Wednesday, April 18, 2018

slow and steady

It feels like all of my projects are SLOW these days....but I'm reminding myself that slow and steady is the name of the game. I'm also reminding myself to enjoy the process, because that's kind of the point, right?
That being said, I was quite excited to finish another hundred 4 patch blocks. I'm up to two hundred (and four) now. I still haven't done the math to determine how many I need in all. I'm going to wait awhile longer to do that. No need getting discouraged at this point. Ha!
I think I've mentioned this before, but after I make 100 blocks, they go into a baggie. That is an easy way to keep tabs on my progress. What I really need to do is sit down and cut a bunch of squares one afternoon. If they are cut, I will happily sew them! Anyone else get stuck in the cutting phase?
Here is progress on my 100 day project. I had a strong start, but I've been finding it hard to get back to it every day. I DID make a noticeable dent in the scrap drawer I was working from, so that's encouraging. I've been putting pieces up on the design wall as I sew. I kind of like the white between the blocks, so I'm thinking of incorporating that in my quilt this time. It would be a different twist on the vortex quilt and I think it would be fun! I have plenty of white scraps to use, so it's a definite possibility. I guess I better keep sewing! :)

Friday, April 13, 2018

a traditional log cabin quilt-complete!!!

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Today I am THRILLED to share with you my completed log cabin quilt!
I started this quilt back in May of 2016 and I'm delighted that it took me less than 2 years to complete it. Truth be told, most of the blocks were made earlier this year in a marathon quilt making session. It was a little intense. Hahaha!
I made it a point to use some of my most precious fabrics in this quilt. I used a lot of fabrics from Denyse Schmidt, some from Heather Ross, Carolyn Friedlander, and soooo many other great designers. I also mixed in some of my own designs from each of my fabric lines. (That was pretty fun, I have to admit!) I added a lot of blenders and several 30's reproduction fabrics, too. I LOVED using such a large variety of prints in one quilt. The more the better!
It looks SO good on my bed! EEEP!
I quilted it with simple loops all over with white Aurifil 50 weight thread. I love the texture it created....and it hasn't even been washed yet! It took a LONG time to quilt!!! Days and days. I'm really glad that I quilted it myself, though. There is such a feeling of accomplishment quilting a KING size quilt, even if the quilting isn't perfect.
My original plan for the binding was to use red and white polka dots. That's my default, it seems. I didn't have any appropriate options on hand, so I chose this springy apple green polka dot instead. I LOVE the pop of color on the outside of the quilt. It worked out so, it was in my stash, which means I could make the binding at 9pm. We all know that is important! :)
I love the front of the quilt, but the fun fact is, that it's actually two quilts in one, because I pieced a back from my stash. I used a stack of fabrics that I had bundled together YEARS ago, thinking it would make a cute know, someday. Well, after some editing (adding AND subtracting), I have ANOTHER quilt. That's good use of my batting dollar. Hurray!
I LOVE that this block says "Cookies". That will be sure to make me smile every time I see it. Quirky and fun.
On the back I used some of my vintage fabric (the two florals shown) that came from my grandma's house. It was a little thin, but I really wanted to use it. Realizing that the quilt will only be as strong as the weakest fabric, I added some Pellon SF101 to the back of the thin fabrics to stabilize them. They should withstand a lot of wear now. I'm so glad I thought of that solution sooner rather than later. (Which would be typical!)
I think the back turned out even better than I imagined it would. I LOVE it when that happens.
I labeled the quilt nearly right away, so it's REALLY done! After all that work, I am very happy to put my name on this quilt! I opted for a hand written label because it feels more personal. I like having a bit of my handwriting on the quilt label, even if it's not super polished.
The quilt measures 108" x 99".'s scrap project #202!!!! That means that I've officially wrapped up my second round of my 101 scrap challenge. WOOHOO!!! That feels amazing!
All together this quilt used about 12.1 yards of scraps for the front, nearly 10 yards of fabric for the back, and about 3/4 of a yard for binding, which means that this quilt contains nearly 23 yards of fabric. How CRAZY is that???? It weights nearly 9 pounds. This one heavy duty quilt!
You can find the measurements here, if you care to make one of your own!
Alright! That's it for me today! Now it's your turn. Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great (and safe!) weekend! xo

