Wednesday, June 29, 2016

bright birch tree kit giveaway

I put together a little bright birch tree starter kit that I'd like to send to a new home. I've collected a huge variety of small pieces (and they are small) but they are perfect for my bright birch trees pattern! The great thing is, most of the pieces are ready to sew up...very little trimming will be required. The kit includes a copy of the print pattern and a tall pile of small scraps...just add the background fabric of your choice! If you don't like small scraps, please do not enter. (Seriously!) :) If you do like small scraps and you'd like a chance to win, please leave me a comment on this post. In your comment, I'd love to hear what quilt project you are closest to completing. (I'm anxious for a finish, can you tell?) I'll pick a winner in a few days. US mailing addresses only this time, please! Thank you!

Friday, June 24, 2016

patchwork chenille rug

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Last summer my friend Tara and her family came to visit. We sat on the floor and played fabric and had a great time dreaming up ideas of things to make. This week I made a bath mat that we brainstormed during that time. It's been on the mental list for at least a year!
It's just a simple patchwork rug, backed with chenille, but I love it so much. It feels good on the feet. (I had the chenille in my special stash of fabrics for a LONG I was happy to finally find a good use for it!)
I cut 48 unique prints of 30's repros (from a stash I inherited last year!) and sewed them together. I bar tacked the layers of the rug together at each junction for stability. I could have hand stitched them, but I wanted it very durable, as this will probably get used and washed a lot. The rug finishes at about 24" x 32". The best part is, I get to hand deliver it to Tara! I can't wait!

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!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

gluing, pounding and shrinking (oh my!)

This is kind of a mish mash post, but I wanted to cover a few random things, so we will file this post under tips, tricks and miscellaneous information. How does that sound?
Last week I mentioned that I lined up the stripes on my binding by glue basting. I don't do a lot of glue basting, but there are times when it's quite helpful. Last year a woman came to quilt guild and did a whole demo on this subject, and that's when I bought this super fine tip. It dispenses a very fine line of glue, which you then need to set with a hot iron. Only use washable white school glue for this! It's basically glorified starch....which will come out in the wash. If you want more information, you can google "glue basting" which will yield enough reading information for days! I've also used glue to baste my quilt backing fabric together to line up the repeat. I have to say, the binding strips were much easier...they are much smaller! The super fine tips can also be purchased here. (No affiliation whatsoever, just for your information.)
I'm in a quilt bee with my lovely friends that I retreat with at Gruber's every year. Last month, Michelle asked for a solids version of this bowie block. I don't mind paper piecing, but this one was tricky for me! My friend Cindy counted and there are 14 layers of fabric to sew through in certain points. Well, no wonder I was having problems. Ha! I've seen photos on Instagram of people pounding bulky seams flat with a hammer, so I gave it a try. The block lies much flatter now and it was also good for releasing some frustration. Hahahaha! Someone asked if it damages the fabric, which didn't even occur to me. The integrity of the fabric seemed just fine after the pounding. Weird technique, but it's a good trick for ultra bulky seams.
Before I gifted this quilt to my neighbor, I washed it. I measured it after washing, and it shrunk 5" in the width and 6" in the length. I thought that was a lot!!! I'm glad I made it oversized...and I was relieved that it still finished at 66" x 88"...about a perfect twin size! Yay!

That got me thinking, though....did it shrink extra because of the Essex linen that I used? Or is that normal? I don't often measure my quilts before and after, but I became very curious. So, I quickly washed and dried my scrapalicious quilt to compare. This quilt shrunk by almost the same rate....5 1/2"in the width and 7" in the length. (Before washing the quilt was 66" x 86". After washing, the quilt was 60 1/2" x 79".) Both quilts have Quilters Dream batting inside. I thought that was an interesting experiment. It also reminds me that if I want to make a quilt large enough to fit a bed, I need to add an extra row or so!

