Wednesday

Valentine Heart Quilt - Completed

Missour Star Quilt Co Sweetwater First Crush Fabric
I finished sewing the binding on my Valentine heart quilt today. I followed Jenny Doan's YouTube video instructions to make the blocks.

The problem I have with MSQC's videos is that some of the instruction are vague. For example, with this quilt Jenny says she just adds sashing and a border then she mentoned how much yardage needed to complete the quilt top. The instructions never state the width of the sashing strips or border. So I just decided to do what I thought was best.

The heart blocks ended up measuring 9 1/4" x 9 1/4". I decided to add 3" sashing around the blocks. I decided to cut a 1-inch strip of black fabric as an inner border. Then I made the outer borders 3 and a half-inches wide.

I do love the YouTube videos and I appreciate that they are free so I am not really complaining, after all, it's really not that hard to figure out the size of sashing. The way I figure it, if I don't like the size of the sashing I can always change it.
Missour Star Quilt Co Sweetwater First Crush Fabric

Missour Star Quilt Co Sweetwater First Crush Fabric

Sunday

Pyramid Power Bag

Wisconsin Shop Hop FabricI made a second version of the Pyramid Bag. After my first (upside-down) attempt, I just had to do one right. So I dug up some scraps and a matching zipper, and there we have it - a pyramid tote where the fabric direction doesn't really matter so on that note, I guess I can't get it wrong this time even if I tried.

Wednesday

Fabric Basket from Sunday Morning Quilts

I have many spools of rick-rack and ribbons that have become out of control. I have them stashed on my shelves, in bins and in baskets. It's time to consolidate these things and get them all in one place. I knew exactly what to do...get out my Sunday Morning Quilts book!

There's instructions in the book for a nice fabric basket. It's quick and easy, although as almost always, I made some changes. I cut out pieces from batting and did a quilt-as-you-go thing on the sides and bottom of the basket. I chose not to put interfacing in the lining, I just left the cotton fabric as is.

It went together quickly, the most time spent was in using some of my machine's fancy stitches on the qayg basket sides. I am so happy to discover that I have more ribbon spools than I thought. It's nice to have them all in one place.


Ribbon Basket

Tuesday

Shoo-Fly Quilt (A Fall Quilt) - Completed

Grand Finale by Sandy GervaisI finished the Shoo-Fly quilt late Sunday afternoon while watching our Packers beat the Giants in the playoff game. Sewing the binding on this quilt was a nice distraction when things weren't going well for our team which wasn't very often since they played well and won by a comfortable margin.

Considering I started this quilt in September and worked through some issues with picking out lots of quilting as I realized I hated the original backing I chose, I don't think this took all that long. I did set it down during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays while I contemplated what I would do about the ugly backing I originally chose so the time actually spent on the quilt wasn't all that bad.

Using the leftover layer cake squares from the chosen fabrics with some yardage I got on sale made a great deal of difference in how the back turned out. Lesson learned: if it's an iffy choice - stop and rethink it.
Grand Finale by Sandy Gervais
Yesterday was an overcast day so it was perfect for taking photos of the quilt. Although it was a little windy, I did not have to hold it down. The only awkwardness came from its bulk; the quilt measures 84" x 104".

I am very happy with the end results and I just might enter this one in a quilt show.




Grand Finale by Sandy Gervais

Monday

Mini Notions Bags

I've had the tutorial for a cute mini notions bag on one of my Pinterest boards for quite a while and today I thought I would give it a whirl. As part of my new year's resolution to try new things, this would qualify.

The tutorial used 4-inch zippers and I have a bunch of them leftover from another craft project. I buy all my zippers from ZipIt - an Etsy store that I love. The zippers are reasonable and the more you buy the cheaper they get so of course I bought way more than I needed. So I decided to try this tutorial and the largest piece to cut was 5 inches by 4 and a quarter inches. That meant using up scraps.

This may seem like a funny way to use up scraps but basically what I did was take out my 4-inch zippers and match the colors of the zippers to the scraps I had. I came up with many great combinations.

