Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear handmade quilts... I'm sorry, but I have been cheating on you!

Who could resist this darling pink and black polka dot quilt? Twin size. On clearance at Target for $10!! I couldn't. It's not pieced, the design was stamped on. I do like the long "hand quilting" (obviously everything on this quilt was machine made). I thought about cutting off the binding, seam ripping the big quilting stitches and using the fabric for a different project (even as a back of another quilt?). I haven't decided but I like it. I've been snuggling with this one a bit... I feel like I'm cheating on my good quilts. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DQS11 Sent/Received!

I've been waiting forever to post this!! Here's the full story about the quilt I made for the eleventh round of the Doll Quilt Swap on flickr. I posted a while ago about the lovely quilt I received form Carol/Mamacjt, but now it's time to do a full reveal of the quilt that I made!

This post has been a long time coming, you see I mailed my quilt about a month ago - then promptly lost the tracking code slip. I freaked out about it for a little while until one of the swap mamas sent me a note to let me know that my partner had moved during the swap so her neighbor (at her old place) would be collecting the mail and forwarding it to her.

I still checked nearly every day to see if she had received it.

In the meantime I was also continuing to stalk my partner's blog. The worst thing happened, she has fallen ill and man it's just such a rough world you know? So I really wanted to cheer her up - and kept wishing more and more that she'd get the quilt and it'd at least be a little lift to her spirits. I commented on her blog post and we've emailed back and forth a couple times... all the while hoping she wouldn't put two and two together.... lol.
DQS11, My Doll Quilt Comes Home!

So she received it today!!!! The sweet little quilt that kinda stole my heart to send away - was sent to.... Maria / Mollyjolly!!! I'm so glad that she! I had looked at her mosaic for the swap and decided to try (for the first time) the new york beauty block... but I shrunk it down about 75%. I couldn't leave well enough alone right? It turns out I pretty much love that block! They are a heck of a lot of work for one 4" little block so it ended up being a label block for the back. I really fell for it.
DQS11, NY Beauty label
For the front I was completely inspired by this quilt. I love the offcenteredness of a chunk of blocks. I wanted to go with subdued, gentle, pretty colors. So I weeded through my stash and scraps and was really impressed at how I actually was able to achieve that palate (though I almost never work with it!). I paper pieced the string blocks I think they ended up 2" finished? Maybe 2.5".
DQS11, Happy Happy Joy Joy  :)
I added some hand stitching throughout and quilted it densely with lines about 1/4" apart. I tried to bind it a bit differently - using slightly longer visible stitches instead of the invisible ones I usually use. Note to self: it's actually a lot more work/time consuming/irritating to try to go through three layers of fabric (but not the front). In the end those stitches were pretty darling and totally worth it.... but never will I do that on a big quilt!!
DQS11, Detail

Sigh. :) This quilt made me smile a lot. I actually waited until the last day to send it -- so that I could enjoy it a bit too! :) I'm so glad that it's finally in the hands of it's new owner and that I feel like I've made another bloggy friend. Long live DQS!

Linked up at Fabric Tuesday!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Let the countdown begin!

get my countdown

My favorite four letter word...

September2011 008

As you may know from my previous posts, September is childhood cancer awareness month.

Did you know?
  • Each year around 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US
  • One in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of twenty.
  • On the average, 36 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer everyday in the United States (around 46 per school day).
  • On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.(Stats thanks to People Against Childhood Cancer)

Rosemarie's awesome!

One of those 13,500 children has a place very close in my heart. She's my niece. Rosemarie was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 13 months old. She's five now. She's never been in remission in those four years. There is no known cure for neuroblastoma.

September2011 009

These children are being robbed by this disease. Robbed not only by the hours, days, months, years spent in hospitals, withstanding procedures and terrible side effects - but they're also being robbed of a lifetime of amazing things: robbed of graduations, weddings, vacations, etc. It's really hard work just to keep from dwelling on it all. We're lucky though, we've got Rosemarie, and she's a bright spot in our days.

What can we do? Childhood cancer is so poorly funded. Of every dollar donated to the American Cancer Society less than one cent goes to childhood cancer research (stats here). That's pretty startling. So I'm going to suggest that we all make an effort to try - donate to St. Jude Children's Hospital. St. Jude (you can do so right now by following this link). Even a dollar helps. 

What else can we do? Pray! Please do! Join me in praying for a cure for childhood cancer. As Allie says, "Jesus please help Rosemarie feel better!" 

