Friday, August 29, 2014

goodbye summer

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This was the last week of summer vacation for us, so I took most of the week off and spent it with my kiddos. We spent some time with their cousins and then we spent some time preparing for school. It included a 24 hour cleaning stint (their room was a disaster area!!) so cleaning that was a HUGE accomplishment. I'm counting it not only as my main finish for the week, but also a personal victory that all 4 of us lived through it and still love each other. Ha!
I did just a little bit of piecing this week, here and there. I pulled out my solids scrap bin and just started sewing.
I love working with solids. I love working improvisationally. I LOVE playing with color.
This was/is all about enjoying the process. I truly have no idea how it is going to end up, but I'm fine with that.
I DO know that I am not going to run out of scraps any time soon!

It seems like it was just last week when I was asking if we should continue finish it up Friday throughout the summer, and here it is, the end already! I'm so glad that we continued was very helpful and productive! Thanks for the accountability!

Now it's YOUR turn. Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Oh! And thank you for all your sweet comments on my EPP star quilt from last week. Each and every one is much appreciated! xoxo

Friday, August 22, 2014

EPP did not get the best of me

Hello and welcome to finish it up Friday!
I'm sooo very excited...I finally finished my "Oh My Stars" quilt top!! Isn't that an appropriate name for it? It is English paper pieced (EPP for short), which means that it is completely stitched by hand. I never ever thought I would completely hand stitch a quilt top, but hey, I've done a lot of things that I seem to have fallen into! Ha! Looking back, I'm quite pleased with my choice of fabrics (30's and polka dots) for this quilt, because it should continue to get better with age. I am so thrilled that I saw this to completion!


2" 60 degree diamonds (2" is the measurement of each side of the diamond)
Cardboard templates (I cut my own)
Video tutorial here
Quilting On the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis is also a great resource
Started: April 2011
Top Finished: August 21, 2014
Fabrics: 30's prints and polka dots, various white backgrounds, but mostly Kona cotton
Finished size: 63" x 83"

Now I get to baste and hand quilt it. That will probably take me another 2 years and 4 months! But for now, I will celebrate the fact that the top is DONE!

It's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

in memory of Aunt Janet

First off, thank you for all of your sweet comments in my last post regarding my 250th quilt finish! When I started my blog I had NO idea where it would lead, but I'm happy to be on this journey. I appreciate YOU, my readers, being on this journey right along with me more than I can say. THANK YOU for reading, for commenting and for cheering me on. It means so much!!!
I have another quilt finish to share with you today! This is a commission quilt made for my cousin from my late Aunt Janet's clothing. It is not necessarily FUN to make a quilt out of clothing and I did not have the best attitude during parts of the process, I must confess. that it's done, I am so glad that I took on the challenge and saw it through to completion. I'm very pleased with the results!
For the backing I used a flat sheet from Target. It ended up being more cost effective than buying yardage and the print is fantastic. Not having to piece the backing was a nice bonus!
I tied the quilt with some black string (probably crochet thread?) in each corner. I rolled up the quilt from top to bottom as I tied, which kept me on track. Otherwise, it's very easy to miss a square here and there. It also kept the bulk of the quilt neatly contained while I worked. I pinned the backing right down to the carpet to keep it in place while I tied it, which ended up working well!
For the binding I used solid black jelly roll strips. It was so nice to skip the cutting and just join the strips together. Since I needed 9 binding strips, I was interested in any time saving options available!
I took the photos (with my husband and son's help) in front of the elementary school that my husband went to in Donnellson, Iowa. It was one of our last stops before returning home last weekend. By the way, have I mentioned how much I LOVE old buildings?
I was happy to test it out on a queen size bed at the hotel, since I don't have one in my home. It fit perfectly! (Phew!) My cousins gave the quilt to my uncle yesterday for his birthday. From all reports, it was very much appreciated. Hurray! Makes all the time and effort worthwhile!

You can read more about details of the making of the quilt top here if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 18, 2014

dreamin' quilt

My family and I spent the past few days in Iowa for a little vacation. We visited the area where my husband spent most of his childhood and we enjoyed some quality family time. I had a lot of time to hand bind in the car, so on Saturday I was able to finish not one, but two quilts! Hurray!
I am thankful my husband was willing to help me photograph my quilts there. I LOVE old buildings. There is a LOT of patina in Iowa and I have the photos to prove it! Hahahaha! I need to take my quilts out on location more often. It's worth the extra effort!
For the fabric, I started with a fat quarter stack of dreamin' vintage, then added some stash fabric. I purchased a few blenders and solids to round things out. I used my little connections pattern, but in a lap size. I made binding for this quilt twice. The first time I made yellow binding, but the tone wasn't quite right. I made more binding, this time with some green Kaffe Fassett dots. Much better! It really pulls all of the elements together. As it should!
I pieced the backing from my stash. I feel like I stretched myself a little bit, and I'm pleased with how it came together. I like the combination an awful lot!
The quilt measures about 66" x 78".
This summer marks my 14th year of quilting! AND.....this is my 250th quilt finish to date!!!! (I count baby size and larger.) I have yet to come up with a way to celebrate this milestone, but I'm going to come up with SOMEthing. Until then, here's to the next 250!!!
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 15, 2014

scrap happy again

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I have two quilts that I'm working on hand binding at the moment, so hopefully next week is a BIG finish week. In the meantime....

