Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Scraps: not just for the pigs or the wood bin anymore!

Growing up on the farm, we had two kinds of scraps:  table scraps and wood scraps.  Wood scraps went into the wood bin to be used for kindling, and table scraps became dinner for the incredibly stinky pigs.  Neither kind of scrap stayed in the house for long, as you can imagine.
Since I began quilting, I've discovered a kind of scrap that I love to keep...fabric scraps!  Some are large, some are small, some are in the strangest shapes...none of them, however, can be tossed out.
This quilt (pattern source is listed here) used a layer cake (42 10" squares).  My scrap pile didn't look like much, but I kept them...mainly because they were so pretty all piled up on my table. 
I had a decent-sized pile or 1" x 10" strips and a small pile of 1.5" x 5" strips.  
The long strips became the center of my table topper.  I added a thin border of Kona Snow and then made four patches with the smaller scraps.  After offsetting the four patches with Snow, I added one last border.  A cute little table topper using some of the smallest of my scraps...now that's putting scraps to good use!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let's Play Catch Up!

Have you ever been away from home for a long time....maybe college or an extended vacation?  And then you come home and, oh, it feels so good!  That's where I am right now.  I've been absent on here for the past eighteen months, writing a blog for and working at a local quilt store.  While I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time there, I had to make the tough choice to end my employment so I could be home with my family.  {Little did I know that the kids need you home when they are early teens just as much as when they are in the single digits!}

But now I feel like I'm coming home.  Back to my own little space in Blogland.  So, let's not waste another minute...it's time to get caught up!  Here's a few of the things I've made since last checking in...in no particular order.  

I love to make things for other people.  However, just before Christmas 2013, I realized that I'd neglected my husband!  I found some blue and green wrench fabric and combined it with a light solid grey Kona cotton.  I cut 4" width of fabric (WOF) strips from all three fabrics, sewed each of the printed strips with a solid grey and then cut the strips into 7.5" squares.  Lay them out on a design wall in the above layout, and it's a super easy chevron!
This is the same technique used in my last post. I simply cut my strips and then the squares wider to make it a larger chevron.

My favorite baby shower gift...a baby strip quilt with ribbon loops.  Perfect for either tummy time or for long walks in the stroller.

The "Bee My Honey" collection by Moda has to be one of my favorite collections of fabric to date.  It's so bright and cheery.  The photo above is a portion of a wall hanging/table topper I designed.  I had so much fun with the quilting!  It's amazing what you can do with straight lines and a walking foot.

Another project with the "Bee My Honey" collection.  This was made with the scraps from the above project and just a small piece of grey dot fabric.  Have you ever tried paper piecing hexies?  This is a fast, easy project to get you into the groove...and another opportunity for some fun quilting on your home machine.

 Another favorite baby shower gift...especially if you happen to wait for the last minute.  This is a diaper change pouch...perfect for when you just need to help the little one freshen up without taking the entire diaper bag.  It holds 1-2 diapers, a flannel changing pad and small container of wipes.  If you want to make Dad happy, make one in "manly" fabric.

Here's another example of the baby strip quilt (same pattern as the blue and grey quilt shown above).  These are not traditional baby colors, but they matched my niece's orange/turquoise/grey nursery perfectly.  I used some left over scraps to make a matching small ribbon loop toy.

Can you tell that we've had a lot of babies born in the past 18 months?  Soft and absorbent burp clothes made with flannel on the front and back and fusible fleece inside.  The little ribbon loop toy was made with scraps...it's a favorite tactile toys for the youngest babies.  Last, a fabric pacifier clip.

I'm a big fan of making my own bag for two reasons:  1.  My personal theory is that my bag should never cost more than the cash I carry in in.  (Do you know how many bags I can make for the cost of a $300 purse?!)  2.  No one ever has the same one...unless I make them one.  This pattern is fast and incredibly simple.  It has six exterior pockets ~ perfect for keeping a cell phone, chapstick, sunglasses, etc.  I add two interior pockets as well.  The pattern is available free here.  

This was a fun one...again for another baby.  I borrowed my mom's Accuquilt machine and used her tumbler block diecut.  It went together quickly and was very simple.  One note of caution with the Accuquilt ~ there is a lot of fabric waste.

The "Waffletime" table runner pattern by Atkinson Designs is perfect for highlighting a favorite fabric.

My daughter had two requests for her new quilt ~ it needed to include pink and it had to be bright!  I used Quilt Expressions' Super Six pattern.  It calls for six yards of fabric, uses just three different blocks and goes together very quickly!  There's so little waste that my scraps fit in a canning jelly jar!  Note:  The pattern includes one more border of squares, not shown in the photo above.  My daughter's bed is a daybed with just one mattress.  I left off the last border to make it slightly smaller.

