Monday, December 30, 2013

Made in 2013

Hello, and happy almost New Year! Here are most of the projects I finished up in 2013:

I finished up 6 quilts by May (one baby, one king, two twin and the other two in between) and then slowed down a little bit after that.

I feel the need to point out that I did the machine quilting but not the piecing on the blue quilt in the 3rd row down, and that the scrappy trip quilt (also on the 3rd row) was a collaborative quilt with my do good stitches bee.

My main sewing machine has been out of commission for most of December and I've been sewing scrap blocks with my Hello Kitty machine (an accurate seam allowance is less important for these blocks.) I'm getting really close to having enough of them for a throw-size quilt and hope to show them here on the blog soon. Or you can pop over to instagram if you want to see sooner.

I have some cool things I've been working on that I'm excited to share during the first few months of 2014 so stick around, ok? I'm hoping my sewing machine comes back from the shop (again) very soon and that it will be functional and not squeaky so I can get lots of stitches in soon. Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Finished Red & White Scraps Quilt

(I am challenged when it comes to creative names for quilts, I know.)

I finished up my red and white quilt for the Seattle MQG Binary Challenge a week and a half ago.
finished RWS quilt 
For binding, I used a white fabric that has textured dots for the binding. With three tiny red segments on the left. 

Here are some close-ups of the machine quilting:
 RWS quilting detail1

 RWS quilting detail2

 RWS quilting detail3
I added some more red hand quilting after I took this photo.

The binary quilts will be on display at Island Quilter in January; I'll let you know as soon as I find out the exact dates.

The winner of my giveaway was #97, Heather. I've already sent her magazine on its way.

Happy quilting!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Happy Giveaway Day!

Happy giveaway day!
Twice a year, the folks at Sew, Mama, Sew host a big giveaway day, where lots of sewing bloggers give away sewn items or sewing supplies. This time I have a copy of the newest issue of Modern Patchwork to give away.
modern patchwork 

This issue of Modern Patchwork has instructions for a pillow I designed. I still think the block would look good made up into a quilt... maybe someday.
pinata pillow

This giveaway is open to anyone living on planet earth.
To enter, please leave a comment on this blog post telling me something interesting. (Something more than "pick me!")
The giveaway will be open until December 13, 2013 at 5 p.m. PST.
I'll notify the (randomly chosen) winner by December 15, 2013.
Good luck with all the giveaways!

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Scrap Rainbow Double Wedding Ring

Hi everyone! I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. We got together with a group of friends and had a great time with delicious food. And games and movie watching too. It's been nice to have a little vacation and some extra sewing time.

I spent most of the last two days working on my quilt for the double wedding ring challenge put on by NYC Metro Mod Quilters, and got it finished around 9 p.m. last night.

rainbow scrap dwr 
It's another project made almost entirely from my scrap bags. 

My friends on facebook and instagram cheered me on as I shared progress pics. Here's one that shows the pieced white centers a little better:
Sewing all those curves was not easy. I did a lot of pinning. At the beginning, I had to unpick small sections on almost every curved seam, but I got better at it as I worked through the project. I used the Simpli-EZ double wedding ring template and I have a couple questions about it if there are any experts out there reading this. First, I had to change my machine settings to increase my seam allowance a bit so the pieced arcs would fit the little melon pieces. (I usually put my Janome on 4.2 for a 1/4" seam but for this project it needed to be on 4.0.) And then the weird thing for me was that after I sewed on the first arc to the melon, the narrow ends of those melon pieces had a little chunk slightly larger than 1/8" sticking out and I wasn't sure exactly what I was supposed to do with it. I looked at a couple videos specifically about this template but they didn't show the up close details, just the general construction information.

Anyway, I made it work. I'm looking forward to getting the single arc template and trying another double wedding ring.

The quilting was fun. :D
I quilted a different filler design in each of the four ring centers, flowers in the squares (not easy to see though), S-curves in the melons, and loopy zigzags in the arcs.

scrap dwr quilting clams
clamshells, swirls

scrap dwr pebble quilting 
echoing, pebbles 

I had a hard time deciding on the binding but went with red because I thought it would look good and there is only one red arc in the quilt. And because I had red on hand. I got other good suggestions from friends--I think a dark purple or a black with a multicolor print would have looked great too. I got a little worried about the red after the binding was sewn on by machine but before I had it hand sewn down to the back--it was too much red and I thought I might need to redo the binding. I kept going though and decided it looks a lot better sewn down than it did before that step was completed. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Binary Challenge

Seattle MQG's next quilt exhibit at Island Quilter is coming up and our challenge this time for quilts was 2-color quilts, aka the Binary Challenge.

