans (along the top edge. From bead shops or the web);
  • 'Burnt' wooden buttons (along the top. Evocative of  roasting.); 
  • Vintage gold faceted glass bead (on the 'wave.');
  • Small brown/black/white glass trade beads (along the bottom.);
  • Two brown abstract print fabrics (fabrics A and B);
  • Two coffee-themed novelty fabrics: the small black-and-white tumbling coffee cups (fabric C), and the large yellow cup (fabric D). 
  • Backing fabric (Brown heart print, shown at the bottom of this post.) This is fabric E. 
  • Two small black sew-in snaps;
  • Thread: gold metallic (from Superior) for zig-zag wave; 'invisible' nylon thread to applique the cup; and brown thread to applique the coffee bag and the 'wave'. 
  • Strip of batting, same height and width as unfinished bracelet.

My finished size: 9 1/4" x 4 1/4".  This size is good for a wallhanging, paper weight, pencil holder, coffee-scented votive-candle-surround, etc.

But this is important: If you want your cuff to actually function as an actual cup cuff (to keep hands cool when handling a hot paper cup ), you need to make it FINISH at  9 3/4" - 10" long  x 2 1/2" high or shorter (under 2 1/2"). So adapt these measurements as needed.

I always use 1/4" seam allowances.

During this project, I found that coffee bags are very easy to stitch. No need to turn under edges. They glide easily under the presser foot. The only danger is sewing stitches too closely together - that can cause the holes to rip through. Use a long stitch length, and a thin needle, like a microtex. 

For information about how to search out coffee-themed novelty fabrics online (like fabrics C and D), scroll down to the very bottom of my earlier coffee post

1. Cut a rectangle of fabric A (dark brown fabric) 3 1/2" x 9 3/4".

2. Cut two strips of fabric B (light brown fabric), each 1" x 9 3/4". 

3. Stitch the two B strips to the top and bottom edges of the A strip.

4. Cut a rectangle from the coffee bag to approximately 2" x 9 3/4". Center it horizontally on the AB unit and stitch it down with brown thread, using a long zig zag. (A tight zig zag would be bad because the needleholes would be close together and might rip through the bag.)  

5. If you have a fabric C for the frontmost 'wave' (mine is black and white, with tossed coffee cups), fuse a strip that's about 2.5" x 8 3/4" to a piece of fusible interfacing (This is optional; interfacing just makes it easier to handle.)

6. Figure out with tracing paper the shape of the wave. I wanted to cover "Peets" but leave the word "coffee". Once you have the shape, cut it from fabric C. Glue-stick the wave into position on top of  the bag rectangle. 

7. From a novelty fabric (fabric D) that has a large (1.5"-3") coffee cup on it: rough-cut around a cup, leaving a quarter inch or more fabric around the motif. Fuse the fabric cup onto fusible interfacing or paper backed fusible web. Once fused, cut closely around the cup.   

8. Place the cup in position. You can use a glue stick again to temporarily hold it in place. Stitch down with a loose zig zag, using invisible thread .  

9. Cut a piece of backing fabric slightly larger than your finished top. In my case, it's 4 3/4" x 9 3/4"  (or the same size as your finished top). This is fabric E. (It's the heart fabric shown below). 

9. Cut a piece of thin batting (I like Warm'n'Natural) to the same size as the backing fabric.

10. Stack components: Batting on the bottom, backing on top of it good side up; then your pieced top, good side down. Pin in place, but don't put any pins through the coffee bag area. Beginning on one long side, stitch almost all the way around, leaving a 2" or more gap. 

11. Trim back the corners, cutting near but not through the stitching line.
12. Gently pull out the front. 
13. Press the edges (but keep the iron away from the bag! Finger-press those areas.) 
14. Hand-stitch the gap closed. 
15. I did a decorative machine wave stitch with metallic thread over the seams where fabric A meets fabric B. I used invisible thread in the bobbin.
16. Hand stitch beads and buttons wherever you please, using thread that blends well with the backing. 
17. Hand stitch snaps to the corners. Look at the first picture above - see the black snap-halves in the two far right corners? The corresponding snap halves can be seen in the far right corners of the heart backing fabric picture below. 
18. You're done! Send pictures!  You definitely deserve a nice fresh cup of Joe! Trade in that Starbucks bag!

