Monthly Archives: September 2012

Can You Hear the Angels Sing?

ImageI thought I was going to cry when I unpacked it. Every time I go near it my breath catches in my throat. I don’t think this is normal and yet I think most of you understand. I haven’t plugged it in yet. I’m a bit afraid to touch it. Maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, I finished my first quilt! It was too cloudy today for pictures, so I’ll try to get to that tomorrow too.

The Handmade Parade 9.28.12

It’s another Friday at There and Back’s Handmade Parade. The best thing about Katie’s linky is everyone understands when progress is slow. Sometimes it’s feels like I’ve worked and worked on something without much to show for it. When I looked at my pile of 1/2″ hexies this morning, it didn’t look much different from a couple of weeks ago. How nice it was to go back and realize that my project had actually grown by a third!

I desperately want to enter the Blogger’s Quilt Festival with this mini quilt. After I finish adding in the strips shown, I think I’m going to lengthen it a bit. Right now my plan is to add three rounds of coal or charcoal for a border (which I’m kind of dreading) and finish it off with a scrappy binding. I don’t know yet what I’ll do for the quilting. Anyway, here’s this progress I’ve made over the past couple of weeks…

The other project I’ve been hand sewing this week is the binding on Leo’s I-Spy/Matching quilt. It is so close and yet, due to my own foolishness, is still going to take a while. I had worked on this quilt all day on Sunday and after I finished sewing on the binding I could feel how close I was. I wanted to finish it so bad and fell prey to the siren song of a machine sewn binding. This despite the fact that I had cursed my machine all day. I jumped in any way and it was a disaster. I did stop after half a side, but since I have been unable to adjust the stitch length on my machine, the stitches are nearly impossible to unpick. Imagine layers of super soft cushy flannel and micro stitches. They were so close together that even the slightest tug ripped the fabric and buried so deep that I have to put reading glasses on top of my bifocals to see them.  Ironically, I stitched done the rest of the binding in no time at all. Lesson learned! Hopefully I will be back to report a finish soon!

Linking up to There and Back’s Handmade Parade.

Edited to add: I can’t resist popping back in and posting the following pictures. When I went back to continue on the binging this is who I found. Sage seems to think I made this one for her!

Apparently Sage doesn’t care that it’s not finished!

“What, you don’t have a problem with this do you?”

“Maybe you’ll feel better after you give me a belly rub or a scratch behind the ear.”

“See, like this.”

“Pleeeeaaaaassssse!”
She graciously accepted a rubdown as payment for her modeling services. 🙂

RATZ Swaps From the Beginning

When I first joined Flickr, I was instantly drawn to the amazing swap items posted from sewists all over the world. I desperately wanted to take part, but having never made a pouch, bag, mini quilt or pillow and am still clueless about how to insert my personal holy grail… zippers… so there was no way that I could join. Then I found the perfect little swap. The Rapid and Tiny Zakka Swap, or RATZ Swap, was just the opportunity I needed to get my feet wet. I may not be able to make a pouch, but magnets were definitely in my wheelhouse. Fortunately, the group was very welcoming and I’ve had a great experience month after month. As an added bonus, I’ve gotten to know and feel a part of the Flickr community. Their kind response to my work was just the confidence boost I needed to move on to more complex patterns. Without further ado, here are the projects that I’ve made and received so far.

My first month participating was June and the theme was magnets. It was near the beginning of my obsession with hexies and English paper piecing. I got a little carried away and instead of a “tiny” magnet, my partner received a Mega Magnet. I threw in a couple of mini 1/2″ hexies, because they were too fun to resist.

I sent out the largest magnet, but it was my partner, SharpShayla who sent out the tiniest. I wanted these ever so badly when she posted the picture and was thrilled when I opened my package. Pictures don’t do these magnets, made with 1/4″ hexies, justice. Her tiny stitches are just amazing!

In July the theme was Needlebooks. I have to be honest, this one really intimidated me. I was having trouble with my sewing machine and couldn’t count on it for quilting or even a good-looking top stitch. I attempted to make up for my lack of talent with beautiful fabrics. My LQS had just gotten a charm pack of V & Co’s new line Simply Color and it was divine. I quickly picked some charms and whipped up this mini needlebook.

In return, I received the absolute best needlebook EVER! Seriously my partner, Andrcarl, nailed this project!  Not only does it have bird fabric in colors I adore, but it is spacious and holds everything I need to take my hexie projects on the go. I will let the pictures speak for themselves!

The August round was Name Badges. I had just learned how to sew partial themes and came up with this elongated hexagon. I once again indulged my love of spectrum colors and threw in a little Madrona Road Memoir in Graphite as an accent.

As luck would have it, I received a perfect little package from my partner, Teach26. Not only did she include this wonderful little name tag, but she also sent a magnet and key fob. I had broken my only key chain the month before, so it was the perfect little add-on in fabric from my favorite designer, Kate Spain.