To make this project even better, while I was digging through my scrap bin, I found some leftover pieces of clear vinyl from an I-Spy project I did with some of my coworkers for an Alzheimer's awareness event. We made I-Spy bags for patients in nursing homes. It was a lot of fun and rewarding.

I cut the pieces out and made a few changes to the original tutorial that can be found here. First of all, the original project used laminated fabric and I used quilting cotton. That meant I had a little more fraying to deal with so I zigzagged the edges after I sewed around the edges. Secondly, I butted a piece of lining fabric up against the backing fabric so there would be a liner inside the back of the little bag. That way when you peeked in the vinyl window, you would see the lining instead of the back side of the backing. Third, I didn't use a Teflon foot. It wasn't really necessary as long as I put my cotton fabric on top of the vinyl, there was no problem with sticking while sewing.

And that's about it. Aren't they cute?
Vinyl Window Zip Pouch

Saturday

Valentines Quilt Block - WIP

After tidying up my sewing room earlier this week, I came across a few fabrics that I really wanted to use. One collection I found was first Crush by Sweetwater. All I needed was a charm square pattern suitable for some Valentine's day themed fabric and I was ready to sew!

After my fun day of sewing from a pattern by Missouri Star Quilt Co., I thought I would look through their website to see what they had in free tutorials. I came across one of Jenny Doan's YouTube video tutorials and I quickly got to work. I laid out my charm squares, cut some background squares and sewed up as many blocks as I could before I ran out of charm squares. At the end of the day I had these:
The link to the instructions and video is here.

I really wasn't planning ahead when I made these, so I don't have any fabric picked out to make the sashing for the blocks but I was glad I got this far. I also did what Jenny suggested in the video - sew up the extra half-square triangles that get cut off the heart shapes.

Friday

Happiness is . . .

My daughter gave me an Etsy gift certificate for Christmas and it took me 4 whole days before I spent it! I also had some money in my PayPal account since I sold my Tutto case. I think the $$ were burning a hole in my pocket.

There are three fabric shops on Etsy that I call my favorite(s). They are all wonderful and unique and I hope they are all around for a very long time.

Normally I'm not very spontaneous when purchasing fabric but my husband was in the hospital having a 5 to 6 hour cardiac procedure and while sitting in the waiting room, I made the purchase. Long waits in hospitals make me do crazy things. This was sort of crazy. I didn't need any fabric and after cleaning up my sewing room earlier this week, I was feeling even more guilty for being so impetuous.

Today the postman delivered my new fabric selections - some were from the clearance section of the Etsy site so that really gave me more bang for my buck. Just look at these little beauties:
As always, there's some Sweetwater fabric in my purchase. I'm not sure what I will use it for, but I can guarantee, it will be used. What fun to add to my stash!

Happiness is . . . new fabric.

Wednesday

Floating Squares Quilt - WIP

As I picked all the quilting out of my fall quilt to remove the backing that I decided didn't go with the quilt, I knew where I wanted to use that fabric even before I removed all the stitches. I used a Marble Mates dark green and in small patchwork, that fabric went well in the fall quilt but in a large piece on the back it almost had a camo look. I thought I could soften it through quilting, but it just looked worse so I picked and picked until all the quilting was removed. Luckily I only quilted a quarter of the quilt before I knew it had to go!

At a Christmas gift swap with my Quilts for Kids chapter, I received a Home of the Brave charm pack and some yardage. I knew that Marble Mates dark green was a much better match with this military-themed fabric collection than the fall quilt. I even knew of a perfect pattern to use to make a quilt top! 

The current issue of Missouri Star Quilt Company's Block magazine contained the pattern. It's called Floating Squares and uses a charm pack plus some yardage for the background. It is a modern quilt and has lots of negative space and the camo-look of the Marble Mates would fit the bill.
I ironed the large piece of Marble Mates to remove all the evidence that I picked out quilting from the fabric. Amazingly, it looked like new. Good thing I am very careful at unsewing. The instructions in the magazine are straightforward and the simple piecing made this go together very quickly. I cut and sewed the entire quilt top in less than a day. I was so happy to use up the charm pack, yardage and Marble Mates.
Home of the Brave fabric

Sunday

What's on the design board?