I managed to finish yet another scrap happy purse! I believe that this is my 4th one. My son said that they all look the same. Now, I don't think he necessarily meant it as a compliment, but I took it as one! :)  I forgot to add the magnetic snap to this one (doh!) but I think it will work anyway.
This is scrap project # 83/101. It's been almost a month since I finished a scrap project. Boy, I'm slipping! Thank goodness for finish it up Friday once again.

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. THANKS, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! It wouldn't be the same without you!

Monday, August 11, 2014

more mini nines

Over the weekend I sewed up some more mini nine patch blocks. This project has been on the back burner for awhile!
Here are the 36 newest blocks. Man, they are fiddly! I'm using any color combination that strikes my fancy at the time. I'm trusting in the theory that "more is more" when it comes to scrap quilts. Hopefully it holds true once again!
Now I have 85/396 done. Progress is slow, but it's progress nonetheless! I'll take it. :)

If you want to make a few of your own, the block measurements can be found in this tutorial.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 08, 2014

a memory quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm always amazed what a little FOCUS-and a deadline-will do. I started this quilt on Monday!!! As I posted earlier, I'm making a memory quilt from my late Aunt Janet's clothing. It is a custom order from my cousin, and she will be giving the quilt to her dad for his birthday in a few weeks. I've done a marathon of cutting, fusing, trimming, and sewing this week!
Deconstructing clothing is messy! I used woven interfacing (Pellon SF 101) for backing the knit fabrics. 272 squares of denim, knits and other materials. That's quite the pile of squares, no???
I turned those squares into a queen size quilt top. 16 rows across by 17 rows down. This thing is heavy!
I ended up editing the fabrics quite a bit since my first layout, and I'm pleased with my final selections. Aunt Janet sure loved her striped shirts! My sister and I discussed how cool it is that the quilt has a very masculine appeal. It should suit my uncle quite well.
I've decided against machine quilting because I think that would be nearly impossible, so I'm going to tie it with either light weight yarn or hand quilt a large X in each corner to hold the layers together.
I can not tell you just how pleased I am to have this quilt top DONE!!!!

I'm so grateful to Duluth Girl for the suggestion of using a walking foot. It made the construction of the squares so much easier. (Thanks a million, Ruthann!!!!)

I think I'm going to sew with the lightest weight cotton I can find for the rest of the day! :)

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

final quilt along update

Once again, I want to say a HUGE thank you for all of you who joined me for the scrap basket quilt along and who contributed quilts to Margaret's Hope Chest! What a difference you've made! We are so grateful!!!
Quilts have been received from the following people:

Donna B.
Carrie W.
Rebecca H.
Christine P.
Lois C.
Julia S.
Mina K.
Selina K.
Shaunna B.
Jessica W.
Melanie D.
Jasmine S.
Lisa H. 
Libby B.

The winner for the final round is Libby B.

Again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

Here is a note from Carol, one of the directors at MHC:
"From July 1 to August 1, 112 quilts were collected from our volunteer quilters around the country. Some participated in the quilt along through Crazy Mom Quilts--others just donated as they have in the past when their time and resources allowed.  All the quilts will be used for the mother-baby program at Pine Rest, at the 2 prison giveaways this fall, or for the mission trip to Guatemala in November.  Many quilters sent a thank-you note to us for allowing them to be a part of our mission. We say THANK YOU to all the friends across the country who were so generous to Margaret's Hope Chest this month.  We could not do what we set out to do without your help!"

If you missed the August 1st deadline, please know that MHC accepts donations at ANY time. They will use the quilts to continue to spread HOPE to those who are hurting and in need. Just last month, they donated their 2000th quilt!!! What an exciting milestone with a touching backstory.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Aunt Janet's quilt--a start

I'm working on a commission quilt for my cousin. Her mom, my Aunt Janet, passed away last November. I am making a memory quilt from my aunt's clothing. I've got a quick deadline, so it has rocketed to the top of my to-do list. I actually love how the quilt looks on my design wall at the moment, blocks fading into a white background. But alas, I will continue to cut up squares to complete the patchwork design throughout the entire quilt.