Our RATZ Swap Mamas took a month off this September. A good thing for me, since with the start of school, I really didn’t have time to participate. That doesn’t mean I have nothing to make though. In the needlebook photo above is an adorable pinnie sent to me by the wonderful Chickenfoot. She was one of the earliest people to befriend me on Flickr and sent me a great little package. I’m ashamed to admit that the small pile of goodies I have to send to her are still on the shelves in my sewing area. I am horribly overdue, so I’m publicly committing to send it out in the next week. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the precious package I received.

I’m linking up for the first time today to from blank pages…  A Celebration of Beginnings linky party. Now I just need to figure out how to insert a button!

WIP Wednesday: The Hundred Day Hustle

I’m linking up for the first time to WIP Wednesday!

I was so excited this morning when I opened google reader and found so many posts talking about The Hundred Day Hustle at Kelsey Sews. I have participated in the online quilting community on flickr since May, but was hesitant to jump into blogging. Lately though, I’ve found myself wanting to say more about the individual pictures I post and how they link to my overall process. As a result, blogging has become more appealing. For several weeks now I’ve struggled with how to get started. The Hundred Day Hustle seemed like the perfect opportunity. Sadly, when I clicked on the original post, I discovered I was too late to link up. I decided I would go ahead and use the concept anyway. I have so many projects in different stages, I need to get a sense of the big picture and setting some goals for the end of the year wouldn’t hurt either. The following is a list of projects that I’ve started in some way, even if it’s just the initial concept, and what remains to be done. The projects in bold are those I hope to finish by the end of 2012.

1. Josie’s Bed Quilt: This was my very first completed quilt top. I’ve also made the back and binding, but got hung up on how to quilt it. Originally I planned on having this be my first long-arm quilted piece, but since I recently got a new sewing machine, I’m going to go ahead and quilt it at home. I hope to have it finished by the end of October.

2. Flea Market Fancy Pillow: This pillow top is my first attempt at english paper piecing. It is waiting to be hand quilted, also a first.

3. Hexie Charm Quilt: This is a long-term, ongoing EPPing project. I’m including a single hexie from each of the fabrics that cross my sewing table. I imagine it will take years to finish, but I’d like to stay up-to-date as I cut into new fabrics for other projects.

3. Grandmother’s Flower Garden: Another long-term EPP project. Continued growth would be nice.

4. Hexie Mini Quilt: After working for months on the above hexie projects, I decided I wanted to squeeze in a “quick” finish. Several hundred 1/2″ hexies later, I am close to finishing this quilt top. I would like to get this one finished up in time to link to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival next month. It’s going to be close!

5. Denyse Schmidt Doll Quilt: I became addicted to charm swaps this past summer and joined one focused on DS fabrics. After cutting up the charms for another project I was left with a stack of 2 1/2″ squares, so I decided to make a doll quilt for my girls. I attempted to quilt it without a walking foot on a machine that I couldn’t change the stitch length on. It’s not pretty. The center quilting will stay, but the border quilting needs to be unpicked and redone. This will be a good opportunity to practice before Josie’s quilt, so I should have it done in the next few weeks.

6. Leo’s I-Spy/Matching Quilt: The result of another charm swap, I got this one quilted up over the weekend. Now I just need to finish hand sewing the binding, hopefully in the next week.

7. Terrain Stairway to Heaven: Pieced and waiting for a quilting decision. I have some ideas for this, but lack the skill. This one won’t move forward until I’ve had some time getting used to my machine.

8. Rainbow Stairway to Heaven Pillow: This one is also pieced and waiting to be hand quilted.

9. Denise Schmidt String Block Quilt: I started this quilt in one big burst in August  on a day when I had an urge to majorly cut into my stash. The blocks came together quickly and I finished two dozen the first week, then got distracted. The strings and papers are ready and waiting for a day when I can spend some time mindlessly sewing. Since I’m looking for lots of time with my new machine, it shouldn’t be too hard to finish them up. It may be a stretch, but I’d also like to get it quilted by the end of the year.

10. Ferris Wheel Wall Hanging: I have acrylic and paper templates and a huge stack of fabric set aside for this project, but haven’t had time to properly spread it out and get it going. I would like to use some of the fabric in another quilt, but have to make decisions for this one first. I doubt I’ll begin sewing it, but I need to go through the fabric by the end of the year.

11 & 12. Cate and Ava’s Granny Square Quilts: I participated in the Not Your Granny’s Bee block exchange this summer and can’t wait to receive back the amazing blocks everyone has created. I took too spots and hope to make matching quilts for my middle daughter’s beds. I will need to make additional blocks to get them up to twin size. This will be one of my first projects for the new year.

13. Pot Holders: I have a huge urge to just get something done and need quilting practice. I have a basket of scraps waiting to be made into pot holders. The plan is to knock out a few over the next months.

