Handkerchiefs from a Repurposed Bedsheet

Handkerchiefs made from a torn bedsheet.

Not all sewing is glamorous and Insta-worthy. Nope. Sometimes I’m stitching things I need or making the most out of some fabric so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

Apparently, I like to run marathons in my sleep, because I wore a hole in a flannel fitted sheet. Now, to my defense, these are fast home décor (think fast fashion, but with home décor). We’ve only had the sheets for a couple of years (and use them seasonally because they’re flannel), but still, a hole showed up.

To my credit, I made the hole larger so that I WOULD NOT MISS IT and try to put it back on the bed.

The sheet is queen-size. That’s a lot of fabric without a hole. I washed the sheet and kept it because I knew I’d think of something to use it for. Finally, I decided on handkerchiefs. I grew up using handkerchiefs, or hankies, when I had a cold. Granted, they’re gross. You blow your nose on them. And, you don’t throw them away like you would with a tissue. But, because you DON’T throw them away, you always have one handy. Also, you don’t have to remember to buy tissues or use toilet paper.

Because this sheet was to become hankies, I wasn’t too worried about how they looked in the end. I mean, they’re going to wipe up snot. I simply cut out as many squares as I could by cutting along the plaid pattern. Further evidence of this sheet being fast home décor? The plaid isn’t yarn-dyed, it’s piece-dyed (piece-printed?). Most plaids are yarn-dyed. Go to your closet and check out your favorite plaid shirt and flip it over to the reverse side. The reverse should look like the front and not plain. The reverse of this sheet is white, not plaid: piece-dyed. Because of this, cutting along the plaid pattern didn’t necessarily result in true square pieces. But, whatever—snot.

Plaid on one side; plain on the reverse.

I took the time to press a ¼” hem on two opposite sides of each hankie. Then, I stitched it down. I was going to press the remaining two sides, but it took a long time the first round. I decided to wing it and just fold the hem over as I stitched, because boogers. It worked! They didn’t turn out too shabby—for hankies.

Artsy shot of a snot rag.

The result is 20 or so hankies for my family to use. And, bonus! My husband gave me a cold only a week or so after I finished making these. I used them and I’m satisfied with how they turned out. One sheet saved from the landfill and a house of happy noses!

Stitched. Folded. Stacked. Ready for boogers.


Welcome Blanket Quilt

Welcome Blanket Quilt

After seeing pictures of children sleeping under foil blankets at the border, I knew I had to participate in the Welcome Blanket project. This quilt, and others made by different crafters, will eventually be distributed to refugees and other immigrants through resettlement organizations after being displayed as part of MODA’s exhibit, “Making Change: The Art and Craft of Activism.”

I know it’s not going to the children sleeping under foil blankets, but the sentiment is the same. I started to quilt because I wanted to ensure that my family members always have quilts to sleep under. As the daughter of a quilter, I have slept under nothing but handmade quilts. I think I get better sleep, plus, knowing that someone loves you enough to put that much work into a quilt for you is one of the best feelings. Refugees and immigrants deserve to feel this, as do all human beings.

TLC Quilt Label

I labeled my quilt with “TLC” even though my middle name is “Budnik.” “Louise” is my given middle name, after my grandma who was a daughter of immigrants. I also like that “TLC” means “tender loving care.” Which, I think is the whole point of making someone a quilt.

Crisscross Tie

The design is my own, after miscalculating how much fabric I would need and making do with the fabric I had. I wanted to play with half square triangles, and after I had them made, I arranged them until I was happy with the layout. I tied the quilt with an “X” (crisscross) on the front and the knot on the back.

Knots on the back.

I hope that it adds a bit of warmth and happiness to someone’s American experience!

Welcome Blanket Quilt

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: July Ohio Star

July’s Ohio Star quilt block represents the dense, verdant environment of the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

July’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

In late April of 2011, my fiancé and I moved into our house, which has woods at the back-property line. In June, we flew to Alaska to marry. When I left Ohio for our 2-week trip, I thought summer had bloomed, that the trees were at their peak—the world was lush. We returned to woods that were a dense, dark green. I’ve never forgotten the difference that a couple of weeks made.

Woods in early June.

July is summer settling in. The bright green of spring doesn’t dull because the novelty has worn off, but rather the leaves darken with the progression of the season. I love it. I love looking for signs of the seasons. I love the surprise of the differences.

Woods in early July.

I find it curious that I relish in the nature of southwestern Ohio so much. I grew up in Alaska, a state that for sure has vistas far more extreme and striking. I figure that I either tune into nature because Alaska taught me to or because I am filling a void created when I left the Last Frontier. You can take the girl out of Alaska, but you can’t take Alaska out of the girl: she’s going to find nature no matter what? Perhaps.