I had red and white on my mind and decided to make my quilt with scraps. My scraps are all stored in those large ziploc bags (why do we call them gallon size? because they are not) and my white bag was completely full. I don't have a ton of reds but I went through my red scraps and found the fabrics that were only red and white, with no other colors.

Here's a collage of my instagram photos taken as I made the blocks and figured out the quilt layout:

binary quilt progress

I still had a lot of white scraps so I made the back with scraps, too:
binary quilt back 

And then last week I quilted it. I did some hand quilting with red embroidery floss, and then machine quilted.
binary quilting2

binary quilting3 

binary quilt quilted 

It still needs binding and a little more red hand quilting, but I'm happy with it so far!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Halloween Wrap-up

We had a busy week or so of Halloween celebrations including a school party, preschool wear-your-costume-to-school day, church party, and the actual day of trick-or-treating. It was fun but I'm glad it's over.

I quilted my pumpkin mini-quilt at a Seattle MQG sew-in and got it bound and on my wall a couple weeks ago.
fall mini quilts 
I made the leaf quilt in either 2010 or 2009. It has been fun to see all the modern maples quilts on instagram and blogs the last couple weeks. My maple is a little different, and smaller, but I love the big block and autumn colors people have been using in their modern maple quilts.

I've been cross stitching but it is slow going.
Halloween sampler half done
I got about half way done with my Halloween sampler and decided to take a break from it and work on my Woodland Sampler again. I took a photo of my Woodland Sampler but the fabric weave made the photo all crazy so I'll try again soon so I can show that off here. The Frosted Pumpkin has some cute Christmas patterns coming out soon, but I want to finish up the two samplers I have started before I start something else.

And I made a mermaid costume. I made the mermaid skirt based on this tutorial, with a couple small changes.
mermaid skirt
For the mermaid top, I used an Ottobre pattern to make a velour tank top. I winged it for the flounce/peplum, and then started to do a rolled hem with my serger but it was bunchy and yucky so I cut it off and left it unhemmed. Here's my girl wearing both parts of the costume:
She had pink hair and wore a cute wreath/crown thing in her hair along with her costume for the church party. Her hair is still a bit pink; that stuff takes a while to wash out. Here's what all three kids wore out trick-or-treating on Halloween.

We had a joker thing going on with the boys, and my girl decided to wear a princess costume (I think that's what she called it) instead of the mermaid which she had already worn twice by then.

The candy is mostly gone! and things are pretty good. The girl had a 12 hour tummy bug but she's feeling a lot better. I'm working on a couple quilts and ordered the template so I can make my Double Wedding Ring Challenge quilt.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Scrappy trips for Do Good Stitches

Hi friends! I am late to the party but wanted to get my blog post up before the Bloggers' Quilt Festival deadline. Looking back, I realized I've only completed two quilts since the last Quilt Festival in May, so I decided to finally finish up my scrappy trip-along quilt.

scrappy trip 2 
I made two of the blocks in this quilt and had my friends in the Believe circle of Do Good Stitches make two block each as well. For the color scheme, I asked for red, yellow, blue, a neutral (white, black, tan, off-white), and an obvious dark or light for the center diagonal. 

After I received all the blocks, I laid them on my design floor and sewed them up in that first layout. It's kind of hard to mess up this design. :)

Then, last summer, I took it with me to Utah and quilted it on my mom's longarm. Which was fun... but I ran into a snag because my backing fabric wasn't long enough. It would have been fine for pin-basting and quilting on my domestic machine, but it should have been a few inches longer to work right with a longarm setup. So after we came home, I put it away for a while. But all I had to do to finish quilting the last few inches was sew a small additional piece of fabric to the back, do 5 minutes of quilting, and then it was ready to bind. It feels good to finish up a quilt again!

I quilted it mostly with loops but also tried out a few swirls and other designs too. It was much faster to quilt this way than my normal quilting set up, but also a bit challenging because of the differences.
scrappy trips 3

I really like how it turned out and how gray-day photos sometimes look better than you think they will.

If you want to make a quilt like this, check out the tutorial by Bonny from Quiltville. 

Please visit Amy's site and check out all the other quilts! Thanks, Amy, for all the hard work that goes into hosting Blogger's Quilt Festival for us!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Basting and stitching

One thing I don't think I've shared here yet is the cross stitching I've been doing for the last few months. I subscribed to the Frosted Pumpkin's Woodland Sampler at the end of June, and decided to do their Halloween sampler too. Their patterns are so cute and I've had fun stitching them up. Here's my Halloween sampler so far:
Halloween sampler 1 
I am using a fabric color called "stormy night" and I think it's perfect for this project. I stitched some more of the lacy border today and am ready to start the next square. 

