Saturday, May 31, 2014

1/4 of Texas

After having so much fun with the Triangle Quilt Along I have found another quilt along to play along with!  This time it is the Texas Quilt Along hosted at My Fabric Relish.  I loved this quilt ever since I saw the inspiration quilt, but it is especially appropriate since I live in Texas.

I went with traditional red, white, and blue for my color palette.  This is the first quarter of the state, minus the missing city blocks for Ft Worth, Dallas, and Tyler, which will be revealed this week. I can hardly wait!

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Teachers Touch Hearts

Well, this is that quilt that, as one commenter put it, I was "volun-told" to do :)  It is a gift for a retiring school teacher, one of my mom's co-workers.  See, I agreed to bind a quilt.  Turns out that certain non-quilters may not actually know what binding means and may in fact assume it's the same as make a quilt.

This quilt contains the hand prints of (59) 5th graders.  The 60th block got a quote and thank-you message. 

(ETA: several people have asked what the paint used was. I didn't buy it, but was told it came from WalMart and is called "shiny acrylic".  I heat set it thoroughly with a hot iron.)

I quilted the quilt with a wide stipple, avoiding running over the paint hand prints.  (I'm not including too many closeups because blurring out 59 names was not how I wanted to spend my evening.)

Although I wasn't initially excited about doing this quilt, I am proud of how it came out and happy that it's going to a worthy cause.  I was surprised by how soft the paint hand prints are after a good wash and impressed that none of them ran or bled.

The backing is a pretty blue paisley and the binding is striped.  The quilt finished at 60"x72", a generous couch size.  So, at the end of the day, a pretty quilt goes to a good home and everyone's happy. 

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Working Late Wednesday

Tonight I have been basting, that least favorite of all quilting tasks.

First was this hand print quilt, which will be a gift for a retiring teacher.  Someone accidentally volunteered me to make this one (insert indignant sigh here).  With supervision my mom mostly pieced the top (she felt guilty), but I'll be doing the quilting and binding.  I think the design we chose turned out pretty good.

Second was the crumb scrap quilt I've been working on.  The further along this one gets the more I like it.  I've decided it's going to be a wedding quilt for a coworker.  Best of all, the scrap busting continues!

This is a late addition to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bibs and Bags

Lately I have been sewing on a lot of things that are not quilts.  First I made a couple of Noodlehead Open Wide bags for my trips to DC.
Wilson helped with photos
I made a medium sized bag out of suede for my toiletries and a small bag for my electronics.  Both worked great!

In the electronics bag I used elastic and some buttons to put in a few cord tamers.

The other thing I have been making is baby bibs. I am using the Bapron pattern from Craftiness is not Optional.

I bought a few of these a couple years ago from another quilter and every parent I gave one to raved about how they are the best bib EVER!  As you can see, I got somewhat carried away making them, but I am sure I'll have no trouble giving them away :) I've already given away 4 little boy bibs.

Linking up to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bordering (on maddness)

After a week or so of not blogging I am finally working on something again! The Crumb nine-patches quilt is getting a border and, you guessed it, it's made of scraps!  These came from my strings bin, cut to 2" strips and pieced into sort of an endless "Trips Around the World" block/border.

Here's to more progress soon!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Drunken Circles Bee Quilt {Blogger's Quilt Festival}

It's that time of year again! Time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  This is a chance for all of us who can't be at Spring Market to show off what we've bee working on and have a chance at some cool prizes, too.  This year I am entering my Drunken Circles quilt in the Modern Quilts category.

This quilt was made by my wonderful fellow-stitchers in the Nurture Circle of do. Good Stitches.  You can find the tutorial for the block we used here if you are interested.  Everyone made one block and I set them up 3x3 with the extra one on the back.

Such AWESOME prints turned up in everyone's blocks!
For the quilting I chose to try intersecting spirals about 1/2" apart, which was an interesting learning experience! Ended up doing it FMQ and that worked out really well.  I used half a dozen different brightly colored threads for the quilting.

