Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bouquet of hexagons

Recently, a friend and faithful reader of this blog had to have major surgery.  Given that she lives on the left coast and I live in fly over territory, I couldn't visit her in the hospital or bring her dinners when she got out.  I thought about sending her chocolates or flowers, but both only last a little while.  Then I remembered she had really admired the hexagon flowers I've been making.  I decided to make her a pillow to match the quilt I made her a few years ago, something that would bring her comfort and joy since I couldn't be there myself.

I started working on the flowers here and there, but it was taking too long.  One morning I decided I was just going to get 'er done.  I put on TV shows for Petite Mademoiselle and sat and hand stitched ALL day.  By the end of the day, my fingers were numb, but I had 7 hexagon flowers sewn together.  I'm now rethinking my plan for the rest of the hexagons, but this pillow turned out perfectly.

 I FMQ'd the background in a dense loopy pattern.  I appliquéd the hexagons to the background before I quilted it, so they are a little puffy and stand out nicely from the background.
I used binding leftover from my friend's quilt.  You just can't get any better than that Neopolitan stripe.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bucket List

It has been forever since I did the bucket list.  I'm not doing very well about knocking things off it.  I haven't really touched it since I last posted it in July.  So much for accountability.

Here is the bucket list.

HST-  so many options, so little time

Drunkards Path-  not yet

Improv stripes bed spread-  Must finish this before summer. (Ha! Let's shoot for next summer.  I did pull it out and there really isn't too much more too do, I just need a bigger table to support the mass.)

Interlocking wonky stars wall hanging-  So many stars  I've lost count of how many, debating one star from each fabric, or more than one.  I have enough for wall hanging but I'm debating if I should keep going.  These things are addictive. (I've been adding to the pile, but there isn't any good way to start assembling before I'm completely finished.)

Dutch windmills- have a stack of fabric put together, but am debating using it for On a Whim.  I don't think On a Whim looks like much fun, but I should try at least one block before I change my mind again. (This is so at the bottom of the list)

Rainbow charm squares- I cut a few more charm squares from recent projects to add.  Baby girl has requested a rainbow room when we move, so that will be a goo project for these.

Flying Geese

Perfect the zippered pouch- might work on this one for Christmas

New Patterns- working on 2 different ideas, have prototypes, but need to work out the kinks. (Thinking about going in a new direction on one of these.)


Swoon- 100% done and I've slept under it.

Postage Stamp Quilt-  100% done and living in it's new home.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Decor

I pulled out the fall decor a few weeks ago and decided I wanted a wreath to match a garland I made for the mantle.

The garland was just strips of fabric tied onto a strip of muslin.  You could use twine or string, but I have a bolt of muslin, so I just ripped off 2 wof strips.  I pulled out my brown, yellow, orange, red and olive green scraps.  I cut a ton of strips 5-9 inches long and 1-2 inches wide.  I also threw in some black and orange tulle scraps from Baby Girl's tutu.
I filled that gallon ziplock to bursting and then had to cut more.  I can got the lid on the warm scrap bin again, but there is still a ton in there.

I cut a ton more for the wreath, but I tied them onto a wire wreath frame that I got for less than $5.

Since I used scraps and ugly fabrics, the only cost was frame.  It turned out nice and full and even looks good from the back, which is important because our front door has windows at the top.  I hung it with a command hook on the inside of the door.  I had to take this photo against the wall, because all the pictures on the door were backlit.

The nice thing about this project is that all your ugly scraps get hidden in the mass and are used up.  I added a little orange tulle poof, because it seemed to need a little something.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Seashore Granny Squares

I jumped on the granny square bandwagon.  I had a bunch of charms squares that I had cut up for the baby quilt I made for the BFF to give as a gift.  I didn't want to do patchwork again, but I wanted to use the charm squares.  Granny squares seemed like a good fit.

 I ran out of aqua before I got to the setting triangles, so I used a medium grey for those.

 I FMQ'd this one too.  Since the quilt is bigger I used a bigger scale loop and tried harder to be consistant.

 I'm so thrilled with my new skill.  It really is like riding a bicycle.  You just to have confidence and just go for it.

