Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Winner and Other Business

The random number generator choose #26.  Congratulations Ruth S.!  
Ruth, you are a no-reply blogger!  Email me your shipping info please.
Ruth did not reply, so #9  Shauna was chosen as a winner.

Remember that Wendy is giving a 10% discount through Friday on all of her quilt kits and patterns.  Enter the code CITY10 at checkout for the discount.

I normally don't blog about other's giveaways, but I really want another chance to win this EQ7 pattern.  AnneMarie reviewed it on her blog last week and I am sold.  So go on over and read about it, but don't leave a comment to be entered to win your own copy.  Understand?  Don't you go decreasing my chances to win!   Well, if you must....  ;)

Oh, and for this weeks Skill Builder Sampler block you will need to have your compass and some Heat and Bond fusible interfacing.  We will start our month of applique with a raw edge applique block.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Betty Pattern Giveaway! (open to all)

I discovered quilting blogs about 3 years ago and boy, was I hooked.  Then I started reading about these "bees" where people exchanged brilliant quilt blocks.  How fun is that?  About two years ago I joined my first bee where we exchanged improvisational blocks.  It was sooo much fun.  Wendy organized the bee and I have been stopping by her blog (Sewing in the Wendy City) off and on since then.  I was so jealous excited for her when she went to Market last month.  Not only did she go to market but she also wrote her first pattern.

I give you...Betty - a classy lady with a wonky style.  :)    

Wendy sent me a copy of her pattern.  The instructions are simple and thorough.  Plus, there is no waste of fabric.  I LOVE that.  I hate patterns where you buy a tons of fat quarters and then only use a bit of them, but I digress...  The finished quilt size is 50 x 65 (the perfect size in my opinion) and Wendy gives instructions and fabric requirements for a twin sized quilt also. 

Not sure if it is your style?  Take a close up look at the same pattern in solids.  I love it!  The colors remind me of my brother's botched quilt.  I need to fix that...someday...

Wendy has offered to give one luck reader a free copy of her new pattern.  If you would like a chance to win, simply leave a comment.  

But that is not all.  Everyone is a winner today!  Now through next Friday (Dec 2nd) you can receive a 10% discount at Wendy's etsy store.  She not only has patterns but kits for the Betty quilt as well as yardage.  Simply enter the code CITY10 when you check out for your 10% discount.

The giveaway will close Tuesday the 29th at 8 am Central Time.  Good luck and have a great weekend!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Tutorial For Large Drawstring Bags

This tutorial is the first of a series of tutorials that will show how to make drawstring bags, pajama pants and simple blankets for Foster Care Kits.  Let's get going!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Foster Care Kits

I was recently asked to help with a service project at church.   Our women's organization in north east Iowa was challenged to put together Foster Care Kits for children.  I think this is a brilliant service opportunity and wanted to share it with you.

When a child is in an abusive or neglected home situation in the US, Child Protective Services will take them into custody.  The children are placed with Foster Families until their home is safe to return to.  The children often show up on their Foster Parents doorsteps with just the clothes on their back and in a state of emotional turmoil. The Foster Care Kits are meant to help make this painful situation a bit better.

A Foster Care Kit Contains:
  1. Basic Hygiene Items:  toothbrush, toothpaste and brush/comb.  It may also include rubber bands, barrettes, deodorant and lotion.  (Items may be travel sized)
  2. Pajamas  It may also contain clothing, socks, underwear or diapers.
  3. Blanket   (45x45 for 0-2 year old, 45x54 for3-6 year old, 54x66 for 7-11 year old, 54x72 for 12-18 year old)   Sizes are approximate, but the blanket needs to be big enough for the child.  The blankets may be fleece or pieced.  Foster Care Families will have blankets and beds for the children, but this blanket is something soft and special for the child that they can snuggle with and keep forever.
  4. At Least One Comfort Item  Some ideas include:  stuffed animal, doll, coloring book/crayons, notebook, journal, pen, pencils or book.  No one is too old for a stuffed animal, especially when you are going through hard times.
All of these items are collected and placed in a bag.  It is best if the bag can be zipped, buttoned or velcroed so that the contents are not mixed up or lost.  A drawstring bag also works well.  The contents of the bag, age and gender of the child are written on a note card and pinned to the outside of the bag.  The bags are collected and brought to local agencies that place foster children.

