Saturday, December 31, 2016

This and That Scraps

There's been lots of activity on my design wall lately.  My body celebrated my return to Texas in right fashion by developing a cold, so I haven't felt up for the hours-long process of basting and quilting tops.  Instead I sewed a few little things, arranged and rearranged the design wall, and put together backings for various tops for when I do feel up to it again (thanks you to Louise, Gail, Nancy, Amanda, and others of you who have generously contributed backing fabrics!)

I put up some of the hot and cold corner blocks to just see how they look and it's even better than I hoped! These won't be sewn together until the last of the stragglers are here. (By the way, if you're looking for the January block drive for CiL it's HERE). I also sewed up several more string herringbone blocks from my 1.5" strings. 

I'm actually running out of the string scraps I'd cut (don't worry, there's more! I just haven't trimmed them yet), so I switched to another old scrap project, these small pinwheels.  I started sewing the fourpatches into chains and putting them on the wall. I'm trying to avoid doing math as much as possible by just building it in place.

After some debate I decided to cut my setting triangles from scraps instead of white fabrics, so I cut 6.5" squares from my scrap piles today.  Cutting a 6.5" square into quarters lets me make setting triangles with no bias stretch on the outside edge.

I sewed up the corners as they are so far with the setting triangles in place.   It's a crappy night-time picture, but what do you think?  I'm a fan of the colored triangles for the edge.  Of course my quilting supervisors have been hard are work.  They're trying not to let on too much, but I think they missed me, too!

By the way, don't miss the 2016 Year in Review post about Covered in Love.

Linking to Oh Scrap! and Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 in Review

I started this post by looking back at last year's. Can you believe that this was only the first full year for Covered in Love??? Yeah, me either!  Hard to believe we're only about a year and a half old; this little charity endeavor has grown and grown thanks to all of you.

Gorgeous star quilt, pieced by Teri and quilted by Judy

This year we gave out 90 quilts bringing out grand total to 135!!  Ninety families who lost their loved one carried one of our quilts home with them.

Recently received quilts from Suzanne and Meredith
I hosted nine block drives and by the time I finish sewing everything up we'll have made a total of 32 quilts together.  You can click here to see finished block drive quilts.

A stack-and-whack top by Teri, quilted by Judy

Covered in Love was honored to be chosen as a featured charity by the Hands2Help quilt drive in the Spring and received nearly 50 quilts!  As the year ends we are in the incredibly blessed position of not only having quilts at the hospital ready to be handed out, but also a nice stash at home waiting in to replenish those.

Teri's piecing and Judy's quilting make this one a real showpiece for someone

As the charity has matured our mission has come into better focus. I posted a long update here in September about how things are evolving.

2016 has been a rough year for a lot of people, not least of all the recipients of our quilts.  Going into 2017 remember that every act of kindness is its own reward, that it lifts the giver and recipient; that darkness is not driven away by more darkness but only by light.  You all have shown me that kindness this year through your donations and I hope it is repaid to you in the coming year.

Wishing you all the best, Kat.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Faded Quarter Cabins

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you've had a good holiday.  In the spirit of winter, hot chocolate by the fire and snow piling up outside the window, I thought we would make some cozy log cabin blocks for the next Covered in Love block drive.   The two month block drive cycle seems to be working well, so this one is going to run through January and February. 

Hopefully you'll be able to get most of these fabrics from your scraps.  Choose a cool color (blue/green/purple) that you have some variety of fabrics in.  Pull seven fabrics that fade from light to dark. The lighter pieces you can use smaller scraps, darker ones needs to be a bit bigger.  You may not have the fabrics to make a perfect fade, just work with what you have and try to stay within the same color family (ie, don't mix aqua and true blue, pick one). 

Moving from light to dark cut 1 piece from each fabric as listed below:
3.5" square
another 3.5" square
3.5"x6.5" rectangle
another 3.5"x6.5" rectangle
3.5"x9.5" rectangle
another 3.5"x9.5" rectangle
3.5"x12.5" rectangle 

Begin to sew the fabrics together starting with the lightest in a quarter log cabin sequence (follow the picture below).

