Friday, December 30, 2011

The Masterpiece is Finished!!

Here she is. My mom's quilt! I'm so excited to finally have it finished!! I know my mom had been waiting patiently until Christmas to unwrap it... but maybe she didn't know that I put the finishing touches on it the night before we left to travel home! For the first time ever, I finished the binding by machine (first time on a huuuuge quilt). I mostly did this because I was under a time crunch and didn't want to rush myself on everything else that needed to be done. It turned out perfectly, although I didn't take any pictures of those perfect neat little corners... I know they're there! I used this method for pressing the binding before finishing it

 Although I can't remember specifically what the measurements of this quilt were (without searching through my sketches to find the one where I did the math), I think it finished at about 60" x 78" HUGE. 

 It's perfect for snuggling on the couch or throwing on top of Mom's side of the bed... so she doesn't have to share and Dad won't be too hot! 

 Here are some bits and pieces. Pictures here of the prayer written into the binding before sewing it up. I also wrote the same note on the tag that I tied up with the quilt. So my mom can remember it, even though it's hidden inside. I like to think of this as a way to literally wrap someone in love and prayers. I can't claim to have thought of this on my own (I got the idea from a blog friend who sent a block for Rosemarie's quilt). I try to remember to do this for all my quilts.

 Here's mom reading the note. :) She did cry... which was pretty sweet and made me cry a little too. :) She's my mom, what else can I say? 

Here's the only full length photo I've got. It was so overcast and dreary, so I'll have to take some pictures of it once the sun comes out again... come June! lol.

I'm pretty much in love with this quilt and I'm glad my mom loves it too. I designed the whole quilt around that AMH fabric (totem, from her LouLouThi line), which I'd envisioned in those panels from the moment I'd seen it online! The fabrics were picked gradually and eventually I had enough for the quilt. Not worrying about whether it was the exact shade of blue or anything, so it still looks nice and scrappy. The yellow there is Kona Curry, my favorite. That Curry just ends up in everything doesn't it? This time it was with intention. I decided to use only about 15%- 20% of that yellow in relation to the blue. The curry is cut into 1" strips and I wouldn't let myself add more than those strips that I'd cut! 

The herringbone blocks were derived from this tutorial I think I found it on pinterest. Speaking of pinterest here's the inspiration board for the quilt. Also in other details, nearly all of the solid fabrics in this quilt were purchased from Connecting Threads, at just a fraction of the cost of Kona, and it's really soft and great to work with! I completely recommend it. 

If you want to read more about the process of this quilt check out this link for all the posts about it!

Shared over at AmyLouWho's for sew & tell friday!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So much to post...

and yet so little time to do so!

I've been away for about a week visiting family for christmas. It was pretty awesome! I think that was the longest stay with them in years!

I've got all sorts of things to share, like my mom's reaction to her quilt. And Wally's love for his gift too. Oh and the day we spent in my uncle's woodshop with my dad fixing up my table to fit my machine in it!

Those things will have to come soon... but for this week I'm working extra hours to cover our sale week - so who knows if I'll have the energy to post any of that. :) Keep your eyes peeled for it next week though!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Our first Christmas tree.. it's tiny like Allie. And she loves it!

(Dear family, especially Roseann and Linda don't read this post!)

I've been a busy little sewer this year... somehow I decided to whip up a few projects for gifts... and that ended up with me sewing for everyone! Here's part of the tally.

Tons of Zip Pouches for my sister, brother in law, and two other relatives (although most are for my sister). The cloth bags are all made from scraps, sized according to the uses my sister wanted (example: snacks for the purse). The plastic type bags were made from cutting up plastic coated re-usable bags from various places. Michaels, Pier One, and of course my grocery store! lol.You can get about two whole FQ's worth of material out of a single bag for $0.99! that's a deal! I also used this tutorial/measurement guide for those box pouches. they turned out perfectly!

 Stockings for the little girls. From right to left  Allie's stocking (made several years ago... I didn't get around to making her a new one, this one is really poorly made - I didn't know how to sew a 1/4 seam then!). Then the green and red one is for Rosemarie made with scraps and porthole blocks. Then Katee's which is actually almost entirely scraps from my mom's quilt - much more grown up (and my fav!). Then last is Gia's which sat in my head long enough that I HAD to make it! lol. All these were using scraps (except the backs) - so it's like a free project right? I used the pattern from Purlbee for the shape.

Some close-ups of the insides of a couple pouches. I used these adorable printed iron-on labels that I received in a swap this year. I'm sorry that I can't for the life of me think of who it was that sent them! Step up if it was you, because they're awesome and add such a finished touch to these bags!

Finally a couple rice pocket warmers!

And a still WIP... Swoon Quilt! I finished four blocks yesterday! I'm ready for sashing but wasn't frugal enough with my white... I'll have to buy a bit more to sash it!

That's it... ok well there's still quite a bit more... and another whole quilt that's so close to being finished!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A quilt received finally!

About a week ago I finally got around to sending out my Fish Baby Quilt to it's recipient. Baby Joseph. He is the son of one of my dear friends, Alexandra. Alexandra and I met while serving the children of the Fargo ND   area by leading Catechesis camps one summer. Her prayer life is an inspiration to all who know her, and I knew with her artistic background she'd appreciate the non-traditional baby colors of this quilt.

