Thursday, June 21, 2018

New Makes

I do sometimes make other stuff, besides quilts. I like to share them too. I have now made enough different kinds of bags and pouches that I feel like I have the basics down. That said, I decided when I needed a specific bag for a specific use, I decided to make it up on my own, using the knowledge I gained from using patterns others had written. I noticed a big improvement from the last time I tried this.
And this bag was the result of all that. I knew how to make the base of the bag, and quilt it. I knew how to make the lining and insert it. I knew that I had to attach the handles before adding the lining and sewing the two sides together. I struggled a little with putting the flap on, but only because of the bulk of the whole thing. That is the one thing that keeps me from making too many bags. The bulk is so hard to sew. But I am very pleased with how this one turned out.
In an effort to tame all my 1" strings finally, I made the balls of cloth "yarn" and crocheted this little baby. It's a little misshapen. I was going for oval, but still I love it. I got the directions at Crazy Mom Quilts. Amanda Jean knits and crochets these great rag rugs. I have done two previous rugs, which are holding up quite well. Those were rectangles. This was my first attempt at an oval. I just needed a small one on my side of the bed. I started with red, then low volume, mostly white and cream, then all the pink I had. I have decided I like separating the colors like that, instead of doing a mish mash of colors. Blues and greys and black and white will be my next one for my husband's side of the bed. That should use up almost all my strips! Yay!
The last thing I am working on is the Kingfisher Stitch Along quilt. I have the hexie flowers done and they are appliqued onto the diamonds. The next step will be to attach the rows to one another and then the borders. I have gone quite quickly so far, but the process will be slowing down now. I am letting the quilt talk to me about what it needs for border fabric.

One of the borders has EPP triangles on it. I still need to make those, but until the border is figured out, I don't know what fabric or fabrics to use for them. As I said, I am letting the quilt lead me at this point. This has been a very enjoyable process so far, since I never thought I would ever want to learn EPP.
Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


So I have been sewing like a fiend here, but sometimes it doesn't feel like I get much finished. Mostly I am making hexie flowers right now for the Kingfisher Stitch Along, hosted by Stitched in Color and Tales of Cloth. But that really isn't all.

My middle daughter will occasionally call me up and ask me a question that goes something like this: "Mom, can you make____?" Sometimes it's something she's seen on pinterest, and sometimes just something she's thought about that she wondered if there was a way to do it.

The latest request was for some containers made of fabric to hold things. When she asked, I knew immediately that Dana of Made Everyday had the solution. I had seen her pattern for her hold it bins when she first released it, but I had no need for any so I admired it and moved on.

I sent my daughter the link and she declared them perfect. I then sent her photos of fabric in her box. She had shopped my stash before I moved and I put all her choices into one box. Whenever she asks for something, we check the box to see if we have some fabric that will work, before purchasing any, although we have done that too.

Here is what I made for her:

 This is a napkin holder. It actually is supposed to have a strap across the top to keep the breeze from tossing your napkins if you are outside, but since she won't be, we omitted it.
 These are two of the larger bins. Again, without the handles, per her request. She loves blue and she loves batik fabrics.

These two are from the drawer organizer collection. They are to put into a drawer, so they are shallower than the others. This collection has several sizes and shapes so you can really clean up that messy drawer.

These were all fast and fun to make and I will definitely be doing some more soon. The pattern can be found at Made Everyday if you are interested.

One other request was from my husband, for two more grocery bags. I made some a couple of years ago from a pattern by Michelle Patterns. They are just like the plastic grocery bags and I love the size of them and how easy they are to fill and carry. I have I think, six already. But we always seem to need at least one more. So today I fulfilled that request also.
I have had these fabrics in my stash for at least 3-4 years, maybe longer. I love them, but could never figure out what to do with them until now. Now I can look at my pretty fabrics every time we go to the grocery store. These bags are well constructed and the other ones I made a couple of years ago have held up very well and they wash up so easily in the machine.

So, see, I have been doing something besides hexies. Talk to you soon.

Friday, June 8, 2018

A One Man Race

Have you ever done a jelly roll race quilt? Me either. Until now. I never really wanted to, even though I have seen plenty of them.

About 3-4 years ago, I bought two Riley Blake jelly rolls. One was yellow and one was pink. Each had 24 strips, two of each fabric. There were ginghams, polka dots and chevrons in different sizes. Some with white, and some tone on tone, but I really loved them all. I never knew what to do until one day it struck me that I could do a jelly roll race with them. But then I didn't for like a year or more.
Today was the day. I felt like something new and easy. So I unwrapped them both and unrolled them.
I just laid the two stacks of strips next to the machine and began attaching first a pink and then a yellow, in the order they came in.