All of the items may be purchased, but that adds up fast.  You can definitely save money by making some of the items yourself.  In the next week or two I am going to share tutorials on how to make a large drawstring bag, pajama pants and different ways to finish fleece blankets.  These posts will be geared towards people with minimal sewing skills.  Anyone should be able to complete these projects.  I hope these posts will be a resource for the women in my area making the Foster Care Kits and perhaps others will run with the idea and make Foster Care Kits for the children in their area too.

This would be a great service project for a church group, Boy/Girl Scouts or quilt guild.  Before starting, however, contact your local foster care agency, tell them about the project and ask if they have any specific needs.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big Half Way Mark Giveaway for the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler

I can't believe there have been 6 months of the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler!

We started out by making sure we had the basics covered with cutting, 1/4 inch seams and pressing while making these blocks.  (oh, how I miss the days when my backyard was green...)

 We moved on to half square triangle and corner to corner sewing.  Finishing up with some quilt math.

 With all the different skills I tried to show many different methods for getting the same result.  We learned the traditional, corner to corner and magic method of making flying geese.

Then we learned how to make 1/4 square triangles and played around with improvisation.  
(I just realized I never wrote up the 1/4 square triangle math post...oops...coming soon...)

We tried out paper and fabric foundation piecing and started paper piecing.

And more paper piecing...oh how I love these paper pieced blocks!  Why did I wait so long to learn how to do this?  This is what the Skill Builder Sampler is all about! - just biting the bullet and doing things that we are scared of.

It was hard to get a picture of them all!

If you haven't been quilting along with the Skill Builder Sampler, now is a perfect time to join in.  We are going to start hitting skills that even long time quilters might not have tried their hand at.  Here is the schedule for the rest of the Sampler:

December - Applique (many different methods will be shown)
January - Curved Blocks
February - Wonky Blocks
March - Odd Shapes (tumblers, apple cores, hexagons)
April - Inset Seams
May - There is No Way I Can Make That Block! Blocks  :)

For all of you who have been following along - THANK YOU! - it would have been totally lame and depressing to write all these tutorials for only one or two people.  As a thank you and reward for participating in the Skill Builder Sampler we are having a Big Half Way Mark Giveaway.  And because I want to motivate anyone who has fallen behind to catch up I have three different prize options.   Everyone likes different fabrics  and I wanted the prize to appeal to everyone.

 For those who love reproduction fabric:  
A jelly roll of 1862 Battle Hymn and one yard of Kona Snow.

 For those who are drawn to brights:  
10 fat quarters of Treasures and Tidbits and 1.5 yards of Kona White.

For sweet dot lovers:  
8 fat quarters of assorted dots, a half yard of the pink floral from Snippets, 
and 1.5 yards of Kona Unbleached (my favorite "white"). 

Any of these prize packages would be enough fabric to make a large lap sized quilt.

To be entered in the giveaway:

  • You must have completed blocks 1-18 in the We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler.  A list of all blocks and links to the tutorials can be found at the link at the top of the page.  
  • You must post a picture of all of your blocks on the Skill Builder Sampler flickr site or email me a picture of the completed blocks.
  • Then leave a comment in this post.  Let me know what fabric package you would like if you are the randomly selected winner.
The giveaway closes on Friday, December 2nd at 7:00 am Central Time, at which time a randomly selected person will win the fabric package of their choice.  That gives you two weeks to catch up.   Totally do-able.  :)

You Can Do It!

18 - Circle of Geese

Today we are going to make what I consider one of the prettiest paper pieced blocks of all times - Circle of Geese.  I Love It!  I want to make a whole quilt of them.  Sigh...melt...  I am so proud of my rainbow Circle of Geese.  Wouldn't one of these look great framed?  Anyway...

Oh, how I love you...


