Wednesday, December 13, 2017

a little of everything

I've been walking around my house singing "it's the MOST wonderful time of the year", but in a slightly sarcastic manner. I just can't seem to keep up! I know I'm not alone, but I still don't care for the ridiculous pace of early to mid December. This post is a little random, so please bear with me! :)
Thank you so much for the sweet comments on my gingham quilt! I had a few requests to see the pillows a little better, so here you go. I made pillowcases with Lotta dots in Coral, the chenille pillow shams were made from an old bedspread and the kindness pillow was finished earlier this year. I love the simplicity of the whole ensemble. It makes me smile every time I walk into my room! It's wonderful to have new bedding to brighten up the dreary winter days.

I've been working on a lot of different things this week...
I started knitting an origami top hat for a friend. I LOVE this shockingly pink yarn. It's been a great project to work on while I'm on the go.
This panel of hexies is part of a larger project that I will share more of soon. I estimated that it's taken me between 12 and 16 hours JUST to sew the hexagons together. Sometimes it's better NOT to count the hours. Hahaha! It did force me to just sit down for awhile, AND they are super cute, so it was totally worth it!
My neighbor ordered a pincushion to give as a gift, so I made one for her as well. I had a blast making these from my teeny tiny scraps.
And, I had to make an extra one, just for good measure. It felt so good to finish SOMETHING! Playing with scraps and finishing a few small projects was just the boost I needed to keep going.
 
I hope you are able to find a few moments in this busy time of year to breathe and enjoy the little things, too!

Friday, December 08, 2017

gingham quilt complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Last Saturday evening I finished my gingham quilt!!!! I waited until I completed the coordinating pillowcases (all 6 of them!) to put the quilt on the bed. Otherwise I would procrastinate for at a least a year or two to actually sew them up. Ha! I put everything on my bed last night and I'm soooo pleased with how it all came together!
The quilt uses only 5 fabrics: White, Pink Flamingo and Pearl pink (all Konas) for the top. The binding (lotta dots in coral reef) and backing (apron in coral reef) fabrics are from Connecting Threads. That coral color is super hard to photograph, but trust me, it's really pretty!
It was pretty fun to back an entire quilt with my fabric. :) This is my largest quilt to date, finishing at about 108" x 102". I'm very happy that this quilt, which features the Kona color of the year, is actually finished before the year is over. Woohoo!

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!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

a sew together bag for my neighbor

My neighbor had a birthday this week, so I made her a sew together bag. (Pattern is available here.) These bags are NOT a quick project, so one has to choose the recipients carefully. My kids joke that they know I really like someone if I go to the trouble of making one of these as a gift. (They are totally right about that!)
I always struggle with picking out fabrics for a gift. I know what I like, but I have a hard time deviating from that. For this one, though, I knew that she would like something bright and cheery and cute, which is pretty much in my wheelhouse. Hurray for that!
I used 4 different fabrics for the pockets and 3 different fabrics for the pocket linings. What can I say? I like to use as many fabric as I can. Haha! I knew that she likes pink, so that was helpful for determining the pocket fabrics. The rest of the fabric selections were determined by the zippers I had on hand. (True story!)
 
Oh! I should also mention, I added tabs to the zipper ends, which helps immensely in assembly. (I have a post that explains the modifications here.)
Even though it takes more time, I like to make a patchwork panel for the outside and then quilt it. I start with 2 1/2" squares, so they finish at 2". (The side ones and the top ones get trimmed slightly, but it still works!)
I believe that this is my 6th sew together bag that I've made to date. I gave it to my neighbor today and I'm happy to report that she was OVERJOYED with her gift. That makes every stitch worth it!

Friday, December 01, 2017

almost finished and some wool garland

Welcome to finish it up Friday and Happy December!
I made serious progress on my gingham quilt this week! I debated rushing through the hand binding just so I could have a finish for today, but then the voice of good reason showed up. (Hurray for that! hahaha!) I decided to slow down and enjoy the process instead. I'm currently 1/4 of the way done stitching the binding to the back. I look forward to snuggling up with it as I finish it this weekend. I love hand binding!
 
