Friday, July 25, 2014

July Blocks

I finished my Stash Bee and Gypsy Wife blocks some time ago, but I seem to always find it hard to remember to post them here!

For Stash Bee, I made two blue and green pinwheels. The block was quick and fun! Our July queen requested this block in 6.5" or 12.5" unfinished sizes, and I think the finished quilt will be super fun. (I feel like I always say that, but I really do mean it. Truly.)

My Gypsy Wife blocks for July. I got tired of cutting small pieces of fabric, and I figure there are going to be twelve kajillion square in square blocks in the final thing, so why not have a couple of repeats? Probably a bad idea that I'll kick myself for later, but for now, it was simpler, and simpler equals better in my current state.

Even though I'd been warned about July, I forgot, and it turned out meh in the center. But I like the colors, and I think all in all it's okay.

I should get started on August's blocks, but I just can't seem to motivate myself to get started! All those square in a square blocks. Or maybe I'll just start putting sections together? Either way, I should do something....

I'm linking up with the July Gypsy Wife link-up at Work in Progress Girl!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Work on a Team Green Baby Quilt.

Some friends of mine are expecting their second bambino around Thanksgiving. Since I made their first little one a quilt, I'm definitely making their second a quilt. Except, this time, they're not finding out the baby's gender. Apparently they're now members of Team Green? (I had never heard of this concept, but maybe that's not surprising seeing as how I needed to find out my kidlets' genders as soon as possible.)

But even before they were Team Greeners, I knew I wanted to use this palette for their quilt. Weird how that worked out, right? 

Cutting all of this took approximately twelve million hours. I also determined during the course of cutting that I was short two pieces of lime fabric. LAME. But I suppose there are worse things than having to visit the fabric store?

And that twelve million hours really cut into my time for piecing! I pieced twelve of twenty blocks, then got excited and decided to start piecing the rows. And do you know what happened when I started piecing the rows? DISASTER.

The points don't line up, and not just a couple of them. ALL of them. And since this pattern is paper pieced, that really shouldn't be a problem. We're talking like a 1/4" off. And since my seam allowances were included in the template, and I know it was printed at 100% scale, I really can't understand the problem. Which makes me think there isn't a solution.

I'm a little grumpy. I'm going to seam rip the row and see if I can figure something else out, but the finished product might be rocking something like this. I'm trying to tell myself that it's okay if it is....

We'll see what the next few rows have in store, I suppose!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quilting Lesson 6: The Finish.

My student's quilt is done. This is both terribly exciting and ridiculously sad. What fun will I get into on Tuesday afternoons from now on? I'm already feeling withdrawals, but I will comfort my grief with delicious yummy pictures!

The quilting, of course, was gorgeous. Absolutely stunning.

Everything squared up nicely. We had a quick binding lesson, and then my student proceeded to spend a kajillion hours killing her fingers by handsewing down the binding.

But I bet she forgot the pain when she saw the finish! (Okay, maybe she didn't forget it entirely, but a little?)

And you can see how yummy the quilting looks on the back too! And isn't the binding the perfect touch? I'm so ridiculously proud. I know I'm super biased, but seriously, isn't this pretty much a perfect first quilt?

I'm really thankful that we had the opportunity to pursue this, and there is talk about a paper piecing lesson in the future. (Yay!) We've decided to have doughnuts to celebrate this gorgeous finish. Because there must be a celebration, and we're all about doughnuts! Thanks for following along with this fun project. I hope you've enjoyed it too!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fava's Rainbow Quilt.

Instead of a Sunday Stash report, I've elected to do a new quilt report because I (or rather, Fava) was recently gifted a quilt.

This is Fava's Rainbow Geese Quilt.
Um, yes. It's AMAZING.

(I didn't make it, so I can totally say that and not sound like a jerk.)

My quilting sensei K made this for my little love bug. Seriously, she's made each of my kidlets a quilt, and they are three of my favorite quilts she's ever made. (Here's a pic of Lito's.) When she showed it to me, I almost cried. (No, seriously. My eyes got wet.) It's totally a me quilt, but it's also totally a K quilt. And since we have different quilting styles and fabric loves, that's a really cool deal.

And the back. YUM.

I'm going to get a little sappy for a minute, so you can stop reading now if that's not your thing. But in the face of such an awesome gift and such an amazing friend, it's necessary to be serious every now and again. K taught me how to quilt. And for that, I will forever be grateful to her. She has also been an amazing friend, and even though she's moved away and lives in a far away magical state, her friendship means a lot. On top of all of that awesome, she cares about my kids and makes them gorgeous quilts.

So thanks, K, for Fava's amazing quilt, and thanks for being my super awesome friend. I'm really really grateful for you!

Friday, July 18, 2014

FF: The Littles Edition.

This week, I turned my sewing to my littles. All three of them.

Play aprons are on my Q3 FAL list. Using the Merry Christmas one as a template, I cut into some red and white chevron canvas and fashioned two aprons for the older boys.

Of course, Banzo is thrilled because we have three aprons now, so Baby Fava will have one too. I didn't have the heart to tell him that 1) Baby Fava won't be wearing a play apron for some time, and 2) I only made two new ones so that the older boys wouldn't fight over who got to play with the new one. These are item 2 of 7 from my Q3 list, woo!

Not on my list, but an exciting finish nonetheless, is a table runner I fashioned from this orphaned block. I originally made it as a bee block, but I didn't realize until much too late that I had printed my paper piecing templates a wee bit too small, and the block turned out 12" unfinished instead of 12.5". I then taped it to the wall of my quilting nook, where it sat untouched for over a year.

But not anymore. BAM. Done. I know full well I could have used this as an opportunity to bust out some awesome quilting. It would have been great FMQ practice at a very low cost. I used leftover batting scraps, an orphaned block, the backing is entirely scraps, and the charcoal part of the binding is even leftover from another quilt. But when I put on my gloves and started to think about exactly what I wanted to do...well, I realized I just wanted it done. And since it's going on top of a bookshelf in my boys' room, I caved and chose the lazy path.

Finally, some burp cloths for the new one, who should be making his appearance soon. (Every baby needs luchadores and ninjas, right?) They measure about 6 x 10", so on the smaller side, but they are backed in soft white minky, so they feel oh-so soft. I'm nearly full term, and as I am supremely uncomfortable, Fava is more than welcome to come any time after that.

I'm linking up with TGIFF, hosted by Izzy at Dizzy Quilts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quilting Lesson 5: The Basting.

Last week's lesson was all sorts of awesome fun. We tackled basting--my least favorite part of quilting--and I think my student now fully understands why it's my least favorite part, poor girl.

But first thing's first:

Tada! Ladies and Gents, we have a finished quilt top. I probably should have stopped and thrown a party at this point, but really, it's so unsurprising to me that she's excelled so quickly and efficiently (because she's awesome) that it was like, of course you finished that top in record time.

And don't you love the rainbow border? Mmmhmmm.

We prepared the backing. Smoothed out batting. Laid out the glorious top and admired our sandwich.

Briefly, of course, as there was a quilt top to get pinned and basted. Before we tackled the pinning, we had a long discussion on her quilting plans. She informed me that one night she couldn't sleep because she was thinking about the quilting, so she took out the quilt and figured it all out that night. Remember that enthusiasm I was talking about before? Yep. The girl is definitely quilter material.

Of course, I have to wait FOREVER to see the finished product--tomorrow is SO far away--but I just know it's going to be more yummy and delicious. The plan for our next lesson is to square it up and attach binding with hopes that she'll have it completed before Friday. (Easy peasy.) We should also talk labels. Remind me to talk to her about labels, okay?

And then we'll be done. Wow. That's sad! It's gone so quickly! I've enjoyed myself so much! But I'm excited to know that I'll have a new quilter buddy who fully understands the awesome of fabric.

In case you've missed the previous weeks, I'm working with a lovely lady on her very first quilt. If you'd like to read more, check out the fabric pull and cutting, the piecing, the chopping and re-arranging of the DP9, and the borders assembly.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SS: GW Strip Edition.

I'm working on a Gypsy Wife Quilt right now, (GW QAL, woop woop!) and I'm using a F8 bundle of AMH's True Colors and a F8 bundle of Dowry. Plenty of delicious fabric, especially since I'm pulling in solids and other fabrics from stash, but definitely not enough long WOF strips for the final product. Something I did not consider when I purchased fabric for the project--oops.

I've started picking up small 1/8 cuts of fabric when I see something that strikes me. I'm not sure everything I pick out will go, but the blocks to this point are such a hodge podge of crazy that probably anything would work. That Shimmer fabric is actually intended for something else, but the others will hopefully work out. Shimmer on the far left, then some of Julianna Horner's new fabrics for Joann's--why not add in some of the daughter's fabrics with her mom's?--and one polka dot DS quilts print. I can't remember who made the metallic print on the far right.