This is how the first pass of strips looked as it fell off the back of my sewing table. That part was fun.
I could not have ever won this race had I been in it with any competition. This took me way longer than I thought it would. But now it's done and I just have to come up with a back and get it quilted.
I love how it turned out. I'm calling it pink lemonade, which seems appropriate for early summer. Have a great weekend and I'll talk to you soon.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Kingfisher Stitch Along

I have never (until now) had a desire to EPP hexagons. I have seen it done many times on blogs over the 8 years I have been on the internet doing this blogging thing, but never once did I want to do it. Until now. Rachel from Stitched in Color has a way of making me want to be a part of these projects.  She and Jodi from Tales of Cloth are hosting this thing. I don't know why. Maybe it's because she makes it look so doable or so much fun. I'm not sure. But I have been convinced once again to join up. So here is my start at this thing.
I decided to use my Ombre Confetti Metallic for the hexies. I love the look of these.
                 So I made a bunch of them...
And then I made some more. I am not quite finished with making them, but I decided to stop and start assembling some into flowers.
The other thing I am doing is to audition some low volume fabrics for the diamonds that the hexie flowers will be appliqued to. These are a few of my ideas.
 This is my very first flower all assembled. I am trying to get the ombre color gradient to work here.
And these are my first four flowers on one of my background pieces of fabric. The centers of the flowers will all be done in the yellow ombre confetti metallic or in some yellow ombre I had on hand. There are 46 flowers to be made. So far I am really enjoying all this hand stitching. There's still time to join us if you have a mind to. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Care and Feeding of a Quilt

It occurred to me when I sent my niece her new quilt last Friday and I included a note with the quilt's "story" that I also needed to include instructions for how to care for the quilt. Do you do that? Some folks just have no idea how to care for a handmade quilt.
 So let me tell you what I do. I think it's important to protect the quilt from harsh soaps and such. I like to think the quilt can be worn out by love first. So my first piece of advice is to air out the quilt occasionally on a cloudy day to minimize fading of the fabrics.
 I only actually wash my quilts if they really need it. Maybe once a year for a quilt that gets used on a bed daily. Less often for others. When I wash it, I use mild soap and cold water. I dry it on a medium setting.  I don't hang them to dry, because as the quilt ages, it could damage the fabric's fibers.
 If quilts are not being used on a bed and are being kept folded, refold them periodically so the fold lines don't become too permanent. This really helps over the long haul for a quilt's life.
I didn't always include these instructions when gifting a quilt, but I feel like I need to since I have become more aware of how quilts hold up over a lot of years of use. What do you do when you gift a quilt? I would love to know if you have anything to share.
This is my sister Nina's quilt that I made to replace one she had bought that was faded by the dry cleaners. It was the first quilt I gave care instructions with. As a side note, it went missing after she passed away and now it is lost.

Also, please always label your quilts in some fashion. It doesn't guarantee they won't get lost, but if found it can help to identify them. I am amazed that people steal quilts. I can't imagine what they are thinking. You can read about this missing quilt here.  As of this writing this quilt is still missing.
Talk to you soon.

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Beautiful Friday Finish

I have finished the quilt for my niece and have just returned from the post office, sending it off to her. I am thankful that it is done and pleased with the way it turned out. Pictures? Of course.
 I chose the Churn Dash pattern for two reasons. Number one, I have always wanted to make a Churn Dash quilt and number two, my sister encouraged me to use a traditional pattern and make it fit my niece's sensibilities with the fabric choices.
 Now, apparently I can't count, because I had these blocks left over. But fortunately they look wonderful on the back of the quilt. If she gets tired of the front, the back is like a whole new quilt.
We decided on shades of blue, since that is her favorite color. We threw in a few grays for interest and made some of the blocks reversed also for interest. I decided to make a few blocks out of 4 smaller churn dashes. The large blocks finished at 12 inches so it was easy to just make 6 inch blocks and slip them in there.

I love the combinations of fabrics and the shades of blue in here, from the very dark to the very light and all the blues came from my stash.
 I made the label on the back from one of my new labels from Dutch Label Company and stitched it to a leftover 6 inch block and then hand stitched it to the back of the quilt.

I can't wait to hear how she likes it. I know it will be just perfect for her. Talk to you soon.
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Churning Along

This is going to be my Friday finish. The quilt top is not finished, but for the last nine days, not counting weekends, I have been piecing and pressing these churn dash blocks and today at 4 pm they were finally all done!
We went from this, last Monday May 7...
...to this today. This is 41 blocks all stacked up. I was planning to do 6 x 6 which is 36, but I had counting difficulties. So the extras will go on the back of the quilt.
 There are 6 of assorted greys, all 12 inches square...
 there are 6 dark blues that are reversed...
 there are 11 dark blues in assorted fabrics...
 there are 13 assorted light blues, some there are 2 of...
and finally there are 6 of these, made from (4) 6 inch blocks.

The background fabric is Swiss Dots by Riley Blake. I originally ordered Navy on Cream, but when they pulled the bolt to cut is at the Fat Quarter Shop, they found it was mislabeled and was actually black dot on cream. They were so kind and called and emailed me right away. I decided to go with the black on cream and they rushed it right out to me.

Now I don't have EQ or any software to help me design quilts. I do it by trial and error and graph paper. So I had no idea how much fabric to buy. All the other fabrics were in my stash. I ended up buying 3 yards. I though it was enough. I had cut all my pieces and counted them and labeled them with post it notes. But I ran out before I got finished and ended up ordering another yard.

I think if I had counted how many blocks I had at that point, I was probably fine, but I assumed all my blue pieces were correctly counted. Ha! So I cut more background when I received the extra yard and I finally realized I had extra blocks. Now I have about a half yard left and it may become the binding, but I am not positive on that yet.

The next step is to figure out an arrangement, but that will be tomorrow. I am tired right now.
Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts.