Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baby Bliss

First, let me apologize for the horrible lighting in these pictures.  I was in a rush to get this shared and didn't really take the time to get it right.  Baby Bliss is a fun little quilt that I made for a friend's little girl.  I thought the wonderful fabrics from Moda's Bliss would be just the thing.  Backed with light blue flannel, this should be a real snuggle monster. 
I took my quilting hint from the flowered prints and made these big, bold flowers.  I think they really add just the right amount of playfulness to this cute little quilt.
I got the label attached last night, so you can see I'm trying to finish projects, though they seem to be going really slowly.  Now, I have to finish the quilt for his other daughter.

Finished size:  39" x 48"
Quilting cotton top ad binding from Moda
Backing is cotton flannel
Top thread is King Tut Cotton from Superior
Bottom thread is poly

This post linked up to these great link parties...

Please, go check them out and see what all the fuss is about.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Awesome! a little quilt...

My aunt asked me to make a small quilt for the Ladies Auxiliary at the VFW Post where she is a member.  I wanted to make something that was gender neutral and captured the colors of fall.
Like most of my little quilts, this one is made with two charm packs from Moda and about 1/3 of a yard of coordinating fabric for the border, another 1/3 yard for the binding and 1 1/2 yards for the backing. Since I had a couple little charms leftover, one of them became the label for the back of the quilt.
I picked Awesome by Sandy Gervais for Moda Fabrics.  I love this collection of fabrics.  The bright yellows and bold reds along with the chocolate brown and dark greens all work together with the orange and cream to create a playful mix of leaves, flowers and dots. 
My quilting plan for this wasn't very well planed out.  I sort of just started in and these little flowers are what jumped out of the long arm and onto the quilt.  Sure, it isn't so gender neutral anymore, but I think this really adds to the overall effect of the quilt.  Besides, it is something I've never quilted before that makes it pretty neat, too.

This week I've been trying to fit in at least fifteen minutes a day of scrappy block sewing.  I like the improvisational look of Victoria Findlay Wolfe's quilts and have been using some of her techniques to create big blocks that will someday become an amazing quilt.  My blocks are mostly just wonky log cabin blocks, but I am trying to be more free-form with the blocks, especially at the beginning when I can fit in those really little pieces.  I only finished three blocks, but I have that huge stack of blocks in the making.  At one point, I thought I'd gotten the bin of strips down to a manageable size.  Somewhere along the line, the little bin filled up again.  What is a quilter to do?

This week I've joined Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.  Pop over and check out some of the wonderful stuff going on.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Yesterday I attached the binding to my giant coins quilt.  I love making scrappy quilts.  It makes the binding so much easier.  I usually don't even have to cut a binding.  I just reach into my bin full of binding leftovers and go with that.
Today I got outside to take some quick pictures.  
I'm entirely too pleased with how this one turned out. 

All that remains is to finsih up the binding and attach a label.  Geez!  I almost forgot the label.

This quilt has joined WiP Wednesday by Freshly Pieced.  Be sure to check out all the other great quilts in the link-up.

For more information about this quilt, including the pattern, check out my previous post.

Commisioned Quilting

I taught a co-worker to sew.  I taught her to make quilt tops.  I even managed to teach her how to make and attach binding.  The last thing to teach is how to quilt.  Unfortunately, we just don't have the time to get together since I've moved to a new location.  I wanted to share some of the quilting I've done for her, including the most recent one.

I did this one a while back.
I tried to copy the wild lines of the zebra print on this one.
I loved how she put together all these great colors.
I tried to keep with the underwater theme and stayed with smooth waves that lap across the surface of the quilt.
I finished up the quilting on this one last week.  
I didn't go into it with much of a plan, but I think the tight swirls give it just he right amount of texture.

My favorite part about quilting a commission?  Yes, the quilting is actually pretty high on the list, but my favorite is seeing what people put together both in color and design.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Coins Quilt Named Twister

I decided to try something a little different.  Okay, not all that different, it is still a quilt.