(P.S. Here's the back side. Black snaps are on the upper and lower right hand corners. It still needs a loop for hanging in the middle top.)

Update: I've been looking around for other coffee bag creations. Here's a flower necklace:
Scroll about 2/3rds of the way down the page for a nice tote:
Quilter Eleanor Levie has made wonderful concoctions from coffee bags and other trash. She calls it her ReUse series: My favorite:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Farewell to Hostess; Twinkie Quilt, Part II

I had so much fun in the last post making a virtual Twinkies & Cupcakes Quilt, that I decided to add more.

So here's my new, updated hypothetical Hostess quilt:
In the upper left corner, that's a coconut and pastel pink Snowball Sno Ball (thanks, Corinne, for the correct, incorrect spelling).  On the upper right, a Ho Ho (aka Ring Ding in the Northeast part of the US). Lower left is the Zinger, which I'd never heard of before - it's a terrifyingly bright-coral-colored Twinkie. And the lower right, of course, is the distinguished Ding Dong. The abstract yellow bars are Twinkies, and that's a Cupcake in the middle.

Update: Due to popular demand, I'm adding a Suzy-Q:

And an Orange Cupcake: 

Please feel free to use this idea to make a real or virtual quilt of your own! All I ask is that you send me a pic and link back to this post!

Update: Various people, and Wikipedia, are reminding me of more Hostess treats, like the Fruit Pies and the neon-green Sno Balls for Halloween (Thanks, Antonija). So I turned the 9-patch into a 15-patch:

The Halloween Sno Ball is on the lower right, and the Fruit Pie (apple?!) is on the lower left. Ding Dongs run down the center. (Did I ever imagine I'd be typing that last sentence?)

Now I'm starting to feel more than a little nauseated. Maybe I should make this quilt. Just looking at it might stop me from eating junk.

UPDATE: Check out this wedding cake. There are actually quite a lot of them on Pinterest. I'm guessing they're for the weddings of 11-year-olds.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quilts I'll Never Make: A Farewell To Hostess

(For an update to this post, click here)
Here's the fantasy quilt sketch that jumped into my head when I heard today's news about Hostess cupcakes(It was good news if healthy eating is your priority. But it's terrible news for 18,500 employees, plus millions of Twinkie addicts.)

Hostess products bring me back to my childhood in the 1960s, when hostesses (and their refrigerators) looked something like this:  

(Total non-sequiter. Isn't that a great fabric?)

My own mother did dress like that, but, alas, she was into healthy eating, so we rarely, if ever, had Hostess products at home. I got them from the local candy store, or other people's mothers.  I always preferred the (chocolate) Hostess Cupcakes to the (not chocolate, what's the point?) Twinkies. 

But I decided to fling a couple of the latter onto the imaginary quilt above, along with the cupcakes. Fabric Twinkies are so easy to make, just rectangles with shaved corners. The hand is open to interpretation: Is it taking a cupcake, waving farewell, or both? 

I'll never make this quilt because, if I keep thinking about cupcakes any more than I did while composing this, I'll run out and buy some. I bet by now there are suspicious characters in my supermarket parking lot selling Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Snowballs, Yo Yos, Yee Haws, Ho Hums, and all the rest at extortionate prices from their car trunks. (Update: Boxes of Hostess products are now listed on ebay for hundreds, and even thousands of dollars!)

Feel free to borrow the idea for a quilt of your own, though. (Send pix when you're done).  

If I were to actually make it, the icing "o" s would be the big challenge. Seriously sharp scissors required.

And while we're telling Twinkie truths....When I had my first baby 18 years ago, our pediatrician reminded us to pack infant supplies in the earthquake kit. Among other things, he told us that Twinkies are shelf-stable for decades. We believed him! (The Internet wasn't as   omniscient then). 

