Friday, May 27, 2016

quilting and a placemat for one

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Over the past few days, I managed to get Sunny's quilt basted and quilted! I was going to hurry and finish the binding so the whole quilt would be completed today, but I decided to savor the binding process rather than rush through it. I love that I get to enjoy the quilt while I put a million little stitches around the perimeter. It's a delight!
I did want to clarify something from my last post...the blocks for this quilt were pieced in under 3 hours, but adding the sashing took a few hours on top of that. I certainly wish I could piece that fast! Just felt the need to set the record straight! :)
I went fabric shopping with a dear friend on Monday (kind of a last hurrah before school was out for the summer...) and I found this super cute Cotton + Steel print on the clearance rack. (It's from Spring 2015. The line is Lucky Strikes by Kimberly Kight. The print is called Tuesday Night Ladies' Bowling League 1972.) I bought the binding fabric, too (Follie by Lotta Jansdotter)...and turned them into a placemat for one. The backing fabric is the same.
This is fabric that I could easily hoard, but I decided to cut into it and make something useful. It's so hard for me to do that...but the sooner the better!
I used scrap batting (yay!) and stippled it up, which went super quick after stippling an over-sized twin size quilt. :) (The mug is a favorite...from Modern Textiles.) The placemat is 17" x 13" and no fabric scraps were used in the making of it. Write it down! (ha!)
One last big kids are done with school for the year! Yesterday was their last here's to summer vacation! :)

Hope you have a safe holiday weekend!

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

sunny's quilt top

Our neighbor girl, Sunny, is about as sweet as they come. She graduated from high school last Friday and her dad passed away in January. So, for two reasons she needs a quilt! I had no idea what her tastes are, so a few weeks ago I invited her over to help pick fabric for her quilt. I would much rather have her input and make something that she likes rather than try to guess what she might like. (I did guess and I was terribly wrong. Hahaha!)
This was our initial fabric pull and she chose this pattern. I really couldn't envision it, but when that happens, I've found that the best thing to do is to start sewing!
Once I started sewing, I was able to edit the fabric pull down to my liking. It came together fairly easily! I was able to cut and piece all of the blocks in under 3 hours. Sweet!
Since the center squares are cut at 5", I pulled out a few charm packs that I have been holding on to for a rainy day. They worked SO well with this color scheme and they added a lot of variety that the quilt needed. What a happy pairing! See, if you hold on to fabric long enough, you WILL find a use for it. Ha!
I think this bike block might be my favorite! I love how the wide borders frame the center square. This is a perfect quilt for fussy cutting or novelty fabrics.
The background is Essex Linen. I did add one more row and one more column than the pattern states, and I skipped the side borders. I really like how it turned out! The quilt top is about 71" x 94".

Usually I have a hard time letting go of quilts, but I am seriously excited to give this one away! Oh, I suppose I should finish it first! :)

Monday, May 23, 2016

scattered showers quilt top

I've been working on a lot of small projects lately, so completing a quilt top that has been in progress for a long time feels especially good! (It's been awhile!)
I don't often sketch out my quilts ahead of time, but when I do, it's super high tech. Ha! This was my original plan. I had a very deliberate plan for how many white patches were in each block, and the placement of those blocks. About 2/3 of the way through, I decided to just let loose and make blocks on a whim. You know what? It worked out well and it was a lot more fun! After all the blocks were completed, I arranged them in a way that looked good and sew them up. Easy as that. Sometimes I am amazed at my ability to make things harder than they are. :)
All of the blocks were improvisationally pieced and each one finishes at 12". I used a variety of white and cream scraps and indigo solid from Connecting Threads as the background. 
The quilt top measures 60" x 72". I am planning on doing a combination of hand quilting and machine quilting to finish it off. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out so far and I think quilting will really bring it to life!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 20, 2016

faded stars mini quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

This could have been a pillow (it's yet another thank you gift!), but my friend preferred a mini over a pillow....which was fine by me. I'm happy to be done with pillows for awhile, anyway. Can you imagine?!?!
This mini was fun to make because it gave me a chance to play with some low volume binding triangles that I've been saving. Two side comments about this: my scrap categories are getting ridiculous, even for me. These patchwork thread catchers are a great way to store all of my ridiculous scrap sub-categories. :) Anyway, I've been wanting to use these triangles for something fun, and this project was just the ticket.
I know that my friend prefers dark backgrounds, so I used various chambrays and yarn dyed linens from my big bag o' scraps, which were mostly passed along to me from my lovely friend Anna. It's so nice to have a variety of materials (and colors!) to work with. It helps nudge me out of my box a little bit.
I love seeing random scraps being transformed, too. It's so satisfying. It never gets old!
 I quilted it with a combination of machine quilting and rustic hand stitching.
It measures about 18" square...and it's scrap project #145! Even though it turned out a little bit differently than I imagined it, I love it all the same!

