Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Sewing

Long time no post. I've been sewing like crazy! I made a mom and 2 daughter aprons from three different blue and brown fabrics - they all coordinate to make a set. I hope my friend and daughters like them. I made another apron for my twins club gift exchange. I was so pleased my apron was traded three times! I got lots of really nice compliments on the apron. I made a apple and green apron for my friend Kate who has a very vintage kitchen. I made a Christmas apron but have not finsihed it yet. I made a brown and pink apron for a local friend of mine. She makes the most wonderful soaps! I made two Birdie Slings for two girlfriends. I made one with blue handles and lining - like the one I made for myself (previous post in July) and the other with red handles and a red-orange lining. Well, the reds and oranges really did the exterior fabric justice! Much more so than the blue, even though I am much more of a blue person. When I bought the fabric for this project, I had my two friends in mind. One is more like me, we could be sisters. The other is fun, eccentric, and kind of quirky - the red and orange is for her. I have a couple more aprons in mind...
My husband and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary in early December. We had a really nice night out at a restaurant where we went when dating. We walked the route of one of our first dates in downtown Denver. We talked about falling in love and our hopes for our family. We exchanged our gifts - traditional wood for 5 years. He gave me a really cool bamboo bowl. I gave him a wood bench. It was a really nice evening on lots of levels.
News on my QOV - I got an email that said due to poor weather, they didn't get such a great turnout at the ceremony where they were giving quilts to Veterans. So, our Social Worker, Marti, is holding on to our quilt, waiting for the right soldier. She says our quilt is on display to highlight the Quilt of Valor program at her facility. Marti is keeping me up to date on the status of our quilt and hopes to find a new home for it soon.
Quilt in Progress. I previously posted about a quilt I got as a kit - it is teal, brown, I was doing a fan design for the quilting. Well, it has been sitting on my To Do table for quite a while. I realized that I like the fabric backing but not for this quilt so I was neglecting the work. Last night during Gray's Anatomy I started ripping. Of course this is painful but I am really happy thinking about the new backing fabric I will find. I am also thinking that I will quilt this by hand. One of my favorite blogs, Lazy Gal Quilting talks a lot about hand quilting. She gave some good advice about hand quilting a few months back. I'm gonna try it. I like hand sewing, I find it relaxing and cozy in the winter months. I'm not so fixated on the end product of this quilt so I feel like I will enjoy the process.
Since it was over a month since my last post, I am skeptical about posting again before Christmas. I will wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy New Year, and Happy Holidays.

Friday, November 14, 2008

QOV Destination

Last Sunday I received my destination for my Quilt of Valor. I was instructed to send it to a social work with the veterans health care system in Little Rock AR. I got all my stuff together and mailed it on Wednesday past. Godspeed little quilt. I simultaneously want the gift to be anonymous but I also want to know who receives it. I included some information about the quilt and quilters in case the soldier wants to know. I included my email address to the social worker in case she can make time to let me know about the recipient. I work with a man whose son is supposed to be deployed for his FOURTH, yes 1-2-3-4 tour in Afghanistan/Iraq. Somehow that seems like too many to me, and to his Dad too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

QOV Waiting for Destination

I got my Quilt of Valor back from the long armer. The pictures do not capture the beauty of the work she did. There are dense patterns next to feathers surrounding the stars. Some stars have unique quilting inside the center to highlight them. The setting blocks have scallops in the small blocks and a simple flower pattern in the larger blue block. Truly art. When I washed the quilt (yikes!) and put it in the dryer, it came out like a grandmother's quilt that had been loved and washed for years and years. For the label, I did a semi-wonky log cabin and used fabric markers to fill in the name of the quilt, etc. I finished the presentation case and a short journal, which describes how the QOV came to be. I am waiting for my "destination." Then I will send it off and hope the soldier likes it and feels appreciated. It was a joy to make and to think about who may receive the quilt some day.

