Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sharing the Love

Much as I have tried, my quilting interest has not rubbed off on my oldest daughter.  She is working (slowly!) on a quilt for her dorm room, but I think the process brings her more stress than it does enjoyment.  Enter my daughter's good friend, Melanie.  Melanie joined a block of the month club at a LQS, so she comes over once a month for a little quilting jam session.  This is a double portion of blessing, because I have someone to coach in the art of a perfect quarter inch seam, my daughter is totally off the hook, and Melanie gets a new quilt out of the whole deal.  Win/win/win!  Mels is using reproduction fabrics, which I just love.  They are really fun to work with.

So is Melanie.  :)  She's got some mad sewing skills, and it's fun to share time with someone who is so eager to learn.  She has completed nine blocks so far.  Only three more to go and we'll be ready to design a fun setting!  I can hardly wait to teach her how to machine quilt.

This past weekend she worked on a flying geese star which I just loved.  The red and yellow made me weak in the knees.  Don't you marvel a her perfect points?!?

I hope this will be the first of many quilts for Melanie. Who knows? Maybe eventually SHE can share the quilting bug with my daughter?? I can see the two of them starting a quilting bee together someday.  There's always that hope.  :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Price Was Right

Do you ever purchase fabric based on price rather than pattern?  That was the case recently when I plucked a jelly roll of Moda's Arnold's Attic out of the clearance bin at my LQS.  It was a bargain, so I scooped it up without much regard to the various fabrics in the line.

It turned out to be quite a happy accident.  Once I started working with these fabrics I realized how much I really do like them.  Fall is my favorite time of year, and the colors and patterns in this line remind me a lot of autumn.

Now I'm ready for borders, and I need to order yardage online.  I think I want to do a narrow inner border of the rust color, but I'm stumped about what to use for the outer border.

At first I thought I wanted to go with the darker blue (on bottom right), but I was having trouble finding that fabric.  Then I considered the light aqua (bottom left) or the dark green (bottom center).  I like how the aqua gives a light, airy feeling to the quilt.  Then again, I like how the darker color seems to frame the design and add some warmth.

It's really hard to tell just from looking at a skinny jelly roll strip.  Anyone have a strong opinion they care to offer??

Here's my other quilting quandary.  The very instant I spread something on the floor my cat takes it as an open invitation and helps himself.  It makes laying out blocks oh so difficult.  I need a design wall!

The dog is equally interested in a quilty bed for napping, but she's a little more discreet.  Here she is at quilt's edge, patiently waiting for me to turn my back so she can launch a sneak attack.

Green?  Or aqua?  I may need to lay this one out a time or two before I'm able to make a border decision.  Am I on the right track with the large floral print?  Or do I need to go in a new direction?  My bargain fabric is giving me more uncertainty than I "bargained" for, LOL!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wild Thing Quilt In Simple Abundance

This quilt was completed in Spring of 2010 and is an all time favorite.  I think this pattern, by Camille Roskelley of Thimbleblossoms has become a quilting standard.  It sure is popular!

I used Camille's Simple Abundance fabric line; my hands down favorite.  I have completed two quilts using this fabric, and would like to scour etsy and ebay for whatever is left out there just so I can have the option of using it again in the future.  I just love it!   

I pieced the backing using one of my favorite bold prints.  Something about the combination of chocolate brown, pale pink, and deep red makes me go head over heels.  That little cream colored square has the verse for this quilt, which was inspired by the fabric.

"The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." I Timothy 1:14

I machine quilted this one freehand with a stippled pattern.

The pattern calls for a giant ric rac trim, which adds a really fun touch.  This was my first time to use it.  I accidentally melted a few inches of it with my iron - oops!  Once I got the hang of it though, I was hooked!  I love how it adds a third dimension.

This quilt lives on the back of our leather sofa, which is where we do a lot of homeschool reading during the day, so it gets lots and lots of use.  I need to add a few more homemade quilts to that room so we're not always fighting over this one!

I originally made it to protect the leather from Leo, the world's laziest cat.  He has a phenomenal sense of quilting radar.  He'll appear out of nowhere to curl up on fabric.  The corner of the couch has now become his most popular resting space.

And if I ever fuss at him for shedding on my quilt, he just closes his eyes and hides, so I can't see him!  Ha!

