Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quilt Block of the Month Project

It's a miracle! I FINALLY finished a project!
As in completed, done, washed and ready to go!

These little quilts have quite a story behind them. I am thinking it was about 8 years ago when I originally thought I'd make a real quilt, not just a patchwork one. Way back then, I wasn't really sure how to do it, so I went to Jo-Ann's and started buying their "Quilt Block of the Month" series for that year. I sewed up the blocks I had, but for some reason didn't finish buying all 12, I ended up with only 7. I put them aside and hadn't touched them until last spring. I tried to put them all together to make one quilt, but it wasn't working out, so they ended up as 2 baby size quilts.

(Picture before washing)

Once again they got put aside until the fall when I pulled them out again. I practiced my sketchy free motion quilting on them. The quilting isn't great, but from far away who can tell, right? I am thinking they might end up as wall hangings in one of my girls' rooms.

I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of hand sewing, I just know it is inevitable. With these 2 quilts I had gone so far as to sew on the bindings and pin it to the back, but couldn't bring myself to do the hand sewing. There they sat unfinished. I kept telling myself that I had way too many other things that had to be done first.

For some reason over the weekend I got a wild hair and decided that these were taking up entirely too much room on my sewing table. I (hand) sewed like the wind and got them finished! Man, do I fell good! And I didn't even mind the sewing once I got going. It ended up being quite peaceful. The only thing that would make it better for next time would be a thimble. Live and learn...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Doll Quilt Giveaway

***Times up! Winner will be announced on Monday!***
This doll quilt was the product of my Bento Box measurement mess up! After having to recut one of the sections due to my miscalculations, I ended up with a stack of tiny 2 1/2" (6.4 cm) squares. I instantly thought of a doll quilt. I had enough squares to make 2 quilts, one of which will end up on my daughters wall (I dream of a wall like this!) and the other is going to YOU!

I'll apologize now if the winner is someone who actually quilts. I am still practicing and working out the kinks in my free motion quilting, so the quilting will look terrible to you ladies. For the rest of you, you'll hardly notice! How's that for true confessions?!

This post seems fitting to tell you that one of the best helps that our mom has passed on to me is the fact that most sewing "problems/mess ups" can be fixed. Meaning, your project isn't automatically ruined if you miss a step, mess up, sew something wrong, or even cut a pattern wrong. I've heard horror stories of High School HomeEc teachers chastising young sewers for their mistakes in not following a pattern exactly. Puh-Leeze!

When we were learning how to sew, we mess up a lot! But, mom would always help us figure out a way to fix it. There weren't too many projects that remained ruined. It's easy to get frustrated when you're learning to sew, but if you remember that it doesn't always start out perfect and things can go wrong, sewing will become less stressful and way more FUN! Believe me when I say that we've all picked out our fair share of seems!

Now, we'd love to hear from you! To enter our drawing (for the quilt and pillow!), all you have to do is leave us a comment on this post telling about the best bit of sewing/crafting advice you ever received. There are no wrong answers. One entry per person, please. Contest is open until Saturday January 31st @ Midnight PST. Winner will be announced on Monday February 2nd. Good Luck!

Detailed directions for a doll quilt and pillow can be found here!

Denim Quilt #3 and #4

O.K. the obsession is done. I made a quilt for the remaining 2 kids at my house and so now all 5 of them have a denim quilt. I used almost all my scraps--and at the end only had to go buy a little more denim to do the side sashing. Lucky for me my favorite fabric store was liquidating one of its locations and I got denim for $.89/yd. Woohoo!!! I think I bought about 7 yds. of denim to now replete my stash, of course. :)

So here they are:

#3 Quilt for Miss B.
I had bought this floral fleece on clearance at JoAnn's. I didn't get enough and ended up putting a cream stripe on the backing, but it worked. I was just so happy I didn't have to go buy anything else to complete the quilts.
Another friend of mine uses pockets, cargo loops and whatever else when she makes her denim quilts. So, I included a couple to see how it looked. These pockets you can't actually use, but on the last quilt I did cut pockets that could actually hide little treasures.
#4 Quilt for Miss M. I pieced together a little bit of the center sashing too. I really didn't want to have to buy anything else, and it also was a bit of an experiment. I don't mind how it looks. And all the kids think it is great to have their own.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Lucky Me" Quilt--Triangles in Green

This quilt started from my Tree Project.
When I started pulling out all my fabric for the trees, I soon realized I had way more greens than I remembered. So, I thought I'd just cut some squares from all that fabric and see where it ended up.