And lastly I hope you're still with me here. Please eat at Chili's Restaurant tomorrow (Monday sept 26th). The profits made by Chili's Restaurants nationwide on that day will be donated to St. Jude's! You know you've got to eat, so go on and treat yourself, and thank your server for supporting St Jude's too! In four years Chili's has raised over $30 million dollars for St Jude's!

(Rosemarie is the sweetie in the supergirl costume.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Quilter's Dream!

 Two things happened this weekend that would certainly fall under this title. 

First this happened: 

Three quilts in a row. Wally's quilt, my quilt, and Rosemarie's quilt
(Which she brought with her!)

My family was in town this weekend and There were air mattresses all around. On top of each one? A quilt!! All but one of them was made by me, and one of them was made by my Aunt Kathy (given to me when I was about 10). 

In the other room two more! My first ever quilt (t-shirt quilt), and one made by Aunt Kathy.
(Crumpled on the unmade bed? Allie's quilt)

Pretty amazing right? I love the thought that my quilts kept them warm all weekend! :) 


This evening before dinner, Wally called me in to the kitchen to see what Allie was playing. To our surprise she was playing "fabric store" with the paper towels (strange enough to have them in the house!). She rolled out a few lengths of towel, then used her two fingers in s scissor motion to "cut" (rip) them apart. Too cute! She kept talking about cutting fabric.... adorable! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bee Blocks & Round Robins

I just finished my round for this month in the Round Robin hosted by the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. For those of you who don't yet know (as I didn't understand prior to joining this) a Round Robin is where each person makes a center block of a certain size following a certain technique (here we did applique) then each month the quilts are switched on a rotation so that several people get a chance to work on it. Each "round" has a different theme. The theme for this month was diamonds. 

This month I worked on Terri's quilt. I'd never pieced diamonds before, and I typically don't do intricate borders in such a way (like more traditional quilts would have an intricately pieced border around the whole quilt). I really enjoyed the challenge this time, and worked hard to use my signature tiny piecing (the main border added was just 1.5" wide!. Unfortunately, I ran out of the yellow and the green that I used to piece those triangles... so I sub'd in the yellow strips on either side. Overall I'm extremely happy with this, and I can't wait to see how mine is looking!!!

 Here's my {Sew} Beautiful bee block for September. AnneMarie had us do pinwheels - which surprisingly was my first try at pinwheels. I've done many HST's though so they're not too different. It was really satisfying how quickly this came together!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Name Is...

Sewing Summit - name tag!

I finished my name tag for the sewing summit. Ok ok, I do still have to pink the edges and add a pin to the back. But to me it's finished! The star there is my signature block - a tiny wonky star... it measures just about 1" from point to point! Then I free motion quilted my name, flickr name, and blog name too. My biggest worry while at summit is that I'll forget which name goes with which blog... lol. So at least with this others won't have to worry about remembering my names!

In just three weeks I'll be there!!! Sewing Summit here I come! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

A tiny little box pouch

Today during nap I whipped up this little box pouch

It turned out great... except it's tiny. lol. Someone should help me out and post a chart for sizes of rectangles to cut for various sizes of box pouches. It just boggles my mind. Ok I think after this afternoon's experience I might be able to figure out how to make a larger, more usable box pouch. I've made these ones which are lined and usable for small toiletries/makeup/small embroidery kit. But I wanted a larger one to use for the Sewing Summit for my toiletries.

I used a re-usable bag from HomeGoods and left this unlined. I finished the seams inside with a piece of grosgrain ribbon folded in half (I pressed it in half using my iron on a medium setting). I really like this pouch even at the tiny 6" long that it is... not even long enough for pencils is it? haha. I used bits of the handle from the existing bag as pull tabs on either end. It came together in less than half an hour. For anyone as clueless as me (or even for myself in the future) the zipper was 10" and the fabric started at 9.5" x 11" 

Covered seams
I guess I'll have to get a longer zipper and give it a try with the other side of that bag! Allie will surely have fun with this little guy; she always does!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Or just out of fabric?

hehe... So I've been saving up for the Sewing Summit... and because we're generally broke. I haven't bought fabric... I mean really bought fabric in longer than I can remember. I think in the past three months I've bought maybe 4 yds total... that includes the solids that I found on sale at Connecting Threads.

In that same three months I've finished three quilts and a doll quilt. And three purses.

I had the fabric all stacked up for my mom's quilt - and used nearly all of it in the construction of the main blocks. I'll need to replenish some of the solids and buy a yard or two of the focus fabric before I can do any more work on finishing that quilt top.