(As an aside....I dream of having a stack of 20 quilts sitting in a pile, just waiting to be hand bound, especially as we head into winter. I don't think that will ever happen, as I can't wait to finish quilts! But, doesn't it sound like a nice winter activity to sit down after dinner and have some binding to do every night?? I don't think that would ever get old!)
 
Anyway.....I do have a small finished project to share with you today!
A few years ago my neighbor friend passed along some scraps that her sister-in-law had leftover from making felted wool mittens. Not one to turn down scraps, I adopted them and they sat in my sewing room for quite awhile. I cut circles (freehand, with scissors) out of the wool scraps and they sat in a basket for awhile longer.
Recently, I separated the cool colors from the warm colors and sewed some of them into a garland. It was so quick and easy...once the circles were cut, that is! I used a 50 weight thread from Connecting Threads (because it's nice and thick) and I stitched them together on my sewing machine. I sewed about 6 "blank" stitches between each wool disk. I made a few garlands...one is about 4 yards and one is 4 1/2 yards long. I discovered that might have been a little bit too long, but I guess I can always trim them, right?
I hung one on my mantle and I'm sure I'll find a home for the other one soon. This was such a fun and quick project!
These are ready to stitch up and would be perfect for either Christmas or Valentine's Day. Or both! 

That's it for me today! Do you have a finish to share? If so, please link up. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Thanks for stopping by and for reading. I appreciate it so much! Have a great weekend!

 

Monday, November 27, 2017

on to the next!

Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments on Curt's quilt. I appreciate each and every one!

It felt great to focus on just one project and make significant progress in such a short time. Since I was on a roll, I decided to move on to the next! I had 4 quilt tops to choose from, so it was time.
I took advantage of the lovely weather this weekend and I basted this king size gingham quilt on my 3 season porch. It was helpful to have other people home so that they could help keep the puppies occupied, too. It took me nearly all day to piece the backing (all 9 1/2 yards of it!), trim the threads on the backside of the quilt top and pin the layers together. It took nearly all the floor space I had available. Oh, boy!
I've been debating between sending it out to my long arm quilter and quilting it myself for the past few months. Sure, it would have been easier to send it out....especially since the quilt measures 108" x 102". But, there is something kind of neat about quilting such a massive quilt yourself on a domestic sewing machine. (Maybe I have more stubbornness than good sense? Hahaha!) I definitely maxed out the throat space while quilting it, but really, it wasn't terrible. No more than 1/2 of the bulk needs to be in the throat at any one time. I will say, though, that it takes a lot of adjusting and readjusting of the quilt. A LOT!
Here's a photo of my quilting set up. I have a decent amount of table space to hold the bulk of the quilt behind the machine, and equally helpful is my ironing table to the left of my chair, which supports the rest of the bulk.
The loops certainly aren't perfect, and I've had to work on letting go of perfection as I quilt. (The struggle is real!) I've estimated that it will take me about 16 hours (!!!) to quilt it. Despite that, I'm still glad that I decided to quilt it myself.

I've got 17/50 lines of loops left to quilt, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That certainly helps, too!

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, November 24, 2017

moody quilt complete!

Welcome to finish it up Friday! I hope all of you in the U.S. had a Happy Thanksgiving!
Much to my surprise and delight, I was able to finish the moody quilt this week! Woohoo! It's amazing what a deadline (self-proclaimed or not) will do. Hahaha! I finished the quilt at 12:15am on Thanksgiving day. I gave it to my brother in law to sleep under that same night (morning, actually...) which was a was a LOT of fun! He was surprised!
The pattern is called chain of diamonds from the book No Scrap Left Behind. I enlarged the blocks so they finish at 4" rather than 2" as shown in the book. The quilt uses chambray, linen, denim, and the like for the chains and Kona shadow for the background. I love the combination and how masculine the quilt turned out.
For the backing I used Kona solid in the color overcast (I love that name!) along with a strip of scraps leftover from the front. I do love a pieced quilt back!
I auditioned several fabrics for the binding, but landed on this stripe from my good neighbors collection. (It's out of print, I'm sad to say.) I love that a little bit of my own fabric made it's way into the quilt.
It really is the perfect binding fabric! Look at how well it ties the front and the back together. I designed the stripes with binding in mind, so using them for that reason (again) was delightful. I machine bound it (using this tutorial) for a quick and sturdy finish.
I quilted it on my Janome Horizon with straight lines. Nothing fancy needed! The quilt measures about 64" x 84".
Some of you requested it, so here is a quick picture that I snapped of Curt with his quilt. I know that he likes it a lot! Hurray for a happy finish.

