Thursday, April 28, 2016

Eye Spy a Quilt

The first finish from the March block drive for Covered in Love is in and it rocks! I asked for blocks featuring novelty prints that would make adults smile and you guys delivered in spades.

This first quilt measures 50"x70" and got a simple all-over stipple from me.  It features 140 individual "eye-spy" patches made by 20 quilters.

Here are close ups of some of my favorite patches. First off, treasure secretary Alexander Hamilton! I am obsessed with the musical Hamilton so I got a big kick out of this.

Here we have a road runner, a scotty dog, an artichoke, and bicycle, along with some bonus small kitchen appliances in the background fabric.

Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed to this quilt.  It will be gifted through Covered in Love to a family who has lost someone dear to them and I'm certain it will bring smiles and comfort in a dark time.

There will be a second quilt still to come from these blocks, but in the meanwhile the May block drive has been posted!  If you would like to support Covered in Love please check out the block drive by clicking below.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilt Finish it Friday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May Covered in Love Block Drive

Another month, another block for Covered in Love!  For anyone new around here, every month I host a block drive to benefit my pet charity, Covered in Love, which gives quilts to the families of patients who pass away in the hospital.  Anyone can participate in the block drives and make as many or as few blocks as you like.

This month we're making a very simple twist on a traditional nine patch block in a muted pastel color scheme.  Please consult the color palette guide below when selecting your fabrics.  If in doubt, go with more muted, pastel colors (really, that teal block in the upper right of mine is borderline too bright.  Saturated is ok, but it shouldn't be bright.)

sky blue, sea blue, true grey, buttercup yellow, light ash grey, off white

For each block you'll need (6) 2.5"x4.5" pieces and (3) 4.5"x8.5" pieces.  Hopefully you'll be able to cut mostly from scraps and not have to get into yardage.

Arrange as above into a tall nine patch and sew together in columns, rows, or blocks. Any which way you like to put them together is fine.

(Edited to Add: View finished quilts here)

Press, and that's it!  Easy does it.  Block should finish at 12.5" sq unfinished.  You can see some of our past block drive finishes here.  Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who continue to send in blocks every month, you guys are rock stars.  If YOU would like to help out with Covered in Love, I'd love that!  Leave a comment (make sure I can see your email address) or email me for the address to send donations.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Odds and Ends and a Cat

I've been working on getting some odds and ends wrapped up this week.  First up on the design wall is a new baby quilt for my cousin. She is having a baby girl an doing the room in a coral/navy/teal nautical theme. I am so excited! Expect to see lots of baby sewing going on in the months to come.  Of course I am in love with all things ocean so I was able to dive into my scraps for all the bits for this little quilt.

Speaking of baby sewing. This was another test block for my do. Good Stitches bee that I sewed into a baby quilt size. My month is coming around in June so I'm thinking about what to ask for.  I need to find something pretty simple since I asked for paper pieced blocks last time around.  Speaking of those paper pieced blocks...

Judy at Quilt Paradigm volunteered to do some quilting for Covered in Love and she's agreed to finish the Forest QAL top for me. I'm so psyched!  Judy became permanently one of my favorite people on the planet back in 2014 when she sent me a box of her scraps to play with.  She does incredibly gorgeous quilting on her domestic machine and she already completed the two tops I sent her.  These two tops were made by another volunteer, Jo from North Carolina.  Please go check out Judy's blog and look at the amazing job she did on our tops

Judy's picture of her A-mazing quilting, click to go to her post

Speaking of CiL, as some of you know we were selected to be one of the recipients of Hands2Help quilts this year and the first one just arrived from Cynthia!  It's a gorgeous, saturated, bright quilt. I especially love the backing she used with gold metallic fabric.  After I attached the label Rory completed the final cuddly-ness inspection. (Don't worry, the quilt got a wash after this!)

Speaking of Rory, she's been ever so helpful lately.  I know ever quilter has had this happen to them: people find out that you can sew and they assume  that means you can sew anything.  Because upholstery and garment making are totally the same as quilting, right?

So.  My dad has been trying for months to get me to re-do these cushion covers he found to make them fit the seats for his airplane (he's a private pilot.) Two seater plane means four cushions (butt and back for 2 chairs.)  I protested and insisted that I wasn't remotely skilled enough but in the end he wore me down.