As you can see by the sweet boy cuddling there, they've received the quilt now and I can stop worrying about it in the mail (and it cost much less than I thought it would to ship!). I've actually already received a very sweet thank you note from Joseph's parents. Too cute. I hope to be able to visit them soon -- they're only a few hours away! 

Here are some details about the quilt. I've already blogged a little bit about this quilt here. But since that post I'd added a little bit of embroidery to two of the corners. One corner has Joseph's last name embroidered. The other corner has the bible verse: 1 Samuel 1: 27 which roughly translates to "I have prayed for this child and the Lord has heard and answered me." A verse that is very close to my heart. I'm glad that it'll be well loved and used! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

So much sewing done, and not much blogging.

With all the sewing I've been getting done, I haven't gotten around to blog about it! It doesn't help that our good old Midwest weather is so dreary that I can't get a decent shot of my work. The one day we had some decent sunshine I tried, but it was SO windy that my work was blowing away!

So until later you'll have to take my word on it... Here's what I've completed in the past couple weeks:
4 pairs of baby leggings
1 toddler skirt
a bazillion zippered pouches (ok maybe about 8?)
fabric/elastic bookmarks (x8)
1 quilt (minus the binding - which needs to be sewn down)
5 Swoon blocks (only 4 more to go!!)
Bee blocks
Round Robin rounds
3 stockings (one more to come...maybe)
1 journal cover
2 morsbags
5 rice hand warmers
**edited to add that I did miss something, a whole other QUILT! lol. A mini swoon baby quilt - finished!**
.... I'm sure I'm forgetting some things.

I'm so close to being done with my Christmas sewing projects. The only real outstanding one is the Swoon quilt. I'm not sure if the top will even be done by Christmas.... but I'm pretty sure my MIL will understand.

Now I'll share with you a project that's been in the works for a few months. The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Round Robin!

CMQG Round Robin mosaic

Here's my group with our finished pieces!! If you go to my flickr, and look at each picture I tagged which rounds I worked on for each quilt! My fav. round to have made would have to be Beth's - I gave her the option of keeping the blue starry strips, and I'm glad she did because they're my favorite! This was a fun activity of getting outside of my normal sewing techniques - each round had a specified theme (applique, rectangles, diamonds, curves, then triangles). Also I got to know these ladies a bit more --especially since it took us the whole length of the project to finally get our acts together and figure out who has what next. lol. (the other group had no problems with this!).

I must say I loooove mine so much! I haven't decided yet what it will become though. :)

I'm really glad that I jumped out there this year and finally went to a meeting of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild! I had been a part of their online presence since the beginning (near beginning?) but finally made the jump. They're such a wonderful mix of people!! And boy have I learned some things too. The things I've been learning aren't necessarily new techniques, but rather, more about color and choices in quilting, and personal preferences... it's so cool to see the huge variety among us! I'd love to challenge you local ladies to join up in person with us this year --- SALLY and SARA! This means you!!  :) Please?  Also ANGELA - Seriously you live so close and yet we haven't met up?? Let's do that this new year ok?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

No more excuses!!

Tonight I finished my husband's gift, and my sister and brother-in-law's gift (plus a couple extras)... which leaves me with Fleece hand warmers... and finishing my MIL's Swoon quilt!!! 

I can't put that Swoon off any longer! I have finished four blocks, cut and marked another two... then for the other three....aah. I think I don't really care for following directions or the lack of freedom I have with this quilt. I will, however, LOVE the end result. Each block is awesomer than the previous. 

I hope my MIL will understand if I don't get it finished by Christmas!! It'll be close...maybe.

As far as other sewing distractions....I still want to make Allie and her cousin Gia stockings... but I should really focus on Swoon!

I'm pretty happy with all that I've accomplished gift wise this year... and I really enjoyed it too. The hardest part though, will be keeping myself from telling Wally what his is! We've always been terrible about waiting until Christmas to exchange gifts... but this year he's going to have to wait... and I already have it boxed up and sealed!! No peeking! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I didn't make a baby this year.

So it's December already, and I've been thinking about what my goals will be as we move into the new year. What do I want from my sewing hobby? What is worth working for. What am I doing now that isn't worth my time? I'll see my list here from last year, and aside from one quilt that I decided I didn't want to do, I accomplished everything (except for the baby - darn!). Well let me make a slight correction to that, I haven't finished everything here, but the two nearly projects will be finished before Christmas! 

(scary mailing day. Sending out a baby quilt for a friend!! I hate the wait!!!)
Before you get lost in my list of past goals, what are your goals for the next year? Do you want to get published (book, mag, guest blogging?) Do you want to be one of those crazily prolific bloggers (you know like OhFranson! etc). Do you want fame and fortune and a thriving small business? Or are you looking for projects that let you try new things on the slightest whim? I'd love to know. 