Friday, April 06, 2018

type clutch

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm pretty excited about this week's finish! I've wanted to make a hard framed clutch for a LONG time, but they have always intimidated me. Last week when I was teaching in North Carolina, I saw Lee's clutches in person and I knew that it was time. I chose to use fabric (rather than patchwork) for my first attempt. I'm so glad I did! It was a quick and mostly easy project.
 I used some hoarded fabric for the exterior (isn't it so cute???)....
....and more hoarded fabric for the inside, which is from the same line, incidentally. (Fabrics are Type by Julia Rothman for Windham fabrics.)

The hardest part of this project was gluing the fabric into the frame. Truthfully, it really wasn't that hard, it was a just a personal hang up. Something about gluing fabric makes me a little (or a lot) nervous. The good thing is, the glue overage that I had was able to be removed easily after it dried. Phew! This particular frame has screws to secure the fabric into the frame to add stability to the clutch. I'm thankful for that feature, because I want this clutch to hold up for a long time!
When I showed this to my son last night, he exclaimed, "you made THAT?" Yep, I sure did! I love that the hard frame gives it such a professional finish. Fun, fun!

The pattern is called Clutched and it is available here. The frames can be purchase here or here. The frame size is 8 x 3. There is a smaller sized pattern called Cased, which can be found here. It uses the same size frame, it is just a shorter version of the Clutched pattern.

That's it for me today! Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend! xo

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

on a whim

Several people on Instagram are jumping into the 100 day project challenge, which officially started yesterday. The challenge is pretty open pick your own creative challenge (drawing, painting, lettering, sewing, etc.) and try to do a little bit each day for 100 days. I had no intention of joining in. None whatsoever. I've done a few stints of 31 day challenges, and boy, were they difficult! I'm keenly aware that 100 days is considerably longer than a month long challenge, so it wasn't even on my radar. But then....Wendy posted that she was taking on the challenge and her focus is working on a scrap vortex quilt over the next 100 days. She invited others to sew along with her. On a total whim, I decided to join in. In fact, I was sewing within the hour. Ha!
I pulled out my drawer of ticker tape scraps (they are SMALL!) and started sewing. Man, it was fun!!
Here's what I came up with for day 1. Not a bad start. The tiny strips are for my pint-sized scrappy churn dash blocks. (They are a great by-product of the vortex piecing. Hurray!)
And here's day 2. More of the same!

The nice thing about this challenge is that it is very low pressure. No finished product is required each day. I hope to sew a little bit on it each day, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it if I miss a day here and there. The one thing that I'm looking forward to the most is watching the blocks accumulate on the design wall. A little bit at a time. Just like any scrap quilt. :)

If you want to join in, you can find the links for the Scrap Vortex Quilt Along here:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

 Are you doing the 100 day challenge? If so, I'd love to hear what you are working on! 

Monday, April 02, 2018

scrappy churn dash block tutorial--pint sized

Today I'll be sharing a quick tutorial to make this pint sized scrappy churn dash block. It will finish at 4 1/4"!!!! If you make 4 of these blocks and sew them together, they will (should!) equal the size of one large scrappy churn dash block. (Tutorial here.) I've been mulling it over, and I'm planning on making one quilt using both block sizes. I think it's going to be super fun!!!

From the background fabric cut:
(1) 2 3/4" square for the center
(2) 2" squares for the corners
(4) 1" x 2 3/4" rectangles for the sides

From a contrast fabric cut:
(2) 2" squares for the corners

From scraps, piece several together, end to end, to make:
(4) 1" x 2 3/4" scrappy strips
(they are TINY!)

Cut each of the 2" squares (background and contrast fabrics) on the diagonal once. Pair one fabric of each and sew together to make 4 half-square triangles. Press seams open. Trim each half-square triangle to 1 1/2".

Lay out the pieces as shown above.

Sew the scrappy strips to the strips of background fabric. Press seams toward the background fabric.

Sew the block segments into rows. Press seams in the top and bottom rows toward the triangles. Press the seams in the middle row toward the center.

