Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two More Finished Baby Quilts (one of them made by the mister!)

A couple years ago, the mister thought it would be fun to try teaching me some photography tips. He has a passion for photography and I thought it couldn't hurt to learn how to take better pictures of my sewing and quilting projects. While he was teaching me about his hobby, he thought it'd be fun to learn how to make a quilt. So, we looked through my fabric (he picked Arcadia by Sanae) and then found a tutorial he thought would be fun (Jacquie Gehring's Wonky Log Cabin tutorial). I showed him how to use the rotary cutter appropriately and then he came up with his own cutting/sewing/pressing station, which pretty much meant that the cutting mat, ironing board, and sewing machine were all set up on our living room floor so he could go from one station to the next with only rotating his torso. He used his knee to push down the pedal as he sewed. I wish I would have taken a picture because it was quite the sight!

Baby Quilt Wonky Log Cabin Side

These are the four blocks he made during the first couple sewing sessions.

Baby Quilt Strip Side

After making those blocks, he got busy and distracted by other things and they were put aside for a couple years. However, two of his coworkers got married to each other a couple months ago and are expecting their first child. The mister wanted to pull out the blocks and finish a baby quilt to give to his friends. As the first few blocks took a bit of time to make, he wanted to switch gears and use a design that he could make in an evening. So, I helped by cutting the fabric and he sewed them into strips. He did all the piecing and pressing. He even spray basted the quilt, straight-line quilted it, and attached the first side of the binding.


He did such a great job and I'm so proud of him. He took the quilt to work a couple days later (I had to show it off at the SLMQG meeting of course) and gave it to the husband/soon-to-be-dad in the break room. I wish I could have seen it! The mister said his face turned all red as he handed over the quilt to his coworker in a room full of people. Priceless!

Earlier that day, I was working on this baby quilt. When my partner sent me the pillow she made for me in round 7 of the Pillow Talk Swap, she included an extra purple string, paper-pieced star that didn't end up fitting into her pillow design. I used that as the focal point of this quilt.

Star and Hexagon

I don't have a lot of purple in my stash, which is strange because I love purple for clothes, but I guess I just haven't been a big user of it in quilts. Anyway, I managed to find some purples that worked well with the star as well as the solid that I picked up from Joann's: Kate Spain's Central Park, Lizzy House's 1001 Peeps, and Joel Dewberry's Heirloom. I used strips from each of those prints to make the binding as well. (That darn breeze wouldn't let me get a flat picture of the quilt!)

String Star + Hexagon Baby Quilt

On the back, I just pieced a simple improv block using some of the scraps from the front and then offset it with the purple solid.

String Star + Hexagon Baby Quilt Back

I also tried a new thread on this quilt. First, I used my typical piecing and quilting thread (but in gray instead of white), which is a 100% cotton machine quilting thread from Joann's. I'm not sure the brand, but it comes in a hefty size on the spool. I also wanted to try out Superior thread so I ordered a sampler pack a few weeks ago and one of the spools they sent me happened to be a dark purple that matched the purple solid in this quilt perfectly. And, just like in my last post, I tried some more new-to-me quilting designs. They're not even or consistent or great to say the least, but I kind of like them. They're "homey" and give the quilt a handmade feel that I like. Plus, practice makes perfect, right?


This quilt will be finding a home with a new little baby soon-to-be born.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Single Girl with Retro Flowers - A Finished Quilt. (Oh, and anniversary celebrations too.)

Way back during round 7 of the Pillow Talk Swap, I played around with the idea of combining the Single Girl pattern (by Denyse Schmidt) with the Retro Flowers pattern (by Christina, The Sometimes Crafter). When I showed my three ideas in the Flickr group, my partner picked a different design as her favorite so I decided to turn this pillow top into a quilt top by setting it a bit askew and adding some borders.

Single Girl Meets Retro Flowers Quilt Front

I used a bunch of scraps and then added Kona Bahama Blue and Stone as well as Albert and Victoria books for the top and backing. For the binding, I used a blue plaid from Riley Blake's Play Ball line.

