Wednesday, December 31, 2008

an experiment

Mama Urchin and I arranged a little swap a few months back. She is making me hand knit socks(!!!) and in return, I am quilting a baby quilt for her. She wanted it backed in chenille, and I wasn't sure how quilting that would work out. She wanted the crinkly quilt look with a chenille back. And in this experiment we achieved both. (This idea was inspired by Oh Fransson.)

Here's what I did....

I basted, and quilted as normal...(with batting + backing)

Then I sewed around the perimeter of the quilt (twice) with my walking foot to make sure all the edges were tacked down.

Then I threw it in the washer, unbound.
I threw the chenille in the same load, since it wasn't pre-washed.
And I held my breath.

All was fine after the wash cycle. Phew.
I popped everything into the dryer.

I laid out the quilt (again) with the chenille on the back this time.
I used my walking foot and sewed around the perimeter of the quilt.

And here it crinkly quilt with chenille backing.
It's warm. And snuggly.
I'd definitely try this again.

edited to clarify:
the quilt layers are as such:

quilt top

the chenille is not connected anywhere else on the quilt-just the edges.
the quilt will be bound just like any normal quilt with traditional binding.

Monday, December 29, 2008


outgoing quilts.
6 to the linus connection
2 for gifts
this one was already gifted before i took the photo.

mitts for gifts.
i let my friends have their pick, rather than to try to guess what color would suit them best.

new fabric.
from my favorite local quilt shop. i ALMOST made it to the end of the year without buying more. i figure i was close enough.

from my library.
i rarely buy craft books, but i heavily rely upon my local library and their great inter-library loan system. i LOVE my library.

(from top to bottom: one skein by leigh radford, last minute patchwork + quilted gifts by joelle hoverson, alterknits by leigh radford, bend the rules sewing by amy karol, liberated string quilts by gwen marston, and Better Homes and Gardens Two Color Quilts.)
not pictured: stacks of laundry and dirty dishes.
both are too frightening to reveal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

flea market fancy quilt

Over the weekend I was able to finish this quilt. Trying to take a decent photo of it was pretty challenging. (To say my normal spot is snow-covered would be an understatement!)

So here's one half...

and here's the other.

I love how the white thread shows up subtly on the grey in this block.

And here's the pieced back. Normally I wouldn't use quite so much white on the back, but I was determined to work from my stash. I LOVE the patchwork strip. I really really love the entire backing-it's actually 2 quilts in one. And those wrinkles at the top, those are just from the dryer.

The quilt measured about 65" x 80" before quilting. After quilting, washing and drying it shrunk up to 61" x 75". I think it's because of all the muslin. The quilt will have that just-out-of -the-dryer crinkled effect all the time. Which isn't a bad thing. At all.

Here's the time breakdown for making the entire quilt:

5 hours to piece top

1 hr 15 minutes to piece the back

35 minutes to pin baste

3 hrs 30 minutes to quilt

55 minutes to make and attach binding

3 hrs 50 min to hand stitch binding

25 minutes to make and attach label

for a grand total of 15 hours and 30 minutes.

If you would like to make a quilt similar to this, you can find the measurements here.
On a completely different note, Christmas vacation is kicking my butt. Yes, it is the first day. If you think I'm exaggerating, you can ask my sister. She came to visit me today and got taste of the lunacy going on around here. She'll back up my story, I'm quite sure of it. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

what's going on

We got 6" (at least) of fresh snow today and we stayed tucked in at home. I love that.

The kids and I are playing Sorry to try to ward off the crabbies (and the bickering).
My husband is cooking dinner. (I love him!)

And I'm doing some last minute knitting.
I'm making fingerless gloves based on this pattern,
while snuggling under my Christmas quilt by the fire. Ahhh.
What's going on at your house?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

measurements for flea market fancy quilt

edit...after further calculations, I changed the yardage requirement for the sashing fabric from 2 1/3 to 2 3/4 yards. (see below.)