Sew the rows together to complete the block assembly. Press well. Use a bit of spray starch to press the block flat. Isn't that just the cutest??? If you only want to make one of these, you could turn it into a pincushion. If you wanted to make a lot more, they sure would make a cute quilt! Either way, I hope you enjoy this tutorial.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 30, 2018

15 mark twain blocks

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I have now completed 15 of these blocks, which means that I'm keeping up with my goal of completing 5 blocks a month. Hurray! The blocks are English Paper Pieced, so they are completely stitched by hand. Each block takes awhile, but I enjoy the process so much!
I have not been deliberate about the colors I choose for the overall quilt, rather I'm selecting fabrics one block at a time. This is the first time that I laid them all out together and I'm relieved that they are cohesive, as a group. (I'm using 30's reproduction prints, which all tend to go together, so it wasn't a HUGE risk, really.) I added the scissors in the photo for scale. These blocks are pretty large! That's good news, because that means I need fewer of them for a decent sized quilt.
The sew it goes tote that I made awhile back (pattern available for purchase here) is so helpful for containing all the pieces as I work and it makes the project very portable. Plus, it's really cute!!! As you can see, I'm well on my way to completing my next block. I'm hoping that I have plenty of time to hand stitch this weekend.

That's it for me today! Now, it's your turn to link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend! Happy Easter!

Monday, March 26, 2018

a new binding for the mark twain quilt

Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to my binding dilemma in this post. After reading the responses, I felt more confused than ever. There were good points for each option! I figured that might happen, so I decided not to rush my decision. After a few days of ruminating on the subject, I decided to go with yellow after all. Except....I did NOT use the Kona Canary, I went with Kona Buttercup instead. The buttercup color is less intense than the canary color. Now that it's on the quilt, I don't think I could have gotten a better match. It's the right color and intensity. It was also in my stash, which is the cherry on top!
Applying the binding around those sharp points was NOT easy. I did the best that I could and decided to not stress over it too much. I could tell that the original maker had a bit of a challenge with it as well, which made me feel much better. :) I made bias binding, and I ended up using almost 2/3 of a yard of fabric, which felt like a lot for a quilt this size, but with all the extra turns and points, it makes sense. I'm glad I had enough fabric the first time around!
I also tried a tea dyed experiment with the Kona buttercup, thinking that it would tone down the yellow just a bit. In reality, the tea made the fabric look really dirty, so it obviously wasn't the way to go. It was a good test, though. You don't know unless you try it out. At least that was an easy decision!
I have only just begun to hand stitch the binding down to the back, but I had to get started to see how it's going to look. I'm very excited to see the fresh new binding on the edges. It's SO much better than the previous tattered edges. I know that I'm going to enjoy stitching the remainder of the binding down. Every single stitch!

I did appreciate all the comments in the previous post...I took the advice of one wise commenter and pre-washed the fabric before I applied it to the quilt. I wouldn't have thought to do that, so I'm glad that someone pointed it out to me. Thanks for the valuable input!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, March 23, 2018

a little bit vintage

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm still plugging away quilting my huge log cabin quilt, so that's where I've spent the bulk of my sewing time this week. I did have time to finish up (and gift!) a few items this week, so that was fun!
This pouch was something that I made around the holidays, I think, but I finally sent it off to it's new home this week. (It was so nice to have it ready to go!) The fabrics for the pouch were acquired from the free table at a retreat last summer compliments of my friend Jeni. I turned them into this cute little pencil pouch (free tutorial here) and sent it back to Jeni as a birthday gift. I figured that she would like it, since she is the one who purchased the fabrics in the first place! Ha!
The exterior fabric was a vintage napkin, originally, and the lining fabric was part of a vintage apron. It was fun to repurpose both fabrics to make this pouch. I used my favorite interfacing (Pellon SF101) to add some stability to the lining.
Since I didn't have the right size zipper on hand, I added zip tabs to the ends. It worked out great! Also, I LOVE a quilted zip pouch. It takes longer to make because you have to quilt the panels, but the texture is totally worth it. Plus, it uses up scrap batting. Gotta love that! I'm happy to say that Jeni loved her pouch. Hurray!
I did a little more playing with churn dash blocks. (I still have more ideas to work don't be surprised when you see the next few installments!) This block is 3 1/2" unfinished, so 3" finished. Pretty small, but I still want to go smaller! I think it's a sickness.
I knew that I was not going to have the patience to make a few hundred of these blocks, so I added a thin outside border (so the points wouldn't get lost around the curved edges) and turned it into a pincushion. I love it so much, it's going into the permanent collection. I used a feedsack fabric that came from my grandma's house on the back, so further excuse to keep it. This is scrap project #200.
The last project of the day is a tiny needle book. I purchased the blue vintage scraps at an antique store (many!) years ago. It was high time to use them! I love the vintage-looking button to finish it off. I made two of these needle books, nearly identical. I gave one to my friend Nancy, (who taught me how to quilt!) and I think I will keep the other one. They are so tiny and cute!
The interior fabric was from the stash and the pages are scrap batting. The elastic thread that I used for the loop closure was also repurposed....originally it held a pair of shoes together. I love that I can repurpose that elastic feels sooo thrifty and it works like a charm! :) This is scrap project #201!
It's kind of fun that all of my projects included some vintage component in the making. It feels good to use those precious little bits rather than hoarding them. Hurray!
Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!  