Had an odd experience at Hancock Fabrics this weekend. Typically I'll shop when I have the 40% off coupons. Sadly, I lost my coupon but shopped anyway. I was buying fusible interfacing and asked if it counted as a notion or a fabric item. I was told neither, but that the manager sometimes counts it as a notion, sometimes as fabric. I think it should count as something so I know when to use my coupons!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cute Aprons

Trying to use Photobucket to upload and store pictures for myCute aprons blog. First attempt: successful at linking. Unsuccessful: picture took up whole space, I didn't have any words for the picture, had to play with the edit function. What I really wanted to write was here is the picture of the aprons I previously blogged about.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catus Opus

I finished the Sawtooth Cats quilt after 2 years of hard work. I got the pattern from the City Stitcher. It is my first foundation piecing quilt and after a few rippings and cursings, I got the hang of the piecing. The cat backs, tails and border were all foundation pieced. I added a few touches of my own like embroidering the cat face and heart with coordinating floss, instead of thread. I followed the pattern's quilting suggestions and used my standard sewing machine. I added more quilting to the spaces above the cat's backs - the voids were actually a bit large and with washing, I was concerned the batting would bunch up. I started with a blue and beige theme but decided that more color was needed so branched out. The scraps basket at my favorite quilt shop was a wonderful source of color and cheap scraps. The cats in the middle row are real cats in my life - the gray and caramel ones on the ends are my mom's cats Oliver and Noelle. The white with black is my mom's dear cat Peaches - she was so soft. And the black cat is my cat Bruce. I hung the quilt in the girls' room and they like to count the cats and talk about the upside down cats.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quilty Update

I finished the quilt kit for my niece in time for my mom to take it to her. I haven't heard if she liked it but it was fun to make. It was challenging to think about all the steps and photograph them along the way. I ended up with 8 pages of instructions that I printed in color and bound with a simple binding. I included the strips for the rail posts and the batting, backing, and pillow backing. I am pretty pleased with it. I hope she likes it.

Our office had our baby shower for my colleague. I made her daughter a quilt (previous post) so she would feel special as the big sister. I know my colleague liked it. She told me today that her daughter loved and it hasn't left her side. She made a fort out of it, took it to dinner and to bed. It made me so happy that she liked it. I put a label on it that said "Romie, Big Sister."

I made two aprons recently for a friend from my Twins Club. The apron was for her and her daughter. I used a vintag-ey apple print with red bias tape. The mother-daughter aprons were a big hit with my friend.

I read on another blog about how pictures use up "allowable" free space on these blogs, then you have to pay for more space. She had all sorts of great instructions for minimizing the size but now I'm all freaked out about space and size! So, no pictures today. I need to learn more about this.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kid Quilt Kit - Pillow Top

My niece expressed great interest in quilting so for her birthday I am making her a quilt kit. She's 9, has a kid sewing machine, and has made a purse or something like that. I originally thought of making up a star pattern from AmandaJean's tutorial but triangles can be difficult. I don't want to frustrate my niece, she'll turn 9. So I decided on a rail post pattern. So far, this project is all in my head but I've been thinking about how to provide instructions and if I should create the project and photograph the steps (ala AmandaJean). I think I should. The next steps are to find fabric from my stash that I can use for both the gift kit and the how to portion. I am hoping that fat quarters will work nicely. Has anyone ever made up a kit for a young person? Any tips to pass along?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bandana Quilt

1. Bandanas shrink a lot.

2. Bandanas shrink differently in different directions.

Those are my two items of wisdom. If I do this type of quilt again, I will prewash the bandanas before I sew them together. I didn't do that this time because I was excited to see how it came together and couldn't wait for the wash. As you can see in the picture, the edges are not real even.
I have started quilting using a simple checkerboard style. I am starting from the middle and will work my way out. I am using dark purple thread. I looks nice so far.
For the binding, I bought solid purple bandanas that I will cut into strips and fashion into a binding. I did prewash them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Time Flies

I have been busy with aprons, house guests, soccer games, little big girls, and some quilts. I went from a one-project-at-a-time-gal to multiple projects at a time. I am liking having something going on both floors of my house. I continue to hand piece the red stars I blogged about earlier. This is on the main floor where I can also be with my family. Down stairs in my sewing room, I have started to quilt the brown and teal I blogged about earlier with a simple fan pattern. Cloth management is going ok. Cat management is more challenging.