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday. I sure appreciate it!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

the start of a traditional log cabin quilt

While I've made several variations of a log cabin quilt over the years, but I've never made a "traditional" one. Well, that is about to change!
Yesterday morning, over breakfast, I drew up a block and figured out some measurements. I immediately sewed up a few test blocks and I was happy that almost all my measurements were correct on the first try. That was before I had a chance to finish my coffee. (Ha!) As I was sewing, I decided that each block must contain some hoarded or precious fabric. It's time to use it!
These are my first four blocks......and if I can say so myself, I think it's going to be an amazing quilt!!! Each block will finish at 9".
I put together a little pattern sheet that lists the CUT measurements (available here), so you can make a block (or 100!) of your own. You know, if you have any scraps laying around that you aren't sure what to do with.... :)

One quick note...the pattern sheet isn't exactly to scale, but I just crowded my pieces on there anyway, so I knew how my block was shaping up. I used it to help me keep track of which pieces still needed to be cut.
mini design board is a helpful tool for transferring the pieces from your cutting table to your sewing machine. I've also found that it's helpful to sew up two blocks at a time, so you can chain piece, which saves time and thread.
These blocks are addictive! I love this diamond layout....
...but a straight furrow setting would be kind of fun as well. I could easily see spending a whole day making "just two more blocks"! It will be super fun to watch this one grow.

At risk of sounding like a broken record, I think THIS will end up being my new king size quilt...and I can still use up my basket of strings!!! Hurray!!!

Monday, May 16, 2016

washi dress success

Sewing a washi dress has been on my list of things to do for at least 2 years! I've had the fabric and the pattern for over two years as well. That's kind of embarrassing, but I'm also very pleased that I actually got around to it. Finally! (Frankly, I'm surprised that the fabric didn't end up as a quilt back. ha!) The best part is, the dress fits me so well, with no modifications needed. I haven't worked up the nerve to pose and post photos of me in the dress, so you will have to take my word for it. :)
The pattern calls for sewing with elastic thread. This was a first for me, and I was hesitant to do so, but I'm glad I tried it. Oh mylanta. It's was sooooo fun! I think I could sew with elastic thread all. day. long.
The dress took me about 4 hours to sew after I cut out all the pieces. That included hand stitching the bias around the arms. I asked a few friends if that was fast or slow, because I had no clue and I was extremely curious. I hear that it's a reasonable amount of time, which is good news. I've got plans for making at least a few more dresses (maybe 10, hahaha!) using this pattern. I figure that it's my duty to do so, since it fits me so well right off the bat. I know how rare that is when it comes to garment sewing and I'm going to run with it! :)
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 13, 2016

socks, bibs and pincushions, oh my!

Welcome to finish it up Friday! The school year is winding down, so things are busy, busy, busy. I'm thankful that I have any finishes at all this week!
This is my 16 pair of hand knit socks to date. Hurray! These are for my oldest son, so now ALL of my kids have a pair of hand knit socks, or "Saturday Socks", as they are affectionately called in our house. My kids love them. I love that they love them! This yarn is a mix of bamboo, wool and nylon. It wasn't my favorite to knit with (it tangled so easily) but the results feel amazing! I'm glad they have a happy ending. :)

I used my basic sock pattern, which you can find here. (For this pair, I did make a few modifications. I knit the ribbing for the cuff according to the pattern, but I did a plain stockenette stitch throughout the foot portion.)
I went a little crazy making bibs last week. I powered through 9 of them! I used the best bib pattern, and I talked about the modifications in this post. I'm excited about gifting them!
I made a few flying geese pincushions...this one in all greens...which was totally inspired by my backyard....(it's scrap project #143.)
(man, I love this time of the year....)
I made another pincushion this morning, to test my make sure the first one wasn't a fluke. Hahaha! This is scrap project #144! (You will probably see a few more of these...)
I love these pincushions because they have the most humble beginnings. I absolutely love transforming scraps into pretty things! (I know, big news there! Hahaha!)
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, May 12, 2016

let it go...