So that's what the hole in my desk is for! To think, I've been putting my machine in it this whole time.

The original cushions had piping which he agreed to toss out.  So after some experimentation and some cursing 2 oversized seat cushions became correctly sized and 1 bench-seat back cushion became 2.

The divot in the front is for the gear stick and fortunately was not part of what I had to modify
It's not a quilty finish, but I'm proud none the less!  And that is finally the end of my rambling, winding weekend sewing.

Linking to Oh Scrap! and Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Curved Four Patch {For Sale & Tutorial}

In case it wasn't obvious, I really like creating blocks and tutorials.  I've been lucky enough to be a quilter with the NURTURE circle of do. Good Stitches for over 3 years now.  As a quilter I choose 2 blocks a year for our group to make.  More recently the Covered in Love block drives are letting me practice that creativity.

It may not always be obvious, but I do really think about all the blocks I ask people to make, and all of them get a test sew-up.  Group blocks need to be mostly easy to moderate in difficult, forgiving (few if any points to match), and quick.  If I'm going to ask people to make a difficult block (like curved seams or paper piecing) the final design had better really deliver some wow factor!

Sometimes blocks don't make the cut, and that is how this little baby quilt came about.  I really like the color scheme, which I may recycle later, but the effect of the curves on the four patches didn't work out like I'd hoped and I couldn't get consistent, fool proof results.

Although in the end this block was too finicky for mass-production, I was able to make a cute little baby quilt with my test blocks which is now in my Etsy shop.  And since I was thinking about a tutorial I did photo-document the entire process so that if any of you wants to make a similar quilt for yourselves, you can!

Pull your fabrics and cut 7.5" squares, four per blocks.  You'll need to make your blocks in pairs.

Sew up the four patches and layer them one on top of the other.  Make sure the top blocks has a different fabric in each position than the one below (that is, the same color is not stacked on top of itself in any position.)

With your sharpest rotary cutter, cut a winding curve thought both layers of block at once.  Take it from me, DO NOT make your curve as tight as mine is in the picture above.  That was a mistake. Make smooth, big, gentle curves.

Switch the layers in one half of the block to make your new blocks.

With your quarter inch foot sew the new blocks back together.  You can check out the links at the bottom of this tutorial for guidance sewing curves without pins or put "sewing easy curves" into google for tons of videos and tips.  You DON'T need to pin. Just line up 1" at a time and go slow. Remember, the only place your two layers need to line up is just as they pass under the needle.

Press to one side or the other.  I got insanely lucky on the blocks below and the ends almost lined up, but most of the time your ends won't and that's ok. That's why we started with 14.5" four patches.

Trim to 12.5" square.  I made a point of keeping my main vertical and horizontal seams square, that is, at 90 degree angles to the blocks edges.  I think you might get a cool effect from trimming at wonky angles, something to experiment with :)

And that's it!  If anyone make a quilt from this tutorial I'd love to see pictures!  And if anyone want this quilt, it's in my Etsy shop.

Making good use of the heat left in the ironing board after pressing blocks

Linking to Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Monday, April 18, 2016

String-y Design Wall

Always a happy day to have new scraps on the design wall!  First I put some of the Covered in Love block drive lattice blocks up to see how they look. I'm not sewing these together yet, just playing. I know the lighting's bad, but don't these looks cool?  This is from the April block drive, which is still going on if you would like to contribute!

Next I finished the string color blocks that I was working on yesterday. These are made from Cynthia's Scrap-a-Palooza tutorial.  I did end up adding green as a 4th color way to have enough blocks for a 50"x70" quilt. 

Today I'm hoping to sew together the color block quilt and test drive some blocks for future block drives.  Hope your Monday is productive!

Linking to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Scrappy Sunday Sewing

I love sewing with scraps.  If I could find a way to never use yardage and just sew scraps I might do it, but yardage makes things go so much faster.  Scraps are all about taking you time, enjoying the process, and finding a way to make the most of what you have.  This particular scrap session was reward sewing for getting a school assignment done yesterday.

A while back when I sorted out scraps for another project I put aside pink, yellow, and purple strings for a rainy day.  Now those girly strings are coming together into my version of Cynthia's string color block quilt.  This is one of her fabulous Scrap-a-Palooza series quilts.

