Friday, December 31, 2010

Finishing up the Year - Making Things Harder Than They Need To

Whew - it's been a busy week, but I really am pleased with the dent I've made in my WIP pile. Don't get me wrong - there's still lots there that I need to finish up, but the six projects that I finished up this week have made me feel much better.

Remember these fun squares? I love how they look in this finished product - the quilt looks exactly like I had envisioned it would. Can you recognize the pattern? It's nearly identical to a disappearing 9-Patch. Except that I pieced this in the most backwards way possible to get the same effect.


Instead of making a traditional 9-Patch and cutting it into quarters, I made blocks of three sizes - a large square, a small square, and a medium rectangle. I sewed them into units consisting of a large square, two small squares, and a medium rectangle. In hindsight, it was such a cumbersome way of making what should have been a very simple quilt. I just didn't know any better. You live, you learn, right?


This quilt was inspired by Michael Miller's Sassy Stripe print, which I made into these blocks (I can't tell you how much I love using this application for striped fabric - I see a lot more of these blocks in my future). From there, I pulled fabrics from my stash in colors that matched the stripe print. Everything except the binding on this quilt came from stash scraps, which I'm pretty pleased about. I *have* to start using my leftovers more often.


Finished size is 37"x44" and features a hand-sewn binding. It's listed in the shop.

I hope that I've inspired you to take a crack at some of those long-forgotten projects. Here's to a happy, safe, and creative New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finishing up the Year - More Selvage Love

This year, I've traded my stash and my soul for as many selvages as I can get. And while most of them are used for my selvage quilt, some bits just aren't right for that project. For the quilt, I need pieces of selvage that are mostly of a single color and have at least a half inch of printed fabric beyond the selvage.

I separate out the selvages that don't fit this bill - those that are either cut too close to the selvage edge or those that are too colorful and don't have a single overriding color. My collection of these selvages has been growing and I've been meaning to clean out that bin and do something with these selvages.

Voila. A few pincushions later, and my bin is nice and empty for the new year - just waiting for my next selvage trade.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Finishing up the Year - The Selvage Quilt

Okay, so this one isn't done yet, but I did work on it a lot this week. I added 14 more squares, which brings my tally to 49 completed squares. And here it is, in it's current glory.


My original plan was to make it a large throw with a final size of 63"x81", which would require just two more rows, or 14 more blocks. However, certain people have been urging me to make it twin size. Their logic is that this is a once-in-a-lifetime quilt. It's taken a lot of effort to amass so many selvages and who's to say when or if I'll be able to do this again. So why not make a more functional quilt; with a twin quilt, I'd still be able to cozy up with it on the couch, but could also use it on a bed. This would require an additional 17 blocks *beyond* the aforementioned 14 - one more row and one more column. Finished size will be 72"x90", which will be the largest quilt that I've made.

So 49 blocks down and 31 to go. That's a lot more selvage I still need. Should you have extra, please let me know - I'm happy to trade fabric for selvage.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Finishing up the Year - The Mona Quilt

I started this quilt back in February and it's been folded neatly for months just waiting to be bound. I finally got around to it. Poor little neglected quilt...

This quilt feels a bit more graphic than what I typically make, though I do think I like the end result. Certainly I am groovin' on the colors, which are so bright and cheery. It's made with Alexander Henry's Alphonse and Mona character print, as well as the coordinating floral and is matched with Amy Butler's Full Moon Dots and Wallflower. The solid is Kona Coral, which is a pretty spot-on match for Amy Butler's Cherry.


The back, which I possibly like more than the front, is constructed of stripes of fabrics from the front of the quilt on a solid white background.


Finished quilt size is 36"x49". Now I just need to find a little girl to gift this to. Somehow it seems that there are a lot of little boys in my world these days...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Finishing up the Year - Sprinkling of Hexagons

Up next in my "finally finished" pile is this baby girl quilt. Hexies seemed to be all the rage this summer and while I couldn't imagine doing a whole quilt out of hand-stitched hexagons, I did want to join the hexie bandwagon - just a little. A summer trip to visit family during which I wouldn't have access to a sewing machine (what's a girl to do?) seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just a bit of hand-stitching. This quilt was inspired quite literally from Ashley's quilt. Ashley is such an inspiration - she consistently creates amazing work.


The back of the quilt was made using some extra strips that had already been pieced for this quilt. I really liked this color combination the first time around and I once again find myself loving on it. It's girly without being cloying - perfect for the modern baby girl.



As for the quilting, I was really hesitant going into this project, as I knew I'd have to use a pale, contrasting thread. If I used a grey to match the background I'd have had unsightly grey lines running through my hexies. But by using a lighter thread (a very pale pink) to do the quilting, I knew that the contrast stitching would be very prominent and any mistakes would be quite visible. That said, the sewing gods seemed to be on my side, I made very few errors, and I'm really happy with how the quilting looks.


The finished size of the quilt is 33"x42" and the binding is hand-stitched. Now listed in the shop.
UPDATE - Quilt has sold!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Finishing up the Year - Couch Pillows

With a week left to the year, I realize that I have a huge stack of half-finished projects from 2010 (no comments from my husband about half-finished projects, please). I'm trying desperately to finish some of them up so that I can start fresh(er) in the New Year.

