Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

A Mixed Marriage

A Mixed Marriage

Football* season is upon us, and this picture sums up the state of our relationship for the next five months:


Yes, I am married to a Steelers fan. It has been my cross to bear for 30+ years. At least he isn’t a Ravens fan; we’d have to live in separate houses (or states).

[Attention, SAB: If you are a Ravens fan (and I fervently hope you are not), I cannot talk to you again until February.—JKS]

I am a long-suffering Browns fan, all the way back to the days of Brian Sipe and the Kardiac Kids. Somewhere, there exists a picture of me, approximately age 14, dressed in orange and brown and yelling at the TV in my parents’ family room. The husband has seen this picture, too, and notes that not much has changed in the intervening 39 years. I still yell at the TV during football games. (I cannot find that picture, unfortunately, or I would post it here.)

I believe with all my heart that such devotion from this fan (or perhaps just plain old statistical probability) will result in the Browns eventually having a winning season. It’s been a roller coaster for the past couple of years. I thought all my dreams had come true when Brock Osweiler was picked up by the Browns (briefly), because he is a graduate of Flathead High School (two years ahead of DD#1) and we watched him play many high school games here. Alas, it was not to be, but I am A-okay with Baker Mayfield. They should have given him #17.

[I follow the parody Twitter account @LtBakerMayfield and it’s really funny. The Twitter description says, “1st Lieutenant in command of Browns Co., the 1st Ohio Reg., Northern Division, American F Corps.” The posts all sound like letters home from a Civil War soldier. Training camp is referred to as Camp Berea.]

Anyway…I’ve been hoarding a length of Cleveland Browns fabric but this felt like the season to use it. Two of my friends from high school are also devoted fans—they still live near Cleveland and regularly attend games—and I wanted to make Cleveland Browns pillowcases for them. I ran into some issues, but I thought I’d describe how the process went.

Standard quilting cottons are 44/45” wide. The pillowcase pattern is designed to use a piece of quilting cotton about 27” long x 44” wide and a border 10.5” x 44” wide. The pieces are assembled using the “burrito method,” where the border is laid down on a flat surface with the right side up and the main fabric is laid down on top of it so the top edges are aligned and the right sides are together. The main fabric—which is longer than the border—gets rolled up from the bottom. When the roll of main fabric reaches the border, the bottom edge of the border gets rolled up to meet the top edge of the border, enclosing the main fabric within a tube (hence the burrito analogy). The long (top) edge of the burrito is sewn together. The fun part is reaching in through one of the short, open edges to turn the burrito inside out, hiding the raw edges of both pieces of fabric neatly within the seam. The pillowcase is finished by sewing the bottom seam and one side seam (the other side is a fold). I either serge those seams together or make French seams—again, to hide the raw edges.

The NFL, in its infinite wisdom, decided to make the official NFL team fabric 58” wide instead of the standard 44/45” quilting cotton width. I am not sure why—do they think people will be making flags out of it? That’s a head scratcher. I had a little less than two yards of Cleveland Browns fabric, so I laid it out on the cutting table and contemplated the best way to slice it up. I am used to folding quilting cottons for cutting so the selvedges meet. I tend to do that with all fabric out of habit. My folded fabric, therefore, was about 68” long x 29” wide.

If I cut a piece 27” long x 58” wide, I would have had to cut it down to 44” wide and waste 14” of the width. Also, I could only have gotten two pillowcases out of the length I had. After looking at the way the logo repeated across the fabric, it occurred to me that I could turn the pillowcase so that it ran sideways across the fabric instead of lengthwise. Not all fabrics are that forgiving; some have directional repeats and have to be cut a certain way. With this fabric, though, it didn’t matter so much. Also, cutting the pillowcase crosswise instead of lengthwise meant that I could get three pillowcases out of the length of fabric, not just two.

I was doing this in the evening and didn’t think the next step through completely, so I got into the weeds a bit. The spatial perception portion of my brain—what little there is of it—shuts itself off at 5 p.m. I cut three 22” wide pillowcase bodies crosswise out of the fabric, then sliced off 2” off the bottom (at the fold) to make the pieces 27” long. However, instead of having a pillowcase body 44” wide that could be folded in half, I had two 22” pieces that had to be seamed together. Yes, seaming it messes up the math a bit but this is a pillowcase, not an heirloom christening dress. I should have cut the piece 44” wide and then sliced the 2” off the bottom, which would have given me two correctly-sized pieces. I still would have had to seam the third pillowcase, but two of them could have been done the traditional way. Oh, well. Hindsight is 20/20 in sewing, too.

I didn’t want any raw edges on that seam. A French seam there would have been too bulky, though. Thankfully, I have a serger. I serged the pieces together and then proceeded to assemble the pillowcases as I normally would. I put two of them in the mail—they have arrived in Cleveland safely—and made a third one for myself.

And because I love the husband and somehow managed to acquire a piece of Steelers fabric somewhere along the way, I made a pillowcase for him, too. He said he was surprised I didn’t break out in hives while making it.

* For my non-North American readers, this is the actual American football, not soccer, and the Steelers and Browns have a longstanding rivalry.


The Confident Stitch, a sewing store down in Missoula, sent out an announcement that Pati Palmer—founder of the Palmer/Pletsch International School of Sewing in Portland, OR—will be there for a book signing on Saturday. I am trying to decide if I want to go or not. I’ve got one of her books and it would be fun to get it signed, but the husband asked me if I really wanted to deal with the inevitable tourist traffic between here and Missoula. He has a point. I can hardly stand to go to Kalispell; I would probably be a raving lunatic after two hours of following lumbering RVs down the highway. (It’s a two-lane highway with few places to pass slow vehicles.) I’ll probably wait until Saturday morning and decide then. I might just stay here and bake zucchini bread instead.

I registered my apron entry for the fair yesterday. It has to be dropped off for judging on Monday, August 12 and the fair starts August 14. Wish me luck! I’ve got my starch and iron all ready.

Flowers in the Garden

Flowers in the Garden

A Riot of Color

A Riot of Color