 On the back I used a big piece of madras cheater patchwork and pieced in the scraps and a navy print.  I believe the navy is a DS for Joann's.  The madras cheater is from Shore Thing, I think.

 I'm really pleased with the front and I hope the recipient, will love it and use it.

 Washing it really helps smooth out all the funky places in the quilting.

 I bound it in a connecting threads stripe.  Perfection!  And I didn't forget to label it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A quick little patchwork

I put together this fun little stack over the past few months.   I didn't have a plan, I just liked the fabric colors and themes together.  My BFF recently came to vist and asked if I could make her a quilt to gift to a friend who was having a baby.  I asked her if she liked this fabric combo and she did.

Here is my BFF with the kids.  They took to her right away despite not having seen her in 2 years.

We whipped up this little patchwork quilt in an evening and I quilted it and bound it the next afternoon.

I planned it so I could sue a single piece of fabric for back without piecing.  I believe the madras cheater is from Shore Thing, but don't quote me on it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Winter Forest

This is a quilt I started last winter, before I put all the Christmas fabrics away.  It languished as a WIP most of the year because I couldn't decide how to quilt it and I didn't know what I was going to do with it.  I've been practicing my free motion quilting and finally decided that I simply had to bite the bullet and just do it.  This seemed like a good quilt to sacrifice because it wasn't very big and I didn't know what I was going to do it with it anyway.

 I am so unbelievably pleased with the way the quilting turned out.  I quilted it with a loopy meander.  I can't for the life of me get the movement of stippling down, but this loopy meander comes naturally.  I really like the cut down trees.  It was a great use for the end of the strip that I cut the triangles from.  I believe these are either 50 or 45 degree triangles.  I don't remember which I used.
Lookit!!!!  I FMQ'd!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I just read a quote on someone else's blog that really helped me think about quilting and crafting in a new way.  I keep thinking I need to turn my hobby into a business.  I'm a stay at home mom who's 2 children will both be in school next year.  I keep thinking I should do something oriented towards a profit stream.  Since I want to spend most of my day quilting, that would seem to be a logical direction. The truth is I don't like making the same quilt over and over.  I like my process to be fluid.  I have one pattern that I've sold and the truth is even when making my own pattern, I can't stick to the directions.

I'm just finishing up a quilt that I made with the idea of writing a pattern.  However, I made a few cutting mistakes and instead of starting over, I just fluidly incorporated the mistakes.  I love doing that.  However, now I'd have to make another quilt following the pattern directions to have a picture for the pattern cover.  I just don't want to.  I even have some of the fabric cut.  I explored that idea and now I'm ready to move on.

So the quote that inspired me today is from Leah Day, who said, "A craft is worth pursuing ONLY if you can pursue what you want, when you want to."

There have been times this year when I simply haven't quilted because I told myself I HAD to work on that pattern idea, so I just did nothing instead.  I sort of stubborn that way.  It's nice to have a paradigm shift every once in a while.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Red and Aqua

I made a red and aqua quilt for a friend of mine.  I introduced her to quilting so I would have someone to share my obsession with.  It worked a little too well.  She is awesome and adventurous and tries patterns I would never attempt.  As a just because you are great present, I made her this quilt.
 I quilted it very simply through the diagonals of all the squares.  I didn't get a single pucker, so I'm clearly doing something right and improving my technique.
 The back is my usual thing with scraps from the front.  Originally, I was going to sprinkle the grey stars through the front, but I just didn't get the contrast in values sharp enough.  They work fine on the back.
 I'm going to have to try those stars sprinkled in patchwork again.  It's a good idea.  i just need the right fabrics.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Hexies are going swimmingly.  I have been limiting myself to just working on them outside the house.  I was working on them at night while watching TV, but after a few days my hands and wrists started to hurt.  Everything in moderation, right?

I've gotten a few more done since I took this picture.  Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying sewing these by hand.  I think I'm going to make a body pillow cover for Baby Girl's room.  I need to pull out the pink scrap bin and start adding those in to balance out the blues and greens.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dog Shaming

Have you seen the website Dog-Shaming?  It's hilarious.  My kids love it.  Everyday, when the Wee Monsieur gets home from school, he wants to see if there are any new entries.  He insisted that we make our own version for our dogs.
There isn't enough time to list all the crime committed by Loki on the right.  He eats everything.  Little did I know, that we would soon have a new crime to add to the list.

