Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sewn with Kids

A. was invited to a birthday party and wanted to make something as a present.  We made a matching skirt for the Birthday Girl and her doll.  A. sewed the hem, side seams and zig-zagged the raw edges and I cut, sewed on the 2nd tier and the "thingy" where the elastic goes.  (Technical, I know.)

They turned out well, but I must admit that the sewing process was not my best "mom moment" and I lost my temper several times (I am going to blame it on other children coming in and out and being annoying, but it wasn't pretty).  What is it that makes sewing with kids so hard?  For me I think it was the fact that A. wanted to do it all by herself, but I really needed to be there at every moment overseeing the process.  At this age you can't just give general directions and walk away for a few minutes.  I know we will get there and it is important to me that my children learn to sew, but is an intense process.

Thankfully, I was given a chance to redeem myself.  A. is totally obsessed with the idea of making doll clothes for her babies and not a day has gone by without her asking if we can start making them "right now!".  Yesterday evening we cut out the pieces for a doll dress.  I explained how the pattern worked, we found the pattern pieces, I pinned them on the fabric and she cut.  She only had to recut one piece.  Thankfully doll clothes are small, so it wasn't a big deal.

This afternoon, we sewed it all together.  I did the pinning again and would mark sewing lines with pen for her to follow.  Tricky seams like the neck and armholes I sewed, but she did a great deal of the sewing, zig-zagging and taking out of pins.  I would help guide the fabric regularly, but she was in charge of the pedal.  (I am doing this full disclosure, because my husband hates parents who do projects for their kids and I want to document/disclose the real division of labor for him - he was traumatized by pinewood derby races.)  A. also did some pressing, but by the time we decided that the skirt was too short and to add another layer to it, I was getting tired of the process and sewed on the last layer by myself.  BUT...I did not get frustrated or lose my temper this time, so I will count it as a success.  :)

Here is the happy girl with her doll.  
She has big plans for making all of the clothes featured in the pattern (help!).
I really am proud of her and her desire to learn how to sew and make things!
Good Job!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Denyse Meets JoAnn

So, I just happened to stop by JoAnn's Fabric in Des Moines.  The same one I had just happened to call the day before to see if they were carrying Denyse Schmidt's new line of fabric, and these beauties came home with me. (Tip: ask for DS Quilts - they don't know who Denyse Schmidt is).

I managed to limit myself to 4 favorite 1/2 yard cuts.   I love red and blues!  While the friendly lady was cutting we talked about the fabric.  I said I was glad they carried this line and hoped they would have it for awhile (i.e. until their premium quilting fabrics go on sale for 30% off).  She said, "Well, it's all about supply and demand.  If it sells I am sure we will keep it in stock."  I almost laughed out loud.  "It will sell," I said.  "Some of Denyse Schmidt's out of print fabrics are selling for double or triple their initial price and people online are offering to go and buy this fabric for others who don't live by a JoAnn's."  She looked taken aback and a bit unsure if what I was saying was true.  Oh yes, it is true.  And I would be more than willing to pick some up for anyone who needs some.

Now I just have to find someone in Australia who wants to trade some US color ways for the mustard floral.  :) 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crazy Quilt Along #8 - Sashing

Today we will be joining our crazy quilt blocks with sashing.  (For earlier Crazy Quilt Along posts click here.)

While it is not absolutely necessary to use sashing between the blocks in your crazy quilt I would highly recommend it, especially if you are using heavy weight fabrics.  Imagine trying to sew over 4 layers of denim and 2 layers of foundation fabric - not pretty.

For the sashing on my quilt I cut 24 pieces of fabric 2 x 9.5 inches.  Lay out your blocks as desired and sew the sashing strips between the blocks until each row is sewn together.  I normally don't pin when I sew and that was a mistake with this project.  Because the thickness and layers of fabric in the block the sashing strip tended to shift.  Multiply small shifts in the fabric across a row and well, this quilt isn't going to win any awards.  Learn from me - Pin!

Once the rows are completed, cut a piece of fabric as long as your row length - piece if necessary.  I needed a piece 2 x 51.5 inches.  Sew the rows together.

And Voila!  Your crazy quilt top.  
(It's not really narrower at the bottom - the wind was blowing it away from me, I promise!)

I think this is one of my favorite blocks.
Coming soon:  Quilting Options.

How Embarrassing!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's In A Name or Help!

Lynne at Lilly's Quilts asked us to share a project that has made up happy this last month.  

The first things I thought of were the Dresden plates as part of her quilt along.  I have LOVED playing with color, sewing and "hanging out" with the group online, but I didn't want to be a brown-noser...  :)

Then I thought of the hexagon shaped quilt made from these beautiful pink and yellow fabrics.  Can I say how much I love pink and yellow together.  I even wrote a tutorial.  (Seriously, sooo easy.)

But then I remembered this green note book.  I have filled pages with notes, thought about it as I was falling asleep, playing with legos, making dinner and brushing my teeth.  What is in this notebook?  My master plan. 

 My master plan for taking myself (and hopefully others) though a year long series of quilt block tutorials.  The first month we will cover the basics and start with a log cabin to make sure we are sewing an even 1/4 inch seam.  Next, we will talk about color and value and do an around the world block to work on matching seams and then a value block to practice half square triangles.  The series will build from simple to complex blocks and methods.

Some of the topics covered will be:
  • Half Square Triangles
  • Quarter Square Triangles
  • Flying Geese
  • Paper Piecing
  • Curves
  • Appliqué
  • Inset and Y seams
  • English Paper Piecing
  • Improvisational Piecing
  • Wonky Blocks
  • Foundation Pieced Blocks
  • Odd Shapes - apple cores, tumblers and hexagons
  • Whole Cloth Quilting
The plan is that I would post a tutorial the first three Fridays of each month.  The last week of the month will be a catch up week.  If you are current on your blocks by the end of the month you could win a prize.  (I know, soooo exciting!)

I hope to be able to face some of my fears and expand my quilting horizons.  I would like to start in May, but I need to get the word out.  And before I start getting the word out I need a name.  What should I call this series?  I was thinking of something along the lines of, "Just Try It!" or "A Taste of Quilting."  But I am convinced there is a better name out there.  Please, leave a comment and let me know if you would be interested in quilting along and what in the world I should call it.

Just for a laugh, here are some of the pictures that didn't make the large sized cut.  
It does not include the ones that were immediately deleted!  :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Plans and Projects Update

In December, urged by Elisabeth of Don't Call Me Betsy, I made a list of quilty goals for 2011.  Here is my update:

UFO's to Finish:
1.  The 1930's BOM Quilt - No Progress
2.  Scrappy Alternating 9 Patch - I pulled out the blocks, had my 10 year old iron them and have trimmed up 10.  So, a tiny bit of progress
3.  Christmas Tree Skirts?  Oh, I had forgotten about those.  No progress.
4.  Black and Peach top - no progress.  Margaret's Hope Chest is accepting quilt top donations and I think I will put it in the mail.

Unfinished Current Projects:
5. Quilt the Tree Quilt - uh, I added the border.
6. Finish my Brother's Blue Quilt - ugh!  What a mess that was.  I still can't bring myself to look at it.
7. Cousin Presents - still sitting by my sewing machine.  No progress.
8. Anna's Baby Quilt - Finished!  Oh, it feels good to say that.  And I wrote a tutorial as planned.  Check it out!

Planned new projects:
9. Upholstery log-cabin - No progress
10. Kid's Crazy Quilt - I am just finishing off the least followed quilt along in the history of the Old Red Barn Co., but it got me quilting, writing tutorials and convinced me that if you ask amazing things can happen - so, not so bad.

11. Twist on Tradition Bee - I started a new bee.  Lost two members.  Replaced them.  Had a member forget it was her month to send out fabric, so I sent out mine and have had some beautiful blocks returned.  Oh, the joys and pains!  :)

Twist on Tradition Block2L.Meg's Star #1A Twist On Tradition Bee - March 2011Mar. - Leila starMar. - Leila pinwheel
A Twist On Tradition Bee - March 2011Twist on Tradition Block1L. Meg's Star #2IMG_5578IMG_5577

12. Finish Bee Improvisational Bee - finished!
13. Solid Drunk Love inspired lap quilt and finish throw pillows - Well, I made the throw pillows the wrong size...does that count?  :)  
14.  Grandmother's Flower Garden - I went without working on it for a couple of months, but I am  back in the swing of things and think I might really get it done by the end of the year.