You can see the quilting really well from the back. I used a nice IKEA print for the back along with the extra block.

The quilt got a do. Good Stitches label and a stark black and white print for the binding. It measured 45" x 60" before washing.

After posing for pictures the quilt was shipped to My Very Own Blanket, a charity that gives quilts to children in foster care.

I love being a part of my circle at do. Good Stitches! If you have every considered joining this bee you really must.  Major props as always to the ladies in my circle who did such an awesome job with this quilt.

Be sure to visit the Blogger's quilt festival to check out other entries and check out my other entry in the Scrappy Quilt category here.

Rainbow Waves scrap quilt {Blogger's Quilt Festival}

Welcome once again to the Blogger's Quilt Festival, when all of us who only wish we were at Spring Market have our own little festival.  This year I am entering my Rainbow Waves quilt into the Scrappy Quilt category.

This quilt was made from a design found on another quilter's blog.  You can find the link to the original design and a break down of the block for this quilt here.

To make this I pulled from my scrap piles, (only prints and brights, and no pinks or purples) and cut as many 3.5" squares as I could.   These paired with 3.5" squares of white and became 768 half square triangles.  Whew!

The top without borders would have measured 60"x80", but at the last minute I decided to add a string pieced border which ended up bumping it up to more like 75"x95".

For the border I pulled from my string box, anything that looked to be less than 1.5". I trimmed them to 3 common widths and then pieced them end to end.  I sewed the border on around and around and around the top until I ran out of strings and ended up with a really dynamic border about 5" wide.

I stippled the whole thing for simplicity's sake, and to tame all the scraps.  Of course it finished off with a scrappy binding :)

Be sure to go back to the festival and check out other entries, and check out my other entry in the Modern category here.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

"Salty" Another Sailing Themed Quilt :)

This quilt has been a UFO for far too long!  It's been basted since probably New Years, quilting was the hold up.  All done now!

The quilt has a patchwork of progressively taller pieces of aqua and low volume fabrics. I used some Tula Pink "Saltwater" and some Sarah Jane "Out to Sea" to keep the theme.

Ultimately I went simple for the quilting. A stipple in the patchworks and large waves in the borders and sashing.  I LOVE the way the waves look. And so easy to FMQ, too!

The patchwork sections are bordered in an aqua solid and I used the same fabric for the binding.

The backing is a polka dot aqua, blue, and black on white.

I feel like stippling is a lazy way to quilt, but you just can't beat it for texture.  I had originally tried to straight-line quilt the patchworks but it was pretty much a disaster. Stippling went without a hitch!  The quilt finished about 60" square and is awaiting its forever home :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Crumb Jar Nines

One my design wall today, all the blocks for a quilt made from those nine-patches I made from crumbs scraps. Crumbs are the smallest size scraps I keep.  Anything below about 3" square I call a crumb.  Quite a few of mine were actually not large enough to get a 2" square from, but these squares came from the ones that were. 

I put asymmetrical borders on the nine patches using solids from my scraps and stash.  Hoping to piece this together some time next week :)

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Friday, May 2, 2014

I made Bofur's Hat (and you can, too!)

Remember a few weeks ago when I showed you the prototypes for the hat I was making? I was waiting on my leather to come in the mail. Well, it came and I love my hat!

Time for hat selfies!
For those of you who are not Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fans, this is a replica of the hat worn by the dwarf Bofur in the Hobbit movies.  You can buy a nice replica from the original makers here.  But, besides not wanting to shell out the cash, I really wanted a functional hat, not a show piece, and I wanted to make it myself. 

First I'm just going to show you the hat, and toward to bottom of the post I'll show my templates and give tips for making your own. I made 4 prototypes before I made this hat out of a nice shearling sheep's hide.  The first two were from jersey fleece, then I moved on to a fake suede/polyester fuzz combination to incorporate the thickness that the real hide would have.