My colleague is expecting a little boy in December! She looks so cute but is likely getting to the uncomfortable stage. I decided to make a quilt for her 4 year old daughter whose favorite color is purple. I read about quick bandana quilts in a magazine and decided to try one. It was fun and easy! The back was also fun and I found some cute purples in my stash and went for it.

My husband's college friend was in town for an overnight visit. We had a great time and the girls really took to him. I think it was his beard and gentle nature. He had been on a 6 week trip and took some beautiful pictures. Here is one. I hope he doesn't mind. If he does I will remove it. I think it was taken in New Mexico.

Monday, September 1, 2008

New Kitty & Apron

On Friday 8-8-08 I went to the Denver Dumb Friends League to adopt a new kitty. I miss my cat Bruce so much and I miss the energy of a cat even more. I took my girls, my mom and my friend Kate. The girls were thrilled by all the kitties and doggies. The facility is really nice, clean and well staffed. They were having an adopt-a-thon weekend so there were lots of staff and volunteers, games for the girls, and lots of pets being interviewed. My DH later pointed out that Grayson was really Dick Grason, Bruce Wayne’s ward. My cat Bruce was originally called Batman at the foster family’s home where he was adopted. I renamed him Bruce, so Grayson is fitting in very well at our house. He is kind and gentle. He likes to eat and sleep. He purrs like a large motor. He's helping draw fan lines on a new top, ready to be quilted.

My sister asked me to make an apron for her friend's birthday. I was very flattered! I found some really cute Amy Butler fabric and a flirty pattern from the Great American Quilt Factory. It came together very easily. I used bias tape around the edges and even that was ok.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Star QAL

It’s done!!! Well, the top is anyway. I like how it came out and many thanks to Amanda Jean for the quilt along!! I am thinking of donating the top to an organization that helps wounded soldiers. If they can find a match, a longarm quilter will donate the quilting. I am donating the quilt top through Quilt of Valor. I hope they think it is good enough. I enjoyed making the top and found the pace of one star per week just about right for me. I was excited to get to Monday to find out what the next star would be but didn't feel behind.
I found 5.5 yards of cloth at the Thrift Store for a perfect backing – good quality, blue and white, star with another design, smallish print. Score!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Quilt - Starlight

Lots going on here. Vacations! Concerts! Lots of work at odd hours. So, I have not posted in a while but am feeling caught up so here's my news: quilting and other.

I needed a new project to take on our family trip to Washington. I had some fabric I bought at the quilt show in Denver in March. I met the greatest gals at this booth called Grandma’s Quilts . Bonnie and Gloria helped me plow through all of their bins of cloth looking for coordinating and interesting cloth. They had tons of fat quarters! I went away with a bag full.

After looking at the other vendors, I returned to buy more! They were so great to talk with. They asked me what I was going to do with the cloth and I had a vague idea of making a fence post type quilt. Bonnie in particular encouraged me to think smaller. She showed me some of her work with 1 inch squares – it was impressive. I had not done really small work before and was kind of hesitant to commit – they were very persuasive. We agreed that I would email them in the future to tell them about my proposed design. The email clue would be “ok, you win” meaning that I had seen it their way. Well, for this new project, I needed something that I could hand sew during my daughters’ naps, in the car (maybe), on the plane (next to a 2 year old???), was easy to transport, could be done with cloth on hand and could be hand-sewn.

Quiltmania came through again with a beautiful design that met the criteria. I’m using mostly reds with some rusts, purples, and a few greens and blues. I need to make 184 of the hexagonal star shapes. I think this project will take me several years but so far, it is fun. The seam allowance is only 3/8” because of the convergence of so many seams at the center of the star. The first start took me about an hour but now I’m down to about 20 minutes. I find hand sewing incredibly relaxing. I like being able to sit and watch the Olympics now and generally being with my family in the evening.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Star Progress

Here are stars 11 and 12 from the QAL. So close! I also worked on the sashing strips a bit. I really like week 11 star - I think it looks complicated but it came together really easily.