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  

The Circle of Geese block was designed by Beth Maddocks at Piece by Number.  We will be using her pattern, but referring to the step by step Circle of Geese tutorial written by Cara from Me? A Mom?  and found on Bec's Chasing Cottons blog.  It is a great tutorial.  I am only going to add a few tips.
  1. Download the template before you try printing it.  I couldn't get the size right when I tried to print it from online - why is that?  Also there are two different templates - clockwise and counter clockwise - choose one direction and print out 5 of them. (one to use as a pattern for cutting out fabric)
  2. If you want your geese to be in some sort of order, lay out the paper templates so the geese are going in a circle and write the name/color of the fabric on the goose so you won't get turned around half way through piecing.  Then double and triple check.  :)
  3. I pieced the first section to make sure I knew what I was doing.   Then I pieced the next three at the same time.  That is I sewed piece 3 to piece 4 on all of the papers, trimmed and ironed them all and then moved on to sew piece 5 onto them all.  I think sewing them in a batch like this is much quicker.  Less getting up and down to iron and trim, plus you get faster at lining up and sewing the pieces when you do the same piece 3 times in a row.  
  4. I like to trim with scissors.  I think it is faster, if not as neat and tidy, but that is just my personal preference.

Can you believe we are at the half way mark in the sampler?  I can't.  Stay tuned for the Big Half Way Mark Giveaway later today.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

How can it be Wednesday again?  Thanks for listening to my whining last post.  I am feeling much more on top of things this week.  I have decided just to focus on the things that I need to finish by the end of the month and that brings me down to my "average 5-7 WIPs" -- much more manageable.  :)


Purse for Guild swap.  Done!  I love it!!

Quilt Rachel's quilt on the long arm. DONE!  I wrote more about it here.

Finished and sent back Nov. Bee Block 
(I was in such a hurry to get it in the mail I forgot to take a picture, sorry.)

Progress Made:
 I cut out fabric for a skirt and tunic for Emily and for the Nov. Bake Shop Project.

No Progress:
December Bake Shop project 
Drawstring bag prep.

Yea!  Check out the other WIP-ers at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Long Arm Quilt

Last week I took a long arm class at The Heart of Quilting in Des Moines.  It was a four hour class and I learned how to thread, load, free motion quilt, use a panogram, start and stop, unload and clean the machine.  It was soooo fun.  I was awful at the panogram (where you trace a pattern with a laser light and it sews it on the quilt) but pretty good at the free motion quilting.  The lady who was teaching me said that the more you have practiced FMQ on your home machine the easier it comes on a long arm. 

Yesterday I took my friend Rachel's quilt into the shop to quilt.  It took 1 hour and 20 minutes to set up!  Augh.  There weren't any real problems, it just took awhile.  And then I got to quilting.

Rachel had taken a look at my practice "quilt" from the class and said she wanted loopies all over the dark area but not on the white areas.  The great thing about quilting in a like color thread is that it is hard to see any mistakes, but it is also hard to see your thread so I ended up having some areas where I ran back into my own quilting and one small area that got forgotten.

Here is the whole quilt.  Isn't it pretty?  She used the 10 minute block from this You Tube video.  

Have you ever been so proud of something, yet so uggh! about the mistakes?  It is a weird feeling.  I am totally proud of quilting this King sized beauty, but disappointed in the number of mistakes I made.  Crazy perfectionist.  :)  I have a whole list of large quilts that I want to long arm quilt next year.  I can't wait!

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Purse

 Last week I finished up this purse.  I first saw it a few months ago on OCD: obsessive crafting disorder and knew I would have to make it.  The tutorial is found here.

 It went together well and I even put in my fist magnetic clasp.  Fun.  The lining is a green sateen fabric.

I am bringing it to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild for a swap on Thursday, but I  am planning on making one for myself later.  I am linking up this fun fall colored purse to Celebrate Color.

Celebrate Color

Friday, November 11, 2011

17 - Starry Night

Today we move onto an intermediate paper pieced block.  We will be making Starry Night, a pattern that Faith recently posted on her blog Fresh Lemon Quilts.  Her instructions are clear and straight forward and I had no problems making this block.  That is a first!  Yea!  I am getting better.  :)

I really don't have anything else to add, so head on over to the Starry Night tutorial and start sewing!