That is my first hexagon flower.  Loki peeled all the papers out of it.  He only pulled out a few basting stitches, so I think it should be an easy fix.  But seriously, he ate all the papers out of my fabric?!  This dog also once very carefully pulled $62 in bills out of my husband's leather wallet, which was in his pants pocket.  The pants had been dropped on the floor, but neither the pants nor the wallet were harmed.  If you want to know how I know it was $62, I found them encased in poop in the backyard.  The bills were completely intact.  I cleaned them sterilized them and put them in ziplock bags and turned them into the bank as damaged.  It was 62 dollars!  You can imagine that the bank was not happy with me.

I was going to have a happy hexie post with nice photos of my first hexie flower, but you know who ruined that.  When I get another one made, I'll post it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Christmas Pillowcases

I finished these last month, but it took me a while to find my camera.  Apparently it was in the car, who knew! I made some pillow cases for the nephews last Christmas and my SIL commissioned me to make her some Christmas themed ones.  I had to wait until the new Christmas fabrics came out to get started.  Nothing like Christmas in July.  SIL wanted a pair of pillow cases to use in the family room and a pair for her boys.  I thought the presents were a great general Christmas theme and the contrasting cuff of the red with Merry Christmas in many languages was a nice pairing.
 For the boys, the Grinch is one of their favorites, so that's what I used.  Ordinarily, I don't use much white when sewing for kids, but I thought pillowcases would be relatively safe.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I've been wanting to make a pinwheel quilt for a while.  Last Spring I found out that the preschool teacher, who has taught both kiddos for the last 2 years and who is teaching Baby Girl this year, was expecting baby girl #3 in September.  She said she was planning on using the purple nursery she had already from the first two.  That gave me the idea of using purple and yellow as they are complementary colors and have a good value contrast.  I had to buy a bunch of purples as that is not a color I use very often.  It's good to have an excuse to beef up the stash. 
 Most of the pinwheels are unique fabric combinations.  I had enough fabrics that there are only a few places where I used the same combo twice.  Of course, I forgot to get a close up.  I love how some of the fabrics stand out more than others and how the secondary pattern of the quarter square triangles comes out when you least expect it.  I thought about mixing the HST components up completely before making the pinwheels, but then I thought the pinwheel pattern might get lost completely.

It's about 58 inches square, which is a good cuddle lap size.  I like to make baby quilts that are big enough to cuddle with the baby under.  I quilted it in cross hatching diagonals.  I've had really good luck quilting on the bias lately.  I haven't had any bunching.
For the backing, I took a single yard and half cut and sliced and diced and added fabric until it was big enough.  I had to go back and add two more strips after starting to baste when I realized it wasn't big enough.  Then I had to take out a quarter of my basting pins after I finished when I realized I had a big pucker in the backing.  Sigh, but at least it's done.  It's bound in a lavender and yellow stripe.

I don't have the HST bug out of my system.  I'm debating a king sized HST quilt, but I'm also leaning towards using half rectangle triangles.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I know I made a Halloween quilt last year, but I couldn't resist getting a little bit of Tula Pink's Nightshade.  I threw in a little Birds and Bee for good measure.  I got the fabric more than a week ago, but I've been busy finishing the baby quilt for my kids' preschool teacher.  I got that finished over the weekend and delivered it Monday night, so it was about time to start a new project.  I wanted to showcase the larger scale prints including the Coven print.
I was thinking about a snowball quilt, but maybe with sashing and having the blocks offset, so that it would sort of look like a hexagon quilt, but without the hard seams.  I thought 6-8 inch blocks would be about right and yield some nice little HSTs from the cut off corners.  I got out my fabric to measure the repeat.  Yeah, those medallions are 13 inches tall and 10 inches across.  I only have 4 of them in my half yard cut.  Back to the drawing board.  I might have to save the offset snowball idea for my lobster boil stack of fabric.

