Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend in the Sweat shop

One of my college roommates once told me that it sounded like I had my very own sweat shop operating in my room.  She was getting her doctorate in cultural anthropology and had been to the far reaches of the world, so she may very well have heard the humming of sewing machines in a sweat shop somewhere.

Anyway. The sewing machine has been running hard this weekend.  The crumb quilt is in the process of being quilted with many, many straight-ish lines.  I'm over half way done with quilting but won't get a chance to work on it again until later in the week.

One the design wall is a sweet little girly scrap quilt.  Last night I put away and organized all the scraps that had accumulated in my cach-all scrap basket and decided that I needed to do something with some of those scraps post-haste.  There are over (150) 3.5" squares in this quilt, but it made a pitifully small dent in my scrap piles.  Oh well, just have to make more quilts!  I am looking forward to layering this one and trying out some FMQ on it.

This is after the repair, I don't have a before picture

Finally I did some repair work.  I know we all love to quilt, but when someone else asks you to sew on a button or hem a pair of pants, you do it, because you know how much they'll appreciate it.  Today my dad asked me to repair his ferret's beloved squeaky monkey. As you can see, the monkey has been loved to pieces and his stuffing was coming out and getting stuck in the ferret's teeth.

I decided not to reattach the arm that was completely severed because the hole in the body was so gaping.  The other arm was hanging by a thread so I repaired it and secured it tightly.  I'm afraid the next time the monkey starts to hemorrhage fluff I may not be able to salvage him.  Most of the major seams are starting to go.  But for now, he's been stabilized and back in the cage with one happy ferret :)  Sewing: making the world a better place!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sierpinski Triangles

Today's finish is the Sierpinski Triangle wall-hanging. It's going to be a picture-heavy, light-on-words post :)

This was a quick afternoon project using some of the beautiful Hoffman fabrics batiks I won from the Pets on Quilts Show back in August. 

The entire quilt is batiks, even the white background is ivory tone on tone fabrics.  I love the elegant patterns in the white fabrics, but  I also love these adorable owls in one of the Hoffman fabrics.

I straight line quilted inside the boundaries of the triangle and stippled the background.

It's a small wall hanging, only 36" square or so, and currently hanging in our living room :)

Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Felted Soap {Wool Lovers Blog Hop}

Hello everyone! Today I am participating in the Wool Lovers Blog Hop hosted over at Pieced Brain. Be sure to visit her post and follow the links to all the other bloggers participating.

For my contribution to all things wool, I am going to show you how I make felted soap.  Felted soap is exactly what it sounds like: a bar of soap encased in a wrapping of wool felt.  The soap has its own built in wash cloth which shrinks along with the soap as you use it. When all the soap is gone you are left with a useful scrubbie!

The best thing about felted soap is how much longer your soap lasts.  Because the felt contains the soap you eliminate the problem of sloughing off huge chunks of softened soap.  Bars that I know from experience would normally last me no longer than 2 weeks last months when felted.

Step 1 to felting soap is to gather your supplies (and probably some curious cats).  You will need some wool roving (I found mine at Hobby Lobby), a bar of soap, an old stocking or panty hose, and a bowl of hot water (alternatively, you could just do this over the sink.)

Step 2 is to stretch and thin your wool roving to prepare it for wrapping around the soap.  Stretch it so you can just see through it.  You'll need at least 2 layers of thinned roving. Also, you can add strips of contrasting colors to make a more interesting design.

Step 3 is wrapping the roving around the soap. Wrap the layers, alternating the direction of the fibers, and tuck in the ends.  At this point it's not going to stay put very well, just wrap it and sort of hold it in place.  This is also a great time to add some final decoration to the outside of the bar with another color of roving.

Step 4: holding everything in place dunk the bar of soap in hot water and let it get soaked so the wool sticks to itself and the bar. Then, carefully stick the bar of soap down into the end of the stocking and tie a slip knot. The stocking will hold all the layers and colors in place while you felt.

