Monday, March 8, 2010

Modern Quilting

Several blogs I like have recently talked about Modern Quilting. I think, at last, I get what they are saying. I've been working on a blue theme quilt for about a year. It has Prairie Points (neat) and blocks, sashing, etc - all pretty traditional. I was really struggling with how to quilt it. I decided to do it by hand and completed a simple cross with beige thread in the small paisley square. Limping along, I decided to in-line (opposite of out-line) the light blue boxes in a light blue thread. I flirted with feather templates for the border, even bought one, but couldn't commit. It just didn't feel right.

Then I saw this post by Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio (well, I can't find it now). Jacquie tries all kinds of things. I realized that I like reading her blog because she test-drives techniques that I'd be afraid to try. One was using the different stitches that the sewing machine is capable of. Another was a link to this blog Silly BooDilly. The name alone compelled me to look! Her use of different weights of quilting thread was totally fantastic and invited me to read more and more!!!

Modern Quilting: the freedom to use embroidery floss when the quilt says ho-humm to feather templates.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Yield: 83

Did you know that a standard cake mix will make 83 mini cupcakes? They take 14 minutes to bake at high altitude. When I do this again, I will invest in a cupcake pan with 48 instead of 12 places. This time I had 12 and it took a long time to make 83 cupcakes. But, I got to use my new stackable cupcake holder that I got for Christmas and it was full up! We invited some girlfriends over and had a lot of fun frosting and decorating the cupcakes. Red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Knitting, Car Trip Projects

On long car trips I like to knit. We typically drive a very long day to see my in-laws for our second Christmas, ie New Years. This year, my knitting project was the Rose Hill Hat.

I was so excited to find Malabrigo yarn at my local, favorite yarn shop. I bought the blue/brown colorway, chunky, georgous! I stopped on my way home from work, parked in a semi-legal spot and tried to be quick. Well, chunky was not the right weight. So I went back to get the right, worsted weight. It was a family outing to Fancy Tiger. My girls were so excited about the bright colors and neat textures! I let them pick some yarn for their own hat. They picked a deep, purple and a striking magenta.

The hat knitted up really well. I learned a new stitch, the bobble, and learned how to shape the top of the hat. The instructions on House on Hill Road were excellent, easy to follow. I modified the instruction slightly to make hats for the girls - they are 3.5 years old. I knit their hats on a single long needle (instead of round needles), decreased the number of stitches cast-on, and knit two at once. There is a seam but the look is almost the same as the hat I knit for myself. My niece's birthday is coming up soon. She watched me knit the girls hats and I think she needs one too.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas and trying new things

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We did!

I have been holding on to my African fabric for a long time now. The colors are bold and the patterns so distinctive that they do not blend easily into my usual quilt patterns and colorways. So, I held on to the fabric but have noticed some really clever ways to use prints like these. Kelli used some of her stash for a really cute blanket just recently. She encouraged me to get out the scissors!

The cloth I chose for this first experiment is called Homme Boubou (French: homme = man: boubou = a boubou is a traditional dress for muslim men in West Africa). I fussy cut the men either solo or with a pal. The shapes are rectangles. I used a solid black to make a border. On some I used 2 inch borders. On others I wonkified (a new word) the homme boubou. On yet others, I wonkified the black frame. I used a bright, multi-colored pattern for the outer border. I made one strip just to see how they might go together. I'm not yet sure how they will all go together but it will probably work out.

I find that cutting and sewing without a pattern is more stressful than using a pattern. I am conscious of wasting fabric and thinking a head to "what could I do with this little bit?" So far, I am saving all the little scraps just in case. I worry that the shapes will not come together nicely. I think I worry too much. I've been holding on to this cloth for 15+ years. It is time. It is time to try something new.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tabitha Bag

I fell in love with the Tabitha Bag and ordered the pattern from Flossie Teacakes. I asked and received timely advice about fabric to use. The pattern was easy to follow and I am pleased with the result. I started another one right away with a neat red paisley pattern as the inset pleats.

In other crafty news I am hand quilting a quilt with prairie stars that I blogged about a while back. I am sewing some cute jumpers for my girls that I might possibly finish by Thanksgiving. Pictures to follow.

Recently I have really enjoyed House on Hill Road. She has great book recommendations, cool crafts, and a fun tradition for her girls' birthdays.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Inspiration All Around Me

I just finished these two doll blankets for my girls. I was totally inspired by Crazy Mom Quilts ( AmandaJean had a quilt along earlier this summer making these cute 9-patch quilts. I loved the idea of making a special something for my kids to surprise them on vacation like Flossie Teacakes ( (scroll back to when she was on holiday). The fun part was the girls watched me make the blankets and would say "that is so cute!" They don't know they are the intended recipients.

Another inspiration came from Tallgrass Prairie Studio ( Jacquie posted about Iraqui Bundles of Love. She linked to the blog of a gal whose husband is serving in Iraq. He will return home soon but, like many inspired by Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, is striving to make a difference. He is collecting donations of fabric and yarn to provide to Iraqis who sew and knit. Follow the links from Tallgrass Prairie - she and he make it very easy! Time is of the essence, there is a 9-7-09 deadline to meet his departure and end of Ramadan. I mailed my box on Tuesday. While the thought of helping someone who may have killed an American soldier freaks me out, the thought that one small box of fabric might, in some small way, prevent an Iraqi from killing/hating/negative feelings about Americans in the future pushed me over the edge to send my box. After a lot of thought, I selected red, white and blue cloth from my stash.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free Motion Quilting - still learning the basics

I bought a quilting foot and immediately used it on a baby blanket. I did a simple stipling pattern as this was my very first time using the new foot. On the back I noticed some oddities - the front side stitches were pulling through to the back creating a centipede sort of look. I emailed Jacquie at Tallgrass Prairie Studio for help. She asked for a picture. My camera is not good at capturing closeup so I drew a hand sketch. She also suggested it might be a tension problem. Thanks for the suggestion Jacquie! I think she's right so I will try to figure out how to correct it. The top came out fine, BTW - (just don't look at the back, hee-hee-hee).

PS - here is the finished quilt. Thanks for the advice, Kim. I need to get better about making time to test new techniques instead of plowing ahead.