So a box of Twinkies sat in our earthquake kit for about 15 years, along with diapers and onesies, for my now-college-freshman. A couple of years ago, I realized that the onesies wouldn't fit him anymore, plus it was inconceivable that Twinkies could have such a long shelf life. I was right: it's only 25 days. I threw them out.  Which is too bad, because now I could go sell them, mint in box, in front of my local supermarket.

My heart goes out to the laid-off Hostess employees, and I hope someone comes along, bails them out, and revamps their jobs so they're baking and distributing something just as popular and tasty, but maybe just a little bit healthier, than Twinkies.

P.S. For an updated and more elaborate virtual Twinkie quilt, see my update here.

P.P.S. I shared this link at Nina Marie Sayre's gorgeous art quilt blog. Her off-the-wall Friday project is a great way to share the week's creativity.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eye Candy from Houston

The annual International Quilt Association show, affectionately known as "Houston," is one of the most important shows in the world. The 2012 show just ended, leaving behind a trail of phenomenal quilts on the blogs of amazed attendees everywhere. Here's the top prizewinner, called 'America, Let it Shine,' by Sherry Reynolds of Laramie, Wyoming.   

This trifle is embellished 5,121 Swarovski crystals. which Sherrie says, totals the age of the US  (235), plus the number of words in the Constitution (4,543), the Pledge of Allegiance (31) and the Star-Spangled Banner (312).

Ogle all the mind-boggling award winners on the official show site, or, for a more relaxing and diverse experience, watch this slideshow of favorites, from quilter Sheila Frampton (herself an off-scale art quilter). 

Sheila's Part 2 is here(I like Sheila's technology, because you can speed or slow the pace with the arrows, and stop the show at any point by clicking on each slide.) 

MORE Houston eye candy, not in slideshow form, is on Susan Brubaker Knapp's website:

Staggering quilts! Enjoy!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quiltlet #3: Hearts Rising

(For my introduction to the Quiltlet project, click here.)

This quiltlet makes an especially good Valentine's day bookmark/wall hanging/bracelet. Use six fabrics that contrast against each other. Do a rainbow. Or how about a gradation?

For this tutorial, we're going to make the quiltlet that's at the top/left side of this post.

1. From each of your six fabrics, cut a strip 1 1/2" wide by 4" long.

2. Subcut each strip into two pieces, one a  1 1/2" square (= "the square"). The remaining piece will be 2 1/2" (=" the long piece").

3. Decide what order you want to arrange your fabric in. The fabric that you want for the top heart we will call fabric A.

4. Place fabric A square good side up, and the long fabric A piece good side down on it, so the bottom edges align. Stitch them together. (Tips: Stitch with the back of the square facing up, not the long piece, to avoid unstitching later. Make sure you pull a long lead - at least 8" - of bobbin and top thread, and hold those tails back for your first few stitches, or else your machine may swallow your fabric.)

Open it up.  Press seam allowance toward the #2 piece.  It looks something like this:

5. Place the fabric B square even with the bottom edge of  piece #2.
Stitch piece #3 in place.

6. Add the next piece, the long Fabric B piece. Its bottom edge should be even with piece 3.

(6a. Unlike the drawings, each new heart piece will slightly overlap the heart before it. Here's how it's really going to look: 

7. Next comes the square from fabric C. 

8. Now you've hopefully got the idea: 

Keep on going til you've finished six hearts. Now it should look like the drawing in step 6a., above.

9. Trim away any threads that show.

10. Optional: For easier handling, press this strip onto a slightly larger piece of fusible interfacing, or paper-backed fusible web (Use a teflon press sheet or scrap paper to keep the iron clean, and press from both sides.) 

11. Using sharp scissors, trim the strip  into curves, as shown by the dotted lines.  

Once it's cut, it looks something like this: 

12. Place that strip onto a coordinating piece of felt, at least 1/2" larger than the strip all the way around.

13. If you put fusible web on the back of the hearts, now fuse the strip onto the felt. (Use a press cloth and lower the temperature slightly from the recommendation, if the felt contains polyester).  If you put a fusible interfacing on the back, use a glue stick around the edges of the piece and press in to place on the felt backing. In the diagram below, the felt is red.

