Monday, June 27, 2011

One WIP down!

Summer Stars front 3

I finished one of my WIPs!!!  Summer Stars is complete and now listed in my etsy shop!  I was so happy to use up 18 fat quarters of my HUGE fq stash!  

Summer Starts front 2
Summer Stars front 1
Summer Starts back

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Watch Me Free Motion!

I'm not calling this a tutorial.  It's more of a visualization for reference.  I don't really have anything new to say on the subject, but when I was learning, I liked the videos of someone actually quilting, so I made one!  I love to free motion quilt--mostly because I suck at straight-line quilting! :)  I learned almost everything I know about FMQ from Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial.  I set up my machine (stitch length 0, tension 6.2, feed dogs down, size 90/14 needle) and my quilt just like her.  The only thing I notice I do differently is how I hold the quilt.  I like both hands on top.  That's just my personal preference and where my hands are comfortable.  I quilt from the bottom right corner to the middle, then back to the right side until half of the quilt is done (see diagram in Elizabeth's tutorial).  Then, I turn the quilt around and finish the other side.  I usually quilt about a 12" area at a time, but I try and base it on the blocks in my quilt.  This way, I don't get lost and I don't cross over an area I've already sewn (don't cross the streams!).  That last bit was just for Kaelin, ignore my sad attempt at humor.  Also, ignore my scraggly hair, no makeup appearance--I swear I'm usually....well, sometimes, better groomed!  Toward the end of the video, I didn't realize the quilt was obstructing the camera view, but I'm sure you all have gotten the point by then!

These are pictures of the area I quilted in the video, both front and back.

If any of you want another video/better video of this process, just let me know and I'll have hubby film something for me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Project Overload!

It's Friday night and I'm working on this

I had planned on finishing this
but I realized I didn't have a long enough zipper for the inside pocket so I'm stalled until tomorrow.  This is a bag my godmother commissioned and it's WAY past due.  I think I just got sick of this pattern (Sweet Harmony by Amy Butler).  I've done it so many times I don't need to look at the instructions anymore! 

I still have to finish these
This stack includes a quilt for our bed per my hubby's request of the Aviary 2 fabric (not exactly my taste, but if it'll make him happy!), a Bakeshop project, a trial run of my Bakeshop project, my Katie Jump Rope Kite quilt, the squares for my Warm/Cool QAL, and my blue/green HST quilt.  Whew!

I have broken my rule of only working on one project at a time and it's biting me in the butt!  I'm much less productive when I feel overwhelmed like this.  What's sad is that I have a to-do list with about 10 more things on it!  The list wouldn't scare me if I didn't have so many "in-progress" projects!  Time to go back to my one-thing-at-a-time sewing.  Back to my basting.....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Out of My Comfort Zone

Hexagon pillow
So I decided to make something with the experiment I created a while back.  I took this
PTS5 Experiment

and made it into a 12"x16" pillow.  I originally started this experiment because I thought I wanted to do a hexagon pillow for Pillow Talk Swap 5, but I changed my mind (see previous post for what I did make).  This has been up on my design wall begging me to make something with it so I cut it down, added some borders, quilted the dickens out of it, and made a pillow.  I'll admit, I was nervous about cutting it.  I loved it they way it was!
Hexagon pillow close up
Back of hexagon pillow
Between the solids, straight-line quilting, and black and white fabrics, this is WAY out of the norm for me.  I guess it is colorful, which I like.  I'm not sure what to do with it yet.  If my mom likes it, I'll give it to her (hi mom!  I know you read all my blog posts even though you don't understand some of it!  ha ha!), or I may list it on etsy, or I may swap it.  I don't know.  Sometimes it's fun to just create for sake of creating!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pillow Talk Swap 5 Complete!

I hope you all are prepared for all the pictures!  This is my completed pillow for PTS5.  I tried to take fabrics I knew my partner would like and create something a little unique (in other words, not in her mosaic).  I paper pieced this using a block found on  This top took more time and planning than I put into most quilts!  I had to cut out all the paper, layout the design, number and/or letter all the pieces so I knew what went where, assign a fabric to all of those numbers/letters, and, eventually, sew it all together!  I made some seriously stupid mistakes while making this:
1.  I accidentally cut off the seam allowance while trimming a completed piece (there are 32 pieces) so I had to redo that one.  Luckily, I had extra of the special fabrics used in that one!  I would have been in big trouble  if it would have happened with the Mendocino mermaids for example.
2.  I miscalculated how large of a solid triangle I needed so I had to take a LOT of time making sure I lined up my pieces so they would fit.  This was a massive pain in the butt!  I prefer to cut large and trim with paper piecing, but this time I barely had enough to cover the space.
3.  I laid out the back pieces in the wrong order so the under-piece was on top.  Trusty old seam ripper to the rescue again!

The solid used is Essex linen/cotton blend in Sand.  The print fabrics include Heather Ross' Mendocino, Macaroni Love Story,  Munki Munki, and Lightning Bugs and Other Mysteries, and Denyse Schmidt's Flea Market Fancy.  I also hand quilted around each of the stars in coordinating thread.  The back is made from a Moda Sunkissed print and a little Heather Ross.  The pillow is 24" square and will make an excellent floor or throw pillow!  I sure hope my partner likes it because I'm going to be crying all the way to the post office!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Week In Review

I'm finally back home after a week-long visit to my in-laws in Missouri.  It was a great trip!  My in-laws are so great about helping with the kids!  I've put together a few pictures to summarize our trip:

Cian enjoyed his juice and his tunes on the flight!  Overall, our trip there was uneventful.  No one cried, all bags and car seats made it safely, minimal stress on us parents.  It was a long day (12 hours from the time we left the house to make our red eye flight until arriving at the in-laws), but we made it!