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I couldn't get this idea out of my head

The day after I made my latest scrappy churn dash block, I had the bright idea of making another version of it, but this time half-sized. Yesterday, after weeks of the idea rattling around in my head, I took some time to test it out. It was so fun to make!!! Turns out I like the smaller size better. (I'm sure that no one is surprised!!!)
This block will finish at 4 1/4". I purposely made it this size so I could combine 4 small blocks and alternate them with one larger block, which will finish at 8 1/2". 
It's really hard to convey the scale of the block in photos, but I think this one shows it best. It would be fun to make a large quilt combining the two different sizes of blocks..... OR, it would be SUPER fun to make one quilt from each block size. (Here we go, down the rabbit hole again! Ha!) Either way, I think I have a new WIP. :)
There is a tutorial for the large sized scrappy churn dash block here, if you care to make some of your own.

Monday, March 19, 2018

this is going to take awhile

As you can probably imagine, I am very eager to get my log cabin quilt finished. Last week I worked hard behind the scenes piecing a quilt back for this monster quilt....
... and I immediately basted it. It was a little chilly out on my 3 season porch (it was only 37 degrees), but duty calls! Ha! No matter the temperature, it is nice to have floor space to baste a king size quilt.
I debated sending this one out to be professionally quilted, but part of me really wanted to quilt it myself. (Maybe I have more stubbornness than good sense? I don't know....) I consulted a few friends and they thought that I should quilt it myself. With their votes of confidence, I decided to jump in and just do it. Even though I've quilted (literally) over 300 quilts, I still get nervous before I begin each one. This one, especially so! (I don't want to mess it up!) I am using the Tiara to quilt it, and so far, so good!
I'm quilting simple loop-de-loops and now that I've gotten into my groove, it's actually kind of relaxing. (Can you believe it???) I love how the tiara foot glides over the quilt and doesn't distort the strips. That's especially important for a quilt with this many seams.
Here's a photo to show my entire quilting set up. The tray table to the right holds my pin bowl, the bobbin side winder, my coffee, a sample quilt sandwich to check my thread tension, and a sewing needle to bury my thread ends. To the left, I have a few chairs to help support the weight of the quilt. If you notice, I prefer to pool the quilt (rather than roll it) to deal with the bulk during quilting. It's much easier to manage that way. Any way you slice it, that is a whole lot of fabric to manage. The extra throat space in the Tiara is super helpful!
This is the situation UNDER my desk while I'm quilting. :) It's pretty cute.

My kids are on spring break this week, so I'm not sure how much quilting I will get done, but I'm hoping for the best!
My daughter wanted to do some sewing today, too, so I pulled out my hello kitty sewing machine and she's been working on a few things. (YAY!)
So far she made a heat pack (made from flannel and filled with corn) and she's moved on to a doll quilt. It's so fun to have her sewing!!! (I'm trying to keep my excitement at bay so I don't scare her off. Hahaha!) Hopefully I'll have more of HER projects to share this week, too.

Happy Monday to you!