Thursday, October 28, 2010

liberty scrap challenge

Annie's scraps arrived in my mailbox several weeks ago. She sent me these lovely liberty tana lawn scraps, and in turn, I will use them to make a mini quilt for her. I have had no previous experience with liberty fabrics...but I'm learning that these fabrics are delicate and amazing. And did I mention pretty? They blew me away.
She included this little card in the's just as cute as can be. Look in the lower left. Those bikes! My absolute favorite fabric of the whole lot.
I finally got to cutting and piecing this week. The quilt top is it needs some hand quilting. Not my forte, but I'm excited to see this mini come to life.
And here's a shot to give you an idea of the scale of the squares...teeny tiny....almost 1.5" finished.

I started making two quilts right off the bat, because I knew it was going to be hard to let this one go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

sewing with my boys

My boys have taken an interest in sewing. I'm not sure if they have taken a "if you can't beat them, join them" approach with me or what. Maybe they love the speed of my Juki? Or maybe they love the process of creating as much as I do? (How fun would THAT be?!?!) Whatever the reason, they LOVE sewing. It makes me nervous to have them sitting at a machine that can sew 1500 stitches per minute, but they are doing great. Their 1/4" seam isn't spot on yet, but my 10 year old does sew an impressive seam. My 7 year old LOVES to iron, and he does well sewing, too. (Don't get me wrong, this process isn't without it's tense moments!)

On Sunday night we took a bunch of strings that I wasn't crazy about (some of them are fine, but some of them have been recycled so many times that I'm sick of seeing them), and we started sewing them all together. Now that they are together, I like the fabrics again. Funny how that works! I do believe that it will make a dandy quilt.

As long as my boys are having fun with it, I refuse to feel guilty about being dangerously close to running a sweatshop. :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

i wish i could dress this cute!

I'm making my peace with the fact that my "to do" list is hopeless. Completely hopeless. You see, I'm not the only one who adds to it. My husband regularly says, "You know what you need to make?...." Then he rattles off one of his great ideas. I know I shouldn't complain...inspiration overload sure beats twiddling my thumbs. That's what I try to tell myself anyway.

This project was my husband's brain child. Last winter I was knitting a striped hat, and he thought it would make a great skirt for our daughter. I don't know if that means I have a big head or if I have a little daughter, or both! It wasn't long before I headed to the yarn shop to pick out some yarn. What a hardship, I know, but someone had to do it. ;) Actually, having your husband dream up the projects is a great license to go to the yarn shop and spend some money without any complaint on his part. It's wonderful!

I knit like I quilt...mostly without a pattern. I wasn't sure that this would work, but hurrah! It did! And on the first shot, no less. I'm (more than) a little surprised. :) Too bad it wouldn't be cute in my size...

Happy Monday to you!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

flickr groups you may or may not know about

Rene and I had a discussion about flickr groups way back in June. There are so many good flickr groups out there, but sometimes it's hard to find them. I'm going to highlight a few of my favorites here. And hey, it's only taken me 4 months to get around to it! :)

Carin just started a group for the Fair and Square quilt pattern. I finished this quilt top yesterday and it will be sent to MHC soon. They will quilt it, bind it and give it to someone in need. YAY! (One more thing off the WIP list!) They are always up for more quilt (or quilt top) donations if you wish to help. If you've sewn one of these up already, add it to the flickr group! It's so fun to see all the variations of a single pattern.

In my last post I had several people asked if I liked my Juki. I had to laugh, because I thought my deep love for my Juki was common knowledge. :) I wrote more details in my FAQ post about it. I will add this: if my machine died today, I'd replace it with the exact same model. The discussion in the comments made me think I should start a group on flickr about sewing machines, and likes vs. dislikes of your current machine. I did a search and there's already a group for it. Hurrah! It's called Sew me your machine. For those of you in the market for a new machine, it may be something to check out. For those of you who love your machine, can you add your 2 cents to the pool? It's so nice to read reviews of a machine (by real people) before buying. I am only making this plug because I could find next to nothing on-line for Juki machine reviews when I bought mine. It would have been super helpful to have reviews to reference.

Have you seen the scrappy mug rug swap group? Oh-my-goodness! Cuteness overload.

Simply solid quilts. Be prepared for inspiration overload (or total intimidation, which happened to me).

My morning cup is a cute group.