So, let's tally it up:
No Progress:  7
Some Progress: 2
Finished/On Target: 5

Not as bad as I thought.  No progress on half, but the year is only a quarter over!  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Diamond Quilt - A Tutorial

hexagonal, easy, fast, unique, cute, and sophisticated - this baby quilt is all the things!

I recently finished this version of the Diamond Quilt for my sister's new baby. I am in love! I love it's uniqueness and I really love that I was able to make it in about 7 hours. Not bad! I made this quilt almost 7 years ago for my sister-in-law also. Pictures of it follow and the tutorial was written then (I am in the process of updating it.) I hope you can use it to make your own unique quilt or play mat.


As soon as I saw this quilt I knew I had to make one like it.  But the whole time I was cutting out diamonds I kept on thinking about Lone Star quilts and so this quilt was born.

(can you see one of our chickens?)

I LOVE this quilt.  It is on it's way to my new niece right now.  It was one of the hardest quilts to let go of.  I love pink and yellow together.

I pulled together quite a few lines to make it.  There is Bliss, Meadowsweet, Hunky Dory, Aunt Grace, Heather Bailey and some others that I forget.  I think I am going to make another one out of reds and whites to use as a tree skirt at Christmas.

Do you want to see how I made it?  Easy as pie.


To make a quilt that is approx. 24" on each side and 50" across the center, you will need to cut 90 diamonds.  You will need (15) 5" width of fabric (WOF) cuts for the quilt top.  

If you do 12 diamonds in each color, you will need 1/3 yard of 7 fabrics and 1/4 yard of another.

You will need:
6 diamonds for the 1st round
12  diamonds for the 2nd round
18 diamonds for the 3rd round and 
24 diamonds for the 4th round
30 diamonds for the 5th 

Keep on adding 6 for each round you want to do - go as big as you would like.  You could make it mixed up and scrappy like mine or do rounds of the same fabric.  


diamond and hexagon shaped baby quilt play mat tutorial

Cut a strip of fabric from selvage to selvage (with of fabric - WOF) 5" inches wide.

Starting at the folded end, place the 60 degree line on the ruler along the length of your fabric.

Trim off the fabric to the left of the ruler.

Move the ruler an inch to the right. The trimmed left hand edge should be on the 1" mark and the top edge should still be on the 60 degree mark.

Cut along the right hand side of the ruler. Continue cutting diamonds in this manner until you reach the end of the strip. You will be able to get 6 diamonds out of each 5" strip.


Lay out five rings of diamonds as desired.

Separate out a wedge of diamonds. We will sew each wedge together seperately.

Break each slice up into rows and sew each row together.

When sewing the diamonds together, don't line up the point of one with the edge of the other.  Overlap them a bit so that the point of one of the diamonds sticks out a bit.  They should cross 1/4" from the edge. You'll know they are lined up correctly, because the needle will hit right where they intersect as you sew them together with a 1/4" seam.

Iron the seam allowances in opposite directions for each row.

Sew the rows together.  I am  not usually a big pinner, but I pinned this at every block intersection.

To have your diamonds line up correctly, overlap the seams as shown above.  Can you see where the seams cross at the top?  The top of the cross should be 1/4 inch below the edge of the fabric.  I know, it sounds tricky, but it gets almost automatic the more you piece.

Repeat for all 6 wedges.

Sew three slices together.  Repeat for the other three slices.

Sew the two halves together.

Start pinning at the center.  This was the seam I had the hardest time with.  My diamonds did not all line up, but that is how it rolls sometimes.  The most important thing is to make sure the center diamonds intersect correctly, because that is where the eye is drawn.

Quilting:  Quilt as desired.  The tops of the diamonds will be cut off so you do not have to worry about having batting or backing all the way to the tips and do not have to quilt all the way to the tips.

Trim off the excess batting and fabric by cutting the tops of the diamonds off in a straight line.

Voila!  You have a hexagon quilt made out of diamonds.  Bind, wash and love!

 rose, pink, quilt, baby, baby shower, gold, quilted, easy quilt, quilt tutorial, quilt pattern, baby gift