Thursday, September 22, 2016

Go Big or Go Home - a therapeutic fabric challenge

This spring our guild in Iowa had a fabric challenge. I picked the fabrics for the challenge online and when they arrived I was horrified to find out that they weren't the exact colors that I thought they would be. (I have been burned way to many times ordering fabric online.) But that would just make the fabrics that much more challenging for everyone! (Spin, it's all about the spin.)

But what to make? The challenge started just when we were in the throws of getting our home ready to list and I was stressed out to the max. Doing anything that required exact math and precision was out of the question. Around the same time I saw these pictures on Instagram by @chaucycomplete and fell in love. Her pieces are tiny. So very tiny. I knew that wasn't going to happen so I channeled my inner "Carol". Carol is a member of our guild who makes everything big. No small quilts for her! So I started cutting and sewing, cutting and sewing. I would start to cut smaller pieces and then think, "No! Quilt like Carol!" and "Go Big or Go Home!" I had a blast. It was just what I needed.

Des Moines Modern Quilt Group - Solids Challenge - April 2016 - Look at all those beauties!
It was nowhere near finished when the challenge was over, but I finished it up last week. All solids. All from stash! I would like to donate it to charity but for it to be twin sized it needs to be bigger. I can't keep adding to it as I am running out of solids. What?!? I know, crazy. But I have a chunk of dark gray that I think I will use as a border. Do you remember when Kona Coal was really in as a background color? It is leftover from those days and needs to be used.

Now I just have to figure out how to square it up. There is not one single straight seam in that baby. Wish me luck! I'll check back in when it is done.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Quilty Friends

We are all moved in here in St Louis and everyone is doing pretty well (except for the kido home throwing up!). Seriously though, we have been so blessed. Everyone has transitioned to their new schools really well with only a few bumps here and there. In fact, our cat has had the hardest time adjusting - she spent the first month pooping all over! Grrr...

I have my sewing area set up and have been working on some things. But before we get to that I wanted to show you this beauty.

At my last guild meeting in Iowa my wonderful, amazing, lovely guild-mates gave me this wall hanging. Isn't it amazing!?!? Everyone pitched in to make spools, piece, quilt and bind it.

Look at all of those improv spools! I love the variety, colors and fussy cutting details. And the wood grain shelves and quilting? Swoon. I tried at one point to guess who had made which but failed miserably.

And the pincushion with fancy quilting and embroidery? Too cute!

The piece de resistance is the sewing machine pieced by Doris. (That is the sign of a great friend!) Great fabrics and colors and I love our guild's logo.

I really can't express how important and special all of my relationships with my guild-mates are to me. They are an amazing group. *hugs*

Now I just have to get my rear in gear and figure our where I am going to hang it. It has to be the perfect spot for the perfect gift!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pillow Swap

Hello, I'm not dead yet!  Things have finally calmed down over here.  Our house sold!!!  And now I am finding myself with more time on my hands.  Thank goodness!  Last time we "spoke", two months ago, I was working on a pillow for a swap and had gotten this far.  I decided that I did indeed like it (I don't know what I was thinking earlier - it is totally cute), added a border and got to quilting.

I decided to go with the same spiral pattern as the original scrap vortex quilt.  It worked really well, although I can't imagine doing it on anything much larger.  That would be a lot of quilt wrestling!

I got to this point and asked for some advice on what to use as backing.  My partner was one of the people who responded and thought the aqua would be the best - I agreed.

Everything was going great until I was sewing down the binding and found this.  Can you see it?  My 3 year old had gotten a hold of the scissors and cut the edge of the binding.  Augh!  She really likes to cut the edges of things.  Quite a few of her shirts have little notches in the hems.  Sigh.  It turned out that I was able to turn under the binding twice in that spot so the notch was covered.  The binding was narrower there, but not noticeable unless pointed out.

Off it went in the mail at the end of March with a little selvage zipper pouch and some goodies.  

And then I got this in the mail from Janet (@bayleebarkley).  Love!!!!  The fabric, the colors, the movement and those tiny flying geese!  And the little cushion?  Too cute!  Thanks!

It was a great swap and it was fun to interact with people online.  After we get back from vacation this summer I am going to keep my eyes open for another one.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

All the Things: AWOL, New House, iQuilt Class Live, Sale and Giveaway

Well, it has been over two months since I last posted.   The reason is that our plans to move to St Louis this summer (work related) really picked up.  I have been cleaning, fixing and failing to fix things, looking at houses, looking at schools and generally doing all of the things that I don't like to do for two months straight.  I keep thinking that the end is in sight, but there is always more to do.