The Pillow Talk Swap has just started and I tried to get to work on my idea tonight... but I just don't feel like the fabrics I have are right - and even what I have are from my scraps, potentially not enough to really finish a quilt cohesively. I'm thinking I'll have to make it to The Needle Shop or Quiltology soon to buy at least a FQ of a fabric to work as a focus. It's kind of a bummer to not be able to work on it now though.

Ditto for my "tiny scrappy..." quilt I got started and love the color scheme, but most of those fabrics are scraps that were hanging around. I'm not sure that I can make a whole quilt in such a fun way without having a bit more of at least a couple of them.

Which brings me to my Sew Beautiful Bee quilt - need more Kona Coal. lol. That's the story of my life. I should just save up and buy a bolt of that stuff. I'm always running through it like crazy. I have about 1/2 of the back of this quilt pieced. I guess I could cut the fabric for the binding. I have all the last of my Good Folks stash reserved for it (It's getting meager there!).

I'd like to work another purse or two, altering the pattern I used for the one last week... but me having a 1/2 yd or more of any fabrics is just not really happening. How weird is that? I think I've saved up enough and come the Summit I'll feel ok in spending a bit... hehe. :) I hope so! Speaking of which, I wonder when we'll get our work bonuses... hope it's more than the almost nothing that it was last time. Everyone go out and buy all your books from Half Price Books so my bonus is bigger ok?

I guess I'll go read some more of my book. I'm in the middle of Jodi Picoult's "Sing You Home." Let me tell you, I usually don't read/stop reading books when these subjects come up:
  • Divorce
  • Cancer
  • Miscarriage/Stillbirth
  • Infertility
  • Lesbian love scenes (ok this wasn't really on my list before.. but)
I'm halfway through and all these things have come up. Why am I still reading it? I'm not sure other than the fact that Jodi Picoult sure can make you love a character so much that you'll keep reading despite your normal reasons to stop. I can't even figure out who the "good guy" is yet. I think I'll go read the next 200 pages and call it a night. lol. 

**In case you're wondering I chose to not read fiction books with these topics because I think real life is filled with enough of that. I'd like to lose myself in a book without worry - those subjects make me sad and worry about the characters. Yes, I know it's only fiction. But ask me why I won't read the sequel to "The Friday Night Knitting Club."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sewing Summit - one more month!!

Travel Handmade with The Sewing Summit
One month from now I'll be in Salt Lake City for the Sewing Summit! I can't believe it's almost time already!
If you've been following along on their website, you'll know that they've been hosting a series on bags and such for travel (travel to the Summit that is!). I finally got my act together and made up a couple travel items for myself.

First I made this awesome purse. You can see by my pinterest board that I've been thinking of making myself a new purse for a while. I've had three problems with this idea, 1) I don't like buying patterns, 2) I don't like following patterns, 3) I don't tend to have more than a FQ/quarter yard of any one fabric in my stash... (with the exception of fabrics that are designated to a specific project). I decided on a whim to cut into the yard of the new AMH fabric that I had (after declaring my need to buy the blue color-way for my mom's quilt instead) - and used a great pair of corduroy pants that I have loved forever (but the button ripped on them so they're not wearable/repairable). The seam you see down the middle of the corduroy side happens to be the side seam of the pants... This pattern barely fit! :)

I used this tutorial from very purple person. It was very straightforward and not hard at all. I put this bag together in just an hour or two one evening. I didn't use any interfacing at all - since the corduroy has a bit of weight to it already. I don't think my pattern pieces printed out at the right size - from the pictures her bag is a bit bigger than mine, but I like mine just as well. And I only used about half a yard of my beloved AMH fabric! So I can make more pretties with the leftovers.

I have thought about ripping out a couple stitches to add a magnetic button, but since it's reversible I can't see a way to make that work... any ideas??

Then last night I decided on a whim to make a couple cute luggage tags for the trip too. Although I'm not planning on checking any luggage, I'm sure this will look just as well on my carry-on. I followed this tutorial pretty loosely - and used a freezer ziploc bag instead of the plastic stuff she'd had on hand. So far it seems to have held up pretty nicely. I made one for my friend too - I hope she gets a kick out of it when she gets it in the mail! :)

Another chance

PTS mosaic
My mosaic for the PTS6
Pillow Talk Swap 6 is starting up again! I debated a little bit about whether or not I wanted to join up again. On the one hand I've received beautiful pieces of work in this swap - and have been challenged to new creativeness, but on the other hand last round I didn't even get an email thank you from my partner. I will try to bite my tongue here - and I have resisted posting this until now. I know people get busy etc, or maybe I didn't hit the mark with the pillow I sent. Either way I worked hard and spent my time, energy, and money to send out a unique package for my partner. 