14. Trim the outer to within 1/4" of the strip edges.

15. On top, use an invisible thread, or thread that matches each heart color. On bottom use thread that is invisible, or matches the felt color. Check on a scrap that the tension is right and doesn't show from the back to the front. Do a straight-stitch around each heart, just about 1/8" inside each.

16. Load the machine with a constrasting or matching thread (I used a variegated rainbow thread, which has dark blue, red, yellow, and green). Zig-zag stitch all the way around the outside edges of the hearts.

17. Add sew in snaps, stitching the "innie half" just above the bottom point point  of the bottom heart, and the "outie" the back side of the top heart. A small loop at the top back will make it suitable for hanging!

For this plaid/homespun version, I  trimmed the backing felt even with the raw edges of the hearts, and then did a corded edging all the way around. I also did a slightly different trimming job than appears in step 11 - I only trimmed the outermost corners, as shown in the dotted lines in the diagram on the right.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sew Something Helpful: Hurricane Relief Quilts

Whenever there's a catastrophe or natural disaster, quilters' first (and sometimes second and third) response is: Can a quilt make things better?

The answer, dangit, is usually no. Especially in the early days, money is needed far more than donated goods (which can  be a burden to distribute). I wrote about easy ways to send money to the Red Cross for Hurricane Sandy relief here.

But as days pass, the time may come when donated quilts are needed. Thanks to the onset of winter, Hurricane Sandy, victims without electricity are very cold; they need donated blankets and quilts, and there are now organizations in place to deliver them. I've found FIVE projects making, collecting, and delivering quilts to hurricane victims (and the number are growing, so I keep updating this post). They are: 

1. A New Jersey Project Linus branch, headed by Hillary Roberts.

2. An organization called Basic Housing, Inc., which will take and distribute ANY kind of blanket, homemade or store-bought (If that link doesn't work, try this one: Quilter Victoria Findlay Wolfe of Bumble Beans is connecting the Basic Housing blanket-collecting project with quilters.
3. If you don't want to make a whole quilt, but still want to sew something helpful, the wonderful site Quilting Gallery (QG) is launching a  fun block-making project to create quilts for the Basic Housing project above.  Michele Foster of QG is asking people to make 12" Wonky Scrappy Log Cabin (WSLC) blocks Her canine-friendly tutorial for making those blocks is here: Here's a wonky block: 

The photo at the top of this post shows one of Michelle's finished WSLC block quilts (and her adorable dog). 

Along with block-makers, Michele also looking for local team leaders to assemble the quilts and deliver them to Basic Housing. Learn more and get involved at

4. NEW: Speaking of dogs, P, in collaboration with the terrific online Quilt Pattern Magazine, has identified storm-area animal shelters needing kennel quilts and monetary donations. The magazine is offering some fun free patterns for these small quilts, 12" x 18". Learn more here.

 5. NEW: The fabric sales site has teamed up with Timeless Treasures Fabric to deliver quilts to those in need. Details here.

Please do email me if you hear of more quilt donation projects for Hurricane Sandy victims. And send pictures of those you make!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Eye-Candy

Let's discuss what's most shallow about last night's Democratic victory: We get to keep looking at Mrs. Obama. And she's so much fun to look at. There's an entire blog about Mrs. O's fashion and style, appropriately enough, called Mrs. O.

For those of you who, like me, are fashion-challenged, but heavily into color (I can dress a quilt, but not myself), here's an encyclopedic rundown of the many saturated colors of Michelle:  You don't have to read it - just scroll down the page -  it's a rainbow! 

If you slow down and methodically digest the details, color-induced endorphins will pour into your brain and you won't need to go to the gym for a week. Stay home and work on a Michelle quilt. 

None of which is to say that the Republican challenger's spouse Ann was any slouch in the eye-candy department. An even-handed  Yahoo fashion writer graciously declared BOTH the potential First Ladies winners on election night 2012:\ .

And speaking of  candy, a Yale economist decided to do a study of trick-or-treaters who came to his house this past Halloween. 

He showed the youngsters a picture of either Michelle or Ann. Then he asked the children to pick candy, or fruit. Result: After seeing a photo of Ann Romney, only 19% of children picked fruit. But after looking at Obama,  38 % selected fruit!

This study doubtless has important consequences, but I can't think what they might be. I got it - next Halloween, I'll set out bowls of fruit on my porch, next to a cardboard life-sized cutout of Michelle Obama. Wearing something colorful.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Exercise Your Freedom to Vote

Please vote!  Your vote will count this year. The 2004 election hung on 500 votes. This election will be a tossup, too. Make a plan, locate parking, hitch a ride, but, above all, go early, and leave yourself a LOT of time!

To soothe my election week nerves, I clicked around on political quilts and came across this one:

It was made in 1986 by Georgia quilter Jessie Tellfair. Now in the collection of the American Museum of Folk Art, the Museum's description says
"This is one of several freedom quilts that Jessie Telfair made as a response to losing her job after she attempted to register to vote. It evokes the civil rights era through the powerful invocation of one word, 'freedom,' formed from bold block letters along a horizontal axis. Mimicking the stripes of the American flag, it is unclear whether the use of red, white, and blue is ironic or patriotic, or both." 
How sad that 26 years later, thugs in high positions are still trying to block minorities from voting. People marched and died for voting rights. We owe it to the heros and martyrs of the Civil Rights era to exercise that freedom.

If you live anywhere near Boca Raton (appropriately, in the swing state of Florida, where elections are again chaotic), that's where the quilt above is currently on display, along with 20 others. The name of the exhibit: "Politics NOT as Usual: Quilts With Something To Say". The curator was quoted in the local paper saying:
"American women could not vote before 1920, and quilting provided an accepted social and political outlet for those who could not otherwise overtly express their opinions." 

Another fascinating site: African-American quilter/writer Kyra Hicks' Pinterest political quilts page. Along with quilts, there's also Obama fabric - some from U.S. companies, some from Africa. Though skewed to Obama, there's a Romney quilt, and several antiques. Fascinating garments too, including these paper (!?) Nixon dresses!

Why paper? I do not know! It was long before Spoonflower!

And while we're looking at stunning red-and-white political graphics, here's a donkey quilt made by an African-American  Arkansas quilter, Beatrice Williamson, around 1933:

The site explains the significance of donkey quilts, particularly to black voters, and how their allegiance shifted over time from the party of Lincoln, the Republicans, in the mid-19th century, to the Democrats during the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Both Democratic and Republican leaders were, at various times, engaged in shameful efforts to disenfranchise black voters

America has made huge strides since the donkey quilt of the 1930s  and even the 1980's freedom quilt above it. But we still have much more to do to make voting fair and available for all citizens. 

Your vote is precious. Use it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quiltlet #2: Garlic = Twilight for Vampires (a bracelet/book review)

(This is #2 in my 'quiltlet' series. 'Quiltlets' are strips that can serve as bookmarks, bracelets, coffee cuffs, wall art, and more. Read the introduction to the quiltlet project here.)

Since my earliest quilting days,  I've been enthralled with novelty fabrics (also called 'conversationals'). If there's a noun, meaning a tangible THING (other than a flower) somewhat realistically portrayed on the fabric, it's sure to get my attention. If it's something really offbeat, I have to buy it.

Much more recently, when I began looking at novelty fabrics in my stash as potential quiltets (ie jewelry, bookmarks, or art),  it was surprising which ones triggered a creative impulse (or at least, a good laugh). You, too, will chortle abundantly when pondering various fabrics and their potential meaning for you and your giftees.

For example, one day I walked into my LQS (local quilt shop) and saw this:

(Ignore the lines of silver threads - they came later).

Garlic so vivid, I could practically smell it. With highlights of pink, yet! I grabbed it, planning to use it in the framable food-themed potholder art I liked to make as presents for friends (before discovering quiltlets).

A few months later, while perusing my stash for quiltlet material, that garlic again jumped out at me.

This was my train of thought: Garlic is a talisman. During the early part of the 20th century, when my dad was growing up in the tenements of Williamsburg NY, desperate parents (including my grandmother) tied little bags of garlic around their children's necks, believing it could protect them from the raging polio epidemic. It worked out for my dad and his brother - but not for many others, of course.

