Saturday, May 30, 2015

Charity Quilting: Spinning Pinwheels

Another fun kids quilt is off the frame.  This quilt was pieced by members of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
Simple quilting for this one.
Quilted using Magnifico from Superior Threads.  I love the shine this thread has.  Isn't the backing such fun!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thread Thursday

This week we have the wonderful threads from Superior that arrive every month until I am buried in thread.  I'm hoping they run out of colors before I run out of room.  The lime green is beautiful!
What do I do with all this thread?  I quilt with it, of course.
Here are couple bits of a current project that I'm working on.  The quilting is done and I need to add the binding and label.  This section of the quilt is quilted using So Fine! #50.  Like most of my quilting, this is hand-guided work without the stitch regulator.
Since this quilt is very, very scrappy, I decided to use simple fills at a medium density.  My hope is to create a fabric with great drape and is perfect for snuggling.  The red thread I used in this part of the quilt is from last month's Thread Thursday, again this is So Fine! #50 from Superior Threads.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Messenger Bag Recycle

I found this fun tutorial over on Noodle-Head's site and decided to give it a try.
This simple messenger bag is made using a pair of old cargo pants.
First, get your pants.
Rip out some side seams so you have room to cut the pocket out.
Cut out the pocket panel, front and back and the rest.  I cut to a different size than the tutorial so my finished bag is a little bigger.
Cut lining.  Swear because you forgot all about the strap.
Assemble the lining and outer.
Sew it all together.
Fill with fun stuff.
Feel good about using some stash fabric and reusing an old pair of pants.

If you don't have a pair of cargo pants waiting to become something new, you can just go check out the great tutorial for a shopping tote by the Green Bag Lady.  You can make these great bags with old curtains, tablecloths and bed linens.  There are so many ways to recycle, reduce, reuse.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Random Projects: 1 Hour Basket

A couple months ago Kelby Sews posted this 1-Hour Basket Tutorial.  Somehow I managed to put off trying this great little project for weeks after everyone else had gotten in on the fun.
One Sunday afternoon I found the pattern I had printed out (you can find it through Kelby's site and on Craftsy) and decided it was time to round up some fabric and give it a go.  I don't have any progress photos as I was pretty much on a roll from the get-go.  I pieced the outer panels to fit.  My start to finish time was 54 minutes.

I really like the finished basket.  This would make a great gift basket for new mothers or quilters or... well almost anyone.  Imagine the possibilities!  You should totally go check it out.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Dumpling Pouch

I picked up this fabric last year at Quilt Odyssey in Hershey, PA.  It has been sitting on my shelves since then waiting for me to come up with a good use for it.
I have been seeing these dumpling pouches all over Instagram.  There were a few swaps and they are cute.  So I decided to go find the pattern and get sewing.  (You can find this free pattern on Michelle Patterns site.)
Until I printed the pattern, I didn't realize how tiny these pouches are.  How tiny?  Too small to get my phone into.  (This is where I do not helpfully point out that my Samsung flip-phone or my Motorola Razor would have fit in here while my Samsung S4 does not.  That's progress for you.)

These pouches are so darling.  They don't offer much room to show off quilting, but they would be perfect for small gifts.  I think my future swap partners will be getting these as a great little extra.
I got a hot tip that you can super-size this pouch with minimal modification.  This one is going to be big enough for my smart phone.

I recommend you go check out more from Michelle Patterns.  She has loads of fun bags, pouches and clutches to choose from and more tutorials, too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Charity Quilts: May 16th Quilts for Kids

This is just a quick post to cover the quilts I dropped off at the last meeting of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
Since the meeting on April 18th I made two quilt tops and quilted eight for Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  I usually set my monthly goal at four quilts quilted for charity.

You can go back and see a couple of these quilts in their own posts.
Exotic Animals
Totally Blue

Monday, May 18, 2015

Charity Quilting: Dancing Nine-Patch

Sometimes I need a project that doesn't require too much thinking.  This one required a good amount of prep work but after that it was pretty smooth sailing.
I've been trimming some of the leftovers from other Quilts for Kids quilts into 2.5" squares.  I spent four days one week sewing them into blocks.  These are my Monday blocks, 6.5" by 6.5".  I only pieced for about an hour each day and would have a few pieces ready for the next day.
Tuesday blocks.
Wednesday blocks.
Thursday blocks.  I love having things like this sitting to the side of my sewing machine.  I can work in a nine-patch here and there as a leader-ender project.  I pieced over 60 blocks in one week.
About a week later I pulled out my stacks of finished 9-patch blocks, some yardage and my quick and dirty layout (layout done with EQ7 so I could make sure I had the right number of blocks and didn't have to calculate quilt size myself).  This pattern is from Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville but I've changed the size of the blocks.  I highly recommend you check out the Dancing Nine-Patch and her other free patterns.  Her tutorials are great and even if you are not new to quilting you may learn something.
I picked out the 30 blocks I wanted for this quilt, cut my block borders and got sewing.  The strips were cut at 1.5" wide.  The blocks will measure 7.5" by 7.5" and finish at 7" by 7".
Adding the strips to these is quick if you assembly line through the machine.  I had them ready for layout rather quickly.  I had a friendship star that sneaked in.  This top is made up of 30 blocks.
I added a 2.5" border to give the blocks a bit of room to float and to bring the size up to about 37" by 46".  A great size for Quilts for Kids.
I didn't do any fancy quilting on this one since the scrappy blocks give it such wonderful movement.  The backing is a fun toon print that I've had hanging around here for a while.

