Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Crayon Totes Galore

Quick shop update for y’all. Yeah that’s right, I pulled out the y’all. It’s midnight, I’m allowed to do stuff like that :)

ANYWAYS, I got some cute new crayon totes up in the shop a couple days ago, and wanted to share the cuteness!

See? Cuteness! Oh, and the last one is actually just an improved picture of the existing bag…I finally pulled my butt outside where there’s this thing I guess some people call light…I did mention it’s midnight, right?

Oh yeah, and I made another one that we gifted to a cute 2 year old for her birthday on Saturday, almost forgot! Oh but I’m an idiot and deleted those pictures from my computer apparently, and I don’t want to go find the camera…Imagine a cute pink and green bag with cupcakes, m’kay?

Ok, I am off to bed so I can wake up and do some more hand sewing on some awesome aqua binding. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Basting up a storm

So I usually have more than one quilt in progress (right now, 4 that I keep switching between), but I try to have them at different stages. Does that work? Pretty much no.


To prove my point, I basted TWO quilts last Friday, and I have another one on deck for basting! Blegh, time to clean off the table again…


And yes, this one looks very familiar. I had extra blocks :)


Oh, and I was going to post a picture of the whole TWIN SIZED top I just finished, but somehow every single picture I took is blurry. And I’m not pulling it out again until I baste. It is huge. But believe me when I say, it is GORGEOUS! And totally different than both of the above pictures! Oh yeah, and I cut out 6 more crayon totes yesterday, so hopefully those will show up soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Quilting Basics

While writing my pattern and thinking of quilting basics, I remembered this guest post I did on Melanie's blog, that I never actually posted here. It's been a whole YEAR since this was posted, I couldn't believe it! Anyways, I decided to throw it up here too as a reference. As soon as I figure out how, I will make a link or button for it to sit on my sidebar, easily accessible. Enjoy!

Hi! I am so excited that Melanie asked me to guest blog for her! I have put together a basic quilting how-to for any of you that want to jump into the amazing world of quilting. It might seem kinda involved or scary, but it can be really easy! So come on, take the plunge! You won’t regret it!

First, how about a list of basic tools:
(Notice my TWO quilts in progress in this picture...)

1. Cutting mat- very important!! You need this to uh, cut. I use this mat for almost all of my cutting. It is a 24”x36” Olfa self healing mat. This is a good size, because you can cut across a folded width of fabric. Mats can get pretty expensive, but you use them a LOT, and Joanns puts them on sale often. If they are not on sale, it is also an awesome item to use a 40 or 50% off coupon on at Joanns. I also recently added a smaller mat to my supplies (12”x18”) and it has been helpful when I don’t need my big mat(And when my big mat is put away under the crib and the kid is asleep…)

2. Ruler or straight edge- another very important tool! A great starter size is 6”x24”. That is all I had for a very long time, and it served me well. Another great item to use a 50% off coupon at Joanns on! Omnigrid and Creative Grids are both awesome brands.

3. Rotary Cutter- A must! A good rotary cutter with a sharp blade makes cutting much easier! I really like mine (Fiskars brand), though I don’t see a lot of other quilters using my particular cutter. Once again, Olfa makes great products, but pricy, and new blades are definitely an expense and something to think about. I am lucky enough that WalMart carries replacement blades for my cutter.

4. Iron- THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL!!! An iron is usually the difference between nice, matching seams and a good looking finished product and shoddy-looking, oh no I don't know what I am doing, work. You CANNOT IRON TOO MUCH! If in doubt, iron your seams! And your fabric! If your fabric is folded up before you start cutting into it (and you know it is...), iron it flat! Whenever I decide I’m in too much of a hurry to iron my fabric before I cut, I have to go back and re-square it up after it is ironed. It is just not worth it! I keep an ironing surface (a TV tray with the top covered like this tutorial from Oh, Fransson!) right next to my machine so I don’t have to move very far to iron, or even stand up. I’m lazy like that :) ps- you don’t have to have a “good” iron. I had a crappy, 15 year old iron until last summer when it died. Just have an iron!!!

5. Good quality thread- Well, thread is not optional, but if you really want to (please please don't, it's just not worth it!) you can use cheap thread. I use Gutterman thread. It doesn’t break as easily, and as Mel can attest, cheap thread = problems with quilting.

6. Curved basting pins- Not necessary, but once you have them, you feel like they are! Once you are assembling your quilt sandwich, these make the entire process sooooo much easier. Joanns sales and coupons, people!

7. Calculator- unfortunately, quilting takes some mathematics. I don’t like math, I don’t do math in my head, and I don’t trust math I have done in my head! So, the calculator lives near my machine.

8. A sewing machine- well, yeah. Unless you plan on hand piecing. I’m not that ambitious.

Whew! That was quite a list. Oh, something I didn’t include in the list was high quality fabrics. While I definitely shop Joanns for notions and even for batting (I use warm and white, and buy it by the yard), I don’t get my fabric there. Ok, I do have some, but most of it predates my discovery of my Local Quilt Stores and high quality fabric such as Moda, Free Spirit, Kaufman, P&B Textiles, and more. The better fabrics are much easier to work with, but are more expensive. Shop sales and clearances! I think I only have 2 cuts of fabric that I bought full price.

