Wednesday, February 27, 2013

fabric with friends

I'm sure you've all heard of the game "words with friends", right?
I decided to invent a game of my own that I'm calling "fabric with friends."
Doesn't that sound FUN???

Here's how it works....
Start with a fabric pull.
Ask a friend to round out said fabric pull with additions from your stash.
If you can manage, put aside your own fabric prejudices and preferences and let her have free reign. (or if you have control issues, you could work on it together.) :)
Then stand back in amazement and see what someone else can do with your very own fabric! It's amazing what combinations are possible with a fresh set of eyes.

Disclaimer: I know that this isn't a new concept, and it isn't the first time I've done it. But, if your stash feels boring and dull, you've got the fabric wanties, or if you are just stuck in a rut, I'd highly recommend it! Many thanks to my friend Brianne for joining me in this round of fabric with friends!

Confession: I still have fabric pulls set aside from when Cheryl came to visit me 2 years ago! (How's that for a project back log???)

Monday, February 25, 2013

giant pillow redux

My son turned 10 yesterday.
And it was a very good day.
I finished his giant pillow around 11pm on Saturday, a mere hour before his birthday. Come to think of it, I finished up his baby quilt at 11pm the night before his actual birth. Kind of a fun coincidence!
I'm happy to say that he absolutely loved it. He was never very far from it at any point during the day, so it was obviously a big hit. Hurray! (It matches his flock quilt nicely, too. Bonus!)
I love it too!!! The colors! The solids! The quilting! It all makes me so happy. I wish the zipper installation would have gone a bit better, but I'm sure it will withstand lots of use, even though it's not perfect. (By the way, yes, I am completely hooked on honeycomb quilting. No apologies!)
It's really hard to convey the size (36" finished) through photos, but here are the two giant pillows (my older son's pillow is on the right) on the couch for scale. They are ridiculously big and sooo fun!

My daughter already has requested one for her birthday, which is in two months. I don't mind a bit! My husband is happy that the monster sized roll of batting that I brought home last winter is finally getting put to good use. :)

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, February 22, 2013

lazy zig zag

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Thank you for joining me each week as we work toward our finishes together! I appreciate all of your link ups and for the accountability that it brings. Boy, oh boy, do I need it!
I managed to finish my lazy zig zag quilt last night. I've wavered back and forth on how much I like this quilt. Now that it's complete, I've decided I'm pretty happy with it. The addition of the grey row (second from the top) helps immensely. There were times that I doubted the intensity of the dark grey (zig zag) fabric, but I do like the boldness of it. This was a fun way to use a layer cake! I added a few stash fabrics, too.
For the quilting I went with a simple stipple. Simple may not be the correct word. I hadn't stippled anything for quite some time (last September?) so I was rusty. It took about 3 bobbins to get in the groove, which was surprising and nerve wracking. (Must. stipple. more.) I used Essential thread (by Connecting Threads) in white. It's a 50 weight, 3 ply thread, so it is definitely on the thicker side. It ended up giving the quilt a nice texture yet it doesn't feel too "thready". I like how the quilting stands out on the dark grey pieces and blends in with the background pieces.
On the back I used a strip of flannel down the middle and two strips of regular quilting cotton down the sides. It is so nice to have a flannel backed quilt. I think I'm going to have to do that more often!

Since I didn't have enough of one aqua polka dot fabric in my stash (can you imagine???) for the binding, I used two different fabrics alternated them throughout. It was a lot more piecing than usual, so I used straight seams instead of mitered seams. I really like how the fabrics work together and I'm so happy that it turned out!
The quilt measures 56 1/2" x 70".

Do you have a finish to share this week? If so, please link up! Happpy Friday to you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

a few new projects

I've got a little boy that is turning 10 soon and his number one birthday gift request was NOT for legos. I about fell over! Rather, he requested a huge pillow like his brother's, except in blues. Isn't that the sweetest? It made my heart so happy. I hope he isn't too disappointed that some green and gray are going to sneak in there, too. I won't be able to resist doing so, as hard as I try. Those colors were made for each other!
On the flip oldest does NOT want his little brother to have a pillow like his, because it will make his pillow less special. "Oh, brother!!!" is all I can say to that. He's going to have to deal with it. :)

Speaking of my darling boys....they made up a hexagon star wars legos game, which kept them entertained most of the day yesterday. Hurray for that! The game board is the shown below, and it inspired me to dig out these pre-cut vintage hexies that I acquired few months ago. Aren't they so pretty? I have a few ideas brewing, but there just isn't enough time in the day! Hopefully soon, though!
Happy Tuesday to you!