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you for joining me for finish it up Friday! Thank you for stopping by and for reading. It means a lot! Happy Friday to you!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

change of plans

Last weekend, as I was working on a quilt back for my mostly moody quilt, it occurred to me that if I hadn't put the yellow pieces into the quilt top, it would be the absolutely perfect quilt to give to one of my brother in laws. He has been hinting (not so subtly) over the years that he would like a quilt, so it's been on my list, but it just never made it to the top! He's planning on visiting for Thanksgiving, so I figured the timing couldn't be better.
I started by doing quilt surgery. I ripped out all the mustard pieces and decided that I would sew in the replacement pieces with partial seams. It sounded like a good plan, but since the pieces were wonky to begin with, it was quite challenging! Nothing like seeing 21 holes in your quilt top to invite a little panic. Ha!
I persevered and I eventually got the quilt top sewn back together. I felt much better once the quilt top was complete. (Again.)
THEN, I decided that I needed to add a few more rows to the length of the quilt. Now it measures 64" x 84"....not quite a twin size quilt, but a decent lap size. I'm so glad that I went to the trouble to alter the quilt. I love it and I think my brother in law will, too. It will be nice to have this quilt go to a good home rather than adding it to the finished pile. (What a concept, huh? Ha!)
Instead of cleaning, cooking or preparing for the house full of people that will be arriving in a few days, I pieced a quilt back and basted it this morning before the crazy begins. Nothing like a deadline to get things done, right?

The quilt pattern is based on my chain of diamonds quilt, from the book No Scrap Left Behind.
Background color is Kona Shadow. Scraps are various chambray, linen and denim fabrics. Each block finishes at 4" square.

Friday, November 17, 2017

5 ways to upcycle a linen jumper

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

The Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild had an upcycle challenge, which was due at the November meeting. The rules were to use 3 different materials that were not originally quilting cotton (fabric off the bolt) and make something from those materials. I thought it was a fun and interesting challenge! Being frugal by nature, I HAD to join in.

I started with a black linen jumper (full length dress) that I wore about 20 years ago. I always figured that I could use the fabric for something....someday. This challenge was just the push I needed to get it done. I had fun repurposing the fabric to make several things!
My first project was to make a leash for our puppy, Lucy. She has a pink collar, so I incorporated a few pops of pink into her leash. I didn't use a pattern, I just made it up on the fly.
Our other puppy, Gigi, has an aqua collar, so she got pops of aqua incorporated into her leash. The hardware came from the shoulder strap of an old purse. I'm glad I saved the hardware because it's heavy duty. I'm thrilled that I finally re-used it! My family was impressed by the new leashes, which was pretty fun! The puppies like to chew on them, so I'd call that a success all around. Ha! 
Since I had so much dress fabric remaining, my next project was a simple two colored zip pouch. I used black linen for the bottom and a fun fabric scrap from Cheryl for the top. (I used this pattern, but added a half inch to the width and a half inch to the zipper length as well.) The outside panels are quilted to batting scraps to add texture and stability. I love how it turned out!
I had a lot of smaller pieces left after making the leashes, so I turned those scraps into a flying geese pincushion. (Pattern is available here.) I like how the bright colors pop against the black, but I don't care for how linty the fabric is after quilting. Oh, well!
I combined a bunch of little low volume scraps with the linen to make a thread catcher. It was quilted as well, mostly by machine, but I added a touch of hand quilting to the top to finish it up. It was a fun one to make, and fairly quick, too! (Pattern is available here, which includes instructions for the patchwork version.)
And the last project, because I wanted to make 5 different things using the black linen, is a key fob wristlet thingy. :) Well, maybe I shouldn't say last project, but last project for today! I still have a little bit of linen leftover and I will probably making a few more things to finish it off. Stay tuned!