Today I'm finally ready to layer Emma's dinosaur quilt.  I hate to layer and baste, but I'm really in the mood for machine quilting so I feel highly motivated!

Monday, June 20, 2011


One of the most fun projects ever!  I made a set of these for my three year old, but my older boys have as much fun with them as she does.

Scrappy patchwork beanbags, with the name of the color embroidered in DMC floss.

A great gift idea for kids of many ages, and a fun way to use up some scraps!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Looking Back: Red, White, and Blue

This quilt was completed in the spring of 2010.  I purchased this as a table topper kit in the early 90's.  I was a brand new quilter, and I made a mess of the pinwheels, so this got packed away in the recesses for a looooooong time.  I pulled it back out last spring and decided to just remake all the pinwheels.  Once that part was done, it was super simple to piece!

I decided to turn it into a regular quilt instead of using it as a table topper.  The colors work really well in my family room, so this one "lives" on the back of our denim couch.  It is backed with two blue and white prints, and machine quilted with a very tight stipple.

I learned on this one that the tighter you stipple and the more thread you use, the stiffer the quilt!  This is a heavy blanket, and isn't super soft and "squishy".  My kids prefer a softer, "drapier" quilt, so this one doesn't get picked very often for snuggling.

But the dog isn't as picky as the kids.  :-)  This is Mindy, our King Charles Spaniel.  She's a spoiled girl who likes to nap on quilts.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Looking Back: Nature Quilt for a Nature Girl

I completed this quilt in April of 2010, in honor of my daughter's 17th birthday.

Deb Strain's Cherish Nature fabric line was the perfect choice for my nature loving girl.  I chose a very simple design utilizing a layer cake and jelly roll, and emphasized the graphic layout with straight line quilting.  The thin sashing is Kona white.

I set the quilt on her chair in her bedroom, so it was a surprise when she woke up on her birthday.  It was hard to find chunks of time when she was away from home to work on this, so as I neared my deadline I had to coax a few friends into inviting her out for sleep overs so I could work!

I had a bit of a tricky time with the backing, but after shuffling lots of scraps, I'm happy with the outcome.  I wished the pieced border would have extended the entire length of the quilt, but I got over it.

 I sketched out a butterfly that was on one of the focus fabrics, and I embroidered that on the quilt label.  I had so much fun with that, and liked the outcome so much, that I have embroidered a little something on all my subsequent quilts.  It's become a little trademark.  :-)

 I made it big enough that it can someday be used on a twin bed if she chooses.

My oldest.  She keeps me balanced, inspires me to be a better person, and has no doubt taught me more than I could ever teach her.  She's my favorite person in the world to go antiquing with, to eat chips and queso with, to be lost on a road trip with, and to make a nature quilt for.  Love this girl.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Making Piece In Central Park

I ordered a jelly roll of Kate Spain's Central Park line and cut it into 2.5 inch squares with the intention of using it for a quilt along, but quickly changed my mind.  The colors were too bold for what I really wanted.  So, I've had a pyrex mixing bowl sitting on the corner of my sewing desk brimming with these squares and begging for some attention.  I immediately knew who I wanted to give this quilt to, but I've had a really hard time coming up with a pattern that excited me.  I think part of my problem is that although I really like some of these fabrics on their own, I'm not sure I love how they look as a group.  I tend to go a bit more traditional in my fabric selection, and this one might be a bit too "retro" and "hip" for a fabric frump like me!

I have a horrible habit of setting things aside, but for some reason I can't seem to let this one go.  I'm determined to see this thing through, so I keep trying to make some peace and fall in love with this design idea.  I've issued myself a little challenge; the daily half dozen.  I'm hoping to have enough fabric to complete thirty squares for this quilt.  So, if I do just six squares a day, I can have this baby ready to assemble in a week.  I'm making myself work on the six squares before I can move on to any other sewing project every day this week.

There are worse things than spending a little time in Central Park each day, right?? I'm off to tackle six squares!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


My three year old daughter is crazy for dinosaurs.  I mean C-R-A-Z-Y.  When this first started I was a little concerned because it is really hard to find feminine dinosaur related items.  No worries.  The toothier and scarier, the better for her.  Gross.  I have no idea where this passion came from, and much as I have tried my hardest to introduce Disney princesses or flower fairies, we are SOLD on dinos.