Then there's the vampire thing. Vintage Dracula movies suggest that garlic repels vampires. More recently, there are those Twilight books and/movies. Oy, Twilight, don't get me started! Too late. I read the first book - it wasn't easy to finish - and watched about 20 minutes of one of the movies.  In the latter, Edward Cullen, the handsome hero vampire, wears so much white makeup that it's hard to figure how he and the whole cast can keep themselves from bursting into giggles in every scene. What's more, Edward  is a century or so older than his passionate love interest, high school student Bella. (Speaking of my tenement-raised  father, if that same, now-87-year-old happily-married father of mine were to leave his assisted care facility to enroll in a local high school and start a torrid love affair with a sophomore, their relationship would STILL be more age-appropriate than Bella and Edward. Ponder that, young Twilight fans. If you still like the idea, consider visiting assisted living facilities for dates. You'll be doing a huge mitzvah.)

So this bracelet is a discreet book review. Wearing it and/or using it as a bookmark may well ward off Twilight books, movies and merchandise. However, if you or a loved one adores Twilight, they would also enjoy using this very same quiltlet, perhaps as a way of voting that they would prefer that young teen Bella wind up with Jake-the-ripped-muscle-but-age-appropriate-werewolf, rather than Edward-the-vampire-retiree.

All that in just one strip of fabric!

The button is made of glass, and I found it in a colorful assortment of European buttons at a quilt show. Why is it yellow? I do not know. Perhaps it's a different allium, like an onion. Or a shallot. I'm sure vampires loathe them, too.

UPDATE: Garlic is also incredibly healthy to eat. So this bracelet can serve as a nutritional reminder.

Quiltlet #2:  'Twilight for Vampires' Novelty Fabric Quiltlet Directions

1. Find a novelty fabric that tickles your fancy. Cut a strip that's 1" longer than your wrist measurement, and about a quarter inch higher than you want (I wanted this bracelet to be 2 1/4" high, so I initially cut it 2 1/2")  

2. Back the novelty fabric with paper-backed fusible web (Like HTC Trans-Web, my current favorite; or  a light or medium-weight Pellon Wonder Under.) Remove the paper. 

3. Iron the backed novelty fabric to a piece of felt, in whatever color you like (I used black) You might need to lower the heat a bit to avoid melting the felt (if it's a polyester felt). Use a press cloth to protect the iron and the ironing board from accidental melt-downs. 

4. Once fused, trim the strip down to the height you want, and a length that is the same as the circumference of your wrist. (The leeway is going to come with the loop, later.)

5. Hand- or machine-quilt the strip. In the bobbin, use a color of thread that blends in or contrasts against the felt color. (I went for contrast, with silver metallic in the bobbin). On top, I outlined each garlic by machine with silver metallic thread. Then I hand-stitched large-stitch straight quilting lines, horizontally across the strip, at about 1/4" intervals. 

6. Finish the edges. I used embroidery floss in a variety of coordinating colors. Load up a large-eyed needle (like a chenille needle) with all six strands of an embroidery thread. Stitch around and around the raw edges, until they are pretty well covered. I went around three times with green, pink and white embroidery floss, and then once more by hand with silver thread. 

7. Measure out about 15" of your embroidery floss. Cut three strands to that length (I used one pink, one green, and one white strand, but they can be all the same color). 

8. Braid the strands together; OR, twist one end of the strands in one direction, and the other in the other, until loosening tension on the strands causes it to fold itself in half and create a double strand. You'll need the finished braid or twist to measure about 5". (Note: For more directions on twisted cords, plus many other cord-making approaches, go to this awesome page )

9. Fold the finished strand in half.

10. Tie an overhand knot near the bottom. Trim the ends.

11. Stitch the loop securely underneath one end of the bracelet, so about an inch of loop is sticking out.

12. Sew a button to the right side middle of the other end. 

13. Voila! I guarantee that, whether you keep it in a book, over your bed, or on your wrist, your new quiltlet will prevent attacks by pale, goodlooking, lusty, undead centenarian vampires impersonating high school students! 

P.S. The pink garlic fabric I used may be out of print, but a search turned up a similar print: Tragically, though, no pink.