Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I have been working on either finishing projects or getting them "to the next step" in the creative process prior to going on vacation.  I now have two finished quilt tops, two backs nearly assembled, and one dog mat completed.  I am about a quarter yard and binding shy of prepping the tree of life quilt so I am off to my LQS for an awesome sale.  I will get 40% off my regular priced fabric purchase if I buy 4 or more yards!  I hope to have the backing finished by Friday.  I will have two quilts ready for quilting and can't wait to get them under the machine.  Until then I get to think about how I will finish them.  Of course that means I also get to decide what to start next!

Here is the second dog mat.  It is patriotic and has a small dog applique in the corner.  I love how it came out and it was all from stash.  What I didn't like is that it doesn't lay flat.  I think I distorted the wool batting that I put into it.  I had sewn two pieces together to have enough and I don't think that was a good idea.  The kind of wool batting my LQS sells doesn't always play nicely.  Oh well.  Still awesome!

I just used a tight meander.  The back is a twill fabric since I know it will be on the ground and have heavy use.

This may be it from me for a little while...see you in July!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

30 Posts!

Time (and posts) fly when you are busy creating!

I finished the braided borders on the Tree of Life Quilt.  I love it!  I have also started on the back of the quilt and ran out of fabric.  Looks like I can take part in the nice sale my LQS is having now.  I need about two yards for the back and binding.  I still need to do the embroidery on the quilt top.  I want to applique a caterpillar on it too.  Hopefully I can have all of these things done (except for the embroidery) by Friday.  After that, I will off grid and working solely on my GFG.

Later today I will be learning how to crochet!  Attic 24 has this awesome tutorial up on a hexagon blanket.  I look forward to making it!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quilt #4

I usually only have a max of two quilts going at once.  I have one in the piecing stage and one in the quilting stage.  After that, things get complicated.  I do not like UFOs and am fortunate to say I only ever left one project get like that.  I made my son a snake quilt and left it sit for about a year before quilting it.  Here it is.  This is the second quilt I made.

Anyway.  This time around, I let myself get up to four projects at once.  You have seen the other three and they are nearing completion or have already been finished (Crumb Patch, the Evelyn Sloppy string quilt, the GFG, and the one I am about to share with you).

I wanted to make a gift for my sister.  My thoughts were twofold.  Fall colors and tree of life.  She had fallen in love with an Amish quilt but could not remember the pattern.  WE looked at hundreds of Amish quilts but none rung a bell in her memory.  After lots of thought, I decided to not even try to make an Amish style tree of life type of quilt.  I didn't want it not to meet what picture she had in her mind, get what I mean?  So, I went totally different.  I saw this artist named Natasha Wescoat.  She makes beautiful paintings of trees of life.  they are whimsical, colorful, and downright spectacular.  I wanted to make a quilt inspired by her beautiful paints.  This is what I came up with.

And this is the way it sat for about two months while I finished other projects.  At 43 x 66 the measurements were not wide enough in my opinion.  I wanted a lap quilt and after borders it would have ended up too long and too skinny.  My LQS ran out of the fabric and I could not find it online.  Finally, it hit me.  I decided to do a triple border of brown, gold, and brown, then finish it off with a fourth braided border.  The final braided border would be fall colors to pull out the bright batiks used in the center.  It would end up twin sized.  I have worked the last few days and have gotten this far.

I have just started working on cutting pieces for the braided border.  More to come!

On a side note, I will mention that I put the string quilt away for a bit.  The top and back done, but I have no batting.  I will be picking some up after vacation in Mid July and hope to have it done not too long after that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Working on the back

Yesterday I was able to start the back to my string quilt.  I took out a pile of random pieces of fabric from my bin (my entire fabric collection fits in a Rubbermaid 18 gallon tote) and started squaring and sewing.  So far I have about 50 inches out of about 100 halfway done!  I work in manageable sections then put everything together.  I like free piecing.  It is a way to use up things and get them gone!  I have amassed some strange pieces of fabric too!

You can see the pile of fabrics in the back.  Nothing really goes together.  No theme here.  Just getting it gone!  As long as there are many pieces like that...lots of scrappy variety...the theme becomes "scrappy" and nearly EVERYTHING works!  It fits with the front of the quilt...everything goes!

Hmmm...doesn't look like a whole lot of matching going on here....  ;-p

Sunday, June 19, 2011

String quilt top is finished

Hot off the presses!  I just finished the string quilt top!  It is about twin size???  I am very happy with how it turned out and I think brown worked just fine.  It may have been better with a hunter green but the brown still gives it nice depth (it is for a man father will like the brown).  I totally need to get a better way of hanging quilts to photograph but this will have to do for now.