So any ideas on what to do with my Nightshade stack?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Measuring fail

I've been working on a baby quilt for the kiddos' preschool teacher.  Wee Monsieur had her 2 years ago and Baby Girl had her last year and this year.  It's been slow going because I've been watching the Olympics during sewing time.  I finally buckled down and got the top and back completed.  I laid everything out on the living room floor to baste it and discovered that my backing is 3 inches short in one direction and barely big enough in the other.  My top is 58 inches square and I thought I'd made the backing about 64.  I guess I didn't.

My sewing time has also been cut down dramatically due to the fact that Hubby is now working in the basement family room, otherwise known as my sewing studio.  We turned his office back into a bedroom when we put our house on the market.  Now, I can't sew during the day while he's working, as he works from home.

I need to get this quilt done by next week as that is when school starts and the recipient is due Sept 1, but has a history of going early.  I don't want to be stuck with another baby quilt sitting in my closet for 4 months because I didn't get it gifted before maternity leave, not that I know anything about that.  At least I'll be able to give the current closet occupent to Wee Monsieur's teacher next week when school starts.  I feel bad that I didn't get it to her in the Spring before the baby, but it at least she'll have it before the weather gets cold. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

favorite thing ever...fabric selection

My favorite thing about quilting is choosing the fabric.  If I could create stacks of fabric al day long for people to make into quilts, I would never be bored.  I'd go work in a quilt store, except I'd get really frustrated that people wouldn't take my very good advice.   When the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild president sent around an email with a list of talk topics and asked if anyone would choose one for the monthly meeting, I volunteered for fabric selection before the metaphorical ink was dry.  I'm giving the talk at the DSMMQG meeting on July 19th.  Come check us out if you are in the area.

This had made me think about how I choose fabrics and what I plan on telling people about how to choose their fabrics.  I've been thinking I should have a few example stacks to show people.  Yay, I get to play with my stash.  I'm wrapping up my latest project, which I can't show here yet because it's a gift for someone who knows about this blog.  This made me think about what my next project should be.  I need to finish up my grey and yellow bed spread, but before I haul that out, I think I can squeeze in a new pillow for Wee Monsieur.

Since we are trying to sell our house, I've been really good about making the beds and generally keeping things tidy.  The Happy Pirate Pillow is still much loved, but doesn't really coordinate with his room very well.  I'm hoping if I make him a new pillow, then we might be able to put the pirate pillow away until we sell the house.  I pinned a pillow from Pottery Barn Kids with the word EXPLORE appliquéd on it.  I'm trying to decide if I should applique the letters from different fabrics on a solid ground like the pillow, or do stripes of different fabrics with applique letters from one fabric on top.   

Here is the stack I pulled to start. 

When I looked it with the bed spread, I realized the bed spread green was more sage and the blue was more periwinkle than the fabrics I selected.  I edited down to this stack, but the colors still aren't dead on.

Being dead on isn't necessarily the goal, but I'll need to think on this one a bit more.  I am happy with the mix of print sizes and types and I think I did a reasonable job of picking a relatively "masculine" selection of prints.  We'll see where it goes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Swoon Finished

I got Swoon back from the long arm quilter and it took me a while to get it bound.  It looks awesome.  I went with the grey with light grey dot from Ruby.  It even looks awesome on the back.  I hand stitched the binding and I don't think I'll ever machine finish a quilt again.  It really is lovely to have a perfect binding on a quilt you've worked so long on.

 I'm really proud of this one, but at the same time, since it's someone else's pattern, it's not totally my own.
I finally got a decent shot of the quilting.  Love the contrast of the straight lines with swirly feathers for the quilting.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Over the last year, I have made quilts for the oldest and youngest daughters of good friends of ours.  It seemed like the middle daughter needed a quilt too.  It's hard enough being the middle child, without not getting a quilt.  Once I heard that Rapunzel was her favorite princess, I knew just what to do.  I got my hands on some Heather Ross Rapunzel fabric.  It came all the way from New Zealand and I might have gotten a bit extra to justify the postage.  This is the sort of fabric that must be fussy cut, so perfect time to throw together some improv log cabins.  I also wanted to use some Castle Peeps that I had been holding on to for a while.  The Castle Peeps is so saturated in contrast to the muted colors of Heather Ross, but I knew I could make it work.  