Monday, June 20, 2016

crazy rails quilt-the beginning

I've been careful to avoid starting too many quilts lately, but sometimes, after much consideration, it's absolutely necessary. I'm sure you know what I mean! :)
A few months ago, Rebecca brought this vintage quilt to guild for show and tell. Someone in her family was on the verge of throwing it away, but Rebecca's dad stepped in a saved it. What a good save! This quilt is a beauty!
This is the kind of quilt that I could sit under and admire all day long. Some of the fabrics are funky and some of the fabrics are super cute, but both are equally important! After seeing the quilt, I couldn't get it out of my mind. Rebecca was kind enough to bring it back to guild so we could admire it again. (Thanks, Rebecca!) Even though photos don't do this quilt justice, I'm glad I snapped a few of them.
Last week, I broke down and started my own version of that quilt. (Don't you love the reality of my chaotic design wall? Ha!)
The strips are cut at 1 1/2" wide, so each of the rails will finish at 1" x 3". That means that almost 1/3 of this quilt will be seam allowances! For some reason, that tickles me. I don't love the quilt at this point, but I am sure that after I add a few hundred more fabrics, it will be quite lovely. Thankfully, I have overflowing scrap bins to help me out with that!

Do you have a quilt that you've been itching to try? If you do, I'd love to hear about it!

Also, thank you so much for your kind comments on my scrapalicious quilt. I appreciate your kind words very much! xoxo

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 17, 2016

a scrapalicious quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

My scrapalicious quilt is finally done! This finish is especially sweet because it has been a work in progress at least since November of 2014. That's a bit of time...
I took it to a nearby park yesterday for a photo shoot. It's usually a quiet park, but while I was photographing it, a group of about 10 people who were on a nature walk passed by. Of course they did! It makes me a little bit uncomfortable to be caught in public photographing quilts, but I had to smile when one of them shouted out "I like your quilt!" and a few of the others agreed. At least they were kind about it! I think my boys were probably a little bit embarrassed, but that's good for them. Ha!
In a quilt like this, almost anything goes, but it also requires a lot of editing....if that makes sense. For both of the vortex quilts that I've made, I reached a point where I had to chop things up into smaller pieces and sew them back together in a different order. It's amazing how much that can help!
For the backing, I used fabrics from my stash, which always feels great! That huge sunflower print is one of my favorites. (It's called summerhome by hemma design.) I was going to make a skirt out of it, someday, but it found it's purpose on the back of this quilt instead. I LOVE this quilt back...and I love how the spiral quilting shines!
I used a bright stripe (it's called clown stripe by Michael Miller) to finish things off. I think it works so well! I took great care to line up the stripes when I pieced the binding. (Glue basting for the win!) It's a little detail that delights me to no end.
The spiral quilting distorted the quilt a bit, so I had to square it up before adding the binding. I was quite happy that this is an improvisational quilt, so when I had to chop off an inch in some places, it really didn't matter. Hurray for that safety net!
The finished quilt measures about 66" x 86"  and it's scrap project #146. I'm still trying to decide if I am going to keep it or give it away.
If you would like to make something similar, check out the posts from my scrap vortex quilt along from last summer. The links for all 5 weeks can be found at the bottom of my quilt alongs page.
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! Have a great weekend. xo

Thursday, June 16, 2016

gingham washi dress

My boys and I went to visit my sister for a few days this week. I wanted to pack up ALL my scraps and take them with, but I'm not sure I would have had enough room in my van. (ha!) I decided to pack a few smaller projects instead. I'm surprised (and delighted) that I was able to complete another washi dress.
I bought this fabric for $2.99/yard at SR Harris about a year ago or more. (I believe that it's 54" wide, so it was a screamin' deal.) I thought it would make a good quilt back. Turns out, it makes a great dress! I have enough leftover to make my daughter a garment (of some kind), too. It has a beautiful drape and it's nice and soft. I LOVE gingham.
This is the washi dress in size medium, with no alternations. I LOVE the fit. It's quite comfortable, and cute, too. I have my next two planned out already. One may be red and white polka dot. I'm sure that comes as no surprise! :)

Friday, June 10, 2016

a pair of boxy pouches

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

The boxy pouch is something that has been on my mental to-make list for years. Literally, years!
I used this fantastic tutorial by Pink Stitches. (This is the larger size.) It was a fun project and there was a lot of squealing by me and my daughter over the finished product. Like a friend of mine mentioned, it has hello kitty, gingham and strawberries. What more could you ask for? Plus, it's pink!!!
I love that it's fully lined on the inside. I quilted the outside panels onto scraps of batting, then added interfacing (Pellon SF101) behind the batting. That might seem a little bit weird, but it worked well. The lining fabric also has a layer of the same interfacing, but no batting. The pouch has a great amount of structure, but it's still flexible and not the least bit crinkly or crispy. (I hate crispy interfacing!)
My daughter was eyeing it up and wanted it for her own, for marker storage. I plan to use mine to hold knitting projects, and I knew I couldn't give mine up, so I made her a smaller version. It's so fun to have matching boxy pouches! And I'm happy to use up some stash fabric at the same time. :)
Because it's fun to hear from you, what is something that is on your long time sewing list? I'd love to hear about it!
Oh, and thank you SO MUCH for your sweet comments on my daughter's quilt blocks. She loved the encouragement. It means a lot to her. (And me!) Thanks a bunch. xoxox
Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

finding a new rhythm

Summer is in full swing and I'm tired! The kids are home all day, which is great, but it requires a much higher energy (and tolerance) level. As my kids are getting older, I can see how fast the time goes, so I'm trying (trying!!!) to spend more time being with them. I'm trying to enjoy the summer instead of quilting away the rest of their childhood. Most importantly, I'm trying not to lose my mind. Some days (most days!) it's a tricky balance!
My daughter, who is 10, has taken up quilting. It's not easy for me to give up "my" sewing time, but I'm trying to let go and let her sew, too. The other day she dug through my 2 1/2" square scrap drawer, designed a block and sewed it up. I helped press and pin, but beyond that, she made it!
She is doing so good!!!! Here are her first 5 blocks. I absolutely LOVE them! I want to make a quilt just like it, but she doesn't want me to steal her pattern. Ha! She has such a great eye for color and design. Her skills have progressed noticeably in these 5 blocks. Maybe she can finally help me make a dent in my scraps. Hahahaha!
Since she has been sewing on my Juki, I have been spiral quilting my scrapalicious quilt on my Janome Horizon. It feels great to be quilting and making progress on a WIP. Plus, quilting is a relatively easy task to start and stop as the interruptions come along. :)
My kiddos set up an iced mint tea stand the other day...and they had good results. It was unbelievably cute.
And....we've been doing some fishing. Summer goes waaaaay too fast here....but we are determined to make the most of it....sewing or otherwise! :)

Friday, June 03, 2016

Sunny's quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I finished Sunny's quilt this week! Her graduation party is tomorrow and I am excited to hand deliver this quilt to her.
I used my simple flea market fancy tutorial for the pattern. This was my first time using Essex Linen (the color is flax) for the background of a quilt. It certainly behaves differently than cotton does, but I had no issues with it. I did a shrink test of the fabric before I began, just to be safe. My 6" test square only shrunk about 1/8", so I don't think shrinkage will be a problem. The batting will most likely shrink more than that.
For the backing, I used a striped fabric from my stash and surrounded it with some good neighbors fabric. I get a kick out of using my good neighbors fabric (cross stitch in kiwi) for a gift for my neighbor. :) It's the little things...right? For the quilting, I did an all over stipple in a light gray thread (Aurifil 2615). It blended so well with all the fabrics!
The binding is an old central park print that I got from a friend awhile back. It was too perfect not to use on this quilt! I love how it finishes things off.
 The quilt measures about 70" x 94". It should cover a dorm bed quite nicely!
All it needs is a label and a ribbon!

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