After I finished this quilt top, I realized that I had a lot of scraps left, so I decided to make some matching pillow covers. They were made months ago and the completed tops were added to my (large) WIP pile. This week, I dug them out, quilted them, and added envelope backs. I wish I had the patience or foot to do invisible zippers - maybe another day.


Each pillow is different - a different pattern and also different quilting. The string top is quilted with a meandering stipple, the Chopped Vegetables top is quilted with dense straight line quilting in the negative space, and the HST top features diagonal quilting. I *think* the matching prints keep them unified enough.



They also feature a matching band of green fabric on the back of the envelope that you can see in the below photo if you squint and cock your head just right.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lovely Gift Packaging

I came across this brilliant idea late last week on the Woman with Wings blog by way of Ohdeedoh. I am so hooked, and spent the greater part of my Sunday afternoon scouring the house for paper bags and digging out my old scrapbook supplies.


I love these gift bags. They can be made to exactly the size of your gift or you can make a bunch of them ahead of time in various sizes. It's a good way to re-purpose some of those extra paper bags that I shouldn't even have in my house since I always remember to bring my cloth bags that always seem to by lying around.


I'll be offering gift wrapping in this style through my store for a small fee, but from now until the end of January, enter "giftwrap" in the Notes to Seller and your item will ship wrapped up in one of these upcycled and reusable bags.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sunday Stash - On Saturday

I'm way too excited to wait to post this one. Yesterday, Aneela posted on her blog that precuts of her darling Sherbet Pips were available for a very limited time before the line officially launches in the spring. I've been eyeing these beauties since she first introduced them and sprang at the chance to start working with them while the weather is still chilly (by April it'll be downright toasty in these parts).

Image courtesy of http://soggybottomflats.blogspot.com

I did a quick Etsy search and found a charm pack here. Of course I snatched it up, but was left wanting more. Another search later in the day yielded me a FQ bundle from Elaine's lovely Etsy shop. It's the first time I've ever bought an entire line. I am so excited to start playing with it... What to make, what to make?

Image courtesy of http://soggybottomflats.blogspot.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Love Quilt

I finished the quilt I made using Downy's Quilts for Kids kit. While it's not the fabrics nor the pattern that I'd ordinarily use, it turned out to be a sweet little quilt.


This was a lovely little project and I'd highly recommend that my quilty friends participate in this program. While I've never kept track of the time it takes me to make a quilt, I do know that this one came together much quicker than most, in part because all of the fabric was pre-cut.


All together, this quilt took 170 minutes, or just shy of three hours. The breakdown is as follows: 80 minutes to piece the top; 70 minutes to baste, trim the batting and backing, and quilt; and 20 minutes to bind.

There are many ways to bind a quilt. I always use a double fold binding and hand stitch it for a clean, polished look. That said, I tried something different this time. The paperwork that came with the quilt kit suggested that one way to bind the quilt is to double fold the extra backing forward and topstitch it. It further suggested that a zig-zag stitch helps prevent the binding from getting caught on IV lines. I decided to use both of these techniques, both to save time and increase the durability and function of the quilt. It's not heirloom quality, but it's fine for this quilt.


Once the quilt was done, I took a few extra minutes and used free motion quilting to write the word "love" in a continuous loop around the border. I think it makes a sweet addition to this quilt.

I provided 3 hours of my time and $5 or so worth of batting; now a sick child has a new quilt. How great is that? I'll be sending away for another free quilt kit sometime very soon and I hope that you do, too. You can see some of the other quilts that have been made for the Quilts for Kids project here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quilts for Kids

A few weeks ago, I was thumbing through a copy of Ladies Home Journal and saw a little blurb about Downy and how they participate in the Quilts for Kids project. Their goal is to create lovely handmade quilts for hospitalized children. By going to their website, you can sign up to receive a quilt kit - nearly everything that you need to create a quilt. The only thing you need to provide is the batting and the time. They ask that you return your finished quilt in 4-6 weeks. That is all.


I wasn't sure what kind of fabric to expect, but was surprised to see multiple prints from a single line. As it turns out, the fabric provided was by Robert Kaufman and is totally cute for a little boy. It seems that Kaufman has a relationship with Quilts for Kids, as the fabric line is of the same name.


In addition to asking for their completed quilt back in a timely fashion, Quilts for Kids suggests that you also include an extra quilt, made from your stash, to double their efforts to provide sick children with a handmade quilt.

I'm planning to work on this quilt over the weekend and will report back soon - It'll be good to get this quilt out in time for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Work In Progress Wednesday

My quilting funk seems to be over, as I'm finding inspiration again and am once again having fun sewing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Gift Bonanza

A month ago, I won some lovely Innocent Crush charms on Joree's blog. They were just so pretty, but I was having a hard time deciding what to do with them.


And then the holidays rolled around. It's gift time and I decided that there was nothing more appropriate to do with this lovely gift of fabric than to use it to make some gifts.

Bean and Sprout's teachers are in for a treat this year, if I do say so myself. Some will be getting little baskets made using Ayumi's tutorial.


Others will be getting potholders that were all made using different paper foundation patterns. They each have two layers of cotton batting as well as a layer of insul-brite inside, are 8" square, and could also be used as a mug rug.


I'm so pleased with how the orange colorway matches the orange and pink colorways of the Hope Valley scraps I had laying around. These are going to be hard to part with...