Friday, December 30, 2011

Charlotte's Basket Center complete!

Pinning, pinning, pinning, sew.

Press, press, press, starch, press.

Pinning, pinning, pinning, sew!

I wish I took a picture of how many pins were in each row as I ran it through the machine.  LOTS!  I am so happy with how this came out.  It is a lot bigger than I had thought.  All the better, really.  I love bed sized quilts!

As of right now, it measures about 70 x 83.  I could use some suggestions for borders.  In the red and gold/cheddar sashes, there is a deep brown color.  I am thinking about bringing that color out into the border.  I also need to bring something from inside the quilt to the outside...either something scrappy (putting basket blocks as corner stones in a 6" outer border or something with HSTs or 9 patches or something) or bringing a strip of red or gold out.  

Looks like some of my short term projects may involve more Wooden Bear patterns!  My MIL saw the snowman mini quilt when she visited my grandmother and said she had to have it!  She ordered two more patterns for me to make and I look forward to digging in my stash!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tiny Turning 20

My niece isn't due for a little while yet, but it sure feels good to get this one done!  I have 5 nephews and just one niece at the moment, so a girl is nice to even things out a bit more.

It is about 42x 54 or so.  I used a piece of leftover wool batting and did some simple quilting using a lilac colored thread.  I just love the loft (and breathability) that wool provides!

I have been on a kick of wanting flannel on the back of my quilts.  This is a mini polka dot fabric in pink.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!  I had about 15 people over for dinner and made prime rib.  Yum.  I turned some of the leftovers into a soup base, using the rib bones for some yummy flavor.  Any of you use a pressure cooker?  It makes soups so easy!  After dinner, I took the ends of the roast that were well done, some onion and celery and other spices, the bones, and the juice left in the pan, putting it all in my pressure cooker while we all opened presents.  Not much more than 30 minutes later, it was done and full of flavor!  I also have some great cuts of prime rib left to make some yummy sammies this week!  Today, my family (13 of us) went to an Aquarium and had a good time.  Now?  Laundry, cleaning, and getting the house together.

Over the last few days I have been working on assembling the Charlotte's baskets.  I have one row done and am working on row 2.  These seem to go together slowly because of the need for so many seams to line up.  I pin, pin, pin.

I also made some new ornaments with my sister!  She is a skilled knitter.  Perhaps I can send her over to the dark side, lol!  Nah...I doubt it.  There are three of these ornaments done now.  Perhaps I will get a few more done before I lose interest until next year!

Hopefully in a day or two I will have the Tiny Turning 20 done.  I literally am down to the last hour or two.  I just need a good movie!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sip and Sew

My local quilt shop has a "Sip and Sew Wednesday."  They invite quilters to come in, plug in their machines, and sew the evening away.  I don't get there often, but when I do it is a special treat.  I brought my camera to take pictures of the beautiful sample quilts and even wanted to take a picture of the lovely antique machine being used next to me, but I was so wrapped up in chain piecing that I forgot!  Here is what I DID take.

The pile on my left will end up being the triple sash for the basket quilt.  The owner did not feel like sewing tonight so she pressed everything for me!  Wahoo!

Am I the only one who doesn't like to sew while wearing shoes?

Here is what I accomplished.  All of the triple sash pieces are complete.  I have about 15 9-patches complete for the cornerstones, and need to finish about 45 or so.  Not too shabby!

I also bought a small amount of fabric for Christmas ornaments.  Good news?  It doesn't count for my Stash Reports!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stash Reports

Every week, Judy at the Patchwork Times reports the amount of fabric purchased vs. the amount of fabric used.  I enjoy seeing how she and other quilters approach the subject of fabric buying.  Me?  I like to use, use, use.  I don't keep a large stash, but often adopt unwanted scraps to use in quilting.