...and there you go! The block should finish at 12.5" square.  

(Edited to Add: View some finished quilts here)

I know many of your are old hats at these block drives, but for anyone who's new to Covered in Love, we give quilts to patients who pass away at a hospital in east Texas.  Family members can take the quilts home with them to wrap up in afterward.  Anyone can participate in the block drives and make as few or as many blocks as you like.  Email or leave a comment (make sure I can reach you) for a mailing address or if you have any questions!

You can check out finished quilts from previous block drives here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Baby Mobile for Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone!  I am back from the frozen North but haven't made it home yet. We are celebrating at my grandparents' house. 

While I was up in Illinois I decided to make a crib mobile for my friend's sweet baby.  I found an old slide carousel for the top and sewed stringers of paper from a map for the sides.  The center has mirrors, bells, and lights.

Here's a baby's eye view ...

...and here is the baby successfully being mesmerized by the mobile.

Baby-sitting made easier by sparkly lights and mirrors :)  Hope you're all having a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

Linking to Finish it Friday.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Assembling Strings

I have a confession to make dear blog readers... much of what you've seen here in the past month or so actually took place in September and October. In fact, except for a brief visit at Thanksgiving (when I got to meet my new toy, made stockings, and took the chaplains a resupply of quilts) I haven't been home since before Halloween.  I know! Time seems to have flown by.

got to enjoy GORGEOUS fall leaves, something we don't really get in Texas
Normally when I go out of town I have enough content scheduled to cover me until I get back but this trip was unexpectedly extended by a baby who decided she was much more cozy where she was and saw no need to exit mom's tummy. What have I been up to, you may ask?

My kitchen assistants
Well, I've been in Illinois, aka The Frozen North, working for some friends to help run their boarding house.  I've been foster parent, cook, and chauffeur for 8 high schoolers and one young adult with Down Syndrome (and 10 chickens and 2 dogs). 

Shortly after I got here in October.  I got to carry the baby!!!
I've also been visiting with my college buddy and fellow quilter Libby and her precious new baby (not the same slow-poking baby I mentioned before). Recently it has gotten downright freezing cold and it's snowing some days. Fortunately I came back prepared for the cold after Thanksgiving with a proper coat, scarf, and gloves. Snow is still novel and magical. Hopefully that won't wear off before I go home!

winning the award for Cutest Baby in a Bear Snow-suit
Since Libby obviously isn't doing much sewing lately what with the new baby and all she loaned me her sewing machine.  At Thanksgiving I brought back all 300+ October block drive string blocks with me and have been busy assembling them.

So far I have 6 tops done of an estimated 8.  My room up here has begun to look suspiciously like my room at home!

Covered in Love continues, where ever I am at :)   Remember, the "hot and cold corners" block drive is still going on through Christmas.  My mail is being taken in and sorted at home, so if you want to sew along and send in blocks please do!  I'll be home right about Christmas and get caught up on everything.  Thank you for all your support this year, Merry Christmas!

Linking to Oh Scrap!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

New Toy

This was my early Christmas present to myself this year, and AccuQuilt Go :)  I've been eyeing them for ages, like many of you I'm sure, and finally made the leap.  I don't have many dies yet but I wanted to play so I went ahead and got started cutting 4.5" strips from scraps the other day.

Judy recently sent me another hefty box of her scraps so I had lots of grey and black/whites on hand.  I first cut strips, then sewed 3 strips together into a panel, then subcut those using the same die into units of (3) 4.5" squares in a row.  The cutter says it can handle 6 layers at a time and it definitely did.

Then these could be rearranged and sewn into nine patches.  I definitely did not need another WIP, but so far I'm enjoying my new toy and glad I got it!

