Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Whoop! Whoop! Wonderland is DONE!
So, if you're curious, the title of the post is based on my mom's favorite song, Runaway.  It's an oldie, but a goodie!  I make up other songs to the tune of Runaway all the time.  I have no clue why!  I finished up my Wonderland quilt this week!  It's made with two jelly rolls and a quarter square ruler.  You can make your own template, but I work better (and keep my fingers) if I work with an acrylic ruler.

***Update: since some of you don't know the song I'm referencing, here's a link to it

Wonderland double hourglass quilt
It measures in the neighborhood of 60x70 so it's a perfect couch quilt.  This one is going in my etsy store, but if it doesn't sell in a few months I'll probably just keep it!
Close up of machine binding
The binding is machine stitched with invisible thread--I cannot tell you how many hours it saves to machine stitch the binding!
Back of Wonderland quilt
The backing is a Moda crackle print I found at my LQS and it was a perfect match to the dots in my binding.  It was fate so I had to have it--also, yardage of Wonderland is impossible to find so it was the best I could do. :) 

My birthday is Saturday and I'm going to be out of town for the weekend at a workshop (psst!  Anne Kelle will be there!!!!) so the blog will be a bit quiet until I get back and fire up the old sewing machine again.  I'm sure my machine will appreciate the break! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Many Projects, FAQ, and a Basting Video

Friday night's completed work!
These are the three quilts I completed Friday night!
Herringbone quilt
The quilt in the video.
Back of Herringbone quilt
Back side view

binding on Herringbone quilt
Close up of binding with invisible thread.

Quilt 1 of 3 from Friday night
I just love this pattern!  I used Camille's version from her Simplify book, but I know there is a Moda Bakeshop tutorial for something similar!

Pillow covers for a giveaway @amberhousley workshop
I made these pillow covers Saturday night.  They're for a giveaway at a workshop I'm attending next weekend in Nashville.

Playing around with some HSTs and Amy Butler
I'm also playing around with some Amy Butler Love charms I've had for 2 years!  It was about time to use them in something!  I think this will be a nice size lap quilt (about 50"x60").

Who knew my FMQ video would spark so many questions?!?!?  I'm going to try and answer all of them here so I don't have to continually send the same emails. :)  I'm also posting a video of how I baste.

1.  I have a Baby Lock Symphony--no, I do not have a stitch regulator
2.  I use Gutterman poly thread for everything.  Aurifil doesn't like me, but my friend Tracey has the same machine and she loves Aurifil, go figure!
3.  I spray baste using 505
4.  I use size 80 or 90 needles to FMQ
5.  I machine stitch binding to the BACK of my quilts then use invisible thread to stitch it to the front. 
6.  I don't use any particular brand of invisible thread, just whatever is at the store when I need it
7.  I cut my binding at 2.25" on the straight grain unless I'm using premade bias binding.
8.  I can get about 5 lap size quilts or 10 baby size quilts from one can of 505.  This is a rough estimate.
9.  The style of FMQ I use is very easy for me in part because I used to draw and paint a lot and one of my favorite things to draw is underwater scenes (I'm a Pieces, ha ha!).  Do you see where this is going?  I drew seaweed ALL THE TIME so the movement to create the stipple look comes naturally from that.  I would suggest doodling to find what movement comes naturally to you and translate that on to a quilt rather than try and copy how other people do it.  This is the only form of FMQ that I can do easily.  I try and make swirls and it looks like a hot mess!  Stick with what you know!

Here's a little video of me spray basting!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Don't Hate Me!

This all started on Instagram when I posted this picture:
Goal: to quilt & bind 3 quilts tonight! The top one is already quilted!
I had just basted these three baby quilts and I had a goal to quilt and bind them in one night.  Then came all the comments about how fast I am--I seem to get this comment a lot.  I don't feel I'm particularly fast.  I usually make simply pieced quilt and I machine stitch my binding so I think that accounts for a lot of the speediness.  I'm certainly not one of these people that stay up late quilting!  If I stay up past 11pm it's a late night!  
The 10 min FMQ quilt
Then I decided to video tape the third quilt I free motion quilted to see if I really was going that fast.....and apparently I was!  I managed to quilt this 36" square quilt in less than 10 minutes!  Here is the video proof.