The trip was filled with firsts.  This is Roarke's first time on a bumper car!  He loved it!

Cian (with Daddy's help) had a blast too!

Hogpa (my father-in-law) gave the boys a wagon ride via his riding lawnmower.  Roarke loved it, but Cian wasn't so sure.

Roarke got to meet his first (and only) cousin, Ezra Stegosaurus.

Roarke got to drive for the first time!  This was on Roarke's great-grandparents driveway.  They live on a farm and have a long driveway so my father-in-law thought Roarke would love to take the wheel.  Obviously, Roarke had a great time.  He thought he could drive everywhere after that! 

Roarke also went fishing for the first time.  He caught three fish!

He reeled in that large catfish all by himself!

Roarke was too busy fishing to join in the family photo op.

Cian even caught a fish with Grandma's help.

Yes, even I joined in the fishing fun.  To say I'm not outdoorsy is putting it mildly, but I figured I'd give fishing a shot.  I was great at casting, not so good at reeling!  I lost two before I managed to get this one.  I wasn't going to touch it though!  I don't eat any type of seafood and I certainly wasn't going to stink up my hands with a live fish!

I did manage to squeeze in a little fabric shopping.  I ran across almost 8 yards of this Heather Ross West Hill print at a store near my in-laws.  There was not one other recognizable piece of fabric in the store--think batiks, Disney, camo, and denim!  They only had this because the town has a Frog Festival and the owners thought it would sell!  I'm going to be listing some in my etsy shop soon.  I have to say thank you to my hubby for making a U-turn and going to this shop.  I am constantly on the look out for fabric stores (I'm not the only one, right?) and we had already passed the store before I could yell out "FABRIC!"  He very nicely turned around and went back.  Awwwww!

When I returned home, I opened the most spectacular package from Ali for the Goodie Bag Swap!  Can you believe it?!?!?  She really outdid herself making this Amy Butler Weekender bag.  It's huge and perfect and MINE!  I love it dearly!  As if that wasn't enough, she also made me a grocery tote and included some great fabric!

Kaelin made my awesome pouch for the Pretty{little} Pouch swap and conspired with Ali to make matching items.  Swoon!  I'm so stinkin' lucky!

Yeah, the bag is monstrous!  I could probably fit my kid in there!

So that's it!  My week condensed!  I'm already busy sewing now that I'm back.  I've managed to cut out all my squares for a twin size Warm/Cool quilt for Jeni's quilt-a-long and I've started working on my pillow for Pillow Talk Swap 5.  Here's what I've finished so far--it's 24" square and made from linen, Heather Ross prints, and Flea Market Fancy.  It's paper pieced (block is from  I made some seriously stupid mistakes while doing this, but I managed to correct them after some seam ripping and cursing. :)  I can already tell this one will be hard to let go!

I'll leave you with a funny story from our trip:
On our way back to the airport--which we had to get up at 130AM to arrive on time for our 6AM flight--we stopped at Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee.  The boys were asleep, but while we were waiting for the coffee, Roarke woke up.  He started talking loudly as he was rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.  Afraid he was going to wake up his brother, I quickly handed him a piece of donut to put in his mouth.  Unfortunately, he thought I was passing him a cloth to wipe his eyes and he rubbed the glazed donut in his eye!!!!  I was crying I was laughing so hard!  I will never look at a Krispy Kreme again without thinking about him smashing that donut in his eye!  Classic!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Raise Your Hand If.....

You've ever made a massive quilting boo-boo.  Anyone?  Well, I'm waving both hands in the air today!  I was so happy to be approved for another Moda Bakeshop project, but I had one slight problem.....I'd never made the quilt.  I have no idea how much fabric it will take or it's final size.  Yikes!  Due to some complicated math issues, there was no way (read: I wasn't going to hurt my brain with the math) for me to figure it out on paper.  Ok, no biggie, I thought.  I'll just make a practice version!  I sewed like a maniac yesterday with a pretty Verna jelly roll only to end up with this:
Yeah.  It's laying "flat" in this picture.  CRAP CRAP DOUBLE CRAP!  Stupid me forgot that I'd be sewing with a lot of bias edges!  Grrr.  Now, I'm worried about my ability to make one that does lay flat!  I *think* that using pins and laying the quilt-in-progress flat before I pin the next piece will solve the problem, but I'm having some major self doubt here.  If anyone has any great tips for this bias-challenged quilter (Tracey, this means you!) please tell me!

Meghan's patriotic block
In more happy sewing news, I finished my June bee block for VIB's.  Meghan is making a patriotic quilt for her hubby who is in the Army.  I chose to do a paper pieced spinning stripes block.  The instructions said it finished at 12", but in reality, it finished at only 10"!  I guess I could have figured that out if I took a ruler to the pattern!  Since Meghan wanted the blocks to finish at 16", I knew I was going to have to add borders anyway, so the smaller size wasn't a big deal.  

Warm/Cool QAL
I've also joined Jeni's QAL, Warm vs. Cool.  These are my fabric picks.  I did end up taking out some of the green, adding some yellow and blue.  I'm half way through cutting out the squares to make HSTs, but this project will have to be put on hold for a bit since I'm going out of town tomorrow for a week.  We're going to my in-laws in Missouri.  Though I'm sad to be away from my machine for a whole week, I get to meet my nephew (Ezra Stegosaurs) for the first time!  Plus, my MIL is super sweet and waits on us hand and foot! 

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