Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work in Progress Wednesday

Ready to bind!

I'm also the BMQG Member of the Month so hop on over there to see more of what I've been up to and check out all our other ridiculously talented members: )

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Design Wall Wednesday

It's school vacation week so I haven't had a lot of time to sew but with 2 finishes this month I couldn't resist starting something new.  As soon as I saw this fabulous quilt by the adorable Vanessa at V and Co. I knew I had to make one.  Come on, argyle AND ruffles, it practically has my name written on it;-)  Like a lot of people I'm trying to pull from my stash this year and more specifically I want to stop hoarding my most favorite fabrics and actually use them.  I love those pink & green monkeys and they seemed perfect for this.  Fabrics are: Riley by Anna Griffin, Playing in Spotzville by Jan Mullen, Wee WoodLand by Keiki and Bella Solids Bleached White.  All from stash!

So far I've got all my fabrics cut out and the top assembled but now I'm practicing making ruffles with my ruffler foot.  It's amazing how many youTube videos there are out there on how to use this foot but I'm still struggling to get the effect I want.  Lots of tension issues, stitch and otherwise! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oh Baby!

So much going on this week!  I finished up both the quilts I was binding and now just have to get out to take pictures of them. 

Before diving in to something new I made a couple of "little" things. Our magnificent BMQG President, Laurie, is having a baby soon so we wanted to shower her with some handmade gifts.  Not an easy thing to do since she's been busy making her own things, pregnancy hasn't slowed her down one bit.  It was also tough because she doesn't know what she's having but if I learned anything from my own kids it's that you can never have enough burp clothes!  I dug into my stash for some of her favorite fabrics and added some trims and ribbons.  It was so much fun to mix and match.  I probably wouldn't have stopped but I ran out of diapers! 
I think this is my favorite, Ann Kelle Urban Zoologie Whales with a wavy border.  So perfectly preppy: )

Somehow I lost my iPhone case this week so I also whipped this up using some hello luscious scraps leftover from my twister quilt.  It is based on this fabulous iPhone pouch tutorial by Amy at Made During Quiet Time.  This month's BMQG meeting included a much anticipated trip to Sew Fresh Fabrics where I actually got to hang out with the adorable Amy AND shop for fabrics.  She did a fabulous write up of all Peg & Becca, the ladies behind Sew Fresh,  have to offer so I'll just show you a few things I picked up...

I think I was feeling a bit dotty;-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why bother

I'll admit I was whining to another Mom at Starbucks about how much time and effort I spent making Valentine's for my kids (we have a "tradition" of giving out photo cards every year) but I was totally floored by her response... "Why bother?"  She went on to say I could run next door to CVS and pick up a box of Valentine's for $5, make the kids sign their names and be done.  I frequently get similar comments about making quilts.  People always ask how long it took me to make something, as if that's the measure of it's worth.  Granted, I was probably fishing for a compliment of sorts about what an amazingly creative and dedicated Mom I am but I really had to stop and think, "Why do I bother?" 

Well without even giving it much thought I realized I really just enjoy the process of making things.  Certainly not every aspect.  Fighting with MS Word to get my photos centered properly, waiting for 75 cards to print and then running out of ink in the middle isn't fun.  But laughing hysterically while taking pictures of a kid with a cupcake he can't eat is hopefully something we'll always remember.  Shorting my binding, miscalculating my quilting plan, taking a slice out of my hand again... not my finest moments: )  But then there are the happy memories stitched in to every one of my quilts.  Endless hours happily spent sewing together small pieces of fabric while watching chick flicks, road trips and football games made bearable with hand quilting, the joy of pouring over every square inch of a finished quilt while hand tacking the binding.   It's all good!
The more I thought about it I realized there are so many other reasons!  I bother because...  I like having things that are exactly the way I wanted them because I made them that way. I know that every handmade gift/card/jar of pickles I give includes the love I put it in to making it (not to mention DNA).  So my kids understand that holidays and gifts aren't just about making another trip to the mall.  I need one thing in my life that is completely under my control.  And even, what else would I do with my free time?

But the biggest reason I bother is simply for the joy of creating something.  Having a vision of how something could look and then making it happen.  Taking an idea and turning it in to something tangible.  Turning a random stack of fabrics in to a beautiful quilt...  Making something delicious from what's fresh at the Farmer's Market...  Knitting up socks that fit and make me smile...

I bother because I need to create things that are uniquely me!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Have a Heart Argyle Valentine Pillow Tutorial

What can I say, I have an unhealthy obsession with argyle.  Last year I made a Valentine's wall hanging and table topper so this year I thought some pillows were in order.  In the spirit of sharing the love, here's a how-to in case you want to make your own.

