Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Expanding Makeup Bag

I slept away most of my days off again.  I hate to lose the time to sew, but it's just so tempting to get back in the nice, warm bed with a snuggly kitty.

I did finally get up around 1 (pm) today and spent the rest of the day doing laundry and generally being productive. I made this expanding makeup bag for my mom to take on trips.

Buttons to keep the top closed.
The middle piece is quilted with a loose stipple and the whole bag is lined.

Wires in the straight sides keep them stiff while a fabric string threaded though button holes in the ends allows the bag to expand.  The string doubles as a carrying handle when the bag is closed

I put pockets on the inside to hold small items.

Pockets for makeup brushes
Not much to show for two days off, but at least it's something. Tomorrow it's back to work :)

Linking to Finish it Friday!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bee Blocks on the Design Wall

Hello Monday :)  Here's a quick look at what's on my design wall.  Blocks from the August do. Good Stitches Nurture circle continue to arrive!

The blocks so far. I am aiming for a 4x5 layout

I love that text fabric with the curving words

That grey and teal fabric with the birds may be my favorite in quilt so far
Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Friday, August 23, 2013

He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not... {A Finish and a Tutorial}

This week's finish is a wall hanging for my mom's school room.  I've been thinking about this design and wanting to do it for a while as a baby girl quilt. But, with no baby girls on the way (ALL the boys! Geez, what is in the water?!) I decided to do v1.0 as a wall hanging instead.  Mom picked out the fabrics and I got to choose the design :)

I was originally inspired by this quilt at Little Island Quilting, which got me thinking about treating Dresden Plates as flowers and doing a quilt based on that game little girls play, "He love me... he loves me not." So I did a series of incomplete, partially "plucked" Dresdens with some "petals" drifting toward the bottom of the quilt.

When I make this again (and I definitely will be making this design again) I plan to make it a lot larger so that I have more room to play with the theme and have more petals gathered at the bottom.

Going along with the idea of "He loves me, He loves me not," one yes and one no, I knew that I wanted to make the quilt double sided.  As long as you're going to be doing applique anyway, it's hardly any more work to make reverse applique on the back.

So, the quilt is reversible.  One side is more traditional while the other side is soft and worn.  This also gives the chance to do two completely different color schemes!  I used regular cottons this time, but when I make this again I'll be using flannel for the back so it will ravel nicely in the wash.

I took pictures all through the process of making this, so if you want to make your own you can follow along :)

First off you need to cut your fan blades from the fabrics that will make up the Dresdens on the front of your quilt. I used the Easy Dresden Ruler, which was on sale at Hancocks, but here's the great thing about this design: since we won't be making any complete Dresden Plates, you don't have to stress about getting the angles perfect so that they will circle right!  It take the stress out of Dresdens :) So, feel free to print any old template off the internet or make your own.

If you want to completely plan out your quilt design ahead of time you could figure out exactly how many fan blades you will need, but for me it was easier to just cut a stack at a time and cut more later if I needed them.

Next you'll fold the wide end of the blades together and sew along the top. Be sure to clip the corner, but don't get into your seam.

Then fold the blade right side out and press.

Next start assembling your fans into sections.  Line up the peaked (folded) ends and sew from there. Don't worry if the narrower ends don't line up perfectly, they'll be covered by the center circle anyway.

Again, you could plan the whole thing out or just have a loose idea of where you are going. I knew that I wanted to have 3 Dresdens and for one of them to be more complete than the others. I sewed one large group and then several groups of 2s, 3s, and 4s. Remember to leave some fans as singles to serve as the fallen "petals".

Press your seams and remember to press any outside edges with a 1/4" seam allowance. Also press your single fans with a seam allowance on all unfinished sides.

Now you're ready to lay out and settle on a design. I suggest taking pictures as your are going to have to reconstruct this later.  With your Dresdens laid out use a compass (shown above, like from geometry) to figure out how big the center circle needs to be. Give yourself a good half inch of leeway. Part of that will go into seam allowance and part into making sure you can completely cover the base of all the fans.  If you have a circle cutter (above, right) that's going to come in handy, too.

You'll need to cut a circle of cardboard exactly the size you want your finished center circle to be and a circle of fabric at least a half inch larger in diameter than that.  Using the longest stitch your machine has baste all the way around the fabric circle close to the edge.