Single Girl Meets Retro Flowers Quilt Back

I've also been trying to break out of my quilting style a bit by trying some new things from Angela Walter's free-motion quilting book. I thought this quilt would be a good one to practice on.

Single Girl Meets Retro Flowers Quilting Detail

I finished this one up just in time to give to my friend who's been in the hospital on bed rest with placenta previa. She made it to 35 weeks (hooray!), so her doctors say she can have the baby any time between now and 37 weeks so she doesn't run the risk of needing a blood transfusion.


A few posts back, I mentioned some anniversaries happening around here. My parents celebrated their golden, 50th anniversary! My sister made a cake for their special day. Not only did it look great, but it was absolutely delicious! We set out some photos and cards too. For their gift, we made them a voice quilt. Family and friends placed calls that were recorded and then we compiled all the messages onto a CD that my parents can listen to whenever they want.

Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary

My dad is in poor health, so it was the perfect way to celebrate.

Mom and Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary

The mister and I also celebrated our 9th anniversary. We headed downtown and went to the place where we got engaged. We reminisced about our engagement and gave each other "new" rings (we got mine resized and got a new one for him that fit...sometimes marriage makes you comfortable and you gain weight, making your rings not fit you anymore).

Celebrating our 9th anniversary

We went to dinner then caught a double feature before turning in for the night. The next morning, we ate brunch at The Grand America in Salt Lake. I'm telling you, if you ever get a chance to have Sunday morning brunch there, DO IT! So, if you're coming into town for The Sewing Summit, head across the street to the Grand America and stuff your face with really good food. You won't regret it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A few random sewing projects, part 2

Tuesday was my anniversary. The mister had to work late, so I thought I'd start a new EPP (English paper piecing) project just for me. I pulled out Katy's Spring Carnival printout and templates and set to work. I'm using some Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow fabric that I've been saving for a while to make a pillow or two for my new couch. Since taking this pic, I've changed my mind on the brown print. I'll be using white for those triangle sections.

Katy's teaching a class on this design at The Sewing Summit in the fall. I'm crossing my fingers that I can take it while I'm there.

spring carnival

I have also been brainstorming some ideas for baby quilts. Two of my sisters-in-law are having babies in the next couple months. One of my good friends is in the hospital right now on bed rest and as a precaution due to placenta previa. I'm thinking I'll make a giant granny squares quilt for her soon-to-be-born little girl using some charms from Kate Spain's Central Park line.

giant granny squares baby

I bought a couple more quilting books as well. I really enjoyed flipping through these books. I've been a fan of Jacquie Gehring since I started quilting and I love how she and Katie Pedersen teach the techniques behind the quilts they show in the book, rather than just the pattern for the design. I think this approach is generally more helpful when you're trying to develop skills and a greater understanding of quilt construction.


I'm a new fan of Angela Walters. I've never loved the quilting part of making quilts, but I think Angela has done such a great job of illustrating how to go about expanding your quilting skills. I'm excited to try more techniques from her book.


And here's a little sneak peek of the quilt I finished last week. I was inspired by Angela's book and tried out a few new quilting designs. They certainly aren't perfect, especially when my nose was an inch away from the quilt, as Angela puts it. But, when you stand back and look at the overall quilt, you can see how I actually put some thought into the quilting.

sneak peek

I'll share more of this quilt next time. I'm off to celebrate my anniversary with the mister. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A few random sewing projects, part 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I've really been enjoying working on some smaller projects that offer instant gratification when I finish them in one sitting. Perhaps this is because I've started so many big quilt projects that are in various stages of completion. Here's a hodge podge rundown of some of the projects I've been working on lately.

First up are a few drawstring bags using Jeni's tutorial. With three kids five and younger, it's a constant challenge to stay organized out our house. I made a few of these bags to help in our toy-organizing effort. These really are so quick to whip up, especially if you use ribbon as the drawstring. I plan to make many more of these in the near future.