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday

"Once a week whether you need it or not!"
I don't WIP every Wednesday, but when I do it really helps me feel more organized and I really need that feeling right now.  I have a lot going on and I feel like I just keep moving from one thing to another and not really finishing anything.  It is not just too many sewing projects, it is laundry, dishes, kids, church responsibilities, post office runs, feeding chickens and all the other basic things that go along with life.  I won't bore you with a total "real life" list - I did do some laundry today - but hopefully this WIP Wednesday will help me get more organized and prioritize at least my sewing projects.

The ideal time to write a to do list.
So in order of what is "due" first:
  1. Put Baby Jane Quilt and October Bee block in the mail - due TWO WEEKS AGO!
  2. Clean my work space.  My husband just put in a closet in around the corner from my quilting "den" and the whole basement area is a crazy mess.  I am usually really good about ignoring sewing room messes and continuing to sew, but it has moved beyond even my tolerance level.  Due ASAP so I can get some work done!
  3. We Can Do It! Skill Builder Sampler blocks - need to make one tomorrow!
  4. Quilt Rachel's quilt on the long arm.  I took my first long arm class today and am now qualified to rent time on the machine!!!   Scheduled for Monday afternoon.
  5. Finish fall inspired bag for guild swap - due 11/17.  I am making this bag.   So cute!
  6. Make November Bake Shop project - due by mid Nov.
  7. Send back November Bee Block - due end of Nov.
  8. Make some skirts for Emily.  She really needs something for Sundays.  I have the fabric but keep putting it off.  Will work on this during Thanksgiving since she will be around for fittings.
  9. Make December Bake Shop project - due end Nov./beginning Dec
  10. Prep drawstring bag fabric for church service project - due beginning of Dec.  I will share more about this project later.  I think it is a really meaningful service opportunity.
  11. Finish the drawstring bags that I was going to give all the cousins last Christmas.  Due mid-Dec
  12. Finish Improv. Quilt - January
  13. Make blocks for the 4x5 Modern Bee.  I have my fabrics already pulled for these.  I am going to make three mini hexagon flowers and applique them on a solid background.  I have over 48 hours of airport travel scheduled for December, so I thought a handwork heavy block would be a good idea.  Due mid January
  14. Start and finish liberated fan quilt by February.  Or at least a large number of blocks?  I am teaching a class on liberated tumblers and fans for the local guild and need to do some serious prep work.  Eeek! Yet rather proud.
816074~Housewife-Leaning-on-Window-Sill-as-She-Surveys-the-Street-from-Her-Home-PostersThings I have started and would really like to finish soon, but which have no specific due date:
  1. The chicken quilt - it is for baby Calvin who is now almost 3 months old.  It is bound and basted and just waiting for quilting.  Oh, I want to show it off at the guild meeting....  Due Nov. 17 if at all possible.
  2. The HST quilt.  This quilts is in yellows and will be for my sadly neglected living room.  I borrowed my friend's Go! and cut out all of the million HST and have pieced about 1/3 of them.  I want to work on it so much, but it doesn't really have a due date.
  3. Clogs - baby, kid and manly size
  4. Grandmother's Flower Garden
  5. Stars and Pinwheel quilt, 1930's quilt, scrapy 9-patch and dresden quilt, all of which haven't seen the light of day for months to years.

Ok, I still feel overwhelmed.  This is insane!!  I told Lee I only had 5-7 projects going at a time -  I think I was in denial.  I need to be more like Alison who works on one thing at a time.  That is my new plan.  I will just work down my list and finish every project one at a time.  And no matter how much I want to, I will not start anything else until this list is finished.  Right???


