Monday, March 29, 2010

quilting progress

I love how the color came out in this picture, I had just perfect lighting in the kitchen. I'm quilting a double grid, and it still needs some more lines but I ran out of thread. So I decided to make my binding. Here's what Sissy did with it when I was done piecing it together:
She cracks me up sometimes. Don't worry, I kept an eye on her the whole time she had this safety hazard around her neck.

Friday, March 26, 2010

sewing and telling

I'm in a little bit of a finishing mood lately.
Yesterday I made these bloomers and also did the buttonholes and sewed buttons on this dress. I have a new pair of ruffly socks for my girl to wear with her new outfit this Sunday!

I finished up my March block for Angela in my bee beautiful group. She requested an improvised, but all "90 degree" block. I love these fabrics and colors!

I also put together the back for my nephew Landon's Oh Boy quilt. I think I'm on this project now until it is all the way done and sent off to him. He's 9 months old, it's about time. My other sister-in-law should soon be finding out if the next cousin for my kids will be a boy or a girl, so I will have a new baby quilt to plan for and get going on in the next few weeks!

Don't forget to stop by Amy's blog to and check out sew and tell Friday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

and... we're back

So, spring break is over--we came back from our little trip last night and the boys are going back to school tomorrow. It was nice to get away but it wasn't the most spring-like weather--it got very cold and snowed a couple inches. We came home to about 4" of snow on our lawn.

I visited a couple of quilt shops and my favorite was Charlotte's Sew Natural. Here's what I got there:
The four fat quarters on the left are from the Dolce line by Tanya Whelan. I think they're so pretty. And I had to get the stripes and dots from Heather Ross's Lightning bugs collection too.

The fuschia in these goes well with some other fabrics I got a while back from Sew, Mama, Sew:
These are from the Timber line by Jessica Levitt and all of these prints (ok, not so much the pear tree) remind me of learning about them in botany classes in college. Gingko, magnolia, maple. The Norway maple tree was the first plant I ever identified using my dichotomous key, A Utah Flora. My university also has ginkgo and magnolia trees on campus. Magnolias are among the most primitive of the flowering plants. And the ginkgo is cool because it was thought to be extinct, and it is unique in the plant kingdom. I could go on, but I have wild children here who need to be put to bed.

I finished up my quilt top for quilts for kids today. Here it is before I added the borders:

A quick note about my watercolor quilt--a couple of people asked if I could do a tutorial on it, and I can't do that because it is from a pattern written by somebody else. The pattern was in the May 1999 issue of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine--it is called Colourwash Checkerboard and was designed by Deirdre Amsden. That back issue is sold out on the QNM website, but you might be able to find it elsewhere. I was able to find a book by Amsden, Colourwash Quilts: A Personal Approach to Design & Technique, at Amazon. It's out of print but there are quite a few used copies for sale. If any of you get this book and make your own watercolor quilts, please let me know!

I have been working on a little flock of chickens today, maybe I'll show you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

spring break

So we are off on a little family bonding vacation. I brought my hexagons along but haven't done anything with them yet. I spent a lot of time with my math/logic puzzle book today. I decided to cheat a little and I think I'm actually learning how to do these puzzles better by reading the explanations in the back.

There are a few quilt shops where we are and I have kind of high hopes for the one I want to go to tomorrow. Maybe I will have some fabric pictures to show....

I wanted to mention Quilting Stash again, it's a great quilting podcast and blog produced by Annie Smith. I mentioned this podcast the other night at the KC Modern Quilt Guild and nobody in my group seemed to know about it. I listened to the newest Quilting Stash podcast last night; it's all about quilting books, including some history books and using your library to get quilting magazines to read. I'm totally going to see if my library has quilt magazine back issues I can borrow.

Hope you're having a good week--have you read any good quilting books lately? Or non-quilting books? I have.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

early spring sewing

So I've been working on some small things here.
This is my March block for Block Swap 2. It is going to Carin of Margaret's Hope Chest and will be part of a "man quilt". Margaret's Hope Chest is a wonderful organization that gives quilts to people in difficult situations. Please go look at their website, and if you want to know more about them, you can go listen to their (Carin and her mom's) interview with Jennifer of the CraftSanity podcast.
We are in the midst of spring break here, and my kids made some finger puppets yesterday. My 9-year-old boy did these with minimal supervision (apparently he even has hot glue gun skills now.)
I am almost done with my block for my other bee, but I decided to start something new for myself instead of finishing that up today. I got a Neptune honey bun with my birthday money and knew I was going to make pillows for my bed with it. This morning, I saw this cute project on Moda Bake Shop and decided to use that block idea for one of my pillows. These little guys are made entirely out of 3.5" strips. I'm not sure how I'll put it all together, but I like what I have so far.

