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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Apple Strings & Homespuns - Lots of reasons to Give Thanks

It's almost Thanksgiving and every year at this time I make a new apple string to go over the mantle. I've always loved apple strings but in the ones I saw the apples all fell together on the string and took a gazillion apples. I came up with this years ago as a way not to have all the apples fall together. It's a lot less work and takes fewer apples and less time. I thought I'd show you how I do it.
First you need to slice and dry your apples. Pep always slices them for me - about 1/8 -1/4" thick - as thin as you can get them. Then he puts them in a vinegar/water or lemon/water bath for a few minutes so they won't turn brown. Then we put them in our dehydtrator for about 24 hours, checking to see when they're dry. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can do it in your oven. Put the slices on racks on cookie sheets or pizza pans. Turn your oven as low as it will go (you don't want to cook them) and leave the door open a crack so the moisture can escape.
When they're dry you can set about stringing them. You'll need a large eye needle - a tapestry needle or doll needle will do - and some fabric you can tear into strips about 3/4" wide. I always put my apple slices in a bowl and sit and make the string while we watch TV at night.

Tear a strip and make a loop at the end in case you want to hang it on something. Then put your needle through an apple slice. Make a largish knot in the string a couple of inches down the fabric. Put on another slice and make another knot. Pretty simple and it holds the slices apart.

When you're almost at the end of the 1st string, take your needle off and make a slit in
the end of the fabric. Get a second strip and put it through the slit.

Now make slits in both ends of the 2nd strip and pull one end ot the 2nd strip through
the other and tighten somewhat to join the 2 strips.

Now rethread your needle, make another knot
and put on another slice. Just keep on going, adding slices and strips until your string is the length you want. It really goes pretty fast. And you don't need a lot of apples. I got a 3 lb bag but Zoie & Cullin and Quinn ate half of them and I still had enough to do the string above our fireplace.

Now here are my homespuns again. I'm pretty excited about them as you can probably guess. I really like all of our fabrics and the Lilac Hill line for next spring is a neat change of pace. And the homespuns are our first love. (I really don't like to use anything else for backing - they're so comfy when I'm sewing on the binding) The wovens are going to be a Moda Basics line and for that reason, I'm going to carry bolts and the Fat 1/4 bundles in my storefront. There are a lot of shops, particularly in the warmer areas of the country, that don't carry them and I want to make sure people can get them if they want to. We're transitioning to a new storefront that you can access from the blog and we'll have them posted shortly. Moda ships them in January but you can preorder yardage as soon as I get them posted. Wahoo! Can you tell I'm excited. I really was down to barely useable scraps on some of these.
If you order a pattern and want to order the fabric to go with it, we can email you a pdf of the fabrics we used so you can make your choices.
And finally - This is Day 7 (I looked this time before I started typing) of the Blog Hop and Lisa Bonegan's Day. You've got to be sure and hop on over to her blog and see her really cool cookie jar wrap. To say nothing of print off the recipe for her soft ginger cookies.
There hasn't been a project yet that I didn't want to make immediately and this is definitely another one. Many thanks again to Stacey for all her organizing.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


  1. Jan have a wonderful Thanksgiving , as usual your homespun goodies make for a glad rejoicing heart !!!They are things but they are little thing that make us smile ,,enjoy too much turkey and pie (smile)..IzzyR

  2. I love how you did the apples, I might just try that.
    I saw some dried apples and oranges on a tree, but I like the idea of a swag.