Friday, April 26, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes - April Finish

Sometimes straight lines are just the right thing for a quilt. I've been practicing free motion designs so much lately that I haven't given my walking foot much use. That isn't an issue anymore; this quilt has more than made up for any lack of straight lines in my life.

I started with an "X" right through the center of the quilt, then echoed lines on all sides with a 1/4" between each one.

I had thought that I would throw in a secondary design somewhere in there, but the further along I got with the echoing, the more it seemed enough to stick with the simplicity of the echo quilting.

Thankfully, the piecing was fairly precise. The quilting lines followed the pieces in the block without being too off anywhere.

For a while, I considered turning this project into a big pillow, but decided on a wall hanging. There's this big, blank wall in my home office that now has a little something on it.

Oh, Lovely Year of Finishes, you have helped me once again check a project off the unfinished list.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Banners and Buntings


Last weekend, I came away from a quilt shop outing to Anita Heady Fiber Arts and Sewcial Studio with some essential supplies and just one fat quarter that was at a fantastic price in the clearance bin.

When I saw the cute houses on the fabric, I immediately thought "Home Sweet Home". The black rectangles are plain wood rectangles picked up at a yard sale. Duane drilled a hole in each of them and Erica painted them with chalkboard paint.

I used my Tri-Recs ruler to cut flags and then decided that a little contrast was needed and cut more flags from this black and white Kaffe spot fabric.

With right sides together, I sewed and turned the flags. A bamboo skewer helped poke those points out until they were nice and sharp. Then I cut a long rectangle, three inches wide. The edges are pressed to the center, then it is folded in half again to hide all of the raw edges.

Somewhere along the way, Home Sweet Home became an awfully long phrase, so Create became the new mantra for this project.

Each of the rectangles is tied onto the banner with red, cotton string. Erica drew the letters for me.

I beleive my favorite part about this project is that it is totally reversible.

Create on one side and Love on the other. How fun is that? Wouldn't this be cute in a baby or child's room with their name written on it? Or in a classroom with the word Learn or Grow or Inspire. So many good words to use on something like this.

I love that it is so easy to change the word to suit the occasion, or maybe there's a time when there isn't a word at all and cute drawings or doodles can be added to each rectangle.

When I walked out of that quilt shop with just one fat quarter, I had no idea that it would inspire a new project so quickly. This was fast, fun, and just what I needed for a sewing pick me up. I "Love" to "Create"!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quilting for Others

For a while now, I have admired the work of do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}. This large and very talented group makes quilts for a wide range of charitable organizations. They have several of participation levels and I knew that I wanted to become part of this group. My life is hectic and full and physically attending meetings and functions for quilting just isn't possible for me right now. I am so thankful for the many virtual opportunities to share and participate. It's the perfect way to learn, share, and feel like part of a community.

About a month ago, I was invited to join the Believe circle of the do. Good Stitches group. When I submitted an application, I told them that I didn't have a preference for the charity I supported, but things have a way of working out as they should. The Believe circle makes quilts to benefit children in the US foster care system through an organization called My Very Own Blanket. If forced to choose, I'm fairly certain this is the very organization I would have chosen.

So, the way it works is that for two months of the year, I will be the assigned quilter, which means I get to choose the pattern, share the instructions, collect blocks from everyone, and finish the quilt. For the other months, I will be a stitcher, making two blocks to contribute to another quilter's project. There are ten members in each circle. April is my first month participating, and I'm a stitcher this month. The assignment is scrappy trip around the world blocks using red, yellow, blue, and neutrals. No flowers allowed so that this quilt can be used for a boy. I was happy to throw in some frogs for the occasion. I'll be shipping these blocks off this week.

May is my month to be a quilter, so being new and all, I was anxious to go ahead and figure out my plan. As soon as I saw the first block for the Sew, Mama, Sew BOM2, I knew it was what I wanted to do.

However, the block is a huge 24.5" and generally, the blocks made for do. Good Stitches are 12.5". It only took a little bit of math to resize the block for this project. My rules are bright colors, more cool colors than warm, and a light, low volume fabric for the background.

