Friday, August 27, 2010

I have blocks!

Naptime was good to me today, I got all of my Charm Pack Quilt Along blocks put together!! Now I get to play with layouts this weekend. Oh the possibilites! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trimming up a storm

I have progress to show on my Charm Pack Quilt Along blocks! Naptime yesterday started with this:

After naptime, it looked like this, thanks to Zoey:

And this morning I finished trimming!

Today's naptime, 4 square blocks!

Oh, and I'm only using 2 charm packs instead of 3. I decided I don't need a 72"x72" finished size :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blogiversary, 100 posts, and a giveaway!!!

Guess what today is folks? It's our blogiversary! We have been part of this crazy blogging world for a whole entire year! When I think of how much I have been able to create this year, I am blown away, and I am so glad that I got sucked into all of these amazing quilting blogs that continually inspire me!

Oh, and on top of it being our blogiversary, this is our 100th post!!

So, to commemorate this occasion, mom and I have put together a giveaway! We have 7 fat quarters of Nest by Tula Pink to share with one lucky winner! (Sorry the pictures are a little blurry, apparently there were little girl fingerprints on the lens...)

Awesome, right?
So, we are going to go with 3 ways to win our very first giveaway:

1. Leave us a comment on this post
2. Become a follower and comment on this post
3. Blog about our giveaway and come back and comment. Be sure to leave your blog address, 'cause I will go check!

Super sorry to any internationals out there, we are limiting this to continental US only. Shipping is a beast! Maybe next time :)
Be sure to either have your blogger profile connected to your email, or include your email in your comment so I have a way to contact you! If I don't have a way to contact whoever is drawn, I will have to try again, and you will miss out.

I will close the comments and draw a winner on Wednesday, September 1, whenever I get to it that morning :)
(oops!  now the date is correct!  Thanks Jen N!)

Good luck, and thank you for a wonderful year!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Charm Pack Quilt Along

I have been eyeing KarrieLyne's Charm Pack quilt along since she started it, but I was a bit busy and hadn't decided if I wanted to join in or not. Well, I bit the bullet! Yesterday I got all of my solid squares cut out and marked for Half Square Triangles. So, I'm weeks behind, but better late than never, right? If you haven't seen anything for this quilt along yet, definitely go check it out!!!

Freckled Whimsy

Sorry I don't have any pictures to share, I haven't had a chance to get photographic evidence yet :)

I will get some pictures up once I have more to show!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Square in square tutorial

Alrighty, Melanie requested a tutorial for the style of block I used in this quilt:

So, I have put one together for whoever is interested!

I start by cutting strips of white in various sizes. Sashing scraps are great! 

Gather the fabrics you want to use. This is a good project for string scraps!

I don't really have any plan when I make these blocks, I just choose a fabric from the pile to start with, and then add on other fabrics that go well.  Start with a square of fabric. I start with a block cut anywhere from 3" to 4 1/2", and fussy cut fabrics are great!

I like to separate each print or color with a white border. The few blocks I made for the red, pink, and aqua quilt that had prints next to prints were my least favorite, so I didn't make any this time.
I don't precut my strips down to size, either, I just trim the strips down as I sew them on. Oh, and it doesn't really matter what size your second strip is, it can be whatever you want!

So, now choose the next fabric. I went with a solid orange this time. It was from a fat quarter, so I ended up having to cut 2 strips off the fat quarter to go all the way around the block. Once again, it doesn't really matter what the width of the strip is; we will start worrying about that on the next one!

Now we have to start doing some math. Yuck, right? Don't worry, it's not too bad. 
I want my blocks to finish at 9" (mostly because I have a 9 1/2" square. Choose whatever size you want, the principles are the same!) I did the math down on the picture, hopefully you can follow it...
This is also when you have to think ahead a little bit. For example, I want the outside of this block to be a color, not white, so I have two more rows to go. I also only need 1 1/4" on each side, and I have to split that between two fabrics.  

For this one, I went with a 1/2" FINISHED size strip of white (1" CUT size!)
Now there is only 3/4" left on each side to get me to that 9" finished size. As you can see from my math below, that means I need a strip cut at 1 1/4", so that's what I cut out!

Aaaand, ta da! A cute block that will finish at 9"! (It's 9 1/2" right now though).

This was my first block that then became this:

I decided against sashing for this one, but I still wanted some separation, so I made sure every other block finished with white on the outside. Oh and ps, it's all pinned up and sitting next to the machine now! And I just finished quilting another quilt, so I can start this one during naptime tomorrow!