But Friends. I had to make a stop at my LQS for more Aurifil this week, and when I was making a quick glance of their new fabrics, these immediately jumped out at me. SHOT. COTTONS. Oh, still my beating heart! You may be completely aware of my intense shot cotton love. You may not. If not, I absolutely adore them. And these feel so so yummy in my hand. (Of course, they're going to be a pain in the you-know-what when it comes to sewing those skinny strips, but it will be worth it.)

I waxed on to one of the owners in hopes that my huge immense love will encourage them to carry them forever and ever and in more colors to boot. These are from Studio E, and they've called them peppered cottons, but whatevsies. I didn't write down the colors names--that would be thoughtful and organized, and we know how I am about that--but I think the colors are Saffron, Blue Jay, Paprika, and Plum. Studio E recently held a contest with their peppered cottons, and wow. I especially loved this quilt, called Fresh Pack Potential. I've never had the pleasure of working with Oakshott cottons--one day--so my experience is limited to Kaffe Fassett shot cottons. It will be interesting to see how these compare.

I'm linking up with Molli Sparkles for Sunday Stash. Now I'm going to drool over everyone else's purchases!

Friday, July 11, 2014

FF: Boo's Bag.

I cannot name quilts to save my life, but giving a nickname is a trademark of my love for a person. My younger sister, years ago, was awarded the name Boo. Before that, she was "Fluffy-Hair Kiddo," so she was probably thrilled to trade that nickname in, but poor thing. My kids (Banzo, Lito, and Fava--more of my awesome nicknaming!) even call her Auntie Boo. And she puts up with it, which is probably her way of telling me that she loves me.

Well, Auntie Boo has a birthday later this year, and I decided to make her a Noodlehead 241 bag. The original plan was to make me one, but because I am the best sister EVER, I sacrificed my bag and made one for her. (And it's totally on my Q3 FAL list, so one down, six outrageous goals to go.)

Fabrics are Kona Black, a random gray solid I had in stash, a hint of Waterfront Park, and the center print is from a collection called Poppy Modern. 

Consensus? I love this pattern. Once I got past the fabric cutting and interfacing fusing, this bag was amazing to put together. A part of me wants to start on mine today. Then maybe make one for every other person I care about. (My husband totally needs a 241 murse, right?)

Of course, that means cutting more fabric and fusing more interfacing. I received my first rotary cutter injury while cutting fabric for this--I was in a hurry and being careless, so totally my own fault, and it's not a terrible cut. However, the interfacing. OMG, the interfacing. I HATE interfacing. I used Pellon's SF101, followed the instructions, but STILL. It took forever, and then my super old and faded hot pink ironing board cover decided to leak dye onto the bird print from Waterfront Park that I had originally chosen for the contrasting side pockets. WHY????? I only had a little leftover from Fava's quilt, so I couldn't even cut more. The print now lines the pockets, which I guess we'll say is intentional and gives a peek-a-boo effect.

I installed a magnet snap for the first time, which was easy peasy, and I did install the interior slip pocket. I contemplated inserting the outer zipper pocket(s), but I actually prefer its look sans zipper(s), so I went the easy route. That outer zipper would probably be very convenient and nice...but too late.

There will be more of these in my future. I love this bag. (Other than the interfacing. And the brief fear my fingers will feel when I approach the rotary cutter again.)

I'm linking up with Audrey at Glory Be Quilter (fellow Audreys unite!) for TGIFF.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q3 FAL 2014 List.

Don't laugh at what I'm about to show you, I'm fully aware that my Q3 list is a little...intense. Okay, a lot intense. I don't actually expect to finish it, but these lists don't just serve as motivation for me, they also serve as a good reminder of what I still need to get done!

These are in no particular order...

Stack of limes, kelly greens, and low volume goodness? Meet the paper piecing templates printed and waiting. I need to cut fabric and start piecing! (Baby 2K is due around Thanksgiving.)

2. New quilt for Banzo for this winter. 

Due to midwestern freezing temperatures and ridiculous amounts of snow, the boys rock a flannel backed quilt in the car during drive time. Banzo has outgrown his current one, and he's graciously agreed to pass it on to Fava if he gets a new one. My initial plan was to just do patchwork squares for time's sake, but that's what his old quilt looks like, so I'm going to try to shake it up a bit. BORDERED patchwork squares for the win! Man, sometimes my own cleverness astounds me.

I've had this canvas print for some time, not knowing exactly what to use it for. Inspiration struck when I realized we have one play apron, and two boys who constantly want to wear it. Plus, the existing apron is a Merry Christmas apron. Better to make two completely new ones, and with their initials to boot! (Added bonus, I used the MC apron as a cutting template.)

I need a ton of placemats for the boys. A TON. They seem to fly through them quicker than I can wash them. Above, one is quilted and just needs binding. One is a finished top. Then I pulled a stack of novelty fabric I can't see myself using anytime soon (Mexican luchadores, anyone?) to piece some additional mats.

This will eventually be a Noodlehead 241 tote. I made it all the way through cutting the fabric for this purse before I realized I needed more interfacing. Even though I seem to always be buying it, and in greater quantities than my project actually requires, I never seem to have what I need when I need it. Why is that? Does the interfacing understand its eventual fate and run off while I'm sleeping? That's my current working theory. I actually bought the pattern because I've loved the style of the 241 tote since I first saw it, but I still haven't gotten around to actually making myself one. Maybe one of these days....

I have some time on these, but I don't think they'll actually take that long to make, so it would be nice to kick these off the list. I'll be using a holiday quilting cotton and recycling some corduroy panels. Corduroy may seem like a crazy napkin material, but I have some, and I adore them. I should have extra corduroy leftover...maybe some for me too?

7. And then there's my poor, neglected City Sampler quilt. 

I would like to finish this bad boy. At this rate, it will be on my 2015 Q3 list, but I'm plugging away at it slowly. I'm pretty positive I'll be sending it to a long arm quilter when it is a top, otherwise, it will never get done. I've made 75 blocks. Wouldn't it be glorious if all 100 were made before the end of year? 

Like I said, I don't expect to finish most of this list. (But wouldn't it be nice if I did? I can dream.) I fully expect most of it will also be on my Q4 list, especially since most of my "deadlines" aren't until Q4. But I feel better organized, and I've pulled materials and put them all in the same place. If proper inspiration strikes, I can start anywhere!

I'm linking up with the Q3 FAL list linky at The Littlest Thistle. See you over there!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Quilting Lesson 4: The Borders.

This was the view that greeted me at this week's quilting lesson. Yum yum yum.


Two hours of laying out fabric ensured that no two fabrics touched. I say that as though I spent any time arranging them. I did not. It was all my student. Don't those colors just look fabulous? Doesn't the entire top (so far) look fabulous?

This lesson was all about borders, and we quickly got to work and cut out a crisp white inner border.

The outer border will be a pieced number using all of the top's fabrics, so there was more fabric to be cut.

Next week, we should have a completed top, and we'll get to basting and quilting! Woo woo!

In case you've missed the previous weeks, I'm working with a lovely lady on her very first quilt. If you'd like to read more, check out the fabric pull and cutting, the piecing, and the chopping and re-arranging of the DP9

Saturday, July 5, 2014

FF: Fava's Quilt.

After a particularly long and painful bout of Braxton-Hicks contractions, I knew I needed to get this bad boy done, and quick! And done it is! I don't even want to start to think about how much time went into this one. Let's just say...a lot. But it was totally worth it.

After doing a ton of intricate piecing, including those feathers, I opted to go super easy and minimal with the quilting. I think it was the right call. And I tried to keep my quilting lines to the solid pieces of fabric, mostly because I wanted the quilting lines to disappear in the top. Lots and lots of echo quilting. (And I loved it.)

I did consider trying some FMQ, and I even pulled out some test sandwiches and practiced, but it didn't feel right. To me, this quilt just wasn't a good candidate to practice my FMQ.

The binding is one of my favorite touches. I sent my quilting sensei a pic with a bunch of different solids for potential binding options. Well, they looked so yummy all next to each other, but I thought it would get a little crazy to use them all. Well, when K texted me back and told me to do just that, how could I say no? The binding took forever to cut and piece, but it was totally worth it.

I also hand bound this one, which is the first time I've done that in a while. I opted to hand bind because I really do prefer the look of it. And after putting so much time into the top, I really wanted to finish it off right. I'm glad I did, even if my fingers are raw and my back is aching!

The backing is from the same line as the prints on front--Violet Craft's Waterfront Park. I loved the bridges print, as did my husband, and I knew it wouldn't get enough room to really shine on the front, so backing it is! But I hadn't ordered quite enough, so I used some of the leftover fabrics from the front for the back. (And can I just say that I'm really excited about those metallic birds from Craft's newest line? YUM.)