My goal in 2012 is simple.  Have the number of stash used vs. stash purchased as close to zero as possible.  My ultimate goal is to have a negative number...any negative number will suffice, even if it is just by a lonely little fat quarter!  This may be a challenge.  I have virtually no yardage.  I cannot complete a quilt top (usually borders) without purchasing something.  I love scrappiness, but I also prefer to have something consistent in the quilt.  That is the part I have to buy with each quilt.  I will also likely report the number of UFOs or works in progress with the report.  I rarely have many UFO's but sometimes am working on many things at once.  I hope to keep my WIP numbers low too!  Right now, I have 3:  The binding needs to be sewn down on the Tiny Turning 20, I am still quilting the GFG and am approaching the one year mark in February, and have just picked up Charlotte's Baskets to work on tomorrow. 

I probably will not post every week, but I will post as I work on things or purchase things.  I have a busy year coming with an internship and possible acceptance into a full time doctoral program.  My chances are somewhat slim for acceptance, but one can hope!  Clinical Psychology programs are very competitive generally so being a competent person is not always enough.

Can't wait to show more Charlotte's Baskets photos after tomorrow!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Revisiting the blades

After two comments from quilters who have successfully used the Harbor Freight blades, I decided to try it again.

I took out a new blade after cleaning my rotary cutter.

I oiled my blade with a bit of WD40.

I then gave it another shot!  Unfortunately, it was still like running a knife through cardboard.  Oh well, I tried!  What could also be an issue is my rotary cutter.  Is it possible that it works in some rotary cutters and not in others?  Regardless, I am very thankful for the suggestions!!!  I have learned a lot through blogging and so grateful that I have gotten to know other wonderful bloggers out there!

I was able to cut my strips out for the Charlotte's Baskets Quilt (with a different blade).  On Wednesday, I may be able to sew for an evening with the ladies at my local quilt shop!  I am very excited!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Quilted Finish!

Last night, I put the last stitch in the binding, and am so happy to show it off!  Notice the furry paws.  The quilt was a quilt kit made for a woman who passed before she could make it.   I am not aware if there was a particular pattern used.  The thread used was a connecting threads "natural" and the back of the quilt was also a clearance connecting threads fabric.  I used Hobbes Heirloom batting.  I love it for the slight loft which allows quilting detail to show.

Here is a closeup of the quilting design.  Notice the small, running feet!  Here I used a plastic template in a heart shape and a water soluble marker.  I quilted around the design and then stippled to make the heart stand out.  In the alternate block, I made little loopies.

I was very pleased with the hearts and feathers.  I love feathers in quilts and will keep working with them to build my skills!  To make the feathers, I drew the spine with a water soluble marker and the rest was freehand.  My stitches are getting more uniform and fewer areas where the tension is off.  I tend to speed around curves which will make spots on the back of the quilt where the tension isn't quite right.  Perhaps after a few more quilts I will have this skill mastered!  Also, there were no needle breakages and NO PUCKERS OR FOLDS!

Angus surprisingly did not make this picture, but these are my helpers.  It is their custom to run on a brand new quilt.  They actually get excited when I let them play on a new quilt!  My older son will say "Can I walk on it yet?" throughout the quilting process.

What is next?  Time to "interview" some thread colors for the Tiny Turning 20!  I want to have it done before the New Year! 

To share some personal news, I also am putting together an application for a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology!  It all is last-minute, but I am hoping I can  have this dream come true!  I will know around spring-time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simple finish for today

Last year, using Crafter without a Cat's wonderful tutorial, I was able to make a few Christmas ornaments.  For some strange reason, I left two of the ornaments unfinished at the very last step.  I just had to add the trim around the center of the ornament to cover the pins.  I took the 10 minutes today to have them finished and on my tree.

Don't mind my tree.  It is fairly barren.  I have a two year old.  'nuf said!  The ornaments are clustered on the top 25% of the tree.  What was within reach was already hurled across the room and then put away.

I also made two that looked like this last year.

I am half tempted to make more.  Perhaps I can leave them out on my desk for a year like I did the others!  We shall see.

