Friday, July 30, 2010

Labeling Quilts

Sorry you haven't heard much from me in the past week, guys. My back went out over the weekend and I haven't done much sewing. I had back surgery last summer to remove a piece of my L4-L5 disk that had herniated. Although the surgery got rid of the pain I was in at the time, my back still goes out every now and then.

Tonight I'm heading to my in-laws' house to take advantage of their hardwood floors to do some basting. I haven't made labels for my quilts before, but I really want to. My question though is at what point do you attach the label? Do you wait until the quilt is quilted (but before adding the binding)? Do you wait until it is 100% done? Do you add the label before basting? I thought I'd add it to the backing before I baste the quilt tonight so I can treat it like appliqué and use one of my machine's appliqué stitches. But will the label get messed up when I quilt it? I'm not that great at hand-sewing so I didn't totally want to wait and do it after I've done the quilting, but maybe that's the better way to go.

How do you apply your labels?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quilting To Do List

A few weeks back, the mister and I took time off work to do some home improvement projects. No sewing got done that week, but I finally made a list of the quilts I wanted to make based on some of the fabric in my stash. (There's something about knowing what my fabric will be used for that makes me feel a little more in control and organized.) After making the list I realized that there are a lot of to-be quilts designated as "for me." I hope that's not as selfish as it sounds.

A few of the quilts are going to be designs that I want to try: stacked coins, Oh Fransson's New Wave, disappearing nine-patch. Not on the list yet is a half-square triangle turned zig zag quilt (which I've heard from a few in my quilt guild group can be scary) for my sister's birthday.

I was thinking last night about the advent calendar I want to make. The mister's grandma has an embroidery machine and I'm half tempted to ask her if she can help me embroider the numbers on each pocket. The idea of appliquéing all those teeny numbers makes me a little crazy. The only problem is that she lives about 2 hours away. But, then again, it could be a nice day trip for us to head up as a family and she can spend some time with her great-grandkids.

*Did you see at the bottom of the list "Arcadia - wonky blocks - Josh"? That's the mister's quilt project. I'm pleased as punch that he wanted to make a quilt by himself for himself!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Freebird Picnic Update 2

I used my four nights of sewing time this week to almost finish the Freebird Picnic quilt top. I still have to add a four-inch border in the Nest Ovals fabric, which will also be the backing.

This is probably the most time-intensive quilt that I've worked on so far, aside from my first quilt, but that was probably because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I laid out the border fabric along the bottom edge of the quilt and that brown is going to make the rest of the quilt pop.

I've really liked how this one has come together. The design isn't quite as clear in mine as in the tutorial I used because of my fabric choice, but I think I like the subtlety.

*Image from Moda Bake Shop, Avignon Picnic Quilt

The binding will be made out of this Nest Eggs fabric from the line. Although the binding will be next to the brown backing, I think the white oval dots will give it a nice definition.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Freebird Picnic Update 1

I finished sewing the jelly roll strips, cutting the 4.5 inch sub-units, and pressing the seams for all 436 of these babies. Let me say that ironing for two hours straight is not my idea of a good time, although cutting before pressing was easier for me. (My sister teases me that I love ironing so much that I take time to iron my underwear. So not true. And even if I did love ironing that much, I certainly wouldn't after yesterday's lengthy stint.)

I thought I might get to piecing them last night, but it took me until 9:30 just to figure out the layout. Here's the start of it, and please excuse the poor lighting. I used my point-and-shoot camera because I was tired and lazy and wanted to get the blocks organized.

Although my SIL picked this design, it was fun to play around with different layout possibilities. It certainly got me thinking about future quilt designs.

Tonight I'll start piecing these units and see how far I can get. Cross your fingers that everything will match up for the most part.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Featured on Pleasant Home

simply square button

It's a little late in the day (I've been super busy), but I'm being featured on Pleasant Home today. Head on over to check it out, or click the I was featured on Pleasant Home button on the left.

Jodi's blog is adorable! So many great ideas and her Needle Little Inspiration series is a great way to find out about new quilting bloggers out there.

Thanks for the feature Jodi! I love meeting and learning about new quilters out there.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Baby Boy Rag Quilt

Here's another rag quilt that I made on Friday night for a baby shower this morning.

I used my standard 10 inch squares in a 4x5 layout.

The animals are part of a directional print so I alternated the squares so there wouldn't be a "right" direction to the blanket.

I really like how quickly rag quilts come together. Sometimes you just need a quick project to break things up from time to time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rainy Day Book Bag and Pillow Tutorial

A niece of mine is turning 10 this month. Tonight is her pink, girls only sleepover party. Since she loves to read (and since she obviously loves pink), I made her a rainy day book drawstring bag and pillow to match. The idea is that she can go to the library on a rainy day, bring her books home in her drawstring backpack, then curl up with her pillow and read the day away.

I picked up this Alexander Henry fabric at Joann's a while ago for a skirt for me and a quilt for my daughter. I didn't care for the skirt and never got around to making the quilt. But, luckily enough, I had plenty of fabric to work with for this pink birthday gift.

I don't have any process photos because I was trying to get these done in a hurry last night (can you say procrastinator?). But, I'll walk you through the process. Note that the images below don't correspond to the steps of making your own bag.

