Friday, April 29, 2016

pretty patchwork projects

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I'm still working toward my goal to make 11-14 throw pillow for gifts. This week has been a lot less productive than last week....and that's the way it goes!
This low volume patchwork pillow measures 20" finished. It's supposed to be a gift. I was wavering between sending it off and keeping it. I had finally made my mind up to send it out into the world. Then, I put the pillow form inside and took the photo. I may have lost my resolve! It's hard to make any progress if you keep half of what you make! I LOVE it so much. It's springy and bright and cheery. And, most importantly, scrappy! It is scrap project #137.
It has a bit of fussy cutting (that seems to be the theme this week!).....
and an envelope backing. I love this coral polka dot! Polka dots are always the theme around here. :)
I made this pincushion as birthday present for my aunt who recently started quilting. (I love those cherries!!!) I gathered a few of my favorite notions to send along with it. It's so nice to be able to enable the quilting obsession in others! This is scrap project # 138.
In the interest of keeping it real....some finishes you have to fight for more than others. I have this pillow top complete, but the quilting didn't work out so well. Apparently I am going to get reacquainted with my seam ripper....and so it goes!
One more big baby girl turns 10 today! No more single digits for this household. It's so bittersweet.... (This photo is a few months old, but it captures her personality so well. Not shown, my two boys rolling their eyes as she posed. Good times, good times!)
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!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

tell me a story blocks

I have no shortage of cute novelty prints. In fact, that was one of the primary things that I realized when I did my 6 month fabric fast. I hardly touch my novelty prints. It is apparent, though, that I like to buy them! This is (most of) my current collection. Ahem!
Well, I have finally found a good use for these cuties! The pattern is the Tell Me A Story Quilt, from Amy Friend's new book Intentional Piecing. I'm not prone to fussy cutting, because I hate to waste fabric, so I'm fussy cutting responsibly. Hahaha! I am carefully planning my cuts so that I don't make Swiss cheese out of my fabric. Rather, I am producing square or rectangular scraps that can be easily used later. (Messy scraps drive me crazy!)
I love that Amy recommends in the book to make your fabric selections one block at a time. I probably would have done that anyway, but it's good to have formal permission. Ha! I don't have a ton of this background fabric on hand, but it was a strategic choice. I selected this aqua Moda Bella solid because I should have enough to make a pillow cover, but not a whole quilt. This way, I can't change my mind later on. I do not need another quilt WIP!
I'm not a huge paper piecer, but I do like to do it occasionally. I love the accurate results it produces! Plus, it's kind of fun to sew through paper. :) One thing I dislike about paper piecing is the 1/4'' flaps that remain unsewn on the edges of the block. (See photo above.)
It occurred to me yesterday, that if I sew through the seam allowance area (the gray shaded area) when I am sewing the very last seams in the block, that fixes the problem. No more flappy seams. Hurray! I would caution you, though, to make sure that you do this only on the outer-most seams. If you do so prematurely, you will have to do some stitch ripping. I also learned that yesterday. :) Now I'm wondering why I haven't tried it before! (Who knows, maybe this is paper piecing common knowledge?) Either way, it's kind of a game changer for me. I love learning new and useful things!
I've been having a lot of fun with these! Each block will finish at 6", so I only need 9 for a pillow. Sweet! (Har, har.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

dot your i's update

My dot your i's quilt has been sitting untouched for quite some time, until recently. That's ok, because this quilt is more about the process than the final result. That being said, I think I will like the final quilt quite a lot!
My boys both run track, so this has been one of the portable projects that I pack up when we head to their meets.
Each of the squircles (square circles) are appliqued onto a 4" background square. I am using Carolyn's method of needle turn applique and I enjoy it quite a lot. I like working on one small square at a time and adding it to the "done" pile. It's satisfying to see the project come along over time.
This isn't the best photo because it's a rainy, dreary day, but you can get a feel for the quilt so far. I think it needs a lot more aqua....and pinkish red! I'm aiming for a total of 396 blocks. I have 176 done, so only 220 to go! Not. too. bad.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, April 22, 2016

a pretty pile of pillows

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week I worked on un-selfish sewing, which seems to leave a lot of room for self-doubt. :) My goal is to make about 11-14 throw pillow covers for gifts. Nice and easy, right? Ha!
As of last evening, this is what the first 5 throw pillows looked like. There has been a lot of power sewing going on over here this morning! (And a little bit late last night, too.)
I'm very happy to have the first 5 complete! Each pillow has an envelope backing (tutorial here)
and is stuffed with pillow forms that I have made (tutorial here).
First up is a contact print pillow that uses a mini charm pack of Road 15 fabric (by Sweetwater for Moda) plus Kona snow. This is one of my favorite ways to use mini charm packs! I love the simplicity of this design and how it allows the fabric to shine.

