Tuesday, November 21, 2017

change of plans

Last weekend, as I was working on a quilt back for my mostly moody quilt, it occurred to me that if I hadn't put the yellow pieces into the quilt top, it would be the absolutely perfect quilt to give to one of my brother in laws. He has been hinting (not so subtly) over the years that he would like a quilt, so it's been on my list, but it just never made it to the top! He's planning on visiting for Thanksgiving, so I figured the timing couldn't be better.
I started by doing quilt surgery. I ripped out all the mustard pieces and decided that I would sew in the replacement pieces with partial seams. It sounded like a good plan, but since the pieces were wonky to begin with, it was quite challenging! Nothing like seeing 21 holes in your quilt top to invite a little panic. Ha!
I persevered and I eventually got the quilt top sewn back together. I felt much better once the quilt top was complete. (Again.)
THEN, I decided that I needed to add a few more rows to the length of the quilt. Now it measures 64" x 84"....not quite a twin size quilt, but a decent lap size. I'm so glad that I went to the trouble to alter the quilt. I love it and I think my brother in law will, too. It will be nice to have this quilt go to a good home rather than adding it to the finished pile. (What a concept, huh? Ha!)
Instead of cleaning, cooking or preparing for the house full of people that will be arriving in a few days, I pieced a quilt back and basted it this morning before the crazy begins. Nothing like a deadline to get things done, right?

The quilt pattern is based on my chain of diamonds quilt, from the book No Scrap Left Behind.
Background color is Kona Shadow. Scraps are various chambray, linen and denim fabrics. Each block finishes at 4" square.

Friday, November 17, 2017

5 ways to upcycle a linen jumper

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

The Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild had an upcycle challenge, which was due at the November meeting. The rules were to use 3 different materials that were not originally quilting cotton (fabric off the bolt) and make something from those materials. I thought it was a fun and interesting challenge! Being frugal by nature, I HAD to join in.

I started with a black linen jumper (full length dress) that I wore about 20 years ago. I always figured that I could use the fabric for something....someday. This challenge was just the push I needed to get it done. I had fun repurposing the fabric to make several things!
My first project was to make a leash for our puppy, Lucy. She has a pink collar, so I incorporated a few pops of pink into her leash. I didn't use a pattern, I just made it up on the fly.
Our other puppy, Gigi, has an aqua collar, so she got pops of aqua incorporated into her leash. The hardware came from the shoulder strap of an old purse. I'm glad I saved the hardware because it's heavy duty. I'm thrilled that I finally re-used it! My family was impressed by the new leashes, which was pretty fun! The puppies like to chew on them, so I'd call that a success all around. Ha! 
Since I had so much dress fabric remaining, my next project was a simple two colored zip pouch. I used black linen for the bottom and a fun fabric scrap from Cheryl for the top. (I used this pattern, but added a half inch to the width and a half inch to the zipper length as well.) The outside panels are quilted to batting scraps to add texture and stability. I love how it turned out!
I had a lot of smaller pieces left after making the leashes, so I turned those scraps into a flying geese pincushion. (Pattern is available here.) I like how the bright colors pop against the black, but I don't care for how linty the fabric is after quilting. Oh, well!
I combined a bunch of little low volume scraps with the linen to make a thread catcher. It was quilted as well, mostly by machine, but I added a touch of hand quilting to the top to finish it up. It was a fun one to make, and fairly quick, too! (Pattern is available here, which includes instructions for the patchwork version.)
And the last project, because I wanted to make 5 different things using the black linen, is a key fob wristlet thingy. :) Well, maybe I shouldn't say last project, but last project for today! I still have a little bit of linen leftover and I will probably making a few more things to finish it off. Stay tuned!