Here is what I came up with.

I was making it up as I went, though I'm positive it's not an original design or pattern. Although it came out WAY more traditional looking than I had hoped, I do like the look of all the greens together. I might even do some more monochromatic quilts in the future.

The only fabric I bought was a 1/2 yard (45.7 cm) of the dark green with large white polka-dots. I used lots from my 6" square stash. The rest is scraps from other projects and other people, along with a shirt or two that I chopped up. I love it when I can recycle fabric! I love it even more when I don't have to buy much fabric to finish a project.

Out of all the fabrics I used, which one do you think my husband notices? The camouflage, of course! He kept calling this my "Camo Quilt!" I think there is a total of eight 1/2 triangles of that camouflage on the entire quilt...and yet all he sees is the camo.

Though this quilt looks complicated, it is really quite simple. Here are my basic directions:

I cut the sashing in 1 1/2 inch (3.8 cm) strips before sewing (which I'll never do that small again!).

If you rotate the squares around, you can make this design as well. I incorporated them into the back of the quilt.

(Quilt Back)

I pieced the back with all my remaining green fabrics. There isn't a stitch of green left in the house.

And now, I need to decide how I'm going to quilt it. I'm leaning towards quilting the whole thing along the diagonal lines created by the triangles.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The 6" Square and "Project: Kidz Quiltz"

When we were living in Missouri I briefly went to a quilting group at the Presbyterian Church across the street from my house.

One day on their marquee I noticed that they were working on their "Project: Kidz Quiltz" and were asking for volunteers to join them. I'm sure they were meaning for members of their own congregation to help, but what they got was me instead! They were all Grandma's, and then in walks a "20 something" me with my two little kids. They were very appreciative of the help and were so kind and patient with my kiddos, even telling me how much they enjoyed having them as a "distraction."

I learned SO MUCH from this crafty bunch of women. Their "Project: Kidz Quiltz" was a well oiled machine. They had a whole room in the basement of the church filled with donated fabrics, all color coordinated and sorted. They would go down and pick fabrics (some of which I thought were pretty ugly) and turn them into patchwork quilts to give to the local shelter. I think they give about 120 quilts every 6 months. And even the ugly fabrics somehow looked great when they'd put it into their quilts. Lesson learned: There is no such thing as ugly fabric.

Here is an example of a "Kidz Quilt":

They used a basic 6" square (15.2 cm) and added a double border of coordinating fabrics. The borders were usually a 3" (7.6 cm) outer border and a 2" (5.1 cm) inner border -- all measurements are before sewing. Their quilts were made with only 2 different fabrics to save themselves time. They would finish them off by tying them and doing a fold over binding (taking the extra fabric from the back and folding it over to the front).

I've made tons of these little quilts since spending time with those ladies. Now, for the past 3 years or so, I have been cutting up all the small scraps in my stash into 6" (15.2 cm) squares. I really don't like having small odd shaped scraps in my fabric stash so this helps me keep them organized. I sort them in Ziploc bags by color. Whenever I need some fillers I pull out my stash of squares. I cannot tell you how well this has worked for me.

This is my "go-to" present when I need something fast for a baby shower. The finished measurement of these quilts is approximately 45" (114.3 cm) square. It's a perfect size for babies!

The details: All you need to remember is the number SIX--Six squares across by six squares down with six different coordinating fabrics all cut into six inch squares. You can see in the above photos that I usually create 2 different 4-patch squares, which when laid out, creates a 9-patch design overall (look closely and you'll se it!)


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Legwarmers completed

L. finally finished her legwarmers that she started back on this post.

A couple close-ups of the cuffs/ribbing.
She is so very happy with them and has worn them all afternoon today. She told me that she should probably start on the next pair now so that she can get them finished in time for her sister for this next Christmas. She might be right. The next pair, if she does it, will not be this subtle as the yarn she picked for her sister is variegated and therefore will end up striping somehow on the legwarmer. That'll make 'em really crazy!!