I'll be sending out instructions to my circle members near the end of the month. The level of commitment for this group is just about right for me. I love having the expectations set well in advance and the challenge of being asked to make things that may be a bit outside my comfort zone. And all of it will result in a little something special for a child in need.

Thank you do. Good Stitches for inviting me to be a part of your organization. I look forward to expanding my horizons with this group. Look for an update on our finished quilts in a couple of months.

Monday, April 8, 2013

From Crummy to Playing with Crumbs - A Potholder Gift

First, the crummy part. We had a little bit of drama this week. While we were out running errands, our van decided that it liked going backwards but not going forwards. The kids didn't think it was a good idea to drive backwards all the way home, so we called a tow truck. We also called one of Erica's friends for a rescue ride home. Her friend, Alyson, was at work and couldn't help, but Alyson's mom was home and graciously saved the day. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I had not just purchased a full load of groceries. There are lots of positives to think about. We're fine; the van is fine; it's all good. The van has over 170,000 miles on it so a little trouble every now and then is to be expected. I'm hoping it will hold together for another 30,000 miles or so.

Now to the "crumby" part of the story. I wanted to make a little thank you something for Alyson's mom. I've been saving fabric scraps for a while now but haven't really done anything much with them so that is where I started.

I dumped out the jar with crumbs. Crumbs are those little pieces that many people would consider trash, but there is a segment of the quilting population (yep, that's me) that thinks that all fabric has a purpose, even tiny pieces that look like trash.

I raked through the pile for a bit to see what I had to work with, then started pulling out all the black, white, and red pieces.

 Next, I cut a 9.5" square from muslin to use as a foundation. Then I started sewing pieces on.

Once I had used most of the pieces that had been pulled out and pressed, I squared up the block to 7".

It looks like a wonky log cabin block. I had enough high heel fabric in my stash to use for the back. I added two layers of Therm-a-Flec for heat resistance and put a piece of batting between them.

I used these small binding clips to hold it all together for quilting. I've been wanting to try quilting a spiral so this was a great project to try that on.

Getting started in the center was tricky, but once a few rounds were done, it was easy quilting. The binding is machine sewn and is a solid black from my stash, probably a Kona.

It's even kinda cute from the back. I think this will be a perfect thank you for a sweet mom. The crumbs had intimidated me for a while, so I'm happy, too, that this was an opportunity to put them to good use. It might be time to make a few new potholders!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Very Pinteresting

I am crazy about Pinterest. There are so many fantastic ideas out there and sometimes it becomes almost an obsession to see what new and interesting things show up each day. The board that I keep that is my favorite is called "Pretty Quilts". I keep all sorts of inspiration there, like this
and this
and this
I realized after a while that I was so focused on finding things to pin, that I wasn't doing anything with the pins I found (other than to consider them delicious eye candy!). So, I decided to challenge myself and start doing something with all of this great information. Both Duane and Erica are Pinterest fans as well, so I thought, why not make this a family challenge.

The family part of the challenge hasn't gone so well since Erica's boards are things like "My Future Wedding" and "My Future Home" and Duane's boards include luxury items that we can't afford, like really expensive watches. Their boards just aren't quite as practically minded as mine.

Even my success has been limited, primarily to new recipes (some really good recipes!). Not to worry, though, I have plans, big plans, to pay more attention to my pins and turn some of those ideas into reality!

How about you? Do you love Pinterest? Do you use the ideas you find on Pinterest, or is it more a fun way to pass some time each day?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes - April Commitment

I've pulled another quilt top to finish for April. This one is a bit smaller than in previous months. It's 23" square. I'm not sure if it will become a big pillow or wall hanging, but either way, it will be quilted.

This is another one of those quilt tops that was created as part of the Classy Ladies club at the quilt shop several years ago.

I'm thinking about some dense, straight line quilting on this project.

We'll see what inspiration the month brings.

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