I never know if things that make sense to me make sense to other people, so if there are any questions on any of my instructions above, just ask! I'm not always know for my clear instructions...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Joseph's Coat - part 5

This is my needle keeper book. I wanted to thread up a bunch of needles so I wouldn’t have to thread those tiny eyes while I was riding in the car, so I made up this little matchbook style needle keeper. I just used some scraps of card stock weight scrapbook paper and felt. The whole thing took me about 5 minutes to make. Then I prethreaded my needles and wrapped the thread around each “page” in the book.

It was so nice to just pull out a new threaded needle when I ran out of thread that I have just kept rethreading all the needles at once and putting them back in the keeper even though I'm not stitching while riding in a car anymore!

Here is my first completed block!!!  I'm going to have to wait for a sunny day and take them outside for a photo shoot because the bad lighting in my sewing room really doesn't do the colors justice!

And here is how much I have done so far!

That's just 3 blocks. 46 more to go!  They are not sewn together yet, just placed up on my design wall.  Maybe I'll have it done in time to be a wedding gift for Zoey.  That gives me about 20 years to get it done :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Joseph's Coat - part 4

I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to see the lines on the template through the darker fabric using a light box, but I held up the template and fabric to a bright light and I could plainly see the lines. Now I needed a light box. I saw a suggestion on a blog for a light box and now I really wish I could find that blog again because she had some fabulous ideas and I would like to credit her as well as get more ideas, but I forgot to bookmark her blog. But here is what I came up with based on her suggestion:

It works like a charm! The battery operated lights were about $6 and the sheet of plastic (there is a sheet of clear plastic sitting on top of the tray.  You can see the reflection of the ceiling fan light on the left and a bit of my table lamp on the right) was about $4, both at Home Depot. I already had the storage box and I put the lid from a smaller box under the lights to raise them up a little.

This is a shot of the petal placement template through the fabric over the light box!

 Petals placed on backing using light box.

Now, I’m not so great at the whole “random placement” thing on quilts. I like mine to LOOK random, but in reality, the randomness is well planned.

Here’s my quilt all laid out on my design wall. You might notice that not all of the petals have been turned under yet. I wanted to get started stitching, and turning was taking too long, so now I’m turning them as I’m placing them on the background squares. And yes, I’m numbering the squares as I’m taking the petals off the wall and placing them on the background squares so I can get it all back together just right!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Joseph's Coat - part 3

I finally got all my petals cut out and then it was time to start turning under the edges. I saw this video that someone in the quilt along had posted. I didn’t have a mini iron so I thought I could just use my regular iron. I did a few but I just wasn’t happy with the points.

 This is all the petals. Some of them have the edges already turned under.

So, on a weekend when Joann’s had a 10% off coupon that was even good for items that were on sale, and all their quilting supplies were on sale for 50% off, this baby came home with me.

Yep, it does make a difference!!

In case you were wondering, bad point on the left, good point on the right :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Joseph's Coat - part 2

I had a layer cake of Eden by Lila Tueller and decided that it would be perfect for this quilt. Also, inspired by this, this and this, I decided I wanted to use a darker fabric instead of white for the background. There were lots of Kona cottons at Hobby Lobby that would have looked great, but Mulberry won the audition. I even sent pics by cell phone to Kirsten as I auditioned the different possible colors!

Yeah, I know the picture is terrible, but you get the general idea, and hey, at least it's a picture!!!

They only had about ½ as much as I needed, but I had the color name so I got all they had so I could at least get started (Ha, I was still a few weeks away from really NEEDING the background fabric!) Now here comes my Kona rant and if you are in love with Kona and don’t want to hear my rant, skip the next paragraph.

A couple of weeks later, I was in Hob Lob again and I decided to see if they had restocked my Mulberry Kona cotton. They had a shiny new bolt sitting on the shelf, so I got the rest that I would need for my background and took it home. And guess what? IT. DIDN'T. MATCH!!!! I could have lived with the color being slightly different. I understand about dye lots sometimes coming out a little different, but the texture was even different.

left-smoother and a little duller, right-a bit coarser and a little brighter

So off I went back (luckily, Hob Lob is only a couple of miles from my house) to buy another cut so I had enough from the new bolt to do my whole quilt.(yes, I'm that picky!) I thought maybe Hob Lob sold a different line or quality of Kona, but both pieces I bought of the Mulberry were from the very same Hob Lob. So now I have 3 ½ yards of beautiful Mulberry Kona to add to my stash. See, even though it was a rant, it has a happy ending! Have any of you experienced this difference in colors and textures in Kona cottons? (end of rant)

When I was drawing the circles in Illustrator, I knew I was going to print it out on 11x17” paper so I decided to scale my circles down to a 10” starting circle instead of 11”. Another advantage to this change was that I could get 10 petals out of a layer cake piece instead of 9. That’s 42 more pieces! So I could get a total of 420 petals out of my layer cake, but I needed 637. Time to go shopping for more Eden! I was fortunate enough to find nearly the entire line still in stock at one of my local quilt stores. Well, again, I have more fabric to add to my stash because I didn’t really need a full ½ yard of each of the cuts I bought, but I didn’t want to just buy 1 of the prints because I wanted my quilt to look balanced. Fortunately there were several prints that had 2 pieces in the layer cake, so I didn’t have to buy any more of those.