Cut the following:

(1) strip 3" x wof gray
(1) strip 3" x wof navy
(1) strip 6" x wof pink
(1) 12" x 19" batting scrap
(1) 11" x 6 1/2" rectangle gray for back
(1) 11" x 12 1/2" rectangle gray for back
(2) strips 2" x wof navy for binding
Other supplies:
This heart template or draw your own hearts
Quilter's Freezer Paper Sheets

Seam allowance 1/4"

Making the Pillow Front

Sew your your navy and gray strips together to make a strip set.  Press towards the navy.
Trim the end of your strip set using the 30° line on your ruler.

Cut your strip set into 3" pieces cutting parallel to your initial cut.  You will need 6 of these to make your diamonds.

Sew two pieces together to make a diamond.  You need to offset the ends by 1/4" and the center seam will not nest like it would when piecing squares.  This takes a little practice, check out from the blue chair for some more helpful tips.   The good news is your center intersection doesn't have to be perfect since your hearts will cover them: )

Sew your remaining pairs together so you have three diamonds.  I pressed towards the gray so the center point was open to reduce bulk.

Trim the end of your 6" pink strip using the 30° line as we did before.  This time turn your ruler placing the 30° line on your cut edge and cut an isosceles triangle (all the sides are equal).  Turn and repeat so you have 4 of these triangles.  My strip was folded in half so I got 2 from each cut.

For my corners I used my existing 30° cut and moved over 1/4" and then cut straight down the side (makes 2). 

For the remaining two I used the ones I just cut as a template.  If this seems to complicated you can just cut 4 more full triangles and trim them down at the end.  You can NOT make 1 triangle and cut it in half, it will be 1/4" too small.  Trust me!

Sew together your rows and then join the rows to complete your top.

At this point I layered my top with batting and quilted it.  You don't need a backing since this will be the inside of your pillow but you can certainly add one if you like.  I used a hera marking tool to draw lines 1 1/4" from my seam lines to complete the argyle motif and quilted it with pale pink thread. 

This is my scruffy applique method, feel free to use your favorite applique technique.  I printed this heart template on to quilter's freezer paper and roughly cut out the shapes.  With what was left of my 6" pink strip I cut a 2" strip for the back of my pillow and then was able to iron the four hearts on the remaining piece. 

Cut out the hearts on the outside line and arrange them on your argyle front.  Sew on the inside line to attach your hearts to the top.  I shorten my stitch length to make it easier to sew the curves and to perforate the paper.  Very carefully remove the freezer paper from your hearts.  Trim your top to 11" x 18".

Making the Pillow Back

Finish one long side of the 6 1/2" x 11" piece by folding the edge over 1/4" then again and top stitching near the edge.  I added a pink band to the edge of the 12 1/2" x 11" piece.  Fold the pink 2" strip in half and sew it to one of the 11" sides.  Top stitch if desired.  If you'd like to add a label to the back of your pillow you should also do that now.  I used my extra heart here.

Layer your pieces with the pillow top right side down and the back pieces right side up with the backing pieces overlapping.  I sewed around the 4 sides with a narrow zigzag to make it easier to bind but pins are fine.  Sew together your two 2" strips of navy, fold in half and apply your binding.  Riley Blake has a great demo of my favorite way to applying binding.

Insert a 12"x18" pillow form or make your own using this tutorial from Piece N Quilt.

Make another one because you're having so much fun;-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Props to Aneela Hoey

I don't usually acknowledge the fabric designer on my quilts but in this case it seemed like a good idea.  I was happily tacking down the binding on this quilt when I got to this corner...

As my son said, "Oopsies for you!"  Indeed, another joy of quilting moment!!! 

One of the "challenges" of zigzag quilts made with this method is they are all bias and bias stretches...  in this case, right past my backing: (  Or maybe it was a basting failure.  No matter the cause, I had a gap between my backing and binding to deal with.  Had I thought of it sooner I might have made my binding wider.  Instead, some strategically applied selvedge to the rescue!  Twenty years of quilting hasn't taught me how not to make mistakes but I have learned to handle them gracefully; )

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In a bind

This week I've been making binding, by the mile!  Now I've got these sewn on to my quilts and I'm actually looking forward to the Super Bowl this year.  Not because the Patriots are playing, because it means I'll have 3 hours to snuggle up on the couch and tack down these binding: )  As an added bonus, keeping my hands busy sewing will keep me from stuffing my face with snacks. 

Finished quilts on the way, now that's something to cheer about!