A few weeks ago, I gave away my epic quilt top. Yes, that's right. I sent it to a friend.
I had so many emotions wrapped up in this quilt. I didn't know if I loved....or even liked it, for that matter. A few different times I put it on my bed, just to see if I could convince myself that I loved it. I wasn't feeling it! Granted, it was just a quilt top, so the quilting could have helped it. Washing and drying probably would have helped, as well. I couldn't decide what to back it with and it was nagging at me. For some reason, I was quite unsettled about it all. It was really strange! So, one day, I called a friend and asked her if she wanted it. She said, "wouldn't say no", and I sent it off the very next day. At first I felt a little bit weird about it, but I'm so relieved that it went to a good home. She already has plans for it! I've had a few weeks to think about it, and I'm super happy with my decision. After all.....It's all just fabric, right?
(There's a reason why I have this hanging in my sewing room! Some days I need the reminder.) I still have plenty of scraps from making the quilt top, which I have plans for....but more on that later.

As for my new bed quilt, I have a plan for that as well!
This is a twin sized string quilt, but I've been using it as a second layer on my bed. I love the way it looks in my room, so I'm going to make a larger version of it. I'm super excited about my new plan. After all, you can't go wrong with scrappy! :) And.... just so happens that my string basket is literally overflowing. Perfect timing!
Have you ever passed along a project that you were stuck on (or had a hang up with)? Did you feel relief? Or did you later change your mind? If you have had a similar experience, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, May 09, 2016

throw pillow mania

It seems like I've been working on making pillows forever, but in reality, I managed to complete my goal of making 11 throw pillows for gifts in less than a month. Yippee! I really don't know why I thought this was a good idea in the first place, but it was an exercise in perseverance, if nothing else! Ha!
I can't believe that this is my first scrap vortex pillow. It's pretty fun! This is scrap project #139.
Simple and sweet patchwork never gets old! This is scrap project #140.
Another half-rectangle pillow, which is scrap project # 141.
And a fraternal twin to the previous pillow. It's not exactly the same, but I had to look carefully to make sure that I didn't post the same photo twice. :) This is scrap project #142!

You can see the previous pillows here, here, and here.
I already gave one pillow cover away, but here are the remaining 10. They look pretty dandy together! I'm actually excited to send them off to their new homes!
One of the great things about this project was that I was able to use up a lot of scrap batting....the pile shrunk considerably! I also discovered that I could use my leftover scraps of fusible interfacing (cut into 1" widths) and fused the batting pieces together, side by side. It's like a triple scrap elimination. I'll take that any day of the week!
I am quite pleased with how they turned out! But boy, that's a whole lot of pillows...even for me! :)
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, May 06, 2016

May is for makers // baby bibs

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I've joined in the May is for Makers campaign. For each of the 5 weeks in May, the idea is to purchase a pattern from an independent pattern designer and work on that pattern throughout the week. I thought that was a great idea/challenge, so I joined in. It's definitely going to take some intention and follow through, but I'm excited about it, too! (This was started by Lindsay of LRstitched and you can read her post about it here.)
My first pattern purchase is The Best Bib, by JCasa. I've seen this cute bib pop up on the internet countless times over the years. Since I know a LOT of people having babies these days, I thought this was a great place to start! The shape of this bib is the cutest ever.
For some reason, I wasn't feeling scrappy when I made these (I don't know what's up with that, but I am concerned about it, hahaha!), so I kept it simple and made the bibs out of just two fabrics each.
This was my first attempt, following the pattern exactly as it was written. (That's super hard for me! Haha!!) It turned out pretty well! It's nice when you have cute fabric that does most of the work.
This is my second bib. I LOVE this fabric! I have a lot of it, so it wasn't too hard to cut into. (Yay!) For this version, I made the ties a little narrower (2 1/4"), a few inches longer, and I cut the tie pieces on the bias.
The pattern calls for a straight cut of fabric for the tie piece, but I found it was a little tricky to attach, even with the gentle curve of the neck line.
This one, with the fabric cut on the bias, was much easier to attach around the neckline. I did a little glue basting to keep the layers on the back in place while I stitched them down, which was super helpful. I love this fabric combination so much! Thankfully, I am not tempted to keep it, since I have no need for baby bibs at this time. :)

Now, I only have about 12 more to make.....

Are you joining in the May is for Makers challenge? If you are, I'd love to hear about it!

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