My Oh Cherry Oh quilt
There are so many awesome tutorials and patterns online, both free and for sale. When I was thinking about where to find quilt patterns, I realized that I have never made a quilt from a pattern! I usually get an idea, pull out the graph paper, draw it out and do the math. This seems like a daunting task for some, and that is why there are patterns available! There are also many many quilt-alongs going on in blogland all the time. The host usually puts up step by step instructions, and this is a great way to make a quilt if you don’t want to venture out all on your own. Here is a list of great places for tutorials, patterns, and quilt alongs:

Cluck Cluck Sew

Oh, Fransson
Old Red Barn Co. (she has a step-by-step how to make a quilt tutorial that is amazing!)

Ps I Quilt
Moda Bake Shop

Crazy Mom Quilts

A few ideas for good beginner quilts:

Plain ol’ patchwork squares. Classic, great to begin with, and with pretty fabric, it will look fabulous!

Coin quilt

9 patch (Or a variation thereof if you want a little more oomph, like a disappearing 9 patch or wonky 9 patch)

Wonky Log Cabin baby quilt

A standard quilting seam is ¼”. Many machines either come with a foot that ends ¼” away from the needle, and others have them available to buy separately. Mine doesn’t, so I have to just follow my 1/4” line. It is very important to be as precise as you can with your seam allowance, so that all of your pieces will match up when you are piecing your quilt. I am not a pinner, but if you feel like pinning will help you get your seams matched up and keep your ¼” seam allowance, use those pins!

Once your quilt top is made, and your quilt backing is ready, you get to make a quilt sandwich! Here is a great tutorial for that.

And a few tutorials for free motion quilting. I recommend straight line quilting for beginners, either on the diagonal, along seams, vertically, whatever works best with your quilt top.

Oh, Fransson!

And then binding! Truthfully, I haven’t found a binding tutorial that I completely like. My binding is a mix and match between all the tutorials. However, I think it all depends on what you are comfortable with. Here are a few good tutorials, and you can decide what you like:

Heather Bailey
Crazy Mom
Red Pepper Quilts

String quilt for my daughter
 So, that’s pretty much all there is to making a quilt. If you are a first timer, and feeling a bit overwhelmed, start small. Like, doll quilt or baby quilt small. It gets easier as you do more, and I warn you now, it is ADDICTIVE! I just got Melanie started quilting last summer and look at how she is flying! If you have made it all the way through my post, thank you for reading! Feel free to drop by Maniacal Material Girls see more of my work and what we are up to lately! Thanks again Melanie!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I need a favor…

**Edited- Thank you guys so much for volunteering to help me! I have emailed my new helper, and will hopefully have this pattern out soon! I will definitely be hosting a giveaway once it is ready, so keep an eye out for it!

ps- a few of you were no-reply bloggers and didn’t leave me an email, so I could not email you this info. If you don’t know if this is you or not, please check out this awesome tutorial for fixing your blogger profile!


So, I am in the midst of writing my first pattern(one culprit for very sporadic posting!), and would love to find one more pattern tester. The pattern is for this quilt:


The top takes 12 fat quarters or 1/4 yard cuts. Please let me know if you are interested! Thanks!!

ps- Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A new(ish) finish


I recently completed and gifted this sweet little baby quilt to my soon-to-be-born cousin. Well, I really gave it to my aunt, but you get the picture.

I was inspired by this recent quilt from Ashley at Film in the Fridge, and the stack of pink and raspberry fabrics I bought at the recent quilt show.


Once again, this quilt was just a little too big to fit one width of fabric, so I went with my standard pieced backing. And I LOVE this back so much, it was the inspiration for some new blocks that are hanging out on my sewing table right now! More on those soon.


I quilted this one with fun flower chains running down the blocks. I am definitely loving the ability to experiment a bit more with my free motion quilting. It gives me so many more options! Though my next couple quilts will probably have straight line quilting, haha.


At first, I was going to keep this whole quilt pinks and reds, but the more I looked at it, the more I decided it needed some green. I debated backing AND binding it in green and calling it a watermelon, but I settled on just the binding. And I happened to have just the right fabric sitting in my stash!! Don’t you love those little drops? I think it’s perfect. And come to think of it, that bit of sass the green gives the quilt will probably match this new baby perfectly!


I also made a taggie and some cute burp cloths for baby and mommy.

Now we are just waiting for the new arrival to make her debut!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shop Update

Here are my newest additions to the shop:



Crayon Totes! I only have 2 up right now, but more soon to follow.



These are super fun to make, and fairly fast, though all those crayon slots are time consuming! And then I forgot to tag them until they were all done, so I had to hand stitch the tags in…doh!

Anyways, just thought I would share my latest creation! and I leave you with a picture of Zoey with HER tote that goes with us all over the place now!