But, we do seem to be making some progress towards listing our home and we made an offer on a home in St Louis this week that was accepted!  See pictures.  So we will at least have a place to live when we move - you know, after we arrange inspections, home insurance, movers etc.  Can you tell I hate moving?  :)

In more exciting quilting news, my iquilt class, You Can Piece! Weekend Sampler is live!  It is really good.  I was worried that I would watch it and cringe, but I really like it.  I cover all the skills you need to know when you start quilting:  fabric selection, cutting, pressing, 1/4" seams, half square triangles, quarter square triangles and flying geese.  It would be the perfect class for a friend that is wanting to learn how to quilt.  And it is on sale this weekend!  $17.95 or $14.35 for AQS members.  You can buy it as a gift for a friend!

If you just want to hear what my voice sounds like, you can check out this tip video promo. (Seriously YouTube?  You pause the video with my face like that?  Sigh.)

I am trying to get the word out about the class.  You all probably don't need help with cutting fabric or making half square triangles, but maybe you know someone who does and I would love it if you would let them know about the class - and I am willing to provide an incentive.  :)

I posted a link to my class on my Facebook page.  If you are on Facebook, tag someone in the comments that you think might enjoy taking the class. On Tuesday I will randomly choose someone who was tagged to receive my class for free and I will send the person who tagged them a curated bundle of fabric from my stash based on their personal likes. Each person you tag is an entry for that person and for yourself, so tag as many people as you like. 

Here is a link to my Facebook post.  Thanks so much!  I hope you have a great weekend and get in some sewing.  I will be out working in the yard.  :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Little Bit of Everything

I signed up for a pillow swap on Instagram.  It has been forever since I was in a swap and it has been lots of fun.  I had an idea (based on my partner's likes - scrappy, text, micro improv.) to make a mini scrap vortex pillow cover.  It started with this.

Which turned into this.

And then this.  I think the pictures actually look better than the real thing for once in my photography "career".   But now I am second guessing myself.  It is kind of blah.  What do you think?  Keep going or start over?  

 Too simple?  Would you like to get a pillow like this or would you think your partner had taken the easy/lazy way out?  I have another idea in the wings that I am leaning towards at this point.


In other news, AQS posted their best selling new book releases of 2015.  Of their books on piecing, You Can Quilt! took 3rd with approx. 1000 copies sold.  Not bad.  If you have a copy of You Can Quilt! I would be so grateful if you could take a few minutes and post a review of it on Amazon.  There have only been 7 reviews and we need to increase that number.  Thanks!

Last week my 1st grader and I made a shirt for the 100th day of school.  They wanted us to make something that had 100 of something on it.  I wanted to make something that she might possibly wear in the future.  This is what we came up with.  

Regular cheap felt cut out in squares, glued onto the shirt, then sew in lines through the middle.  It was a pretty kid friendly project.

I hope you are having a great week.  It has been snowing and we have missed two days of school -- I am starting to go stir crazy.  My plan is to stay sane by sewing.  :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First Finish of 2016: Low Volume Cars for Blake

This quilt has been in the works for awhile, but it is finally done!  I used bits of car themed Echino for the pieced centers of the blocks and then just kept sewing fabric around them improv-log cabin style until they were at least 12.5" square.  Then I trimmed the blocks to size.  I Love that kind of piecing.  It is so freeing to just sew.

I quilted it with free motion squares (here is a link that shows what I tried to quilt more clearly).  The quilting went pretty fast.  I like quilting on a long-arm machine, but when I am using my own machine I kind of just want to get it done.  Fast.

My husband says there should be a contest for who can hold up a quilt the longest.  He thinks he could win.  :)  I think he needs to train more.   We can practice by him letting me take 3x as many pictures.  I also think extra points should be awarded to the person who can hold the quilt the flattest and stillest.  What do you think?

This is my first finish for my Finish-A-Long Goals.  Yea!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Finish Along Goals

This is my first time making Finish Along goals.  There is a possibility that we might be moving in the summer and we are trying to fix up the house and one of my jobs is to get my sewing room sorted and purged.  I have really been going through my stuff and trying to finish all the projects that I have started.  I am making progress, but realized that I have more quilts to finish than I though.  So here it goes...

Clockwise from the upper left:

