Friday, November 25, 2016

HST Baby Blanket

It is official. My neighbor now knows I am a crazy quilt lady. He was outside mowing when I was taking this picture. He was bound to figure it out sooner or later. :)

This half square triangle beauty is for my brother and sister-in-law who are having their first baby next month. She is using yellow, gray and aqua in the nursery and wanted something with a modern and/or jungle and/or woodland feel. I stuck with modern so that it would be able to go with anything and grow with their baby.

If I had it to do over, I would limit the number of different grays and their overall percentage. It turned out much darker than I was envisioning. It is going to have an aqua flannel backing and I am trying to decide whether to bind it in yellow, dark gray, or aqua. I am leaning towards the aqua right now, but I will see how it looks after I quilt it up.

I am thinking straight line quilting on either side of the seams. I hate straight line quilting. I mean, I love how it looks, but I get bored/burnt out after about one pass. Maybe every few passes I can get up, stretch and get some pie...that might keep me going. :)

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Story of My Epic Hand Pieced Quilt

I think this queen sized hand pieced quilt is my longest WIP ever. It was over six years in the making. Let me walk you though the process.

I took a picture of the first five flowers I stitched together back in February 2010.  I was sooo  proud of them.  I felt like I had made soooo many!  How naive I was. There are 132 flower blocks in the finished quilt so I had a bit more to go.  :)
In the fall of 2010, I had finished about a quarter of the quilt.  That cute 3 year old is in third grade this year!

I kept chugging along.  Sometimes months would go by without any work on it and sometimes I would make flowers obsessively.  My favorite time (only time, really) to do handwork is after the kids go to bed.  I love to just sit down and watch some Hulu or Netflix and do English paper piecing.  If I worked fast I could get one flower done an evening.  Let's not even start to think about how much TV watching this quilt represents, ok?  ;)

Early on I found an online offer for twenty-five 1930's reproduction fat quarters for $25!  Sweet!  In retrospect I should have gotten two packets - there is a lot of fabric in this quilt!  The spacers are Kona Unbleached PFD.  It is more cream than Kona white and more white than Kona Snow - the perfect white in my opinion.  The flower centers are Kona Corn and the hexagons are 1 inch a side.

I love the texture on the back!

I got the idea for using three white spacers between the blocks instead of surrounding the blocks in white from the Paper Pieces picture page.  I was afraid if I surrounded each flower in white that I would get bored and give up.  I like how the spacers still give the flowers breathing room, but how I didn't have to stitch as many white hexagons.  Plus it makes it a bit different from other Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts.

I give my husband a bad time about always having to build stuff so sturdily, but I am just as crazy about my sewing.  After making a couple flowers I had my own system for joining the hexagons together which included laying the tail of the thread under subsequent stitches to hold it in place, reinforcing the corners with extra stitches, averaging 18 whip stitches per inch and knotting off the thread at the end twice - once at the end of the stitching and then again back 1/4 inch.  That thread isn't going anywhere.  ;)

Then the quilt sat for years while I debated how to quilt it and how to deal with the edges. Did I want to applique on a bit of a border or just trim the edges straight?  Binding around each pointy hexagon was not an option, in my opinion.

Finally I decided that I just needed to finish it! I decided to trim the edges straight on the top and bottom and follow the curve on the sides.

I machine quilted swirls in the yellow middles, loops in the petals and leaf shapes in the white spacers. Love. I decided to machine bind it in a beautiful cornflower blue that coordinates with the floral backing fabric. I love that color!

However, there was an 'incident' while trimming the edges of the quilt which resulted in this patch. (I didn't cry - but I had to take some deep breaths and put it away for awhile before finishing it.) Thankfully, the patch is very sturdy and not noticeable from a distance. It gives the quilt some "vintage character".  (That's my story and I am sticking to it.)

The quilt is approx. 92" x 82". It is made from 132 hand pieced flowers and over 700 white spacers.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Quilt Raffle to Benefit the World Food Programme

The Quilt Raffle has ended! 339 tickets were purchased and we raised $1.695! 
Thank you so much! 

I have been very concerned about all of the things happening in the world. (The US presidential election is not the only disaster. ;) ) With war, famine, natural disaster and political unrest there are problems enough to spare. I feel rather guilty that my biggest 'problems' are getting the leaves raked, the perpetual dirtiness of the kitchen, kids whining about chores and homework and struggling not to eat all the food in my house and thus add to my waistline. Yup, one of my problems is having too much high calorie food in the house. Ironic, because getting enough food is a daily struggle for so many people.

Today I would like to raise money to benefit the World  Food Programme. The WFP is a branch of the United Nations and is one of the nonprofits that has been delivering food to people in the besieged cities of Syria. It has also provided a large amount of aid to Haiti. In fact, the World Food Programme is at work the world over. Not just in the places that make the news, but helping to support orphanages in Africa, building roads so that farmers can get their crops to market and teaching improved farming practices. Take a look at their website. It is equal parts heartwarming and heartrending. 

We have been giving monthly to the WFP for about 2 years (and so can you!), but I wanted to do a little bit more - and with your help it could be much, much more! I recently finished my English paper pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and I would like to raffle it off with all proceeds to go to the World Food Programme. Tickets are $5 apiece.

The quilt is approx. 92" x 82". It is made from 132 hand pieced flowers and over 700 white spacers.

I machine quilted swirls in the yellow middles, loops in the petals and leaf shapes in the white spacers. It is machine bound in a beautiful cornflower blue that coordinates with the floral backing fabric.

I have to admit that there was an 'incident' while trimming the edges of the quilt which resulted in this patch. (I didn't cry - but I had to take some deep breaths and put it away for awhile before finishing it.) The patch is very sturdy and not noticeable from a distance. It gives the quilt some "vintage character".  (That's my story and I am sticking to it.)

All of the fabrics are 1930's reproductions and the quilt has been machine washed and dried to check for any bleeding or shrinkage issues. It is ready to be used and loved in your home. If 1930's fabrics aren't your cup of tea, it would make a great Christmas, birthday or anniversary present. Give it to your in-laws and you could get the best-daughter-in-law-ever award!

Tickets are $5.00 apiece. If you want to buy more than one ticket enter any multiple of 5. For example if you wished to buy 3 tickets you would enter $15 when checking out.

The last day to purchase tickets is November 11th and a winner will be randomly drawn on November 12th.

Feel free to share a link to this post on Facebook or other social media! Together we can do so much good. Thank you!


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.