I have a couple of small things pin-basted and ready to quilt, too.
Here's my second HST pillow top:
I think I used the darks from this fabric collection better in this design. Still not sure how I will quilt it.

And I made a little pumpkin last week. I copied the idea from Amy at Diary of a Quilter; she posted it on her blog last year and I had put it on my Halloween pinterest page.

pumpkin basted
It's going to be a little wall hanging. I'm going to the Seattle MQG sew-in tomorrow, maybe I'll do the quilting while I'm there.

We had a family outing to the Halloween store yesterday; my girl got really scared and we decided I'm making her a mermaid costume for Halloween this year. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Friday, October 04, 2013

HSTs and Value

I made this pillow a couple weeks ago with half-square triangles cut from my PB&J layer cake. I was going for a zigzag look but the values in these fabrics didn't really work well for that. I still like the pillow though.

HST pillow 1 

So yesterday I decided to try again. This will be another pillow the same size as the first, but hopefully the design I am making with the triangles this time will show up better.
 HST pillow 2 in process

And if not, I am learning about value and how it works and how being limited to a fabric line can make a project like this a bit more challenging.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Jan's Quilt

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a good fall. We are adjusting pretty well here to a busier schedule. My 4-year-old is in preschool this year and I'm dealing with different leave and get home times for all 3 kids. Things are good though and everyone is happy to be back in the swing of things.

A while back I finished up and photographed a quilt that I quilted for my friend Jan. This quilt is a true twin size, around 90" x 70", so I had my boys stand up on the rock ledge in our yard to hold up the quilt for photos:

Jan quilt 
(one boy is shorter than the other, we tried to get the quilt even and this is the best we could do)

The quilt top was made a long time ago by the grandmother of one of Jan's good friends. I made a back for it, and then quilted it. Here's the back:

Jan quilt back 

I had fun working on this for Jan; we worked together on choosing the main back fabric and then I came up with the creative part of the back with the red strip and log cabin block. I like how it turned out, but I think it would have been better if I had made the log cabin block a few inches larger.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Madrona Log Cabins

I finished up my Madrona Road log cabin wall-hanging quilt the other day.
madrona log cabin2 
It's made with the scraps from my other Madrona Road project. (That one's still not quilted yet.) I quilted some paisley/clam shells in the gray background. The thread's a little darker, I like how it makes the quilting stand out a little.
 madrona quilting close up
The log cabin blocks have different quilting in each round, done in off white thread. Maybe I should take a photo of the back so you can see the quilting.

I didn't have a lot of the binding fabric so I went with a single fold binding this time. I think it turned out ok and is a good choice for a wall hanging or  other mini quilt. 

Friday, September 06, 2013

Moving right along...

First of all, I broke my toe yesterday. It hurts but not nearly as much as the broken/crushed fingertip of 2012. I accidentally bumped it into the door jamb on my way to the laundry room. I saw an orthopedic doctor today and he thinks it should heal up without surgery (whew). So I'm keeping it taped to its neighbor, wearing an ugly hard uncomfortable velcro shoe, and thinking healing thoughts.

Some other stuff happened this week--we went to the EMP Museum on Monday and saw lots of cool stuff like stakes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a Dalek and Star Trek paraphernalia and lots of clothing of Women Who Rock (my daughter LOVED the frothy pink Loretta Lynn gown). A replica of a meat dress, even. Oh yeah, and Princess Bride stuff! It was pretty amazing. Buttercup's wedding gown is beautiful.

Then school started on Wednesday, for my boys. Here's hoping for a very good school year for them both.

Last weekend I went to a Seattle MQG sew-in; it was pretty fun. I finished up 4 x-plus blocks, one scrappy trip block, and started some selvage Christmas ornaments. I had a good time visiting with friends too, it is so good to get to know people a little better and there are some way cool people in that group.

So here is my sewing photo catch-up:

x-plus blocks 9-13
 xplus blocks 9-13

x-plus blocks 14-17
xplus blocks 14-17

Unswapped berry-colored selvage potholders--I made these for the September Seattle MQG meeting but it was on the first day of school, which was the night before the first early middle school day, and I felt like I needed to stay home and do bedtime with my kids. We're trying hard to get really solidly into our routine and I think it will help a lot. So I didn't swap my potholders. Maybe there will be some others that still need to swap next time. Or maybe I'll just keep them. I like them.
unswapped potholders 
I have a few projects I'm thinking about while I'm resting my poor foot (and not driving places.)
The Double Wedding Ring challenge
Two color quilt challenge for Seattle MQG
Submissions for a certain magazine
And a secret project that I'm not all the way sure about doing yet.