There is a group for Manly Quilts. You all know how hard those are to make. Some great ideas there.

Lots of inspiration for Quilt Backs. This is a personal fav since I'm a huge fan of pieced quilt backs.

There is a zig zag quilt group.

The half square triangle group is amazing!

Are you a moda addict? There is a group for you, too! Mad for moda.

I know I linked to this one before, too, but it's a good one. Modern quilting stitches: Life beyond Stippling.

How about you? Do you flickr? Are there any good groups I should know about? You know, because I need to spend even more time on-line than I already do.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

right under my nose

I have owned my Juki for precisely 4 years and 2 weeks.
Do you want to know what I found in my bag of tricks today? I don't think that I can emphasize the word "today" enough.
I found this little foot. I noticed that it has a marking on the side that says CR1/4E. The 1/4 thing piqued my curiosity.
I looked in my sewing machine manual to see what it was. There was only this tiny little section talking about the "compensating presser foot". I quote "It is convienent to sew material end straight."
First off, I got a huge kick out of the wording. It just sounded funny to me. You could almost take it as "your project will come together better if you sew your ends together properly." But what the manual should say is: "Use this amazing and handy little foot to get consistent 1/4" seam allowances." How on earth did I not know this?
See that bar on the right? It guides your fabric.
And gives you a consistent 1/4" seam allowance. Every. single. time.

I am laughing so hard at myself right now. (Because it sure beats kicking myself over and over and over and over again.) :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

i cleaned my house so i could mess it up again

 I have a friend visiting for the weekend. Boy, oh, boy, are we having FUN!
We have fabric messes that would make Victoria proud.
Fabric is flying.
Backs are being pieced.
We are inspiring the next generation of quilters. (YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
There's still lots to do. Namely, basting 5 quilts. (For crying out loud!)
Super cute pincushions in use. (LOVE!)
Including this awesome one from Cindy. (LOVE!!!)
And I can't tell you how fun it is to see projects in real life rather than on screen.

Hope you are having a happy weekend, too!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

crop circles

My curves quilt top is done. See, I told you that I used drab colors. I do like it, though, and  it will match my living room perfectly--unlike 99% of the lap quilts I make. The name (I must give full credit to Amy for that stroke of genius) makes the color scheme all better in my mind. This makes 5 quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Yikes! I need to finish them soon so I can start some other lovelies, like:

Katy's quilt along. (scrap vomit, LOL!) I have been in love with the inspiration quilt for a long time.

Liz's triangle madness (since I missed but still want to make this one of Katie's).

This quilt would be good for stash reduction. Plus I have some Kaffe fabric that I am absolutely terrified to cut into. (Terrified, I tell you!)

I also MUST make a funky lady quilt. Inspired by this block. Just thinking about it has me grinning like a fool.

So much inspiration, so little time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

binging on fabric

First off, thanks for all your comments on the pre-wash post. There are more of us in the pre-wash camp than I realized....I had no idea! It was so interesting to read all the comments, so thanks for weighing in.

My husband noticed (and commented) that I have been on a fabric buying binge lately. Oops! To his credit, he also noticed (and commented) that I had been doing very well. Yay, hubby! He's a good, good man.

I had to buy some bliss, and I wasn't going to hesitate. (I missed out on the Authentic craze, and I kind of regret it.) I have the PERFECT quilt idea for this charm pack. The design idea has been in my head for over 3 years. I'm soooooooo excited for it! But now I'm wondering why on earth I didn't buy the aqua dots as well? That should have been a no-brainer. These were purchased from Fresh Squeezed fabrics. I'd highly recommend ordering from Randi.

This bolt of aqua is going with the bliss. I'm trying out a new solid fabric (from Hancock Fabrics) by trying out an entire bolt. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Ha!
More solids...because Hancock's had a screaming deal on them. 53% off! Thanks to Doris for on the heads up on that one. Hancock is such a nice diversion from JoAnn's. I could write an entire blog post about this, but I'll spare you. :)

After Cheryl posted about her grey fabrics, I knew I had to be intentional about collecting some, too. This is all that my LQS had in stock. 3 different greys on bolts and 2 fat quarters. That's it. I just love grey!

