Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Little Lost Dresden

Way back at the beginning of the year, I made this:

and this:

out of a charm pack from one of Kate Spain's fabric collections. When I cut them out, I had two large and three small dresdens ready to go. As you can see above, there are only two large and two small dresdens in those projects. The pieces for one of the small dresdens went missing. I looked and looked for them and finally decided they must have been knocked in the trash can and thrown away.

Apparently I didn't look quite hard enough because on a recent clean up of the sewing room, I found them. Today I decided it was time to turn those pieces into something pretty.

Here's my little lost dresden. She became the focus of a cute coffee mug rug.
I used a pretty Kaffe Fassett fabric on the back, so it's good to use on either side.
I'm happy to have found this little lost dresden. It is going to find a home at my office either on my desk or on the desk of one of my coworkers.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas Countdown

Nancy Halvorsen was always very popular at the shop, especially her Christmas collections. This is one of the samples that I made from her 12 Days of Christmas line. I only made the 2 and the 5 since it was just for display purposes.

Last year, I displayed it at home and it always said "25 Days till." It was odd to have it displayed without any way to actually count down the days so I was determined to get the rest of those numbers made for this year.

I didn't have the exact fabrics anymore but it worked out just fine. I pulled all of the green, gold, and red from my Nancy Halvorsen stash and had plenty of fabric for the project. That is one good thing about her collections...they tend to work together year after year.

Now we are ready to count down the days in style. I've assigned the number changing to the kids. We'll see how good they keep up.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Joy

My daughter, Erica, and I decided that we needed a little craftiness in our Thanksgiving afternoon. We wanted something simple and fun. With a few supplies, we were on our way.

I try to keep all of my scraps in jars sorted by size and shape. There were some good holiday scraps in the jar of 1 1/2" squares and there were also a few bigger pieces that went along with them. Add a blank canvas and some Mod Podge and our first holiday project for the year was born.

 We're thinking about adding a "hope" and "peace" version for a nice triptych of holiday spirit. Erica and I decided we don't collaborate often enough. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New York Beauty Finished

It feels so good to have a finished project under my belt just in time for Thanksgiving. This project was a great adventure and I am thankful for the quilt along that started it all. It all started with this post back in March so that's nine months in the making. I put this together using a quilt as you go method that I had not tried before, and it's a good thing I decided to go this route. 

About the time I started quilting the blocks, the light bulb on my sewing machine went out. I ordered a new one right away, but it still isn't here. This is how I've been sewing since then. There's no way anything big is going to work with that light sitting there. I put together the quilted blocks in the same way I would put together unquilted blocks with the exception that the seams were pressed open rather than to one side.

I had to be careful when pressing. The batting pieces all came from my scrap bag, and they aren't all the same kind of batting. I use a lot of fusible batting and I couldn't tell just by looking if it was a fusible piece or not. So each block was pressed batting side down first on a piece of muslin to test its stickiness. The plan worked. There were no sticky iron accidents.

One of the things I liked most about this method is that I could fudge the seams more than usual. All of my blocks measured a smidge shy of 8" so all of my batting squares were cut to exactly 8" and my seams were consistent.

Here's the back after all the blocks were put together.

This method also made for a nice, square quilt.

The quilt along included ten different blocks and I made four of each. My quilt layout is six blocks by six blocks so that left four blocks out of the front. They worked into the back perfectly.

The back is quilted to the front by a simple stitch in the ditch between all of the blocks.

I'm really bad about not labeling my quilts, but this one deserved something special.

Not sure that shows up good enough to read. It says, "To my loving husband, Duane Exum, the quilt I should have made you long ago. With all my love, Debora Exum" The year is on there, too.

I'm really happy with this quilt. I don't know where it will be permanently displayed, but for Thanksgiving Day, it will hang behind the head of our kitchen table.

There is much to be thankful for and I look forward to some good family time over the next few days.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my U.S. friends and family.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aurifil Thread Club

Once a month, I clean off my big sewing table so that it can be filled with this...

Isn't it pretty? I am the lucky hostess of an Aurifil Thread Club. Each month, five spools of Aurifil 50 weight thread are packed up and shipped out to club members. The club started for those of us who loved the idea of owning the entire collection of Aurifil 50 weight thread, but weren't so excited by the price tag of doing that all at once. We're slowly building our collections, and it's fun getting a package full of colorful thread surprises each month. Members can also add to their order each month, which is perfect for those of us who love to piece with Aurifil's neutral colors.

You can join us too! It is only $19 per month and that includes shipping. Add any large spool to your order for just $10 each. There's no deadline for signing up and you can stop any time. Aurifil is my absolute favorite thread for piecing quilts. If you are interested in joining or want more information, just leave a comment or drop me an email at Debora dot Exum at gmail dot com. Thanks for letting me share some Aurifil love with you.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Quilting on New York Beauty

Confession time...quilting (the stitching of the layers together) is my least favorite part of making a quilt. It intimidates me. No matter how much practice or how much I psych myself up, I'm always terrified of taking those first few stitches in my layered project. This only applies to big projects, though. Small, like less than 20 inches square small, are fun. They're easy to manipulate and quick to stitch.

So when I saw this quilt as you go tutorial by Maureen Cracknell, I was intrigued. It's funny, because when I first saw it, I thought, "Wait. You can't do that!". Me, the person who tells everyone that there aren't really any rules, is freaking out over batting being sewn in a seam. I've been mulling it over since she posted it and decided, why not? What have I got to lose? And this technique jumpstarted me on the quilting of my New York Beauty quilt.

One of the biggest advantages to using this method is the ability to use up batting scraps. I have very few large pieces of batting on hand and tons of small leftover pieces.

I'm having a blast quilting on each square.

The quilting shows up better on the batting side. I'm following most of the curves, then stitching along one side of each point to the edge of the block. I'm hoping that I'll achieve a little bit of motion by quilting the points all in the same direction. One of the disadvantages of this method is that the detailed quilting won't show up on the back.
I'm marking all of the lines on each block with masking tape which keeps me from drawing any kind of lines on the fabric.
After quilting, each block is trimmed down and squared up to be 8-inches. I haven't started sewing any rows together yet, so we'll see how that part goes. The best part of this whole process is that I am now sure I will finish this quilt before the end of the year.
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