And YES! This was an item from my Q2 FAL list, so I'm sneaking it in right before the deadline! Woo! How did your Q2 list finish up?

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Polka-Dot Lunchbag

Sooooo...I had two friends with birthdays in January. At the time, I was so swamped and felt so yucky from morning sickness that sewing sounded like the last thing on the planet that I wanted to attempt. I knew both friends would both be super understanding, so I didn't finish their gifts on time, fully expecting to get them done in February or something almost reasonable like that.

Except some time last month, I realized I had completely forgotten about their belated birthday gifts and had moved from being a little late to hitting their half birthdays. Yikes! I decided to get on it, and quick.

The first gift was a super awesome Keropi pillowcase that I forgot to snap a photo of before dropping in the mail. (I finished it in the morning, went to Target to get packing envelopes, and then went straight from Target to the post office.) But for the second gift, I made a lunch bag using this tutorial from Pink Penguin.

I think it turned out pretty well!

I made a few slight modifications to the pattern. I used interfacing on both my outer and inner basket portions. I only had mid-weight interfacing, and the tutorial recommended a heavy, so I hope that two layers of mid will keep it sturdy through its lunch time travels. I didn't have cord, so I used pink ribbon from my ridiculous collection of ribbon. And I top-stitched along the top of my rim and instead of just one line of topstitching, I did two around the upper part of the outer and inner baskets. What can I say? I'm a girl who likes a good round of topstitching. (Now, if only I could remember to use the same stitch lengths when topstitching, life would truly be magical.)

I liked the super scrappy nature of Ayumi's bag, but I thought my friend might appreciate something a little less scrappy. I found this polka dot something-or-other fabric in the apparel section at Joann's--it's heavier than a quilting cotton, but not quite a duck or home decor weight--and I paired it with an orange solid quilting cotton.

Overall, the bag came together without much problem. I did encounter some issues when sewing the cover to the bag. Agatha is tough, but I had to hand crank through the seams, which were extra thick from my double layer of interfacing. At one point, my needle snapped, which made me a bit grumpy since I had just put in a new one. But the worst part of this bag was fusing the interfacing. I don't know what was going on, but my interfacing did not want to fuse. Like, at all. I had to fuse everything three times before it finally stuck. At first, I thought it was just the something-or-other fabric, but nope. The quilting cotton too! (My sewing area was very hot and steamy.) And of course, the ceiling fan in the room died about that time on one of the first truly hot and sticky days of the summer. I know it's not the adorable bag's fault, but yeah. I was perturbed and considered calling it quits.

Then the guilt of the extreme belatedness of my gift kicked in, and I hunkered down and got 'er done. And I'm really really glad I did. I was able to hand deliver it to my friend's work today, and now I have all of my January birthday gifts finished!

Now, to start on February's....

I'm linking up today with TGIFF, hosted by Laura at Quokka Quilts. Go say hi! (My oldest son particularly appreciated all the cute dog photos in this week's edition.) 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Q2 FAL 2014 Results.

It wasn't a bad quarter. I made an extremely optimistic list, and I got the two most important finishes out of the way. (But if I'm honest, I'm still a little sad that my completion rate is only 50%. I know in my heart that I should be thrilled to be so productive, especially because I started and finished another baby quilt, started and finished a dress for me, and made some birthday gifts and some lined drawstring bags and some Gypsy Wife, City Sampler, and bee blocks.)

Actually, just typing all of that out makes me feel better. You can see my original list here.

I finished my Mama's quilt, which was made using bee blocks from Hive 7 of Stash Bee. This was gifted, and she loves it! Total success. (Thanks again awesome Hive 7 ladies! You came to the table with some yummy yummy blocks.)

And I finished a zoo quilt I had intended for my husband's cousin, but instead I finished and gifted to Project Linus because I had another idea for the cousin! :)

Fava's quilt is coming along. There is a baby bear chance I will finish this in time for the link-up, but I'm not 100% confident in that. We'll see! Otherwise, it will definitely be a Q3 finish! 

As to my City Sampler blocks, well, I only made twelve for all of Q2, but that's twelve more than I had before, so I'll take it. Tentative finish date of 2020, woo!

I'm linking up with the FAL Q2 list at The Littlest Thistle. See you over there! 


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