Sorry there aren't any quilty pictures, but the idea of descending into The Mess to take pictures, download, edit and upload is beyond me at this point.  For way more uplifting and inspiring posts that include pictures of actual projects, check out all of the links at Lee's Anniversary WIP Wednesday post.  :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, November 4, 2011

Block 16 - Minnesota

For the second paper piecing block I wanted to choose the easiest paper piecing block with the best instructions and the Minnesota Block by Lee at Freshly Pieced won hands down.  Lee posted the instructions in July as part of the Summer Sampler Series.


Edited (5/15):  The Skill Builder Sampler will is available for purchase in book form!  It has been renamed "You Can Quilt!  Building Skills for Beginners" but covers the same skills with the easy, medium and challenging blocks and is a million times better than the original quilt along.  It is perfect for the beginning quilter or the experienced quilter who wants to branch out and learn new skills.  Find more information and order a signed copy in my Etsy shop or order on Amazon.  

Even though it is probably the easiest paper piecing block out there and Lee's instructions leave nothing to be desired, I still had some problems.

Notice how my block is perfectly square and beautiful?  Nice, eh?  Only problem is that it is a perfect 11.75 inches square instead of 12.5 inches square.  Augh!!!  What went wrong?

The templates:  Make sure your templates are printing out at exactly the right size.  My 1 inch test square was a hair small and it added up.  I did download the templates and print from Adobe as instructed, but the template was still a bit small.  I probably did not un-check the "Fit to Size" option.

The pieces of fabric Lee has you cut out for the paper piecing units are more than large enough for anyone who has the most basic of paper piecing skills.  But...I found I had more wiggle room and fewer problems if I cut the pieces a generous 1/4 inch larger.  I hate it when my pieces don't cover the whole template when flipped open!!!  I would rather cut my fabric a bit too large than unpick bad seams.

My quarter square triangles were also a bit on the small side.  (I don't know what my problem was yesterday.)  If you want to trim your quarter square triangles to size, cut the initial squares a quarter inch larger than instructed and then trim the resulting quarter square triangles to perfect 5.5 inches square.

Last tip:  I am not a big pin-er, but I would recommend pinning when you piece the quarter square triangles and paper pieced units together.  The bulk from the paper pieced seams made stitching accurately without pins challenging.

But...YOU Can Do It!  And if you have problems along the way, that is ok too.  We are learning new skills and it might not always turn out right the first time.  Right?!?  :)

No fear!  Head on over and whip that bad boy into shape!  
Let me know how it goes.

Blocks 13-15 Giveaway Winner

The winner of a bundle of Echino prints is #13 - Miranda!!!

Here are her beautiful blocks.  I love seeing all of the different prints everyone is using and these make me want to whip out my own DS prints and start sewing.  

I happened to win something today too!  Barbara Brackman hosted a giveaway to celebrate her new line of Old Fashioned Calicoes and this picture of me in calico was a winner.  Go here to read more.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Simple Drawstring Bag

Check out my new tutorial over at the Moda Bakeshop.  I love how simple this bag is.  
Perfect for lunches, presents or all of the "special" things your kids might "need" to tote around.

Baby Jane's Quilt

I would never have pegged pink as a fall color, but last month I noticed the leaves on one of our trees had definitely turned pink - not red.  I didn't take a picture, but I searched on flickr and found many more pink leaf pictures - it wasn't just me who had pink leaves .  Why the pink leaf interest?

That is Plants - not Rants - for sale.  :)
Because of Baby Jane's new tumbler quilt!  A new niece is on the way and so I "had" to make her a little quilt. My SIL is decorating the nursery in pinks and orange - love the combo - and the more I worked with those colors the more I was reminded of the more subtle colors and changing leaves outside.  As an added bonus, I was able to pull all of these beautiful fabrics out of my stash! - many of them are from the Meadowsweet line (oh, how I love working with them).

The backing was pieced out of Heather Bailey Bijoux and Meadowsweet Henna fabric.

The finishing touch was the double border.  I attached a flange of fushia and then finished with orange binding.  I love how it turned out - although next time I will only cut the binding 2 inches wide.

The quilt is approx. 36 x 46 inches.
I hope you enjoy it Baby Jane!

I am linking up to:

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge CreationsCelebrate ColorAmy'sCreativeSide