Linking to Oh Scrap!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Middle-of-the-Road Christmas Stockings

Hello! 'Tis the Season once again and I've just finished making a batch of Christmas stockings for gifting.  I've made fancy, fully lined stockings before, but as I was making quite a few quickly that was off the table. Still, I didn't just want to sew together 2 fabrics pillowcase-style.  So-- I developed a new method for making nice but quick stockings. If your interested I have a tutorial with LOTS of photos here.

(names obscured to protect the surprise)

These stockings have solid backings with holiday fabrics, fronts pieced from scraps, and flannel false-cuffs with embroidered names. 

My sewing inspector had to check everything out...

I embroidered the recipients names on the stocking cuffs.  Prior to nursing I worked several years running an embroidery machine and my old boss let me come back and make these :)  I didn't think I remembered how to use the machine, but once I started I found out my fingers still remembered.

I called this a "false cuff" because it only goes across the front of the stocking and is sewn into the side seams.  It's a lot easier to make than a full cuff, but it makes the stocking look fancier. 

I think the 9 stockings have 4 different holiday fabrics for backs.  Of course these will be stocked with goodies before Christmas :)  I hope your holiday season is off to a good start! Remember, if you're interested in a tutorial for my middle-of-the road stockings it's here.

Linking to Finish if Friday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quick Christmas Stocking Tutorial

 Another year almost gone and here comes Christmas. It seems like it was just January!  I decided to make Christmas stockings for several teens this year. (I'll load them up with goodies before gifting of course). I've made nice, fully lined stockings with no exposed seams and a cuff at the top before, but as I needed to make 9 that wasn't really feasible this time.  Still, I didn't want to just sew two pieces of fabric together and call it good. So this is my middle of the road, nice but not too time consuming Christmas stocking tutorial.

Print out or draw yourself a template. For reference this one measures 6.5" across the top, so the stockings finished at about 6" wide. I wouldn't go much smaller than that because it's hard to get your hand in.  Trace around your template and cut lining fabric (2 per stocking, I used an old sheet). I decided to use a solid backing and pieced front for my stockings, so I traced and cut backing fabric at this point as well (one per stocking).  (Pay attention to which way your template is turned. In photos stockings always seem to hang with their toes pointed to the right.)

Place the back piece and back-lining right sides together and sew across the top.

Then flip wrong sides together, match the toes, and press the top seam to make a finished edge.

I foundation pieced strips of red and green to the front lining fabric of my stocking to make the front panel.

I've got a tutorial here for foundation piecing squares. The stocking uses the same technique, just stocking-shaped.  Again, pay attention to which way the toe is pointing.

Sew each new strip onto the previous one, through the lining, so when you're done you have the outside and inside already joined together.

After pressing I placed my template on top and traced again, then trimmed it, since the lining can warp and stretch when you sew the strips on.

Now you have the front and back of your stocking ready. You could sew them together at this point but I chose to make a false cuff to make it look fancier.  To make the cuff you need to cut a piece of fabric equal to the width of your stocking and twice as tall as the cuff will be deep (plus seam allowances).  I cut a 6.5" square for a 3" deep cuff.  Obviously you embroidery is nice if you can get it. I think some kind of trim or decorative stitching would look nice, too.

Fold the cuff in half wrong sides together and pin the open sides.

Place the cuff, right side up, at the top of the wrong side of the front stocking panel and sew across the top.  (See picture)  This should close the long open seams of the cuff.

Flip the cuff over the top to hide that seam you just made and you should have your cuff in place and a nice seam at the top of the panel. Press with an iron.

Sew the front and back of the stocking right sides together, catching all the layers and the cuff in the seam, leaving the top open.

It helps to pin a few places.

Remember to sew in a hanging loop near the top before you close the seam.

I zig-zagged over the raw inside seam to finish it before flipping the stocking right-side-out and pressing.

Ta-da! I hope the tutorial is helpful, if anyone follows it I'd live to see what you make!

Linking to Oh Scrap!