 The yard long cut of castle peeps towers determined the dimensions.   It ended up about 50 inches square.  I pulled bright pinks and yellows to coordinate with the tower print.   The puce people print, in the corner blocks, doesn't play that nicely with everything else, but thematically it was too perfect not to use, so I did.  Sometimes a fabric just needs to be used and especially for a quilt for a child, who will enjoy the images more than she will notice the not quite perfect color coordination, I just went with it.
 Once I had everything laid out it felt like the border needed some separation from the center blocks and the teal in the towers seemed to come from nowhere, so I pulled the dot print with teal, pink and yellow to frame out the components and bring in a bit more teal.  The binding is a pink, yellow and orange stripe that just seemed perfect.
 The back is chunks of pink and white florals with an off center improv piece that used up almost all the   scraps from the front.  Love it when a plan come together.  I cut a piece fo the main backing the length needed, then slice it off center and piece in the second background fabric and the improv section.  Works every time, with minimal waste.
I just love improv piecing, but it feel like cheating, it's too easy.  I'm so pleased with the color combinations that I might not send this off right away so I can use it as an example at a fabric selection talk I'm giving to the Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild in July.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Star Pillows

My good friend B was showing my blog to her mother a few months ago and they stumbled upon this post about my first attempt at paper piecing.  They decided that star block would make great pillows to give as a housewarming gift to a family friend.  I was pleased to help them out and extra pleased that their timeline was flexible.  I finished the pillows and they are on their way to their new home in California.

 They sent me the fabric and and requested the fabric placement.  I think they turned out great.
For quilting I just did some simple echo quilting of the shapes with two rows of quilting inside the red star to emphasize the shape.  I choose not to traditionally bind these, as I just didn't have enough fabric to make them all the same.  I sewed the envelop backing to the front panel right sides together then turned them right side out.  I poked out the corners nice and square and top stitched the edge.  Perfect pillow finishing.

I hope the recipient likes them as much as I enjoyed making them.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bucket List updated

Here is the bucket list.

HST-  so many options, so little time

Drunkards Path-  not yet

Improv stripes bed spread-  Must finish this before summer.

Interlocking wonky stars wall hanging-  So many stars  I've lost count of how many, debating one star from each fabric, or more than one.  I have enough for wall hanging but I'm debating if I should keep going.  These things are addictive.

Dutch windmills- have a stack of fabric put together, but am debating using it for On a Whim.  I don't think On a Whim looks like much fun, but I should try at least one block before I change my mind again.

Rainbow charm squares

Flying Geese

Perfect the zippered pouch

New Patterns- working on 2 different ideas, have prototypes, but need to work out the kinks.


Swoon- 100% done and I've slept under it.

Postage Stamp Quilt-  100% done and living in it's new home.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Postage Stamp QAL

More than a year after the QAL finished, I finished up the Postage Stamp Quilt.  A funny thing happened, I discovered that in addition to the two jelly rolls I had bought last year, I also had a layer cake and a bunch of yardage.  I brought the lot of it with me to show to a friend to get her opinion and while we were discussing it, another friend saw it and fell in love.  She didn't need a bed sized quilt, which is what I had been thinking of making, but she could use a lap quilt, so that's what I made.  Yay for my second quilt sale.

 The front is totally traditional postage stamp quilt.  I had to cut a few extra patterned fabric strips to make up for the duplicate strips that I didn't use.  I used some coordinating fabrics from other lines to round out the jelly roll collection.
 I quilted it very simply with a straight line on the diagonal through the patterned squares.  I pinned this one instead of my usual spray basting and it went really smoothly.  I didn't have enough pins to do the whole quilt at once so I pinned half of it really densely and the other half loosely and then laid it out and repinned when I had quilted the first half.  It worked surprisingly well.  I have now purchased more pins so hopefully I won't have to do that again.
For the back I sewed together the layer cake in a big patchwork and threw a border on it from the yardage I had to bring it up to size.  Again, considering this was something like 70x80 it all went surprisingly smoothly.  It is now gracing my friend's home and I hope it brings her many years of warmth and joy.