Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WiP: When a 4-Year-Old Meets the Design Wall

Munchkin meets design wall

*Remember, if you donate to Hope Kids before the end of the month, you can get a discount on quilting services for up to $25.  See THIS POST for details!*

This afternoon I asked my munchkin if she wanted to go to JoAnn's to pick out some fabric for a new skirt.  Really I just need some machine oil for my longarm, but I thought it would be nice if I could get her excited about going.  She decided that she wanted to buy fabric to make blankies for her stuffed animals.  When I told her that she already had some fabric that we bought several months ago, she got really excited and wanted to see it. 

Munchkin meets design wall

So we put little brother down for a nap and picked a few fabrics from her stash, added a few from mine, and cut squares and got started.  It was going to be 4x4 squares, but she kept wanting it bigger.  I'm glad I had some charms we could pull out and add to it.

Munchkin meets design wall--done!
Instead of "Cheese" I told her to say "I made this!"  She was very happy to do so. =) 

She really enjoyed the process.  I'll admit it was hard for me not to jump in too much so the color placement was at least a little more balanced, but it was fun to spend some time together.  She's been asking to sew together for a long time, I'm really glad that we made a start today.

I think we'll start sewing during tomorrow's nap time.  I'll probably even let her use the longarm (with a lot of help!) when we get to the quilting part.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Two King Size Quilting Finishes

I recently finished quilting two king-size quilts for Leigh.  These were the biggest quilts that I have done yet and they turned out really well.  I wouldn't have been able to do quilts nearly this large on my old machine, so I'm really glad I have the new one!  She wanted allover patterns on both quilts.  The second is my favorite of the two.

Her first quilt was a simple patchwork design, but made with large squares.  They finished at 9.5", so this could have been a layer cake pattern.  The colors she chose are very soothing.
  Leigh's Quilt #1

On this quilt I decided to do an allover swirl pattern.  Some of the fabrics had very round elements, and I wanted to kind of echo that.

Leigh's Quilt #1 close-up

She pieced a cute bright green stripe down the center of the back.
Leigh's quilt #1 with back

The second quilt was all half square triangles.  I didn't measure them, but they are around 6" finished.  They were arranged in 9-patches, and each 9-patch makes a star with various color placements. 
Leigh's Quilt #2

One of the fabrics had paisley in it, so I quilted this paisley-ish design that I LOVE.  I learned it recently from my friend Kayli.  It is supposed to be done fairly small (I think) but I thought it would have a great visual effect if I did it larger.  There are a few smaller ones in there to fill spaces, but the larger ones range from 8-12 inches long.  I absolutely love the motion that this pattern provides, it seemed like a really nice contrast to the angular piecing pattern while echoing the paisley in the fabric.
Leigh's Quilt #2 detail

The back of the quilt had a stripe down the center as well, this time in three different colors.
Leigh's Quilt #2, Back

I'm pretty sure this is my new favorite quilting pattern, I will definitely be using it again.
Leigh's quilt #2, back detail

Thanks, Leigh for sending me your quilts!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Emily's Bee Blocks

This post could also be titled: "I can't do math when I'm pregnant."

For this month Emily asked us to make these simple square-in-a-square blocks.  She gave us each a black and a white text print.  We were asked to make two blocks, but if we had time we could make more because they are super easy, and we could throw in additional black and white text prints if we wanted to.  I had a few scraps of the Madrona Road text print left, so I decided to make a few extras.  I had planned to make one more with a tiny white center and wide black border, but I made a cutting error.  I hate those!  It was at the end too, after I had successfully cut three blocks already.  Grrr!
 Those who have known me through previous pregnancies know well that I struggle with basic math when I'm pregnant, especially fractions.  Multiplication and division have been tricky this time around too.  I remember trying to calculate how wide to cut strips for my little guy's baby quilt during the Super Bowl in 2011.  I wanted strips of various widths and combinations that needed to add up to a certain measurement.  I just could not do it to save my life and had to ask my husband to help.  This is very bothersome to me considering I'm usually quite good at math.  I even did pretty well in Calculus, although I don't remember it anymore. 

The black fabric Emily gave me was cut at about 6 3/8" wide, and the blocks finish at 6 1/2.  As I was preparing to cut strips, I thought, "If I cut a section 9" wide, trim the edges to 6 1/2", and then sub-cut it to the sizes I need, I'll save some time."  Then I realized that it was not wide enough to get the full 6 1/2", so I proceeded to cut the pieces one at a time IN THE SAME DIRECTION.  Then I lined up the edges and squared off the end, making it even shorter.  I was so frustrated when I realized what I had done.  If I'd turned them 90 degrees it would have been fine.  So I did the best I could and had to piece these back together.  I also didn't have enough to cut the other block I'd planned after this mistake.  
Hopefully Emily won't mind because you really can't tell from the front.  The good news is that this is technically an extra block, so at least she has three blocks just how she asked for them without any modifications.  I really hope that I get my math back enough to plan out my new little guy's quilt, but I'm going to have Mr. Mills double check it to be sure.  I'm glad he understands seam allowances.

Honestly there's a good chance I would have made a similar mistake even if my brain wasn't clouded in pregnancy fog, but I like to think I wouldn't have. 

