Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finish! The "Ugly" Quilt

I have been (affectionately) referring to this top as "the ugly quilt" for a long time. It was one of the very first tops I made and I just really don't like the way the colors looked once it was all together. Now that I finally got around to finishing it, I like it better. It is very soft and cuddly. The pink in this is so incredibly silky soft because it is cut from a recycled jersey sheet (and boy was that a learning experience!) I adore the way the pink looks next to the green fabric with the little pink and orangish flourishes.

This top has been sitting on a shelf for a long, long time. It was my oldest UFO. As I was getting ready to finish it I knew I wanted to back it with an old sheet but couldn't find one I liked at any of the thrift stores. Finally, I was emptying an old trunk in my parents' house and came across three great old sheet sets! So, finally backed and bound and washed, here is the blooming 9 patch, AKA the Ugly Quilt.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pencil Roll-up

I finally got around to making one of those pencil holder roll-ups everyone has been doing. A friend's little girl is turning 8 years old and requested "arts and crafts stuff" for her birthday.

I knew this was going to be a quick project, but I was still surprised how easy it was to make. 24 sharp, new, colored pencils fit comfortably and it rolls up easily. To make the elastic to hold it shut I sewed a hair tie into the seam.

Now I just need to wrap it up along with these color-them-in folders and it'll be all ready for the birthday girl.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Girly Turtle Baby Quilt

So what do you do for an as-yet-unnamed baby girl whose mama doesn't like pink and isn't planning to choose any particular colors? Well, Mama did say she was "thinking turtles" for her baby girl, so as you can see I went with that.

I found this turtle image on google, enlarged it, and traced the white areas onto paper to make my templates. The fabrics are all scraps from my stash and I stitched them down with a zig zag stitch. As you can see, I modified the original image. I reshaped the head a little bit and added that bird she's looking up at. I have to admit, I adore this quilt. It is so soft and fluffy and I think the Mama's going to like it, too!

This cute little baby quilt has sure been a lot of work! Everything went well while I was getting the top together, but once I started layering it, I think everything possible went wrong. Instead of layering it and using a binding I used the "pillowcase method". I turned it inside out and sewed the layers together, catching the folded over satin edging in the seam. That, in itself, turned out to be a lot more difficult than expected, but I learned a lot and I think if I did it again it would work better.

The second set of difficulties began when it was completed and washed. I used Warm and Natural, my favorite batting, with light quilting. I've never had any issues at all with this batting before, but this time when I washed it it disintegrated and the cotton became a big ball. Thinking I had quilted it too lightly, I opened a hole in the backing to rip out the ruined batting and replace it, closed the opening, and added more quilting. After the second wash I can tell that the new batting tried to do the same thing again but was hindered by the additional quilting. There are still a few balls of cotton fluff wadded up in there, but it's something I can live with. Like I said, nothing like this has ever happened before. Has anyone else had any problems like this recently with Warm and Natural?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A New Look

My sewing area has gotten a new look courtesy of an old shelf I repainted and hung. This shelf hung in my nursery when I was a baby; it's original colors were pink and green. I've moved all my John Clark prints to display above it and I think it looks great! Plus, finally I have a way to store my thread where it's out of the way but I can still see it. I also put some of my more commonly used sewing accessories up there. The plastic water bottle holds my pins for sandwiching quilts and the little round tin holds bobbins.

I also had a small finish this morning. I made another of the "thingies". As you can tell from the colors, this one is for an adult.

I hope you have a great day!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to me

Yesterday was my birthday and LOOK what I got! I was admiring these very charm packs last week. I spent an hour at the quilt store killing time while my cat was at the vet (on a side note, house cats and snakes don't mix well!) I was good and only, looked, didn't buy anything. But I admit, I looked pretty long and hard at these charm packs. I was so excited to open my present and see them!