The Cincinnati area is a great place to get regular doses of nature. Cincinnatians value parks. There are many, many green spaces. When I lived in Hyde Park and Oakley, I often visited Ault Park. Now, in a northern suburb, Sharon Woods is our go-to. Not to mention Loveland has a river running right through it and boasts an extensive bike trail along with abundant parks. Neighboring Symmes Township also has a couple of parks we patronize. So, if I don’t notice the shift in color in the woods behind my house, then surely, I’ll take note elsewhere.

Detail of summer-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

So, for July, I made my Ohio Star in three hues of green with a center of brown. It may not match the colors found in the woods behind my house, but the layering of color is reminiscent.

July’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

T-Bud Co. Quilts Ohio: June Ohio Star

June’s Ohio Star symbolizes the tri-state geography of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, which includes part of Kentucky and Indiana in addition to Ohio.

June’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

If you fly into Cincinnati, you’ll know that you don’t actually arrive in Ohio. Instead, you land across the river in Kentucky. If you drive the I-275 loop that defines the Greater Cincinnati area, you’ll travel through three states: Ohio, of course, Kentucky, and a smidge of Indiana. Cincinnati belongs to a tri-state area and it doesn’t go unnoticed. For my June Ohio Star, I decided to pay tribute to this geographic quirk.

Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

I spent four and a half years working in Kentucky. That is, I drove approximately 40 miles one way, crossing the Ohio River, to a job only a few miles across the border. There, I worked with people from all three states. I tend to think of the part of Kentucky that lands in the Greater Cincinnati area as “Kentucky-Light” or maybe even “Ohio-Light.” I crossed state lines to get to work, but it didn’t feel like I was in a different state.

Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

For the duration of my job in Kentucky, the consensus was that Kentuckians didn’t want to live in Ohio and Ohioans didn’t want to live in Kentucky. (A lot of people had river-hopped in one direction or another and had made their final choice. My 80-mile round-trip commute was hard on me and a few times my husband mused that maybe we should move to Kentucky to be closer. I always said no. Because the job would never last that long (I was right), and because I moved here to live in Ohio, not Kentucky. No offense, Kentucky. Although, I feel that way about other parts of Ohio and even Indiana. Presented with two job layoffs in my short career, and thus going through extensive job searches, nearby cities always seem to hold dream jobs: Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis. But, when push comes to shove, I moved here to live in Cincinnati, not another city. And, if I’m going to move 2 hours away, I might as well move back to Alaska.

Detail of tri-state-themed Ohio Star quilt block.

My block is subtle this month. I broke the 9-patch into three sections and gave each one a color. Purple for Ohio. Blue for Kentucky. Green for Indiana. I like to think of the center white block as Cincinnati itself. The points of the star are Cincinnati’s influence extending beyond the city limits and into different states and counties, beyond the I-275 loop. All of the fabrics are from my stash, and I have to say, I love the colors!

June’s Ohio Star Quilt Block

Mom & Daughter Matching Outfits

I did it! I made a dress for my daughter and a shirt for me out of the same fabric! I’ve been wanting to do this since March of last year. I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately, like the Reds shirt I made from a baby bodysuit, and Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee recently caught my eye, so I decided I was ready to jump in!

My daughter and I went to the fabric store where we picked out Simplicity pattern #2241. It’s a “Learn to Sew” pattern, so I figured it’d be easy for me since I definitely a beginning garment maker. We also picked out some fabric—that we both liked. Obviously, I’m all about wearing a shirt that matches a 4-year-old’s dress, but I wanted it to be appropriate for both of us. Later, I ordered the Scout Tee pattern.

I made the Scout Tee first since after reading both patterns it was the simpler garment. It was so easy to put together! And, the fit is fantastic. I’m already scheming to make more.

Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee

The experience with the Scout Tee really helped me make the dress. With the tee I learned how to make gathers and use bias tape to finish the neckline. I did both of these things with the dress, which has gathers on the front and back and both the neckline and armholes are finished with bias tape. The only thing I would change is the bias tape I used for the dress. The pattern called for single-fold bias tape, which I purchased. The Scout Tee had directions for making my own. For the dress, I should have just made and used my own. I think it would have come out better.

Simplicity Pattern #2241


We actually haven’t worn our new clothes yet. I’m saving them for Mother’s Day when we’ll get together with family. I’m not sure how the dress will go over with my daughter, because 4-year-olds can be fickle. But, if I can get one decent (again, fickle) picture of us together, well, I’ll be happy!

Wearing my new Grainline Studio Scout Tee