Check out the little "bff" pillow.  She and I made that together.  Fun project!

Do you recognize the pattern yet?  Another baby quilt, this time with dinosaur fabric.

A fun banner/bunting made with Dr. Seuss fabric.  Super simple:  sew triangles together, with right sides together, leaving the top of the triangle open.  Turn and edge stitch.  Make a long strip of double fold bias tape.  Insert the raw edge of the triangles into the bias strip...either right next to each other or overlapped...pin well and then stitch along the bottom of the bias tape.  

If you have a piece of fabric in your stash that you can't bear to cut up, I highly recommend Quilt Expressions' Building Blocks  pattern.  With just 1-3/4 yards of focus fabric and some fat eights (or scraps), you'll have a toddler or lap-sized quilt in no time.  This is honestly the fastest quilt I've ever put together!  

My sister-in-law lives in rainy Portland, Oregon but wishes she lived in Hawaii.  I found the perfect fabric for her...flamingos dressed in Santa clothing, surrounded by palm trees and bubbly drinks.  This is the same pattern as the last photo....the column of blocks made with the fat eights runs down the quilt, leaving the focus fabric free to shine!
Her cat is obviously a fan!

Another bag using the same free pattern from above...this time in the gorgeous "Miss Kate" collection from Moda.

I've had the intention (and the fabric) of making new stockings for our family for years.  Finally...for Christmas 2014...it happened!  

My little niece loves pillows and loves playing peek-a-boo.  One of her Christmas gifts this year was a peek-a-boo pillow.  The ears and nose are made with soft cuddle fabric.  Pattern is my own.

Way before I started sewing and quilting, my main creative outlet was papercrafting.  I squeezed in a fast paper/wood project as a holiday gift this year.  So fun!  All supplies came from Kindling.

Ahhh...my labor of love.  So, short version of the story behind this quilt...I have a dear friend who loves these bright colors.  Her husband makes gorgeous accessories using feathers.  His Etsy name is Featherkeeper.  I've always wanted to make a feather quilt and finally found a pattern in issue 9 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine from the UK.  This was the hardest quilt I'd made to date.  I picked out each piece of fabric specifically for my friends, pieced it, quilted it and then almost couldn't give it away.  I let it stay in my house for about a month...hanging on the banister...in view each time I entered the living room.  Then, finally, it was time to gift it.    Here it is in their family room:

Another gift for a dear friend.  My mom gave me a "Sunnyside" layer cake from Kate Spain.  My friend, an awesome mother of four boys, recently painted her entry room and bought new furniture that happened to match the fabric perfectly.   I figured that meant she needed a quilt made with the "Sunnyside" fabric. The fabric is bright and cheery, just like my friend.  I used the pattern on the front cover of the Late Summer 2014 issue of Block, from Missouri Star, Vol 1., Issue 4.  Note:  Double check the yardage for the backing.  I had to adjust up by several yards.

The quilt in her entry room:

My most recent project was a fast one!  I have several large projects on my design wall right now, but I wanted to make something in one sitting.  Sometimes, it just feels good to make something quickly!  A friend of mine recently showed the contents of her purse on her blog, and I noticed that her tea bags were a bit beaten up.  The same thing happens to mine, so I designed a little fabric holder for them.  It holds 2-4 tea bags, closes with fold over elastic, and is so handy!  Look for a tutorial here in the near future...as soon as I clean off my design wall!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Orange and Turquoise Chevron Baby Quilt

Well, hello there!  Yes, it's been a while.  Even though it's been quiet on here, I've been busily working away on projects.  This is one of my favorites.  We are expecting a little niece this Fall, and her mom loves the colors orange and turquoise.  I used my favorite Chevron pattern and made a little baby blanket.  I love this pattern because it's really fast and so very simple...no triangles! 
Click on this link for a larger chevron quilt using lime, black and white (this post also explains how the quilt is made).
Here's another link for a yellow and grey baby chevron quilt.
So now for a little explanation of where I've been!  I have just started my dream job!  Our local quilt store contacted me to see if I'd like to take over their on-line marketing...Facebook, Blog, and two newsletters.  After a couple of weeks, the owner asked if I'd like to work in the store.  Of course, I said yes!!  It's quite possibly the perfect job for me...I still get to be home with the kids are home, I get to be creative every day (and just have to sew more at home!), and I get to write about sewing. 
Sounds good, eh? 

If you'd like to see what I've been working on, please check out Quilt Expressions' blog.  I'll be writing about patterns, new lines of fabric, trying out new products (or new to me, at least!), giving helpful hints/tips that I pick up, and I'll also be posting about some of my current projects that you won't see on here.  If you like what you see, please input your email on the top right of the blog and follow us...you'll get an email when a new post is ready to read!  Feel free to check us out on Facebook, too.