In other craftiness, I am halfway done with the binding on the 30's repro quilt.  Can't wait!  After that is done, I can begin to quilt the Tiny Turning 20.  The baby may be born early, so I need to get working on it!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Progress being made

I am pretty happy with how the border in the 30's quilt kit is going.  I had to stop because I got the fabric wet to remove the water soluble ink mark and then the thread broke.  After removing some stitches, I figured it was a good spot for a break!  I feel so motivated to get more done this evening too!

Below is a closer look.  I think I am getting better and better at feathers!  I think if I were to do this design again, I would work harder to keep the scale of the feathers the same in the heart area as in the rest, but I can't complain!

I also was able to pin the Tiny Turning 20 quilt this week. 

These two quilts are probably going to be my last finishes for the year.  I am hoping to have a busy Christmas break and am especially hoping I will be able to apply for a doctoral program soon.  Still waiting on some information from a person in the department.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feathers and hearts?

I have been doing some drawing, trying to figure out a cool design that incorporates feathers and hearts.  Not sure...what do you think?  Any suggestions?  I am getting better at feathers, but they are still very challenging.  I have already used nearly 1200 yards of thread already in my 1930's repro quilt.

My Turning 20 baby quilt is also coming along.  The center is complete and I have the fabric cut out for the inner and outer border.  The back will be a cute polka dot pink flannel.

More soon!  Happy quilting!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Feels good to sew

My semester is winding down and I was finally able to sew quite a bit yesterday.  Because I did not have much time to dedicate to quilting, first I started by cutting out fabric for a baby quilt.  I went with a fun Turning 20 pattern.

I picked out my fabrics, sticking to purples, mint greens, and pinks.  Some of the fabric here is from the Hope Chest line at Connecting Threads.  I added to it from stash fabric.

I laid everything out on my dining room table and did my best to distribute the colors.  I had only 15 fat eights to work with rather than 20 (hence the turning 20 name), but I am happy with it.  I was able to start sewing a few blocks before my youngest woke from his nap.

Later, I was able to quilt more on the 30's repro quilt.  All of the hearts are done now, and I am now working in the alternate blocks, filling in with loops.  After last evening, I was able to finish half of that.  I think I have about 7-8 hours of quilting in it thus far.  I have grand plans for the border, but I def. need to practice a bit first!  I am thinking feathers and hearts.

Finally, while watching Bones I was able to quilt some more on my GFG quilt.  I would LOVE to have it finished by Spring, so I need to do as much as I can on winter break.  Starting in January, I have an internship and second job which will eat into any quilting time I have.  I suppose I need to spend SOME time with the family!

Happy quilting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Quilt

My grandmother quilted.  She made utility quilts out of anything she had.  Fabric used sometimes was cotton, but it was also made out of poly blends, silky rayon, or other fabrics that were available.  In the center, she used old blankets and cut them to size.  She tied them together with yarn and put them on the bed.  Over the years, I have had to repair mine a few times, but still like to look at it and lay under it because it makes me think of her.  One time, when I was about 12, I was able to help her make one.  I helped with the embroidery and with laying out the blocks.  I am sure she was more than happy to let me do the tying too!

My grandmother later suffered from dementia and she did not make much, if anything, after this quilt.  I cherish this and I believe it sparked a passion for quilts!

After my son was born in 2008, I needed something just for me.  I needed something that didn't have to do with being a mother.  I pulled out a tiny singer sewing machine I bought when I was married and started sewing.  It was a bit of an escape for a new SAHM.  I found a pattern online and used fabric my mother had left after making my son's baby quilt.

I did not know how to rotary cut.  I think I made cardboard templates and cut out each piece.  The pieces were wonky (as you could tell) but even then I had the flair for scrappy!  I wanted the quilt to be bigger so I added sashing from scraps.  I hand quilted fire hydrants in it.  The batting was part of an old flannel sheet.  This ended up being a gift for a friend who was having a baby.  After I was finished with this little quilt, I was so driven to make more and become better!

I think if it weren't for my grandmother, I wouldn't be the quilter I am today.  I am so thankful that I was able to know her the way I did, spending weeks in the summer with her.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quilting in the 30's!