Since next week is Thanksgiving, should we have a link up next Friday or not? I'm undecided, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll let you all decide so I don't have to. :)

That's it for me today! I hope you have a finish to share. If so, please link up. Thank you SO much for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

a binding tip

This was a new-to-me binding tip that I learned from my friend Kristin not that long ago. I've used it on several quilts and I love the results every single time! When I heard about it, I had one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments. I also wondered how I have been quilting for 17 years and NOT heard of this. Hmmm. I guess better late than never!
When attaching double fold binding, use a (scant) 3/8" seam allowance to sew it to the quilt. You can see in the photo that I am using a seam guide for this. (I LOVE my seam guide! I picked it up at my local sewing center for about $3.00 several years ago. It's one of the best tools I've purchased!)
When you fold your binding strip over on to the back, there should be just enough fabric to cover the stitch line and your binding will be full. Hand stitching the binding down is a breeze because you don't have to tug and pull the fabric to cover the stitch line. This method is NOT recommended for quilts that have star points, half square triangles, or any points that touch the edge of a quilt that depend on a 1/4" seam allowance. It DOES work very well for quilts that are just plain patchwork, quilts that have borders or any quilt that does not have points touching the edge. I've used it on quilts like this one, and this one, among others.

I should mention that this method works well when using binding strips that are cut 2 1/2" wide.

I hope you find this useful! I've been quilting a long time, and I love learning new things like this.

Also, thank you so much to those of you who have shopped my pattern sale....I appreciate your support more than I can say. xo

Monday, November 13, 2017

pattern sale!

I'm running a pattern sale in my craftsy shop and my big cartel shop for the next 48 hours or so. All prices reflect the sale prices, so no discount codes are needed. All proceeds will go to help my kids raise money for Speed the Light.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, November 10, 2017

tag arithmetic quilt top complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Well, the new project that I started this week DID help my focus, believe it or not!
I'm so happy to have a completed quilt top to share today. It felt amazing to make this in a day and a half. Woohoo! I really like what Andrea said in the comments of the last post about quilt kits being like paint by numbers (in a good way!). I have to agree!
At the last minute, I decided to add in one fabric from my good neighbors line (which is from a few years ago), even though the greys don't match exactly. They are close enough! I thought it would be fun to have Cheryl's fabric and a little bit of my fabric play together in the same quilt.

One thing that I did differently than the pattern was to cut the horizontal portion of the blocks into 12 1/2" strips, rather than cutting everything into 4 1/2" squares. It went together more quickly AND the prints are not chopped up as much. Win/win!
The quilt top is a twin size, measuring about 64" x 88". I really love how it turned out!

The pattern is available here, if you care to make one of your own.

I also wanted to mention that I'm having a sample sale over on Instagram. My kids are raising money for our church to support missionaries and I wanted to help them out, so I've listed a bunch of stuff for sale: from pincushions to rag rugs to quilts. All proceeds will go toward Speed the Light, which is a part of AG Youth Ministries. I plan to add more items throughout the weekend. Thanks for looking. :)

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

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

tag arithmetic quilt--the beginning

I've been having the hardest time focusing this week, so I decided to start a new project. That is sooooo not logical, unless you are a quilter (or crafter)....right?
I bought this quilt kit (my first ever!) from Connecting Threads back in February. The fabric is my friend Cheryl's line called Tag. The pattern is called Arithmetic, by my friend Jeni. It's pretty neat to be able to support two of my friends in one purchase!
I love this project because it's FAST! I started cutting late this morning and did the layout this afternoon. I plan to sew a little bit on it this evening. It's so nice to have a straightforward project to work on.
My daughter really likes the color scheme, so she has already tried to claim it for her own. I guess we will have to see about that....

The kits are still available (and on sale!) here, if you care to make one of your own. Updated to add: it looks like the kits are sold out. I still highly recommend the pattern!

I hope you are having a good week so far!