So this time around I'm taking a chance and hoping that my work will be better received this time around. I've heard of a swapper who has requested their work back when they weren't even acknowledged/thanked. I won't go that far, but a personal thank you would have been nice. I just wonder though, did she even enjoy it? I cut up one of my Rome ties for that pillow! 

In all I'm joining up again because I love the challenge that this swap poses. There are a lot of talented and gracious people in this swap and I really am inspired by that. 

I really didn't intend for this post to be about that... but that's how life goes sometimes. I'm not going to hide out on my own blog. I hope in my heart that it was just a misunderstanding on my former partner's part. Maybe the swap etiquette isn't that clear... but still. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Too close for comfort...

What is that you see? A container of yellow acrylic paint spilled just a mere inch away from my WIP pile!?!! I nearly had a heart attack. Right there staring at you is the finished quilt top for my {sew}Beautiful bee quilt (using my only bits of AMH's Good Folks), the nearly finished back of the quilt, all the extra fabric for that quilt, and numerous other unfinished works.

Is it bad that I was much more worried about this mess than the blue and red spilled on my carpet? Carpet can be replaced but hours of sewing and out of print fabric??!! AH! lol. See that little thread hanging there on the right? It had a dab of paint on it, otherwise nothing was touched by the yellow.

The funny part? I didn't even know that generic art tub on the bottom shelf had paint in it! Slowly my sewing room is becoming a sewing room, with an off site closet... annoying. Almost all the good stuff has been moved (bins with buttons and needles and pins... thread spools, generic art supplies, etc). I have to traipse around the house looking for things to sew!

I did manage to get most of the paint out of the carpet. We'll be making a run to the store soon for some white wine vinegar and baking soda. Hopefully some combination of those will clear up the rest of the stain. Never a dull moment with a three year old around!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A quilt for my mommy!

Remember the list of my quilting goals for 2011? I'm well on my way to checking off one more item!

One of my goals was to make a quilt for my mom or my mother-in-law. I had the color scheme in my head for some time... and had been gathering a few prints here and there all year. A couple weeks ago Connecting Threads had many of their solids marked at just $3 a yard. Even when I'm broke I can't pass that up! I bought about $20 worth of mostly half yard cuts of all their blues that were on sale - plus a couple yards each of their two greys (which are very comparable to Kona Ash and Medium Grey). With that and a quarter yard of Kona Curry thrown in the mix I had a decent stack to get moving.
Mom's Quilt

The pattern/sketch has been done for weeks, but with the table covers for my aunt looming over my head I couldn't get started. Since I finished those covers I got busy cutting and sewing!! I've got most of the quilt top finished! I followed this tutorial for the herring bone blocks. I used varying sizes of strips from 1" -2.5" the majority were about 2" - as a result I needed to add many more strips than were used in the tutorial. It also made trimming them down a bit of a hassle - so I made a template and drew some reference lines for the proper angle. It's pretty random that about a week ago I stopped into the Tuesday Morning (it's next to work) and happened upon a package of template plastic for just about a dollar. I'd never used it before and it made it much easier!
yes, I had to tape two pieces of template plastic together since they were too short.
Today I finished trimming all the herring bone segments and free motion quilted the label. I think it's pretty good don't you? My best FMQ'd words yet! It'll be blanket stitched to the back of the quilt when it's all finished.

Here's the pinterest board of my inspiration.


In other news I finished week two of the Couch 2 5K program today! I am really enjoying it! So far my lungs have managed it great too - no asthma attacks!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August Bee Block and other random WIP's

Today I finally sent out my bee block for August. The {Sew} Beautiful Bee has been so much fun - and we get to meet soon at the Sewing Summit! I can't wait! This month's block was for Kati and I had fun making it wonky and crazy. :)

Next I've been working on this diamond border for our CMQG round robin quilts. I've never made diamonds before... and pretty much figured it out on my own. They're pretty challenging getting those points to match up. I haven't quite mastered it yet... and I am our of that green fabric so I'll have to figure out something to fill in the gaps (I have enough made for about 2/3 of the border). I like the challenge of trying something new and using different colors than I might normally use. Pretty fun!

Finally, this is my next major project. It's the beginnings of a quilt for my mom. This has been on my list for this year's quilting goals - and I started it yesterday! I've finished 9 blocks so far and need to work on the last 7 (or maybe more... we'll see how big that puts it). I need just another yard of AMH's new fabric to do the focal point too. I  have big plans for this one and I'm loving the colors. By the way, those solids - they're from Connecting Threads and I got them for about $2.50/yd on sale. Whoa is that great! They're pretty soft too - way softer and cheaper than Joann's brand solids.