Step 5 is to wash your hands! No really.  Scrub the bar as if your are washing your hands. The friction will help the soap to felt.  Dunk it back in the hot water every couple minutes to rinse and re-wet it.  As the roving felts it will become more firm and shrink down onto the soap. It usually takes me less than 10 minutes. When it is ready you will feel the roving become more taut and stop moving around.  Go for a couple more minutes after that, then rinse and remove the soap from the stocking.

Step 6 is to set the soap in the sun for a couple hours and let it dry.  Once it dries it is ready to use.  Each time you finish using the soap rinse it and set in a well draining place.

Enjoy!  And be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers in the Wool Lovers Blog Hop today:

A Quilt and a Prayer

Rosebuds Cottage

By the Bay Needleart

Sugarlane Designs

Sheila's Quilt World

Pieced Brain

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hump Day

I am still scrappy-stringing along on my crumbs quilt.  This is the one I am basing on a pattern by Crazy Mom Quilts.

I've finished a dozen blocks so far (aiming for 20). I just sewed together my third looooong crumb string. Hopefully this will be enough to finish out the quilt.

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. 

PS- Remember, this week is the Wool Lovers Blog Hop at Pieced Brain and I'll have a wooly post tomorrow (Thursday) about making your own felted soap!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Stitches


Hello! First things first, a public service announcement.  This week is the Wool Lovers Blog Hop hosted over at Pieced Brain.  I will be participating in Thursday with a tutorial on how to make your own felted soap.  Be sure to check it out every day this week for lots of fun stuff to do with wool :)

Back to our regularly scheduled quilting.  This is what I've been doing with myself.  Surprise surprise, it's yet another new project.  I decided to attack my crumb jar.  First I sewed together a looooong chain of 1.5" wide scraps.

That string became these blocks.  This is a Crazy Mom Quilts design.   There is nothing as satisfying as using up those tiny scraps in a productive way!

Linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Orphan blocks finished! {100 Quilts for Kids}

Well, the WIP I showed you on Wednesday did get done this week after all!  This small, very colorful quilt was made from orphan blocks from several abandoned UFOs.  I'm donating it as part of the "100 Quilts for Kids" drive at Swim.Bike.Quilt.

It was fun to transform these abandoned blocks into something useful.  To put it together I selected blocks that seemed to play well together and arranged them on the design wall. Some of my very first paper pieced blocks, some wonky hot-and-cold log cabins, and some leftovers from my "Seismic" Stash Bee quilt.  I chose 12.5" as my block size and used strips from my strings scrap bin to bring the smaller blocks up to size.

I took the opportunity with a scrap quilt to practice my FMQ with large stipples in the blocks and squiggles in the sashing.  (Sorry for the crumby pictures. It's been raining but this was my only chance at pictures before packing up the quilt.)

This quilt will be hitching a ride along with the "Springtime Riot" do. Good Stitches quilt to My Very Own Blanket, a charity that gives quilts in children in foster care.

Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP: Orphan blocks

This week in "Yet Another WIP" we have an orphan block quilt! Lol.  I'm not sure WHY I keep starting new projects rather than working on old ones, but there you go. 

This brightly colored quilt is made of blocks from abandoned projects.  It's gotten to the quilting stage, so hopefully it will be done before too much longer.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Springtime Riot {do. Good Stitches August Quilt}

The August quilt from the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches is done!  I am so impressed with the ladies this month for getting their blocks done so quickly and making such fantastic blocks!!  My work schedule looks pretty nasty for the next month and a half, but since everyone was so on the ball I was able to take advantage of my last long weekend to get this baby done.

You can see the tutorial I asked the ladies to follow here.  I asked for two-tone string blocks of blue/yellow/grey and low volume fabrics.  Everyone did such a good job of picking lovely, modern, fun fabrics for their blocks.  It's no secret that I love a scrappy quilt and this one is just exceptionally nice.  I enjoyed finding new favorite fabrics in every block as I was quilting it.

I decided to stipple the quilt because I felt like it needed some curvy, free motion quilting to not compete with the straight lines of the strings.  It also needed something fairly dense to reinforce all those seams and tame the seam allowances.