First off, I'd like to thank Alissa for her inspiration AND her willingness to let me share this pattern with all of you.

Here are the measurements I used for my flea market fancy quilt top....

cut a 5" inch square for the center of the block.
you will need 20.
cut 2 rectangles 3.5" x 5"

and 2 rectangles 3.5" x 11".

assemble the block with a 1/4" seam allowance.

each 1/4 yard (I used 1/4 yards, not fat quarters for this, but FQ's would work, too) will yield enough pieces to border 2 blocks.

you will need 10 quarter yards for the outsides of the blocks.

make 20 blocks.

for the sashing:

I used bleached muslin. you will need 2 3/4 yards.

first, cut 2 border pieces 5" x 80 1/2" (cut this lengthwise, not selvage to selvage, to avoid seams). set this aside for your final borders. (these will be placed vertically)


cut 6 border/sashing pieces 5" x 56". (these will be placed horizontally)

cut 15 sashing pieces 5" x 11". (these will be placed vertically)

Assemble your quilt top.

It will measure approximately 65" x 80.5" when finished.

In the original quilt, Alissa placed some of the center blocks off center, and that can be done easily, just make sure that your square measures 11" when assembled. or you can make the block oversized and then trim as needed.

If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them in the comments. If you make a quilt using these measurements, I'd love to see it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

yesterday... son (8) told me that shoveling snow makes him feel important.





shoes are from Land's End. I have them in red, too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

flea market fancy quilt top

inspired by this quilt

Alissa was kind enough to share the specifics for her gorgeous Land & Sea quilt (thanks Alissa!). I used her measurements as a guideline for this quilt. Seriously, I'm starting to think I have an extra gene (or am missing a gene, possibly?) that prevents me from following a pattern/directions exactly. The quilt measures approximately 65" x 80". It went together very quickly.

And in order to prove that there are no quilting elves that live at my house (oh, my, wouldn't that be nice???) here's the breakdown of time that I spent making the quilt top which includes cutting time (this is especially for you, Leah S.).

I started yesterday afternoon and I spent:

2 hours (during nap/rest time)

1/2 hour before supper

45 minutes after the kids went to bed

45 minutes before the kids got up this morning

1 hour after breakfast

for a total of 5 hours.
Now I've got to figure out something for the back (from my stash), which is becoming more and more challenging.

Monday, December 15, 2008

12 days of Christmas gift bags

Last week I had a hair-brained idea-the kind of idea that is just too good to let simmer or to put off until next year. So for the better part of the past 4-5 days I spent working on this.

I made 12 little numbered gift for each of the 12 days of Christmas. I am going to fill them with little gifts + goodies for each of of my sisters.

Here's the second set.
The pattern for the bag was inspired the artsy clutch from this book. I skipped the lining and just used 2 contrasting fabrics. I've blogged about this before, but for the little loops I used the elastic string that keeps baby shoes in pairs when you buy them. It works perfectly and I LOVE re-using little bits like that. I printed off the numbers on the computer, then traced them to fusible web, which I then fused to the fabric, and then to the bags. It was quite a process, but so worth it. They turned out as good as I had imagined. I'm sure my sisters will LOVE them.

ALL items used for this project were from my stash!!! (My red fabric stash is very lean now.)

Making 12 of these was ambitious.
Making 24 was just plain crazy.

I'm going to strongly hint that my sisters return them to me next year.
(Maybe even filled with gifts.) :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Writing a Frequently Asked Questions post was on my list of things to do a month and a half ago...but today I'm taking the time to write about it. Yes, during the busiest time of the year. I am in desperate need of a break from my Christmas gift production. My hand really hurts from all the sewing and knitting I've been doing lately. Are you ready for this? I'm not sure I am, but here goes.