I've also been busy with a summer bag project. I splurged on a pattern from Amy Butler. I had fun making the Birdie Sling using stash fabric. The batik fabric is 20 year old Dutch Wax from my days as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire! The blue handles used to be curtains and now appear in several of my quilts. The inside lining is a recent thrift store find. The pattern is easy to follow but there are a lot of pieces. The lining has 2 really nice pockets. I think the pattern is well thought out. I didn't end up using the fusible fleece between the exterior and the lining like the pattern called for. I got worried about the overall weight of the bag prior to stuffage, and then the puffiness of the bag too. Seems to have worked out ok and it was definately easier to sew together without the fusible fleece. Tilt your head to the left to view the picture properly. The blue is the handle, the batik (brown) is the body. Sorry, too tired to straighten out the picture.

I am reading a really good book right now called Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mom's Project

The new cloth arrived. My mom is very excited to begin cutting out the blocks. Here is most of the cloth and a picture of the quilt from the magazine. See my previous post for the links to the magazine and the quilt shop and quilt designer.

Interesting - the colors in the picture are more vibrant than the actual cloth. Still very lovely in person, but the colors are more subtle and kind of dreamy. My mom is looking for the pink of the borders. She is having fun too trying to track down the exact cloth.

Here is the link to the magazine picture and quilt shop/designer again. I want to be sure to give proper credit to the artist.

Lillies Classic Quilts

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Start Quilt Along

Here are my stars. I finished the most recent but it is not in the picture yet. I've been working on the background blocks.

Yesterday I had the most fun with my mom. We saw a great quilt in the Spring/Summer issue of Quilt Sampler. They featured a Shop Hop with 10 shops. One shop in particular had a quilt that caught my mom's eye. She called about the kit but they were sold out. She spent some days looking at local shops to see if they had the fabric, no luck. We called the shop in Kansas
Lillies Classic Quilts and they were very helpful about the fabric they used (Simplicity by 3 Sisters for Moda - I was going to include the link but it takes FOREVER to load) and wished us luck.

We did an internet search and came up with several sites that had some, but not all of the fabric needed. We needed several different fabrics within that line and were trying to match the pattern in the magazine. It took 2.5 hours but we did it. We found a shop in North Dakota that had 90% of the fabric we needed. We called and were helped by a very patient salesgal. For the remaining 10%, we found another on-line shop in NY and ordered the last bit. My mom is so excited to get her packages! Isn't the internet amazing? I am pretty excited about my mom's new project. Maybe she'll let me post pictures of her progress.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blogging for prizes, robin update

I read about Canton Village Quilt Works giveaway on Polkadot Quilts. I would LOVE to win some longarm quilting so here's the link for others to follow.

I have been on vacation this past week. I got some quilitng done - mostly cutting out squares and rectangels for Amanda Jean's Quilt A Long. I started the background blocks too. My niece was fascinated by the cutting out process and helped me cut some squares. I think she liked the rotary cutter and cutting mat. I will post a picture of my progress soon.

As a follow up to the robin's nest post, we saw a cat in the tree and the robins were going nuts! We shooed the cat away but sadly the next morning we found a baby robin on the walk. It was alive but barely. I picked him up with paper towel and put him back in the nest. Some hours later, we found a dead baby robin in the grass under the nest and a live baby nearby. My DH looked on the internet to find what to do. We found a new home for the baby robin at Wild BIRD in SE Denver. It is a non-profit dedicated to rehabilitating abandoned and injured birds. The small private home was staffed mostly by volunteers. The chirping noise was nearly overwhelming. My little robin heard all the chirps and started in himself. He was hungry! The staff took him to an incubator and presumably gave him some lunch.

The next morning, we found a second baby robin on the side walk. I took her inside and put her in a shoebox on a bed of paper towels and a ziplock filled with warm/hot tap water. Soon she was chirping and asking for food. We made a second trip to Wild BIRD. I checked the next to make sure no more siblings were waiting. The adult robins were nowhere to be found.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rules, Schmules...

Breaking my own, self-imposed, rule to only have one quilt going at a time, I started this one. My DH gave me this kit for Christmas after I saw it in the Jan/Feb 2007 issue of Quiltmania. I loved it! This picture does not do the turquoise/brown contrast justice. The one in the magazine is even more engaging.