I think everyone has a part of the quilting process that they're good at, or at least feel the most comfortable with, free motion quilting is mine.  I did have someone ask if I've ever sewn over my finger and the answer is no. :)  Not yet!  I'm pretty aware of where my hands and needle are at all times, even if it doesn't look like it!
Success! 3 quilts basted,quilted,& bound in one evening!
In case you were wondering, I did manage to finish quilting and binding all three quilt between the hours of 7pm-1030pm with a few breaks.  I'll show you guys the finished quilts when I can get some day light pictures.

So, what's your quilty talent?  Please share!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some Finishes and Sadness

I cut into that awesome stack of fabric from my last post and made this!  I used Holly's tutorial for the herringbone blocks.  This went together sooooooo fast!  

Herringbone scraps free to a good home, just pay shipping
It produces a lot of waste, but I love the final result so much I don't even care.  Plus, all the scraps resulted in a large scrap swap with a friend!

This is yet another quilt for my friend Sara, the quilt-o-holic!  I can't wait to see pictures of cute babies on this one!

Playing with scraps
I had a few larger scraps left over from the Herringbone quilt so I made this simple patchwork rectangle. It wasn't that large so I added some borders, did some simple "organic" quilting lines and bound it in one of my favorite things, AMH pre-made binding!

@jenntant done! I flipped up the corner so you can see the backing.
Voila!  I was going for modern and a bit unexpected with the off center patchwork.  This one sold over Instagram (an iPhone app) if you can believe it.  It's destined for a cute little boy in Tennessee!

New quilt fabrics?
I've been playing around with this stack lately.  This is a Pintrest-inspired combo.  Hopefully it will look as pretty in quilt form as it does in my pin!

Goodbye my sweet, furry friend. xoxoxo
As all my Flickr and Facebook friends know, we had to put down one of our dogs (Bailey) this week.  She was 14 and could no longer stand up on her own.  It was heart wrenching to watch her try and try to get up and follow me around.  Thankfully the process was very quiet and gentle and she seemed to simply fall asleep while I held her head.  I know we made the right decision, but it's so painful to catch myself looking for her or calling for her only to remember she's no longer here.  When I reach for only one dog bowl I feel like crying.  I've been more emotional than I expected because the entire event brought back so many memories for me.  Most of you don't know, but our first child died when he was 25 days old.  It's a really long story, but, in a nut shell, he got an infection and had an unusual reaction to it.  We had to make the decision to stop his treatment because his body was simply too tired, he was ready to go.   I was so scared I was giving up too soon, not giving him a chance, despite the doctor's reassurance.  I felt the exact same way with my dog.  I held them both as they took one last breath and I prayed all they could feel was my love.  Pure, honest, unconditional love, they deserved nothing less.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nashville Nikki

Non-instagramed pic of Nikki tote
I'm headed to Nashville for a workshop at the beginning of March so I made a new bag!  This is the Nikki Tote designed by my friend, Michelle.  The pattern is wonderful!  Her instructions are really clear, but to be perfectly honest, I only read through them once because I've made so many bags.  I shrunk the pattern down a tad (I printed at 85%), but I wish I would have made the full size, I like a big bag! 

Nikki tote close up
I also didn't make the cool handles Michelle designed because I didn't have any buttons on hand and I was impatient.  :)  I used an Anna Maria Horner home decorator weight for the exterior and Essex Yard Dyed in black for the handles.  

Inside view of Nikki tote
I sort of love the inside more than the outside!  I used Riley Blake's So Sophie dots for the main interior and then some Denyse Schmidt Hope Valley and Heather Ross Far Far Away II for the pockets.  Love love love how these fabrics work together!

AMH mini progress
I also finished hand quilting this little mini!  I'm now thinking of doing something similar on my big Good Folks bee quilt!  It will take forever, but that quilt is so special I think it deserves special quilting!  Now I have to decide if I want to do an all over pattern like on this mini or if I want to quilt each block differently.  Decisions!

I'm thinking herringbone.....
This is what I'm cutting into tonight for my friend, Sara.  I think I'm going to try Holly's herringbone block!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm Feeling Whimsical

The lovely and super sweet Laurie sent me a FQ bundle of her fantastic Modern Whimsy line and I improved this quilt top with the help of a few solids.  I knew what I was going for, but I didn't stop to plan or measure anything until the very end when I had to join the middle section to the sides. 