The pattern came from the Leisure Arts book, "Teach Me to Knit", pg. 47.

Now she is moving on to her next project of crocheting an afghan--which she calls a lap quilt. A friend of ours from church gave us a LARGE box of yarn, that was given to her, and so the kids are loving that. L. claimed a lot of it and is going to make a crazy striped afghan.

M. & Z. (and B. tried, but M. had to finish it for her) made finger knitted scarves tonight too. I'm sure that Z. will turn his into a rope somehow and tie some things up, but they are happy with their little creations too.
There is always something happening at this house, that is for sure.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sound of Music Quilt completed

I received my walking foot in the mail and finally got around to quilting this quilt for my daughter, L. This was my first time to machine quilt and so I can't really tell you that the walking foot makes a huge difference, etc. as I've never done machine quilting with just a regular foot. However, it does seem like it works. I just had to determine how much I need to smooth out the layers of fabric. It has a couple puckers on the backside. I did redo a couple also, but left a couple others. L. won't care and for my first one I'm not going to stress about it.
Here is the completed quilt--already getting put to use on L.'s bed, even though it isn't made to fit her twin sized bed.I did put on traditional binding, but machine topstitched it so that I wouldn't have to hand sew it. BIG YUCK!! I do not like doing it if I don't have to and for this project I didn't have to. The quilt is going to get used daily and I want it to stay together.

After completing L.'s quilt I STILL had leftover scraps from the costumes. So I decided to try a little something different and make a baby quilt. (This is where the OCD kicks in--you just can't throw any amount of scraps away, and if one quilt is good then 2 must be better). I checked out a number of books from our local library on quilting and found this pattern in "Thinking Outside the Block" by Sandi Cummings. The quilt in her book was called Cutting Double Baby Quilt. There are a couple other variations in there that I want to try.......but not right now.
Front side...
Back Side...and below the binding edge. I wanted to use up all the scraps thus the backside is a bit unconvential--really no rhyme or reason to any of it that I did. But I think it is still alright.L. thinks she should get the baby quilt too. I'm not sure what is going to happen with it. I know enough people having babies in the next couple of months that maybe one of them will get it. Hubby thinks the dark blue looks too girly--even though it is shells. So we'll see. We have a long weekend off from school so maybe we'll have to have a little quilting class and L. can make her own baby quilt and do with it whatever she wants.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cheerleader Costume

I've taken a self-imposed quilting break this week so that I could get this costume done for my daughter's 7th birthday today.

I've been telling her for a couple years now that I'd make it for her, probably starting on Halloween 2 years ago...! Now that it's finished, I am now no longer the worst mother on the planet!

The biggest obstacle on this project for me, has been keeping quiet about it! I am one who gets really excited about the things I'm working on and thus might drop some hints to the recipient--I know, so lame!

But, I've tried really hard to keep my mouth shut (my goal for this year) about my surprise projects. The 7 year old has no idea! I hope she freaks when she sees it!

For some reason the green on the trim and megaphone looks really off in these pictures, but in person they are really close to the same color. Not sure why they are photographing that way...

For the top I used Simplicity 4040 and the skirt McCalls 2849

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Framed Butterflies

I couldn't resist making my own version of this butterfly collage seen here. There have been a lot of these floating around my favorite blogs. Most use a butterfly punch. But I just used the templates that I have been using for L's room. All the butterflies were made with scrap paper. I didn't have to buy any new.

see another version here

Here's where they are in the house.....

these shelves hang above our computer.

This is what I used to apply the butterflies. they are double sided sticky foam squares. You can get them at any scrapbooking place.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New tops

I cut these tops right after L was born. Just now finishing them.
A size one fits a two year old, not a one year old (I know, shocker!)

McCalls 4756
**all three of these fabrics are from JoAnn's calico wall

p.s. McCall's patterns will be $1.99 at Joann's (Jan 29-31)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


So here is what happens at my house on a boring and cold Saturday afternoon, and after asking to use my molding wax (pliable hair wax).

As you can see it got a little interesting, but everyone was happy and playing nicely together. We love it when that happens!


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