The rest of the pillows are all from scraps! I used trimmings from my In the Middle Quilt, which uses the Tri-Recs ruler. (If you want to make half-rectangles, the ruler may be helpful to you!)
I was planning to make a quilt out of the leftovers, but I love that I was able to use the blocks to make pillow covers instead. Each of the half-rectangle blocks finish at 2" x 4".
This is scrap project #133
 #135 (look at all that purple! And I'm happy to say that I even like this one!)
and this is #136. This might be my favorite, but I'm pleased with each and every one! I hope that they are happy in their new homes.
I do love a stack of happy pillows!!!! And I'm not an over-achiever at all, right? :)

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

the winner and a pattern sale

The winner of the handful of PDF patterns is Go-Go Kim! Thank you all for your comments on procrastination. I loved (!!!) reading through each and every one. I wish I could host a retreat where we could all get together and tackle our procrastination projects together. Wouldn't that be fun? It also made me want to work on ALL of my WIPs at once. Hahaha! What a mess that would be!

Since it's TAX day here in the US, I've decided to do a pattern sale! I've marked all my PDF patterns down in my Craftsy shop...each one is 50% off! The sale price is already shown, so no need for a coupon code. This sale will run for about 24 hours only and is valid only on my patterns in my Craftsy shop (not through my big cartel site). All patterns are PDFs, no hard copies will be sent. Just to clarify. :)
I started sewing things together for my orphan block quilt. So far, so good! Thanks for all the encouragement to jump in. I'm so glad I did!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, April 15, 2016

maine morning mitts and procrastination

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This week has been super busy, which hasn't left much time for sewing. I'm trying to go with the flow, but sometimes that is easier than others! Last evening, desperate for a finish, I pulled out my mostly completed fingerless gloves and knit the thumbs. Knitting thumbs isn't my favorite (at all), thus the procrastination.
Even though the weather turned warm this week, (we had our first 70 degree day! hurray!) I'm a Minnesota girl, so I wouldn't be surprised if I still need these a time or two this season. It's just the way it is!
The pattern is called Maine Morning Mitts and it's available for free here. These were a stretch for me....because 1. I had to follow a pattern and 2. I had to make two objects that were close to the same size. They aren't perfect, by any means, but I am reasonably happy with the results. The mitts are so cozy! I'd definitely recommend the pattern and I will be trying them again.
I'd like to do a giveaway today! If you would like to win a handful of my PDF patterns, please leave me a comment in this post. In your comment, I'd love to hear about a project that you are procrastinating on and why, if you care to give the reason! It would be fun to hear all about it. :) I'll pick a winner on Monday.
Here's another one of my procrastination projects. I've decided it's time to clean up all the odds and ends around my craft room, so I'm going to make a orphan block quilt. I've been nervous to sew it up because there is no rhyme or reason, so fitting everything together might get a little dicey. I'm excited and nervous all at once. I just hope it doesn't end up looking like a hot mess. Haha! I guess we will see! :)
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!

Friday, April 08, 2016

mini rail fence quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I've finished my Mini Rail Fence quilt, which is the 4th in my frugal gal mini quilt series. I'm having so much fun with these! I love working on a smaller scale because it means I can actually execute more of my (crazy) ideas within my lifetime. Ha!
For this mini, I started with strip pieced 2 1/2" squares. They are teeny tiny and squeal-worthy!
I even snuck in a super scrappy string....but don't worry, there is only one in the mix. :) I couldn't resist! To quilt it, I stitched in the ditch because I was afraid that any other kind of quilting would detract from the overall aesthetic.
It would make a super cute placemat, but there is no way I'm risking food spills on this baby. It was way too time consuming for that! The mini measures 12 1/2" x 16 1/2" and it's scrap project #132!
Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

"all I need is an hour...."