I'm also finally watching the most recent season of Dr. Who and rereading The Graveyard Book. 

What are your plans for the month?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Dress

Remember this dress?

I finally finished it up with the bodice from the original pattern.

ruffle dress

I like it a lot better now. It is not the best time of year to finish up a summer dress, but the bodice is very wide and it will fit my daughter for sure next year so I'm not too worried about it. 

A couple things--I didn't have enough of the right interfacing so I used muslin instead of interfacing the bodice. I don't know if I would recommend that but it worked out ok for now. I also didn't do the straps exactly as recommended in the pattern, but they turned out just fine as well.

The pattern is from Ottobre Design 3/2006, #22. My daughter likes it, a lot!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sewing with Mom

Mom and I had some time to sew together last week before she and my dad left to go home.

I had bought a new pack of bar-mop dishtowels and we embellished them with strips of tumblers:

tumbler dishtowels 
We started out with the turquoise/salmon fabrics and then I dumped out my scrap bin looking for the leftover tumblers I'd saved from earlier projects. I found them and we added them into the mix. Mom took two of these home and I kept two.

We also made some more scrap blocks to add to my pile. I got out my bag of pink scraps and mom matched up fabrics and I sewed and pressed. We ended up with 8 blocks.

pink scrap blocks 
These were fun to make as a team. It's a lot faster that way too, at least for me. I might over think things a little when I make these on my own.

Here's an old blog post showing most of my scrap blocks. I've made a bunch more since then, and it might be time to lay them out and look at my progress again. Maybe it's almost time to make them into a quilt. :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Japanese X and + blocks

I've wanted to make an x plus quilt for quite a while and I started making my blocks last week. So far I've finished eight of them.

xplus blocks 1-4

xplus blocks5-8 
I've used a lot of red and yellow so far, and no orange at all. I have a 2009 inspired Brown block coming up soon. (Remember when that was the popular quilting neutral??)

I am following the tutorial (and original measurements) on Badskirt Amy's blog. I made a couple of these blocks for a bee in a larger size, but I like the 8" block better.

Also, I started a Pinterest board with my favorite x + quilts/projects, if you want to check that out.

My parents have been visiting for the past several days and we went north and spent some perfect time at a beach and went on a whale-watching tour. We went over to Pike Place Market with them yesterday and it was a lot of fun. (They ate their first gyro sandwiches, yum.) I am enjoying this summer a lot more than last year when I was having the summer of pain after breaking my finger. Mom and I are going to do a fun little project; I am breaking out the Go! Baby to cut some tumblers....

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Triangle Quilt Top--Modern Yardage

A few weeks ago, Modern Yardage contacted me and asked if I would make a project with some of their fabrics to share here on my blog. I decided I'd like to finally make a triangle one-patch quilt and asked for some fat quarters from the Personality line, by Emilie Daly.

Here's how the fabric came. Eight fat quarters printed on one piece of fabric, with a little blurb about the fabric designer and some care instructions printed in that extra spot on the bottom right. Pretty cool. 

If you haven't heard about Modern Yardage already, they are a new fabric company that digitally prints their fabrics. You can browse their fabric lines and then choose the scale of your print when you order. In the photo above, the blue and yellow prints on the top row are the same design (different colors, obviously) but I ordered the blue in the smallest size and the yellow in the largest.

Since they print on 58" wide fabric, they are able to print 3 fat quarters across the width of their fabric. If you order regular yardage, there is about 14" of extra fabric that they print with extra things--here's what they said about it on their website:
"We use the additional 14” of fabric to offer fun and creative value-added items. For example, on one order you might find a message from the designer of the print you purchased. On another order you might find an inspirational craft idea or simple sewing pattern. On another order you may find a coupon for your next purchase or pictures of us making fabric. It will always be a surprise!"

For my quilt, I decided to add in some solid fabrics (some Kona cotton and some unknown solids I had on hand) to help calm all the prints down, and I finished up the quilt top last night.

mod yardage triangles 
I didn't follow a pattern, just laid it out and sewed. It's kind of a baby/toddler size quilt and if I make another one I'd probably make it one row wider and one row shorter. I used my Simpli-EZ 45 degree triangle template to cut the triangles. 

To sum up: I think the idea behind Modern Yardage is pretty cool (environmentally friendly, printed in the US) and they have some great fabric designs with more being added all the time.  Their fabric seems good quality and is just slightly heavier than most traditional quilt shop quilting fabric.