14. Tula Pink Birds and the Bees Dream Weaver: Probably my favorite new fabric of the summer. I bought the entire line after seeing the Dream Weaver pattern. I’m itching to cut into it, but keep reminding myself that I need to get some other things finished instead. I’ll be using it as a carrot to get the other stuff done, because I’m hoping to piece it this fall and enter it into the Tula Pink Sew Along at Sew Sweetness.

15. Convergence Quilt: At last month’s meeting of the Omaha Modern Quilt Guild, Carey did an excellent demonstration of convergence quilting and extended a challenge to create one of our own. I have some of my favorite Terrain fabric picked out and I want to make a table runner for Thanksgiving. The deadline for this one is the end of October.

16. Cate’s Weighted Blanket: Her current weighted blanket is too small and she can’t sleep without one. This need is the reason I started looking into quilting in the first place. I think I can whip this out in an afternoon or two of sewing, so it’s just a matter of making it a priority.

17. Madrona Road Quilt: Another favorite fabric line that I was unable to resist. I’ve been going back and forth about picking a pattern for this fabric all summer. I thought the Braid Quilt in a Day QAL would be good fit and even planned how I could make matching quilts for one of my daughter’s and her birthmom, but now that I’ve made this list, I don’t see where I’ll find the time.

18. Anna’s Denyse Schmidt Magic Numbers Quilt: My oldest daughter fell in love with the fabric charms from the DS swap, so they will be going into her quilt. I have a fat quarter stack of Chicopee cut for this quilt and need to go through my stash to cut some larger squares of my remaining Flea Market Fancy and DS Quilts fabrics. Once I have these cut and ready, I need to spend some time calculating size needs, then will set it aside to tackle in the new year.

19. Elena’s Quilt: One of the reasons my list is so long, is I can’t plan a quilt for one kid, without all the other’s wanting to know what I’m going to do for them. Coming up with an idea for Elena’s quilt has taken me the longest.  Every time I get fabric out, she tells me that she wants me to include it in her quilt. I have also been instructed not to go to fabric shops without her, lol. I finally decided that the best way to include “all the fabrics” (and indulge my inner rainbow obsessed fifth grader) is to make her a rainbow stripe quilt. The plan is to cut a 2 1/2″ WOF strip from each of my sash fabrics, add white to each end, then piece them together in a long, off-set stack. Since I need to go through my stash for several of the quilts I hope to finish by the end of the year, I’d like to go ahead and cut the strips while I have everything out.

20. Many Trips Around the World Quilt: I fell in love with  this pattern as soon as I saw the many finishes shown on flickr. Obviously, it will take me a good year to get this far down my list, but while I’m going through my stash, I might as well cut the 1/2″ X 18″ strips needed for this quilt.

21. Lego Play Mat: I have the materials and the idea, just need a couple of hours to put it together.

22. Drawstring Bags: With six kids and their various activities, we spend a lot of time on the go. I need to have some special toys packed up and ready to take with us, for the times they have to wait on one another. I have a stack of fabric waiting to be made into Lined Drawstring Bags. Now I just need to find the time.

23-28. Basement Throw Quilts: My kids have a collection of old baby blankets and fleeces that rotate in and out of our basement that I want to get rid of. My plan is to replace them with small to medium-sized throw quilts. I have fabrics and/or patterns for five different ones, but don’t expect to get to this project for quite a while.

29. Trade Winds Quilt: I fell in love with a kit. I was offered a discount. I could not resist. Someday I’ll make my way around to this.

30. Bee Blocks: I just received a message that I’ve been accepted into an online quilting bee, Color Bee Shocked. They are still looking for members, so check them out if you’re interested in joining us!

How crazy is this list?! When you take into account that I’ve only been sewing since last Spring, its pure INSANITY! Clearly, I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug and am not the type of person who finishes a project before starting another! And yet, there are a few more non-sewing things that I’d like to include on my list…

1. Organize Sewing Space: At the back of our house, we have a great room that is the hub of our household. Our kitchen is to one side and we have a 4 X 9 foot table on the other. This is where our lives happen everyday. I cook, manage paperwork and homework, play games and craft with the kids, house two guinea pigs and a puppy and now SEW in this space. It’s a lot. We’ve slowly added storage around the perimeter of the room to house all the stuff that goes along with these activities and I’m in the process of getting it all organized. This is a must do by the end of the year.

2. Take sewing machine class through my LQS: After struggling with an old machine for the past five months, I finally had the chance to purchase a new one. So many of the above projects have been on hold while I’ve tried to solve the “machine problem”. Now that I have it, I want to make the most of it, so I’m going in for the class. I can’t wait!

3. Make design wall: Part of the storage is a row of bottom cabinets extending along an empty wall. The space above is the perfect spot for a design wall, possibly removable. This one might get pushed into the new year or it might be pulled forward if I decided I can’t manage without it. We’ll see.

4. Start a blog: CHECK!