I am almost done with the quilt top. I must have mis-cut the dark brown because I was short 4 of the side rectangles. Rats! I ended up ordering more fabric directly from Japan, with the help of a dear friend. I am anxiously awating the delivery of this cloth. Then I will complete the top.

The quilting is a simple nested curve design that I will try to do on my own. I am still happily working on the Star Quilt-A-Long. I am unhappy with my selection of blues for my color scheme so... I must go shopping!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nature, Trip and QAL

We found a robin's nest in our oak tree in the front yard. This rainy morning, it looked like the dad-robin was watching over the eggs while mom went out for food. I hope there are eggs - I don't want to get too close. You can just make out the yellow beak and part of the red breast. This nest is surprisingly close to the street and our neighbors drive way.

I am going to Houston next week on business. I will be staying in Katy with meetings in Brookshire. Does anyone know of quilt shops they can recommend I visit? I hope to have some free time in the evenings.

I am making progress on the Star QAL. Last night I finished two more stars. I am determined to use stash fabric! I have some scraps in strips that are too narrow for the recommended size squares. I was thinking that because many of the squares are then cut into triangles, if I am extra very careful, I might be able to use the strips and therefore my stash cloth. This might be a frustrating evening of do-overs but I will give it a try. Am having a lot of fun with this QAL

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Star QAL

Voila! My stars from weeks 4 and 5. I don't know why I went in reverse order. I've always wanted to do a blue and white quilt. Looks like here's my chance.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Quilted Purses

This weekend I finished two more quilted purses. I made some for my girls (top, with butterflies) and they love them! They like to dress up, put on a hat and sunglasses and carry their purse around. I made the bottom two for my friend's girls who are 6 and 2. I need to get them in the mail soon.

The purses are easy to make using scraps cut into strips and sewn together. I used rickrack on some seams. I used webbing handles on the top two purses. I used ribbon sewed to muslin with a light interfacing on the green one and flower eyelet sewed to cotton on the other. I quilted them using scraps of batting using stitch in the ditch and simple lines. No interior pocket or closure. The purses generally measure 8.5 x 11 although you can see some variation.

My girls turned 2 yesterday! My DH also had a birthday
yesterday. Quite a day!

I also got started on AmandaJean's Quilt-A-Long! I cut out the pieces for weeks 1 to 5 and sewed stars from weeks 5 and 4. I will post a picture soon. The photo instructions are super clear and easy to follow. Thanks so much AmandaJean for a fun early summer project!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Birthday Quilt

This is a quilt I made for my friend Lorraine's birthday. She is the author of wonderful childrens' books. I wanted to celebrate her books and featured the book covers. The colors are so bright, I needed bright colors for a background, but didn't want to overwhelm the covers.
For the book covers, I scanned the image and made a JPG. I used Bubble Jet Set to treat 100% cotton muslin cloth and ironed it to freezer paper. I cut the pages to 8.5" by 11" and sent them through my color printer. I have a low-end HP color ink jet that worked very well. The Bubble Jet Set allows the colors to be permanently set into the cloth. I soaked the pages in synthrapol to get rid of excess ink. I lost some color but not a lot. Overall, I was happy with the result. I used directions I found on the internet.
I had it quilted by a professional long-arm quilter. She did a fabulous job. She used a pale yellow thread with a simple meandering design. She outlined the images on the book covers. This was the first time I had the quilting done by someone else. I was pleased with the result. My girlfriend was thrilled.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My Cat Bruce

I lost my cat Bruce two weeks ago. He was 20 years old. He was my best pal for 20 years and went everywhere with me. He went to West Africa, had a pet rabbit and turkey, and lots of love. I miss him very much.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My First Post

I have been reading quilting and crafting blogs for a few months. I wanted to be able to share my opinions and receive comments back from some of the really terrific quilters out there. I also like to read parenting blogs as I have 4 kids and need the diversity of opinions/experiences to help me balance my own feelings.

I have sewed most of my life and have recently stepped up the quilting. I hand quilted a quilt for my husband for our wedding. It took me 3 years. Since then I've used a combination of hand and machine quilting to accomplish my quilts.

This is mostly a test to see if I've sort of figured something out about this blog business.