I got all my fusible bits cut and ironed on to the fabric and now starts the tedious task of cutting out 637 petals. Remember I’m a tool junkie? And I have a full woodworking shop? Well, I can also cut plastic with my woodworking tools and I had some scraps of plastic that were the exact same thickness as my rotary cutting rulers. So, I measured out the size that the finished petal should be cut to and made this:

So I was able to rotary cut all my petals.  My big cutter couldn’t make the tight curves, but I had one of these, so I gave it a try.

L.O.V.E.!  At first it was a little awkward to use, but once I got the hang of it, I was totally hooked! It doesn't have a changeable blade, but the blade lasted through all the petals! I tried a different rotary cutter with a tiny blade, but it just didn’t work as well. You could say, it just didn’t cut it :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Joseph's Coat - part 1

This is a project that I've been working on for a while and have taken a long time to write a post about it. We decided the post is too long for just one day, so Kirsten suggested a week dedicated to my Joseph's coat quilt. Hope you enjoy the trip :)

A few months ago, I bumped into the Joseph’s coat quilt along at Don’t Look Now blog site.  I totally fell in love with her quilt. Since I knew I was going on a rather long road trip during the summer (which I’m actually on as I begin writing this blog post) I decided that it would be a great project to take with me since it’s lots of hand stitching.  As I looked at that project, I realized I’d have to cut 637 petals out of fusible, wash away material and they needed to be really accurate. I knew it would be really time consuming and not something I would have a lot of patience for.  I’m a tool and technology junkie.  I have a Cricut and the software package called "Sure Cuts A Lot" that allows you to cut anything that you can draw and save in an SVG file format. So, I started drawing my circles in Adobe Illustrator because that program will create SVG files. Then I set up my file to cut the petals.

I started cutting, using Floraini Stitch & Wash Fusible. No good! The fusible material was too fibery for the Cricut to cut cleanly. One of the people already well into the quilt along mentioned in the flickr discussion that she had heard of another fusible, wash away material that came in 8 ½ x 11” sheets that you can print your design on using your ink jet printer, so I located a package of C&T Publishing: Wash-Away Applique Sheets and gave that one a try. And it worked! HURRAY! I could use my Cricut to cut the fusible bits for the first step!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Those pesky geckos!!!

A few years ago (yes, I said years) my brother got me a used computer from his work in exchange for me building a shelf for him. Then the shelf became a cornice. First I needed measurements from him, which took a while. Then his project kept getting delayed because I had other projects that took priority.

Then I found out about the GECKOS! Yeah, like that cute little guy from the Geico commercial? Well, not so cute when I had to figure out how to cut them into the face of a 7 feet long by 8 inches wide by 3/4" thick board! So, I kept delaying it even more until I finally just put on my big girl panties and got it done.

There was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth as I hand cut the gecko on the right using a coping saw (a hand saw with a really skinny blade). Then, while I was using my dremmel tool to clean up the blade marks, the thing I was dreading the most happened. The curvy part by the tail broke and took part of a toe with it. Luckily, I was able to find the broken part and glue it all back together. No more dremmel near the gecko! After I got him all glued back together, I walked away from the cornice for the day (I might have gone inside to sew after that!) Before I had a chance to work on it again, my brother and his wife were at my house for a family party and saw the first gecko all done (and maybe I whined a bit about what a pain it was to cut) and they decided it would look cool to have one gecko cut out and have the other gecko as a cut out piece that attached to the front of the cornice. OOOO, much easier to cut out a gecko that way!!!

Since they wanted the piece painted and I think it's practically a sin to paint good hardwood (this one is built out of Alder) and they also wanted it sometime this decade, they decided they would do the finishing on it. So here it is bare naked!

Here it is sitting on top of one of my sawhorses in front of our ugly bush!

They wanted the top shelf area recessed so my sister-in-law can use it for a display shelf.

It's definitely not my taste in decor, but I think it turned out pretty good and they were really happy with it, and I'm happy that it's finally done!