Friday, March 12, 2010

watercolor quilt back

So... I finished up the back for my watercolor quilt.
This took some time... steps included sewing the rainbow strips, sewing the siggies all together (after unpicking the strips they were originally sewn into), piecing the middle brown section with the siggie blog, measuring and sewing and cutting the rainbow strips to get them all equal lengths, attaching them to the brown center section, and then adding the final outer borders. (Sorry if that was boring, I had to say it though.)

So I decided to lay the quilt top on top of the back here to make sure it fits.
Maybe you can't tell. You probably can. (Look at the left side there.) The backing isn't big enough. Sigh. That's ok, there's enough extra on the top and bottom edges and I already sewed another 3.5" strip on one of the sides of the back. I'm going to sew a strip on the other side, too, because I want to be able to keep the design centered on the back.

As soon as I get the last strip sewn on this back, I'm putting this project away for a couple weeks. I have to go buy the batting for it, and in the meantime I'm going to finish up my nephew's baby quilt and my quilts for kids quilt. Do you already know about quilts for kids? They will send you a free kit to make a quilt that you then send back and they give it to a hospitalized (or otherwise in need) child. The kit includes all the fabric you need, but you have to provide your own batting (and maybe binding fabric, too.) The quilt I'm making for them is really cute and easy--4-patches alternating with unpieced squares.

Also--I'm linking this over at Amy Lou Who's Sew -n- Tell Friday, head on over and see some other great projects!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Watch This.

Ira Glass on creative work.

I love this video clip so, so much. Basically he talks about how it takes a lot of time and practice, doing work that isn't as good as you know you can and want to do, but eventually, if you put in the time and effort, you will get better and you will get to where you are making things/doing work that matches up with the vision you have for yourself. Please go watch it.

I think in some ways I'm really lucky because I learned this thing I love to do, sewing, of course, so early in my life. I can remember very clearly being 9 and 10 and 11 years old and crying in frustration over projects that didn't come out the way I wanted them to. I remember my mom being patient with me and helping me. And eventually I got to the point where I could pretty much accomplish what I set out to do. (Except sometimes I still don't. Oh well.)

But there are certain skill sets that I could definitely continue to work on and improve. Putting in zippers is still a bit intimidating for me. Maybe I just need to do 20 more of them or so and then I'll feel like a zipper pro, like zippers are no big deal. There are advanced sewing techniques like welt pockets, that I've heard of but never tried. There's the whole big learning thing that is sewing for myself and learning how to alter patterns to fit myself.

I could go on and on. In my quilting work, which spans a shorter time period, I can definitely tell that I've grown and improved but I still have things to learn and ways to grow (who wants to do a blog tutorial about Squaring Up Quilts before binding? I don't think I learned about this properly yet!) I also feel like I am still in a learning and slightly awkward phase in my blogging, and I hope to get better at it as I work on it more over time.

I'd love to hear your reactions to the video clip, if you watch it!

fyi: I saw this linked over on Creative Kismet. I saw the link somewhere else too, but I can't remember where. I have another quote thingie to share with you later on this week, it's another really good one. :)

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Here are the rainbow strips I have ready for putting into the back for my watercolor quilt. I measured them and I have enough to go around the quilt, about 10" in from the edge. 

The folded strip on the bottom in the picture is my pile of signature squares. I pieced them, alternating with colored fabric squares, into several strips. And now I'm thinking about undoing that and making a solid square or rectangle with all the siggies together. I kind of want the rainbow-y strips to be the main focus on the back (I didn't have a plan, and I sewed the signatures first). What do you think? 

I also made the cutest, tiniest, tiered skirt for my girl today. 

Hope you're having a good weekend! We have a neighbor's birthday party tonight (my husband is DJing) and church tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

almost wordless Wednesday

I might have mentioned, I'm going to finish up my insane quilt project.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

catching up

So in the last week or so I've been busy with finishing up my bee blocks and sending them out, and getting my DQS8 quilt on its way as well.
I made a second block for Rachel, and a siggie block for her too.

I was really excited to get my DQS8 quilt in the mail one day last week,
My quilt was made by Tina, who blogs at Needles 'n' Notions. She sent these cards from a card swap she was a part of. I was really surprised by it, and I really like it. It is kind of a neat feeling to realize that someone made this specifically with me in mind. Participating in this swap was stressful at times for me, but I'm glad I did. (I don't know if I'll try to get in on the next one or not, yet.) 

I also finally decided to use the gift code my mom gave me for Christmas:
Thanks Mom! I had to take a picture of how pretty it all is! It took me forever to decide what to get, and in the end, the Happy Campers jelly roll was on sale so I did go ahead and get it. (They unrolled it to fit it in a flat rate priority envelope.) I have no idea what I'll use it for, but something will come to me. I'm planning on making another charm pack dress for my girl with the Eden fabrics, they are so pretty and just perfect for springtime. 

So this week I am kind of busy, mostly with fun things, and I have no sewing deadlines or obligations! Today I pieced together some large batting scraps so I can finish up this quilt. I am also planning on working on the back for the insane quilt project aka my watercolor quilt this month. Do you have any March sewing plans or goals? What are you working on?