To make a drawstring bag of your own, you'll need:

1 yard quilting cotton weight fabric (this serves as the outside of the bag and the lining)
2 yards cording (for the drawstring)

If you want to use fabric for the drawstring instead of cording, you'll need 5 extra inches cut with your yard of fabric (so 41 inches of fabric).

Square up your fabric, then cut 4 2.5-inch strips the width of the fabric (WOF). With your remaining fabric, fold it in half one way and then in half again the other way. The rectangle you have now should have a ratio similar to an 8.5x11 piece of paper.

Now onto the sewing part. Start by making the drawstrings out of the four WOF strips you cut earlier. Sew two of these pieces together on the short end, and then repeat with the other two pieces. You should now have two double WOF-length strips. Fold in half length-wise with right sides together, then sew a 1/2 inch seam the length of the strip near the raw edge. Repeat with the other strip. Using a safety pin, clip one piece of the fabric at the end and guide the pin through the fabric tube to turn it right side out. Repeat with the other strip.

I appliquéd my niece's initials and an umbrella onto the front of the bag. If you want to add some appliqué, make sure to do it at this step. Prepare your appliqué as desired. Then unfold your fabric and place the appliqué pieces as desired in the upper right-hand "panel" of your fabric.

Once your appliqué is done, refold your fabric, making sure the appliqué shows on the front, or "right" side. The bottom of the bag should have the main fold of the fabric. Take the front and flip it down and under the main fold, so your "right" sides are together. Sew a 1/2 inch seam down the long sides of the bag. However, leave yourself about 3-3.5 inches at the top for the casing and about an inch at the bottom for inserting the ends of the drawstring.

Now you're ready to make the casing. On the sides of the bag, you will have the 3-3.5 inch section that is unfinished. Turn the fabric in 1/2 inch and sew a "U" down the left side, across the bottom where your previous seam ends, and up the right side of the unfinished edge. Repeat on the other side of the bag. Now you can fold the top of the casing area down so your edge slightly overlaps where the bottom of the U was sewn a minute ago, just slightly more than folding in half. Sew all the way around bag. You can repeat this step if you want to reinforce the casing. Turn the bag right side out.

Now that the casing is done, you can string your drawstring through the casing. With the first piece, use your safety pin again to guide the string through the casing. Start on the right side and string it all the way through until you come back to the other half of the right side. Repeat with the other drawstring, but this time start on the left and return on the other half of the left side.

At this point, you can decide if your drawstrings are too long or just right. If they're too long, trim the excess fabric. If they're just right, then you're ready to enclose the loose ends of the drawstring. Remember the bottom inch or so that you left unsewn when you sewed the sides of the bag together? Insert about 1/2-1 inch of the drawstring into this part of the bag. Fold the the raw edges in and top stitch the drawstring ends inside the bag. I did a zigzag stitch for reinforcement, but you can just backstitch several times if you'd like. Just make sure the drawstring pieces are securely stitched in place.

There you have it: a finished, sturdy drawstring backpack.

Next, I made the pillow, and started by making my own pillow form. I had a strip of fabric that was already the perfect size so I didn't have to cut anything. I turned the fabric right sides together, then sewed 1/4 inch all the way around the raw edges, leaving 3 inches open so I could stuff the fluff into the pillow form. Make sure to turn the pillow form right side out before stuffing it. Once it was fully stuffed, I folded the raw edges of the hole under and then top stitched that section closed.

Next, I took the fabric for the outside of the pillow and sewed the pieces together so that I had one long rectangle piece of fabric. At this point, I stopped and added some more appliqué to tie the pillow and bag together.

Once the appliqué was in place, I put the fabric on the pillow form to see where the pieces overlapped so I knew where to make the envelope enclosure for the back. Then, I took the pillow form out, and finished the raw edges on the short ends of the fabric rectangle. I sewed the sides 1/4 inch and turned the pillow cover right side out. At this point it was time to insert the pillow form for a finished pillow.

I have a baby shower tomorrow so I'll be making a rag quilt tonight. I'm also looking forward to next week as I'll have four nights of sewing time. I hope to make more progress on Jessica's Freebird Picnic quilt.

Hooray if you made it through this incredibly long post. Don't forget to head on over to AmyLouWho's for another Sew & Tell Friday!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weihnachtsstollen (Christmas Fruitcake) Quilt Top

Not Quite Nutty as a Fruitcake is too long for a quilt name so I'm calling this quilt Weihnachtsstollen (pronounced "vy knocked shtolen"). I was thinking about the recipient and tried to find something that would fit her better. She loves Stollen, a traditional fruitcake in Germany. Since this is a Christmas gift, Weihnachten (or Christmas) seemed to fit.

I took the disappearing nine-patch blocks and separated them with Moda bella solids in milk as the sashing. I'm tempted to add another border in one of the Fruitcake prints, but I'm not sure yet.

The backing and binding will be an elegant diagonal stripe from the Fruitcake collection. This last year I made a goal to make most of my Christmas gifts. I want to do it again this year so even though I'm not quite in the mood for Christmas since it's July, it's nice to be getting a head start.

Head on over to Sew & Tell Fridays with AmyLouWho to see all the great finishes this week!


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