When I was sorting through the clothing I had to grin. My aunt was a fan of stripes and she wore a lot of black, denim and navy. At least the color palette is quite consistent throughout! A lot of the clothing is knit, so I'm stabilizing the squares with Pellon SF-101. This is uncharted territory for me, making a quilt out of knits and denim, but so far, so good. I'll probably be holding my breath the entire time, so I better hurry! Ha!

On a side note, I've actually started using my design wall as just that--a design wall! Normally I keep my orphan blocks or works in progress on the design wall (it's ever-changing artwork) and I lay out my quilts on the floor. Now that I'm using it for it's intended purpose, the floor is clean(er) and my husband it thrilled. It's pretty sad that it took me this long to figure it out, but hey, better late than never, right?

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, August 01, 2014

little connections 3 quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I just finished sewing up my little connections quilt top this morning. Hurray for the push to finish something for Friday! It keeps me focused and boy do I need it.
I used Dreamin' Vintage fabric by Jeni Baker plus various fabrics from my stash. It measures about 60" x 71". I started this one last weekend, so I'm THRILLED that it's already a quilt top!

I'm very thankful for my clothesline, which makes taking photos so much easier. Today is a rare windless day, so that's even better!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! It wouldn't be the same without you. :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

trying to catch up

Hello there! This is mainly a catch up many little things to say!

First off, I've gone back and added links to the tutorials in my posts from Monday and Friday. If you've asked about a source, I've added links. I've answered the questions from Monday's post as well.

I've finally sifted through and responded to the questions from my most recent machine quilting post. (That took awhile!) Some of them are so hard to explain in print, but I did my best! It's clear that I need to write an entire post about consistent stitch length, because that topic came up several times. I am not making any promises, but I will TRY to make a video to explain it. (Please don't hold your breath, though.) :)

We have another Quilt Along update...

The next 20 quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest are in! Quilts have been received from:

Debbie B.
Pat P.
Valerie R.
Jeanmarie S.
Judith H.
M. Kennison
Lisa E.
Pat F.
Susanne R.
B. Stanley
Denise W.
Lisa T.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Seriously, we are amazed and thankful for your generous response! The winner of this round of entries is Valerie Root.

OH! And the winner of the Olfa prize is Adrienne. Congratulations to you, Adrienne. Thanks to the rest of you for commenting. It was SO fun to read about your sewing experience.

And because I can't do a picture-less blog post....

I'm trying to take the time to pass along my love of sewing to my daughter. It's difficult, because I'm selfish and I want to sew ALL of the things. I'm trying really hard to be intentional about it, so today we had a sewing session. It went really well! Here's to the next generation of quilters!
Have a fantastic day. xo

Monday, July 28, 2014

home again

I went on my 5th annual Gruber's Retreat last weekend and it was awesome!!!! I thought it was a good time to start a few new projects, since I've been so good at trimming down my WIP list lately.
I started another (this is my 3rd) Little Connections quilt using the fabric line Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker. I added a bunch of fabrics from my stash and a few from the store, too. It's an easy pattern that I like to sew up because the blocks allow the pretty fabrics to shine. It goes together quite quickly and that's always a bonus!
I'm adding a bunch of blocks from the blue and green color way, too. It'll be interesting to see how this one comes together. I was thinking of making 2 separate quilts, but I think it might be one big (bright) quilt. We shall see!
We had some samples of flatter by soak at the retreat (thanks Jacqueline!) and it was fun to try them out in real life. I've seen a bunch of people talking about this spray starch alternative on Instagram, so I was curious to try it firsthand. I have to say, it was wonderful to work with! It's very light (starch wise) but it still did a great job of pressing the fabric. It smells amazing! I liked it a lot. Some of my friends may or may not have used it as body spray as well. Yes, it's that good. I think I would have a difficult time buying this for myself for everyday use (because I just can't get the frugal out of this girl), but I can see buying it for my friends as gifts. Funny how that works, huh?
Every year we exchange happies. This year there was a wonderful batch of goodies from my amazing friends. There is SO much talent in this group. And thoughtfulness, too!
edited to add: the tutorial for the bottom pouch, which is called the sleeping bag pouch, is here.
A mega pin cushion was also one of the happies, but it's so large it needed it's own photo! A pin cushion with pockets? Genius!
edited to add: this one is called the mega pinnie by bluepatchquilter
This was our group this year:
Front Row, L to R: Cindy, me
Back Row, L to R: Rene, Doris, Toni, Mary, Terri, Stephanie
I'm so thankful to call these ladies my friends!!!
Only 347 days until next year's retreat! :)
When I got home, I walked in the door to my sweet husband cooking my favorite dinner. My kids were happy. He had bought me a present....AND the house was clean, which is probably the best present of all! (I think I need to go away more often. Ha!) I have a lot to be thankful for. I am so very blessed!
Happy Monday to you!