Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day and the UN-paper Towel

Yes, today is Earth Day. The day I'm supposed to do something good for Mother Earth. I almost forgot all about it.
After chatting with Triple-A on Facebook, I decided I had to do something. I've been meaning to make a few of these UN-paper towels for use in the kitchen. I finally got around to it.
I measured a paper towel from the rack (11" by 11"). I chopped up some flannel left over from making quilt backing. No one need think I'm wasteful when it comes to fabric. If it is bigger than 2" by 2" I most likely have it--and about a thousand of its friends--in a bin somewhere. I didn't dig too deep for fabric, so I only cut a few.
After a couple tries with the serger, I found an edge finish I liked. When I was done--in record time--I had eleven little towels that will take years to find the landfill. Yay for Mother Earth.

I also did one other thing today. I made sun tea. Nothing but pure, free, non-polluting sunshine as an energy source.

Monday, April 19, 2010

One, Two, Quilt!

I love it when a quilt comes together.
Now that all the blocks are finished, I laid them out. Just a little moving about of blocks until I was happy with the setting. I cut the setting blocks and got to sewing them into the quilt top.
The pale-pink, setting blocks really lighten up the quilt. I trimmed the little points off the edges and cut the border. True to form, I failed to follow the instructions. I cut the border a little narrower than the instructions indicated. The border print is very busy. This worried me a little when I was cutting. I like the overall effect, though.

I've got the backing (more pale pink but in flannel, because flannel backing makes for such a snuggly quilt), batting and quilt top all layered and pinned. I'm still considering my options for quilting the layers together.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birthday Bag

A friend found a cute pattern for a bag that is basically a cube. I liked the idea and decided to give it a try for JB's birthday present.I went straight for the pink, Amy Butler fabrics.
This bag is about 10" on a side, making it a great size for all kinds of things. (Yes, it would also make a good knitting bag.)A few inside pockets to help you stay organized.The bag has a magnetic closure as well as a tie closure, making it versatile.The outer bag is lightly quilted.
Overall, I think it came out perfectly. More importantly, the birthday girl liked it.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sampler Blocks: Complete!

I'm finally finished with all twelve of the blocks for the Thangles Sampler Quilt. It's time to press the remaining fabrics and cut the setting blocks, border and binding. I love it when a quilt really starts to come together.
The last three blocks.
This one is Maple Leaves. I really like this block.Ducks and Ducklings. A relatively simple block in wonderful blues.
This block is called Lost Ship. I'm not sure why the block is named that. It seems rather arbitrary to me. Perhaps I should do some homework on the name.

Almost There: Thangles Sampler

I don't want anyone to think this sampler quilt has become a chore. I'm still having fun. I'm just ready to get to setting the blocks. Now that the weekend has arrived I'm making much better progress. Three wonderful blocks done.This block is a Basket. By far, the most difficult block I've made in the entire set. I had to use the seam ripper more than once to get it right. I like the finished block more than I thought I would when I was ripping and grinding my teeth.This is the Ohio Star. I love the tiny pin-wheel in the center of this block.
Here we have Goose Crossing. I'm not sure they should qualify as "flying geese" blocks if they are made with half-square triangles, but I'll accept that the effect is the same.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Blocks Just Keep Coming

I seem to be averaging two blocks a day. It will still take weeks to get all of them made and piecing into the proper setting.This block is called Star Light. Wicked fussy and I'm not entirely pleased with the piecing. (I also refuse to try to take it apart.)This is the Angels and Crowns block. Much better piecing on this block.

When I'm done with this quilt, I'm going to make something simple. With big blocks. And I'm not going to make a single fussy block.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jingle, Jangle, Thangle

I managed to finish a couple more blocks for the Thangles sampler quilt.
This one is called Four Paws. I've considered making an entire quilt with a variation of these blocks because I can see the Bears Paw Mountains from here.
This block is called Triple X. A rather fussy block, if you ask me.