Pull on the loose ends of the stitches to draw the circle of fabric in over the piece of cardboard.

Then press and carefully remove the cardboard form.  I find it helps to tie the loose ends of thread together to help the circle keep its shape.

Now for for the tricky part.   We need to put in place the pieces of fabric that will show through on the reverse applique. Measure your Dresden sections that you've decided on and cut corresponding pieces of fabric for the back.  Be sure to give yourself plenty of extra lee way by cutting the pieces oversize. (You could save yourself quite a bit of trouble by doing all the reverse applique from the same fabric and just cutting one piece large enough to cover the whole back.)

Lay your backing fabric out face down and lay out the pieces of reverse applique fabrics also face down in an arrangement that mirrors the one you've settled on for your Dresdens.  Set your machine to its longest stitch length and baste everything in place.

Layer and pin your quilt as you normally would, leaving your Dresdens to the side.  Then, begin to pin your Dresdens in place.  As you place them keep checking with one hand under the quilt to make sure you are inside of the lines of basting stitches, meaning that your Dresden is over one of the pieces of reverse applique fabric inside the backing.

When your are satisfied with placement, begin to sew the Dresdens down.  You'll need to sew not just across the peaked tops, but also down and back up between each fan blade to make the reverse applique work.

This is a shot of the back of one of the loose petals which has been sewn down. See how the smaller stitches of the applique fall well within the long basting stitches on all sides? That is what you want to see. That means we are centered right over the reverse applique fabrics with plenty of seam allowance.

After sewing down all the Dresdens you can being to unveil the reverse applique. Carefully use your seam ripper to make a hole in only the top layer of backing fabric inside each fan. Slip your scissors in the hole and cut out the backing fabric leaving a 1/4" around the edges.

At this point, you can bind your quilt and be done!  Or, you may want to slide your scissors inbetween the layers and carefully remove some of the reverse applique fabric that did not fall under a Dresden plate. (Good for scrap hoarders, also, in case the fabric is showing through the backing).

You can also do more quilting before finishing out. I was planning to do echo quilting around everything but ultimately decided against it.  Either way, the hard part is done.  When it's finished throw your quilt in the wash to get the perfect raw-edge ravel and enjoy!

Linking up to Finish it Friday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Amazing Wilson {Pets on Quilts 2013}

One of my favorite things about blog land is all the link ups and the shows.  I love the camaraderie, seeing everyone else's entries, not to mention the prizes!  If you're a regular reader of this blog then you'll know, this next show is right up my alley. It's the 2013 Pets On Quilts Show, hosted at Lily Pad Quilting.

Wilson quality tests every quilt for cuddliness

There are lots of ways to enter this show, from quilts about pets to pictures of your pet on a quilt. Obviously I went for the second option and who else to feature but my constant companion, Wilson?

You can read all about Wilson's story here.  But basically he's my quilting companion, chief quality inspector of Kat and Cat quilts, and he holds down the fort around here.

If I am piecing he likes to be in my lap, if I'm quilting he likes to be on top of the quilt I'm trying to quilt.

Wilson's claim to fame is his unusual allergy to cats. Yup, a cat who is allergic to cats. No, I'm not kidding :)  He is a snotty, sneeze-y, special boy.

I am entering in the category of Cat on Quilt.  Voting in the Pets On Quilts show begins Sunday, be sure to view all the entries and vote for your favorites!!

Finished: "Seismic" Bee Quilt

It's Friday! And I'm not working this weekend! And I have a finish! It's a good day :)

This quilt was made with blocks from the ladies of the Stash Bee, Hive #3 group back in February.  I asked for modern bargello blocks, you can see the original tutorial I asked everyone to follow here.  Somewhere along the way a commenter said the blocks reminded them of waves, so I decided to name the quilt "Seismic".

This quilt had a rocky road to completion.  First I attempted to sash it with yellow, but it just wasn't right.  Then I cut apart the yellow sashing and inserted dark denim fabric, leading to the uneven yellow strips which I decided I loved.  Then I decided to try to quilt it with Amanda Jane's honey comb quilting, but ran into major distortion and wrinkling.  It sat as a UFO for a few months, but finally I picked out the mistakes and finished it!