I found this pattern over on the Moda Bake Shop site.  Seemed easy enough to do and I wouldn't even have to buy anything.  (Yes, my stash is big enough to survive such a thing.)  I found my stack of 10" x 10" squares and picked 30 different squares for the top.  I found a yard of fun polka dots and decided it would be just the thing for the sashing and border.  I chopped up the squares and just started sewing them together into strips.  These aren't planned at all.  I did play with the placement a little once I had the 12 blocks sewn together, but that was about all the layout planning it got.
Originally, I had done the math to make this quilt smaller.  The pattern says it is a baby quilt, but I just can't get behind 58" x 58" being a baby quilt.  I'm all for making a quilt that will stay with them through the toddler years, but I think a crib-size quilt (info on quilt size at bottom of post) will last them just as long and it will fit into the crib when they come home.  
I know there is no rush, but I wanted to get it loaded into the long arm.  I had to find a suitable backing and didn't want to have to do too much piecing.  I got all kinds of lucky and found the leftovers from two other quilts that could be sewn up into a backing that was a perfect fit.  (Yes, that means there was piecing, but it was just one seam.)  The batting was the end of the roll.  I was surprised to find it was just a little bigger than needed for this.  Thank goodness I have a new roll of batting in the closet.
I decided to do some rather tight squiggly lines for each row.  I started with diagonals, which was okay, but I was almost bored before I got to the end.  I ended up using the squiggles in all five rows and just changed it up each time I moved onto the next row.  Diagonal, horizontal, vertical and repeat.  Nothing fancy, but effective.  The sashing and borders got a fun butterfly trail.  I love this simple design.   
All that remains is to find the right fabric for binding and get it sewn on.  I had fun with this project but I still say 58" x 58" does not make a baby quilt.

The internet is full of information.  I did a quick search on quilt sizes for this post so I could share a little with you.  Feel free to do your own search, or, do what I do and just make the quilt the size you want it to be.  I make a crib quilt anywhere from 36" to 40" wide by 40" to 50" long.  You can make them square, or rectangular, your call.  I've done both but I often let the quilt blocks tell me if they want to be in a square or rectangular formation.  The sizes are kind of squishy for a couple reasons, you can add or subtract borders to bring the numbers up or down a hair.  Or, you can make sure it fits into your backing fabric without having to piece the backing.  Not having to piece the back can save money and time.  No matter what you choose to do have fun with it.

This quilt has joined the Anything Goes Linky Party.  Check out more great projects at Stitch by Stitch.  It has also joined the Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River.
Stitch by Stitch

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hot & Cold

I was poking around the internet and found some tutorials for hot & cold packs made with rice as the filling.  I thought this might be a good way to cool off during the summer season.  Besides, I can't leave any project like this alone.
I wanted one to wrap around the back of my neck and another to use as a small heating pad.  The theory is simple.  Make a bag, with or without channels, fill with rice, close.  Heat or cool as needed prior to use.
The biggest thing I did differently than some of the tutorials, was to use much, much less rice.  I found that if you over-fill the bag, it isn't very flexible.  Not so great if you want to hang it around your neck.  If you're going to use it more as a heating pad, it can have more rice in it.  This also makes it so much easier to stitch up the opening by machine.  Might take a little wrangling, but I didn't spill any rice under the machine.
I started with a 5 lb bag of rice.  I managed to make two long packs and four square packs.  I didn't make the bags out of my fashion fabric.  I wanted to be able to change the cover and wash it if needed.  If you're in a rush, go ahead and make it out of the fashion fabric.  I wouldn't use batting for these, though.  Cotton batting and the microwave may not be a good combination.
I'll write a tutorial for the bags, a light cover and a heavy cover made with batting.  I haven't tried the more insulated cover (it is summer where I live) so I can't tell you how well it performs as a heating pad.  My hope is that it will stay warm longer but provide a less intense heat.  Great for warming feet for bed.  
A simple, straightforward project that makes a great gift.  I've already got two, with two covers for each, ready for a friend.  Not a bad morning.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Scrap Happy

This post will mostly be about show-and-tell.  Okay, mostly show.