Friday, February 15, 2013

mini mat

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I have two small finishes today, but they are oh-so-cute! And functional, too. This mini mat measures 10" x 9". I really, really love how it turned out!
I used my honeycomb quilting on it. Simple. Easy. Just right.
It looks equally great with my breakfast....
or holding a bunch of my sewing supplies. Hurray for dual function!
I used a cute meadowsweet print for the back and a ticking binding to finish it off. Could it BE any cuter??? (I think not!)
I also added binding to this itty bitty coaster. It measures 4 1/2" square. It makes me very, very happy!!! Binding something this small is NOT fun. But totally worth it in the end!
I absolutely LOVE having and using little bits of handmade all around the house. Don't you?
Do you have a finish it share today? If so, please link up! Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

happy Valentine's day

i wanted to do something special for my kiddos today.
(in addition to their cards and treats, of course.)
the idea popped into my head right before bed last night.
totally inspired by my kids' love of legos AND the many adorable pixelated hearts I've seen around the internet.
(i can't wait to hear my kids' reaction when they found out I was playing legos while they were at school!)

happy Valentine's day!
hope you have a wonderful and sweet day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

english paper piecing

I picked up my EPP quilt again. I haven't had the fondest feelings for this quilt lately. It's pretty and all, but sometimes I wonder why I'm hand piecing an entire quilt? My arms can barely take it.
However! Last week I had a friend point out that I only need 4 more rows before it's a decent lap size. What welcome news-I might actually finish it this century. Hurray for renewed motivation! And better yet, I already have a full row of stars pieced!
It's a little late in the game, but I discovered that the clover clips work well for holding the pieces together as I stitch. (And I need all the help I can get holding things together! Ha!!!)

I looked back to see when I started this quilt, and it's only been in progress since April of 2011...not as long as I thought! If you would like specifics on how to make this quilt, click on the link above.

Happy Tuesday to you!

Friday, February 08, 2013

sock monkeys!

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I'm pleased that I was able to finish my sock monkey quilt this week. Better yet, I didn't start a new project to replace it. Hurrah!
This pattern is called Fair and Square. It's a simple, fun and versatile quilt pattern that I designed a few years ago for Margaret's Hope Chest. It only requires 2 yards of background fabric and 33 6 1/2" squares. It goes together in a snap and it's a nice way to show off novelty fabric or larger prints.
For the backing I pieced the leftovers into one strip and surrounded them with a sea of polka dots. (hurray for polka dots!) Pieced backs are my favorite not only because they are highly practical, but so interesting, too.
I quilted it with loop-de-loops. Nice and easy!
Of course it needed red polka dot binding. This dot is from the circa 1934 line by Moda. It's well over a year old....about time I used it!
I machine bound it, which didn't go smoothly, (not sure what was up with that) but I wrestled my way through. It's already been washed and dried, and it's super crinkly. I didn't have any color catchers on hand so I held my breath until it came out of the washing machine. Thankfully, no bleeding! Phew!
It measures 48" x 66".
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

super scrap happy, again

I added more to my super scrap happy quilt top.
You can see the smaller version here.
It now measures 64" x 90" a nice twin size.
I'm so in love with this quilt!
It's just hundreds of scraps all jammed together.
Piecing this way is such great therapy.
I was debating making it a king size.
So I threw it on my bed to see what it would look like.
Now I know I'm going to have to keep going and make it bigger.
Like my husband says, it matches the pillows, so why not?
That's reason enough for me!!!

(besides, everyone needs 5 king size quilts for their bed, right?)

Monday, February 04, 2013

busy, busy, busy

I spent most of the weekend at a quilt show in Red Wing, MN. It was delightful to meet like minded women and I enjoyed visiting (and laughing) with many of them. It was a good time! (Good morning Jan in Apple Valley!) I displayed quilts from the book and also spent time demonstrating free motion quilting. So, an added perk of the weekend was getting my sock monkeys quilted. Sweet!

I also had time to start a knit a rag rug from my strings/selvages. This project EATS scraps, which is a great thing. I've got plenty!
A few more details....because I know someone will ask. For this rug I'm using size 17 needles. I cast on 40 stitches and I'm using 2 strings (about 1/2" to 3/4" wide each) held together as one 'yarn'. See the tutorial linked above for the complete how-to.

Oh, and I finished this top on Friday afternoon, too. This is my lazy zig zag quilt top made from a Posy layer cake and an additional row of grays from my stash. I really like the gray cut the sugary sweetness of this line just enough. Besides, I have a hard time sticking to just one fabric line for a quilt. I'm working on writing up a tutorial for the lazy zig zag, so stay tuned! I'm looking forward to quilting this one up.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, February 01, 2013

finish it up Friday, 2/1/13

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I'm sooooooooo very excited about my finishes this week. My trees quilt and the pattern are all done, which feels great. (Thanks to all of you who purchased the pattern, by the way!)

But also, I'm ecstatic because.....
I finished my business taxes this week.
Without taking up drinking.
And without cursing.

I may sound a little dramatic,
but let me tell you...
I can match pretty fabric together all day long
and quilt up a storm.
An accountant I am not.
My husband hasn't offered to take it all over yet
so I'm left to figure it out.
Painful, I tell you!
I kept telling myself that it was a good issue to have.
I know it is.
But I'm soooooooooo glad I'm done.
(for another year.)

How about you? Do you have a finish to share? If so, please link up! Thanks for joining me. Happy Friday to you!