Happy Sewing!
Shared with:
Sew Woodsy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Handquilted eBay Find to Picnic Quilt

Near the end of the school year, I received an e-mail from a friend.
She explained that she'd bought a hand-stitched "funky" quilt top off of
eBay and wanted to know if I could quilt it into a picnic blanket for
her family to use.  I wasn't sure what to expect when
the box arrived.

There's a book series that I love to read.  The series is called Elm Creek Quilts, and the books
are written by Jennifer Chiaverini.  The books range from current time back to the
Civil War.  They are fiction, but the quilt history included in the story line is amazing.
When I received this quilt top and looked at the back of it, I remembered some of the history in the books....how ladies used to save every single piece of fabric that was left over after they made their clothing, their curtains, feed bags, etc....how they didn't have a "stash"...how they would gather at one house, set up the quilting frame and work together on one quilt, by hand. 

Someone spent hours, days, stitching this quilt top.  The fabrics are different colors, different textures. As I worked on it, I wondered what each piece of fabric had also become for this quilter.
Was this a shirt?  A dress?  A curtain for her home? 

I have such respect for those that hand sew, either by necessity or choice. 
I have a small hand-stitched piece that I work on here and there.
It will one day be the only quilted piece that I've ever made entirely by hand; but
it'll be a long time before it's completed.  It takes time, patience, a good set of eyes,
maybe even a massage or two.
For just a moment, I considered completing the quilting by hand....
and then I thought of the many, many wavy lines I intended to make back and forth across
the quilt and pulled out my machine.

Here we go!

Oh...my...goodness.  Do you see that little spot there where the entire quilt is
stuffed?  This is the biggest quilt I've quilted on my machine, and I believe
I've discovered it's limit!  The good thing is that I was able to combine sewing with quite the
arm workout!

6,336 inches (or 528 feet) of stitching...and it's finished!

I often go to quilt shows with my mom, and we marvel at the quilts that we see there.
But, when I get close, for me the best part is the quilting.  Even if it's just
a bunch of wavy lines, it adds such character, such depth to the quilt.
With the quilting, the backing and the binding, it doesn't look so "funky"
any more.  It looks like a quilt that will be pulled out over and over for family picnics,
that will be washed many times, that will follow three little boys from picnics, to soccer games, to the beach, to wherever they may go.

From Nursing Cover to Pillow Cover and...

A friend of mine has three adorable boys, and she has used the same nursing cover for all of them.  Imagine the hours she spent snuggled up with her little ones
under the cover.  She wanted to keep her nursing cover, but she didn't want to
just toss it in a box...never to be looked at again.  She asked me to use the material to make
a pillow cover ... something she could use, see often and still be able
to keep all of those good memories.
The photo above is the pillow cover I made her...I used
the envelope cover design.  Super simple and not a lot of waste.  The backing is
some thinner denim I had in my stash. 
However, I had fabric left over so....

....I made another pillow cover.  This one is the same design, same backing, but with a different front.  I found some cream muslin in my stash, cut 9 squares out of the cover and
sewed down each side of the squares with a 1/4" seam (kinda like a grid).  The edges are raw and will fray nicely the first time she washes it.
I had a small strip of fabric left over after cutting the squares for pillow number two, so....

....I made her a fabric bookmark.  Super simple, not perfect, very scrappy.
I made a yo-yo flower out of a tiny scrap and added an antique button (that I stole) from
my daughter's button collection.
After these three projects, I STILL had fabric left over.

I made an apron out of the cream muslin, left over denim for the ties and
used the cover material for the pockets.  I also made a removable
finger tip towel.

The cover hooked around her neck with a "d" ring, so I attached that to the apron to
hook the towel.  The strap on the towel came from the neck strap on the cover.

I also removed the label from the nursing cover and
hand sewed it on the back of one of the pillows. 

This is all that's left of the nursing cover!
I always enjoy my sewing jobs, but this one was especially fun.
It was quite the adventure trying to figure out what else I could make from
the fabric scraps that remained each time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Lime Green, Black and White Chevron Quilt

When I saw this line of fabric, I fell in love with it!
No, it matches absolutely nothing in my house.
No, it's nowhere near my favorite color.
But, oh my, I'm loving this combo!

This is my second zig-zag (or chevron) quilt using this method.
I've always been intimidated by the chevron method using triangles.
I came across this technique using 3" strips (I use 2.5" strips if I'm making a baby
quilt).  Sew a strip of each together and then cut into squares.  Lay them alternating direction and they create a zig-zag pattern.

Click here for a baby-sized
grey and yellow chevron quilt.