I wasn't in love with this quilt until I quilted it and got the binding on. The quilting and that red binding made this quilt for me!  It's quilted with a grey thread in straight lines with some large overlapping circles added at the end.

This is a big quilt. Something like 80" x 87".  I am planning to keep it and add it to the rotation of quilts that go on my bed.  I went with a pieced back again. Even using IKEA fabric that measures 60" wide I had to add some to the side.  I chose the music fabric because the waves on the front kind of reminded me of sound waves, too.

The strip on the edge contains a couple of extra blocks and some soft grey polka dot fabric.  I like the back of this quilt almost as well as the front.

Thanks ladies for all your great blocks!!

Linking up to Finish it Friday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quilting ADD

I was anxious to sew today before going back to work tomorrow, but I couldn't seem to settle on what to do. (Matters weren't helped by the fact that every time I got near my bed and saw Wilson snoozing I'd crash for a little nap.)  I started out quilting background lines on the Lonestar quilt, but quickly decided I didn't want to spend my whole day on that.

Next, I got out the "Seismic" quilt, made with blocks contributed by the ladies of the Stash Bee Hive #3 back in February.  I had originally started to quilt this one with the honey comb quilting design from Crazy Mom Quilts but ran in to trouble. After sitting idle for several months I finally picked out the offending stitches and got busy quilting it with simple lines.

I quilted for a while.  Picked out the remaining honey comb quilting. Made lunch. Took a nap. And, finally, got back to quilting.  After finishing the straight lines I overlaid them with a few large circles and called it good. I was actually able to get this baby DONE today, so watch for it on Friday's finish post!

Once I tossed the finished quilt into the washer I started on a new WIP, cutting out Dresden fans with my new ruler for a wall hanging I have in my mind's eye.  All in all it's not a bad day's progress, despite being a bit scattered.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday, check out the other entries!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Design Wall Monday: Strings

It's Design Wall Monday again and this week I have the latest do. Good Stitches blocks on my wall.  I am the quilter for this month and asked for two-tone string blocks. You can see the tutorial here.  I can't wait for more blocks to get here so I can start putting them together.

My plans for today include continuing work on quilting the Bird Houses quilt and possibly starting a new WIP (you know, cause I need one more thing going!)

In other news, Wilson modeled one of my tie-dye onesies. It was a bit big; apparently he's a 3-6mo cat.  (I know, it's amazing he puts up with me, right?)

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sail Away: Kiddo quilt finished

Happy end of the week, everyone!  The sail boat quilt I started a couple weeks ago has been finished and gifted to its new owners.

This quilt is based on one I saw here at Blue Elephant Stitches.  So simple, just half square triangles, but so cute!  This design is great for featuring novelty kid fabrics and there is so much you could do with it.  A simple blue and white two-color version of this quilt would look classic and more mature for an older child.  You could change the arrangement of the sails on each boat and/or change the layout of the boats themselves to change the look of the quilt.

I was initially planning to do some sort of all over design on this but then got the idea to outline each boat in it's corresponding thread color.  Ideally I was imagining some of that chunky embroidery-thread hand quilting that's been all the rage lately; it would have looked wonderful against that natural linen. Realistically, though, I knew that if I did that it would take me months to get it done.

Instead of doing the hand quilting I went ahead with the machine, using my walking foot as a guide to outline the boats in their matching colors.  I used a cream thread to fill in a little echo quilting in the open spaces and called it a day.

I am really a fan of less is more when it comes to quilting.  Minimal quilting keep the quilt soft is flexible.  Of course that works out well for me since I generally prefer piecing to quilting and would rather devote less time to quilting :)

I bound it in red, which goes perfectly with the backing.  The backing may be of this one may be my favorite part of the entire quilt.  I decided to do a pieced back of 12" blocks of aqua, loosely water-themed fabrics.

From novelty pirate-themed fabrics to (my favorite) a slice of Tula Pink's Salt Water collection.

Of course I also included the embroidered label (if you missed the details about what it says you can read more here.)  This was where I made use of the bonus triangles I got from doing to boat hulls on the front.

The quilt finished at about 60" x 50" (I had to work to keep it throw sized and not let it grow too big).
It was wonderfully well received with strict instructions that it must be used, not put away.  I even made the background neutral linen rather than white to make it stain resistant. It has already been snuggled by little boys :)

Linking up to Finish it Friday!