I had grabbed a box of strips and started sewing wonky blocks.  I'll try to post about those blocks another time.  There just aren't enough of them to share.  Well, not enough of them for a quilt.  Maybe enough to share.

Anyways... When I started looking around for some other scrappy blocks, I found a huge stack of 12.5" blocks that I had made from quilt leftovers from as much as 12 years ago.  I figured now would be a good time to smash them together.  It also afforded me the opportunity to really play with different quilting designs on the long arm.
So, here are entirely too many images of the finished quilt.  I didn't even bother to take it outside for good lighting.  I just wanted to get some snaps to show you the many different quilting designs I used.
I pretty much let the quilt do all the talking.  Strips ended up quilted individually.  Blocks became their own little display of a certain design.  
I practiced loops and swirls and echo quilting.  I practiced working with my ruler.

Though, likely not enough.
The overall size of this quilt is just 5' x 6'.  No borders!  I'm trying to decide if the next scrappy quilt will be one row longer or one row shorter... I'll have to think about it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Skilled Sailor

I've been letting an idea roll around in the back of my head for months.  A friend had asked for a wall hanging that was "pirate-y" and maybe had some blue.  It took me more than a little time to work out exactly how I would put these things together and still make something that wasn't over-the-top pirate-inspired and still captured both what he asked for and what I think our relationship is about.

That's right, I think personal quilts say something about my relationship with someone.  You make think it's crazy.  I think it just makes sense.  Why would I make you something that doesn't speak to who we are?  That's just silly.  Besides, little quilts are required to make up for their size by having a super-big meaning.  So, this one does.   Not that long ago, my friend had some upheaval in his life.  Big changes that he has weathered quite well.  I wanted to capture some of that.  Thank goodness Urban Threads had the perfect thing.  This was the foundation of the project.  I'd been collecting the fabrics for almost half the time I spent thinking about it.  These are what I finally came up with.  If I hadn't decided to dive into this project, there likely would have been more.  (Don't get too attached to the fabric on the far left.  It never made the final cut.)
I sat down with Electric Quilt and attempted to start with the size of the embroidery and create a great little wall-hanging.  I agonized for what seemed like forever.  How many rounds should I add?  Nine-patch or four-patch.  What about the friendship star?  What colors?  (That's pretty much how that mostly gold colored fabric didn't make it in.)  Ultimately, this is what I decided on.  I had EQ print it out for me and upstairs I ran to get cutting.  The pattern is rather ambitious, if you don't like making little 3" x 3" blocks.  I figured it would be worth it for a small quilt.
While the embroidery was being done, I was merrily cutting and piecing all those little, nine-patch blocks.  I did grit my teeth through the friendship stars.  They're one of my favorite blocks, but the fussiness of the half-square-triangle block annoys my urge to get on with the sewing.
I kept adding the borders until it met the requirements of my pattern.  I changed things up a little from the initial design, but I don't think it affected the outcome negatively.  Truthfully, I wish I'd used the tan print for the second small border instead of the solid. 
This quilt really challenged my thinking about the quilting.  Everything from thread color to design.  I decided that with such a small quilt, I really should quilt from the center out.  I'm really glad I did this.  I think it made all the difference in how the quilt finished.  I used a coordinating thread for both the tan and the blue strips. 

First, I quilted all the tan with a very small, all-over meander.  I think it really brought the embroidery out of hiding on that solid background.  I also quilted over the 9-patch blocks with a simple cross-hatch and made sure I quilted the background of the friendship stars to make them really pop.
The blue strips were quilted with small swirls and waves in blue thread.  I may have matched the thread too well.  Sometimes, I would lose track of where I'd been.
Skilled Sailor (finished size 24" x 26.5") is ready to go home.  I hope I captured everything he wanted and managed to make a statement along the way.