Disclosure: Modern Yardage gave me the printed fabric used in this project.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


We got back from our Utah vacation late last Friday. We were there about a week and we had a wonderful, busy time. We met two nieces we hadn't seen before and spent a lot of time with my family and my husband's family. We also saw friends from Kansas that we haven't seen for almost two years; I'm so glad it worked out and we were in Utah the same time as they were. We went to the water park and splash pad and had Gandalfo's and Cafe Rio, and my in-laws made delicious German food too. It was so nice but also exhausting and we were glad to get home and try to get back to normal for a couple weeks.

My mom got a new longarm recently and I quilted my scrappy trips quilt on it.
scrappy trips quilted
One big problem--you may have heard that longarm quilters want your quilt back to be 4-6 inches larger than your top on all four sides? Now I know why. I made my quilt back about 4" longer than the top, total, and we didn't load the quilt on the machine so the top would be centered on the back. So my quilt back was too short and now I'm going to have to add another strip of fabric to the quilt back so I can finish up the quilting. I don't think I'll ever make that mistake again. :)

But overall I had fun quilting with the longarm and I do think I want one of my own, one day. It is a lot different from quilting with a domestic table-top sewing machine, because it's a lot easier to move the machine. (And it's way faster too.) I did mostly swirly loops but I tried a few other quilting motifs too (which were not as easy and mostly didn't look as good as my simple loops.)

I am working to finish up Jan's quilt as well. Today I finished quilting the inner border and started the outer border. I'm doing a double feather again, with a row of echo stitching around it to help fill in the space.
feather border

Saturday, July 06, 2013


My boys have been out of school for just 2 1/2 weeks and summer has been really busy so far, with lots of transitions. My oldest was at scout camp all last week and this week has been busy with July 4th stuff and family activities (pool, zoo, dutch oven cake making, oh and chores for all). Everybody got through the 4th safe and sound this year, I'm happy to report.

I spent some time (when I had a few minutes for my brain to focus) working on a project/article for the next issue of Modern Patchwork; it will be fun to see my work in print again. I have a working list of ongoing projects too... but decided to get out my Neptune fabric and make some 9-patches. I ended up with 20 of them.

neptune 9-patches 
I have more fabric but not a very big variety any more so I decided to stop here and keep the blocks different and interesting. I'm going to get some light aqua sashing/border fabric and do something with a row of squares for a border, too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Creeper Pillow + Vintage Quilt

Hi! I finished up my oldest son's Creeper pillow last week and wanted to share:

Creeper pillow 
He plotted out the piecing diagram by himself, and then did a good job sewing it together. I quilted it a while back and decided to finish it up. One mistake--he wanted me to use black thread on the green part and green thread on the black part--but there was a miscommunication on that. Next time we collaborate I'll make sure I clear the thread choices with him before quilting!

I've also been working on a quilt for a friend:

Jan asked me to quilt up this vintage quilt top for her a while back. (Actually before we moved away from Kansas.) I can't remember the details of where she got it but it's pretty cool. The navy blues, reds, and small calicoes remind me of being a little kid and hanging out with my Grandma.  It's a generous twin size, and parts of it aren't exactly flat, so it's a bit of a challenge to quilt, but I'm making good progress. I decided to try out a different batting (Hobbes 80/20) than what I normally use and I like the extra loft.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This week's projects

I worked on some small projects this past week. It's been a nice break from making bigger quilts, but I'm gearing up to get back to that and finish 2 larger quilts really soon.

teacher gift zip pouch 
I made this zip pouch for my 3rd grader's teacher for an end of the year gift. We put a gift card and some dry erase markers in it. I've made a few of these bags, and I like using 5" charm squares for them.

And I got this Madrona Road scrap mini quilt top finished up. I started the improvised log cabin blocks a while back and decided to make them into something. 

madrona scrap quilt 
I wish I had realized the dark pink "L"s on the top and bottom were both facing the same direction, that's not something I would have kept, but I'm not going to change it now. I need to figure out a quilt back for it and it should be quick to quilt.

And here is a big log cabin block:

big log cabin 
It's the beginning of a quilt back. A (long) while back, my friend Jan asked me to quilt a quilt top she had, and I'm finally working on it. It's a traditional log cabin quilt with a lot of navy blue, and some pink, red, green, yellow, and orange. I need to press the top and then I'll show it here. 

And here's a frog my kids photographed earlier in the week:
She's a little tiny one.

I have one more cool finished project to share, that I haven't got a photo of yet. I'll get that done soon and hopefully be back with a quilt back to show, too. Hope you're having a good weekend!