Using Green Fairy Quilts as an inspiration (aren't many of you inspired by her too?), I threw together a template that had the appearance of a heart.  I then FMQ'd some stippling around it.  What do you think?

4 down, quite a few to go!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I wish it were Spring, but this robin will do!

Two sets of Christmas presents are complete!  Each grandmother gets two Wooden Bear minis with a hanger for the wall.  Here is the robin.  I just LOVE wool batting and the loft it provides.  I finished this with echoing around the bird and a simple viney-leaf around the border.

I finished my birthday shopping today.  I can't wait to show the loot, but I am too lazy today to get the camera out.  I also bought a few black and white prints.  I will save them for an upcoming project.  I now have a lot of incentive to finish my final Christmas gift so I can get back to Charlotte's Baskets!  I need to piece a back (very simple one this time...likely just one seam) and then I can pin.

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EQ Charlottes Baskets design

I dont own EQ (I really want it but the 200 price tag is intimidating), so recently I asked a quilter friend to do a few mockups for me.  I am ready to start working on Charlottes Baskets before the end of this year, and wasnt sure of how I wanted to lay out the blocks. 

This layout seems to be the one for me:

I am going to focus on my attention on three colors, green, cheddar, and red when deciding on the sashing colors.  I just need to try things out and see what happens with it.  I havent thought about the borders yet, but I will tie in some scrappy goodness with basket (not sure if it will be applique or pieced) basket blocks for cornerstones.

Of course, I am open to suggestions!!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Wooden Bear Pattern on the way

Just a peek at what I am working on today!  These little quilts are fun!  I look forward to when my final school paper is complete.  I will then have time to start quilting the 30's quilt!  I also turn 30 this weekend and I hope to sneak away to my LQS.  I will then purchase the fabric needed to finish my Charlottes Basket Quilt.  I have not purchased much fabric this year and I dont have much to work with in terms of yardage.  I cannot wait until I can turn those lovelies into a warm quilt.

I hope to get the fusible on the fabric and cut out today. 

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fall 2011

It is Fall Quilt Festival time!  Amy at Amy's Creative Side is gracious to host such an event with prizes too!  I enjoy them because I often find a new blog to look at.  I always love some good eye candy!

This is my contribution.  In fact, this is what brought me into blogland.  I love traditional quilts and love scrappy-goodness.  I wanted to incorporate crumb blocks into a larger design.  While I love crumb quilts, I like when the busy-ness of the quilt is tamed down into a larger design or pattern.  I think I accomplished this here.

The above quilt ended up about twin sized.  I used warm and white batting and machine quilted it using grey thread.  I have learned that grey thread blends in very well when quilting in a scrappy quilt.  It is my NEUTRAL thread!

Here are closeups of the quilting:

I hope that next year I can come up with another idea of a quilt design using crumbs to share with you!

Below is a second quilt I made with this pattern.  I named this one I-Spy a Crumb Patch.  It uses an I-Spy format and is child sized.  I made prairie point around the outside border.  I hear this was very much enjoyed by the recipient and his older sister.  She was entertained by all of the things she was able to find!

Thank you for allowing me to show this quilt again.  I really love this quilt and it is currently thrown on my bed for extra warmth now that it is getting cold.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Twin Santas

Today I spent the day making two 12" wall hangings.  They are going to be gifts for my two grandmothers.

The snowmen pattern can be found at a great site called The Wooden Bear.  After seeing Stray Stitches make one of their patterns (Junebug), I had it in my to-do list to make one of their patterns myself.  Aren't they fun?!?  The scarf and had has yarn embellishments and the eyes are buttons!  It was really fun to make!  They also sell stands and hangers that are perfect for the mini quilt patterns.  The shipment arrived quickly and I look forward to getting more patterns in the near future!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

30's Quilt top complete

Time to figure out a backing!  This will be a nice throw!