These remaining fabrics were bought at Quilt Home. It was my first time ordering with them, and I couldn't have been more impressed! They were on sale (most were), they have free shipping on orders over $50 (very important to me) and they even included a hand-written thank you note on my slip. I'm very, very impressed! Oh, they were quick, too. I had these lovelies in a few days.
I was thrilled to find some of this gorgeous fabric. It's from 2 fabric lines ago, and I thought it was LONG gone. When I found it-and on sale, no less-I snatched it up. It's going to make a lovely, lovely quilt back.
 I naturally gravitate to green and pink. Always.
And some lovely henna garden. (more grey, yay!)

Here's to pretty, pretty fabric! And lots of it!

Please don't leave your favorite fabric shopping spots in the comments.
I don't need any more help in that area.
At all.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

why prewash?

No, I'm not talking about pre-washing fabrics. I wouldn't touch that discussion with a ten foot pole. I'm talking quilts. After posting the Eleanor quilt, Tiffany asked, why do you wash and dry your quilts before gifting them?

First off, I generally pre-wash quilts before giving them. Not always, but generally. I think it's a good idea especially for baby quilts. Pre-washing softens them, makes them more cuddly and they feel....I don't know...finished. "Broke in" may actually be a better description. The texture of the quilt increases dramatically. Pre-washing also helps temper minor quilting issues. Not that THAT ever happens here. Ahem. (The key word here is 'minor'. Washing doesn't do miracles, no matter how hard you hope!) It's also nice to see how much the quilt shrinks, (especially if it's going on a bed), or to see if it bleeds. Or to see if it actually holds together. (Popped seams anyone?) It's a whole lot better to get those kinks worked out before gifting.

That's simply my 2 cents.

How about you? Do you pre-wash your quilts before giving them?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


A few of my neighbors, Diane, and I started a craft group last month. We've met twice now, and I'm so thrilled with our group. Last Saturday, despite a severe sinus headache, I learned how to sew curves. I was scared, because I had attempted curves before (without professional supervision) and it did not go well. At. all. This time was different, though. My neighbor, Marcia, gave me some great tips along the way and I am happy to delcare that I LOVE curves now. They are actually fun to sew and my mind is brimming with possibilities!

I'm not sure if I'm going to like this quilt or not. I chose these drab colors just in case it flopped. You see, I didn't want to waste my super pretty, precious fabric. (Don't you just love my confidence?) I have a feeling that I'm going to have to pull out some fancy quilting tricks to make this quilt sing, but I still have hope for it. :)

Monday, October 04, 2010


Blue is such a creative name for this quilt, isn't it? It's made from various (42 to be exact) Kona cottons. Simple straightforward piecing, with lots of little fussy quilting.
Actually, how to quilt this one had me stumped for awhile. Some of you suggested variegated thread, but variegated thread scares me. (It's true!) I thought about straight line organic quilting, but with the large graphic blocks, I wanted to add something that would soften it up rather than accentuate the bold lines. They didn't need any additional help. :) My solution? First, I stitched in the ditch to stabilize my seams. I used nylon thread on the top (it blends with nearly all colors) and a silvery grey thread in the bobbin (to match the back). I wanted the stabilizing stitches to blend in with the various colors as much as possible, since I'm not the neatest stitch in the ditch quilter. Then, I changed threads to match each color block when I filled them in with a simple meandering pattern. For that, I used the same thread color in the top and the bobbin. I started stitching in the top left corner of each block and ended at the bottom right of each corner. With all the thread changes, I needed to keep some kind of order. It worked like a charm.
I used lots of thread (12 colors!), but the only one I had to purchase was the royal blue. The rest I had on hand already. That was a little startling.
I used Kona Ash for the backing. Since I changed the thread colors with each block, the back has it's own pattern going on. It's pretty subtle, but the darker ones do pop a bit. I like the dimension it adds to the back. It's also the reason I went with a solid rather than a print fabric for the backing. All in all, I think it was a great quilting solution. I love it when a hair-brained idea like this actually pans out. I was holding my breath until the very end, though. I did NOT want to screw this one up.
I used some sort of Kona grey for the binding (not sure of the exact color), because it would have been too hard to pick a blue. :) I love how it frames it all in.
The quilt measures about 57" x 70".

This quilt is going to be the grand prize giveaway for the retreat that is coming up next month. It's going to be hard to let this one go, but one lucky retreat attender is going to go home with a brand new quilt. Now, THAT'S pretty exciting!