The first day of each month I try to update my progress on this blog. I am happy to look back and see that each month the projects on the design board do change although not always as quickly as I would like. Sometime my motivation just doesn't keep up with my desire.

Today I am definitely motivated and have the desire but since it is the first of the new year, I am much more motivated to start fresh. To that end I've spent the day cleaning up my sewing room. I really let things go over the past few months to the point where I don't remember where I set things down. I hate that. And I have to walk over piles of fabrics that I haven't put away. This clean-up is very long overdue.

So today I took all the piles of all the stuff that is laying around and not put away and I piled it up on my sewing table. It was a horrible mess!
I took my time and organized and rearranged a few things. I dusted and vacuumed and cleaned everything. I even used a lint roller on my design board to get all the schnibbles off. Yes, the design board hangs empty right now! It took all day. But that's OK. I am all caught up on my client projects and have nothing pending that needs completion (except for my fall quilt but that's a big, big project). I can now think about what I want to do next.

Truthfully, I have been thinking about what's next for a while and my goals for this year include projects from Lori Holt's books, from Judy Gauthier's book and a Missouri Star magazine project or two. I also want to complete some smaller projects besides quilts that have been on my to-do list for a long time.
And just look, my sewing table contains nothing but the quilt projects I want to work on! It feels good to start fresh.

Saturday

New Year's Resolutions (well, sort of)

This is my new year's resolution list for this year. I've wanted to do the bag projects for a very long time. I figured the best way to actually do them is to put them on my priority list and what better way than to call them a new year's resolution!



http://www.lieslmade.com/tutorials/2013/09/13/weekender-bag-tutorial-with-pattern



http://pinkxstitches.blogspot.com/2014/01/boxy-pouch-tutorial.html



http://www.ilovetomakequilts.com/182-day-solstice-challenge-blocks.html

Friday

A Fall Quilt - WIP

I've been working on this quilt for some time now. It's one of those projects that gets worked on then put aside, then worked on then put aside... So I finally got this beauty to the point where I can actually quilt it! I made the backing from two coordinating prints. They were almost solids; just a little marbling effect in the fabrics made them a bit more interesting than regular solids. One print was a dark green and the other a nice warm orange.

Once I completed the backing, I ironed it flat before I spread it out to make the quilt sandwich. I realized that I was not all that fond of the dark green color. I decided to use it anyway since it was one of the colors that complimented the fabrics used on the front. It seemed too plain but I really thought that after some quilting, it might look more interesting.

After completing the quilting on the center section of the quilt, I looked at my work. Now I really hated that backing. So I let the quilt sit while preparing for Christmas.

A few days ago I decided to take another look at the quilting on the quilt. Still hated it. I decided it's time to rip it out. I think in the back of my mind I was already prepared to do it I just had to pull the trigger. So I started to rip on Monday.

I ripped on Tuesday.
And Wednesday.
Thursday my husband had a heart procedure so we spent the day at the hospital.
Today I finished ripping! Phew! It's all out and now I can start over with new backing.

Custom Sewing Table

Ever since I got my new sewing machine, my custom sewing table has been a little difficult to use. My old machine was recessed into the table. My new machine is much bigger than the old one so it doesn't quite fit in the opening.

My husband has the next two weeks off for Christmas break so he plans on completing some fun (fun for him anyways) projects. Today he decided to tackle getting my new machine to fit into the old space. I am so happy he has decided not to waste a single minute of his precious time off.

He took some measurements and started cutting away. Now I know it's pretty impossible to get it exact when working with a pre-existing hole in the table top, but he was bound and determined to make it work as best as possible.

He is definitely more of a perfectionist than me, I just want a workable space...don't really care what it looks like. He can do whatever is necessary to recess the machine into the table.

After hearing a lot of cutting, drilling and vacuuming, it was done. Jeff says I should use it for a few days and then let him know if he should do any adjusting. So far, I love it. I have to admit that I had a little trouble adjusting to it at first. I was reaching for the controls without looking at them and now that everything is lower, I was reaching too high.
I am so very lucky.