I tried a new-to-me quilting style for this one.  I free motion quilted little loops randomly over the entire top.  My friend Melanie, aka, the quilting guru, gave me the idea.  Her first idea was to quilt random bubbles, but I'm not so good at random so this was her second idea.  

The quilting went really smoothly, but I was still unsure about my choice until I posted some pictures on Flickr and got some reassurance from my friends it looked ok.  I guess trying something new is a bit scary and I start to self doubt.

For the back I used an Amy Butler Soul Blossom print that matches really well with the Modern Whimsy!  I was pleasantly surprised!  This quilt is now listed in my shop.  I have a coupon code good through February 14th for 14% off anything in my etsy shop!  Just enter "SEWMAMA" at check out!

Friday, February 10, 2012

It's a Quilting Wonderland

Wonderland Hourglass quilt top complete
I finished my Wonderland quilt top!  I really love this line.  I've made a quilt from this line before (about a year ago I think).  When I finished that quilt I thought I was done with this line and sold all I had left.  Then, a few months ago, I got a hankering for some Wonderland and found a Flickr friend who sweetly sold me her jelly roll.  It measures about 62"x70"

Wonderland Hourglass quilt
I used a second jelly roll of Kona Snow and a quarter square ruler to make these double hourglass blocks.  I don't even square them up after I get them all sewn because there are so many bias edges it's easy to stretch sides to fit! :)  This one will go in my etsy store when I'm done.  I just picked up the backing today so as soon as I decide on a quilting style I'm going to get started!

Mini quilt in progress
A friend of mine, Jen, swapped with me for some fabric I wanted to bind the Wonderland quilt and in her package she sent these mini half-square triangles.  I whipped up this little mini yesterday.  It'll make a cute doll quilt when I'm done!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Two Quick Things

My new bed quilt top complete!
I finished piecing a quilt top that will be for my own bed!  I'm hoping to get it basted tonight and, if I'm in the mood for a wrestling match, start quilting all 90"x102"of it!

House we're considering
Also, USAA just sent me a check to cover all the expenses we incurred due to their massive error!  All I did was report the problem to the manager in charge of the pre-approval department and voila, money!  It wasn't a small amount either so I'm really surprised we didn't have to get a lawyer involved.  I was all prepared to have the JAG department write a nasty letter, but I guess USAA realized they were getting off easy since it could have been a *lot* more money.  Hooray!  We now have a house (we closed February 2nd) and a resolution from USAA.  Miracles do happen!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Total Freak Out

Yep, that was me this morning when I saw myself on Sew Mama Sew's facebook feed.  I totally flipped!  My hands were shaking and I just couldn't sit still!  I ran into our room where my husband was running on the treadmill and screamed, "I'm on Sew Mama Sew!!!!"  His response, "Ummmmmmm, yay?"  *sigh* Men!  I know this project is nothing new for blog readers, but I actually took the time to write a paper piecing tutorial for SewMamaSew (boy, was that quite a bit harder than I anticipated!)  Anywho, I'm completely thrilled to be on that particular blog since it was my main source for sewing information/tutorials/fabric when I first began sewing and I still love it!

Lots of pretties in the mail today!!!
In less exciting crafty news, I got lots of pretty fabric in the mail yesterday!

Made this months ago and never put binding on it
I found this quilt that I made months ago and forgot about.  It's completely done except for binding.  I stopped working on it because the back is horrible.  I did a too-fast basting job and there are puckers.  I was so mad at myself for rushing that step that after I quilted it I just threw it in a cabinet.  It's still not my favorite project, but my little guy seemed to like it ok so I may let him have it. :)

Everybody into the pool!
I washed all my AMH flannels in preparation for a quilt for my bed!  This will be the largest quilt I've ever made so I'm doing a really simple brick path pattern (a-la the Amy Butler tutorial, but bigger)

Big pile of chopped Wonderland ready to sew!
I'm also sewing up some Wonderland for a large lap size quilt for my shop!

Whew! I think I'll go take a nap now....or maybe I'll glance at Sew Mama Sew a few more times! :)
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