Quilt in potentia

I'm trimming my strings to 11" and sewing each color way into a column, then subcutting 8.5"x10.5" blocks from that.  A couple of thin white strips cut from yardage added to the long sides brings the blocks up to 10.5" square.  I'm not sure yet how big this quilt will be or exactly how I'll layout the blocks. I might even add one more color way!  Right now I'm just enjoying to scrappy sewing.

Linking to Oh Scrap!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Patriotic Finish

Johanna (no blog) is one of our regular block drive contributors and she also sends along tops from time to time.  I have two more of hers waiting to be quilted, and this week I have her patriotic top done.

This quilt features some really awesome fabrics, all USA themed.  Several of them have sparkles in the fabrics!

I added the gold border to make the quilt a tad bigger.  The border fabric was a donation, too, from Susan along with another quilt top to-be-quilted.

Thanks to Johanna, Susan, and all the volunteers who keep Covered in Love going.

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Giant Eye Spy Design Wall

Finally a change on my design wall! I got the Nurture circle Forest QAL top sewn up so I covered the design wall in March's eye spy blocks.  At least 2 tops to come here.

This week I also got my April Nurture circle blocks done.  Can't wait to see what Louise does with these.

I thought you might get a kick out of these pictures of Rory.  She does this whenever we bring home groceries.  She purposely weaves into the handles of the bags and wears them around like a dress :)

Silly cat.  She'll wear her pretty dress for a few hours, until she has to make a bathroom stop.  The bag doesn't go into the litter box so well.

Linking to Patchwork Times Design Wall Monday.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Sampler Strings Done

A while back one of the Tyler Modern ladies, Sheryl, gave me two sets of block-of-the-month sampler blocks to make Covered in Love quilts with.  She was happy to get rids of some UFOs and I was happy to have them!

The first set is all done and quilted and I'm calling it "Sampler Strings" after the vertical string sashing.

Someone else had given me 3 more blocks from the same block-of-the-month so I had 15 all together.  Thank you ladies!! All I had to do was add some sashing and put it together.

The quilt got my usual quick, simple stipple.  You've gotta love those fun fabrics in bright, saturated colors!  If you would like to get involved with Covered in Love check out our main page for details or see our April block drive here.

I got to deliver 8 more quilts to the chaplains yesterday and hear updates and stories.  He told me that so often the quilt that they chose (somewhat randomly) to take to a family turns out to be the perfect one with a color, pattern, or fabric that has special significance to them! It's amazing how these things work out :)

Linking to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Friday & TGIFF at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Makes it all worthwhile

Yesterday a brother and sister were left behind while their mother passed on without them.  In a quiet, dim hospital room on a cool Spring afternoon.  With an underwhelming view of a gravel roof out the window and nurses on the other side of the closed door talking, laughing, anticipating their pot-luck lunch.  It wasn't and ending with it a bang, it was quiet and subdued. Witnessed by only a brother and a sister, and a nurse who knowingly watched the heart monitor from another room.  For the rest of us the day continued, life goes on, there are casseroles and Sundaes in the break room and tomorrow we get to sleep in.  But for a brother and a sister, at least for this week, the world stopped turning, that much darker for the loss of one person who mattered so much.

I got the honor of placing a quilt on the bed of that sweet mother yesterday. So that when the brother and sister walked out of our hospital without their mom they carried something else. One of our October block drive Falling Leaves quilts went to its forever home with the brother and the sister.  Thanks sooo much to everyone who contributes to our monthly block drives for Covered in Love! You guys don't ever get to meet the family and put the quilt on the bed, but without your support I would never get to either.  Each block you send in matters.

This month we're making string lattice blocks, you can find the tutorial here.  Meanwhile, I started playing with March's blocks on the design wall last night.  These are going to be so cool! Each quilt will have at least 144 different novelty squares to look at.

This week I'm also continuing to work on my "to-be-quilted" backlog, four more tops to go.  Rory is being her usual helpful self.  If you want to get involved with Covered in Love comment or drop me an email, and thanks to all of you who already have helped. You're my heroes.

Happy Monday!

Linking to Patchwork Times.