Since next week is Thanksgiving, should we have a link up next Friday or not? I'm undecided, so I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'll let you all decide so I don't have to. :)

That's it for me today! I hope you have a finish to share. If so, please link up. Thank you SO much for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

a binding tip

This was a new-to-me binding tip that I learned from my friend Kristin not that long ago. I've used it on several quilts and I love the results every single time! When I heard about it, I had one of those "why didn't I think of that?" moments. I also wondered how I have been quilting for 17 years and NOT heard of this. Hmmm. I guess better late than never!
When attaching double fold binding, use a (scant) 3/8" seam allowance to sew it to the quilt. You can see in the photo that I am using a seam guide for this. (I LOVE my seam guide! I picked it up at my local sewing center for about $3.00 several years ago. It's one of the best tools I've purchased!)
When you fold your binding strip over on to the back, there should be just enough fabric to cover the stitch line and your binding will be full. Hand stitching the binding down is a breeze because you don't have to tug and pull the fabric to cover the stitch line. This method is NOT recommended for quilts that have star points, half square triangles, or any points that touch the edge of a quilt that depend on a 1/4" seam allowance. It DOES work very well for quilts that are just plain patchwork, quilts that have borders or any quilt that does not have points touching the edge. I've used it on quilts like this one, and this one, among others.

I should mention that this method works well when using binding strips that are cut 2 1/2" wide.

I hope you find this useful! I've been quilting a long time, and I love learning new things like this.

Also, thank you so much to those of you who have shopped my pattern sale....I appreciate your support more than I can say. xo

Monday, November 13, 2017

pattern sale!

I'm running a pattern sale in my craftsy shop and my big cartel shop for the next 48 hours or so. All prices reflect the sale prices, so no discount codes are needed. All proceeds will go to help my kids raise money for Speed the Light.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, November 10, 2017

tag arithmetic quilt top complete

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

Well, the new project that I started this week DID help my focus, believe it or not!
I'm so happy to have a completed quilt top to share today. It felt amazing to make this in a day and a half. Woohoo! I really like what Andrea said in the comments of the last post about quilt kits being like paint by numbers (in a good way!). I have to agree!
At the last minute, I decided to add in one fabric from my good neighbors line (which is from a few years ago), even though the greys don't match exactly. They are close enough! I thought it would be fun to have Cheryl's fabric and a little bit of my fabric play together in the same quilt.

One thing that I did differently than the pattern was to cut the horizontal portion of the blocks into 12 1/2" strips, rather than cutting everything into 4 1/2" squares. It went together more quickly AND the prints are not chopped up as much. Win/win!
The quilt top is a twin size, measuring about 64" x 88". I really love how it turned out!

The pattern is available here, if you care to make one of your own.

I also wanted to mention that I'm having a sample sale over on Instagram. My kids are raising money for our church to support missionaries and I wanted to help them out, so I've listed a bunch of stuff for sale: from pincushions to rag rugs to quilts. All proceeds will go toward Speed the Light, which is a part of AG Youth Ministries. I plan to add more items throughout the weekend. Thanks for looking. :)

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

tag arithmetic quilt--the beginning

I've been having the hardest time focusing this week, so I decided to start a new project. That is sooooo not logical, unless you are a quilter (or crafter)....right?
I bought this quilt kit (my first ever!) from Connecting Threads back in February. The fabric is my friend Cheryl's line called Tag. The pattern is called Arithmetic, by my friend Jeni. It's pretty neat to be able to support two of my friends in one purchase!
I love this project because it's FAST! I started cutting late this morning and did the layout this afternoon. I plan to sew a little bit on it this evening. It's so nice to have a straightforward project to work on.
My daughter really likes the color scheme, so she has already tried to claim it for her own. I guess we will have to see about that....

The kits are still available (and on sale!) here, if you care to make one of your own. Updated to add: it looks like the kits are sold out. I still highly recommend the pattern!

I hope you are having a good week so far!