As I open each little bag of fabric and the block instructions, I find new fabrics and a new block. I tend to make a quilt using the same block for an entire quilt, so this is a nice change. I've only made one other sampler quilt. That quilt keeps my son warm during New England winters.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Snow Day

Tuesday the weather was truly horrible. Rain, snow, sideways snow, rain, snow. Well, you get the idea. I made it to work, but wondered if I'd make it home. The road were slick and dangerous, making for a white-knuckled trip home. What does one do with a snow day? One sews.
I called up a friend, to see if she wanted to share part of the day at home with me. After some lunch and an episode of Spartacus: Blood and Sand we looked at a small bag that one of the our friends had left here (full of jewelry-making supplies, but that is another story). Some quick measuring, some long drawn out math and some pattern drafting led us to construct this little bag. Just right to hold some make-up brushes and what-not. Not an exact copy, but a close enough approximation.I picked up this quilt-block-of-the-month kit at the Quilting Hen. I decided that today was a good day to work on a few blocks. The quilt has twelve different blocks, each made with the 1/2-square triangle block. The kit includes Thangles in two different sizes. I've never used them before this quilt, but I rather like the idea. My way of making the 1/2-square triangle blocks was rather clunky. Good if you're only making a few, horrible if you're making more than about 20.I really like the concept of a sampler quilt. I'm not as excited about making all of those blocks separately. I finished a couple of the blocks. It won't take me a month to make each block, but it may take me a month to finish the quilt. Since I didn't pick the fabrics, this is an adventure. Each little bag of fabrics I open up has a new surprise inside. While it may not be as efficient as I like, I'm still having fun with this quilt.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Tiered Skirt

I love the tiered skirt. So simple. So cute.
I found these wonderful blender fabrics at the fabric store the other day. (Yes, I went out only to get bread, but found myself at the fabric store. Worse, they were having a sale.) What a perfect opportunity to play with the ruffler and make a tiered skirt! I tried a different fancy stitch on each tier, giving a rather simple skirt some really nice details.While trying to take these pictures, I dropped my camera. Thank goodness there was no lasting damage.
I would be lost without it. How would I share pictures of my crazy projects?

Mission accomplished! Now, I think I'll make a quilt with the rest of my snow day.

Monday, April 12, 2010


What does one do with a spiffy new sewing machine? Well, I thought it would be good to try out some new things with a pattern I already knew well. Embellishment was the word of the day.I found some coordinating fabrics and cut out a couple more clutches and one knitting project bag. Then I set to making them so much better.
Look at those nice little stitches, so pretty and neat. I fused some fleece to the back side of the fabric and cut out a little heart. An applique heart is relatively simple and just so cute. This new sewing machine is wonderful. Nearly perfect my first try. Then, I had to play with the ruffler. What a wonderful contraption! I don't think the ruffler has changed in 100 years. It is a scary looking thing that makes wonderful ruffles with just a little practice. I love the simple pink ruffle on this clutch. I can't wait to try the ruffler to make a skirt! I used several different fancy stitches to add great little details. See the little line of hearts that runs down the wrist strap? Wonderful!

I want to play some more with applique. I think this machine will make it much easier and the results so much better.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Quilting Hen

Warning! This post includes images of fabric, sewing machines, finished quilts and much, much more.

After lunch, we headed down the road to find the Quilting Hen. Like many things in Montana, you must travel down a gravel road to find the Quilting Hen. After about a mile of gravel road, we found a clear trail marker, leading us towards our destination.The wide open plains can seem lonely in the spring, before the planting has been done.
Off in the distance, you can see the haven that holds this off-the-beaten-path fabric shop.
The ladies took a moment to catch their breath before entering the shop. Two small dogs, one large dog and one kitty greeted us upon our arrival.This shop is positively bursting with wonderful fabrics, friendly and helpful ladies and other wonderful things.Inside, we found thousands of bolts of fabric, notions, sewing machines, finished quilts, patterns, kits and enthusiastic staff and costumers.While we were there, the block-of-the-month club had their meeting complete with much oohing and ahhing over finished quilts and quilts in progress. There was also a mini-shopping spree with running about, laughter and cheering.
Each of the ladies said the same thing "we should have come here a year ago." As it is, the trip was bittersweet, a wonderful jewel found on the great plains that we will be able to share for a short time.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ladies Field Trip

Today, instead of staying home to sew, we went on a field trip. To the Quilting Hen a fabric store that boasts many things. First we had to stop for lunch. We stopped at Fort Benton to see the sights and grab the most amazing chocolate shake and a burger.
I wandered across the street to take a picture of this statue of Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea.
They all look out over the Missouri river.
I'm sure it is all much prettier once spring has officially sprung.
After we'd eaten entirely too much and been horribly chilled by a cold Montana wind, we ventured on to the Quilting Hen. (See next post for the wonder of a prairie fabric shop.)