1. What kind of machine do you use?

I have a JUKI TL-98Q. I do all my piecing and quilting on this. I do not have a long arm or a quilting frame. Nor do I send my quilts out to be quilted. It's all done on this baby. For those of you who have read my blog for awhile, this is old news, but I LOVE my sewing machine. I would recommend it in a heartbeat. If I had any complaints about it is that it is straight stitch only-no zig zag. And it's kind of loud. (More my husband's complaint than mine.) This machine is FAST and durable. It is a workhorse. It's a professional grade machine and the large throat makes quilting even a king size quilt attainable. One feature that I scoffed at when I bought it but now I would not be able to live without is the auto cut feature. I LOVE it.

2. What kind of batting do you use?

Warm and White. With all the white fabric I use in my quilts, this is the perfect batting. I buy it a roll at a time (40 yards). It's nice to have it on hand when I need it and it saves me countless trips to the store. I buy it at JoAnn's on sale or with a coupon (or both).

3. How much fabric do you buy for your stash at a time?

Usually quarter or half yards. Unless it's a good sale...then I buy a yard, two yards or the rest of the bolt. :)

4. What kind of thread do you use?

I order most of my thread from Connecting Threads. I love their product. Otherwise, I use serger thread in some cases because it's thinner. I like this option especially if I am concerned with the thread blending in with the fabric.
5. What fabric do you use for the backgrounds in your quilts?

I love Quilter's Only Cotton in the color Parchment, which I buy at JoAnn's, usually by the bolt when it's on sale or with a coupon. The white white that I use is bleached muslin. I've just recently started to use it, but I love it already. I have a bolt of that in my stash as well.

6. Do you pre-wash?

No. And I really don't want to debate this, LOL.

7. What do you do with all your quilts?

I use some of them in my home-I rotate my lap quilts quite a bit. I give some quilts as gifts and donate some to charity.

8. How do you wash/dry your quilts?

I machine wash them in cold with regular detergent. Then dry them in the dryer on high heat.

9. I want to get started quilting...where do I start?

An easy quilt to start with is a small one (baby or lap size) using just plain squares. The ragged squares quilt is a good beginner quilt, as well. If you are unsure of the process, I would recommend a beginners class at your local quilt shop or learning from a friend.

10. Do you have any tips for stippling?

I have a free motion quilting tutorial here, complete with video (but no sound). The only other advice I can give is to practice, practice, practice. A side note: I do not think that all machines are cut out for stippling. I'm not saying that it can't be done, but a good quality machine will make this much less frustrating. I can say that from much personal experience.

11. Do you use a stitch regulator while quilting?
12. How do you find so much time to quilt???

This has to be by far my most asked question.
I'll list what I think helps...

-my machine is fast and dependable.

-I have a dedicated spot in my home where I leave everything set up. I work on things here and there throughout the day whenever I have a bit of time.

-I stay home a lot. (which results in lots of quilting time.)

-I'm a workaholic so I'm almost always working on something.

-my blog motivates me a LOT.

-working from my stash and having materials on hand (like batting, plenty of background fabric and thread) saves me lots of time running around.

-I've been quilting for 8 years and obsessively for the past few years, so I've got quite a system down now.

-my kids are used to my obsessive quilting habits, but I am always on call. Some days are better than others.

13. Where do you buy most of your fabric?
I shop on-line a bit (Cia's Palette, Fabric Shack, but most of the fabric I buy from my local quilt shop (there are 3 that are reasonably close to my house) and I prefer to buy fabric in person whenever possible, but it is nice to have the on-line option.

Alright, I think that's all I've got for now. If you have other questions I'll either add them to the list or answer them in the comments.

And one more thing I'd like to add...I'm not a professional quilter...I'm just a mama that loves to quilt. These are just my thoughts and tips on quilting based on my personal experience.

As always, thanks so much for reading. I love creating and I LOVE sharing what I have created here on my blog. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

candy bar road

My Christmas candy bar road quilt is done!