It being my birthday I declared a day off from the non-quilty projects I've been having to focus on this week and spent all day sewing. There was reverse applique using a paper template on a Jurassic scale! I found a black and white image I liked, printed it out very large (30 sheets of 8.5" X 11"), and taped it all together. Then I lined all the layers up and pinned them and sewed through the paper just like with paper piecing.

I peeled the paper away as I went. As you can see, since the thread blends in and the extra fabric hasn't been removed yet it looks like I've accomplished absolutely nothing. That large paper template was a real monster to maneuver on the desk.

The beast emerges, legs first. It took me more than an hour to trim all the extra fabric away.

Can you tell what it is? It definitely would have worked better with higher contrast fabrics, but it's clearer in person than in the photo and I think once it's washed and frays it will be better. Next I need to piece a back, layer, and quilt!

Entire credit for this technique goes to Daniel Rouse whose fantastic quilts I stumbled upon recently. I didn't intend to copy one of his so directly, I just happen to have a dino-loving friend who's in need of a housewarming gift right about now :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Computer Reset...

Last night while my computer was doing this...

I was doing this.

My neutrals scrap box has become a strip pieced top. The canvas is ready, wait till you see what comes next :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rambling Roads Finished!

The Rambling Roads quilt is finished and heading to its new home, along with the Plume quilt, today. It measured 60 inches square before washing; I imagine it's a bit smaller now. Most of the quilting is in the "roads." In the larger blocks where I needed some quilting to stabilize them in the middle I outlined one of the vehicles or a star.

The pieced back came together really well. The darker blue is flannel to make it really super soft. I used the leftovers of the fabrics I'd used on the top and the last few inches of sashing I had left.

My favorite part of the back is this great tractor fabric. I just love that shade of blue, and it's so nice and soft.

I had planned all along to applique some vehicles onto the roads, I was so relieved when I realized that this served the dual purpose of allowing me to cover some of the areas where the quilting didn't line up quite perfectly and wrinkles appeared. I first sewed them all down with a tight straightline stitch, then went around again with a zigzag to make sure everything is extra secure. I also extended this crane out of its frame, as you can see.

I used a stripe fabric to make bias binding for this quilt. As you can see, I've started to machine sew my bindings. Unlike most quilters, I have never minded hand sewing bindings. It doesn't take me very long, and it gives me a chance to stretch out in a recliner and watch TV while I work instead of being hunched over my machine. I initially machine sewed a few bindings that I wanted to be extra strong, and once I saw how fast it was I just couldn't resist doing it again. By the time I am to the binding stage on a quilt I am so eager to get it done and in the wash to see it all washed and dried and crinkled that I don't want to take the extra time to hand sew it. I've been really pleased with how my machine sewn bindings have come out; it's become my go to method.

Happiness is a freshly washed quilt.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Little Bits

In between projects I whipped up three of these little receiving blankets from this tutorial. They are seriously addicting! I made a boy one, a girl one, and one that could work for either.

Don't you just love that Pooh fabric? I have a lot of it, at least 3 yards or so, that I inherited from a relative. The monkey flannel with the stripes is probably my favorite. I highly recommend these for quick, easy projects with big reward. A nice break between bigger projects.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Finish! Plume Quilt

The Plume Quilt is finally done! This makes three UFOs finished this summer and, believe it or not, I am down to three UFOs left! One uncompleted top, one completed top, which I've never blogged about before, and one partially quilted sandwich.
There is also the Rambling Roads quilt, but that one isn't a UFO. The top, back, and batting are prepared but not yet basted; I expect to finish that one this week.

This quilt is made from one Plume layer cake plus soft, brown corduroy and backed with a sheet. I'd say it's a generous twin size. Soon it's going to be making its way through the mail to its new home and you might get a chance to win it for yourself once it gets there, so I'll be letting you know about that!

The quilting is relatively light, with each block outlined and getting a few straight lines in this "woven" pattern. There was no single perfect choice for a thread color since the block vary in color and shade so wildly, but I settled on cream thread and I think it worked out.

I hope some little girl will by very happy sleeping under this quilt :)