It felt really good to sit down and do some real sewing.  I've been spending most of my sewing time at the longarm, which I love, but I've missed my time with my domestic machine as well.  I'm looking forward to spending more time with it soon, I hope.  Speaking of the longarm, I just finished two king-size customer quilts that I'll be posting in the next couple of days.  Please come back and check them out!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Danielle's Quilt/Support Team London!

I have a special story to share with you today, and I hope you will read all the way to the end.  Or at least skim, because I know you are busy.

I met Danielle about 8 years ago when we were both working at JoAnn's.  I was between teaching jobs and had just gotten engaged, and she was also engaged.  I was hired shortly before the store closed to move to a larger store, and then I found a teaching job, so we only worked together for a couple of months.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and I get a message on Facebook from Danielle, asking if I was the same Barbie that worked at JoAnn's years ago.  She had seen me comment on a mutual friend's post, and it turned out that we live just down the street from each other now, and have for a while.  (It's kind of a long street.)  I think I have actually gotten to know her better in the last couple of months than when we worked together.  It's hard to really get to know someone when you're working retail at different ends of the store, you know? 
 Danielle recently brought me this quilt which she made for her sister's wedding.  The pattern is from the May/June issue of Quiltmaker Magazine.  It's called Easy Breezy Hexies by Sonja Callaghan.

The pattern and layout of this quilt are fantastic, but unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the whole quilt.  My little guy threw up within one minute of me taking the last stitches, and then she came to pick it up the next morning, so I only got pics of sections of the quilt hanging off of my frame.  I especially love the pieced centers of the stars--the stripes make such a nice accent.  She said the pattern was really intimidating for her at first, but turned out to be really easy after all.  She did a great job piecing it. 

Danielle asked for allover loopy quilting. 
 She said that everyone at the wedding loved the quilt.

So here's the special part that I really hope you read.  Danielle has a 5 year old daughter with special needs named London.  She is such a sweet little girl, but having a special needs child certainly has challenges.  One of the organizations that has helped their family is Hope Kids.  From what I understand it is like the Make-a-Wish Foundation, but on a smaller, more frequent scale, helping families do things that you or I would do without a second thought.  Their family is running a 5K on August 3rd to raise money for Hope Kids to give back to the organization that has helped them so much.  They started out with a goal of raising $500, then raised it to $750, and last I checked they were up to $800 in donations to help this great organization.  Even so, I'd like to try to help them some more.

London with her adoring little brother.  Used with permission.
So here's what I'm doing about it and asking you to help.  For anyone who donates to Team London before the end of the campaign, which is technically August 3rd but the end of July would be a safer bet, I'm offering to give you a matching discount of up to $25 on quilting services, for up to three quilts per person.  So it you donate $25 and your quilting cost is $50, your charge will only be $25.  You come out even, but your donation to Hope Kids is tax deductible.  All you need to do is show me a copy of your receipt and you'll receive your discount.  You can choose to donate anonymously if you'd like to and still receive a discount.  Another perk, your discount will not expire for a year, even though the campaign ends in about two weeks. 

I hope you will consider supporting this cause.  I'd like to show my support for my friend. She has been so touched by everyone's generous donations so far.  Let's help them raise over $1000 for Hope Kids!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Big Changes and Plans for Upcoming Projects

 I've been MIA--a lot--lately.  Explanation below.  For now I've got my hands on this stack of lovelies, and I need to figure out what to do with it.  I'll be adding a solid navy for backgrounds, but two quilts will be coming out of this stack, a baby quilt and an XL Twin. 
For this growing bump:
Yep, our family is growing.  #3 will be joining us in November.  So that's why it's been quiet here--I've been too tired to do much sewing after the kids are in bed, so I haven't been that productive, and when I have been productive I haven't felt like blogging.  I've got a few things recently finished or in the works that I'll be updating you on in the next two weeks, and then I'll drop in on a somewhat more regular basis for at least a little while.  Come November, I may just drop off the face of the Earth again. =)
I'm pretty sure what I want to do for this little guy's big-boy quilt, but I'm having a harder time deciding on his baby quilt.  The fabric I decided on is Technicolor by Emily Herrick, which I got from Fabric Worm.  I was lucky enough to randomly win a $25 gift certificate from participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, which helped make a significant dent in my fabric purchase.  I LOVE this fabric.  The colors are unbelievably vibrant, you really have to see them.  
I want my boys' quilts to semi-coordinate because they will likely be sharing a room for a while when they are a little older, but I still want them to have their own personalities.  I made these for my first little guy.  Please forgive the lighting in the spiderweb quilt pic, it isn't that yellow.  My little guy is also a lot bigger now.
I'm thinking that this time around I want to do a variation on Katy's Marbles quilt in this post for the XL twin and maybe something kind of like this for the baby quilt, possibly with longer, strip-pieced triangles to kind of coordinate with the spiderweb quilt.  What do you think?  The navy backgrounds will tie everything together pretty well, even though the other fabrics will be so different.
Here's a little teaser, a better shot of the quilt in the "bump" picture above.  I just pulled this off the frames yesterday.  
I'm loving the view of my design wall right now too--those are the blocks that I asked my local bee members to make for me, and I love how they turned out!  I don't have time to do anything with them right now, so they are just up there looking pretty for now.  I was planning on putting the design wall on the wall to the right (the other half is over there), but there isn't enough room to walk past the longarm.  I have to move it back and forth depending on which cabinet I want to get into.  It's not perfect, but it works fine.

Thanks for reading, I'll be back in a few days with another update.  Really. =)
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