Do you have a fun way of working with scraps?  Do you sneak a project in on the side when chain piecing?  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Charity Quilting: Exotic Animals

Sometimes when I'm getting ready to quilt something I pull out all the threads that I think will work with the top.
I usually match my top and bobbin threads to each other and don't worry about what is going on on the back of the quilt.  There are other schools of thought, but this is what works for me.
I pulled out a bunch of threads and picked the one I thought would be best and then grabbed a coordinating thread for the bobbin.  The top thread is King Tut from Superior Threads and the bobbin thread is Tailor Made 27 (this thread has been discontinued, Omni is a great substitute).  Both of these threads are great for long arm quilting.
This quilt top was pieced by another member of the Annapolis Quilts for Kids.
I quilted this one with a rolling wave that runs vertically in the quilt.  I think this really gives it a good sense of movement without being heavily quilted.  I would definitely use this as an all-over quilting design again.
I'll hand it over to another member of chapter for the binding and label to be attached.

What kind of group projects have you been doing?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday: River Run Shawl

In my last post I shared my wonderful adventure at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  
Today let's talk about the yarn and what I've been doing with it.
I picked up this wonderful yarn called Biggie from Dancing Leaf Farm.  I couldn't resist the colors.
I got home and opened it up and pulled out some coordinating Wool of the Andes - Superwash from Knit Picks.
I rolled all the different yarns into center-pull balls so I could get going on a project.
I had seen a sample knit with Biggie of the pattern River Run and I could not resist.  I started with a knitted cast on and got stitching.  I didn't get far in my first section before I realized I had made a bit of an error.  I ripped back and cast on again.  This may seem like a setback, but it really let me focus on what I was doing with each of the rows and why I was doing it.  
Here is my second cast on.  I figured out my misstep and got going.  The pattern is more of a recipe than a pattern once you get the first section done.  The second and later sections are improvisational.  Not an easy thing to do with knit, but I really like the effect.  
I recently discovered Orphan Black from BBC America and have been watching and knitting away.  In the last eight days I have watched nearly two full seasons of Orphan Black.  I'm going to have to change gears now, though since Season Three is still in production.  I'm sure there is something worthwhile to watch on Amazon.
I made good progress during the Wednesday night gaming session.  I think this would be wonderful in a self-striping yarn, too.  Or just some yarn.  Any yarn. 
I've been using the solids to break up the Mardi-Gras colors of the Biggie.  The needles are Options Interchangeable Plated Circular Knitting Needles from Knit Picks.  I bought this set with a gift card and I'm so glad I did.  I did order a longer cable for another project and am putting it to good use with this shawl.
The Biggie really gives this some amazing texture.  I'm learning about how much I want to work with the novelty yarns.  I like some of them much more than others.  
So far I've made it through section one and section two.  I've done the beginning of row cast on for section three.  I really like this project.  I'm excited to be working on it which is great!  

Have you started any new spring projects?  Have you discovered any entertaining podcasts or television shows that you watch/listen to while working?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2015

May 2nd, 2015 was the day a friend and I trekked out to the Howard Co. Fairgrounds for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  I've been going for a couple years now and I always spend more money than I plan but still have a great day.
Every year I go to see the Working Sheep Dog demonstration.  I absolutely love seeing a working dog work.  These dogs amaze me with their desire to work and move those sheep.
The sheep used in the demonstration on Saturday were a group of five, with one ewe at about 2 years and the others were yearlings.
Two handlers and four dogs.  Each demonstration put the dogs through their paces moving the sheep in desired ways.
This was the youngest working dog.  She was so intent on her work.  Each dog gets a chance to work the sheep and I love seeing their different styles.
This older dog is so intense he can almost move the sheep with a look.
The dreaded shoot obstacle challenges the dogs every year.  This one usually takes two dogs to complete successfully.
This is my pile of loot from the day.  I also walked about five miles at the festival.  I'll write some quick posts to cover the goodies throughout the coming weeks.  Watch on Wednesday for my current project.

Have you been to an event this spring?