So, it was no small wonder when, during a recent trek to Joann Fabrics, she had a small fabric fit over a certain something that she spied.  (She comes by her passions quite naturally.  It's in her genes, after all, and she may just have witnessed her Momma declaring true love for a certain fabric in the quilt shop one too many times!)

Anyway, she originally spied the green fabric, which was clearly a must have in her mind.  I just wasn't that sold on the idea.  That fabric is so.....boyish.  And so.....uncute.  So, I quickly found this little coordinate and offered it up as a suggestion.  

She doesn't like the white one as well because it doesn't have these....

Triceratops are our favorites.  I mean F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E-S.  Plus, we heart bright orange.  So, I'm headed into my sewing nook this week with my marching orders.  Use all the triceratops.  Make it happy colors. Some green fabric HAS TO be on the front of the quilt.  And, if I can add some pink glitter that would be great.  (????)

It's always good to have a well thought out plan!

Scrappy Makes Me Happy

I'm working on my FIRST ever scrap quilt.  See, here's the thing.....when I finish a quilt project, do you know what I do with all my leftover fabrics?

I throw them away.

I know.  I'm like a quilting heretic.

I'm not much of a saver to begin with, and I don't have a lot of storage space in my sewing area.  So, I'm pretty selective about the scraps that I save.  (I do piece my backs to try to use as much fabric as possible in each quilt, so I'm not completely hopeless.)

Anyway, I admire stash builders and their ability to pull the perfect yellow print out of a hat.  I figure the guilt I feel from throwing away scraps may potentially be less severe than the guilt I'd feel hanging on to all of them and never using them??  That's why it was a little bit of a crazy moment when, at the Dallas Quilt Show this year, I bought an entire bag of scraps from the Bonnie Blue booth.

I carelessly toss my own scraps aside, yet I feel some sort of moral obligation to rescue someone else's scrap?  And to pay money to do it?   I don't know how to account for it.

Anyway, I'm crazy about Bonnie Blue's quilts and fabrics both, so I ironed up my new bits and pieces and I've been playing around with them.  Scrap quilts are really fun, and more than just a little addictive.  If I'm not careful, I might just find myself hoarding a little scrap stash sometime soon!!

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this one...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Civil War Story Quilt

For the past four years, my daughter has taken a Biblical World Views/Humanities class as part of her homeschool curriculum.  Hannah had a tremendous amount of admiration and respect for her teacher, and he became someone very influential and special in her life.  She asked if I would make a quilt to give to him at her graduation, and she specifically requested that it be a quilt with a story.  So, together we decided to make him a quilt out of Civil War reproduction fabrics in honor of all the history he imparted to her.

The pattern is called "Done In A Jiff" and is by Heartspun Quilts.  We wanted the quilt to have a masculine feel, and I think both the pattern and the colors helped to accomplish that.

This quilt's verse is I Peter 3:15, which was a meaningful verse for this class.  I embroidered a simple cross for the label.  He liked the quilt a lot.  My eldest son will begin taking classes from this man in the fall, followed by my younger son in a few years.  So, I joked with him that this blanket is partly a thank you for the last four years, and partly a peace offering for the next seven!  :-)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Pinwheels

Well....THAT was quite a crazy break!!  My oldest just graduated from our homeschool.  What was I thinking starting a new blog at the beginning of her final semester?  I somehow grossly underestimated all the that the title "senior" would entail!  Ha!  We've been going a thousand, and even though I've dropped way more balls than I've juggled, it's been a fun and memorable time.

I have gotten some stitching done here and there, so I'm excited to have some new things to share.  My most recent finish is a quilt that I made to send to my Aunt who lives in Colorado.

It is made out of various fabrics from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company.  The pattern is a simple pinwheel with white sashing that I designed myself.

My Aunt goes by the name "Oma Joan".  Her name is pronounced "Joanne", and "Oma" is German for "Grandmother".  My kids started calling her Oma Joan when they were little and the name just stuck!  I embroidered a label for the back of the quilt.

Backed in a minty green and bound in red gingham, I think this quilt has a fresh, summery feel.

This quilt has already arrived to its new home in beautiful Colorado, and Aunt Joan called me right away to tell me how much she liked it.  Colorado is one of our all time favorite places to vacation, so I hope I'll get to go visit this quilt sometime very soon!