Friday, November 03, 2017

marmalade quilt

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
It's an exciting day! I finished hand stitching the binding on my marmalade quilt this morning!
This is the first quilt finish I've had since May. That's like 6 months! (WHAT???) I'm still trying to figure out how that happened. I guess it really doesn't matter that much. It's not like I'm running out of quilts or anything. Hahahaha!
The pattern is called Cartwheels, which is free on the Moda Bake Shop. I made this version with a layer cake instead of a jelly roll. Because of that, I had to cut some extra squares from my stash for the top and bottom borders. I thought about leaving them off, but my friend Mary talked me into adding them. I'm so glad she did. The few extra inches on each end means it's a twin size quilt rather than a lap size. Perfect!
The fabric is called Marmalade, which is an OLD line by Bonnie and Camille. I'm glad I finally bit the bullet and sewed it up rather than to continue to hoard it! What a concept, eh? ;) The background fabric is Kona snow, which was a perfect match.
I quilted it on my Juki with a simple stipple in white Aurifil thread. I look forward to washing it soon to get that wonderful crinkled texture.
The backing is a wide back from Connecting Threads. It's called Picnic Gingham. It's the second time I've used it on a quilt back and it probably won't be the last! It's so happy!
The quilt measures about 64" x 88". Can I just say it....finishing feels GREAT!

Now, it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 30, 2017

wool and flannel pin cushions

The weather has turned blustery in these parts. It's times like these that I am especially thankful to be a quilter...(and part time knitter)! Last week, before the first snow was forecast, we finally started to rake our leaves. We have several mature trees in our yard, so we have gobs and gobs of leaves. I was raking around a tree stump and I thought, "oh! that would be a cute backdrop for a pin cushion photo." Then, I remembered that I had some wool squares hiding in the deep recesses of my sewing room that I had purchased back in 2013. (!!!) I combined those wool squares (along with some flannel scraps) to make several pin cushions. Some are all wool, some are all flannel, and some are a combination of the two.
I was concerned that the wool wouldn't contain the filling (crushed walnut shells) adequately, so I added interfacing (Pellon SF101) to the back of each square or rectangle that I used. (I interfaced the back of the flannel pieces for added stability as well.) I'm happy to report that it worked extremely well. I like to stitch the openings closed with invisible (nylon) thread. It makes for nearly invisible closure without having to stress over perfect hand stitching. Yay!
I've been traveling and speaking a lot this fall, so I've given away a lot of pin cushions. I'm happy to have several more to replenish the giveaway basket! Who can't use just one more pin cushion?
Happy Monday to you!
 

Friday, October 27, 2017

mostly moody quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!

I managed to finish sewing this quilt top together this week! I'm calling it mostly moody, at least for now. This quilt is a great representation of late fall weather...mostly moody, with little peeks of sunshine here and there. We've had SUCH a lovely fall in Minnesota this year, so I shan't complain. Winter is definitely on the way, ready or not.
The pattern is called Chain of Diamonds, from my book No Scrap Left Behind. I upsized the blocks, so they finish at 4" rather than the 2" that the pattern directs.

Background fabric: Kona shadow
Scraps: Mostly denim, chambray and a little bit of linen and quilting cotton
Finished size: 64" x 72"
288 blocks total
I have an idea for the back, which will probably take awhile, but if it works out I will be so pleased. I'm aiming for a two sided quilt in the end. What can I say? I like making the most of my batting dollar. Ha!
My little Lucy approves of the quilt top, too. :)

Well, that's it for me today! Now it's your turn to link up your finishes for the week. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

my crayon challenge quilt

Earlier this year, the Minneapolis MQG held a crayon challenge. Each person that participated had to pick between 2-4 crayons (blindly) from a brown paper bag. The directive was to make something (anything) using those colors, with permission to add one other color to the mix. I was pretty pleased with the crayons that I drew from the bag. I was able to make my quilt top entirely from the stash, which is always a great feeling!
The colors I chose were violet red, cerise, sea green and sky blue. I added a creamy white background to the mix. I actually used two different prints of the creamy white, (both Carolyn Friedlander prints) because I didn't have 4 yards of one print, but you would never know it unless you looked really closely. 
The pattern I used is Emma's Sitting Room, except this time in the large size. You can see the small version here.  Isn't it crazy how different a quilt can look just by changing the fabrics? That, to me, never gets old. Never, ever! (Someday I need to do a round up of different quilt variations from one pattern. I bet I have close to 20 examples in my own collection of quilts!)
 
It was a gorgeous day for photographing this quilt today. I was happy to see those brilliant blue skies. Pretty amazing for the end of October!
This backing fabric was a lucky find at a quilt shop in Missouri. It was only $4.00/yard! I bought the rest of the bolt, naturally, knowing that it would make a great quilt back...someday. Wouldn't you know it? I finished the quilt top the next week and I had JUST the right amount of fabric to back the quilt. It was definitely meant to be! The binding came from my stash, too. This has got to be one of my favorite binding/backing combos ever.
I quilted it on my Juki with loop-de-loops all over in a cream colored Aurifil thread.
The quilt finishes at 80" x 75"....a nice large lap quilt. The pattern is available here, if you care to make one of your own.

It's so nice to finally share this quilt. I looked back and I finished it in April!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Emma's sitting room quilt

Emma's Sitting Room is another quilt that I designed to showcase my new Emma & Myrtle fabrics. This one has kind of a crazy twist to the story, though, which I'll share at the end of this post.
This pattern comes in two different sizes...this version is 40" x 37", which makes a nice baby quilt or wall hanging. The larger size is 80" x 75", which is a generous lap size. I have a scrappy version in the larger size to show you, but I plan to share that in another blog post.
I wasn't exactly sure how to quilt it, because there are a lot of bulky seams from all the HSTs, which makes it a prime candidate for distortion. Eventually, I came up with the idea to quilt it using wavy lines. I first tried to quilt the lines with my walking foot, but the waves weren't pronounced enough, and there was a lot of drag. So, I switched to my free motion foot and quilted this in a relatively short time. It was quick to quilt AFTER I ripped out my first few rows of quilting, that is....but, it was totally worth it!
I used a sweet lamb print from my stash to back the quilt, which is from an older line by Riley Blake. The stripe (which is part of the collection) makes a great binding, I think.
I had this quilt mostly finished, except for part of the binding, when I was teaching at the Museum in Cedarburg, WI, back in May. I saw the weathered shed and thought it would be a good backdrop for quilt photos, so I quickly finished up the binding on my lunch break and snapped a few photos of the finished quilt before I taught class in the afternoon. Ridiculous, but true!
My original quilt mock up was a variation on the traditional bear paw block. I had the dimensions and the math all worked out for two different sizes. Connecting Threads had the fabric ordered for kits and everything. Then, (dun dun dun) my friend, Kristin, came across this pattern, which was already published. The pattern isn't EXACTLY the same, but way too close for me to feel comfortable to proceed. After panicking a little bit, I did a lot of playing around with different layouts and ideas....and eventually I came up with the Sitting Room Quilt. Some people have asked why it is rectangular rather than square. The reason for that it because I retro-fit the pattern to meet the previous quilt's fabric requirements. (Fun times!) The rectangular format isn't something that I wouldn't have thought to do on purpose, but I actually like it a lot. And now, you know the rest of the story. Hahaha!
The pattern is available here, or you can get a kit with the fabric and pattern here, if you care to make one of your own!
 
Happy Monday to you!


Friday, October 20, 2017

brianne's socks and a tiny little zip pouch

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
My friend brianne had a birthday this week and I knit her a pair of socks! I totally guessed on the size and I'm so relieved that they fit her perfectly the first time around. Hurray!
I ventured out and used a new to me pattern which can be found here. The contrast toe and heel are pretty fun!! (Many thanks to my friend Suzanne for the pattern recommendation.) The main sock yarn is by Madelintosh and I'm fairly certain the colorway is called Cosmic Wonder Dust. The pink yarn is Baby Wool by Coats, which I found at my local quilt (and yarn!) shop.
This is my 21st pair of hand knit socks that I have finished to date! I have 3 more socks on the needles at this time, so hopefully I'll have a few more finished pairs to share soon. Many thanks to Brianne and her son for taking the wonderful photos for this post!

I also have one more little finish for the week....
Yesterday I made a tiny wide open pouch for my friend Kristin. (There is a tutorial here, although this one has been sized down considerably. hahaha!)
I squealed over this so much when I made it!!! Tiny is so much fun, but now I want to make a larger version. I have a feeling it would be much easier to make! And maybe just a touch more practical. Ha! :)

Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks so much for joining me for finish it up Friday! Have a GREAT weekend!