On another note, I need an opinion.  The next quilt top I need to finish is a gift for my sister.  It is inspired by an art piece.  Can I legally show this on my blog?  I see photos of tattoos that are art inspired (the artist is Natasha her tree of life paintings).  I am excited about this project and need some guidance as to how to make my quilt wider and still fit into the theme but I am not sure if I am allowed to post pictures or not.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

String Quilt Border

I have made good progress on making the parts of my middle border.  I wanted to make a 3" finished string border.  To make it a bit easier for me, I used full sheets out of an old phone book.

 Here is the front.

 Then you have to square off the top and each of the sides.  You don't have to square the bottom since it will be trimmed off as you work anyway.

After you square it up, you can chop it off into the size strip you need.  I was able to trim my blocks into 3.5" strips

Here is my pile.  I think I have enough!  It went very quickly with this method.  One issue I did have was with threads pulling away when I tore my newspaper off.  To tackle this issue, I just ran the strips through my sewing machine, sewing a line about 1/8th inch away from the side edges prior to ripping off the paper foundations.  It helped in more ways than one.  These blocks can stretch and get all wonky on you, and sewing the edges helped to prevent any stretching when I was pressing with my iron.  I think it will help too when it comes to sewing the border on the quilt.  I will worry less about a lot of distortion.

Friday, June 17, 2011


How on earth does one put a specific value on a quilt?  The reason I ask is that some people have expressed some interest in the Crumb Quilt.  I spent $18 on fabric and maybe 15 on batting (sale at Joanns...yay!) so the cost was minimal.  A better way to think about it is that scraps cost just as much per yard as the yardage in your stash.  We quilters talk about "free" projects, but that is only because we paid for the fabric and did our mental accounting with another quilt.  Heck, I was able to finish two other small projects with fabric leftover from Crumb Patch and I totally called them Free!

So what does one ask?  Is there a general consensus on a cost based on quilt size (twin vs baby quilt)?  How much does quilting or time account into an asking price?  The Crumb Patch took 8 weeks to make and took a fair amount of time.  I really don't know how much time it took...but it was not a petty few hours.  There are over 1000 pieces in best guess is close to 40 hours.

I love Crumb Patch.  If I keep it I am happy.  If someone wants it and it would make them happy (with a fair asking price of course), I am happy.  My motivation to quilt right now is not to make money...but we have to feed-er-fund the habit, right?

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still chugging along

The last few days I have been working on my Grandmother Flower Garden Quilt.  It is so awesome to see I have more finished than I have left to do!  I have one small and one large section to go!  Working around the edges takes so long because it just doesnt stay as taut as I like.  I am approaching the one-year anniversary of beginning this quilt.  I can't begin to imagine how many hours I have worked on this baby.  Well in the hundreds likely.

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Doggie Mat part 2

Here is a brief introduction.  This is my dog, Angus,' uncle Banner.

He is the ONLY nationally titled cart pulling Sheltie in the country.  Why is that?  Cart pulling is a sport dominated by pit pulls, American bull dogs, mastiffs, huskies, and malamutes.  There are some other breeds but you get the drift....larger working dogs.  This sheltie doesn't even weigh 20lbs!  He had to have his own cart custom made.  At first, he was just laughed at.  After people saw he could hold his own (the scores are how much they can pull in proportion to their own size).

Time to make a doggie mat for him!  In addition to cart pulling, he is also a rally dog, stud dog, and even has acted in a play!

With a name like Banner, he needs something patriotic.  Here is what I have so far.  I plan on adding a blue border, then adding a silhouette of a sheltie in brown and white.

With the 3 yards of blue fabric I purchased for Crumb Patch, I have made three things!  I think I will be down to crumbs after this project...woo hoo!  The reds came from my 2.5" bucket.

As a side note:  For now, I am going with a 3" brown inner border, a 3" string middle border, and a 3" brown outer border, all with 9 patch corner stones for my string quilt.  Here goes nothin'!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quilt top assembled (correctly)

I took a reader's advice (thank you!!!) and fixed a boo boo in my quilt  Some of the blocks were rotated incorrectly.

I was thinking of using an emerald green for the border but just was not thrilled with it.  This gift is for a man so I need to choose the borders appropriately.  Perhaps a chocolate brown?  I am still not sold on what to do for the border.  I may just follow the pattern but that is so not like me, lol.  Can't make it too easy!

I also started working on another dog mat in patriotic colors.  I will show some of that tomorrow!

Friday, June 10, 2011


So, as I was sewing together my final row of the Evelyn Sloppy string quilt, it dawned on me (way to go for it being so last minute) that I had done my mental math incorrectly.  I had made an extra row!  So, now I have to decide whether to turn this row into another project (perhaps a wheelchair donation quilt?) or make MORE blocks...8 more to be exact...and have enough rows to make the quilt both wider and symmetric.  I need to think about this some more I think.  I have been needing a push to get another donation quilt out....hmmm.  If I made the donation quilt I would need just four more blocks rather than 8.  I suppose I will decide in the next day or two.