Photo-bombed by one of the local dogs. Her name is Pepper.
This hat is meant to have 2 positions.  With the ear flaps flipped up and the back rolled up when it's not too cold and flaps down when it's cold and windy.  Having been at sea, doing deck watch with frigid winds cutting to the bone, I have a special appreciation for anything that can keep my ears warm.

With the flaps down the back of the hat reaches almost all the way down my neck, well below the collar of a jacket, and the ear flaps actually cover my ears and wrap under my chin.  I haven't been able to test it yet as it's coming on summer here, but with the leather to block wind and wool to hold in the warmth I'd bet this hat will be unbeaten in the keep-my-ears-warm department.  As long as my ears are warm I don't care how goofy I look :)

So you want to make your own?  Here's the best info I can offer. When I went looking for Bofur's hat tutorials I assumed there would be several good ones already out there, but in fact there weren't. Of the few I found only one of them had actually caught on to the fact that you need to sweep the ear flaps forward to make them flip up right.    The construction of the hat is basically similar to an old bomber cap but with the ear flaps modified.  There are two mirror-image side pieces and a tapered strip running down the center.

These are my templates.  I am trying to figure out a way to scan these in, but for now I hope the measurements give you enough to make your own.  You can download the full-size image here.  These templates make a hat that fits fairly loosely on my head.  I am a petite person and generally "one size fits all" hats fit me too big, so you may need to scale the templates up/down.  I HIGHLY recommend making a prototype or three before you cut into any real leather.

Prototype made with "suede" and polyester "shearling" from Hancocks. I decided to shorten the eat flaps and front flap after this.
As far as the leather, I ordered mine from Leatherwise on ebay. I believe they have an Etsy shop, too.  I highly recommend them. Item descriptions and photos were good, I thought the prices were reasonable, and shipping was fast.  I got a sheepskin "shearling" which means the wool was trimmed down to about 1/2" long, and I avoided getting one that had "suede" on the leather side, just for personal preference.

With careful placement I was able to get all my pieces out of one sheep's hide, although I did end up having to cut and add an additional piece to the end of the center strip after the sewing machine scrunched it a bit.  (Make SURE you flip your side piece template so you get mirror image pieces). If you look carefully at the picture above you can see where I added seam allowance to some areas, then eased it back down to just the size of the template in the areas that didn't get sewn into seams (look at the wide end of the strip where the front flap is).

Not every day you need clippers and a vacuum to sew :)
The wool doesn't shed too badly until you start cutting into it, then it's everywhere. I cut with both a rotary cutter and scissors and kept a little vacuum nearby.  I recommend running the vacuum along the freshly cut edges as soon as you cut them to keep the fluff down.  After you cut your pieces out you're going to want to shave your seam allowances (trust me on this.)  We shave one of our cats in summer, so I happened to have animal clippers, but you could also just use scissors.  On the areas that will wind up in seams (ie not the ear flaps or front flap) trim in between 0.5"-1" wide from the edge,  that much will end up folded up in the top-stitching, so the lack of wool won't be visible, but the reduced bulk helps construction sooo much.

Top-stitching along a seam
Assemble the hat with a 0.5" seam allowance. I bought a leather needle, which definitely helped. I also lengthened my stitch length and went s.l.o.w.  Leather does have some stretch, so you'll want to use a walking foot and even so whichever piece is on the bottom with the feed dogs will probably end up shorter than you expected.  Just be careful, ease it in, and make you have the same piece on bottom when you sew both seams (whether it's the center strip or the sides).

Top-stitching seen from the inside.
Top-stitching is a tedious but necessary process.  Slowly work your way along the seams, sewing the allowances open a slim 1/4" from the seam line.

Fold up the front flap and pin in place with a few stitches. 

And that's it! Enjoy your new hat.  Here are plenty of photos of mine, below, to help for references.  If you make a hat please send me a pic or a link!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.