My friend Tara and I often chat about things we want to make (or finish) and I can't tell you how many times we use the phrase: "all I need is an hour..." It's become a running joke. Last Friday, as I was cleaning up my creative chaos corner (hahaha!)...I made a list of projects that I came across that fit the one hour time frame. On Saturday, I sewed. It felt great to cross so many things off the list in one day! It's amazing what a little focus will do.
The first project was simple pillow cases for my kiddos. Each one takes a yard of fabric, and I used French seams, so there are no raw edges inside. They are fairly quick and a great way to use novelty fabric. The penguins were too cute to pass up at the fabric store, but I was happy to have a project in mind when I bought them....because who knows how long they would "cure" in the stash without a plan. My boys love them! My daughter loved her ballerina pillow case as well. Hurray!
Next up was a pair of PJ bottoms for my daughter. I don't sew many clothing items....but PJ's are some of my favorites, simply because they are low pressure. A friend gave me the fabric about a year ago or more, so it was nice to use it up. I had JUST enough to make the shorts...which makes it feel like it was meant to be. I love that!
I made a quick infinity scarf for me. I wish the fabric was a little bit more flow-y, but I think I will still wear it. I LOVE the color! It's a nice weight for spring, so my timing is spot on for once. Noteworthy, for sure! (ha!)
I made catch all tray (video tutorial here) for some scrappy coasters I made a few months back. I love these trays! They are so handy and I could see making them in all sizes...and in all colors!
I cut the pieces 9" square for this version and it worked perfectly with the size of the coasters. My husband is going to take these to work. It will be fun to have some of my good neighbors fabric hanging out in his office. :)

Now, I'm ready to move on to something else that will surely take more than an hour.

I'm curious...what would be on your "one-hour list"?

Happy Tuesday! xo

Friday, April 01, 2016

scrapalicious quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday! Thanks for all the wonderful comments on my epic quilt top! I appreciate each and every one!
Once again, I'm thankful for the deadline that each Friday brings. Without that push, this quilt top would not be complete! At least not this soon.
This is my second scrap vortex quilt. (You can see the first one here. If you would like to make one of your own, the links to the scrap vortex QAL are on my quilt along page.) I was thinking about my quilting habits this week...and my compulsion to make multiples of each quilt. I think I could have a scrap vortex quilt going at all times! Seriously, I'm resisting the urge to start a third one. I really don't know why I feel compelled to make multiples of the same quilt, but I'm doing some serious thinking about it. I want to make another pineapple quilt, and yet another (it would be my third!) bright birch trees quilt. I think I need to force myself out of my comfort zone and branch out! Who knows what good things would happen! :)
Last night, as I was working on the last corner of this quilt, my younger son came into my sewing room and said, "wow, that looks easy....all you have to do is sew a bunch of scraps together, right?" I kind of chuckled. I think the answer is: yes and no! I think these types of quilts are easy in some ways. There are no points to match, there really is no rhyme or reason, so in that respect, pretty easy! But, there are a million and one design decisions along the way. That gets tiresome. And, I learned once again, even in all the randomness, editing can not be ignored. I had some severely ugly spots in the quilt, so I chopped things up (which was not easy to do!) and sewed them back together in a different order. That really helped!
There were times when I was so irritated by this quilt that I seriously thought about putting the parts up for adoption. (Isn't that terrible?) If quilting has taught me one thing, it is that perseverance is key. I'm happy I stuck with it and saw it through. I love looking at just one section of the quilt and seeing all the details. Looking at the variety of fabric never gets old!
After I finished the quilt, I sewed a quick stay stitch around the perimeter of the quilt to prevent the patchwork pieces from separating during handling. I know that the quilt top will be secure while I'm taking photos and while I am basting it, etc. It's especially important on a quilt like this that has about ten thousand seams! (Don't worry, that's only a guess. I didn't count the seams. ha!)
The quilt top measures about 68" x 88". It will definitely be counted toward my 101 scrap projects, but not until it's complete. For now, I'm just so happy that the top is done!!!
It's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! Happy April!