Here are the rows laid out on the floor.  I may do my borders a bit differently.  It will definitely have a string border.  I was thinking of a darker resting strip then a string border.  Once I have the quilt top center assembled I will have a better idea.

On a final note, many of you know my Sheltie, Angus, took his Canine Good Citizen test and passed.  I tried to take some pictures after, but taking pics of 5 herding dogs playing is not easy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crumb Quilt is finished

It is done!  It wasnt without its share of frustrations.  First, I ran out of quilting needles (I broke a ton when I was quilting and tired.)  I was able to accomplish a lot after that until my darning foot broke.  Then the kids were grumpy.  Oh well, it is done now!  There was some light color bleeding in a few of the red, scrappy areas.  It isnt bad though.  Washing a two inch piece of scrap fabric isnt really feasible so I took a chance!

Here it is!

A closeup of the quilting.  I made a contuous arc design in the colored blocks.  Later, I noticed a nice secondary design and then quilted in the white areas.

The flying geese had a similar arcing design

Feathers in the border.  Hindsight?  Make the feathers go in the same direction as the geese.  Didnt even think of that!

Quilt back.  I had some plaid fabrics and threw them together.  The green one is a civil war fabric so I stashed what was left with my CW collection!

Just to show you how fast I have to work.  Once I had everything out to photograph, my son came over and moved in.

So what is next?  I have two other quilts in various stages of completion (not including my GFG quilt).  I will likely finished assembling the two rows of the Evilyn Sloppy quilt and get the top assembled.  Not far from accomplishing that!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Darnit my Darning foot snapped while working on Crumb Patch!  I am soooo close!  I had all of the border work done, so I stopped quilting and put on the binding.  I tried modifying the spring action foot into a floating foot so I could still use it but it was skipping stitches.  I will be going on a one hour drive to my local (hahah) sewing machine shop to get a new one tomorrow.  I purchased one other walking foot piece that was defective so I will try and get that replaced too.  They wont let me exchange my freemotion foot due to possible "user error." 

Of course, I found other ways to occupy my time.  I have a birthday coming 2 year old nephews, that is.  I have really liked this pattern from Moda Bake Shop.  I liked the pattern so much I made this monster pillow for my son.

I made my pillow as a pillow cover using a pillow form rather than something one has to stuff.  I liked doing that better.  I even made one for a different nephew and tried to make it look like a cat.  Thankfully I do not have a picture because it looked more like a crazy fox.  Live and learn.  This time, I wanted one to have a truck on it.

what is awesome about this pillow is that it has a "secret" pocket that your child can stuff his or her favorite things.  My son keeps all of these little treasured items in his pillow pocket.  The pillow is soooo easy to make too!

 Tha hand you see is my 3 year old trying to grab it! 

I used my domestic machine to put "embroidered" letting in the center of the truck.  My fusible fleece did not fuse so I quilted a cute diamond pattern in it with my walking foot.  I like the way it came out!

What I also wanted to point out is the cost...FREE!  The blue is what was leftover from Crumb Patch.  I bought the red Moda fabric from Joanns in the remnant bin a while ago.  I even pieced bits of fusible (funny that this was what fused properly vs the stuff that was whole from the beginning and didnt fuse lol) together to use it up!  I even bought the pillow form at AC Moore and had a 55% discount coupon and recieved that for less than $6.00!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Spy quilt

I wanted to catch you up on some projects I finished this year.  I had been collecting novelty prints for as long as I had been quilting-about 2 years or so.  I wanted to make an I-spy quilt for my son.  I picked up fat quarters on occasion at my LQS, started a swap in my online quilting group (by far this is a great way to increase your variety without increasing your stash too much), and receiving great fabrics from quilting friends.  I finally had what I wanted and, without a pattern in mind, started working.

This is what I came up with.  My son's room is green. Very green.  I like green and tend to have a lot of green in my stash.  I had the lighter of the greens already.  I had purchased about 4 yards at my LQS as a remnant for about $7.00!  I found the darker green to compliment and got to work.  Each 6.5" unfinished square is framed with a 1" finished frame of green.  The quilt is full sized.

Here are some pictures.

As you may be learning about me, I tend to free piece my quilt backs.  I wanted to use up as much novelty fabric as possible.  After all of this, I still have enough fabric to piece another quilt top and back (although thankfully a smaller one)  Novelty just keeps coming out of the woodwork!

 Below you can see the recipient of this quilt.  He was very pleased!

Here is another picture I took while assembling my quilt back.  The file box in the picture was full of fabrics to use for the quilt back.  I reduced that down to a man size shoe box but since have accumulated a 2 gallon ziplock full of novelty print scraps also!