Pillowcase dress

I never have made a dress before, but thought now was a good time to try.  My niece turned 5 a few weeks ago, and she loves dresses.  I saw a great tutorial online for a nice, tiered pillowcase dress.  The Polkadot Chair put together a lovely tutorial!  The instructions were easy and the end product looked great!  I used a Connecting Threads line called Hope Chest and the weight of the cotton fabric was perfect for a dress.

Here she is!  I was nervous that the dress wouldn't fit, but thankfully it does!  She will just have to wear tights and a shirt under it due to the cold weather. 

i am just finishing up a quilt top center and will post a picture soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Almost mid-October already!

I was able to finish piecing the blocks for the 1930's quilt.  I wish I would have paid more attention to my blocks as I was piecing them, but I suppose I wanted more work to do so I pieced about 20 of them incorrectly!  Right now, I am thinking about making a throw quilt rather than a twin.  I could find something fun to do with the remaining blocks I think. 

Also, I just received the fabric in the mail I purchased to make my first pillowcase dress!  I can't wait to try something new.  This is from Connecting Threads.  It is the Hope Chest fabric line.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wheelchair/Walker bag with tutorial

My grandmother recently started to use a walker on a regular basis.  I offered to make her bag for the walker so she can move things around more easily around the house or if she was out and about.  I really only measured the width between the handles and an approximate depth.

 Here is the finished project.  I have put together a tutorial in case any of you was interested.  I ended up using the Joel Dewberry fabrics I won from Tales at Wayne Manor.

 I ended up wanting my finished measurements to be approximately 21" wide by no more than 10" tall. Here are my requirements:

2 pieces of coordinating fabric 23.5" x 17.5" (you lose some width when you box the bag)
batting or fusible fleece
4 strips of fabric 2" wide by about 18" long for the straps
2 5" squares of fabric for inner pockets
button or other method of closure

Here I used a layer of fusible fleece as well as a thin layer of batting as well.  I wanted the bag to be nice and sturdy!

I then used my walking foot to quilt lines in the outer bag. I suppose any design might work.  I trimmed all the excess off after this step.

Next, fold your fabric in half right sides together and sew up each side, using your quarter inch seam.

The next step is to box your corners.  I decided to take about 2" off each side.  You reposition your side seam so it runs down the center of your bag.  You then line everything up making sure you are centered.  Take a ruler and mark your spot.  Pin, sew on the line, then trim.

Make sure to do this on both sides.  now the outer bag is done and you can set it aside for a while.  Take your bag liner fabric. I decided I wanted to make an inner pocket.

I drew a line across the back of the liner fabric and marked where I wanted my pocket to be.  My pockets are about 4" wide.  I then sewed around that line with a satin stitch (almost like how one may make a button hole).  I then cut between my satin stitch lines.  If you want wider pockets, you would have to change the size of your squares so they are bigger than the width of the pocket hole.

After this step, take out your 5" squares. Cover the hole with your square of fabric, making sure that the right side of the fabric is down.  Pin well and sew around the edge of the square.

Voila, you have a pocket! Do this for the other pocket too.  Your liner will then be done!

After your pockets are assembled, sew your liner in the same way as the outer bag.  The only difference is that you leave a space in one of the sides  (2 or 3 inches) unsewn so you can flip your back right side out when you are done with the assembly.

Next, it is time to make your straps. Take your straps and fold each side of the strip in toward the center.

Next, fold in half and press again.

Sew down each of the straps to hold it all together.  I have not taken a picture of this, but you may want to tuck in the ends of one side of the strap in a 45 degree angle so it looks pretty.

Time to assemble!  Keep your bag and liner inside out.

Place your liner inside of the outer bag.  Line up the side seams.  Make sure you put two straps on each end of the bag. Leave about an inch or so of the straps poking out so they can be sewn down again in the next step.  Pin well.  Sew around the outside then flip out.  You can sew down that open seam in your liner on your machine or by hand.

After you complete this step, pin around the outside of the bag and sew again around the outside to secure the liner in place.  this will also add some more security to the side straps.  Sorry I didn't get a picture of this step either!  You can see it a little in the top finished picture!

Happy quilting!