This pattern is so quick, easy and fun!
I love how the pattern really lets the fabrics shine.
I used this fabulous striped fabric (Holly Jolly by Moda) for binding. Again.

To quilt it, I stippled an all over random pattern.
Such a surprise, I know! ;)

More apple green polka dot for the backing...

...and here it is, fresh out of the dryer.
Of course, I LOVE IT!
A few things to note:

1. The quilt is much more vibrant in real life. The photos aren't really conveying just how much the fabrics pop in this quilt.

2. This is a 100% stash quilt-which is just icing on the cake!

Since I've had some problems with quilts bleeding in the wash recently, I'm becoming a little paranoid to wash them. So, this time I used Kristie's tip of adding one cup of table salt into the wash and it worked perfectly-no color bleeding at all. That's what I'll be sticking to from now on-no more expensive color catchers for me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

the most wonderful time of the year?

First off, thanks so much for your sweet comments on my Christmas quilt! You guys are so encouraging. I appreciate each and every comment that you left. :)

While I may be a fast quilter, I am slow in decorating my house for Christmas. I finally started-this morning. And did I mention that my kids are NOT is school today? Yes, that is a recipe for disaster. I realize this. Which leads me to my story....

So we were decorating the tree. My kids are 2 1/2, 5 and 8. They are VERY excited for Christmas. And they all wanted to help. The entire time. First, we assembled the tree. The older 2 helped spread out the branches and hooked them on to the tree. Then I put the lights on. I plugged them in to see if they all work. They were fine. So I strung them on (the worst part of putting up the tree, if you ask me). And then we put on the paper chain that the kids made over the weekend. Then came the ornaments. A LOT of ornaments. When we were ALMOST done, I was putting an ornament on a branch and accidentally knicked one of the lights. ALL the lights went out. Every single one. Lovely. And to top it all of, the song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" came on the radio. I kid you not. Oh, the irony. It might BE the most wonderful time of the year. But for today, it sure doesn't FEEL like the most wonderful time of the year.

Oh, well, at least my new tree skirt looks pretty under my tree that won't light up.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I don't have time for this...

...but I started a new Christmas quilt.
For me. This morning.
Based on this pattern.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

doll bedding tutorial

This past weekend while we were traveling, I was able to finish up two doll quilts. I thought I would share a few measurements/directions on how to make these. It's not rocket science, by any means, but when you are in a time crunch, it's nice to have someone else do the math for you. (At least I think so.) I'm making a few sets of these for gifts for some special little people for Christmas.

This quilt measures 12" x 16".
The squares are 2.5" cut, and 2" finished.
I stippled it and bound it like all my larger quilts.

This one measures 14" x 18".
For the red, make a piece of patchwork that measures 18" x 2.5"
Cut 2 pieces of aqua fabric:
9.5" x 18" and 4" x 18".
Sew together using a quarter inch seam and quilt as desired.
For the pillows:

cut the fabric 4" x 6", sew on all 4 sides, but leave an opening for turning and stuffing, then sew the end shut. Easy peasy.

For the pillows, I used vintage cotton ticking that came from my grandma's house.
She bought it in 1978, when I wasn't quite 3 years old! It's high time that someone is using it.
I'm so glad that I'm the one who is. :)

For the pillows cases...

cut 2 pieces of fabric:
the one on the left is 3.5" x 9"
the one on the right is 5.25" x 9"

sew together using a 1/4" seam allowance
press the seam toward the smaller piece of fabric (in this case, to the left)
pin 2 sides and sew, again using a 1/4" seam

turn over the raw edge about 1/4", press

fold the end down to just cover the seam line
then press
this part is tricky because it's so small, but after a few, you'll be a pro (hopefully).
stitch around the cuff using a slight seam allowance.

turn the pillow right side out, and you are done.
seriously, how cute is that?

I was squealing with delight while I was making these.
And of course, the more you make, the cuter they are!
I have a feeling that the ones that are staying at my house are going to get a lot of use. :)