My FMQ has come a long way since it was my New Years Resolution 9 months ago (9? Seriously, where does the time go?!).  I still have plenty to learn, of course.  Some of my curves are not as smooth as I would like, and I had to cross over myself in a few places.

I decided to go low-volume for the binding.  I had the perfect blue and yellow polka dot fabric in my stash already. I didn't have quite enough, so I made up the difference with another soft white and blue fabric.  I machine sewed both sides of the binding for strength and speed.

As you know I like to name my quilts. This one was a little stubborn.  The colors and patterns together are so riotous, so I was thinking about String Riot.  From there I got to Springtime Riot, because of the spring-y colors.

I used Hobbs Heirloom Natural cotton batting.  I love that batting, it keeps the quilt very light and with a nice drape even with such heavy quilting.  I had this IKEA fabric in my stash, which made the perfect backing.  Added a label under the binding and this quilt is ready to go to a new home.  We send our quilts to "My Very Own Blanket" a charity which gives quilts to children in foster care.

With (20) 12.5" blocks the quilt finished at 48"x60" before washing.  I'm sure it's a bit smaller now since it crinkled up so nicely after a wash and dry.  I'll be getting this little quilt in the mail to its new home soon, where it will be on to the arms of a child.  I admit, it's more difficult than usual to let this one go :) It's become a personal favorite.

Thanks you Nurture Circle ladies!! You made another wonderful quilt. 

I'm linking up to Finish it Friday @ Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I have been wanting to do a fractal quilt for a while and finally started it on a whim. I wanted to use some of my batik scraps.

Those are 60 degree triangles, the smallest of which were 2.5" on a side unfinished.  It's going to make a small baby quilt.

I have it layered and just barely started quilting.

Love these fabrics :)
One more WIP was exactly what I needed, right? 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I think I've finally gotten a handle on my problem with sleeping the weekends away. Wilson, of course, continued as per usual :)

I made great progress on the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches August quilt this weekend. You can expect and finish post on Friday about that one :)

Based on a suggestion I read online somewhere I tried wrapping my binding around a spare spool and sticking it on the bobbing winding peg on top of my machine. Worked like a charm! Much better than my usual method of stringing binding across the floor to keep it from tangling :)

I also got September's blocks done for do. Good Stitches.  These scrappy stash-buster blocks used (136) 1.5" squares but somehow hardly made a dent in my crumbs jar!  They were a lot of fun to make, anyway.  Maybe this is how I can use up all those crumbs one of these days.

Close up of one of the blocks. These tiny square finish at 1", so fun to fussy cut!  I feel like that owl is disapproving of the monkey.

On the design wall, the improv monkey quilt continues to grow.  Up to 5 blocks done out of 12.  This one is so much fun.  Each 16" block is like a mini quilt to plan and sew.  Keeping the cuts of fabric large is making it go pretty quickly.  Looking forward to getting it finished.

Last but certainly not least, my door prize from The 2013 Pets on Quilts Show  arrived!!  40 delicious 10" batik squares. Thanks so so much to Hoffman fabrics and Snoodlz at Lily Pad Quilting.  You can see my entry to the show here

Whew! Finally, a productive weekend!  I'm linking up to design wall Monday at Patchwork Times. Be sure to see what everyone else has going on there.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wednesday WIPs

I was hoping for a finish during this break, but some progress will have to do.  I quilted some more on the bird houses quilt but it's no much to look at, so no pictures.  Hopefully I will have that one done soon. It's so small, there's really no excuse not to!  Well, there is this adorable face who is always snoozing in my bed.  Makes it that much harder to not just throw in the towel and take a nap.

I started a new top using my old, coveted sock monkey fabrics. I need a dozen 16" square blocks.  One block down, eleven to go!  I am piecing these together improv style with no particular pattern. I am planning to stick to 90 degree corners and bright, child-friendly fabrics.

Major props to the girls of the Nurture circle at do. Good Stitches for getting all their August blocks to me in record time! I am missing one person's blocks, but since two people made extra I have all the blocks I need to start putting the top together. 

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.