Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last string finish...

I finally finished this quilt!  I'm so glad, since I have company coming this weekend, and I really wanted to go ahead with my new decor.
I felt like it needed something more, so I set out to work on the throw pillow.  Now, I struggled with this design on the quilt because I don't usually do set patterns.  It's very organized, and I'm not.  It at least appears to be rather planned.... and I don't.  So I wanted to do something improv on the pillow.

So I had left over a few random scraps and a couple of blocks.  Nothing really that would go into a planned design.  And I needed it to go quick.  And look nice.  No problem, right?
So I shredded up the leftover blocks and my scraps and sewed them together into long strips, and then I used Stephanie's piecing method on foundations and made 4 blocks.  Then I arranged them into a star and hoped I could find a pillow insert about the size of what I had (like I said, planning is not my forte...)

I'm really pleased with the look, and I'm so amazed at what different designs you can achieve with the string piecing method by just arranging things differently.

I think I need 2 more pillows now......   but that's a project for another day I think!

A string finish!

This is the biggest quilt I've quilted yet.
And it's all SCRAPS!  Amazing, yes?
It's part of Stephanie at Loft Creations String to Finish Challenge.  And I had a really good time with it. 
It was my husband's Father's Day gift, and the first quilt I've made just for him.  He requested something extra long since he's a rather tall fellow and blankets are often too short for him.  It measures 70" x 96".
Machine quilted on my trusty vintage Bernina.
Here's the back.  It's pieces out of my stash. 
I quilted it in spirals.  There's one large spiral in each block, then one smaller one on each corner.  I really enjoyed this method, and it turned out to be quite easy to do.  Even on such a large quilt.
Each block is foundation pieced on muslin, so it was rather heavy.  But I like a heavy quilt.
I keep the binding leftovers from all my quilts, and so for this one I cleaned out my binding scrap bag for a scrappy binding.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

a fun swap

For the Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day, I offered a hodgepodge of fabric from my stash.  One of the cuts was a Michael Miller crow print that I wasn't sure what to do with....  

After the giveaway, Linda contacted me about getting some of that fabric for a quilt she was working on.  We arranged a swap.  So here's what I sent her:  some crows, some sock monkeys and some teapots.  A rather strange collection, but some of my favorites.
And here's what I received back last week!  I'm so excited:
Well, I already had the beautiful baby.  But the rest!  A HUGE stack of squares in red and blue.  How did Linda know that I've been collecting fabric for a Quilt of Valor?  And having a stack of pre-cut squares is such a blessing to help me get started!  
And the other pile is a collection of 60's and 70's prints.  I have a friend that would really enjoy a small quilt out of these.  Stay tuned!

I am always so touched by the online quilting community.  You guys are some wonderful people!  
Thanks so much Linda!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quilting bee blocks

I wanted to share some blocks I've created for quilting bees that I'm in...  these are for jeremy at, and he asked for block-within-a-block with a white border.  The bee is specifically improvisational, which I really enjoy.
block 1
really liked this one best......
and this one was a fun experiment!

These trees are for Leila, and she asked for trees (deciduous or evergreen) on a white background.  I had never done trees before, so it was a fun learning experience!
wasn't sure about this one.  My husband asked me if she had to use it when he saw it....
I liked the Y in this one.  
And I had an extra.  You can see the construction in this one a little easier, so that's why I included it.

Quilting bees are a lot of fun!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I am not a seamstress.

Confession time.  I am not a seamstress.
I am a decent quilter.  And I like to sew.  But I am most definitely not a seamstress.

Here's some things I can't do:  put in a zipper (invisible or visible), make a proper buttonhole, ease in a seam, attach velcro without flinching, hem stuff, mend stuff, or deal with fabrics that creep, stretch or otherwise demonstrate free will.  
Oh, and I HATE to make anything fit a human or other form, living or otherwise.
That's a short list.

Anyhoo...  my daughter needed a nap mat.  And I have this pride problem that I really want to make it myself.  
Even though I'm not a seamstress.  
I just needed to make the cover.  For a rectangular mat.  
Seems easy.  It wasn't.
I determined I'd be using stuff from my stash, since I have too large of a stash.  And I rarely use my fabrics that aren't quilting fabric, i.e. the fabrics that demonstrate free will when you try to sew them.  

In this case, knit, flannel and cheap minky fabric.  Well, there's the finished product.  The pink fabric is frogs wearing tutus. Very cute.  
The back is a green zebra knit.
I'll admit that I put binding on the bottom seam because it's cute easier for me to put on binding than to hem it.  Seriously.  I don't hem stuff well.  And the binding is flannel, which is what I had enough left of.  As I was ironing it, I decided that might not have been a great idea.....
And it folds up and the tie holds it closed.  My favorite part is the ruffly side of the flip up pillow.  

When I finished it, my daughter dragged all her blankies over to it and sat on it, which is most definitely a toddler sign of great approval.

Any other quilters out there that are not great seamstresses?  Or am I the only oddball?
Fess up, friends!

Wendy ponders thread and quilting gloves...

Ah, it's an exciting day here in the Wendy city. 

I'm working on this quilt and I'm determined to get it at least quilted this week.  It's very large.  
Large by huge, to be exact.  
So I looked online and decided to take some advice and get some grippy gloves to use to quilt it with.  
Now, these are not specifically quilting gloves.  In fact they are gardening gloves from Target's dollar section.  On the plus side, they are pink and grippy.  On the negative, they are quite large on me.  

Here's a better alternative, I think:   and they come in sizes too, which would be nice.  And not too much more expensive.

Anyway, they do make the quilting easier.  My hands and arms don't get fatigued so fast.  I highly recommend them.  I may be cutting the thumbs off mine, though.  I've already sewed through them once.  
(The glove thumbs.  My actual thumbs are fine, thank you!)

In my previous post, I had asked you lovely people to help me decide between a natural thread or a black thread.  And you gave me the very helpful answer of "meh, neither is great..." which is really what I already knew.  But I was afraid to quilt in a color.  Too scary.   

But you were right -- neither black nor natural was all that attractive!
So I ended up going with a taupe color that matches the newsprint type fabrics.  
It doesn't stand out too much on either the black or the light prints, and it's perfect!!  
I appreciate your help....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chair help, if you please!

So we purchased this chair for my first little girl when she turned 1.  She's enjoyed it a lot!

But now that she's older she doesn't use it as much -- but her sister has claimed it.

And... well, here's where I'm strange.  Now that the younger one is the one using it, I'd like to refashion it so that it doesn't have my older daughter's initials on it.  Can you help me?

Details:  the cover is a heavy denim.  It comes off completely and I can get the back part on my sewing machine.  And my machine will sew through it.  The monogram is embroidered, and I'm not sure if I could pick out the embroidery or not.  I'm limited on how much time I'm going to devote to it, so ripping out embroidery is not my preference.  I'd like to cover it in some way that is either neutral or has both girls' first initials on it.

Here's why you want to help:  please leave me an idea in the comments.  I'll choose one and re-fashion the chair and post about it.  And I'll send whoever left the brilliant idea a present of some sort.  Might be handmade, might be supplies, might be food.

Oh, and here's where we purchased the chair.  It has been fabulous and gotten a lot of use.  Absolutely worth every single penny.  The cover is easily removable and washable.  My daughter has used it daily from age 1 to about age 3.5 and could continue to use it but she just prefers to sit on the couch or chairs "like a big person" now.
{By the way, I'm not getting paid to review this.... I just think it's really that cool and useful, I like you guys, and I want to help you out!}

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I needed some solid yellow fabric for blocks for Block Lotto, and I pulled out these pieces. Now, I knew that one of them was 100% cotton, because I bought it myself for a project from a year ago. And the other one I inherited from my mom. I remember the project my mom used the yellow for, and she is not a quilter, so I did not know what the other scrap was made of. Or which was which! So I had to figure out a way to determine the fabric content of these two specimens.

{I have to admit I love stuff like this!}

Now, I have heard other quilters refer to a "burn test" before. And I'll admit that I had no idea what that was. What do you burn? What are you looking for? Do you just burn the whole piece and then it doesn't matter what it was made of?
Here's our specimens. We'll call them lefty and righty. Same color, maddeningly enough. Lefty had a larger weave. Neither was what I'd call shiny or slick.

So I did a little checking around and figured out what I was looking for. I cut a little piece of each one and lit a candle. Then I stuck each piece in the candle and let it start to burn. (If you do this, please do it near a sink or a bowl of water. Be safe please!)
So here's the results. Lefty burned like a candle wick and went to soft ash, so it's cotton. Righty shrunk up away from the flame and left a plasticky residue when it burned on the edge in little beads, so it has synthetic fibers in it, most likely polyester.

All in all, a fun experiment!