1. {Sew} Beautiful Bee & Swaps. I'm making this just one on my list since this is the extra, the push my boundaries and try something without worry. Whether it's a project pushing my color comfort zones, or my style... or even something technically challenging. Done, ok well still in process. I have done three swaps so far and just signed on for another!
2. I'd like to make a quilt for my mom or my MIL this year.  Nearly done, mom's needs binding, MIL's is halfway finished.
3. I really would like to finish the String Quilt I started last january...  I no longer want to do this. 
4. I'd like to follow a pattern for a quilt this year.  Swoon - I love the end result (so far) but I feel really boxed in during the process. I'm not sure I'll follow another pattern all the way through. I would love to take just one block from the swoon quilt and add other stuff... maybe round robin style? 
5. I want to make a wonky star quilt with light/medium grey and a pop of color. Done! I love it, but it's not quite like I wanted, so I'll likely make another.
6. I want to keep working on taking better pictures of my work. It's a process... and I can see it getting better and better as we start getting more sunlight this spring/summer!
7. I'd like to make a baby this year. (too much? sorry). Oh and maybe not flip out nearly as much each month when I'm not pregnant. (can this just happen already? geez)
8. I want to make more ruffly dresses for my daughter.
9. I would love to make more personal connections in the sewing world.  Totally have done this! I joined up with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild and have met some pretty awesome people. Add The Sewing Summit to that, awesome! It was great meeting everyone there!
10. I'd like to keep teaching my niece to enjoy crafts and sewing. Continuing on this path. Katee is getting soo good! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

A little catching up (and rambling)

(please enjoy some totally off topic photos of my mom's quilt - and my kid jumping/tumbling all over it. BTW: Mom, don't look!)

First off, my Christmas sewing is looking good. I have one of the two big quits nearly finished (just need to add binding and the label!) and I did more fabric cutting/marking last night for the other. I'm still not entirely sure how I'll quilt it, --it's Swoon -- and it's going to be about 80" square! Eeek! I have had an offer to use a guild friend's mid-arm on it... I've never used one but it might be worth a try!

Christmas shopping... I'm one of the only people that we're buying a gift for this year (since I'm making so many!)... my request was one of those acrylic sewing machine extension tables. I can order it for my machine for about $120 (24" square)... but Vogue in Evanston recently bought out a lot of them that are pre-made, and they're selling them for half off ($50 for 24" square!)... unfortunately they don't have a listing for one that matches my machine exactly. So I have tried scouring the internet for a better deal - one that fits my machine... without much luck. I found one option that's smaller (about 20" x 15") on ebay for $25... that would sorta fit my machine... there might be a bit of a gap and the shipping is $9 which really makes it not as worth it. 

So. I talked it over with my dad - fix-it extraordinaire (but he lives two states away!).... if I can find one of the sale ones at Vogue that comes close to fitting my machine we can take it with my dad to my uncle's wood shop and find a way to trim it down or fill in the gaps (if it's too big or too small). It seems pretty straightforward from what I read online (if you have power tools!). So that's an option... the catch is that Vogue doesn't have them in store, they're at the "warehouse" across town... which is open for re-sellers only... lol. I think I'm going to call up the warehouse tomorrow and see if they'll let me in to check the dimensions. Maybe they'll let me... and then maybe they'll let me purchase the right one on the spot (no shipping!!). :) Best case scenario I'll find one that matches up pretty well without needing any alterations. 

Another option/idea. My sewing table is a general wooden craft table - with lift out panels on the two sides that open into a compartment several inches deep for storage inside the tabletop. ... If all else fails I may bring one of those panels and my machine home with me at Christmas and we'd use the power tools to cut an opening for my machine to sit inside the table (lifted to the proper height with a book or two). I like that idea too... it would give me about four feet of level work space to move my quilts around while quilting them.... 

Can I have some experienced input? I hear the extension tables make a TON of difference in FMQing, and in general. Do you think it'd be better to lower my machine into the table (nearly free), or better to buy the one from Vogue that fits best? Ahh. I hate parting with my/our money! 

Sorry that was such a rambly process to lay out my options... sometimes writing it all out helps me to process what it is that I really want. Maybe that will help. 

Another thought which is quite unrelated. We had Allie's IEP meeting today, and it looks like even though she's cleared to start pre-school in a normal (non-special ed) classroom, she won't be able to get a spot in one of those classrooms until she's at least four - since they're all full with waiting lists. So it looks like she'll be in the hearing impaired classroom, potentially with some time each day in the regular classroom.... I'm ok with that. The HI program has a longer day which I'm not happy about... the kid is three and doesn't need to be in school all day... but they assured me that if we wanted to limit her hours there it'd be completely up to us, so we could do half day instead. Which is awesome. (rambling again....sorry). I'm excited that she'll finally be being followed by a speech therapist again (and that it'll be as needed), and that she'll get to be around the other kids. We've been warned though that she'll likely be the most advanced in her classroom. They were having troubles coming up with goals for her IEP... because she's already there with all the normal 3-4 yr old things. lol. What a great testament to our "language rich" home (and her AMAZING early intervention therapists who taught us everything). 

As a side note to all of that... can you imagine how much I could get done sewing (or *gasp* housework) during those hours each day? lol. I won't know what to do.