I also sewed up a quick skirt for my daughter using the Crafy Chloe unicorn fabric by Heather Ross that is available at Hancock's. My daughter is pretty much obsessed with wearing skirts on a daily basis. I figured rather than buying more skirts since so many if hers have gotten too small (she's growing like a weed), I'd just make some.


This one isn't lined, but it's also meant to be a play-day skirt. I've since made another skirt just like this one using some DS Quilts and Lizzy House fabric that she can wear to church. I wanted it to be lined, but didn't want to "waste" good fabric on the lining, so I made it reversible instead. I still have to take pictures of that one, but I'll show you what I'm talking about when I do.


Now, I don't know about all you ladies, but when it comes to "that time of the month," I usually just carry tampons and such loosely in my purse. I remember in jr. high and high school being so embarrassed when I needed to use the restroom and tried so hard to be discreet. I decided it was time to have a cute little pouch I could house those supplies in and stick in my purse, making it easier to just grab the pouch rather than stick a tampon in my pocket and head for the bathroom. While I was at it, I made a few more for my nieces so they can feel a little less self-conscious too.

small zippered pouches

Last month, Jessica (Euphoria on Flickr) invited my to participate in a charity sewing event, Bibs for Babies, that she was organizing. The Operation Shower non-profit group gives baby showers to military families, helping to raise spirits despite deployment. She asked for everyone participating to make two baby bibs that she can donate to the cause, hoping to collect 100 bibs. This was a first for me, and while there's definitely room for improvement, it was nice to use some materials I had on-hand as well as contribute to good cause.

Bibs for Babies

Well, that's the rundown for now. Check back Saturday for a few more projects I have in the works.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A few quilt blocks

Since making this house block last year for Cara's quilt, I wanted to try making another one with a little more to it. I had a few fat quarters from the Dress Up Days line from Riley Blake, which showcases some super cute little girls doing various activities. I used the piece from the blue colorway as my starting point for this block. I cut out three of the little girls, added an apple tree, a house on a hill, and then hand-stitched a sun, cloud, and chimney with smoke.


I also tried making an atomic ranch-style house block. The mister told me it looks like a rest stop. With that, I put this block away and will try adding to it later when I can see something other than a rest stop crossed with Stonehenge. =)


I'm only three blocks away from finishing my Gradated Color Mod Mosaic quilt top. Here's another blue block. I have one more blue and two yellow blocks to go.


While driving to Oregon for my friend's wedding back in June, I took some paper pieces and fabric scraps and tried my hand at English Paper Piecing (EPP). I wish I would have planned the project out a little better. Since I only had scraps, not all the fabrics went well together. So I improvised. I may sew these hexagons onto some zippered pouches, or maybe make some more random hexagons and just attach them all like this for a table topper or something.


On our roadtrip, I found myself really enjoying EPP so when Kati asked for paper pieced stars for her month in the Sew Beautiful Bee, I settled on a rose star EPP pattern. This shot shows the star in progress, but I've since finished it and need to get the photo off my camera.


I've been spending a lot of my sewing time lately on smaller projects like this. It's really satisfying to start and finish a sewing project in one setting. But, I did manage to finish another quilt that had been basted and patiently waiting for months for me to get around to it. I'll show some more of these projects soon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Simply Charming Minis Winner!

Thanks to all of you who offered such great suggestions for celebrating anniversaries! I had hoped to respond to all of you, but I had some heavy time constraints this week. I really do appreciate the thought you all put into making those suggestions.

Since my mom reads my blog, I can't say what we are planning for theirs, but the mister and I are going to spend a night downtown, catch dinner and a movie, and probably get a couples' pedicure. (What a trooper.)

Now, let's get on to the winner of Konda's book, Simply Charming Minis.

Mr. Random picked number 90, who is Shannon:

Congratulations, Shannon! Look for an email from me.


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