  1. I found this improvisational handwork while cleaning.  I want to do something with it.  Pillow cover?
  2. These blocks need to be put together - finally - into a quilt.
  3. These Dresdens need to be made into a quilt.
  4. This English paper pieced top needs to be quilted.  I had thought of hand quilting it, but am probably just going to machine quilt it.
  5. This quilt top for my brother needs to be quilted and bound.  DONE!
  6. I started this quilt years ago and totally messed up on the quilting.  I need to go back, see if anything can be salvaged.  Worse case scenario, I can make it up into blankets to give to the local animal shelter.
  7. I need to put a border on this and quilt it.
  8. I actually quilted my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt over break and "just" need to bind it.  With such a large and heavy quilt I am not looking forward to it.
  9. I have gotten further than this picture and now need to quilt and bind this "Blue Birches" quilt for my other brother. 
  10. I was so excited about this quilt, but appliqueing the small blocks on didn't work as planned and now I need to figure out what to do.  I am half way through quilting and just want to throw it away, but I will see what I can do with it.
  11. Not pictured.  I found a shirt that I had cut out years ago.  It won't fit the girl it was meant for, but it should fit one of the others.
  12. Not pictured.  I found a half finished 9-patch quilt while cleaning out things.  It was one of my firsts.  I don't know whether I will finish it our pass it on to someone who would like it better.
  13. Not pictured.  I could always finish off my mustard/plum HST quilt, but it really isn't at the top of my list.  Literally.  :)
I got two quilts basted this afternoon, so I am well on my way.  Here's to a great year finishing things up and starting lots of new things too.

I am linking up to the 1st Quarter 2016 FAL and WIP Wednesday.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hexagonal Christmas Tree Skirt and Dala Horse Pillow Covers

The Christmas tree skirt is finished!  It has been living under the tree for a week now and I love it.

I have a real thing about decorating with red and white for Christmas and the tree skirt reflects that.

I used this Diamond Quilt tutorial I wrote a few years ago and just cut a hole in the middle and a slash up the side to turn it into a tree skirt.  I was worried it would be too big, but actually it looks a bit small under the tree.  If you have a large tree and want to make this up I would recommend adding an extra round of diamonds.

I also made a few pillow covers for my mom.  We come from Scandinavian stock and love dala horses so these fabrics were perfect.  I had been holding on to these fabrics for a few years waiting for the perfect pattern, but this year I decided to just use them.  No piecing, no quilting, just letting the fabric shine.

A little pop of piping along the edges makes them look a bit more polished.  I used this tutorial for the piping.

All of the must do Christmas sewing is done.  Well, I want to make the kido's some D-ring belts like this, but that should go fairly quickly.  It will take more time to change out the thread than to sew them.  And I think all the shopping is done.  Now all we have to do is wrap a few things and enjoy the Christmas lights.

I hope you all have a great Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

At the Fair BOM Link Up

16 of the 24 blocks
This is a link up for all of those participating in the At the Fair Mystery Block of the Month.  Scroll down to see their pictures and keep reading to hear about this year long epic work in progress.

In January I started a block of the month program that was inspired by the Iowa State Fair (which I love!).   One of the buildings on the fairgrounds has a frieze of quilt blocks made with ceramic tiles around the outside.  One quilt block for each county in Iowa.  I designed a quilt using 36 of the 100 blocks.   The blocks vary in size from 36" to 8".  We have made 24 of the blocks this year and will make the remaining 12 during the first six months of 2016.

I'm doing a link up so you can all see the Amazing blocks people have been making.  I am also doing a drawing from the people who are up to date on their blocks and giving them a package of fabric.   I wanted to encourage everyone who signed up for the BOM to catch up if they are behind.  There is nothing lamer than signing up for a BOM and then never making the blocks (been there, done that).  

It is actually quite the undertaking to get out all of the blocks and photograph them.  I moved the kitchen table and laid them out as they will be arranged in the final quilt.    I need to move some around, but this gives you an idea.  We just have twelve more of the small 8" and 12" blocks to go.

If you would like to sign up you still can here in my Etsy shop.  All of the instructions for the first 24 blocks will be available for instant download and I will email you the paper foundation patterns you will need for a few of the blocks within 36 hours.

It has been a great experience!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Super-Simple Selvage Christmas Ornament Tutorial

One of our family's traditions is making Christmas tree ornaments every year.  Why?  Because I love making ornaments.  I'm not much of a crafter in general, but there is just something about Christmas ornaments.  This year I decided to merge my two loves:  Ornaments and Fabric.  How can you go wrong?  Especially when the fabric is selvages?  I have a thing for selvages.

You could probably figure out how to make these on your own but I'll walk you through it pictorially.

You will need:
  • some thin 3" wooden craft squares (you can buy these at craft stores or cut them yourself)
  • craft paint
  • paint brushes (I used foam)
  • some selvages (the edges of fabric with the printing and holes)
  • scissors
  • glue gun and glue sticks
(Note:  I placed my supplies on top of my cutting mat for photo purposes only.  I do not recommend doing this project on top of your cutting mat.  You don't want to melt your mat with the hot glue gun or get paint all over it.)

 I recommend two light coats of paint. 

Choose selvages that have fun sayings, images or are from your favorite fabric designer.
If you are not into selvages you can use ribbon.

 For this ornament I used a selvage that had the fabric design printed on it.

Then they are ready to hang on the tree and enjoy.
A quick and easy fabric finish for the holidays.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday.