Friday, November 26, 2010

A christmas present finished

Since Christmas is right around the corner, I've been checking off my gift list. I recently finished this quilt for my mother in law. She has very traditional tastes and I wanted to make her a lap quilt for her family room. I had this professionally quilted and love the results.
 Here is a detail shot of the two blocks that make up the whole quilt. The pattern was Twin Stars from the book Jelly Roll Quilts. The Jelly Roll I used was Park Avenue by 3 Sisters.
 It's always amazing to me how different a quilt looks when you can step away from it or look at it small in a photo on your computer.
Here's the full shot of the quilt, some of it is wrapped over the back of the railing. So as soon as I opened this photo to edit it, I noticed a mistake.  YEAH, a mistake!! It's a little late to find a mistake isn't it?
Can you see it?

Yeah, right there. The flying goose (geese?) is going the wrong way. I'm glad it's at the edge of the quilt, maybe it's a little less noticeable there. All I can do is laugh right? It is funny to me that I never saw it as just a quilt top or even when I had it hanging to take these photos. Guess I should take pictures of my quilts earlier in the process. Although, I guess I did take photos of this as a top and never saw it.
 Here's the back of the quilt. More of the Park Avenue Line.

And close up of my pieced label.

I'm excited to give it to her, even with the mistake in it. Debating whether to tell her about it or not. Would you? What do you do to avoid these mistakes?

Quilt Stats:
Size - 52x68
Started - 9/14/10
Finished - 11/20/10

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Before I packed up my sewing room for thanksgiving I finished all my pillowcases for charity. There are 9 in total and I'm excited to be able to drop them off for a good cause.
And now the dining room is actually a dining room! And I've set my first formal table. I've never hosted Thanksgiving before and this time we are having a small group of four (and a toddler) so it will be less stressful. Practice for the 7 adults and 2 toddlers I'll have for Christmas next weekend. eeekk!

So I just have to point out my crystal water vase because I'm really so excited about it. My grandmother just gave that to me this summer. It was her mothers - a wedding gift about 100 years ago. My silverware is a family gift from my husbands side also. It's so nice to have family belongings to remind you of the people who owned them and gave them to you. Just so grateful for everything this Thanksgiving. 
Happy Thanksgiving to you! Hope it's a wonderful day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Back in business

My machine is back! YAY!  I got the call Saturday that it was done. Of course I dropped everything and ran to pick up. I've been sewing like a maniac ever since.  That mess all around it is the proof.

I finished 4 of my pillowcases for charity.  And I've made progress on a couple other projects that aren't interesting enough to photograph yet.
However, you can see some of them here!  I'm currently sewing in the dining room since my sister is with us. This means I've got to get all of this mess out of here on Wednesday. Because guess where we are having Thanksgiving? That's right - on this table. Not sure how much sewing I'll be getting done during the holidays, but you know I'll be trying to squeeze some in every moment I can.

On the personal side of life, we are moving forward with our new home purchase. Our request for repairs after the inspection was done has been submitted. Hopefully the seller will agree to everything without issue. But, I haven't packed a single box yet!  We have however, started to get rid of things that we aren't going to move. I've been busy freecycling (I finally got rid of my box of skinny jeans, sniff sniff) and the trash can always seems to be full. It's amazing how much junk you can collect. And I'm still going to decorate for Christmas. Lots to be done!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Over the weekend I was working on my challenge project for December's PMQG meeting and this started happening to my stitches.
My bobbin thread was getting tangled, my top thread was breaking. And I was using Aurefil (sp?) so it wasn't cheap thread. I couldn't get it to work correctly so I took it in for service. It's due for the yearly work anyway. They don't take appointments and told me it would be a week to 10 days. GASP!

So - I've been stalled with my to-do list! I'm already going through withdrawal. My back up machine is pretty old and also has bobbin problems so it's probably more stress than it's worth. So there my project sits.
I decided to do some cutting this week to have some projects ready when it's back. I started the Jump Hop Count Playmat from Moda Bakeshop. The letters and numbers ought to keep me busy for a while. it's a version of applique which is new to me and will be interesting I think.
I also got this quilt back from being quilted and need to add the binding. This is the back of the quilt
On Tuesday, we had our PMQG meeting and did some sewing for charity. I was inspired to do some pillowcases of my own for the Million Pillowcase Challenge.
Yup, those are nine pillowcases cut and ready to be sewn. Got any stash lying around you'd like to use up? This is a great way to use it, and these are really fast to put together. You just take them to your LQS and they donate them to different charities. Join up if you can. There are free pillowcase patterns here.

Then today the ultimate torture arrived on my doorstep.
I'm in love with the Parisville fabric line from Tula Pink and may have bought a little too much!  But I can't decide which fabric or colorway is my favorite. Maybe this one?
No, I think it's this one.
Ohhh, they are all so pretty....
Well, I have a king size quilt to make now so I need a lot of fabric right?  Now, I just have to find the perfect pattern. Any suggestions? Do you have a favorite design at the moment? I'm leaning towards some large half square triangles at the moment. And at least I have plenty of time to search while I have no sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sometimes simple isn't easy.

My sister asked me to make my nephew a twin size quilt for his first big kid bed.  The only direction I was given was to not make it babyish. This way he could grow into it.  Oh, and blue was the color requested. That really narrows it down right?!  So I had fun shopping for blue since I feel like I work with girly colors a lot. I narrowed my fabrics down to Modern Meadow and Heather helped turn me onto Hope Valley.
The pattern is from the Material Obsession book and it's the first quilt, Avalon. I knew I didn't want to do anything with stars  or flowers or a lot of intricate piecing that a little boy might not go for.  Here is my final product.
 And the back (it really isn't so neon, the sun was shining through it!)

 I have since written a personalized message on the label. And yes, I did go a little cutesy on that green heart fabric. After all, he's 2 1/2 and I'm his aunt. Gotta have some lovey-ness on there!
So why wasn't this easy? The quilting. I thought it would be easy to just mimic the squares with the quilting. I thought I could just put the guide on my walking foot and sew the boxes 2 inches smaller than the blocks.

It was not easy. You really can't pivot the quilt that much and get it under your machine. I wound up doing all the vertical lines at one shot and then all the horizontal lines. That meant drawing on all the "boxes" and tying off each of those corners. I still haven't mastered hiding my threads if anyone has a good tutorial.
Oh well, this funny little guy is worth it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Big news

It looks like we may be moving shortly! We've been looking for a house for almost a year now. A few weeks ago we put in an offer on a house that I've been working hard not to fall in love with. And this morning the realtor called to tell me that our offer was accepted!

So, pending all inspections, this will be my new sewing room.

Yup, it's a dining room. And it will still be a dining room. But, recently my sister has moved in with us. So I don't know how long the "extra room" will be her room. So I will be in the dining room. The laundry room is attached so that's pretty convenient for fabric storage and ironing and such. Don't you just want to light that fireplace and get to work?

So - I'm looking for inspirations for contained workstations now. Do you have a workstation that is within another room? Got any great pictures you can share with me? Any spaces that inspire you?

There may not be much sewing going on since I'll be packing and doing home repairs on our current house. But I do have a few christmas projects and presents that I'll be sharing. Otherwise it may be a little quiet around here.

Monday, November 8, 2010

New skills

I took a paper foundation piecing class this weekend at my LQS. It was so fun to learn a new skill to use with quilting. We made little Christmas ornaments.  I did the Christmas tree (which still needs a star on top):
 And the stocking:

I was really nervous about trying paper piecing on my own, but it was really very simple. I definitely could have learned this without the class. If you have been thinking about teaching yourself, I recommend trying it. It's super simple, almost like color by numbers! 

Now I'm having dreams of making quilts like this one....

Ah ha ha ha!! Baby steps first.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The pillowcases are complete

I finished the pillowcases that I talked about in my last post. I decided to scrap the Nicey Jane with the hole and find another fabric.
My initial motivation was to make some pillow cases because I had a lot of fabric left over from my quilt and in reality my sheets don't match it. I've never made pillow cases before and didn't realize how much fabric they need. I'm not sure why this never occurred to me since it's pretty obvious looking at them!   At any rate, my color options were limited. And by the time I got down to my 4th pillow case I needed to find a different pattern that used even smaller sections of fabric.

These three were the first cases that I made. The one on top is my absolute favorite!  These were made with Heather Ross' pattern in her Weekend Sewing book. Very quick and easy. But that is all one large chunk of fabric with the decorative strip on it. So when it came to case #4 I didn't have any fabric large enough.
I found this pattern on All People That link has tons of free patterns for pillowcases. This was actually supposed to have a ruffled ribbon, but I wanted to keep it similar to the others so I skipped those steps. It was also pretty quick and easy, but the directions were not as well written as Heather Ross'. That's the difference between free and in a published book!
It was a fun little project, but I'm not sure I'll be making pillowcases from scraps anymore! I think they will be a little more thought out beforehand. Can't wait to get these washed and on my pillows.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The hole problem

I'm in the middle of making pillowcases to go with my "Lovely Windows" quilt. I thought I would just use what I have left of my stash to make them. I've been okay until I got to the 4th pillow case. I've been having a hard time finding a large enough piece of fabric. My Nicey Jane floral was large enough so I cut it. 

Should have opened it to iron it first.  When I opened it, this is what I found.
What is that? A speck of dirt?  Here look a little closer.
GASP! It's a hole. And it's about 1/2 inch big in the center of my fabric. I can't believe I didn't notice this before.
There's no way to hide that on a pillow case right? Any creative ideas? I'm off to scour my fabric for more pillow case fabric.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's not deja vu

**This quilt is now for sale in my Etsy Shop**, this is a different circle around quilt! Here was my first one. This is the sister quilt.
It's almost totally the inverse of the other one. So if the circle was used in the other quilt, the outside of the circle was used on this one.

There are a few exceptions because this one is a little bigger.  This one is 6x7 blocks and the other one was 5x7. So a there are a few fabrics that have both circle and outside on this quilt. Still don't believe that this is different?
I used a different backing! yay! Actually, I didn't have enough backing and you can see where I pieced in the scraps from the other backing with my label.

 I have to give another shout out to Julie over at Jaybird Quilts since this is her pattern. She now has her own patterns out which are fantastic. One of them is the Dot Party which includes this one and a smaller version. Definitely check them out here.

Things I learned on this.  Working with pre-cuts is awesome but can be messy. I used layer cakes for both the Fandango and the solid white. They have those adorable pinked edges, but those edges pill all over the place.
It looked like it had snowed in my sewing room when I was done.

This was also my first time using spray adhesive to bind my quilt. This topic came up at the last PMQG meeting and someone (let me know if you are reading this cause I forget who it was) recommended the purple can of spray from Jo-Ann Fabric. I ran out and got some of course.

Let me say this stuff is pretty awesome!! I don't think I'll ever pin again. It's so simple.  You lay down your batting, spray it and lay down your backing. Flatten it and flip. Repeat with the top.

BUT - there is one catch. I wouldn't do large quilts by yourself. The dimensions for this quilt are 68x58 and I tried to spray baste alone. I wasn't able to get the quilt flat enough (apparently) because I wound up with some of these puckers at my edges.
I've since spray basted another quilt with my husbands help and it took us 5 mins! So far, the quilting is coming out great. I'll keep you posted!


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